The Grave Tender: Review and Giveaway

Rating:


THE GRAVE TENDER

by
By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
Rating: 4/5

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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?

The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.

 

“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine

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When I started reading this book I was anticipating it to be like the movie A Man Without a Face. And let me just saw, it was truly nothing like it. I knew this story was going to be dark, but I hadn’t expected the truly dark turn this story took. The Grave Tender is heartbreaking and deep, a gravestone of bones in its own making. The sinister shadows revealed, to me, were unexpected. It’s gritty and real and even though the book was very well done, I’m not entirely sure how I feel right in this moment as I write the review. I’m left with a mixture of turmoil for the main character, the pain she experienced, the secrets that surrounded her life were truly upsetting, but there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the story, showing that one can survive after such darkness. I can’t help but wonder after reading this, how does one go on from there? How does someone endure all those emotions that Hadley must have been feeling? I can’t even imagine living on the cornerstones of such a dark and tragic past.

I will say this, the story was very gripping. It delved in the past with ease and I found myself captured by the story telling of the tragic events that had transpired in the Dixon home. Maxwell moves through the story fluidly, jumping back and forth in the timeline, and it is very beautifully done. I was never confused by the shift in the story from person to person or from present to past. And I found myself eager and anxious to find out what had happened to this family. Their stories were tragic. Their stories were dark. They pulled at the strings of my emotions.

The characters were amazing. My favorite is Eli. I knew instantly that there was more to Eli than what there appeared to be. Eli was frowned upon by others in town because he was a recluse, kept to himself, and had scars on his face. And though others tried to blame Eli for misdeeds that happened, I knew he would be our Man Without a Face, and that his story would be heart wrenching. But each of the characters in this story have a heart beat of their own. Walker, Gran, Sam, Kate, Hadley, Jude…. so many effected by the acts that transpired in this small town. Like a tree burned at it’s root that slowly decays over time. But on this tree grows a small leaf, a small glimmer of hope, at least for most of them.

There were several times in this story where I wanted to yell at the characters and say “What is wrong with you, turn the person in!” I’m not excusing by any means what this person had done, but it shows us too how twisted people can become by horrible, horrific things. Perhaps I shouldn’t show a small ounce of compassion in that regard, but how can I not? When I know that if that person had been raised the right way, without being abused or molested, that they would have at least had a chance at a happy, decent life. Still, I wanted that person to be accountable for their actions. Regardless of what had happened to that person, they still needed to pay the consequences.

This story does deal with molestation of a child and abuse, for those of you that this might be a sensitive topic. But it’s a very well told story and the characters are very memorable. And it does give hope. Hope that in the darkest of times, justice will carry out, and through all the pain, people can find a way to live again.

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.

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Evidence of Things Not Seen: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

EVIDENCE
OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by
By Lindsey Lane
  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5
Scroll down for Giveaway!
  
Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? 

Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist.

Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance. 

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PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book
“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of AminaThis Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle

“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios NirvanaDirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly

 

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Evidence of Things Not Seen was a very compelling read. I had been eyeing this book for several weeks prior to having the privilege to read for a review with Lone Star Book Blog Tours. And the novel did not disappoint. Lindsey Lane beautifully captures this almost surreal story of the disappearance of a boy named Tommy. Each chapter follows a different character’s point of view, and each of them either come in to contact with an item or a place that is connected to Tommy, or some of them are being interviewed by I assume police and answering questions about his sudden disappearance. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s poetry at it’s finest.

Each of the characters that Lindsey presented were refreshing and their stories instantly pulled me in. Some stories were so intensely written with a raw, pure voice that I couldn’t help but want to know more about those characters as well. At times, I was frustrated by this, because of how amazing their stories were written, but I can appreciate the artistic value this brought to such a uniquely written book. It allowed me to put little clues and pieces together to formulate my own opinion as what happened to Tommy.

My favorite thing about this story was the notes Tommy made on his scientific search for multiple universes. Tommy had such a curious mind and I found myself fascinated with his thought process and how he came to his scientific questions and possible conclusions.

This story almost had a supernatural, scientific element to it that I simply loved. What if Tommy HAD gone to another universe? The question lingered in the back of my mind the entire story. And it gave it this almost other worldly feel to it that is difficult to explain but one that I quite enjoyed.

I will caution parents of teenagers interested in reading this book, as it does deal with some pretty rough subject matters and it may be one you want to preview first before you let your child read it.

