Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review + Giveaway: The Fireproof Girl by Loretta Lost



Title: The Fireproof Girl
Author: Loretta Lost
Series: (Sophie Shields, #1)
Pages:
Publication date: September 29th 2016
Source: Xpresso Book Tours/Author
                                                                   
Genres: Mystery, New Adult, Romance

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Add it: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo
Abandoned at birth, Sophie Shields grew up in abusive foster homes, escaping into books and computers for solace. When the constant danger became too much to bear, she ran away, thinking she could survive on her hacking skills alone.
That was until she met Cole Hunter. He became the only person she could trust: her family, her friend, her partner-in-crime. Her everything. After struggling through college and starting their lives together, she believed that nothing could ever tear them apart.
Until it did.
And she’ll do everything in her power to fix what is broken. If it isn’t too late…
———
When Cole was nine years old, he watched his whole family burn to death in a house fire. Fueled by years of obsession, he started one of the world’s leading architectural firms, with a mission to design homes resistant to fire, earthquakes, floods, and every threat known to man.
Sophie was his secret weapon. She was his purpose. Since they were teenagers, he was determined to build a better life for her, so she could finally be safe, and they could be together.
But disaster has always followed Cole around, ripping away everything he loves. This time, if he isn’t careful…
His enemies might just take him down.

Wow. Prepare yourself for a roller-coaster of emotions when you pick up this fabulous book. I could not put it down and you won't want to either.

The alternating timelines and narrators make a smooth transition from story to story filling you in on the sorted past of Sophie and Cole. There is so much to unravel from their bond and love for each other that I don't think I would ever be satisfied with the amount of stories about them.

The raw emotional power of the writing and the intricate descriptions of the minute details bring this story to life in a beautifully tragic way. I found myself lost in the writing and feeling the same things that Sophie experiences on her quest for answers.

I highly recommend you grab this amazing story, a hot cup of coffee, and a comfy chair that you won't want to get up from. You'll want to finish this in one sitting.

USA Today bestselling author Loretta Lost writes to experience all the love and excitement that can often be lacking from real life. She finds it therapeutic to explore her issues through the eyes of a different person. She hopes to have a family someday, but until then her characters will do nicely.
Follow @loretta.lost on Instagram for cute photos of her cat reading books. He refuses to cooperate unless they are really good books.
You can also subscribe to Loretta’s mailing list for updates: www.eepurl.com/O0WTL
You will receive a FREE book as a gift for signing up!


XBTBanner1











FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Strayed by Kristalyn A. Vetovich



Today KristaLyn A. Vetovich and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for STRAYED, her new Paranormal which releases September 2018! Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $10 Amazon GC!

On to the reveal!



Title: STRAYED
Author: KristaLyn A. Vetovich
Pub. Date: September 2018
Publisher: Glass House Press
Formats: eBook
Pages: 85
Find it: Goodreads

In the struggle between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.

Which is why, for every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend humans from demonic beings like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and sacrifice.

Having just returned from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the world.

But when she’s paired with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also endanger the entire world.

As his partner, Anaya is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and take the world down with her?

Exclusive Excerpt!

CHAPTER ONE
Well, it happened again. I died.

The bloodied sand of the colosseum shivers out of focus as my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration. Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white noise and quiet.

They came for me at dawn. I can still hear my mother’s sobs. I was only twelve.

I blink the memories away just as a man bends and pulls into view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,” he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs of stress.

And it comes back to me like the snap of fingers. An Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to death.

Suddenly I wonder how he sees me. Do I have blue eyes now? In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real, vision an illusion.

And this Advokat must be new, I realize a moment later. If he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works. He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.

Because I’ve had his job before, mastered it long ago.

I skim him, searching the endless trove of memories trying to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.
Definitely new. Which means he’ll play the interview by the book. I groan.

The Advokat reaches out as if to comfort me, like my groan was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes and flatten my gaze at him instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death, but honestly, I’m fine. So I died— so what? There are many things worse than death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me through the transition.

