Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: The Cage by Megan Shepherd

First, thanks to Balzer and Bray for approving me for the e-galley of this title from Edelweiss.  I also won an ARC that I actually ended up reading for the most part.  This is my first book by the author.  I have a copy of The Madman's Daughter and its sequel, but haven't gotten around to them yet.  I'm even more eager to read them now that I have finished this one though.  I have to say I really enjoyed this book. 

It's a kind of new type of story,  or at least compared to the majority of what is out there at the moment.  The main character is Cora.  She is the daughter of a politician, and she just recently got out of juvenile detention for a wreck that killed a woman.  She wakes up in the desert.  She has no idea where she is or how she got there.  Only that the last thing she remembers is being in a car with her brother on the way to spend time with all of her family together. Something that hasn't happened since before her mother and father got divorced.  But now she's somewhere strange.  Alone she thinks, until she runs into a boy her age.  A cute boy, named Lucky.  Lucky knows Cora, even if she doesn't know him.  He knows about the accident that sent her to the Juvenile detention center, and he has a part in what got her sent there.  He feels guilty for it when he gets to know her.  They find a dead girl by the ocean that is strangely right on the edge of the desert.  They also find tattoos of strange patterns on each other's necks.  They begin to explore the area and find there are all kinds of different environments right next to each other, pretty much in impossible ways. They find what looks like a town from far away, but when they get up closer, it is one, but it is all different kinds of mismatched buildings. And when you go inside there are not normal interiors.  They also run into three more people their age. There's a big strong boy named Leon, a nerdy boy named Rolf, and a very skinny, pretty girl named Nok.  They soon find out they are not on Earth anymore. They have been taken by aliens.  The aliens are not really as different or strange as could be imagined. They are somewhat human like in their body forms, although their skin color is way different, their eyes are different, and they are bigger.  Plus they are psychic. They don't think humans are as "advanced" as they are.  They call themselves "The Kindred".  And supposedly they keep humans in little environments like this, for observation.  There were supposed to be 6, three girls and three boys.  Matched by the little marks on their necks. 

But while the other four seem to be settling in and accepting that this is their new home, Cora wants only to escape. Even as one of the aliens, the Caretaker, seems to be showing her favoritism.  She can't believe how easily the others are falling into what the aliens want them to do. But there is only a 21 day limit, and the caretaker shows Cora what will happen to them if they don't follow the directions and rules.  But she still wants to try to escape.  A new human girl named Mali is brought in to replace the girl who died, and she has lived with the aliens since she was 4 years old.  Cora hopes to convince her to help her with her plan.

The end will not go quite as expected, there will be a twist in who really is what they say they are, and what the aliens have been telling them will seem not so real. 

Honestly this is one that is hard to explain.  I just know that it was a very interesting story, some parts that were things I had thought about as a possible story in the past, but all put into the story in a very unique and new way.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review: YOLO Juliet by Brett Wright/Shakespeare and srsly Hamlet by Courtney Carbone/Shakespeare

Okay, thanks to Edelweiss and Random House Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read a sampler of these two titles.  Now, I am a little disappointed that it was only samplers, but that is fine. While I normally do enjoy books like this, I might not have made it all the way through, as I have actually read Romeo and Juliet.  But I think this could be a great way to help kids today understand Shakespeare.  Yeah, you could say it "dumbs" it down.  But, it's not any different to me than translating it into more modern words like the No Fear Shakespeare books do.

These are basically told through Romeo and Juliet texting each other, or else writing in diary mode on their phones.  They use normal texting abbreviations and terms, as well as emojis.  One of the exchanges between Romeo and Juliet that I love was like this:

Romeo:  Juliet, I swear on the

Juliet:  Wait, you swear on a piece of rock in the sky?  Um.

Romeo:  Okay, what should I swear on, then?

Juliet:  Maybe we shouldn't make any promises yet.  All of t his happened as fast as 

Doesn't that kind of look like fun?  Of course in the book each person's speaking part is in bubbles like in a text message.

So I would recommend this as a fun book for someone trying to understand Shakespeare as they read it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Promo Post: Revolution by Randi Cooley Wilson #Giveaway

Revolution Banner
About the Book:
A King Rises

A Fate Seals
Realms Fall
Eve Collins has set in motion a chain of events that could destroy everything she’s ever loved. Surrounded by dangerous creatures, dark worlds, and the struggle to become who she was meant to be, Eve must complete her ascension and accept her destiny.
War has begun. Losing is not an option. With dangers lurking around each corner, and everything against her, will Eve sacrifice her own happiness in order to tip the scale of balance? Which side will rise to power, and which fall to fate?
In this fourth installment in The Revelation Series, Eve must risk it all in order to prevent a centuries old war.
Everything comes with a sacrifice, even love.
Releasing: May 2015
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Revelation-Randi-Cooley-Wilson-ebook/dp/B00VEI3IWY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1427748271&sr=8-5&keywords=randi+cooley+Wilson
About the Author:
Randi Cooley Wilson
Randi Cooley Wilson is a “New Adult” Paranormal/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author. Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years. Randi makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets.

Excerpt: (Warning - definitely not a YA book)

The Midnight Temple

FROM DARKNESS, COMES LIGHT. I whisper the assertion in my head, over and over again, as a form of reassurance. Distracted eyes take in my surroundings, seeking out a focal point of luminosity. Nightfall shrouds the ill-omened forest I’m standing barefoot in.

     My gaze lifts toward the heavens, searching for light. There is nothing. No stars shining brightly to guide me. No flush of the moon’s silver rays caressing the ominous tree lined confinement I find myself in. Panic begins to claw at my throat.

