17 December 2016

The Elf: Book Blitz & Giveaway

Title: The Elf
Author: Max Dune
Publication Date: Oct. 18, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Kobo
This Christmas…it’s war. Grab your weapon and join the fight in this modern Santa Claus retelling with a dark twist. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar will be riveted by The Elf‘s action, humor and romance!

Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting. One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.

Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head. In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots. To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b5Is91.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

My mouth waters the moment I enter the cafeteria. Rich aromas of fried meats and freshly baked pastries waft in the air, beckoning my empty belly. Zeb and I rush to the buffet-style line and wait for our turn. We arrived early today so it doesn’t take long. I serve myself the usual breakfast. Golden waffles topped with lots of strawberry jam and butter. And coffee. I can’t start my day without that sweet caffeinated elixir. I pour myself a jumbo-sized cup from the silver coffee dispensers, then take a quick gulp right there. I shudder in delight. “Man, that’s good.”
Zeb nods, sipping his coffee too. “Preach! It tastes better every day. I wonder what the secret ingredient is. Love? Sunshine? Unicorn blood?”
“Or just freshly ground Columbian beans?” I suggest.
“Or that.”
Leaving the line, we scan the cafeteria for an empty table. In the distance, I spot her waving at us. Lily. The most beautiful girl in the world. Just the sight of her lifts my mood and makes my heart flutter. I wonder what it is about her that has such an effect on me. Her slender, willowy frame? The way her black hair cascades down over her shoulders? Or those dazzling emerald eyes? Yeah, it’s definitely that last one. It was those eyes of hers that first drew me to her, like deep lakes of jade. But it was her kind heart that really sealed the deal.
Sitting next to her is Chance. He’s another good friend of mine. He, along with Zeb and Lily, have worked hard to keep me from sinking further down into my depression. “Hey” we all chorus when we arrive at the table. I sit next to Lily and Zeb takes the seat next to Chance.
Lily gives me quick kiss on the cheek. “Good morning, handsome,” she says, prompting me to smile like an idiot in love.
“Morning,” I respond shyly.
Zeb makes a gagging noise while Chance chuckles.
“Ah, love is in the air,” Chance says.
Zeb frowns. “Chance, don’t encourage this. It’s nauseating.”
“Hey,” I warn. “Watch it or Lily might not help you with Pepper.”
Lily nods in amusement. “Mm-hmm.”
Panic spreads across Zeb’s face, then he smiles widely and lets his usual theatrics fly. “Wait, did I say nauseating? I meant to say precious. Look at you two! Here.” He whips out his cell phone and snaps our picture. Then he admires it lovingly, placing a hand over his chest. “Aww. #truelove #beautiful #nofilter.”
Everyone laughs.
Zeb keeps lathering it on. “See, Lily, this…this could be my future with Pepper. Provided we stick to the plan. Which reminds me, have you talked to her yet?”
Lily offers an apologetic smile. “Not yet, sweetie. I haven’t seen her. She’s been working overtime.”
“Join the club,” Chance says. “By the way, Zeb, our department has to work an extra six hours Saturday. Mini-helicopters are in high demand this Christmas, I guess.” Chance doesn’t appear to be bothered by the news, though. Remember the optimistic gene I mentioned? Well, Chance has it in spades. Along with some of the best work ethics I’ve seen here.
“Oh my llama,” Zeb groans. “Sixteen hours?!”
I lift my Styrofoam cup. “Just drink more coffee. This will give you all the energy you need to get through your shift. Without it, I’d drop dead after an hour of chopping.”
