Friday, January 19, 2018

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman: Review & Excerpt

On tour with Prism Book Tours




Boneseeker

(The Boneseeker Chronicles #1)by Brynn Chapman

Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 213 pages
January 10th 2018 by The Wild Rose Press, Inc


Aspiring scientist Arabella Holmes doesn't fit the role of a 1900s lady. Her father, Sherlock, landed her a position at the Mütter Museum to pursue her dream of becoming a purveyor of abnormal science, or what her father calls a "Boneseeker."


Henry Watson’s two-fold mission at the Mütter Museum is to join their team of forensic anthropologists in unearthing unusual antiquities and to watch over Arabella. If only he could get her to speak to him, instead of hurling knives in his general direction. Assigned to a most secret expedition to investigate a mysterious skeletal hand discovered in upstate New York, Arabella and Henry are soon caught in a scientific debate, and the search for the truth may have deadly consequences for those involved.


Are the bones from a Neanderthal? Or are they living proof of fallen angels known as Nephilim?


Watson and Holmes must put aside their differences, trust their instincts, and rely on one another to survive to uncover the truth.


*This is a new version of a previously published edition



Praise for BONESEEKER


Winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest

"Creative, meticulously researched, and terrific fun!"  ~Grace Burrowes, NY Times Best Selling Author

"The characters, the setting, the descriptions and the mysteries and relationships all work together seamlessly to create a truly wonderful story that I completely adored." ~Best Books Ever Blog

"The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!" ~Christy's Cozy Corners Blog





My Review

5 out of 5 stars

Bonseeker was a surprisingly delightful romp through turn-of-the-century Philidelphia. Our guides on this most excellent of sinister adventures was none other than the children of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Arabella and Henry. Both principle characters lead the narrative with equal energy and tenacity despite their circumstances. While romance was a very alluring element to this story, it doesn't overshadow so much as enhance this proposed sequel to Conan-Doyle's prolific works.


Chapman has clearly done her research, not only into the science and views of the time, but dares to take a deeper look into the psychology behind beloved and new characters. Fantastic world building and characterization, coupled with strong storytelling chops from Chapman provide an excellent read.


Bonseeker is so layered and complex but very accessible to old and new fans of historical fiction. An absolute must-read for fans of strong corset-wearing heroines and the requisite danger of the best Holmes mystery.




Excerpt


Henry’s cottage
Henry

I glance out the window at the dimming light, fading to pink streaks on the horizon.

It’s almost dark; we’re almost late for the fund-raising ball.

I stride to my chest of drawers and whip out a tie.

“Father, I thought we agreed I’d meet Priscilla, not pledge my immediate, undying love on first sight.” I rip the black tie off and begin again, eyeing him in the mirror.

One dark eyebrow arches. “Really, Henry? Pray tell, what is not to like? She is utterly gorgeous and well-connected to the museum. She is the perfect prospect.”

“You court her, then.” I wrestle with my tie, roughly slipping the knot up to my neck. I sigh, and spin to face him. “What’re you up to, then? The truth?”

Father’s chest and eyebrows rise simultaneously as he sucks in a breath and then exhales dramatically between his gritted teeth. “You are…”

“Difficult?”

“Yes, but not relevant to this part of the conversation.”

“Brilliant?” I interject.

He half-smiles, as he does when I infuriate him. “Yes, also not relevant. Might I find my own word?”

I turn back to the mirror. “I’m growing old waiting for it.”

“Unsettled. Unfocused. A rogue. Have too many interests—”

“I’m nothing like James, you mean.”

His eyes flare at the mention of my older brother. “I said nothing of the sort, Henry.”

“But you were thinking it.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“And so marrying would cure me of my many shortcomings?” I turn back to him and give my lapels a rough tug to busy my hands. So I don’t poke him in the chest.

“The right woman, yes.”

“And Priscilla is that woman?”

He bends, picking up his hat and cane. “You’ve only just met her, give the girl a bloody chance. Henry—” He stops dead, revelation lighting his features. “You’ve already someone in mind, don’t you?”

I will my hands to stay still.

