Cover Reveal: Renegade Heart by Lissa Lynn Thomas


Renegade Heart (Renegades Book 1)

More than his heart is on the line

“I’ve wanted you here with me forever.” His eyes move over me and I feel it like a physical caress even though I’m still fully clothed. I reach for him, unwilling to wait to touch him now that this is happening.
“I’m here now.”

promo image renegade heart
Cover Designed by Abigail Davies of Pink Elephant Designs

Raif Montgomery, lead singer of Renegades, the area’s most popular band, isn’t like other guys. When he gets left at the altar by a woman most men would kill to have, he finds himself more relieved than heartbroken. Things take another twisted little turn when he gets drunk the night of his non-wedding and makes a pass at his best friend, Chloe. She doesn’t shut him down.

Overall, he has plenty to occupy his troubled mind.

His mom is concerned he’s heading for a self-destruct of epic proportions. But all he can think about is tasting Chloe’s lips again, and getting her to agree to give them a shot as a couple. When a Nashville music producer starts hanging around Renegades’ shows, it seems that things are falling into place for the band.

But does he want success for the band if it means leaving Chloe behind? Can he walk away from the woman he loves? Or will he sacrifice the Renegades’ dreams to keep his heart intact?

paperback 3d renegade heart

“What’d they do, darlin’? You know I’d slay any dragon for you.”
I smile up at him, overcome by how lucky I feel, how happy I am that he loves me, that I can have this. “They were happy tears, cupcake. Stow your sword and remember I’m no damsel in distress. I can slay dragons all on my own.”

This sweet romance is available February 5th; pre-order now for only 99 cents!

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renegade heart

This is what we’ve all wanted forever, I know. But the timing is problematic. I want the record deal, I do. But I want Chloe more. She’s my forever and I know it, but I don’t know that she knows it yet. And I’m not ready to find out if I’m kidding myself and we have an expiration date. I’m not ready for the dream that is us to be over. How can I stand in the way of my brothers getting what they’ve always wanted? I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do.

Enter to win a SIGNED COPY of Renegade Heart HERE!

About the author:

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Lissa was first inspired to consider a career in writing when she was in high school. Her English teacher recognized Lissa’s gift for storytelling and encouraged her love of writing. She has six nieces and nephews whom she adores and a beloved cat who is her baby. Lissa loves the color purple and chai tea, and writes poetry under the pen name Bella Sterling.

Under the name Melissa Simmons, she has written one short story with fellow author, Allana Kephart, for the Dare to Shine Charity Anthology. She wrote another short story under the same name for the Best Thing I Never Had Charity Anthology. As Lissa Lynn Thomas, she has short stories in both the This Soldier’s Heart Charity Anthology and the Karma Charity Anthology. Lissa’s debut solo novel, Renegade Heart, is due out in winter of 2019. Renegade Heart is the first book in the Renegades series.

You can find Lissa on her website, follow her on Twitter, Facebook,
Instagram, Pinterest, and Bookbub, join her Facebook Reader Group, or sign up for her newsletter

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BOOK TOUR Review: “Nika: A Seychatka Novella” by D.H. Gibbs

A review by Domoni.

Nika has been kidnapped, grabbed off the streets by a man. She wakes in a lavish room fit for a princess. Though she was brought and held against her will, she stays when she finds out they can explain all the things about her that she needs to know. Nika has lived her life in hiding, constantly moving around and never making friends. The only relationship she ever had ended when her husband noticed Nika was different. She healed insanely fast and never looked older than 21. He turned her in to be experimented on, so she never trusted again until she met Demyan, the leader of her people. He tells Nika about her family that she never knew. When war between the Immortals and the Totem clan of shifters broke out, the twins were separated from their family. Sent into hiding at the age of 5, Nika has no real memories of her parents or siblings, or even her twin.  But as she quickly learns, Nika is an immortal and she and her twin are the last living heirs to the rulers of their people. Born from parents who united the Immortal and Totem clans, Nika and her twin can choose which race to be. As their 121st birthday approaches, Nika is told of how her brother has been raised by the Totems to hate the Immortals and blames them for their families deaths. Now Nika must choose her path and take up arms against the only family she has.