     Everything is unnaturally still. The trees are motionless. There’s no breeze to embrace me. No woodland creatures at home to calm me. Only silence. It’s eerie and yet, oddly familiar.

     “Hidden within the darkness, the unseen will eventually be divulged. Revealing the true purpose of your existence.” Gage’s deep, masculine voice penetrates my trepidation.

     I shift my body and tilt my head, meeting a pair of sea-green irises. The gargoyle clasps his warm fingers over mine in a soothing gesture while the scent of cigarettes and spice drifts over me. His presence rescues me from the shadowed corners my mind finds itself in.

     I inhale, for what feels like the first time tonight. A small smile appears on my lips at the sight of the good-looking protector. Gratitude washes over me, because I’m not alone on this self-imposed journey.

     The moment of reprieve passes quickly when I remember who I am and what I’ve done. At the thought, a sharp, unyielding pain presents itself deep within my heart. The sting causes my breath to hitch as my hand moves to cover the twinge.

     In the distance, a faint, familiar sound floats over me. “Come back to me, siren,” it whispers. The memory of how much hurt I’ve caused seeps in. “I will protect you, always.” The voice, belonging to Asher St. Michael, my gargoyle protector, and now my mate, promises. My stomach lurches at the recollection of my actions this evening. My treachery.

     Instantly, I fold at the waist and vomit into the plant life lining the forest’s floor. Gage steps closer to my uncontrollable, trembling body. Releasing my hand, he gently holds my hair back, allowing me to empty the contents of my stomach into the undergrowth. Shit.

     “You’re okay, love. It’s just the adrenaline wearing off. Take deep breaths,” he soothes.

     I close my eyes, trying to block it all out, as my body hums from the protector blood bond. In rapid fire, images of this evening flash through my mind. Each one cutting my soul like the dagger I used in my deception. All I can see is Asher. My dark prince. My everything.

     Asher’s gentle hand is wrapped around the lower portion of my throat, showing dominance. The feel of my gargoyle’s body pressed against mine, pushing me into his stone state bed. The stunning and blissful expression he had as he slid into me for the first time. His scent. His touch. His declarations of forever, all marred by my deceit.

     I’ve ended us by showing my disloyalty. When his indigo eyes met mine, my dagger fell into his heart, forcing him into a healing sleep. Protecting him. Then, I walked away from my love to save another who I hold dear to me. My sacrifice.

     A shiver passes over me and my breathing becomes ragged. My stomach churns again and my knees buckle. If it weren’t for Gage’s large hands wrapped around my waist, I would collapse in despair on the dirt-covered pathway. Crap. Pull yourself together, Eve.

     “Are you alright, love?” Gage questions quietly into my ear, holding me close.

     Once the visions dissolve, so does the nausea. I open my eyes to meet Gage’s troubled ones. Taking a step back, I allow for some distance from his protective arms. Then I center myself before pushing back my shoulders and lifting my chin.

     “Yes,” I say firmly.

     He knits his brows together, running a hand through his golden-blond hair. “Are you sure, Eve?” he questions with worry lining his voice.

     I’m actually taken aback by his apprehension. Normally, Gage doesn’t show signs of unease. It’s unnerving and making me question my resolve. I straighten and nod once.

     “I said I am.” My voice is strong, even though inside, I’m terrified.

     The undecipherable gargoyle’s eyes just search mine. His face is strained in disbelief.

     “I really am,” I assure him and attempt to turn my attention to the fog-covered fortress in front of us. I don’t want to see his troubled expression.

     Gage doesn’t let me twist though. Instead, he snatches my chin roughly and tilts my head back. His gaze roams over my face before locking onto it with a raw intensity. “With every moment that goes by, they turn a deeper shade of indigo, love,” he whispers.

     My breath hitches and I slam my lids down, hiding the irises. Asher and I triggered our mate bond and fulfilled the divination of redemption. My light ignited and awakened his soul, protecting him from stone petrifaction. I was so concerned with his safety, I failed to remember his mate mark wouldn’t be the only change to my body. My eye color changed from hazel, to blue, the clan’s hue. I really should have read more paranormal books. Crap.

     Opening my eyes, I take in a deep breath through my nose. The memory of my intimate night with Asher disappears. His mate mark angrily pulses on my lower back, alerting me to Asher’s emotional state. He’s pissed. Of course he is. Why wouldn’t he be?

     Gage sighs in annoyance. “One look at you, love, and the Declan clan will not be able to overlook the fact that you are the dark prince’s mate.”

     My eyes narrow in response. “Not fully. Abby told me that the mark and eye color are temporary until my new mark is infused with Asher’s blood. If that doesn’t happen, with time, both disappear and release him of our soul connection. That’s what needs to happen, Gage. I only did this to protect him from the council and Dark Army.”

     Gage releases a hollow laugh that sounds more like a bark. “You’re na├»ve, daughter of Heaven, to think you gave yourself to him in the name of protection only.”

     My teeth clench in aggravation. “You said you would help me. I need to extract my aunt Elizabeth from Lucifer before he kills her. I’m the one he wants. It’s my role to save her. By any means necessary. Asher wouldn’t have let me do this, you know that.”

     He holds my gaze for a moment in contemplation. “Don’t you mean your mother?”


     “Ever since finding out that Elizabeth and Michael are your biological parents, you continue to refer to her as your aunt. She’s your mother, love. You are her flesh and blood.”

