Monday, January 26, 2015

[Coffee Shop Talks] Trends I'd Like to See More Of!




I would love to see more female authors writing science fiction novels with kickass heroines. I really enjoy reading about travels through space, descriptions of strange new planets, and battles with aliens.  I just can't ever seem to find enough books like this written by female authors. I would love it if more of my favorite writers would give science fiction a try.








        



Friday, January 23, 2015

New Cover Art - Tower of Thorns, Redzone, Wish Bound, & More!



It has been a while since I've posted New Cover Art for you. 
I'm making up for it with these AMAZING designs for some really great series. 
And to see more new covers, please visit our Cover Art board on Pinterest.





A Blackthorn & Grim Novel | Roc (Nov 3, 2015)


A House Immortal Novel | Roc (Sept1, 2015)


A Grimm Agency Novel | Ace (Aug 25, 2015)


A Remy Chandler Novel | Roc (Oct 6, 2015)


The Dred Chronicles | Ace (August 25, 2015)


Mutant Files | Ace (July 28, 2015)


A Gates of Thread & Stone Novel | March 10th 2015




Monday, January 19, 2015

[Book Spotlight] - Verum (The Nocte Trilogy #2) by Courtney Cole

"There's savagery here, there's grace. But above all, there's oblivion and no matter what I do, I will be sucked into it."



VERUM, the sequel to Courtney Cole's spellbindingly dark, heart wrenching new adult psychological suspense, NOCTE, is coming February 2, 2015.

Are you ready?


VERUM-CourtneyCole-500px

My name is Calla Price and I'm drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I'm being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don't know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I'm entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It's just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.


Pre-order your copy now, and get it the second it's live:
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo
Add it to your Goodreads list
Get NOCTE (Book 1) on
Amazon | iBooks | ?B&N | Kobo
Add it to your Goodreads list
Sign up for the NOCTE List and get exclusive series excerpts, teasers, and clues.

Review: Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase

Release Date: August 2, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Purchased
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.
But we all know that’s not really true.
Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.


LOVED THIS! LOVED IT!
I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and then I laughed some more. Sooooo good!
I have to say that I understand why some people found this book (Drew's voice in particular) offensive, rude, and obnoxious. He's a self-centered man-whore, and his inner thoughts are not even slightly redeeming. We first meet him while he's getting a BJ from a random redhead in a bathroom, and his immediate thoughts are only how quickly he can extract himself from her, and move on to the next good time. 
Because why in the world would he have sex with the same woman twice?
Hang on. Did she just say she had a twin? 
Aaaaand we're back in business! 
Is Drew honest, or is he just a horrible person? 
Maybe a little bit of both.
Thing is, I married a guy who sounds just like Drew. 14 years later, I'm used to that particular brand of honesty, so it cracked me up on several different levels. 
However, if you don't like leading men who aren't PC, then you'll want to steer clear of this one, because this guy is guaranteed to offend you.
I get it, I do. It's just that my husband has used the excuse 'because I'm not a giant vagina' to get out of doing so many things with me, that I'm desensitized to it.
At any rate, I loved Drew and Kate's story, and I can see myself coming back and revisiting this book over and over again.

This a typical romance in that Drew is unbelievably sexy, unbelievably rich, and unbelievably skilled with women.
I should be annoyed with his lack of Real-World issues, but this was funny enough that I managed to over look his...lack of flaws, I guess? Tangled is one of those stories that I just chalked up to complete fantasy, and decided not to let my sensible side squish the fun.

Mild Spoilers Ahead: 

Here's what I thought the author did right:
First, when Drew realizes he's in love, he doesn't run off and deny it. 
It doesn't make sense when they have characters do that, you know? If you're in love, you act the fool. You do the whole embarrassing PDA stuff, you talk about them until your friends want to strangle you, and you otherwise just act all goofy and stupid.
You don't run off. Not even relationship-shy dudes.
I think that's something certain people tell themselves when their love interest runs for the hills.
Oh, they're just scared of their feelings!
Ehhh. I think they just don't like you.
Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not.
Second, it takes Kate a reasonable amount of convincing to take Drew back at the end.
I know that some of you are probably thinking she took him back too soon, but let's face it, she was crazy about him. If you already want to believe someone, then it doesn't usually take much for them to convince you of something. 
She hung in there longer than I would have...

I'm not sure how I missed out on this little gem, but I'm sure glad I found it.
If you haven't read this one yet, you need to check it out!



