Review: Just Friends, by Tiffany Pitcock 1

5 out of 5 Stars

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Review:

I enthusiastically recommend this YA Romance to everyone. This captured the mind set of teenagers in high school in just the right way. The story is very entertaining and such a great idea. Just the thought of these two fooling the whole school by pretending to have know each other forever is a fantastic start. As the story goes on they do delve into a few deeper and realistic ideals, but not in a bad way to scare anyone off from wanting their young teens to read this. Warning though, there is underage drinking so if you don’t want someone to read about that then this might need to be skipped for now. Jenny and Chance stole my heart. Loved this story.

Reviewed by Fawny

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description:

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

About The Author:

I was born and raised in Arkansas, which isn’t terribly exciting. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to sit in class and write stories in my notebooks, thinking that everyone did. It turns out, everyone didn’t. I love writing because it means I’m putting my thoughts, feelings, and soul out there for someone else to read – for someone else to feel. The fact that someone can read my words, and empathize with my characters – characters that wouldn’t exist with out me, that I created from my mind – is such a wonderful concept to me. I could happily write for the rest of my life as long as there was one person out there who was affected by my words.

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  • Print copy of Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

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Review: Dream Me, by Kathryn Berla Reply

4 out of 5 Stars

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Review:
This was truly a joy to read with all the different characters. The heroine made this book fun with her entertaining thoughts from her life, dreams, and blog. Even with the time travel and science fiction elements this tale was very unpredictable and kept the reader guessing on how it will is end. A lovely ending blended with a contemporary feel.
Reviewed by Romantic Renay
Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
Description:

Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams…

Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat. Night after night, Babe shows Zat her world. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. Babe’s life outside of her dreams pales in comparison to her growing love for Zat and their time spent together.

But the more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. How can he live a life with Babe, when all they have is her dreams?

Can a dream become a reality?

About The Author:

Kathryn Berla graduated from the University of California at Berkeley as an English major. She has lived in many different countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Review: Grunt, by Kailee Reese Samuels 1

4 out of 5 Stars

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Review:

This book was an emotional roller-coaster ride, truly captivate me. This is about power and a darker side with many twist and turns. Fans will be moved with crying, laughing, and hostility.

Reviewed by Romantic Renay

Description:

Six days.

No one thought I could last
Here in the cell—I now call home
They didn’t know I grew up in the prison of my crime family’s dream.

Six weeks.

No one thought I could withstand
The loss, the drugs, the torture
They didn’t know how much I would enjoy their game.

Six months.

No one thought I could survive
Their puppet and prey—but I like to play—Hard.
And I don’t lose.

They picked the wrong guy. Their so-called ‘grunt’ would fight to get home and take revenge. I vowed to come back—for her—for Kaci. But everything changed.

My maniacal mind wrapped with a pretty mug, I am an unforgiving opponent, tough—tougher than they ever imagined.

And I will never – ever – break.

About The Author:

Embracing diversity. Coffee addict. Mango lover. Blueberry fetishist. Sweet peach tea crazy. Red wine devout. Whiskey deviant. Tattooed & pierced. Loves shoes. Collects rosaries. Fanatical organizer/cleaner/list-maker. Never sleeps. Hermit and recluse.

Storyteller.

KAILEE REESE SAMUELS has been spinning tales since she can remember. Her books are contemporary fiction with a no-holds-barred attitude. She adores listening to her characters ramble and putting them into situations that push the boundaries.

Creativity is the way to change.

Author links:

Review: Harmful Rush, by Debra Doxer 1

4 out of 5 Stars

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Review:

More, more, and more…that’s what I am thinking after reading this book. I was hooked by the first chapter. Just what I was looking for a great emotional roll-coaster. I found the story to be action packed, and a wonderful fast-paced page turning mystery. Very humorous, romantic, and heartwarming.

Reviewed by Romantic Renay

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description:

Harmful Rush is a standalone, full-length novel set in the Remedy world. You do not have to read the first two books to read this book.

Skylark Samuels has a secret.

