Blog Tour for The Demon Stone: Author Guest Post & Giveway

Today’s post features a guest post by Chris Datta, author of The Demon Stone, the book spotlight of the day. Data’s first novel, Touched With Fire was a number one best-seller in the Historical Fiction genre, and the great reviews I’ve seen about his new supernatural thriller indicate this will be a frightful and spine-chilling read. Heck, just reading the book’s description gave me goose bumps. With Halloween coming upon us, you just might find this is the scary read you’ve been looking for. Also, don’t miss your chance to win some awesome prizes in the tour-wide giveaway!

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The Demon Stone by Christopher Datta

Publication Date:May 2014

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

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The Demon Stone is a powerful supernatural thriller that leads you from the killing fields of Africa to the quiet Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. In braided narratives, Datta spins a terrifying story about the spiritual forces—both real and supernatural—that incite the basest, bloodiest and most frightening of human behaviors. 

“Reading Chris Datta is like riding a rollercoaster. It’s a fast ride filled with twists and turns. His Demon Stone is scary fun. Stephen King, watch your back!”
-Richard Rashke, author of The Killing of Karen Silkwood

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Book Blitz & Giveaway for Challenging Destiny

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Challenging Destiny by Cherie Colver

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Publication Date: March 27, 2014 / 255 pgs.

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister, Ariana, have been marked, chosen to be unwilling participants in a war between angels and demons.

Logan can sense something’s not quite right. Like an unexpected chill on a summer’s day, he can feel the unseen closing in. He’s had these feelings before and, each time, someone close to him died. He’s afraid this time it might just be Ariana.

Logan’s fears are soon confirmed when he discovers their new friends aren’t human, but rather representatives from Heaven and Hell sent to Earth to ensure he and Ariana accept their roles in an ancient prophecy. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but if she chooses to side with Heaven to spare the lives of thousands of innocent people, she’ll damn her brother for eternity.

Together, they must derail the biblical event if they hope to save themselves and the future of mankind…but what price are they willing to pay to keep the other safe?

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Book Tour for Guardians of the Angels Series

Today’s spotlight is on Anyta Sunday’s Young Adult Paranormal Romance series, Guardians of the Angels. The first two books are available, and you can read on to learn more about and read an excerpt from each book. In addition, the author explains to readers her writing process, which I always find fascinating since every writer has an individual method for crafting a story.  If this series catches your interest, be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway for your chance to win a copy of both books or an Amazon gift card.

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Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Cover Artist: Caroline Wimmer Streiflicht Fotografie

Veined (Book I)

Veined Book Cover Publication Date: Second Edition: January 2014

 446 pages (85,000 words) / ASIN: B005J1L41Y

It could be worse for Sylva Lark. She could be dead. A coma was nothing to that. Or her family moving across country for the treatment, leaving her with a big blue mark on her back.

 She can handle it. 

Mostly.

Except the mark glows and tingles, especially whenever transition helper Atticus Plot (Attic) is close by. She suspects he’s hiding something, and when she stumbles across a torn body bearing the same spiral marking as her own, that suspicion is confirmed.

 After a few shaves with death, the truth finally comes out and the battles begin.

 But not all her fights are external; her biggest one is the decision she has to make between doing the right thing for the world and giving up her beloved family for good. 

***

I had the opportunity to read Veined over a year ago, and I really enjoyed the fantastical Guardian world the author has created. The plot kept me engaged from beginning to end, and I especially liked the character personalities of  Sylvia and Atticus. Their relationship blossoms as Sylvia becomes immersed a a new, unfamiliar world she never knew existed. My favorite part of the book is the ending, which was both surprising and angsty. Now that the second book, Lethed, has been published, I’m looking forward to picking up the story to find out what’s next for our heroine.  After seeing the book cover for Lethed, I have a feeling Sylvia will have a harrowing journey ahead. (Source: purchased)

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Spotlight & Author Guest Post for How I Dumped My Demon

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How I Dumped My Demon by Elizabeth M. Darcy

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Publication Date: May 8, 2014 / 83 pgs

Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

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Abandoned by her mother at a police station, Megan Stonebridge has no idea who she is or why a demon haunts her nightmares. When the dreams become a frightening reality, she questions her sanity.