Lily takes a more sensitive approach. “And think of the joy those kids will receive when they fly those helicopters you built. How their faces are going to absolutely light up! It’ll be worth it, Zeb.” I place my hand over hers, touched by her encouraging words, her selflessness. It just makes me love her even more.
Zeb, however, keeps a sourpuss face. It’s only when Gordy, our choir director, walks by that he switches into happy-mode and jumps up. “Greetings, Gordy! I was wondering if you’d received my volunteer application for the choir team. As well as the Christmas carols I submitted for your consideration. All songs are 100 percent original, written by yours truly, of course.”
Disdain registers across Gordy’s features—just for a split second—before being able to collect himself and plastering a smile. “Ah, yes, yes, I did! Unfortunately, we have enough singers at the moment.” He pats Zeb’s shoulders. “But your generous offer is greatly appreciated all the same. Truly!”
“Oh, okay,” Zeb says, sounding like a sad puppy. “Well, what about the songs I wrote? Would you consider using them for the annual Christmas concert?”
Gordy claps his hands excitedly. “Your songs, oh, they were splendid. It’s just that…” He pauses, looking for the best words to let Zeb down gently. “Everyone is expecting a certain amount of Christmas cheer from our musical selection. Now more than ever, given the recent tragedies, and I feel our classic carols will provide that.”
Zeb’s face falls. “I understand. Thank you for your consideration, Gordy. Perhaps next year.”
“Perhaps, yes!” Gordy cries. “Stay cheerful, Zeb!”
“Stay cheerful, Gordy…” Zeb says quietly. Once the older elf scampers away, my friend slumps down to his chair, a mixture of anger and frustration. We all exchange a worried look; this probably won’t end well. Oh what the heck? Might as well make the first move.
I reach over and pat Zeb’s arm. “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
He swiftly shakes me off. “Don’t you dare quote The Help to me right now. Don’t you dare.”
“What? I thought you loved that movie.”
He scowls. “Well, of course I do! It’s a masterpiece. It should have won every Oscar that year—but that’s not the point right now, Lucian.” He massages his temples. “The point is my soul hurts. And nobody will ever know how much it hurts.”
I hide a smirk.
Lily slaps my side before comforting Zeb. “Sweetie, don’t let that dampen your spirits. Everything happens for a reason. There’s always next year. I bet you’ll be in the front row of that choir then. Keep the faith, Zeb.”
Chance gives an agreeing nod. “Yeah, man. Chin up.”
But Zeb appears unwilling to let it go. He raises both hands in his dramatic fashion and closes his eyes. “I’m taking a vow of silence for the rest of the day. Does everyone hear me? Not…another…word.” He gestures like a zipper across his lips and pretends to throw away an invisible key over his shoulder.
A deafening explosion outside suddenly shakes our building and shatters a nearby window. The mighty blast knocks us to the ground and showers us with glittering pieces of glass. We lie for several moments in shock, out of breath, trembling, ears ringing, trying to process what just happened. I manage to gather myself and quickly reach for Lily, who’s on the floor beside me. “Are you okay?” I ask, frantic.
“Y-Yes,” she says, eyelids fluttering. “Just… dazed.”
Our group slowly sits up. There’s all sorts of anxious murmuring around us.
“Zeb? Chance? You good?” I ask.
Both nod in affirmation, much to relief.
Just then, the intercom buzzes and a robotic voice speaks. “Code Ice. Code Ice. All elves, please remain inside.” And with those simple words I understand exactly what’s going on—Jack Frost is in the village.
He’s come to destroy us.
Once and for all.
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Christine's Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of All Time