If you enjoy stories told by multiple points of view with mystery, suspense, raw stories and an air of science to it, then be sure to check out Evidence of Things Not Seen!

 

Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing. 
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My Author Website

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share my new author site. There isn’t much on there yet, but I’ll be blogging from time to time, including tips on writing for other authors, and random posts about my day. I’ll also be sharing any news I have on the progress of my novels. Please check it out and follow!

Much Appreciated!

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Black Dawn: Excerpt and Giveaway

Black Dawn
by Mallory McCartney
Genre: YA/A Fantasy
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Clean Reads Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.

Buy Links:

Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

Excerpt:

Chapter Four: Memphis

The scream tore through his mind, ringing as Memphis watched Brokk stalk out of the room, his hurt plain across his face. He glanced at the now panting Emory, her anger dissipating to confusion once more. Her movements were impatient as she perched on the edge of the bunker and cradled her head.

“Emory? My name is Memphis Carter. Do you know who I am?” He could feel Nyx’s eyes burning into his back.

With a slight nod of her head, Emory peeked up at him through her fingers. “Vaguely. That still doesn’t answer where I am, and what he was doing here.” Her voice was like crystal, smooth and commanding. The voice of a Queen.

Guilt twanged in his gut, and he chose his next words carefully. “I realize what this is going to sound like, and that’s insane. Brokk and I brought you here to this world. This is the Academy—our home. You came from Earth, but this world, our world, was your home first. Kiero. We grew up together. Your family built our government. To us, you are the rightful heir to their lineage.”

It was like walking on ice—too much pressure at once and her mind would break. Memphis had to dance around the edges. Especially to protect what he had done. He asked softly, “How much do you remember?”

Her eyes were daggers as she shakily stood up. “Why should I remember this place? This world? So you’re telling me that you just kidnapped me and transported me to another world? This isn’t freaking Star Trek! It feels like my mind is being split in two. I remember my life—going to work, my apartment…but now…now it’s like someone has drawn back the stage curtain and all these broken memories have come into play. I see myself as a little girl and instead of being raised in an orphanage, I’m with parents…? And we had abilities…like supernatural abilities. Which just proves that I have lost my mind from stress because I’m being held hostage—” She choked on panic and laughter. Emory searched his eyes for an explanation.

Show her.” Nyx’s quiet voice resonated in his mind. He stared back at Emory, narrowing his eyes. He could gently feed more memories to her. It was the only way to make her see the truth. Reaching toward Emory, he placed his palm against her temple. Her skin was cool and soft, and he could feel the adrenaline rushing through her.

About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Sandpiper Cove: Review and Giveaway

Rating:
SANDPIPER COVE
A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by
By IRENE HANNON
  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
Rating: 4/5

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Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

 

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

 

 

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.

PURCHASE LINKS
 
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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS:

 

“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.”

Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

 

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.”
Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor
 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.”
Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane
 

Sandpiper Cove follows the story of Lexie, chief of police, and Adam, an ex-con. There is so much to enjoy about this story. It’s filled with hope, first chances, and second chances. From just reading the synopsis, I knew this was a book I had to read. Lexie and Adam come from opposite sides, her being a police officer, and him being an ex-criminal. Who doesn’t love a good story about opposites attracting?

Hannon instantly gives us a taste of what Adam’s true character is like from the very first chapter: a tough guy, but with a soft heart. He is a man trying to do good, and turn his life around. He has a dog too, and they take care of one another (bonus points, I know!)

At first glance, I just loved Lexie. Here was a gal that saw people for who they were. I loved how she saw Adam as a man trying to do right, instead of focusing on the wrong he did in his past. It was refreshing to read a story like this where a female character isn’t persuaded by petty gossip.

On a side note, there is this scene… where they are at a this big event…. and there’s a dance… and it’s just AMAZING. By far my favorite scene in the book.

Okay… back to my review 🙂

I enjoyed how Hannon created a simple, yet lovable story with deep, thought provoking characters. Adam is a victim of vandalism and he helps Lexie when one of the kids responsible gets caught. Adam spends his time helping the kid do community service, and giving him the help and encouragement he wishes someone had done for him.

