Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday: "The Burning Page," by Genevieve Cogman

Welcome to What I'm Reading Wednesday! This week, I'm reading the third in the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. I greatly enjoyed the first two books in the series—great stories with plenty of humor and action—and am really enjoying this one, too!

The Burning Page
by Genevieve Cogman


Never judge a book by its cover...


Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency to find both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle...

Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.

With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her...

What are you reading this week?



Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

SEVEN SUPER FOOTBALL ROMANCES Box Set Blast: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon or iBooks Gift Card

It's almost time for the big game!


Whether or not your team is playing this Sunday, you need some romance to go with those hot wings. We've got it right here: seven SUPER football romances, love stories that go the distance and score that extra point every time. The box set includes:

Patricia Burroughs: Some Enchanted Season ~ In this doomed, yet enchanted, football season, dare they hope something magical can happen that will last forever?

Jami Davenport: Blindsided ~ A temporary marriage knocked him off his game, but love blindsided him.

Ann Jacobs: The Rookie ~ Rookie quarterback sets his sights on Marauders cheerleader.

Tawdra Kandle: When We Were Us ~ All's fair in love and football.

Nicola Marsh: Bold ~ Aussie Rules? There are no rules in the game of love.

Liz Matis: Guarding the Quarterback ~ Miss Congeniality meets the The Bodyguard.

Holly Roberts: Play ~ Love scores when you least expect it and winning is everything.

Get your copy here!







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Monday, January 30, 2017

New Year - New Novels Blast and Giveaway for a $25 Gift Card!

WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR - NEW NOVELS BLAST! 

Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the Buy Links!


Novels Available for Pre-Order!

RABT Book Tours - As You Lay Sleeping  RABT Book Tours - Crashing Into Me  RABT Book Tours - No Second Chances  RABT Book Tours - Sheik's Rule



Novels Currently Available!


RABT Book Tours - Jigsaw Hearts   RABT Book Tours - And Then Mine Enemy  RABT Book Tours - Grey Cloudy Lies
RABT Book Tours - The Grizzly's Tale  RABT Book Tours - Making Bad Choices  RABT Book Tours - Unbreakable Heart  RABT Book Tours - The Knight


Enter the Giveaway

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Want to learn more about RABT Book Tours? 

Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday: "A Twist in Time," by Julie McElwain

Welcome to What I'm Reading Wednesday! This week, I am thrilled to be reading an advance reading copy (ARC) of...

A Twist in Time
by Julie McElwain

When Kendra Donovan’s plan to return to the 21st century fails, leaving her stranded in 1815, the Duke of Aldridge believes he knows the reason―she must save his nephew, who has been accused of brutally murdering his ex-mistress.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: In London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec―Kendra’s confidante and lover―has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.

Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past―which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.

As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm―and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.

From Susan: This book is a sequel to A Murder in Time. It can be read as a stand-alone because each book is an entirely different mystery that is solved at the end of the book, although reading the first book helps in getting to know the characters and details about Kendra's being stranded in another time. I absolutely love both of these books and can't wait for more Kendra Donovan mysteries from Julie McElwain! You can pre-order A Twist in Time, which releases on April 4, 2017.



Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

Spotlight and Print Giveaway: "Illusions of Magic," by J.B. Rivard

02_illusions-of-magic

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago by J.B. Rivard

Publication Date: April 17, 2016
eBook; 233 Pages
ASIN: B01EGSC8N8

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery


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The withering of vaudeville was bad enough in 1933. Because of the Great Depression, bookings for stage magician Nick Zetner disappeared. With his marriage cracking under the strain, Nick reluctantly accepts a devious banker’s deal: He earns a generous reward if he retrieves photos stolen during a break-in at the bank. Along the way, a love he thought he’d forever lost reappears. Despite his skill in the arts of magic, penetrating the realm of the thieves grows increasingly perilous, especially when it endangers his newfound romance.

Illusions of Magic seamlessly merges this tale with the true-life assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt resulting in Chicago’s mayor, Anton Cermak, being shot. His lingering death and a lack of legal means for his replacement causes great civic and social upheaval in the city.

In modern style, this novel propels the reader through emotional highs and subterranean lows with knife-edged dialogue, easy humor, page-turning action and authentic history.

