The Night Realm Review

Rating:

The Night Realm 
By Annette Marie 
(Spell Weaver #1) 
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Book Synopsis
Clio is good at all sorts of things. As a nymph, she’s great at outdoorsy nature stuff. As a nymph living in exile, she’s got the “blending in with humans” thing down pat. As a nymph living in exile because she possesses the rare ability to mimic magic, she’s had to pick up some unique survival skills.

But stealing from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld? Not so much.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she has to do to earn a ticket back home. Conning her way into the night realm may have gone pretty well, but now she’s got a new problem. His name is Lyre and he’s a sinfully alluring incubus, a dangerously skilled spell weaver, and the only thing standing between her and stealing some damn magic.

Maneuvering around him without blowing her cover shouldn’t be that difficult, but chaos has been dogging her every step, monsters hide behind beautiful faces, and Lyre keeps saving her neck even though they’re enemies. Kind of enemies? Either way, her mission is getting complicated fast, and in the Underworld, even one mistake could prove fatal.

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Review
I was incredibly impressed with The Night Realm. This book is dark, mature, mysterious, and had me reading as fast as I could. It’s definitely one of those books that you immediately crave more. Clio is a kindhearted nymph that just wants to return home. Only thinking the best of people (or Overworlders), she learns the bitter reality that everyone has secrets and agendas of their own. She is essentially exiled by her half-brother, told it is for her safety and carries out dangerous missions in hopes to return home. Despite being half royal and with no real training or responsibility to protect the kingdoms’ people, she doesn’t hesitate to protect them. She immediately agrees to a mission that is more dangerous than she knows but still doesn’t hesitate. I honestly loved her character so much and her entire growth in the book was so empowering. She’s someone that has never thought she could be important or powerful but doesn’t hesitate to fight for ones she cares for. Her instinct is kindness and despite the dangers and cruelty she faces, her kindness never goes away.
I originally thought I’d have issues liking Lyre. He seemed to be like the usual perfectly chiseled love interest that saves the day and can get a bit stale. However, despite the chiseled-ness not going away, Lyre is incredibly complex. Sometimes, he doesn’t save the day, sometimes the opposite. They do save each other in different ways though. Both inspiring change in one another, they make decisions on their own to grow. It was all very refreshing and their interactions together were sometimes comical to say the least.
The world building was amazing. I loved the intricate details and the general descriptions as well that allows the reader to create a fantastic vision on their own. It was the perfect balance in my opinion. The potential to explore the opposite of The Night Realm is even more intriguing. Overall, the pace is quite good. Sometimes the story could drift a bit as Clio is attempting to steal a powerful spell but it quickly became an exciting and twisting action packed adventure. With it’s share of tragedy and dark tones, don’t miss your chance to read this book and the ones to follow. I look forward to them!
About the Author
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy 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 comparatively sensible 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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To Marry a Texas Outlaw: Character Interview

TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW

Men of Legend, Book 3

By LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: November 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Hunted by lawmen, those seeking the bounty, and other outlaws hoping to become famous for killing him, Luke Weston survives by little more than his wits. He expects the bullet that will end his life to come any day. He’s cheated death too often.

Over the last two years, Luke has been working to right his wrongs and claim his birthright. Only one thing stands in the way of atonement—the murder of a federal judge. Only he didn’t do that. Armed with nothing more than the alias Ned Sweeney, Luke searches for the man who framed him. He’s only an hour away from catching him when he spies a woman bound and gagged in the middle of the prairie.

She looks dead but her eyes fly open at the sound of his footsteps. Worse, he discovers she has amnesia. He can’t just leave her so he tamps down his frustration over missing Sweeney again and loads her into a nearby wagon that bears all the markings of his family’s ranch.

In the weeks of trying to help the woman he calls Rose learn her identity, Luke finds himself falling in love with her. She’s sweet and funny and makes him dream of impossible things. Then they meet a boy and learn her name is Josie.

As her lost memories tumble back, Luke faces his greatest fear. Can he make Josie his wife before he loses everything?

