Blitz & Giveaway: Forgotten by Kristin Smith

Forgotten
Kristin Smith
(The Deception Game #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.
Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers.
The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.
When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.

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EXCERPT:
“How do you know so much about motorcycles? Did your dad ride?”

She laughs outright at my question. “My dad on a motorcycle? No way. Dad was a mixture of leather, coffee, and books. Not oil, sweat, and grease.”
After lying down on her back, she scoots up next to the bike, checking the rims and spokes to make sure there’s no damage. “It kind of became a hobby of mine after my dad died. Do you know the junkyard off Chantilly? Never mind, of course you don’t. Anyway, I found Harley there when I was looking for some old furniture to decorate our trailer with.” She looks up at me. “We didn’t always live in a trailer, you know.”
I try to hide my surprise. I assumed the opposite. “What happened?”
“After Dad died, Mom became sick. We couldn’t afford to live in our house in the suburbs anymore, so we sold it and everything in it, and found the trailer on the outskirts of town. That’s when I dropped out of school and started taking on odd jobs.”
She says it all with such a matter-of-fact tone, but I sense the truth. It was hard for her. It was more than any teenage girl should have to deal with. But she’s too strong to admit it.
“I don’t know how you did it,” I say.
She sits up, wiping her hands on her shorts. Unconsciously, I find my eyes shifting to her bare legs.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she says. She rises to her feet, straddles the bike, and bounces up and down a little. I can only assume she’s checking the chassis to make sure everything is working properly.
“Anyway,” she says. “When I found Harley, I took her home, researched antique motorcycles, and fixed her up. There’s a shop near the Hollow that sells parts, so that’s where I headed after I got my first paycheck.” She pats her bike fondly. “Never regretted it.”
I watch as she turns the key and the engine roars to life, bringing a brilliant smile to her face. I want to tell her all the ways I think she’s amazing, how she’s unlike any girl I’ve ever met, how I find her beautiful, resourceful, intelligent, and intriguing, but she doesn’t want to hear those things. Not from me anyway.


Author Bio:
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.


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Blitz: Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke

Rise of the Sea Witch
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: June 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.
Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.


Author Bio:
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.


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Blitz & Giveaway: Seduction in Scarlet by Christina Quinn

Seduction in Scarlet
Christina Quinn
Publication date: April 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Sadie graduates in a handful of days, and when most of the people around her in class are worrying about finals, she’s more focused on if she’ll survive to walk across the stage. Byron, her vampire lover, brings Sadie to a medieval style tournament thrown by the region’s Master. His hope is to take her mind off the stresses of the tests and essays–not to mention the vampire who wants them both dead. However, while taking in the festivities Byron discovers that Sadie has some dark secrets of her own.

EXCERPT:
“Would you like to play a game?” He cooed to me, nipping at the tender flesh around his bite from that morning.

“W-what kind of game?”
“I call it no touching.”
“Will I be able to get my dress back on before dinner?”
“Depends on how carried away we get.”
I swallowed. “Okay. How do we play?”
He took a step back from me and started stripping. “You just stand there.”
“That doesn’t seem like much of a game.”
“It will,” his voice was heavy and thick with the darkness that his devious smirk boasted as he dropped his doublet to the ground. Something ruffled my gown, and I spun around finding nothing.
The ribbon holding the lace collar on tugged itself free, and the soft froth of delicate fabric fell to the floor behind me. The sudden cool air on my neck made me shiver as the ribbons at the sleeves of my dress started to do the same.
“This really isn’t much of a ga—” I turned to face him and the sight of his naked body—as always—rendered me a deaf mute.
“Trust me,” he whispered pulling the comforter and pillows from the bed.
I couldn’t find my voice as both sleeves slipped off. I was only in the bodice, corset, petticoat, and skirt now. Byron was already completely nude and lounging on the blanket on the polished wooden floor. He left the cushions for me.
“How can I win?” I was eventually able to ask as he stared up at me and I felt the bodice slowly start to gape open revealing the cream-colored corset beneath.
“You don’t touch yourself, or me.”
“Honestly, that sounds like everyone loses to me.” I giggled nervously.
“You’ll see.”
I licked my lips as at once my skirt drifted to my feet. Something about standing before him with just his eyes on me heightened my senses. The familiar heat started building, and he hadn’t laid a fingertip on me since agreeing to play the game. He was affected too, as I gazed down at his nudity I was greeted by the sight of him, seemingly growing harder and larger under my gaze.
“Remember,” he practically growled. “No touching.”