She’s not a normal teenager, although she plays one in real life. Pretending to be something you’re not isn’t easy, especially in high school where gossip is gold. For years, Sky manages to hide her uniqueness, until one fateful day when she exposes her gift, her curse, and all her fears come to pass. Now instead of going to college near home like she planned, she has to leave town and go someplace where the rumors can’t follow. The plan when she gets there: keep to herself and stay under the radar.

But blending into the background is impossible when local heartthrob Dylan Parks notices her. Even though Sky keeps her distance and doesn’t act like one of Dylan’s adoring fans, he goes out of his way to talk to her. Her. The girl who wants to be invisible.

Sky isn’t immune to Dylan’s charm, but getting close to him is a bad idea. It goes against the promise she made to herself. Besides, if Dylan knew the truth, he wouldn’t want her. If he discovered her secret, he’d treat her differently and possibly fear her. It’s happened before. But the more Sky gets to know Dylan, the harder it is to resist him, until fate intervenes.

A tragic event forces Sky to reveal herself to the one person she’s come to care for, and his reaction is unexpected. For the first time, she doesn’t feel so alone. But what she doesn’t realize is that she’s never been alone. When she finally lets her guard down, someone comes along who threatens to unravel everything, because being normal was never Sky’s destiny.

About The Author:

Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $25 Amazon or iTunes Gift Card

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Spotlight: Serenade, by Heather McKenzie Reply

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Description:

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.

Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.

Excerpt:

With every shifting of the breeze, my heart sped up. Every shadow made me jump. The small campfire crackled and smoked, playing with my vision.

“It’s him, isn’t it?” Luke said quietly. “Your fiancé… you think he’s out there somewhere?”

“Yes. My father would have sent him.”

“Why?”

“Because he will stop at nothing to get me back.”

“But the sky has been quiet for a while,” Luke said softly.

I looked up. There hadn’t been the sound of helicopters this morning, even though the sky was clear now and vibrant blue above the treetops.

“Do you really love this guy?” Luke asked softly, and I heard him hold his breath.

I forced my head to nod. “Yes.”

“Then you have my word that I won’t hurt him,” he said.

I adjusted the blanket and stayed by his side while he fell asleep. On the edge of my nerves, I kept a watchful eye on the bushes and the gun ready in my hands.

About The Author:

Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.
Author links:
Giveaway:
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
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Review: Just Like You Said it Would Be, by C.K. Kelly Martin 2

4 out of 5 Stars

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Review:

I enjoyed this story I thought the end was a little sudden like it could have used another chapter after all the detail that the rest of the book had. The characters were really interesting and had lots of details that make them like a friend.   So while I liked the ending I would have just liked a little more.

Reviewed by Brave One

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description:

Did you ever want something so much that it felt like a kind of sickness, one you didn’t want to be cured of? On New Year’s Eve the feeling compels seventeen-year-old Amira to text the Irish ex-boyfriend she’s been missing desperately since they broke up at the end of summer, when she returned to Canada.

They agreed they wouldn’t be friends, that it would never be enough. But that was then— back when Amira’s separated parents had shipped her off to relatives in Dublin for the summer so they could test-drive the idea of getting back together on a long haul cruise. Back when Amira was torn away from a friend in need in Toronto only to fall in love with a Dublin screenwriting class and take a step closer to her dream career. And only to fall for cousin Zoey’s bandmate, Darragh, the guy who is first her friend, then her enemy and later something much more complicated—the guy she can say anything to, the guy who makes every inch of her feel wide awake in a way she hadn’t known was possible. The guy she might never see again. Or is there, despite the distance, somehow still a chance for them?

About The Author:

Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major–not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. in Film Studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always thoughts I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that writing about young characters felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can. My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008 and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, was published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and I’m pleased to announce they’ll be releasing my upcoming contemporary young adult novel, Delicate, on September 16th. Watch my website for more details!

Author links:
Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $40 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of Just Like You Said it Would Be

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Spotlight: Chameleon, by Zoe Kalo Reply

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Description:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.

When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

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Excerpt:

I cannot clearly say how I had entered

the wood; I was so full of sleep just at

the point where I abandoned the true path.

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno 1. 11-12

Chapter 1

Puerto Rico, 1973

Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss embraced us from both sides, but not enough to shield us from the prison that would be my home for the next seven months. The high stone walls and neo-Gothic bell tower loomed over us as my stepfather drove his Mercedes through the spiked iron gates and into the sloping, curving driveway.

