Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff


Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty in this contemporary YA about what it means to be a fan—and what it means to be a friend—when your whole world is in flux.

In middle school, everyone was a Fever Dream fan. Now, a few weeks after her high school graduation, Grace Thomas sometimes feels like the only one who never moved on. She can’t imagine what she’d do without the community of online fans that share her obsession. Or what her IRL friends would say if they ever found out about it.

Then, one summer night, the unthinkable happens: Grace meets her idol, Jes. What starts out as an elusive glimpse of Fever Dream’s world turns into an unlikely romance, and leads her to confront dark, complex truths about herself and the realities of stardom.

From the author of A Song to Take the World Apart, Grace and the Fever is a heart-clutching reminder of what it’s like to fall in love—whether it’s with a boy or a boy band—and how difficult it is to figure out who you are after you’ve fallen out of love again.

My Thoughts
Grace is your typical teenager if you consider how withdrawn she becomes to hide her secret of being a Fever Dream fan girl. She doesn't feel that her real friends will understand and will judge her for how absorbed she's become in this world she's created as Gigi. One night she decides to sneak out and she meets one of the boys from Fever Dream Jess and it changes everything for her. She becomes a celebrity by association and nothing but drama follows. She's now a pawn in a cover-up that could shake the Fever world and her own.

I like how Grace navigates this world because she comes to know who she is outside of the Fever Fandom. She discovers eventually that the group she idolizes are human and have faults along her journey to be more than Gigi. I never knew how intense these fandoms could be since I've never loved a group enough to obsess over what they do. This story gave me a good luck at how easy it is to loose yourself in their lives. This is a true coming of age story about a girl letting go of her love for a boy band and start living her life outside of Fever Dream. Overall, the writing and pace are steady. I think this is a good read for anyone that is looking for a contemporary book about a young woman and her love of music.


PRAISE
“A wise, bittersweet coming-of-age story for the thinking fangirl.” —Anna Breslaw, author of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

“A smart, warm, feminist ode to anyone who has ever been eighteen, made a mess of their own life, spent their late night hours on Tumblr, or loved a band so much it hurt.” —Katie Coyle, author of Vivian Apple at the End of the World

“A thrilling romp through a fangirl fantasy in which everything crashes and burns and the heroine emerges stronger.”—Kirkus

“Grace and the Fever reads a lot like how loving a boy band feels: you think it’s cute at first and then suddenly you find yourself so enthralled that you just need more and more and you hope your family isn’t too concerned because yep you are definitely obsessed. Super addictive.” —Goldy Moldavsky, New York Times bestselling author of Kill the Boy Band

Zan Romanoff fell in love with Hanson when she was ten and has been a boy-band fanatic and teen-idol obsessive ever since. She graduated from Yale in 2009 with a B.A. in Literature, and now lives and writes in Los Angeles. GRACE AND THE FEVER is her second novel. Visit her at zanromanoff.com or follow her on Twitter at @zanopticon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Promo & Giveaway: Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan




Such a Good Girl
by Amanda K. Morgan
Release Date: June 20th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:
Riley Stone is just about perfect. (Ask anyone.)
She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose. (And she suspects he likes her, too.)
Riley has her entire life planned out. (The plan is nonnegotiable.)
She's never had a secret she couldn't keep. (Not ever.)

Riley is sure that her life is on the right track. (And nothing will change that.)
She's nothing like a regular teenager. (But she doesn't have any problem admitting that.)
Riley doesn't usually play games. (But when she does, she always wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start…
But Riley always has a plan…
And she always wins.

Amazon | BN | Book Depository | iTunes

About the Author
Amanda K. Morgan is a freelance writer living in Nashville, TN. She covers events and works on freelance projects when she isn't working on her YA novels.

At age 15, Amanda finished her first novel and continued to write in college, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing.

Amanda’s books include After Hours, written as Claire Kennedy, Secrets Lies and Scandals, and Such a Good Girl.