Author Bio:
An avid reader and lover of literature, Christina Quinn, has always wanted to be an author for as long as she can remember. She spends most of her days with a coffee cup or wine glass within arm’s reach as she labors at her laptop weaving incredible stories.


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Blitz: 27 Revelations by Harlow Hayes

27 Revelations
Harlow Hayes
Publication date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Mara Goodwin is a professional keeper of secrets, or that is what she intends to be. As a counseling psychology student at Northwestern, Mara’s ambition is unrivaled. She has the grades, the compassion, and the dedication, everything she needs to gain entry into the clinical psychology program.
However, after a traumatic experience leaves Mara in a state of mental distress, she finds herself keeping more secrets than she intended, most of them her own. Finding herself in trouble with the law, her dreams of being a therapist are jeopardized and as a consequence, Mara is ultimately forced into group therapy. While in therapy, Mara holds on to her secrets with a death grip, but when life comes full circle, her past is revealed and with it the potential to destroy her future career, her friendships, and ultimately herself.
Mara is a fighter, even if she doesn’t know it yet, but with each attempt to salvage what she can of her broken life, she is met with a consistent punch to the gut. After being pushed to the edge by meddling roommates, a persistent ex-boyfriend, and a potential new boyfriend, Mara comes to the precipice of her destruction. Yet with her destruction also comes her rebirth, and revelations of love, pain, and growth.

EXCERPT:
“Have a seat, Mara,” she said. She directed me to an empty chair across from her desk.