Putting her faith in a locket inscribed with ancient runes left with her by her mother, Megan must unlock the meaning of the runes before the demon drags her into the underworld. In fear for her life, Megan unknowingly casts a spell that summons a handsome warlock to help her dump her demon.

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Release of The Warrior (Dante Walker # 3)

Today is the release of The Warrior, the third and final book in the Dante Walker series published by Entangled Teen. This series is on my TBR list but I just  haven’t had the opportunity to start it yet. If you’ve read any of the books, I’d love to get your thoughts about this popular YA series.
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The Warrior by Victoria Scott

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Genres: YA, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

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War between heaven and hell is coming, but Dante Walker makes it look damn good.

Dante’s girlfriend, Charlie, is fated to save the world. And Aspen, the girl who feels like a sister, is an ordained soldier. In order to help both fulfill their destiny and win the war, Dante must complete liberator training at the Hive, rescue Aspen from hell, and uncover a message hidden on an ancient scroll.

Dante is built for battle, but even he can’t handle the nightmares where spiders crawl from Aspen’s eyes, or the look on Charlie’s face that foretells of devastation. To make matters worse, the enemy seizes every opportunity to break inside the Hive and cripple the liberators. But the day of reckoning is fast approaching, and to stand victorious, Dante will have to embrace something inside himself he never has before—faith.

Buy the Warrior from Amazon: The Warrior (Dante Walker)

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Mini Review for Better Off Dead (Lily Harper # 1)

Better Off Dead: The Lily Harper Series #1 by H.P. Mallory

Better Off Dead Book CoverFrom New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, HP Mallory, Comes BETTER OFF DEAD, the first book in the Lily Harper series!

If there’s such a thing as luck, Lily Harper definitely doesn’t have it. Killed in a car accident before it’s her time to go, Lily learns that the hereafter isn’t exactly what she hoped it might be. First, there’s AfterLife Enterprises, the company responsible for sorting out the recently dead and sending them on their way to the Kingdom, (aka happily ever after, ) or to the Underground City, (not so happily ever after.) Learning that Lily’s death was indirectly their fault (her guardian angel, Bill, was MIA during her accident and was one of their employees, ) Afterlife Enterprises offers Lily the chance to live again. But, as with most things involving the afterlife, beware the fine print. Most notably, Lily will have to become a soul retriever, venturing into the bowels of the Underground City to retrieve souls that were mistakenly sent there by Afterlife Enterprises during a Y2K computer glitch. Second, there’s angel Bill. As if risking her second life in the Underground City wasn’t enough, Lily’s guide to the Underground is none other than her incompetent, alcoholic, womanizing guardian angel, Bill, the antithesis of anything wholesome. With only Dante’s Inferno and Bill to help her in her quest, Lily’s future isn’t looking bright. Finally, there’s the legendary bladesmith, Tallis Black. As Scottish as his kilts and heavy brogue, Tallis Black is a centuries-old Celt who, for reasons only known to him, offers to train Lily and act as her escort into the depths of the Underground City. Dark, brooding and definitely dangerous, Lily knows she shouldn’t trust Tallis, but she also can’t deny her attraction to him. Between soul retrieving in hell, dealing with Bill and trying to figure out what’s in it for Tallis, Lily wonders if maybe she would’ve just been better off dead.

Goodreads Link

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Review of The Second Shadow (The Second Sign #2)

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The Second Shadow (The Second Sign #2) by Elizabeth Arroyo

Publication Date: September 2013

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

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Jake thought being demon meant a shredded humanity, stripped of all human emotion. Chaos and self-preservation dominates a demon’s instincts. But Jake feels every ounce of pain and despair around him. 

And it’s driving him deeper into Hell.

Gabby’s choice to save him last summer left a fissure in Hell’s gate that released a malevolent evil. When Jake’s given a mission by the demons to shadow a human girl who may know the whereabouts of an ethereal weapon, he doesn’t expect to see Gabby. But Fate has her own agenda.

When Jake and Gabby are thrown together on a camping trip with a group of delinquent teens, Jake begins to grapple with the haunting choices he made in the past. When the evil finds them, the group begins to battle for their lives, alliances are made, and truths revealed. 