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Praise for To Marry a Texas Outlaw:

“A gunslinger who’s better than he thinks he is; a lovely amnesiac; a young, wannabe gunslinger; an abused boy; a scruffy dog; and a sadistic killer make the third book in Broday’s outstanding family saga an unforgettable journey through the Old West.” — Booklist Starred Review

“This is one author that knows how to tie you in knots keeping you on the edge and making your smile through it all. She gives you death and heartbreak as the west is known for with plot that pulls you in. I couldn’t put this down and had to know what was going to happen next.” — Cyn’s Reviews

“This densely plotted historical continues Broday’s tradition of well-realized, emotionally rich novels.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Broday’s gritty depiction of the Texas frontier will strike a chord in the hearts of fans who long for proud, rugged cowboys and strong-willed women.” — Romantic Times 4 Stars

“Whew! What a story! Good thing Linda Broday didn’t struggle to find words for her story the same way I’m attempting to find words to express just how much I love not only this book, but this entire series as a whole. To Marry a Texas Outlaw is a thrilling conclusion to a delightful and much-loved story of the Legend family that delivered so many emotions.”  Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

“There is one guarantee, with a Linda Broday book, you’re going to experience a true heartwarming-Broday story with so much action that it’s impossible to put down. With her books you are always in for the ride of your life.” — Tonya Lucas, Goodreads Reviewer

Character Interview with Luke Weston of

To Marry a Texas Outlaw

By Linda Broday

I’m so excited to release Book #3 of my Men of Legend series – To Marry a Texas Outlaw. This will conclude the series, and I hope the ending is as powerful as my editor thinks.

Luke has agreed to talk with me but insisted I meet him at the spot he designated. And come alone. Good Lord, I’m not crazy! I’m not sharing him with anyone. Nope.

My horse rounds a stand of mesquite and I see him standing by a creek. He whirls with gun drawn and I swallow hard.

“Don’t shoot. It’s just me.” I rein my horse to a stop and just stare as he returns the gun to the holster. The silver conchos running down each leg of his black trousers glint in the sunlight. The trousers fit snug and outline his long legs. I’m struck by his height and how lean he is with not an ounce of fat. Excited tingles race through me and I can barely form a thought.

I dismount. “Morning, Luke. Thank you for agreeing to a talk to me.” Up close, I can see his dark coloring for the first time that reminds me he’s half Spanish and half white.

“Sorry you had to come all the way out here, amiga. Too dangerous in town.”

The fact he doesn’t smile hits me. So does the muscle quivering in his jaw. He’s like a dangerous mountain lion, ready to spring. But no wonder with everyone in Texas gunning for him.

“Luke, what exactly does it mean to you to be able to claim the Legend name and accept the land Stoker wants to give you?”

“I might as well be dead if I can’t be a Legend one day. It’s all I think about. It’s what I’ve worked hard for the last two years.” Luke glances toward the water and I can see the emotion welling up inside. His voice lowers. “I’ve never belonged anywhere. Never had much of anything. I want to take my rightful place in this family more than I want the air that I breathe.”

I’m tempted to lay my hand on his arm to comfort, but decide against it. “Well, you know, Stoker and your brothers have said many times you can claim it all whenever you want.”

“No! I will only accept the name and my birthright when I can do it with honor. I’m nothing but an outlaw and I’ve done bad things—robbed, threatened, killed. I won’t bring them shame. After two years, I was this close to catching Ned Sweeney when I saw the woman tied up on the prairie, unable to tell me her name or where she came from. Of course, I couldn’t leave her.”

“I admire your compassion. I really do. Folks say you’re heartless and cold but I’ve never seen a man more committed to doing the right thing. Folks say the woman’s name is Josie.”

At mention of Josie, the lines of Luke’s face soften and he smiles for the first time, showing his white teeth. “She’s a real wildcat. Not afraid of the devil himself. Josie is funny and smart, and bold as all get out. I’d be lost without this crazy, maddening woman. And temper…Dios mío! She can sure get mad.” He chuckles, evidently remembering something she said or did.

“I also heard she can get next to you and turn you inside out like no other,” I say softly.

.” He scrubs the back of his neck. “She’s not one bit afraid of me. Can you imagine? I put the fear of God in everyone. But not her. Josie sees inside me, all the little things I try to hide.”

“Really? She’s affected you that deeply?” I gaze up into his green eyes. My heart dips and my knees weaken. The man is just too mesmerizing.

“Josie sneaked past my defenses and wound herself around my heart. Josie and me…we fit together. She makes me laugh, something I don’t do enough of. Or so she tells me. She’s not a bit shy about speaking her mind.”

I hear a rider and turn to see Josie. I’m struck by her cloud of blond curls. She gallops up and Luke helps her down. Their kiss is long and deep. Then she murmurs something in his ear and he throws back his head in laughter.

They’ve completely forgotten me. I climb on my horse. Giving the striking couple a look of envy, I ride away. I think all my questions are answered. He’s completely and utterly taken. Shoot!

Linda Broday 

Historical Western Romance Author

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed.

At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places.