So, yes, I realize that "Captivated Reading" is, indeed, a blog for--and about--books. And, I also realize that TV and books are pretty different forms of entertainment. But, seeing as how this is the 21st century, and I'm pretty sure most of my fellow book-lovers are also TV-lovers, I figured I couldn't go wrong with a post dedicated to all things television.

So, without further ado, here is my comprehensive list of (what I consider) the best EVER television--complete with an assortment of animated gifs!!

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the role of Buffy Summers in this TV version of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," based on the film of the same title, which starred Kristy Swanson. Buffy is a Slayer, one in a long line of young women chosen for a specific mission: to seek out and destroy vampires, demons and other forces of darkness. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy establishes a group of supportive friends who aids her in her battles with evil, including Willow, Xander and Cordelia. Her battles with evil are frequent, since Sunnydale, where Buffy and friends live, sits atop a gateway to the realm of the demons.
Ohhhh, Buffy, how I do love you!

So, I'm going to be completely honest. This show could've had the worst writing and plot lines in the world and it would've still gone on my list.
A lot of my love for this show stems from the fact that it's nostalgic for me. I started watching this show when I was fourteen years old. Because it was, essentially, my first TV love it could be garbage and I wouldn't know any better.

As luck would have it, however, "Buffy" is not garbage and has not only wormed its way into my heart, but the heart of critics and brainiacs all over. Thanks to Joss Whedon's superb writing skills, "Buffy" will always be considered a cult classic that pleases all ages.

Angel + Buffy 4eva!!!

Oh, the angst!

9. Call the Midwife

Adapted by Heidi Thomas from the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this drama series is a moving, funny, colorful look at midwifery and family in 1950s East End London. It follows newly qualified midwife Jenny, who joins an eccentric, lovable community of nuns who are nurses at Nonnatus House. Jenny is surprised to find herself at a convent -- she thought she was being sent to a small private hospital -- and is initially daunted by her surroundings, most notably the formidable Sister Evangelina and the unconventional Sister Monica Joan. But Jenny gradually begins to find her way and develops incredible friendships among the nurses, as they are drawn into the lives and homes of the women and families they treat.

I discovered this show in its second season when I still had a couple of babies in the house.

For those of you who haven't seen this, just know that it's one of those shows that can have moments that, literally, make you "LOL". But, more often, "Midwives" brings a stark reminder of what giving birth was like in the not-so-distant past.
It's scary, heartwarming, and more than once brought tears to my eyes.

8. Homeland

When Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody returns home following eight years in captivity, CIA agent Carrie Mathison thinks he has turned and is connected to a terror plot to be carried out on American soil, and she engages him in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that puts America's national security at risk. Later on, Carrie gets a promotion and returns to the front lines overseas. She is assigned to one of the CIA's most volatile and dangerous stations in the Middle East, where she is in the heart of battle in the war on terror. Years later, after being disillusioned and placing herself in a self-imposed exile in Berlin, Carrie becomes estranged from the CIA.

So, I'm really not big into political dramas. I mean, my hubby just loves "House of Cards", and while I can respect the acting chops of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, I just can't really relate to the characters. And, for my relating to the characters is a big deal.

Which is why I can get past the "politicalness" of "Homeland".

Claire Danes portrays the affectingly flawed Carrie Mathison who struggles with being bipolar while trying to maintain her significant career with the CIA. Throw in some is-he-evil-or-isn't-he drama, all tied up in a big suspenseful bow and "Homeland" is the political drama that can keep even my mercurial attention.

Plus, there's this:

Oh, Quinn..

7. I Love Lucy

Lucy Ricardo is the wacky wife of Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. Living in New York, Ricky tries to succeed in show business while Lucy -- always trying to help -- usually manages to get in some kind of trouble that drives Ricky crazy. Their best friends are Fred and Ethel Mertz, who are also their landlords. Usually, Ethel becomes Lucy's less-than-willing partner in crime. Ricky and Lucy welcomed little Ricky in 1953, whose birth was a national TV event. Later in the show's run, the Ricardos (and the Mertzes) moved to Hollywood, where Ricky tried to become a movie star.

I'll just leave these right here:

If you haven't seen this show, I don't think I can help you.

6. The Office

This U.S. adaptation -- set at a paper company in Scranton, Pa. -- has a similar documentary style to that of the Ricky Gervais-led British original. It features the Dunder-Mifflin staff, which includes characters based on roles in the British show -- and, quite possibly, people with whom you work in your office. There's Jim, the likable employee who's a bit of an every man. Jim has a thing for receptionist-turned-sales-rep Pam -- because office romances are always a good idea! There's also Dwight, the co-worker who is successful but devoid of social skills and common sense.