Friday, January 16, 2015

[Blog Tour] Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan and Claire Riley



Today I am thrilled to be hosting a blog tour stop for Thicker Than Blood, by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley.  Make sure you follow the buy link below - this is a book you don't want to miss!



               







A true friendship never dies.

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…  Even an apocalypse.  Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.
Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.
Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.  But in such a savage world, is there room for love?  In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.  There are friends…And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.





Madeline Sheehan and Claire Riley have written one of the most thoughtful, powerful and emotional books that I have read to date.  Thicker Than Blood is exactly what the title says - it's a story about friends who are closer than family.  It is about a friendship that transcends every other relationship.  It is about survival and consequences, guilt and destruction, promises and failures, and intricate relationships and hope.  Thicker Than Blood is gritty, in-your-face, terrifying and realistic.  This is so much more than a zombie novel.  It is a study in relationships and in coming to terms with one's choices.  It is complicated and messy, and I loved every single minute of it.

People, I'd come to learn, were rarely congruent to the face they put on.

Evelyn and Leisel have been best friends since before the infection.  Their husbands were best friends, and they spent most of their time together back before the world was flipped upside down.  This book opens up with Leisel killing her current husband.  Both Eve and Leisel are living in a safe community, forced into marriages that neither wants.  Eve passes the time having an affair with the dashing Jami, while Leisel crumbles under her powerful husband's imperial fists.  When Leisel faces serious consequences, Evelyn is there to rescue her.  This is where the story started in earnest, with Eve, Lei, Jami and Alex (a town guard) on the run from the only safety they had known for four years.

He used his chains to strangle the thing, and ripped its head clear off.  Then he tore open the body, dug out a leg bone, snapped it off, and waited until someone came looking.

Evelyn was described as the strong woman - the one to protect and comfort the weaker Leisel.  I never once thought of Lei as weak.  I thought that too many fussed over her and didn't give her a chance to be anything but weak.  Leisel always had a fire in her belly.  From the first scene in this book, we know what she is capable of.  She was constantly being protected by those that loved her, and I felt that if they had just given her a chance, she would have proved them wrong.  Leisel might have appeared weak and whiny on the outside, but she had the inner fortitude to survive in this nightmare of a world.  The most compelling part of this book, for me, was the change we see in Leisel.  Although she never loses herself, she becomes more than I ever thought she could be.

She might be fragile physically, she might be easily upset, always wearing her emotions on her sleeve, but out of the three of us - Alex, Leisel and myself - she was the one who'd held on to her humanity the most, not an easy task in a world gone to hell.

Evelyn was the strength of the duo on the surface.  She was a protector and would do anything to get Leisel to safety.  Eve is a tough, smart and sometimes cold character.  She has a lot of inner demons that she is not able to cope with.  Her struggles are all internal - from her past to the promises she made Leisel's first husband before the infection killed him.  She also has a bit of a savior complex.  Her self-identity is wrapped up in her role as Leisel's guardian.  When her identity is challenged, Eve has some difficult thoughts and feelings to work through that almost destroy her.

Leisel's words took on a life of their own, imbuing me with the knowledge that she did in fact still need me, despite her having Alex.  More than anything, she still wanted me, and I was still worth something.

 Alex, oh Alex.  Alex was the guard who had loved Lei from afar.  He lived with the guilt of watching her suffer at the hands of her second husband.  He is also the light in Leisel's world.  Their relationship is slow building and under constant attack, but it is sweet and gentle and oh, so very hopeful.  Alex is the protector and the fighter that Eve and Lei both need.  He is the type of man that would lay down his life for either of these women.  I love, love, love Alex.  He became the light in this dark, dark place that these characters lived in.

He hadn't just loved me, he'd freed me.

The world that Alex, Lei and Eve lived in was bleak and unforgiving.  The setting moved the plot along brilliantly, portraying how the changing world changed humanity along with it.  We are left wondering who is worse in this new world.  The infected monsters, or the human monsters?  It becomes apparent rather quickly that what's left of humanity is the greater evil.

Everything good left in this world was going to be eventually snuffed out altogether, one by one, and not by the infected but at the hands of the selfish, greedy people who'd taken control, who'd turned a worldwide devastation into their own personal playground.  Soon there would be nothing decent remaining, only sin or sacrifice, and my only solace was the hope that eventually they'd all kill each other off.

