Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dream Warriors by D. Robert Pease



Joseph Colafranceschi is a fifteen-year-old, self-described geek, living in the Bronx. The second youngest of twelve sons of the former U.S. ambassador to Italy, Joey discovers that a small Egyptian statuette given to him by his father, endows him with power to control his dreams. After his brothers throw him down a manhole, Joey is drawn into a hidden society of warriors who have been battling a reincarnated Egyptian Pharaoh for over 3,000 years. In the dream world, everyone is not what they appear to be, and it’s impossible to tell who to trust. As Joey slips deeper into a world of gladiator battles and clandestine missions into other people’s dreams, he catches the eye of a beautiful Egyptian princess. The only thing that keeps him grounded in reality is his best friend Alex, but even she may not be who he thought she was.



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Dream Warriors: A Joey Cola Novel (Book 1)Dream Warriors: A Joey Cola Novel by D. Robert Pease
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author D. Robert Pease for giving me this book for an honest review. I absolutely love this story. Joey is one of thirteen siblings most brothers, he has a high IQ and is graduating at the age of fifteen and getting ready to go to MIT for college. Joey is bullied by his twin brothers, who are so awful that Joey ends up in the hospital because of them with broken ribs. Joey ends up being pulled into the dream world and becoming a dream warrior. The story-line of this book is great. The characters are well developed and written. The world building is very good. I have already read Shadow Swarm an adult fantasy novel, so I already knew I like this author. I now can add his YA and Middlegrade books to my tbr list. I will recommend my grandsons read this book, I know they will love it. I am looking forward to reading more from this author and this series.

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About the Author

D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.

His first books, the Noah Zarc Series, Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, and Noah Zarc: Declaration have been released by Evolved Publishing. The whole trilogy can also be purchased in the Noah Zarc: Omnibus edition. D. Robert also has a short story, called A Chink in the Armor in Forged if Flame: A Dragon Anthology published by Xchyler Publishing.

Coming in 2014: Shadow Swarm and epic fantasy, and Dream Warriors: A Joey Cola Novel.

D. Robert owns Walking Stick Books, a company dedicated to helping other authors succeed through book cover and interior design.



Release Day Launch - Shadow's Awakening by Molle McGregor

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Shadow's Awakening
Publication Date: August 21, 2014 
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks


Tour: Shadow’s Awakening by Molle McGregor

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Synopsis

Hannah Green wants her life back. In the past three years she’s gone from promising graduate student to patient in a mental hospital. Now, she’s being held prisoner by a terrifying group of men who believe she has a mysterious power. She wants to think they’re wrong, but something inside her has changed. If only she could use her p0wer to set herself free.

Conner’s entire life, he’s played by the rules. He’s a soldier. A leader. He knows better than anyone that contact with the Shadows is forbidden. So when a midnight phone call demands he rescue one from a nest of demons, he has no intention of following through. Until he sets eyes on Hannah. Brave, beautiful and determined to survive. Conner can’t walk away.

When you’ve worked so hard to make the right choices, temptation can be a kind of torture. Conner knows he should turn Hannah over to the Shadows. Hannah wants to be grateful for her rescue and let Conner go. But when love and desire bind two strangers together, they have to choose between what they think is right and what they know they need.

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About Molle McGregor

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Molle’s writing career started when she was seven and suffered terrible insomnia. Night after night she couldn’t sleep until long after mid-night, only to wake a few hours later. Frustrated with her inability to just go to bed, (and her penchant for sneaking a book and a flashlight under the covers) her grandmother said, “You like to read so much, why don’t you tell yourself a story until you fall asleep.” With this brilliant advice, Molle’s overactive brain was off and running. Now, years later, she’s finally taught herself to sleep, but she’s never stopped telling stories.
When she’s not reading, writing, or staring into space making things up, Molle is getting into trouble with her husband, two sons, two dogs and vicious attack cat in the mountains of North Carolina. She likes to hike, cook, listen to music way too loud, and hang out with her boys. She does not like dusting or emptying the dishwasher.