This is a short read that is the beginning of a series. The writing is rather perfunctory in my opinion. Though the story takes place over many months, it lacks much development or activity.  Nika goes from being angry at being captured, to acceptance at light speed. She immediately accepts her new life and role and questions little. The only portion of the story where she seems to be upset in a lasting manner is when, after a passionate kiss with Demyan, she is ignored for 6 months. Her reaction to the man she is so strongly drawn to, ignoring her, then kissing her again, then explaining why it’s so wrong, was just basic. There was no inner dialogue to explain her feelings, no time paid into why Nika just floated along with everything. What should have been a strong character, had no depth.

The story ends quite abruptly with a cliffhanger of course, as this is just the start of a series. Though I am not as enthusiastic about this story, it did contain enough to interest me in where it could go so that I was disappointed in the sudden ending and would consider continuing on with the series.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Nika by D.H. Gibbs
Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 96
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed? After hundreds
of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.

D.H. GibbsAbout the Author

With an active imagination and a love of art, D.H. Gibbs has chosen to combine her talents by writing and illustrating books. She writes for both the children and young adult genre, where both of her debut books has been published and is available on Amazon. Her new children’s book will be coming out in 2016. D.H. Gibbs hails from the Caribbean where in her free time she reads, paint and travel when she can.

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BOOK TOUR Review: “A Lady Never Lies” by Stephanie Burkhart

A review by Domoni.

I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

A Lady Never Lies is the third story in The Windsor Diaries series. I have not read the previous stories, this did not seem to be a problem in following this tale. The Windsor family are the adult children of the modern day British Royal family. With the permission of the government they use a time machine to travel back to Victorian England. This story centers on a young woman from the Victorian time period named Jocelyn Dunkirk. She is a noble lady of unconventional character who is more interested in tinkering and inventing with her father and trying to help clean the air of coal dust and smoke, than with sticking with expected protocol and gender roles. Richard Windsor is the modern day Prince of Wales and next in line to the throne. During his travels through time, he fell hard for Jocelyn but duty required he leave her, and now he is returning to her time to capture her heart.

The story opens on the night of the wedding of Edmund Windsor, Richards brother, and his new bride Keira, a woman from the Victorian time. Like Richard, Edmund fell for a woman out of his time. He chose to stay with her in her time and marry her. While at the wedding, the ring Richard left Jocelyn with to prove his affection, began acting strange and heating up. When she removed it from her fingers, her father noticed it sparking. As he leaned over the ring to inspect it, ash from his cigar fell on the ring and it causes a massive explosion. The ballroom is rocked and Jocelyn is thrown backwards, injuring her ankle. When she recovers her wits, she finds her father badly injured and burned. Festivities are halted as the Lord Ridgecroft, Jocelyn’s father, is carried from the room. At this moment Richard Windsor returns in time to see the woman he loves, terrified and angry that the ring he gave her caused this event, rushing out after her father.

The Lord Ridgecroft’s injuries are severe, but there is no time to dwell. The coal miners of England are on strike and the country is quickly starting to suffer. Parliament assigns Jocelyn to help convince the miners and the bosses to settle and she must be off to handle this business in her father’s place. What she did not expect to learn is that an unknown male cousin will be set to inherit her father’s title and lands if he were to succumb to his injuries. Due to a condition in her grandfather’s will, only males may inherit. So now Jocelyn must meet this cousin and take his measure while he accompanies her on the mission to settle the coal miners strike. During all of this stress, Jocelyn must decide where her heart lies. Can she be with Richard? He cannot stay in her time, but she cannot leave her father behind.

This book was described as steampunk, though I don’t find it to be so. Yes Jocelyn tinkers with a couple of items, which don’t get much description, and there seem to be steam engines, it is more like a time travel story with a small nod to steampunk. I was hoping for more on that front.