     I pull my chin out of his grasp. “Fine. I need to save…my mother.” As the words fall out of my mouth, my stomach sinks at the recollection that both the archangel and my guardian, whom I’ve known since birth as my aunt Elizabeth, lied to me for years before recently coming clean about our biological lineage.

     “Are you going to help me or not?” I snip impatiently.

     Gage’s focus shifts from me, down the haze-filled path, toward the ominous castle that belongs to Deacon, the leader of the Declan clan. Since Gage was the half-demon, half-gargoyle’s right hand man for a short time, Gage is the only one who knows of its location, which is why I entrusted him to assist me with this plan.

     My eyes follow his line of sight, landing on the stone fortress, as unease trickles down my spine. The last time I was here, Deacon was holding me hostage. Despite the bad blood between the two, Gage had helped Asher and his family, the London clan, with my rescue.

     Deacon’s entire focus has been to hand me over to Lucifer and the Dark Army. He killed Aria, my best friend and college roommate, while she was protecting me. After which, both Deacon’s brother Kaiden, and his mother Dimia, died doing his bidding.

     I shudder at the thought of what he’ll do to me this time, knowing that Asher and the St. Michaels won’t save me. Stabbing Asher, the future king of the gargoyle race, in the heart with my daggers was the ultimate betrayal. I’ve ended the protection the clan offered.

     Releasing a slow breath, I remind myself that I’m the weapon, created by Heaven, to tip the scale in their favor and bring redemption to the world ending this centuries’ old war. Heaven sees me as a pawn, but for Hell, I’m a threat to their very existence. It’s why they’re hunting me. If not restrained, I have the power to destroy the Dark Army. This time, though, I’m going to make it easy and surrender, exchanging my life for my Elizabeth’s.

     Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I wait for his answer. Deciding then and there, with or without his help, I’m still doing this. It’s my fault that Deacon and Lucifer kidnapped my mother to get to me. Gage faces me with a soft look. I can tell he’s made his decision.

     Silently, he extends his hand for me to take, and I do, as relief floods through me. The grip he has on me tightens, almost painfully, as he yanks me harshly to his chest. Without warning, his grey wings snap out from his back. Gage’s face morphs into one of regret.

     My expression turns to one of confusion at his sudden coldness, wordlessly questioning him.

     “Sorry, love,” Gage whispers in my ear before disappearing with me in his possession.

If I stand any straighter, I think it’s possible my spine might snap in two. Of their own accord, my hands clench and unclench at my sides in agitation. I fear if they stop, I might land a hard smack on the cheek of the sexy gargoyle watching me with his unimpressed eyes.

     “Are you fucking kidding me?” I scream and throw my hands up in dismay.

     The protector ignores my outburst. Instead of responding, he takes out a cigarette, rolling it between his thumb and index finger, momentarily distracting me. Damn, he’s alluring when he does that.

     “I said I was sorry,” Gage offers unapologetically, yanking me back to the present.

     “Take. Me. Back,” I demand.

     “No,” he says with finality then pulls out a lighter from the front pocket of his black dress pants. Once the nicotine stick is lit, he drags in a hard inhale, relaxing his face and shoulders.

     “Now, Gage.” I narrow my eyes at him.

     He pins me with a hard glare and he lets out a long exhale. A cloud of smoke is directed at me, forcing me to fan my hand in front of my face like Miss America does when she starts crying after she’s found out she’s won. Jerk.

     “I understand the word no is not something you’re used to hearing, love, since Asher bows at your every whim, but I mean it. So stop arguing with me.” His voice is rough.

     “She will die,” I seethe.

     His shoulders drop at my statement. “Elizabeth is not under my protection. You are.”

     I scoff. “Unreal. NOW you decide to step in and protect me?” What the hell? “What happened to, I don’t babysit, love. You’re a big girl, Eve. Spread those wings and fly, daughter of Heaven.” I mock his previous statements.

     He shrugs and places the cigarette in his mouth again. “It pleases me to do so now.”

     I fold my arms over my chest and attempt to take on an even angrier stance. He just continues to stand there, unaffected, sucking on his cigarette. Letting it dangle over his infuriating perfect lips. Damn gargoyles.

     “Gage,” I fume.


     “This wasn’t the plan.”

     Gage throws the remains of his cigarette on the concrete sidewalk before stomping on it with his black designer shoes. “No, love, it wasn’t. Plans change. Isn’t that what’s so wonderful about free will, daughter of Heaven?”

     We hold one another’s irate glare before a deep tone cuts through our childish stand off.

     “In or out?” the gruff, accented voice asks in a short manner.

     My eyes shift to the large Samoan man glaring at Gage and I. His thick, tan arms are covered in tribal tattoos and folded across his heavy body. The stranger is guarding a black door with no sign on it. His sudden presence triggers the realization that we’re standing in a back alley, in a city.

     “Where are we?” I ask Gage, finally coming to my senses.

     “The Midnight Temple,” Gage says cryptically and walks over to the intimidating bodyguard. “Issac, it’s good to see you again, brother.”

     Issac doesn’t smile, or move for that matter. To be honest, he looks like he’s about to kill Gage. That unto itself makes him my new favorite person.

     “Ua leva tele ona o'u le toe va'ai ia oe,” Issac grunts out in what sounds like Samoan.

     “It has been a long time, man. I need to see him,” Gage says. “I’m owed a favor.”

     Issac slides his guarded attention toward me before motioning to me with his head.

     “O ai lou igoa?” he asks me.

     “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” I state.

     “He wants to know your name, love,” Gage explains.