“Illusions of Magic, set in Chicago in early 1933, does a masterful job of telling the highly entertaining love story between an out-of-work magician and his old flame.... Rivard creates a historically accurate background for his cast of fascinating characters, creating a moving novel....” —Dr. Willard Oliver, Professor at Sam Houston State University and co-author of Killing the President


“Illusions of Magic, a story of political intrigue in 1930s Chicago, is written in an informative, yet entertaining style. Rivard weaves into his narrative the true story of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak’s murder and he does it with accuracy and complete authenticity.... Each chapter powers along, insisting you read ‘just one more’ part. The taut writing has a ‘made for the movies’ tension....” —Mel Ayton, author of The Forgotten Terrorist and Hunting the President


[The] attempted assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in ... 1933 ... is part of the dramatic backdrop of Rivard's fast-paced and punchy novel.... Nick Zetner's adventures, part screwball comedy and part Dashiell Hammett, combine with the richly authentic atmosphere of the setting to create a quick and very enjoyable read that smoothly intermingles Nick's love life with a challenging case he takes on for a corrupt banker. The book reads like a breath of fresh air -- recommended.” Joanna Urquhart, Historical Novel Society


03_j-b-rivardAbout the Author

Almost everyone is familiar with the illustrations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. However, the number of illustrated novels published -- for adult readers -- declined steadily from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, although not for lack of popularity. Illusions of Magic dares a return to the edgy, swirling arts of the illustrated story, with pen and ink illustrations by the novel's author, Joseph B. "J.B." Rivard, supplementing this exciting story.

As a young child, Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school's award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He's an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City.

Rivard's writing draws on wide experience -- he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the engineering staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored many technical papers listed on Google Scholar. His broad background supports a wide array of significant publications, from short stories to song lyrics, from essays to novels. He calls Spokane, Washington home.

For more information, please visit the Illusions of Magic website.

Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 9
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 10
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Wednesday, January 11
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, January 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, January 13
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, January 17
Interview at The Maiden's Court
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, January 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, January 19
Review at Laura's Interests

Friday, January 20
Review at Broken Teepee

Monday, January 23
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, January 24
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, January 25
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, January 26
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 27
Review & Interview at Quitterstrip

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of Illusions of Magic by J.B. Rivard, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 27, 2017. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Illusions of Magic


Friday, January 20, 2017

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: "The Tick Tock Man," by R.M. Clark


Today, R.M. Clark and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THE TICK TOCK MAN, which releases May 2, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!


A quick note from the author:

The Tick Tock Man is my first foray into the world of speculative fiction. Here in New England, we are fortunate to have many wonderful clocks around. We have clocks in church steeples, parks, above banks and other locations. My idea for this story came from a simple "what if." What if there were a community of "clock people" who kept all these great clocks running? Furthermore, what could go wrong? Then I made something go wrong and the story "clicked." The Tick Tock Man takes place primarily in this fictional clock world, but the issues, conflicts and resolutions are not unlike those in the real world.



Title: THE TICK TOCK MAN
Author: R.M. Clark
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: TantrumBooks
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 237
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

When the clocks in town stop, thirteen-year-old CJ discovers an unusual "clock world" where most of the citizens are clock parts, tasked with keeping the big clocks running. But soon the seemingly peaceful world is divided between warring factions with CJ instructed to find the only person who can help: the elusive Tick Tock Man.

With the aid of Fuzee, a partly-human girl, he battles gear-headed extremists and razor-sharp pendulums in order to restore order before this world of chimes, springs, and clock people dissolves into a massive time warp, taking CJ's quiet New England town with it.


Excerpt




Chapter One




Something wasn’t right.




I’d planned on sleeping in Thanksgiving morning because, hey, it was Thanksgiving, and that meant no school and no stupid alarm to wake me up. Well, that was the plan.




At precisely eight a.m., the clock sitting a mere two feet from my head wailed.




Thunka thunka thunka thunka.




Stupid clock. That wasn’t even a real alarm sound. It was just an invented strange noise to annoy me. I checked the buttons on top. No alarm set and no radio. Maybe it was a dream? Just to be sure, I gave the clock a good whack.




All was well. Back to sleep.




Bonka bonka bonka bonka.




Now it was nine o’clock. I sat up and grabbed the clock with every intention of tossing it against the back wall. What a pleasure it would have been to see it smash into a million pieces. I win!




But, this clock was a birthday present from Uncle Artie. He’d said it was “a special clock for a special kid.” I didn’t like being called “special” because that had a different meaning at school. But it was a cool clock.




Until now. I mean, what kind of noise was that? Certainly not the alarm sound I was used to.




I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy not-real-clock noise Uncle Artie’s “special” clock would make next. So I got out of bed.




Since it was Thanksgiving, I was not at all surprised to see my mom up and in the kitchen. The turkey was on the counter in a large pan. Her arm was halfway up the turkey’s you-know-what. Not what I wanted to see this early in the morning, thank you very much.