You guys!! This show! Look, I actually don't normally drift towards comedies. Maybe that says something about me; I take life too seriously, I hate to laugh, who knows... But, every once in awhile I'll find one that I can't not watch. "The Office" hits every mark with witty banter, office pranks, and even some sincere emotional moments that only a show about a group of close friends can bring.

5. Outlander

After serving as a British Army nurse in World War II, Claire Randall is enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank, an MI6 officer looking forward to a new career as an Oxford historian. Suddenly, Claire is transported to 1743 and into a mysterious world where her freedom and life are threatened. To survive, she marries Jamie Fraser, a strapping Scots warrior with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor. A passionate relationship ensues, and Claire is caught between two vastly different men in two inharmonious lives. "Outlander" is adapted from the best-selling books by Diana Gabaldon.

This show has basically become a show that I can't live without. It's the only reason why I have the Starz Channel, if I'm being completely honest. And it's not even on right now. But, just knowing that I have access to reruns makes me heaps glad!

I've always been fascinated with all things Scottish...And time-traveling. Which is why I started reading this series. When I found out it was being made into a show, I just about had a fit. A good one.

The acting is superb and the story is so stinkin' intriguing. And Jamie and Claire are such a realistic couple--sans the time-travel of course. They have a pure love but also don't put up with each other's bull. Relationship goals, people.

4. Friends

Three young men and three young women - of the BFF kind - live in the same apartment complex and face life and love in New York. They're not above sticking their noses into one another's businesses and swapping romantic partners, which always leads to the kind of hilarity average people will never experience - especially during breakups.

I'm assuming that if you're reading this, then that means you don't live under a rock or in a country where they ban awesome things like American TV shows. And if that's the case, then I'm not going to expand much on my love of Friends, because I'm sure you've heard of it before.

Now let's "pi-vot!" 😂

3. Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brought to the screen as HBO sinks its considerable storytelling teeth into the medieval fantasy epic. It's the depiction of two powerful families -- kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men -- playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne. Martin is credited as a co-executive producer and one of the writers for the series, which was filmed in Northern Ireland and Malta.

This is where my list starts getting complicated for me. Because these last three shows are all pretty much my favorite. So, trying to decide which order to put them in is like trying to decided which of my kids I like better. I mean, let's be honest, it just depends on the day...

Just kidding.

Seriously, though, these last three, let's just go ahead and assume that even though this is listed as "#3", that's just because I don't want to do a lame "Three-way tie".

There's really not much I can say about this show without coming off as ridiculously gushy. And, I do that enough with some of my book reviews. So, let's just say that if you haven't seen "GoT", you need to get on it. Stat.

Still not convinced? Okay, well, maybe Jon Snow can convince you...

2. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is an American horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.

Again, I'm trying to control my gushing. I mean, I could gush about how badass Rick and Daryl are. I really could. But, I won't. I won't talk about they, as a team, can basically take over the world...While remaining super-dreamy. Nope. Not gonna gush.

1. Gilmore Girls

Set in a storybook Connecticut town populated by an eclectic mix of dreamers, artists and everyday folk, this multigenerational drama about family and friendship centers around Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory. Lorelai owns the town's bed-and-breakfast, the Dragonfly Inn, with best friend/chef Sookie, and contends with weekly dinners with eccentric, well-off parents Richard and Emily Gilmore (who always have something to say about their daughter's life). After high school, Rory attends Yale University but frequently returns to Stars Hollow to visit her mom.

This show has been a favorite since, what feels like, forever. Having a close relationship with my mom--who was also pretty young when she had me--always let me relate to Lorelai and Rory.

Also, the extremely whimsical town of Stars Hollow--I need to find a town like this!