A spider of dread crawled up my back. Prison indeed.

I couldn’t believe it had come to this. The way things had blown out of proportion. I’d only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.

My mother reached for my hand from the front seat without turning around to look at me. I stared at her perfectly polished red nails and the glittery square cut emerald on her ring finger. Her fingers flicked, silently pleading for my attention, but I was frozen inside. Her hand retreated.

I stared at the convent, my eyes studying the pointed arched windows, the worn, age-blackened stones. The place looked haunted. Perfect for my state of mind. What was my mother thinking?

Something moved behind one of the windows. A face. For an instant my pulse raced at the sheer paleness of it, at the two dark holes that made up its eyes.

“What are you looking at?” Sara, my six-year-old half sister, asked.

I pointed. “A girl.”

She followed my line of vision. “Where?”

“There. High up. In the window.”

She dipped her head so she could have a better look. “I don’t see anything.”

I felt a shiver, but not from the cold. It’s white. It’s watching us.

Then the car moved too close to the building, and the face vanished from view.  

“Is this your new school, Paloma?” Sara asked.

I nodded. Sara was the child, female version of my stepfather. Her bottomless dark eyes, framed by velvety lashes, stared at me with misery. “I don’t like it,” she whispered, grabbing my hand.

“It’ll be okay,” I whispered back, and gave her hand a little squeeze.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“Well, here we are,” Domenico said in his strong Castilian accent, stopping the car in front of the entrance. He climbed out and opened the door for my mother. Then he proceeded to take out my suitcases from the trunk.

My mother was silent. She stepped out like a wooden mannequin, her eyes shimmery with unshed tears.

I climbed out, followed by Sara, the gravel crunching under our shoes. The early morning air was cool and a blanket of mist still lingered—not surprising, since the convent was on the outskirts of El Yunque, the island’s rain forest. More Spanish moss hung from the oak trees and rippled in the breeze like long, shivering memories. I could smell the dew on the leaves and the rich perfume of moist earth, redolent of open graves.

I glanced at the ominous clouds. “Beautiful morning.”

An ongoing distant hum resonated all around us. One, two beats passed, before it struck me: Waterfall.

Something within me shut down—or exploded, I couldn’t be sure.

I shut my eyes for a second, wiping out memories of chilled water searing my lungs.

I repeated the eighth multiplication table in my head. This always helped.

“After you,” Domenico said, interrupting my thoughts.  

I wanted to loathe him. Tried to, anyway. I could see what my mother saw in him: a powerfully charismatic, handsome man with the infinite skill to make people do his bidding. My mother, with her small delicate features and petite frame, looked invisible beside him. A mere spectre. But that was just a façade. I knew better.

The big oak door opened and a nun clad in black habit and a wimple came down the steps to greet us.

Sara wrapped her arms around my waist. Her gesture both comforted me and heightened my anxiety. Nuns in habit made me think of great black birds.  

“Bienvenidos,” the nun said. Like my stepfather, she also had a Castilian accent. “I’m Madre Estela and I’m second in charge to Madre Superiora. You must be Señor and Señora de Aznar.”

They exchanged small talk. Madre Estela sounded polite enough, but she didn’t offer to shake hands with my parents, which I found strange. Maybe nuns weren’t allowed to shake hands. I wouldn’t be surprised. I noticed the wedding band on her ring finger. Married to God. Absurd.

“You must be Paloma,” she said tonelessly.  

“Yes,” I said. Wasn’t it obvious? I didn’t know what else to say.

The cross on her chest caught my attention. It had a crucified Christ on it and I noticed the thorns cutting Christ’s forehead, the little drops of blood glistening on His fragile body.

“Welcome to our school, Paloma.” Her critical gaze scrutinized my makeup, my tight jeans. “I’ve heard much about you.”

I didn’t miss the hint of cold disapproval in her voice. I wasn’t sure how much my parents had complained about my behavior, but considering I had been kicked out—well, actually, kindly asked to leave—from my previous school in the middle of October, it couldn’t be good.