As the evil begins to influence Jake, he questions his link to the demons, his purpose, and his love for Gabby. 

But the answers to those questions are only found in Hell. And it may cost him his soul. (from Goodreads)

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Review of The Second Sign (The Second Sign #1)

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The Second Sign (The Second Sign #1) by Elizabeth Arroyo

Publication Date: February 2013

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

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Spotlight & Pre-Sale for White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)


Expected Date of Publication: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genres: YA, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
One kiss could be the last Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever. Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Book Tour for Beg Me to Slay: ARC Review & Giveaway

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Beg Me To Slay by Lisa Kessler

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Release Date: December 30, 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Entangled Covet

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He’ll slay her demons, but it may cost her heart…

Four years ago Tegan Ashton was attacked. Determined never to be a victim again, she devotes her life to martial arts and self-defense. When her assailant returns to finish what he started, only one person can help her.

Gabe is a private investigator by day and demon slayer by night. After losing loved ones, he vows to defend people from a threat they don’t realize exists.

The relationship is supposed to be strictly business, but fighting demons together stirs up emotions they never expected. Turns out demon fighting is a breeze compared to facing their scarred pasts and even worse – hearts.

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Book Tour for Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8): Review & Giveaway

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Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina Halle

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Publication date: December 11th 2013
Genres: Horror, New Adult, Supernatural

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It’s been two months since Perry Palomino and Dex Foray’s relationship reached a new turning point, two months since Perry started a new life in Seattle, and two months since their Experiment in Terror show took on a new partner, ex-Wine Babe Rebecca Sims, and found a new level of success. But whenever there is light in their lives, the madness still has a way of coming back in.

When the team is sent back to the stormy Oregon coast to investigate a haunted school, Perry wants to use the opportunity to reconnect with her family and reintroduce Dex into their lives. Only Perry’s not the only one who’s reaching out – her grandmother Pippa has started appearing to her with disturbing warnings and Perry’s presence at the school has ignited a chilling new wave of supernatural phenomenon. Once used a century ago as a sanatorium to house children dying of tuberculosis, the school’s past residents are slowly coming back to life and with one thing on their mind. They want someone to play with, someone to join them. Forever.

Even when dead, some children get whatever they want.

And they want Perry.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17608219-ashes-to-ashes?ac=1

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Sunday Series Spotlight: Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle

About the Series

I started reading ebooks in 2012 after received an e-reader for Christmas. Although I love technology, I always preferred reading a print copy of the book and having the rich sensory experience of touching and turning the pages. So, I avoided reading online until I realized that Amazon had lots of books available for free downloads, lol and I could get any book I wanted to read instantly without having to wait for shipping.

Moreover, one of the best benefits has been the discovery of some excellent reads from talented independent authors that I, otherwise, probably would never have encountered. Karina Halle’s work is one of those rare gems that I have come to treasure.  I downloaded Darkhouse, the first book in this series when it was offered for free, and from that point, I was hooked on Perry Palomino and Dex Foray’s  journey together into the world of the supernatural where they explore haunted places to capture paranormal evidence for their Internet ghost hunter series, and along the way they must each grapple with literal and figurative demons that have continually tested their sanity.

Here is an overview of the series from Goodreads:

In a large, flaky nut­shell, the Exper­i­ment in Ter­ror Series is an nine-part sci-fi/fantasy/horror series that revolves around a pair of ghost hunters. Well, aspir­ing ghost hunters, any­way. After film­ing a creepy expe­ri­ence in her uncle’s dilap­i­dated light­house, 22-year old Perry Palomino becomes a YouTube and inter­net star overnight. She attracts the atten­tion of Dex Foray, a pro­ducer and cam­era­man for a site that spe­cial­izes in var­i­ous webisodes, who con­vinces her to be a host for a low-budget ghost hunt­ing series. The only prob­lem is, nei­ther Perry or Dex are entirely “with it” — I mean, they see ghosts, after all. And when the duo isn’t wrestling with their very notion of real­ity, they’re grap­pling with a work­ing rela­tion­ship that’s deep-cut with sex­ual ten­sion. As the series moves on, lead­ing Perry and Dex to new locales and super­nat­ural sit­u­a­tions, their lives become more and more inter­twined, where they dis­cover that ghosts aren’t the only things that can haunt them.