For more information on Amanda's freelance/technical writing, to ask for information on a specific project, or for other questions, contact her

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spotlight & Giveaway: Shattered Minds by Laura Lam



Synopsis
She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY


Praise for FALSE HEARTS

“Riveting.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author

“A multilayered, suspenseful thriller, False Hearts explores themes of identity and power in a breakneck plot that keeps the pages turning.” ―Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night

“An ingenious premise, and Laura Lam executes it flawlessly. Gritty and wise, your own pulse will be racing as you get caught up in this exciting tale.” ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful... and nobody is exceptional. Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged. Taema and Tila are all three, and their strange past and unique bond make False Hearts a difficult book to put down.” ―A. M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea

“A smart debut from someone who's clearly got what it takes.” ―Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Commonwealth Saga


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, a boy she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted his right back. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. She is now a dual citizen, but at times she misses the sunshine.

While working a variety of jobs from filing and photocopying endlessly at a law firm to library assistant to corporate librarian, she began writing in earnest. Her first book, Pantomime, the first book in the Micah Grey series, was released in 2013, which was a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month, won the Bisexual Book Award, was listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association List, and was nominated for several other awards. Robin Hobb says “Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.” The sequel, Shadowplay, followed in 2014, as well as several the Vestigial Tales, self-published short stories and novellas set in the same world. The third book in the series, Masquerade, will follow in 2017.

Her newest book is False Hearts, a near-future thriller released in June 2016 by Tor/Macmillan and in three other languages. Peter F. Hamilton calls False Hearts “a strong debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” Another thriller, Shattered Minds, will be released in 2017.

She is still hiding from sunshine in Scotland and writing more stories.
WEBSITE: http://www.lauralam.co.uk/
TWITTER: @LR_Lam
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5806077.Laura_Lam
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/lauralamauthor
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/lr_lam/

Photo Credit: Elizabeth May

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Teaser & Giveaway: Perfectly Oblivious by Robin Daniels


Title: Perfectly Oblivious                                   
Series: Perfect Series Book #1                     
Author: Robin Daniels                           
Publisher: Bluefields Publishing                
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Summary:  
Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at Franklin High School…except for the one he wants. Unfortunately, Bebe seems to be immune to his flirty charm and good looks, which means one of two things: a) she’s completely oblivious to how he feels, or b) she’s just not into him. If that’s the case, declaring his love would be disastrous for their friendship.

Bianca Barnes (Bebe) has a huge problem: the universe hates her. Every time she admits feelings for a boy, he ends up falling for her sweet, popular, and beautiful sister Beth. To avoid a broken heart, Bebe has sworn herself to secrecy. Nobody can ever know how she feels about Cam…Ever!

Neither person wants to confess their feelings, but the universe has its own plan. Out of the blue, Bebe is courted by a secret admirer. Cam has to step up his game and Bebe has to make a choice. Play it safe and accept the affections of her mystery man or challenge fate and take a chance on the boy she loves.

