Old Buildings in North Texas: Guest Post

OLD BUILDINGS
IN NORTH TEXAS
by
JEN WALDO
Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Dramedy
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: April 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 213
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After rehab, Olivia, a 32-year-old cocaine addict, is required to move back in with her mother and pregnant sister. Having left a promising career in journalism in New York, she’s now working as a sales assistant for a family friend in her home town in North Texas.

Under pressure from her court-mandated counselor – an old high school friend – to take up a hobby, Olivia decides on “urbexing.” Soon she’s breaking into derelict homes, ex-prisons, and old drive-ins across North Texas, and it’s not long before she’s looting state property and making money off the possessions, fixtures, and fittings that have been left behind.

Old Buildings in North Texas is about a modern woman’s search for personal equilibrium and wild adventure — the attempt to find stability in existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living. Jen Waldo’s style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure, tackling social and moral transgressions with incisive observation and vivid humor.

PRAISE FOR OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS

 

“A lot of Jen Waldo’s debut novel takes place out on the porch of Olivia’s mother’s house. […] With its casual, confidential tone, Old Buildings in North Texas puts the reader in one of those porch chairs, reclining on a warm evening with a cool drink.” — The Skinny
Old Buildings in North Texas is an amusingly written and well worked book” — Trip Fiction
“This novel is an absolute blast. There are serious moments of course, but Jen Waldo looks for the comedy in everything to create a memorable scenario that reminded me very much of the style of Six Feet Under.” — Shiny New Books

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Why I Don’t Like Amarillo, but Write About it Anyway

By Jen Waldo

We had some brilliant minds in our Amarillo High School graduating class, young men and women who moved to distant places and made prodigious differences in the world. An astronaut, doctors, lawyers, Ivy League professors, artists, authors, entrepreneurs, and gifted musicians. I often think about the kids I went to high school with, and I’m amazed by how so many great and successful people came out of that arid windy town where ideas are aborted immediately after conception.

I know no one who lives there now.

Because my novel, Old Buildings in North Texas, has recently been released here in the US, I’m concentrating on publicizing it. This is progressing here in the same way it did when the book was released in the UK, which means a publicist has arranged guest postings on blogs and reviews to go in newspapers and magazines throughout the country.

As my books are published internationally and set in fictional Caprock, which is based on Amarillo, you’d think people in my hometown would be interested or, at the very least, curious. But I contacted the editor of the Amarillo Globe News two weeks ago, attaching a press release to communicate that this is a legitimate book published by an award-winning literary publisher. I haven’t heard back from him. This excerpt from one of the posts I did for a British blog will explain why I’m not at all surprised:

Having lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period, I’m often asked why I place my novels in a stark dry town in Northwest Texas. It’s because it’s the location I know best. Though the ex-pat life is enlightening, I don’t have other cultures in my bones the way I do Amarillo. I’ll point out that I say bones rather than heart. I hardly love the place. But its vernacular is mine and I comprehend on an intrinsic level the mindset of the people, who are stubborn, religious, big-hearted, abhorrent toward change, and suspicious of success.

In Amarillo, liberals are appreciated in the same way children are; they’re expected to keep their volume down and not touch anything. And, while outwardly the city appreciates the arts, it’s understood that any artist will be out of favor if he or she steps too far outside conventional societal boundaries. Also, if some performer or scientist shows outstanding talent or ability, well, Amarillo as a whole wishes they’d take their genius elsewhere.

And though the population makes an effort to move forward, when it comes to cultural trends and economic development, they somehow manage to always be several years behind the rest of the country.

Reading this a year after I wrote it, I realize that this is a biased and negative view. For the most part, Amarillo is composed of good people going about their daily business. Mainly what I remember from my years there is that the hands of the clock never seemed to move and nothing ever changed.

Here’s another disparaging excerpt, this one in the voice of Olivia from OBiNT:

In Dallas I worked as the regulars’ editor for Dallas Flair, a local fashion magazine. It was my dream career, a grand life in the making.  Here in Caprock, with my background (and I am impressive—BA in English from Rice, MA in Journalism from Columbia, magna cum laude in both) I should’ve been able to get a job on the newspaper, the Caprock Chronicle, which, as far as I can tell, is none too choosy. And there’s a local magazine here, too, that I’m well-suited for. Called Caprock Comfort, it has more to do with home decorating than fashion, but still, it’s work I could do, a theme I could get behind. I like comfort as much as the next person.    

Oddly, the reason I’m not working for one of these publications isn’t because I’m an addict or that I’m unqualified. It’s because I left the area. 

“Tech not good enough for you?” asked Stanley Mason, editor of the Caprock Chronicle.  “Most of our staff went to Tech. Or Pan UT.”  Located two hours to the south, Texas Tech is as far as most people from Caprock go for their higher education. And Pan UT, the panhandle branch of the University of Texas system, is even closer—half an hour to the southwest, in Gorman. 

“Columbia? Isn’t that in New York?” asked Susan Riley, editor of Caprock Comfort. “Why’d you go way up there? That must have been horrible.”