     “Oh. Eve. Eve Collins,” I answer and put out my hand to shake his.

     Isaac doesn’t take it. His dark brown eyes skate back to Gage. “E le o inei le tama.”

     Gage stands straighter and leans in. “Don’t lie to me. I know he’s here. I sense him.”

     “E na'o 'oe?” Isaac questions frostily.

     Gage’s expression turns lethal. “Do I look stupid, ma a'u o?”

     After an awkward few moments, Issac tilts his head toward the door but doesn’t make any effort to move. Gage grabs my hand and yanks me around the large man. As we pass, my arm briefly brushes Isaac’s, causing the hair on the back of my neck to tingle. He just smirks.

    Gage drags me through the steel door into a dark, long hallway. A loud buzzing sound emits from the one small, circular overhead light that’s tinted red, basking the corridor in a burgundy hue. Immediately, the smell of sulfur assaults my nose. I dig my heels into the old, thin black carpet on the floor. Crap. I’m still not wearing shoes.“Where the hell are we?”

     “That’s a pretty close assessment, love.” Gage sighs before turning to face me. “At the risk of sounding like the dark prince, in here, you stick by my side. Don’t speak. Don’t move. Don’t breathe, unless I permit it. This place is where darkness comes to play. Understood?”

     I hold his intense gaze before giving in. It’s not like Gage to go all protector bossy on me.

     “I’m not wearing shoes,” I point out.

     Gage ignores the statement. Instead, he roughly snatches my hand again and continues to pull me along, forcing us further into the hall’s darkness.

     “Why are we here?” I whisper.

     “Christ. Don’t speak unless I speak to you, love,” he growls. “You want Elizabeth back? We do it my way. This is my way.” Why do I get the feeling his way sucks?

     This was not at all how this was supposed to go. Aggravated at the change in plans, I stop and rip my hand out of his hold so he’s forced to turn and look at me again. He does.

     “Gag—” He cuts me off. With supernatural speed, Gage is in front of me, pinning me to the wall and caging me in with his arms. A shrewd smile crosses his lips as he dips his chin.

     “I mean it, love. Not one word unless I give you permission,” he orders.

     After a brief moment of defiance, I press my lips together to prove I can behave. Satisfied, Gage pushes off the wall and continues to maneuver us through the shadowy passage and up several flights of stairs.

     As we walk, the dim vibrations of a bass flow through me, prompting my curiosity. There must be a nightclub on the other side of the wall.

     I keep my eyes trained on Gage’s back while we make our way up the last set of stairs. A snow-white door sits at the top of the landing. The color seems out of place given all the deep burgundy and blacks from the stairwells and hallway decor. Upon approach, I read Media Nocte In Templo spray-painted artistically across the entry. Before Gage knocks, the door swings open and my eyes meet a familiar pair of wild emerald green ones. What the hell?

     “I’ve been waiting for you,” she rasps out.

     “Sorry we’re late, buttercup.” Gage feigns an apology.

     Confused, I look to Gage and then to the pale girl blanketing her face with her long raven hair. The new purple highlights mixed into the glossy dark strands make Nassa, Sorceress of Prosperity, look effortlessly cool. They match her deep purple eyeliner. Longing for my own clothes, I take in her black converse sneakers, black skinny jeans and vintage band t-shirt.

    What in the world is going on? I’m about to ask, but a loud squawking noise interrupts my curiosity. At the sound, my focus stops on a black crow sitting on the sorceress’ shoulder. Its wings are silky with sleek deep cobalt streaks running through the raven feathers.

     “Noir, meet Eve, daughter of Heaven. Eve, my familiar, Noir.” Nassa introduces us.

     I smirk awkwardly at the bird while it tilts its head, assessing me. My life just keeps getting more and more absurd. “You have a pet crow?” I stare at the animal in astonishment.

    Gage shoots me a menacing look, probably for speaking out of turn. My eyes widen at him in apology as I motion with my hand that I’m zipping my mouth closed. Fuck, he’s bossy.

    “You don’t have to be afraid of him.” She enlightens, reaching up and petting the creature.

    “Isn’t he sort of a symbol for death?” I snort, causing the bird to caw at me.

     “Christ, love.” I get an aggravated warning from Gage.

     “Actually, crows are keepers of the sacred law. They can see our true soul self, representing transcendence. They’re also extremely smart and loyal.” Nassa shifts her focus to me.

     I arch my brow in skepticism. “Pretty sure Alfred Hitchcock would disagree.”

     At my reference, she rolls her eyes. “If it helps you sleep at night, they mate for life, sunbathe, and can count to six.” The quirky girl explains these points as if they will win me over.

     “Fascinating,” I reply warily.

     “Noir is simply my familiar, like Malefica, aunt Lunette’s spotted panther,” she adds.

     I’d forgotten Nassa was the niece of the eccentric Sorceress Lunette. A member of the Sorceresses of the Black Circle, and one of the Supernatural Royal Court members, as well as, the guardian of the scroll of divination. Oh, and a tantric sex hobbyist who pierced my mate in the most private of spots. My lips tilt at the vision of the slim, blonde haired witch.

     “Are you going to invite us in, buttercup?” Gage winks seductively from the doorway.

    Nassa glares at him, irritated at the nickname, before stepping aside and motioning us into another hallway. Odd. Before we enter, Nassa steps up to Gage angrily.

     “For the record, Gallagher, your mere presence makes me want to puke,” she quips.

     Gage just stares at her with a blank expression before leaning toward her ear to speak quietly.

