Today’s stop is for Kathryn Celeste’s The Golden Series. We will have info about the book and author, and a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :)
Today’s stop is for Kathryn Celeste’s The Golden Series. We will have info about the book and author, and a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :)
Today’s stop is for Kate Larkindale’s An Unstill Life. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :)
When your whole world is falling apart, what are the chances you’ll find love in the most unexpected of places? Livvie feels like she’s losing everything: her two best friends have abandoned her for their boyfriends, her mother continues to ignore her, while her sister, Jules, is sick again and getting worse by the day. Add in the request Jules has made of her and Livvie feels like she’s losing her mind, too. Her only escape is in the art room, where she discovers not only a refuge from her life, but also a kindred soul in Bianca, the school “freak”. Livvie’s always felt invisible, at school and at home, but with Bianca, she finally feels like someone sees the real Livvie. As the relationship deepens and it comes time to take the romance public, will Livvie be able to take that step? Livvie’s about to find out if she has what it takes to make the tough decisions and stand up for herself—for the first time in her life.
Bianca pulled up in front of my house, which sat in darkness, not even the porch light on to guide me. I must be late. Mom always switched off the light at midnight, whether we were home or not, letting us know she was aware we’d missed curfew. I’d hear about it tomorrow. Or maybe not.
“Thanks for the ride,” I said. “And … thanks. Again. Like I said, you’re always rescuing me.”
“Maybe I think you’re worth saving.” Bianca wasn’t looking at me. Her eyes were turned to the open window. The words sounded simple, but they weren’t. They lay across the seat between us, pulsing in shades of pink and red.
“Thanks?” The word felt awkward in my mouth. Would she still think I was worth saving if she knew I was thinking of ways to kill my sister? I shoved the thought away as I climbed out of the car. “See you in school.”
“Yeah. See you.” Bianca turned, her eyes glittering under the streetlights. “Hey, Livvie?”
“Yeah?” I ducked my head back through the door.
“I really like your painting.”
I jerked back in surprise, knocking the back of my head on the door. “My painting? You mean the still life?”
She nodded. “Yeah. It’s really good. It’s like everyone else is painting the surface of the things, but you’re painting what’s underneath. The real apple. The real flowers. It’s got—” She stopped, searching around as if she’d find the word she was looking for hanging in the air, ripe for plucking. “Well, it sounds totally corny, but it’s got soul.”
My face grew warm. “Thanks,” I mumbled. “But yours is way better.”
She waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. “No. Mine’s clever. It’s thought out. But there’s no passion in it. Yours has that.”
I giggled. “Passion? For a bunch of fruit and flowers? I hope not.”
She smiled, too, the flicker of movement so small I could have missed it. “Well, yeah. It’s not the most exciting subject. But if you can inject that much life into something so stupid, just think what you could do with something you really care about. Like that thing you did with the song. That’s something special.”
I sank back into the seat, the springs wheezing beneath me. My ears blazed, and I knew my cheeks were just as red. No one had ever said anything like that to me before. Even Mrs. DeWinter dismissed my music pictures as irrelevant swirls of color, while Mom considered all painting and drawing to be a frivolous waste of time.
“Thanks.” I stammered again.
“No, thank you.” Bianca lit another cigarette, the fiery end punching a hole in the darkness.
“What for?” Smoke burned my eyes, making them tear. At least, I thought it was the smoke. I couldn’t remember the last time someone complimented me or made me feel special. I brushed at a wet spot on my cheek.
She took a long drag and turned to her open window before exhaling into the night. “I’ve always been the best at art. I never had to work hard to be the best either. Now I have something to work for.”
“Oh.” I admired the ease with which she admitted to being the best. “Okay.”
Silence filled the car, but it was a warm, comforting silence.
“I have to go.” The reluctance in my voice surprised me, and I realized I didn’t want to leave. And not just because Bianca’s words flattered me. I recognized the truth in them. “I have a curfew. And I’m late.”
“Sure. Wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.” She turned the key and let the engine struggle to life again.
I watched the way the light gleamed off her shiny red lips. Surprised, I realized I wanted to lean over and kiss them, wanted to see if she tasted of the raspberries I always tasted while in her presence. I scrambled out of the car, putting distance between us as fast as I could. My heart raced in my chest.
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine. Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others. She has written fourteen contemporary YA novels, a few of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel and ghostwriting an autobiography.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
Today’s stop is for Stacey Keith’s Dream On. We will have info about the books and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :)
Deep in the heart of Texas is a small town where secret wishes have a funny way of coming true . . .