Release Day Blitz - Last Hope Alaska by Linda Trout

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Last Hope Alaska by Linda Trout
Publication Date: August 20, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense

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synopsis
Emily Redfern's ex-fianci learned to kill on the back streets of New York. Now, she is his target. Broke, exhausted, and a step ahead of the man she once loved, she clings to one last hope: the wilds of Alaska. The quiet safety of her hide-a-way becomes addictive as she grows to care for the man who offers her refuge.

Released from prison after a wrongful conviction, native Alaskan Sam Tarkington is determined to regain his business, repair his reputation, and rebuild his life. But when he meets a desperate and vulnerable woman, guarding secrets of her own, she tugs at his heart. She's a distraction he can't afford. Sam must choose Emily or achieving his dreams.

Like Emily's life, the peacefulness of the wilderness is an illusion as danger lurks in the distance. Does Sam hold the key to her survival or will her past cost them everything?

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A retired oil & gas accountant, Linda Trout is a true romantic at heart, living with her real life hero and various dogs and cats in northeastern Oklahoma. They own ten acres of semi-wooded land, where the wild keeps creeping forward at a pace faster than they can keep up with. Getting lost in a good book is one of her favorite pastimes as well as riding alongside her hubby on their Harley s.


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The Seventh Friend by Tim Stead




Epic Fantasy
Date Published: April 1, 2014

   
 Hero. Monster. Saviour. Butcher. Madman. Recluse. Wolf Narak, the deadly and charismatic god of wolves, has earned all the names men give him, and since the climactic and bloody final battle of the Great War he has shunned the company of mortal men and withdrawn to his forest home. There he is troubled by dreams of blood and fire, tormented by memories of his own deeds.

But fate has not quite finished with the victor of Afael.
He receives an impossible message, and as he follows the trail a suspicion grows to a certainty within him. War is coming again, and Narak must leave his beloved wolves and once more take up his twin blades. Once again he must become the general of the six kingdoms, the terror of his enemies, a hero, a butcher, the bloodstained god.

Excerpt:

He was about to stand, intending to leave, when the door opened and a man came in. He was a big man, broad at the shoulder and heavily muscled. Narak was shocked to recognise him. He was a man that the dog had seen, the man who advocated the beating of wives. He searched for the name. What had it been? Teal? Teral? Tegal? That was it. Tegal. Seen through human eyes he was no more appealing. His face was scarred, brutish, fixed in a permanent sneer. He stood just inside the door and surveyed the clientele, and his eye quickly settled on Narak. He crossed the room and stood before him.

“That’s my table,” he said.

“You’re welcome to it,” Narak said. “I was just leaving.”

The man’s mouth split into an ugly, broken-toothed grin. “Sure you was,” he said. “But the way I’m thinking you owes me rent.”

Narak almost burst out laughing, and could not prevent a smile from surfacing. The man was trying to intimidate him. He leaned back in the chair.

“On the other hand,” he said, “perhaps I’ll stay a little longer.”

Tegal looked surprised. He had expected fear. Narak saw heads come up around the tavern. People were watching.

“A guinea,” Tegal said. “Give me a guinea.”

“No.”

The big man looked puzzled for a moment. Perhaps nobody had ever been unafraid before. His fists were clenched, and Narak could see that they were like hammers, bruised and broken until they were only good for one thing. One of the hammers opened up and the short fingers reached for the front of his tunic.

Tegal was quick for such a big man, but Narak was quicker, much quicker. He caught the man’s wrist and pulled, dragging Tegal forwards, slamming his face violently into the table top. In the next moment he gripped the man’s belt, shifted his other hand to his throat and lifted him high in the air above his head, slamming his back down onto the table.

The table shattered and Tegal lay gasping among the debris and broken glass, winded and shocked. The bottle of cheap wine had not survived the impact. No great loss. He drew both blades and tickled Tegal’s throat with one of them.

“If I ever see you again, if I ever hear of you again, Tegal, I’ll cut you so you’ll never walk again. You understand?”

Tegal looked up at him, uncomprehending, still gasping like a fish waiting to be gutted. Narak shook his head and walked over to where the landlord stood open mouthed behind the bar. The swords went back in their sheaths.