I think my husband's head exploded when I told him what my list was. No kidding. So, if you're like my hubby and think my list sucks, please comment and let me know what you think. Also, I could use some validation--so if you love my list, you should really leave a comment.

16 December 2016

Indelible: Beneath His Ink: Book Blitz & Giveaway

Title: Indelible: Beneath His Ink
Author: Inger Iversen
Publication Date: Dec. 12, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Kobo | iTunes
Other Books in Series: Inevitable
Former Marine, Trent Reed, is in desperate need of a Hail Mary.

With each failed attempt to convince his woman to pack up and move to Kentucky, his past finds some new way to rear its ugly head. But when his pregnant ex plows into his life, all hell breaks loose—unearthing parts of his past he wished would stay buried.

Two weeks of vacation with her man? Hell yeah, that is exactly what Teal Lofton’s libido needs. And after surviving seven months apart, their reunion doesn’t disappoint. What she didn’t account for was an unfortunate encounter with people from Trent’s past. A racist, a druggie, and a double-barreled shotgun, culminate into a vacation that will alter the course of her life forever.

Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Indelible Playlist

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15 December 2016

Dark Planet Warriors by Anna Carven: Review

Title: Dark Planet Warriors
Author: Anna Carven
Publication Date: May 2, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books in Series: Dark Planet Falling |
Into the Light | Out of Darkness | Forged in Shadow | Infinity's Embrace

***This book contains the first three Dark Planet Warriors books, Invasion, Taken and Escape (which were originally released as a three-part serial) in one single volume.***


Some scary looking aliens have just boarded Fortuna Tau, our little asteroid mining station. Kordolians, by the looks of things. What the hell do they want with this floating rust bucket? What are they even doing here?
In the grand scheme of things, Earth is a total backwater, and the Solar System is the galactic equivalent of Hicksville. That's why aliens rarely bother to come to this corner of the universe. And Kordolians are usually too busy conquering the important parts of the nine galaxies to bother with us.
But it looks as if their battle cruiser is broken. Probably shot up in a firefight. They're going to use every means necessary to fix it, even if it means putting Fortuna Tau on lockdown. I just hope they don't decide to enslave us and ship us off to some remote alien planet.
Come to think of it, I've never seen a Kordolian up close before. They're huge, with strange silver skin and pointed ears. They have freaky nano-armor. And they're packing a serious arsenal. Our human technology has no chance against their weapons.
When I encounter their General, I find him insufferable. Arrogant. Domineering. He won't tell me anything.
I guess that's what happens when your race is kicking ass across the nine galaxies. You get pigheaded.
So why do I keep running into him? Why is he looking at me funny? And what's with this weird feeling I get when he's around?
I really hope these guys fix their ship and go away soon, because I get the feeling they could be major trouble.


Sucked into a wormhole during a fierce skirmish with an enemy ship. Spat out near a human mining station in a remote corner of the nine galaxies. Stuck with weak humans who operate with inferior metals and technology.
This mission couldn't get any worse.
We need to fix our craft before the wormhole collapses.
We need to hunt the cursed Xargek monsters that have infiltrated this human rust-bucket.
And these infernal headaches of mine are getting worse.
I don't really care about these humans. Their existence makes no sense to me. All I care about is killing Xargek and getting back to my home planet, Kythia.
This situation is tiresome. The light of the star humans call the Sun burns my eyes. I crave Kythia's darkness.
So why has this crazy human female captured my attention? She's messy, awkward and she babbles nonsense half the time.
These humans are crazy. I don't understand them at all. Especially this female. Why do I keep coming back to her?
I need to leave this place before I go insane

Warning: This book contains swearing, violence and steamy sex scenes. It's recommended for readers aged 18 and over.

I'm a science fiction romance author and creator of the Dark Planet Warriors series. My titles are available for purchase on Amazon.

To stay in touch and find out about my latest releases, you can join my mailing list through the sign-up link below, or find me on Facebook.