The chair next to it was occupied by a firm-looking man with a serious demeanor. Dr. Bradley moved with grace across the room to her desk. She was a small woman, and when standing, I towered over her a good six inches. She had to be in her late forties, but she looked younger. She had a gentle appearance to her face, and her blonde hair cascaded softly onto her shoulders. She dressed like I used to. In heels, nice fitted skirts, and blouses varying in color from pastels to rich reds and blues. She was nothing like the other professors, who seemed to be permanently glued to their khaki pants.
I took my seat, and the man in the chair leaned back and assessed me as if he was taking inventory. I want to punch his gut for looking so hard. He wore some gray dress pants, tennis shoes, and a powder-blue polo with a badge dangling from his neck that had a number and read Probation Officer. In his lap was a manila envelope that read MARA J. GOODWIN.
“Shall we get started, then?” Dr. Bradley spoke as she adjusted herself in her seat. “Mara, this is Officer Chad Lowe.”
I reached out to shake his hand and the roughness of it made me cringe inside. They were calloused, and pieces of dry skin were flaking away.
Dr. Bradley started to speak again so I glided back into my chair, subtly rubbing the hand he had shook on my skirts to remove any skin remnants.
“He is the probation officer that the courts have assigned you. We were meeting before you arrived to discuss whether or not you will be graduating with us and continuing your education here after the events that transpired in April.”
I tilted my head down in shame like a five-year-old being told to go to the corner.
Dr. Bradley continued. “Because I am familiar with you and the circumstances regarding the medical and legal troubles that you have had this semester, I have taken it upon myself to work with you and Officer Lowe to determine whether or not you, me, and the courts can work towards a solution that allows you to finish the counseling psychology program with us and move forward as you had planned.”
I was overcome with joy. The most I had had in a very long time. They were going let me finish my degree, even after what I had done. I was certain that the decision was made out of pity and not mercy, but I didn’t care. My body became giddy with excitement.
“However, Mara, I do believe the first question that needs to be answered is whether or not you want to finish this program.”
I leaned forward in my chair. “Yes,” I said without hesitation. “I’ve worked for this my entire life. I’m not a quitter. I want to finish, I do.”
“All right,” Dr. Bradley said as she sat up in her chair with delight. “That settles that, but there are a few things that we need to discuss before we proceed. First, Mara, you need to understand that you are the exception and not the rule. We do not condone violence in any form, and most students would have been removed immediately. Physical assault on a classmate, or anyone, for that matter, is not and never will be tolerated in this program or academic institution. However, the circumstances regarding your attack on Erin and Jason played an important role in our decision and the decision of the courts.”
I nodded my head in agreement.
“In order for you finish this program and secure your future position in the clinical psychology program you will need to agree to a few terms and conditions.”
“Absolutely. Anything,” I said.
“Officer Lowe will explain in more detail next week when you meet at his office because we are short on time today, but you will need to abide by the rules of your probation as it is set by the courts. Also, you will need to make up the clinical hours that you missed this past semester this summer and fall in order to graduate on time to be eligible to start classes second semester. Officer Lowe, is there anything else you would like to add?”
I looked over at him, sitting in the chair, fingering the pen in his hand.
“Ms. Goodwin, as Dr. Bradley has stated, I am your assigned probation officer. She has spoken highly of you and has informed me that you are tenacious, gritty, and dedicated to your studies. I trust that you will do what is necessary for you to remain a student here.” He opened the manila folder. “According to her and other character witnesses, you are a model student and your records show that you have had no previous encounters with the law, no priors and such.” He closed the envelope. “So I am hoping that you will continue being a model student and citizen. Make the right choices and things will be easy.”
“You will be required to meet with me once every two weeks to discuss your academic progress,” Dr. Bradley said.
“And according to the judge,” said Officer Lowe, “you will also be required to complete three hundred hours of community service, but the judge was lenient and arranged for your clinical hours to count towards this. You’re a lucky girl, Ms. Goodwin, very lucky.” And as the word lucky left his mouth, my smile turned to a frown. Lucky is not what I would describe the unfortunate event that got me in this mess in the first place. Dr. Bradley knew what he said struck a nerve.
“Lucky, huh?” I said as I stared at him. I could feel the hardness in my face.
“Thank you so much, Officer Lowe,” Dr. Bradley said hastily as she reached out to shake his hand. “I know Mara will be on top of things.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I said, still hearing the tension in my voice as he stood to leave.
“Thank the judge,” Lowe said. “I’ll see you in my office next week.” He walked toward the door and grabbed the door knob but paused before he opened it. “And Ms. Goodwin, there is one more thing.”
I turned in the chair so I could see him.
“You must also attend a weekly support group.”
The sweats were back. This time with a vengeance.
“Yes, Mara, I almost forgot,” Dr. Bradley said. “Dr. Moore has started a therapy group for some of the clients she’s been working with, she believes that having you there would be a nice addition.”
Group therapy? I was going to kill Dr. Moore.
“I will be in contact with Dr. Moore to make sure that you are meeting the conditions of your probation. Good luck.” He walked out and shut the door behind him.
I was glad he was gone. I needed to speak to Dr. Bradley alone.
“Dr. Bradley, I like Dr. Moore and I am glad you recommended her to me, but I don’t think I can—”
“Mara, she wouldn’t want you there if you couldn’t handle it. It’s all a part of getting you better, and now it’s part of the deal so…” She threw her hands up in defeat.
I couldn’t fight it. I couldn’t say anything. That was the deal. Not doing it wasn’t worth putting my education on the line. Finishing this master’s and ultimately my Ph.D. had been my dream for the past seven years. Besides, I had accumulated too much student loan debt, so I needed that Ph.D. salary coming out. I stood up and made my way to the door and Dr. Bradley followed.
“Thanks again,” I said, dazed as the storm cloud seized my mind again.
She patted me on my back. “You need to heal.”
I knew she was just trying to help, but I didn’t want to hear that soppy crap. I had to go to group and share with strangers. Just more mess inserted in my life against my will. My own knowledge and seeing Dr. Moore once a week was fine. I didn’t need a third intervention. I could take care of myself. Just me in my own little corner, minding my mind, minding my own business. I didn’t need anybody.

Author Bio:
I have loved writing ever since I was a young child in school and after years of procrastination I finally decided to go for it and write my first novel. When I’m not writing or reading I love spending time with my puppy, listening to music, and binge watching shows on Netflix.


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Review: Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen

Rise of the Branded
Scott Keen
(Scar of the Downers, #2)
Publication date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless.
Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.
To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.

Review
This book follows nicely on from book one with the Downers escaping from Ungstah so I think to get the full depth of the novel don’t pick this one up as a standalone 
The author is a very talented storyteller with an excellent imagination! I found the book entrancing and loved the authors attention to detail!
The book is explosive and action packed. It’s full of drama and even a dramatic rescue!
I anticipate that there will be more of the same in book three if this one is anything to go by and am keen to see how Crik’s adventure continues to be explored! 


Author Bio:
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.