     “Gallagher, huh? It’s nice to see you got my name right this time, buttercup. I loathe being confused with God. Oh God…please,” he says in a low, seductive voice. 

     My eyes slide closed. Well, crap. That can’t be unheard.

    Nassa releases a raspy, deep laugh. “Don’t flatter yourself, Gallagher. I was just surprised. Oh God, is that all there is,” she mouths off as I beg the floor to open up and swallow me.

    Gage rolls his neck, allowing the loud cracks of his straining bones and muscles to echo off the walls. He ignores her smart remark and snatches my hand, yanking me hard into the corridor as I stumble over my feet.

    “Eve needs to clean up. Maybe an outfit and some shoes. Can you help before she meets him?” Gage grits out.

    “If you’d release your overprotective grip on her, I’ll get right on that,” Nassa retorts.

    “Love, go with Nassa. You have ten minutes.” He releases my hand.

    I go to say something snarky, but Gage’s face morphs into one of caution. Damn my promise to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I follow the sorceress into a backroom, where she roughly throws a duffle bag at me. Rummaging thought it I find it’s filled with my own clothes and products, as well as my favorite shoes. My eyes meet hers in question.

    “How did you get my things?” I ask.

    “Gallagher told me about your little escape plan, so I packed some items I thought you’d need.” She points a dark purple, polished index finger behind me. “There’s a bathroom through that door to freshen up. No offense but you smell like vomit,” she states as a matter of fact.

    “Yeah…well, you smell like crow,” I retort.

    Her face scrunches. “That isn’t even an insult. You need to spend more time with Kenna.”

    I ignore the dig and snatch the bag off the floor then head into the bathroom to change. Ten minutes later, I’m clean and in my own clothes, shoes and all. I open the door to see Nassa sitting on a couch, magazine in hand. Noir stares at me with his beady bird eyes. Creepy.

    “Why didn’t you have that thing with you when you were at the summit in London?” I ask.

    “Noir doesn’t like flying,” she answers in an even tone, not looking at me.

    I study her for a moment to see if she’s joking. She’s not. Is she serious? She has a pet bird that doesn’t like to fly. Awesome. “Where are we?” I change topics.

    “Didn’t Gallagher warn you not to speak or ask questions?” Her head tilts, watching me.

    “He did. I thought since we know one another, you might be a little more forthcoming with information. My mistake.” I shift uncomfortably, while she focuses on the glossy pages of the fashion magazine. “Are you and Gage an item now, or something?”

    Nassa sighs. “New York. You’re in Manhattan. And no we’re not.”

    I drop the bag holding my dirty outfit and nod in appreciation. “Thanks.”

    She studies me for a moment. “For what it’s worth, I think what you did to Asher was pretty shitty. I’m willing to bet he kills you. Painfully. That said, I respect why you did it. I would do anything to keep my mom safe. So we’re cool. You and me.”

    I swallow the painful lump forming in my throat. “Good to know,” I whisper.

    Her eyes float around the storage room. “This is my uncle’s club, The Midnight Temple. That’s what the Latin graffiti on the door translates into.”

    “Why did Gage bring me here?” I sit down on the worn couch next to her.

    Twisting so she can see me, Nassa shrugs. “Probably because my uncle’s a demon lord.”

    I knit my brows. “A what?”

    “Demon lord. It’s the same as an archangel only for the other team.”

    “Your uncle is a demon? I thought you were a sorceress?” I accuse.

    “My mom is a sorceress. My dad, Mammon, holds a high position within the demon world. To avoid the look you’re giving me now, I tend to play up the sorceress side. It’s less…freakish. I make more friends that way,” she deadpans with a look of irritation.

    “Mammon… Your dad is the demon of greed?” I question in a high-pitched voice.

    “You’re in no position to judge. Your dad is the warrior of Heaven,” she throws back.

    “Sorry,” I murmur. “Wait, how do you know about Michael?”

    “Noir can see your true soul. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” Nassa ensures.

    “Forgive my mistrust but my ability to read people’s motives isn’t what it used to be.”

    “I have nothing to gain by ratting you out, Eve. I live with my mother and the Sorceresses of the Black Circle. My allegiance is to them. I haven’t seen my dad, or my uncle, in a very long time. Nor do I care to engage in what their side believes to be truth,” she explains.

    “If your dad is Mammon, who’s your uncle?” I question, not really wanting to know.

    “The King of the Nine Hells, one of the original seven princes of Hell. Known to most as the demon of lust,” Nassa answers, holding my eyes.

    “Actually, my dear niece, my claim to fame is that I penned the contract of creation,” a baritone intonation cascades over us from the doorway.

    At the interruption, both Nassa and I become rigid, shifting our focus to the voice.

    “Eve, meet my uncle, Asmodeus.”

The Giveaway:
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Blitz: Aftermath by Tom Lewis

Book & Author Details:
Aftermath by Tom Lewis
(After the Fall #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

The end of the world came fast. Between the time the warning had sounded on the TV, till when 16-year-old Paige O’Connor awakened sometime later, civilization had been crushed.

The attacks had come by “them” – those things in the ships in the sky that had appeared suddenly, and without warning.

And as Paige would soon discover, the attacks had only been the beginning.

Aftermath is the first book in the new After the Fall dystopian action series, which follows a young girl’s struggle for survival in the wake of civilization’s collapse, and humanity’s domination by an alien race of beings.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25245425-aftermath?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VD66QYO/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Tom Lewis served in the United States Marines, before attending college, and then law school. He currently practices entertainment law from his office in Santa Monica, California.

