Saturday, February 16, 2019

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: The Open Road by Bo and Quinn Loftis

The Open Road
Bo and Quinn Loftis
Publication date: February 13th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Like all young couples, Jason O’Neal and his wife, Bethany, imagined a long and happy life with their children. But when Jason loses his family to a tragic accident, his storybook life dies with them on a two-lane highway. Unable to cope with the loss, Jason makes a last-ditch effort to find peace with their deaths. He plans to fulfill Bethany’s dream of visiting all fifty states, leaving mementos of his family along the way.

Samantha Showalter knows heartache after being left crying in an empty parking lot at the end of a three-year, abusive relationship. Seven months later, she’s rebuilding her life through sheer force of will, until her ex-fiancĂ© shows up at her doorstep unannounced. But Samantha’s best friend has a plan to help Sam let go of her past once and for all … and finally find herself again.

Fate, with a little help from a meddling best friend, will bring two broken souls together. Both have their own valleys to cross before either can hope for a future of happiness.

Will Jason and Samantha find peace in each other, or will their past pain be too much to overcome?

The answer will be found on the open road.

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EXCERPT:

Just then, Sam heard a loud knock on her front door. She sat still, thinking maybe the knock had actually been on the apartment door next to hers. An emaciated old hippie named Skip lived there, and he received all manner of strange visitors. It was not uncommon for one of them to knock on Samantha’s door by mistake. When Skip wasn’t hiding behind his dark curtains, he spent most of his time sitting in a lawn chair on the stoop smoking nonfiltered cigarettes and petting his elderly cat Mrs. Kush Kush.

The knock came again. No, that was definitely on her own door. Who in the world could that be? She sucked in a breath as she remembered Henry and his bizarre statement about knowing their future. Could he have found out where she lived? Not that it would be hard. Samantha was pretty sure you could find anyone you wanted on the internet. The knock came yet again, a little more insistent this time. Still, she didn’t move. It was Sunday, almost noon. She wasn’t expecting anyone. This had to be some stupid door-to-door salesperson or maybe a religious nut just out of church and all fired up. Or it’s a crazy, psychic nut who’s obsessed with you, she added in her mind, choosing not to voice that out loud and somehow make it come true. Not that she was superstitious but why not play it safe, just this once? She wasn’t going to answer it. They’d go away in a minute.

The knock sounded for a fourth time, even louder this time. “Dammit,” she swore and threw the blanket off her body. She was annoyed enough now that she was able to tamp down any fear she might have been feeling a moment ago. Samantha lumbered up and stomped into the living room so loudly she probably made the pictures rattle in the apartment below her. She paused at the door and looked down at herself, noticing her breasts were about to come tumbling out of the top of the red shirt she’d been wearing the night before, which was stained and wrinkled. Her throat was on fire. Her mouth tasted like she’d eaten a raw dragon liver, and she could only imagine what her hair must look like.

Samantha yanked the shirt up as high as it would go. She briefly thought about quickly freshening up, or at least brushing her teeth, but then she might miss the chance to read the riot act to this jackass pounding on her door. And if it was Henry Hyena, she was going to make it perfectly clear that he was creeping her the hell out and he needed to stop. Sam was going to make this fool pay for dragging her out of bed—well, off the bedroom floor, anyway—on what should be a very relaxing Sunday. The knock came again.

Damn it! It’s my first day off in three weeks. I’m SO not listening to a sales pitch about satellite TV! This asshat is getting a piece of my mind!

Samantha unlocked the door and yanked it open. Everything she’d been planning to say froze in her throat as she stared up into the eyes of the man at the door.

“Nice shirt,” said Derek, grinning like a Cheshire cat. And Samantha vomited all over his shoes.

Author Bio:

Quinn Loftis is a multi-award winning author of more than 20 novels, including the USA Today Bestseller, Fate and Fury. In a previous life, Quinn was a nurse, but God had other plans for her. In 2011, she published her first novel, Prince of Wolves, and the rest, as they say, is history. Quinn is thankful to God and gives Him all the glory for her amazing life and family. She is blessed to be married to her best friend for over 19 years and they have three boys, two dogs, and a cat that wants to take over the world.


