Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guest Post: School is Hell, Werewolf or Not by Skyla Dawn Cameron + River Giveaway

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Skyla Dawn Cameron.  Skyla is the author of RIVER.  Today she will be sharing a special guest post on the subject of High School bullying.  We will also be having a giveaway, so keep reading!

School is Hell, Werewolf or Not

Making my novel River a YA book was not initially something that entered my head; it came purely by necessity. A wolf being turned into a human was bad enough, but an adult woman could basically just leave the human world and find her way back to the forest. Not so for an underage girl, who would have many more barriers in her way and fewer potential resources. So keeping River among humans for the book meant making her a teen, which, of course, meant the setting had to be high school.

I had two main points of concern about this.

One, that all of the cruelty I’d witnessed from kids take the forefront of River’s high schooled experience. Most people consider high school hell. For me, it was middle school.

There were changes in my home life, my mood disorder was changing shape and morphing closer into what I live with today, I had a male teacher who was highly inappropriate with me and other girls, and the other were horrible. The push for social dominance that I’d glimpsed in elementary school grew more prominent and uglier in middle school, and while a lot of individuals would find their niche in high school, being different in grades seven and eight was a death sentence. You couldn’t escape becoming a target, sometimes merely saying the wrong thing, being in the wrong place, or doing absolutely nothing at all might lead to violence.

Here’s a quick bit from River:

Jen went silent and still, and I couldn’t appreciate the reprieve because the fine hairs rose on the back of my neck, a presence pushing behind me. Jen stared wide-eyed over my shoulder and lips parted.
I looked behind me to find a crowd of six people swarming, the girl in the lead drawing my attention right away. Long straight dark hair and cold eyes locked on me, broader shoulders and more height than her picture had suggested. Lindsay Sinclair...and she brought an entourage. What a surprise. I hate teenagers.
The photo hadn’t given me the impression there was much to her. I was wrong. Though she might have been a friend of Celeste’s, she wasn’t dressed in the typical, trendy clothes the others wore. Jeans, a large blue winter jacket probably concealing a weapon or two, solid running shoes.
I might need to worry about this one.
I twisted in my seat to face her and leaned back casually, clutched my 8B sketching pencil in case I had to stab her in the eye with it.
She stared down at me calmly, the buzzing tension around the others waiting for a fight not seeming to faze her. “You River?”
Hmm, she needed verification of my identity. Evidently there were several other tall, extremely pale girls with almost white hair at our school. Funny, I never saw any of them. Maybe they were werewolves too.
“I asked you a fucking question,” she said. “Oh, I forgot: you’re a little slow, aren’t you?”
This was going to be fun. My body tensed, prepared to leap at her. “What?”
“I hear you’ve been bothering some friends of mine,” she said.
I waited, but she didn’t continue. Apparently she required confirmation each time she spoke. Lindsay should’ve done her research—she’d be standing there all day if she expected me to respond to everything.
“Are you fucking deaf too?”
I spun the pencil between my fingers, gave the silence a few beats longer just to annoy her. “Waiting for you to get to the point.”
Her gaze narrowed and her cocky half-smile fell. “I don’t like it when someone bothers my people. Get it?”
I got it, I just didn’t care.
Her foot lashed out, kicked into the leg of my chair. My seat turned, screeched on the tile floor, and knocked into the table behind me. Lindsay leaned forward, hands hitting the table on either side of me, just a hair’s breadth away. Our eyes were level and she didn’t blink. “If I ever hear about you pulling that shit again, I will slit your fucking throat.”
A challenge. A challenge issued by someone who could actually be a threat. The pencil in my hand creaked as I clenched my fist; heart raced with glee at the prospect of a fight. My muscles tensed and burned, ready to attack.
Instead I leaned closer, glared directly in her green eyes, and growled low enough only she could hear. “Try it.”

That happened to me. Eighth grade. Except it was outside during lunch and the girl’s entourage was more like thirty or forty kids because they thought a fight was incoming. Someone had told the girl I was spreading rumours about a friend of her sister’s. I, of course, didn’t respond with “try it.” I responded with “I have no idea what you’re talking about but sure, I won’t do it again” while thinking oh god, I’ve never been in a fight, what if it hurts.

