Title: The Crystal Keeper
Author: Laurisa White Reyes
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Expected Release Date: February 9th, 2015
Cover Design: Emma Michaels
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
Senior Editor of Skyrocket Press and Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, Laurisa White Reyes is the author of several middle grade and young adult novels, including The Rock of Ivanore,The Last Enchanter and Contact. The Crystal Keeper is her first series for adults.
Editor in Chief Middle Shelf Magazine
Publisher Skyrocket Press
Moderator Middle Grade Mania
Jayson lives among the shadows of Hestoria, his sole purpose for staying alive – to protect his half of the Seer’s crystal. Exiled from his homeland for loving the king’s daughter, Ivanore, Jayson is now pursued by two opposing factions: the Vatéz (League of Sorcerers) who intend to use the crystal for their own selfish gain, and the Guilde, the ancient guardians of the crystal.
Meanwhile, Ivanore flees from her father to Hestoria in search of Jayson. As the Seer, she is plagued with visions of him being tortured and is determined to rescue him. When the Vatéz capture her, however, she unwittingly jeopardizes everything Jayson has vowed to protect. He must now make a terrible choice: Should he save Ivanore or save the crystal?
Though written for adults, The Crystal Keeper series is the prequel to Ms. Reyes' fantasy series for children, The Celestine Chronicles.
Ivanore hunched over the parchment, the tip of her quill flicking above her hand like a trapped bird desperate for escape. The tallow candle cast a cramped circle of light across the table, hardly enough to see by. If only the night would last a little longer. Perhaps then she would have enough time to write everything she needed to. But alas, time was one thing she had too little of—that and light.
An older man with long, gray-streaked hair and piercing gray eyes, waited beside her. The stone bungalow, their most recent of many hiding places, boasted the barest of furnishings: the table, stool, cot—and a plain wooden chest, its key held tight in his fist.
A sudden thump sounded at the door, startling them both. A strand of Ivanore’s hair, gold as the candle light, fell across the page. She quickly tucked it back into place and wrote faster.
Zyll laid a hand on Ivanore’s shoulder. “They are here,” he whispered.
Ivanore finished the document and handed it to Zyll unbound. Turning to the chest, he carefully laid the pages inside.
“Wait,” said Ivanore. “Will you keep this as well?” A flat circle of pale green crystal lay in her open palm.
“But you will need it. I mustn’t—”
“Please,” she insisted, pressing it into his hand. “I can’t risk losing this one.”
Zyll reluctantly folded his fingers around the cool stone. “Of course, milady,” he said. Then, adding the crystal to the parchment, he laid a plate of thin wood atop them both, sealing the chest’s false bottom. He closed the lid and locked it.
The pounding at the door grew more insistent. Whoever stood outside was using his full weight against it in an effort to break through.
“We must hurry,” said Zyll.
Ivanore allowed herself a quick glance at the chest, offering the briefest of prayers that the gods would keep it safe until her return. Then, taking her by the arm, Zyll ked her through the low archway dividing the bungalow’s front room from the back.
A loud crash of splintering wood resounded through the bungalow. Their visitors had finally broken in.
“Find her now!” a deep voice bellowed.
Grateful for the trousers she now wore instead of her usual cumbersome skirts, Ivanore clambered onto a stool and through a narrow window, lowering herself as quietly as possible to the ground outside. Once Zyll had done the same, they stole away across the rocky field. Though the sky was black as ink, their path was illuminated by the amber glow of volcanic fissures scoring the area for miles around.
“There she is!” a man’s voice shouted behind them. The words sent spasms of fear through Ivanore. She glanced behind her and saw three soldiers emerge from the bungalow, wearing the gold and red cross of her father’s crest. They had tracked her even here, to the remotest corner of Imaness. Would Fredric ever let her be?
Ivanore stopped running. She looked at Zyll, her trusted guardian and ally these past months since she had fled Dokur, and knew her time with him had come to an end.
“You’ll watch over them until I return?” she asked, out of breath. “Keep them safe. Don’t let my father find them.”
“You have my vow,” Zyll whispered, his voice tight with emotion.
Ivanore’s eyes welled with tears as she pressed her lips against the calloused skin of Zyll’s hand.
“Go,” said Zyll. “Go now before it’s too late.”
Ivanore released Zyll’s hand and sprinted forward alone. As she ran, she cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a loud, sharp call, much like that of a hawk or an eagle. She risked another glance over her shoulder and watched as Zyll turned to face their pursuers. As the soldiers neared, their swords glinting in the fireglow, Zyll held up his hands. A horizontal bolt of cerulean lightning shot out from his palms, striking the oncoming soldiers. The men recoiled, their bodies instantly singed and bloody.
