Release Day Blitz: Witch Dance by Elizabeth Burgess

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Centuries ago, The Cailleach entrusted the Hopewell Coven with the honor of guiding the Apacik Indians, a Native American tribe hailing from the Mississippi Flatwoods. Natural-born Healers, the Apacik’s innate ability, to either restore the sick or inflict pain upon the healthy, made them vulnerable and desperate for clear direction about how to use their gift. The Hopewells could advise them, instruct them, even befriend them, but under no circumstances could they fall in love. Pure bloodlines were essential to power, and as the Supreme Order of Witches, The Cailleach demanded all their members marry within covens.
 
Birthed out of the forbidden marriage between an Apacik man and a Celtic witch, fifteen-year-old Starling Hopewell is the only one of her kind. A half-breed. The Cailleach never allow her or her parents to forget it. Because of her mother’s position as leader of the Hopewells, Starling is allowed to train for Elementals, testing that will confirm if she is worthy to enter their Order, but evil lingers. Within The Cailleach—dark magick infiltrates its leader and its Elders—and will stop at nothing to bring the half-breed down.
Four trials. Four elements. Four weeks to master them all.
Embrace Destiny. Face the Fire.

 authFACBOOK/WEBSITE/TWITTER 

For Elizabeth Burgess, writing is not only what she loves to do, it is freedom, salvation, and escape. It is life. Introduced to the art of words at a young age by Junior High English teacher, she poured herself into a self-study of all things poetry and prose throughout the entirety of her high school and college career—hoping to one day become a lyricist in Nashville. As the years went on, her dreams changed and morphed, but her love for words did not. 
 
A nurse by trade, Elizabeth loves incorporating the medical field in each book she writes. Her favorite characters are always flawed, and if you see her wearing any color besides black, you know she’s sick. Thanks to her maternal grandparents, she believes she can do anything if she sets her mind to it, and will always offer you a glass of sweet tea if you come over. When she’s not working on her next novel, she enjoys Saturday nights in Death Valley, listening to Fleetwood Mac on rainy days, and taking pictures of her beloved Louisiana. 
 
Elizabeth is the author of The Waiting Series and the upcoming novel, Witch Dance, Book 1 of The Hopewell Coven. She lives in Northeast Louisiana’s farming country with her partner Terri, two Catahoula Curs, Bowie and Pike, and host of spoiled cats.
Magical reading, 
Jordan

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire.

Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. 

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

 

Praise for The Rose and the Dagger:

 “Above all there is the shattering, triumphant catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 

Excerpt

Click here for excerpt

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Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Enter for your change to win a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only! Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Romantic reading, 
Jordan

Cover Reveal: Flying Blind by Caroline A. Gill

flying blindGoodreadssynIn a broken America, seventeen-year-old Iolani Bearse encounters a world full of wonder and danger. Lani discovers a secret: houseflies have magic.

Stealers have no mercy.
Armed with memory-draining lanterns, the stone-cold hunters relentlessly follow catastrophes, laying traps, preying on the weak.
Together with her father, Eleanor, Sam, and Mango, her beloved pinto mare, Lani rescues victims from the grasp of Memory-Stealers. One by one, she saves whomever she can, looking for any path that leads to safety. When her family”s farmhouse is attacked, Lani must act quickly to save those she loves.
Can Lani unmask their powerful, hidden enemies before the flies’ magic fails and everything burns to ashes?
Will the loss of one of her greatest friends become her downfall?
Can Lani overcome the evil that is tearing her world apart, flying blind?
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Excerpt
Chapter One
Stealing Home

         Gasping for air, Jenny Ray struggled against his grip. Anton didn’t care.
There was no time for kindness. Survival was at stake. And it didn’t look good. He pulled her tight against his chest, smothering her exclamation in the flannel of his thick shirt. Bending down, his lips moved, but his words were nearly undetectable, “Quiet! Quiet! Shhhhhh now. Hush!”

