Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cover Reveal: Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner

Time for a cover reveal!  Feast your eyes on the cover for FOREVER FREDLESS by Suzy Turner.

Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner.

Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday. Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

Genre:  Chick Lit, Young Adult

Release Date:  October 2013

This book looks like fun!  What do you think of the cover?  Let us know in the comments (we LOVE comments).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DiSemblance Book Blast + Giveaway


DiSemblance by Shanae Branham.

Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you. 

Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner. 

Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.

BookBlast Giveaway

Giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash to one lucky winner.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Giveaway ends 9/13/13. This is a book tour giveaway.  Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review + Excerpt: Mist by Susan Krinard

Mist (Mist #1) by Susan Krinard

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

Release Date:  July 16, 2013

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The clientele in the second room was of a caliber far different from the kids in the public area. The dozen men and women were all mature, attractive, and reeking of wealth . . . the kind who dined every other night at French Laundry, had their clothes tailor- made in Paris, and lived in apartments and pent houses worth more than all Freya’s gold.

But there was something off about them, a strangeness that went beyond the fact that they didn’t belong in a place like this, especially early on a weekday morning. They stared at her as if she had crashed an exclusive wedding wearing nothing but her sword.

As if she was an enemy.

“Leave,” Dainn whispered at her back. “Leave now.”

Mist barely heard him. “Who are you?” she asked, looking at each hostile face in turn.

Glances were exchanged, but no one answered. Dainn gripped her arm. “There are too many,” he said.

And suddenly she knew. “Where is he?” she demanded of the crowd in the Old Tongue, loosening her knife. “Where is your master?”

Hard eyes fixed on hers. Several of the men began moving toward her, getting taller by the second. Faces blurred, becoming coarse and ugly with hate. Fists lifted. An unmistakable chill rose in the room.

Hrimgrimir emerged from the crowd, grinning with hideous delight. “So we meet again, halfling. Or should I call you cousin?” His pointed teeth were red in the dim light, as if they were already stained with blood. “You must be eager for death. We will be happy to oblige you.”

For a moment Mist couldn’t process his words. Halfling? Cousin? It made no sense. None of it did. Why were the Jotunar in Asbrew? Where in Hel was Vid?

Pulling her knife free, Mist chanted the Rune- spell of change. Dim light raced along Kettlingr’s blade. She felt Dainn’s touch on her shoulder.

“If you must fight,” he said, as if from very far away, “know that you have far more strength than you realize. Feel it, warrior. Let it come.”

She didn’t understand what in Baldr’s name he was talking about, but suddenly he was gone, and Hrimgrimir and his kin were upon her.

Kettlingr flew up to meet the attack. The blade skittered against a wall of ice that dissolved as soon as the sword completed its arc. She swung again, narrowly missing a giant’s arm.

Dainn had been right. There were too many, and she didn’t have the time or means to draw the physical symbols, the staves, that anchored her rudimentary magic and gave the Runes their power.

You can build them in your mind, she thought. She’d never even considered the possibility before this morning, but somehow she and Dainn had made it work.

Unfortunately, Dainn wasn’t here. She danced out of the way of a blow that would have flattened an elephant and tried to shape a repelling Bind- Rune out of her frantic thoughts.


I was excited by the premise for Mist.  This novel, and the series by the same name, is set in a modern urban fantasy world interwoven with Norse mythology.  At times this felt cumbersome, slowing down the action, but as a lover of mythology, I also enjoyed many of the references.  The world building may be this novel's greatest strength and weakness, depending on the reader.  I think the sheer quantity of Norse mythology may cause many readers to balk, but this initial world building sets things up nicely for book two.  Mist shows promise for an intriguing urban fantasy series with a solid foundation in Norse mythology.