There were many parts to the journey of Leisel and Alex.  Their survival was threatened at every juncture of the story.  There were so many obstacles for these characters to overcome.  As I was reading, I kept thinking to myself," When is this going to end?  When will these characters catch a break?"  It seemed that the characters would leave one bad situation and enter and even worse one.  Almost all hope was lost for me in this book.  There were fights and deaths and close calls that had me on the edge of my seat.  And just when I thought - "No!  Sheehan and Riley wouldn't do that!" - they did it.  Time and time again.  

Alex was quiet, forever internalizing his demons, always a silent soldier.  Leisel was the victim, constantly relying on everyone else to save her from herself.  And I was...I was the whore.

This story is written with a lot of heart.  I didn't expect to it to be as emotionally charged as it was.  This is a story that is going to stay with me for a very long time.  And the epilogue!  Oh, sweet Jesus, the epilogue.  If you thought this was an emotional ride before the ending, think again.  The epilogue had me in tears and clenched my heart with its unforgiving fist.

You were...worth it.

If you are a fan of strong women, strong relationships and apocaplyptic settings, then you must one-click this book now.  I highly recommend this story - not just to zombie aficionados, but to everyone.  This book is very well written.  I wasn't able to detect a difference in writing style between the two authors.  The main characters in this book are all realistic - their thoughts, anxieties and inner dialogue are all highly relatable.  The inner turmoil each characters faces, the outside stresses they must all endure and the underlying themes of undying platonic and romantic love and respect make this book a winner in every possible way.  Thicker Than Blood was everything I was hoping for and more.  Luckily for us, there is another stand alone book planned in this same world, and I'll be putting it right at the top of my most awaited books of 2015.  














Fantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Todaybestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series.

A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.









Claire C Riley is a Best Selling British horror writer.
A reader and writer of dark paranormal romances and zombie horror, plus a ton of other things to give you chills!

She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog!  Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy.  She is an avid reader of all genres, book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.  She encourages reader participation on her blog, author Facebook page, and twitter account with questionnaires, quizzes, and fan art. So please feel free to stalk her at any of those places!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spotlight, Excerpt, & #Giveaway - The Debt Collector: Season Two by Susan Kaye Quinn!





The Debt Collector
Season 2
by Susan Kaye Quinn

Blurb:
What’s your life worth on the open market?

In this gritty urban fantasy, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more “worthy”… all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.

“Wraith is amazing and just as compelling as Lirium—once again I'm hooked!!” 
“I loved being back in this world! Wraith has captivated me.” 

Wraith is a shadow in the night, haunting the bedrooms of the rich "high potentials" who have stolen life energy from the desperate and dying. The justice and the sweet mercy hit that follow keep her from falling into her own personal abyss. Her secret nighttime work also keeps her on level for her real mission: carrying on her father's legacy of attempting to bring an end to debt collection as a whole. But when a mysterious debt collector interrupts her in the act and discovers her secret, everything Wraith loves may be destroyed by the one thing she can never fix-- the original sin of being a debt collector herself.

*Contains mature content and themes.*

OPTIONED FOR VIRTUAL REALITY BY IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT 
2014 Semi-Finalist in Science Fiction in the Kindle Book Awards

The nine episodes of Season Two of the Debt Collector serial are collectively 125k words or about 500 pages. 

It is recommended that you start with the first season, but each season is a complete story for that debt collector and can serve as an entry point to the series. There are five planned seasons in the Debt Collector series, the first four each from the perspective of a different debt collector with the fifth season bringing all four together. 


