Friday, September 24, 2021

[Book Blitz] The Grove by Karri Thompson

The Grove
Karri Thompson
Publication date: September 21st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Entering the woods is forbidden. To go in can mean a fate worse than death. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Laura has been told. But living in a new town with nothing to do, she ignores her mother’s dire warnings and explores the forest near her home.

The trees entice Laura deeper into the woods. A mysterious, soothing voice calls her name, and she becomes lost. When a young man finds her, she thinks she’s saved. But he insists their meeting is more than a coincidence. For centuries, his colony has been waiting for a savior. With his alluring eyes and gentle smile, Laura almost believes his crazy story.

Caught between worlds, and with her life at stake, she doesn’t know who to believe or trust. Her heart tells her one thing and her head another.

Is it her destiny, or will her fate only postpone the inevitable?

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EXCERPT:

The hair on my arms rose. My heart thumped hard, the blood pulsing through my chest into my throat. Looking left and right, my muscles tensed to run or fight.

“Who’s there? What do you want?” I said at the same low whisper, my voice shaking.

A shimmering blur disappeared behind a tree—a featureless something, flashing in indistinguishable color as quickly as a silent whip.

“Laura,” someone said again, gentle and feather-light, drifting between the largest trees in front of me.

I held my breath.

“Laura.” My name resonated through the humid night air, echoing through the sugar maples before it thinned and died.

It was a male voice, full- bodied, but lacking malevolence and hostility. Strangely, it put me at ease. There must be a boy somewhere out here in the woods. I was sure of it. The voice sounded young, maybe my age of seventeen.

Or maybe it was a ghost. My Uncle Dean had told me the locals believed these woods were haunted. But ghosts couldn’t kill. At least that’s what I believed.

“Who are you?” I asked, relaxing my stiff muscles just enough to take a step forward. My shoulders dropped as I exhaled a pent-up breath. Broadening my stance, I leaned forward, raising the branch, and squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to hear it again.

“Laura,” it repeated. The word lingered through the dead of night, ringing softly in my ears. I opened my eyes.

“How do you know my name?” I asked, moving toward the direction of the voice. As a cool breeze rustled my pajama shorts, I wrapped one arm around myself.

A bird chirp rode the wind, followed by several more, weaving into a rhythm of tweets and trills. I looked up. Within the tousle of leaves and sway of thin limbs, perched a gathering of birds, flexing their wings for flight.

I took a step backwards, my eyes fixed on the canopy of leaves.

The bird calls increased, one squawk overlapping the other until their unique melody collapsed, twisting into an eerie song and wing beats.

“A–are you still there?” I breathed, eyeing the woods ahead of me and taking another step back.

A smear of color flashed to my left, and a cloud of leaves rose from the forest floor.

“Don’t go,” I said, breaking from a whisper.

The woods resonated with angry bird speak, their unnatural song thumping in my ears.

“I want to see you,” I shouted above the rising mad twitter.

A shadow skated across the ground at my feet. Wings flapped overhead, and a bird beak met my scalp with a hard peck.

Author Bio:

Karri Thompson, a native of San Diego, attended San Diego State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in education. When she’s not writing novels and teaching high school English, she can be found nerding out at San Diego Comic-Con and cooking delicious meals for her family. Karri is the recipient of the San Diego Book Awards Best Published Young Adult Novel for 2014.

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

[Book Blitz] Walk on the Wilder Side by Serena Bell

Walk on the Wilder Side
Serena Bell
(Wilder Adventures, #2)
Publication date: September 23rd 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

His best friend’s sister is rocking his boat. In the best way possible.

Brody: What’s a bad boy doing hosting a book club? Excellent question. All I can tell you is, it’s not going well. I forgot the bug wipes, the extra TP, and the hand sanitizer, we’re out of wine, and… well, I may have made some people angry, if the reviews are any indication. The only way to dig myself out of this hole is to redeem myself by offering the best girls’ nights out in town.