His gaze immediately snaps down. “Your hands are limp as dead fish. That is as much a giveaway as if they were fidgeting.”

“You are impossible.” I give up and permit my fingers free rein and crack my knuckles.

“Likewise.” Father’s lips purse as he considers. Comprehension and horror dawn as his mouth twitches beneath the mustache. He jams his eyes shut, shaking his head once. “Not Arabella? I thought we were past all that.”

They fly open, waiting.

I shrug, and slide my hands over my already slicked hair. I walk toward the door.

Escape. Flee. Freedom.

“For the love of all that’s holy, Henry. That’s almost like being married to Holmes.” He gives a little shudder.

“I daresay you’re one to talk. For years, you chose a life with Holmes over matrimony, so that argument is full of holes. Do as I say, not as I do?”

Father’s face softens, and he lifts a placating hand. “I love Arabella too, you know that. But, be reasonable. She doesn’t fit into polite society.”

“Neither does Holmes and he’s almost legendary now.”

“She is unruly, headstrong, and will never, ever listen.”

“I know. She fascinates me.”

He thrusts both his hands palm-up into the air, then quickly covers his mouth in a prayer pose.

I capitalize on his frustration to make my escape, walking swiftly to the door. “We are going to be late for the gathering. Don’t want to keep your pet, Priscilla, waiting. Really, Father, Violet might be jealous at your obvious attachment.”

“Love is too young to know what conscience is…”

It’s a game from my childhood, started by my mother. A perpetual contest between James and me—the most Shakespearean quotes meant the most sweets. His stare burns a hole in my back. I whirl, and glare back and grind my teeth. I always won. “Let every eye negotiate for itself, and trust no agent.”

Father’s mouth pops open. I shut the door before he closes it.


About the Author



Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love--not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger's syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society's downtrodden. In fiction, she's a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. Her ancestry tree claims she's a descendant of the House of Stuart.




Other Books by the Author


The Requiem Red


Tour Schedule



Be sure to watch for Promo videos from Brynn’s PR guy—pictured below. Here’s a sample of the insanity on Facebook.




Tour Giveaway



GIVEAWAY #1: To enter to win a BONESEEKER audiobook and the pictured charm necklace ("And though she be but little, she is fierce." - Shakespeare), send a copy of your kindle purchase of BONESEEKER to publicity.brynnchapman@gmail.com. US only.

GIVEAWAY #2: To enter to win a BONESEEKER ebook and a $10 Amazon Gift Card, enter via the Rafflecopter below. Open internationally. Ends January 24th.


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The Soul Weaver by Heidi Catherine Book Review & Tour


The Soulweaver
Heidi Catherine

Publication date: January 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance



She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again.

Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by.

Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew. 

With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own. 

Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world.





My Review

4 of 5 stars


Books like The Soulweaver are rare gems that not only lead you on a deeper journey through love and heartache, but make you ask questions. I've come across maybe one or two other novels that lean on the metaphysical, all of them with elements of romance. The Soulweaver takes our concept of romance and soul mates and turnes it on its head. The emotions I went through as I read each character's journey was at times frustrating. I wasn't sure what to make of the direction Catherine chose to take the mythology behind her version of life after death. Until I came to the final part and conclusion of the story.


Shen's story was moving and heartrending, because of the choices his soul had made before. Like all great stories, the ending proved only the beginning to something more.


If you are expecting an easy, happy romance novel, you may want to try a different book. But if you're willing to be challenged, The Soulweaver will take you on a journey through love in its many hopes and forms. Not for the fainthearted, but a love letter to all the old souls out there.






Author Bio


Heidi’s debut novel, The Soulweaver, won Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award and will be released by Crooked Cat Books on 19 Jan 2018.
Not being able to decide if she prefers living in Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, Heidi shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, remaining thankful she only has one husband.


Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter




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Friday, January 5, 2018

Favorite Reads & Reviews of 2017

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had fun with friends and family over the holiday! We enjoyed the family and friends side of it, the sudden plunge into below freezing weather? Not so much lol.


