Monday, 27 June 2016

Promo Post: The Outlaw by Alan Janney

The Outlaw: Origins
by Alan Janney
Genre: YA Sci-fi/Superheroes
Release Date: February 26th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

A masked vigilante stalks the streets of downtown Los Angeles, disrupting crime and rescuing movie starlets. After being spotted on security cameras and thrust into the national spotlight, he is pursued by both the media and powerful new enemies. Little does the world know the Outlaw is just High School junior Chase Jackson wearing a mask and wondering why his body is suddenly…extraordinary. 

The story continues in Book Two of the Outlaw Series. 'Infected'.

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Prologue of Outlaw, Book One

Los Angeles Times. March 1st. 2018.
“My Night with the Outlaw.” By Teresa Triplett.

      The man in the mask is late.
      And then he is here without warning and, despite myself, I gasp. I am forbidden to
disclose the location of our rendezvous, but it is dark, it is the middle of the night, and I’m
      Superheroes are, of course, fake. They do not exist in our reality outside of a movie
screen. I am skeptical and even offended by the growing legend surrounding the Outlaw.
It’s ludicrous. However, even if he is a fraud, it’s still the story of the year, maybe even of
the decade. Although that doesn’t explain why I’m so scared I can barely breathe.
      I don’t know why he agreed to meet me, this man the entire world wants to
interview. In fact, I never even asked him and perhaps that is why I was chosen, when ranks
of more celebrated and prestigious reporters have already been rebuffed. The Editor-inChief
of the Times is holding the front page, waiting on this story you’re reading, even
though I’m not a writer for the paper; I am a television reporter, but the Outlaw wanted the
story out immediately. I’m trembling now as we regard each other in silence. I’ve already
decided that I won’t ask him, ‘Why me?’
      I can feel him more than I can see him. Witnesses claim he is a big man, and that
doesn’t do him justice. He takes up the whole sky. CNN aired an Outlaw special and their
experts were able to measure him using various photographs, so I know he’s not as immense
as the naked-eye perceives.
      “Hello,” I say, timidly, pathetically. He nods in reply, and it is at this moment I
realize how woefully unprepared I am. In my defense, the Outlaw only gave me an hour’s
notice but I cannot think of a single thing to say. As the silence between us lengthens and
the conversational burden on me increases, I relent and betray myself. “So why me?”
      He shrugs and he says, “I don’t know that many reporters.”
      He knows me? We’ll be pouring over that tidbit for weeks because his identity is
still a mystery. But you know this, and if you’re like the rest of us then you don’t even have
an educated guess.
      His voice is deep. Darth Vadar deep, although I can tell he’s masking his voice
somehow. His words are slow and the vowels are elongated, and the mask falsifies it even
further. Oh yes. He’s wearing the infamous mask that covers his mouth and holds his hair
back from his furious eyes. Like every other eye-witness, I’m struck by the eyes. His gaze
is hard to return and I find myself fidgeting.
      I make a few more feeble attempts at small talk, trying to gauge his reactions (of
which there are none), and then I wonder how Natalie North has maintained a relationship
with this stoic dark mystery man. Not only has she withstood his unnerving stare and
imposing presence but according to the stories she has fallen for him and vise-versa, making
them the most unlikely couple and hottest gossip column topic…ever. Beauty and the beast.
Of course it could be a publicity stunt, and rumors persist that there’s another girl in his life.
A real girl, and a real relationship beyond the mask. I imagine that topic’s off-limits tonight. 
      “I have to ask a question which will sound absurd even to my ears. Are you able to
do things physically that I can’t? That no one else can?”
      He doesn’t answer, but I can tell he’s turning the question over in his mind.
      “Like a super hero?” I press further.
      “No,” he scoffs. “There’s no such thing. In fact, I’m sick.”
      “You’re sick?”
      “Very. Possibly fatal.”
      “Fatal?” I repeat stupidly, incredulously. “How…from what?”
      “That’s not why I’m here,” he says. He growls his words and he waves my question
away with his hand.
      “Then why?” I ask.
      “I need you to pass along a message. To everyone.”
      “What message?”

Doesn't this sound great?! I really wanted to get a chance to review this book, but couldn't due to my exams at the moment. It's definitely on my TBR list though!

Outlaw Music
by Alan Janney

I don’t write without headphones clamped firmly on my skull.  Music affects me more than most, I think.  It unlocks emotions and energy which is otherwise harder to tap into.

Here’s a snapshot of what I’m listening to today —->

Here is a link to the Spotify Outlaw playlist 



Below I’ve assembled my most-played songs/artists during the previous twenty-four months as the Outlaw series was written.