“Good morning,” Mom said. “You’re up early.”




“Couldn’t sleep.” I wanted to mention the special-but-stupid clock that made strange noises at weird times, but she had grabbed another handful of stuffing and stuffed it “up there.”




“We’ll need a few guest chairs from the basement when you get a chance. Nana and Papa are coming over, of course. Plus Grandma and Grandpa Boyce. And Uncle Artie too.”




“Sure thing, Mom.” I was barely awake and she was already asking me to do math. Nobody was coming over for quite a while, so I wouldn’t need the, let’s see, two-plus-two-plus-one chairs for several hours. I had tons of time.




What better way to spend it than on the couch watching TV? It would probably be the most fun I would have all day, with both sets of grandparents coming over. It was annoying enough that they had different titles: “Nana and Papa” on the Barnes side, “Grandma and Grandpa” on the Boyce side.




Then there was Uncle Artie. He wasn’t really an uncle but that’s what we always called him. I’ve also heard him called a “distant cousin,” whatever that means. He said his job as an “importer” took him around the world to some pretty exotic places such as Vienna and Timbuktu and South America. No matter what faraway land he went to, he almost always brought us back a clock. We had wooden clocks, metal clocks, cuckoo clocks, and some that were just too odd to describe. Mom would open a package from him and say, “Hey, look. It’s a clock. Imagine that.”




Each clock came with a wonderful story, so my parents loved to get them for just that reason. Unfortunately, both of them hated having all those clocks, with their constant ticking and chiming, so we kept them stashed away in the spare room upstairs until Uncle Artie came to visit. And since he was on his way, I sat up, knowing what was coming next. In three … two … one.




“CJ! Your Uncle Artie’s coming over, so you’ll need to set the clocks out.” Mom could sure belt it out when she needed to.




I knew the drill. I went to the spare room, pulled the special box out of the closet, and lugged it down the stairs. The crescent moon clock went in the living room, replacing a family portrait, which was fine with me since I looked like a dork in that picture, anyway. There was a special cuckoo clock for the bathroom that was pretty cool. The doors on the upper level opened at the top of the hour, revealing either a boy dancer or girl dancer. I set the correct time and adjusted the weights at the end of a long chain to keep the gears going. Six clocks later, I had completed the task, finishing it off in Dad’s basement shop with a clock made from a circular saw blade.




Uncle Artie’s favorite saying was, “You can never have too many clocks.” On this Thanksgiving Day, it was certainly true, even though I was sure my parents would disagree. Not me. Although I never paid a lot of attention to the clocks, I felt something strange as I took each one from the box and hung it in its rightful spot. The crescent moon clock had two huge eyes, one on the crescent side and the other on the orange side that completed the circle. The eyes were painted on but I swear they followed me as I moved around the room.




I double-checked the time on the cuckoo clock in the bathroom and admired the details in it. The entire clock was a house from a German village, with people dressed in lederhosen on the lower level. Lucky for me it was the top of the hour and the clock chimed, revealing the bird from a door at the top and children dancing in the two small doors just below it. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? What awesome detail!




I completed the clock replacement task, storing the non-clock items in the same box and returning it to the spare bedroom. That practically wore me out, so it was back to the couch. The smell from the great stuff Mom was cooking drifted into the room, reminding me I hadn’t eaten yet.




“I made you some scrambled eggs.” Mom smiled as I entered the kitchen.




“Thanks. I’m starving.”




She held out a plate then pulled it back, still smiling. “Just as soon as you bring up the chairs from the basement.”




This wasn’t fair, but it was the second time she’d asked. The third time would not be as charmed. On my way to the basement, I realized my early morning math was wrong. There were four chairs already in the dining room, so I only needed four more. I could easily get them all in one trip.




I passed Dad’s shop right at 10:30 and the heard the blade clock begin to make noise. I turned on the shop light to get a good look and, sure enough, the blade was slowly turning. Clockwise, not surprisingly. Even stranger was that the numbers never moved as the blade turned. A few seconds later, it stopped and went back to normal. Another clock I had never paid much attention to was suddenly freaking out. I hurried back upstairs with two chairs on each arm.




I got my scrambled eggs, finally.




***




At 11:00, things got even weirder. Dad was up by now, sitting in front of his computer, but that wasn’t the weird part. When the hour struck, the crescent moon clock made a strange clicking noise, and those crazy eyes began to wink at me. The painted-on lips between the four and eight went from a Mona Lisa smile to a full-blown grin. I wanted to say something to Mom or Dad, but who would believe me? I went into the bathroom, and the boy and girl dancers in the German village twirled next to each other while the bird stayed home. This was quickly moving into “bizarre” territory. It didn’t help when my watch—another gift from Uncle Artie—started chiming a sound I had never heard before. I took it off and stuffed it in my pocket. Problem solved.




