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Monday, 23 March 2015

SUNSTONE By Holly Barbo - Young Adult Steampunk Novel


Announcing The Release Of Holly Barbo's Fantastic YA Novel: Sunstone!

It is with great pleasure and a considerable amount of excitement I present Holly Barbo's SUNSTONE! This is a singular story, quite different from Holly's superb series "The Sage Seed Chronicles," about which I have blogged many times. Sunstone is a YA Steampunk novel and is as rife with mystery, intrigue and magical promise as are all this Author's creations. If you are a little unsure of the title 'Steampunk,' then I will let Holly herself explain it to you in her post here:


I cannot wait until March 31 2015 when the paperback is released with the ebooks to follow shortly afterwards. Check out the info below, and I'm sure you will not be disappointed!

Synopsis:

Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures.
As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal, steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time ever moving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?







Excerpt: 


~ The Price of Navora’s Power~

A person looking out over the channel would think very little of a woman out in the boat with her fishing gear, and that was exactly the inconsequential picture Ravarian wanted to portray. People knew that she loved to fish and the Cradle channel was one of her favorite spots. The small woman sailed in a zig-zag pattern, sometimes stopping for a while before moving on to try the next spot. Drifting in the current of the wide channel, she was careful to show complete nonchalance. Her hair, touched with silver, caught the rays of sunlight as she cast her line. She shaded her eyes and gazed up at beautiful Shacir, the gas giant of which her Myrn was a moon. The huge red-and-tan banded planet was a breathtaking sight in the summer sky. She loved her world. A smile kissed the lines around her eyes as she returned her attention to the waves lapping the sides of her boat.
The real reason she was out fishing the Cradle was much more serious than any observer might guess. Ravarian was one of three very special elemental hosts that had been blessed by the Goddess Navora. For years, Ravarian and her two companions had waged a clandestine war to keep Myrn’s society healthy and balanced by using the power of Navora’s sunstones. Less than a handful of people suspected that they were doing something but couldn’t prove it, however, the time that Ravarian and her companions discussed as a possibility years ago was upon them.
Her associates had suddenly died in the last few weeks. The first, tragically in a house fire three days ago. They said that he had a chronic medical condition and was over medicated, which led to him to set the fire that killed him. But Ravarian knew that he was in prime health when he died; they had just spoken a week prior to his death. The other was the youngest of the group. A mother of three, she had been an up and coming engineer. Her body was found at the bottom of a rock escarpment with her rappelling line frayed and broken. Ravarian knew that her companion loathed rock climbing due to a frightening childhood incident. Both deaths were anything but accidents.
And now there were watchers that seemed to lurk in shadows as she went about her normal routine. The secret of the sunstones must be kept! Each of the three had alternate plans to hide the Goddess’s tokens and break their links to her power should their roles become close to being discovered. Only the gatekeeper would know. He’d get word to the rest.
Ravarian mused on her real task, of which the fishing was just a cover. “They don’t know that they can’t use the Goddess’s gift,” she murmured to herself then continued the thought silently. Only the chosen can access Navora’s strengths but that wouldn’t stop them from hurting my loved ones if they believed that would help them obtain the information they are seeking. She cast her line again. From a distance her face appeared serene but the look in her eyes would have belied that impression to the close observer. Subtle creases at the outer corners were tight and the lids a bit lowered as her gaze hardened. ‘The secret must be kept. On the off chance that the greedy ones would figure out the source of my skills they would try to use the power themselves. When that wouldn’t work they might destroy the Goddess’s artifacts and I won’t allow that to happen. Either way things have progressed to a point that Myrn will have to do without any help from the Goddess. At least for a while.’ As her boat drifted she studied the water. It was time to hide her stone for it’s own protection. She was expendable but the Goddess’s gift was not. Even without the physical link she knew that the residual effect from being chosen for so many years would allow her to resist breaking under torture. When her line was again in the waters of the channel, her thoughts returned to what she had to do. They were coming for her. It was simply a matter of hours.
Ravarian wiped the sweat off her forehead and peered out over the channel. Her grey eyes were clear and resolute. The clear day was warm and so beautiful that her heart filled with bittersweet joy. Grateful for this last gift from the goddess, Ravarian pulled in her line and the small fish on it. Once it was stored in her cooler, she moved her boat again. No one watching her would be able to see when she palmed the fossil and let it slip beneath the waves as she pulled in her fish. Hours went by as she fished in the wide channel.
Her task accomplished, Ravarian decided to stop performing for her watchers. Returning to shore with her cooler full of her catch, she was met by the young man she had rented the boat from. He grinned at her and the size of the her haul. They bantered about her luck. She loaded her steam car to return home and smiled her good-bye. As the steam filled the chamber and she began to move Ravarian gave a final salute. The lad laughed and waved her away. When her vehicle crested the rise on its way back to the city, his face took on a serious expression and he returned to the hut. On his desk was the dash-key and without wasting a minute he tapped out his report and hit “send”.
She was ready when the uninvited visitors came. Her mind was at peace. As she opened her door to them, she had the random thought that the police reports and newspapers would report her death as a victim of a brutal home invasion burglary. Ravarian was shoved into her living room as one of the men tore her pictures and books from the walls. The other set a bag down that clunked with ominous metallic sounds and approached her with the gait of a predator. She knew that the next few hours would be unpleasant for her and frustrating for her guests. No one would hear her screams. They wouldn’t learn what they wanted to know, only enough of a story so they wouldn’t go after her loved ones. This particular chapter of the Sunstone would close for now, but she was confident that for the little fossils there would be another day just as she knew she wouldn’t live to see the next sunrise.