This is a series that must be read in order, and for all of you paranormal fans out there, I think you’ll find it to be worth your time. Although romance does eventually become a significant aspect of the plot as the series unfolds, the scary, chilling, and downright creepy scenes from Perry and Dex’s adventures will be more than enough to satisfy your paranormal cravings. In fact, I should warn you, this series can be addictive!

The series is comprised of full length novels as well as several novellas. I have highlighted the main books in the series and the novellas I read.

Darkhouse #1

Dark HouseWith all the vampire, werewolf and faerie books out there, it’s easy to become numb to all things supernatural. The antidote? Darkhouse introduces two real and unforgettable characters, Perry Palomino & Dex Foray, amateur ghost hunters who are “attractive, relatable and oddly heroic,” “flawed but loveable,” “slightly crazy” and just the most endearing pair to ever tackle the paranormal…just don’t call them normal.

Darkhouse is a thrilling and sexy new take on concepts like Supernatural and The X-Files, bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been inundated with the dead.

***Darkhouse and the Experiment in Terror series is a horror/romance for mature audiences only. Readers who are easily offended by harsh language should think twice about reading it.

Published March 10, 2012

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11356211-darkhouse

Favorite Quotes from the book: 

“Somehow by dealing with the dead, I had never felt so alive.” 

***

“Because sometimes I lie, Perry. We all lie, even you, but not everyone is brave enough to admit it.”  -Dex

***

“If there was a moment that determined the course of my future, I’m pretty sure this was it. I had two somewhat simple choices. I could make a run for it and go back to Uncle Al’s. Back to the bonfire where my cousins and dear sister would be drinking and revel in the normalcy of a Saturday night and forget I ever went to this horrid place and ran into this weirdo. Or I could go with said weirdo up the stairs in this decrepit old lighthouse, which was most likely condemned and unsafe, towards some unknown person (or thing) that was walking around, potentially waiting to murder us in horrific ways. 

It didn’t seem like a very hard decision to make. In fact, I think 99.7% of people in the right frame of mind would have picked from column A and gone on with their merry lives. But for some freaking crazy reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe I should go with this stranger up those kelp-ridden stairs and toward the lair of unimaginable horror. You know, because it was the more interesting alternative.” -Perry

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt & Giveaway for SALT

Today Danielle Ellison and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for SALT, releasing in early 2014! Check out the gorgeous cover, exclusive excerpt, and enter to win an eARC!

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Release Date: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen

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SALT by Danielle Ellison

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own. 

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for The Curse Keepers (Curse Keeper #1)

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The Curse Keepers (Curse Keeper #1) by Denise Grover Swank

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Published November 19, 2013

Genres: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17894256-the-curse-keepers?ac=1

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The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years. It’s about to come crashing down.

Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.

Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.

The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.

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All Hallows Eve Indie Blog Tour with Michelle Muto: Review & Giveaway

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I am so pleased to be part of the All Hallows Eve Indies Blog Tour and have the opportunity to introduce you to Michelle Muto, one of my favorite authors writing in the paranormal genre. Her book, The Haunting Seasonis a great spooky read to get you in the mood for Halloween.  Also enjoy the creepy photos Michelle took while visiting a supposedly haunted house and that inspired her creation of  the sinister Siler House, the setting for this book.

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Publication Date: December 2012

Genre: Paranormal

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Be careful what you let in…

Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead. 

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16141351-the-haunting-season?from_search=true

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Book Tour & Giveaway for Descent

This new series caught my eye and I look forward to reading Descent as soon as I have the opportunity. This is one I’ve definitely added to my reading list!

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by C.L. Roman

Cheri Roman is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and two Chihuahuas in St. Johns, Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publisher: The Brass Rag

Release Date: July 1, 2013

 

Book Description

When Captain Fomor leads his unit of six angelic warriors to Earth in an attempt to escape the war in Heaven, not only do they unwittingly set into motion the age of legends, but they must face an inescapable evil that threatens to destroy them, the humans they fall in love with, and the Earth itself.