  1. Angels & Airwaves
  2. Blink 182
  3. Parade of Lights
  4. Ecstasy
  5. Bleachers (so good)
  6. Taylor Swift (shut up. she’s great)
    • Wish You Would
    • New Romantics
    • Wonderland
    • Her other upbeat stuff
  7. Fall Out Boy
    • American Beauty/Psycho
    • Save Rock and Roll
  8. Thirty Seconds to Mars
  9.  The Killers
  10. Cold Play
    • New album is awesome
  11.  Toby Mac
  12. Caedmons Call
  13. Newsboys
    • Except the recent stuff
  14. Halo Soundtrack
  15. Gladiator Soundtrack
  16.  How to Train Your Dragon soundtracks (shut up again. great movies)
  17. Various soundtracks (Pirates, John Williams, Batman, Backdraft, etc)
  18. Star Wars soundtrack
  19. Linkin Park
  20. Vitamin String Quartet
Honestly, I love this playlist! AVA and blink are two of my favourite bands; The Killers and 30STM are up there too. And, if you know me, you'll know I'm an absolute Swiftie too!

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Promo Post: Blood Orchid by Claire Warner

Blood Orchid (Night Flower #2)
by Claire Warner
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal/Romance
Release Date: June 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Tied to Justin with bonds stronger than blood, Melissa De Vire heads into her new life with fear and anger. Anger at Emily, at Katherine and most of all, anger at Justin, fuels her resolve to find a cure for the curse. From the English court in 1752 to the fires of the French Revolution, Melissa struggles to survive her new existence and find forgiveness for Justin as clues to a cure begin to surface.

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"Move,” Emily's voice barked out the order and she began to run. Melissa followed as best she could. Her feet skidded on the slick messy cobbles that lined Paris' streets and she slowed her progress, trying to stay upright.
"What the hell are you stopping for?" The blonde turned to face her, blue eyes angry beneath the large hat and hastily scraped back hair. Dressed in muddy breeches, an oversized shirt and carrying a long bloody dagger at her waist, she was a far cry from the poised, seductive creature she usually portrayed. At Emily's insistence, Melissa had also ditched the long skirts and corsetry and was trying to keep pace with her lithe companion. "Come on," Reaching out a hand, she seized hold of Melissa’s wrist and dragged her forward, across the unsteady surface with the grace of a cat. From some distance behind them, they could hear the catcalls and cries of the crowd that milled through the streets. The shouts bounced off ancient stone walls and the echoes produced amplified the sound so that it appeared to surround and envelop them.
"Why are we running?" Melissa choked out as Emily pulled her along an alley. "We won't die,”
"Because I'd rather not know what decapitation feels like…" Emily's voice was terse as she released Melissa's arm and began to clamber over the wall. "You can stay and find out for me if you like,”
"Don't be ridiculous,” Melissa called as she reached up and found the first foothold. Pulling herself up the stone face she pondered how she had ended up with Emily as her companion for this mad dash through Paris.
"Then don't talk nonsense,” Emily’s hands reached the top of the wall and she levered herself to the top. "And get a move on… I don't want to get caught because you have the movement rate of a snail,”

Melissa gritted her teeth and pulled herself upward, her limbs stiff and uncoordinated since the loss of her last donor. Cold trickles of sweat rolled over her skin and she grunted with the effort of climbing. Emily reached down a hand and pulled her upwards, until they both straddled the top of the wall. Melissa stopped briefly and stared out across Paris. Fires flickered in the distance as shouts and screams echoed through the air of the ancient city. Emily had no such time for wool gathering as she began to lower herself to street level.

I really wanted to read and review this book, but I am currently too busy with exams. I can't wait to get around to reading it though, this extract (and the others I have read) sound amazing! 

Buy Links:
AmazonAmazon UK

The Black Lotus (Night Flower #1) on Goodreads

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About the Author
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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Promo Post: Mythical by Michael Weekly

Mythical (Mystical #2)
by Michael Weekly
Genre: YA/NA Urban Fantasy
Limitless Publishing

