21 September 2012

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Title: Nerve
Author: Jeanne Ryan
Pub. Date: Sept. 13, 2012
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A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

(From chapter three, Vee meets Ian.)

I park the car at 9:36 and, on the way into the coffee shop, check my phone to find a picture of my dare partner, Ian. Dark hair to his chin, intense eyes as dark as the hair, sharp cheekbones. In a word, hot.
So I have to let cutie buy me some coffee and sing while I wait? The first part I can handle, but singing in public? Going home starts to feel like a better option. No shoes to die for, but no dying of embarrassment either. I remind myself that I actually completed a dare last night. And I’ve got admirers. Okay, probably drunken geeks with nothing better to do than scroll through a thousand videos to check out cleavage shots in slow-mo, but still.
Inside the shop, no sign of Ian, so I shuffle my feet while Tommy finds a spot to sit center stage. A couple of guys wearing sandals with socks rush inside and seem to scan the room until they see me. Then they find tables nearby, staring my way all the while. To the casual observer, they look like typical Seattle guys, armed with smartphones but no fashion sense. When their phones point my way, I realize they must be Watchers sent by NERVE to capture my dare. Oh, crap. But it makes sense that the gamers would want to see how players respond under the pressure of a live audience. My stomach lurches. That’s my response.
I wring my hands and bounce on my toes, staring downward. Every few seconds I risk a glance toward the door. Where is Ian? The dare said 9:40. Does NERVE know about my curfew, the way they knew about the shoes? I’m sure I posted complaints about my prison sentence on ThisIsMe, so if they’ve seen my page, they know about that plus a whole lot more. Well, whatever, it’s not like it’s secret.
I stand and wait for what seems like an hour but is actually two minutes, and then Ian walks in. I can tell he recognizes me right away, but he doesn’t say anything. Behind him a willowy girl pointing a phone hurries to take up a spot a few yards away. Guess he travels with a bodyguard too.
When he stops in front of me, I cross my arms. The phone pic didn’t capture the smooth olive planes of his cheeks, or the lanky gait in those well-worn jeans. But would it kill him to crack a smile?
I say, “Hey, you get to buy me a latte. Hazelnut is my favorite.” Is that diva enough?
He purses his lips. “So?”

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~About the Author~

I’m a writer, wife, mom, hooper, bubbleshake connoisseur (my fave: taro with extra tapioca), reader, explorer, sister, daughter, admirer of shipping-cranes, and a whole bunch of other things.

Before writing young adult fiction, I worked in a variety of settings, including wargame simulation and delinquency research. But nothing is as fun as making stuff up and inviting others to join in your new world.


Check out the rest of the Nerve blog tour!!

20 September 2012

Blog Tour: I've Been Deader by Adam Sifre

Title: I've Been Deader
Author: Adam Sifre
Pub. Date: July 2, 2012
Find "I've Been Deader":
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Being a zombie is no picnic and it's one hell of a handicap in the romance department when you fall in love with a 'breather':
Aleta is a breather with short blonde hair and brown eyes - two of them! - and the whitest smile Fred has ever seen. Every day at a certain time she sits at her window, and every day he stands in the rubble across the street among a crowd of zombies waiting to break through the fence and eat her.

'You are beautiful, like an angel', he thinks, but all he can moan is, “Braaaiiinss."
Still, as zombies go, Fred's quite a catch. Underneath all the gangrene and rot, Fred is different. This girl will probably turn out to be yet another dead end, an infatuation, someone whose image he cannot get out of his mind and whose taste he cannot get out of his mouth, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

For breathers, it is always only a matter of time, however beautiful they are and whatever the government is assuring people.

Which makes Fred sad because he has a beautiful 11 year old son called Timmy, and Timmy may still be alive.

Excerpt Chapter I

Fred's ruined face stared back at him from a fractured, mold spotted mirror. The remains of breakfast pooled around his feet and a pair of lace panties clung to his shoe, glued there by God knew what.

Bits of flesh were stuck between his yellow teeth, along with the sodden remains of a hand-wash-only label. There was no denying that he'd seen better days.

Being a zombie is no picnic.