Creating a new life on antediluvian Earth is no where near as simple as Fomor’s team had hoped it would be. A tragedy occurs early in their sojourn that convinces the seven that they must avoid both humans and fallen angels. But when they unexpectedly meet with the Nephilim, a tribe of unusual humans with unknown origins, the results are unprecedented. However, falling in love with humans is the least of The Unit’s problems.

Mankind is busily descending into a maelstrom of violence and profane religion. The Fallen, angels transformed into demons by their rebellion, have regrouped and are using the tattered remnants of their power to prey upon humankind in horrific ways. Not only is a demon demanding human sacrifice in a nearby village, but the world is careening towards a global disaster that not even The Unit can stop.

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Cover Reveal Blitz for Magic After Dark

Limited Time Offer!
This bundle will be on sale for $0.99! 
Regularly priced at $9.99
 
Dive into six different worlds of vampires, demons, fae, fairy godmothers, mages, and all things magic. 


Prepare for a wild ride, whether you’re looking for nail-biting drama, mystery, intense action, humor, new breeds of paranormals, or passionate romance. 

Book Blast & Giveaway for Shadowed (Dark Protectors #6)

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Release Date: October 3, 2013

Shadowed (Dark Protectors # 6) by Rebecca Zanetti

shadowed-ebookJase Kayrs was the fun brother.  The warm, charming, easy-going brother of the vampire leaders.  Until he was taken and tortured by demons with their evil mind tricks for nearly five years.  Upon his return, he’s dark, violent, and not the man they all thought they knew.  Not the man he once was.  He’s haunted that the only reason the demons would have let him live was to use him as a weapon against his family—but he can’t figure out when or how he’ll explode.  Plus, once again the demons are after Jase with a vengeance…or rather, a female demon he rejected is out to destroy him. 

Then the king asks Jase for a favor…a big one.  To mate with one of their allies in order to save her.  She’s everything that’s good and light in the world…while he’s at home with darkness.  Yet he agrees…knowing mating may be the only chance to save them both.

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Book Blitz: Review & Giveaway for The Twelfth Paladin

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The Twelfth Paladin by Nora Weston

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Publisher: Melange Books LLC

            Length: 242 pages

Purchase on Amazon: The Twelfth Paladin

Book Description

In The Twelfth Paladin, good against evil battles as an angel, demons, and a temptress extraordinaire, named Rachel Darnell, vie for the soul of Jake Cottrell. Jake foolishly dares Hell to burn him. Hell agrees.

Scarred with angelfire by a rebellious angel, named Micah, Jake Cottrell is sanctioned to become the twelfth paladin in Micah ‘s supernatural unit of slayers. However, regret abounds as Micah is banished and ordered to protect what he now despises a human he believes is unworthy of such an honor. Never fear, Jake is a seeker of mischief who soars on a blistering blacktop to escape the wrath of Hell while he transforms into the twelfth paladin.

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Watch the Book Trailer now!

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Book Review

In The Twelfth Paladin, Nora Weston puts a modern twist on the age old classic tale of good versus evil. Unlike some of those classic tales, however, the protagonist in this story, Jake Cottrell, isn’t depicted as an honorable, virtuous hero who does what’s right and resists evil temptations. No, Jake is a man who doesn’t hesitate to look the Devil, himself, in the eye and say, “Bring it on.”
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He isn’t overly concerned about what happens to his eternal soul; he’s just focused on mindlessly getting through each day working a dead-end job while living with an abusive, alcoholic father.  Danger, mischief, and women are the vices he seeks out in his free time.

So, when Jake finds himself caught in the middle of an eternal supernatural war between Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, angels and demons, well, let’s just say he doesn’t take it as seriously as he should.  Instead of turning toward the light, Jake embraces the darkness that begins to immerse him after a deadly motorbike accident that he barely survives.

Much of this story is told from Jake’s POV, which initially limits our understanding of the events taking place.  Jake has no idea that God has chosen him to become one of his mighty warriors, one of his paladins in the war against Satan.  Unbeknownst to Jake, his life changes when he decides to forfeit a win in a motocross race to help save a fellow racer in danger.  Instead of dying, God leaves Jake scarred by “angelfire,” a supernatural power that will help Jake to fight and kill demons that prey upon human souls.  However, before Jake can use his emerging powers, he must first awaken to this new role God has planned for him and realize his worthiness in God’s eyes. This will be a challenge for Jake since he has also drawn the attention of demons intent on stealing his soul for Satan.  To make things worse, Jake openly taunts these demons, initially welcoming the evil that descends upon him.  I like the use of Jake’s POV in building suspense as he gradually discovers the truth about the demons surrounding him.

