Thursday, April 26, 2018

April A-Z: Vanished in the Night

Vanished in the Night

by Lynette Eason

Someone is after her and her baby…

Danger returns to Wrangler’s Corner

After saving Kaylee Martin from abduction and delivering her baby boy on the side of the road, Dr. Joshua Crawford can’t get them out of his mind. Unfortunately, neither can Kaylee’s violent stalker. He’ll stop at nothing to get to the new mom and her child. Can Joshua keep them safe so they can become the family he’s dreamed about?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April A-Z: Unanchored

39282902

Unanchored

Cecily Hastings fails to escape her captor when he gambles her away in a game of dice. Now, instead of getting her first taste of freedom, she’s rotting in a cell on the Hellbound, a pirate ship under the command of Captain Finnigan Worley. Cecily, however, has no plans of sticking around with a captain known for his heartless deeds.

As soon as they make port, Cecily attempts to alert the Royal Navy. While trying to get away, she stumbles upon Captain Worley liberating people from a life of abuse and servitude, which makes her question everything she thought she knew about the infamous buccaneer.

Soon she’s recaptured and taken back to the ship, and Cecily vows to figure out the captain’s humanitarian angle. The more she learns, the more she believes in his benevolent mission. With the Royal Navy closing in, she must decide if she’s willing to fight beside Captain Worley or turn him over to the gallows for a chance at her own freedom.

Blog Tour: Song of Blood and Stone

“This debut, which won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award, shines a bright light into epic fantasy. Battle-scarred lands and peoples, ancient powers at war, star-crossed loves and hints of racial and refugee themes gives this a solid place on library shelves.” —Library Journal, STARRED review

“Penelope parallels our own world, exploring a refugee crisis and race relations with emotion and nuance…Fresh, suspenseful, and perceptive, Penelope’s first in a new series will appeal to historical-fantasy readers, especially fans of N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.” —Booklist

“”Penelope delivers an engrossing story with delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a promising series.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“L. Penelope’s page-turning apocalyptic epic SONG OF BLOOD & STONE does what fantasy does best: provide epic plots, epic world-building and epic myth. A rewarding, carefully crafted read.” —The Root

Song of Blood & Stone_cover imageSONG OF BLOOD & STONE Earthsinger Chronicles: Book One By L. Penelope

From the very first pages of her debut, L. Penelope delivers as a new force in the fantasy genre. The first book in the historical fantasy Earthsinger series was originally self-published, earning a quick fan base, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award and a starred Publishers Weekly review calling it a “fantastic opening to a promising series”. Now traditionally published to kick off the new series, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE (St. Martin’s Press; May 1, 2018) is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. With the world building of Brandon Sanderson, the romance of Ilona Andrews, the epic quest of Lord of the Rings, and the doomed star-crossed love of Romeo & Juliet, the start of the Earthsinger series has something to keep any reader entranced for books to come.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs

Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

As a reader, it’s not common to come across a truly original world, but Penelope manages to do just that in SONG OF BLOOD & STONE. In the vein of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, Penelope “shines a bright light into epic fantasy” (Booklist) and bridges the gap between the world of romance and fantasy. Inspired by religion and folklore, Penelope develops the start to what will be a series that will take readers by a storm.

About the Author Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

SONG OF BLOOD & STONE Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One By L. Penelope Published by St. Martin’s Press **On Sale May 1, 2018** Hardcover | $26.99 ISBN: 9781250148070| Ebook ISBN: 9781250148087

For more information or to set up an interview with the author, contact: Brittani Hilles at brittani.hilles@stmartins.com or 646-307-5558

More early praise for SONG OF BLOOD & STONE:

“Wonderful characters, unique setting, and an engaging romance set against the backdrop of ancient magic. I can’t wait to see what L. Penelope will do next.” —Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Prepare to be hooked. SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is brimming with captivating lore, unique magic, and plot-turns you never saw coming. L. Penelope has written your next fantasy obsession.” —Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of The Loom Saga

“Set against a backdrop of myth and magic, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping tale of love, duty and destiny that feels as urgent as it does timeless.” —Rebecca Roanhorse, author of TRAIL OF LIGHTNING