Compelled to pause and take stock of himself, he wiped his gore stained hands on a filthy shirt, unsure if he was cleaning the hands or the shirt. His right eye looked like a crushed egg yolk and his left leg was broken in two places. A large splinter of bone poked through the nskin above his thigh, fine dark lines etched across the surface like a bad piece of scrimshaw. The open wound on his neck had started leaking again, but at least the fluid was mostly clear now.

No use dwelling on negatives. Time to get to work. He turned away from his reflection, and limped out of the men's room of the Vince Lombardi rest area.

An overly bright morning sun assaulted him as he stepped outside.

Fred gave a mental wince, wishing yet again that he could blink.

Sunlight had no adverse effect on the undead, but he had never been a morning person. Rain or shine, today he had to shamble over to Terminal C of Newark Airport, where eight breathers were making their last stand. Zombies were lone hunters and rarely worked together.

Every so often, however, a kind of collective broadcast signal went out over the undead grapevine, announcing the newest brain buffet - in a shopping mall, a church, or an airport - with predictable and satisfying results.

Dozens were already making their way down the New Jersey turnpike. By their mindless, movie-slow pace, he knew they hadn't fed.

Zombies weren't Jesse Owens on the best of days, but they tended to move a lot faster with a little brain in the old furnace.
If Fred could breathe, he would have sighed. There'd be hundreds of zombies, all ready to fight over eight brains and assorted bits. The breathers would probably take out ten to twenty percent of the attacking hoard before being overwhelmed. That left about ten zombies per breather. With luck, by the time he got there he would still be the brainiac of the pack.

Having his wits about him gave a zombie an edge in the hunt. The effects of the virus or whatever it was that put the mojo in their mortified flesh varied from corpse to corpse. Most became textbook droolie ghoulies, but some could reason and even remember who they were as breathers. So far Fred hadn't come across any other thinkers, but he doubted he was the only one.

By mid-afternoon he found himself enjoying his walk down the turnpike. Most of the fires had burned themselves out and although the air still reeked of burning gasoline, the skies were more or less smoke-free. He might be a walking corpse, but he appreciated a warm spring day like this one. He pulled his lips up in what should have been a grin.

Death, ruin and destruction improved the New Jersey Turnpike.

Not that there wasn't a black lining to be found around Fred's own little rainbow of a life. Most of the zombies were a few hundred yardsdown the road, but two lesser undead doggedly tagged alongside of him, putting a bit of a damper on things. The virus left them as nothing more than … well, nothing more than zombies. They were about as interesting as slugs and moaned so much that, were Fred alive, he'd be sporting a hell of a migraine.

All in all, however, the day was turning out quite well. He almost convinced himself being undead wasn't so bad. Sure, it was bad luck that he was forty-five years old with a rather large potbelly when he had been bitten by that damned clerk. Being cursed to wander the earth in search of brains was bad enough, but why couldn't it have happened when he was twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter?

He was imagining wandering the earth in search of fresh brains as a slimmer, sleeker and younger Fred, when the head of the zombie on his left exploded.

~Book Trailer~

~About the Author~

Lawyer, Writer, Zombie Man

I have no real interest in anything and therefore write about everything. Think of the funniest person you know. I'm just a little bit funnier. Same goes for humble and good looking. Stick around. We'll have some fun.



19 September 2012

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark

Title: Dancing Naked in Dixie
Author: Lauren Clark
Pub. Date: May 21, 2012
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Fish Pond / The Book Depository