“How much for the table?” he asked.

“The table?”

“Yes. I seem to have broken it.”

He could see the landlord doing a quick calculation in his head. He subtracted fear from greed and got the right answer.

“No charge,” he said.


The Seventh Friend (The Sparrow and the Wolf #1)The Seventh Friend by Tim Stead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Tim Stead for giving me this book for an honest review. I enjoyed reading this book. The story-line is very good and unique since the story is from a God's point with showing that a God can be just as infallible as people. The world building is very good. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“But a trick doesn't seem clever if you reveal it before it's played.”

“Killing men is not like fencing. There's no room for fine touches in battle. Every second that you blade is stuck in one man's body is a second that another can use to skewer you.”

“There are men who will not take the world as it is, who see to change things, to make an advantage for themselves.”

View all my reviews




Tim Stead

 Tim Stead was born in the UK, lived in Hong Kong, London, Hampshire, and eventually moved to New Zealand.
He wasted many years not writing, but now has the time to devote to it. He has written six books, three of which are available on Amazon (The Sparrow and the Wolf trilogy). The others will follow, as will editions for Createspace and Smashwords.
He writes fantasy because it is so open to the imagination, which is half the fun, and also because it permits exaggerated explorations of humanity and all its excesses.
He is a former avid scuba diver, a former beekeeper, and a very poor skier, archer and fencer.
Torn between reading and writing, but writing is winning.
He now spends most of his time writing, reading, planting trees, cutting them down, cutting them up, and trying to persuade people to read his books.



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Book Blitz - Shades of Chaos by Alexia Purdy, Cameron Jace, Chrystalla Thoma, Katie Salidas, Megan Duncan & Nadège Richards




Shades of Chaos
Authors: Alexia Purdy, Cameron Jace, Chrystalla Thoma, Katie Salidas, Megan Duncan, Nadège Richards 
Publication date: June 11th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Dare yourself to enter into post-apocalyptic future with this gritty collection of first-in-a-series books by six bestselling authors! Discover unique worlds packed with non-stop action, adventure, and suspense set against a gritty, futuristic backdrop.

NOTE: Together, these books have over 320 5-star reviews on Amazon!

Over 1400 pages of stories, with *exclusive* content from Alexia Purdy, Katie Salidas, and Chrystalla Thoma!


Excerpt from 'Resonant (Reign of Blood Prequel)' by Alexia Purdy

'Morning’s here. Another restless night. I’m up before the others, unable to attempt any more sleeping. My mother still tosses and turns, constantly reaching next to her, subconsciously touching the empty mat where Randy should be. It makes my heart squeeze for a moment as I feel her longing, but it also ignites my determination to go find him and get more food and supplies.
I grab a duffle bag sitting near the front door. Lacing up my boots, I can feel my mom watching me, but I don’t meet her eyes. The question is coming.
“Where are you going?
I pull out my shoulder holster for my 9mm and strap a sheath to my thigh for a machete, which had belonged to my father. I was okay with the machete, but I know how to use a gun thanks to him.
“Out.”
“Where?”
I flick my eyes up to my mother and do my darnedest to not roll them.
My hand flicks out into the air. “Out there.”
She says nothing but watches as I finish prepping. I’m turning to walk toward the garage when she grabs my arm, holding it with an iron grip.
“Don’t look for Randy.” She pauses, swallowing as her voice breaks. “Get as many supplies as you can. Food. Guns. Water.”
I nod. Her face is stoic, but I see the tears fighting to slip from her eyes.
“Okay.”

“I’ll see you back here before sunset.” With that, she lets go and turns away to go sit on the couch near a sleeping Jeremy. The silence lingers around us, but it says so much, it’s overbearing. Something tells me things are never going to be the same after today. For her, for me, or for anyone else.'


Best for ages 16 and up~


I AM Alive: I am not my heart rate. I am not my skills. I am not how I look like. My name is Decca Tenderstone. I live in a future America where teenagers are ranked on a scale from 1 to 10 on graduation day. There has never been a 10. Those below the rank of 5 are considered Monsters, a liability to society. The system says I am a Monster. I will not let them kill me. I will survive.

