Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: Just One Cup by Cassandra Giovanni

Just One Cup
by Cassandra Giovanni
Release Date: June 20, 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again. Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life. With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Just One Cup, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

Blog - Website - Facebook - Goodreads

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Residue Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway!

Thanks to AToMR for the opportunity to participate in the Residue Tour and working with my while I am sick. Also, a huge Thanks to the author, Laury Falter, for providing the review copy! And to my readers, Thanks for reading and I hope you like Residue too & make sure to check out the 2 Giveaways!!

(Residue, #1)
by Laury Falter
Published: April 13, 2012
Format: eBook ~300 pages

Book Blurb:
When Jocelyn Weatherford is whisked away from a preparatory academy in upstate New York to live with her extended family in New Orleans, she is unprepared to encounter the dangers awaiting her. Yet even as she is thrust into an unfamiliar world of witches and voodoo magic, the greatest threat of all may be the boy she has fallen for.

While handsome and charming, he is also a Caldwell... a member of the family the Weatherford's have been feuding with for centuries. As their forbidden love grows it becomes the volatile spark that forever changes their world and everyone in it.

Residue is one of those books that I am always on the look-out for. Witchcraft, Voodoo, Romance... everything I love to read about! And what I found was something I didn't quite expect. I have not read Ms. Falter's Guardian books, but I must go back and read them now because I feel like I am missing something. But, despite that what I found in Residue is a fun plot, a likable protagonist, and a nice take on magic.

After Jocelyn has a seriously weird thing happen to her in class, she is sent to live with family in New Orleans. However, her family in New Orleans are witches and apparently she is too, but no one decided to tell her anything about it until now. Curiosity peaked for me when I found out that she was never told, but her cousins were. Why? What makes Jocelyn so special? So many measures are taken: the boarding school, the secrets, the spies... Again, why? I had to find out! But don't fret, I'm not giving anything away here!

The one thing she is told is to stay away from the Caldwells; they are the Weatherfords' family enemies and that she should never go near any of them. Kinda hard to do when they attend the same magic school, but they generally keep their distances from each other unless it is to start a battle. However, Jocelyn has never met any of the Caldwells and wouldn't know one even if she did. Which leads to the next part of the story: Jameson. A Caldwell. But when Jocelyn met him, she had no idea and well, she sort of fell for him. I love it! Romeo and Juliet at Hogwarts! And not only do the families not like the idea of even a friendship - love? - out of the question. And what is worse? The Sevens, the higher power of the magical have something against them being together too and have sent down Vires to keep them apart.

Residue is full of laugh-out-loud moments, action, and magic. I found the book a very fun and quick read despite its 300 pages. I like that it is a series and I can keep reading about the characters and see how everything eventually unfolds - those are definitely on my TBR pile! I really liked Jocelyn, she is a girl who stands up for everyone and is genuine in her intentions. I would liked to see more of Jameson as a whole, but it is just the first book. The writing was done well, no egregious errors that made me stop reading, and I was easily drawn into their world. Overall, it is a great book for YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy fans and for anyone who wants a little magic in their lives!

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Laury Falter is the author of the bestselling Guardian Trilogy. She writes young adult paranormal romances and urban fantasy when she's not taking her stray dogs for a walk or enjoying a date night with her husband.
Laury has released two series, the Guardian Trilogy and the Residue Series (a spinoff of the Guardian Trilogy books), and is currently releasing her third series, the Apocalypse Chronicles.

Website  -  Facebook  -  Twitter  -  Goodreads


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Friday, April 26, 2013

Pawn Book Blast

Dreams and Nightmares,
Screams and Sighs,
Wakes the Girl
And Says She Dies....

When the Boy Gets
in the Way,
Then the Nightmares Come to

For her eighteenth
birthday, Endora Lee Andrews receives the gift of dreams.  Nighttime
slumber brings her visions of the future, a preview of things to
come.  Endora’s unsettling new ability is seemingly harmless,
until her dreams turn to nightmares.

When she meets the
mysterious and swoon-worthy Kannon, he knows things about her that he
can’t possibly know, and seems to be the key to uncovering the
source of her ominous prophecies.  But Kannon has many secrets, some
the essential difference between life and death for

Can she discover the
origins of her nightmares and how to prevent destiny, before the
harbingers of death come for her?   