TEASER
I’d hoped to catch the new kid’s attention by shooting some hoops on the driveway next to his. But after five minutes of flawless shots, his face was still hiding under his hat and his eyes hadn’t left that stupid phone. I wasn’t desperate enough to go talk to him (Ok, I almost was) so I devised a plan to get his attention in a more subtle way.
On my next shot, I intentionally hit the backboard so the ball would bounce off and roll toward him. If he’d seen that shot, I’d have been super embarrassed. I’d never want anyone to think I sucked that bad. But, as luck would have it, embarrassment was not in my cards. Mortification was a better word for what had happened. The missed shot that was supposed to bounce somewhere in his general vicinity was alarmingly accurate. It beaned him in the side of the head, knocking his cap off.
“What the hell?” he grumbled as he rubbed his head and shot a dirty glance in my direction. Oops. Not quite the first impression I was hoping to make. So much for subtle.
“Sorry.” I offered a quick apology, then ran to fetch my ball from the street. I made it back to the driveway, and he strolled over. Now that his baseball cap was off, I could see that he was pretty stinking cute. He had light-brown hair that was long enough to be messed up from wearing his hat but short enough not to stick out under the sides. His blue eyes sparkled (yes, I know how cheesy that sounds, but there is no other way to describe them), and he had a cute button nose. I must have admired him a little too long because he cleared his throat and smirked, revealing the most adorable dimples.
          Crap, crap, crappity-crap. He totally realized I was checking him out. Play it cool, Bianca, play it cool…
“Hey,” was all I could manage. I gave him a head nod. Great; in my attempt not to look desperate, I managed to look like a loser instead.
“You play ball?” he asked, a cocky smirk plastered to his face.
“It would seem so. Seeing as I’m standing here, under a basketball hoop, holding a ball of the basket variety.” That’s good, Bianca; go for snarky. Maybe he’ll forget the moony eyes he caught you making at him.
The new kid snorted. His cocky smirk morphed into a cocky smile. “Well then, I propose a deal. I challenge you to a game of PIG. If you can beat me, I promise to pretend that I don’t know you purposely tanked that shot as an excuse to talk to me.”
My eyes bugged and my jaw dropped for a moment before I was able to regain my composure. So that’s how he was going to play it?
“Hmmm…” I pretended to think as I brought my finger to my lips. “Then I guess if I win, I promise to forget that you’re a conceited ass.”
********************
Aren’t Cam and Bebe fun?! If you enjoyed that sneak peek then you’re sure to enjoy the whole book. Available for purchase now: Purchase Book Here   Don’t forget to enter the Amazon Gift Card Giveaway:  Enter Giveaway Here Thanks for taking a chance on me. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blast & Giveaway: Firebrand by A.J. Hartley


Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author A. J. Hartley returns to his intriguing, 19th-century South African-inspired fantasy world in another adrenaline-pounding adventure

Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.

Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees are trickling into the city, fleeing Grappoli-fueled conflicts in the north. A demagogue in Parliament is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them, and she soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.