Initiation: Being a Vampire is a crime punishable by eternal servitude in the arena as a Gladiator of the Iron Gate. Mira, a newly turned vampire, must prove she has what it takes to survive in the human’s world. It’s kill or be killed. Immortality is not guaranteed.

Initiation Excerpt:

“On your feet, 8254-A.”
Her heart stuttered, skipping more than a few beats. Not again.
The guard butted his gun against the bars of her cell. “On your feet.”
On edge as she was, holding her tongue wasn’t as easy as she’d have liked. “I have a name. It’s Mira!” Smarting off would only get her more painful torture, but she couldn’t help herself. The least they could do was use her name.
The soldier responded with a fast click of his light, shining it straight into her eyes. “On your feet, 8254-A.”
So, it’s going to be like that, she thought, shielding her face from the burning light. “Okay, I’m up.” She winced as fiery tongues of light seared every bit of her open flesh. She took an unsteady step toward the cell door.
“Stop! Come no closer.” The warning was clear in the soldier’s voice. He was not going to put up with anything except utter obedience.
Mira held her hands up in surrender, squeezing her eyes shut against the burn.  “I’ll do whatever you want. Just get that bloody light out of my eyes!” She didn’t mean to shout but the pain was intolerable.
“8254-A, you will stand with your arms where I can see them.”
What little bit of civility she had was spent. “I’m already doing that. Will you shut off that damn light?”
The light clicked off and blissful darkness enveloped her. It took a moment for the sting to subside, but Mira let out a sigh of relief anyway.
The faceless guard, hidden behind his black helmet and shield, spoke again. “8254-A, you’re to report to the arena for placement.”
She’d heard rumors of what happened to vampires but hoped that was all they were. “Am I allowed to ask what that is?”

“You fight to the death.” The guard’s tone was nothing short of mocking. “If you live, you’ll be put up for auction and earn yourself an owner.”



Dissension: In the aftermath of the great cataclysm, vampires are enslaved by humans and used for blood sport as gladiators in the arena. Mira is undefeated, uncompromising, and unbreakable, but when an escape attempt leads her into the path of the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.

Dissension Excerpt:

Mira had not been given a weapon, but her opponent had. Things were not looking too good for her. The Magistrate had definitely stacked the deck on this fight.
“Hate to be the one to kill you,” Tegan said, holding up his short sword.
“Hate to be the one to die,” Mira responded, her voice monotone to conceal the swirling pit of emotions turning her stomach. She very well might die this time in the arena. Not from the fight, however. Tegan might have the upper hand, but she was the better fighter. No. Her worry came from the uncertainty of what she was about to do.
“Joking aside, I’m sorry. I may not like you, but you’re a damn good fighter. I don’t like being put in this position.”
“Then don’t be in this position.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“No more talking!” the handler shouted, and butted Mira in the back with his UV torch.
“And what will you do if I continue?” Mira couldn’t help herself. If she was about to die, she was not going to do it kowtowing to the humans.
Before her handler could reprimand her, the door to the arena opened. Light flooded into the waiting area, momentarily blinding Mira with its brightness. She shielded her eyes, and so did Tegan.
“Inside – now,” the handler said as he shoved at Mira, forcing her into the arena.
Tegan strolled in unaided. He lifted his arms and greeted the crowd, who cheered and screamed his name.
Mira, not wishing to play into any of the bulls***, strolled into the center of the arena and awaited the start of the fight.
The crowd around cheered and jeered. It was hard for Mira to make out exactly what they wanted. It seemed many were upset that she was not acknowledging them, while others seemed eager to get on with the match.
Tegan joined her in the center of the arena. “What’s the matter with you today? Why aren’t you playing the part?”
“I’m done with this bulls***.”
“You’re only done when they say you’re done, and you know how that ends.”
“I thought we were supposed to be the bloodthirsty ones.”
Tegan snickered. “True.”
“Do me a favor. Whatever happens here today, remember that we do not deserve this. Keep that thought close to you and remind the others.”
“Wow, I didn’t take you for the sentimental type.”
“I’m not. That message was not meant to make you feel bad for me. Feel it for yourself, and do something about it.”
“As if I could.”
“When the time comes, you might get your chance.”