I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

 

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  November 10-19, 2017 

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/10/17 Author Video Books in the Garden

11/11/17 Review Texan Girl Reads

11/12/17 Excerpt Margie’s Must Reads

11/13/17 Review Tangled in Text

11/15/17 Guest Post StoryBook Reviews

11/16/17 Review Books and Broomsticks

11/17/17 Top Ten List A Page Before Bedtime

11/18/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog

11/19/17 Scrapbook Page Reading by Moonlight

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Chicano Soul: Excerpt

 

CHICANO SOUL
Recordings and History of an American Culture
(Anniversary Edition)

by
Ruben Molina
  Genre: Music / Chicano History
Date of Publication: September 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
In 2007, Ruben Molina published the first-ever history of Mexican-American soul and R&B music in his book, Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture. Ten years later, Chicano Soul remains an important and oft-referenced study of this vital but often overlooked chapter of the greater American musical experience. Chicano soul music of the 1950s and 1960s still reverberates today, both within Chicano communities and throughout many musical genres. Molina tells the story of the roots of Chicano soul, its evolution, and its enduring cultural influence.
“Brown-eyed soul” music draws on 1950s era jazz, blues, jump blues, rock `n’ roll, Latin jazz, and traditional Mexican music such as ranchera, norteño, and conjunto music. With its rare and gorgeous photos, record scans, concert bills, and impressive discography (to say nothing of its rich oral histories/interviews), it is one of those rare works that speaks to both general and academic audiences.
As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loves. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.


PRAISE FOR CHICANO SOUL:
“[Chicano Soul} is nada if not revelatory… Molina seeks acknowledgement of this under-the-radar genre. With this book, he’ll get it. By linking the trail of Chicano soul bands to the route of the Mexican-American migrant workers across the United States as well as the migration of south-of-the-border families into Texas after the Mexican Revolution, the author presents a compelling account of rock and roll heroes literally unsung. Molina makes a case for teenagers who took their parents’ musical traditions, the trappings of black R&B bands with pop sensibilities, and channeled them into a vibrant sound that helped define the culture it sprang from.” —Austin Chronicle

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EXCERPT from the Foreword by Alex La Rotta, in Chicano Soul
Oldies are forever. It’s a mantra. A credo. A maxim for diehard sweet soul enthusiasts from Los Angeles to London, Toronto to Tokyo, and beyond. Ruben Molina’s The Old Barrio Guide to Low Rider Music (2002) and Chicano Soul: Recordings & History of an American Culture (2007) — its sacred texts. Not since Paul Oliver’s The Story of the Blues (1969) has a Book and author so distinctively revived a vintage and marginal American music culture from obscurity to widespread and cult-like revelry. What was once a niche collector’s category in the aughts and prior is a recognized subgenre in the twenty-tens: Chicano Soul. In the decade since its publication, Chicano Soul — like the long-lost recordings it so lovingly documents and historicizes — has itself become a collector’s item. Original copies highly-prized and sought after by record collectors, music aficionados, DJs, musicians, fans, and others. And, too, like much of the music in question: finally receiving its due reissuance. (Only this: a legitimate, not bootleg, reissuance.)
Its long-awaited return is timely. A brief review of the past ten years in popular music culture must surely include the massive reemergence of the vinyl music format (and its swift cooptation by the music industry); roots and vintage pop music revival (film/television soundtracks, documentaries, compilations, cultural histories, etc.); and the (ongoing) digital music revolution. Most notably, as it concerns the latter, one might also note the ascension of streaming media and video-sharing websites in democratizing and disseminating “rare groove” music of the analog past for broader audiences of the digital present. Further still, YouTube- and social media based soulero (sweet soul) DJs and record collector cliques build notoriety as prized possessors of rare Chicano Soul records to wide acclaim — much of which builds on Molina’s foundation. While the diffusion of music and cultural history in the past decade has broadened, the appreciation of this specific brand of soul music has expanded in tandem. You know it as the West Side Sound, the East Side Sound, Brown-Eyed Soul, Latin Soul, Lowrider Oldies, even rock en español — all components of the vast domain of mid-century Chicano Soul music culture principally documented in Molina’s work. And a book that remains today the only single monograph devoted to the subject.
            More importantly, Chicano Soul challenges the assumptions and stereotypes of what “Latin music” could or should be in both popular culture and preceding musical-historical analyses: tropical, exotic, and almost always, distinctly foreign. Unequivocally, this music is none. It is, as the subtitle denotes, an American culture. Molina’s meticulous documentation of over 400 Mexican-American musicians/rock-and-roll combos spanning the American Southwest (née Aztlán) — and their collective thousands of independent recordings — deserves recognition if just for its impressive magnitude. But it’s the paradigm shift that Chicano Soul, and other recent works from such scholars as Deborah Vargas, Roberto Avant-Mier, Anthony Macias, Josh Kun, and Deborah Pacini Hernández, among others, provides for the current discourse on racial identity, hybridity, and the origins of American popular music that warrant as much praise. In part, a response to the tired narrative surrounding America’s supposed black/white racial binary and the forging of a national culture. Yes: Chicanos made soul music. Lots of it. And it’s damn good, too.