Woven with love,
mystery and mythology, PAWN is the story of a girl who was once brought
back from death, only to face it again.  Because Fate may give you a
second chance at life, but that doesn’t mean it’s yours to

Click Here to Watch
the Book Trailer for Pawn on

To celebrate the release of Pawn,
we're giving away :

$100 worth of giftcards**
**books** swag**a necklace**a charm


Sophie Davis
Twitter: @sophiedavisbook


Author Page and Blog:
Caged (Talented Saga #2):
Hunted (Talented Saga #3):

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cover Reveal: Branded

(A Sinners Series #1)
by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Cover design: www.maeidesign.com
Cover Model: Talia Haugdahl

Full Wrap Cover

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.
My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”

For the entire First Chapter go to the Authors' website here!

Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Meet the Author Event

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nefertiti's Heart Blog Tour: Review

BB Book Tours

"Thank You" to Ashley at Bookish Brunette Book Tours for being an awesome host and for giving me the opportunity to participate in this tour. Another "Thank You" to A.W. Exley for providing a copy of Nefertiti's Heart for review.

Nefertiti's Heart
by A.W. Exley
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Published by Curiosity Quills Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback ~280 pages
Genre: NA Steampunk, Fantasy, Egyptian Mythology

Book Blurb:
Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty’s Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti’s Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

For those of you who know me, I love pretty covers. I usually lean toward the ethereal or the Gothic styles, but there was something about the cover to Nefertiti's Heart that drew me in. While it blatantly presents the Steampunk genre, there was something else to it that made me take a second look. Maybe it was the Ankh, maybe it was the mystery of what the heart contraption meant, but all I know is that I had to read this book.
Now, if you want to read about some simpering girl who is always rescued by a man then this is NOT the book for you! However, if you want a kick-ass heroine who knows her way around a gun and will not hesitate to use it, then Nefertiti's Heart is one you can't miss! 

"My friend here, Mr. Smith, also wants you to leave...Mr. Smith has his own friend, Wesson."

Cara Devon is not your typical Victorian lady. She hates to wear skirts, always has a gun strapped to her, and the mouth on her would make anyone blush. She is one of my favorite female characters of all time. After being brutalized at the hands of a man who her father sold her to in order to pay off his gambling debts, she was taken in by her Grandmother and has lived a life very different from the girls she played with as a child. While they had debutant balls and coming out parties and are being courted by a gaggle of suitable gentlemen callers, Cara travelled the globe learning how to become someone who will never be hurt again - and all the while wearing *gasp* pants! Now she is back in London to settle her father's estate after he was killed by an Asp bite. Quite curious of a death for one not in Egypt, but he is dead nonetheless. Cara is not about to shed a tear for dear ole' dad, but there are a few things that she needs to do. The first is getting a notebook containing her father's prize possessions and then the second is to sell off his precious items one by  one. 

However, there is someone else who wants his collection: Viscount Nathaniel "Nate" Lyons; a man with great means and very little morals. He has ideas of scaring and coercing Cara into giving him what he wants, but after sending his henchmen to strong arm Cara into giving away her secrets, he quickly learns that she is not one to trifle with or one to push around. In fact, when it comes to Cara, Nate has to learn quite a few things...The romance in Nefertiti's Heart is definitely steamy and Nate is swoon worthy and not the man I thought he would be. And especially with Cara's past, she isn't one who likes intimacy - or to be touched, in general - but, like most humans, she craves to be cared for and loved. I so love that Nate is a gentleman and is able to slowly break down enough walls to let someone else into her world. I love that the romance is not rushed. Cara is like a fine wine and must be decanted slowly in order to bring it to its full potential.

Cara is also under suspicion for killing her father. It isn't a great secret as to what happened to her years ago and it is perfectly reasonable to think that the killing may be revenge, but little do the Enforcers know, that there is a much bigger picture to be looked at. Young women are being murdered, stabbed with keys as if they are being unlocked. And there is a connection between all of the victims, just not in the way you might think. I wavered back and forth throughout the novel as to who was the culprit and I was close. I love the way that the author wove Egyptian mythology, Steampunk mechanics and a serial killer together to create the mystery in Nefertiti's Heart

Overall, I love the mixing of genres to create such a unique book. I love the mechanical horses and the intricate corsets. The writing is beautiful and elaborate and you can picture yourself in each scene. I am always thrilled when a writer can put me into the story and not just have me looking through a window. This book has the obvious Steampunk themes as well as a exciting mystery and suspense that will keep you guessing until the very end. Plus, the romance is hot and is most definitely at least in the New Adult - Adult category due to sexual content. I would recommend Nefertiti's Heart to who wants something exciting and creative!