When you’re a witch in a kingdom of Elves, there’s bound to be conflict…
Eliza Rose finds herself in a world full of Elves—the very creatures she is sworn to kill. To make matters worse, she is forced to slay her own mother. But one question remains. Why was her mother in such a horrid place to begin with?
Eliza and Donovan cannot face the dangers of Ellevil alone…
When the Elf, Christian, meets Eliza for the first time, he knows he must have her. As a master of manipulation, he will do anything he can to get his way.
Donovan has left his old gang life behind. In his journeys with Eliza, he has seen her talents as an assassin bloom. He wants what is best for her, and he is certain that Christian is anything but.
In a land of pure beings called Mystics, not all of them are what they seem…
When Eliza falls in love with Christian, only Donovan knows the Elf can’t be trusted. Christian manipulates the myth within her to come forth, and Eliza’s hidden power is unleashed, bringing her true nature to light.
Answers might be found in the fairy and mermaid kingdoms…
To discover why Eliza’s mother was in Ellevil, Eliza and Christian must embark on a journey to the fairy and mermaid kingdoms. As challenges continue to unfold, Eliza is forced to choose between her hidden power and the witch she truly is.
Eliza Rose must unlock her hidden power in order to survive, but time is running out. Corruption may overcome her—the same way it consumed her mother.

Buy Link:

Mystical (Mystical #1) on Goodreads
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About the Author:
Michael Weekly is a professional writer known for his ability to construct detailed, believable worlds and then to inject them with captivating stories and relatable characters. His big break came three years ago when he started writing on a site called Wattpad. Prior to that, he had written mainly as a hobby and as an exercise in relaxation and meditation, using writing as an escape out of the world and into his own mind.

Writing in the genres of Urban Fantasy, Dystopian YA, and NA, Michael is the author of Mystical, which has earned a ton of positive feedback. Mystical was picked up by Limitless Publishing in 2015, and since then, Michael has been working on additional entries to the series.

When he is not writing, Michael also enjoys playing video games such as League of Legends and World of Warcraft. He enjoys being a shopaholic and a professional foodie. He lives in Virginia with his imaginary fury companion CoCo, where the two live happily.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Book Review: Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

Happily Ever After – Kiera Cass

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperCollins
First published: 2015
Cover: Paperback
Pages: 387

Blurb:   America’s story wasn’t the only one with a happy ending…
               Before Amberly came to the palace… She was a Four in love with a One.
               Before Maxon met the girl of his dreams… He was the boy of someone else’s.
   Before Aspen opened his heart to someone new… He was determined to fight for his    first love.
               And before Marlee could fall for a prince… She was swept off her feet by a guard.
               Four stories to fall in love with!

History of my copy: At the beginning of May, I treated myself to a spot of book shopping.     (You can find my book haul post here.) Although I had been considering buying The Heir, when I had to choose between the two, I ended up choosing Happily Ever After as I wanted to finish America’s story.

I’m not really a short stories fan, but I read this selection pretty quickly and rather enjoyed some of them. I finished it around 3 weeks ago so I’m just going to give a brief review of each story.
Something that makes this book extra special is the illustrations. They are simplistic yet capture the characters wonderfully.

The Queen: I love Queen Amberly and only wished that she appeared in The Selection series more. She adored her son, Maxon, and was especially kind to all the girls. Because of this, I was super excited to read this story in an effort to find out why this wonderful woman ended up married to the monster that King Clarkson is. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. Whilst I still dislike the couple, the story itself was rather sweet and it was nice to see how the Selection was for these two. One thing I would’ve preferred though was if there was a bit more history to the story. As the story was set probably at least a couple decades before The Selection, I felt as if things should’ve changed a bit within those 20 years. On the other hand, perhaps that’s just part of IllĂ©a – that it never changes (until America became Queen of course).

The Prince: Whilst this story was okay, I didn’t really feel much for it. I guess it was nice for Cass to give us a background as to why Maxon is so terrible around girls at first, but aside from that it didn’t really add anything to the series.

The Guard: Aspen. Ugh. Hated him from the start and still hate him now. Honestly, his whole character felt like an excuse to make Maxon jealous, to let America cheat and just to have a love triangle. Yawn. Most of the story focussed on his feelings for America and I really couldn’t care less about that, so I very nearly didn’t finish it. I did power through, however, and whilst his relationship with Lucy was a little better, it still didn’t do anything for me.

The Favourite: Marlee! I don’t have much to say about this one, apart from the fact I loved it! The whole scenario between Marlee and Carter was one of my favourite in The Selection series as it showed how Maxon was ready to defy the set rules to protect not only America, but to do what is right.

Scenes From Celeste: Throughout The Selection series, I really loved Celeste. That is, until she was ruined by making her good underneath it all. She was the only girl besides America and Marlee that actually stood out and was different. These scenes from her point of view were quite refreshing, and did make her change of character feel a little more realistic. They were a nice addition to the collection but still, I’d rather Celeste stayed a cow right up to the end.