As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loved. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/09/17
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11/10/17
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11/11/17
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11/12/17
Promo
11/13/17
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11/14/17
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11/15/17
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11/16/17
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Winter’s Siren Blitz and Giveaway

Book & Author Details:
Winter’s Siren 
by Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: November 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Synopsis:

For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

 

Excerpt:

Frosty air nips at my nose. I stand almost knee deep in fresh fallen snow, letting the diffused sunlight hit my face. There is no sound. Peace settles over me. In this moment, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Something cold and wet explodes on the back of my neck. For a moment, I fear the worst. A boil. Pus. My father’s description of my mother’s face plays out in my mind.

But then I hear Andrew laughing behind me. I touch the rough skin on my neck and bring a shaky and damp glove to my face. Snow. It’s just snow.

It’s the middle of the day, and my face is uncovered. To make everything worse, it’s bright outside. Freezing and overcast, but bright.

My hands fly to my face automatically.

“Are you going to let me get away with that?” Andrew laughs again.

I twist around and peek at him through my fingers.

He stands before me, his arms spread wide. A thick coat covers his arms, and in his gloved hands, he holds another snowball. “You have two seconds to stop me!”

I flip my hood over my head and drop down to gather snow in my hands.

Another snowball bursts against my head. The wetness plasters my hair to my face. I hurl my deformed ball in his direction. It misses him completely.

Another wad of snow lands on my neck while I gather a larger, rounder ball of snow. “Cheating!” I throw my handful at him. It lands weakly by his knees.

“Here, let me help you.” He climbs towards me and gathers a nice, solid ball in his fist. He hands this to me, and then stands back and spreads his arms wide again. “Try again.”

I throw it square at his nose.

 

 

AUTHOR BIO:
Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.
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Rage of the Dragon King Spotlight and Giveaway

Blog Tour Shcedule

Rage of the Dragon King (The Chronicles of Fallhollow #2)

by J. Keller Ford

Publication Date:  October 24, 2017

Publisher:  Month9Books

 

Synopsis:

David and Charlotte paid their dues. They traveled to another realm, battled the Dragon King, recovered the all important magic key to the mage tunnels, and found the heir to the throne of Hirth, as promised. Now it’s time to go home. There’s just one problem: the powerful crystals needed to activate the tunnels have been stolen…and David’s parents have mysteriously disappeared along with them. Guess who’s not going home to Havendale anytime soon.

Eric Hamden, squire extraordinaire, survived the poisonous knick of a shadowmorth’s blade, rescued the king of Hirth from the bowels of the dragon’s lair, and confronted a heartbreaking betrayal that nearly got him killed. Still reeling from the news, Eric sets his sights on a daring rescue only to wind up in a prison of his own with David and Charlotte at his side. But rescues come in strange ways, and before they know it, the three end up in David’s hometown of Havendale…and Eric gets a quick schooling in Modern Life 101. He’d rather fight a dragon.

With secrets, lies and betrayals meeting them at every turn, David, Charlotte and Eric soon discover that Havendale isn’t the sanctuary they’d hoped for. Even their best-laid plans can’t prepare them for the danger that stalks them. This time, no amount of magic or prayers can save them. War has been declared, and in the final battle, someone must make the ultimate sacrifice. Let the battle begin.

 

 

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N |TBD | iBooks

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

J. (Jenny) Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. She is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Published works include The Passing of Millie Hudson, a paranormal short story that can be found in READING GLASSES. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy. Book 2 in the series is slated for Fall 2016.

 

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Esme’s Wish Promo and Giveaway

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Esme’s Wish
by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery
Release Date: October 2017
Odyssey Books

Summary:

This was her last chance. Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the impulsive reaction of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all…

 

 

Excerpt:

‘If any of you can show just cause as to why these two should not be lawfully wed, speak now, or forever hold your peace.’

Fifteen-year-old Esme was seated in the front row, only a bouquet’s throw away from her father and his bride at the altar. The events of the last few months flashed before her, and the years before them. This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air. ‘I object.’

Somebody tittered behind her, but covered it quickly with a cough. Whispers and murmurs spread from pew to pew. The groom swung around toward his daughter, the colour draining from his face, before his bride steered him back to the altar. The vicar merely sighed, ignored Esme’s objection, and carried on with the ceremony.

Esme lowered her hand and shrank back in her seat, her cheeks burning as if she’d just been slapped. The rest of the service passed in a blur: the vicar inviting the bride and groom to exchange vows; his pronouncement of them as man and wife; the church organ, wheezing out a hymn as the newlyweds signed the wedding register.