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Ready or not.
I ease open the door and jump down what seems like five feet to the ground.
On instinct, I duck behind the door. What the—! Was that the windshield? I inch up to get a better look.
A chunk of gravel hits the side window. Another rock zings by my head. Sheesh! So much for Southern hospitality. If this is how the locals roll out the red carpet, I’ll find somewhere else—
The glass now bears a spidery star-design. The rental people will be thrilled. Did I remember to get the extra insurance?
I brace for another onslaught.
Then, I hear a high-pitched squeal.
“Noooo,” a child’s voice wails. “I don’t want to go into the house! I want to stay here! You can’t make me!”
Ever so slowly, I creep out from behind the door and inch my way to the back bumper of the Expedition.
Of course. So, she’s not a random girl. Lovely. I’ll bet we’ll be seeing her every day.
But Mary Katherine shakes her head coyly, points a finger to her cell phone, and steps onto the opposite sidewalk. By the time I decide to wave back, she disappears around the corner.
Shug doesn’t seem bothered in the least. He holds open the door to the diner.
Sweet salvation.
My knees weaken at the sight of steaming breakfast plates on every table. Raucous laughter, animated conversation, and the clang of pots and pans from the kitchen make it almost impossible to hear. Shug motions for me to follow him, but stops every few feet. He shakes hands, exchanges back slaps, and chuckles as we move through the crowd.
Curious stares follow us. Polite, inquisitive looks. A wrinkled forehead, pursed lips, a raised eyebrow. If I make eye contact, which I’m trying not to do, the person smiles brightly and chirps a greeting.
Great. I can imagine what they are dreaming up. Star magazine-type rumors, followed by a heinous paparazzi photo. I see it all too clearly. The headline will read: Who’s that girl? Is Shug Jordan cheating on Mary-what’s her name?
Oh well. There’s always food. At least I’ll die embarrassed and happy.

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~About the Author~

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. She is the author of Stay Tuned, Dancing Naked in Dixie, and Center of Gravity (October 2012).

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

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Check out the rest of the Dancing Naked in Dixie blog tour!!

18 September 2012

Blog Tour: Katrina by Elizabeth Loraine

Title: Katrina (Royal Blood Chronicles #1)
Author: Elizabeth Loraine
Pub. Date: Aug. 19, 2010
Acquired: From author, for honest review.
Find "Katrina":
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The Book Depository / Indie Bound

As a Vampire being hunted was nothing new. Finding out that I had to save those that were hunting us was!

Katrina, a young royal blooded vampire, chronicles her life from the age of seventeen beginning in the 1800's forward in the series Royal Blood Chronicles.

Katrina is thrust into something she never could have imagined growing up in the aristocracy of Europe. Once the fashion of the day, and girlish gossip filled Katrina and her new friends days, but their lives changed the instant their race was threatened and they were chosen as the Five, and the protectors of not only the vampire race, but all the peaceful races of the world!

If you are looking for a new, exciting vampire series, with strong female characters you've found it in Royal Blood Chronicles. It starts here with Katrina, The Beginning!

17 September 2012

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Careful by Isobella Jade

Title: Careful (The Careful, Quiet, Invisible #1)
Author: Isobella Jade
Pub. Date: July 26, 2012
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After Estella Montclair is killed in a texting and driving crash, what remains of her face and body is devastating. But not all of her has died. During the first month after her death, Estella's spirit travels among her living friends and family. Her best friends Zara, Eva and Jett show her how pain and sorrow can break apart or strengthen a bond. She also sees for the first time that loss can spark revenge, catastrophe can come without warning, and we all have secrets. She wonders if her chance for love with Phoenix has passed her by, and if out of sight truly means out of mind. And maybe one day the girl who caused her death will admit her mistake. While adjusting to a new state of being, Estella struggles to face the limitations that come with death, but blossoms by recognizing she can still touch the lives of the people she once knew so well.

I didn’t sleep anymore; I simply lost the need to sleep. So, when the world around me was sleeping, sometimes I would travel through Willow Ridge and let the night air carry me until I could feel the first light of dawn.

Some nights I went to the track at school, even though there was snow on it. Like when I was alive, I would swish around and around for hours with the moon glowing down on me and reenact certain races I’d won or redo the ones I hadn’t.

Other nights, I’d take a trip through my favorite course. I’d swoop through the neighborhoods, making quick cuts through backyards and over fences, sometimes sliding down the snow piles at the side of the streets, and head towards Willow Lake Park. If I wasn’t too tired I’d run the three-mile loop on the trails at the lake, or I’d stroll out to the center of the iced-over lake and admire the blue-gray shadows dancing atop the crystalline ice on the slender branches of the weeping willow trees. From a distance the shadows of the iced branches looked like a pack of mammoths.

Then usually I’d skim over the frigid water and graze against the lake’s edge until I got to Maple Point. The numerous picnic tables and grills were blanketed in snow, like an isolated winter wonderland; it looked magical in the moonlight. Once I reached the large wooden playground, I’d start sprinting to my favorite Maple tree, the biggest one. Its figure made an upside-down rounded heart shape.