         All around them, the dying street lamps flickered weakly. Most of them didn’t work at all. Anton found her there, standing in the middle of a suburban two way street, empty houses with broken front doors and windows all around. It could have been any street in America. They were all the same now. The last light sputtered.
        “Come on! Come on, we gotta move!” His voice was as sharp as his disapproval. “Open your eyes as big as you can, girl. See if the stars can give us a path.”
        Grabbing her forearm, Anton pulled the defiant fool in his wake, strong as a tugboat. Even with their eyes wide open to the night, it was still almost impossible to see anything in the pitch. Five steps later, Anton’s shoes hit the curb of the sidewalk. He stumbled hard. His grip tightened. If anything, she kept him upright.
        Jenny missed the sad flicker of the extinguished street lights, but she missed the moon most of all. Outside lamps continued to work because they used solar heat for their main energy. The fluorescent lights stayed on for hours into the continual dark, but never through the whole night’s reach. The midnight-sun had been gone too long. Even the northern lights shimmering on the edge of the sky, offered little comfort.
        And without the light of the moon, there was nothing to be done. Nightfall meant hiding. Hiding and praying. There was precious little hope for that now.
        Urgently, Anton guided them both around three houses, hedges, and the tangled mess of an uncoiled garden hose. His fingertips touched the edges of each house they passed. Anton counted softly.
        Suddenly, still holding her hand, he stopped and pulled her inside a leaf-covered storm door. Jenny Ray stumbled down along with him, completely off balance. They landed awkwardly in a pile of molding clothes at the bottom of the stairs. Lying on the damp cold of cement flooring, Jenny Ray could barely catch her breath. Anton did not let go of her hand even then.
        “Damn it, Jenny I told you not to come! You should have waited,” he whispered, which was a lucky choice. Right after Anton spoke, a ghostly ray of lime green light glowed from the corner of the basement window, growing brighter by the second. Both children lay still, spooked as any wild animal by the harsh light of oncoming cars. Outside the mud-splattered window, the greedy light grew brighter and brighter, bringing the memory thieves with it.
        Anton pulled Jenny Ray close to him again. This time, she didn’t fight him. This time, she didn’t run. Shaking, she muttered, “Sorry, I’m sorry. I thought I would be safe. I thought no one was there…”
         “They always come in the night under the cover provided by the moonless sky. That’s the worst time. You know that!” Nodding, Jenny Ray sniffled a little. The precious heat of her body against him warmed them both. “Best thing to do is lock the doors. We keep our heads down, that’s the only way. Yeah, we lock our doors and pray.”
          Their warm breath began to condense on the upper window. The mist gave the residual horrid green light a softer edge, almost like a dream, like ghosts outside the glass. The enemy was at the gates, no doubt.
Anton had learned fear in the last three days: the green lights meant trouble, death followed right behind. ‘Memory thieves,’ that’s what he called them. Thugs who traveled in packs of eight or ten adults. Just their size almost always meant they caught the poor, stunned people they hunted. Even hidden in the basement of an abandoned house, the two of the survivors had little chance against superior, organized forces. Anton threw one of the moldy blankets over both of their heads. It was all he could do. Running was a dicey choice. Stealers were formidable anytime, but at night, they were ruthless.
        He and Jenny huddled, silent as the grave. They didn’t dare watch the eerie passage of the merciless light. Instead, they looked at the ground by their shoes, praying for the wretched cover of darkness to save them.
        Above them, glass shattered. Jenny stifled a scream. 
        The tread of heavy footsteps made the wooden support beams above their heads creak and moan. Dust fell like snow, covering everything. Anton held Jenny Ray and tried not to choke on the mold in the blanket. The footfalls upstairs stopped. A door swung open. Ghost lights cascaded down the rough wood staircase—neither of them could see it. Only their ears could save them now.
        There wasn’t much time. Run? Or stay where they were, praying no shoelace or lock of hair would give them away? The topmost stair creaked under the intruder’s step. On the window sill, flies buzzed, disturbed. Fear overtook them both, seizing their heart strings like a boa constrictor, leaving only the air in their lungs to sustain them.
