{Blog Tour} Champions: At Fire's End by Charlotte Jain {Excerpt}

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old best friends, April and Kyle, are thrown into the final battle of the Titan and Olympian war. Locked into an endless struggle, the Immortals have finally reached a solution - bestow mortal Champions with control over the elements to wage their final campaign. 

Bestowed with control over fire and water, April and Kyle were raised by Immortals with a single purpose - win the war. After finally uncovering the remaining Champions' identities, April and Kyle must launch themselves into their final battle for survival. Winner takes all. But the Immortals are growing restless, and time is running out.

 

 

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April 

A shiver ran down my spine as sudden rustling reached my ears from the bushes behind me. 

“Keep watching. The girl.” 

Laughter broke out over the peaceful silence. A girl with rich tanned skin bounced through her home’s white front door, taking her bag and mobile phone as she went.

And then there it was. It happened so fast that if I’d blinked, I would have missed it. While skipping merrily through the bright morning sunlight across crisp pavement, her friend close at her heels, the girl clipped back her short brown hair. Delicate hairpins twinkled through the air, moving effortlessly to hold her fringe from her eyes. She didn’t glance to the hairpins. But she didn’t touch them, either. A twitch of her finger, that was all. And that was all I needed to see. Finally, we had found our adversary. 

“I told you I’d found one of the Champions.” Kyle’s voice caught my thoughts. Compassion from earlier had vanished, replaced with the calculating, logical Kyle that I remembered. 

“Looks like we might have it a bit easier than we thought.”

 “I wouldn’t say seventeen years of hunting across the globe was easy,” he replied. 

Kyle threw his half-eaten apple over one shoulder into the foliage from which he had appeared. After picking up on my indignant stare, he added with a shrug. “Apple tree.”

I felt a small grin cross my features, turning my focus onto reaching out to Kyle’s mind, ready to try a new trick. “Kyle,” my gaze locked on his. “Pick up the apple core, and plant it in your garden.”

His expression became washed with momentary vacancy. “Yeah, my bad,” he responded, monotone. Robotic, he turned and walked behind the bush, picked up the apple core and stuffed it into his pocket. “I’ll plant it in my garden.”

Clarity returned to his eyes, seemingly unaware of the catalyst for his noble actions, and the half eaten apple now residing in his pocket.

“We can do this,” I pressed. “Our entire lives, all our sacrifices, have led here. And we’re so close.”

“Yeah. Yeah we are…”

“I’m sorry it has to be her.” 

A hint of desperation tinted Kyle’s response. 

“I really like this girl, April.” 

“I understand,” I didn’t, but sincerity masked my shock, unsure that Kyle was capable of caring for anyone but himself. “But it’s us or them. And I won’t let you disappear.”

 

 

Charlotte Jain is an Arts graduate from Melbourne and the author of the Champions series. When not scrawling exciting YA tales filled with magic and adventure, Charlotte enjoys travelling the world and snuggling up on the couch watching movies.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

{ Blog Tour} The Black Lotus by Claire Warner {Review, Excerpt, Playlist + Giveaway}

 

 

 

 

....though I would dearly love to play court to you, I would hurt you more than any other.

It is 1752.
The year that will change the life of heiress Melissa De Vire. As she makes her first fumbling steps into society, she meets the handsome young cad Justin Lestrade and his world tears her perceptions apart. For Justin is more than he appears and his secrets and enemies are manifold. Drawn irresistibly to him, she finds herself sinking into a realm of feuds, magic and old curses and her life will never again be the same.

 

 

 

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Melissa glanced over at her would be saviour. He was dressed in everyday garb and had clearly not been to a ball that eve. His hair was without powder and his dark locks looked black in the bleaching light of the moon. The throbbing pain in her side reminded her of the damage done by Jane’s knitting needles and memories of her near fatal slide into sleep were fresh and gave her cause for concern. Also she could see Montjoy in the distance, what if he returned to bother her further?  

He caught her hesitance and leant forward. “I promise you will be safe from him,” He nodded across at the riders and smiled reassuringly.

“Very well Lord Lestrade. I will accompany you,” She noted, watching as his face crinkled with pleasure as she spoke the words. With exquisite courtesy he held out a hand and helped her carefully up the steps and into his coach. After a moment, Jane followed reluctantly. Franklin shut the door behind the maid with a heavy thump, before climbing up and taking the empty footman’s position on the rear of the coach.