Ultimately, thankfully, there was no fight. The next year, ninth grade, the same girl was in my homeroom and was all smiles, friendly and talkative, and I’m pretty sure she had no bloody idea who the hell I was. (Which I found baffling.)

The second point of concern I had was to be careful to show the hellishness of school when you’re thrust in with these people who are still growing and changing and more often than not are horrible, all while avoiding typical high school stereotypes you see in movies and on TV.

Mostly because I don’t remember any of those.

Cheerleaders, right? Actually, I don’t know if we had those. I certainly never saw any women wandering the school in cheerleader outfits. And jocks, I mean, I think we might’ve had those, but I probably couldn’t pick them out in a crowd. I don’t know who was “popular” and whether they were any more horrible than everyone else (I’m guessing not). I hung out with the guitar crowd for a few years and I’m not sure if they counted as a stereotype or not.

And so it was with the novel River. The girls who are mean to her aren’t cheerleaders but just normal bitchy girls. The people who befriend River aren’t just dorks or outsiders, but kids from various groups who simply are lacking something—a sense of place in a pack—she can provide.

None of the kids, even the bullies, can be boiled down to just one type of person—they cross different social circles and they have different motivations (whether to collectively pounce on The Person Who Is Different or from insecurity driving them to establish a false sense of dominance). I know I was picked on, and I picked on others. Sometimes I stood up for kids being teased, other times I joined in the teasing. I am not particularly proud of anything I did that was cruel to someone else, but I think that’s probably more accurate for a lot of teen experiences than a clear-cut case of Person A is a bully and Person B is a victim every time. We can all be monsters given the right circumstances.

A lot of the other secondary characters came from similar idea of folding a lot of different aspects together, amalgamations of people I knew and watched. Charlie, River’s foster brother in the book, is made up of three or four different guys I knew in high school; the thing that happens to him during the dance (no spoilers) is an actual thing that happened to one of those guys (I heard the story second hand since I didn’t go to prom because ugh, I was busy having an anti-prom).

River, in a lot of ways, reflected my experience of school and the things I witnessed more than anything else, which I hope added a touch of realism to a book where wolf in human skin has to attend tenth grade.

River (River Wolfe #1) by Skyla Dawn Cameron.

Defiant, nocturnal, moody, and short tempered. Though she sounds like a typical teenager, River is anything but. She's a werewolf. River was once the alpha female of a wolf pack, until one night when she was attacked and bitten by a mysterious human. When she awoke, she found herself completely alone, and changed into a young human girl. Three years later, after being thrust into a world where she doesn't belong, and living in foster care, River believes she'll never know who bit her or why. Then one day in school, all that changes. Enter Daryl, who seems to be a normal teenage boy, though River recognizes him for what he is: the human that changed her. He holds the answers to all her questions, but only offers vague responses. He seems to be a step ahead of her at every turn, giving her only enough information to create even more questions. Although they're playing his game, River is determined to win. As if being stuck in a world she hates, with a life she never asked for, and faced with a destiny she doesn't want wasn't bad enough, River still must find a way to survive every human's greatest challenge: high school.

Genre: Mature/Upper YA, Paranormal
Add to Goodreads.

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

To learn more about Skyla Dawn Cameron and her books, please visit her website and don't miss our Q+A with Skyla Dawn Cameron where we discuss her Demons of Oblivion series.

River Giveaway

The author is giving away a HUGE River themed prize pack.

- DVD/Blu-Ray combo of Ginger Snaps
- River poster print
- River tote bag
- wolf charm bookmark
- River postcard
- wolf charm necklace
- Animal Speak pocket guide version by Ted Andrews

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada.  This is a tour giveaway, so winners will be randomly selected by the author or publisher.

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Good luck!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

Today we have a special Teen Wytche Saga book excerpt and giveaway for our readers.

Book Excerpt
Spell Fire: Teen Wytche Saga

I paused beneath the fern‑painted ceiling fan and scanned the wall menu. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but a weird craving fueled my search.

The dragon exerted pressure between my shoulder blades, prompting me. "A Scorpion's Nest smoothie."

Morningstar leaned over the high counter and gave me a once‐over. "You feeling okay?"

I licked my lips. "Absolutely." I had never tasted an orange juice, vanilla ice cream, and peanut butter combo, but I slapped the countertop and said, "I'm fine. Hit me."

Morningstar tilted her head to one side and studied me.