Also, I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have important business to attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the only thing standing in my way.

I tap my foot and glance around for someone—anyone who might recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary formality.

“Everything will make sense soon.” The Advokat’s voice echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us space.

And do we ever have it. As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is my true home.

Just the way I remember it.

The Advokat leans into my line of sight. “Do you know your name?”

My smile drops.

In life, my name was Agnes. In this life, anyway.

There have been so many lives, so many names, but between them all, just one feels like home.
When it comes, my voice sounds like a lost, cherished memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.

The Advokat smiles and nods. He doesn’t take any notes or write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind, ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.

And today I’ll go one step further in the process of becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.

The Advocat, who is becoming more annoying by the moment, interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where you are?”

Where I am? Well it’s a much better place than where I was…

I was in Rome, in the fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There was darkness, then a burst of light—

And now I’m home, where none of that matters anymore. I’m free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I stay.

“This is Lemayle,” I say quietly. “The afterlife. The real world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.

He rocks back and grins. “Wonderful!” Then his face stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time, now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him. If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important question of the interview.

I used to have his job, so I know what comes next. My answers from here on out will decide my final destination.

“All right.” He clears his throat. He doesn’t have to. It’s the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.

I was martyred, and not all martyrs come back home the way they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and defect to the one who seeks to depose him.

And me? How do I feel about the suffering I was put through? Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.

“Do the names El Olam and Narn mean anything to you?”

Good and evil. That’s what they mean. Free will and slavery. But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they justified? No soul chooses evil.

They simply choose what they believe is right.

I hide my laugh with a cough at the tension in the Advokat’s hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.

I level my gaze at him, eyes wide open to appear just a little less threatening.

“Yes. I know them.”

He nods, more rigidly this time, and rubs the back of his neck as he braces for my response to his final question.

“And … your allegiance?”

I stare at him for a long moment, watching the anxiety build behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher power—just in case I came back tainted.

Just in case I’ve decided I hate the way the world works … and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.

“Oh calm down,” I finally chide him. This has gone on long enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”

His whole body wilts as the tension releases. Had I said Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.

He’d have had to immediately summon one of Lemayle’s second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them, anyway.

“Well that is a relief.” The Advokat’s hand slides from the back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a palpitating heart.

And I grin, even though I shouldn’t. But what’s the fun in seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?

“We need as many Firns as we can get,” he admits, “events accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that. 
Accelerating events is much more my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,” he finishes.
I couldn’t agree more. And that’s where I come in—where all the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans would walk right into their own slavery.

But El Olam won’t allow it.

So neither will I. I’m so close now. Just one step left, and if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector, then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I won’t stop until I see it happen.

Meanwhile, the Advokat extends his hand to me. “Best of luck to you. I hope you make the cut.”
I glance at his hand and back up to him. So he really hasn’t heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.

Well, if he hasn’t heard of me yet, he will soon enough.

“Thanks.” With a smirk, I grip his hand and shake it firmly enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”


About KristaLyn:

KristaLyn is the internationally published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year. KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her stories with motivational themes and characters from all walks of life.

KristaLyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their corgi, Jack.

Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, KristaLyn graduated a year early from Susquehanna University in 2011. She has visited twenty different countries on goodwill trips, once representing the US as a student ambassador with People To People Student Ambassadors. After college, KristaLyn dabbled as an amusement park performer, a Walt Disney World Cast Member, a Project Coordinator for Group Mission Trips’ Week Of Hope, and a life and wellness coach. She has always had a deep passion for travel, helping people, and spreading the importance of positivity and self-worth through fiction writing.