Montjoy moved off, losing interest in the group behind him. For a moment the muffled figure stayed in position, his eyes following the scene closer. As she clasped hold of Justin’s arm, the figure clicked to his horse and galloped away, the cloud of dust following slowly behind.

Coll clicked to the horses and slowly the coach turned in the road, leaving the ruined carriage where it lay. Soon they were flying along the road, towards the sleeping hamlets and their estates beyond. 

Melissa sat back on the padded seating and stared across at Justin, barely making out his expression in the dim light. Silently he reached forward and handed her a travelling rug, which she tucked carefully about her legs. “Thank you,” It felt like an inadequate response, she was clearly drawing him away from his evening.

“It was the least I could do. I could not leave you there at the mercy of highwaymen or Montjoy, I saw him on the road.” He answered tersely, his eyes on her. She could feel them in the dark scoring into her soul. Beside her she could feel the tense body of Jane as she kept her eyes on Justin, playing the chaperone for all she was worth. 

“Still, thank you. I’m sorry to keep you from your evening.”

“Do not concern yourself,” Feather soft and gentle, his words mollified her and she settled back, feeling better about the situation. “I’m glad to have been of service, particularly as Lord Montjoy appeared to be making a nuisance of himself.”

 Melissa smiled and thanked him again. “So how did you come to be travelling home without your family?” He asked politely, the cushions creaking slightly as he shifted to a more comfortable position. The curtains were half closed and even with the moonlight, his face was hidden from view. Reaching down, he plucked a fleck of dust from his breeches. Holding it in the air for a movement as though inspecting it, he smiled enigmatically before he waved it free. Hazel eyes watched the fluff drift lazily to the carriage floor, before he returned his gaze to Melissa and took in the damage. Her dark hair hung in mussed strands, the powder shaken from the long tresses in the accident. A smudge of dirt on her nose, coupled with the state of her dress made her appear vulnerable, a tattered rose lost in the dark. His fingers itched to reach forward and brush the smudge from her face. Controlling the impulse, he arranged his hands carefully on his knees and returned his attention to the conversation.

“I left Lady Shearingham’s ball early,” Her voice was polite yet shaky, a remnant of the nasty tumble she had taken in the coach. “I had a headache.” 

“Ahh,” Justin replied, his face unreadable from the shadows. He watched her though; she could not miss the pressure of his eyes upon her. It should have made her uncomfortable, the frankness of his gaze on her, yet despite the odd twinge, she felt safe in his company. The tenderness he showed as he had helped her into the carriage had impressed itself on her mind. Despite their first meeting, she knew that Justin Lestrade possessed a heart somewhere. They lapsed into silence for a moment, unsure of what to say to each other, strangers that they were. Jane had returned to her knitting. She had picked up a spare set of needles from her basket and the clicking sound they made sounded loud in the carriage.

“Why were you not at the ball?” Melissa broke the silence boldly, ignoring the hiss of surprise from Jane at her elbow. It was a direct question, one that should be danced about or garnered from friends. It was not done to ask outright news from a stranger, yet she could not keep quiet. She wanted to know if the rumours were true and this was the best way to go about it. Her green eyes stared straight at him and she could almost feel him smiling at her boldness in the dark corner opposite. 

“I had a visit from Lord Malison,” He answered directly, with no hint of hesitation. If she could be direct then so could he. “I was given to understand that I was responsible for his daughter’s demise,” A note of bitter anger entered his voice as he spoke. “Since I am clearly a cad, then I must also be a murderer,”

Melissa stared at him, trying to find his face in the darkness before she answered.
“I don’t think you are a murderer,”

“Really?” A note of incredulity entered his voice as he finally leant forward, his eyes shimmering with pent up emotion. “How would you know?” A mocking quality flowed through his tones and she shivered as the notes stroked down her spine.
“I don’t, I just feel that you aren’t,”

“Then you don’t know, you only believe,” He settled back against the chair, his face stormy in the darkness. The air in the carriage became still, Jane watched carefully from the seat opposite, her placid face still and watchful. Throughout the hushed stillness, the sound of wheels sounded loud, almost deafening as they looked at each other. His fingers were curled lightly on his knees and she regarded the elegant digits with a detached feeling. 