I’d start climbing up the ridges of the trunk of the Maple tree, brushing up against the bark and shaking a little snow off the branches as I zoomed up, gaining speed until I reached the top. From there, I would burst out of the tree like a cannon ball. I’d rocket higher and higher and higher until the porch lights from all the houses in Willow Ridge looked like tiny specks of glitter. In the darkness up there, there seemed to be no boundaries, just a great magnitude of sky that was endless and open. Cruising the vastness of the sky was exhilarating and a little frightening.

~Book Trailer~

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~About the Author~

Isobella Jade is an author, petite model and a wizard of self-promotion. Her modeling memoir Almost 5'4" is her personal memoir about being a shorter-than-average model in NYC, the ins and outs and highs and lows of striving to beat the odds. Her graphic novel Model Life was released in November 2009 and Short Stuff is her collection of on-the-job experiences that took place after Almost 5'4" and includes modeling tips for shorter girls. Her most recent work is a new YA novel called Careful, the first book of the Careful, Quiet, Invisible series.

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16 September 2012

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Contagious by Emily Goodwin

Title: Contagious (Book #1 in The Contagium Trilogy)
Author: Emily Goodwin
Pub. Date: 2012
Genre: Occult horror/zombie
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Cover Artist: SweetDreams

“I wasn’t afraid of death. If I died, it would be over. My worst fear wasn’t of dying, it was of living. Living, while everyone around me had their flesh savagely torn from their bodies to be shoved into the festering and ever-hungry mouths of zombies. It terrified me, right down to my very core, to be alive while the rest of the world was dead."

In the midst of the Second Great Depression, twenty-five year old Orissa Penwell doesn't think things can get any worse. She couldn't be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.

Orissa will do anything-no matter if it's right or wrong- to save the ones she loves. But when she discovers that most of the world is infected or dead, she must decide if those lives are worth saving at all.

~From the Author~
Music is very important to me. It can influence your mood, cheer you up, and set a scene. While writing the Contagium Trilogy, I created a playlist with well over a hundred songs. I would turn it on and set it to shuffle. The music would either become background noise or it would act almost as a guide as to how to set up the tone of a particular scene in the book. Out of that huge playlist, I’ve created a soundtrack for Contagious. The songs are really fitting to the book. From the title, the lyrics, or simply the melody, they all reflect some aspect of the action and drama in the novel.

The Contagium Trilogy: Contagious-Soundtrack

1. All Around Me-Flyleaf
2. Get Out Alive- Three Days Grace
3. Living Dead Girl- Rob Zombie
4. Wish- Nine Inch Nails
5. Broken- Amy Lee and Seether
6. Hey Man Nice Shot- Filter
7. The Fight Song- Marilyn Manson
8. Forsaken- Disturbed
9. Burning in the Skies- Linkin Park
10. The Nobodies- Marilyn Manson
11. Flyleaf- So Sick
12. We Found Love- Rihanna

Add those twelve songs to your playlist and listen to them while reading Contagious. Hopefully they will set the mood for you the same as it did for me! Thank you, Christy , for allowing me to be a guest on your blog!

((Thank YOU, Emily for stopping by today!!!))