Giveaway Details:
2 lucky winners will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and STRAYED swag, US Only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book Review: Love Hack by Kimberly Dean

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Love Hack
Author: Kimberly Dean
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 180
Release Date: March 8, 2018
Source: PUYB/Author
-------------------------------------------
Genre: Romantic Suspense

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy steamy fun and a bit of suspense

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Security analyst Spencer Weiler is excited when he lands a job at Afire Industries. The responsibility is daunting, but nowhere near as exhilarating as working with Josie Johnson, the pretty program manager in charge. Spencer lusts after her, but knows that she only sees him as a work friend. He needs to make himself over if he’s going to have a shot with her.

Josie is all too aware of the cute computer geek watching over her. He was tempting before, but with his newfound muscles and sexy haircut, he’s suddenly an irresistible stud. She makes the first move and is stunned to learn that her hot IT guy is just as studious in the sack. Their affair turns hot and heavy, but Josie has broken her rule about dating coworkers once before. It didn’t end well. When her ex returns and posts scandalous pictures of her on the Internet, it’s not Spencer’s muscles that she needs. She needs a hacker.

I had some high expectations for Love Hack since I married a guy who works in IT and I've been around "geeks" my whole life. While the story was interesting, the characters fell a little flat for me. I wanted a bit more from Spencer and the instant stud scenario didn't really help anything.

Josie is a pretty typical girl navigating a high stress work situation while trying to deal with an ex boyfriend who invaded her privacy in the worst way. Her bubbly personality comes through as her attraction to the geek guy grows.

Spencer was a little far fetched for me. He was described as going from a lanky geek guy to a hot stud with abs after a few weeks of working out. He discusses "studying" for sex and is apparently really great at it. There was even a comment about "leveling up" while in the act. It was all a little.... meh for me. Geeks are normal people, with normal hang ups. Inserting some slang terms and stereotypes doesn't really create a great character for me. I wanted more from him.

That being said, I did enjoy this little novel. It's fun and flirty and of course a bit suspenseful too. An interesting take on the perks of knowing IT security and how that can be advantageous when dealing with people posting things about you on the internet that may not be flattering.

I would recommend this to readers who enjoy a good romance book with a bit of suspense.

When taking the Myers-Briggs personality test in high school, Kimberly Dean was rated as an INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). This result sent her into a panic, because there were no career paths recommended for the personality type. Fortunately, it turned out to be well suited to a writing career. Since receiving that dismal outlook, Kimberly has become an award-winning author of romance and erotica. She enjoys the freedom and creativity allowed in writing romance, especially with all the interesting cross-genres that have been exploding on the scene.  When not writing, she enjoys movies, sports, traveling, music, and sunshine.

Find her: WEBSITE | TWITTER



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review: That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women by Kimothy Joy


Media Type: Print Book
Title: That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women
Author: Kimothy Joy
Publisher: Harper Wave
Pages: Hardcover; 128
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Source: Publisher / TLC Book Tours
---------------------------------------------------
Genre: Non-Fiction

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers looking for a simple way to share influential women with their young counterparts, or anyone looking for a fun, inspirational read!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
An artist and activist committed to the empowerment of women and girls has created a gorgeous illustrated volume, blending watercolor and short biography to showcase the contributions of more than fifty influential female leaders whose words and actions are a passionate call to arms.

Distraught by the results of the 2016 election and the realization that the nation was not ready for its first female president, Kimothy Joy found herself poring over the biographies of brave women throughout history—those who persisted in the face of daunting circumstances—to learn from their experiences.

Turning to art, Joy channeled her feelings to the canvas, bringing these strong women to life in bold watercolor portraits surrounded by inspirational hand-lettered quotes. With each creation, Joy found catharsis and hope. She shared her watercolors with her online community and encouraged everyone to raise their own voices and recharge for the battles ahead.

Now, in this beautiful gift book, Joy has gathered her stunning illustrations and quotes and paired them with surprising, illuminating biographies of her subjects to inspire women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. That’s What She Said honors a powerful and diverse group of over fifty women—from Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Virginia Woolf to Sojourner Truth, Malala Yousafzai, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—role models whose words and insights remind us that we must never give up the fight for a more just and equitable society.

