<>

<>
.

Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ringing in the New Year Blog Hop International

Click HERE to see the list of blogs participating to this hop!

2014 will bring so many books!
These are just some of the books I want!
What about you?
Tell us and fill the Raffle form to win a book at your choice, up to 25$!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Snowed In? So Read Giveaway Hop International

We do not need the snow to read (yes, the grapes are sour - we don't have snow at this moment!). So, enjoy the winter with or without snow, take a cup of tea, coffee or chocolate and read a book! If you want another book, try to win in:

Click HERE to see the list of blogs participating to this hop!

You can choose any book you want, up to 20$

Good Luck!
MYTHICAL BOOKS' Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free OR you want ebooks from Smashwords or Amazon 
The winner will be announced here, on Mythical Books


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review and Giveaway Bitter Snow series by Lauren Sweet

REVIEW

Generally, I’m not a fan of retellings; perhaps because the original stories are too well established in my heart and mind, maybe because over the time I have created a personal image of them that can hardly be changed. But after reading Bitter Snow and Dark Solstice I can say that I’m ready to read every retelling / work of Mrs. Lauren Sweet.

In fact, it’s not very correct to say that Bitter Snow series is a retelling. Yes, it is inspired by the Snow Queen, but it’s taken much further.

It is fresh, exciting, full of feelings and magic. There are no moments to roll your eyes, there is nothing "exaggerated" or out of place. Everything flows as normally as possible, the mysteries are revealed only to be replaced by (other) challenges and love is woven with dark moments. Everything is well thought out, synchronized and managed by the author. Magic and traditions, extraordinary relationship, new or old, are born, change or seem to fall apart, hints and thoughtful or hasty decisions are masterfully handled. Paranormal and human plans are interwoven in a “natural" way and the bridge between worlds is guarded by folklore. Traditions show us what we were and what we are now, tell us what to do, their purpose being greater than entertainment. Failure to respect them can have serious consequences, especially when they were born out of fear and need, for protection. Bitter Snow and Dark Solstice are full of action, traps and dangers.

The characters, good or bad, with their own interests or for the welfare of the community, with some flaws that make them more attractive, fits very well in their roles, are veridical and you feel them in full. Their lines are smart, witty, and they will entertain or indispose you as the case may be, and the author 's style contributes to the quality of the stories. I have to admit that although I like all the characters, my favorite is ... I cannot tell you because I risk to spoil the pleasure of discovering yourselves ... I’ll just mention that he has "eyes to get lost in", he loves sparkle things and always ask for food ... :D.

Interesting is also the way in which the series is organized. It consists of nine short stories, but do not worry, the author promised a short time between them. Volume three is announced for the 5th of January, 2014 and I cannot wait to see the path that courage, determination and love will lead our heroes.

I do not know exactly from when Mrs. Sweet writes, but Bitter Snow series announces her as a writer that will be successful in the world of Fantasy genre!

Description:

Winter demons have invaded the tiny town of Bremerton, and sixteen-year-old Gilly Breslin is the only one who can banish them. The only problem is, she doesn’t know how. 

Digging through the town’s historical archives, she and her friend Niko piece together clues to an ancient ritual to send the demons back to the dark realm they sprang from.

But the Snow Queen has plans of her own. Her power is greatest at the darkest time of the year, and her evil influence is spreading insidiously through the town, leaving Gilly wondering if there’s anyone left who can be trusted.

The demons must be banished by Twelfth Night, or the town will be lost. But to do it, Gilly may have to sacrifice everything that matters to her—including her soul.

 EXCERPTS
“We are the rulers of Midwinter. In the most powerful cold of the winter, in the deepest dark of the year, we hold sway, and all of your hearth fires cannot stand against us. We are the winds that howl down the chimneys and extinguish your candles. We are the northern lights and the hungry wolves; the bitter crack of ice and the killing frost. The raging blizzard and the deep, soft, final sleep of those lost forever in the snow.”


TOUR SCHEDULE

Bitter Snow:

At three minutes to midnight, yells and demon howls erupted right outside my house. Feet stomped on the porch—lots of them—and then there was a thunderous knocking on the door.
Damn. It couldn’t be Kai—he would have slipped off alone to meet me. There was no way he’d bring a bunch of half-drunk boys to my birthday celebration. But that didn’t mean he hadn’t been followed.
They howled again, pounding. Someone whose voice I didn’t recognize yelled, “The Demons of the Winter night are here! Let us in, sinner, that we may feed on your wicked soul!”
Oh, crap. That wasn’t in the script—at least, I’d never heard it before. I suddenly realized they could see the lights on, but there was no food or drink on the porch. Was this what they said when there were no offerings? Or when they found someone home alone—someone who didn’t have the protection of people around them? I suddenly felt scared.
They’re just boys, I told myself. Boys I know. It’s only an old tradition. Nothing to be afraid of.  
But I was glad the curtains were closed and they couldn’t see me. They didn’t know for sure I was here. If I didn’t answer, they’d get bored and go away.
There was more howling, and then I heard them scrabbling at the windows. I suddenly felt exposed—as if they could sense my presence, somehow. As if they could smell me.
They pounded again, and common sense took over. This was stupid. I wasn’t afraid of a bunch of teenage boys. I walked to the door, put my hands on it the way Mr. Kehrer had, and shouted, “We have no outcasts here. The doors of this town are closed to you. You’ve taken our offerings to feed your hunger. Now begone!”
If they could get untraditional, so could I.
I finished the speech and listened. I heard hoarse, guttural laughter, and something scraped across the door, right under my hands. I almost screamed, but choked it back. Heavy footsteps shook the porch, and then there was a crash, as if someone had tripped over one of the planters. I jumped, but for some reason I didn’t want to take my hands off the door. I listened for sounds that they were moving off, but heard nothing.
I stood there, palms against the door, not knowing what to do. There was no way I was opening the door to look out, and going back across the room to the couch would make me feel too exposed. I felt like I was in a horror movie, in the moment of silence when it looked like the zombies were going away—right before they crashed in all the doors and windows at once. I held my breath.
No more stomping came from inside. Instead, there was another knock on the door, right between my hands. And a voice called out.
Kai! He sounded hoarse, but it was definitely his voice, with the ripple of laughter it always had when he was pretending to be serious, and trying to keep a straight face.
“It’s the Demons of the Winter Ni-ight!” he called in a weird singsong. “Open the door, so we can celebrate with feasting!”
Relief shot through me. My knees suddenly felt weak, the way they do when you’ve been really scared and then suddenly you’re not. I grabbed for the doorknob, fumbling a little, still shaky from adrenalin.
“Coming!” I yelled.
And then I did something I never should have done.