        In a blur of speed, Anton threw off the blanket and grabbed Jenny Ray’s hands, pulling her upright and halfway up the side stairs. She looked back in fear as the lime-green light flooded the basement. She had a clear view as a shoe and then a leg descended into the cellar where they hid. Faster than she would have believed possible, Anton got the latch undone that held the cellar’s storm door shut. The door flew upward, open. Anton barely caught the edge of the wood before it hit the pavement. The noise of its impact would have given everything away. At best, they had a few seconds to escape.
         “Anyone down here? Anyone? Hullo?” the voice called out from behind them, inside the damp room below. Innocent and helpful by its tone, anyone left knew it was death to answer. 
        Outside, the moonless night was broken only by the light of the memory thieves, blooming from inside the house and through the windows and the partially-open front door. Anton did not wait. “Run!” he whispered to her, fleeing like a rabbit from its destroyed warren. “Run!”
        And so they did with the hounds of hell right behind them. Thieves emerged from the cellar door and poured out the front of the house. Jenny Ray stopped looking back. They ran for their lives, through the pitch darkness, trying to escape the inevitable. Without the moon, where could they go? Every step they took demanded the faith of giants. Still, they couldn’t stop as they plunged into the grasp of the merciless night. Death—and only death—followed close behind.
        They stumbled together in the dark, feeling their way around obstacles. By some miracle, they made it to a street corner and turned down a dirt alley. No longer running, they moved quickly through the fallen trash cans and the ivy-covered fences.
        On the next street over, a car drove slowly parallel to their path. They couldn’t keep going forward. That way was blocked. They would never make it past the memory thieves. Anton pulled Jenny Ray through a hole in some chain link fencing. With his hands out in front of him, Anton fumbled through an abandoned, overgrown backyard. Jenny Ray held onto his waist. Inching forward, the two fleeing survivors passed a rusted barbecue grill. Anton froze suddenly.
        In front of the house, bright headlamps swept the street. Then the car stopped. The engine turned off with a finality that made their hearts drop.
        Thieves of life and memory had them surrounded. It was over, and they knew it.
        Jenny started sobbing. The same sickly-sweet voice that had called to them in the cellar, now cajoled from the front of the house, like they were friends, like Christmas had come in October. “Hey? You there? You lost? Sweetie?” The voice paused as the predators closed the trap, flanking any exits in preparation of finishing their short, vibrant lives.
        Anton squeezed her hand and patted her back as Jenny Ray cried. “It’s okay, Jenny Ray, it’s okay. I know. I know ya didn’t mean it. I know.” Even now, Anton couldn’t be mad at her, even as they were surrounded by the lantern wielders.
        She continued to cry, and he hugged her tight against his chest. It would be their last memory.
        Around the corner of the unfamiliar house, the greedy green light bloomed.
Right behind them, the pitch-black night air began to swirl in a strange pattern. The two, scared and exhausted, didn’t even see it form into a beautiful sixteen-pointed star. The memory catchers and their horrid, thieving lanterns struggled to pass the bulk of a rotting and unstable firewood pile. They worked devilishly fast to clear a path to the backyard. Fat logs full of mealy bugs conspired to block their awful progress, as if nature herself gave one last attempt to shelter the fugitives from the Stealers’ hungry maw. Spilled logs bought the two runners a few seconds.
        Anton could hear the men cursing at the obstacles and the remorseless blackberries that scratched at their skin and hands. “I,” he whispered to the crying girl huddled next to him, “I wish we could have seen the moon again, Jenny Ray. I wish that—for both of us.”
        She squeezed his hand. “Me, too,” she whispered. “Me, too. Ant–”
Before she could finish her thought, a hand reached out of the empty, moonless night behind them.
        My hand. 
        Grabbing onto Anton’s collar, I pulled hard—upwards and back at the same time. “What the—” I could hear him exclaim. “Jen–Jenny Ray, something’s got me—” Neither of them could see, but the young woman trusted him too much to let go of Anton’s hand. That’s what I was counting on. 
        With a tremendous yank, I pulled them both through the flies’ spinning star pattern and out of the terrible, hopeless night.
Delightful reading, 
Jordan