All Esme heard was static.

‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she whispered, as the organ breathed its final note.

 

Purchase your copy of Esme’s Wish at elizabethfoster.com.au

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Esme’s Wish Map:

 

Book Trailer:

 

 

 

Advance Praise:

“I found the story very unique […] this book overtook my expectations […] A beautiful, fantastical mystery. I would love to read multiple books following this one.” – Tamsyn, 15

“I was enchanted by the world, awed by the creatures and as motivated as Esme to find out what happened to her mother.” – Angie, 14

Esme’s Wish is a captivating, excellently-written novel. Author Elizabeth Foster did a great job of keeping me reading as I followed Esme’s journey to investigate the disappearance of her mother, a brilliant painter. […]  This colorful, well-constructed tale is as much detective story as fantasy and deftly blends both elements into a page-turning plot that hooks the reader in. I was fascinated by the creative water world of Aeolia, described in Elizabeth Foster’s limpid, seductive prose.  –Sarah Scheele for Readers’ Favorite  5 STARS

 

About the Author

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee. Esme’s Wish is her debut novel.

Find out more about Elizabeth at elizabethfoster.com.au

 

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Swan Song: Excerpt

Check out this awesome book entitled Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson. Be sure to check out an excerpt and author links as well!

 

Book synopsis:

LOVE AND LONGING IN THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF LONDON

When iconic ballerina Beatrice Duvall died, a nation mourned – and a legacy was born. Sixteen years later, her daughter Ava comes to London to take part in a high-profile tribute to Beatrice, and to learn about the mother she never knew.

There’s just one snag: the tribute is a ballet, Swan Lake. Which is infinitely painful for Ava, because she can’t dance. Won’t dance. Not since she quit the Royal Ballet School last year and walked away from everything that defined her.

But this is London, colourful and crazy, and with actor Seb at her side, there’s so much to discover. Like Theatreland razzmatazz and rooftop picnics and flamingo parties. And a whole load of truths Ava never knew about her mother – and herself.

When the time comes to take the stage, will Ava step out of the shadow cast by her mother’s pedestal? And who will be waiting for her there, in the bright lights?

A coming-of-age novel about family and first love, in the city of hopes and dreams.

Book excerpt:

The Tube from Turnham Green is quiet, until we reach Earl’s Court, where it starts filling up. By the time we get to Victoria I’m in a scrum spilling out onto the platform. I find the Victoria Line platform and shoe-horn myself into a carriage; Seb would be proud of my elbow action.

At Oxford Circus I’m carried by a sea of shoppers up the escalators, across the foyer and up some steps to the street level. I’ve managed to come out the right exit, opposite the flagship Topshop. The massive store calls to me. Now that’s where to buy a dress for the tribute. Simple and trendy. I dread to think what Thisbe’s wardrobe department contact is going to make me. Something showbiz, I guess: long and loud and sparkly. Ugh.

But I don’t want to offend Thisbe, who’s called in a favour, apparently, to get me a dress sewn so quickly. So, with a sigh, I turn my back on Topshop and trudge down Argyll Street. When I see the Palladium, like a classical temple with massive columns, my mood lifts. At least I’m getting to visit one of London’s most historic theatres, where anyone who’s anyone has performed over the years, from Elvis Presley to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald, Elton to Adele – even The Muppets have taken to this stage. I wonder: will I get to stand on the stage?

Nope, is the answer. I don’t even see the auditorium. A security guard shows me from the foyer down into the underbelly of the theatre, to a small, windowless room made even smaller by its many contents: two dressmaker’s dummies, a hanging rail of costumes, shelves of fabric and haberdashery, and a desk for the sewing machine. I barely have time to make a mental comparison of this room and the wardrobe department at the Royal Opera House – in a big room overlooking the Piazza and flooded with light – before a girl springs out from behind one of the dummies and hugs me.

Hugs me?

Thankfully, it’s brief. She steps back and beams. I smile back automatically, and in a second I take her in: round, rosy face, electric-blue eyes, dark wavy hair. She’s a little older than me, maybe twenty, and wearing stylish jeans and a really unusual shirt covered with little embroidered seahorses.

“You’re Cara Cavendish?” I say, daring to hope that maybe my dress won’t end up being horrendously glitzy after all.

“The one and only,” she says cheerfully. “And you’re Ava-who-needs-a-dress. Thisbe explained. Sit, sit…” She pulls out a little stool from under the desk and I perch on it.

Cara walks around me in a circle, eying me up and down. “Easy-peasy,” she declares. “Dancers’ forms are so simple to dress.”