I opened the door.


Dark Solstice:

I stood on the snowy walkway, staring in the window. There was a dining table on one side of the room, and on the other Perchta was sitting in a velvet-covered chair, her long blond hair spilling over the back. Kai was standing behind her, brushing her hair, running his hand over the smooth golden fall after each stroke.
Perchta had a folder in her lap—one of the ones Kai used to hold his drawings. She was examining a drawing critically, holding it at various distances and gazing at it. She finally tossed it to the floor.
“Really,” she said, sounding bored. “Is that the best you can do?” I could hear her clearly through the open window.
“I’m working on another one,” Kai said eagerly. “You’ll like it. I just haven’t gotten it quite right yet.”
Perchta caught his hand as it stroked her hair, and ran her fingers down his palm. She still had the glove over her right hand, but the left was bare, and I could see that she had the same long, icicle fingernails she’d had at my house. Not passing as human at the moment, apparently. And Kai didn’t seem weirded out by this at all, which freaked me out even more.
Perchta slowly pressed her icicle nail through the center of Kai’s palm. I had to shove my fist in my mouth to muffle the sound I made. She pulled the nail free and blood welled out. Kai hadn’t flinched or made a sound. Perchta smiled like a cat, and licked the blood. Kai looked dreamy, ecstatic.
Holy God. Was she some kind of vampire?
I didn’t see any fangs, and she wasn’t sucking his blood. Did evil goddesses drink blood?
Or eat body part soup made from screaming bloody hearts?
On cue, Grandfather Winter came in carrying the tray. “Here we are,” he said, with a heavy German accent that made the ‘w’ into a ‘v.’ “Something delicious for you.”
I bit down on my mitten. Don’t eat it! I wanted to scream. At the same time, the smell drifted out the window, and I wanted to dive through it and eat the soup myself.
Kai ran over and unloaded the tray, which Grandfather Winter took back to the kitchen. Then Kai started setting up places at the table like a good little boy. Perchta just lounged in her chair, watching him. The napkins were cloth, and he folded Perchta’s into the shape of a rose, then his own into the shape of an elephant. He’d learned to do that years ago, once he found out that cabin stewards on cruise ships could fold towels into animal shapes. But he’d never given me a rose. A napkin one, or any other kind.
When everything was perfect, Perchta finally deigned to get her princess butt out of her velvet throne and come to the table. Kai held her chair out for her like a waiter in a fancy restaurant, and then sat down himself. He took a handful of goldfish crackers and sprinkled them in his soup. Perchta watched him avidly. 
All the fairy tales I’d ever heard came rushing back into my mind, about what happens when you eat fairy food. You’re stuck in the fairy realm, and can never escape. But I couldn’t make myself call out. I kept seeing the old man’s big, powerful hands, squeezing blood from heart-things and wringing a bird’s neck. If he’d yank his own eye out, what would he do to me?
A voice came from behind me, on the walk. Gravelly, with a heavy German accent.
“So. Vat is it we haff here?”
I swung around, terrified, to see Grandfather Winter standing on the pathway.


Twelfth Night:

Niko and I dashed to the back of the church sanctuary and slipped through the door into the stairwell. At the far end of the hall was an exit door. A way out. Or a way in. If we didn’t come out soon, Perchta’s demons would come in after us.
Niko dragged me to a stop. “What’s the plan?”
“I know a way out to the roof,” I told him. “There’s a maintenance crawlspace under the steeple. I don’t think anyone’s been there in years, except me and Kai. It’s out of the storm, and you might be able to light the candles and finish the banishing ritual before they find you.”
“And what will you be doing?”
“Climbing across the roof to the bell tower.” In the mother of all blizzards, surrounded by snow demons, with a three-story drop on every side. But the church bell was the culmination of the ritual. Without it, the banishment wouldn’t work.
Just for a second, I saw a “you must be frickin’ nuts” expression flash across Niko’s face. Then he gave me his famous troublemaker’s grin, and said, “Let’s do it.”
“This way,” I said, starting for the stairs to the choir room.
“One second.”
He went to a storage cabinet against the wall. He didn’t bother with keys this time, just kicked the door in and grabbed the tech headsets that were used during church plays and pageants. He tossed one to me and I hooked it over my ear, jamming my ski had down over it to keep it from coming loose. Niko did the same.
Outside, there was no sound except the moaning of the wind. The silence was almost scarier than the crashing.
“Come on,” I said.
Niko was already moving. We headed up the stairs at a run, emerging into the choir rehearsal room. I dashed around the battered piano and raised the sash on the old wooden window. It screeched along its runners.
Snow billowed into the room, borne on frigid wind. “Fire escape,” I said to Niko. “Come on, quick. They’re going to surround the building any minute, thinking we’re trying to get out the back.”
The fire escape was a black metal staircase that spiraled to the ground, with a landing on each floor. We climbed out and shut the window behind us, not wanting to leave evidence of our escape if Perchta’s minions searched the building.
Below, at ground level, I could see a set of glowing eyes—one of the demons, searching for us. I just prayed it wouldn’t occur to them to look up. 
There was a metal ladder bolted to the brick wall of the church, leading to the edge of the steep, pitched roof.
I’d done this climb a bunch of times with Kai, including every Bellsnichol since we were ten. So this wasn’t the first time I’d done it in the winter. But I’d never tried it in a raging blizzard.
I went first, to show Niko how it was done. The worst part was getting from the ladder onto the roof. I was exposed to the full force of the wind, and it almost knocked me off the ladder. This wasn’t just any storm—it had a malevolent spirit in it. This blizzard wanted me dead.
There was nothing on the roof to grab onto, no traction—just waves of snow blowing over a slick sheet of old crusted snow. As I tried to pull myself up, my hands broke through the crust and I fell forward with a jerk, chest on the roof, legs scrabbling for a foothold. My hands were trapped, shards of ice cutting into my wrists above my gloves. I could feel a warm trickle of blood.
Wiggling and heaving, I tried to get my knee over the gutter and inch myself up. For a second I thought I wasn’t going to make it, and then I felt Niko behind me, boosting me. I yanked my hands out of their icy handcuffs and scrambled flat on the roof.
It was like being in the Sahara during a sandstorm. Icy grains of snow scoured every millimeter of exposed skin, making my face feel like it was being sandpapered. “Gotta go,” said Niko’s voice in my headset. “They’re spreading out around the building.”
I maneuvered myself around like a crab until I was facing downwards, and kicked the toes of my boots hard into the ice crust. It captured them the way it had my hands, keeping me from sliding headfirst back down the roof.
Niko’s head came over the gutter, and I reached out to him. He leaned forward and we clasped wrists. With me pulling, he managed to scramble out onto the roof. “I hope nobody saw that,” I said into my microphone. There was no way he could have heard me otherwise, over the scream of the wind.
“Me too,” Niko said, his voice quiet in my ear. “But once I start the ritual, they’ll feel the power and realize where we are. I just hope we bought ourselves enough time.”