The Maid: Just like The Guard, I wasn’t a fan of this story. Lucy and Aspen, America’s closest maid and her ex, as if that hasn’t been seen before. I will, however, admit that I did prefer this to The Guard as I liked hearing Lucy’s views, and there was a lot less of Aspen pining over America.

After The One: If you read my review of The One, you’ll know that I was highly disappointed by the ending to America’s Selection. This scene though was the ending I wanted. It was perfect. It was set long enough after The One that everything had died down, it was sweet, and it gave it that final conclusion. In my opinion, this one part was written better than the entire final book and should be included in it. I loved it!

Where Are They Now?: This is a short update on what 3 of the girls, Kriss, Natalie and Elise, did after The Selection. This did nothing for me, mainly because all but America, Celeste and Marlee felt like the exact same person so by the time I read these, I had no idea who Kriss, Natalie and Elise were and so didn’t care what they were up to. I guess this was a really nice addition for anyone who connected with any of these girls, but to me it seemed really pointless.

To read or not to read: Don’t read. For those of you who absolutely adored the series, I totally recommend this collection. For me, Happily Ever After contained two good stories (The Queen and The Favourite) along with the notable After The One and Scenes From Celeste, which leaves 3 stories I didn’t particularly like, along with the pointless Where Are They Now?. With more bad than good, Happily Ever After kind of left me a little disappointed. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Just A Quick Update

Hello everyone! 

Over the next month, I have my a-level exams and so I'll be studying like mad. These exams are really important to me as I need a total of 3 A's out of my 6 subjects to get into medical school and so the pressure is on! Because of this, I'll be posting a lot less. Whilst I have a few tour spots scheduled to at least keep something happening over the next month, I can't guarantee that I'll be posting much else.

As a consequence, #SundaySeven will be put on hold for the next month and probably won't return until July. I will, however, hope to keep my bookstagram running, so keep following me there for some awesome bookish photos! I have also just started a studygram so for school notes and my bullet journal, go check that one out too.

Thanks to all this studying, I'm super behind on my book reviews too. In fact, I have a total of 3 that need to be written! I shall get to them as soon as possible, so keep an eye out for them.

Thanks for following me and reading this, hoe to catch you again soon!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Guest Post: Princess Adele's Dragon by Shirley McLain

Princess Adeles Dragon banner

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Princess Adele’s Dragon by Shirley McLain. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 31 May till 13 June, you can view the tour schedule here.

Princess Adele's DragonPrincess Adele’s Dragon
By Shirley McLain
Genre: Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 22 March, 2016

Princess Adele lives with her brother, Robert, the King of Valdoria in the castle. There has been a monster terrorizing the Kingdom for months. The King has finally come to a decision on how to deal with the monster but the Princess can't agree with him. For the sake of the Kingdom Princess Adele decides she must be the one to kill the dragon. She couldn't live with herself if her brother went ahead with his plans.

What Adele found on her quest changed her life and the lives of those around her. She was a strong young woman who knew what she wanted and would do whatever it took to get it. Follow Princess Adele as she battles to save her home and her life.