With a nine-year-old daughter, an overdue light bill, and a job slinging burgers while zooming around on roller skates, Cassidy Roby is not living the glamorous life. But Cuervo, Texas, has its charms: quiet streets, loving family, and the down-home familiarity of knowing which of your neighbors are mean as snakes. With Cassidy’s reputation, she knows what will happen if she steps a foot out of line. But how can she help it now that Mason Hannigan’s back in town? As Cuervo’s high school quarterback ten years ago, Mason was all rock-hard abs and yes-ma’am manners. Now that he’s living the glitz and glory of the NFL, he’s all that plus a couple million bucks. The desire blazing between them is too hot to hide. Cassidy has some experience getting her heart broken by the hometown hero—and having the whole world watch her try to pick up the pieces. Will adding fame, fortune, and paparazzi be a playbook for disaster—or lead to the biggest adventure of her life?
“Damn,” Mason’s friend and linebacker, Jasper, said after a low whistle. “That is one sweet little hometown honey.” In the back seat, Mason’s two other teammates leaned forward expectantly. “Where?” Temple demanded to know. “Sit your bitch ass down,” Brian, his seatmate, told him. “I can’t see.” “I told you Cuervo was the bomb,” Mason said, but then as the honey drew closer—on skates, no less— his hands tightened around the steering wheel. It was Cassidy Roby. Mason blinked. Refocused. He’d forgotten how much his type she was. He’d forgotten … well, a lot of things. She hadn’t changed one bit. Same glossy ponytail, all sun-streaked and blonde. Same perfect little body. The skates made her taller, but he knew that without them, she barely reached his shoulder. Why her type had always appealed to him, he didn’t exactly know, but petite and wholesome did a whole different number on him than the women he found himself dating these days—beautiful, yes. Models, yes. But they were all cheekbones and sharp shoulders. Give them a salad and they’d push away the croutons. Yet these were the women who traveled in his circle now. After a while, it seemed they all wore the same hungry look, and it wasn’t a look that warmed a man’s blood.
Stacey Keith is the award-winning author of the Dreams Come True series (Kensington Books), DREAM ON, SWEET DREAMS and DREAM LOVER, in addition to A WEDDING ON BLUEBIRD WAY with New York Times Bestseller authors Janet Dailey, Lori Wilde and the talented Allyson Charles. Twice a Golden Heart finalist, Stacey has won a Maggie, two Silver Quills, a Jasmine, a Heart of the Rockies, and over fifteen other first-place finishes in Romance Writers of America contests. An avid writer of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and short stories, Stacey doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, which are crammed into all corners of the house. She now lives in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. The two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla genovese without burning down the kitchen and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.
Today’s stop is for Amanda Meuwissen’s Lovesick Gods. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
Heroes aren’t meant to act like their villains— or fall in love with them. The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant. It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression. Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother. Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him. Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.
The sound of the bar door caught Mal’s attention. It was late for the lunch rush, so a new patron was curious. Craning his ears, he realized he recognized the approaching gait, the particular pattern of breathing. He gave credit to his element for his ability to observe his surroundings without a single ripple of unease to disturb his calm, but when the person breached the corner of the booth and slid in across from him, Mal couldn’t place why he should know the man so well. He made a point of knowing most of the cops in the city who might give him trouble, so he recognized the clean-shaven face and sunset colored hair. The man was one of two detectives who’d run the Elemental Task Force when it formed after Thanatos’s arrival, but Mal had never met him. “Detective Grant,” Mal nodded, not bothering to pause in devouring a French fry even as his free hand slid beneath the table and started to frost over in case Grant tried anything foolish. “Quite the dive you got here, Ice Man,” the detective said. Mal sat up straighter. Only one man dared greet him with that nickname, especially with such a familiar voice. “Sparky?” he drawled with a slow grin, letting his powers dwindle as he returned his hand to the table. “My, my, so this is what Zeus looks like under that mask.” After more than half a year sparring on the streets, he thought he knew his nemesis well, but he’d expected someone older. Although, he had a feeling this kid wasn’t quite as young as his boyish looks implied. “Playing vigilante by night, Detective? What is the world coming to?” “It’s Danny,” he said with a shift of his eyes around the mostly empty bar, which admittedly wasn’t the best place to be throwing around words like ‘detective’ or ‘Zeus’, “and I didn’t come here for banter.” Mal downed another fry, more at ease now that he knew his nemesis sat across from him instead of some badge. Zeus made the game so much more fun. He wasn’t hard on the eyes either. “Pity. We’ve gotten so good at our banter. So…” Mal trailed a fresh French fry into his ketchup, “why are you here? Hoping I’d treat you to lunch to make up for that last bank heist?” Danny folded his hands on top of the table, a serious expression filling his lightning-yellow eyes. “I want to make a deal.”
Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been posting content online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the digital marketing company Outsell. She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Today’s stop is for Michael McBride’s Subhuman Unit 51. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
THEY ARE NOT HUMAN. At a research station in Antarctica, five of the world’s top scientists have been brought together to solve one of the greatest mysteries in human history. Their subject, however, is anything but human . . . THEY ARE NOT NATURAL. Deep beneath the ice, the submerged ruins of a lost civilization hold the key to the strange mutations that each scientist has encountered across the globe: A misshapen skull in Russia. The grotesque carvings of a lost race in Peru. The mummified remains of a humanoid monstrosity in Egypt . . . THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY. When a series of sound waves trigger the ancient organisms, a new kind of evolution begins. Latching onto a human host—crossbreeding with human DNA—a long-extinct life form is reborn. Its kind has not walked the earth for thousands of years. Its instincts are fiercer, more savage, than any predator alive. And its prey are the scientists who unleashed it, the humans who spawned it, and the tender living flesh on which it feeds . . . Praise for Michael McBride “A fast-paced and frightening ride. Highly recommended for fans of creature horror and the thrillers of Michael Crichton.”—The Horror Review on PREDATORY INSTINCT “McBride writes with the perfect mixture of suspense and horror that keeps the reader on edge.” —Examiner
1: RICHARDS Queen Maud Land, Antarctica Modern day: January 13—8 months ago
The wind howled and assaulted the command trailer with snow that sounded more like sleet against the steel siding. What little Hollis Richards could see through the frost fractals on the window roiled with flakes that shifted direction with each violent gust. The Cessna ski plane that brought him here from McMurdo Station was somewhere out there beyond the veritable armada of red Kress transport vehicles and Delta heavy haulers, each of them the size of a Winnebago with wheels as tall as a full-grown man. The single-prop plane had barely reached the camp before being overtaken by the storm, which the pilot had tried to use as an excuse not to fly. At least until Richards made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. There was no way that he was going to wait so much as a single minute longer. It had taken four days, operating around the clock, for the hot-water drill to bore through two miles of solid ice to reach a lake roughly the size of the Puget Sound, which had been sealed off from the outside world for an estimated quarter of a million years. They only had another twelve hours before the hole closed on them again, so they didn’t have a second to waste. They needed to evaluate all of the water samples and sediment cores before they lost the ability to replenish them. It wasn’t the cost that made the logistics of the operation so prohibitive. The problem was transporting tens of thousands of gallons of purified water across an entire continent during what passed for summer in Antarctica. They couldn’t just fire antifreeze into the ice cap and risk contaminating the entire site, like the Russians did with Lake Vostok. Richards pulled up a chair beside Dr. Max Friden, who worked his magic on the scanning electron microscope and made a blurry image appear on the monitor between them. The microbiologist tweaked the focus until the magnified sample of the sediment became clear. The contrast appeared in shades of gray and at first reminded Richards of the surface of the moon. “Tell me you see something,” Richards said. His voice positively trembled with excitement. “If there’s anything here, I’ll find it.” The microscope crept slowly across the slide. “Well, well, well. What do we have here?” Friden said. Richards leaned closer to the monitor, but nothing jumped out at him. “Right there.” Friden tapped the screen with his index finger. “Give me a second. Let me see if I can . . . zoom . . . in . . .” The image momentarily blurred before resolving once more. “There.” Richards leaned onto his elbows and stared at what looked like a gob of spit stuck to the bark of a birch tree. “Pretty freaking amazing, right?” Friden said. “What is it?” “That, my friend, is the execution of the bonus clause in my contract.” The microbiologist leaned back and laced his fingers behind his head. “What you’re looking at is a bacterium. A living, breathing microscopic creature. Well, it really isn’t, either. We killed it when we prepared the slide and it’s a single- celled organism, so it can’t really breathe, but you get the gist.” “What kind?” “No one knows exactly how many species of bacteria there are, but our best estimate suggests a minimum of 36,000 . . .” Richards smiled patiently. He might have been the spitting image of his father, from his piercing blue eyes to his thick white hair and goatee, but fortunately that was all he’d inherited from his old man. He could thank his mother—God rest her soul—for his temperament. Friden pushed his glasses higher on his slender nose. The thick lenses magnified his brown eyes. “I don’t know,” the microbiologist said. “I haven’t seen anything quite like it before.” Richards beamed and clapped him on the shoulder. “That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Now find me something I can work with.” Richards’s handheld transceiver crackled. He snatched it from the edge of the desk and already had one arm in his jacket when he spoke into it. “Talk to me.” “We have eyes,” the man on the other end of the connection said. Richards’s heart leapt into his throat, rendering him momentarily speechless. “Don’t go any farther until I get there.” He popped the seal on the door and clattered down the steps into the accumulation. The raging wind