Oh — crap. Maybe I'm dragon drunk.

My thoughts: This looks like such a fun YA read.  I can totally picture Ainslie slapping the counter and ordering more of this strange concoction.  I can't wait to read more!

What did you think of the book excerpt?

Spell Fire (Teen Wytche Saga #3) by Ariella Moon

Ainslie’s parents ditch her at Christmas.
A dragon wants to be her new BFF.
There is something her boyfriend isn’t telling her.
And no one will explain the hissing spell book.

Second worst Christmas EVER!

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Teen Wytche Saga Giveaway 

The author is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is a tour giveaway and the winners will be randomly selected by the author or publisher.

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Good luck!

Friday, August 22, 2014

E.J.'s Birthday Bash Giveaway

It's my birthday and I'm celebrating with a giveaway!  I am giving away tons of fabulous swag. 

Birthday Bash Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive swag (some of it signed) from both my Spirit Guide young adult paranormal romance series and the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.  I am digging into my secret stash for postcards, bookmarks, stickers, trading cards, magnets, and more!

To enter, leave a message on this post and include your email address so we may contact you if you win.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends September 5, 2014 midnight EST.

A very merry unbirthday to YOU.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Q+A with Madeline Freeman + Crystal Magic Book Giveaway

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author, Madeline Freeman!  Madeline is the author of CRYSTAL MAGIC.

Keep reading for a chance to win a signed copy of Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman!

Q+A with Madeline Freeman

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  I wrote my first story for pleasure when I was in the fifth grade—maybe ten or eleven years old. After that, it was like I opened a floodgate. All through middle school, I wrote stories in notebooks, passing them around to my friends. When I was in the eighth and ninth grade, I wrote the first draft of what eventually became Crystal Magic. There are few similarities between the original and the published version, though.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  The real world is boring. Who doesn’t want to teleport or read minds? I always find myself drawn to movies and shows with a fantastic element. I love living inside magical worlds.

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

OMG, I would be the master of time and space—like Hiro Nakamura in the show Heroes. I’d be able to freeze time and teleport at will. Why? Because it would be awesome! Hm, looks like it’ll be rainy this weekend, but I had my heart set on going to the beach. BOOM! Hawaii, here I am! Or even just day-to-day stuff. I’m at work and I realize I left something at home? BOOM! Back home, nab the thing, back to work! As for freezing time, who couldn’t use more sleep or more time to relax?

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

  People will enjoy Crystal Magic because it has elements of mystery and love. It’s a story of a girl claiming her place in the world. Also, magic.

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

  Kristyl Barnette would be played by someone like Georgina Haig. I loved her in Fringe and am excited to see her in season four of Once Upon a Time as Elsa. She can play innocent and badass. I think Kristyl needs something like that.

When I imagine Bridget Burke, she looks a lot like Francia Raisa, from The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Some of the other characters are harder, because, in my mind, they tend to be younger versions of actors I grew up with. Owen Marsh, for example, looks like an actor named Jonathan Brandis, who I had the biggest crush on back in middle- and high school (you know, forever ago). (If you’ve got Netflix, I highly recommend searching for the show seaQuest. It’s from the early 1990s and super cheesy, but I love it.) And Fox Holloway is a young David Duchovny (because, well, Fox).

But if I had to choose actors who are, you know, currently kind of young, my cast list might look more like this:

Owen Marsh: Connor Jessup—I like how he can be both sweet and tortured.

Crystal Jamison: Shelley Hennig—I liked her in The Secret Circle. She can play a leader.

For Lexie Taylor and Fox Holloway, I might go with Holland Roden and Tyler Posey (both from Teen Wolf), although, to be honest, I’ve never seen either of them act. They just have the right vibe for the characters.

Have a question for Madeline? Let us know in the comments.

Crystal Magic (Clearwater Witches #1) by Madeline Freeman.

Nothing is safe around Kristyl Barnette. Windows break. Books rocket across the room. Lights flicker. Strange occurrences follow the sixteen-year-old everywhere.

When tragedy forces her to move to the small town of Clearwater, Michigan, with her estranged aunt Jodi, Kristyl tries to leave her past behind. But Clearwater has secrets of its own—a mystical history that intersects with Kristyl’s life and might shed light on the inexplicable events that plague her.