I’m not a huge religious person, but a good portion of this book centers on church going. I still found this book highly enjoyable and I felt like Hannon didn’t overpower the story with religion. I felt like it was a good balance and anyone that doesn’t mind a little bit of good Christian values in their books should read this. It’s a good, clean love story and has a really good message: to not judge people by their past. And to give love a chance.  It also shows that it’s never too late to make your life the way you dreamed it to be.

Be sure to check out Sandpiper Cove!


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

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Stolen Heart: Author Interview and Giveaway

A STOLEN HEART
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
by
AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
 Scroll down for Giveaway!

“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”
—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.
Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. 
That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.
Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

What are some of the reasons you enjoy using Texas as the setting for some of your novels?

I spent my early childhood in a small town in Texas, and though my family left there when I was seven, the land of Spanish live oak trees and bluebonnets was firmly etched in my memory. There are so many wonderful things about Texas that I wanted to share with readers—everything from its turbulent history to the beauty of the Hill Country.

A Stolen Heart is set in 1880. What are your favorite things about this time period?

It’s not the bustles women wore! I have no idea who thought they were attractive or comfortable, but neither one is true. (I know, because I created a bustle-back gown to wear for book signings for my Westward Winds trilogy. Fastening a seatbelt when you’re wearing a bustle is no easy task. In fact, just sitting isn’t particularly easy.)

What I like about the second half of the nineteenth century is that it was a time of major change in America. We had westward expansion, the Civil War and its aftermath, the growing temperance and suffragette movements—all of which can be used to create a fascinating backdrop for historical romances.

What kind of research do you do to write a novel set in a different time and place?

For me, research involves two things: a lot of reading—mostly reference books from the library—and travel to the location. I begin with history books, getting a feel for what was happening in my chosen location in the year I want to use for the story, then expand to diaries of people who were alive then, if I can find them. That’s not always possible, but when they’re available, those first-person accounts provide little details that make books come alive.

I know some authors will disagree, but I consider actually going to the location essential. There’s only so much you can learn from the internet, but if you’re there in person, you can exercise all of your senses. At least for me, it’s important to see the trees and shrubs that are growing there, to touch leaves and bark, and to feel and smell the air. Those are the kinds of details that readers have told me they enjoy about my books, so it’s been well worth the trips. Plus, I enjoy traveling.

Is there a lesson or message you hope readers gain from reading A Stolen Heart?

The common theme to my books is the healing power of love, and that’s what readers will find in A Stolen Heart. Both Lydia and Travis have been hurt and despair of ever finding happiness, but their love for each other and—even more importantly—God’s love for them bring them the happily-ever-after romance readers crave. I hope that the troubles my characters endure and the way they resolve them will resonate with readers and will reinforce their belief in God’s mercy and the healing he alone can provide.

A Stolen Heart is book 1 of the Cimarron Creek Trilogy. What can we expect to see in books 2 and 3?

The story continues! There are so many interesting characters in Cimarron Creek, not to mention some strangers who’re coming to town, that I couldn’t write just one book. Catherine, a secondary character in A Stolen Heart, becomes the heroine of A Borrowed Dream, while Austin Goddard, a handsome rancher with more than his share of secrets, brings love and danger to town. All three books are tied together by a decades-old mystery that’s introduced in A Stolen Heart.

It was so much fun getting to know the residents of Cimarron Creek. I hope readers enjoy the town and its inhabitants as much as I do.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

  

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Home Excerpt and Giveaway

Home
by Eleni McKnight
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release Date: November 22nd 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Knowledge is a Dangerous Commodity

HOME – the last bastion of civilization in a corrupt and fallen world. Outside dwell the reanimated dead, cannibals, and scavengers; remnants of a once great race. Inside, the commune is ruled with an iron fist by Deacon, and administered without mercy by the Elders.

Everyone knows their place in HOME. Everyone is safe in HOME…as long as you follow the rules.

Handmaiden Suzannah Commons is content with training to be a wife and mother, the only occupation open to women in HOME. But her world is turned upside-down when she tastes the forbidden knowledge contained in outlawed books.

Suzannah discovers a new way of life is possible, but that knowledge comes at a high price. It could cost her life. Or the life of the boy she loves. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

I sat up and spotted something else. More stars hanging over a large, long desk. Is this more medicine? Did they leave a second package? I pulled the fabric out and beneath it was a light-colored box. It was more medicine. I was sure of it. Feeling proud to have discovered this second package, I decided to open it.