“Are you ready to resume your senior year of high school?” Stress on resume.

“I can’t wait,” I said. There was no point in being nice—or pretending to be. That just wasn’t me. I felt miserable and couldn’t hide it. Besides, I could tell from our short exchange that she’d made up her mind not to like me long before meeting me, and I had the sinking feeling that no matter what I said or did, her opinion wouldn’t change. I had already been stamped in her Inquisition book, tagged a criminal.  

Madre Estela’s stony eyes moved to Sara. My little sister’s arms clutched my waist even tighter. From the nun’s expression, I could tell she was wondering if I had infected Sara with whatever plague ailed me. She dismissed us and turned back to my mother and stepfather. “Madre Superiora is expecting you in her office.  Let’s not keep her waiting. Don’t concern yourselves with the suitcases. Someone will come for them shortly.”

They thanked her and followed her up the steps.

“I don’t want to go in,” Sara said.

“It’ll be okay,” I said. I glanced at the window. I wanted to see the pale face again. But there was nothing.

A drop of rain hit my cheek and I wiped it off. Then I held Sara’s hand and together we walked up the steps and through the arched doorway.

I felt my throat closing up.

Seven months.

Seven months wasn’t that long, was it? Besides, Thanksgiving break was just around the corner. Six weeks, to be exact. I had already marked my calendar. I couldn’t wait. I would go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’d never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.

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About the Author:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.

Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.ZoeKalo.com and receive her exclusive short story “Arkalla.”

Website and blog: www.ZoeKalo.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zoekalowriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zoe-Kalo-206262253053039

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14951190.Zoe_Kalo

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Review: Girl of Glass, by Megan O’Russell Reply

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5 out of 5 Stars

Available For Purchase On:

Amazon: http://a.co/gA55lV4

Review:

Oh how this book pulls the reader in and makes you not be able to put it down. Nola’s character is just fabulous, she makes you feel like you are right in this with her.  I can not begin to think how it would be to live inside all your life. I have seen some movies that kind of talk about toxic worlds that have underground sub-worlds and this book topped them all. The ending was superb and I can’t wait to see what happens next to these worlds and characters.

Reviewed by Brave One

Description:

Two worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

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About The Author:

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction.

Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received it’s world premiere in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

https://meganorussell.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor

https://twitter.com/MeganORussell

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8061709.Megan_O_Russell

Spotlight: Heated Beat Collection, by Garrett Leigh Reply

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Heated Beat Collection Paperback 

Available For Purchase On:

Dreamspinner

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Available For Purchase On:

Amazon US Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance

Description:

Will Barter’s been in love with his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.

Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.

In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?

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Available For Purchase On:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance

Description:

As a diehard music fan, a dirty, smoky gig is Vice Squad Detective Danny Jones’s idea of heaven. While watching one of the most popular bands in Northern England, the sight of gorgeous rock star Finn McGovern changes his life forever.

Beneath the tattoos and leather jacket, Finn is kind and sweet, but when he confesses a dark secret to Danny, it tests their fledgling bond. Danny digs deep to accept Finn, but before long, a terrifying trail of death threatens to tear them apart before they’ve even got started.

A monster is killing prostitutes on Danny’s patch, and when a dead girl turns up too close to home, Danny discovers a heartbreaking link between the girl and his bright new life with Finn, a life he’ll do anything to protect.

 

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About The Author:

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press. 

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits is a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com and co-owns the specialist stock photography company M O O N Stock Photography.

Spotlight: Solstice (The Star-Crossed Saga Book 3), by Braxton A. Cosby Reply

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Cover Artist: CMP

Available For Purchase On:

Amazon

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/NHUT02Fqk5w

Description:

What You Believe, Can Destroy You!

William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify their love, so much so that William dares to brave the depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to Torrian Alliance attack.

But with a full scale rebellion in play on Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan – lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits. With overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice.

With Sarah’s mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and destroy evil for once and for all?