As most ex-pats know, family and friends from home don’t want to hear about experiences from the outside world. They’re happy to see you, but they lack curiosity and are caught up in their own lives. This conversation between Olivia and her therapist offers another reason why someone from Amarillo might not want to read OBiNT:

“Tell me about living in New York.” Jane dons an interested expression. 

“It’s busy,” I say, happy to comply. “There’s always something to do.  You can take a short subway ride and end up in a completely different neighborhood where they speak Chinese or Russian or Arabic or Portuguese. And the way people dress is fascinating—all the cultures shown in fabrics and designs right there on their backs, and you can see how one style influences another. And everybody walks. People are out and moving, not getting from place to place in their solitary cars.”

Her eyes have glazed over, which makes me stop talking. The prospect of a world beyond Caprock has rendered her catatonic. It takes her a few seconds to realize I’ve gone silent.

My treatment of Amarillo in my novels is hardly kind. I suppose it’s understandable that no one at the Amarillo Globe News would care to read a book that denigrates the town and its people. On the other hand, why wouldn’t they want to read it? If there’s anything folks in Amarillo enjoy, it’s becoming indignant and holding a grudge.

My novels do offer some positive things about my hometown. At times I grow nostalgic when writing of the flat hard land and the shadows of the gnarled mesquite, the fierce wind and the blue, blue sky. Also the dialect has always pleased me—the fixin‘ tos and the ya’lls and the gunnawunnas (as in You’re gunnawunna take care of that).

And the people also possess two of my favorite qualities: a sense of humor and a lack of pretention; after all, it looks like they named their new baseball team the Sod Poodles. 

 

Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind.

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October 2-11, 2018
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
10/2/18
Excerpt
10/2/18
Guest Post
10/3/18
Review
10/4/18
Author Interview
10/5/18
Review
10/5/18
Excerpt
10/6/18
Guest Post
10/7/18
Review
10/7/18
Notable Quotable
10/8/18
Notable Quotable
10/9/18
Review
10/9/18
Guest Post
10/10/18
Sequel Spotlight
10/11/18
Review
10/11/18
Review
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Frequency Promo

Frequency
By Christopher Krovatin
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: October 2nd 2018
Entangled Teen

Book Summary

Five years ago, Fiona was just a kid. But everything changed the night the Pit Viper came to town. Sure, he rid the quiet, idyllic suburb of Hamm of its darkest problems. But Fiona witnessed something much, much worse from Hamm’s adults when they drove him away.

And now, the Pit Viper is back.

Fiona’s not just a kid anymore. She can handle the darkness she sees in the Pit Viper, a DJ whose wicked tattoos, quiet anger, and hypnotic music seem to speak to every teen in town…except her. She can handle watching as each of her friends seems to be overcome, nearly possessed by the music. She can even handle her unnerving suspicion that the DJ is hell-bent on revenge.

But she’s not sure she can handle falling in love with him. 

PURCHASE

Excerpt

As she closed the door, Horace sat down on the bed, a bitter look spreading across his face.Whats up? he said.

“I’m sorry I missed the beginning of your set, she said. “What happened?”

He waved a hand in front of his face. Apparently, theres someone else coming in, some friend of Tesss who wants to… It doesnt matter. Dont want to talk about it.

“Hey, look, she said, sitting down next to him. “Its okay to be upset. That really sucks. I’m so sorry. He went to gulp his beer, and she reached out and held his wrist, stopping him. “But you’re drinking really fast. Please take it easy, okay?”

Annoyance crossed his face, but then he considered the cup and nodded, placing it on a bedside table. You’re right. You’re totally right. I’m sorry, Fiona, I justuuuugh, I feel like such a dick. I worked all week on a set that no one got to hear.

“It happens, she said. “Besides, these assholes wouldn’t appreciate your stuff anyway. You’re too good for them.

Finally, there it was—a smile. A reluctant one, maybe, but shed take it.

Youre too good for me, he said, putting an arm around her. Thanks, babe, I…needed this. I needed you to talk some sense into me.

I just want you to be happy, she said, riding the sudden rush of relief.

I know, he said. Thats why I love you.Boom.

 

About the Author


Chris Krovatin is an author and journalist of some ill repute. His past novels include Heavy Metal & You, Venomous, and the Gravediggers series. He is a contributor to Revolver Magazine and MetalSucks.net, and formerly sang in Brooklyn-based metal band Flaming Tusk. He is an avid fan of weird fiction, the occult, horror movies, heavy metal music, and Halloween. A native New Yorker, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Death by the River Blitz

Death by the River 

Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

A high school “American Psycho.”

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.

SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux. 

And that someone will pay with their life.

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EXCERPT

Beau strolled down the elegant curved mahogany staircase of his parents’ plantation home. He stepped onto the hardwood floors and caressed the newel post at the end of the steps. Shaped like the head of a horse, the bit pulled taut in its mouth, he admired the pain carved into the creature’s bulging eyes.

He headed along the hallway, tugging his book bag over his shoulder, the occasional moan of the floor echoing around him. He glanced at a massive gold painting of New Orleans he liked, bought by some dead relative a century ago. Family portraits of other deceased members of the Devereaux clan littered the white wainscoting covered walls. He passed the tall cypress door to his father’s office, not bothering to check inside. His old man was an early riser and probably on his way to the brewery.