Author links:


Bo Loftis is an attorney turned novelist who recently penned his second novel, The Open Road, with his USA Today Bestselling author wife, Quinn Loftis. Bo lives in the Arkansas River Valley, where he deftly toes the line between gamer and jock, splitting his time between gaming (both board and video) and playing basketball, mountain biking, and acting as a color commentator for local high school football games. He has three sons, each of which love to use him as their own person jungle gym, and he wouldn’t trade them for the world.


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Audiobook Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sail (Haunted Stars #1) by Lindsey R. Loucks

Author: Lindsey R. Loucks

Narrator: Kamala Alcantara

Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Series: Haunted Stars, Book 1

Publisher: Evershade Publishing

Released: Nov. 20, 2018

Genre: Paranormal Romance; Science Fiction

Nineteen-year-old Absidy Jones is a ghost magnet, a sensitive person spirits flock to when they can't cross over. After her brutal past escaping the hordes of ghosts vying for her attention, she spends her reclusive existence melting down iron into bite-sized pieces. Whether alloy or wrought, ancient paper clips or nails, consuming iron is the only thing that keeps the ghosts away.

But when Absidy's sister goes missing in deep space, a dangerous place brimming with rogue planets, ship-eating nebulas, and vicious aliens, Absidy vows to find her. She leaves her safe haven and boards the first ship she can that's on a direct route to deep space - a ship that turns out to be haunted.

To keep the malicious ghosts from killing her, the alluring bad boy pilot gifts her a small bundle of all the iron on the ship. But their growing relationship is tested with the crew's prying eyes and hidden secrets. While the ship sails into deep space, it's not just her sister's life that Absidy fears for. It's her own as well. Especially since her stash of iron has shrunk to zero.

My Review:

3.5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Aliens, Another-World, Dystopian, Romance, Scary, Space, Supernatural, Suspense--

I had been eye-balling Lindsey's books for a while but this was actually the first one I have had the opportunity to read. Hands down, this is the most unique book I have ever read, and I read non-stop. This was a mix of sci-fi, paranormal and romance all rolled together to get an intense, completely unexpected experience.

I found the book to have an incredibly unique plot, one I have never seen or expected in my wildest imaginations. The main character, Absidy, eats iron to keep away the ghosts that seem to be drawn to her. But the problem (ok, there are a lot of problems, but let'a focus on one) is that her body is breaking down the iron too fast and iron is a rare commodity. Add in the fact her sister is missing and Absidy gets accused of a crime she did not commit and hides her identity to sneak on to a spaceship to try and find her sister. Yep, there was a LOT going on in this book, between the sci-fi space stuff mystery, creepy ghost paranormal incidents and the steamy sexual encounters with a roguish pilot. To sum it up, Absidy had her plate full of a hot mess.

The narrator had such a very feminine, girlish voice yet she was able to make so many other character voices, including multiple male characters with such skill! Her narration was really enjoyable, and I am a sucker for a narrator who can make the audiobook come alive that way. She did speak fairly slow so I did have to up the speed to 2.0x to keep my attention, but she was so clear and precise in her diction that I have no complaints. About half way through the book though the sound quality changed, the narrator's voice at random intervals sounded far away occasionally for no reason. It was odd and only occurred occasionally so it did not really impact the book.

This is very much so the first in a series, so many things were left unsaid and undone that you for sure will need the next book to find out more.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Lindsey R. Loucks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Lindsey R. Loucks is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romance, science fiction, and contemporary romance. When she's not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she's dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she'll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate-induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.