Finding Hope: After the death of the one person he called mother, Elei leaves the Trashlands of Ost for the city – looking for other people and for answers. But he soon finds out that people are complicated and answers hard to come by…




Rex Rising: In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life as aircar driver — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side and the fleet at his heels.

Rex Rising Excerpt:

Elei inhaled the humid air and tried to get his bearings, to remember something, anything. In the end, he had to admit defeat. “Which island is this? Is it Kukno?”
“Are you saying I tricked you?” The boatman’s voice was dry. “We’re right where you told me to take you. Dakru.”
Dakru! The heart of the Seven Islands, risen in their perfect center, pushed out of the depths of the sea by the gods — at the beginning, before their divine hands molded the flesh of fish and birds, and then man. Elei stared at the shore, not quite believing he was there.
Until the boatman planted a heavy hand on his shoulder and shook him. “Hey, snap out of it. Pay me my second half and jump out now, or the sea will have you.”
Looking into his hard eyes, Elei had no doubt he meant it. He reached into his pocket and took out his thin wad of bills. Blood ran in a hot line down his hip as he counted and gave over the money. The boatman counted it again, eyes darting to the remaining bills and Elei’s gun peeking out of the holster.
Not good. Grimacing, Elei climbed out of the boat, scrambling on hands and knees to keep his balance on the blocks of the pier, fumbling in the half-darkness as the sea sang and sighed all around him and cold water sprayed his face. His left wrist throbbed, felt slightly sprained. His body felt numb, uncoordinated; the pain in his side echoed in his limbs, in his head.
Like an insect, he crawled on the giant squares, skinning hands and knees, until he finally reached the pier road. He could have wept for relief. Maneuvering his heavy legs, he climbed to his feet and glanced back at the boat which was already speeding away — a speck blacker than blackness, a white line of surf. Then he turned with a knot in his stomach to face the unknown shore.
The island was Dakru, but which city was this one? A memory returned and Elei frowned. Krisia. The boatman was supposed to drop him at Krisia, a small enough seaport to avoid Gultur police control. What had possessed him to go there?
Elei staggered along the pier toward the storehouses lining the seafront and the wound hurt like a son of a bitch with every step. He should have hidden in the mountains of Ost until he figured out what happened.
Nobody in their right mind would come to Dakru. The Gultur presence was stronger there. Their capital, Dakru City, the Gultur stronghold, rose in the center of the island, dominating the plains at the feet of the rugged mountains, and the dakron mines spread around it in a spiderweb of power. The source of the Gultur wealth lay in the control of the dakron mines, where the mineral fuel, pure and invaluable, was extracted. The police presence would be stronger here as well. And he was an illegal migrant.
This is mad. Why would I…
  Someone had chased him. A face he knew, a man’s hard features, surfaced in his memory. Falx? He wondered why Pelia’s head of security would go after him, though it made no difference now. Nevertheless, it explained why he’d chosen — wisely in retrospect — not to travel with legal transportation over the immense bridges between the islands. He’d still been able to think when he’d boarded the boat, body pumped full of adrenaline.
  Now the images, the words, the thoughts turned hazy. He stumbled and had to stop to catch his breath, his hand clenching on his side. Just move. He licked his lips, his throat raw from thirst, knowing he couldn’t rest there — too conspicuous, too dangerous. Keep moving. He had to get to Artemisia. He knew that. And from there…
Elei grappled with the memory. Where did he have to go? An address, he had an address. Where was it? His hand dove into his pocket and drew out a crumpled scrap of paper. The letters jerked and swam in his vision.
There. He must get there. A name. And a place, an address. He wondered how far he had to go, how easy it’d be to find transportation and whether streetcars ran that stretch. He pushed the paper deep into his pocket, patted it. The knot in his gut unwound a little. He had a goal. Get there. Just do it.
Go to Aerica.
Find Kalaes Ster.