When a mysterious illness threatens her aunt’s life, Kristyl will do anything to cure her. Enlisting the help of witches could save Jodi, but is dealing in magic worth the consequences?

Release Date:  March 30, 2014
Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Crystal Magic Book Giveaway

The author is giving away a signed copy of Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman to one lucky winner!

To enter, please use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada.  This is a tour giveaway and the winner will be randomly selected by the author or publisher.  Giveaway ends August 26, 2014.

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Good luck!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Solus Series Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Stephanie the winner of our Solus Series Ebook Giveaway here at From the Shadows!  Stephanie will an ebook copy of any one book in the Solus series by Devri Walls.

Thank you to all who entered!

**Giveaway winner selected using**

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Seeress by Ednah Walters

Today we have a special book excerpt from SEERESS by Ednah Walters and a fab giveaway for our readers.

Keep reading for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Book Excerpt

“I need to show you something,” I said and reached under my T-shirt for his seal pendant.

“Apologize first.”

“Torin, this is not the time for games.”

“Who said I’m playing?” He braced himself on the doorframe and lowered his head until he and I were on the same eye level. “You told me to stay away from you. Unforgiveable. You implied our relationship might not survive. Totally wrong and cruel. But the worst part, you said your feelings for me make you weak.” His eyebrows shot up. “Weak? Seriously? What in Hel’s Mist does that mean?” He was furious.

“Are you forgetting what happened before I said those things?”

“So no apology?”

“No.” I was dying to, but he had to understand I wasn’t a breakable doll.

He stepped back and slammed the door in my face.

My jaw dropped. No, he didn’t. That arrogant man didn’t just do that. I turned to walk downstairs so angry I wanted to chuck something. Halfway down the stairs, I stopped and glared at my phone, wishing I could send him a nasty text. Too bad he wouldn’t see it.

I stomped back.

When I burst into his room, he was waiting. His eyes said he’d known I’d be back.

“Let me tell you exactly what I think of your tantrum, Valkyrie. It was unforgiveable. You don’t slam the door in my face. Ever. You do it again and I’ll… I’ll…” I took a step back as he closed the gap between us. “What are you—?”

My thoughts:  This was such a fun excerpt!  I loved the tension between these two characters.  Did anyone else sense a romantic spark there, or is it just me?  I can't wait to read more and find out.

What did you think of the book excerpt?

Holy smokes, I LOVE this cover!
What do you think? Love it? Hate it?

Seeress (Runes #3) by Ednah Walters.

I love Torin St. James...
I need his strength…
But someone from his past wants me dead.

Raine Cooper is certain of two things: her love for Torin St. James and her destiny to be a powerful seeress. But when she starts having premonitions, they are unclear and disturbing. Worse, they involve Torin. With her mother gone, her father dying, and her best friend in Hel, she is not sure who to talk to.

But when the visions become more personal and she foresees her future with Torin threatened by someone from his past, Raine becomes desperate for answers. Just her luck two new students arrive at her school and they seem to have answers. When with them, her powers are enhanced and her visions become clear. There is only one problem: Torin forbids Raine to see the two girls.

Can their love survive without trust?

Release Date: April 28, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Seeress Giveaway

The author is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash to one lucky winner!

To enter, please use this Rafflecopter form.  This is a tour giveaway and the winner will be selected randomly by the author, tour, or publisher.  Giveaway ends August 27, 2014.

Good luck!

Want to know more about Ednah Walters?  Check out our 2010 interview with Ednah Walters.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post: America's Haunted Destinations by Kimber Leigh Wheaton + Tortured Souls Giveaway

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Kimber Leigh Wheaton!  Kimber Leigh is the author of The Light Chronicles (Shadow Fire, Stolen Moon) and The Orion Circle series (Tortured Souls) and she has written a fascinating guest post for our readers on America's Haunted Destinations!

Keep reading for a chance to win books, swag, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Guest Post
America's Haunted Destinations - Chicago, IL

I’ve had the privilege of living in some of America’s most haunted cities. Yet I’ve never (yep—never) had a paranormal experience beyond simple events that can be written off as a trick of the eye or the light or just plain old imagination. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been looking for the paranormal most of my life. Ghosts have fascinated me since early childhood. So in this series of posts I’ll reveal some of the haunted destinations I’ve visited in my search for the supernatural.

I lived in a northwest suburb of Chicago until I was thirteen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the freedom at the time to explore all of the haunted sites. My parents really weren’t into the paranormal at all.  At the top of my list would be the site of the Murder Castle. Of course the original building is gone now, which is a real shame. As gruesome as the whole thing is, I’d be curious to see the actual traps and the location in general.

Photo courtesy of The Chicago Tribune Archive, August 18, 1895

Don’t know the story? It’s quite fascinating, if you’re into serial killers, that is. H.H. Holmes built a large house in downtown Chicago for the sole purpose of luring victims there to murder them. He preyed on the innocent rubes (mostly young women) who came to the city for the World’s Fair. He offered inexpensive rooms for the night, but he failed to mention the “no checking out” policy. He didn’t limit himself to strangers, having also killed several employees, friends, coworkers… he was an equal opportunity killer. I believe a post office stands where the building once was (it burned to the ground). They say his ghost not only haunts the premises, but also the nearby Museum of Science & Industry.

The Museum of Science & Industry is supposedly haunted by lots of ghosts. These rumors are easy to understand once you see the sprawling structure. When I was a child, we made trips to the city about twice a year. One of my favorite destinations was this museum. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. I do wish it was open for guided night tours, though. That place would be downright creepy at night!

Photo of Inez courtesy of Michael Buckley

Another intriguing destination is Resurrection Cemetery where you may run across Resurrection Mary. I’m sure you’ve heard the urban legend about picking up hitchhiking girls in fancy dresses. At Graceland Cemetery, you’ll find the statue of Inez Clarke who was killed by lightning. She has been sighted roaming around the cemetery at night and is especially active during storms.

What did you think of Kimber Leigh's guest post?

Tortured Souls (Orion Circle #1) by Kimber Leigh Wheaton.

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn't an option.

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it's ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie's longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he's never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can't ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

Release Date: June 29, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Tortured Souls Giveaway

The author is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT), a signed print copy of Tortured Souls (US), and 5 sets of signed bookmarks (US).

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This is a tour giveaway and the winners will be selected randomly by the author or publisher.

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Good luck!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Excerpt + Giveaway: Accession by Terah Edun

Today we have a special book excerpt for you from ACCESSION by Terah Edun and a giveaway.

Keep reading for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Accession Book Excerpt

     As Mrs. Peabody narrowed her eyes, sniffed, and then turned to pick on another student, Katherine drifted off. In a daydream, a memory, a premonition, or something that was all of those things in one. She watched through the frosty window as a maelstrom of black clouds, heavy lightning, and rain appeared in the morning sky.
      For a moment she felt a sharp pain, the same kind she felt when her mother had fractured her knee surveying corn last week. She’d known the moment the Queen of Sandersville had fallen and had felt her mother’s pain from miles away. She had asked Rose about it later. After chiding her about releasing a powerful flare of magic in response and setting an acre of forest on fire in the process, as if Katherine had had a choice, Rose had explained that she’d also started to sense the pain of others late in her fifteenth year.
     But this ache was different. It was worse, and she had no idea what was causing it. Then she felt her gifts rise. The dark gifts. The dangerous part of her that was her witch’s gift. The part of every witch and warlock’s magic that was innate to them, unique to them. That one special gift that made every coven member different from the rest. That couldn’t be duplicated with spells or trapped with magic. Rose’s was her affinity to plants. Their mother’s was her command over earth. But Katherine’s was unlike either of those. It wasn’t weird and unique, like Thu Kim’s ability to awaken awareness in inanimate objects, or cool, like Connor’s telepathy. No, hers was a call. A call that brought destruction in its wake.
     With a shock, Katherine snapped out of her vision. She could feel her power building in a swirl of darkness in the pit of her stomach. Like a twister, it was ready to emerge. Standing up in a hurry, she ran between the desks in an effort to get out the door. To get somewhere quiet. Somewhere safe where she wouldn’t hurt anybody.
     She was holding on by a thread.
     A thread that broke when Mrs. Peabody snapped, “Katherine Thompson, sit down!”

My thoughts:  I love how the tension of this excerpt builds along with Katherine's growing power.  Was a devastating force unleashed by the teacher's outburst?  I can't wait to find out what happens next!

What did you think of the book excerpt?