Chapter 1

Princess Adele's face paled when she heard the words of her brother. Her large green eyes stared at his face as she spoke. "Robert, it's inhuman. You can't do that. If the child were yours, what would you be thinking?" 
"Look, Adele, I didn't come to this decision without doing a lot of soul-searching. Do you not think I haven't run this through my mind a million times? I don't know any other way to keep our kingdom safe from that monster. The counselor told me it's worked in the past." 
"I don't care what your mighty counselor said. You can't do this. There must be another way." Princess Adele turned from her brother, the King, leaving him standing in the room alone. Her plan must be executed before the full moon.
How such a monster threatens her beautiful home is almost too much to comprehend. If only Anthony was here. He'd know what would be needed to stop this unthinkable act. Tears rolled down Adele's cheeks as she thought of her beloved Anthony. She enjoyed the world one day, deep in despair the next. What happened? Why did he leave? 
The Princess recovered her emotions and resolved to come up with another plan besides sacrificing a beautiful child to the creature. There ought to be another way. Arriving at her bedchamber, her lady’s maid waited for her. 
As Adele entered her room, Miranda bowed "Your Highness", she said. 
"How many times do I need to tell you, Miranda, you do not bow to me and call me "Your Highness" every time I enter the room when we're alone. We've been like sisters since the age of four." 
"I know, Adele, but if I don't do it all the time, I may forget. If I call you, Adele in public His Majesty's ogre of a counselor will behead me or something worse." 
"What's worse than having your head chopped off?" Adele asked. 
"Made to marry a man I do not love." Miranda helped the Princess change into her sleeping gown to make her ready for bed. 
"Robert has tried to marry me off too many times to count. Six years ago, before we married, Anthony ran away for some reason. " 
"You don't believe that any more than I do, Adele," With a soft voice Miranda said, he loved you more than life, and it showed in everything word and action he made. Changing the subject, what did the King say?" 
"He plans to go through with the sacrifice on the night of the full moon, which is in two weeks." Princess Adele's covered her face with her hands as tears began to flow. Her voice trembled as she spoke. "I can't sit here and do nothing. A child sacrifice is unconscionable to me." 
"What can a girl of your small stature do against a dragon? Many Knights died fighting that dragon. I can see you dead before you even get to the lair." 
Princess Adele climbed into bed. "You know I can do anything a man can. She stifled a yawn then said "Goodnight, my dear friend. I hope you sleep well," 
Miranda blew out the wick of the oil lamp and said, "Goodnight, Adele." She turned with a big smile on her face and walked to the door to her room. I know what she's going to do, and as soon as her death is confirmed, I'll console the King. I'm in a fantastic position now to put our plan into action. I will be Queen of Valdoria! She smiled as she blew out the light and settled into her bed. 
The door to Miranda's room opened and closed without making a sound. She heard footsteps padding across the room. "Hello, my love," Miranda whispered as she joyfully fell into a pair of strong arms. 
She walked down the aisle to her beloved, Anthony. When she got close enough to take his hand, she slid backward, having to begin the journey down the aisle all over again. Adele experienced the same nightmare about her Anthony when she fell into a deep sleep. Tossing and turning, Princess Adele unable to sleep any longer, sat up in the bed. In the blackness of her room, she reached a decision. I know what I must do. 
Without stars, the night sky displayed no brightness, only blackness as pitch. Adele hurried as she dressed in the boy’s clothes hidden in the straw of her mattress. Her secrets remained her own. Her adventures out of the castle before the sun came up, on many occasions, was known only to her. This adventure would be no different.
Her father made sure both of his children received the same education which she gave thanks for many times. She could fight with a sword and ride a horse as well as her brother. She bested her brother in their formal schooling. He wanted to play instead of educating himself. Robert began to apply himself to his education not long before their parent’s death. Adele's impressive capabilities were known only to Robert. Her father wanted her skills kept a secret for the purpose of a surprise if she needed it. If something happened to her brother, Adele could run the kingdom. 
If her quest failed, she would no longer be alive, and her brother would be alone. He would be the only one of the family left. Her parents, the King, and Queen died the previous year from the plague. She and her brother left the area until the crisis passed. 
They returned home having no parents and the country, no King and Queen. Her nineteen-year-old brother became King and Lord Ashmore guided the new King in all decisions. They relied on Lord Ashmore as their father did, over the years. 
In an inconspicuous manner, Adele walked down the long castle hallway to the secret exit that took her underground, straightway to the stables. She thought once again of her father and how he made sure she knew the secret entrance location. He told her no one knew about it except her, but if the need arose she could share it with her brother. So far, it remained her secret way out of the castle. 
She lit a torch before entering the tunnel. She didn't like the darkness of the tunnel. The dampness didn't bother her at all, and it felt refreshing when the outside temperature got high. 
The trap door opening in the stable storage room remained well hidden. She checked it every evening, so it remained unobstructed. At the bottom of the ladder, she pulled her sword from its storage area. She carried it as she climbed the ladder to the storage room. 
After covering the floor with the rug to hide the entry, she made her way to Champion's stall. "Hello, my darling. Are you ready for a ride?" The stable hand saddled the horse. She put the mufflers on Champion's hooves so he wouldn't make any noise walking across the stones. Adele waited for the guards to walk to the other side of the parapet so she could escape the castle grounds unseen. She didn't wait long. When she felt it safe, she carefully walked Champion out the gate to the open field. Once on his back, she gave the horse his head and let him run across the field to the timber edge. 