My eyes flew open wide. Instead of medicine there were more of those beautiful heart-shaped cookies. I picked one up. It felt soft and fresh. I broke it apart and popped a piece into my mouth. I literally melted in my mouth, the sweet taste making me feel like I was floating. I moaned softly.

“Suzannah? Where are you?”

“Here,” I answered.

Silas appeared in the empty doorway. “Did you find something?”

“Yes,” I said, holding out the box for him to see.

“And you’re planning on keeping them all for yourself?” Silas asked. I saw him grin in the moonlight.

“Maybe,” I grinned back. “I just ate one.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” Silas said, “But you have to give me one.”

“Here,” I reached the box toward him, but he didn’t take it.

“Put it in my mouth for me,” he said. “My hands are dirty.”

“And mine aren’t?”

He opened his mouth and I realized he was serious. This was not like when Morris commanded me to feed him. This was something…different. This was…exciting. I broke off a piece of the pastry, and held it out to him, placing it on his tongue. His lips closed around my fingers. I jumped back and pulled my hand away. It felt like lightning had shot through my fingers, up my arm and straight down into my abdomen, setting my nerves on fire. I tingled from head to toe.

“Silas!” I giggled. “You can’t do that.”

But why can’t he do that? I liked it. I liked the feeling of his lips on my skin. Was this what a kiss felt like? Kissing was forbidden except for married people. I imagined Silas kissing me and a fire exploded in the base of my stomach, an unfamiliar and exciting feeling that made my heart race. I realized I wanted him to kiss me; to kiss me full on the mouth.

About the Author:

Eleni McKnight is a Murfreesboro, Tennessee native. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Literature and a wild passion for creating clothes and doing make-up. She’s also an avid reader and loves music and theatre. She started writing at age eight when she had read all the Baby-Sitter’s Club books that were out and wanted something new to read. It’s never quite left her over the years

These days, you can usually find Eleni working backstage or costuming in local community theatres, reading a book, walking (that FitBit is addictive!), at a concert, drinking a craft beer with friends, knitting, embroidering, or taking a dance class.

Author Links:

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Foy: On the Road Video Guest Post

FOY:ON THE ROAD
TO LOST
by
GORDON ATKINSON
  Genre: Literary Fiction
Date of Publication: March 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 194

 

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Gordon Atkinson, of the popular blog RealLivePreacher, brings us Foy, a recently- divorced, recently-resigned pastor in the midst of redefining personal meaning. As Foy travels to New Orleans, hoping to find a new identity separate from the church, he keenly observes the everyday, rendering ordinary moments unexpectedly significant. Atkinson’s own background as a preacher and blogger inspires Foy’s confessional voice, the voice which characterizes this story about how our own experiences impact the universal search for meaning. 
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PRAISE FOR FOY: ON THE ROAD TO LOST:

“If the magnitude of difference between the stars and humankind is the purest of religions, reminding us of our insignificance (so thinks Foy), then that magnitude is collapsed in the hands of Atkinson, whose words elevate the most insignificant of objects, acts, and characters to startling heights. A key shifted on a desk, a communion cup offered to an old woman despite a philosophical mismatch, a baby’s bottle first ignored and then retrieved for a frazzled stranger on a bus. Each commands, each arrests, each persists. And we suddenly remember that what we create with mere words can be as lasting as the luminaries.”
— L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, twice named a best book of 2011

“Few writers can match Gordon Atkinson’s ability to tell stories about the sacred in our everyday lives. Foy is a work of power, beauty, and clarity–I saw myself and the world more clearly after reading it. I think you will too.”

— Greg Garrett, author of The Prodigal and Entertaining Judgment

“I really, really like Gordon Atkinson’s Foy. I like the character Foy himself. He’s Everyman and he’s me and he’s Gordon, all at the same time. Nice trick. I like Gordon’s writing — straightforward, but with a simple elegance. But what I really like is the no-holds-barred honesty. This feels real because it is real. Foy at his worst, Foy at his best, Foy at his most wonderful/awful. It’s an on-going series, just like life. I look forward to the next chapter.”
— Robert F. Darden, author of Nothing but Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-Ins to Resurrection City
Atkinson is the author of the books RealLivePreacher.com (Wm. B. Eerdmans), Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You’ve Never Heard.  He was a contributor for the magazine Christian Century and founding editor for the High Calling website, which brought together hundreds of independent writers and featured their work. 
His writing career started on Salon where he was among the most read bloggers on the site.  One of his essays was chosen to be included in The Best Christian Writing 2004 (Jossey-Bass) and his book RealLivePreacher.com won the Independent Publisher Book Award in the creative non-fiction category.
  —————————————
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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Foy: On the Road to Lost, Turtles All the Way Down, and A Christmas Story You Never Heard
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of Foy: On the Road to Lost