Available for purchase at


Excerpt Debt Collector Season Two, first episode – Wraith
“Adrien Odel,” I say with my best judge-and-jury voice. This part is important. I want him to know why I’m here. I’m not a debt collector for the mob or some rogue collector out for juice on the side. I’m not the government’s grim reaper, cashing out the destitute to feed a corrupt life energy supply system. I’m something he’s never heard of: a debt collector who will make him pay for his sins. A vengeful angel brought to his bedroom by his own foul actions. At least, that’s what I want him to think. The suit usually helps, along with the wild-flowing curly black hair.
“I… what…” He’s still breathless. But he’s smart, too, and quickly figures it out. His legs are trapped under the blanket, but his arms are free, so he lunges for me—the typical response. If he tried to twist away, making me lose contact with his bare skin, I might actually get into trouble. But my targets almost always go for my throat, especially the men. And most of them are men. I’m not biased—I’ll hunt down anyone who trafficks in life energy—but while the occasional socialite, movie star, or female corporate executive might make my list, it’s usually the men who think they can make deals with the mob and get away with it. And when they see a woman in a skin-tight suit perched on their chest in bed, they automatically assume they have the advantage.
I pull another hit from him.
Odel’s back arches again, but the pleasure is all mine.
I let it go longer this time, closing my eyes and drinking it in. I’m careful not to pull too fast—I’ve still got a few scars from those early trial-and-error lessons in how to collect, and I don’t need any more angry red marks across my palms. Plus I’m not ready to do the full collection yet. Odel still needs to learn his lesson. But I take a drink and let the energy seep out to every living cell in my body.
Damn, I’ve missed this.
Not sure why I thought I could resist in the first place. And my targets do deserve everything they get. Any “high potential” who steals the life energy of someone “less deserving” needs a taste of what that kind of dying feels like. But I’m fooling myself if I think it’s only about the justice. I’m an addict, through and through. Really no better than the government’s debt collectors who do it for a paycheck and their ten percent cut of the hit.
Might as well get used to that, too.
I breathe out a deep sigh and stop the pull. I’m almost dizzy with the high. Too much. Need to be more careful. By the time I lazily open my eyes, Odel’s body is slack against the bed, his arms lying where they fell once I started the transfer. His chest is heaving, and the gray pallor is starting to show in his face. It’s hard to tell with all the creepy red glow-light in his room, but he’s definitely looking more like death than when I came in.
“What do you want?” His words are wheezy.
I lick my lips, already dry from the take. “You took something that doesn’t belong to you,” I say. “I’m here to take it back.”
“I can… I can pay you,” he says, already reaching the desperate, bargaining stage. That was fast. “Anything you want.”
“I don’t want your money, Odel,” I say, chastising him lightly. The high is making me want to play with him, and that’s not a good sign. It’s been too long. I should have known it would be hard to come back. “I want your life.”
“Please.” God, he’s starting to tear up now. These pampered high potentials can be so soft once you get them out of the boardroom. “Please don’t kill me. I’ve… I’ve got a family.” He doesn’t try to escape my hold on his forehead this time, like he’s finally figured out my palm is a gun barrel pressed against his skin. But he flails his arm to the side, reaching for something.
I shove down against his forehead, and his head sinks into the pillow. His hands go up in surrender.
“Is there something you need?” I ask.
“I just… I have… a picture…” He’s trying to look with just his eyes for whatever he was reaching for. Sometimes I forget how smart these high potentials are. I should know, I’m one of them. And a smart animal trapped in a corner becomes even smarter as the panic brings out every instinct for survival they have, including using all their brain cells at once. And sometimes they figure out my one weakness really fast.
I lean back and look, even though I know better.
He blindly reaches for the slick black photo cube. It’s the kind you tap and a holographic projection pops up whatever you’ve programmed: slide shows, video snippets, the slice-of-life stuff everyone has. It reaches in and stabs me in several different ways: because he has a smiling mother and a cute younger brother and a shiny-coated dog who adores him; because all the people whose life-energy he stole lost all of that and more; and because I have a cube just like it at home. Only the people on it are dead, and my empty apartment will only ever house me, my debt collector suit, and a haunting memory of a life that could have been but wasn’t. Because I do this instead.
I hold my free hand out to him. “Give it to me.”
He hands it over, a slight tremble in his fingers.
My palm is still plastered to his forehead, but I ease up on the pressure a little. It’s starting to sweat, making the contact slick. I need to move this along.
I hold up the cube. It’s still playing, so I freeze it. “Alicia Kentworth had a family, too. Only hers wasn’t rich. Trina Smith had two daughters she left behind. Matt Worthy was only twenty-five when they came for him, but he already had a beautiful baby girl. One who will never know her daddy.”
“I… I swear, I don’t know those people.” The desperation in his voice is inching up to hope, like he thinks he can talk his way out of this.
“No, of course you don’t.” I toss the cube aside, and it tumbles across the carpet. “You don’t think to ask about them when you’re getting your precious life energy hits, do you? You never say, Hey, Mr. Mob Boss, who had to die so I can be a little more peppy for that upcoming board meeting? Because then you’d have to think about it. And that might make it a little harder to sleep in this incredibly peacocky bed you have here.”
Odel has gone very still with my words, and I can see it on his face: he’s gotten to the stage where he realizes he’s not getting out of this. That anything he says will probably only make it worse. What he doesn’t know is that’s what I was waiting for: the look that says he understands what’s happening. And he knows he’s going to pay.







Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" but she mostly sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.

         











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