Guest post: Where and How I Write by Shirley McLain

Hello everyone, thank you for dropping by today and checking out my book, Princess Adele’s Dragon. I wish to thank Kat for giving me this opportunity to share with you about how and where I write.
I began writing in earnest when I retired from work. I woke up one morning with the thought in my mind I want to write a book. I got out of bed, ate my breakfast and sat down in front of my computer and began writing.  Nine months later I published my first book called The Tower. Looking back at that time I thought writing was sitting down and putting words to paper. I wasn’t even smart enough to realize I knew nothing about writing.
As I RN for over 32 years, I learned early in my career that nursing is constantly changing, and the nurse has to change with it or get left behind.  I think writing is the same way. It is a constant learning process, and you never can know everything. That’s what’s wonderful about the computer and all the resources that are available to a writer. Don’t be afraid to continue to learn the writing process. I am still learning and will strive to make the most out of what I learn. I have to satisfy myself because since writing is so subjective, there may not be anyone else that will read your book and like it. 
The other side to that is, writing is very personal when you are doing it. It’s your words bringing the storyline and characters together. There are really no set rules to writing, but that depends on who you are talking to. I have found I got different opinions about the same question I was asking. For myself, I have to make the final decision about what to do.  I been told many times, “nothing is in concrete.” At times, I would like a set of rules that tell me exactly what to do, and it would save me a lot of angst.
The majority of the time my writing is done on the computer through my word processor. There have been times that I’ve picked up a tablet and pen and wrote what was on my mind so I wouldn’t lose it, or a poem came to mind.  I’ve had a computer since the early 1990’s.  Before I got one, I thought I didn’t have a need for it.  What could I possibly do with a computer? It didn’t take long, once it was in my house for me to find out.  I’m totally lost without my keyboard and internet connection.
Now you know a little more how I think about writing and how the computer became a big, big part of my life. Thanks again for stopping by and thank you, Kat, once again for giving me the opportunity to share a little part of myself.  Have a blessed day.  Shirley McLain.


I reviewed Princess Adele's Dragon last month, so check out the review here!

You can find Princess Adele’s Dragon on Goodreads

You can buy Princess Adele’s Dragon here:
- Amazon

Shirley McLainAbout the Author:
Shirley McLain makes her home in Sapulpa Oklahoma with her husband and their fur family of four dogs and three cats. She also has two grown children, six grandchildren and twin great-grand sons. She has/is living a very full life. She retired after working thirty-two years as a RN and then began a full time writing carrier. She and her husband enjoy their five-acre country home. It is a perfect setting to let Shirley’s Muse work it’s magic. Shirley is an eclectic writer and has always enjoyed the writing process. Shortly after her retirement she woke up one morning with the thought that she was going to write a book. She didn’t stop writing until she’d finished her first book. So far she has published four books which are now on Amazon. Her goal is to bring as much enjoyment to her readers as they deserve and want.

You can find and contact Shirley here:
- Blog
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Princess Adele’s Dragon. These are the prizes you can win:
- 15 e-copies of Dobyns Chronicles by Shirley McLain

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Book Blitz: Ella's Twisted Senior Year by Amy Sparling

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After hosting the cover reveal a month ago, I've returned for the book blitz! This is my stop during the book blitz for Ella's Twisted Senior Year by Amy Sparling. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 31 May till 6 June, you can view the blitz schedule here.

Ella's Twisted Senior YearElla's Twisted Senior Year
By Amy Sparling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: May 31, 2016

Blurb: Having spent most of her senior year flying under the radar, the last thing Ella Lockhart expected was to have a tornado rip straight through her house, leaving her homeless. It’s bad enough that the whole school now pities her, but did her parents have to let the neighbors take them in?

Now she's sharing a house with Ethan Poe, her former best friend-turned-enemy. All those feelings she used to have for him are starting to rain down on her again. Too bad he's a jerk and his new girlfriend has territorial issues. Thanks to Mother Nature, Ella's house and her entire life have been turned upside down.

Ethan isn’t quite sure why Ella hates him so much, but he does know she wants nothing to do with him. He’s never quite gotten over the crush he had on her as a kid, and now that she’s living across the hall, it’s hard to stay away. His girlfriend isn’t helping the situation and when she shows her true colors, he doesn’t want to date her anymore. He wants to date someone like Ella. Too bad she hates him.
The rec room has also been through a renovation since I was last over here. There’s brand new brown leather couches behind a gorgeous blue and gray rug that’s so fluffy, I want to kick off my shoes and walk across it. There’s still a foosball table and Mr. Poe’s old Pacman arcade game in the corner. The TV has been replaced with a flat screen that’s mounted on the wall and it’s at least as long as I am tall. The other side of the room has the door to the small bathroom and the floor is covered in rubber mats instead of carpet. Various weight lifting equipment fills that corner, making Ethan’s own personal gym.

I imagine he must use the weights a lot, because a chest as filled out as his doesn’t just happen without dedication. Heat rushes to my cheeks. Will he be working out while I’m crashing in here?

“Here we are,” Ethan says, rising up from the mini fridge in the corner of the room. Above the fridge is his dad’s treasure: a framed Dallas Cowboy’s jersey signed by Troy Aikman.