About Holly Barbo

Holly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.
Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife “is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic,” according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

Pinterest StoryBoard SUNSTONE

PaperCrane Books Author - Holly Barbo

Official websiteFacebookPinterestTwitter

Thursday, 19 February 2015

REVIEW: THE GIFTED By Elizabeth C. Bauer


The Gifted 

Synopsis

Decades after a nuclear war devastated the world, two regions were formed—the Elite Region, for the gifted, and the Inept Region, for the ungifted. The people of the Inept Region live as slaves, scared into submission by the unique, often frightening abilities of the Elite, while the Elite live privileged lives, with only one condition—mind control. 

Each year the Elite Region holds a Coming of Age Ceremony for the Inept children who have reached the age of fifteen. In order to determine if the children carry the Elite gene, they are put through a series of brutal tests. This is the year Alexis must cross into the Elite Region, where she finds out the leaders of the regions are more corrupt than the Inept already believe. Through the events she witnesses, Alexis decides to stand against the regions leaders. She knows this won’t be easy, but nothing can prepare her for what’s to come.


MY REVIEW


As a writer myself I'm so conscious of the utter devastation of receiving a bad review, so I tend not to review those books that aren't for me. Even the simple fact that I'm writing this is a commendation in itself!
The Gifted tells the story of a dystopian  world divided straight down the middle by an actual wall,  but also a physiological and psychological one. A quirk in your DNA transforms you into a Gifted ELITE status or an ordinary, or INEPT class, destined to live, work and breathe purely to serve the former. Call me a miserable cynic, but that is not a million miles away from our world today, just in a more obvious and brutally in-your-face kind of scenario. 
The fact that I related to the characters immediately is a testament to the perception of the Author in creating a world with characters who could easily be your brother, sister, mother, friend or father. 
The main character 'Alexis' is just  15 when she is wrenched from her family, as is the norm in this world, and taken over the wall into the privileged world to be tested for her eligibility to remain there. Her particular elitist gift is a unique and possibly world-defining talent which could, if controlled, smash the foundations of this unequal,  cruel and tormented society to smithereens.
I was hooked immediately by Alexis because of my own three children, whom I have no shame in admitting I am totally OBSESSED with, as are most parents. When was the last time you bit your nails to the quick worrying about how YOU were going to get home at 2am? Well, I imagined being the parent of young Alexis who was being taken from my arms to a place I really had very little knowledge about, except for the fact that IF I ever saw her again she would have eyes like a zombie, and not one clue about who I was?!! 
SCARY!!! And Rightly so! Do not think this is a wishy washy affair without a dark side, and some of the evil-doers within the story ie THE COMMANDER (leader of The Elite) – AXEL (basically a psychopath) and many others, who will have you sleeping with one eye open, and thanking the lord that your greatest gift is being able to tie a cherry into a knot with your tongue.
If, on the other hand, you ARE a kid of a similar age to Alexis, in your ignorance of the true situation, you might have a mixture of excited anticipation and paralysing fear of the unknown, but so much MORE than your first job, first kiss, or first other situations which, in my opinion, you shouldn't have until you're 30+ or when I want grandkids. 
Aaaaaaaanyways, the situation over the wall in The Gifted is something unexpected to say the least, and Elizabeth has a way of making you feel the feels as though it were you or your kids experiencing it. I could NOT put it down, and is worthy of my 'oh crap I've burnt the dinner again,' status, as indeed I did while reading it. 
The Author has a similar style to Suzanne Collins, I kid you not, and I guarantee the cocktail of in-depth well-rounded relatable characters + a riveting, seat-of-the-pants storyline, will have you mesmerised! I LOVED IT!! I look forward to Book Two with the eagerness of a child waiting for the ice-cream van on a roasting hot summer day!
I'll leave you with the trailer of the book, guaranteed to whet your appetite and send you speed typing over to Amazon as though COMMANDER AVERY himself were after you: 




  About the Author

Elizabeth C. Bauer lives in Minnesota with her loving husband, cat, and dog. She found her passion for writing at a young age, beginning with poetry and short stories. She began this series in February of 2014 with the hope of inspiring others to follow their dreams. You can connect with her at: 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

#indiebooksbeseen Jan 2015 promo

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Harcourt's Mountain By Elaine Dodge


Harcourt's Mountain – Synopsis
Spring, 1867 

The western frontier of British Columbia hardly seems a likely place for romance. Filthy, terrified and confused, Hope Booker is waiting to be sold off the ‘bride’ ship. Luke Harcourt happens upon the sale. It’s not love at first sight, but he feels compelled to save her from a life of slavery and prostitution. To allay her fears of being raped by him, Luke promises never to touch her. Being a man of his word, this is a pledge he quickly finds almost impossible to keep. 

Battling their growing attraction to each other, they must learn to live together in the forests of the wild and almost unexplored mountains. They face white water, Indians, wolves, as well as a dangerous man from Hope’s past. 

No longer able to deny their feelings, their ‘happy-ever-after’ is shattered when a corrupt land baron forces Luke’s hand. Enraged at the man’s actions, Luke rides into town—and disappears. 

Alone and pregnant, Hope faces the prospect of the worst winter in ten years. The trauma of fighting off a hungry grizzly brings on labor, but the baby is stuck. Luke meanwhile wakes up on a ship bound for South America, captained by a revengeful sadist who plans to murder him. Luke’s chances of survival are slim. Can he stay alive and make it back to Hope in time?

Review: Maria Bradley 5 ✪ out of 5!

This is not a genre I would ever have considered reading as a rule (the word 'frontier' immediately conjures up a 'western' in my mind) but having spoken to the Author online, her colourful writing while commenting suggested a quick and interesting wit which spurred me on to investigate her writing. 

Well, what a surprise! The story of life on the western frontier in 1867 was not only a fascinating insight into a rugged and unforgiving lifestyle, but a glimpse into the character such an environment creates in a human being. The effort required to simply 'draw a bath' alone would be enough to limit my cleanliness to once a week! Don't judge me, it sounds really hard!

All historical advantages aside, I'll move on to the characters  involved: Hope – this young woman had me utterly engrossed and a little confused at the beginning as the Author intended I suspect. Her arrival on the 'Bride Boat' was rife with mystery and intrigue as the character herself couldn't clearly remember how she finished up being there. She isn't described as being particularly attractive or super-intelligent – she's just a frightened, mixed up young woman, and OMG do I identify with that on a whole other level! I liked her immediately and her desperation to remember became my own. 

Luke - Luke however was a different kettle of fish in my mind. Granted he took her as his 'bride' out of pity with no designs on forcing her to consummate the marriage, but at the back of my mind, I was constantly looking for a glimpse of a secret, underhand reason for his unselfish generosity. Holly and I both, were poised in ready for his pants to be slung on the chair and a wildly energetic leapfrog attack from over the bedposts! I won't give away the farm on that score, except to say that nothing unwelcome occurred in that regard. 

There are some amusing moments in this book that were entirely unexpected as other characters come into play. Holly's reaction to the visiting natives was one such event, when she greeted their quiet cantor onto Luke's land with a rifle full of buckshot and reduced her bed sheets to salt and pepper sieved cloth. 

The story moves on brimmed with adventure and written with beautiful clarification to every step. A growing love is peppered with the trials of life in the harsh, wild and dangerous environment in which they live. Human corruption gives birth to Luke's terrible disappearance while Hope is left in a woman's most vulnerable state – with child. Alone on the mountain with no idea where or how Luke is she struggles to find a way to continue with alarming and petrifying results.

I loved this book! I enjoyed every single word, and I will not be dismissing the word 'frontier or 'western' in a synopsis of a novel, so quickly in future. This is a unique and intricate story speaking as much about human nature as it it about spectacular scenery, danger and conflict! 

I'll finish with a sentence that spoke volumes to me as I read this unusually intriguing tale: "He didn't need complications. But complications were what made life interesting. Living almost demanded them."
Tell me, who in this world, does not relate to that?

Find Elaine Dodge Online
Website: http://elainedodge.weebly.com
Facebook: Facebook profile
Blog: http://elainedodge.weebly.com/blog.html

Buy: Harcourt's Mountain

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

BLOG TOUR – ANNAMARIA BAZZI WHITE SWANS – A Regency World


It is my great pleasure to introduce Annamaria Bazzi, and I'm honoured to be part of her Blog Tour for the brilliant Young Adult Novel "White Swans – A Regency World. " I adore this woman, both as a writer, a colleague and a friend – she is excellent in all three categories, and has been an inspiration to me as I've waded my way through the ups and downs of the writing world. 

I am convinced that you cannot write well for young adults if you have adorned the mantel of adulthood, without leaving a chink in your armour in order to remember your youth. I am childish myself! I like it! Children find magic and joy in everything they do, and their enthusiasm and curiosity is something we should cling to and learn from as we hide underneath our mortgage, our fast cars and our intellectual chit chat. Why do we do anything at all if it is not for them? Annamaria is one of these adult-children and I love her for it. She embraces the vigour and curiosity of her own children plus the children she works with, and this shines brightly through as you read her novels. Buy White Swans – A Regency World and you will see! I sincerely recommend that you do! Love you Annamaria!! xx 


BUY WHITE SWANS – A REGENCY WORLD




~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~ 
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the States, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. 
Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing. 
You can visit Annamaria at: 
blog http://annamariabazzi.com  
website http://www.annamariasbooks.com 
pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/annamariabazzi/a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check in on Kendíka’s facebook page.





Kendíka’s second chance at life begins as a nightmare. 
Will the eerie eyes always looking down from the sky reveal themselves? 
Kendíka challenges the aliens no one has ever seen to bring about a better life for the humans trapped in the surreal Regency world she wakes up in. 
While getting to know her alien owner, she discovers the aliens aren’t so perfect and have much to learn about humans. 

Will Kendíka survive or perish, attempting to make life better for the people living on Regency?

Excerpt:
Now, where was her iPhone? Not finding her clothes or cell lying around the room, she walked to the massive armoire to take a peek inside. What’s this? Puzzled, she ran her fingers across the soft silks and velvets, but stopped when she noticed the style. Within the ancient cabinet hung a line of white dresses, each parading high waists, puffy sleeves, and satin ribbons. What the hell are these?
She lifted one for a better look. It resembled something out of a fairytale. The low square neckline trimmed with delicate lace, the bodice and sleeves adorned with small, embroidered flowers. The overall effect was chic, beautiful, delicate…but not something she would be caught dead in. She shook her head, frowning. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, flying up her throat. She giggled them out. Nerves always made her giggle.
After a quick glance at the dresses, she grabbed the plainest one, tugged the horrible thing on, and sat on the bed, her heart thumping. The rattling sound of metal filled the air. She glared at the knob, frozen, wondering about the reason for being locked in the room. The clanging of keys moved on, but the door never opened.
Without wasting time, she hurried out of the room, determined to make her getaway. Only the rustling of her dress and the slapping of her bare feet against the stone accompanied her as she jogged down the hall. On the landing, she froze. A full-figured woman, dressed in black with a white apron tied around her waist, ambled up the stairs. Strands of gray hair escaped from beneath the shower cap she wore as a hat. How weird.
Stepping onto the landing, the woman curtsied. Kendíka giggled. What a creepy thing to do.
“Good morning, milady. It must be novel for you to be in such a magnificent mansion.” She motioned for Kendíka to follow.
Since the woman didn’t look dangerous, she decided to ask a few questions. “Excuse me. Who are you?”
The woman stopped, curtsying again. “I’m your abigail, milady. My name is Cordova."

BUY WHITE SWANS – A REGENCY WORLD

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Hayley's Reviews: Fractured Glass PRE-ORDER!

Hayley's Reviews: Fractured Glass PRE-ORDER!: PRE-ORDER FRACTURED GLASS NOW!!! Fractured Glass is a YA Sci-Fi Novel Anthology unlike any other. It was written by 5 different au...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Blog Tour – Fate: New Avalon, Book 2 By Andrea Buginsky


Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer with a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of South Florida. She has always wanted to be a published writer, and decided to try to write children's fantasy books. The Chosen is her first book, and was released on December 14, 2010, to her delight.
Andrea has written four more books since:
* My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease.
* Nature's Unbalance: The Chosen, Book 2
* Destiny: New Avalon, book 1, a YA fantasy
* Fate: New Avalon, book 2, a YA fantasy
She is currently editing the third book of The Chosen series, and writing the fourth. Andrea lives in Kansas with her family, which includes her two precious puppies.

It's my pleasure to introduce (again) one of my absolute favourite Authors Andrea Buginsky! I'm honoured to be part of her Blog Tour for her latest release 'Fate' which is the second in her fabulous New Avalon Series. 
Fate

A Kindle Best-Seller in Teen & Young Adult Arthurian Myths & Legends

Elena Baxter's second year at New Avalon may be more challenging than her first. The demons she was warned about show up, a visitor who greatly affects her arrives, and her best friend, Izzy, has to deal with her painful past. Can Elena survive everything that's coming at her at once? Or will the future Lady of the Lake take on more than she can possibly handle?

BUY:http://www.amazon.com/Fate-New-Avalon-book-2-ebook/dp/B00NPCZZTQ



Excerpt:
Elena ran through the dark woods, tree branches leaving deep, angry, red scratches on her arms, legs, and face. Her legs were heavy and her feet were cold and damp. The moist dirt of the forest floor began to seep through her shoes. She desperately wanted to look behind her to see if the dark figures were still there, but she dared not, afraid it would slow her down and they would catch up to her.
She kept running; she felt as though her lungs were about to explode and her heart would burst out of her chest at any moment. Cold sweat broke out all over her skin.
Just when she thought she couldn’t run anymore, she reached the edge of a cliff that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Peering through the heavy mist, she realised she had run to one of the far edges of Avalon, and knew the only thing below her was the icy cold ocean.
With nowhere else to go, Elena turned to await the dark figures chasing her. She prepared to use her magic on them, even with the knowledge that the few spells she had learned so far would barely touch her oncoming attackers. She would defend herself – she would not let them see how terrified she was.
As she watched ahead of her, three dark figures appeared, and when they saw her, they came rushing at her. They reached out their hands, casting their own spells faster than she could react to them. As several fireballs headed toward her, Elena began to scream.

A Few Words From Andrea
                            


  • What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

    Andrea Buginsky. I was born in Patterson, NJ. I grew up in Florida, and now I live Kansas.
  • When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
    When I started taking my journalism classes for my Mass Communications degree junior year. I started freelancing with the college paper. When I saw my first byline, I was in heaven.
  • What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
    My latest book is Fate: New Avalon, book 2. It’s about learning what fate really means, and how it can affect your life, or how you can choose to allow it to affect your life.
  • Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
    I self publish.
  • What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
    I plan to continue to write YA fantasy. I have more books from The Chosen series in the works, and have an idea for the third book in the New Avalon series.

Thanks very much Andrea for visiting today! Having read 'Fate' I can only assure you that when you get it, you will see that this novel contains all the usual Andrea Buginsky flair and ingenuity found in her previous works. She paints a clear picture in your mind which leaves you in no doubt about her characters' feelings, their intent, and the position they hold in Andrea's magical world. Fate is as captivating as Destiny (Book 1), and I assure you that when you get this second book in the New Avalon Series, you will not be disappointed!

 Andrea Buginsky Online: Facebook Twitter Google.com Youtube Pinterest







Gripping Read!!

Dragonman: Face of the UnknownDragonman: Face of the Unknown by Ted Lazaris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an edge of the seat story, which begins smack bang in the middle of an apocalyptic event. The end of the world is a topic which has intrigued mankind since the beginning of time, but in this story it is just the beginning; not the final annihilation of humankind. The foreign object hurtling towards the earth is merely the first sting of a battle that will consume the heavens above and the earth below.
The threat introduces the DragonMan; a superhero already living on our planet, with access to different worlds such as ‘Spellville’; and he is not alone with his incredible abilities, of which more are revealed as the story continues. His family, with which he runs the family business ‘Starr Investigations’, are also endowed with their own fascinating skills, which invite further investigations of their own. Other characters from Spellville include ’Plupee’ and ‘Dooley’ who add a little light comedy in the midst of such dark and dangerous occurrences. Another lead character is Nathan, who has no abilities except for his skill with a pen. Luke and Nathan's lives become intertwined in the midst of the first catastrophe, and when Nathan has a series of personal disasters, he seeks out their firm for help. Thus begins a rollercoaster of explosive tragedies, spectacular fantasy, and murder mystery. The Author leads you through each one in a well written, intriguing and captivating way.

In summary I would advise that you set the scene to read this novel. Get your cocoa, your pyjamas, and go to your private place; switch off the tv and ignore the kids for a while, and step into Ted Lazaris complex and fascinating world of the unusual, the bizarre, and the downright terrifying creatures you are about to meet.


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30 Seconds of The Blood Wars-Crystal Secret!