As much as I love world building, it's the characters who make a book truly enjoyable for me.  My inability to connect with the main characters reduced the suspense of later chapters (which is why this book didn't receive a higher shadow rating), though the supporting characters helped to keep me reading.  The main characters--Mist, Dainn, and Loki--were not very likeable.   Loki is despicable, and not in a hot, bad boy kind of way.  Loki can make himself sexy, sure, but it's hard to overlook his twisted personality.  I sure as Hel wouldn't want to share his bed.  Then there's the broody elf Dainn.  Dainn is conflicted, a trait I usually enjoy in UF characters, but his wishy washy behavior often made me want to scream.  Mist herself was a bit of a conundrum.  As a fan of kick-butt women in urban fantasy, I expected to be more drawn to Mist's character, but there was something about her that was frustrating.  Perhaps it was that Mist, our reluctant Valkyrie heroine, sometimes feels too weak and naive for an ancient, sword-wielding warrior.  Instead, I found myself loving the side characters Ryan, Gabi, and Vali.  Unfortunately, Mist wasn't really about them.  I hope these characters return in future books and that Mist and Dainn get their act together to bring some serious hurt down on Loki.  Because the trickster god?  He is one sick dude.

Overall, this was an interesting spin on urban fantasy.  I think the sheer quantity of Norse mythology may cause many readers to balk, but Mist shows promise for an intriguing series.  I hope that future books shine more light on Ryan and Gabi, as well as a certain character who appears toward the end of Mist, and that the main characters continue to grow.  There were some issues with Mist, but that's not unusual with the first book in a new series.  I look forward to reading more in this series, but I won't be stalking my mailbox for it.

Recommended to fans of Norse mythology.  Readers who enjoyed Hammered (The Iron Druid #3) by Kevin Hearne may enjoy this series.

Rating:  3.5 Shadows

Warning:  Contains violence, adult situations, and attempted rape.

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

A huge thank you to Tor and Susan Krinard for providing an excerpt for us to share today. We also have some fabulous Mist bookmarks below.  Click on the image, save, print, cut, enjoy!

Mist Bookmarks:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Birthday Bash Giveaway

It's my birthday and I'm celebrating with a giveaway! (and cake...lots and lots of CAKE)

E.J.'s Birthday Bash Giveaway

I am giving away an ebook copy of my new urban fantasy release to one lucky winner.  Enter to win GHOST LIGHT the second novel in the Ivy Granger series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Pirate Curse Book Tour

THE PIRATE CURSE, the final novel in the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, is coming!

The Pirate Curse (Spirit Guide #5) by E.J. Stevens

When Yuki starts smelling salt brine and seaweed, she finds her summer vacation hijacked by pirates...the DEAD kind.

Will the ghost of Black Sam Bellamy, Prince of Pirates, lead Yuki and her friends to treasure or terror?

A new Spirit Guide adventure you won't want to miss!

Release Date: October 8, 2013

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The Pirate Curse Book Tour

Book bloggers can sign up now to participate in The Pirate Curse Book Tour using the easy peasy form below.

The Pirate Curse Book Tour includes a Cover Reveal (September 3, 2013), ARC Reviews (ARCs available September 17, 2013), and a Release Day Giveaway (Rafflecopter Giveaway: $15 Amazon Gift Card + The Pirate Curse Ebook, October 8, 2013).

UPDATE:  There will be an optional Rafflecopter Giveaway during the Cover Reveal 9/9/13.  We'll be giving away some fun swagalicious prizes!  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Q+A with Steve Bein (Year of the Demon)

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Steve Bein.  Steve is the author of the Fated Blades series (Only a Shadow, Daughter of the Sword, and Year of the Demon).

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Since before I can remember.  My parents tell me I was writing stories as soon as I knew how to write.  But if you're asking how long I've been writing professionally, my first publication was ten years ago.  That was a novella called Beautiful Singer, about a samurai who steals a sword he believes is not haunted, and who turns out to be sadly mistaken about that fact.  That story ultimately evolved, nine years later, into the novel Daughter of the Sword, where the sword turns up in a series of murders in 21st-century Tokyo.  Then came Only a Shadow, and the next book in the Fated Blades series, Year of the Demon, comes out October 1st.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  Two things.  First of all, it's cool.  Part of me is still writing for my inner ten-year-old, and that kid loves Star Wars and Tolkien and comic books.  Second, I'm interested in fiction that explores some philosophically murky areas.  I find that sci-fi and fantasy open up new avenues to do that.  You can ask new questions, or shine new light on the perennial questions.  Philosophers and SF writers have shared the same territory for a long time.  The Matrix is just Plato’s allegory of the cave with kung fu and guns -- and now we circle back around to the inner ten-year-old.  Philosophy plus kung fu and guns; what’s not to love?