Last year my family went through a crazy year of accidents and health issues, but thankfully everyone's happy and healthy now. I learned a lot about writing - namely - don't try to write five books at one time. (obviously) I also came back to the book blogging world. My way of giving back to the community I love best <3


As we dive into 2018 I wanted to share my favorite reads and reviews from this past year. Would love to hear yours in the comments below! 



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's rare for a sequel to surpass its predecessor but Intrinsic was simply fantastic. While I loved the characters and story of Phobic, I connected more with Everly. Also I'm a die hard fan of anything with fantastical libraries, old Russia, the 20's and time travel, which Intrinsic has in spades. Lovely paranormal romance for any age.






The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5)The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Each novella weaves together effortlessly so many elements from the series. A wonderful, fun, devastating prequel to Throne of Glass.








Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laini Taylor never disappoints. Strange the Dreamer is written with dreamy prose and fantastical word pictures. A book to sink your sweet tooth into, sumptuous and seductive. Her prose is perhaps the best in her genre and something to aspire to. Some compare her work to striding the right side of the line of “purple prose." It’s rare in this modern “minimalist” age to get away with writing the way Taylor does. People don’t seem to have the patience for it anymore. Thankfully, Taylor is unafraid to let her prose be both beautiful and inventive in hand. She’s a bit of a modern L.M. Montgomery (Author of Anne of Green Gables + Emily of New Moon). So it’s a breath of fresh air to read Taylor’s work. In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it. As strangely terribly lovely as you'd expect from Laini Taylor. Prepare to devour quickly and readers beware, lest the book swallow your soul into its dreamscape.


An Enchantment of RavensAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So breathtakingly beautiful in prose and form, An Enchantment of Ravens will spirit you away and hold you as captive as the fair ones. A unique faerie tale of the same vein as Robin McKinley, I could not put it down until I had devoured every last delectable word.







Halfway Drowned (Halfway Witchy Book 4)Halfway Drowned by Terry Maggert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Typically, I don't read books out of sequence, but the premise for Halfway Drowned intrigued me. I've always been a fan of Viking myth/lore. Throw in some heavy paranormal elements and a formerly vampire Viking? Count me in.
I loved the relationships between the supernaturally special citizens of the town, in particular the main character and her witchy responsibility to protect them. A lifelong fan of magical realism and fantastical elements in a modern setting, I enjoyed how Maggert wove both past and present myths into a cohesive plot. I had no trouble following the story as the characters were always engaging and kept the adventure and mystery alive. Without having read the previous books, I often sensed I was missing the story behind the story. But this in no way inhibited my enjoyment of Terry Maggert's compelling world.
A perfect cocktail blend of fun for fans of Practical Magic and True Blood.



The Duality of Nature (The Monster of Selkirk #1)The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton really surprised me. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the premise, besides wicked elves and what sounded like a historical Scottish setting. What I found was a kick butt heroine who not only knows how to fight (thanks to her Knighted cousin), but a cast of colorful characters in a very grounded fantastical world. Selkirk is actually an island, largely forested, where the humans have kept elves at bay for hundreds of years. Ever since the elves went feral and lost their ability to speak intelligibly, humans have treated them like animals. They even host frequent clearings, destroying the elves homes and killing without mercy. So is it any wonder the elves might decide to fight back?

Our main heroine, Tallis is somewhat unconventional from a small age. Her eyes are a little too big, her hair a little wild, but everyone seems willing to accept her as their own. Her village is poor but this doesn't stop Tallis from soaking in as much she can through books in the nearby abbey, learning how to fight from her cousin Donovan, and causing mischief whenever she gets the chance. From the beginning we can already see hints of what Tallis may become, but this doesn't detract in any way from each reveal.

It's been a while since I've read a story that takes the time to give you backstory like this. As we grow up with Tallis, we are drawn deeper and deeper into Clayton's imagination until we feel every injustice she witnesses just as keenly. Besides Donovan, Tallis draws a makeshift family of her own through her pick-pocket friend Rosslyn and monk-in-training/inventor, Tomas. Everything is set up for a hero's journey and we know we will see these characters see Tallis through to the inevitable end.

I can't say more without giving away spoilers for the book, but suffice to say, this was a privilege to read. Not only am I anxious to read the sequel, but I would highly recommend this series for fans of Shannara Chronicles and The Wheel of Time Series.