The bones of the story were good. Though I felt it lacked the support to be great. It was a quick read with little atmosphere or description. The love scenes were short and lacked description or heat. The personalities of the characters were not developed, nor were the relationships. To me it felt very rushed and I could have used much more detail to get me invested. I was never able to latch onto a character’s motivation for why they behaved the way they did and in the case of the main character, was conflicted in her behavior. She repeatedly said nothing mattered but being with her father, but didn’t argue or second guess the trip to deal with the strike. I suppose duty to country is important, but without enough insight to understand the characters, it made little sense.

I loved the idea of the story, but I just wanted more from it. It does end with a tie-in to bring the reader back for the next story and I may start from the first and read the series to see if the characters get more fleshed out with time.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

TOUR GIVEAWAY!

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Review: “Spectacle” by S.J. Pierce

Spectacle by S.J. Pierce A review by Maria.

I would like to thank author S. J. Pierce for allowing me to read her new novel Spectacle.

Spectacle was a terrific blend of Young Adult, Dystopia and Science Fiction. But this was far from the usual angsty love-story ridden young adult novel.

Mira Foster lives as a regular 10-year-old dealing with school, bullies, and best friends in New America. She’s loved by two incredible parents who are both her heroes. Then strange markings appear on her dad’s face and she learns that she’s far from ordinary and that her father is an alien. When her father and others can no longer blend in with the humans due to their markings, they meet with the government for permission to continue to co-exist on the planet as they’ve been doing for many years while blending in. An attack on the President is carried out and the aliens are the ones blamed. Mira and the remainder of her people are sent to a deserted island to live in exile. Mira’s one chance to return to New America is to go with her friend Luxxe to compete in a televised fighting tournament.

The author made it clear that while Mira’s people lived on the island it was very difficult and they had no provisions or shelter given to them and they had to struggle to survive. However, as a reader, it would have improved my take of the hardship of their situation if someone had died or gotten hurt while the island was featured. I understood it was dire circumstances, but it would have resonated with me better to feel how life threatening normal life was for them.

Mira was a stand out main character. I enjoyed her personality immensely. She was strong, smart, compassionate, and a leader. When her friends got their markings, they got chameleon type powers. Mira still didn’t receive her markings, but discovered she had a power too. She could teleport herself across vast distances. When she discovers this in the book she is understandably a little concerned but immediately starts to try to figure the power out and how to use it to her advantage.

Mira’s entourage of friends who escort Luxxe to his fight are worth mentioning. Luxxe is the strong, brave, male leader of the camp. He and Mira have been friends all their lives and have only ever seen each other as friends. Cole is the funny, quirky male always in Luxxe’s shadow and has feelings for Mira. I really enjoyed Cole’s character. Taylor is Luxxe’s girlfriend who has only ever treated Mira like dirt. While waiting to fight in New America, both girls finally reach a pleasant and believable understanding.

Even though the characters were well done in this book and I became extremely attached to them, I found the story somewhat lacking. The story would often drag throughout the book; and at times felt disjointed or had scenes I felt were really unnecessary. That being said, it did reach a huge climax that I didn’t see coming. I also felt like in a story like this, everything shouldn’t have ended fairly neat and tidy. However, after the climax and with some death and pain, everything really did tie up nice and neatly. I would have liked some more details about Mira’s life after the bulk of the story had ended.

This novel is appropriate for teens and adults.

 

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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Book & Author details:

Spectacle by S.J. Pierce
Publication date: July 13th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Hunger Games meets Avatar in this spellbinding new Young Adult, Science-Fiction novel by bestselling author Susan James Pierce.

Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three remaining landmasses – the threat of overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.

Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a new discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos: blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that allow them to camouflage their skin, but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.

Mira’s dad is one of them.

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S.J. Pierce

AUTHOR BIO:
Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels.

Please visit http://www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you’d like to hear when new books come out! Coming soon:

Iris (Novella: The Captivated Series) Available now!!!

Fight for Me (Book Two: The Captivated Series)

Links:
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BOOK TOUR: Review: The “Network” Series by Katie Cross

The Network Series by Katie Cross Banner Reviews by Maria.