Ivanore ran on. In desperation, she repeated her call, and this time another voice called back. A dark form appeared on the horizon, silhouetted against the light of the volcanic fractures and growing larger as it approached with tremendous speed. As it neared, the creature’s massive feathered wings moved the air around Ivanore in warm, powerful gusts. Ivanore saw clearly its eagle’s head with a beak large enough to break a man in two, paired with the muscular, furred body of a lion. As she ran toward it, the gryphon lowered its head, waiting.
Behind her, the soldiers reeled in pain, but they did not forget their duty. One man struggled to his knees, grunting from the effort. Reaching over his shoulder, he slid a short bow and arrow from his pack and swiftly took aim.
Ivanore reached the gryphon, and in one smooth motion hoisted herself onto its back, twisting her arms deep into the feathers on the creature’s neck. In that same moment, a single arrow found its mark in Ivanore’s shoulder. Ivanore cried out before her body slumped forward and her mind went dark. The gryphon took flight then, and in less time than it took to draw another arrow—or a breath—they had vanished into the night.
Title: Blood Music: A Thriller
Author: Jessie Prichard Hunter
Publish Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Witness Impulse an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing
Pages: 320 pages
List Price: 2.99 USD
~ Synopsis ~
Chilling...A riveting thriller." NEW YORK MAGAZINE New York City is caught in the cold grip of a brutal serial killer who savagely rapes and murders his young, blonde victims. While ravaging them, his mind whirls with symphonic images and raging desires--rarely giving thought to his loving wife and child.
Young, blonde Zelly Wyche has a new baby and a happy life with her dependable electrician husband. She, too, is petrified by the madness and the unthinkable tragedy of the murders. While the serial killers' sole survivor and a victim's brother mount a desperate vigilante hunt for the "Symphony Slasher," a chill runs up Zelly's spine. She is beginning to wonder if the killer could be closer than she thinks. But no. Impossible. She has to be dead wrong....
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About the AuthorJessie Prichard Hunter is the author of the psychological thriller Blood Music, forthcoming from Witness Impulse. She currently resides in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and two children.
5 individual promo codes for a free download of the book for an entire tour. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.
Title: Photoplay Author: Hallie Ephron
Genre: Adult/Suspense & Thriller
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Witness Impulse an imprint HarperCollins
There were mirrors everywhere in Elenor Nichol’s house, reflecting the perfection of the glamorous movie star’s life. It would be a challenge, Duane Foley thought as he dropped his camera bag in the front hall, to keep the flash from bouncing off them, wreaking havoc with the carefully composed shots that he had been hired to take during the party. When a paparazzo in the 1960s attends a lavish Hollywood soiree at the home of the infamous Bunny Nichol he is nervous. He’s used to stolen photos on the street, not a paid high society gig. He’ll need to be speedy and discreet to snap good shots of guests such as Rock Hudson and Doris Day. But the night takes an unxpectedly dark turn and he finds himself documenting not the hijinks of drunken celebrities but rather, the aftermath of a crime scene...
About The AuthorHallie Ephron (http://hallieephron.com) is the author of suspense novels. Her last three have all been Mary Higgins Clark Award finalists. Her newest, There Was an Old Woman is set in the Bronx. In it, a young woman and a very old woman connect across generations in spite of, or perhaps because, they are not related. Tess Gerritsen on TWAOL: “Superb suspense and unforgettable characters!” Washington Post book reviewer Maureen Corrigan says, "For readers who love Gotham and abhor gore, TWAOW is the perfect THRILLER LITE!" Take a sneak peek at the first two chapters. http://www.scribd.com/doc/110806557/T..." Hallie's Never Tell a Lie was made into the Lifetime Movie Network filmAnd Baby Will Fall. It, and Come and Find Me, were finalists for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. A book lover, she also wrote The Bibliophile's Devotional and 1001 Books for Every Mood and reviews crime fiction for the Boston Globe. Her Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to Knock 'Em Dead with Style was nominated for Edgar and Anthony awards. She teaches writing at writing conferences. Hallie lives near Boston with her husband and has two fabulous daughters. She is the third of four writing Ephron sisters and grew up in Southern California.
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10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book for an entire tour. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.
Title: A Scarlet Fury
Author: Bridgette Blackburn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
It has been almost a year since mankind became aware of the world in shadows. It's been an adjustment, but life goes on and most have learned to adapt. There are some on both side that are not ready to let go of their plans. Madalaina Bonvillian believed nothing could harm her; she's the daughter of the former alpha and the sister of the current alpha, who would dare? After surviving a brutal attack, Madalaina must try to move forward, but where do you go when you feel like you've lost yourself? Cleary Neil has kept his feeling for Madalaina to himself. He's been her friend, and now that's what she needs more than anything. The only problem is he can't shut off the part of himself that wants to protect his mate from the pain and confusion he sees in her. Together they will go on an emotional journey to find out if love can heal all wounds. Time is of the essence, because enemies are gathering.