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Narrator Bio

Kamala Alcantara is a Voice Actress & Audiobook Narrator capable of performing a wide range of voices & accents.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Sign of the Serpent (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #2) by Majanka Verstraete

The Sign of the Serpent
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes #2)
Published by: Firefly Hill Press
Publication date: February 12th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Meet Marisol Holmes: High School Student, jaguar shifter, and great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. She’s solved countless supernatural cases, but her next one’s the hardest yet. Why?

Marisol is about to lose her heart.

Two days ago, terrible events shattered the very foundation of the Conclave. Now, Marisol Holmes swears she’ll stop at nothing to destroy the man she once loved: her arch nemesis, Mannix.

But when a cryptic clue left by Mannix leads Marisol to a secret room that once belonged to her father, she realizes that hunting down Mannix won’t be that easy. If she wants to catch him, she’ll have to retrace the steps of her own past and discovers secrets that might have been best left buried.

When the hunt for Mannix brings Marisol to London, she teams up again with Roan and Wyatt on a quest for the truth that leads her through the dark alleys of London, to shady shifter pubs, to libraries cloaked in magic, and eventually to an abandoned castle in Scotland that once belonged to her family.

But Mannix is as sadistic as he’s smart. At every turn, Marisol and her friends face harsh truths and deadly puzzles, and risk their lives to uncover a past that should stay buried. With the stakes getting higher and Marisol’s attraction to Roan growing, can Marisol deny what she truly wants, even if it puts her new love on a collision course with her villainous ex?

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“As of now, you’re the only Sigil Bearer left,” he said as he scuffled toward us. “We’ll have to move fast; we can’t afford to spend much time dwelling on the ones we lost. We’ll need to arrange for a Sigil Ceremony.”

I nodded. It was common for the Sigil Ceremony to be held this soon after the death of a previous Sigil Bearer. The only difference was that rather than one dead Sigil Bearer, we’d have to deal with the deaths of thirteen.

“I’ll task some Conclave agents to contact the Sigil Bearers’ next-of-kin or see if some of them left any written wills.” Saldor’s voice was laced with sadness. He’d known most of the Sigil Bearers for years. These people had been his colleagues, friends, maybe even distant relatives. As I stared at his grief-stricken face and grabbed his hand to comfort him, I realized a painfully clear truth I didn’t really want to face. A truth my mother probably wouldn’t want to face either – but we had no choice anymore.

The truth was that the Conclave, the secret organization over two centuries old, that had always managed to protect the peace between the different shifter species, and that had managed to protect the secret of the existence of supernatural beings from the human world, was crumbling like the walls of a ruined castle.

What we had thought was the core of our strength, what we believed was an institute so unbreakable it would last through our lifetime and the next, that which my father had believed in so vividly, which I had believed in too… it was weak. It could be broken. It had been wrecked, destroyed from the inside out.

Sure, the Sigil Ceremony would bring new Sigil Bearers who would continue where the old ones had left off. We could rebuild our group. But we couldn’t rebuild the false sense of security we had shattered.

There was no doubt in my mind that Indra, the girl I had once trusted and even considered my friend, was working with Mannix. And there was no doubt that Mannix was ruthless and sadistic, and that he would stop at nothing to destroy the Conclave.

And maybe even our entire shifter world.

--------------------------------------

Author Bio:

Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Apocalypse Five (Archive of the Fives Book 1) by Stacey Rourke

Apocalypse Five
Stacey Rourke
(Archive of the Fives, #1)
Publication date: February 12th 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Good luck and have a pleasant apocalypse. 

The end of the world is coming. How or when, scientists can’t agree upon. For decades, Earth’s best line of defense has been a team of young soldiers known as the Apocalypse Five, forced into virtual reality simulations to train for Doom’s Day. But, this is no game. Death on the grid is brutally final and calls up the next in a long line of cadets.

Stationed aboard the AT-1-NS Starship, the A5 are celebrities thrust into the limelight by a calling they didn’t choose. All it takes is one unscheduled mission, showing seventeen-year-old team leader Detroit a harsh and unfathomable reality, to shake the A5’s belief in all they thought they knew. After questioning people with the power to destroy them, the team is framed for a crime they didn’t commit and marked for death. Now, the hunt is on.