Ethan holds up a bottle of vodka and two shot glasses. “Get over here,” he says, setting the glasses on a nearby end table. “Let’s toast to how freaking awkward this is.”

I walk over but I don’t reach for the shot glass. I give him a pointed look, stalling for time while my brain tries to figure out what’s happening here. “So you’re a drinker now?”

He throws his head back and downs the shot. “Nope. Not really.”

“Kind of seems like it,” I say with a snort as he pours himself another one.

He holds the other glass out to me. “You gonna let me drink alone?”

“I’m thinking about it,” I say, lifting the glass and holding it up eye level. “This is totally illegal, Ethan Poe.”

He shrugs. “I’ll be eighteen in two months.”

I down the shot in one gulp. “Still not legal.”

Ugh, the vodka burns my throat and stings my eyes. I try to act like it doesn’t affect me.

Ethan grins. “It’s legal in Europe.”

I shove my glass out to him, motioning for a refill. This stuff is gross but if it takes off the edge of being around my enemy, then I guess I’ll have to down another shot. “We’re not in Europe.”

“Ah, you’re just as snarky as I remember.” He takes my hand, holding the glass to keep it steady while he pours another shot. The feeling of his fingers over mine sends a jolt through my body that’s stronger than anything in his bottle of vodka. How is it possible to hate someone so much, yet still want them to like you?

You can find Ella's Twisted Senior Year on Goodreads

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Amy SparlingAbout the Author:
Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She lives in Texas and has an addiction to sparkly nail polish, taking photos of her cute dog, and swooning over book boyfriends.

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Guest Post: The Dark Cycle by Rachel A.Marks

Guest post written by Rachel A. Marks:

The Rabbit Hole of Legend

I am obsessed with research, I have been since before I started writing. Sometimes I get so caught up in the collection of information that I stop writing and just revel in learning and exploring for far too long. The Dark Cycle was no exception, especially since I'm fascinated by Los Angeles history, having grown up here. And I'm fascinated by urban legends of any kind, as well. Needless to say, it became a bit of a vortex digging deeper this series. So much fun! And so distracting. 

The good thing is I can share some of my finds with you. Just be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole with me! 

The Hollywood Sign:

Built in 1923, and probably the most iconic spot in Los Angeles, it was only created to last a few weeks. It once lit up the night and read "Hollywood Land", but in 1949 the "Land" was removed. In the between years, 1932, a very tragic story took place at the letter "H". An unknown actress at the time, Peg Entwistle, climbed to the top of the letter and leapt to her death. Since that day there have been literally hundreds of stories about hikers and trespassers spotting a woman wandering the grounds, dressed in the fashion of the 30s. 

Houdini Mansion:

At the hight of his fame, Harry Houdini purchased an extravagant home in Laurel Canyon. It was like a fortress, with towers and hidden passageways, and underground tunnels. This is where he supposedly hid his chest of magical secrets. To this day the chest of secrets remains undiscovered, even after a fire burned the strange mansion down in 1959. By 1960 a rumor began circulating that Houdini had, in fact, not died, but had been seen in and around the property. Some people say he can still be seen in the area today. 

Magu Rock (PCH): 

Legend has it that a young native woman was brutally murdered by a rich land owner on a property near the location of Magu Rock. Her spirit is said to still roam the shore, like a woman in white with dark holes for eyes.

Griffith Park:

The area of land that incorporates Griffith Park is very large, and many ghost stories were born in one or more of the famous locations on the property once owned by the Feliz family and is said to be cursed because of a family dispute about how the land was passed down. Today it consists of the Observatory, the Greek Amphitheater, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Museum of the American West, the Travel Town train museum, two golf courses, a merry-go-around, countless hiking and horse trails, and the Hollywood sign. The most interesting and strange story to come from the cursed land originates in the picnic area. A haunted picnic table to be exact. In 1976 a young couple was making love on a picnic table when a large sycamore tree fell on them, killing them both. The couples ashes were tossed onto the spot by the family in memory, allowing them to be forever together. And to this day the table and tree are still entwined, because when the city workers went to clean up the fallen branches the tree moaned and shook. It's said the couple became a part of the land and the tree still hasn't been removed.