“Oh,” I say. “I’m not a dancer.”

She completes her circuit and leans on the desk, looking curiously at me. “But you’re Beatrice Duvall’s daughter,” she says.

The name gives me a jolt, but I manage to reply evenly: “That doesn’t make me a dancer.”

“’Course not,” says Cara. “I mean, my mum was an architect, and look at me! But I heard you were training to be a dancer like your mother. With the Royal Ballet.”

“I was. I… stopped.”

“Oh. Why was that then?”

I frown at Cara. She smiles back at me.

“Did Thisbe put you up to this?” I ask.

“Up to what?”

“All the questions.”

“Oh, no. That’s just me. My brother’s always telling me I’m blunt, because I don’t go in for all that evasive British crap – ignoring the elephant in the room. Better to lay it all out there and say, ‘My mum’s dead, and it sucks.’ You know?”

“Not really,” I reply honestly. I’ve never said those words in my life.

Cara nods like I’ve said something profound. Then, to my relief, she claps her hands and says, “Let’s talk dresses.”

After a quick-fire round of questions designed to establish my style, Cara hands me a scrapbook in which she’s pasted cuttings, photos and drawings of formal dresses, and she talks me through cuts, lengths, necks, sleeves and fabrics. Somewhere around the midi dress page I begin to come undone.

“What is it?” she says.

“Nothing,” I say.

“Something,” she says. “You look like you’re about to have a panic attack. Is it claustrophobia? This room is a little dinky.”

“It’s not that. It’s…”

She waits expectantly. I gesture to the scrapbook.

“It’s just all a bit real, suddenly, looking at these dresses. I mean, I’ve got to wear one and stand on a stage at the Royal Opera House in front of people. Lots of people.”

“Ah,” she says. “Yeah, I’d be a wreck doing that. But you’ve performed on stage before, right?”

“Sure. Plenty of times. But this isn’t a performance. I have to be myself. I mean…”

“You mean you have to be your mother’s daughter. And your mother was the legendary Beatrice Duvall.”

Startled, I nod. She gets it. I don’t even know this girl, but she gets it.

“So,” Cara says, plucking the scrapbook off my lap and leafing through the pages, “what you need, besides the strength to get on that stage, is a really kick-ass dress. A dress that makes you feel tall and powerful and goddam beautiful, like nothing can touch you while you’re wearing it. Ah-ha. Here. This one. What do you think?”

The dress illustration jumps right off the page. It’s bold, it’s simple, it’s glamorous, it shouts “designer”: a strapless bodice with criss-crossing satin ribbons and a flowing skirt with chiffon overskirt ending just on the knee.

“Wow,” I say. “You can make that? In time?”

She grins. “Hell yeah.”

“And you think I can pull that off?”

Her grin widens. “Hell yeah.”

Book link:

https://www.amazon.com/Swan-Song-Charlotte-Wilson-ebook/dp/B075D4XH1V/

Mini Interview With Author:

What is the inspiration for the story?

A kaleidoscope of ideas… Memories of performing on stage. The years I lived in Kensington, London. The many shows I’ve seen in the West End. A backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. The public reaction to Princess Diana’s death. My own experience of losing my mother.

What draws you to this genre?

Young adult: the time of life that most signifies discovery and sensation and freedom. Dreaming big; confronting reality. Being trendy; being quirky and out of step. Messing up gloriously; succeeding epically. First crush, first kiss, first love. Making memories that will last a lifetime.

Why do you write?

Because writing makes the blood sing in my veins; it makes me feel alive; it defines me. Because I’m a bibliophile, and the only thing better than having a book in my hand is having my own book in my hand. Because I want to entertain, inspire – and leave a legacy for my children.

About the Author:

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte writes the kind of books she loves to read: romances. She lives in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children, and when she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a home library for her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

Author links

Website: http://bookishcharlotte.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookishcharlotte/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookishLotte

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookishcharlotte/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15932269.Charlotte_Wilson

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Wilson/e/B00TDH4XLS/

Chosen Promo

Chosen
by R.S. Broadhead
(The Urban Legends Series)
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Supernatural, Thriller

Synopsis

 

Black eyes. No emotion. No sympathy. Only emptiness.

Piper McAdams’s life was normal. Career? Check. Boyfriend? Check. Friends? Check. One unsettling run in with a homeless man turns everything from normal to terrifying. She begins seeing…things.

Things she can’t seem to explain or make any sense.

As if things aren’t already getting out of hand, Piper receives news that the only family member she has is dead. She thinks maybe a trip across the country to her hometown will get her away from all the strange events happening.

After a late night accident, Piper isn’t in her hometown burying her loved one. She’s in a town called Hell. All she wants to do is leave, but the people seem to be holding her there for some reason.