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Blitz: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lundsay Hager

Dating the It Guy
Krysten Lindsay Hager
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life, along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

EXCERPT:
“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”

“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.
Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”
“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.
“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”
I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?
“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”
Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.


Author Bio:
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.


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Spring Reading Week Review: Peanuts & Eggcups by Sara Mendes da Costa

For Maggie Parsons there’s only ever been one man: the stunningly delicious Luke Henderson. Unfortunately, he left her, without explanation, after their ‘first night’ together …breaking her heart in the process. 

Now ten years on, without any contact, he’s back and going to her school reunion. Great! And, to confuse matters…so is his suave, sexy, brother Tony who makes a major play for Maggie, then turns up with his insufferable – supposedly ex – fiancée! 

Via the reunion, a black eye, getting the sack (as a result) a madcap girlie holiday and juggling her confused emotions around the two alluring brothers…Maggie starts to build a picture of what she really wants in life. 

Trouble is, Maggie’s a pawn in a game she doesn’t even know she’s playing …and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Review

I adored this book!
I’m not going to sugar coat it or build up to it…I loved it! It’s 600+ pages long and it looks mighty intimating size wise but I polished this one off in just for days! 
I love it (my husband and kids probably don’t though!) when a book takes over my life and leaves me gutted when it ends and this book did it! 
From the first chapter I was belly laughing at the author’s witty comedy and Maggie’s series of unfortunate events! I don’t want to give anything away but the knickers down the tights had me screaming!
The main will they won’t they, should they shouldn’t they theme that runs through this novel doesn’t wear you down or frustrate like so many others in this genre.  It is a constant theme but it doesn’t feel too much because there’s so many other sidelines to go down but it’s a credit to the authors talent that you don’t get lost along the way!
The characters are easy to relate to and charismatic and even though Maggie can be a bit dim about what’s happening I loved her story! Just like I loved Cat’s, Jenny’s and Paulines to!
This book is one that I will be keeping on my bookshelf for quite sometime and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants a really good laugh
I was truly surprised that this is a debut novel and if you love the likes of Jill Mansell then you will love Sara Mendes Da Costa and I for one will be watching her with interest! 






Excerpt! 