Enter my best friend’s sister. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid Rachel, since despite her good-girl rep, I can’t seem to get her out of my head. Now she’s in my boat… and if I don’t watch myself, soon she’ll be in my bed. Things are going surprisingly well between us… but I know myself, and I’m not this guy. I’m the guy you want for fantasy fulfillment, not the guy you want for forever.

But what if I need this time to be different?

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EXCERPT:

Connor paces back and forth a few times along the side of the boat, then slaps a hand on his thigh. ”I have an idea.”

“What’s that?”

“My mom’s got this new business. One of those sell-out-of-your home things. Beauty stuff, like body wash and perfume and shit. She does these girls’ night parties. Women love them. My mom can’t keep up with all the requests. I bet that would work for your boat. And my mom coordinates the food and wine and everything. You could redeem yourself without having to personally kiss a lot of ass. They do the party, you just supply the location.”

Huh. I don’t hate the idea.

“You’d still have to buy TP,” he says, always practical. “And not forget the bug wipes.”

“I can totally handle that much. Jesus, that sounds like a fucking dream. I’m all over that.”

“The only thing is, my mom broke her foot, so I don’t know about the whole boat thing.”

“Well, shit,” I say. “How’d she do that?”

“Stepped off the curb wrong in town, twisted it in the storm grate.”

I wince. “That sucks.”

“Yeah. But she said she was maybe going to ask Rachel to help her out, so I guess Rachel could do it.”

You know the buzzer sound that signals the end of, well, anything? That’s the sound that just zapped through my brain.

“Wait, Rachel’s home?”

I try to make it sound like, “The Ducks have the early game?” or “You up for grabbing a pizza and a couple of beers?” but it still comes out sounding more like my sixteen-year-old self than I’d like.

Luckily Connor doesn’t pick up on the fact that I just insta-reverted to my teenage years. “Yeah. Some shit hit the fan for her and she’s regrouping.”

Rachel is Connor’s younger sister. Her hair is long and thick and not-quite-black. Her skin is a warm, light brown. She has dark brown eyes and a mouth that, in recent years, has made me think about blow jobs.

Okay, who am I kidding? Her mouth has made me think about blow jobs for way longer than I want to admit.
It’s the lower lip. It’s full and sulky and she licks it when she’s nervous. I’m not sure whether it’s the peek of tongue or the glossy sheen left behind that drives me so wild, but there you have it.

My life plan, since late high school, has been to avoid Rachel Perez at all costs, because that lip—her whole mouth, in fact—no, make that everything about her, inside and out—feels like a clear and present danger.
It is a threat to my sanity and, more urgently, to my friendship with Connor.

However, because life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, Rachel is everywhere.

She saw me last month when Len Dix taunted me in Oscar’s Saloon & Grill and I punched his lights out. She doesn’t even live here; she just happened to be in town from the East Coast to visit her mother. They were taking a family ski trip for her mom’s birthday.

And now she is, possibly, the only thing standing between me and a simple solution to my business problem.
Because I don’t think my sanity would survive being alone on a boat with Rachel.

“Do you really think Gabe would kick you out of the family business?” Connor asks.

Right. In corner one, we have the threat to my sanity from Rachel Perez. And in corner two, we have the threat to my livelihood and family life from Gabe Wilder.

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes contemporary romance with heat, heart, and humor. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and you can often find her scribbling in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

Serena’s books have earned many honors, including an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Apple Books Best Book of the Month, and Amazon Best Book of the Year for Romance.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also of how often she changes her hobbies and how passionately she embraces the new ones. These days, it’s stand-up paddle boarding, board-gaming, meditation, and long walks with good friends.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

[Blog Tour] Clockwork Igni by Christina Bauer

Clockwork Igni
Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins, #9)
Publication date: September 21st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

As Queen of Antrum, I rule an underground realm of demon hunters who love finding new caves. Hey, it’s boring down here; I’m glad they all have a hobby. Per usual, I try to act interested about their latest discovery, but all I hear is blah blah blah new cavern blah blah blah Forbidden Tombs blah blah blah massive bronze pyramids blah blah blah creepy ticking sounds. It’s a little odd, but I’m not worried.