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of my life. I survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, I overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, I write steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. I live in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.

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Taking Angels Book Blitz

Taking Angels
by CS Yelle   
Published by Staccato Publising
Genre: YA Fantasy
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Blurb:
Britt Anderson went along with everything the doctors said for nearly four years, but she was still dying at eighteen. The cancer had won leaving her without a future, without any options, and without control. No control, except for how she would leave this world. As Britt tries to end her life by going into the frigid waters she realizes her mistake. She struggles to get back to shore, to cry out for help, but her atrophied muscles are useless and the frigid water steals the breath from her chemo-scarred lungs. Despite her father’s attempts to reach her, she flies over the waterfall.

When Allister Parks finds Britt’s fragile body on the riverbank something calls out to him. Ignoring the warnings of his sister, Allister brings Britt back from the edge of death. The only problem is that an Eternal like Allister isn’t allowed to touch those who have already passed from this world. It is forbidden; an infraction punishable by death.

As Britt relishes her new cancer-free life and senior year of high school, her very existence threatens Allister’s place in this world. Allister struggles to keep Britt a secret from the Eternal Council and out of the hands of the only Eternal who already knows the truth: the one who stole her guardian angel.

Eighteen and dying. My reality sucked the big one and I’d had enough.
The movement of the canoe hypnotized me while I lay in the bottom of the aluminum craft, the waves creating a hollow pinging sound as we cut across the lake. I kept my eyes closed against the bright sun baking my face, the light breeze keeping me from feeling the burn.
Spending most of my time in hospitals under the dull fluorescent lighting with its incessant hum had left my skin pale and white. I’d rather be out here instead of taking chemo or radiation, anyone would. This felt like heaven; a place I’d spent far too much time thinking about lately.
“Britt, you’re getting sunburned,” Mom scolded as she paused in her paddling to stare back at me. “Put your chin down so your hat can block the sun.”
“Let her be, Mary,” Dad sighed.
“She’s going to get burnt. It isn’t good for her skin, Jim.”
“What will it do besides make her uncomfortable?” Dad argued.
He paused now and again to drag the paddle in the water, steering us towards his goal across the lake. I didn’t remember which lake we were on; only that it was part of the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota.
I pulled the large-brimmed hat down over my eyes and went back to listening to the rhythmic waves. I moved my bony butt on the metal support of the canoe, trying to get comfortable. Without any padding, it wasn’t happening. Still, it beat the hospital beds and the sterile linens.
Shifting again and looking to where we headed: tall pines reaching for the blue sky, little white clouds floating overhead; I remembered the place. It was a nice campsite with good fishing and a waterfall leading into the next lake. The mosquitoes were murder on that trip six years ago. I hoped they didn’t like the taste of my blood as much this time. Maybe the chemo could stop something. stiff?”
“Not much further, Britt,” Dad said. “Getting
“Yeah.” I nodded, shifting a little more.
My parents kept paddling, steady and strong. I closed my eyes again, recalling how Mom and I used to take turns paddling up front. Now I couldn’t lift a paddle, much less use one. Soon sand and rock crunched against the bottom of the canoe bringing us to a sudden stop, jolting me hard against the metal frame.
“Land ho,” I cried as loud as my chemo ruined lungs allowed. I breathed like a severe asthmatic or someone who’d smoked all her life.
Mom began unpacking our supplies while Dad pulled the canoe further onto shore and I went along for the ride. The smell of pine hit me and the sound of the waterfalls reached my ears.
“I want to go in the water.” I forced a grin from under my absurdly large brim.
Dad nodded as he lifted me in his arms and carried me to shore. “You need to get your suit on and we have to set up camp first.”
“I have my suit on.” I showed him, pulling my shirt up with a thin hand.
He chuckled. “We have to get things set up before it gets too dark though, Britt.”
“Can I just sit in it up to my waist?” I pleaded, glancing at the outlet and the water flowing over some nearby rocks.
He stopped and turned to Mom who stood with her arms crossed, listening to our conversation. She opened her mouth to object but looked at my face and her expression faltered. She gave a resigned nod.
“Yay.” I clapped as Dad set me down.
Mom helped take off my shorts and top leaving the baggy one-piece to cover nothing anyone would want to see. Dad picked me up again, walked down the bank, and began to set me in before I stopped him.
“Hey, I want to have some current flowing over me,” I protested. “Closer.”