A reason she feels threatens her life. Around every corner things become darker and scarier.

Can she escape what is coming for her?


Purchase

Amazon

Excerpt

The room was silent, which meant a busted air conditioner. I dropped back into the pillow with a grunt, wiping sweat off my forehead.

The people of this town should seriously think about closing this place. It’s shit. At least they needed to make sure everything was maintained on a regular basis.

I closed my eyes trying to remember the dream I’d been having. My heart skipped a beat when an image of Taylor played before me. My stomach fluttered at the mere feeling the dream had given me. I sighed, rolled over, and desperately tried to find my way back to him. Something bumped against the far wall. I jerked up, searching the room.

Empty.

The sound must have come from the room next to me. But Jensen had said no one else was staying here. I leaned against the headboard, waiting for it to repeat. After a few minutes of silence, I slipped out of the bed and went to the window. My hand tightened over the hem of the curtain. I barely moved it to the side and peered out across the empty parking lot. The fabric fell back into place as I dropped my hand.

I was still tired. My scolding eyes and inability to fully comprehend what I was hearing told me that — not to mention still being freaked out from today. I was imagining things. I stared at the wall; a tiny bit of light splashed against it from outside. I walked across the matted carpet, dirt sticking to my bare feet. I stopped, putting my ear against it. My heart beat rapidly. I didn’t want to hear anything, but I would toss and turn all night wondering. I held my breath and focused.

Riiiiinnnnnnnggggg.

I jumped back as a phone rang from the next room. What the…? They’d told me the phones weren’t working. The ringing stopped, and I heard a deep sound. A voice. I swallowed, once again pressing my ear to the wall.

“She was asleep last time I checked.” Silence.

“I know how important this is. I’m not going to let her out of my sight.” Silence. “Okay, okay. I’ll check again. I’m telling you I just looked.”

I sunk back against the corner next to the door. A tiny piece of wallpaper shifted up a few feet from where I stood, directly in front of the bed. Tears rolled out of my eyes as I clamped a hand over my mouth to keep from whimpering. I didn’t wait for whoever it was to answer the person on the phone. I ripped the door open and tore down the sidewalk in the direction of the office.

About the Author

R. S. Broadhead lives in Jackson, Alabama with her husband of ten years, their two little girls, and a pug named Wednesday Love the Duchess, or Winnie for short. She has a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in business administration. She loves to snowboard, travel (Australia is her favorite place so far), and dance (not professionally, just whenever she feels like it). When she was sixteen-years-old, her and her friends would take pictures and make up funny stories about them. Fourteen years later, UNVEILED was born. UNVEILED, her first novel, is the first book in a four book series.

 

 

Author Links

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Lady Jayne Disappears: Deleted Scene

LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS

By JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

Scroll down for giveaway!

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance—and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

 

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Praise for Lady Jayne Disappears:

“Emotional. Intriguing. Both haunting and romantic. . . In her historical fiction debut, Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a smart plot that navigates twists and turns with a mixture of wit, intelligent characters, and a refreshingly original voice. Reminiscent of Dickens’ classic storytelling, Lady Jayne Disappears is a debut to remember!”

Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice

“Wonderfully unique, this compelling debut grabs you from the first intriguing line. The evocative English setting, textured characters, literary theme, and unusual romance make Lady Jayne Disappears a standout, the lovely cover offering a hint of the gem within. A must read!”

Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

CLICK TO PURCHASE

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DELETED SCENE

From Lady Jayne Disappears

By Joanna Davidson Politano

“Mr. Rotherham, would you like some highly agreeable female company?” Juliette descended the final two steps, arm extended.

I flushed warm. Was Juliette going to pawn me off on Silas again? Walking about with Silas sounded far better than being chained to Juliette, which would make it even harder to say no. And I must say no.

“I would be delighted with it.”

“Come, dear cousin. We’ll join him for some fresh air.” Juliette swept graciously toward Silas and tucked her hand at his elbow, her trim shoulder bumping his arm.

Had she not said “cousin,” I would never have known to follow. Trudging miserably after the couple, I dearly hoped this walk would not last long.

“Who do you think would make the perfect match for our dear Aurelie, Mr. Rotherham?” Juliette leaned near him, brushing her cheek against his tensed shoulder. “We’ve been discussing who she should be introduced to at the next Lynhurst event.”

As the silence deepened in the wake of her question, footsteps swishing grass blades, I wished with irrational fury that I could yank Juliette’s hair. And then yank back the question. Why wasn’t he answering? It was worse than a novel cliffhanger. Turn the page!

Shoulder blades flexing together, Silas cleared his throat. “He would need to have ten men’s share of wit. And be ever on his toes.”