My bad.

Suddenly, the Forbidden Tombs burst through the ground in my home realm of Purgatory. Bronze pyramids smash through abandoned buildings and highways, making rush hour a nightmare. Even worse, the metal structures attract tiny lightning bolts called igni, which are my very special supernatural buddies. Within minutes, every last igni gets stolen away.

Now. I’m. Pissed.

Whoever hides inside those pyramids? Time to dust off your mummies and shine up your sarcophagi. Because my husband, Lincoln, and I are breaking in and kicking ass.

Angelbound Origins
In which Myla Lewis kicks ass and takes names. Nuff said.
1. Angelbound
2. Scala
3. Acca
4. Thrax
5. The Dark Lands
6. The Brutal Time
7. Armageddon
8. Quasi Redux
9. Clockwork Igni

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EXCERPT:

MYLA
ELEVEN YEARS OLD


I’m about to play Barbie Doll Death Match. Yes!

It’s all thanks to Miss Kits, a black cat with six tails and enough magic to make my Barbies fight, pro-wrestling style.

Still, there is a catch.

Before doing anything, Miss Kits wants what she calls a dainty dolly tea in the backyard. Not my dream playdate. But I need battle training. No one else can help. Mom freaks when I mention fighting, my father’s not around, I’ve no siblings, and my neighbors are all of the lazy-n-judgy variety. It’s Miss Kits or zip. So I dig out toys and do as my magical cat demands.

Dainty dolly tea.

Which brings me to where I am now.

My backyard is a square of yellowing grass. Our single-storey ranch house takes up one side of the space. Bare hedges surround everything else. It’s a lot of dying plants under a cloudy sky. Typical Purgatory.

And my dolls are finally in place.

In the center of the mangy lawn, four Barbies sit around a small plastic table. Their tea stuff comes from a larger toy set, so the dolls could wear the cups as tiny battle helms. Which is tempting to do. Still, I keep everything upright on the tabletop—the right style for dainty dolly tea. Once Miss Kits gets here, the death match will begin. My heart pounds so hard, the whoosh of my pulse turns deafening.

Mom eyes me through the kitchen’s back window. There’s no missing the moment when she spies the dolls. My mother waves excitedly toward the little table. I shoot her a thumbs up.

Yup, I’m playing with Barbies.

Mom smiles her face off—she’s a huge fan of dolls. So far, I’ve only used them for target practice.

Slam!

The back door opens with such force, it wallops against the house itself. Two shingles tumble down as Mom rushes toward me.

“Oh, Myla.” Mom beams. “Are your Barbies having tea?”

I shift my weight from foot to foot. “For now, yeah.”

As natives of Purgatory, Mom and I are quasi-demons (mostly human with a little demonic DNA). Mom’s tall and curvy with red hair. I’m a smaller version of her, only I’m hipless and boob-free. We both wear gray sweats, since that’s the uniform demanded by our evil ghoul overlords. Like all quasis, Mom and I also have tails. Ours are long, thin, and covered in black dragon scales.

After rushing across the lawn, Mom crouches beside the little table. “Tea with your Barbies. I can’t believe it.”

My gaze flicks between Mom, the table, and the line of hedges where Miss Kits usually makes her big entrance.

This will not end well. Damn.


Author Bio:

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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Monday, September 20, 2021

[Book Blitz] Monster Hunter for Hire: Super Beast by L. West

Monster Hunter for Hire: Super Beast
L. West
Publication date: September 18th 2021
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

After a run-in with the Sebring Beach police department where a vampire’s servant ended up dead, Helena Graves is offered two choices – help the local PD chase down wanted monsters or spend the next ten years in prison.

Since she has a teenage daughter to raise, it was an easy decision for her to make.

Between running a somewhat controversial business, tense teacher conferences, and killer supernaturals on the loose, there’s never a dull moment in Sebring Beach or Helena’s life.

And for the first time in decades, her love life is about to get very interesting.