Praise for FIREBRAND
“Hartley creates a world so analogous to our ownit hardly seems like a fantasy....Anglet has blossomed in this sequel, releasing her previously restrained sharp tongue and expanding her emotional range. Even as she learnsto put on a neutral face to be a more effective spy, her empathy for those whoare suffering and her relentless search for the truth are her most laudable attributes. Readers who come for the tightly plotted mystery will stay for the heroine who does all she can to resist.” ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The well-crafted adventures of this feisty, diverse protagonist continue in thisworthy sequel to Steeplejack (2016), evoking Sherlock Holmes with its Victorian-esquesetting, and James Bond in its espionage-laced plot. Hartley has composed another electrifying fantasy that buzzeswith intrigue and timely political and social issues, making this a must-have additionto any collection.” ― Booklist, starred review
“Expertly written, never preaching or pointing fingers, but subtly applying pressure toexamine race issues, gender inequalities, microaggressions, and socio-economicproblems in our culture…. Teens will see themselves in the tough, realistic, and fierce yet vulnerable protagonist. The multicultural worldbuilding will draw in readers of many ages and backgrounds, while the well-crafted mystery and action will keep them wanting more….A delightful follow-up to the explosive first novel from an established author who clearly knows his craft.” ―VOYA
“Hartley's story succeeds in building a detailed world of bothfamiliar (charging hippos) and unfamiliar (a precious mineral, luxorite, usedby the rich) elements while also tackling a wide range of complicated social issues....Most impressive is the genre-blending; the author adeptlymerges a political thriller with action, adventure, and mystery. Will have strong appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly those looking for complex novels that reflect a diverse world.”―School Library Journal
Praise for STEEPLEJACK
“A richly realized world, an intensely likable character, and a mystery to die for." ―Cory Doctorow, New York Times-bestselling author
“A thought-provoking blend of action and intrigue, with a competent and ethical heroine in Ang and a fully imagined setting whose atmosphere and cultural cues also play important roles. The result is an unforgettable page-turner built on surprises and full of potential.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Skillful writing, masterful pacing, and a capable and quite likable female detective are just a few of the things to love about this fantasy-adventure....In addition to the detective angle, Hartley thoughtfully explores issues such as race relations, both inter- and intra-racial, as Anglet deals with the censure of her own community, and class issues, as she attempts to work outside the political system to solve the murder. This one won’t stay on the shelf for long.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Smart political intrigue wrapped in all the twists and turns of a good detective story makes for a rip-roaring series opener.” ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“With its unique South African-inspired setting, richly-drawn and diverse cast of characters, and unstoppable plot, readers of any age won't be able to put Steeplejack down!” ―Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
“With Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley introduces a dynamic, complex and likeable new heroine who combines wits, skill and courage to face deadly challenges in an exotic world. Teens and adults will love this book and want more, more, more!” ―Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and The Orphan Army.
“A.J. Hartley has created an exquisite, explosive, nail-biting, tear-rousing masterpiece, in a world so realistic it might be right around the corner.” ―Faith Hunter, New York Times bestselling author
“What a world Hartley has created! Enough twists and surprises to keep the pages turning long into the night.” ―R.L. Stine
“A unique epic adventure set in a richly imagined world; lush, exotic and masterfully written. It's Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist, and Indiana Jones rolled into one.” ―Lissa Price, internationally bestselling author of Starters and Enders
“Smart and socially-aware, this fabulous debut adds to the growing library of multicultural fantasy and is a loudly resounding success.” ―Nisi Shawl, Tiptree Award-winning author of Everfair
“With Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley creates a world as complex as its heroine, and a mystery that spans class, race and geography. You can feel the grit and glory of Bar-Selehm, a many-spired city teetering on the edge of the savannah, and the verge of war. The perfect setting for a street-smart young woman who is caught between three cultures, yet refuses to be trapped by them.” ―Sherri L. Smith, award-winning author of Flygirls and Orleans
“Hartley has created a world so gritty and real I could taste the soot.” ―Maurice Broaddus, author of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy
“Steeplejack combines a lively and intelligent plot with an intriguing and well-drawn world, and caps all this goodness with a determined and indefatigable heroine.” ―Kate Elliott, author of Court of Fives and Black Wolves
“A rich, atmospheric tale of adventure, morality and consequence, Steeplejack will linger with you long after you read the last page.” ―Kady Cross, author of the Steampunk Chronicles and Sisters of Blood and Spirit series
“Elegant prose, a cracking good mystery, lots of action, and characters to fall in love with and root for. I read it cover to cover in no time at all. In fact, I did so twice! And I was on the edge of my seat both times.” ―D.B. Jackson, author of the Thieftaker series
“I was completely hooked from page one. Ang is a hero to cheer for heart and soul. A thrilling, clever, meaningful read.” ―Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning author of Strangely Beautiful and The Eterna Files
“An exquisitely built mystery set in a lush, vibrant world. I was loath to leave Ang and Bar-Selehm behind at the end of it. Definitely a book to be revisited again and again.” ―Kat Zhang, author of What’s Left of Me


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author A.J. Hartley is the bestselling writer of mystery/thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult novels.

He was born in northern England, but has lived in many places including Japan, and is currently the Robinson Professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he specializes in the performance history, theory and criticism of Renaissance English drama, and works as a director and dramaturg.

He has more hobbies than is good for anyone, all of which you can learn more about by friending him (odious word) on Facebook, by following his blog and by checking in on the What’s Going On blog page. He is represented by Stacey Glick of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management for books, and by Eddie Gamarra of the Gotham Group for film and television. And check out A.J.’s Amazon author page.

Photo Credit: Wade Bruton


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2) Julie Eshbaugh



Obsidian and Stars
(Ivory and Bone #2) Julie Eshbaugh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Synopsis:
After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister Lees to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya when he corners her later, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself.

Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the re-cesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.