My protagonist Maggie has been made redundant from a swanky-officed telemarketing company in Clapham. She’s about to have an interview for a temping position covering maternity leave in a research company, and has just arrived at the company’s office in Islington.
I rang the door buzzer andwaited. From the names on the plaque on the door, it appeared there were four companies there.
Lo?’ A disembodied female voice rang out from thedirty white entry-phone
box.
Hi, I’m here about the research job. Maggie Parsons.
Right; just push the door. Were on the fourth floor, upthe stairs in front of
you; sorry the lift’s bust. An accented voice of some sort buzzed me in.
Busted lifts seemed to follow me around.
By the time I’d got to the top of the stairs, I was completely out of breath and red in theface. I waited a moment to recover andthen went tentatively into the office in front of me. The sign on the door said Welles &Mayer. It sounded more like a firm of solicitors than a research company.
Pushing the door open, it also appeared more like a firm of solicitors. Old furniture surrounded me. Old computer screens, desks and a beige carpet that had seen better days and was full of spills andmarks. I saw a woman through a glass door in the next office, audio typing (audio typing. Did people still do that?). She was about sixty-five bymy reckoning and didn’t look upwhen I came in.
Glancing left and right I spotted a sign saying Reception and headed for that. I was metby the girl I assumed was the one who’d answered the door to me. She greeted me from behind her desk.
Lo.’
Definitely her.
Hi, we spoke on the door.’ I smiled.
Yeah right. Take a seat, Mr Welles won’t be laarng.’ She sounded like she was from somewhere inthe West Country which led me to thinking about Cornish pasties. My stomach rumbled unhelpfully. Damn this diet.
I thanked her andwent and sat on a low brown sofa, which had also seen better days. Sinking down into it, I tried not to touch it. Again, I made a mental contrast to CapiTels offices. I had a feeling that ‘type of buildingand ‘location would be featuring reasonably highly in my longterm career criteria. If my mum could have seen me then, she’d have been straight on the train and whisked me back out again.
The girl behind the desk surveyed me for a bit, then turned away and started doing something on her computer. She couldn’t have been more than twentythree. She had bleached white blond hair, really short and spiky, and a stud through her nose and thick black mascara with bright pink lipstick. When she went aroundto the photocopier, I observed her clothes. The top part might pass for being officey; short black skirt and open necked white shirt but, on the bottom, she wore purple and black striped tights and huge clompy black goth shoes.
She sat back down and we remained in silence apart from the tapping on her keyboard and the odd click of her mouse.
After a few moments she turned to me, chewing her gum noisily. She stared hard, making me feel uncomfortable.
You smoke?’ she aimed.
Um, no, sorry, I don’t.’
‘Figures.’
‘Sorry?
‘I said it figures. I’ve run out and no one in this office smokes. Theyre all too old and stuffy. I just thought you might, cos your nart.’ Shegave me a friendly smirk which I returned, feeling pleased to have made a possible friend. One who didn’t appear like shed audio type. She probably didn’t even know what audio typing was.
Margot,’ sheoffered.
She didn’t look likea Margot in the slightest.
Maggie,’ I said.
Yair I know,’ she said chewing away merrily.
‘Sorry, course you do.’
‘I don’t look likea Margot do I?
Um?
‘It was my mum’s idea you see. She was really into that ballet stuff and
called me aafter some bird called Margot Fontaine, some famous ballet daancer.’
Did she make you go to ballet classes?’ I asked.
Yair, but I was really shite at them, so she gave up.’
I decided I rather liked Margot, nose stud and all. The phone sounded on her
desk
Lo?’ she answered.
Right, Mr Welles, I’ll send her in.’
‘Boss is ready to see you now.’
Thanks.’ I stood up. What’s he like?’ I asked tentatively.
‘Old and stuffy,’ she gave a laugh.
I pulled a face and headed for thedoor she pointed out to me.
She was right. Mr Welles was oldand stuffy and my grandmother would have described him as being ‘a tad on the portly side’. Actually, it was more than a tad. He also hada most unfortunate combover and a really, really bad treble chin. No sign of a neck anywhere. But he had kind, smiley eyes and I warmed to him almost immediately.
His desk, like all the furniture, was brown and the top was covered with green embossed leather. He had a fountain pen resting in a penholder beside a blotter pad,and the phone onhis desk could easily been shipped in from Eastern Europe, it was so dated. I was soon to find out that when he laughed, which he did a lot, his turkey chin wobbled about rather unattractively. But he was very charming and friendly, ‘old school’ I think you’d call him.
The interview went really well and,almost an hour later, I felt pretty chuffed with myself. He’d offered me the job on the spot. And Id accepted it. This meant that, starting from the following Monday, for thenext three months at least, I had a bit of security back. Andit paid better than my previous job so, while it wasn’t high tech, and while the furniture left a lot to bedesired and the carpets were in need of a good scrub, I had a feeling it would be a pretty good temporary measure.
When I went out the main door again, Margot was there leaning against the red brick wall, dragging hard ona cigarette.
‘Scrounged one off the gaardener,’ shesaid.
I smiled.
Dya get it then?
Yes.’ I smiled.
Cool! Niceone; I reckoned you would. She looked really chuffed.
You have no idea how good that made me feel.