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Grab the first story of this series,
Monster Hunter for Hire: Filthy Creatures,
for FREE!

EXCERPT:

“Someone in your pack is rabid?” Henry asks, his face and Amos’s both equally horrified.

“Yes,” I answer for Calvin when he turns away to wipe his damp face with the collar of his tee.

“Is the pack going to put him down?” Amos questions Calvin, who shakes his head. “Why the hell not?” he grumbles.

“We voted on it, and almost everyone said no, to leave it up to someone else. Right or wrong, whoever ends his life will be shunned in the pack by the rest of the wolves. They may as well put the gun to their head when it’s over!”

Henry is already shaking his head when he gets to his feet. “No, Lena!” I take a step back as he comes closer. Frowning after I retreated from him, he stops advancing. “You have to let someone else go after the wolf!”

“I didn’t take the job,” I assure him. “His parents came to me tonight. They want me to track him down so they can see if the vaccine is working.”

“Nothing will save him now, not even a vaccine,” Amos says gravely. “Sorry, Calvin, but a quick death is the best the wolves can hope for now. That’s the only option before he infects other shifters and starts killing humans.”

“You’re sure?” I ask him.

“Yes!” Henry and Amos both adamantly agree.

“Well, who is going to be able to handle taking on something like this?” I ask the shifters. “The police sure as hell can’t.”

“I honestly don’t know,” Henry replies, hands on his hips in thought, drawing my attention to the scratches again. “Maybe I can talk to my dad about getting a bounty hunter from out of town to come in and track him. It’ll need to be a sniper, though, someone who doesn’t have to get close to kill him.”

I wince as I glance over at the still-pale Calvin, who walks out of the locker room without another word.

“You guys could be a little more sympathetic around him,” I tell the alphas as I start to back away. “What if it was someone in your pride, Henry, or your sleuth, Amos?”

“Sorry, Helena,” Amos mutters.

“Yeah, I’m sorry too, Lena,” Henry agrees. “But this isn’t your problem. The shifters will handle it. A rabid wolf would tear you into pieces, sweetheart.”

Author Bio:

L. West is the pseudonym of husband and wife writing duo, Lane Hart and D.B. West.

They're excited to invite you into their supernatural world in the new Monster Hunter for Hire series!

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Sunday, September 19, 2021

[Book Blitz] Beneath the Destiny Stone by Sarah Charles

Beneath the Destiny Stone
Sarah Charles
Publication date: September 6th 2021
Genres: Adult, Time-Travel

A medieval Scottish blacksmith and a millennial from Detroit walk into a bar…

By the age of six, Fiona could sink a bank shot.

By eight she could mix a perfect Manhattan.

By twenty-two, she had a business degree and a concrete plan to save her grandfather’s failing bar.

Then she was pushed through a time-portal.

Now Fiona is stuck in fourteenth-century Scotland with no way home. There’s a good chance time-soldiers are after her. And Henry, the guy she’s shacked up with, is a grumpy son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t get her at all.

He is hot, though.

And brave.

And most definitely the love of her life.

If the two of them can stop bickering long enough, Fiona just might be able to have it all—the tavern of her dreams and the first man who can actually keep up with her. That is, if they can survive the battles, murder, and mayhem of the Middle Ages and the time-soldiers who have a hand in it all.

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**10% of book sale profits and 100% book merchandise profits go to The Three Penny Project, Sarah’s charity working to plant food-bearing, perennial plants throughout Toledo!

EXCERPT:

My granda once met the devil himself.

At least, that was the story he was telling his friends. They sat at their usual corner table of the Caledonia Club—Old John, William, Robert, and Granda. Above them, an olive-green lamp illuminated a haze of cigar smoke and dust motes. A Scottish flag hung behind their heads, and on a pedestal in the corner sat a bust of Robert Burns, there to remind them what becomes of the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men.

His voice carried across the club to my spot behind the bar, and I smiled to myself. Of all Granda’s stories, I loved this one most.