“I could be anything and you would never know,” His voice was soft, almost hushed and full of a bitter anger that she felt more than heard. In the gloom of the carriage, he became as a statue, immobile and quiet, save for his eyes which searched out her face with an intensity she found unnerving. For several moments, tense quiet reigned in the carriage, save for Jane’s needles and the noise of wheel on stone.

 

 

I received an eARC when I signed up to host the book tour. I made no guarantee of a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.

This was a good paranormal read with the perfect amount of romance. What I enjoyed the most was the fact that it takes place in the 1700's when women were not allowed to be independent but here was Melissa, a young woman who is headstrong and a force to be reckoned with. Good plot with likeable and strong characters and I look forward to reading the second book.

I give this book:

 

 

Burn: The Cure
The Kill:  30 seconds to Mars
Prayer: Disturbed
Moonchild: Fields of the Nephilim
Gimme Shelter: Rolling Stones
Closer to the Edge: 30 seconds to Mars
In the end: Linkin Park
The Farthest Star: VNV Nation
Bring me to Life; Evanesence
Sadeness: Enigma
We are Glass: Gary Numan
Down in the Park: Gary Numan
Seed of a lie: Gary Numan
Queen of the Damned Soundtrack: Various
Anyplace Anywhere Anytime: Kim Wilde and Nina

 

 

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When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.

And some fun facts about me:

I sew.
My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.
I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.
Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show.
I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.

 

 

   

 

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{Blog Tour} The Sky Drifter by Paris Singer {Q&A, Excerpt + Giveaway}

 

 

 

 

Wandering in the vastness of space, is the Sky Drifter; an academy reserved for the best students in the known universe. Seven is just such a student. Gifted in strategy and Sphere, he lives happily on-board with his friends Iris and Pi, taking on his rival, visiting planets for exploration and competition. Everything is the way he likes it, until he sees a mysterious girl in a red coat, who will reveal to him a secret that will bring everything he thought he knew crashing down around him.

 

 

 

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SHE GRABBED SEVEN’S hand and pulled him hard in her direction. “This way!” she exclaimed to both of them as the persistent shrill of the alarm sounded about the dark steel corridors. 

     Seven’s mind was still spinning. He disbelievingly looked back at his double to make sure he was still there. How far away the academy now seemed. 

     The mysterious bright yellow-skinned girl who held his hand had opened his eyes to a world that seemed too cruel to be real. Yet there he was, and there she was, her long, dark green hair swaying behind her. Part of him still clung to the hope it was all nothing more than a dream. That any second now he would awake to the sound of Pi or Iris banging on the door t o his dormitory room, urging him to wake up lest they be late for class. Yet, the feel of her warm hand, the clanging of his boots on the cold metal underfoot, the stifling thin air he breathed, the sting of the cuts on his body and face, all felt real. A reality the likes of which he had never tasted before. This was the reality he had always been denied. A reality they had kept from him. A reality that wanted him dead. 

     The urgency of the situation still eluded him, for he had yet to see any attackers, and had only her word to cling to. The fact was, this new existence began and ended with her words, convincing as they were. His other self really was running behind him, and the mysterious girl’s desperation to escape seemed genuine. He trusted her, or wanted to. She could just as easily have left him there at the academy, and he would have been none the wiser, but she hadn’t. She had freed him. The truth had to be better than the perpetual lie he had inhabited. 

     They ran, weaving through flickering corridors, snaking past oily archways and doors. All of a sudden, any doubts he had vanished in a cry that sounded behind him. He turned as they stopped running to see his other self jerking violently, electric blue forks of light enveloping him. The horror of what Seven witnessed rocked him to his very core. 

     “We have to keep going!” shouted the mysterious girl, pulling at his arm once more. “Come on!” 

     Breath catching in his throat, Seven locked gazes with his duplicate, whose eyes shone as tears rolled down his cheeks, just before his body crashed limply to the ground beneath. 

     “Come on!” Like a rising echo, the mysterious girl’s voice shattered the veil that fogged his devastated mind, and he ran with her faster than he had before. 

      Seven now ran slightly ahead of the girl as she directed him toward a large doorway ahead. Upon crossing its threshold, he stopped, awed by the enormity of what was before him. He found himself standing on a long, narrow metallic bridge. Surrounding him was a tremendous, cylindrical area that extended up and down into pitch darkness as far as the eye could see. At the other end stood another doorway. 