View all my reviews

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Blogging Beauty ~ Breast Cancer & Motherhood

beauty

noun  beau·ty \ˈbyü-tē\

:  the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness

“a woman of great physical beauty exploring the natural beauty of the island”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever …” — John Keats
 —Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Back in the early fall, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. About a week after she was scheduled for a double mastectomy. It happened so fast. It was so unexpected we didn't really have time to process it. All I could think about was how much pain she was about to be in, and what could I do to help?


A little backstory: My grandma was a WW2 Army Nurse. She served in England and France and looked after patients from the Battle of the Bulge and other conflicts. She worked as an RN until her retirement and was simultaneously the most compassionate and toughest woman I've ever known. She was my hero growing up and also happened to be my birthday mate. When she passed away in 2013, she left a hole behind in my heart. But I resolved to live my life with no regrets like she had, to live life to the fullest and be strong for my family.


My mom also worked as a nurse until she had children. While she may not have had the official title, she nursed our family with love and that same strength my grandma passed along to us.


So when Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last month, I didn't break down into tears and think about myself. I thought of her and also I thought of what grandma would do if she was still here with us. I had to look after Mom the same way Grandma would have.


She went into surgery and my siblings and dad went through a difficult emotional journey. Instead of crying, or worrying, I just told everyone like I had said to Mom before she went under, "She's going to be okay. I have a good feeling about this."


The doctor came in and talked with me after the surgery and said the size of her tumors should have indicated the worst. But the cancer hadn't spread yet. They caught it in time and he claimed it was a miracle because the other women he operated on earlier that day weren't so lucky. While my family cried I just felt relief and thought about what was coming next.


When we went to see her post-op I did my best to make her comfy. I rubbed her feet, put balm on her chapped lips and just sat with her, holding her hand. It was that moment as I was sitting there while she dozed that it the relief fully hit me. I finally teared up-just a little-because I was suddenly struck with how beautiful she was. Her stitching and drain tubes looked terrible, but she was beautiful in her weakest moment and I was proud to be her daughter. I was so thankful to have her.


We have had a long road to recovery since then, but I still tell her she is strong, stronger than she knows. And she truly is, smiling through her pain and pushing herself to do things she used to do before. A little more each day, one step at a time. She hasn't seen her oncologist yet, so we don't know what the future exactly entails. Whatever comes up next we'll face together. I hope Grandma is up there watching us and I hope she is proud of us.


Cancer is such an ugly, cruel thing. I've had friends who lost their loved ones because of it. We all have. Sometimes cancer comes and snatches them away from us too quickly. When faced with death, there suddenly isn't enough time. No matter how much it's all too soon. It's not often the case we can triumph over it. It truly is a miracle when they do.


If you are going through a similar situation I would love to hear your stories in the comments below. Don't give up hope and have faith. You are not alone. We are all in this together and that is truly beautiful.




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blogging Beauty ~ On Post Pregnancy Body Image

beauty

noun  beau·ty \ˈbyü-tē\

:  the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness

“a woman of great physical beauty exploring the natural beauty of the island”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever …” — John Keats 

—Merriam-Webster Dictionary




Almost two years ago now, I gave birth to my first child. It was a long painful road just getting to the point I could carry a baby full term. It was surreal and a dream come true I had somewhat abandoned in my mid-twenties. But once it happened and I held him in my arms for the first time I felt the most overwhelming powerful love and knew I would life for and die for this tiny little person.


I struggled with pregnancy and trying to feel that same excitement everyone else seemed to have for me. Mostly because we had lost two within the same year. I guess when you get used to disappointment and that sort of pain, it's hard to let yourself feel excited again. We planned on inducing right before Christmas because I didn't want to go into labor on Christmas. Things seemed to go well, but then he couldn't come out. He was positioned the wrong way. Doc tried turning him a few times, but finally like ten hours later things got serious. They decided on an emergency Cesarean which was pretty overwhelming even doped on drugs. But I went for it, whatever would be best for our kid. Surgery went great without a cinch. When our baby came and was not just alive but perfectly healthy, precious thing, I was ready to face the challenge ahead.