I have to admit that I had a difficult time liking and connecting with Jake as the central character in this book.  His apathetic nature and foolish choices kept me frowning through much of the story. Yes, Jake had a difficult childhood. Being abandoned by a selfish mother who cared more for material possessions than her own son and being raised by an abusive alcoholic father has certainly played a role in the man he has become.  Even though I understood Jake hadn’t experienced much, if any, goodness, love, and support, I still wasn’t able to fully empathize with his character as much as I would have liked.  Now, upon further reflection, I have a sneaky suspicion this may have been one of Weston’s intentions.  Jake is a man easy to dislike, easy to fault, easy to judge…but who among us can really know and understand what’s in another’s heart and soul?  This is a prominent theme illustrated throughout the novel.

Micah, a powerful angelic warrior, is an important character in developing the plot and reinforcing this theme.  God has sent Micah to watch over and protect Jake as he struggles to escape darkness and find redemption before joining God’s army of supernatural slayers.   Micah is distressed over his new mission and grumbles about his fall from God’s favor:

“I had to argue with Him about Jake becoming the twelfth one…but that rogue is not paladin material. Lord, he’s scarcely human!” Feeling a sharp stab in his heart, Micah’s thoughts raced. Until I regain my loyalty to humans, and especially Jake, I’m damned to be on this planet without my command. And although I should’ve listened to God, I still believe Jake Cottrell is unworthy of service.”

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Although it was easy to see that Micah is too quick to judge, it took a bit of time for me to realize that I was being just like Micah in my assessment of Jake.  Both Micah and Jake are two well-developed, dynamic characters whose emotional growth infuses the story with a sense of hopefulness about our humanity.

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A part of being human is the frailty we have toward temptation, and Jake’s former high school classmate, Davis Travers, knows exactly how to entice Jake to embrace his sinful nature.  Davis loves to arouse feelings of self-doubt and jealousy in Jake, which makes him more vulnerable to the seductive demon temptress, Rachel, who has been sent by Davis to claim Jake’s soul.  Although Jake easily gives in to the sexual fantasies Rachel promises, these scenes are not explicit but, instead, focus more on Jake’s inner conflict, knowing what he’s doing is wrong, yet unable to physically resist this demon succubus with her own plans for Jake.

To retaliate against the evil Davis has inflicted upon Jake’s family and friends, Jake runs away with Angie, Davis’ fiancé.  Angie is basically a good person, but like everyone else in the story, she has flaws, and her choices have left her living in fear and darkness with Davis.  Just like Jake, Angie wants nothing more than to be free from the demonic hold Davis has on her.  Angie also becomes a powerful motivator for Jake to change:

“We checked into ‘Drifter’s’ knowing our lives had left the realm of so-called normalcy, but the conscious decision to change the future was made the first day I saw Angie at Davis’ mansion. From that point on, the look of sadness dwelling in Angie’s eyes, the haunting tone in her voice…forced me to reexamine my selfish existence. I could not release myself from caring about her. She was, in fact, special…and I was a better man when I was around her.”

I enjoyed the twist that Angie’s situation added to the story’s major conflict and loved seeing the impact she made in helping Jake move away from the darkness that had enveloped his life.

As Jake increasingly moves toward God’s light, the evil intensifies leading to Jake into the ultimate battle for his soul.  I found the resolution to be unified and satisfying in wrapping up the story.

Although the story had a solid, well-developed plot, I did have some issues with story’s POV and narration. Although the majority of the story is told from Jake’s limited POV, at times the author switches to the perspective of other characters, such as Micah and Davis. This is fine except that in a few places, the POV becomes unclear as this sentence illustrates:  “Although, Davis Travers had no idea Jake had planned to be eating, sleeping, and in good spirits with his stolen, virgin bride. Was Angie Helms worth the boundless reprisal of Hell? Let’s hope so.” I’m not sure who “us” is in reference to the story.