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Review 
Mya struggles with her feelings for Kol as their betrothal draws near. He would do anything just to be with her and make her happy but clan legacy could threaten that very happiness. Her brother can't have children of his own and it falls on her sister Lees to be his successor. Faced with the choice of saving her sister from an unwanted marriage, they find themselves on a journey that will come with a price higher than their freedom.

This book was full of death, revenge and reconciliation. I find that I like Mya better in this book because she seemed more human and less cold and unfeeling. I'm conflicted about the romance aspect as it
seemed just out of reach. There was so much figuring and chaos that it gets buried in it all. Overall, I like the story and how the world of the clans unfolds. This book would be good for someone that wants something about family, loss and love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie Eshbaugh is the author of Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trou-ble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her hus-band, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 



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Monday, June 12, 2017

Blast & Giveaway: Roar by Cora Carmack

Synopsis
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Excerpt

The Pavanian princess stared at Cassius, her mouth open slightly. When she first walked into this room, Cassius had thought her stunning in her savagery, colder than the depths of winter. Her dress seduced and threatened in equal measure, clinging to her curves and adorned with carved skyfire crystals that jutted from her shoulders and head like the spikes of a warrior’s armor. And yet for all that careful pageantry, it had only taken a compliment to rattle her. She looked very young in that moment, very sweet, which was never a good thing for a potential ruler to be.

She donned an unreadable expression before his curiosity was satisfied, and her lilting voice turned sharp. “Flattery is not necessary. The betrothal has already been set.”


Another blast of that wintery gaze. She had unusual blue-gray eyes—wide and expressive and lovely enough to bring a lesser man to his knees. Her confident demeanor would likely have convinced most, but he had sharpened his instincts in a court little safer than a lion’s den. Tension rode her—something between unease and fear. He gripped her wrist and had the inexplicable urge to drag her somewhere else, anywhere other than the betrothal celebration that waited upstairs with his family. She was a delicate songbird, and his father was a bird of prey. They all were, Cassius included. And he couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before this little bird had her wings clipped.


She tugged her arm out of his grasp, hard. He was tempted to take it back. That was part of his nature … to take. But she fixed him with a harsh glare, and he smiled in response. Perhaps his little bird had talons after all.


Enough. She was not his little bird. A jungle cat does not care for prey, even if he wants it with a hunger stronger than any he has ever known. He pushed his more ruthless instincts aside. That would be his greatest challenge here—fighting the need to seize, command, destroy. Those were the things he was good at. The things he’d been taught since he could walk. With Aurora he would have to coax and flatter and comfort—that was his path to control.


She said, “We should probably go. They’ll be calling for us soon.”


Cassius offered her his elbow, and her body was tense as she curled her hand around it. But before they even took a step, it became clear that the voluminous fabric at the bottom of her dress wouldn’t allow them to easily walk side by side. Cassius took hold of her hand, sliding it off his arm and lacing their fingers together instead. Slowly, he lifted her hand until his lips dragged across her knuckles. The blacks of her eyes expanded, swallowing up that lovely color and adding just a touch of sin to her sweet. She jerked within his grip, trying to pull away. Chuckling low, he put some distance between them, but he did not release her hand.


It took entirely too long to cross the throne room in her elaborate attire. She had to kick the bottom of her dress out before she stepped so that it wasn’t underfoot. Cassius was willing to bet that the dress and the headpiece weighed a third as much as she did or more, but her posture remained rigidly upright and her steps smooth.


By the time they reached the staircase at the back of the throne room, her lips were open and her breathing quick. He was beginning to hate this dress, even if it did cling to her curves rather spectacularly.


“You know,” he said, “I have a knife. I’m tempted to cut off the bottom of that dress so you can walk like the rest of us.”


A smile flitted across her mouth, small at first, then widening into something playful and bright. It called to the darkness in him. “You could try. But you’d likely find that knife at your throat with my mother on the other side of it.”


“Not you?”