Reclaiming the derogatory cultural barb "that’s what she said," this stunning book celebrates strong female leadership throughout history and empowers current and future generations to find their voices and inspire change in their communities.

I fear that my review is going to be wholly inadequate, and not do this book the justice that it deserves. That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women is a gorgeous, timely book that should be in the house of every person out there! The use of script and artwork create pages that are a joy to look at, and the quotes themselves just add to the complete package that is this book. You'll find wise words from women of all creeds, all colors, and all backgrounds. It's a beautiful reminder that we're all connected and, of course, that women should feel empowered!


Honestly, I feel a bit badly that it took me this long to get to this review. I actually devoured this whole book, eyes roving over each perfect page, the day I received it in the mail. It, quite fittingly, came at a time when I was feeling like my anxiety was going to overwhelm me again. There was something comforting in looking at the wise words of some many amazing women, and it grounded me again. It's amazing what a simple book like this can do. Each and every page is a delight, and that's truthfully the highest praise I can give this book. The whole thing is a work of art.

So if you haven't already added this book to your TBR, please do. Otherwise simply go buy a copy! You won't regret it. I settled on labeling this as a YA book, but in truth it's a book that spans all age groups. On those days when you need a little reminder of the goodness and the wisdom in the world, Kimothy Joy's book will be there for you.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Slump.



Hi everyone!

No, we're not gone. Promise. Busy, yes? Slightly overwhelmed? Definitely. Not gone though. Here trying to keep things flowing as much as possible. Every April and May is a whirlwind of weekends spent celebrating birthdays, baby showers, and Mother's Day. I've barely had time to breathe on the weekends and, honestly, when I do I don't feel like blogging. It's been a rough go lately in terms of review writing.

So here's a quick look at what we do already have scheduled for this month:

Tina will be reviewing Accidental Tryst, Love Hack, Ray Vs. The Meaning of Life and Fireproof Girl!

There's also a Dimension Drift Blitz that she's a part of, which I'm sure will have a giveaway attached.

Jessica will be catching up with a review of That's What She Said! tomorrow, and give away my copy. Plus follow up with a review of House of Rougeuax which I'm reading now and it is EXCELLENT.

I'll also be doing a cover reveal for Strayed on Thursday! (Hint: It's awesome.)

Since this is the first weekend in a long time that we don't have a million things planned, I'm going to try to draft some filler posts so that we get back to posting here more frequently! I definitely want quality over quantity, but I know that radio silence sucks too.

So *hugs*. As always, thanks for sticking with us. We love you all bunches.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
  * Series: Isle of Blood and Stone #1
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Source: FFBC Tours / Publisher
------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like descriptive, slow-burn historical fiction.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."

Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?"

"Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

Isle of Blood and Stone is the first book in a new duology by Makiia Lucifer, and the first Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. As a genre that I don't normally dip into, it should be noted that I'm still getting my bearings in books like this. It makes my reading of them take a little more effort than most other things, but I'm enjoying the ride. Which is why the fact that Isle of Blood and Stone is heavier on the history than on the fiction/fantasy side of things made this a bit of a rough read for me. I'm on the fence on this one, and I'll explain why below.

The story drops the reader directly into a day in the life of one Lord Antoni, with little to no explanation of why. It took me a minute to figure out that he was an important mapmaker, and that he was somehow linked to the royal family. Once I'd finally settled in a bit, and the big reveal of the chapter happened, the book suddenly fast forwarded eighteen years. So, to say that I started this book with no footing is pretty accurate. It took me another four or five chapters after that to really settle in, and feel like I had my bearings enough to enjoy the story.

What's great about this book though is that the characters are actually really intriguing, once you get to know them. Reyna, who was studying to be a mapmaker herself and unknowingly sets things in motion, made me pay attention. Once the discovery of the maps that may have been made by Lord Antoni, after his supposed death, came to light I was fully on board. By the time that Elias came fully into the picture, and the quest began in earnest, I was more than ready to follow along to the end.