Author Spotlight! 
Sara Mendes da Costa: Author, Voiceover Artist, Golden Voice of the Speaking Clock…rubbish at finishing things!
I currently live and work in a cosy (rather disorganised!) townhouse with my lovely man and three very large, scrumptious cats: Bootsie, Muppet (aptly named!) and Mozart all of whom I adore.
I love working from home. Freedom is so important to me as I need my time to be my own; to wake up and think…what will I do today? It’s important to me to listen to my body and how I’m feeling so if I wake up and want to write – I can, if it’s a voiceover day, so be it; if it feels like an admin day (not very often I have to say!) I can do that too. I need variety and I have a habit of starting a number of things but not finishing them as I’m always moving onto the next thing. As a result my desk, my house, my mind -my life!- are filled with lots of unfinished projects. I did a Belbin test once – one of those officey type analysis tests where you’re put into categories and shown what you’re good at and not so good at. I’m an ideas person and I know how to gather the resources to bring those ideas to light…but I’m rubbish at finishing things! Hence, with all these half-started projects, I often have a messy house. I’m a Virgo – we’re meant to be neat and tidy! I guess perhaps I’m tidy’ish by nature (are you Sara?? Is that really true?? Hmmm) but the fact of the matter is that once a project takes my attention, chaos can ensue. They tell me that’s the sign of an artist so I’m currently trying to use that rather wonderful description to explain my mess to anyone who comes around. ‘Come in, come in darlings (swigs a martini); just ignore the mess darlings, I’m an artist don’t you know; an artist!’ (I’m working on the nuances)
Life is quite heavily centred around my work which I really enjoy, particularly my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my free time too but with working from home it’s all just there (looming!) I therefore need to make sure I get out and about when I can otherwise I become a hermit so I always ensure I build in my escape times and nip out for lunches (OK…there’s probably not a lot of nipping if I’m honest…not after the first drinkie has slipped down!)
I’ve been doing voiceovers for many years now: adverts, films, documentaries, talking books…all sorts really. It’s great work and I get to work from a rather jazzy voiceover booth which I bought second-hand and did up myself; I even painted a rather fab Union Jack over the door. I just think it’s such a funky image. I decided voiceovers would be a great career to support me as a writer and the industry has been kind to me; I’m extremely grateful. I imagine landing the wonderful Speaking Clock gig helped as I was just getting into voiceovers at the time so the timing was perfect. I got the job after entering a competition through Children in Need in 2006. Once my name was read out live to the nation, life changed massively! My feet didn’t touch the ground for a while as I was thrust into the public eye in quite a big way. I’m actually quite an introvert but there was no time for that!
I do love to create – whether that be writing, voicing or just generally creating my space at home. I simply adore colour that makes my heart sing. The right colour, can touch my soul and make my mouth water. I love (particularly blue) coloured glass against a window so the light shines through it and I love a bit of sparkle. My walls contain a fair amount of vinyl wall art. There’s a huge black silhouette of a drum kit on one wall which I think is fab and I have a big red London phone box in my studio. Creating my space is one of my favourite things to do.
Oh, how I do love to write. It’s one of the main things I do that feeds my soul. Once I get into the zone, I can write for hours and lose track of time – a sure sign of something one is meant to do, I believe. It feels effortless and just sort of pours out. Not all of it stays on the page and it always needs rewriting (no author wants their first draft out there!)…but that’s the nature of the ‘beast’ I guess. If I get an idea, I have to write it down immediately or I forget it and then masses of ideas tend to come as a result and I’m off! Scribbling – usually illegibly – onto whatever I can lay my hands on, like the backs of envelopes or receipts. I text myself too…a lot! There’s likely a much better note making function on my phone, but old habits and all that. In the main, I write at night as the days can get busy – so when many people are sleeping, it’s likely I’m writing which is not conducive to a good night’s rest!
I so enjoy being outside in nature, travelling and camping …gardening too…actually, it’s the visions of creating my space with new plants and flowers I really enjoy – weeding is not top of my list! My eyes are bigger than my garden though and I probably shouldn’t be let loose in a garden centre – I want to buy everything. In fact, it’s the same in shops in general really –as soon as I see a gorgeous colour or something potentially amazing, I’m off like a mad’yin! My man has to talk me down as I clutch several things to my breast breathing hard saying ‘I have to have these…I just have to!! My life depends on it!’ God, after a glass of something…I’m lethal! I remember last year a woman in a boutique gave me the remains of a bottle of fizz she had left over from her open day, just as I was about to try one skirt on – ONE SKIRT! OMG…talk about credit card fever! Mad’yin Sara could be seen two hours later (yes two hours), arms laden with bags of clothes; heart hammering, slightly breathless and in need of a large top up to appease the guilt!
I’m incredibly impressionable. I didn’t realise this until my man ‘helpfully’ pointed it out to me recently. I think, at the time, I’d glanced at a field of flowers and announced something like: ‘Oh my god, we need to move to the country and have flowers like that…and look at that blue colour!!! I have to redecorate our lounge!’ Things like that happen frequently. All it takes is one whiff of an idea, and I’ve suddenly re-arranged my (our) life. My man just calmly goes along with it until the next idea comes along and squashes the first one…and then I go around in circles until I choose one – or not. Needless to say, since living in this house, each room has been decorated several times.
At the end of the day, Netflix is my saving grace. I need something to relax me and I adore good quality drama. I live in my head more than out in the ‘real’ world so getting involved in the lives of others onscreen is my idea of heaven JAnd of course…as a writer, I do so love to read a delicious novel.
Generally, though, give me a calm space, possibilities to create, sunshine, colour, a beautiful view and the company of someone close (and likely a large dram or cocktail – or two!) then I’m happy. Make me laugh and I’ll love you forever.