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is an enchanting journey through a world more relevant than ever. Wars between Gods, romance, action—it’s everything I love all at once.” —K Arsenault Rivera, author of THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping journey of magic, romance, sacrifice, and self-discovery. These heartwarming characters, their trials and adventures, and their love for each other will stay with you long after the book ends.” —Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicles

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a thrilling and complex journey through a beautifully rendered world that is imaginative, magical, and eerily similar to our own. A terrific read!” —Daniel Jose Older, New York Times bestselling author

“Great characters, beautiful writing, incredible world building.” —Ann Aguirre, New York Times Bestselling Author

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER TWO

Jackal and Monkey stood at the edge of a wide canyon. Monkey asked, If I leap and make it to the other side, was that my destiny or merely my good luck?

Jackal replied, Our destiny can be taken in hand, molded, and shaped, while chance makes foolishness out of whatever attempts to control it. Does this make destiny the master of luck?

—collected folktales

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year.

The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­ saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts.

His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first

 

l. penelope

 

he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ ing in, his muscle memory ofended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?

Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle.

The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.

“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­ self.

There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or song of blood & stone

she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth.

“You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the efort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ ant to look at.

He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­ sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.”

She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him.

“You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.

“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said. “I doubt that.”

Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again. “The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”

 

l. penelope

 

“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.”

She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless.

He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.”

Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to find shelter.”

She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.

“What is that?”

“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.”

He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”

“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”

“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

Review: This book is so good! I loved the characters, and the world-building is fantastic! I was at first drawn in by the beautiful cover, but after reading the blurb, I couldn’t wait to read it! Just a few pages in, and I knew I was going to like this one.

Jasminda has a special gift, one that could get her killed. When soldiers stay at her house, and bring a prisoner, she realizes that maybe she isn’t so different from this prisoner, and has an instant connection with him. Jack is on an important mission, he’s a spy who unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunatly?) gets caught and has a chance incounter with Jasminda.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie BeyL. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is the author of fantasy and paranormal romance with characters who match the real world. Her debut novel, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE, won the 2016 Self-Publishing eBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The fantasy series was picked up by St. Martin’s Press for publication starting 2018.

Blog Tour: Lie To Me

 

We are so excited to be sharing the release of #1 New York Times bestselling author Natasha Preston’s LIE TO ME with you today. LIE TO ME is a brand new standalone contemporary romance lovers won’t want to miss–be sure to grab your copy today!

 

About LIE TO ME

At nineteen, Savannah Dean escaped her family, leaving behind a note and the people who caused her so much pain.

Now, she lives on her own and keeps to herself.

At nineteen, Kent Lawson’s girlfriend betrayed him, leaving him behind with a broken heart and a whole lot of mistrust in women.

Now, he lives on his own and shares himself with nearly every pretty thing that walks by but only for one night.

When Savannah and Kent meet, they can’t stand each other.

Kent knows she’s hiding something, and he despises liars.

And Savannah has nothing but secrets.

Add LIE TO ME to your Goodreads TBR here!

 

Grab your copy of LIE TO ME today!

Amazon US / Amazon UK / iBooks / B&N / Kobo

 

 

Read an excerpt from LIE TO ME

 

Wednesday rolls around way too fast. I have a whole evening with Savannah. It’s been really nice these past four days that she’s been out of my life. Yet, the whole time, I’ve been craving the way we snip at each other.

I need help.

I cut my engine outside her building and look up. Apparently, she lives up on the first floor and faces out toward the road.

Is she looking at me right now?

Why I feel the need to get out and buzz her apartment, I don’t know, but somehow, I find myself getting out of the car and walking toward the building. I stop at the front door, realising that Heidi told me what floor Savannah is on but not the number. Or she might have told me, and I just didn’t listen.

This is a great start.

I’m about to call my sister when I see Savannah through the glass, walking down the stairs to ground level.

Fuck me.

Has she always looked like that?

She’s wearing a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and a grey off-the-shoulder shirt, but she looks sexier than any other woman I’ve ever seen in a little dress.

Why don’t I like her again?

Her steely eyes, looking even more prominent with the colour of her top, warily eye me. Our last encounter wasn’t exactly pleasant.