***




I played video games in the back room, trying my best not to look at or listen to any of the suddenly crazy clocks in the house. It was working too, as I finished off another level of Mortal Warfare IV.




“CJ,” my mom called. “Please set the table.”




“Okay. Just one more level.” I sat up as the battle intensified.




“Now would be better. They’ll be here in less than an hour to watch the football game.”




“I’m on it.” I made it past the gatekeeper to complete the level, which allowed me to save my spot in the game.




I grabbed plates and set them out on the table. I took one plate and placed it on the TV tray next to the window. That’s where I would sit. The rule was: adults at the big table and kids somewhere else. Sometimes it was a card table when my cousins showed up. Since I was the only kid this year, I would have to settle for a TV tray.




My mom’s cell phone rang, and she talked with the phone squeezed against her shoulder as she mixed something in a large bowl. She stopped mid-mix and put the bowl down. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Her voice was all serious. She walked out of the room before I could hear any more of it.




I returned to my table-setting duties, grabbing forks, knives, and napkins. The smell of turkey and all the fixings hit me hard as I placed the silverware around the table. Maybe all this work would be worth it. I took another whiff. Maybe.




Mom returned to the kitchen, put the phone down, and stopped stirring.




“Mom, you okay?”




She looked up at me with moist eyes. “Uncle Artie is in the hospital and can’t make it for Thanksgiving. He hasn’t missed one since your dad and I have been married.” She dabbed her eyes with her apron. “Fortunately, it’s nothing serious and my parents are heading there right now, so they can’t make it until the weekend. I’d better go tell your father. Looks like we’ll only need five plates at the table.”




No Nana and Papa Barnes? No Uncle Artie? I truly hoped Uncle Artie was okay, but this was my big chance to sit at the head of the table, something I’ve always wanted to do. The head chair was bigger and had arms, and it felt like a throne. Uncle Artie always got the honors while I was stuck with the TV tray under the window.




I followed Mom out to the garage where Dad was cleaning out the van, getting it ready for our traditional late-afternoon drive. Dad didn’t seem too bummed to hear the news about Uncle Artie or his in-laws. He barely looked up as he polished the dashboard. “Yeah, well, sorry to hear about Uncle Artie. He’s never down for very long.”




The time was right to pounce. “Mom? Dad?”




Dad turned toward me and nearly bumped his head on the visor. “Yes?”




“I wish Uncle Artie was coming today, I really do.” I tried my best to act like I was crying. It must have worked because I felt my throat tightening. “His are some tough shoes to fill, but I bet he’d want me to sit in his spot at the head of table. After all, he gave me this watch for my birthday last year.” I pulled it out of my pocket to show them. “And we have the same middle name and everything.” I, Carlton James Boyce, was merely guessing at his middle name, hoping neither of my parents knew the truth. “Please? I think I’ve earned it.”




Neither of them thought about it for too long. “It’s all yours, kid,” Dad said as he leaned on the roof of the van.




“Remember your manners at the table,” Mom said. “Uncle Artie would want it that way.”




Manners? Oh, please. Uncle Artie smoked a lot, drank a lot, and sometimes swore a lot. In spite of all that, he was my favorite relative. Over the years, besides the watches and clocks, he had given me several toy cars, baseball cards, stuffed animals, and even a five-dollar bill. These gifts were always “our little secret.” Plus, he told the greatest stories.




Grandma and Grandpa Boyce arrived a little later, and each gave me a quick hug. It’s a terrible thing to say, and I know I’m supposed to love my grandparents without question, but Mom’s parents—the “good ones” who actually liked me—weren’t coming. If Mom and Dad ever found out I felt that way, I’d be grounded for a month—Dad’s typical punishment.




Dad and Grandpa went to the living room to watch the game while the women got the food prepared. I tried to help, but I mostly got in the way.




Everything was ready just before two o’clock, and I grabbed the spot at the head of the table, with Grandma and Grandpa to my right and Mom and Dad to my left. Everyone sat down except Grandpa. He placed his hands on the table and leaned toward my dad.




“I guess this doesn’t rate as a special occasion, eh, George?”




“How’s that, Pop?” Dad said.




“The Hoffhalder. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition, isn’t it?”




“You bet it is.”




The Hoffhalder was a large mantle clock that sat in the corner of the dining room on what mom called the buffet. The Hoffhalder had been in the family for decades, and Dad would only wind it on special occasions. Uncle Artie always had the honors when he came over.