At the end of the hall, he turned down a slender corridor to the kitchen and the entrance to the five-car garage. He enjoyed the quiet in the morning after his father went to work and before his mother crawled out of bed. It made him feel like it was all his, for a little while anyway.
In the kitchen, Beau went around the beaten copper-covered breakfast bar to the refrigerator.

His father appeared, holding a coffee mug.

Beau froze, almost afraid to move when he spotted him.

Gage Devereaux rested his hip against the black granite countertop. Tilting his head slightly, he inspected his son. In his usual attire—a long-sleeved shirt and slacks—he came across more like a casual businessman than a ruthless capitalist. Except for their height and physical prowess, Beau felt he had nothing in common with his father.

He attempted to relax by shifting his book bag on his shoulder. “Didn’t expect to find you still home.”

Gage set his mug on the counter. “I wanted to speak to you before you left for school.”

The hint of condescension in his father’s voice tightened his chest—it usually signaled a lecture.

“I got a call from Ms. Greenbriar yesterday afternoon. She said you visited her office after a run-in you had with Carol Foster’s boy.”

Beau’s fingers twitched, the way they did when his aggravation got the better of him. Great. The idiot woman had called his father. The last thing he needed was Gage Devereaux up his ass.

“Derek is dating Dawn’s sister, so I often see him at school.” He tempered the irritation in his voice, not wanting to annoy his father. “I was talking to Leslie when Derek walked up. I accidentally caught him with my elbow when I turned around. I apologized and everything is fine.”

He waited, analyzing every move his father made, searching his hard eyes for an inkling of his mindset.

“I’ve spoken to you before about this.” Gage came around the breakfast bar. “This family is in a precarious position with everyone in town. I don’t want your actions threatening our business or our good name.” He gripped Beau’s shoulder. “What have I always told you? What is our rule?”

Beau cringed as the words he’d spent a lifetime dreading screamed through his head. He faced his father, standing at attention. “Self-control in all things. Never let anyone see who you really are.”

Gage leaned closer. “No matter what anyone says, no matter what they do, you walk away. This includes your girlfriend. Do you understand?”

Beau stiffened at the low, menacing tone in his father’s voice. “Yes, sir.”

Gage lifted the left side of his mouth ever so slightly. “Go to school.”

Beau stood by the breakfast bar, not moving a muscle as his father headed to the garage. The door clicked shut and a trickle of sweat ran down his temple. His jaw muscles cramped from clenching, his heart rate slowed, and he glanced at his fists. His father’s warning spinning in his head, Beau slammed his hand down on the copper bar.

Anger like molten lead ran through him. Beau sucked in deep breaths to calm himself—something he remembered from a long-ago therapy session. Then he relaxed his hand on the bar, checking the indent he’d left in the copper. He wiped the smudge away, stepped back, and raised his head.

I am the master of control.

About the Author

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

 

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100 Things to Do in DFW Before You Die: Guest Post

100 THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS FORT WORTH BEFORE YOU DIE

2ND EDITION

By Tui Snider

 Genre: Non-Fiction / Texas Travel

Publisher: Reedy Press   Twitter     Facebook

Date of Publication: September 15, 2018

Number of Pages: 160 with black & white images

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Have you ever drawn a blank when a friend or family member asks, “What do you want to do today?” Maybe you have visitors to show around the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, or perhaps you’ve lived here for years but feel like you’re in a rut rather than experiencing anything new.

If so, Tui Snider’s new book is for you! If you live in, or are visiting, the DFW region, this list will inspire you to start exploring. If you’re hungry, flip through the Food & Drink section. Looking for entertainment or want to get outdoors? Dig into the Music & Entertainment or the Sports & Recreation sections. Want to barter for antiques or see a museum? Check out the Culture & History or the Shopping & Fashion sections.

This book is a playful bucket list of suggestions meant to spark ideas: everything from family outings, date nights, and solo excursions, to simply hanging out with friends on your day off.

North Texas Favorites? How about My Scarborough Renaissance Fair Wedding!

By Tui Snider

Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX (c) Tui Snider

Every time I write a travel book, readers inevitably ask which place is my favorite. It’s a fun question to consider but answering is never easy. However, when it comes to my latest book, 100 Things to Do in Dallas – Fort Worth Before You Die, I must admit that the Scarborough Renaissance Festival (SRF) has a special place in my heart. Why? Because I got married there in 2011!

The Scarborough Renaissance Festival takes place on 35 acres of beautifully wooded land about a half hour’s journey south of the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex on the outskirts of the town of Waxahachie.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX (c) Tui Snider

This lively Texas Renaissance festival has been a regional favorite since it first opened in 1981. Each weekend from early April through the end of May, the grounds come to life with a cast of costumed characters who have fun reenacting life in medieval times – the year 1533, to be precise.

Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII hold court, lead medieval dances, parades, and occasionally mingle with common folk like you and me. Special events occur each weekend, such as caber tossing, falconry, juggling, jousts and live music. 

Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX (c) Tui Snider

At the time we were planning our wedding, I was new to Texas and didn’t have any local friends to ask for advice. All my pals were thousands of miles away. Long story short: we got married at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas and it was wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Planning the wedding was a breeze because in addition to supplying a certified officiant to conduct the ceremony, SRF offers a baker, a florist, food, and – best of all – after we were hitched, we goofed around for the rest of the day. No clean up necessary!

My wedding at Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX (c) Tui Snider

As you can see, I dressed as a purple fairy. I considered many traditional Medieval maiden outfits, but – this is Texas, y’all! The day we were married, it was in the 90’s and humid, so I’m glad I opted for lighter clothing! I made the headdress, and am especially fond of the little bird because I’m an avid amateur birder. 

I’m so glad we got married at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Not only was it fun, but we now have a built-in anniversary party every spring!

To find out more about the Scarborough Renaissance Festival:

2511 FM 66, Waxahachie srfestival.com 


 

CLICK TO PURCHASE!

Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in hometown travel. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!” Snider’s work has been featured by a variety of outlets, including Coast to Coast AM, LifeHackeasyJet and Authentic Texas. Snider’s award-winning books include Unexpected Texas, Paranormal Texas, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and more. Tui enjoys connecting with readers all over the globe through her WEBSITE.

  WEBSITE    FACEBOOK    TWITTER    AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE    INSTAGRAM  

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 September 18-October 2, 2018

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

9/18/18

Excerpt

All the Ups and Downs

9/19/18

Guest Post

Books in the Garden

9/20/18

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

9/21/18

Excerpt

Max Knight

9/22/18

Author Interview

Chapter Break Book Blog

9/23/18

Review

Books and Broomsticks

9/24/18

Bonus Review

Forgotten Winds

9/25/18

Review

Nerd Narration

9/26/18

Guest Post

The Page Unbound

9/27/18

Review

Reading by Moonlight

 

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Three Mages and a Margarita: Blitz

Three Mages and a Margarita
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1)
Publication date: September 14th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they…offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s aguild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise.


Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT

When I gazed vacantly at her, Clara visibly paled. “Tori, what’s your class?” “My class?”
She pressed her hands to the bar top, eyes wide. “Your class, what is it?” “You mean at the community college? I’m taking—”

“No, your mythic class!” She shoved my card under my nose, even more frantic. “Why doesn’t your license have a mythic identification number? You’re registered, aren’t you?”

“Registered for what? Clara, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

“Oh my god.” Panic flashed in her eyes. “I don’t believe it. You’re human.”

I blinked again. Squinted. Rubbed one ear like I might have misheard. “Beg your pardon?”

Clara dropped my ID on the bar and hid her face behind her hands. “Darius is going to kill me. Why didn’t I check your ID last night? I’m an idiot.”

“Clara,” I said, alarmed and confused in equal measure. “I swear it’s a real ID. I’m twenty-one, old enough to bartend, and—”

“That’s not the problem,” she moaned. “How did you even find out about this place? I never should have—but you were perfect. You weren’t scared of anyone—not even Aaron! I thought you were some badass mythic who wanted to bartend, but you—”

“Get over yourself, Aaron.” Kai’s angry voice rose over Clara’s. “We’re not doing this your way—not again. Your plans always end in fireballs and explosions.”

Fireballs? Explosions? I glanced at them as Aaron snapped, “What’s wrong with that?”
“Tori.” Clara’s panicked tone drew my attention back to her as Kai and Aaron continued to argue. “Last

night, did you see anything?”

“Huh?”

“Did you see anything … unusual?”

“Did I see anything unusual?” I repeated blankly. “Like what?”

“Say that again,” Aaron shouted furiously, “and I’ll toast your pale ass to a healthy crisp!”

His hand shot into the air—and fire burst from his fingers. The red flames danced across his skin, sparks raining down on the table. Curling his hand into a fist, he cocked his arm back, aiming for Kai.

“Aaron!” Clara shrieked. “Put your fire away!”
He froze in mid-motion, his fist still blazing. “Clara? What’s wrong?”

“Put it out!” she yelled, her voice high with panic. “Now!”

He flicked his fingers open and the flames vanished. “Jeez, don’t get your panties in a twist. I wasn’t actually going to roast him.”

“Just—just shut up for once in your life, Aaron!” Clara pressed her hands to her head like she was trying to squeeze her brain. “This is already bad enough.”

“What’s bad?” He pushed back from the table and strode over, Kai and Ezra on his heels. “What’s going on?”

I didn’t move, my eyes fixed on his hand—his hand that had been engulfed in flames. Did that count as unusual?

“I screwed up,” Clara groaned, covering her face again like she couldn’t stand to see me. “I didn’t check her ID yesterday.”

Aaron slid my driver’s license off the bar top and read it. “Victoria Dawson? Your name is Victoria?” I shook off my shock to scowl at his sniggering tone.
Kai plucked the card out of Aaron’s hand. “There’s no MID number.”
“Is it a fake ID?” Aaron asked with amusement. “Did you hire a rogue, Clara?”

“Worse,” Clara whispered. “She’s human.”

The three guys stared at me, and I stared back without the slightest idea what the hell anyone was talking about. But more important than the incomprehensible conversation was the fact Aaron’s hand had been on fire, and I couldn’t figure out how it could possibly have been a trick.