He glanced at me and then back to Mom. Sighing, he took another dozen steps or so closer to the small waterfalls. A light rumble reached my ears as the water struck rocks out of sight and felt the mist drift over us. A bigger fall lay just beyond these.
The cold, fresh water made me shiver as he put me into a spot between two large rocks, worn smooth from centuries of moving water. I gasped and tensed until my body began to relax, acclimating to the temperature.
He looked down, impatient, as I grinned up at
“What?” “Is that enough?” “No, I want to sit a while.”
“Britt, I need to set up camp.” “Who’s stopping you?” “I can’t leave you alone.” His eyes were wide and anxious. “I won’t be. You and Mom are only a few feet away, I’ll be fine.” He stared at me, cocking an eyebrow and crossing his arms over his chest. “Go on, I’ll be fine,” I reassured him. His eyes narrowed as he leaned his head to one side and frowned. Without another word he walked back to camp, looking over his shoulder every few steps, making sure I wasn’t going to slip off somewhere.
The funny thing is...that’s exactly what I planned. The four years of treatment, the endless hours in a hospital bed; I wouldn’t allow any more. I would slide myself into the current and let the water take me away from here, from this world filled with nothing but pain and suffering. The decision didn’t come easy. My parents were wonderful, my friends, the ones that stuck by me, very supportive. I would miss them all, but to watch their eyes cloud with sympathy and sorrow as I became a hollow shell was something I didn’t want to put any of us through. Not anymore.
I glanced over my shoulder at the camp. Mom was setting up the tent with Dad. I waved at her, putting on the smile I learned to use when she needed to feel better. If they knew my plan, of course they’d try to stop me. What parent wouldn’t?
She waved and turned back to the tent and my smile melted away.
Inching my butt forward, closer to the current tickling at my toes and ankles, I slid down further, pushing off from the smooth boulders. My suit hitched up, but I didn’t care about a wedgy before floating to my death. I grinned at the thought. After all those months in a hospital bed, sliding down as my underwear crept up wasn’t even a worry. It ended today, now.
Stealing another look at the campsite revealed them collecting firewood around the edge of the camp’s clearing. Their backs to me, I took my chance.
I thought it would feel different, somehow, when my body floated off the rock. The panic I feared would seize me at that moment didn’t come. The urgency to reach this point melted away. I leaned back, my head rested in the water. An eagle drifted above me gliding on air currents while it searched the water for fish, captivating me with its elegance and majesty. I’d forgotten the beauty of this place. For the first time in over a year, I felt my world around me, caressing me, stimulating my senses which had gone stale and making me feel...alive.
A rush of fear gripped me. What was I thinking? I wanted to live, I wasn’t a quitter. I wanted to fight until I couldn’t fight anymore. But the realization that my choice in the matter was gone hit me as I slid into the current, my head above water for a split second before the sounds went muffled. My silly hat with the big brim pulled away from my hairless head.
I expected them to try and reach me, hoping they would be too late. Now, I prayed that they would come. Paddling with all the strength in my atrophied muscles, I fought the current. It tugged, hard, and carried me away.
Mom screamed and Dad shouted right as a loud splash hit the water upstream.
I opened my eyes in the hazy water as a dark shape darted past, too late to catch me. I hit something hard and was airborne, the sound of the falls rumbling in my ears. The feeling was like nothing I’d experienced before. The air and the water mixed to frothy foam and then I plunged underwater again, the sounds going muffled. My body hit the rocks and debris at the bottom of the falls, jarring me and forcing the warm air from my lungs to be replaced by cold, crisp lake water. Spinning over and over I lost my sense of up and down as the churning water kept me lurching from side to side. My head throbbed and my lungs bucked. The water pulled me along and soon black spots filled my vision. The spots spread until the blackness enveloped everything. Then, the pain was over and the next stage of my existence, if any, began.

C.S. Yelle was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MN, the “almost” middle child of six. He attended Grand Rapids Senior High School where he enjoyed music and sports. He received his BS in Chemistry from Mayville State University, Mayville, ND in 1987. He taught 7-12 Science and coached for six years in several North Dakota schools and currently works as an Executive Account Manager in the Water Treatment Industry where he has been for over eighteen years. He is the father of four and grandfather of one. He writes novels, screenplays, and an occasional short story. He has been writing seriously for over 15 years and plans to continue until his fingers are unable, maybe longer. He currently resides in a Minneapolis, MN suburb with his wife Jennifer. 