“I’ll do it, Dad,” I said.




“Can he handle it?” asked Grandpa. “He’s just a child.”




I’m right here! I thought. And I’m not a child anymore. I’m thirteen.




“Sure he can,” Grandma said. “Now, make Uncle Artie proud.” She gave me her patented don’t-screw-it-up look.




“CJ, just be careful, okay?” Dad said.




“Sure thing.” I had seen it wound a thousand times. I took the key from the drawer of the small desk nearby, carefully opened the glass in front, and put the key in the keyhole near the number four. There was another near the number eight. I knew it wound clockwise on the right and counterclockwise on the left.




“Whatever you do, don’t overwind it,” Grandpa said. He gave anyone who ever got near the clock got the same warning.




I started winding. One turn. Two turns. Then it started to get tight, so I stopped. I placed the key in the left hole and began to turn in the other direction with my left hand. One turn. Two turns. It wasn’t getting any tighter. Three turns. That was odd; it usually tightened up by now, but I figured it had just been a while. Four turns and still not tight. I switched to my right hand to finish it up. Five turns. Surely it would start to get tight. Then I heard a faint click, and the key wouldn’t move anymore. Uh-oh.




“Everything all right?” Dad asked.




I pulled the key out and put it back in the drawer. “Everything’s great.” I looked at my watch, and then spun the Hoffhalder’s minute hand around until the time was five minutes until two. After closing the glass, I gently moved the large pendulum at the bottom, and the Hoffhalder began to tick. Whew! All was well.




When the Hoffhalder chimed, it made a beautiful sound. In fact, it seemed to be the only clock sound my family liked. It was a perfect combination of bells and gears and springs working in harmony. We now had three minutes until it would chime on the hour, and everyone at the table waited patiently for the moment to arrive. As the last thirty seconds ticked off, Grandpa nudged Grandma. “Here it comes,” he said in a low voice.




The Hoffhalder struck two and began to chime. Once. Then another.




But the second chime lingered way too long and the pendulum began to swing wildly, knocking into the side walls. The chime sound turned into a grinding noise, and the pendulum stopped.




“CJ!” Dad yelled. “What have you done to my clock?”




“He overwound it,” Grandpa said while making a turning motion with hand.




“Clearly,” said Grandma. “And I’ll bet Uncle Artie is rolling over in his grave as we speak.”




“Artie’s not dead,” Mom said. “Just in the hospital.”




“I’m sorry, everyone,” I said. “I didn’t mean to. Honest. It was an accident.”




“You’re grounded,” Dad said.




“For how long?” I asked.




“A month.”




“A month? Mom?”




“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” she said.




I looked around the table, and three sets of eyes were on me. Mom reached out and touched my hand. At least someone was on my side.




“That clock’s been in the family for four generations,” Grandpa said. “Built by the finest clockmaker in Germany.”




“And smuggled out on a steamer ship during World War I,” Grandma added. “Truly one of a kind. Irreplaceable.”




I knew the details by heart, and it just made matters worse. “I’ll get it fixed, okay? I have some money saved up.”




“Sounds like you snapped the mainspring,” Grandpa said, adding a “break in half” motion with his hands.




Grandma leaned over and got as close to me as she could. “It’ll never be the same.”




“A month,” Dad said. He put a finger in my face to make his point. “For breaking my clock.”




He continued to glare at me as Mom began to serve the turkey. We ate in near silence.




I had ruined Thanksgiving.







R.M. Clark is a computer scientist for the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


3 winners will receive an eGalley of THE TICK TOCK MAN. International.

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Cover Reveal: "Only a Mistress Will Do," by Jenna Jaxon


ONLY A MISTRESS WILL DO
by Jenna Jaxon
ISBN: 9781516102822
Publish Date: 4/4/2017
Format: ePub
Genre: Historical Romance

The man of her dreams ... belongs to another woman.

Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another....

Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves....




Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise -- so expect her to incorporate these elements into her work! She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets where she is currently working on the next House of Pleasure book, Only a Mistress Will Do, as well as a Regency series. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage when she writes. Jenna equates her writing to an addiction to chocolate -- once she starts she just can’t stop!




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pushing the Boundaries Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway for Signed Books and Haitian Art


Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1)
by Stacey Trombley
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush

Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.

Goodreads

Purchase:
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Amazon.com.au
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Guest Post from the Author:
Pushing the Boundaries is the first in the “Off-Limits” series, which means there will be more books like this one! Though it’s not a traditional series, because they will be connected thematically, more than literally. If we see the same characters again, it will be in side roles not as main characters.