3rd Prize: Signed Copy of RealLivePreacher.com
(US ONLY)
March 1 – 15, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

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Video Guest Post 1
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Review
3/3
Excerpt 1
3/4
Video Guest Post 2
3/5
Review
3/6
Author Interview 1
3/7
Review
3/8
Video Guest Post 3
3/9
Excerpt 2
3/10
Review
3/11
Video Guest Post 4
3/12
Author Interview 2
3/13
Review
3/14
Video Guest Post 5
3/15
Review

 

 

 

 

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Curse of Stars Excerpt and Giveaway

Curse of Stars
Donna Compositor
(Diamond Crier #1)
Publication date: February 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no for an answer.

Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.

In a fit of rage, power erupts out of Sabi, the same power Cabal has, and a spark of hope ignites. Together they may have a chance at escape, something no other Crier has done. Except a ruler hellbent on draining them of every last diamond tear isn’t their only hurdle. If they escape they’ll be hunted to the ends of the earth, if they survive the trek to safety. If they stay the ruler will leech them dry. Sabi would rather die trying than lie down and die, even if that means running away into even more danger.

“. . . vividly imagined and deftly plotted dark fantasy . . .” BookLife Prize in Fiction

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Excerpt:

Fingers dug into her arm and she was yanked to her feet. She grunted as her skin pulled under the man’s grip and she stumbled when he dragged her along the corridor.
“Where are we?” she asked, her voice echoing on the dark stone around her. A well-worn carpet laid under her feet, track marks running the length of it.

“What do you want with me?”

“Normally I wouldn’t have the patience for stupidity,” he said without looking at her. “But seeing as how you haven’t lived in Raydin for more than a decade I’ll abide you this.”

“You’re so kind,” she said as she tried to jerk her arm free.

No dice. Instead the man swung her around and slammed her back into the stone. Precious air rushed out of her lungs and panic made her gasp, wheeze, scramble to bring the air back in.

“There is no escape, Sabina. Rest assured, you’re here for life. However long that may be.”

“Why?” She sneered at the immaculate face in front of her. Not a hair out of place. Not a blemish anywhere on his skin. She wanted to rake her nails across his perfection. “Why did you kill my papa? Why did you chase us out of our home?”

He smiled then, a look that crawled up his face and failed to reach his eyes.

“Your home, little Crier, is here. Far south from this castle. That’s where your parents ran from the first time. Alas, they couldn’t run forever.”

Sweat broke out on her forehead. She didn’t understand, but Papa said the same thing. They weren’t from a world that had New York. They were from somewhere else. Nausea swirled in her stomach.

“I have all the powers of the stars,” he said as he brushed a piece of hair from her face. She jerked away from his touch.

“Well, not all. Most. Most my family took from the Giver when they deposed him centuries ago. He was such a pacifist. It was almost too easy. All that power he just gave away to filth in this kingdom. Such a waste. We stopped that, though. We just couldn’t get diamond tears.”
Sabi’s head spun. “I don’t understand.”
The man frowned and leaned away from her. He yanked her off the wall and continued walking down the corridor.

“No, I imagine you wouldn’t. We couldn’t throw a successful coup without money. Lots of money. We had it, of course, but not enough. Not enough to sustain us. With the Giver’s powers, especially diamond tears, our problem would be solved. Instead we were still at his mercy, the decrepit old man.”

No, she wanted to say. That’s not what she meant. She understood why power-hungry people wanted power and money. What she didn’t understand was this Giver, his powers. What this all had to do with her. Her back throbbed. Bruises formed knots along her spine and she already felt their ache.

“It worked out for us and for him. While he’s stored away, nice and safe, he keeps doling out diamond tears and we merely collect those with the power. If he stops, the slaughter of his people would be on him. You understand? Sabina, I asked you a question.”

Sabi choked on the answer and finally said, “Yes.” It was a lie, but this man didn’t seem like someone who was used to hearing no.

Author Bio:

Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy.

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Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas Interview and Giveaway

Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas (Creative HeArts #6, Willa & Finn #2) by Emily McKay
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

Book Summary:

Falling in love with the best man wasn’t on the program.