Accession (Sarath Web #1) by Terah Edun.

Sixteen-year-old Katherine Thompson wasn’t trained to rule a coven. That was her sister – perfect, beautiful Rose. But when a mysterious plane crash kills off the heir presumptive of the Sandersville coven she has no choice. After stepping in to fill her sister’s shoes, Katherine realizes she didn’t have a clue – faery wars, depressed trolls and angry unicorns are just the beginning.

For centuries, her family has served the high Queens on both sides of the Atlantic but it is a well-known rule that mid-level witches stay away from high-level Queens. But when Katherine’s youngest cousin vanishes without a trace in the Atlanta court and no one wants to investigate, Katherine decides to step into the darkness on her own. She soon discovers that nothing, especially in the Atlanta High Queen’s court, is as it seems.

When she accidentally opens a rift in the search for her cousin, Richard LeCross, the Queen’s warlock, decides that Katherine is more trouble than she’s worth. He determines that this mortal, dangerously close to becoming a High Queen, needs to die. But killing Katherine is easier said than done. For a young woman who’s always believed in right versus wrong, she’s about to go head over heels into the dark side.

Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Accession Giveaway

The author is giving away a $25 Gift Card to the winner's choice of Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

To enter, use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  This giveaway is a tour giveaway and winner's will be randomly selected by the author or publisher.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Release Day Giveaway + Book Excerpt: LUX: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Today we are celebrating the release of OPPOSITION by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  And it wouldn't be a release party without a giveaway, right?  We've got you covered!

Keep reading for a chance to win amazing prizes.

Also check out this fab book excerpt!

Book Excerpt:


I still stared at Daemon, completely aware that everyone else except him was watching me. Closely. But why wouldn’t he look at me? A razor-sharp panic clawed at my insides. No. This couldn’t be happening. No way.
My body was moving before I even knew what I was doing.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Dee shake her head and one of the Luxen males step forward, but I was propelled by an inherent need to prove that my worst fears were not coming true.

After all, he’d healed me, but then I thought of what Dee had said, of how Dee had behaved with me. What if Daemon was like her? Turned into something so foreign and cold? He would’ve healed me just to make sure he was okay.

I still didn’t stop.
 Please, I thought over and over again. Please. Please. Please. On shaky legs, I crossed the long room, and even though Daemon hadn’t seemed to even acknowledge my existence, I walked right up to him, my hands trembling as I placed them on his chest.

“Daemon?” I whispered, voice thick.

His head whipped around, and he was suddenly staring down at me. Our gazes collided once more, and for a second I saw something so raw, so painful in those beautiful eyes. And then his large hands wrapped around my upper arms. The contact seared through the shirt I wore, branding my skin, and I thought—I expected—that he would pull me against him, that he would embrace me, and even though nothing would be all right, it would be better.

Daemon’s hands spasmed around my arms, and I sucked in an unsteady breath.

His eyes flashed an intense green as he physically lifted me away from him, setting me back down a good foot back.

I stared at him, something deep in my chest cracking. “Daemon?”

He said nothing as he let go, one finger at a time, it seemed, and his hands slid off my arms. He stepped back, returning his attention to the man behind the desk.

“So . . . awkward,” murmured the redhead, smirking.

I was rooted to the spot in which I stood, the sting of rejection burning through my skin, shredding my insides like I was nothing more than papier-mâché.

“I think someone was expecting more of a reunion,” the Luxen male behind the desk said, his voice ringing with amusement. “What do you think, Daemon?”

One shoulder rose in a negligent shrug. “I don’t think anything.”

My mouth opened, but there were no words. His voice, his tone, wasn’t like his sister’s, but like it had been when we first met. He used to speak to me with barely leashed annoyance, where a thin veil of tolerance dripped from every word.The rift in my chest deepened.
For the hundredth time since the Luxen arrived, Sergeant Dasher’s warning came back to me. What side would Daemon and his family stand on? A shudder worked its way down my spine. I wrapped my arms around myself, unable to truly process what had just happened.

“And you?” the man asked. When no one answered, he tried again. “Katy?”

I was forced to look at him, and I wanted to shrink back from his stare. “What?” I was beyond caring that my voice broke on that one word.

The man smiled as he walked around the desk. My gaze flickered over to Daemon as he shifted, drawing the attention of the beautiful redhead. “Were you expecting a more personal greeting?” he asked. “Perhaps something more intimate?”