A couple months down the road, my wicked looking scar only ached a little, like when my infant planted an accidental kick down there. But for the most part things were better. I was nursing, writing and loving on my kid. After the initial haze of postpartum cleared and I started to find moments to be "myself" again, I realized I didn't like myself. I was happy being a mother and all. I tried to be a good wife too. But I was heavier than I used to be, plus the loose skin above my scar seemed like it would never go away. My self-esteem dipped a bit and I came to a breaking point near the end of last spring. I wasn't going to keep eating away my image issues or wallow in self pity. I wanted to do something about it.


So, I dragged out my old workout notes from the one-and-only workout class I've attended, plus my old college ballet notes. We live out in the boonies, in a hundred year old farmhouse in the middle of the woods, no joke. So I didn't have a fancy gym or even a neighborhood street/sidewalk to get out and run on. I couldn't very well hop up and down too much on our antique floors, not unless I wanted to fall through them. What was a girl to do?


My husband put forward the obvious, "Drag out my workout mat and do it in the drive, then."


I gaped at him a moment, "What, like in the dirt?" I'll admit it was a prissy moment, coming from a reformed tomboy to boot. But that was my initial reaction. How was I supposed to get on the ground here in the land of freakishly large ants and hybrid spiders, not to mention chiggers and ticks?


He, too, gave me a long wide-eyed stare. "Um, yeah, in the dirt. In the army we worked out outside all the time."


I was doubtful at first, so I dragged him outside with me. "Help me out this first week at least so I can get a routine going." And, sweet man, he did.


Starting out was rough. I got sweaty and dirty and the ground was not only uneven but rocky. The humidity was laying on thicker every day the temperature grew higher with that lovely East Texas summer. But I found the more I did it, the harder I pushed myself, the better I felt about myself. I didn't show results right away. Only metahumans do that, or people who can afford 24 hour fitness trainers and dietitians maybe. Since I was still nursing (and I won't go into the particulars, your welcome) running wasn't so easy at first. But again, I did it until I could do two half-mile laps without stopping. Gradually, with the aid of nursing plus better eating choices, my belly tightened up again. I kept losing weight until I weighed ten pounds less than I had started pre-pregnancy. My confidence grew with it, but also my pride.


Pride, in the right dosages and circumstances can be a very good thing. I was raised in a culture where pride is frowned upon. "Pride comes before the fall" as it's written. In many cases, I've found that to be true. Nobody likes a boastful person. But I am proud to say I put in the hard work and every time my husband tells me I look even more beautiful than when we married, I feel that warmth well up inside again.




Finding beauty isn't as important to me as it was before my kid. While I still crave the money to buy lovelier things, my little boy is first priority for me. Most of the beauty I find now through him, every time he holds my face in his little hands and gives me sloppy kisses. Every time he says "Momma, I wan' hog," and squeezes me tight, I feel that same intangible beauty.


I turned twenty-nine this year. It was a surreal day, for many other legit reasons. But mostly because I could look back at my twenties with fresh perspective. The things I worried over as a tween and teen don't matter so much anymore. I find that if you take pride in yourself, if you let yourself believe you are beautiful, you will find that you are. Because it really is true, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it comes in many shapes and forms. I still have my vain insecure moments, but love tends to wipe those worries away.


To those of you who struggle with post-baby body image, I wish I could give you real hugs. Instead we'll have to settle for virtual hugs ;) And I hope you take some encouragement from my story. I hope you know you are strong and you can do it with enough determination. Don't ever give up. Above all, know you already are beautiful, whether you're plus size or think you're too thin. You're loved and love is beauty.


Last time I shared my personal journey to finding the beauty in myself and spreading it to others. As I recently shared with a fellow author, it's difficult being raw and honest outside my books. I'm not a fan of over-sharing on Social Media. It's been a peeve of mine ever since Facebook turned into "spew every detail of my life at you" version of Myspace. However there is a big difference I realize, between oversharing the mundane details of my not-quite-exciting life vs. being transparent. So that's partly what Blogging Beauty is about for me. I want to use this feature to not only share my favorite lovely things, but also be honest about beauty related issues I see in the world. I hope you are inspired and encouraged. Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.