I would like to thank author Katie Cross for giving me the opportunity to read and review her novels in The Network series: Miss Mabel’s School For Girls, Antebellum Awakening, and The Isadora Interviews.

My review of Miss Mabel’s School For Girls:

Miss Mabel's School For Girls by Katie CrossBianca Moore has inherited a dreadful curse and her only hope for breaking it is the witch that cast it, Miss Mabel. To get Miss Mabel’s attention, Biana must gain admittance to Miss Mabel’s School For Girls. Once inside she must hide how advanced she is as a witch and pretend to be a beginner. From there she will risk everything by entering a dangerous competition for the prize of being Miss Mabel’s assistant.

The first half of the book deals with the competition. This part of the book felt very familiar; a seemingly inexperienced witch enters a dangerous competition at her boarding school that she has no possible hope of winning. She has to try and beat the odds with help from her friends, wits, and luck. However Cross puts an interesting and fresh spin on the magic involved and has different challenges for Bianca to face. Two of those challenges are tough competitors: evil Priscilla and wavering Michelle.

The first half of the book went a little slower because it was dealing with classes and the competition. The second half of the book deals with much more character development, with many different character’s lives hanging on the line. The second half seemed to go very fast and was equally tense and captivating.

Bianca is a smart and capable as a main character and as a witch. She was funny, loving, and very determined. Bianca goes through so much to try and end the curse on her family that it made it very easy to cheer for her even before Mabel showed up. And once Mabel showed up, the real depth to Bianca’s character began.

Miss Mabel made for a very convincing villain. She was devious, crafty, and cunning in all of her interactions with Bianca. She was such a fascinating evil character that I almost couldn’t wait to see what she’d make Bianca do next. Miss Mabel did a wide variety of things to Bianca: from holding the lives of her mother and grandmother over her head, from making her practice hexes on innocent animals, to insane homework load, and then putting hexes on her and her friends. Miss Mabel thought of everything and was an incredibly diabolical adversary.

I would have liked for more time spent on Bianca’s friends Leda and Camille; both of whom had extremely interesting back stories. Leda also struggled with a curse, one that could easily drive her crazy; while Camille lost her family at a young age and feels lost at Miss Mabel’s school.  I would like to see another book in the Network Series feature one of them.

My rating: 4 /5 stars..

My review of Isadora Interviews:

The Isadora Interviews by Katie CrossThe Isadora Interviews was an extremely short story about events that took place before Miss Mabel’s School For Girls. Leda, Camille, Michelle and Priscilla all had chapters as well as the featured main character.

This short story was a nice addition because I got to know all 4 girls better. I got to learn what they were like before the school and what their home lives were like. The Isadora Interviews didn’t move the series along at all and just acted as a prequel, so it could be skipped and not hinder the story at all. But I had wanted to know more about Leda and Camille’s lives in particular, and this short story did exactly that.

My rating: 3 /5 stars.
My review of Antebellum Awakening (contains spoilers from book 1):

Antebellum Awakening by Katie CrossAntebellum Awakening picks up right after the burial of Bianca’s mother. Bianca is on her way to stay in the High Priestess’ castle and they strike a deal to try and save Bianca’s life from her curse. Only, Bianca knows her life can’t truly be saved because of her promise to Mabel. The book picks up 2 months later after Bianca moved into the High Priestess’s castle with Leda, Camille, and Michelle all living there, too. Leda and Camille continue their studies while Miss Mabel’s School has been shut down. Bianca is learning to fight, dealing with her grief, and still keeping so many secrets.

Bianca’s character doesn’t really grow that much in this book. But, she does go through the process of grief in this book which made her a more vulnerable character. She holds back her grief so she doesn’t feel it and that makes her magic unpredictable and out of control. Bianca starts seeing her mother’s ghost when she runs in the wood, which makes her give up running, even though it used to give her so much pleasure. At the same time Bianca becomes vulnerable emotionally, she starts training at sword fighting with the guardian Merrick. Merrick is ruthless in his training of Bianca to get her to earn physical strength but also to get her to get control of her magic and the root of her grief.