She opens the door and smiles. “Hi, Kent.”

My back stiffens. “Savannah.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind taking me tonight? I can Uber.”

And there it is. This is why she fucking bothers me so much. I feel like telling her to call a fucking Uber then. She always sounds so unsure of herself, like every tiny thing a person does for her is some massive inconvenience. Why?

“It’s fine,” I spit.

She folds her arms, carefully because her fractured arm hasn’t healed. It does take away a little of the dramatic flair she was going for. “Do you need to take a nap before we go?”

“What?”

“You’re cranky.”

“You’re too polite.”

“Being polite is a bad thing?”

I flex my jaw. “Yes.”

“Fine. Get in the car, and take me.”

The intent behind her words is clear; however, I hear it completely different and laugh.

She rolls her eyes. “Don’t be a knobhead, Kent. Take me to your parents’ house, I mean.”

“Knobhead. I’ve not heard that one in a while.”

Savannah takes another long breath. “I really don’t know why I thought accepting a lift from you would be a good idea. In fact, I didn’t. I stillthink it’s a bad idea.”

“You always follow through with bad ideas?”

“Tonight, I am.”

Fuck yeah. I love this fighting side of her. It’s like, when I rile her up enough, the cover slips, revealing the real Savannah. I’m not sure if she’s hiding something the way Freya was.

“You should work on that. I don’t do anything I don’t want to.”

She tilts her head to the side, fire and determination in her eyes. “Oh, you wanted me to come tonight? And you wanted to be the one to pick me up?”

“You’re hot when you’re angry, Savannah.”

Actually, she’s hot all the time. It’s just, right now, she’s the whole package.

“You always use bullshit like that to deflect from someone calling you out?”

“You’re the first woman to call me out.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” she mutters.

“Do you want to argue on your doorstep all night or get to my parents’ for dinner? I’m cool with either, just checking to see which way you’re leaning.”

She drops her arms, one still bound tightly in a splint. “I’m hungry.”

“Excellent, let’s go then.”

 

 

Don’t miss Natasha Preston’s other contemporary romance reads!

Silence / Broken Silence / Players, Bumps & Cocktail Sausages / Reliving Fate / Second Chance / Our Chance / With the Band / Save Me

Review:  Kent and Savannah have such a powerful story, and I loved seeing their journey. This books isn’t just a love story, it’s more about healing and learning to trust and love than it is about simply falling in-love.

Kent and Savannah are both hurt and realing from past relationships. It’s so beautiful to see not only the main characters, but also family and some otehr supproting characters in this story, showing how we build our own families as we travel through life.

 

About NATASHA PRESTON

UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she stumbled across an amateur writing site and uploaded her first story and hasn’t looked back since.

She enjoys writing contemporary romance, gritty Young Adult thrillers and, of course, the occasional serial killer.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Monday, April 23, 2018

ARC Review: Rodeo Standoff

36704174

Rodeo Standoff (McKade Law #2)

The rodeo arena is always treacherous. Now it’s deadly…

It’s no accident Deputy Tessa McKade is trapped with an angry bull ready to trample her to death. She quickly realizes that McKade Law is no longer enough to keep her safe—and it’s her rescuer, Braden Hayes, who stands in as her bodyguard. As they seek to stop a would-be killer, Braden will have to use all his professional skills to guard Tessa’s life.

*I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not affect my review.*

This is the first of my time reading anything by Susan Sleeman, but I’ve been a long time fan of LoveInspired Suspense reads, and was excited to read this one. From the opening scene, I knew I would enjoy her writing style. From the beginning Tessa is in danger, and Braden quickly comes to the rescue. I enjoyed the whole McKade family, and am excited this is part of a series!

The criminals in this one are all interesting, and they all had reasons to want to hurt Tessa, and to cost her another championship. I enjoyed the fact that this story kept me guessing, and I was surprised at the end.

I also enjoyed how Tessa and Braden are both guarded, and not looking for anything romantic, though it seems God has other plans. They learned to accept and respect each other as friends and co-workers before anything romantic. I feel it added another layer of depth to their relationship, and to the story in general.