Unfortunately, this is a really slow building story. I mentioned above that it's heavy on the historical portion of things, and that's definitely an accurate assessment. Action is scarce, and descriptions abound. The reader is taken back to the times of court politics and intrigue, but not in the way that I'm used to in the fantasy books I generally read. It's very heavily described, rather than shown. While the mystery aspect of this was good, it took so long for things to establish, and then longer still for things to pick up, that I found myself wanting to skim forward. I was invested enough to want to know how things turned out though, so that's a good sign.

Did I mention that I was on the fence? On the one hand, the ending ties back into the beginning and brings the characters and the plot full circle. All of my questions were finally answered, and I felt pretty satisfied. On the other hand, it took so long for me to actually settle myself into my surroundings at the beginning that it made things feel really slow. I see the potential here, and I liked the book enough to want to see what happens next. I only hope that the next portion of this story has a bit more action.

Follow the tour!




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts


Meet Me in the Strange
Author: Leander Watts
Publication date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
From the author of Beautiful City of the Dead and Stonecutter comes a dreamy, atmospheric coming of age story that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Davi tries to help a new friend, Anna Z, escape a cruel and controlling brother, and the teens end up running away to follow the tour of their rock idol, the otherworldly Django Conn. The story is set in a weird and wonderful retro-futuristic city of glam-girls and glister-boys and a strange phenomenon that Anna Z calls the “Alien Drift.”




The Prinz Lorenz arena was much bigger than the Maxima. The ceiling was a vast dome, supported by iron arches. There were bleacher seats on three sides, facing the stage. And some kids were heading that way. We went with the real fans, down to the main floor. Slowly, still hand in hand, we wormed our way closer to the stage. Everyone on the floor wanted to be up front too, of course. Some worked their way toward the middle of the stage, where Django would appear. Others pushed toward the stacks of speakers, which stood like huge black monoliths on the right and left.

Music came from the PA system, something by Corelli I think, but amped-up and drum-driven. The sound wasn’t good, all that concrete above us making a boomy echo. I tried to say something to Anna Z. She just shrugged and shook her head. I pulled her closer, and yelled into her ear, “I’m happy!” Just a couple of words. She kissed me on the cheek and yelled back something that might’ve had the word “love” in it. But it got swept away in a hysterical shout from the crowd.

The stage lights started flashing squid-scarlet and reptile-green. The big Django logo above the stage came to life, a comet burning through the night sky. A blast of synthetic horns buried the Corelli. Adrenaline seethed in my veins and in the crowd too. I could feel it coming in sizzling waves. The logo started to spin, slow at first. Crimson became fiery brightness. Green flared into a blue-hot metallic sheen. An announcer was yelling about Django. The crowd was yelling a thousand times louder, sweeping him away. I think I heard the words “last time ever.” A girl next to me was already crying, hyped to hysteria. I looked at Anna Z and got a shimmering glimpse of the light on her glasses. And then the band was on stage, blasting into “That Alien Feel.”




An avid musician, Leander Watts has played and sung for decades in a wide variety of bands. His interests range from garage rock to skronky jazz, from baroque organ to Appalachian gospel. The first rock concert he attended was David Bowie on the Diamond Dogs tour in 1974. He teaches writing and literature at the State University of New York at Geneseo (his alma mater). Leander Watts is the author of Stonecutter, Wild Ride to Heaven, Ten Thousand Charms, and Beautiful City of the Dead.
Website / Goodreads



XBTBanner1


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Shadow of the Moon by Kwen D. Griffeth