“No way,” Aaron finally said. “What’s your class, Tori?” I pointed at his hand. “Was that real fire?”
“Oh, shit,” Kai muttered.

About the Author

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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Out of Sight: Review

Out of Sight
By Matthew S. Cox 
Publication date: August 13th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

Book Synopsis

 

Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.

In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.

Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.

A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.

Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…

She hasn’t seen anything yet.

 

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I judged this book by it’s cover and was instantly intrigued. Visually, it’s stunning. The imagery in this book is equally as stunning. It immediately pulls you in to colorfully descriptive settings and general tone of what Sima has to face. Plus there are additional illustrations that vary per chapter!

 

This Author clearly is skilled at poetically detailing his plot. I instantly loved the style. Along with a fast paced and intense plot, it was easy to read this in no time at all.

 

Apathy and Rebellion strolled hand-in-hand with Death, and the second she made friends with either, he’d come calling.”

 

Sima has little options after leaving her troubled past behind. Literally begging to survive, becoming older sets new challenges. What few choices she has are taken from her. Suddenly, she’s in the governments hands which sets her on path she didn’t expect. The Progenitor Program.

 

Sima is a complicated character that does not only grow through her bravery but also kindness. She’s a solitary being and wants to survive by her own abilities. Jealous of the young kids that beg and earn more ‘glint’, her day to day life take a large part in the beginning. Mainly, Sima isn’t perfect and struggles fairly often during the book. Her character was created very well in my opinion. After all, she’s only sixteen and surviving each day takes quite a bit of time. She’ll come to learn more important things in life.

 

I found the pace well written and mainly enjoyed learning about this dystopian world with little empathy. The secondary characters were equally enjoyable, especially the young kids Sima interacts with. There is some action as well, which develops further in the book and was great. It’ll be very interesting to see how Cox might tie up some less explored secrets of this world. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book!

 

About the Author
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.Hobbies and Interests

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future.

 

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Your Echo: Blitz

Your Echo
By Katia Rose
(Sherbrooke Station, #2)
Publication date: September 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Book Synopsis

How do you teach a rock star how to meditate?

The number one question on Stéphanie’s mind sounds like the start of a bad joke, and life would be a whole lot easier if she actually knew the punch line.

Her meditation coach job description said nothing about private lessons for the most infamous lead singer in Montreal, but somehow Stéphanie still finds herself sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat, right next to a pierced and tattooed music legend who’d rather be anywhere else.

Meditation classes are Ace’s final chance to convince his record label that the last bender he went on really was his last. The demons that have sent him to the bottom of countless bottles might not give a damn about ‘soothing rhythmic chanting,’ but it’s either this or game over for his career.

He’s not what she wants. She’s not what he’s looking for. Yet somewhere amidst all the incense fumes, the lines between student and teacher get blurred.

Even as their deep breathing exercises become nights filled with panting and gasps, Stéphanie can’t ignore the darkness that never quite leaves Ace’s eyes. It’s a darkness she knows far too well, and if she’s not careful, the cost of helping Ace find his way might just be losing herself.

Your Echo is part of the Sherbrooke Station Quartet, a series of steamy rock star standalones from author Katia Rose.

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Excerpt

It seems so unfair that the beliefs I’ve worked years to build, the mantras I’ve chanted to myself for hours on end, can all be shaken right down to their foundations with just a few questions from Ace.

I want to hold myself above the doubts, to brush off his words as part of a stupid game, but there’s also a part of me that craves to know what else he has to say. There’s a part of me that wants to let him swing a wrecking ball at everything I think I know and see how much of it holds.

About the Author

Katia Rose is not much of a Pina Colada person, but she does like getting caught in the rain. She prefers her romance served steamy with a side of smart, and is a sucker for quirky characters. A habit of jetting off to distant countries means she’s rarely in one place for very long, but she calls the frigid northland that is Canada home.

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One Thousand & One Lies: Blitz

One Thousand & One Lies 
By Yumoyori Wilson 
(Reapers of Beauty #1) 
Publication date: September 8th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Book Synopsis

 

Lies.

Words of deception that assist in manipulating a person, group, lover, or foe. With each lie that leaves our lips, a plot morphs into a quick exchange, and the end result? Death.

Some call us Reapers of Beauty. Others think we assist the Angel of Death. Assassins? Murders? The list of what we term ourselves are endless. To us, this life is nothing but a job. One we have no control over what we do or whom we kill. That was how I’d lived my life for 25 years, and I presumed it would always be that way…until last night.

It was an easy assignment. A task I was confident in executing. Yet his stunning eyes pulled me in. His addictive aroma made me sigh in bliss. Those silky strands of hair felt so nice to touch, and those lips held a level of satisfaction that made my body hum for more.

A forbidden attraction that has led me astray. Or should I change that to attractions?

A thousand lies. That is all it takes to become a Reaper, like me. For the sake of protecting this mysterious group of men from my master who wants them dead, it’s time for me to play the game and turn the tables for the sake of freedom.

Will I survive? Maybe not, but I guess I’ll die trying.

Let the game begin…One Thousand and One.