“There I was, storming the shores of Normandy, gunfire blazing on all sides.” He paused for dramatic effect. “But it wasna the bullets I feared. Nay. It was the man standing before me with fire in his eyes.” He stared each of his friends in the eye. “Auld Clootie.”

Jones, the Caledonia Club’s shift manager and sometimes cook, laughed beside me as he counted out cash for the till. “What the fuck is a clootie?”

I gave the bar a final wipe and tossed the rag into sanitizing solution. “It’s a Scottish thing. They don’t like to say devil, so they’ve got a bunch of nicknames for him.”

Jones smirked. “You sure they’re not talking about their Depends? I bet John’s wearing an old clootie right now.”

I laughed despite myself. “Don’t start. It’s already bad enough I have to deal with that lot.”

As if to punctuate my point, William knocked over his drink, and the rest of the table hooted and hollered.

Jones jotted down the register balance in an old-fashioned paper ledger and bumped the drawer closed with his hip. He raised an eyebrow. “You sure you want to do this now?”

I glanced at the old men and sighed. “Better now than after they’ve cashed that bottle of Glen Livet.”

He put a hand to my shoulder. “I have complete and utter faith in you. You’ve got this!” He yanked his phone from his pocket. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to check out some job sites for completely unrelated reasons…”

I flicked him in the forehead and snickered. “Dick.” He handed me the ledger, and I headed from the bar to join the old men.

“…so, I shot off his horns and shamed him back to hell,” Granda finished with a grin. The old men laughed and nodded in approval.

“It takes bigger stones than Auld Clootie’s to take on a Highlander,” said Old John.

“Aye. Aye. True enough.” William nodded.

I pulled a chair from a neighboring table and squeezed in next to Granda. He flashed me a wide grin. “Ah, Fiona, love. I was just tellin’ the lads about the time—”

I gave him a quick peck on the forehead. “I heard you, Granda.”

He patted my cheek. “Such a bonnie lass.” He beamed at his friends. “Isna my granddaughter the bonniest lass ye’ve ever seen?”

Robert raised his glass in salute. “Stunning.”

William winked. “Like a young Audrey Hepburn.”

I rolled my eyes. Sure, I looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn, except for my face full of freckles and head full of curls. I supposed we were both brunettes, though, so there was that.

“Oi, Poof.” Old John waved an empty whisky bottle at Jones. “We need another.”

I grimaced at John’s words snatched the bottle from his hand. “What did I tell you?”

His brows crinkled. “What? I just said—”

I glared down the bridge of my nose at him. “Do I have to call your wife and make her come get your old homophobic ass?”

Jones sauntered to the table with a fresh bottle. “It’s all right. We all know why he likes to suck on them cigars all day.” He winked at Old John and set the bottle in front of him.

Everybody burst out laughing, except for Old John who flushed purple. I slid the ledger in front of Granda.

He held it at arm’s length and squinted at the numbers. “What am I lookin’ at?”

I gnawed on my cheek. “We didn’t break even this month.”

He gave a half-hearted shrug. “Aye, well…business’ll pick up.”

I took a deep breath. “No, it won’t. We have three customers, and they’re all at this table.”

William lit a cigar. “Aye, but Robert drinks as much as five men.”

“Used to say the same o’ your mum,” Robert shot back, and the old men cackled.

I looked Granda in the eye. “We need to bring in a younger crowd.”

“How should we do that? Turn the place into a disco?” Granda gestured around the empty bar. “Bring in a few go-go dancers?” The old men laughed.

I narrowed my eyes. “Be serious.”

Author Bio:

Sarah Charles is the author of Beneath the Destiny Stone, a book she wrote to keep from going insane while recovering from a spinal injury. (It mostly worked). A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Sarah graduated suma cum laude with degrees in Psychology and German. Since then, she’s worked in the mental health field, owned a custom cake business, and given birth to three future super villains. She currently spends her days writing and working to bring food forests to Toledo through her charity The Three Penny Project. In her rare moments of free-time, Sarah dabbles in all things craftsy. She particularly enjoys wood-burning, rehabilitating old furniture, gardening, baking, and playing with clay.

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