Cover Reveal: From Burning Ashes by Stacey Marie Brown

Goodreads

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This war is not being played on a battlefield.

Killed by the man she loves, not even death is kind to Zoey.
Neither life nor her fae powers will let her go in peace.

In this final installment, Zoey’s strength, determination, and trust are put to the ultimate test. In the fight to protect the people she loves and stop DMG from experimenting on fae, humans, and animals to create soldiers, she learns the reality of how far Dr. Rapava will go to achieve his ultimate mission.

Of course, Rapava is not the only one willing to go to extremes. Vadik is hunting Ryker, and there is nothing he won’t do to get back the property he feels is his: both Ryker and the Stone of Destiny.

To end one evil, Zoey might have to make a deal with another. One she won’t be able to get out of. And it could be the worst decision she ever made.

Haven’t started reading the Collector’s series yet? Start with City In Embers!

Amazon/iBooks/Smashwords

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Zoey Daniels has been tossed from foster home to foster home, where she grows up fast and tough. When she is placed in her “last-chance” home, she finds a reason to stay and turn her life around: her foster sister, Lexie, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Zoey will do anything to keep her safe.

After high school, Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), where she meets the other reason to remain: Daniel, her co-worker. The man she loves.

But there is something unique about Zoey. She can see fae. Because of this, the DMG hires her to work as a Collector: catching, researching, testing, and using the fae to save human lives. The work never registers on her sympathy radar. She was raised to think of fae as beasts that feed on humans and want to destroy them.

When devastation hits Seattle, Zoey’s whole world is turned upside down. The electric storm connects her to a ruthless fae, a Wanderer named Ryker, whose dealings expose them to even more trouble and danger. They embark on a journey, running and hiding from both the government and fae, both of which threaten their lives and those they love.

authWebsite/Facebook /Twitter

Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.

Happy reading, 

Jordan

 

Review: Fire by Annie B. Matthews

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Leaving school should be exciting, right? All those dreams and ambitions ready for the taking…

Kelly doesn’t feel it. In fact, the only thing she’s feeling is dread and guilt – she has no idea how to tell her family and her soulmate that she has changed her mind about university. About everything, in fact. So instead, she’s been withdrawing from everyone and hoping that inspiration will strike.

When she discovers that Danny has been keeping his own secrets, and the threatening text messages begin, Kelly realizes that cutting people out might not be the answer.

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author

PROS:

  • Distance between Danny and Kelly is heartbreaking. Told from both POVs you can feel their struggle to connect, to go back to the chemistry and love they had before, but it’s just not working. That slow, painful growing apart is all too real and raw. When Danny and Kelly do have their moments of attraction, they’re bursting with emotion. 
  • The main threat came out of nowhere. It was abrupt and totally shifted the plot in a new direction that felt out of place from where the story was headed. It kind of throws you, but in an insanely awesome way. You won’t see it coming and it’s so quick that nothing can really prepare you for the reality when it hits. 
  • The society searching for the talents is intriguing and exciting. All the possibilities and the hopeful way that Kelly and the others search for others like them is uplifting, and full of warmth. 

CONS:

  • If you haven’t read the first book, be prepared to be really confused. There are references throughout to things in book one, but only snippets. A stronger reiteration of events in book 1 might have helped to solidify the plot and lay a foundation for the emotional issues throughout the story-specifically Kelly’s withdrawal from Danny.
  • The pacing was so-so. The majority of the book is angst-filled drama up until the last few chapters and didn’t have much to do with the talents at all.
  • Secondary characters were fleeting. They sort of jumped in and out of the story and on occasion, so many characters were present at once that it was easy to get confused. It was hard to form attachments to any of them, one way or another. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: The Empty Jar by M. Leighton

Today is cover reveal day for M. Leighton’s upcoming new release entitled The Empty Jar. She wanted to say a little something about the cover before she revealed it and the description, so here she is:

First of all, a huge, heartfelt thank you to every single one of you amazing women who is helping me reveal this cover today.