Thursday, December 14, 2017

Beauty and Beastly by Melanie Karsak Blitz with Xpresso Book Tours



Beauty and Beastly: Steampunk Beauty and the Beast


by Melanie Karsak

(Steampunk Fairy Tales)

Publication date: December 6th 2017

Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Steampunk


In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery.
When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn’t hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf.
But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.
Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly-deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.
See how NY Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak puts a steampunk spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.



EXCERPT


“Hello? Is anyone there?”

The sky overhead darkened, and in the distance, I heard the rumble of thunder.

Oh no. No, no, no.

I looked up at the sky. My head swam.

I needed to find shelter.

I turned to go back to the path, but when I did so, I didn’t see the path, nor the ring of mushrooms, nor anything else vaguely familiar.

Once more, the sky rumbled.

I felt the first of the raindrops on my head, but luckily, the thick leaves overhead sheltered me somewhat. As the storm rolled in, the forest grew dark.

I cast a glance around.

It didn’t matter which direction I went. Eventually I would find the shore once more.

Turning to head out, however, I spotted a bluish colored light in the distance. A house? A fire? A lantern? A…something.

“Hello?”

No reply.

Turning, I followed the bluish glow. I headed deeper into the forest, chasing after the light, but soon found its source. It was a mushroom. The glowing mushroom had been sitting on a rise. It had played a trick on my mind. Then I spotted another glowing fungus, then another, and another, all of which held an incandescent blue light. They grew in a straight line. Without a better recourse, and feeling half suspicious of the supernatural, I followed the glow of the blue mushrooms as the rain pattered overhead, the sky rumbling. I followed the blue lights deep into the ancient woods, aware that I was passing other sacred rings. I walked past a mound of earth, a barrow, the final resting place of some ancient person—and some said a passageway to the Otherworld—as I hurried deeper into the woods.

Surely I would find the shoreline soon.

Lightning cracked overhead.

Then, on the horizon, I saw golden light. A fire? I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the shape through the trees, but my head ached miserably. Leaning heavily against my staff, I moved toward the golden colored light.

The forest thinned. The glowing mushrooms led me onward toward the glow of the yellow light in the distance. Praying to find someone—anyone—I followed along, well aware that my quick exertion had my stomach rolling. Black spots wriggled before my eyes. The line of mushrooms ended. To my shock, I’d blundered to the center of the island and found myself standing outside the gates of a castle.

I gazed up at the enormous structure. It towered over me, a black silhouette on the horizon. Light glowed through one of the windows in the upper floors. It was raining in earnest now. Not waiting a moment longer, I pushed the gate. It swung open with a creak.
It was pouring.

I leaned my walking staff against a metal bench in the perfectly manicured garden, then grabbing my skirts, I ran for the castle door. As I rushed, lightning flashed. It created an odd illusion on the bushes and flowers around me. For a moment, they all seemed to glimmer like metal under the bright light.
My temples pounded. My stomach rolled. I raced through the heavy rain to the castle door.

Hoping whoever was at home would forgive me for letting myself in, I pushed open the castle door and crept inside.

The place was eerily silent.

“Hello?” I called. “Is anyone here?”

Breathing deeply and quickly, I realized the moment I stopped that I was not well.

I cast a glance toward a roaring fireplace nearby. A chair was seated before the hearth, a glass of something dark sitting beside the seat. I heard a strange clicking sound.

“Hello?” I called again, but this time, my head began to spin. I put my hands on my hips, trying to catch my breath. I closed my eyes. Everything was twirling.

Footsteps approached.

“I-I’m sorry I let myself in but…” I began then opened my eyes.

Standing before me was a massive automaton, its silver eyes staring coldly at me.

A nauseous feeling swept over me, and my head swam. Black spots danced before my eyes.

“Pardon me. I think I’m about to—”

Faint.

But the word was lost.

And so was I.






Author Bio


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Burnt Earth Series, The Celtic Blood Series and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.