Another aspect I found problematic is the use of both past and present tense in narrating the story. Jake tells the story as if it has already happened, and, at times, he interjects his own reflective commentary about what he knows to be true now. These reflective comments are helpful in establishing conflict, foreshadowing, and building suspense. Unfortunately, when Jake describes events in past tense and then reacts to them in present tense, I found that the switch disrupted the flow of the story. Here is an example:

“I enjoyed my reckless ride to work on a long forgotten state road, feeling the need for speed. If only I could forget what I’ve done…who I am. To my surprise… “Wham!” A tree had fallen on the road. I tried to stop, but my skin ate asphalt as I skidded off the road to fall over a steep rocky hill. There I was in the boonies, hanging on to a tree limb for dear life. “Am I screwed or what? This is ridiculous! What am I to do?” Well I really couldn’t move. I was stuck.”

I would have preferred that the author used the past tense consistently. I know the present tense can help intensify a scene’s drama, but this switch became awkward for me as a reader.

Overall, I am glad I read this book; I enjoyed the complexity of Jake’s character, the suspenseful storyline, and overall, how Weston made me think about my own perceptions of others.

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I received a copy of this book from the author via Book and Trailer Showcase in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

*****

Excerpt from The Twelfth Paladin

Jake Cottrell survived a Motocross accident due to intervention from a rebellious angel, named Micah. Ordered to do so, but done half-heartedly, Micah scarred Jake with angelfire during the accident that was supposed to claim Jake’s life. Angelfire transforms humans into supernatural warriors. Practically healed at this point, Jake accepts an invitation to meet some friends at a local carnival, but nothing is as it seems…

“Jake Cottrell is that you, old buddy?” Not a shadow by any definition, a tall man appeared from out of the darkness. He walked closer saying, “It is you, right, Jake?”

“Yeah, who the hell are you?”

“It’s me, Davis Travers. Have you forgotten hanging out behind Zeke’s and the state football championship our senior year? Man, we pounded the shit out of the Wolverines.” He put his hand out for me to shake. “We go back a long way.”

I shook his icy-cold hand. “Davis, it is you. You moron, were you trying to give me a heart attack?” I asked with my usual tactfulness.

“No, just trying to catch you, that’s all. Walk with me.”

We walked further into the middle of the carnival.

The lights sparkled, shining across Davis’ eyes…making them glow in an unnatural way. At times, he squinted trying to block the flashing streams of rainbows.

“Okay, are you cranked on something? Your eyes look like they’re about to pop,” I said thinking he was tripping out.

“Nah, some lights drive me insane. I prefer darkness since my laser surgery. Oh, never mind, it’ll all work out. Come on, I know someone you need to meet.” With a sense of urgency, he showed me the way to a black tent glowing with a dim blue light from within it.

We stood just outside of the tent.

“Davis, where have you been? I haven’t seen you in six years or so.”

“I’ll fill you in, later. Follow me, and you’ll descend into a world filled with more pleasure than you could ever dream of…hurry, Jasmine is ravishing.”

Just the way Davis uttered Jasmine tempted me to see who she was. “You promise?”

“Well, Napoleon said, ‘the best way to keep one’s word…is not to give it.’ Although, I remember you used to love screwing around with anything you shouldn’t.” Peeling back one side of the black tent, Davis smiled welcoming Jasmine’s eerie, blue light. “Dare to enter her world?” He stared at me with eyes full of arrogance and then chuckled like he knew something I didn’t.

Davis understood I wouldn’t refuse a dare…yet, right before I entered that tent, I glanced up. The full moon looked abnormally huge, and menacing clouds were about to digestthe moonlight. Thunder and lightning crackled in the far distant sky, while the wind whirled as though I was its target. For about seven seconds, a tantalizing, spicy scent captivated me, but I sensed it was loaded with poison. I acknowledged my curiosity thinking, Hum, Mother Nature is pissed. It’s as though there is a war going on up there. More often than not, I didn’t care about such things, but this night felt mystical.

We entered the tent.