I appreciate everything you do for me, for authors and readers in general and for this community.

Secondly…

OMG

IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR THE EMPTY JAR COVER REVEAL!!!

I feel like I’ve been waiting AGES to share this with you!

This cover… GAH! Y’all, it took me forEVER to get it just right. There was a certain “feel” that I wanted to achieve with it and I wasn’t happy until I felt that it jumped right out when I looked at it. I wanted the cover to speak of the book, wanted it to show the highs and lows, the sweet and the poignant, the depth of it, if you will. And finally…finally, I feel like it does:)

You might not realize just how much NOW, but once you read it, you’ll be like, “Yeah. It’s perfect for this book!”

When I got the paperback proof in the other day, I held it in my hands and I just stared at it. Not only is this story extremely special to me, but this is probably my favorite cover of all my books. Ever.

When I look at it, I see so much more than just a picture. I see all the things that I find in life as well as what I put into the story that is The Empty Jar. It’s a blend of happy pinks and brooding blues. It’s light and it’s dark. There are highs and there are lows. There is morning and there is night. But if you notice the sky on this cover, there are little flickers of brightness in the bodies of the lightning bugs. Life is that way, too. Even in the darkest part of the night, there is a spark of hope.

There is beauty. There is the romantic glow of a full moon, the silvery face of your mate, the delicate twinkle of fireflies. It’s all there if we look hard enough—that balance of beauty and tragedy.

And love.

Always love.

Below is a little more about the book. It’s hard to tell you much without spoiling anything, but I think you can get a feel for it. It’s such a special story. So raw, so real.

I honestly can’t wait for y’all to read it! I hope you love IT and the cover as much as I do:)

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Release: May 8, 2016

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Three months touring Europe. Romantic. Dazzling. Unforgettable. The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter.

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way.
No one could. No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.

Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.

It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice. One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.

Our true love story.

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Stay on top of all things M. Leighton and The Empty Jar here:

Newsletter/Website/Laid-backwith Leighton/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Youtube

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

 

 

ARC Review: Those We Fear by Victoria Griffith

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What do you get when you cross The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre with Psycho? Victoria Griffith’s latest thriller.

When Maria becomes a summertime au pair to the children of a Scottish lord, she discovers the family is living under the shadow of two suspicious deaths.

Vanishing portraits, cloaked figures, and bizarre shrines add up to a compelling Modern Gothic psychological mystery.

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the publisher & publicist

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You are enchanted by all things Gothic
  • Mysteries are your kryptonite
  • You love a good twist 

PROS:

  • That darkly mysterious and cryptic feeling of foreboding that comes with not knowing if there’s a killer lurking in the literal mist or something paranormal is SPOT ON. There are spine-tingling moments of terror and subtle threats that will leave your skin crawling. One word: dolls.
  • The children. There’s nothing more horrifying than kids that say disturbing thing. Especially about their dead mother…as if she were still alive. Randomly opened doors, singing in the dead of night with no one around, getting locked in rooms, it’s all sorts of spooky. 
  • Maria is protective and compassionate. She genuinely cares. Even in her times of utter fear, she overcomes and becomes stronger for those children she hardly knows. Getting to the bottom of the mystery is everything, and the more clues she finds, the darker the truth seems.  
  • Red herrings galore. Victoria Griffith is a master at misdirection. You’ll never see it coming. 

CONS:

  • The story felt like two separate plots that didn’t mesh well. It starts with terrorism, murder, and witness protection, and evolves into a Gothic mystery. The transition wasn’t smooth, and the intrusion of the initial plot disrupts the time in Scotland. 
  • The pacing was slow. Though that’s pretty typical for a Gothic, the time span between spooky incidents was pretty large and diminished the actual creep factor. It wasn’t as scary as it could have been. Some parts are on the verge of terrifying and others fell flat.
  • This is not a romance. There’s barely chemistry. The characters are rarely together and nowhere near enough to build up the romance. When the attraction (barely a spark) does get to the next level, it feels random, fast, and unnecessary. A distraction. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Cryptic reading,

Jordan