Saturday, April 21, 2018

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Eye of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas

Eye of the Colossus
Nicole Grotepas
Publication date: April 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Some think the City of Jade Spires is a utopia. It very much isn’t.

Holly Drake is in prison for defending herself from a murderer. That’s the kind of corruption thriving in the city—where evidence is destroyed and the innocent go to jail.

But everything’s about to change.

Someone exonerates Holly and she walks free. She has no idea who. Or why. But they have a job for her. Steal back the Eye of the Colossus, a priceless jewel. It’s about to be moved off-planet, and when that happens, the trail will go cold.

Out of prison with no other work on the horizon, the job is a gift. If only she knew how to pull off a heist.

The clock is ticking. If she can assemble a team and pretend like she knows how to do this, maybe she can fake it long enough to do a job better suited to a master-thief. Why Holly? Who’s pulling her strings? And just how far across the moon system will she have to go to finish the job?

This is Holly Drake. Someone tried to kill her once. She survived. This time, she’ll conquer…or die trying.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“So, Xadrian. What is it that you need?” Holly waited for something about blackmail or a request for her to tail and photograph some wealthy man in a seat of power who was potentially cheating.

“Ah, to business then,” he muttered and stretched his back and neck, and then cracked his knuckles. “Very well. This face you see before you? It isn’t the face of the one who requires your services. I’m here on behalf of someone else. Someone with money and power.”

Holly attempted to keep her face passive. “Obviously,” she said. Obviously. Obviously I wouldn’t be introduced to the actual client. Duh. It was probably like this a lot, in this business. Whatever this business was.

“Yes, I’m sure you knew that,” Xadrian said, a grin touching the corners of his lips. “My employer has had a valuable, priceless possession stolen:
the Eye of the Colossus. And my employer needs it back.”

“Oh great,” Holly said. “It’s not a simple job.”

“It was stolen, my employer needs it back. Ms. HD, what do you know about the Eyeof the Colossus?”

She shrugged. “Nothing, really. I don’t move in those circles. It’s not really my thing.”

“The Eye is a golden amulet with eleven priceless gems embedded within it—it was created by the famous Druiviin artisan, Ko Lapsong to represent the unity of the four races on the six moons, bestowed by the life-giving hydrantium found on Muibaus—aka the Eye,” he paused. “Sorry. You’ve really never heard of this?”

Holly shook her head. “I don’t dig jewelry. But I get it, Ixion is the Eye. So one gem for each race, each inhabited moon, and then the biggest is Ixion?”

“Muibaus,” he nodded. “Ixion is the pedestrian term for the planet.”

That fit. The rings, the attention to appearance, the expensive wines. Xadrian was kind of a snob.

“Moving on. Eleven gems. The biggest is the Eye, exactly. The problem for us and therefore you, is that in less than two weeks it will be moved.” Xadrian studied Holly’s face as though to see if his words were having the right impact. She nodded once to give him feedback. “Once it’s moved, we won’t know where it is and will be unable to recover it.”

“An item, stolen, you need it back before it gets moved and you can’t track it. Great.”

“It’s slightly more complicated than that, however, some of the details that you will need, we’ve got.” He tapped a dark green folder sitting on the table beside his goblet of wine. He paused and swirled the drink around in the glass. He sniffed it and then took a sip. “This folder contains an image of the jewels and the location. We can provide some other tiny bits of intel. For the rest, you will need to scout it out, sneak in, and try to get itback without it being damaged in any way. Or, without your being arrested.”

Holly pursed her lips. “Makes total sense. But before you go on, we should address the elephant in the room. Payment. So far I’m not feeling inclined to do such a dangerous-sounding job.”

Xadrian dipped his head in satisfaction. “You’ll be paid, rather handsomely if I do say so myself.


Author Bio:

I'm passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions--the ones Ithink about most--while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Cover Reveal: Sister of the Circuit by Amanda Orneck

Sister of the Circuit
Amanda Orneck
Publication date: July 3rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction

“A female-led neo-cyberpunk novel? Sign me up! Sister of the Circuit passes both the Voight-Kampff and Bechdel tests.” – Tal Klein, author of The Punch Escrow.

Isidore RAM is a hexer, but she wants to be so much more.

In the nation of Apotheosis, the Church of Technology is both government and state religion, and the virtual world they call the Circuit is their god.

Those that travel the Circuit are hexers, and the Church’s elite police force charged with protecting the Circuit at all costs, are known as Sisters of the Circuit. On the day of her final exam to become a Sister, Isidore RAM runs into something that shouldn’t be: an AI that can change the sacred Code of the Circuit. Isidore is framed for this blasphemous alteration of their god, and is ousted from the training program and the religion in one fell swoop.