“Have I told you I’ve found the perfect one?” Juliette’s airy voice somehow managed to railroad right over Silas’s answer and I released my breath. “They’ll meet at the next Lynhurst party. They’ve missed their chance at all the others, but this time I’ll make it my personal mission.”

“Perhaps she wishes to make her own selection.”

“Aurelie.” Juliette spun toward me with her face unnaturally alight. “Why don’t you entertain us with one of your enchanting stories? All this talk of romance makes me long for a love story. Something clever and romantic.”

“Might I make a request?” Silas perched on the furthest chair but leaned forward, elbows on knees. “I’d like to hear the love story you might envision for yourself, if you could have everything just the way you wanted it.”

Metal poked my arm as I thunked awkwardly onto the chair and tried not to look at him. He knew. He must know.

“All right, then. A love story.”

I wove a lighthearted story of two very bookish people who were misunderstood by the rest of the world. Ignoring the look of feigned fascination on Juliette’s face, I spilled out a measure of my heart for the man I loved. Sias’s gray eyes drank in every word as if he were reading the last chapter of his favorite book.

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence.

She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her on her website.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 


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October 17-October 28, 2017

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

17-Oct Excerpt Texas Book Lover
18-Oct Review Syd Savvy
19-Oct Book Trailer StoreyBook Reviews
20-Oct Review Missus Gonzo
21-Oct Character Interview Chapter Break Book Blog
22-Oct Scrapbook Page Tangled in Text
23-Oct Review Momma On The Rocks
24-Oct Deleted Scene The Page Unbound
25-Oct Author Interview The Librarian Talks
26-Oct Review Reading by Moonlight

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Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Excerpt and Giveaway

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS
A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards
(Messages from the Dead)
by
TUI SNIDER

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 250

Scroll down for giveaway!

 

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead.”


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Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:


“When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!”  – Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

“Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider’s book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui’s, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!” – Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley
“I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!”  – Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

“Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library…” – Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!

 

What are scraped graves?

Excerpt from Understanding Cemetery Symbols

by Tui Snider

SCRAPED GRAVES IN THE RURAL SOUTH

Lush green lawns have become such a common feature of today’s burial grounds that if you could travel back in time to the 1800’s for a graveyard tour through the rural South, you might be in for a shock. It’s easy to forget that the first lawn mower wasn’t invented until 1830. Even then, lawn grasses weren’t developed by the US Department of Agriculture until the 1930’s, a good 100 years later.

To early settlers, grass had different connotations than it does today. Not only could it harbor bugs and snakes, but in the days before lawn sprinklers, a large expanse of dried grass could be a fire hazard. Just as a homesteader’s cabin often had dirt floors, their yards, as well, were often kept free of vegetation.

By the same token, early cemeteries throughout the South were often scraped clean of plant life. This practice spread throughout 19th century cemeteries in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

Historians now think this practice came to America through the influence of African Americans, since a similar custom of scraped burial grounds with mounded graves is seen along the slave coast of Africa. It’s assumed that the custom then gained popularity throughout the South due to its practical aspects.

Over time, however, people forgot the original how and why behind this tradition began and simply assumed it was a way of showing respect for the dead.

Although dozens of scraped burial grounds still existed throughout the South as late as the 1990’s, few, if any, remain today. You may still, however, find a few graves here and there that are covered in gravel or mounded up and decorated with shells. When you find graves like this, you are likely standing in one of these formerly scraped grave cemeteries that has since been covered with grass.

FAMILY TENDED PLOTS

Scraped earth or not, it was the responsibility of the deceased person’s family to maintain their grave. For this reason, family plots were clearly marked so people knew exactly which area they were in charge of maintaining.

Throughout the 19th century annual cemetery cleanup days, often called “Decoration Day” or “Homecoming,” were the norm, especially in rural communities. In the 1800’s these cleanup days were major social events for the community. These were festive gatherings, with picnics, prayers, and even games and frivolity for children and adults. In this way, the maintenance and upkeep of the community cemetery allowed people to maintain social ties with the living, while also paying respect to the dead.

As families have scattered, annual cemetery cleanup parties are not as common or as big of a community event as they once were. Sometimes you will see information about these events posted by the cemetery gates or outbuildings. Even today, in smaller rural communities, many historic cemeteries rely on volunteers for maintenance.

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.

When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 
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October 18-October 27, 2017
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18-Oct
Excerpt 1
19-Oct
Review
20-Oct
Guest Post 1
21-Oct
Review
22-Oct
Author Interview
23-Oct
Excerpt 2
24-Oct
Review
25-Oct
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26-Oct
Guest Post 2
27-Oct
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