Jasmine’s cat-like eyes caught me off guard, as did her sleek black gown molding around a body any goddess would attempt to covet. Dark locks fell around her dolled-up face as she walked over to Davis and smashed her pink lips onto his. She kissed him long and hard. Freeing herself, Jasmine teased us with graceful moves like running her hands through her long, shiny hair. “So, my darling, you’ve brought me a treat for tonight?” she asked with a strong accent, possibly Romanian.

Davis grabbed her and kissed her again as though her lips belonged only to him. He pulled Jasmine against his body smothering her with his confidence. Davis played with her like she was merely a toy.

I could tell they were more than just first time acquaintances and felt somewhat like a voyeur…I mean, for crying out loud, get a room.

In-between kisses, Davis whispered, “Yes, baby. This is Jake Cottrell. Read for him okay? I’m dying for some entertainment.”

Jasmine approached me, snatched my right hand, and placed it around her gold adorned neck. Moving my hand down her body, she said, “Sure, I’ll read for you, and this one is on me. Come.” She motioned for me to sit by a small table draped with various colored, silk scarves. The table had a blue crystal ball positioned in the center of a circle made by five black candles all tied together with silver ribbon.

Without any sense of wrongdoing, or thought I may be dabbling with danger even too risky for the likes of me, I sat down and then stared across the table at Jasmine. “Okay, go ahead and read my future.” Smiling, I clutched onto Jasmine’s hands like nothing she saw could possibly affect me.

Jasmine’s dark green eyes intensified making me feel vulnerable, like my skin was nothing more than clear, plastic wrap. Her crystal ball glowed bluer as pure white light shot out from the top of it. The warm light split up into thousands of hair-like strands, which proceeded to wrap themselves around my stinging flesh. A satisfying, but powerful aroma gobbled up the carnival smell once present.

I couldn’t speak, felt immobile in every physical aspect, yet my mind burned. Things about my ridiculous childhood appeared throughout my mind much like a movie. Tender moments shared with Tony were especially heartfelt to see, like the day he showed us our new home. After that, I remembered when my mother left us, and our life mirrored the underworld. Sadness just about asphyxiated me. Out of nowhere, the sorrow left as I relived the surreal accident at the Motocross Track. For a second, I was dead and descending into Hell.

At last, relief came to me as Jasmine released her hands from mine. As fast as a lightning bolt, the white light retracted back into her crystal ball. “My, my, Jake Cottrell,” she said patting her lovely chest.

“What did you see? Am I going to win a lottery or something?” Standing up to leave, I acted like nothing had happened.

Jasmine came to me and then placed her delicate hand on my right shoulder. A half-smile disappeared when she leaned in to whisper, “Surely you will fall into darkness, before you willingly bathe in the glory of the light. All in due time, Jake Cottrell.”

Faster than Tony could empty a bottle of whiskey, goose-bumps consumed my skin. “Stop it. How’d you know I dreamed that?”

Inches from my face, Jasmine ran her black nails along my jaw. “You’ve been scarred with angelfire. Your right shoulder I believe? A war is going on, but you won’t accept you’re the twelfth one, will you?” She laughed, dancing about the tent looking more like a medieval witch than a modern-day carnival gypsy. “I hope you’re ready for the ride of your life…because it’s coming.” Jasmine spun around faster as the candles flared and her cackle grew more intense.

*****

About the Author

AuthorNora Weston’s fiction and poetry slips in-between and all around science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her publishing credits include the novels Guardian 2632 and The Twelfth Paladin, plus anthologies, magazines, and e-zines. Themes found in Nora’s work relate to good against evil, Internet safety, the powerful consequences for one’s actions, and the ability we all possess to improve the world. She’s had the pleasure of reaching people through the airwaves on radio stations throughout the US. Recently, her work was published for Bête Noire and Crack the Spine. Feel free to download previous interviews and segments from Desmond Haas/Romance Radio Network and Blog Talk Radio’s Not Picture Perfect, plus B.K. Walker has interviewed Nora on Blog Talk Radio as well. Contact Nora Weston: noraweston.nw@gmail.com

Links for Nora Weston

Author’s Site | Blog | Youtube |Facebook | Twitter: almostsanelady

Additional Buy Links for The Twelfth Paladin

Melange Books

Amazon.com

Bookdepository.com

*****

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