Shadow of the Moon
Kwen D. Griffeth
Publication date: September 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal
The grisly murder of a diplomat’s son in Central Park draw NYPD Detective Gerald Meeker and FBI Special Agent Andee Trakes into a twisted and confusing investigation. Within hours, the evidence indicates the man was executed in the manner saved for werewolves. Andee Trakes is assigned to liaison with a history professor, who is an expert on folklore and legends.
Professor Alwyn Lloyd, handsome, articulate and successful, not only agrees the method of death was indeed an execution, he claims to be a werewolf. Andee is torn between the desire to date the man and the suspicion to arrest him.
From the initial killing in the park, a bloody spree is ignited that soon has Andee and Lloyd forced to work together to protect themselves and family members.
Shadow of the Moon explores the world of werewolves and paints a picture of what is good about them, as well as bad. The story explains what is beautiful as well as ugly about the wolf.
The story is fast paced and full of interesting characters and several twists and turns to keep both the fantasy as well as the suspense and romance enthusiasts entertained.
Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon

Special Agent Adaline “Andee” Trakes sat on her heels and, despite the abundance of moveable lights on adjustable stands, used her mini flashlight to illuminate the hole in the back of the victim’s head. The man lay on his stomach, his face hidden by the ankle-length grass in what’s called the Sheep Meadow. She spoke loud in order to be heard over the rhythmic coughing of a portable generator. The noise and exhaust fumes came from somewhere in the darkness surrounding the island of light in the middle of Central Park. At 3:30 on a Thursday morning, the park was deserted except for the crime scene team and a few homeless people. A heavy mist, not quite rain, had settled over the park, and it left a damp sheen over every surface. Trakes silently wished she had brought a hat as her hair, now wet, allowed a trickle of water to sneak down the back of her neck. She flexed her shoulders in an effort to sop up the wetness with her shirt.

The agent raked her fingertips across the victim’s shoulder blades and felt the moisture on his coat. She estimated the man had been there for some time.  She twisted to look over her shoulder and up into the beefy face of NYPD Homicide Detective Gerald Meeker, who hunched behind her with his hands resting on his knees. She controlled the smile that crept across her face. In the shadows he resembled a gargoyle.

“Lab boys told me the time of death is around midnight, give or take,” he said. “Due to the changing weather, they’re fudging some, but they wanted to give us something to work with. The level of rigor and body temp says he’s been dead a couple of hours, maybe little more.”


Winner of Readers’ Favorite Silver Award for Historical Fiction/Western, Kwen knew he wanted to be a writer when he was fourteen years old. He felt the urge when he finished Earnest Hemingway’s masterpiece For Whom The Bell Tolls. The story touched him in a way no other book ever had. It transported a kid born and raised on a farm and ranch in Idaho to the mountains of Spain. It took him back in time forty years to witness the Spanish Civil War. Kwen knew he wanted to share that wonder with other people.
John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you make other plans.” While Kwen lived a full and varied life, his dream of writing remained in the back of his mind.
Finally, in 2012, he wrote a novella named Dear Emma. He self-published through Amazon and asked people to read it. “The best way to see if I can write is to let people check it out,” he said. Like it, they did. Currently, Dear Emma enjoys a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.
Often asked what genre he writes, Kwen replies he writes stories about people and uses the genre that best fits the story. “I think of the genre, or setting as another character that interacts to help tell the story,” he says.
His most often received and constant comment is how real his characters seem. Upon the completion of his historical fiction trilogy Sam and Laura books, a reader telephoned Kwen and directed him to write more stories about the couple. When asked why the reader was so adamant about more stories, he replied he “wasn’t ready to tell Sam and Laura good bye yet.”
Kwen considers that comment one of his highest compliments.
Kwen’s books are getting some attention from the literary community. The Law of Moses, the Silver Award winner from Readers’ Favorite, and The Tenth Nail both received the Gold Award from Literary Titan Book Review. The Gold Award is given to books “found to be perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms words into beautifully written novels.” Many of Kwen’s books have received the Gold Award from Literary Titan. In addition, The Law of Moses was awarded five 5 Star Reviews from the reviewers of Readers’ Favorite.
Kwen’s books are available in several formats; e-Book, paperback, and audio. He invites you to check his writings out. Who knows? He might become your next favorite author.



XBTBanner1


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails