Friday, 31 January 2014

Excerpt Blast: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

TheDeep End of the Sea Excerpt Blast
We are thrilled to share an excerpt for Heather Lyons' THE DEEP END OF THE SEA!
THE DEEP END OF THE SEA is a New Adult Fantasy set for release February 13, 2014 and definitely one you need to add to your TBR pile!

  The Deep End Of The Sea - Front Cover  

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard.  As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

I let it happen again.
            The temple settles into that stagnant silence I’ve long learned to loathe, and these are the most cohesive series of words I can string together for many long, desolate minutes. I let it happen again. Resolutions apparently mean nothing, even if crafted under the best of intentions. Had I not, just this very morning, recited a daily pledge held dear to my heart: I shall not let myself be used for death?
            And yet, a man is dead, and I was the weapon that slayed him.
            I move closer to where he now stands, forever frozen in terror, and press my shaking hand against his outstretched stone one. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, though he cannot and never will be able to hear my words. “So, so sorry.”
            His eyes, wide and mercifully detail free, offer me nothing in return. Once I commit his features to memory, I construct a life history with a name worthy of his sacrifice. Walt was single (I can’t bear the thought of spouses and children, thus my collection of singletons) and a bit of a daredevil when he wasn’t volunteering to teach literacy to adults in poverty stricken urban areas. He’d gone spelunking at least a half-dozen times, sky diving twice, and bungee cord diving off some crazy bridge in Colorado just once, on his thirtieth birthday. Walt liked to write poetry; how could he not, when his now-deceased parents had named him after one of the greats?
            Walt liked to talk about poetry, too, which means he needs to be with others like him. I strip off my flannel work shirt, down to a tank top, and get to work. Shoving stones around when half of one’s body is reptilian isn’t the easiest of tasks, requiring a great deal of precision and care.
            As I always tend to do when placing a new statue, I can’t help but flash back to the one and only time I’d broken one of my victims. I’d been tired—he’d snuck upon me when I’d been sleeping—and an overestimated shove sent poor Nikolaos face first against the temple floor. I’d spent most of that night collecting the pieces which once made a whole man, blubbering in misery. As penance, his head, missing an ear and part of his nose, still sits on a shelf in my bedroom. Treat us gently, I like to imagine him telling me nightly before I sleep. We deserve your care.
            I have not failed Nikolaos since. Over the ages, I’ve developed a routine to transfer the statues around the island that includes wrapping the bodies in a thick quilt before putting them up on casters. It takes a painstaking amount of time to shift them short or long distances, but each person deserves nothing less from me.
            Walt’s group sits just outside the temple. They are the philosophers of our island; it only seems natural they would find much to appreciate in both the sun and the stars. I struggle with his body over the stairs—they are tricky to maneuver for me even without hauling a two hundred pound statue—but eventually, I get him exactly where he’ll fit in best.
            “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Walt,” I tell the still faces forming a cluster near a non-functioning fountain. “His poetry is as beautiful as his namesake’s.”
            I angle Walt so his eyes face theirs. It’s late afternoon, and there is soft orange light filtering down upon their features. It’s a beautiful sight, which only saddens me, because all of that talk about death and beauty being intertwined is one of the biggest loads of crap I’ve ever heard. Death isn’t beautiful. Too often than not, it’s messy and brutal; even when done in sleep, there’s still that theft of breath, that failure of a heart. Death is an act of violence.
            I should know. I am one of the most prolific murderers in history. And I think about death constantly.
            I often wonder what my own death will be like, if I am ever blessed to embrace it. I’m not too picky in my imaginings; I’ll take any sort by this point. Logically, I’d prefer a less painful exit, but, knowing my luck, it’ll be as ruthless as once reported and still widely believed.
            It ought to be noted I have some of the most wretched luck to ever be doled out, so there is that.
            The sound of waves crashing against the shore sends my eyes to the horizon. I’ve tried to drown myself in those waters more times than I ought to admit over the years, but the sea always spits me back out. I’ve also tried overdosing on pharmaceuticals, stabbing myself in the chest and eyes (which was just as painful as you’d imagine), and throwing myself off a cliff. Melodramatic, yes, and all ineffective for an immortal cursed with impenetrable skin and a digestive system apparently filled with acid.
            Death is not my friend. At least, not yet.
Author Photo
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Cover Reveal + #Giveaway: Before You by Amber Hart

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

What other authors had to say:


"Beautiful and evocative!" ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

"Fresh and unique...will hook and hold you." ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker





My closet is a place of secrets.

This is where I change into Her, the girl everybody knows as me. Searching through hanger after hanger of neatly pressed clothes, I find the outfit I’m looking for. A black knee-length pleated skirt, a loose-fitting white top, and two-inch wedge shoes. Looking good at school is a must. Not that I do it for me. It’s more for my dad’s reputation. I have to play the part.

I am stuffed into a borrowed frame. One that fits too tightly. One that couldn’t possibly capture the real me.

            “Faith,” my stepmom calls. “Are you joining us for breakfast?”

            There is no time. “No,” I reply, my voice carrying downstairs.

            I quickly dress for school, catching my reflection in the closet door mirror. Waking sun shines off my hair, highlighting a few strands brighter than the rest. Everybody has a favorite body part. Mine is my hair, which is the fiery-brown of autumn leaves. My best friend, Melissa, swears my eyes are my best asset.  Ivy-green, deep-set, haunting. Like they go on forever.

            Speaking of Melissa, her horn blares outside. Beep, beep, pause, beep. That’s our code. I race downstairs, passing my dad, stepmom, and little sister on the way out.

“Wait,” Dad says.

I sigh. “Yes, Dad?”

He glances at my outfit, pausing at my shoes. If it were up to Dad, I would wear turtleneck shirts and dress pants with lace-up boots forever. The perfect ensemble, it seems. As it is, I dress conservatively to protect his image. I’m eighteen. You’d think he’d stop cringing every time he saw me in anything that showed the least bit of skin.

“Hug,” he says, waving me over.

I hug him. Place a kiss on my five-year-old sister’s jelly-covered cheek. Then, grab a napkin to wipe the sticky jelly from my lips.

“Bye, Gracie,” I say to her. “See you after school.”

She waves a small hand at me and smiles.

            “Take this.” Susan, my stepmom, hands me a bagel even though I already declined breakfast. It’s poppy seed. I’m allergic to poppy seed.

            As usual, I don’t put up a fight. My frame feels especially uncomfortable at the moment. It’s always the same thing. I learned early on that it’s easier to go with the flow than to be different. Different is bad. Standing out attracts attention, something I try to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, being the dance captain makes that more difficult. 

            “Have to go,” I say, shoving the bagel in my bag.

The screen door swings shut behind me.

            Melissa waits in my driveway. We live in a modest, yellow-paneled house in Oviedo, Florida. The majority of the people here are middle class. We fit in well.

            “What’s up?” Melissa smiles. “Took you long enough.”

            “Yeah, well, you try waking up late and still looking as good as I do,” I joke.

            Melissa whips her blond hair into a ponytail and puts her red Camaro in reverse, careful not to hit my Jeep on the way out. I have my own car, but since Melissa lives three doors down, we have a deal where we alternate driving to school. She takes the first month; I take the second, and so on. Saves gas.

            “You look smokin’,” Melissa says, lighting a cigarette.

            I roll my eyes.


She’s always hated the way I dress.

            Melissa laughs. “Okay, true, the clothes need to go. But your hair and makeup are flawless. And no matter what you wear, you still look beautiful.” 

            “Thanks, you too,” I say, eyeing her tight jeans and sequined top. Melissa is effortlessly beautiful with her sun-freckled face and athletic build.

            “Prediction,” Melissa begins. This is something we have done since ninth grade: predict three things that will happen during the year. “Tracy Ram will try to overthrow you as dance captain, once again, but you’ll keep your spot, of course, ’cause you rock. You’ll quit dressing like an eighty-year-old and finally wear what you want to wear instead of what society dictates is appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. And you’ll come to your senses and dump Jason Magg for a hot new boy.”

            Melissa always predicts that I’ll dump Jason, has done since Jason and I began dating freshman year. It’s not that she doesn’t like him. It’s just that she thinks my life is too bland, like the taste of celery. What’s the point, she figures.

“First of all, I do not dress like the elderly,” I say. “And second, I don’t know what you have against Jason. He treats me nicely. It’s not like he’s a jerk.”

            “It’s not like he’s exciting, either,” Melissa says.

She’s right. What I have with Jason is comfortable, nice even, but excitement left a long time ago.

“Prediction,” I say, turning to Melissa. “You will not be able to quit bugging me about dumping Jason, even though last year you swore you would. Despite your doubts, you will pass senior calculus. And you’re going to win homecoming.”

Melissa shakes her head. “No way. Homecoming is all you, girl.”

I groan. “But I don’t want to win.”

Melissa laughs. “Tracy Ram would have a heart attack if she ever heard you say that.”

“Great,” I say. “Let her win homecoming.”

We grin. Melissa and I have been friends since kindergarten. Memories come to me suddenly. I’m in elementary school, and it’s sleepover night at Melissa’s. In my overnight bag, I carry a small stuffed bunny, my steadfast companion since forever. People would laugh if they knew, me carrying around a stuffed baby toy, but Melissa never tells. Fast forward to middle school. The braces on Melissa’s teeth are still so new that the silver catches the light from the fluorescent fixtures when she smiles. The headgear is huge, cumbersome, and no one lets her forget it. But I relentlessly defend my friend. She’s so beautiful, can’t they see? Sometimes I leave flowers stolen from a neighbor’s rose bush at her locker when no one is looking. That way people will know that she is loved. High school. Melissa and me, same as always.

“What do you want to bet?” Melissa asks.

Whoever gets the most predictions right wins.

“Hmm,” I say. “If I win, you have to quit smoking.”

Melissa almost chokes. “Pulling out the big guns, are we? Okay, then. If I win, you have to break up with Jason.”

“Deal,” I say, knowing that she won’t win. She never does.

Melissa purses her lips and gives me the stink eye. She knows I have a better chance.

“Faith, I will find a way to break you out of your mold,” she says.
I laugh, partially because of the determination in my friend’s eyes, but mostly because of the absurdity of her statement. Everybody knows that girls like me never break free.     
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Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES' sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep'd by Beth Miller of Writers House. 


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Undead Blog Tour: Review: Zombie West Omnibus by Angela Scott

Get the Zombie West Omnibus on Amazon.
ZOMBIES! The Wild West! Romance! Mayhem!
Angela Scott's Zombie West Omnibus has all this, and more!
"...this is one of the most unique concepts I've come across." --Brian, Amazon reviewer
"These books had me on the edge of my seat and at one point in book three I had to set the book down and pull myself out of the story so I wouldn't cry." --Emily Pearce, Amazon reviewer
"This series is one that will stay with you for a long time, prompting you to want to read it again and again." --Tracy Haidle, Amazon reviewer

About the Zombie West Omnibus

Zombie West Omnibus Angela Scott

The Wild West is hard enough to survive with its native territory, wanted outlaws, and harsh terrain, but with a plague turning civilized people into brain-eating monsters, survival becomes nearly impossible.

Red has lost everything to the fast-spreading disease: her family, her trust in mankind, and her hope for a better tomorrow. When she meets Trace, a smooth-talking gambling man who’s more city boy than cowboy, she’s forced down a path she’d been avoiding for years. Until his arrival, she’d lived by a certain set of rules—don’t ask names, keep to yourself, don’t let anyone too close—but the jackass of a man won’t let her be, and he has an uncanny knack for appearing at all the wrong times and in all the wrong places.

Each, with a secret of their own, will need to learn that only by working together do they have any chance of surviving The Zombie West.

That is, if they don’t kill each other first.
[Angela Scott’s Zombie West Omnibus includes the three books in the Zombie West series WANTED: DEAR OR UNDEAD, SURVIVOR ROUNDUP, and DEAD PLAINS.

Find these books on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, and Smashwords.]

Genre classification: YA/Western Romance/Action and Adventure/ with added zombies for utter mayhem.


I was extremely intrigued by this trilogy…The Wild West and Zombies??…hmmm, a combination that was sure to keep me entertained for hours, and it certainly did just that.


But this series was not only about the undead. It was more a story of courage and sacrifice, as an unlikely mix of people band together to survive against all the elements; natural and supernatural. At times the pacing was a little slow and I would have liked to see more action and interaction with the Zombies, but this book was still exciting enough, with quite a few surprise plot twists, that I was enthralled from start to finish. Red’s story was most peculiar. The minute she walked into Trace’s life I was drawn to her and I had to know more about her. Why was she “Wanted”? Why was she travelling alone? And what in her past had made her such a fierce, feisty character, one who didn’t trust very easily? As the story progressed, so the many questions surrounding her increased; she was an enigma.


This book was filled with adventure, action, tragedy and heartache, but it also held a lot of hope, courage and uncharacteristic romance. I loved being sucked into a different time and place, and getting to meet strange but interesting people. This was a great read that will be enjoyed by a wide variety of readers.


About Angela Scott

Angela ScottAngela Scott hears voices. Tiny fictional people sit on her shoulders and whisper their stories in her ear. Instead of medicating herself, she decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. She’s not crazy. She’s an author. For the most part, she writes contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, she found herself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West–and loving it. Her zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, she wouldn’t suggest it. She lives on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. She graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of her love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. She can’t spell, and grammar is her arch nemesis. But they gave her the degree, and there are no take backs.
Find Angela Scott on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Excerpt Blast: Taking Something by Elizabeth Lee

TakingSomething Excerpt Blast

We are thrilled to share an excerpt from Elizabeth Lee's TAKING SOMETHING!
TAKING SOMETHING is the second book in Elizabeth Lee’s Give Me Something Series and is set to be released
February 18, 2014!
To celebrate GIVE ME SOMETHING is on sale for only $.99!! Check out the excerpt and a special thank you bonus for readers from Elizabeth!!!  

  Taking Something -Front Cover  

I know what you're thinking. “You were such a jerk, Nick!”  Believe me, I know I screwed up the best thing I had going in my life, but that was kind of my thing. I’d learned how to run cons before I could even form complete sentences, and I'd always been selfish.  But I changed.  Lila forgave me, my brother and I were getting along, and I was trying to make a name for myself in the music world.

At least that was what I was trying to do when I negotiated my way into the recording studio with pop superstar Sadie Sinclair. I thought it would be a piece of cake—charm my way into her heart and into her record label's good graces.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I got mixed up in a web of lies, manipulation, and deception. A web that had me questioning my motives and desires altogether.
Was the fame and fortune really worth the price? 


“How about you pour me a cup of coffee, sweat pea?” I finally spoke, breaking the trace her graceful hands had on me and pointing at steaming coffee press in between us. She sighed and placed the knife she was holding down on the counter. With her empty hands firmly placed down on the marble, she looked up at me.

“Look, sweat pea,” she lipped. “I've got enough people to wait on and one of them actually pays me for it. If you want a cup of coffee, I suggest you get up off your self-entitled ass and pour one.”

My feet were on the floor and leading me around the counter to the cabinets before I had a chance to realize what I was doing. It must have been the look in her eyes or maybe I just felt like not being a jerk. I needed to be on her good side before I asked her the question I'd been thinking about all night.

“Mugs are in the one next to the fridge,” she told me, picking up her knife to continue her job.

“Thanks,” I replied, grateful that her civility was quick to return, and grabbed mug. I moved over next to her. The sweet smell of the fruit coupled with the scent of her shampoo, or soap, or maybe it was just her, had my mouth watering. Then she looked over and smiled at me, watching as I poured the coffee. Barely any make-up and her chocolate hair flowing down to the middle of her back, un-styled. Not my normal type, but something about her had me swallowing hard. And apparently daydreaming, because as I was watching her I decided I was going to fill my hand with scalding hot coffee instead of the mug it was holding. “Son of bitch,” I seethed.

Gia reacted quickly, pulling a washcloth from the drawer and soaking it with cool water. She was at my side quickly placing it on my stinging hand.

“Let me see,” she said sweetly, her eyes full of concern. She pulled back the rag and pulled my hand up. “I don't think it's going to blister.”

God, she's beautiful. The look of concern on her face. The feel of her hand in mine. I had to remind myself to take a breath. I wanted more than anything to reach out and touch her face. Her warm, caring, concerned face.

“Thank you,” I said, pulling the rag from her hand and placing it back on the burn. She released her hand from mine and I took a step back. There had only been one other person who looked at me the way Gia was and we all know how that ended. I couldn't let myself get wrapped up in the idea that another person could actually care about me. And I sure as hell didn't deserve her compassion. I had been a total dick to her.

“That's beautiful,” she said, reaching over and trailing her fingers across the moon tattoo on my right forearm. I wanted her to run her fingers over my skin again. All of it.


A special thank you from Elizabeth
To celebrate the release, Elizabeth is giving away an advanced copy of TAKING SOMETHING!
Elizabeth is also setting up something very special for readers!
You GIVE Nick a shot and add TAKING SOMETHING to your Goodreads TBR and in return you can TAKE home GIVE ME SOMETHING for FREE!!!
 That’s right…FREE!
Once TAKING SOMETHING hits 1,000 Want To Reads on Goodreads, Elizabeth will drop the price completely on all digital formats of GIVE ME SOMETHING and give you a chance to see where it all started and get ready for the February 18th release of TAKING SOMETHING!

Author Photo

When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand.  Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination!  Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

#Team48fourteen Review: From the Embers by Candace Knoebel

I am the Progeny. The one deemed to carry this weight. The weight of knowing too much. Of knowing there is a darkness in me. Of knowing that even The Fates can screw things up.

Aurora Megalos knew becoming the Progeny meant great sacrifice, but what she wasn’t prepared for was sacrificing herself. Since the day of her birth, she has been set on a path she couldn’t control; a path conceived by The Fates. And after discovering she is mortally connected to her Arch Enemy Zordon-a son of a Fate, Aurora is now left with a path that seems hopeless.

Until she discovers a revelation in the prophecy.

With war on the horizon, she must now find a way to defeat the one who threatens to take everything and everyone she has ever loved from her, without destroying herself. The barrier between both realms is broken, The Fates have been overrun by Zordon, and his darkness now spreads throughout the lands. The odds are stacked against her. Will Aurora and Fenn find a way to undo the work of The Fates in time to save the realms from complete destruction?
Words cannot truly express how I feel right now! I just finished reading this book and those final words "The End" had me tearing up. There's a bittersweet moment when you get to the end of an amazing series; the joy and privilege you feel at having been on such a fantastic journey with wonderful characters will live with you forever, but there’s also a great sadness that tugs at your heart because it's all over.
Knoebel continues with her spellbinding tale of courage, sacrifice, love and hope, as Rory faces her foe once and for all. After the devastating turn of events in, Embracing the Flames, I had to wonder what more lay in store for the amazing characters of this series. Not only did Rory have to contend with her failures of the past and a way to bring hope and peace back to her people, but she was also faced with her feelings for Zane (and yes, she is still very much in love with Fenn!), the animosity directed her way by Lexi, and ending the evil that brought discord to the realm. It seemed like so much for one person to have to deal with, but thankfully Rory was kickass and never backed down once. She was so determined to prove herself and turn things around that she was willing to give up her life should it come to that.
Knoebel’s writing was electrifying, making for a vivid read that played out in my mind like a movie. I felt Rory’s every emotion as if I was experiencing the events of this book first hand; my heart broke with the loss of key characters, I rejoiced with each victory – no matter how small, and the closer she got to fulfilling her destiny, the more hope blossomed inside me. I had no doubt she’d be the Progeny she was meant to be, but every time she came face to face with Zordon, my heart leapt into my throat. He was pure, maniacal evil.
This book moved from one epic battle to the next as Rory and her friends sought a way to overcome evil. Friendships were tested, love was lost and found, and in the end, hope and courage delivered a victorious end to all the heartbreak and suffering. This book was an epic fantasy filled with excitement, adventure and action. It will latch its claws into you from the first page, and continue to draw you in completely. Be prepared to be blown away!

About the author

Candace Knoebel dreamed of being a dancer ever since she could remember. With a love of all things art, she saw herself moving to New York and pursuing her passion as an artist. But all that changed on October 10th 2002 when she met the love of her life. Her dreams diverged and after marrying her high school sweetheart and having two beautiful children, she realized she missed her creative side.

Growing up alongside the Harry Potter series, Candace found herself missing the epicosity of a story that pulls you in and won’t let you go. In 2009, she began dreaming up characters that would mold her first novel. Through lunch breaks and late nights, after putting her kids to bed, she built a world where she could escape the ever-pressing days of an eight to five Purgatory. She found her calling in life and knew this was more than dancing could’ve ever meant to her.

Once complete in 2010, she began the grueling process of finding a publisher. With relentless determination, she was finally able to realize her dream in December of 2011 when 48fourteen offered her a publishing contract. With a HUGE yes and a happy dance, she now continues her Trilogy.

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