Ejected into the dystopic remains of Orange County, now known only as the Osee, Isidore is determined to clear her name and earn her way back into her beloved religion.To do that she must track down any information she can about this mysterious AI and bring proof of her innocence back to the Church. With the help of a pair of mech-riding scavengers, a former hexer with a mysterious secret, and a forger with a penchant for latin cooking, Isidore searches for the truth about what really happened to her that day on the Circuit.

Together they must answer the most important question of their lives: What is CRI-LUX?

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order


Author Bio:

Born in Fountain Valley, CA, raised in a small town called Montrose, CA, Amanda Orneck has never stayed in one place for long -- until now. She currently calls Huntsville, AL home, where she spends her days writing, gaming, and loving her family to pieces.

Amanda received her Creative Writing degree from the University of Southern California, learning her craft at the feet of David St. John, Aimee Bender and Carol Muske-Dukes. While at USC, she received the Middleton Creative Writing Fellowship for excellence in poetry.

For seven years she honed her writing craft as a video game journalist, writing for GamePro, WoW Insider, GameGeex, and handful of other outlets. In 2014 Amanda left the world of blogging behind to focus on her first love, fiction. Shadow of the Owl is her first novel, and she is currently working on a sequel.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Review: The Unsound Theory (STAR Academy #1) by Emilia Zeeland

Book Blurb:

Yalena Russo, your STAR Academy invitation has arrived.

Unlike other teenagers across the near worlds, Yalena isn't space-crazed. But a surprise invitation to join the exclusive STAR Academy opens a window to her unknown origins, making her ponder… What if space is where she belongs?

Mystified by the leadership trio known as the O'Donnells, as well as the reason they brought her on board, Yalena stumbles onto an alarming secret. Pulled deeper into the mystery by the commander's son, she will find that some riddles can be hard to walk away from—especially if she is the one holding the answers.

Take a plunge into the not-so-near future, where travel is interplanetary, competition is a rush, and even the elite don't always play by the rules.

Find out more about the book on Goodreads and pick up a copy from Amazon

My Review:

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Aliens, Another-World, Mystery, Space, Suspense, Teen--

In a world where the earth that we know it no longer exists, space travel is the new norm. When two strangers show up and offer Yelena a letter of acceptance to the elite, exclusive space school STARs, she is hesitant about the offer. No one knows why or how students are selected for the school, but it is an honor that would be hard to reuse. Yelena accepts the invitation even though she knows she is completely out of her element, but hopes she may discover more about where she came from.

I kind of feel like this was the training that everyone on Star Trek had to go though before they could join the star fleet- the college that prepped them for mission in space dealing with other colonies, rules, life and species. Seriously, this is the behind the scenes that we missed in the movies, the teens leaning new skills and training to be the best the universe could offer. All the kids are humans (sorry to disappoint) but they have lived in new locations, such as Mars and the Moon as well as on space stations, to give them different backgrounds and experiences. The dynamic between all the groups was interesting, be it culture and personality, and the author included even the littlest details of accent to help set the tone.

I found the world to be incredibly detailed, interwoven and really complicated, so much so that at times I was in over my head with what I was reading and I had to re-read the section again. I would say this would be a better read for upper teens to adults (or super smart younger kids!) not due to inappropriate content but due to the complexity of the entire storyline.

The book is narrated from Yelena, who seems to be smart and curious, completely flummoxed as to how she ended up chosen for this school when she had almost no qualifications to deem her worthy. I thought she seemed interesting and very adult in her interactions, but I do not feel like I know her well- I know what she does but not the whys behind her action, there was not a lot of inner reflection that took place, more a constant info download about the world and the mysteries she was involved in.

This was the start of an epic science fiction space mystery series full of big twists and turns. Yelena may have finished her first year at the STAR Academy, but the truths that she desperately seeks are only starting to unravel.

I am voluntarily reviewing an advance, complimentary copy of this book.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anste

Suitors and Sabotage
Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 17th 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

Two young people must hide their true feelings for each other while figuring out who means them harm in this cheeky Regency romance from the author of Love, Lies and Spies and Duels & Deception.

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .

In Suitors and Sabotage, author Cindy Anstey delivers another witty young adult historical fiction novel that is the perfect mix of sweetly romantic and action-packed.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


My Review:

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Historical, Romance, Teen--

"Might I have the return of my hands, Ben?"

Ben looked down to see that Imogen's hands were encased in his. He rather liked the way they fit together; then he realized that he had been holding them overlong.

"Oh, yes, indeed. Are these yours?" He let go with a laugh that sounded a little forced even to his ears.

"Since birth."

What a situation we have here! We have serious Ernest who has an intense crush on quiet Imogen, wanting to court her; Shy Imogen who feels nothing for Ernest but is attracted to his younger brother Ben; Charming, flirty Ben who only wanted to help his brother get the girl but then finds himself also falling for the same girl; and bold Emily, Imogen's best friend practically sister, who is instantly infatuated with Ben and thinks he feels the same way. Can you say complicated? Why yes, yes indeed my good chap!

The story is dual narrated by Imogen and Ben as they navigate themselves through their romantic feelings, their current situation and the mystery to solve. I really enjoyed them both, liking their quirks and personalities and loving what their interactions brought out in each other. I hate to say this, but I really did like Ernest. Sure, Ben is more charming, outgoing and personable, but Ernest was so real, genuine, and sweet- but maybe he was too much like Imogen and she needed someone to challenge her and bring her out of her shell instead of someone also quiet who make no demands.

Let's take just a minute to fully appreciate the wonderful friendship between Emily and Imogen. Here we have two girls who are developing feelings for the same guy, yet both want to be good friends and support the other in any situation. There was no cat-fighting or throwing the other under the bus, just two girl who would do anything for the other regardless of them not getting their way. Now, this, this is what we need more of in YA. Also, Emily's parents, the Beeswangers were pretty much amazing people (and that is all you get out of me- read the book, you will not be able to argue).

“Are you?”

Ben stared again— no longer sure if Imogene was being enigmatic or if he was having a problem thinking. His brain seemed to have lost its train of thought. “Am I what?”

Imogene laughed. “Greatly interested?”

Ben stared at pretty Miss Imogene Chively in her soft blue dress that accented her lovely blue eyes and agreed readily.

“Most definitely,” he said, no longer sure of the topic.

“Very interested.”

I really find myself enjoying historical romances with the proper rules, etiquette, societal expectations, costuming, courting procedures- it is always such a fun time reading these types of stories and I love that now there are YA versions (you know, the same but without the heaving bosoms and such). I found this to be a cute story heavy on the romance and light on the mystery with engaging characters that I felt like I really ended up knowing. I enjoyed Ms. Anstey's fun writing style so much so that I have already picked up her previous book Duels and Deceptions to jump into next (technically this is her third book, but I am like 95% sure they are all standalones and can be enjoyed independently- this one most certainly can!).

I am voluntarily reviewing an advance, complimentary copy of this book. ​

Author Bio:

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe



Today Megan Crewe and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for RUTHLESS MAGIC, her new YA Fantasy which releases May 30, 2018! Check out the awesome cover and enter to win an ARC!

On to the reveal! 



Title: RUTHLESS MAGIC
Author: Megan Crewe
Pub. Date: May 30, 2018
Publisher: Megan Crewe
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: ?
Find it: Goodreads, Pre-Order  

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die... or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents' low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

The start of a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no further for your next urban fantasy fix!


 Grab the prequel MAGIC UNMASKED for FREE!
























Exclusive Excerpt!

Hail pelted us, and the wind lashed at us from all sides. I could hardly breathe. The only solid thing was Finn. I curled my fingers into the damp fabric of his shirt and sang into the stiller space between us. “Como veían que resistía.”

Magic hummed from the vicious air into me. An image swam up of the grate I’d come across in the courtyard, between the buildings. A grate that led to something below.

I knelt down, pulling Finn with me, and pressed my free hand to the spongy ground. The wind tried to steal my next lyrics from my lips, but the magic raced through me all the same—through me and down, down, into an open space I sensed below us like a gasp of fresh air.

I did gasp then, and forced out a verse. I’d never magically transported another person with me before, but I had to. I had to.

The magic rushed up around us with the thrust of my words. I clung to Finn, singing the energy around him as tightly as I could. Then I propelled us downward with a lurch.

We surged through rough blackness that rasped over my skin and landed with a feet-jarring thump. I exhaled in a rush, dizzy in the sudden quiet. My eardrums ached from the pounding of the storm we’d escaped and the effort of the conjuring.

We crouched in total darkness. The surface beneath me felt like concrete. Cold dank air hovered around us with a faintly salty flavor that reminded me of the ocean.

My fingers were tangled in Finn’s shirt. His arm was still around me. In the dark, I was abruptly aware of the rise and fall of his rasping breath, the warmth of his chest, and the answering warmth it sent through me.

He was alive—we were alive—and in that moment, it felt like a miracle.

About Megan: 
Photo credit: Chris Blanchenot
Jeff Sweat has made a living from words his entire career, starting out as an award-winning tech journalist for InformationWeek magazine and moving into marketing.

He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.

He grew up in Idaho as the middle of eight children—seven boys and one girl—and attended Columbia University in New York. Jeff lives in a big blue house in Los Angeles with his wife Sunny and their three kids, two cats, and a racing greyhound.

He loves to travel and writes everywhere he goes, even when there's not a desk. He likes karaoke, motorcycles and carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and a pack of Ruthless Magic swag featuring the cover and character art.


Ruthless Magic cover reveal giveaway