Mr. Lewis has written and sold several screenplays, and is currently in post-production on a motion picture he wrote, directed, and produced.

His novel, "Aftermath," is loosely based on one of his screenplays. In writing "Aftermath," his goal was to take his readers through a post-apocalyptic America, where civilization had been crushed in an alien attack. The reader is taken on this journey through the eyes of his protagonist, 16-year-old Paige O'Connor, and encounters this hostile new world as she does.

"Aftermath" is the first book in the "After the Fall Dystopian Series," which will continue to chronicle the adventures of Paige and the remnants of humanity in their struggle to survive, and ultimately reclaim our planet from the invaders.

Tell us about your debut novel:
The book’s called “Aftermath”.  It’s a fast-paced, dystopian sci fi actioner that follows a teenage girl’s struggles for survival in the increasingly hostile wake of civilization’s collapse, and humanity’s domination by an alien race of beings.  I’m calling it a “Hunger Games” with aliens.

“Aftermath” is the first novel in the “After the Fall” dystopian series, which will follow my heroine, Paige, and the remnants of humanity in their efforts to both survive, and reclaim our world.

Author Interview:
How did you get into writing?
I started writing screenplays in 1999, and had my first screenplay optioned that year.  I followed that up with several other screenplays, a few of which were optioned by production companies and ended up getting me hired for writing assignments.  Two of those scripts were made into movies which I produced and directed.  The first of those movies was picked up by Lionsgate for distribution, and we’re in negotiations with distributors on the second film, a spooky ghost story called “The Chanel”.  It’s about a teenage girl, who after surviving a near-death experience in a car crash, finds herself haunted by a shadowy figure she sees from the corner of her eye – something that followed her back from the other side of death.

You’re also an attorney?
Yes.  I practice entertainment law from my office in Santa Monica.  My clients are mainly producers, so that’s helped with getting my screenplays out there.  Before that, I served in the Marines.

Where did your interest in post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction come from?
My first exposure to the dystopian genre came about 4 years ago, when I was negotiating movie rights to a best-selling novel for one of my clients.  I read that novel, and then read the “Hunger Games” trilogy, and then I was hooked.  Dystopian, YA, NA, sci fi action, survival, and post-apocalyptic stories are far and away my favorites.

Where did the inspiration for Aftermath come from?
I came up with the idea for Aftermath about a year ago.  I was searching Amazon for something post-apocalyptic and dystopian, but with ordinary people thrown into that upside-down world. Most of the books I was finding had either elite commandos, or the threat wasn’t big enough, or there just wasn’t enough action, thrills, or scares.  So basically I wrote Aftermath as the story I wanted to read.  I originally started drafting it as a screenplay, but then I saw the potential of it as a series of novels.  The story is epic in scope – it follows the survivors through the end of civilization, and its conquest by this alien race.  And by doing it through novels, I wasn’t limited to budget considerations you have when writing screenplays.  But I did have the fun of shooting the trailer I made for the book.  You can see that trailer here:  https://vimeo.com/124008432

What's next for you?
I’m about halfway finished with the second installment in the series, and hope to publish it later this summer.  The working title is “The Whisperers.”

About Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where his family still resides.  He served in the Marines, before returning to Arizona, where he attended Arizona State University, receiving his BS in Business Management.  After ASU, he moved to San Diego, where he attended law school at the University of San Diego.  He graduated in 1996, and was admitted to the State Bar of California the same year.  Shortly after that, he moved to Santa Monica, where he practices law as an entertainment attorney.

When he’s not writing, or handling the legal work for his clients’ films, Tom enjoys working out, hanging out at the beach, bike riding, reading, and movies.