Each Off-limits novel will stand on its own (no cliff hangers!), but all will deal with romance that is “off-limits.” Since they’re all contemporary, I get to really dig into ways that romance in our modern world can be “forbidden,” which is super fun!

For example, the next book my editor and I are developing has a romance with the best friend’s little sister. (I loooove this trope, so I’m super excited!!) It’s also going to have some bits of football, a secret illness and some broken promises! Hopefully, I’ll be able to say more soon!

Other things that may sneak up in my Off-Limits books are:

Good girl+bad boy (or better yet, good boy + bad girl! I love twisting around tropes!)
Sports rivals in love
Socialite/celebrity and the “help”
Best friends to lovers
A (soon-to-be-broken) promise not to fall in love

I would love to hear what kind of things you’d love to see in a teen romance! Hate any of these? Dying to see one? Have new ideas? Post them in the comments, and I’ll totally take it into consideration!


About the Author:
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

Her debut novel, Naked, released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.


Website - http://www.staceytrombley.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Trombolii
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/StaceyTrombleyAuthor
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/trombolii/
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/tromboli/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8475704.Stacey_Trombley

Giveaway Information:
Enter to win a Pushing the Boundaries Prize Pack, including:
* Signed copy of Naked by Stacey Trombley
* Signed copy of Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley
* Haitian Art as shown in the photo

Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday: "A Murder in Time," by Julie McElwain

Welcome to What I'm Reading Wednesday! This week, I am thrilled to be reading...

A Murder in Time
by Julie McElwain

When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th-century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life -- 200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered, and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary, but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place -- Aldrich Castle -- but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there -- and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

I can't get enough of this book! I tore through the first 250 pages of this book in one weekend. It is amazing! What are you reading this week? 



Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

Release Day Celebration with Giveaway: "Damaged Goods," by Jennifer Bardsley

I am so excited that DAMAGED GOODS by Jennifer Bardsley releases today and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Jennifer Bardsley, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a Perfectly Posh, Posh to Meet You Set ($20 value), US only, courtesy of Month9Books. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

Title: DAMAGED GOODS (Blank Slate #2)
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Blanca has everything she ever wanted, a hot boyfriend named Seth and the loving support of her foster father, Cal. She’s finally escaped the abusive control of her birth father, Barbelo Nemo, and her tortured childhood at Tabula Rasa School.

But the scars of Blanca’s Vestal upbringing run deep, especially when the FBI start asking questions. Blanca feels abandoned by Seth who is hunting for Lilith, Blanca’s only blood relative. The Defectos, a support group of Vestal-Rejects, offer Blanca comfort instead.

While the Vestal order crumbles, Chinese rivals called the Guardians rise to power and wrest control of important Tabula Rasa contacts. Now Blanca’s life is in peril once more, and this time, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.

Title: GENESIS GIRL (Blank Slate #1)
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 280

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. 

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. 

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online. 



Excerpt

I look to where he points, and the flash of thumb-cameras blinds me. Vestals must never have their pictures taken by random people. That privilege belongs to the companies that purchase them and market a Vestal’s privacy one advertisement at a time. I reach my arms out by instinct, to protect my face from the public. “I’m fine with it,” I lie, pulling my hands down. “But we better leave now or we’ll be late to the restaurant.”

“My dad can wait a few minutes.” Seth scoops me in his arms.

“Blanca!” one of the spectators calls. “And Veritas Rex! Is that really you?”

Seth holds up his hand and wiggles his finger-chips. “The one and only!” Then he dips me back for a kiss.

I stiffen like cardboard. “Stop it,” I mumble, trying not to squirm. All I can think about is the cameras, my face flashed worldwide and weirdoes slobbering over my private moment with Seth. 

“We’ve got to go or we’ll be late.”

Seth kisses my nose. “I didn’t know you were so punctual.”

“Yes.” I pull myself out of his grasp. “Cal’s waiting.” The sooner I put my helmet on and get back on my motorcycle, the better.

“Blanca,” a man calls as we ride away. “I love you! I’ve watched you all year!”

Underneath my jacket, I shiver. The fame that surrounds me is chilling.

About Jennifer: 
Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily Herald. She also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with the mission of sparking a national debate on the important role parents play in education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA. Jennifer is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary Agency LLC. Follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.




Giveaway Details

One (1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh to Meet You Set ($20 value), US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Sky Throne, by Chris Ledbetter


Today, Chris Ledbetter and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THE SKY THRONE, which releases April 18, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!