As more guardians were introduced, Camille started to gain a love interest. And I had hoped that despite Bianca’s tendency toward self-reliance, a romance might brew between her and Merrick. He was a very interesting character. He was strong, ambitious, a hard worker, and knew how to challenge Bianca while also letting her challenge herself. Bianca remained true to herself and did not need to seek out a romance since she had quite a lot going on already. But watching these characters become closer as friends, it was nice to see sparks of something more.

Another great character addition was Derek, Bianca’s father. He and the High Priestess were featured much more in this book. After having her mother and grandmother die in the first book, it was nice having family moments between Derek and Bianca. Because he was Head Protector, Derek wasn’t even allowed to have a family and could only contact them in secret.  Having Derek and Bianca come together and actually have a relationship was sweet and heartwarming. Bianca’s decision to lie to him over how much danger she’s still in from Mabel, showed how much she valued her family over herself.

With addition of more characters, intense battles and feuds both magically and politically this series is picking up steam and I can’t wait to see how it continues!

My rating: 4.5 /5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

 

The Network Series by Katie Cross Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for The Network Series by Katie Cross!  The Network Series is a young adult fantasy and the tour runs July 27 – August 7 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.
About Miss Mabel’s School for Girls:
MMSFG 2 for NookNever Underestimate the Power of a Determined Witch. Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel. Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.
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About Antebellum Awakening:
Antebellum Awakening by Katie CrossNever underestimate the power of a volatile witch.Still reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe is forced to move to Chatham Castle. Not even the sudden appearance of ancient dragons in haunted Letum Wood nor her two best friends can distract her from the strength of her deep, dark rage.Her grief puts her magical powers into chaos, endangering any witch around her. She has six months left to destroy the curse that will kill her and fulfill her contract with the most cunning enemy of all: her former teacher Miss Mabel.Bianca must make a choice: learn to control her restless powers, or let the powers control her.Antebellum Awakening is the second book in the thrilling new fantasy collection The Network Series. It’s a haunting tale about tragedy, loss, and the power of moving on.
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The Isadora Interviews blurb:

TII 2 for Amazon (1)Isadora is a quiet, old witch living alone in the fog-strewn forest of Letum Wood. Her magical power is great, but her foresight is even greater.As a Watcher, Isadora has the ability to see into the heart of every witch she meets, a talent that makes her the perfect guardian of the prestigious Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.Any witch that wants to enter the school must first pass an interview with Isadora. No secret insecurity or sinister motivation can be hidden from a Watcher, as four teenage girls will soon find out.Join Leda, Camille, Michelle, and Priscilla, as they each encounter Isadora in their quest to join Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. It’s a collection of short stories that fans of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls can’t afford to miss.
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About the Author: 
Katie Cross
Katie Cross grew up in the mountains of Idaho, where she still loves to play when she gets the chance. If she’s not writing, you can find her traveling, working as a pediatric nurse, trail running with her husband and two dogs, or curled up with a book and a cup of chai.

Author links: 

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BOOK TOUR: Review of “Descendants of the Rose” by Juliette Harper

Descendents of the Rose by Juliette Harper

A review by Maria.

I would like to thank author Juliette Harper for giving me the opportunity to read and review another one of her novels; Descendants of the Rose, the first book in the Selby Jensen mystery series.

Selby Jensen might officially be a private investigator; unofficially her job is to hunt monsters. Nevermind the fact that she’s buisness partners with a vampire and best friends with a ghost. While she takes care of any monsters that come her way, she is secretly hunting one in particular; the werewolf that killed her husband. She wishes her husband had become a ghost because she still has questions about his death. Her husband’s old police partner doesn’t have any answers for her either. Now Selby’s newest case is at someplace she least expected to find evil: a Catholic school.

Selby is fun, opinionated, feisty and trying to move on with her life after her husband’s death. But she can’t move on until she solves his murder. She’s brave, smart, resourceful and has plenty of supernatural characters to help her in solving mysteries.