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

The Force.  Hands down.  I’ve spent twenty years in the martial arts, and of all the hundreds of ways I’ve learned to choke people out, none of them work from across the room.  Give me the Force and I would be the baddest of the bad in the UFC circuit.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

If you like thrillers, historical fiction, historical fantasy, urban fantasy, or police procedurals, I think you’re going to like these books.  If you like strong female protagonists, I think you’re going to like these books a lot.

The primary storyline is about Mariko Oshiro, the only woman to make the rank of detective and sergeant in Tokyo’s most elite police unit.  Mariko has to fight for every scrap of respect, and she gets to work cases involving yakuza drug rings, secret cults, and ancient samurai swords.

Some of the swords are said to be possessed, others are blessed, others are cursed.  These swords have been crossing paths, and changing history, for almost a thousand years.  And so there are historical interludes in the novels, where we see samurai in the 1300s, or ninja in the 1500s, or Army Intelligence officers in WWII, all contending with the will of the swords.

So Mariko’s story is a thriller and police procedural with a touch of urban fantasy.  Intersperse that with historical fiction with a touch of fantasy.  Add loads of research to recreate each of these historical periods, and modern day Tokyo too, with the attention to detail that they deserve.  I really do think these books have something for everyone.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

I just watched Pacific Rim, and Rinko Kikuchi (the Japanese woman who co-stars) would be a great Mariko.  Mariko is tough, she’s smart, she’s resourceful, and she can kick ass with a sword in her hands.  Rinko Kikuchi fits the bill on all three counts.

Mariko is hunting a yakuza enforcer called Fuchida Shuzo.  Hiroyuki Sanada would be my choice to play Fuchida.  For a long time he wasn’t well known in this country, but that’s changing.  He’s in the new Wolverine movie, he’s got a leading role in Keanu Reeves’ upcoming film, 47 Ronin, and he was by far the coolest guy in Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai.  He’s cool, he’s smart, and he’s a total badass with a sword.  (You may be detecting a theme here.)

Mariko’s sword sensei is called Yamada Yasuo.  He’s a blind swordsman (a recurring theme in lots of samurai movies and samurai stories going way, way back).  He’s a sort of Obi Wan Kenobi character (Alec Guinness, not Ewan MacGregor), but more of a wisecracker, and of course an absolute terminator with a sword.  To play Yamada-sensei, I guess I’d want Alec Guinness to reincarnate in a Japanese body and spend 80 years doing kenjutsu drills to prep for the role.  Barring that, Ken Watanabe would be great too, with lots of old geezer prosthetics, of course.

Year of the Demon (Fated Blades #2) by Steve Bein


Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask—or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields.

The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees—and before the underboss decides her time is up...

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Thank you Steve for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Steve Bein and his books, please visit his website.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Origin of Harborsmouth and a Givaway!

I'm over at Suzanne Johnson's fabulous blog today discussing the origin of Harborsmouth, the fictional city inhabited by our favorite psychic detective.

Check out this post Angry Mobs of Fairies!  Ghost Light with E.J. Stevens and W*n a Book at Preternatura: The Speculative Fiction Blog to learn more about my writing inspiration and have a chance to win a choice of Ghost Light or Shadow Sight.

Q+A with Georgia McBride (Praefatio)

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Georgia McBride.  Georgia is the author of Praefatio.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I began writing seriously in 2007 with PRAEFATIO.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

I try to write contemporary things, but every time I do, a vampire jumps out from behind the curtains. It’s very hard to stay on the contemporary path. I think fantasy is in my bones.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  I used to say I would want to fly. But now I suffer from terrible vertigo, and I don’t think that would be a good thing. I would love to be able to time travel.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  I hope readers will like a book where being paranormal isn’t the twist, and where they quickly appreciate the book being about something altogether different than they assumed.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Oh my. I should be so lucky. I think Grace could easily be played by someone like Isabelle Fuhrman or Rachel Hurd-Wood. Gavin is a tough one. Maybe Zach Efron or Sterling Beaumon.

Praefatio (Praefatio #1) by Georgia McBride.

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway...

After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety.

Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true?

Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Thank you Georgia for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

If you'd like to learn more about Georgia McBride and her books, please visit her website.