As someone who is fairly new to, not sci-fi, but alien fiction, I'm not well-versed in what readers generally appreciate about this genre. With that in mind, I kind of went into this book with no preconceived notions or ideas on how the story would play out.
Knowing that, I have to say that I can see why this genre is so popular. That is, if any of the other authors are as invigorating as Ms. Carver.

This book wasn't the longest I've ever read, but even considering the shorter length, I feel that the characters were well-established. Many times in shorter works, such as this, I feel like the characters don't have time to get parsed out or for the story to flow in a way that is believable.
Maybe it's because this is such a fantastical story, but I found that the personalities of the two main characters were both developed and believable.

I have a couple more books I need to read and review before I start on the next book in the series, but I am extremely excited to see where Ms. Carver takes things and I'm hoping for more of the characters that I fell in love with in this first installment!

13 December 2016

Whispers and the Roars: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Title: Whispers and the Roars
Author: K. Webster
Publication Date: Dec. 6, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | Kobo | iBooks
Other Books by Author: This is War, Baby | Broken | Sweet Jayne
When my eyes are closed, the monster can’t ever see me.

When I sing a song in my head, the monster can’t ever hear me.
When I pretend my bedroom is a playground where I play hide and seek, the monster can’t ever find me.

The darkness should frighten me.
I should worry I’ll find more monsters…monsters scarier than him.
But I’m not afraid.

It’s safe here.
When I’m inside of my head…

He. Can’t. Ever. Touch. Me.

Whispers and the Roars is a dark romance. Strong sexual themes and violence, which could trigger emotional distress are found in this story. The abuse written in this story is graphic and not glossed over which could be upsetting to some. Proceed with caution. This story is NOT for everyone.

K. Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she's active on social media connecting with her readers.

Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen.

You can easily find K Webster on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads!

Website | Goodreads | Newsletter | Twitter

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12 December 2016

Unexpected Rewards: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Title: Unexpected Rewards (Not Every Girl #2)
Author: Jane McGarry
Publication Date: Aug. 11, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords
Other Books in Series: Not Every Girl

Olivia Davenport is looking forward to her future. After all, Prince Liam has professed his love and King William has promised her a reward for her role on a recent mission. She fully expects to continue her knightly training while enjoying a blossoming romance with her Prince. The King, however, has other ideas, appointing her as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Helen. Thrust into unfamiliar territory and left to fend against the malicious women of court, Olivia feels awkward and confused. With the help of her new friend, Kat, and her sister, Anne, she tries to find her footing among the courtiers, their protocol, and the added complication of Jocelyn Crawford, a lady who has her eyes set on becoming Liam’s bride. When, a disturbing prophecy puts the safety of the King in question, fear spreads through kingdom. Intrigue abounds at the palace with an enigmatic witch and a strict Friar at the center ofthe controversy. Olivia must use her training and instincts to unravel what is truly going oninorder to protect the King. Through it all, she questions if she will ever be able to fit into Liam’s life and if, in the end, their love can prevail.

Reading was always a big part of my life. Creating my own stories developed out of this love. Finally, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel and that was when Not Every Girl was conceived. I live in New Jersey with my husband, two sons and an extremely spoiled cat. When I am not running around with my family or writing, I can be found curled up with a good book and said cat. It is my belief that a good book, a loyal pet and anything made of chocolate can brighten just about any day.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