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Harvesting Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

"Thank You" to Julie at AToMR for being an awesome host and for giving me the opportunity to participate in this tour. Another "Thank You" to Melanie Karsak for providing a copy of The Harvesting for review. I am truly appreciative of being a part of The Harvesting Blog Tour.
*Make sure to check out the video with Melanie - the link is under Extras. Also, don't forget to enter the Giveaway for your very own ecopy of The Harvesting or a The Harvesting theme T-Shirt!!

The Harvesting
(The Harvesting, #1)
by Melanie Karsak
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Horror and Fantasy, Zombie
Formats Available: eBook, Paperback ~386 pages
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Blurb: 
It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Though Layla reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she could never have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's help if they are to survive the zombie apocalypse that's upon them. But that is not the only problem. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

"To label this a zombie book would be a false pretense . . . this is so much more than that. What you start out with and what you end up with are very different, and those twists and turns in the middle will make your heart beat faster over and over again."-- Colossal Pop

"If you ever need to slice someone's head off, this is the blade you want..."

Layla is a museum curator who specializes in Medieval weaponry (how cool is that?!) who also teaches sword-play classes. She is in the middle of teaching one of her classes to a group of kids when she receives a very cryptic phone call from her Grandmother who tells her to come home. No explanations, nothing. So because Layla knows that her Grandmother would not call if it wasn't important, she gets in her car, cancels a date with a sexy German, and takes off to the little town she was raised in which does not hold such great memories...or people.

When she arrives, Grandma Petrovich gives her money and a list and tells her to go and run errands, still without any explanations which Layla knows not to argue with because Grandma knows things and is a seer or a witch or a medium, depending on who you are asking. When Layla finally gets home and talks to her Grandmother, she is still met with half answers and Layla is getting anxious - her Grandmother has an artillery that the NRA would covet! But all Grandma says is that her own Grandmother knew when she was to see the spirits and then drugs Layla. When she wakes up the next day, she also has the ability to see the spirits and is told by one to "Help them!"

Meanwhile, in the real world, there is an epidemic that is causing people to get sick with a flu like illness, but with a 100% mortality rate.The weird thing is that while all the people with the illness die, post mortem they still have some brain functions. And the first thing that happens after Layla sees a spirit is that she sees two people on her property that are bloody and seem to be dead, but are still upright and quick. After a quick lesson on how to kill these people - or zombies - she has to kill her own Grandmother who was bitten by one of the monsters and has turned herself. With her own set of artillery, swords, and a mission from the spirits, she goes into town to help the rest of the living population - even if Ian, her once lover, is there.

Layla is a natural leader and is probably the smartest and most courageous person in that town and becomes the de facto leader. I love Layla's character. She is strong and methodical and never acts rashly. Unlike some people who just run into a situation, she sits and waits and plans. Layla is the epitome of a female heroine: smart, intelligent, and kick-ass! I want to be like Layla, sword and all! She is able to rally together the townspeople and bring order to a chaotic apocalyptic situation. There is a bit of romance in the book too,but thankfully it does not overshadow the rest of the book. The team of Layla, Ian, and Jamie (Ian's brother) are a force to be reckoned with, and yet comical at the same time.

The plot is creative and action packed! The author Melanie Karsak brought together the paranormal, an account of a post-apocalyptic scenario, and fantasy elements to a story that is a completely powerful and gripping story. The world-building Ms. Karsak imagined and brought to life is vivid and gory and terrible (in an awesome way!) The scene with the Boy Scouts is one of my most favorite depictions of the dichotomy of survival and compassion that The Harvesting brings.This is not just a "Zombie" book, it is an epic tale told with impeccable writing skills and many storylines interwoven to shape a tale that twists and turns and brings you to a place you never thought you would be.

I am in genuine awe of Melanie Karsak and her prowess as an author and I can't even fathom what she will bring in book two. Full of suspense, captivating writing, endearing characters - even the ones that are not quite secondary characters, and a storyline that will keep you guessing, The Harvesting is a book that I would definitely recommend! In fact, I want to read it again because there is so much about The Harvesting to love!
Five brightly burning candles!!

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

From the author: I was interviewed on a local TV show, a Halloween special, about zombies. I am first up in the special and I talk about zombies in general and the novel in particular--and I have horrible posture and they made me wear my t-shirt--but this might be something nice for people to watch if they are interested in the paranormal.

Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Melanie is the author of "The Harvesting" series. Visit the author at her blog, melaniekarsak.blogspot.com, to learn more about upcoming projects, book signings, and other neato things.

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(1) eBook of THE HARVESTING (International) 
(1) eBook or Print copy of THE HARVESTING and theme t-shirt (US/Canada)
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