I'm a hopeless romantic and a sucker for love stories with a happy ending. I grew up in East Texas where I married my high school sweetheart. We've called Southern Illinois home for over a decade now.
The characters in my head are loud and bossy. I began writing down their stories in self-defense. A social butterfly by nature, I love to talk. When I'm not writing, I enjoys video games, not cooking, and laughing as much as possible. I'm a horror movie junkie, makeup addict, like crazy hair colors, tattoos, and glitter. At home, I'm a wife and mother of three children. I'm claimed by a pug, a boxer, and four cats bent on world domination.
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Excerpt from book #1
I sat on the screened in back porch, and watched the wind send ripples across the lake. It was after midnight. The only light shining in the darkness was from the moon. A loon serenaded me from the water and occasionally I’d hear wolves calling to each other. All in all, it was peaceful. The trees around the back of Athan’s cabin were thicker, growing closer together. I smelled the fresh pine scent more out here than I did when I was out in the front yard.
The weather was turning cold. Soon it would be sweater weather. I’d have to go into town to buy one or remain inside. I wasn’t ready to deal with crowds or people yet.
Staying inside won’t be too terrible. Sure, keep tellin’ yourself that.
The door to the house opened and Athan padded over silently on bare feet to take a seat in the chair across the patio table from me.
“What’s up, M? Why aren’t you in bed asleep?” he asked.
I drew my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around my legs. “Nightmares. I don’t sleep much anymore.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Raising one eyebrow, I asked him dryly, “You wanna talk about why you never sleep either?”
Athan looked down at his feet and glared.
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
We had been quiet for several minutes before Athan broke the silence, “Tell me about Livia.”
One side of my mouth tipped up into a half-smile. “Livia is the most awesome kid I’ve ever met. I hated to learn at her age but she wants to know everything about everything. She shares Dad’s a voracious appetite for books. The two of them can sit in his library and read for hours. She’s really close to Mom which was surprising since Mom hasn’t been fond of people in a long time. Mom knows all Livia’s secrets and is her number one confidant. Remember Mom’s rose garden?”
He asked dryly, “The one none of us were allowed to step foot in?”
I laughed, remembering all the times we tried to sneak in and she caught us.
“Yep. Mom lets everyone sit in the rose garden now and enjoy the flowers. She’s teaching Livia how to care for them and it appears the kid inherited Mom’s green thumb.”
Athan grunted his response. I wondered if I was making him regret his decision to leave his daughter behind.
“We celebrated her 8th birthday on August 17th, two weeks before…before Rachel and me….” My heart was shuddering.
Athan cut through my near flashback. “Hey! Focus, M. We’re talking about Livia, remember? Let the other stuff go. It can’t touch you here.”
I wish that were true.
“You said Livia just turned eight. How’s that possible? She was five when I left a year ago.”
“Well, if you’d stuck around you’d know we learned Royal Reds tinkered with their mojo a long time ago to accelerate their children’s development. Seems kids are an inconvenience to them, but heirs are necessary. Things were a little wonky at first because Livia is part Lycan and that slowed it down somehow. But after she’d turned six, it shot into high gear. Livia ages an entire year every ninety days. Rachel’s determined she won’t be cheated out of childhood so on the seventeenth of February, May, August, and November there’s a birthday dinner. At first it was a bigger thing, but people got tired of coming every three months to celebrate the same kid’s birthday.” I shrugged.
Athan was bent at the waist, forearms resting on his knees. He stared at the floor with a troubled brow. “How does Livia handle the aging? Is it hard for her?”
I sighed deeply. “A little. Her body matures fast, sometimes she has pain but Dr. Keller treats her.”
“A Vampire?” Athan spat.
“Yes, a vampire.” I held up my hands like claws and hissed to show him my imaginary fangs. “Would you rather she be in pain?”
“No,” he said contritely. “But did you have to call a vampire?”
“Yes. Get over it.” I shot back. “Livia’s manifested some Fae abilities, mostly over fire. Right now they’re minor but I expect they’ll grow stronger as she does. It’s frightening for her, I’m sure. I wish Winter were still alive to help her, to answer her questions about being Fae.”
Talking about Winter brought back the ache of her loss.
“I have a deck of cards in the house, want to play?”
I saw a glimpse of the old Athan in his eyes, the one I knew when I was a kid. We played cards until the sun came up. In the daytime, dreams don’t seem as frightening. If I woke up and the sun was shining I remembered I was safe, no longer being raped and beaten. In the dark, the demons that haunted my sleep seemed more powerful.