“If I had my way, we’d burn it once you cut it off. The headdress too.”


He smiled, and for the first time in a long while it felt almost natural.


“Perhaps we’ll celebrate our wedding with a bonfire.”


Every time he mentioned the wedding, she tensed. It was, of course, already agreed upon and signed in ink, but he had plans that would not succeed if she remained reluctant.


They ascended the first few steps slowly, the beaded fabric of her dress pulled taut around her legs. He wanted to throw her over his shoulder and charge the rest of the way, but he distracted himself with studying his surroundings instead. The hallway they were leaving behind was filled with paintings and statues of the Pavan Stormling ancestors. At the hallway’s end a massive, gold-painted statue of the current queen stood in a decorative alcove. Once upon a time, there might have been altars to the old gods—places to pray for good harvest or fertility or even luck—but those days were long past. Too many years of unbridled destruction and unanswered prayers.


No, Stormlings were the gods now. It was Cassius and the people like him who either answered prayers or ignored them.


“You said you faced a blizzard on your journey, but you did it without an affinity.”


He squeezed the hand he still held. “I did.”


She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, scraping at the white paint that covered her skin. She asked, “Would you tell me about it sometime? The blizzard?”


He angled his head to smile at her again, and she looked away. Shy. So many pieces to her puzzle. “On one condition.”


“Which is?” He had expected her to be like most of the well-born ladies of the court in Locke: sirens with claws and teeth or frightened little mice, made to be gobbled up by this world. Aurora seemed neither vicious nor weak, but she was working so carefully to show him a façade that he could not pinpoint exactly what she was.


He had to know. It was his curse, the reason he thirsted for the thrill of a storm. He had to know how things worked, had to know why. And the girl in front of him was no different. In fact, the need to unravel all her secrets was stronger than he’d ever felt because she would be his. And he had a feeling that conquering her would prove more exhilarating than any storm he had ever defeated.


Rather than giving her his condition, he released her hand and wrapped an arm around the slim circle of her waist. She tried to step back, but her feet tangled in her dress, and she gripped his tunic to stay upright.


There it was. A thread of fear in those eyes. He could have stopped then, but he had little self-control when it came to these things. It was not enough to see a measure of her emotions on her face. He wanted them all. So he pushed a little more. “You might be patient enough to fight with this dress, but I am not. Let me get us to the top of these stairs, and I promise to tell you whatever story you want to hear.”


She jutted her soft chin out and said, “You have a deal.”


The paint had begun to wear away on her lips, revealing rosy skin underneath. Was the rest of her flushed beneath all that powder? He dragged his fingers back and forth over her side, feeling hard ridges beneath the heavy, embellished fabric. “Corset?”


She sucked in a breath, and he knew he had shocked her. Innocent. He collected each morsel of her identity like a scavenger in the jungle. He saw just a sliver of panic before she hid it away and met his gaze.


Brave little bird.


“It will have to be like this.” Before she could change her mind or reason could catch up to his own actions, he bent, winding his arms around her thighs, and lifted. She was tall but slight, and he held her tight against him so that her hips pressed against his chest and her stomach hovered in front of his face. She gasped and braced a hand on his shoulder, reaching up to balance her headdress with the other. He could not see her face like this, but he imagined she was scandalized. He chuckled. “I suppose I should have given you some warning.”


He risked offending her or word getting back to her mother through the guards that followed them. Both of which paled in comparison to the risk of his father hearing of his actions. He was a child, poking at a fish with a stick, rather than reeling it in the way he was supposed to. But he could not seem to help himself.


With some measure of urgency, he started up the stairs. Her body swayed toward him, her beaded dress scraping against his chin. This close, he felt her breathing speed up. The hand on his shoulder migrated to her chest, doing her best to cover the cleavage that was only just above his line of sight.


His instincts said to push again, but this time he reined them in. He kept his head down and quickened his feet. Again, the movement made her sway toward him, harder this time without her hand on his shoulder as a brace. He turned his face to the side, and her belly pressed against his cheek just for a moment before her hand was back at his shoulder, righting her position.