About the author:
I was born and raised in New Jersey, and books were a big part of my childhood. When I was about three and a half, I became obsessed with a Little Golden Book about a goat that gets a bucket stuck on its head. Since no one would read me the goat book as often as I wanted, I learned to read it myself—and haven’t stopped reading since. It was only inevitable that I turned to writing, so I could create more of the kind of stories that I like to read!

My favorite genres are mystery, sci-fi and paranormal/fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated by myths and fairy tales, and I love incorporating elements of ancient lore into modern stories. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I currently live near Portland, OR, where I am a freelance writer and editor. My other esoteric skills include astrology, figure skating, and the ability to do a perfect split.


Author's US Giveway
In folklore, iron protects against the influence of evil spirits. Handmade from real horseshoe nails and sterling silver by Connie Pardini of Wirestorm Creations, this necklace is a replica of the one Gilly wears to protect herself from harmful spells and illusions.

Review and Excerpt Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson

REVIEW:

Christmas Dogtown is the kind of story that has the gift to make you to keep an eye on its author.

When I started reading the book, some time passed already from my enrollment on tour, I did it without refreshing my memory about its subject. So I was more impressed with the twist that the author gave to the story.

Mrs. Johnson deliberately constructed the story that, at first, seemed to be an ordinary romance. However, she took care (and well succeeded) to sprinkle elements that for the romance seemed unimportant giving the impression that they only emphasize the atmosphere and life of the little community from which our heroine is come and from where she wants to escape. At the ending, the reader will cannot criticize the author that he was misled, that the turn is too sharp or he was not warned. Everything is there, and Louisiana’s tradition, myths and magic will entwine wonderful for the beholder’s delight.

But Christmas Dogtown is not just a romance. The story is full of subliminal messages about what is important in life, what it means to have and keep your roots, about decisions, choices and predestination, about the fact that what we want is not always what we need. Personally I liked the balance that the author kept between free will and fate.

It is a story well told, fresh and sweet about magic (the Christmas’ one) seasoned with Louisiana mysticism, which I hope you will enjoy because I recommend it to you!

Description:

A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc.

Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it--even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing. Getting out might not be so easy.

EXCERPT:

"You are stupid,” Resa told her reflection in the tiny, scratched mirror of the White Castle’s rose-pink bathroom. “Stupid, ridiculous, and absurd.” 

She’d been wrestling with her curly black hair for a half hour, and the brown eyes that stared back at her from beneath freshly plucked brows and carefully applied eyeliner looked more jittery than sexy. “And idiotic.” 

First, it had been almost a week since Chan had asked her to the Saturday night community dance, popping the question almost shyly as they hacked at the bodies of gigantic dead fish. They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked. 

Second, her potential date had left immediately after asking her out so he could catch an alligator that had eaten somebody’s poodle in one of those backwater houses near the swamp. He burned rubber out of the Madere’s driveway after making sure he had enough duct tape to wrap around the gator’s jaws. Adequate duct tape was not an attribute she’d ever sought in a man.

About the author:
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance (under the name Susannah Sandlin) from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. 

She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series.


Guest Post and Special Excerpt In Our Dream by Jacqueline Paige

Published: December 10th, 2013

Description:

She’s a small town cop. He’s an inmate undercover. They meet in a dream.

Jennah Best left the adrenaline packed life of being a cop on the edge for a more peaceful place. She escaped a marriage that almost destroyed her and now lives her life working for a small police station in the town of Ridge. At her age, she’s accepted that it’s too late and too much work to start all over again, until she meets a man in a dream...

While young, Dominic Palmer has always proven he can get the job done. Or at least, that was the case before he accepted a job and agreed to go undercover as an inmate. When months go by and there’s no word from his outside contact he wonders if he’s been left on the inside for good. He’s fighting to stay alive and keep his sanity, but finds himself completely distracted by a mysterious woman he met in a dream...