Disclosure:  The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of the book in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

Blitz: Immortal Fire by Annette Marie

Immortal Fire
Annette Marie
(Red Winter Trilogy #3)
Publication date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokai standing as humanity’s only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.

Despite the looming threat, Emi can’t escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.
As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.


Each book in the Red Winter Trilogy includes ten stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Brittany Jackson.
This is an exclusive preview of one illustration featured in Immortal Fire.
EXCERPT:

Violent shivers pulled Emi from the depths of sleep. The chill in the room cut right through the layers of blanket and kimono, and her toes ached from the cold. Curled in a tight ball beneath her blankets, she exhaled harshly, half expecting her breath to fog the air.
Beyond the thin partition that separated her sleeping quarters from the rest of the room, the windows rattled in a fierce wind. A winter storm? A feverish ache throbbed in her muscles, though she didn’t think she had slept for more than a few hours.
Yawning, she forced her tired body off the futon. Cold hit her like a splash of frigid water but even that wasn’t enough to dispel her drowsy daze. A short, fumbling search uncovered no extra blankets in the closet within her small alcove. Wrapping an arm around herself for warmth, she slid a panel open and peeked into the main room.
The remains of Shiro and Yumei’s late dinner had been cleared from the table, and the unlit brazier was devoid of light or warmth. Across the room, a second futon had been laid out near Shiro’s, and dark shapes filled both.
Trust the yokai to sleep right through the freezing cold. Behind their futons was a larger closet where bedding was stored. Surely there would be an extra blanket in there. She stumbled toward it in exhaustion. Her chest felt hollow and empty, and some of the chill that plagued her emanated from within.
As she crossed the room, an icy breeze rushed across her. Jerking back a step, she turned toward the sliding garden doors. A six-inch gap revealed the night-swathed garden beyond, where snow flew almost horizontally in the wind.
Why on earth had they left the door open? With a tired scowl, she yanked it shut. The room immediately felt warmer. Shaking her head, she stopped at the foot of Shiro’s futon, the light from the window glimmering on his white hair. Not that long ago, she had woken him from a nightmare, and he had thrown her into a wall before rousing enough to realize he was about to rip her throat out. Attempting to sneak between their futons to reach the closet was probably unwise.
“Shiro?” she whispered. “Are you awake?”

He didn’t stir. Neither did Yumei, who slept on his back with his head turned away, his hair splayed untidily across his face in a way that was very unlike the usually reserved yokai. He rarely slept when anyone else was nearby, at least as far as she’d seen. Maybe her ki had tired him.
“Shiro?” she tried again more loudly.
When he again didn’t move, not even a twitch of his ears, a nervous prickle climbed her spine. Shiro
wasn’t that deep of a sleeper. And why hadn’t her clumsy banging of the garden door woken them? A spike of adrenaline cut through her drowsiness as she realized how unlikely it was that Shiro and
Yumei would go to sleep with a door ajar. Had the wind blown it open? Or … something else?
She scoured the room, but it was clearly empty. Biting the inside of her cheek, she stepped between the futons and crouched.
“Shiro,” she called. “Wake up!”
No reaction. Hoping he wouldn’t attack her, she touched his shoulder. He slept on, eyes closed, face slack. Her apprehension intensified into real fear.
“Shiro!” She gripped his shoulder and shook it, but he still didn’t wake or so much as stir. Was she dreaming? Was this a nightmare? She spun around and reached for Yumei.
“Yumei, wake up! Please wake up!” She shook him but he was as unresponsive as Shiro. In desperation, she hit his shoulder with her open palm, yelling his name. “What’s wrong with you? Wake up!”
As she turned, intending to grab a handful of snow from outside to shove in Shiro’s face, the air above him shimmered strangely. She went rigid, squinting into the darkness.
A shadow took form. A small body, thin limbs, ragged black hair. The ghostly child crouched on Shiro’s chest, her blank, bottomless stare fixed on Emi.
Her heart thudded in her ears. A kanashibari, the dream-weaving yokai that had been watching Emi in the bath. That was what she’d forgotten to warn Shiro about! And now it was sitting on him, and he wouldn’t wake up.
She lurched back to Yumei. A second kanashibari appeared before her, perched on his torso. The new one, another little girl with short, stringy hair and a pale kimono, looked up at Emi with empty black eyes.
The child’s lips pulled up in a rictal grin, and her tiny arm shot out.
Emi shoved the yokai away, but her hands passed right through the spectral body, feeling nothing but frosty air.
The yokai reached for her face and a small, frigid, solid palm pressed against her forehead. A wave of burning ice surged into Emi’s skull, blanketing her thoughts. Impossible, unyielding drowsiness crashed through her.
Before she could react, before she could even think about resisting, she collapsed on top of Yumei’s unconscious body and slid into darkness.