AUTHOR NOTE:
Please Be Advised:
1001 LIES- Reapers of Beauty is an 18+ Series that contains dark themes which include sexual assault, child abuse, and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

 

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About the Author

 

Yumoyori Wilson is from Toronto, Ontario. She’s a full-time author who loves to write many different genres. On her down time, she bothers her Mom and likes to drink bubbletea while reading and playing video games.

 

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Cutie Pies and Deadly Lies Blitz

Cutie Pies and Deadly Lies 
By Addison Moore 
Publication date: September 13th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance

Book Synopsis
HILARIOUS cozy mystery from the New York Times bestselling author Addison MooreMy name is Lottie Lemon and I see dead people.Okay, so I rarely see dead people, mostly I see creatures of the dearly departed variety, aka dead pets. And for some reason those sweet, fluffy albeit paranormal cuties always seem to act as a not-so-great harbinger of deadly things to come for their previous owner. So when I saw that sweet orange tabby twirling around my landlord’s ankles, I figured Merilee was in for trouble. Personally, I was hoping for a skinned knee—what I got was a top spot in an open homicide investigation. Throw in a hot judge and an ornery detective that oozes testosterone and that pretty much sums up my life right about now. Have I mentioned how cute that detective is?

Lottie Lemon has a bakery to tend to, a budding romance with perhaps one too many suitors and she has the supernatural ability to see dead pets—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in the occasional ghost of the human variety, a string of murders and her insatiable thirst for justice and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with.

Living in the small town of Honey Hollow can be murder.

From the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Addison Moore—Cosmopolitan Magazine calls Addison’s books, “…easy, frothy fun!”

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Excerpt

I see dead people.

Okay, so I don’t see dead people—at least not on the regular—I see dead pets. Yes, pets. At first, I had no idea what these hologram-like beasts were up to until after an unfortunate run of something akin to trial and error that I concluded each dead pet was some sort of a harbinger for its previous owner, a very, very bad omen if you will. Sometimes I see them floating around willy-nilly in a crowd and it’s hard to decipher exactly who the bad luck is coming for. But on occasion, I see them attached firmly to the side of whoever the incoming disaster is set to strike. I’m not sure why this is my lot in life. In fact, my lot in life hasn’t been so stellar in general. My birth mother thought it was a brilliant idea to leave me on the floor of a firehouse, and that’s where a brave and thankfully curious firefighter spotted me, waddled up and squirming. It just so happens that I was adopted by that sweet man, Joseph Lemon, and his wife, Miranda, and gifted a book-loving big sister, Lainey, currently Honey Hollow’s lead librarian, as well as a feisty and shenanigan-prone younger sister, Meg, who is also known as Madge the Badge on the Las Vegas female wrestling circuit. And being that Las Vegas and all of its glittery wrestling venues are a good distance from Honey Hollow, Vermont, we don’t see her very often.

But back to that strange gift of mine, or curse as it more often than not feels like—I have zero clue where it came from or why, or even the major significance of it. A part of me has always believed that something alarmingly supernatural occurred around the time of my birth, and that’s exactly why my birth mama decided she so desperately needed to offload a seven-pound chunk of bad luck.

The very first time I put the furry-dearly-departed and outright chaos together was when I was seven and I saw the flicker of a barely-there turtle swimming next to Otis Fisher’s ear. Later that day, Otis fell from a tree and broke his arm. At the time, I wasn’t too sorry about it either. That boy had a mad hankering for pulling on my pigtails. And as fate would have it, the boy who lived to tease me, one day admitted to having a mad crush on yours truly. And post that amorous admission we dated on and off for about three years. If I thought that boy was annoying in elementary school, he outdid himself in high school. In fact, Otis—or Bear as he’s affectionately known around these parts for having once chased off a black bear before it could invade and devour an entire herd of innocent tourists who were on a leaf peeping tour—is one of the reasons I left Honey Hollow to begin. No sooner did my high school diploma cool off than I hightailed it to New York—Columbia University to be exact—where I’ve had the displeasure to ogle other people’s dead pets.

I’m quick to push what I’ve affectionately dubbed the New York Disaster out of my mind as I take a step outside of my apartment. It’s a duplex, actually, and my landlords, the Simonson sisters, live upstairs. They’re the primary reason I’m headed out on this unforgivably crisp September morning wearing my Sunday best, even though it’s smack in the middle of the week, Wednesday. Usually, I’d be happily snug in my favorite jeans, sporting my comfiest sweatshirt with my hair in a ponytail, and on my way to the Honey Pot Diner where I’m currently employed as the chief baker, not that there’s anyone baking underneath me but, hey, I like the title. Instead, I’m stuffed in a pencil skirt, two sizes too small, and a blouse that looks as if I swiped it off a mannequin at Goodwill, partially because I did. Okay, so I don’t own many Sunday clothes per se, but only because the local church is all about casual attire. They’re far more concerned with keeping your soul free from the flames than they are about your accruements, but I digress. I’m not headed to work or any holy house in the great state of Vermont. I’m headed to court—small claims court to be exact—all the way over in Ashford County.