I had no idea how to answer. I felt like I’d fallen into the rabbit hole, and warnings were firing off left and right. Something primal inside me recognized that I was surrounded by predators.

My thoughts:  I could feel Katy's heart breaking as I read every painful word of this book excerpt.  I immediately wanted to scream at my monitor, "Why, Daemon, why?"  Now I NEED to find out what is going on.  I can't wait to read more! 

What did you think of the book excerpt?

Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Opposition Release Party Giveaway

The author is giving away a Lux Series Basket with Lux themed jewelry, a signed set of the Lux Series and a $50 gift card to a retailer of the winner’s choice (Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or Indiebound).

To enter, please use this Rafflecopter form.  This is a tour giveaway and the winners will be selected randomly by the author, tour, or publisher.  This giveaway ends in two days, so enter soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blood and Mistletoe Winners

The winners of our Paranormal Christmas in July Giveaway are Gemma, Kathy, Amanda, Eg, Summer, and Jill.  Congratulations!  Winners will receive ebook copies of BLOOD AND MISTLETOE, an Ivy Granger urban fantasy novella by E.J. Stevens.

Thank you to all who entered!

**Giveaway winners randomly selected using Rafflecopter.**

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Excerpt: The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Today we have a special book excerpt for our readers from the upcoming release THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory!

Book Excerpt

THE EARLY-MORNING sunlight shone through the French doors that led out to the balcony of Princess Clarice’s tower bedroom. From the balcony was the sweeping vista of the Borogny Mountains, spreading their pristine robes for admiration, their high peaks crowned in clouds and their slopes robed in snow year-round. They were the first thing Princess Clarice saw each morning as the sun rose over the Swanscrown.
I shall miss this. The thought came before Clarice quite realized she was awake. There was no point now in trying to convince herself she was asleep. Throwing back the covers, she shrugged into her wrapper, tucked her feet into her slippers, and padded over to the French doors. Taking a deep anticipatory breath, she flung them open and stepped out onto the balcony. As always, the dawn chill made her catch her breath, but she had done this every morning for as long as she could remember. Today, she would do it for the last time. In the distance, she could hear the faint music of the bells at the university calling the students to their morning lectures. Any other day, Clarice would have watched the valley awaken until she was chilled clear through. But today was a day unlike any other in all her previous eighteen years, and she was in a hurry to meet it.