battered him sideways. He pulled up his fur-fringed hood, lowered his head, and staggered blindly toward the adjacent big red trailer, which didn’t appear from the blowing snow until it was within arm’s reach. The door opened as he ascended the icy stairs. “You’ve got to see this,” Will Connor said, and practically dragged him into the cabin. The former Navy SEAL was more than his personal assistant. He was his right-hand man, his bodyguard, and, most important, the only person in the world he trusted implicitly. The truth was he was also the closest thing Richards had to a friend. The entire trailer was filled with monitors and electronic components fed by an external gas generator, which made the floor vibrate and provided a constant background thrum. The interior smelled of stale coffee, body odor, and an earthy dampness that brought to mind memories of the root cellar at his childhood home in Kansas, even the most fleeting memories of which required swift and forceful repression. Connor pulled back a chair at the console for Richards, who sat beside a man he’d met only briefly two years ago, when his team of geologists first identified the topographical features suggesting the presence of a large body of water beneath the polar ice cap and he’d only just opened negotiations with the government of Norway for the land lease. Ron Dreger was the lead driller for the team from Advanced Mining Solutions, the company responsible for the feats of engineering that had brought Richards to the bottom of the Earth and the brink of realizing his lifelong dream. The monitor above him featured a circular image of a white tube that darkened to blue at the very end. “What you’re looking at is the view from the fiber-optic camera two miles beneath our feet,” Dreger said. He toggled some keys on his laptop, using only three fingers as he was missing the tips of his ring and pinkie fingers, and the camera advanced toward the bottom. The shaft was already considerably narrower than when the hot-water drill broke through, accelerated by a surprise flume of water that fired upward as a result of the sudden change in pressure, which had inhaled fluid from the surrounding network of subsurface rivers and lakes they were only now discovering. The lead driller turned to face Richards with an enormous grin on his heavily bearded face, like a Viking preparing to pillage. “Are you ready?” Richards stared at the monitor and released a long, slow exhalation. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.” The camera passed through the orifice and into a vast cavernous space, the ring of lights around the lens creating little more than a halo of illumination. The water had receded, leaving behind icicles hanging like stalactites from the vaulted ice dome. There was no way of estimating size or depth. There was only up, down, and the unfathomable darkness in between. “Should I keep going?” Dreger asked. Richards nodded, and the camera slowly approached the surface of the lake, which remained in a liquid state due to a combination of geothermal heat rising from beneath the mantle, insulation from the polar extremes by two vertical miles of ice, and the pressure formed by the marriage of the two. The image became fluid. When the aperture rectified, it revealed cloudy brown-ish water through which whitish blebs and air bubbles shivered toward the surface. A greenish shape took form from the depths, gaining focus as the camera neared. The rocky bed was covered with a layer of slimy sediment, from which tendrils of sludge wavered. It looked like the surface of some distant planet, which was exactly what Richards hoped it was. There were countless theories regarding the origin of life on earth, but the one that truly resonated with him was called lithopanspermia and involved the seeding of the planet by microbes hitchhiking through space on comets and asteroids, whether having survived on debris ejected from a collapsing planet or by the deliberate usage of a meteorite to plant life on a suitable world by some higher intelligence. Fossilized bacteria of extraterrestrial origin were found on a meteorite recovered from this very continent less than twenty years ago, but it wasn’t until living samples were collected from Lake Vostok that Richards realized what he needed to do. Ever since that fateful night sixty years ago, when he’d run into the wheat fields to escape the sound of his father raining blows upon his sobbing mother, he’d known mankind wasn’t alone in the universe. He remembered every detail with complete clarity, for it was that single moment in time that altered the course of his life. He recalled staring up into the sky and begging for God to answer his prayers, to take his mother and him from that horrible place. Only rather than a vision of the Almighty, he saw a triangle formed by three pinpricks of light hovering overhead. He’d initially thought they were part of a constellation he hadn’t seen before until they sped off without a sound and vanished against the distant horizon. He’d been looking for them ever since. “What’s that over there?” Connor asked. “Where?” Dreger said. Connor leaned over Richards’s shoulder and tapped the left side of the screen. The driller typed commands into his laptop, and the camera turned in that direction. “A little higher.” The change in angle was disorienting at first, at least until Richards saw what had caught Connor’s eye. “What in the name of God is that?”
Michael McBride was born in Colorado and still resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. He hates the snow, but loves the Avalanche. He works with medical radiation, yet somehow managed to produce five children, none of whom, miraculously, have tails, third eyes, or other random mutations. He writes fiction that runs the gamut from thriller (Remains) to horror to science fiction (Vector Borne, Snowblind) . . . and loves every minute of it. He is a two-time winner of the DarkFuse Readers' Choice Award.