Can the Apocalypse Five expose the truth the starship would kill to keep hidden? Or, will their bravery end in a public execution?  

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My Review:

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Distopian, Mystery, Space, Survival, Suspense--

The Apocalypse-5 (A-5) team was formed to be trained and go on simulation missions for the day that the world will need them to save them from Doom's Day. But when the current team leader ends up going on a solo mission, she learns that she has been lied to, they have all been lied to. The team decides that they must get to the truth because it it their job after all to save humanity.

I have read so many different series and worlds created by Stacey at this point, all so different and interesting, but the one thing that all her books have in common is the ability to surprise you with all the plot twist! She is a master of creating detailed worlds that you can get lost in, be it a dark twisted fairytale, an alternate world where vampires rampage or now a science fiction dystopian.

Really, this was science fiction dystopian at it's best. What a way to start a book! We are dropped into the middle of a mission that goes horribly wrong and we watch the current A-5 team die- I was shocked! And next thing we know we see the new team selected and given names as opposed to the numbers they were know by, and the cycle continues. The best way I can describe this story would be the isolated regions, lying government, huge conspiracy and dystopian aspects of the Hunger Games meets the violence, weapons, battle scenes, viewer participation and sponsors from the movie Gamer. It was such a cool, messed up setting that I could not help but be lost in.

The pacing was fast paced and I found myself flying through the pages, not even noticing that I read the entire book in just a few hours. This is the perfect choice for some escapism reading during this snowy winter season!

Author Bio:

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel

Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012

Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013

Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Two Witches and a Whiskey by Annette Marie

Two Witches and a Whiskey
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #3)
Publication date: February 8th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Three months ago, I landed a job as a bartender. But not at a bar—at a guild. Yeah, the magic kind.

I’m not a badass mage like my three smokin’ hot best friends. I’m not a sorcerer or an alchemist, or even a wussy witch. I’m just a human, slinging drinks like a pro and keeping my non-magical nose out of mythic business. Seriously, I know my limits.

So why am I currently standing in a black-magic ritual circle across from a fae lord?

Somewhere behind me, my three mage friends are battling for their lives. Somewhere near my feet is the rogue witch I just knocked out with a stolen spell. And I have about five seconds to convince this very angry sea god not to shmoosh me like a bug.

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t part of the job description.


THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND
Three Mages and a Margarita (#1)
Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)
Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)

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EXCERPT:

Shouts burst from Aaron’s table in a mix of triumph and dejection. Half the table lifted their shot glasses and tossed them back, Aaron included. He slammed his glass down and growled.

“That one wasn’t fair,” he complained. “Lyndon, your turn.”

Surveying the gathering, I counted most of our top combat mythics—from mages like Aaron, Kai, and Laetitia, to sorcerers like Andrew, Lyndon, Gwen, and Zora. Even Girard, the first officer, had joined in. This was the elite faction of the guild—the ones who claimed the toughest jobs and took on the deadliest opponents.

Ezra was part of the circle too, but he’d slid his chair back and didn’t have a glass. He never drank much, stopping long before he got tipsy.
Whiskey bottle in hand, I leaned against his chair. “What’s going on?”

“Drinking game,” Ezra replied with a grin. “Going around the circle, each person shares something they’ve done or experienced on a job. Anyone who hasn’t had a similar experience has to drink.”

“Since Darius covered it so thoroughly,” Lyndon declared, “I want to know. Who’s been bitten by a vamp? If you haven’t, cheers!”

Groaning, Aaron downed his refilled glass. Wasn’t he happy to be vamp-bite-free? Or maybe he was so many shots in that he’d prefer pointy fangs over more liquor. Laetitia, Gwen, Andrew, and two others drank as well, but Kai didn’t.

Zora pushed her sleeve up and displayed an ugly half-circle scar on her forearm. “The bastard nearly ripped a chunk out of me. It happened back at my old guild and their healer wasn’t top- notch.”