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Excerpt:

Sydney and Noella walked hand in hand along the small winding path leading to the top the Mount Dothan. The dusking sky painted a sheet of orange and red light across the woodsy terrain around them, giving the impression of wading through a sea of fire. Amid the grim moment of the day and the burning sensation rising in Sydney’s throat, the tone seemed fitting. Silence accompanied them, and it wasn’t until the pair hit the peak that Sydney finally broke the ice. “So what do your people call this ceremony?” she asked.

“The time of the harvest. It’s the moment when a fallen soldier is said to join the being of the sky. I think humans refer to it as God,” Noella said, her tone as flat as the expression on her face.

“Sounds cool,” she replied as she surveyed the surroundings; a patch of flatland that housed a family of hawks who watched cautiously from above in a lone cedar tree. From here, every inch of Madisonburg could be observed without the need of telescope or binoculars. A bed of dandelions and weeping willows greeted them in the center of the field.

“This way. I’ll show you where I buried his body,” Noella said.

She could see that Noella was visibly shaken, slowly unravelling before her eyes. Her hands trembled as her eyes began to redden. She wondered how long it’d take, amazed at how Noella had not said a word since Arrion’s death a few weeks ago, only morning him in silence, which she explained was customary on Fabricius. She had done the deed all by herself, refusing to allow Sydney to assist in his burial. From scouting the plot of land to digging the hole, Noella insisted that it was protocol on her planet for a lone fellow soldier to be assigned the arduous task of preparation. Seeing as though William had departed soon after, there was no better candidate left for the job.  

She took Noella by the hand and drew her close, giving her the most delicate and firm hug she could muster. Noella stood motionless, sinking into her friend’s embrace. After a few seconds, she released her, unable to make eye contact. “I’m here for you,” she murmured.    

“Thanks, Syd,” Noella replied, her voice ragged.

She finally looked up at her and gave a nod, following Noella’s lead over to the place where Arrion’s body lay. Surprisingly, the disturbed clay seemed more settled than she expected, dried from the sun and already showing signs of life as Bermuda grass had slowly began to encroach along the edges. A makeshift tombstone had been erected, fashioned from metallic fuselage scraps of the Daedallus, with only Arrrion’s name and handle tatted along the surface, minus dates to hide his identity to hikers in hopes that most consider it a memorial to a lost pet if they stumbled upon it.

Noella knelt next to the grave, slid her backpack from her shoulders and began to open it. Searching her bag, she retrieved a small oval-shaped disk and a satchel filled with purple powder. “These are crushed lilacs pedals. We must first prepare the path for Arrion’s ascension by sending tribute to the sky.” She stood and sprinkled a few handfuls over the grave until a thin layer had materialized before them. “On our planet we usually use the oil of a Tonosia Tree, which is a lot thicker substance and is used for sterilization. Sarah thought it’d be a good idea to use lilacs as a substitute because it was a similar color.”

“It’s beautiful,” she replied.

“I will now begin the ceremony.” Noella placed the disc in the center of the burial site, depressed a red button on the top and came to her side. The two joined hands as the disc began to spin and dig into the hardened clay. Noella pointed a hydrogen phaser at the site and fired a stream of fire upon it that scorched the sheet of crushed pedals. The disc disappeared beneath the flames and Noella broke out into song, in an alien dialect that Sydney could not understand. It was less about the words and more the moment that choked at her, forcing the tears to flow freely down her face. She squeezed Noella’s hand as she crooned on. By the time Noella had finished, a small fissure had opened in the place where the disc had entered and a cloud of embers swirled into the air; a mix of red, orange and yellow. It lifted high into the sky and faded into the clouds.

Noella dropped to her knees in a whimper. “It is finished.”

Sydney came beside her and held her close. “It was… beautiful.”

The two sat in silence with only sobs to drown out the sounds of the forest.  

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About the Author:

Braxton A. Cosby is the award-winning author of YA fiction.

He endeavors to paint vivid pictures of his characters and worlds in the minds of readers, so that they too can share in his complex visions of the past, present and future.

Braxton lives in Atlanta, GA with his amazing wife and four children.  

Instagram: braxtonacosby

Twitter: @BraxtonACosby

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrBraxtonCosby

Websites: www.braxtoncosby.com

www.theredgeminichronicles

www.cosbymediaproductions.com

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Audiobooks of the first two books of the series: Protostar and Supernova

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