“Excuse me, Sir Davenport, Lady Davenport,” says a voice, and suddenly Liam stands beside us. “But I would very much like to have a dance with your daughter.”
“Of course, Your Highness,” Mother replies in awe, dipping into a curtsey.
My acknowledgement is a much stiffer bow of the head. The moments with my family had briefly smothered my worry, but now it hurtles back full force. He takes my hand and I follow him onto the floor, silently praying my knees don’t give out from the terror that rises in me like the tide. One hand fits on the small of my back, the other grasps mine. His palms are uncharacteristically sweaty.
Something is definitely wrong.
I look into his beautiful, blue eyes. They swim with misery. Now that I am going to find out the reason, I am not sure I want to anymore.
He clears his throat. “I didn’t want to have to tell you in public, but I can’t let the night pass and deceive you.”
Not good.
At my silence, he continues, “Somehow Jocelyn has influenced my father. He wants me to court her, to give her a fair chance, because he considers her a more suitable match.”
There she sits now, right next to King William, her usual smug expression in place. Our monarch absently surveys the room. The monarch I saved—who praised me for it—stabs me in the back without a second thought. I should have left him to die in that escape tunnel.
“And what do you think of that?” I ask pointedly.
“Naturally, I protested…abundantly, but…” He stops, won’t meet my eyes.
But? But cannot be good. But can only be disastrous.
I stop moving and we stand looking at each other like mannequins while
couples rotate around us.
“But what?” I whisper, the cacophony of music and chatter turning into an otherworldly buzz while my senses brace for the impact of his answer.
“But…my father told me if I did not give Jocelyn a fair chance, he would not only send you from the palace, but ship you down to Prescott and arrange a marriage for you there. I don’t
know what to do, Olivia. I don’t know how to fix this.”
A barrage of thoughts leap to mind, none of them in any way accepting of this information. Send me away? Ship me to Prescott? As if I were livestock? And arrange a marriage? So many protests, I hardly know where to begin.
The music ends and couples saunter off the floor. Liam and I stand alone in the center.
Eyes will be upon us soon if we remain here like statues.
With every ounce of composure I can muster, I curtsey and hear my voice say, “Thank you for the dance, Your Highness. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”
Then, I walk away.

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11 December 2016

#PNR & #UF Giveaway Party

Welcome to the #PNR and #UF Giveaway Party!

Who’s ready for a giveaway you can get your hands on? A bunch of authors
got together to bring your this Big Box of Paperbacks Giveaway! One
lucky winner is going to win SIXTY-TWO (62) Paperback Books!
How’s that for an epic Book-Lover’s Prize?! If you are a fan of Urban
Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction, or Paranormal/SciFi Romance, you’re going to
want to get in on this! The best part is that even if you don’t win,
you’ll be subscribed to the sponsoring authors newsletters for a chance
to grab some freebies, snag some special offers, and enter more

Here are a couple of sneak peeks!

Excerpt from Foxblood: A Brush with the Moon by Raquel Lyon

The funeral was a typically sombre affair, alive with soggy tissues and streaky make-up. I stood at the back, letting the vicar’s voice wash over me, and spent the whole time staring at the flower-laden coffin, wondering if the lid would suddenly flip up and a fanged monster would escape to reap its vengeance on the congregation.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t happen, and as the mourners dispersed in the direction of the pub, I quietly snuck off home. I wasn’t in the mood for crowds and needed time to think, time to try to make sense of at least something, but as I turned to close the door, it was obstructed by a perfectly polished black shoe that belonged to…


“Seb, please,” he said, easing his way through. “Only my father calls me Sebastian.” He checked down the backstreet and closed the door securely. His eyes scanned the flat. “Nice place.”

“I like it.”

“It doesn’t bother you? Living over a funeral parlour?” he asked.

“Why would it? The neighbours are quiet.”

He didn’t laugh at my joke; neither did he comment. He simply stood silently, staring. It was very unnerving and made my legs go all wobbly. Perhaps if I turned away from him, he’d disappear again? It was worth a shot. I forced my jelly legs over to the front window and stared out at nothing in particular. The light was subdued, and the sky had darkened to an air force grey. A low mist was beginning to carpet the distant fields, and I wondered if snow had been forecast.

I knew my little experiment hadn’t worked. He was still there. I could feel his presence and smell his scent, a musky, inviting aroma that filled my senses and sent my head into a whirl, and it was getting stronger.

“Your friends interrupted us the other day. Can we talk now?” he whispered softly into my neck, and his fingertips traced a fiery trail down my spine.

“What’s the point? There’s nothing to say. I wish you’d just leave me alone,” I said, lowering my head in time to see Lara leaving the newsagents. She glanced up with a look of fury contorting her face as Sebastian’s hands reached around either side of me and grabbed the window frame.

“I can’t do that. I’m not that strong,” he said.

I studied the arms now imprisoning me, with their perfectly formed muscles straining against the rolled-up sleeves of his white shirt, and seriously doubted his statement. His stance was predatory and made me feel uncomfortable. I ducked under his elbow to escape, but he caught me around the waist and pulled me against him. Our bodies moulded together perfectly, and the strength of his grip made me feel like a china doll that he’d be able to crush in an instant. He was almost a full head taller than I was, and the warmth of his breath caressed my forehead. How easy it would be to reach up and taste those lips. I imagined the feel of them, and my own parted in an involuntary invitation.

The full Foxblood series can be seen here: http://foxifae.wixsite.com/raquellyon


Autumn Winters, Realm Watchers Book 1  by J. S. Malcom 

rain has stopped, but fog crept in while I sat in Rory’s. I walk
through that fog now, the streetlights casting cones of luminescence
that capture swirling mist. I should go straight home, but I really want
a bottle of wine. J.J.’s Market is only two blocks off and I walk
toward neon signs advertising beer and cigarettes, drawn like a moth.
Not long ago, I was newly married, looking forward to finishing my MFA
in Design with the hope of someday starting my own business. I barely
drank and rarely got drunk. Now, I’m wandering around out here at night
trying to avoid ghosts and unwilling to go home without alcohol because
I’m afraid I won’t sleep. My eyes start to prickle and I wipe the back
of my hand across my face. 

no, I’m not alone. I can’t hear her behind me—her steps will never make
sound again. All the same, I feel her there and soon she walks beside

“Hello?” she says. 

I keep walking. God, it breaks my heart but I don’t want her next to me. 

“Can you hear me?” 

Yes, I can hear you. I say nothing. 

block to go and maybe I’ll just uncork that bottle right in the store.
With any luck, she’ll veer off and find some other lucky person to latch

really need your help.” Her breath hitches as her voice rises in pitch.
She’s also crying and I just can’t ignore her—it’s not about me

I slow down, then stop. I wipe my eyes, realizing that she’s not the only one crying. 

“Are you okay?” she says. 

Seriously? Things have gotten that bad? 

I take a deep breath to calm down. “I’m fine. Okay, I’m lying but I can deal with that later. What’s going on with you?” 

“I’m not dead,” she says.  

turn to look at her. No, she doesn’t look dead but many of them don’t.
Not to me, anyway. Some are more translucent while others appear
basically the same as you and me, give or take the glow around them.
That’s not guaranteed either. People are all
whether dead or alive. One of my new theories is that we all start out
as “dead” before becoming “alive” again. Like a lightbulb switching on
and off again here in this realm. I think it’s a circular system. It
seems an efficient use of energy. In this theory, ghosts are glitches.
But this girl next to me isn’t interested in hearing about my theories,
which change daily anyway. She just wants to know what’s going on.

really don’t want to go there right now but I’m stuck in this
situation. I look at her young, beautiful face. Trusting eyes stare back
at me.

“I’m really sorry,” I say. “Did it happen fast? Was it a car crash or something?” 

She shakes her head. “That’s not what happened.” 

I don’t want to take it to the next level but, evidently, I have no choice. “Did you commit suicide?” 

happens a lot too, I’ve come to learn. Suicide is a big one for getting
you grounded. You cause that kind of pain and you just can’t move on. 

She shakes her head again. “No. Please, that isn’t what happened.” 

I think for a moment, hesitating because I hate the dark stuff. I really don’t want to know if she was murdered.  

“I’m not dead,” she says. “I swear. They took my body!”