The Birds

            Destiny can be defined as a series of events that will necessarily happen to us. As inevitable as it is unpredictable, it’s a journey we’re all thrown into. Along the way it defines us, and shows us what we’re made of. And when we reach the end, we often find that it’s taken us in a direction we never could have imagined. This is one girl’s journey.
            It started on a crisp spring day in the foothills of Los Angeles. The Westwood High Panthers’ girls soccer team took the field to a small audience of students and family members scattered throughout the wooden bleachers.
            In the back row, as far away as possible from the other spectators, sat Paige O’Connor and Shelby Johnson. To anyone watching them, it was pretty obvious they weren’t there for the game. It was just an excuse to get out of their houses, soak up some sunshine, and get drunk on the rum Paige was pouring into a giant Big Gulp cup.
            Paige had just turned sixteen, the legal driving age in California, but at the rate she got into trouble, it would be a long time before her parents let her get her license. Riding a bike everywhere sucked, but then so did listening to parents and teachers.
            She was strikingly pretty and petite, and hated that things were expected of her because of that. She was going to hang out with who she wanted, dress the way she wanted, and look the way she wanted. So midway through her freshman year, she had chopped her long brunette hair down to shoulder length, and painted several blue streaks through it. Her mom nearly fainted, and of course it got her grounded, but then what else was new.
            As for clothes, don’t even get her started. It was usually cargo pants, and a t-shirt, or sweatshirt on those rare cold days. And the more people complained, or rolled their eyes at her, the more dingy were the clothes she sought out.
            Shelby had been her BFF since they were kids, and they shared everything together. Movies, gossip, sleepovers, secrets, clothes… you name it, and they shared it. And that’s what they were doing today.
            Paige steadied her hand, as she emptied the rest of the rum into the cup. Shelby kept watch, while going on about her favorite topic - boys. And at the moment, that boy happened to be Paige’s older brother.
            “I’m just saying, pretend for a minute Brad’s not your brother,” Shelby went on.
            “We’re not having this conversation, Shelbs,” Paige replied, trying not to spill the rum.
            “But he’s cute.”
            “He’s my brother,” Paige grumbled back, capping the cup. “No hitting on him.” She took a deep swig through the straw, shuddering at the taste.
            “That good?” Shelby smiled.
            Paige nodded, passing her the cup.
            “So who do you think is cute?” Shelby asked, ready to get the conversation back on track.
            “Oh, come on,” nagged Shelby. “If you had to pick someone.”
            “Okay, fine. Liam Hemsworth.”
            “Someone you could actually meet,” Shelby clarified.
            “Then we’re back to nobody,” Paige grinned, taking back the cup.
            “You, Paige O’Connor, are going to make such a pretty little spinster,” Shelby teased.
            “I’m sixteen, Shelbs,” Paige laughed. “I don’t think they let you become a spinster till you’re at least like sixty.”
            Shelby just shook her head. “Better start practicing those knitting skills, girl.”
            Paige had to laugh. She loved Shelby to death, but man that girl could get annoying at times.
            “Okay, new topic,” Paige jumped in. “What would you rather have during a zombie apocalypse? A gun, or a cross bow?” The topic of zombie apocalypse planning was always a favorite with the two girls.
            Several rows down, a group of five girls glanced back at Paige and Shelby. Paige caught them staring. The girls turned back to each other, giggling in that way where they want you to know they’re giggling.
            “Hands down, a gun,” Shelby replied, ignoring the girls.
            “So you want every zombie in the area to hear you?”
            “I wanna make sure they’re dead. Plus, it doesn’t take forever to reload,” Shelby responded.
            “But a cross bow just looks so bad ass,” Paige countered, catching the group of girls staring again. This was getting old.
            “You just wanna look like Jennifer Lawrence,” Shelby continued.
            “I wanna look like Norman Reedus,” Paige grinned back.
            Then that group of mean girls was at it again. Glancing back, then turning to each other in annoying giggles. Paige had had it.
            “You got a problem?” Paige hollered at them.
            Cindy Willis was the tallest of the girls. Captain of the girl’s volleyball team, and at least seven inches taller than Paige, she shot Paige a glare. “Yeah. You, O’Connor,” Cindy snorted.
            “Screw you!” Paige shot back.
            “What was that?” Cindy was on her feet, stalking up the steps towards Paige and Shelby. Cindy’s minions followed behind.
            Paige rose to her feet, followed by Shelby. Both stood their ground. “You heard me,” Paige responded.
            “Yeah,” said Cindy, “I heard you trying to be tough in front of your girlfriend here.”
            “Fuck off,” Paige snorted.
            Cindy shoved Paige in the chest, knocking her back on the row behind her. Paige hopped to her feet, and lunged at the tall volleyball player, tackling her onto the bench, and pummeling her. Cindy squirmed and struggled beneath the blows, but Paige was just too quick.
            “Break it up!” came a shout from the field. It was an all too familiar voice for Paige. She backed off of Cindy, and looked towards the field. The school’s principal was storming their way. Several of the girls grumbled beneath their breaths.
            “What the hell’s going on?” demanded the principal as he reached the girls.
            “This freak attacked me for no reason!” Said Cindy, wiping a trickle of blood from beneath her nose.
            “She did not! You pushed her first,” Shelby jumped in.
            “Is that alcohol on your breath?” asked the principal. Shelby and Paige both closed their mouths, looking more than a bit suspicious.
            “Check their cup,” said Cindy’s minion, Stacy.
            “You five, get back to your seats,” said the principal, turning to Cindy and her friends. “I’ll see you all on Monday.” The mean girls grumbled beneath their breaths, but knew better than to argue. They stomped back to their seats. The principal turned back to Paige and Shelby.
            “What the hell’s your problem, O’Connor,” he asked, more out of disappointment than anger.
            Paige just shrugged. “Nothing.”
            But he wasn’t going to let it rest. “No, I’m serious,” he continued. “How is it that your brother’s an honor student, class president, and actually has a future. And here you are, this… mess?”
            “Maybe I just don’t feel like sucking up to people,” she replied.
            “Or maybe you’re too scared to even try. Afraid you might not cut it.” He knew he was hitting a nerve with this one, but he also knew he had to go there.
            “Go to hell!” she shot back.
            “You’re coming with me. Both of you,” he demanded, motioning to Shelby as well.
            “I’m not going anywhere,” Paige replied, folding her arms across her chest.
            “Oh, yes you are,” he insisted. “We’re calling your parents.”
            “They’re not home.”
            “Then I’ll call their cells.”
            That’s when a loud groan filled the air. Like an enormous metal object bending under stress. The principal and girls barely had time to look around, when suddenly the ground shook with a violent jolt. The principal stumbled, trying to maintain his balance. Down on the soccer field everyone had stopped, waiting to see if more jolts would follow.
            “What was that?” asked Shelby, a startled look on her face.
            “Look!” Paige shouted, pointing to a transformer mounted to a nearby telephone pole. Sparks showered from the side of it down onto the dirt track circling the field.
            Then a static charge filled the air, causing their skin to tingle. The girls brushed their hands down their arms.
            Suddenly something large and black dropped to the bleachers beside them. The girls leaped back with a startled yelp. A dead raven lay there, its feathers sizzling with smoke.
            “Look out!” the principal shouted, seconds before another bird crashed down. This one also sizzled with smoke. Then came another, and another. They were raining down on the bleachers and field.
            Then came a loud crack! The transformer broke off the telephone pole, and crashed down onto the dirt track in a shower of sparks.
            “Keith! Get everyone in the locker room!” shouted the principal, as he hurried down the bleachers towards the sidelines.
            Paige turned to Shelby. “Let’s go!” she said, hopping to her feet. The girls raced down the bleachers, and over to their bikes parked along the track.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin

First, thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan/Tor Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  I must say it had intrigued me from the synopsis, but when I picked it up I had kind of gotten worried it wouldn't live up to the summary.  However I'm pleased to say that it was a good read, one that was hard to put down to do anything else, even though I did have to go back to work after lunch as well as go to sleep at night.  I was a little worried I might be even somewhat bored with the history, but at the end the author talks about how the history in it is actually a bit of a change from what really happened.  Not that I would have known what was different was changed, as that is not a period in history that I've paid a lot of attention to in the past. 

The main character is Miss Georgianna Fitzwilliam.  She has just been shipped away by her parents for setting their barn on fire. And this isn't the first time that she's done something so unladylike. The year is 1814 and girls are expected to find a husband.  But Georgianna has never been a normal girl.  In fact she doesn't care if she finds a man. She is more curious about science things and what she's read.  Well her parents are embarrassed by her and so they ship her off to this school.  The school that when they take a tour there are girls on a stretching rack, and in a coffin that is filled with nails. And there is blood leaking out of the bottom of the coffin.  Georgianna tries to run when her parents go to sign the papers, and gets lost.  But in getting lost she stumbles upon two men discussing the very thing she was doing that caused her to set the barn on fire.  They are saying how they need her invisible ink, to send messages to save lives.  So now she is really confused.  And when she finds her way back to where Miss Stranje, her parents have left.  And she finds that things may not be as they seem.  She meets the other girls when she is taken to her room.  They are all wondering about her and going through her luggage as they try to figure her out.  All of them have their own "talents" or reasons that they were dropped off at the school. 

She will learn that her invisible ink is needed to try to help keep Napoleon from coming back and taking over again.  And she will have to work with Lord Wyatt to help England.  Of course he is the kind of guy that irks her, while also making her smile.  Working together they will grow to know each other and see what can be done for their country.  We will also learn about the other girls a little, and see the love interest that will probably be the big part of the next book focused on her.  There will be a kidnapping, a race to get the ink formula in the right hands, and a very daring rescue attempt. 

If you're a fan of books with girls who know what they want to do and are good at, and use their talents to do good, you will enjoy this.  The villains are also interesting, and have definitely real reasons for being the way they are.  I'm excited to read on and see what else these girls will do, as well as what will happen with this alternate history, if they will be able to get things back onto the track as they are today.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Glittering Shadows (Dark Metropolis #2) by Jaclyn Dolamore

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  I've chosen another sequel this week.  This time to a book I got an ARC of right about this time of the year last year.  Unfortunately I haven't received the sequel as an ARC.  I'm very excited to read on and see what happens next. And while I love this cover,  I feel like it doesn't quite match the feel of the first one in the series, Dark Metropolis.  But enough about that, here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers—and excuses—inside the Chancellery.

Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer from Irminau. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost—forever.

This action-packed sequel to Dark Metropolis weaves political intrigue, haunting magic, and heartbreaking romance into an unforgettable narrative. Dolamore's lyrical writing and masterfully crafted plot deliver a powerful conclusion.

Sounds like there will definitely be some resolving of the questions left at the end of the first one, especially since this is the conclusion to the book.

So, what are you waiting for this week?  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Blitz: Ghosts of July by Megan Applegate (Giveaway)

ghosts of july Ghosts of July by Megan Applegate
 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24264766-ghosts-of-july  
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-July-Shamans-Divide-Book-ebook/dp/B00NRY3076  
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghosts-of-july-megan-applegate/1120419947?ean=2940046197563

For fans of the Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a new series about ancient evils that go bump in the night and a girl who isn’t afraid to put them in their place. July’s a recent transplant to the sleepy, creepy little town of Shades, Wyoming and finds herself on a crash course to the paranormal when the newly dead begin wandering the streets in search of answers…and only she can see them. Only Renn Hollingsworth, half-Shoshone and all trouble, believes her and holds what may be the key to saving not only themselves, but Shades as well. It’s an ancient society that guards the length of the Continental Divide, the source of all creation in the myths of many Native American tribes. An old-boys’ club that doesn’t welcome outsiders, July’s about to show them what a little girl from Denver can do when it comes to protecting the ones she loves.    
megan applegate 

About the Author: Megan Applegate is the Amazon Bestselling Author of the Shamans of the Divides series—a young adult paranormal series steeped in high-stakes danger and Native American mythology with a healthy dose of romance. She’s a collector of cheap wine, cheap thrills and art supplies she’ll probably never have time to use. A purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, Megan was also a professional MMA fighter a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Other jobs have included overnight DJ and soccer mom for one entire season. These days, Megan writes full time and gives writing workshops around the country, hoping to spread the word to girls of all ages that writing holds the key to a bolder, brighter future. She’s married to her own daring Prince Charming and they have a legion of adorable minions and one derpy rescue dog who’s biggest fear in the world is the vacuum cleaner.
To sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at www.meganapplegatebooks.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/shamansofthedivide
Twitter: https://twitter.com/meapplegate
Web site: http://meganapplegatebooks.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8591572.Megan_Applegate?from_search=true


ghosts of july giveaway 1
ghosts of july giveaway 2