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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

12 Days Of Fantasy For Christmas: Grand Finale!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

It's the Grand Finale for
12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas

We hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into books from these 12 fantasy authors! If you missed any of the stops, you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below. And don't forget to enter the awesome Fire Tablet and ebook giveaway, if you haven't already...


November 30th: Launch

Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

He was real.

And he was gorgeous.

I straightened and walked toward him, but the closer I got, the more I realized that he wasn’t quite the guy from my dreams. I shook my head, unable to make sense of it. He had the same tall, muscular build. The same copper skin and dark eyes. The braid running down his back was exactly the same as the one I’d seen in my dreams.

But his face was slightly different. Younger with higher cheekbones.

Those eyes, though.



December 2nd: W.R. Gingell - Excerpt

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ebook SALE for 99¢ through December 13th

Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Poly was obliged to dissuade her hair from clasping Luck to her side before he could disentangle his arms, by which time she was feeling hot and bothered and misused.

“Don’t look at me like that,” said Luck, his eyes very green. “I don’t particularly like being co-joined to you, either.”

Poly, who hadn’t thought she was looking in any specific way, blushed.

Taking unfair advantage of her confusion, he added: “I thought princesses were meant to take lessons in charm and deportment.”



December 3rd: Nikki Jefford - Guest Post

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Partial Guest Post (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Wolf Hollow – A Holiday Playlist

Civilization might have fallen, but that doesn’t mean the shifters in Wolf Hollow don’t know how to celebrate! Usually it’s all about full moons and claiming ceremonies. While there isn’t electricity, they have their drums for music making and dancing.

Here’s a playlist of their favorite holiday tunes to beat out on the drums...



December 4th: K. D. Jones - Excerpt

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ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME

Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

A shadow stepped forward; a soft orange glow lit up a handsomely chiseled face with hard eyes.

Her brows steepened as she gazed upon the huntsman. “What are you doing here?”

His eyes were hungry. And very black.

“You are beautiful, even in rags,” he said, taking a step forward and eyeing her up and down. “What a waste.”



December 5th: M. L. LeGette - Excerpt

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Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Dawn was steadily creeping over the rooftops of the houses as they walked. Toad glanced at her. She was scrawny and her yellow-blonde hair was long and braided, wispy, brittle ends poking out at odd places. She was as plain as a broom with her second-hand clothes. He had been surprised to discover her to be so drab, what with her owning a Spit-Fire (they were common, but still costly) and being such a fluent reader. Then again, Wilson could read so that didn’t say much.



December 6th: Belle Malory - Excerpt

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Find The Twelfth Keeper Series on Amazon

Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Maybe their souls really were here together. Somehow, some way—but that couldn’t be possible. She shook herself, trying to shake away the feeling. Believing this was all real would only drive her further down the road to insanity. She was already having trouble getting a grip on reality as it was. She needed to stay grounded. Rational. Outside of here, she had a life to live. Believing in the reality of this Phoenix would make her want to give all that up.

“What are you thinking about?” Phoenix joined her by the edge of the pool and looked up at the skylights.

Telling him the truth would only ruin the moment. “I’m thinking about how we should spend our time here.”



December 7th: Melissa McShane - Guest Post

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Partial Guest Post (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

The Making of Willow North

Willow North, the main character of Pretender to the Crown, was never meant to be anything but a throwaway line. Background: my series The Crown of Tremontane was written out of order, with the third book, Agent of the Crown, written first. In that book, the main character, a princess and a spy, mentions Willow in passing, saying she always felt sorry for her because it was such a frivolous name. That was it—Willow was just a bud on the North family tree, a passing joke to give my spy princess depth.



December 8th: Sara C. Roethle - Excerpt

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Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Noticing my distraction, Allison took a break from her monologue to turn and follow my gaze. “Who’s the hunk?”

“That creep has been staring over here since we sat down,” I grumbled.

Allison smirked. “He's hot, maybe you should go teach him some manners.”

I raised an eyebrow at her comment. “I will never understand your taste in men. He looks like an overly-primped jerk.”

Allison raised both of her eyebrows in surprise. “My Xoe, you sure are feeling judgy today. That's supposed to be my job.” She rose from her seat and looked over at Creepy Guy.