Breakfast was normally a noisy family affair, but today Clarice saw only three places set at the long oak table. Duke Rupert was seated in his usual place at the head of the table, but the Duchess was seated to his right, instead of at the far end, and a place was set for Clarice on his left.
“Come in, darling,” Yetive said encouragingly.
“Where is everyone?” Clarice asked curiously, coming in and taking her seat.
“The ballroom,” her father answered, taking a slice of toast from the toast rack and buttering it. “Today is your birthday, after all. Had you forgotten?”
“Of course not!” Family tradition was that the birthday child had breakfast alone with Mama and Papa. Even Dantan had had his special day, though then, on his first birthday, he had been much too young to appreciate it.
And Clarice would not be here for his next one.
“I was just so…” She stopped. She couldn’t say exactly how she felt about leaving Swansgaarde. Preoccupied, absolutely. Nervous? Perhaps. Curious? Daring?
“Excited?” Mama asked.
Clarice smiled gratefully. “Yes. That. I can’t wait to begin, but at the same time, it feels almost disloyal to be so happy.”
“I shall call for the royal executioner at once,” Papa said, helping himself to eggs and sausage from the silver chafing dishes on the table. The Duke had a particularly dry sense of humor and generally cloaked his stronger feelings in it.
“Don’t you remember, dear?” Mama replied with a little smile. “Your great-grandfather pensioned the last one off and we haven’t had one since.”
“Drat,” Papa said mildly. “What’s the use of being a duke if you can’t order anyone beheaded?”
“Oh,” Mama said with a saucy wink, “you may order it as much as you like.…”
Clarice laughed, as she was meant to, at her parents’ gentle teasing. Duke Rupert was the mildest of men, preferring a day of fishing on the banks of the Traza to a day of making ducal pronouncements. Clarice knew that other countries were ruled very differently—why, far-off Lochrin, which she had studied in her geography class, had a parliament and a prime minister and hundreds of people who did nothing all day but help Queen Gloriana rule her vast empire.
“So,” Papa said. Breakfast was finished and the footmen had come in to clear away the dishes. “Today, Daughter, is your eighteenth birthday. Have you decided where you will go and what you will do?” He steepled his fingers. “Given your chosen ‘trade,’ I would become a very exclusive instructor, if I were you. I think you would excel at it.”
Clarice refrained from making a face. Granted, she probably would make a good instructor—and eventually that might be what she would do. But not before she had a chance to see more of the world!
“I shall seek adventure, of course,” Clarice said with a laugh. “Think how disappointed Damaris would be if I said anything else! But the best adventures come when one is not looking for them, so I have it in mind to see something of the world. Besides, the best instructors all have continentwide reputations, and I’m not going to get enough pupils to earn my living without one. I believe even traveling all the way to Lochrin itself will be far less costly than staying quietly in Swansgaarde.” And perhaps adventure will find me. “It isn’t as if I can’t do without servants, after all.”
This, too, was true. From the time they were fourteen, the princesses were required to spend a month of each year waiting on their sisters, and at sixteen, to spend three months living in the Royal Hunting Lodge without a single servant. It was one thing to be able to shoot a goose—any noble worth his salt could do that. But could he gut and skin it, then cook and serve it?
Duke Rupert’s daughters could. And polish a pair of boots, make up a bed, or muck out a stable. It was excellent training, Duke Rupert always said, in case one had to go incognito among someone else’s servants—or flee into the wilderness.
Clarice was unsurprised to see her mother nod. “An excellent choice,” Yetive said.
“I thought that was what you would decide,” the Duke added approvingly—but then, the Duke so trusted his wife’s judgment that he was inclined to approve anything she endorsed. “I have made arrangements with my banker in Heimlichstadt for the necessary funds, so remember to see him before you go.” While each of them would be expected to earn her own living, each princess would leave Swansgaarde with everything she needed to take up her chosen trade, and enough money to support her for perhaps a year. While it might seem like a great deal of outlay—especially since the entire purpose of this plan was to not bankrupt Swansgaarde—even the whole cost of sending twelve princesses forth to seek their fortunes was less than the cost of twelve royal dowries and twelve royal weddings.
The Duke got to his feet; Clarice and the Duchess stood as well. “And I wish you luck, love, and adventure, my darling.” He hugged her tightly.
“Adventure most of all,” her mother said, putting her arms around Clarice in turn. “And so you don’t forget us on all your adventures…” The Duchess cocked an eyebrow at her husband.
The Duke reached into his pocket and drew out a small blue box. “What’s a birthday without presents?”
Clarice opened the box. Inside, on a bed of royal-blue velvet, lay a golden brooch, perhaps as long as her thumb. Upon it, in silver and blue enamel over gold, were the swans and towers of Swansgaarde. As a proper princess, Clarice had had lessons on heraldry, and she could blazon the device as easily as the chief herald: argent and azure, shield quartered per chevron; center base, a swan swimming, argent; to dexter chief, a tower, argent; to dexter sinister, a mountain peak, argent. The arms were bordered by a double ring of diamonds alternating with pearls, and the back of the brooch was as ornate as the front, its smooth gold etched with an intricate drawing of Castle Swansgaarde. Engraved beneath was the family motto: Je me promène là où je vais. The first Prince of Swansgaarde had come from Wauloisene, and Waulois was still the official court language. “I wander where I will.” Perhaps it is a good omen.
“Of course it is bespelled,” Mama said. “So long as you have it, you will always be able to find your way back to Swansgaarde.”
“I shall wear it always—and think of all of you,” Clarice said proudly.

My thoughts:  I fell in LOVE with this cover and was happy to get my hands on a book excerpt for The House of the Four Winds from the publisher.  I love how this snippet lets us see that these princesses were not raised like the ones in storybooks.  No, these young women were given the opportunity to get their royal hands dirty.  Judging from the synopsis, Princes Clarice will need all of those skills in order to survive her trip to the New World in this lighthearted, swashbuckling adventure.

(My review copy is on the way, so I should have a review of this soon!)

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1) by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.

Release Date:  August 5, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Tor
Add to Goodreads.

What do you think of the book excerpt?