Helen was Selby’s best friend and died when they were 25 years old. She hovers around Selby and they’re still best friends. Being dead hasn’t stopped her terrible shopping habit, and she changes outfits on a whim. Helen is also keeping a secret from Selby. Shelby’s husband Dex didn’t actually pass on like Selby assumed when he died. Dex is stuck around as a ghost, loving Selby from the afterlife without her knowing it.

Johnny is a vampire and Selby’s business partner; was the comic relief of the book. Johnny harbors a huge crush on Selby and he’s full of flirty to outrageous comments.

Miss Mary Ruth is far from the regular school nun. She has a secret past involving magic and witchcraft on the way to finding her religion. Her past makes it so she doesn’t balk at the idea of her school containing some kind of spirit, or that she’ll need help with getting rid of it. Mary Ruth makes a great, spunky new addition to the Scooby gang; and provides a new person for Johnny to crush on.

This book was very different than Harper’s Lockwood Legacy and Study Club Murder mysteries. It still had the feel of a mystery but this time with strong paranormal aspects. The book was about the same length of previous Harper books, roughly 150 pages and was a very fast, entertaining read.

I look forward to reading more Selby Jensen mysteries in the future!

My rating: 4.5 /5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

Descendants of the Rose Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Descendants of the Rose by Juliette Harper! This is the first book in the Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries series and the tour runs July 20-31. Check out the tour page for more information.

Cover of Descendant of the Rose by Juliette HarperAbout the Book:

Selby Jensen’s business card reads “Private Investigator,” but to say the least, that downplays her real occupation. Let’s hear it in her own words:

“You want to know what I do for a living? I rip souls out. Cut heads off. Put silver bullets where silver bullets need putting. You think there aren’t any monsters? . . . I have some disturbing news for you. You might want to sit down. Monsters walk among us. I’m looking for one in particular. In the meantime? I’m keeping the rest of them from eating people like you.”In this debut novel of her new paranormal mystery series, Juliette Harper, author of The Lockwood Legacy books and The Study Club Mysteries creates a cast of characters, most of whom have one thing in common; they don’t have a pulse. The dead are doing just fine by Selby, who is determined never to lose someone she loves again, but then a force of love more powerful than her grief changes that plan.Join Selby Jensen as she and her team track down a shadowy figure tied to a murder at a girls’ school. What none of them realize, however, is that in solving this case, they will enter a longer battle against a larger evil.

About the Author:

Juliette Harper

Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. Descendants of the Rose is the first installment of Harper’s debut Selby Jensen Paranormal Mystery series.

Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan, worked as a journalist and university history instructor before becoming a full-time freelance writer in 2002.

Juliette Harper is also the author of The Lockwood Legacy, a nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide. Four of the novels are currently available: Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father.

And don’t miss her hilariously funny “cozy” Study Club Mysteries, a light-hearted spinoff of The Lockwood Legacy. The books, set in the 1960s, take on the often absurd eccentricities of small town life with good-natured, droll humor. The first book, You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet is available with the second, You Can’t Put a Corpse in a Parade, coming in Summer 2015.

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Giveaway:
One (1) winner gets a $25 Amazon gift card (INT) & one (1) winner gets the Lockwood Legacy books, Langston’s Daughters, Baxter’s Draw, Alice’s Portrait and Mandy’s Father (US)
Ends August 5th
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BLOG TOUR: Review of “The Witching Elm” by C.N. Crawford

The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford A review by Maria.

I received The Witching Elm from author C.N. Crawford for a honest review. I was excited to read this book because it sounded like it fit right in my reading niche. It was well worth the read, I couldn’t put this book down!

Main character Toby is from a duplicate world with magic, shape-shifting, royalty, and evil. He’s sent to today’s Boston to escape the evil Rawhed, intent on killing sorcerers -or philosophers as Toby prefers to be called- like him. Crawford did wonderful world-building, giving readers a glimpse of this universe before bringing Toby over to Boston. It was a terrific blend of Toby’s world, Maremount, and the contemporary one. He ends up at Mather Academy where he tries to blend in, but Toby can’t help doing magic and something follows him from home.

The magic is intense with many spells, rhymes, and poems being featured. I liked that some of the magic hurt to accomplish. Changing shape from a boy to a crow wasn’t an easy or painless process. It was amusing as Toby tried to keep his magic under wraps when people were inviting him to séances and such!

The Witching Elm gives a gothic feel to Boston and the boarding school Toby and his friends attend. However, instead of the usual boarding school trappings – boredom, romances, schoolwork – this book managed to keep focused on the magic and fantasy. It was unique and refreshing.

The history was amazing and well-researched. Many historical events and figures were mentioned, such as the Puritans, Salem Witch Trials, and King Philip. Historical items like hangings, wars, and Native American culture appeared in this book. Some liberties were taken, but they only enhanced the story.

This novel features three Points of View (main characters Toby, Fiona, and Thomas) and stays in each character’s viewpoint for multiple chapters. It was disconcerting at first because each new narrator wasn’t clearly stated, but revealed in the body of the chapter.

Toby is an extremely likable character. He leaves his world behind and survives in a very different one with only his wits and spells. His backstory is astounding; he was a peasant -or Tatter- not allowed to learn or do magic. Toby’s father taught him to read, even though it could get them all killed. Watching him attempt to blend was entertaining because he claimed to be from England but he didn’t have an accent or knowledge of his supposed homeland. Eventually, his new friends begin to learn the truth about Toby, but evil beings -bone wardens, Harvesters, and Rawhed himself- come after them and they create a coven to learn magic, protect themselves, and try to get Toby home.

Fiona is an interesting, intelligent female lead. She is wicked smart, almost genius at times, remembering things she hears only once and being the first to know anything. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and easily adapts after learning Toby’s identity and that magic exists, and displays courage in times of danger.

Thomas is a college professor with a reputation for researching history and magic. Fiona seeks him out when she suspects Toby isn’t what he seems. It was great getting into Thomas’s head, watching him start to believe in the unimaginable. He turns into a wonderful resource for Toby’s group and transforms from book nerd to brave hero.

Life or death situations start early on until gruesome showdowns happen in both worlds. So even though this is a YA book, I wouldn’t recommend it to very young teens. But the fantasy and history make this book a captivating read and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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Welcome to my tour stop for The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford. This is a YA dark fantasy and the review tour runs February 2nd-13th. Check out the tour page for more information.

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old sorcerer Toby Corvin has one desire: to get back to Maremount, a world of talking ravens, ancient spells, and sinister bone wardens. Not only to fight a tyrannical monster, but to reunite with his girlfriend.
 There’s only one problem—he’s stuck in downtown Boston.
 After a brutal civil war forced Toby into our world, he took refuge in Mather Academy, blending in with the students in the prestigious boarding school. Sheltering in its creaky old walls, he secretly plots to save his home.
 But if anything can distract him from his mission, it’s his wild-haired and intriguing classmate Fiona. Of course, she has her own distractions with Jack: rich, mysterious, and annoyingly attractive.
 When a ghostly army from Maremount descends upon Boston, Toby and Fiona must work together, racing desperately to stop the slaughter. In the process, they face unspeakable danger while unearthing dark secrets of New England’s past—a past that holds the key to saving both worlds from destruction.

Goodreads | Amazon

On sale Feb. 5-11th for only .99 cents! 

 About the Authors:

CN_Crawford  C.N. Crawford is not one person but two. Christine (C) grew up in the historic town of Lexington, and has a lifelong interest in New England folklore – with a particular fondness for creepy old cemeteries. Nick (N) spent his childhood reading fantasy and science fiction further north during Vermont’s long winters.
      Together they work to incorporate real historical events and figures into contemporary urban fantasy novels.

Links: 

Author site | Twitter (@CN_Crawford) |facebook | pinterest

Giveaway:
1st Prize: Ring & Necklace handmade by the author
2nd prize (10 winners!): Piece of jewelry handmade by the author
Each item has a fragment of a love spell from the book. 
Open to US/CA/UK

a Rafflecopter giveawayThis tour was organized by CBB Book Promotions.