Previously released in Dreams anthology
Part 2 From A Dream will be released in February 2014

GUEST POST
There’s a little psychic in all of us… 

I don’t think I’ve met a single person in my life (yet) that can’t say they haven’t had a moment where something they saw in a dream (awake or asleep) didn’t ring true at some point. 

Ever walk in some place that you’ve never been but there’s that thing you can’t explain that makes it feel familiar? You’re doing something that you’ve never done, but you know exactly what to do? You see someone that you’ve never met but there’s something familiar about them? That nagging feeling that something is wrong but you can’t define it? 

I’m not an expert on dreams or how the mind works, but I believe dreams are there for a reason. Yes sometimes it’s just a little too much stimulant (sugar, caffeine) before bed that has you reliving that moment in the movie you watched before going to bed. Or you bit you tongue all day long when you wanted to tell that co-worker off so it was still weighing heavily in your mine when you finally fell asleep – and then fed them through the paper shredder in your dream, or had them as your groveling gopher acknowledging your superior skill… the subconscious mind is an amazing thing. 

With my writing I’ve explored all sorts of dream like occurrences, after all I get my best ideas for stories when I’m almost asleep, just at that point where I’m not conscious of anything going on and a few seconds from drifting off (which, by the way can be annoying if all you want it sleep and not characters popping into your head). In the second book of the Hidden Senses Trilogy , Dream Visions, I have a character that connects with others in high emotional moments while she’s in a Dream like trans. In my soon to be released Ancestor’s Enchantment Trilogy, The Witch Within, the character is seeing her ancestor’s in her dreams. So it wasn’t much of a leap to take things in a new direction with the Dream Series and have the characters actually meet in a dream. 

Without giving away everything in the story, I’ll share part of the opening from Part 1 in the series - In Our Dream:

SPECIAL EXCERPT for the GUEST POST



TOUR SCHEDULE

“Tell me your name.”
The unfamiliar voice was intense, yet gentle, and it resonated in all the right places inside of her.  “Jennah Best.” She glanced around, trying to place where they were.
“I’m Dominic.”
His voice was so close to her ear, she jumped and looked behind her.  Several inches above her face, she peered into dark, mesmerizing brown eyes.  “Where are we?”  She skimmed over his short, black hair and broad, shadowed jaw as she waited for an answer. 
He smiled at her. “Where would you like to be?”
She laughed.  “A thousand places, but that’s not the point—where are we?”  She tried again to recognize something, everything seemed obscured, yet he was right in front of her and very clear.  “Do I know you?”
He shook his head slowly.  “No, but we are changing that.”  He smiled at her again and she couldn’t help but smile back.  He held out one large hand to her.  “Walk with me.”
It wasn’t really a question, or an order, and she did want to know what was going on, so she put her hand in his and flushed a little when she felt the heat as his large hand close around hers.  She had almost been thinking she was dreaming this.  “I don’t mean to sound repetitive, but where are we, Dominic?”
He walked slowly beside her for a few moments and then stopped and gazed down at her again.  “It’s difficult to explain, but we’re in a place where few can go.”
That wasn’t exactly the answer she wanted.  She peered around him and almost sighed in relief when she saw a window seat in the old library.  What she was doing in the library’s reading room with a strange man, she didn’t know.  At least she knew where she was now.  A place where few can go?  The library?
“Shall we sit?”
She nodded, not wanting to say something odd again.  She let him lead her over to the window where he stood waiting until she sat down.  She glanced out the window to see the large snowflakes falling gently to the ground.  She tried not to notice how close he sat to her, but it was hard not to when the man was so large.  She tried also not to notice how wide his shoulders were. Her biggest weakness seemed to be men with broad shoulders.  Even though he was dressed in dark pants and a tasteful sweater, he seemed almost dangerous, and the well controlled female inside her liked this too much.
“What do you do, Jennah?”
She looked quickly from his broad shoulders to those dark eyes.  “I, ah, work for the police department here in town.”
“A detective?”
She grinned and shook her head.  “No, I thought about trying it a few times, but got too old to pursue it by the time I decided.”
He grinned.  “I can’t see your age being the problem. You can’t be more than twenty-eight, twenty-nine.”
She knew she grinned at him like an infatuated idiot, but couldn’t help it.  “Oh, I’m afraid I’m quite a bit older than that, but I’m going to take that as a compliment.”  She fought the urge to brush her long, wavy hair back off her shoulder. She didn’t want to appear like she was flirting. She smiled at him again before looking back toward the window. 
“I think you’re exaggerating.  So, what do you do within the department?”
She shrugged.  “Mostly desk work and gopher runs.”
He nodded.  “What does that involve?”
“Transports, mostly.”
“To Wyestate prison?”
“Quite often, or to the court and next counties.”  Jennah watched his eyes move over her face.
“Do you have a partner?”
She shook her head.  “Not often, unless it’s a high profile I’m transporting.”  She glanced at the clock on the wall and frowned.  It must need repairing. It couldn’t possibly be almost five in the morning.  “Are you from here?”  She gazed around when she heard an odd buzzing, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
“No.”  He just sat there, studying her.
She tried to focus on him and then blinked. He seemed to be fading.
“I’ll see you again, Jennah.”
The buzzing grew louder.

Jennah opened her eyes. Her alarm clock was going off.  She reached over and slapped a hand on the snooze button and then focused to make sure she was in her room.  She blew out a breath and tried to shake the fog from her mind.  That explained a few things.  The dream was so real, but not at the same time.  Too bad, really. That man, Dominic, her mind had invented was quite nice to look at.  No more chocolate caramel popcorn for you before bed, she thought as she slowly sat up.

About the author:
Jacqueline Paige lives in Ontario in a small town that’s part of the popular Georgian Triangle area. No one has ever heard of Stayner, so she usually tells people she lives “near Collingwood” and no, she doesn’t ski at Blue Mountain or at all, in fact she’s not even fond of snow. 