Just as I’m about to head to my beat-up old hatchback, I spot both the aforementioned Simonson sisters at the foot of the driveway squabbling amongst themselves about who knows what—most likely me. It is me they’re hauling to court after all, and over something completely ridiculous.

It just so happens that last summer at the county fair my blueberry buckle pie won the coveted blue ribbon in its division, and it seemed as if all of Ashford County were thrilled for me, at least all of the townsfolk here in Honey Hollow. But the Simonson sisters were decidedly not enthused in the least. Sometime between the taste test and the judging, someone edited my entry to read Simple Simonson Pie and crossed out the all-important part about the blueberry buckle. Regretfully, a riot of laughter ensued, mostly from the fine, and, might I add, intuitive folk here in Honey Hollow, but I swear on all that is holy that good time only lasted about three thrilling minutes before I made the correction. Although, to hear Mora Anne and Merilee tell it, the aftermath not only bruised their egos and reputation but managed to cause a retail apocalypse down at the shop they own and run. It turns out, The Busy Bee Craft Shop was short on patrons and dollar bills alike and had a difficult time paying its rent last month, so the only logical solution they could come up with was to sue me for every last red cent.

Both sisters are dressed head to toe in long velvet coats with ruffled shirts peeking out from underneath like a couple of throwbacks from some long-forgotten steampunk era. It’s eerie the way they choose to dress alike each and every day despite the fact they’ve been on the planet for twenty-six long years—and twenty-seven respectively. I know this because I happen to be the exact same age as Merilee. We’ve all grown up together, but the way they treat me you’d think they were my bitter and scorned elders.

Merilee snarls as if she were rabid. “Well, look who’s here? If it isn’t Honey Hollow’s favorite jester who will soon be performing live in court.” Those narrow slits she calls eyes light up like cauldrons. The sisters have always held a witchy appeal to me, what with their long, dark, stringy hair and bony, long fingers. The fact they look as if they suck on lemons day and night doesn’t exactly help their plight. “Are you ready to have your bank account turned inside out?”

I scoff at the thought. If they think this is the day they hit a financial jackpot, they’d better think again. Working shifts at the Honey Pot Diner doesn’t afford me much of a bank account. The only thing in my savings at the moment is enough to cover my rent and Pancake’s Fancy Beast cat food. I’ve had Pancake now for over a year, and he officially qualifies as the greatest love of my life.

I glance over to the living room window where he’s currently monitoring the situation while licking his paw. Pancake is a butter yellow Himalayan with a rusty-tipped tail and dart of a line running between his eyes. He is a precious little angel now that he’s no longer using my leather ottoman as a scratching post and chewing down all the cables and cords he could get his hungry little paws on. The entire apartment has been cat-proofed, and Pancake hasn’t forgiven me yet.

An icy breeze picks up and the row of liquid ambers and maples that lines the street shed the first smattering of red and gold fall leaves. I steal a moment to take in the glory of nature on full display around the two wicked witches determined to make my life a living hell. Our little corner of Vermont has a habit of turning into a golden and ruby wonderland this time of year, so much so that the leaf peeping keeps the tourists coming in strong right up until winter.

Speaking of tourist traps, the Honey Hollow Apple Festival is coming up later this month, and I’ve been asked to supply the pies for the occasion. After my shift was over at the Honey Pot last night, I baked two dozen personal-sized caramel apple pies—cutie pies as I like to call them—and I need to deliver them straight to the orchard this afternoon because the owners requested a sample for their employees. My guess is they want to be sure my baking skills are up to snuff before they live to regret the decision come the day of the festival. But I guarantee they’ll far from regret it. In fact, the only thing they might regret is not ordering enough to keep up with demand. It took me weeks to perfect the right combination of caramel and spices, and I even threw in a handful of crushed walnuts into each tiny pie to give it a little crunch. But it’s that buttery caramel that steals the limelight from those golden delicious apples. It’s so smooth and creamy, my best friend Keelie and I spent an hour last night licking the bowls clean ourselves.

I can’t help but sigh over at the two beady-eyed siblings who relish my financial undoing. “I won’t be having my bank account turned in any direction this morning because there isn’t a judge on this planet who would side with—” I’m about to lay into the Simonson sisters with every colorful word in my lexicon when something akin to a flame flickers around Merilee’s ankle. For a brief and fleeting moment, I think it’s simply a stray leaf, but suddenly that flicker materializes into the clear outline of a long-lost, dearly departed orange tabby that I’m guessing once belonged to one of the shrews before me.

“Ha!” Mora Anne scoffs as she takes a step in close. “She can’t finish the sentence because she knows she’s guilty. Just admit it and whip out your checkbook. Save us all the trouble of driving to Ashford. We’re meeting with Darlene Grand this afternoon to secure a booth for the festival. We don’t have a lot of time to dilly-dally with you over a handful of change. Hand it over right now and we can all get on with our day.”

I take a moment to scowl at the surly sisters. Since when is three thousand eight hundred dollars a handful of change? And if it’s so darn piddly, why bother to sue me to begin with?