Darkness Brutal 
The Dark Cycle
Book One
Rachel A. Marks

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Skyscape

Date of Publication: July 1st, 2015

ISBN: 978-1477830796
ASIN: B00S6Z3S82

Number of pages: 422
Word Count: 120,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Neilson

Book Description: 

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

                                                 Amazon      Listen to an Audio Sample

I let the pulse of the music coat me and mute my surroundings. A mass of people crowd the dance floor of the club, and I sit on an abandoned couch in the corner. The lights beat at the air in blues and greens, and bodies twist and merge to the thunder. I lean back, close my eyes, and try to get lost in it, the smells and sounds of people and their collective high.
Something moves next to me. I look over to find a girl sprawled on the seat beside me, trying to catch her breath. She’s not dressed in the usual club gear, more like a girl who got lost on her way to a beach party: Hurley T-shirt, jean skirt, and red Converse. Her cheeks are flushed pink; her throat and forehead glitter with sweat. She glances at me like she didn’t know I was there. She licks her upper lip, her eyes not leaving mine. Then she says something I can’t hear.
I point to my ear and shake my head.
She smiles and laughs, lighting up the space around her. She rests her hand on my arm, like we’re friends and I just told her the most hilarious joke, and then she gets up and disappears into the mass of bodies again.
My arm tingles, my body reacting to the moment of contact in a sudden and disconcerting way. I think I’ve had my fill of watching people indulge their baser instincts. I need to get out of here.
The beat of the music speeds up, vibrating faster as I move through the crowd. I try not to touch anyone, which is nearly impossible. All the emotions and appetites are overwhelming, as if the rising rhythm of the music makes their yearnings rise, too. Lust buzzes in the air. A hunger stirs in me, a gaping hole, needing to be filled. With touch.
The touch of female fingers. A hand on my arm, taking my wrist, pulling me into the fray, into the pressing bodies. And I don’t try to escape. I let her take me.
Because I’m tired.
Because I’m a dumbass.
A girl moves in front of me—not the Hurley girl, not the one I was hoping for. She presses closer, so close I can almost taste the salty perspiration on her skin. She has thin, birdlike shoulders, a swan neck, a heart-shaped face, and black hair, long and tangled, turning blue and green with the light. Her hands slide up my chest. She wraps her arms around my neck and tilts her head to look up at me.
Her lips are full and painted dark purple. There’s a dimple in her left cheek that gets deeper with her growing smile. And her eyes . . .
Fog fills my head for a second, interrupting my thoughts.
“Hi,” she mouths, calling attention to her lips again.
And then she’s rising up on her toes, pulling me down to her, twisting her fingers in my hair, her lips smashing against mine.
My body buzzes from her touch, and my hands react, drawing her into me. I drink her in. She tastes like the air around me, hunger and urgency, and—
Green apple Jolly Ranchers?
I grip her sides, her ribs so delicate beneath my fingers. The sweet tang of her teases me, the hunger becoming a monster deep inside. I have to press her closer, tighter, try to feed it, as I feel the fire of her need link with mine.
She pulls back a little and looks at me with wide eyes, like she’s shocked. That’s when I see the mark, a glowing, blue-inked line of what looks like Chinese symbols, trailing down the nape of her neck to her shoulder blade. Symbols that I’m suddenly sure mean: touch this girl at your own risk.
It’s the only thing I see for a second: Beware. Beware.
Until her energy reaches for me, wispy tendrils of blue light wrapping their way around my wrists and snaking up my chest.
I jerk away, into the guy behind me, stepping on his girlfriend’s toes. I get shoved— thankfully farther from the hypnotic girl—through a space in the crowd, saying a hundred excuse-me’s even though I know no one can hear them. I find my way out of the press of bodies to the edge of the room again where it’s safe.
It’s time to leave. I should’ve left an hour ago.

Darkness Fair
The Dark Cycle
Book Two
Rachel A. Marks

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Skyscape

Date of Publication: 2/1/16

ISBN: 978-1503950290 
Number of pages: 335

Cover Artist: Cliff Neilson

Book Description:

Against the backdrop of an ancient battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, Aidan struggles to control the newly awakened powers that seem to be his only hope for rescuing Ava, his little sister, trapped somewhere beyond the Veil. As he gravitates to Kara, the beguiling and dangerously unstable girl who helped him realize his abilities, a terrible mistake of fate is revealed that points him back toward Rebecca, whose role is becoming more critical to the battle. And no matter what his heart wants, it might be too late to stop the pieces already in motion.

Without knowing the sacrifices that will be required of them, Aidan and his motley crew of friends—each with their own role to play—must face the demon threat head-on. They’re the only ones keeping the growing army of Darkness at bay, and if they fail, the future of humanity could be lost.

                                                     Amazon    Listen to an Audio Sample

About the Author:

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens' Oliver Twist meets TV's Supernatural, is now out through Skyscape, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL.





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$20 Amazon giftcard and chosen paperback or audio in the series

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