She began her writing career in 2006 and since her first published works in 2009 she hasn’t stopped. Jacqueline describes her writing as “all things paranormal”, which she has proven is her niche with stories of witches, ghosts, physics and shifters now on the shelves. 

When Jacqueline isn’t working at her ‘reality job’ or lost in her writing she spends time with her five children, most of whom are finally able to look after her instead of the other way around. Together they do random road trips, that usually end up with them lost, shopping trips where they push every button in the toy aisle, hiking when there’s enough time to escape and bizarre things like creating new daring recipes in the kitchen. She’s a grandmother to four (so far) and looks forward to corrupting many more in the years to come.

Jacqueline loves to hear from her readers, you can find her at:


Guest Post and Giveaway Devil's Play by Kenya Carlton

Description:

Snuggled within the warm embrace of marital bliss, biologically altered army Captain Drake Devilin and his supernatural bride Sienna face their biggest challenge to date. Called back for duty in World War II, Drake must leave his amazing life behind and join his troop to fight the Nazis. Although he’s certain his new mission is merely a rouse to obtain his most precious commodity, his wife, Drake leaves, but not before giving Sienna a magical necklace in the hope it will protect her against unknown enemies.

Lured from her prosperous island by a sorcerer who is convinced she was always meant to be his bride. Sienna is challenged to play three magical games to ensure her husband’s safe return. In each game, a limited time is given to Sienna to immerse herself into a new world, situation, and persona; find Drake; and have him acknowledge her by name. And she can’t use her powers to make it happen. 

Everything dear to Sienna’s heart is put in jeopardy. Willing to fight for the love of her life and her happiness, Sienna takes on the sorcerer in his own game of cat and mouse.

GUEST POST
Can our toughies be soft? 

I don’t do the damsel in distress. Even if my leading lady appears that way, she would never be helpless. At the most my leads may have a slip of clarity, a detrimental brain fart, or even a wee bit of a lapse in judgment. However, she will never be a complete idiot and the odds are before the story is done she will have saved the hero more than once. 

I’ve written a blog about types of women we as readers run into time from time. The dippy idiot we don’t like her, and as an author I refuse to write her. What I haven’t blogged about is the bad ass chicky who knows she’s too edgy but has a hard time going soft. I’m not sure about these women either. These women are so strong and been through so much, do they really need a man to hold them down? They may meet their hearts desire in some kind of fight or combat, but does he want the ass kicking girl or the pixie flower that needs to be rescued? 

I really enjoy paranormal. I used to be more of a horror female, but thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’m flexible. What I usually read is the hardened female a little damage, and I must admit I like this girl done the right way. They don’t want love, not looking for love, then all of the sudden bam! A hottie comes out of nowhere. 

The problem: If she falls in love with him, will she lose her edge? Or, and this is the best, can the heroine trust him enough to tell him what she really does late at night? 

“Oh, honey, I have a secret and sadly it’s gonna make you wish I was a stripper.” 

This is not exactly the Buffy guide to love. Remember, Buffy never wanted to kick vamps demon booty; she wanted to finish high school and be prom queen. This little lady didn’t have to work on the softer, sexier side of her personality; the need to be a normal girl in love was still there, soft as ever. 

If a series gets me I have to read it to the end, but lately I’ve been very picky. There’s a popular huntress series that I can’t get into. The lead heroine was hard-headed and kinda of whiny about her plot in life. Her ability to hunt a vampire didn’t move me after a chapter or two, and I wanted something to kill her. To be completely honest, this author (hi, yeah me, Kenya) doesn’t have a solution to these ‘not so vulnerable but I wish I were sweeter’ assassin demon-hunting temptresses. Their back story often makes it impossible for them to trust. Sometimes the author writes a great guy that can break through that tough exterior and sometimes they don’t. 

If you’re like me, gushy crap with no sincerity makes your eyes roll. Even fiction romance has to be believable. Maybe that’s why I’m so particular about my paranormal heroine. She can’t be too hard and can’t be too soft, just like that crazy porridge stealing goldie locks, my paranormal leading lady has to be just right to keep me coming back for her antics.

About the author:
Native of Chicago Illinois, Kenya worked in the Network operation Center for PBS and TLN television stations. Executive producer of her own production company Black R.O.K Productions Kenya produced a pilot for travel series Destination Everywhere, Independent short film Dawn shown at the Chicago Latino film Festival, and wrote and directed the documentary Our Africa. Writing titles available; Jaded, Sweet as Sin, Brazil re-issue, Devil’s Play, and Remember This.


Author's Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entangled Moments (Moments in Time #1) by Dori Lavelle

Description:

A deadly accident can take a life in more than one way.

Four years ago, Carlene Adams made a deadly mistake. A tragic accident derailed the future she'd hoped for, taking the life of the man she'd planned to spend forever with. 

As a self-imposed penance for her solitary sin, Carlene has given up on every dream she ever had. She has committed to spend every remaining moment trying to make up for that one instance when everything changed. 

Then she gets a second chance.

When Carlene meets Nick, the single kiss they share awakens the desires she shoved aside for so long. Suddenly she wants more than what she believe she deserves. Will she ever see him again? And if she does, what will that mean for her?

A thing of fate.

Leaving the life she built on regret, Carlene waits for fate to intervene. But just as she begins to believe in a fresh start, she's forced to realize a horrible truth—one with the power to send her second chance crashing before it even takes off. 

Nick isn't who she thought he was. She isn't the girl he believed her to be, either. Their lives were intertwined even before they met, and if Carlene tells him the truth, she’ll risk tearing them apart—for good.

Due to sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. 

About the author:
Dori Lavelle, is a mother, wife, and lover of happy endings and mint chocolate. She thinks love and chocolate make such a perfect pair. Give her a great romance novel with a hint of suspense and a mug of hot chocolate and she'd be one happy woman. 

Growing up, Dori read a lot, and when she wasn't happy with a particular ending, she wrote a different one, just for herself. Before long, she was writing stories when she should have been doing homework. The time has come for her to share the stories she cooks up in her head.




Monday, December 30, 2013

League of Skull & Bones (The Grimm Chronicles Book 1) by MJ Fletcher


Description:

Jess Grimm has the ability to travel to any dimension in the multiverse. There’s only one problem… it’s killing her. 
Jess is in a race against time to find a device that can slow the progression of the power inside her, but she isn’t alone. Others want her power, and they don’t care how they get it, or if she is dead or alive when they do. 
The only person willing to help her is the mysterious Ronan Sparrow a member of the League of Skull & Bones, one of the very groups that want her power. But what does Ronan want in return? Can Jess trust him or will she find herself alone with enemies on all sides?


EXCERPT:





PROLOGUE

I wasn’t alone in the dark.

Snarls and growls surrounded me, running my blood cold. I moved my head from side to side, scrunching my eyes, trying desperately to catch sight of the beasts before they reached me. My crimson swords weighed so heavily in my hands that I felt as if I’d been fighting for what seemed like eternity.

Claws and fangs suddenly slashed out from the darkness and I did my best to defend myself, though in my heart I knew it was a losing battle. The beasts were overpowering me and soon I wouldn’t be able to stop them. No one was coming to save me. I was alone.

Talons slashed across my back and warm blood trickled down as pain shot across my spine. I stumbled and the beasts—I was sure—tasted victory. They moved in at me in waves. I spun my blades trying to battle the never-ending tide, trying to survive.

It was hopeless. For every monster I took down, another two took its place. I wanted to live, I wanted to fight, but the agonizing pain of my flesh being torn and sliced was too great to bear. I couldn’t go on. The jaws of one of the beasts clamped on my wrist, and I lost my grip on one of my swords. It fell from my hand and clattered to the ground and with it went my last vestige of hope.

Blood drained from my body and my vision faded. I would soon black out, and then the beasts would feast on me. A scream bubbled in my throat and my mouth fell open, but no sounds came out. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see my own death and hoped that darkness would take me before the beasts did.

I bolted out of bed, my mouth still open in a silent scream, and my sheets tangled around me soaked with sweat. I stood at the foot of my bed, my breathing coming in ragged gasps.

The nightmares came almost every night. I couldn’t escape them no matter how hard I tried. I yanked at the sheets, dragging them off me and tossing them back onto the bed.

I’d worn only an old t-shirt to bed, though now I wished I had worn more. I didn’t want to see my scars, didn’t want to be reminded yet again, but I couldn’t stop my fingers from tracing over the ugly scars that marked my arms and upper torso.

I walked from the top floor of my loft, down the stainless steel steps to the kitchen area. I yanked open the fridge and grabbed the container of milk and took a gulp. I placed it back in the fridge and slammed the door closed. I slipped down onto the couch that faced the large windows dotting the walls of my loft and sighed at the breathtaking view of Paris. It always calmed me.

My fingers mindlessly drifted over the scars on my arms. They were a reminder of the very real night I had been trapped in a nearly unwinnable fight. Monsters had surrounded me and had almost killed me. If it hadn’t been for my friends, I would have died.

But I hadn’t died, or had I? I was far from the girl I had once been. Once I was the prettiest girl in school, and the girl who had hit every club and had had a blast when she had moved to Paris. But after the vicious attack everything had changed, most of all me.

My fingers suddenly stopped, settling on the edges of identical tattoos on both my forearms. I glanced down at the image of a Skeleton Key. My scars refused to cross paths with the tattoos, as if they knew that they dared not go near them.

I slid my finger over the tattoo, and felt a buzz of power run through me. These unwanted tattoos were another reminder of something else entirely. But unlike my scar, I had chosen these.

The monsters may not have gotten me, but these tattoos were a different matter. They marked me for death.

I pulled my knees up into my chest and took a deep breath. Maybe I would wait here until dawn. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about any more nightmares or death that constantly stalked me.

I sat alone in the dark looking out on the City of Lights, awaiting the dawn and praying that I could keep death at bay and that I wouldn’t hear the sound of monsters.




About the author:
MJ Fletcher was born in New Jersey and now lives by the beach with his beautiful wife and daughter. He has been writing since he first stapled pages together as a child and called them a book. He finally realized his ambitions when his comic book series Adam Zero The Last Man of Earth was published by Ronin Studios. His other comic book work includes Digital Webbing Presents and The Hero Initiative. His first novel The Doorknob Society released in 2012 was nominated for a Cybil award in the young adult category. He has continued writing the Doorknob Society Saga his rollicking steampunk adventure series as well as working on numerous other writing projects.


Breakneck series by Crystal Spears


Winter Belov was the sweet innocent one in her crime family, the dutiful daughter that never disappointed her father. One day, her father does the unspeakable. When he turns his back, Winter flees across the country, taking her life savings with her, determined never to enter that sort of lifestyle again.

No longer innocent, she now lives in Nevada. Lana is her best friend and the only family Winter has. Together, they are two of the best exotic dancers in the county. While working a shift, Pyro, Lana’s long time crush, propositions Winter. He begs her to do a private gig at Breakneck. She accepts, with the condition that Lana dances with her.

When Winter’s eyes lock with Braxxon Breaker's, the President of Breakneck, she realizes she is no longer free; she has been seized. He is everything she is running from but at the same time, everything she wants. Braxxon will not take no for an answer, and purposely disrupts Winter’s life.

Rivals of Braxxon’s club are vicious and they do something that will have him out for blood. Winter's and Braxxon’s relationship is anything but a normal one. If they want to be together, crimes must be committed, friendships will be broken and people are going to die.

What happens when all that chaos mixes with Winter’s father locating her? It will be a bloodshed when Winter and Braxxon seek revenge and take no prisoners.

While the chaos and bloodshed have slowed for a short period, life is never quiet in the world of Breakneck. The club is taking time to regroup from internal betrayal and the changing of the guard in a rival group.

Zig Zag became a father at the age of thirteen. While raising a child has never been easy, now his eighteen year old daughter Tatiana makes his life downright hard. She has caught the eye of Travis, the new President of the rival MC Gunners, but all she really wants is Shadow, the newest addition to the Breakneck family. When Shadow’s rejection sends Tatiana running from the only family, home, and safety she’s ever known, ZZ is crazy with worry. The distraction caused by Tatiana’s disappearance could prove to be Zig Zag’s downfall.

If that isn’t enough, ZZ finds himself rampantly attracted to the one and only Storm. She’s beautiful, quick and witty. Their friendship is the one thing that keeps him from growing crazy, and Storm stands by ZZ through all the turmoil. Zig Zag is not accustomed to hearing the word no, so Storm’s constant withstanding just draws him in deeper. Their friendship is one thing keeping him from going crazy, until one night…

The club is regrouping and rebuilding from the mayhem known as the Russian Mafia. A hit is ordered on Tatiana, Storm, Winter, and Piper.

Tatiana’s egg donor reveals secrets that a thirteen year old Zig Zag was too young to understand.

Braxxon is out of reach while he helps Greg Cage deal with some dirty business.

Bloodshed… Secrets… Betrayal… Trauma… Welcome back to the Breakneck world.

One look at the beautiful Hawaiian flower dancing on stage at his buddy’s strip club and Pyro’s world changes. He’s lost, captivated, head over heels. He tries to stay away, resist her charms, but he just can’t find the strength to do it. Instead, he hires Hazel and Winter as entertainment for the Breakneck President’s thirtieth birthday party, unknowingly putting the girls’ lives in danger.
Hazel convinces Winter to take the Breakneck gig so that she can get closer to Pyro. Playing the temptress to the max, Hazel appears on stage wearing white angel wings, and little else, drawing Pyro in to where she wants him. Needless to say, they both get very little sleep that night.

2014
One night together making love until the sun comes up and these two are in too deep. But this is the Breakneck world, and sunrise brings gunfire and bloodshed. Time brings Winter’s abduction and brutal rape. Hazel’s guilt burrows deep, and she pushes everyone away. She is resenting herself for convincing Winter to enter this Breakneck world. She is resenting Pyro for ensnaring her heart.

This is the story of Pyro and Lana. It is simply the story of how, sometimes, love just isn’t enough.

***Spoiler Alert: It is recommended that you read Seize Me before you read Resenting Me. Resenting Me is entwined with Seize Me and contains many, many spoilers.

EXCERPT:




Midway through Chapter 31 and Chapter 32 in Withstanding Me.  
Be advised 18 and older.
“STORM?”
Mason.

“I’m here,” I croak, my voice hoarse. He enters the doorway and drops down in front of me. I’m gasping for air, and he surveys the room. “Oh shit baby. You fought; you fucking fought back.”

I nod my head yes, as I rub my throat. “Tatiana.” I gasp and take off on my hands and knees until I can get upright.

“MACE,” I scream out hoarsely. 

Oh god, oh god. 

“We’re back here,” Mace yells back.

When I stumble through the door of the room, I stop, and Mason slams into my back. 

“It’s not our blood.” Mace answers quickly and points to the right. “It’s that motherfucker’s.”

Berry, Rap, and Winter. I take off, bounding down the steps, one floor after another. When I hit the landing, my ankle almost gives out as I run and bang on the bathroom door. Rap calls back that everything is okay and I fly towards the utility closet.

“ANGEL,” Braxxon roars.

“She’s in here,” I call back as I work to remove all the shit I threw on top of the crawl space door.

Both Mason and Braxxon run up to the door. “Where the fuck is she?” Braxxon curses at me.

“I locked her in the damn crawl space. She was trying to play fucking Rambo.”

Braxxon pushes me outta the way, and when Mason picks me up by my arms, I give way and start bawling. Fuck, what a nightmare. 

“It’s okay.” Mason croons.

“No it’s not. I couldn’t figure out the safety on Sniper’s gun,” I gasp through my tears. “I almost died. That’s not okay.”

Mason stiffens beneath me.

“WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?” Winter yells as Braxxon helps her outta the crawlspace. “GOING AROUND SAVING EVERYONE BUT YOUR OWN FUCKING SELF.”

He stiffens more beneath me.

“I… I promised Mason that I wouldn’t let anything happen to them.”

Rap and Berry come out of the bathroom. “Storm threw us into the tub, and took off after Tatiana, Mace, and Winter.”

Mason pulls away and stares at me. 

“She tried strangling the Russian that was trying to rape me too,” says Tatiana while coming down the other side of the hall.”

Motherfuck.

“I FUCKING PROMISED,” I scream, jerking away from Mason and walking towards the downstairs couch.

“Storm,” Mason growls low as he sits beside me. “What are they talking about?”

“Don’t ask me to make promises, and then not expect me not to fulfill them, Mason,” I say while rubbing at my neck. I lift my fingers and see blood. 

Hearing the sirens, I cringe. Fuck, all this, and now the cops?

“What did I fuckin’ tell you about your life meaning just as much as theirs?”

I look into his brown eyes and say. “They’re important to you, so they’re important to me.”

He flinches. “You’re important to me too Storm, not just them.”

I say nothing. I just blink and lay my head back. I’m too emotional to be sharing feelings right now.

“Wait. Where’s Piper?” I fling myself up.

Mason puts his hand on my chest. “She’s fine. Sniper found her hiding in one of the cars.”

I let out a breath before realizing two other people are missing. “Bom-Bom? Creamy?”

Shadow snorts. “Those bitches took off.”

Good for them.

“I’m so fuckin’ pissed at you,” Winter hisses behind me.

“Get over it. Your ass is pregnant.”

I’m tired of this shit. 

“LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE. ALL OF YOU. SEND THE FUCKING COPS TO MY ROOM.” 

And I walk my pissed off ass up the stairs to my room. 

***

Chapter 32
ZZ’s POV

The following afternoon…

I’ve left Storm alone. She needs time. I think. But I gave her last night after the cops and coroner left; I also gave her this morning. If she wasn’t hurting and pissed off at everyone, we’d be celebrating the fact we had no casualties for the first time. This woman put her life on the line for my entire family. Not once thinking about herself. That is straight up fucking love. I knock on her door, and push it open when I hear her sniffling. 

“I’m not mad at you ZZ; you can go away now.” She mumbles from the bed, and the breath rushes from my lungs. I feel my heart pound fast when she calls me ZZ. 

This isn’t happening. She’s not fucking pushing my ass away now. I kick off my boots and crawl into the bed beside her. I wrap my arms and legs around her and nuzzle my chin into the crook of her neck. “It guts me when you call me that.”

She sniffles some more. “I don’t know what you want from me. You ask me to protect them, and I did. Then you get mad at me.” 

Jesus Christ she’s killin me. I loosen my hold, and rolling her onto her back, I lay on top of her. I run my fingers through her bangs and then look down into her eyes. I try to keep my focus off of her neck. It’ll just piss me off. “I didn’t think you would take it that far Storm. No matter what, I always want you to take care of yourself too. Always.” Her blue eyes blink at me. 

“The Russians you went after?”

Of course, she tries changing the subject. I don’t know what this shit is where she’s not wanting to share her feelings now, but it’s pissing me off.

“The rest left; they’re not coming back. Stop changin the fuckin’ subject.”

She shrugs underneath me and I slump, placing my chin in between her tits. I’ve really got to fix this.

“I love you.”

She gasps and then starts pushing me away.

What the fuck?

“You don’t fucking love me,” she screams jumping up from her bed. “You don’t say shit like that.”

Jesus what did I do?

She throws a glass of pop at me, drenching me from head to toe. What the hell?

“Storm, stop,” I say calmly as I shrug outta my cut and fling the damn pop off.

“NO. TAKE IT BACK.” 

Oh, for fucks sake.

“Not happening darlin. I love you, plain and simple. Deal with it.”

A candle flies at my head, and I duck. Shit, she’s on fire. 

“TAKE. IT. BACK.” She seethes.

“No.”

What is this shit? I withstand her; she withstands me? I’m sick of it.

“You only think you love me because I keep saving our fuckin’ family.”

I start moving for her, and she starts back away.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

I shake my head with a laugh. “That right there is one of the reasons I love you.”

She stops moving. “What reason?”

“Because you just called my family yours babe. That’s one of my reasons.”

She gasps and starts backing away again. What the fuck is this going to take?

“I love you.” I say again.

“STOP FUCKING SAYING IT.”

Oh, fuck it.

I advance on her. If I have to use force, I will. I slam her back against the wall and cover her mouth with my hand as I lock her between the wall and me. Her blues eyes widen with shock. “I fuckin’ love you, Storm. I fuckin’ love you hard, baby. Deal with it. I love every single thing about you. Your tiny little figure, your black and blonde hair, that cute little nose stud, those pouty little lips, those big blue eyes, the way you love me, the way you love our family. You’re not giving up. I won’t let you. You once told me that’d I fall in love, and it would be with you. You remember that?” She nods under my hand. “You took me, a man that didn’t do love, and you owned me Storm. You fuckin’ own me.” I remove my hand and her body flings into mine, her hands moving quickly tugging off my shirt. “I love you.” I need to hear her fucking say it.

“I love you, too,” she cries, unbuckling my jeans. Thank fuck.

Our clothes fly everywhere and we collide, gasping and pulling at one another, bare skin to bare skin. My heart’s pounding a hundred miles an hour as I toss her onto her dresser. I smack her thighs and dig my fingers into her skin as I drag her to the edge and ram into her.



About the author:
Crystal Spears has always had a passion for literature. She fell in love with reading at an early age. After spending a decade in business management, she began blogging and book reviewing, only to find that that didn't satisfy her craving. So, she began to write. Like any Indie out there, she had goals and dreams. She wrote Talania - a trip down memory lane, a beautiful, contemporary romance novel. It almost made it to the top, just almost. 

Someone told Crystal to write what she knew. She gave serious thought to that advice. For many years, her father had been CEO of a well-known gun and surplus store in Texas. He then bought a tattoo shop where Crystal found herself surrounded by bikers. Hardcore bikers. The Bestselling Breakneck Series was born when Crystal decided to write what she knows. Don't get the wrong idea. Her Breakneck series is completely fictional, but based on things seen and heard, she now had a place to start writing from that knowledge. 

Seize Me was hardcore, and Crystal became the writer known as the chick with no boundaries. She took the critics the wrong way and made her next bestseller Withstanding Me a little tamer. Readers were quick to point out that they did not like that and demanded that Crystal return to gritty writing. When asked if she would write gritty from now on, her only answer was… “I'll write what my readers want me to write, and I'll also write what I feel.” 


Crystal resides in Indiana with her soon-to-be husband and their two children. They have a pit named Dozer, two fish, and one fancy rat. They enjoy the outdoors, and camp, fish, and go boating as much as possible. But, while the soon-to-be husband is out hunting this winter, Crystal will be writing three novels and planning her wedding. Crystal is a perfect example of never giving up on a dream or a goal. Her goal was to publish a book; her dream was to become a bestseller. She did both of these, and now, she feels that she’ll never regret leaving business management to become a writer. 

She stays humble, loves meeting new people, and is extremely excited to be a part of so many signings in 2014 with some top notch Authors.


******************************** 
Crystal Spears
is a featured author at
To see the entire list of Featured authors for this event along with all the details visit the website..
>>>BIKERS - BABES & BOOKS<<<