Excerpt from book #2
The gym looked dingy to the untrained eye with its unpainted concrete walls and floors. Very little decoration adorned the building and the dominant color was grey. The equipment was where the money had been spent. The boxing ring was brand new, top of the line weight sets lined one side of the gym, and all the machines were cutting edge.
Nikolai was beating the life out of a punching bag when I found him. He wore a black tank top and black army type pants tucked into black boots. A sheen of perspiration glowed on his dark complexion. He’d tied a black bandana over his skull cropped hair to keep the sweat out of his eyes.
Does he own any color other than black?
He wasn’t winded at all by the vigorous activity. Without stopping his exercise, Nikolai said, “Tsura tells me you want to learn how to fight as a Wraith.”
“I can’t shift. The drugs that prevented me from doing it are gone, but my wolf is repressed or something.” I hated admitting it to him, but I was defenseless without the ability to change.
Nikolai stopped the swinging bag and nodded at me, “I appreciate your honesty. I can do more to prepare you if you’re honest. Let’s move to the mats and begin.”
Fluttering butterflies in my stomach had me on edge. Nikolai was confident in his ability to disarm and disable attackers. I was confident in my ability to get my ass kicked. We spent an hour of him showing me moves and me executing them all wrong. I was frustrating him and felt like a failure.
“Enough, Madalaina!” He shouted. “I will not allow you to quit. Find your center and calm yourself. No one can protect themselves wound tight like a coil. Remember two things, you will defeat your adversary or you will die after leaving him with a lasting injury to remember you forever. Both are victories. There is no defeat for you.”
Wow, he could make a killing as a motivational speaker.
We started anew. I couldn’t call my wolf to the surface, but I could connect with her. She provided me the Zen Nikolai wanted me to adopt, reminded me I was stronger and faster than the average person without needing to be in my Lycan form. I wasn’t alone in the fight. We were a team, she and I. My newfound confidence saw me picking up the moves Nikolai showed me with ease.
“Very good, Madalaina. You’re a fast learner once you get over the roadblocks in your mind,” he playfully tapped my forehead.
I wiped fly away hairs from my face, “I appreciate your help. It means a lot, you teaching me.”
I embarrassed him. He blushed and cleared his throat. “Yes, well, we have a ways to go before I feel good about you running loose on the streets. We should meet four times a week, does that work with your schedule?”
“I’ll make it work,” I said.
Nikolai put his hands on his hips and rolled his neck. I’d gotten him trapped in a pretty gnarly headlock right at the end of training. “Good. Much easier than Tsura. She waits and calls me at the last minute for our training sessions. If she weren't such a worthy opponent, I’d hand her off to someone else.”
My eyes bugged out in disbelief, “Tsura’s a worthy opponent? My Tsura?”
Nikolai scoffed, “You’re Tsura is a pampered princess. My Tsura, the one I see in here, she’s fierce and can take a seasoned warrior to the mat.” Pride shone in his eyes.
“That’s amazing.” Puzzled, I furrowed my brow, “I never knew that about her. I wonder what else I don’t know.”
Grimly Nikolai patted my shoulder. “Let her have her secrets. She’s allowed so few.”
Title: Planning for Love (Love, California Style) Author: Ellen Butler Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy Publication Date: January 26, 2015 Publisher: Crimson Romance
~ Synopsis ~California party planner, Poppy Reagan is a Type A personality who runs her professional life with the precision of Swiss watch. Unfortunately, her personal life is the pits. On Valentine’s Day she walks in on her boyfriend playing hide the snake with a 20 year old. T his isn’t the first boyfriend to cheat on her, and with her 33rd birthday approaching, Poppy decides it’s time to take her dating life as seriously as she does her business. She swears off the bad boys she’s normally attracted to, and strategically maps out a plan to find an honest, nice-looking man to become her life partner. As she works her way through a string of hilariously bad dates, she begins to wonder if her soul mate actually lives in California. Her foolish emotional spirit secretly yearns for the sexy Ohio dermatologist who she met on a trip to Hawaii last year. T he one who she insists is “just a friend,” because she refuses to engage in a long distance relationship. Can the good doctor convince her heart to over-rule her head and move this California girl to the midwest?
~ About the Author ~Ellen Butler Twitter style–author, mother, wife, shoe lover, chocoholic, fashion fan, sarcastic wit, autumn enthusiast, dancer, book worm, and good-time devotee.
1 WinnerSigned copy of Heart of Design, the first book in the Love, California Style series (US & Canada only - ebook for International winners). An Amazon giftcard.