I grabbed a rifle, sticking my head through the strap. I slung the quiver of arrows and the bow over my shoulder, stuffed an extra clip in my pocket, and stood.
“What the hell are you doing?” Padraic asked, over Argos’ muffled growls.
“I’m going to bring the truck around. Get in the back as soon as you can.”
“No!” Raeya objected. “Rissy, you’ll die! You-you can’t go down there with them!”
“They’re still far enough away I can get to the car.”
“No, they’re not. Stay here and they will pass us,” she pleaded.
“They will find us. Our best chance is getting out of here. Then we can double back for the SUV.”
“Orissa, that is crazy!” Jason shouted. “What if you don’t make it?”
“I have to try.” I moved to the ladder.
“You could die,” Raeya cried, scrambling to her feet.
“You either die trying or you just die,” I told her, feeling like this wasn’t really happening. “I’m not giving up yet. I said I’d keep you alive, and, well, this is the only way.”
My feet hit the cold cement, shock stinging my ankles. I pulled an arrow, ready to shoot. My breath clouded around me as adrenaline coursed my veins. The zombies were closer than I anticipated. They surrounded the cars, passing them without a second look. Hungry, they followed our human scent. I released the arrow. It zipped through the air and passed through a mushy zombie skull, continuing its lethal voyage into another’s eye.
I couldn’t do that again if I tried. I ran around the barn, clambering onto the roof of some sort of out building. I fired the rest of my arrows. Two fast zombies raced in front of the rest, stretching their arms out when they caught sight of my movement. Firing the gun would give me away for sure. I dropped the bow, jumped down and held the rifle like a baseball bat. I whacked one in the head and kicked the other in the chest.
Its skin slimed off, making the bottom of my boot slippery. My foot skidded out from underneath me. The zombie I kicked grabbed my foot, bringing it to his mouth. He couldn’t bite through my boot. The M9 was wedged in my waistband, hurting like hell when I landed on my back. I madly thrashed around, retrieving it. I held it to the zombie’s head and pulled the trigger.
Spoiled bits of brain and thick blood splashed across my face. Thank God I remembered to close my eyes. Wiping zombie blood from my lips, I rolled over, shooting the other in the cheek. Dammit, I thought, cursing wasting a bullet. I fired again, this time hitting him right in between the eyes. Yellow brain matter oozed from the bullet hole. I scrambled back onto the roof of what had to be a chicken coup, based on the feathers. I emptied my clip, burying each round deep into the skull of a zombie.
Though they dropped like flies, it didn’t even dent the horrifying number that lumbered toward us. I switched to the rifle, shooting anything that moved. I needed to get off of the roof before I was completely surrounded. I dropped the rifle, shoved another clip into the M9 and jumped off. I sprinted to a silo. I climbed six feet up the ladder, twisting, and shooting.
A zombie moved through the crowd with sickening speed and grace. I had one bullet left. I aimed carefully, lining the scope up with his eye. I paused, thinking he was the best looking zombie I’d ever seen. His eyes met mine right as I pulled the trigger.
A zombie next to him fell to the ground. He put his finger to his lips and walked, unnoticed, through the flesh eating monsters that clawed at the broken side of the barn. When he was at the bottom of the ladder, he motioned for me to come down. I swallowed, not knowing why in the world I would trust this person or who the hell he was walking amongst the zombies. I shoved the empty M9 in my waistband and climbed down, hands trembling almost uncontrollably.
As soon as my feet hit the ground, he pressed himself up against me, pinning me between his body and the silo. Over a black, long sleeve shirt, he was wearing a hairy, moldy leather vest. It was wrinkled and rotten in parts. I wanted to shove him off me when I realized it was made out of zombie skin. Fingers, tied to strings like freaking decorations, hung from his neck. A hand was tied to his belt. I didn’t know what part of the zombie was stitched onto the baseball cap he was wearing.
It was disgusting, having zombie parts rubbing against me. It smelled revolting. So revolting, that the zombies wouldn’t be able to distinguish his human smell from the rotting flesh of one of their own. I closed my eyes and buried my face against his chest.
As if we didn’t exist, the zombies milled by, grabbing at the weak wood that kept my friends safe. I was grateful for this very odd stranger but I wanted to help my friends. A gun fired. My body tensed, thinking somehow one of my friends had gotten a hold of a weapon and shot the guy who was saving me, thinking he was really a zombie.
He put an arm around me, obviously thinking the echoing shot scared me. My fingers closed around the material of his shirt. A zombie stopped, eyeing us hungrily. I pulled the guy closer to me, holding my breath. He inched closer, every part of him pressing into me. Too scared to breathe, I held my breath until the zombie moved on.

Comment below for a chance at winning an ebook copy of Contagious! You have until September 19th, 12:00am PST.

~About the Author~

Emily Goodwin resides in Indiana, where she lives with her husband and many four legged children, including their much loved German Shepherd named Vader. Accused of being a day dreamer, Emily began writing at an early age, making use of her active imagination. She has a degree in psychology and is currently working on her second degree in nursing. Emily likes anything paranormal, 80's rock, going on crazy adventures with her friends, making (and wearing) costumes, Renaissance Fairs, and is an animal rights activist.

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