Resonant: As the first days of the end of humanity tumble across the City of Las Vegas, turning everyone into vampire-like creatures, April Tate will find out what it really means to survive.



Reign of Blood: April Tate is a seventeen-year-old ferocious vampire killer who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after a viral epidemic has left the world decimated. After her family is abducted, her world tilts when she discovers they’re not truly alone.


Released: After a demon apocalypse kills everyone they know, 17-year old Abby Phillips, her brother and her friend Max flee their home to travel through the wastelands of America, chasing a radio transmissions of a resistance offering shelter. But soon enough Abby and her companions discover what awaits them is much worse they could have ever imagined.


Burning Bridges: In a world divided between Hunters and Warriors, where prisoners are forced to fight in the arena until death, young Princess Echo must fight to find out who she really is and to put a world that has been swallowed by lies back together again.




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Individual giveaways:
one (1) ebook copy (the full boxed set) of  Shades of Chaos.
Open internationally.
For a chance to win leave a comment about the boxed set of books below.

Release Blitz - Fated





Sometimes love has other plans.


The Fated 5 have come together to bring you a collection of five steamy new adult urban fantasies about sacrifice, second chances, destiny and love against all odds.
Beginning August 21st, for a limited time, paranormal fans can purchase five full length bestselling novels all in one:

- Amaranth by Rachael Wade
- Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford
- Darkness of Light by Stacey Marie Brown
- Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy
- Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rerelease Blitz - Someone You Already Know by Sarahbeth Caplin


Title: Someone You Already Know
Author: Sarahbeth Caplin
Release Date: July 22, 2014

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Two teenage girls, two experiences with sexual assault: one committed by a stranger, the other by a relationship partner. Neither girl quite believes the other when she shares her story: wasn’t she ‘asking for it’ by walking home alone so late at night? Why didn’t she just end the relationship if he really treated her that way?
Someone You Already Know is a raw, emotional book that explores the impact of rape culture on modern society. Told in alternating perspectives from two survivors, it unpacks the common myths of sexual assault, revealing important truths that every woman needs to know.
Less than three months now until graduation. I’m “buckling down,” as Mom likes to say, mostly because the distraction of Wuthering Heights is keeping me from losing my mind. I took the novel with me to Starbucks today, intending to read more than what was assigned for the week so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
But lo and behold, a familiar face is standing behind the counter today. “Trevor, what are you doing here?”
I wish I could take it back immediately after I say it. I mean, come on. He’s standing behind the counter wearing the signature green apron; of course he’s there because he works there. I’m surprised he doesn’t roll his eyes at me when he confirms as much. His smile remains warm and inviting, as it always has. “What can I make for you, Katherine?”
“Just a plain latte, please. No flavors or anything.”
“No flavors? You know, you can tell a lot about a person by how they like their coffee–”
“Well if you’re implying that I’m dull and boring, I guess you might be right.” I plunk my money on the counter, and chastise myself for such elementary flirting.
Now he rolls his eyes. “Not what I meant to say,” he replies, but he’s still smiling. As he hands me back my change, he says, “I have a break coming up. Is it okay if I talk to you for a bit? I only get fifteen minutes.”
My first instinct is to refuse, but fifteen minutes won’t kill me, I guess. The drama of Cathy and Heathcliffe will wait. “Sure, why not.”
Five minutes later, he is sitting across from me in a velvet chair. He smells heavily of espresso, which is to be expected, but that plus the hint of cologne is making my nostrils twitch. Oh well, fifteen minutes of breathing through my mouth won’t kill me either.
“How are you, Katherine?” he asks.
Surprisingly, I don’t mind this question coming from him. Probably because I know he actually means it, whereas everyone else asks because they feel they have to. It’s because of this that I feel comfortable answering honestly: “I’ve been all right. A little stressed. I’m just really looking forward to graduation.”
“Yeah, me too. This town is a little small. Know where you’re going to college yet?”
“Still deciding. You?”
“Same.”
The flow stops short. I do appreciate him asking how I’m doing, but small talk still annoys me like nothing else. He doesn’t want to hear about colleges; neither do I. Do I do it? Do I take the chance to be honest about what’s really going on in my life? Well, there is one benefit if I do: he could be completely freaked out by my transparency and go back to avoiding me, thus getting rid of all these conflicting emotions I have about giving dating a chance someday. The longer I am left alone, the more time I have to delay making a decision. Healing is my top priority now.
I decide to just go ahead and take the risk, see what happens. “I’m sort of having a fight with Elisabeth.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Oh?”
I stare into my cup. It’s easier to be honest without making eye contact. “Yeah. She was involved with this guy for a while, and she broke up with him because she says he didn’t treat her right. I guess I just don’t understand…I mean, if he was as bad as she says, why didn’t she leave him sooner? She’s a smart girl, you know?”
“Ahh.” I look up and notice that he doesn’t look about to run away. He actually seems captivated. “Well, I don’t know anything about the workings of the female psyche. So I won’t hazard a guess for why she didn’t leave him. Not to defend this guy if he really was a jerk, but being the guy in a relationship is a lot harder than women think it is.”
I feel my defenses tightening, and for a split second I wonder why in the world I thought talking to him was a good idea. But I can’t help it; I’m intrigued by his statement. “Really? Enlighten me, because in my experience, women are the ones who are unfairly judged and labeled when they don’t deserve it.”
Wow. I actually sound like I’m defending Elisabeth now. What is going on here?
Trevor leans forward. “I have an older brother who went out with this girl he met at an animal rights rally. She was a feminist–a real piece of work, in my opinion. No offense. Anyway, she would always get really defensive about anything Thomas would do for her that was nice: holding doors open, pulling chairs out, helping her with her coat. Stuff I always thought you were supposed to do. But Kelly…man, she really hated when he’d do that. They broke up after two months because she was so radical, and I know my brother is a good guy.”
He shook his head. “I think it’s sad and funny the way women expect men to treat them with respect, but never give them a chance to do so because the media conditions them to assume we’re all predators. I’ve held doors open for women and gotten yelled at for it, because you know, they’re more than capable of opening their own doors. That’s actually what happened the night of that party. I saw a girl struggling to get through the door here at Starbucks with an armload of books, and she chastised me for treating her like she was made of china when I offered to help. So that’s why I was such a jerk to you that night. I was really angry.”
And here I thought that my issues would scare him off. I feel like I should be angry by his assertion that most men are misunderstood. I feel like I should be telling him to spend a day in my shoes, see how the tables are turned.
Surprisingly, I am calm and curious. “Okay, so maybe men are unfairly judged at times. But as a male, the world isn’t a scary place for you as it is for women. We live in a world where a woman is blamed if she’s attacked while walking alone and wearing a skirt, because ‘she should have known better.’ It’s not the same…”
“Looks like men and women are both victims of injustice then. All of humanity sucks. Let’s drink to that!”
I laugh, in spite of myself. “You know, maybe you’re right.”
His smile morphs into a straight line suddenly. “Regarding Elisabeth…” He stares into his lap, wrings his hands uncomfortably. “If women are taught to assume the worst about men–because you know, we’re all bad guys–well, the way her boyfriend treated her wouldn’t have shocked her much, would it? She probably thought whatever he did was normal. Think about it.”
Once again, he leaves me speechless. He stands up before I can think of how to respond. “My break is over,” he informs me. With that, he places a tentative hand on my shoulder that actually feels caring, not threatening. “We’re not all bad guys, Katherine,” he says. “I think most of us are assholes only when prompted to be. Not by default.”
I’m still speechless as he re-ties his apron and returns behind the counter.

Beth holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Kent State University. It was during college that she first saw her name in print as a columnist for her campus newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater. Now living in Denver, Colorado, she can be found in various microbreweries when not chained to her laptop working on future books.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cover Reveal - Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport

Hemlock Veils
Release Date: 11/25/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.


About the Author
Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.

Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality. 

Author Links:
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