     As he made to dash toward it, the bridge retracted into the dusty stone wall on the other side. Seven turned with haste, to make certain the mysterious, green-haired girl was behind him, ready to jump. Emerging from the depths beyond the doorway, she dragged herself to its threshold, clinging to her deeply slashed leg, dark blue blood gushing as she held it. 

     Panic coursed through Seven’s body. She looked at him, defeat and regret saturating her eyes. He was not going to lose her. She had released him from his prison. She had been his guide and saviour. She was his world. 

     “Jump!” he shouted, stretching out his hand, imploring her to take it. 

     He looked into her eyes, his mind ablaze with words he wanted to tell her. The girl whose name he didn’t even know had saved his life, had revealed the reasons and secrets behind his very existence, and he knew nothing about her. And now time was running out.

 

 

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Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Brussels, Belgium, but was raised in southern Spain. Right now I live in Australia, but who knows in future (though it’ll probably be Spain). Cats seem to accompany me wherever I go.

At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
In my early years the adults told me I had to read, so I didn’t and detested the very idea. As soon as it wasn’t a theme, I began reading anything I could. Then, my first creative writing assignment occurred in English class. The very thought of creating my own story, my own world…It blew my mind and adrenaline surged through my body.

Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who inspires you in your writings?
My favourite writers I would say are Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. But there are far more, I’m sure.

What is your writing process?

"I tend to stare into space until I can place myself inside the story.  From there, I'll try to describe what I see, smell and hear as much as I'm able to.  Like a fly on the wall, I guess."


What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"Well, I don't really think of genre when I write.  I just think of stories I'd like to read, worlds I like seeing in my own mind.  These do, admittedly, tend to drift towards the dark side of fiction, however.  That said, many of my favorite authors do write paranormal, dark, horror, mystery books.  I guess it’s something I'm drawn to."


What is in store next?

"I have a paranormal thriller novel being released probably early next year called 'The Regulars', and I'm currently working on another dark fantasy novel, which I'm having fun with, despite its sinister moments.  After that I'll continue with a horror set in Victorian London."

 

 

 

Paris Singer was born in Brussels, Belgium. He has lived in the U.K. and in various places in Spain, where he currently resides. At university, he studied English law and Spanish law. He didn't like it. He then studied translation and didn't like it, either. Currently, he is an English teacher in the south of Spain. He has far too many interests, he's told, a few of which being sports, playing his old guitar, learning Japanese, painting, reading and cooking. Not a day goes by, however, where he doesn't write something, be it under a palm tree or on a bench at a bus stop somewhere.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

{Blog Tour} The Coupling (The Letting #2) by Cathrine Goldstein {Promos, Excerpt + Giveaway}

 

 

 

 

In Ronnie Billings’ dystopian world, surviving the Letting and breaking free of a corrupt government is less of a surprise than falling in love with Phoenix Day, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution…
When the government sentences Ronnie to a Coupling under the guise of producing a coveted blood type, Ronnie discovers the one she’s slated to Couple with expects even more.
Prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save those she loves most, Ronnie devastates Phoenix with her impossible decision. Whisked away from her rebel life to another world ravaged by despair, Ronnie meets her greatest nemesis...her biological father.
Steeling her nerves against the dangers of escape, she embarks on the perilous journey back. She is convinced she belongs with Phoenix and his revolution, but will her friends, and especially Phoenix, be ready to accept her when she returns? Because this time, evil is in her blood...

 

 

 

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Book One

 

 

 

“Phoenix?”
“Trust me, Ron.”
I nod, my hands suddenly shaking. He takes them into his hand and lifts them to his mouth. He kisses my fingers softly.
“You’re grieving right now—I would never take advantage of you. But…”
I take a deep breath.
He lets go of my hands and reaches out toward the still unbuttoned top two buttons of my shirt. The collar lays open, and his fingers trace the hollow of my throat. “You look gorgeous in my shirt.”
His eyes are locked on me, and I feel overpowered but safe all at once. There’s a strange ache in my body, answering to the hunger in his eyes.
“It is by far the most beautiful you have ever looked.”
My eyes dart up as he reaches out to touch the next button. He studies me as he slowly begins to unbutton. My entire body warms, and I bite down hard on my bottom lip. He abandons my button to run his fingers across my lips once more. I try to remember to breathe.