A quick note from the author:
Since my father put the first book of mythology in my hand, I've loved myths and legends. I always favored Greek mythology. I actually think I was Greek in a past life. Beginning in 2011, I conceived a story to sit down and have Zeus tell me what his childhood was like, especially his teenage years. All I did was listen to what he told me and put it down on paper.

On to the reveal! 



Title: THE SKY THRONE
Author: Chris Ledbetter
Pub. Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 292

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.



Excerpt




CHAPTER ONE




Since the moment I started at Eastern Crete Lower Academy two years ago, I’d felt like such an outcast. The guys, mostly Potamoi and sons of Headmasters Okeanos and Tethys, never regarded me as an equal. I didn’t even warrant bullying. It’s like I never even existed. If only I’d known how visible I’d become in the coming days. I always got picked last for swim team and crew in physical fitness class. I actually was the third best wrestler overall in school and peerless in javelin throwing due to superior training from my guardians, the Kouretes. When Eastern Crete competed in the Mediterranean Invitational Games against academies from Phoenicia, Egypt, and Libya, I placed first in the javelin event, beating Gurzil from Libya who was the reigning champion from years past. I even won my weight class, the lightest class there was, in wrestling by beating Melqart from Phoenicia. But none of that mattered.




I was still invisible.




I loved science class. The lessons where we studied energy and matter were like fresh spring water to a parched throat. But the rest of my classes bored me to tears. We had language arts, music, and math in the mornings. Physical fitness, agriculture, and science took up our afternoons. I wouldn’t say I was intellectually ahead of them, because, hey, that’d be conceited. But my mother prepared me well, with all the goat tending and such. And she always said when I came home from classes each night that they just didn’t know how to teach me on my level.




So, I was forced to make my own fun. No one would probably notice anyway.




After the big Invitational Games win, I was posted up at the school’s entry columns with my best friend, Anytos, watching the Oceanids as they arrived for classes one morning. Sisters to the Potamoi, the Oceanids were the sea nymph daughters of our headmasters. Okeanos and Tethys, aside from being our school administrators, were also Elder Deities of the vast ocean, which is why we at Eastern Crete dominated all water sports. Swimming. Cliff diving. Crew. We bested all comers. But not me. I dove and swam exactly the same … like an anvil.




The Oceanids descended upon the campus from their barracks like a wave crashing against the shore. Telesto, the most beautiful sea nymph by several stadia, smiled at me for the first time since I’d been going to the school. Okay, it wasn’t a full smile. The corner of her lip twitched upward as she flipped her wavy, aquamarine hair over her shoulder and glanced past me. But that counts, right?




I backhanded Anytos in the chest. “You saw that. That’s my opening. If I don’t make my move, she’ll be gone to the upper school next year.”




“Pssht, she is beyond the Mediterranean beautiful. Completely unattainable.”




“Did you see that come hither stare she flashed me?”




“Looked more like indigestion.”




“You are as wrong as you are false. Cover my back. I’m moving in.”




I crossed the courtyard in a flash and caught Telesto’s arm as she reached the weather-beaten front door to the main school hall.




“Telesto, you look as if the sun radiates from you.”




She paused and leaned back against the doorframe. “You’re just saying that because I wore my yellow tunic today.”




“You shine with such brilliance; you should wear yellow every day.”




She folded a strand or two of stunning teal hair behind her ear and twirled the ends. “But what happens when I wear my purple tunic?”




“A tunic hasn’t been invented that could dampen your beauty.”




She giggled and turned away from me for a moment. “Zeus, is it?”




I nodded, surprised she even knew my name.




“You’re the one who pulled that massive prank on my mother, Headmaster Tethys, aren’t you?”




Oh, that’s how she knew me. Not invisible after all. I bowed. “I am him. He is me. One and the same.”




“Crazy. She was so mad.” She shook her head, stifling a smile.




“As far as I can tell, language arts must be your favorite subject. Your tongue is spectacularly sharp-witted.”




“Not really. But I am feeling a little inspired right now.”




Several strands of her hair fell to cover half her face. “Are you going to the bonfire at the beach tomorrow night?”




“I wasn’t invite—”




Several of Telesto’s broad-shouldered, dark-haired brothers bumped into me from behind. “Those are uncharted waters, boy. Careful now,” One of them called over his shoulder. Those were the first words they’d ever spoken to me. Telesto rolled her eyes. “Pay them no mind. They’re harmless. You were saying?”




“Those bonfires are an Oceanids and Potamoi thing? It’s kind of a secret club that you have to be born into, right? Being brothers and sisters, children of Headmasters Okeanos and Tethys… young water deities in training… masters of rivers and streams…”




“I guess. But you should come out any way. It’s all night, under the stars. Eating, drinking, stargazing… What’s better than that?”