He took the last few steps at a pace that was nearly a jog, and when he reached the top, he looked up at her face. Her mouth was open and soft; he knew by the rise and fall of her body against him that her breaths were ragged, and in her eyes was a gleam. Not fear. Not panic. Not even anger.


Want.


He could work with that.



Copyright © 2017 by Cora Carmack

Praise for ROAR

“I am typically not a fantasy reader, but Roar convinced me to read more. Cora Carmack created a beautiful world and I felt like I was transported to Pavan with her vivid descriptions of the city. I was left wanting more and I can't to find out what happens with the rest of her characters.”—Chelsea Riela, New York Public Library



“In her electrifying YA debut Roar, Cora Carmack creates a stormy fantasy full of adventure featuring a charismatic ensemble cast. Roar introduces YA readers to Cora’s signature talent for balancing authentic characters and a captivating romance, this time set in a striking new world that will sweep readers away.”—Mary Hinson, Irving Public Library and Mary Had A Little Book Blog



Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult Romance and YA fantasy. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TXand New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.
Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2017/05/nerd-blast-roar-by-cora-carmack.html

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blitz & Giveaway: Fate of the Stars by Arwen Paris


Fate of the Stars by
Arwen Paris
Publication date: September 1st 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
When the fate of the world rests upon you…
Allison Delaney wants to spend her senior year healing from the loss of her father, to leave the shadows of his death and her junior year break-down behind. A Labor Day beach party seems like a good place to start…but there’s more danger lurking than anyone could imagine. Death is coming to Earth if the pods of infectious creatures aren’t stopped. But only one human can help…
To live or die is no longer a choice.
Eenoki is a protector of life but must have a sentient host to fight the invasion. A teenage girl would not be the best choice, but out of desperation Eenoki invades Allison’s mind and body, granting her unnatural abilities and strengths – and helping her escape certain death when the first wave of pods land.
As destruction rains down on Earth’s population, Allison realizes to save everyone, she must make the ultimate choice: Reject her human side and bond with Eenoki to become the Earth’s Priestess – or be killed along with the rest of humanity.
EXCERPT:
Why would they come out here?
I stagger back, shaking as I remember my narrow escape from town, and the aliens’ hissing reaction to sound. I hobble to the pilothouse. “Pete!” I shout, twisting the handle. It refuses to turn. “Shut off the engines.” I beat on the door.
“What the hell this yellin’ about?” he shouts, throwing the door open at me. The other passengers scream. Pete turns toward the shore. “Oh my God.” He runs inside. Revving the motor, he swings us back out into the bay. A loud screech jabs my eardrums as metal grinds on metal, and the engines come to an abrupt stop.
“No. No!” Pete shouts, turning the key. There’s no reaction at all.
Over the wind and waves, an odd clicking sound makes my flesh crawl. We all stand motionless trying to identify it. The clicks grow louder, overlapping until they become shrill. Something strikes the hull with a heavy thud, and everyone jumps. Then another pound on the boat, and another. I can’t decide whether to search for the source of the noise or hide below. But I have to know, so I follow the sound to the rear of the ship. Bobbing on the waves is a human, his face streaked with a black oily residue that’s oozing from his nose and mouth. It resembles the oily residue I saw on the back of Bob’s neck. His eyes are opaque and dead. Nausea rises in my gut.
They didn’t die. I’m not sure what they are now, but they’re no longer human.
I’ve put everyone here in danger with my selfish request to go to shore, attracting their attention. I grow limp and drop my head back, staring up at the sky.
So close, a thin voice says, seemingly right in my ear. It’s the voice that warned me to run. Clenching my jaw, I lash out through my mind at the voice. So close to what, dying?
Discordant memories churn in my head. I close my eyes to still the illusions. A glow illuminates the back of my eyelids and warmth spreads through me.
You must see, Allison. The only way left to explain in time.


Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic


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