Realizing her intent, I reached for her arm and tried to pull her back down. “No way Al,” I chided. “Don't even think about it.”



December 9th: R.K. Ryals - Excerpt

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Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

"Light a mage-fire!” the red coated man ordered.

I was screaming now, the sound shrill. The other men looked at their captain with wide eyes.

“And risk the trees?” a young soldier asked. The older man's gaze moved to the private, and the boy shifted uncomfortably.

“The trees will not burn. Light a fire.” The captain's voice was low and commanding with a threatening undercurrent no one seemed willing to test. 

A hand was over my mouth now, and I looked up wildly only to find myself peering into Jarvis' youthful face. 

“Quiet, miss. They'll only burn you as well,” the boy whispered against my ear. Even at thirteen, the boy was the same height as me, and he was strong. I fought him desperately, but he didn't loosen his hold. “You've always been nice to me, miss. Please,” he begged.



December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood - Trailer & Excerpt

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The Books You Read


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Partial Excerpt (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

The beast’s life had been forfeit the hour the Prince locked her in the dungeon.

She often dreamed of glittering gems beneath a canopy of starlight and soft silks against satin skin. A perfect wolf moon gleamed in the glass skylight above so silvery beams blended together with the hazy glow of a dozen candelabrum. Joy filled her every step as they danced together, her hand in his, smile lines about his perfect silver eyes. He was like the moonlight and she filled with all the warmth of the sun. His words blurred together in her memory, full of promise and hope until her light died. It was the last moment of her life she could remember and though she could not explain how she knew this, the moment her dreams died.

All dreams die in the damp dim of the dungeon of Castle Bitterhelm.



December 11th: Melissa Wright - Excerpt & Chimera Generator

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Partial Excerpt/Guest Post (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

What Sort of Monster Are You?

QUEEN OF IRON AND BLOOD, book two in the Shattered Realms series, takes place in a world of monsters. Check out the exclusive excerpt below, and use the Chimera Generator to create your own!

A figure waited on the ledge above him, silent, dark wings still. Hunter could feel her though, the ancient energy recharged like the rest of his world. “I cannot leave them sleeping,” he told her. “The risk is too great.” If Malkyn killed Hunter, if he were not able to return, these new Iron Bound would never be awakened. It would be an eternal wasting away, a thousand-year massacre.



December 12th: Morgan Wylie - Guest Post

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Partial Guest Post (read the entirety here or on one of the participating blogs):

Character Interview

Hello! Thank you so much for having me today!! I wanted to share some things that you may find interesting about my main character Kaeleigh from The Age of Alandria series.
*Ahem, throat clearing*
ChelExcuse me, Morgan, but I think if anyone is going to talk about Kaeleigh it should be me! ;) *Chel bounces behind me. 
Me: Well, hi Chel, I didn’t know you would be here, but I should’ve known better. Where’s Finn?
*Chel nods to the back of the room* 
*Finn stands at the back of the room, arms crossed, and scowling* 
Chel: Oh Finn, relax. I’m not going to share anything Kaeleigh wouldn’t want people to know.
*Finn Slinks over from where he was skulking in the corner with a cheesy grin* 
Finn: I know, that’s why Chel and I will take it from here.



Tour Giveaway


1 winner will win a FIRE HD 8 TABLET from Amazon along with the following ebooks:
- TRITON'S CURSE by Sarra Cannon
- MASQUE by W.R. Gingell
- AURORA SKY: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Nikki Jefford
- A WHITE SO RED by K.D. Jones
- THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE by M.L. LeGette
- THE TWELFTH KEEPER by Belle Malory
- THE SMOKE-SCENTED GIRL by Melissa McShane
- THE XOE MEYERS TRILOGY by Sara C. Roethle
- TEMPEST by R.K. Ryals
- CRAVING BEAUTY be Jennifer Silverwood
- THE DESCENDANTS SERIES by Melissa Wright
- REAWAKENED by Morgan Wylie

Open to US residents or those who are eligible for the Fire Tablet in their area (those who are not, can receive cash value through PayPal)


Ends December 17th