As various mythics whistled appreciatively, Lyndon pulled his shirt collar aside. A similar scar marked the spot where his neck and shoulder joined. “She drained a solid pint before my team caught up. I don’t normally relish a kill, but that one didn’t bother me.”

They passed the whiskey around, refilling their shot glasses.

Andrew, a skilled defensive sorcerer and frequent team leader, leaned back in his chair. “I want to see who hasn’t tripped and fallen on their face in the middle of a fight. And when you drink, we’ll all know you for the liar you are.”

As everyone laughed, Kai alone lifted his shot and downed it. Smacking it on the table, he raised his chin in challenge. “Who’s calling me a liar?”

I snickered when no one said a word. If there was ever a mythic who hadn’t wiped out in a battle, it was super-ninja Kai.

Girard stroked his beard. “My turn, isn’t it?”

Aaron and Kai exchanged despairing glances.

Smirking, Ezra half-whispered to me, “Girard will try to make everyone drink.”

The officer shot him a grin, then lifted his glass in a mocking toast. “Not to get too macabre, but Lyndon brought up kills, so. If you haven’t seen at least six bodies in one place, drink.”

“What?” Gwen pointed accusingly. “What kind of horrific shit have you been sticking your greasy beard in, Girard? Who stumbles across six piss-reeking corpses?”

Ah, Gwen. Every time she opened her foul mouth, I had to fight the urge to laugh. With her sleek blond ponytail and penchant for designer business attire, she looked like a high-end executive— an impression she ruined whenever she spoke.

Girard wagged a finger. “Drink, Gwen.”

Scowling, she tossed back her shot. Everyone else lifted theirs—except Aaron and Kai. Their smiles had vanished, their expressions grim as they stared at their shots like they wished they could drink too.

An uncomfortable silence settled over the table, then Zora grabbed my arm and pulled me in front of Ezra’s chair. “Tori, you do one!”

“Uh, me?”

His drunken grin back in full force, Aaron took my replacement whiskey bottle and stuffed a full shot into my hand in its place. “Give us a good one, Tori!”

I blinked around the table, packed with the guild’s best warriors. What could little ol’ human me say? What had I done that none of them had? Well, there were a few contenders. Flown with a dragon? Made a darkfae scream like a sissy girl? Punched a rogue druid in the nose? Problem was, I couldn’t talk about any of that.

My gaze dropped to Aaron. “Who here has thrown a drink on three mages at once?”

Laughing groans circled the table. Even Girard had to take a shot.

“Wait!” Laetitia lowered her whiskey. “I spilled a coffee across Darius, Tabitha, and myself once. Does that count?”

The table debated, then decided it counted. Zora gave me a commiserating slap on the hip, making me stumble backward into Ezra, still seated in his chair. He steadied me with a hand on my waist.

“Good try!” Zora exclaimed. “You almost had it, but no one’s managed to make everyone drink yet.”

“Tori could have,” Kai interjected. “All she had to do was say ‘kissed Aaron.’ Then we all would have lost.”

The guys howled with laughter and Aaron snorted.

Zora turned to Alistair, an older man I knew only as the most powerful mage in the guild. He was rarely here, too busy hunting the scariest bad guys both in the city and outside it.

“Last round, Alistair,” she said. “I can’t handle any more whiskey, so this is your final chance to claim ultimate victory. Go big or go home.”

Alistair tugged thoughtfully on his snow-white beard. Deeply tanned and weathered, with full- sleeve tattoos on his sinewy arms, he oozed badass-ness. I leaned forward, eager to hear his challenge.

“Hmm. All right, this is mine: Who among us has fought the ultimate opponent?” His dark stare roved around the table. “Who’s fought a demon mage?”

No one moved. A wordless ripple passed among the mythics as they assessed their comrades’ reactions. Cold, tangible fear crawled through the eerie silence. Then, in near perfect unison, they lifted their shots and drank.


Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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