Willa is happy to be the maid of honor in her dad’s upcoming wedding to uber-celeb Mia McCain. Not as happy about the best man being her soon-to-be stepbrother, the infuriating—and infuriatingly gorgeous—Finn McCain. Every time their paths cross, the attraction simmering between them grows a little harder to ignore. Willa knows all about guys like Finn—they only want what they can’t have. What’s between them isn’t real.

Finn has never felt anything more real than what’s developing between him and Willa. Sure, her dad warned him to steer clear, but it’s not just about forbidden temptation. He’s determined to prove to Willa he’s not going anywhere—and that happily-ever-after will always be worth the risk.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a wedding so crazy it’ll make you laugh, a stepbrother so hot he’ll make you swoon, and a heroine so real she’ll make you cry.

Purchase Links:

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B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother. 

When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

Author Interview:

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I have just always wanted to be a storyteller. Since I was eight.
As for what inspires me … everything! I get ideas from everywhere!

 

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Well, this is a series of YA books, but I have a lot of adult readers who like all the YA emotions. Or just want love a light, fun read.

 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Well, I wasn’t the only one working on this series. There were four authors total (Tera Lynn Childs, Shellee Roberts, Tracy Deebs and me.) And I honestly don’t remember who came up with the idea to call it Creative heArts. But it’s a fun series name.

 

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

It just came to me from Entangled! They did a fabulous job and I loved it immediately.

 

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Finn, the hero. He’s not super-angsty, but he does have a lot of trouble letting people in—for good reason. His mother is a super-star actress. And all his life, people have wanted something from him. Now he’s got this stepsister (who he is way too into), and he really wants to save her the heartache he’s had. He’s just a great guy.

 

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

The heroine, Willa, has another boyfriend for part of the book. And he turned out to be way more of a jerk than even I suspected. I mean, I knew he wasn’t “the one” for her, but jeez … He really went downhill fast.

 

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

There are always things I want to change. With every story. And I do mean always. I can pick up a book I wrote a decade ago and think, “I wish I’d phrased that better.” Or “I rushed that moment” … with this book, I wished I’d had more time for them to live together in the house. I think that would have been fun.

 

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

In the books (both this one and the first in the series), Willa is writing a web series for her senior project. So I watched a lot of web series. I mean … a lot. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Classic Alice … those two were my favorites. But I watched hours and hours of the good, the bad, the weird.

But, if you’re new to webseries, start with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Classic Alice!

 

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

I can be found at EmilyMcKay.com or on twitter at @emily_mc_kay or on FB at https://www.facebook.com/emily.mckay.52

 

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now I’m working on a super fun urban fantasy YA. It’s been my mammoth project for several years now, so I hope I can get it into the hands of readers soon. After that, I have a couple of adult romance projects.

 

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Tell their friends to read them! Seriously, word of mouth is important.

 

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Read good books. Study your craft. Good stories are important. And, remember, you are the only person who can write the stories inside you. Only you. So get writing!

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Nope!

 

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

I’m not prepared to be friends with Finn. I’m not equipped for it.

I’m sure there are some girls out there who can casually be friends with super-hot guys who also live across the hall from them. Those are the girls who are used to hanging out with hot guys. Who are used to guys flirting with them carelessly, as though it means nothing. I know my limits. I am not one of those girls.

No, I am the girl who keeps tattered copies of Twilight next to my collection of Austen and Bronte. I am the girl who’s watched Ryan Gosling catch Emma Stone approximately one thousand and forty-two times. I am the girl whose insides utter every time I walk past Finn’s bedroom and hear his shower running. My imagination runs deep.

I can’t be friends with Finn. Because I will always want to believe there is more depth to him than there really is.

 

About the Author:


Emily McKay is a life-long fan of books, pop-culture and anything geeky. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and baking cookies. When she’s not kicking-ass and scooping cookie dough, she’s watching videos from Screen Junkies (her favorite Youtube channel) or Pemberly Digital or Classic Alice. Okay, she has a Youtube problem! She’s seeking help. Really. Though, she may also have a slight problem with procrastination.

When the internet is down and there are no chocolate chips in the house, she does write books – everything from Harlequin romance novels to post-apocalyptic YA. Though her interests may appear broad, the common denominators are swoony heroes and snarky humor.

Author Links:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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