The complete trilogy:
Available now on Amazon!


Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.


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Cover: Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis Provost

Gallowglass
Jennifer Allis Provost
Publication date: June 6th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.
After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.
In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.
As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.
Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?


Author Bio:
Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.


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Excerpt: Survivor of the Clan by Jennifer Ott

D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursSurvivor of the Clansurvivalclanbannertour.jpg




D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursSurvivor of the ClanFinal cover_Survivor of the  Clan.jpgTitle: Survivor of the Clan
Author: Jennifer Ott
Genre: Thriller
Scottish doll maker Shelby Locke loses everything in one instant. She watches helplessly as motorcyclists assassinate her husband and abduct her daughter. Nagging questions and even confounding reminiscences only exacerbate the problem, and her geneticist father is no help.
In the aftermath of the violence, she discovers not-so-subtle hints, which prompt her to travel to Odessa, Ukraine. Upon her arrival she follows clues laid out by the perpetrators, as if they want to be discovered. What is even more shocking, she discovers her own true identity. Could she be one with those who took away her family?
To unite with her daughter, she must join forces with those bent on nihilism, and submit her loyalty to a man, whose life mission is to rekindle his long lost kin, even if by nefarious means.
Author Bio
D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursSurvivor of the ClanBio Pic.jpgJennifer Ott graduated Albright College in Pennsylvania with a degree of Fine Arts. She also studied at the Syracuse London Center, filmmaking at NYU and screenwriting through Gotham Writer’s Workshops in New York City. Her screenplays The Tourist and Truth and Craziness were semi-finalists at Austin Film Festival. Full length novel, Saying Goodbye was honorable mention of Best Beach Book awards for romance in 2014, and novella Edge of Civilization received critical praise from the Vietnam Veterans Association. She has written numerous books of several different genres from satire, historical fiction, thrillers and literary fiction.
In the real world, away from her writing, she works as a product developer in the garment industry, which has offered her the opportunity to travel around the world. When not writing or working, she enjoys yoga, meditating and relaxing on the beach.









Excerpt

The lights in the ballroom went out. A few shrieks from guests echoed through the hall. Kyle grabbed Shelby’s hand and pulled her close to him. Muttered voices sounded in the dark. A scream rang out and then another. Bodies shoved past in the midst of chaos. A wave of warm fluid fell upon Shelby’s gown and bare shoulders. She felt herself drenched in what she feared might be blood.
When the lights came back on, Shelby gasped noticing her husband’s white tuxedo shirt soaked in red liquid. “Kyle!”
He gazed down at his chest and at Shelby’s gown. Sniffing the fluid on his shirt, he said, “Matter root dye. It could be worse.”
While the intellectual elite gazed upon themselves in shock, their expensive gowns and tuxedos covered in organic dyes, Morehead patted Kyle on the shoulder and bellowed in laughter, “Environmental protesters, oh, they’re so rather harmless, yet entertaining.”
“Matter root dye really doesn’t matter,” Kyle joked.
On the walls graffiti hurriedly written read:

Soulless Murders.
Barbarity and cruelty.

“I don’t understand. Why would they protest? You’re trying to help humanity,” Shelby said.
“The organics are anti anything genetically modified.” Kyle slung his arm around Shelby’s shoulder. “The world has changed, therefore we must as well in order to survive.”
An hour later, when Morehead gave up trying to save his ball, Shelby left with Kyle and the remaining guests. Outside they waited for their limousine to arrive among other scientists saying their goodbyes and best wishes to one another.
More protesters filled the street, this time carrying signs with pictures of mutated cattle and sheep fetuses. “By manufacturing life you are destroying the very fabric of it!” a protester shouted.

Photographers flashed pictures of the protesters and the elites having to bear witness. Through the bright lights flashing, Shelby caught glimpses of the horrific pictures. When their limousine pulled to the curb, Kyle opened the back door for her. She climbed inside, having a hard time believing her family would be associated with something so grim