Gazing into her mesmerizing, iridescent eyes, my mouth fired before I could stop it. “Kissing you under the stars. That’s better.”




“Sprint much? You’re a fast mover.”




“I just go after what I want.”




“Well … ” A pink tint rose on her high cheek bones. “We shall see. But first you have to show up.” Her lips twitched gain. “I have to go to class. See you tomorrow?” She disappeared inside the school hall.




I turned to Tos with a pterodactyl-eating grin on my face. He shook his head and smiled.




The boring part of my daily routine was set to commence. School. Classes. Ugh. I wished the school day was already over so I could just go to games practice. As Tos and I walked to first period, I was struck by the overwhelming urge to liven my day up just a bit.




“Tos, I have a good one. You with me?”




“Oh heavens. Is it what I think it is?”




“I feel the need … the need to prank!”




Tos shook his head. “My pranking days are over.”




“Come on. Just one more. Promise it’s the last one.”




He glared at me.




I explained the entire idea to him. “It’ll be after language arts, all right? It’s going to be good.”




After class, Tos and I waited until all other students had left. He took his position at the door to make sure no one came in. I approached Professor Ceto at the front of the room. Tablets and scrolls decorated the top of her desk.




“Professor, do you have strong hands?”




Her intelligent eyes narrowed. “Sure, I do. Why?”




“I bet you a homework pass that you can’t balance a goblet on the back of your hand.”




Her forehead wrinkled.




“Place your hand on the desk, palm down,” I said.




She complied.




I filled her water goblet and placed it on the back of her hand.




She smiled. “See. No problem at all.”




I picked up the goblet. “Now place your other hand on top of this one.”




She sighed. “Why? Is that supposed to be harder? So, if I fail, you get a homework pass, yes? If I complete the task, what do I get?”




“It’s a surprise.”




“Go ahead, then,” she said, placing her left hand atop her right.




“Get on with it.”




Barely able to contain my giddiness, I balanced the full water goblet on the top of her two hands.




“See,” she said with triumph in her voice. “I did it. Where’s my surprise?”




“All right then, I’ll see you next week. Have a good weekend.” I walked quickly to the door.




“What? Wait, I can’t move my hands without spilling water all over my scrolls.”




Tos opened the door and we both rounded the corner in a flash. We were halfway to period two music when I heard an unholy roar across campus.




“ZEUS!”




Tos and I laughed our behinds off and slapped hands as we passed a solitary blueish post in the center of the courtyard. No one knew much about it or who designed it. But its presence was striking.




Upon reaching music class, Tos and I took our positions near the kithara and lyre. Our teacher, Professor Leucosia and several more students entered and we prepared for instruction. Leucosia had the most beautiful singing voice. Simply spellbinding. Sometimes, I felt light-headed when she’d sing along with our accompaniment. Shortly after arriving in class, Headmasters Okeanos and Tethys shadowed the doorway to our room. The expression on Tethys’ face could have killed a wild boar at forty paces.




“Zeus, Anytos, we need you to step outside right now.” Tethys said. Her eyes mirrored the Aegean during a storm.




I looked at Tos. My heart rate quickened to a pace I’d only felt after running sprints. Slowly, I rose to my feet. This couldn’t have been good.




We walked over to Okeanos. I had to crane my neck just to see the Headmaster’s eyes. His biceps were bigger than my head, despite silvery blue hair atop his head and an aged, wrinkly face.




His somber and deliberate voice rumbled. “You are hereby expelled from Eastern Crete Lower Academy. This infraction and expulsion will go on your master record. You may apply again next term.”




“Why? What did I do to deserve this?”




Professor Tethys stepped forward to grab my arm. “Your little pranks have gotten you in deeper water than you can swim in, young man. You obviously need some time to think about how you can be a better contributor to the educational system.”




“No. You can’t expel me. Please!” I clasped my hands in front of my face. “My mother will kill me!”




“Not our concern.” Okeanos folded his gigantic arms. His voice rumbled again. “You must learn to be a better student. A better citizen.”




“But they were just pranks,” I pleaded.




“Yes. And this is the seventh such prank we’ve endured at your hands. And since Anytos helped you, he shall accompany you home.”




Tethys pointed east toward Mount Ida, the highest peak on Crete.




“You have until the sun chariot reaches its zenith to leave campus.”




She gazed upward. “By the looks of things, your time’s nearly at an end.”







Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC, before moving to Charlottesville, VA, in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the conference without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. He taught high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.




3 winners will receive and eGalley of THE SKY THRONE, International.


a Rafflecopter giveaway