The ghostly cat twirls around Merilee’s left foot before pausing to look up at me, and I would bet my life that feisty feline just smiled. The pets I see are never skeletal or gruesomely decomposing but clear as vellum versions of themselves in their plush and fluffy prime. On the rare occasion, I do see a once-upon-a-person, but neither the pets nor the people breathe a single word to me. I’m guessing the lack of vocal cords has something to do with it. And, believe you me, I am more than grateful.

I’ve only confided my strange gift to one person, and she wasn’t family at that. Nell Sawyer is my best friend’s grandmother, and she might as well be mine. She’s been that kind to me. If my mother knew about my morbid third eye, she would tie me to a stake and light the flames just trying to usher the dark side out of me. And, well, considering the fact my mother has a way of spreading an errant word around town—you would think she were aspiring to be the biggest gossip Honey Hollow has ever seen—I’m not too sorry I’ve never broached the subject with her. But Nell seemed as understanding as she was intrigued, not one ounce of judgment spilled over from that woman. I’m not sure why I told Nell and not my sisters, or Keelie, Nell’s granddaughter and my BFF, but something about Nell’s sweet round face has the power to pull even the darkest secret from my soul.

“What’s the matter?” Merilee chides with a bony hand set over an equally bony hip. “Cat got your tongue?”

I glance down at the curious cute little kitty. “Yes, as a matter of fact, it does. I’m guessing luck is on my side today.”And not yours, I want to say. “I’ll see you ladies in court.” I bite down a smile as I give one last look to the tiny poltergeist licking its ghostly paws.

Who knows? Maybe Merilee will trip on the courthouse stairs—and if she does, I hope to see it.

Aw heck, maybe she’ll skin a knee.

 

About the Author
Addison Moore is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.

 

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Truth in Lies Blitz

Truth in Lies
By Jennifer DiGiovanni 
(The Generators, #2) 
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: September 7th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Book Synopsis

 

Cara Scotto is living a secret life. She hates holding back the truth about her supernatural powers from her family and friends, but tells herself it’s the only way to protect them. When she struggles to control her surging energy levels, she fears someone will uncover pieces of the truth in her lies.

Intent on learning how to best use her new abilities, Cara trains with her boyfriend Alex, hoping to increase her speed and strength. Though Alex and Cara vow not to let fear rule their lives, they can’t forget Ian, the supernatural scientist intent on uncovering Cara’s true potential, and wonder what his next step will be. They won’t need to wait long before he strikes again.

Soon, the answer becomes clear—someone needs to step up, eliminate Ian, and replace him. Until now, Alex has avoided the underground supernatural networks, but he realizes that agreeing to take over Ian’s position may be the only way to secure the future he and Cara dream of having.

 

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“Why are you so happy?” Nate asks when I jump in his car and shoot him a smile. Typically, he’s carting my semi-conscious body back and forth to Amber Lea High. Most mornings he shakes me awake after he pulls in the school parking lot.

“Alex is coming home … he’s taking me to the prom … it’s a sunny day…” I list the simple pleasures in life that would make any eighteen-year-old girl happy.

“Back it up. You’re dragging the most eligible bachelor on the East Coast to your prom?” Nate acts like this is the first time he’s hearing about it. He must not listen to the one-way chatter I keep up on our drives home from school when I’m actually awake.

Puzzled, I ask, “Who else would I take to the prom?”

“I don’t know. A friend, maybe. Not Alex.”

“Nate, have I done anything without Alex in the last four months?”

He makes a careful turn on Main Street. “No, but seriously, Cara. Aren’t you a little beyond a high school prom?”

I hold up a hand to stop him. “Don’t ruin this for me.”

But he plows ahead, undaunted. “Aren’t those boring DeMarsh charity events enough for you?”

“Are all of my friends there? Do I get to wear a prom dress?”

“Does it matter? You’re with Alex. The so-called love of your superhuman existence. Tell him to buy you a prom dress and you can wear it around town this weekend when you go on a coffee run. Or better yet, invite your friends to his house and have your own prom without people staring at him all night long.”

My chest pangs. Is Nate putting a voice to what Alex really feels? But, wouldn’t Alex tell me the truth? He’s never complained about going to the prom with me. And I went with him to Crestview’s prom a month ago, although we spent most of the weekend driving around the city, scoping out apartments for next fall, so we can live as close as possible to each other, though we’re attending different colleges. “Can’t I just be normal for one night?”

“No, you can’t. Want to know why?” Nate presses the brake pedal and turns to me. “Because you’re not normal! You never were normal although you tried to ignore that fact for the last eighteen years.”

About the Author

I’m the author of contemporary and light fantasy books for teens. Aside from writing fiction, I’m also a freelance writer and a small business owner. After graduating from college with a dual major in Business and English, I started out in the business world and eventually returned to school for my MBA. But, I always seemed to choose jobs that involved a lot of writing.

Today, I spend my days managing a small business and writing. Some days I write more than others, but I try to spend my mornings working on fiction. I also like to hike and run. Often, I’ll challenge myself to learn something new, from archery to video games to guitar, and call it future book research.

My most recent work-in-progress was named a finalist in the Serendipity Literary Agency YA Discovery Contest. It’s about a girl who was cured by a medical miracle and a boy who never received the miracle he so desperately wanted.

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