 

 


Name: Phoenix Day. 
Age: Eighteen 
Physical Description: Incredibly tall and strong. He has tousled dark hair, and a dark, short, scruffy beard. His eyes are deep blue—in The Letting, Ronnie describes his eyes as: “…His eyes are the color of a moment. That fleeting moment when the summer sky is so perfectly blue you know everything must be right in the world.”  He is breathtakingly handsome and brilliant. 

Profession: Leader of the Peaceful Revolution and now the reconnaissance mission to HopeLess World. 
Traits: Sees the good in everyone. Believes in peace above all else. Learns from the wisdom of the ancients—especially Gandhi. Loves Ronnie with every ounce of his being. 
Strengths: Confident, always in control, with great amounts of magnetism. Intelligent. 
Flaws: Jealousy, and a desire to harm anyone who may ever hurt Ronnie. 
Ambitions: To protect Ronnie at all costs, while righting their world. 
Skills: Great with his hands, can build anything with wood. Passionate but calm under pressure. An excellent leader. Daring, brave, courageous. Both physically and mentally strong. 
Motivations: Injustice motivates Phoenix to help his world. Ronnie motivates him in all other ways. 
Favorite color: Deep brown, the color of Ronnie’s eyes. 
Favorite food: Ravioli—in particular, the ravioli he shared with Ronnie that first time they were alone in his cabin.
Favorite song: In their dystopian world, music is a luxury they don’t know. However, one of Phoenix’s favorite songs would be, “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling. 
Wardrobe: Usually wears camouflage, but knows Ronnie loves him in jeans and t-shirts. Almost always carries a rifle. 
Goals: Equality in their world—and to be with Ronnie, always. 


Name: Veronica “Ronnie” Billings 
Age: Seventeen
Physical Description: Almost six feet tall, with very long jet black hair, and almond-shaped eyes. Ronnie is exotic, she is a mix of her ancestors who were the “Natives,” and, people who came from, “An exotic place on the other side of the world; a thriving place which once was painted in the color red.” Ronnie is beautiful and extremely intelligent, although she doesn’t realize it. 
Profession: One time Head Leader of a camp that brought young girls to the Lettings, now works with Phoenix in his Peaceful Revolution.  
Traits: Also sees the good in everyone. Is willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of those she loves most. Fights tirelessly for what she believes in. Loves with her whole heart. Loves to swim. Terrified of thunderstorms. 
Strengths: Bold and strong. Brave. Intelligent. 
Flaws: Doesn’t know how smart she is. Blames herself for her past as the Leader who had singularly brought more young girls to the Lettings than any other Leader in history. 
Ambitions: To end the Lettings and the Couplings. To protect those last little girls—the type “O” blood types—still in her care. To aid Phoenix in his quest to lead a Peaceful Revolution and bring equality and hope to their world. 
Skills: Great leader. Excellent with children. Thinks on her feet—solves many problems. 
Motivations: Love motivates Ronnie. Her love for the girls in her care, for her friends, and especially, Phoenix. 
Favorite color: Deep blue, the color of Phoenix’s eyes. 
Favorite food: Ravioli—in particular, the ravioli she shared with Phoenix that first time they were alone in his cabin.
Favorite song: There isn’t much music in their dystopian world, but, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri would be a favorite of Ronnie. 
Wardrobe: Usually wears black tank tops and camouflage, but when with Principal Leader Farnsworth, wears gowns and business attire she detests. 
Goals: To bring peace to her world, to receive an education, and to be with Phoenix…always.
 

 

 

 

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Here’s what I listen to while I’m writing The Coupling. There are so many highs and lows for Phoenix and Ronnie in The Coupling, the playlist is an eclectic mix.  

Christina Perri—A Thousand Years (This Ronnie’s song) 
The Calling—Wherever You Will Go (I listened to this over and over. This is Phoenix)
 X Ambassadors—Renegades    
3 Doors Down—Here Without You 
10,000 Maniacs—Because the Night 
Plain White T’s—Hey There Delilah 
U2—With or Without You 
Coldplay—Paradise 
Boston—More than a Feeling
Pat Benatar—Love is a Battlefield 
John Legend—All of Me 
Passenger—Let Her Go

 

 

 

Given my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it's because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, THE LETTING.

Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant -- like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it's now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski... and, above all, my husband and my girls.

I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I'm also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre.