Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Legend of the Firewalker Blog Tour




Title: The Legend of the Firewalker
Author: Steve Bevil
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy / Action Adventure

Book Description

A black hooded figure suddenly appeared behind her. She gasped and her brown eyes grew wide. Nathan watched helplessly as a small trickle of blood fell from her mouth.

Other hooded figures appeared; their silver swords clutched upright against their chests. Nathan held tight to her lifeless body while trying to fight back the tears that swelled in his eyes. “No,” he cried. “No!”

Nineteen-year-old Nathan Urye is supposed to be having a relaxing summer as a camp counselor but ever since he started having nightmares about a beautiful girl being hunted by flesh-clawing monsters, his life has been anything but normal.

Soon, Nathan discovers that the sleepy college town of Cahokia Falls is far from ordinary when two unexplained deaths rock the town and campus. Who or what is behind the murders? Does it have anything to do with the newly-discovered cave symbol? And what about the spine-chilling campfire stories about ancient tribal beliefs and mystical legends?

For Nathan Urye, things just keep getting creepier and creepier, and now it appears that everyone at camp is in danger…


What the reviewers are saying…

"Starting with chapter one this book held my attention. The legends in the book told around the campfire gave me goose bumps and the supernatural creatures; Necrocritters, dark hooded guards with swords and red hooded priests added a lot of layers to this story. Not to mention the Fallen Ones!

At times I wasn’t sure how things would play out because there were so many challenges facing Nathan and his friends. I really enjoyed the climax of the book and could easily see this book adapted as a movie. I can’t wait to see what's in store for Nathan and his friends...but you have to read the book to see if they all make it out" ~Reviewer


"It’s terrific! I love your wise-cracking hero, who finds himself thrust into these bizarre circumstances with no real guide. And I love the set up of the supernatural world and these well-defined characters. The supernatural conflict and the relationships that took root here will be able to take you through book after book. That eerie, spirit realm where everything is gray except for the people – sound doesn't behave as it should – and objects are frozen in place, is really imaginative and creepy. It’s got a strong cinematic feel and it creates tremendous atmosphere. In short, you’ve done some terrific world building here that’s highly imaginative and peopled with appealing, interesting characters we can care about." ~Reviewer


Author Bio

Steve Bevil, the author of The Legend of the Firewalker series, recalls vividly as a child running to the library to check-out and read the latest The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. He started writing short stories at a young age, but never took writing seriously, and as an adult, would only write to jot down the many storylines and mystical characters he would often fantasize in his head.

It wasn't until he was inspired by the story of author Stephanie Meyer, a stay-at-home mother of three and Christopher Paolini, the author of the Inheritance Cycle, that he entertained the idea of writing a book. Steve recalls sitting at his computer one day, after reading promotional emails announcing the latest books, daydreaming a dialogue between two people.

"It was just so Harry Potter-esque as far as the classic story of good versus evil. I just kept getting more and more detail; it was like the story wanted to be written, there were so many layers to it. I had first and last names, character back history, and everything. Immediately, I started writing."

After months and months of developing the plot and writing, the end result was his first book in the series, The Legend of the Firewalker. The daydream, a dialogue between two of the main characters; Nathan Urye and Stephen Malick, ended up appearing in Chapters 11 and 16.

Steve Bevil graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Master's degree in Communication. He is a native of Chicago, Illinois and when he isn't writing, enjoys music, watching movies, fitness, and walks with his little Westie, Wyatt.

To learn more you can follow him on Twitter - http://twitter.com/steve_bevil or visit his blog - http://stevebevil.blogspot.com/ or find out news at his Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/stevebevilwriting


Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt #1

Chapter Ten – Blue Flame

Nathan closed the yearbook and placed it softly on his desk. Slowly, he walked over to the foot of his bed. Without thinking about it, he plopped down; almost exposing the scorched bed sheets.

Quietly, he stared at the white brick walls to his dorm room. Does this mean I’m like a psychic or something? he thought. And if I’m not psychic… He examined the palms of his hands. Then, I guess it’s a safe bet that I have some type of power.

He had a solemn look on his face. This is great, I was just dying for a way to be even more different. Yippee! I am so excited to add more weirdness points to my outcast factor.”

Lafonda sat up in her chair and then crossed her arms. “Umm, Nathan,” she said. “Earth to Nathan?

“What?” he uttered, while blinking his eyes.

“Are your hands bothering you again or something?”

“No,” he said. He turned around to look at her. “My hands are fine.”

“Well, you sure are acting weird,” she said, relaxing back into her chair.

Nathan let out a slight chuckle. Weird huh? he thought. You don’t even know the half of it.

He clasped his hands together and then placed them against his mouth. Powers or no powers, the one thing he knew for certain was that Leah was real and so was the blue flame that had scorched his bed. So that meant the red-hooded Twilight – New Moon wannabes were real too and so were their black-hooded doppelgangers.

Hands still clasped together and against his mouth, Nathan took a deep breath and shook his head. He didn’t even want to begin to think about the strange lady dressed in white; let alone her shiny silver dagger. He shook his head again. Yup, we are definitely in danger, he thought. We all are...


Book Excerpt #2

Chapter One –Awake

She was pretty sure everyone knew about her nightmares due to her frequent middle of the night screaming, but she had started to feel proud of herself. It was the end of the school year and even with everything, she had managed to finish the semester without withdrawing from school like Amanda and her mom had wanted her to.

Leah took a deep breath and relaxed her shoulders. She was determined not to let anything get to her. Tomorrow, she would be home in St. Louis and she could put the whole nightmare behind her.

The narrow hallway from the bathroom to her dorm room opened up to the common area that was frequently used by the girls on the floor to hang out. On most nights, you could find people playing cards or studying at the round tables. “Hey, Leah!” one of the girls from the card game called out. “You think we’ll have a chance to get a good night’s sleep with this storm?”

Another girl at the table let out a stifled chuckle. “I mean, it would be nice to sleep through the night for once without your screaming.” Sounds of laughter suddenly filled the room. “Maybe you should sleep with the lights on!” she laughed.

Leah could feel her cheeks turn red as the blood rushed to her head. “Sure!” she let out, her voice shaking with anger.

She walked quickly to her room; trying to beat the laughter before it ended. Forcibly, she closed the door behind her and sighed heavily as she pressed her back against it. “Can this be over any faster?” she yelled. In frustration, she tossed her toothbrush and her towels on the floor. “Ugh!”

At the same moment, a gust of wind rushed violently through the open window, knocking the lamp on her desk onto the floor. The room was suddenly in complete darkness. “Grrreat!” she said in a drawn out huff.

She bent over to pick up the lamp but felt a little uneasy as lightning from the approaching storm created strange shadows around the room. As the sound of thunder filled the room, she stumbled to find the socket to plug in the power cord. Duh, she thought. I should just turn on Amanda’s lamp. As she reached out to turn on the lamp, she paused. She had an eerie feeling that someone was standing behind her. No one is behind me, she thought, as she extended her arm to turn on the lamp.

“Aaah!”

There was a burst of light in the room followed by a loud crack as the light bulb from Amanda’s lamp shattered into many pieces; landing across the table and the floor. Startled, Leah jumped back; withdrawing her hand. At the same time, the door to her closet slammed shut, causing her to let out a stifled scream. Quickly, she spun around; her heart pounding against her chest.

Leah stood in the dark frozen with fear. Through the darkness, she could see that a strange mist began to fill the room, and when lightning struck, there was no thunder to follow…

Book Excerpt #3

Chapter Eight – The Fallen Ones


Nathan raised his eyebrows and shrugged. He wasn’t even sure if he knew the story let alone anyone else. “Probably,” he replied, slowly.

Suddenly, Jonathan perked up; his tired blue eyes getting some life to them. “Nathan here has Cahokia ancestry,” he smiled and with a nod. “His mother’s tribe was a descendant of the Cahokia American Indians.”

Jonathan paused as if he was waiting for Nathan to say something. Nathan looked embarrassed as Samantha, Christina, and Eva Marie stared at him. Over the flames of the fire Nathan could see that

Malick was looking at him too but Nathan wasn’t sure if he had heard what Jonathan had said. Most of the people around the fire, including Lafonda, were still having their own separate conversations.

Christina threw back her long brown hair and leaned in towards Nathan. “Is it true?” she asked.

Nathan answered slowly. He wasn’t too thrilled about the sudden attention. “Yes,” he said.

Both Christina and Eva Marie grinned at each other and then beamed at him. “That’s awesome,” they giggled in unison.

“Indeed, it is awesome,” added Jonathan, excitedly. “See, years ago, when they started excavating the caves and mounds in this area they found that almost every wall had the same symbols written on them. When the symbols were finally deciphered and the walls translated, they all included some aspect of the story about The Fallen Ones.”

He paused to reposition his glasses again. “Most scholars agree that the Legend of the Fallen Ones is a part of Cahokia mythology on how the world began; you know – their creation story.”

“This is exciting!” shrieked Eva Marie. “Tell us the story – or legend.”

“Does it involve any cute guys?” asked Christina enthusiastically.

Samantha, Christina, and Eva Marie looked at each other and laughed.

“Cute guys?” shouted Angela over the fire. “I have to hear this story. I’m in.”

Jonathan smiled as everyone around the fire including Lafonda, Erin, Alan, and Malick listened closely. “There really isn’t a Cahokia symbol for cute,” said Jonathan. “But the symbols tell a story about five angels that were created out of the heavens in the beginning and shared in the power with the creator of the heavens as givers of light.”

“Cute male angels,” said Angela. “I love it!”

He laughed. “Well, I don’t know how cute you will find them by the end of the story,” he grinned. “See, according to legend and the hieroglyphs found in the mounds and on cave walls, one of the five Angels of Light, as they are sometimes referred to, had a thirst for power and wanted dominance over all of the heavens.” He held up a page in his black and green spiral notebook. “The Cahokia Indians used this symbol quite frequently when talking about this angel.”

Nathan squinted and cocked his head a little. He was trying to make out the sketch in Jonathan’s notebook. After a few moments, he could see that he was staring at a drawing of a broken wing that was engulfed in flames and constricted by a serpent…

Book Excerpt #4

Chapter Three - Party


“You have strong arms,” grinned Amanda, squeezing Nathan’s bicep.

Abruptly, Lafonda grabbed Jim’s hand to stop him from snapping his fingers. “Not right now, babe,” she said, forcing a smile. “How about you go get us some punch?”

“But, I’m not thirsty,” whined Jim, sounding disappointed.

Lafonda crossed her arms; frowning at him and Jim lowered his head. “Okay,” he said, reluctantly walking away.

“And you,” she said, grabbing Nathan’s arm, so that Amanda dropped his hand. “If anyone is going to be dancing, it’s going to be the birthday girl.” She leaned in and then took him by the hand. “You owe me the first dance, remember?”

“Uh – Lafonda!” Amanda moaned.

“Uh – Amanda?” protested Lafonda. “Go find Steve!”

Triumphantly, she led him out to the dance floor and Nathan nonchalantly followed. “Lafonda,” he said, slowly. “Um – what just happened?”

Lafonda looked up towards the ceiling and then quickly rolled her eyes. “I don’t know,” she said. “You tell me.” She relaxed her arm a little, so that he could lead. “One second you wanted to sit down and then suddenly, you wanted to cut a rug with Amanda.”

“I, I, don’t remember,” he said, sounding flustered.

She glared at him. “You don’t have to play dumb,” she said. She gestured in Amanda’s direction; she was standing with her entourage of admirers again. “Amanda has that effect on men.”

Nathan slightly shrugged and then shook his head. “Who is Steve?” he asked.

“Steve is Amanda’s boyfriend,” she grinned. She tilted her head to look around the room. “And I don’t even think he’s here.”

“Lafonda,” he said, taking a pause. “I apologize if things got weird back there.” He recalled what he had overheard from them earlier. “Things have been a little – strange lately.”

“Yeah, for both of us,” she said, after catching a glimpse of Jim watching them on the dance floor with two drinks in his hand. “You know, Nathan,” she continued. “You’re not that bad of a dancer – when you’re not thinking about it.”

“Oh,” he responded, sounding surprised. “I didn’t realize moving to this slow of a song is considered dancing.”

She smiled. “Nathan,” she uttered, softly. “What happened to us – I mean, to our friendship?” She looked longingly into his eyes. “I almost never saw you at school and you barely even speak to me now that we’re home.”

Nathan twisted his lip. Well, he thought. You and your friends are rich and I’m not and I feel like an outsider because of it. He opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again. And to top things off, I keep dreaming about a girl that I believe is being attacked by monsters. He sighed. “It’s complicated,” he finally responded…

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One Book Review

Name of Book: Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One
Author: Louise Herman
Date of Publication: December 14, 2012 (Kindle)
Publisher: Mystical Media Publications
Pages: 333
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Paperback or Kindle: Both


Book Description

When Faith’s mother starts organising the second stage of her arranged marriage to wizard, Damien, Faith knew she needed to escape, so she used her school as a place to retreat. 

Throughout her after school duties, she meets the intense, alluring Rohan, who changes her life forever.

With his ice cold skin, transfixing eyes and enchanting voice, Rohan took hold of Faith’s heart and soul as soon as they looked at each other.

She knew it was wrong.

They were from two different circles and if the Elder’s found out, the consequences would be catastrophic for all involved, but the more time they spent together, the stronger they’re love grew, until one day someone sees them...

Will their love be strong enough to combat their conflicting mythical needs? And what will they do when Faith is dealt a life threatening blow that forces her to make a heartbreaking decision?

This one was a tough one for me as I was expecting soppy vampires or a weak heroine but this was definitely not the case!

We meet a young Faith when she finds out she is a witch and is more excited about going to school with the Namuh’s (human’s backwards! Lol) than understanding her circle and powers as she begins to feel suffocated and yearns from something away from her possessive circle.

It is at school that she meets frustrated fairy, Lily and they develop a friendship based on their mutual hatred of being restricted by their circle as we also find out that Lily is not like the fairies you read about in your traditional fairytales…

Upon finishing helping their teacher clean away her classroom after school, they are confronted by a group of rogue vampires who are very keen to exploit the vulnerable pairs forbidden friendship (beings must keep to their circle when they are out in public and must not communicate with other beings) and taunt them at every turn.

Enter loner vampire, Rohan who saves the girls, without much thanks from independent Faith.

As Rohan struggles to penetrate Faith’s icy exterior they eventually become more than friends with disastrous results.

This book was definitely a page turner for me and had action, intrigue and was packed full of magic on every page.

The grammar wasn’t 100% but I can settle with it being at 90% as the storyline was quite unique and I loved that Faith never settled into that weak female role that needed to be rescued.

I loved the forbidden romance between Rohan and Faith as although the author did not hold back on the ‘more intimate’ moments between the pair, I felt it was written with authenticity and was not over the top like many other YA books I have recently.

And lastly, I really enjoyed reading the African and Romania Gypsy magic incorporated into the story. I felt the author really did her research (especially for the Gypsy magic bits) and it gave it an overall fresh element to an already distinctive story.

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 wings because I loved the unique concept behind the story but I had to knock off one star due to the slight grammatical issues.

I would recommend this to any YA Urban Fantasy fans looking something will a little more substance than just your typical soppy romance stories with a little added magic!








Check the Ratings Page to see what 4 wings means!

Click here to buy this book

Alana

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One Blog Tour


Name of Book: Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One
Author: Louise Herman
Date of Publication: December 14, 2012 (Kindle)
Publisher: Mystical Media Publications
Pages: 333
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Paperback or Kindle: Both


Book Description

When Faith’s mother starts organising the second stage of her arranged marriage to wizard, Damien, Faith knew she needed to escape, so she used her school as a place to retreat.

Throughout her after school duties, she meets the intense, alluring Rohan, who changes her life forever.

With his ice cold skin, transfixing eyes and enchanting voice, Rohan took hold of Faith’s heart and soul as soon as they looked at each other.

She knew it was wrong.

They were from two different circles and if the Elder’s found out, the consequences would be catastrophic for all involved, but the more time they spent together, the stronger they’re love grew, until one day someone sees them...

Will their love be strong enough to combat their conflicting mythical needs? And what will they do when Faith is dealt a life threatening blow that forces her to make a heartbreaking decision?

INTENSELY PASSIONATE WITH EXTRAORDINARY TWISTS AND TURNS, SPLIT BLOOD IS A LOVE STORY WITH A DARK MYTHICAL DIFFERENCE


Excerpt:

This is a section from Chapter Two of 'Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One':

"We were helping put away the paints Mrs Baxter had used in her last lesson to express how colours can change the mood, appearance and message of a piece of art, when Dara walked in to get some pencils. ‘Hi ladies - slogging away as usual, I see! Are you doing this to get a higher grade? If you are, move over and let me get in on it!’ she joked as she pushed Lily aside and started helping to tidy her section. As Lily nearly fell to the floor, we all started laughing and Dara helped her up.

Mrs Baxter came in and gave Dara an extra task to do before she went back to her own classroom; with that she bade us farewell and we continued to clean the room.

Busying myself washing the pots, I almost didn’t notice Lily’s bright red face as her gaze seemingly froze, focused on the door. ‘Did you hurt yourself?’ I asked, concerned that maybe Dara had nudged her too hard. ‘No, no. I’m okay,’ Lily responded as she snapped out of her daydream and started to look for something else to clean. I tried to ignore it, but her manner had changed.

She was quieter than usual and she seemed distant and slightly upset. ‘Lily, it’s clear that something’s not quite right,’ I broached the subject as I sat her down and cupped her hands in mine. ‘We’re supposed to be friends. You know you can tell me anything,’ I added quietly, just in case we weren’t alone.

She looked around the room to check she was safe but just as she was about to speak out, she shook her head and responded, ‘Really it’s nothing.’

Sensing she was lying, I continued to question. I followed her around the room and refused to let it go until I saw a slightly brighter Lily - the Lily that I knew and enjoyed being around. ‘I won’t let this rest until you tell me. Maybe I can help?’ I supposed as I spun her round to face me. This was my big mistake.

The room went dark and the once-clear skies turned gloomy and sinister. Wind began to howl at the now shaking windows of the room and her face immediately morphed from that of a young, beautiful, dainty girl to that of a red-eyed hag with veins pulsing, radiating electrical bolts with her every move. The room began to shake and the door was slammed shut as I tried to escape.

The rage seemed to be very specifically limited to the classroom; no one came to help me when I screamed, so I sat down on the floor and thought whether I could possibly use my own powers to save me from this banshee.

She came towards me, firing bolts at the tables, disintegrating everything in her path, and was finally stood face to face, in front of me.

With my head between my knees, I could feel the energy pulsing from her as I raised my arms to create a force field around myself.

I stood up, ready to fight back, but was distracted when I found she wasn’t attacking me. Instead, she just stood there and began to cry. Without moving or speaking, I watched, waiting for her fry me; she merely fell to the floor and with her crying, she began to flood the floor around her.

The torrent of tears showed no sign of ceasing and I realised that if I didn’t do something quickly, we would drown with minutes. ‘Please don’t cry. What’s wrong, Lily?’ I begged as she finally started to resemble the pretty teenager I remembered.

I went over to hug her and was relieved she responded in kind and didn’t try to attack me.

She looked round and assessed the damage, as if reading my mind. ‘Don’t worry about it. That was one of the first spells I learned - mum is always trying to get me to clean my room when I really just want to go out,’ I joked, as I convinced her I could use magic to put the room back to normal before anyone came back.

With her head in my arms, we sat on the floor in silence for a few minutes, waiting. When I could bear it no longer, I delicately broached the topic again. ‘So, do you want to tell me why you went psycho-fairy on me?’ I laughed, attempting to lighten the mood. She chuckled in response, and lifted her head to look at me.

I backed away slightly as I nervously waited for her answer. ‘I’m sorry I’m just finding this fairy stuff really hard. Sometimes when I’m stressed I can’t control it. Normally I’m fine, but-’ she confessed, leaving me with more questions than when I started.

I paced myself and allowed her to get herself back together before I continued. ‘What made you so stressed? Was it me?’ I asked as I quickly whispered my spell. I prayed it had worked and the room was back in order.

She shook her head and came over to give me a hug and apologise for scaring me.

After confirming I was okay (I said that I just cared about her wellbeing), she looked me in the eye, cupped her hands around my head and said gravely, ‘You are my best friend. I’m so happy to have met you - but you cannot help me with this. I don’t want to get you involved.’

I looked at her with a puzzled expression and tried to assure her I would always be there for her, at which she turned away from me: ‘We are from different circles and have different problems. You want to get out of your circle because you are sick of your life revolving around marriage. I can’t cope with being in my circle because they won’t accept me for being the person I am’.

Sick of the riddles, I began to get annoyed and didn’t realise that I’d snapped slightly at her. ‘And who are you?’

Before I could apologise for my tone, she spun round and faced me with a stony, determined glare, and went on: ‘I’m a gay fairy. I’ll be sent away - or worse - if I express my feelings for Dara.’

Before I could wipe the shocked expression from my face, Mrs Baxter entered the classroom, thanked us for our hard work and dismissed us. Stunned, shaken and dazed at my best friend’s revelation, I silently walked out a pace or two ahead of Lily, leading us straight into a group of foreboding vampires.

A group of four boys stood in our path, refusing to move. I could sense this wasn’t going to be an easy one to escape. ‘So, what are you two doing alone together? Are you the rebels of your circles?’ one of the boys mocked glancing at the other three. They all started to edge closer.

I looked at Lily and was surprised to see her standing her ground and refusing to move back. Feeling considerably less confident than my compatriot, I grabbed her hand and prayed for Mrs Baxter to come out and ask us to help her with something she had forgotten to do.

But there was nothing.

The boys continued to ridicule us for being without our circle members. With every word, they edged closer to us until our backs were tight against the hallway wall and I could feel the breath of the ringleader on my cheek. ‘What do you want from us?’ Lily asked boldly, as the ringleader opened his mouth - we both saw the shine of the daggers.

They all laughed as the fear began to show on our faces; they poked and jibed at us like we were pieces of meat from their latest kill.

Seeing the ringleader’s eyes glow an intimidating yellow, I knew at this point I would never see my family again. I closed my eyes and began to sob helplessly; I had missed the new drama that was occurring around me.

Prying myself from my blind, fearful state, I felt a flurry of air and slowly opened my eyes just in time to see the ringleader go flying, as if in slow-motion, through the air and clatter into the row of lockers on the opposite side of the hallway.

He lay there for a few minutes, dazed and confused, as his followers went to help him up.

Unable to see the cause, I grabbed Lily and took advantage of our release from these blood-suckers and, trying to ignore the sounds of battle behind us; we kept our heads firmly down and ran towards the main exit.

Just as I put my hand on the door handle to make our break for freedom, all went silent.

I simply couldn’t go through the door without looking over my shoulder.

‘Don’t look back! Open the door!’ Lily screamed frantically as tried to drag me through the exit. Nevertheless, I turned my head slowly to catch a glimpse.

It looked like a battleground.

I could not see the casualties through all the blood but I knew from my research of vampires in ‘The Ancient Codex’, it would take a lot more than tears of the skin, deep wounds or even oceans of blood to kill such resilient beings.

I was satisfied that we were out of harm’s way but somehow my mind jolted back to self-defence as I felt something on my shoulder.

I grabbed Lily, pulled her close towards me and without warning a force field formed around us, expelling the hand - and the person it was attached to - to the back of the hallway, ‘GO!’ Lily screamed. This time, I didn’t look back and we ran all the way home.

My priority was to make sure Lily got home first. To avoid being seen together, I dropped her to the edge of the woods and left her to walk the rest of the way, casting a protection spell over her to ensure she arrived safely. ‘You won’t say anything about what I told you, will you?’ she pleaded as I gave her a hug and reminded her of the strength of our friendship.

Walking the rest of the journey alone, I was nervous - cautious and suspicious of the slightest sound or movement.

Not only was I shocked that I could form a force field more than once, but that it had the power to kill whatever tried to attack me.

With this realisation, I began to feel a smugness come over me. I let down my guard and focused on what new spells I could try when I got home. With my mind distracted for a minute, the next thing I knew, I was off my feet and thrown to the side of the road.

I hit my head on a tree and was left unconscious for a few minutes. After using my other senses to force my way back into consciousness, I assessed my new surroundings. I could feel the crunching of leaves beneath my hands and the sound of running water in the far distance.

My eyes were gradually focusing on a tall, black figure in front of me, splashing water on my face. The water shocked me back into reality and I could see the cause of my disorientation.

He was 5 feet 11 inches, of a muscular build, with short jet black hair and a creamy white complexion.

He helped me sit up, seemingly very concerned for my health as he assessed my eyes and limbs for damage. ‘I’m so sorry if I hurt you, but I guess we’re even now,’ he joked as my sight came back to normal and I saw this beautiful vision before me.

‘We’re even?’ I mumbled as I got back to my feet and looked around to see if there was anyone else nearby.

I raised my hands to defend myself, which seemed to amuse him even more. ‘Whoa there!’ he continued, ‘Put those guns down. I’m not here to get blasted by you again. I just wanted to check you were okay.’ I looked at him, still apprehensive of his kindness. When I finally felt happy there was no one else waiting to pounce, I lowered my hands. ‘Who are you?’ I asked, watching his every move like a hawk.

He walked towards me, put his hand on the lower area of my back and ushered me to walk through the woods with him. ‘I’m the one who helped you out back there. Is that how you thank all your rescuers?’ he joked as I looked at him with a scowl on my face.

‘I didn’t need rescuing. I could have sorted them out myself,’ I retorted as I batted his hand away and picked up my pace slightly.

My walk got ever faster and I soon broke into a run.

I ran so fast I could no longer see this mysterious stranger; I only slowed down when I saw my house ahead.

Walking through the undergrowth, I was tripped by a branch wrapped around my ankle and as I tugged and pulled at the vine, I was lifted in the air and freed from its grasp. ‘Why are you making it so hard to get to know you?’ he asked as he smiled at my attempts to push him away.
‘Maybe it’s because you sweep in, try to rescue me - even though I had it under control - and now you’re stalking me without even telling me your name. Excuse me for being a bit apprehensive,’ I spat as he laughed, and I realised who or what he was … Why was he fighting his own kind?

This thought swept through my brain for a second before he read my mind and he confessed, ‘Sorry. My name is Rohan and, yes, I’m one of them - in appearance only. I just want to get to know you because I remember seeing you at school a few years ago and you seemed pretty cool back then. I wondered if you were still the same!’

I couldn’t believe this was the boy who risked his kind being exposed when we first started school by using his powers on that Namuh. I was intrigued, desperate to know more. I needed to know where he’d been and why this vampire wanted to risk it all to speak to me.

It was overwhelming, stupid of him but as much as my mind screamed its disapproval, I was curious about this mystifying being. I nodded my agreement and, with that, he kissed my hand and we vowed to find a way of spending time getting to know each other without getting caught or putting our families at risk.

Without admitting it, the sheer touch of his lips on my shaking hands made me shiver from head to toe and I knew, no matter how much I denied it, I was starting to develop more than just a thirst for knowledge about this unusual vampire.

I knew I was in trouble."


About the Author

I currently live in Yorkshire, England, and have always enjoyed writing stories which would take people to different, magical worlds. 

Along with writing, I also love to indulge in my confectionery addiction - pear drop sweets and am a fan of 80s Fantasy films such as 'Legend', 'Dark Crystal' and 'Labyrinth'. 

I also adore Guillermo del Toro for his direction on the fantasy film, 'Pan's Labyrinth', which epitomises the theme of my books - fantasy escapism, strong female heroines, unique magical side characters with their own explosive, taboo secrets and deliciously dark situations, which have a new style of distinctive paranormal conclusions. 

I use my passion for fantasy films, and music, to help me create my unique YA, Fantasy stories and I have been able to use these passions to enhance my stories even further by attaching music onto my stories on Wattpad, which helps the reader be further immersed into my fantasy worlds.


Author's Interview

1. Can you tell us how you came up with the storyline behind ‘Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One’?

I love YA Urban Fantasy novels but I was getting a little bored with the same storyline of paranormal being falls for outcast human, they fall in love but struggle with their forbidden love and then the wimpy human gets into a situation where she needs to be saved by the vampire, werewolf, etc. I wanted to put a spin on the classics with a strong, female character who actually saves others instead of waiting for them to save her. 


2. What is your favourite chapter of the book and why?

I think my favourite chapter has to be chapter 7 and this is because Faith gets to experience Romanian Gypsy magic and I really enjoyed doing the research for this cultural as it was very interesting and added a deeper storyline to the book.


3. Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb? 

Many people who have read this book have stated that they did not expect to read the African or Gypsy magical aspects due to the genre of book. They also stated that these elements made it more unique as the magic described by these two separate cultures were explained well giving it a fresh new edge, which is a fantastic compliment as my aim was to create a different type of YA Urban Fantasy novel which challenged certain areas of these genres.


4. How do you get in the mood to write your ‘masterpieces’?

I am a planner and have to plan every chapter before I start the book, so I have guidelines to follow. I do not stick to them rigidly but it helps me as I can let my imagination get carried away and within one chapter I've written five different stories, so I do need something to pull me back sometimes.


5. Most writers get ‘writer’s block’, so how do you cure yours?

I get writers block all the time because I think I get overloaded with ideas so it's like a computer crashing and I just need to step away from the computer, have a few days off and come back to the story, refreshed and rebooted.


6. What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?

I am a bit of a music magpie as I love all types of music but it depends on my mood and the mood I am trying to create with the particular character, situation or chapter. I love anything from classic to rock music and especially love posting my stories on Wattpad (username: FantasyFairy) as I can post music videos on each chapter which enhances the reader’s experience whilst reading the scene.


7. Have you had anything else published?

In February 2013, I published the prequel novella trilogy, ‘The Orcus Games’ which tells the story of the trials and tribulations the ‘Split Blood’ character’s parents dealt with when the ‘Split Blood’ beings were younger.

The deadly drama’s set the path for the ‘Split Blood’ individuals as the events in these three books show how these experiences help shape each character’s personalities, issues with the demands their circles inflict upon them and also provides a backdrop to their magical world in more detail.


8. What's your next project?

I am currently working on the second book in the ‘Split Blood’ series, which will be published on 31st November 2013 and after this I will take a little break as I will be working on my paranormal story which will be published on Wattpad Only. For more information on my work please go to my website: www.split-blood.com or if you are a member of Wattpad, please Follow Me (FantasyFairy) and join me on this magical journey!

9. Now a slightly more entertaining question…if you had a paranormal ability, what would you like it to be and why?

This is an interesting question...I think I would be one of the character's from my book and say I would be a fairy. I loved Lily's complicated character but I also love how carefree they are supposed to be and their magic is so subtle but packs a punch!


10. And lastly, what three words would describe ‘Split Blood: The Ancient Codex - Part One’ to our followers that would make this book stand out from the rest in this genre?

The three words I would use to describe this book would be: Unique, Addictive and Captivating.


Other Information

Book two in the Split Blood Series will be on Amazon and Smashwords on 30 NOVEMBER 2013!


Authors Links

Website | Amazon | Smashwords | Goodreads | Wattpad | Facebook | Twitter

Book Review Coming Shortly from FIERY FANTASY BOOK REVIEW SITE





Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Last Enchanter Blog Tour


Name of Book: The Last Enchanter (Book 2 of the Celestine Chronicles)
Author: Laurisa White Reyes'
Published: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Genre: YA Fantasy


Book Description

In Book I, THE ROCK OF IVANORE, enchanter's apprentice Marcus Frye and five other boys set out on a dangerous journey to locate the Rock of Ivanore and bring it back to their village.

In THE LAST ENCHANTER, months have passed since they succeeded in their quest. One of the boys, Kelvin, is living as royalty in Dokur, and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Lord Fredric is murdered and Kelvin becomes king, the Enchanter Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll's death. With the help of his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael, a feisty girl in search of her mother, Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the course of his life forever.

In addition to THE LAST ENCHANTER being released on OCTOBER 15th in hardback, THE ROCK OF IVANORE is also now available in hardback! Both titles can be purchased at bookstores nationwide and online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound. They are available as E-books, too.

To celebrate the release of her newest book, author Laurisa White Reyes is giving away a brand new 16 GB NOOK HD!!!  Details on how to enter the giveaway can be found at the end of this post. In the meantime, please enjoy this following excerpt from THE LAST ENCHANTER followed by an interview with the author, Laurisa White Reyes.


EXCERPT from THE LAST ENCHANTER

Marcus waited until he heard Zyll turn the lock in his door before heading back down the corridor. Zyll had told him to do what he thought was best, and that’s exactly what he would do.

He passed several armed sentries, one at every door, as he made his way through the lower level of the Fortress. Kelvin was determined not to let the Agoran rebels get inside again. Maybe Marcus shouldn’t worry about his brother. With all these guards around, Kelvin was far safer than Fredric must have been. Still, he deserved to know how their grandfather died. Secrets had nearly destroyed Marcus and Kelvin’s relationship during their quest eight months ago. There would be no secrets between them ever again.

Marcus didn’t want to go back to the dining room. Kelvin and Jayson were probably still arguing over dinner, and what Marcus had to say was private anyway. He would go instead to Kelvin’s council chambers and wait for him there.

Other than the sentries, the interior of the Fortress was quiet. Most of the servants had already retired to their rooms for the night. Marcus hurried across the vast entry hall toward the east alcove where the offices were located. He had made it halfway when he suddenly had the feeling that he was not alone.  He turned and looked behind him, but there was no one beside the guard standing at the Fortress’s main door. The light from several oil lamps left the corners of the room hidden in darkness. Someone could easily conceal himself in one.

This is silly, Marcus thought. I’m letting my mind play tricks on me. Still, he walked the rest of the way as fast as he could without actually running.

The door to Kelvin’s council chambers stood just inside a narrow alcove. To Marcus’s surprise, the sconces on the wall were not lit. The alcove was dark except for a weak glow from the lanterns in the great hall.  He had expected to find a guard here, too, but the alcove was empty—or was it?

Near the door to Kelvin’s chambers Marcus saw a large, dark clump of something on the floor. He approached cautiously and touched it with his foot.  An arm fell forward, hitting the floor with a dull thump. Marcus stepped back, his breath quickening. The dark clump was a sentry. In the dim light, Marcus couldn’t tell if he was unconscious or dead.

Behind him, Marcus heard the sound of footsteps which stopped abruptly.

“Hello?” Marcus called out hoping it was one of the other guards. “There’s a man here,” he said. “I think he’s hurt!”

When no one replied, Marcus realized once again that his imagination was running away with him. But he did need to find help for the sentry. He was about to leave when he heard a new sound coming from inside the chambers: an unmistakable rattle as if something had fallen and rolled across the floor.

Marcus stepped over the guard’s body and took hold of the door handle. Slowly he turned it, pushing open the door just an inch. Candlelight spilled through the narrow crack into the alcove. Marcus saw now that the sentry’s eyes were open, staring dully up at nothing. He was most certainly dead. And Marcus suspected that whoever was inside the room had done it.

Pushing the door open a little further, Marcus stepped inside. Large tapestries hung floor to ceiling against the walls. Three stories above, the stained glass ceiling looked like a patchwork of black and gray. Charred remains of a log stood cold in the fireplace, though six candles burned in an ornate candelabra beside Kelvin’s desk. On the floor lay an ink bottle, dark liquid trailing from it like a tail. This must be what had made the noise. Marcus bent to pick it up. The glass bottle felt warm to the touch.

The air in the room was chill. So why would the bottle be so warm? Someone must have been holding it, Marcus thought, but who?

As he set the bottle back on the desk, he noticed movement from the corner of his eye. A tapestry fluttered ever so slightly. Marcus’s heart raced. He reached for his knife, but then remembered he had left it in his room for he had thought he was just going to talk to Kelvin. What would he have needed it for? He reached for the tapestry with trembling fingers and jerked it aside, but the only thing behind it was a bare wall.

All of sudden, something heavy hit him from behind. Sharp pain exploded across his shoulders, and Marcus’s face smashed into the wall. He felt drops of hot blood trickle onto his lips. Licking them, he tasted copper, and he wondered if the loud crack he’d heard had been his back breaking or something else. He turned and saw Kelvin’s chair in pieces behind him on the floor. Someone had thrown it at him! He had only a second to think before something else came flying at him, but this time it was a man.

The man yelled. Marcus caught the glint of a blade in his hand just before it came down on him. Marcus twisted away just in time, the blade grating instead against the stone wall. But the man did not stop. He sliced his dagger wildly in every direction. Marcus jumped and slid his way across the room, doing his best avoid the attacks. The man was slender, almost frail-looking, and yet was surprisingly fast and strong. He lunged at Marcus, not with the dagger, but with a set of blood-stained claws extended for the kill. It wasn’t a man at all, Marcus realized. It was an Agoran.

Marcus grabbed the candelabrum. As he swung it in an arc, the candles flew off. Two went out as they hit the floor, but the other four stilled burned, casting long, unnatural shadows onto the tapestries. One lit the corner of a tapestry on fire, the flames soon licking the woven patterns like a hungry snake. The candelabrum hit the attacker with a force that would have knocked most men to their knees, but this one didn’t even flinch. When the Agoran took hold of it, Marcus expected him to yank it out of his hands. Instead he thrust it forward, pushing Marcus off balance. He fell onto his back, sending a fresh tremor of pain through him. A second later, the attacker was on top of Marcus, holding the point of a blade to his throat. Damp tendrils of long, shaggy hair clung to his face. His pupils, narrow like a cat’s, peered at Marcus, recognition slowly dawning.  The Agoran and Marcus stared at each other, both remembering the day months earlier when they had first met.

Just then the door to the chamber flew open. A guard rushed in, his sword raised. Behind him came Kelvin and Jayson. The Agoran leapt off of Marcus and crossed the room in half a breath’s time. The guard ran after him, but the Agoran tore the burning tapestry free from the wall and flung it at him. The guard screamed in pain as fire engulfed his uniform. The tapestry dropped to the floor, the flames trapping the Agoran at the back of the room. Marcus managed to roll clear of it, though he felt his skin blistering with the heat and smelled the guard’s scorched flesh.

Jayson ripped the burning fabric from the guard’s body as Kelvin picked up his fallen sword. Kelvin slashed at the tapestry, trying to make a path through the fire. As he broke through, Marcus looked up to see what would happen next, but to his and everyone’s surprise, the Agoran was gone.


INTERVIEW w/ LAURISA WHITE REYES

What books influenced you most when you were growing up?

My favorite series for years was the TRIXIE BELDEN MYSTERIES. I still have the entire set of books in a box in my garage. Some of my other favorites included ROBINSON CRUSOE, OF MICE AND MEN, GONE WITH THE WIND, WUTHERING HEIGHTS and ROOTS.  Heavy duty stuff for a kid, I know, but I loved them. Still do. As an adult I learned more about writing from Dan Brown (THE DAVINCI CODE, ANGELS & DEMONS) than anyone else. He is a master of suspense, every chapter a cliffhanger so that you just can’t put his books down. Period. And I love how he weaves multiple points of view together until they all collide at the end. I wish I could write like that.


What gave you the idea for your book series The Celestine Chronicles?

I’ve always enjoyed reading to my kids at night before they go to bed. When my oldest son was about 8 years old, he asked me to make up a story instead of read one. So I told him about an enchanter’s apprentice who botched his spells. Each night my son would tell me what he wanted to hear that night, whether it was dragons, or magic, or sword fighting, and I’d weave it into the story. Eventually I started writing it down. A year later I had a completed manuscript of THE ROCK OF IVANORE. I wrote THE LAST ENCHANTER two years later.


What is your writing day like?

I don't have a typical writing day. As a mom of five kids, I actually have very little time to write. Years ago I used to stay up late at night to write, but I now I try to wake up an hour before the kids do and get a little work done then. On a good day I might write 1,000 words -- the equivalent of about 5 printed pages.


Who are your favorite characters in THE LAST ENCHANTER?

That's a tough question. While I like all the characters (I wouldn't write a character I couldn't like) Lael is new to this book. She wasn't in Book I. Lael is Marcus's age but wasn't included in the original quest because she is a girl. She really proves herself, though. While the boys use swords and bows and arrows, Lael is adept with the sling. Also, Bryn (the Groc who parades around in the form of a little boy) is particularly fond of her. And any friend of Bryn is a friend of mine.


Will there be a book III in The Celestine Chronicles?

Yes. The Seer of the Guilde is tentatively slated for 2015. However, in the meantime, I am working on the parallel series called The Crystal Keeper, which chronicles Jayson's years in exile in Hestoria. Anyone interested in the story of Jayson and Ivanore will want to read it. In the meantime, I hope everyone will enjoy THE LAST ENCHANTER.


GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Laurisa White Reyes, author of THE LAST ENCHANTER, is giving away a brand new
16 GB NOOK HD!!!  

There are many ways to win:

1) Take a pic of you and your copy of THE LAST ENCHANTER - post it on the web (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, a website, etc.) and email the link to: laurisawhitereyes(at)yahoo(dot)com

2) Follow Laurisa's blog and/or Facebook page

3) Tweet about this giveaway

4) Leave a comment below

The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. 

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below. 

U.S. residents only, please. 

This giveaway will end on November 8th.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Sunset Rising Blog Tour



Name of Book: Sunset Rising
AuthorS.M. McEachern
Published: September 23, 2012
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genre: YA Dystopian

Book Description: 

February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are grudgingly permitted entry. But the price of admission is high.


283 years later… Sunny O'Donnell is a seventeen-year-old slave who has never seen the sun. She was born in the Pit, a subterranean extension of the bio-dome. Though life had never been easy, lately it had become a nightmare. Her mom was killed in the annual Cull, and her dad thought it was a good time to give up on life. Reyes Crowe, her long-time boyfriend, was pressuring her to get married, even though it would mean abandoning her father.

She didn't think things could get any worse until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to be a servant-girl at a bachelor party. That's where she met Leisel Holt, the president's daughter, and her fiancé, Jack Kenner.

Now Sunny is wanted for treason. If they catch her, she'll be executed.

She thought Leisel's betrayal was the end. But it was just the beginning.


Author Bio

S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) has an honors degree in International Development.

As an author, Susan combined her political background with her love of action and romance to create her debut novel Sunset Rising. 

The first book of a trilogy, Susan is currently working on the second book and drafting the third. What does she like best about being an author? Hearing from her readers!



Authors Interview

1. Can you tell us how you came up with the storyline behind ‘Sunset Rising’?

Two things in my life collided that prompted me to write Sunset Rising: first, the idea for the novel came to me (years ago) after I did academic research on a Bio-dome in Arizona and, second, my teenage daughter and I have been doing buddy reads of Young Adult novels for the past four years. So an old idea coupled with modern day literature got me thinking until the story was so persistent that I had to put it on paper.


2. What is your favourite chapter of the book and why?

I guess if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Chapter Eight. That’s when the proverbial poop hits the fan. Things get pretty fast paced after that.


3. How do you get in the mood to write your ‘masterpieces’?
I set aside work hours and try to clear my head of all the day-to-day noise we all experience. It’s tough to do. I understand why people meditate or take up yoga. That said, the story is rarely far from my mind and I find inspiration in the weirdest places.

4. Most writers get ‘writer’s block’, so how do you cure yours?

Easy. Insert earbuds, select a favourite playlist, and go for a run. The music inspires me, the exercise recharges me, and the sunshine brings me to life. It’s the perfect combination! And yes, I’m from Canada. Snow doesn’t scare me.


5. This is your first book; do you plan to write a sequel? And when do you plan on publishing it?

Anyone who has read the book knows there is a sequel. In fact, I’ve had fans email me about the release date and reviewers say they eagerly await the next installment. Sunset Rising is a series. I have a date with my editor on December 2nd, so I’m hoping to release book 2 around Christmas or shortly thereafter. Look for a cover reveal and excerpts on my blog in November 2013.


6. And lastly, what three words would describe ‘Sunset Rising’ to our followers that would make this book stand out from the rest in this genre?

Intrigue. Action. Romance.

Excerpts

Excerpt #1

“I wish I could help.” Somewhere inside my head a little voice told me that was the very opposite of what I wanted to do.

“Perhaps you can help, Sunny,” Leisel said, her expression brightening. “Maybe you can take my place in the wedding.”

Excerpt #2

Something in his expression changed when I said that. He almost seemed surprised. His intense blue eyes narrowed. He seemed to want to look inside me, see right into my soul. Maybe he thought I was lying.

“So you’re saying you’ll pose as the bride and risk taking a bullet for her in order to save your people?”

“Yes.”

What I was saying could be considered treason. Jack could call in the guards and have me arrested right now…

Excerpt #3

“Seventeen? I married a teenager?” He sounded shocked. “Wait a minute, are you telling me that you and Reyes got engaged when you were only thirteen?”

“Yes. What’s so strange about that?”

“I’m twenty and that’s a young age in the Dome to get married. Usually people wait until they’re about twenty-five.”

“Well, when you face certain death at thirty-five, you speed up your life a little bit.”

Excerpt #4 

“Do you believe in fate, Sunny?” he asked after a while.

“I don’t know. I never really thought about it. Why?” I was relieved that he didn’t sound mad.

“I was brought up to believe that my main purpose in life was to get rid of our dictator and restore equality and freedom back to the people. My mother was convinced that the best chance we had was through my marriage. And here I am married to you… the girl who just found a way to raise an army.”

Excerpt #5

I took him by the hand and guided him toward the bedroom. He took off his t-shirt and flopped down on the bed. Since he was blind in the dark, I stripped off my vest and put my t-shirt back on before I climbed in.

“It’s not pitch black in here. The guards use nightlights, and it leaks into the apartment,” I said.

Jack opened his eyes as wide as he could and looked around the room. “I guess you have to born in the Pit to find light where there isn’t any.”

I rolled that thought over in my mind and realized just how true it was.


Author Links

  Website | Amazon 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Unwanted Blog Tour

Title: Unwanted
Author: Alivia Anders
Genre: NA Dystopian
Where to Purchase: Amazon and B&N

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00005]Book Description

She would be his freedom. He would be her price.
In a world overrun with people and narrowing resources, the basis of life has turned to do or die.

No longer does the balance of wealth and power apply. A strict split between the rich and poor has made the lines clear- the more money you have, the more power you control.

For seventeen year old Emily Beucant, life is an equal gift and curse.

Having grown up pre- Unwanted society, she can still remember the days it was okay to play with children from the other side of the concrete wall, back when her father was still alive, and back when the Unwanted program was used to Mark and hunt criminals, not sign away the lives of ungrateful children or spouses with high insurance collections over their heads. But since her father's creation of the program, the government has taken control and made it into a lucrative monster. And as Emily is days away from her eighteenth birthday, and handsome inheritance, she will soon see just how badly it is to be Marked.

When her soulless aunt places Emily up to be Marked an Unwanted, she is forced to go on the run from all she has ever known. No where is safe for her, and no one will protect her, least they wish to have the same fate as her. It isn't until she forms a tense, explosive alliance with a former doctor, Ben, that it looks like the tables may turn in her favor. Together they race against those searching for her, desperate to find a way to free her from an early death. But is it too late? No one is safe. No one is free.


Excerpt:

The time on my phone flashes 4:09AM by the time I come within sight of the first glimpses of Primrose Gardens. It’s nearly identical to Greener Lanes; a carefully monitored entryway was the only real way in, as the land was secured in a fence at least twenty feet high. Of course, like all high property, the maintenance of areas like the bottom of fences was generally overlooked, and were easily broken into by stray animals. Or fugitive eighteen year olds. I double-check no cameras are positioned on the outside of the fence, then carefully navigate around it. My hands and fingers brush through dewy ferns and pines, the cold droplets a welcomed relief to my grime-coated fingers.

At the corner of the first half, I spot an opening. It’s small, roughly the size of a skinny barrel, and pieces of rotting wood have been shoved in front of it in a weak attempt to conceal it. I wiggle them free with little effort, check the other side for any pesky animals, and slip in. The backyard is empty, nothing but freshly mown green grass to both corners of the enclosed yard. Inwardly I sigh with huge relief. Nothing in the backyard means there’s almost no chance of the house having dogs or kids. I sprint up to the house and press myself into the siding, peering over the corner inside. Sunlight beams over the hedges and fencing, shining streaks of yellow into the wide floor-to-ceiling windows backing most of the house. There’s no lights on, and nothing casually abandoned or out of place. Maybe the place is abandoned. 

Pressing my luck, I try the handle to the sliding glass doors. It’s unlocked. I hold my breath and pop the door open a pinch. When no alarms sound, I can barely contain my jittery hands from smacking the windows with glee like some over-sugared toddler who found out the square shape goes in the square-shaped hole. I step inside and quickly shut the door behind me, careful not to make too much noise. Even with the sunlight streaking through the glass, I can’t see too much, but I figure it’s best not to turn on the lights just in case. The kitchen reminds me eerily of home. Modern, glass and black metal fixtures create a desensitized atmosphere, devoid of emotion and memory. No fruit in a bowl on the counter, no washcloths hanging on the bar to the oven, no magnets on the fridge. Whoever does live here, doesn’t seem to be really living. Two slim envelopes sit on the far counter near the entrance to what looks like a dining room. I inch closer and squint, trying to make out the name on the label. 

The sound of a door upstairs stops me cold. I spin about the room, frantic. A place to hide, a place to hide... the kitchen sink cabinet. The cabinet was small, barely built to hold the pipes for the sink. Tiny bottles of cleaner, rags, scrubbing brushes, and several wrenches were piled in a corner, eating up any extra space I could fit into. This was most likely the only moment I would ever be thankful for my recent years of near-death starvation movements at my aunt’s hand. I was told once that when you adrenaline hits, everything slows to a crawl. At the time, Dad had used the words heightened senses, joking that for a blink in our lives, we became superhuman. For my sake, I hope he was right. If the owner of the house found me, it would be either fight or flight. And I was counting on the former. My fingers silently grasp for one of the wrenches, and I tense, going quiet and still. 

Footsteps sound on the linoleum tiles. A chair is pulled from the dining room table, and a sound of something heavy dropped on the table. I dare not breathe. My heart races faster than helicopter blades slicing through the cloudy skies on an emergency rescue. Pressure builds in my ears and chest, my throat squeezing until I can barely gather a thread of air. Seconds tick by, painfully slow. The nervous tick in my chest shifts to my feet, the fight flickering within. It crosses my mind that if I move swiftly, I could catch the owner off guard, burst from the cabinet doors and run for the fence. Outside the cabinet doors, there’s nothing but silence. No feet, no mutters, not even a grunt. All I can be sure of is my heart, slamming erratically against my chest, pulsing faster with every passing moment. 

The cabinet door flies open. A hand reaches in, grasping onto my upper arm. I try to swing the wrench but there’s no room in the cupboard. In one move I’m yanked out and tossed onto the tiled floor, and greeted by a blackened barrel of a gun holding true to my face. I know better than to scream for help. Instead I scramble with haste, rolling over and finding myself on my feet. My eyes focus, and I meet with the owner of the gun hovering in front of my nose. Sharp, dark green eyes stare holes into me, but his expression is glacial, reserved. Instantly I’m reminded of Matthew, and how I’d handle his past dealers who would try and stiff him. Like a lion lying in wait, poised and in control, I’d wait until they left a sliver of their guard down and attack the first weak spot available. But this isn’t a drug deal gone wrong, and Matthew is not here. This is real life, and I’m staring down a loaded weapon poised to blow my face all over the wall. If I give this man a fraction of a weak spot, he will use it and exploit it. I refuse to give this man a weak spot. 

He jerks his head to the cabinet doors, the short brown hair on his head bristling with motion. “You have exactly ten seconds to give me one good reason not to empty my gun into your thieving frame.” Surprise crosses my face, but I mask it as quickly as it slips. Could he possibly not know who I am? That I’m Marked and as good as dead? I say nothing. His eyes narrow, as if he can see right through me and learn all my dirty secrets. I try not to visibly flinch. He motions his free hand to the chair that’s been pulled from the table in the adjacent room. Our eyes stay locked and unblinking, neither moving. “Why don’t you hand me the wrench, and take a seat?” My lips stay sealed. I run over the options in my head, each more bizarre and unlikely than the last. Each one ends with me getting a bullet lodged into some part of my body, and I really don’t like the idea of becoming swiss cheese. He sighs disappointingly. “Unless you prefer that I call the police?” His free hand now reaches into his pocket, cellphone ready to dial on his touchscreen. If I wasn’t shaking before, I am now. 

My body shudders so hard I drop the wrench, the sound the smack against the floor so loud I yelp. The willful voice in my mind resurfaces, screaming. Run! Attack him, take the gun from him and go! But the brazen drive fades as quickly as it comes, and I haven’t made a move. Confusion swings in my head. Part of me still clings to the past I ripped myself from. The truth that I am no longer Emily Beucant, socialite of Camardine, daughter of the man who established the Unwanted program, continues to sink it, startling me with each passing tick of the clock. I am now Emily, fugitive of the law, outcast of all areas of society, Marked an Unwanted and fighting a system my own blood created. Unwanted. Unloved. Undesired. “No one,” I say, ignoring the crack in my voice. “Is going to take me alive, Unwanted or not. You may as well shoot me.” The man lowered the gun by a fraction, tilting it to the side. His eyes darkened as if he would explode with rage, but he spoke as if confused. “I’m not going to... hold on,” he zeroed in on my face, taking in my blonde tresses. “You can’t be that girl...” I did my best to stand rigid and tall, envisioning a plank of wood for motivation. It offered little help for my intimidating factor. 

Okay, so he knew. His eyes couldn’t hide the connection behind them, same way Matthew couldn’t hide his traitor behavior. Where did that leave me? I was going to find out. “Do it,” I make the words harsh, hot like scalding water. “Shoot me. You have every right.” The frown on his lips deepens, and he lowers the gun by another inch. Then, just like that, he flips the gun’s safety on and tucks it into the side of his black pants. A new wave of emotion, raw and frightened, rolls over me. Is he going to turn me in? “Are you hungry?” His words catch me off guard. Until he asked, I hadn’t so much as given a passing thought to food. My stomach gnawed and groaned. “What, no-?” He stares at me suspiciously. “You look like you weigh twenty pounds soaking wet. Might want to refuel if you plan on trying to break into any more houses.” I couldn’t help it. “Are you seriously asking the person who just broke into your home if they want breakfast?” “Are you going to take breakfast from the only person who’s offered it to you?” He counters, scowling. “I’m not-” “Breakfast or the police. Your choice.” What the actual hell was going on? I crossed my arms and made a face. “Fine.” 

He motions to the dining room one more time, the grand gesture like salt rubbing in the wounds. Looking over my shoulder, I carefully walk past him, crossing into the next room and sitting on the pulled out chair. A basket is placed on the table, muffin tops poking out from the thin cloth covering the top. I peel back the cloth and sneak a peek between keeping my eyes on the man. “Blueberry.” “Do you not eat blueberry muffins?” His mouth turns up at the corners, fighting a snicker. “Actually,” I begin, pushing the basket away. “I’m allergic.” He pushes off the doorframe, moving for the fridge. “I have orange-cranberry, too.” “I’m not hungry.” He sighs with irritability, and runs his hands over the top of his head. “You’re either incredibly stupid or stubborn.” That gets a rise out of me. “Talk to my aunt, and she’d tell you I’m both.” “My guess is stubborn with a side of stupid, if what I saw earlier was any indication,” he jabs at me, eyes turning to their glacial stare. “You’ve got some nerve, some seriously huge cojones, thinking you could break into a place like this. Let me guess, you thought you were so lucky. 

No one spots you at the fence, the door’s are unlocked and place immaculate.” “You have no ide-” “I spotted you clear as day from the second floor, little girl. You hadn’t even finished moving those planks I shoved over the gaping hole. If I spotted you that fast, imagine how quickly the cameras on the other side got a look at your face.” I went weak in the knees. “But I didn’t see-” “Damn right you didn’t see, you were too busy enjoying the win of your little conquest. Tell me, what was your plan after you got inside, huh? Take the car, look for jewels to pawn, murder a family if they spotted you and reported to the Unwanted call line-” “It wasn’t supposed to happen!” I’m on my feet, but don’t remember standing. Flashes of my hands, white-knuckled as they grip the edge of the table, dance at the bottom of my line of sight. 

His green gaze is unforgiving. “Is that what you were planning to say if you were caught? ‘I’m sorry, sir, it wasn’t supposed to happen’?” “Is breakfast a codeword for lecture? Because I really, really don’t want any breakfast. Now or never.” I make to leave, but he stands in the way. My fists clench tight, and I relax my arms in case I need to power-fist my way through him. “Move.” “Answer me one question,” he says coolly. I can’t believe the nerve of this taunting jerk. In less than ten minutes, I’ve gone from fugitive to captive, all because my stupid instincts said to go to a place familiar to home. I can’t look him in the face, so I turn my head down to the ground. “Ask.” His words are like a thin thread of breath on my neck, a cold breeze that makes me shudder from the chill. “What was your plan?” To save Matthew. To kill Christine. To run long enough for someone to reverse my Unwanted status. “I have to fix it,” the words barely leave my lips, the truth a burning declaration I hadn’t known existed even in the deepest pockets of my mind. “I have to stop it before someone else ends up in my shoes. 

Marked while innocent, captured while terrified, slain without cause.” I tilt my head up slowly, coming within inches of his face. Waves of green swallow me, and for a second I swear I’m caught in the tide in his eyes, ready to be pitched into the waters, lost to the sea. “I have to end the Unwanted program.”


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About the Author

Alivia
ALIVIA ANDERS is the author of the Amazon bestselling Illumine Series. Born and raised in PA, she fell headfirst into the world of writing at thirteen with the discovery of internet fan-fiction and RPG-forum boards. A lover of chinchillas, mexican food, and coffee, she spends most of her time drumming up new ideas to spin into tales to enchant readers everywhere. You can find out more about Alivia, and her upcoming projects, by visiting her Facebook or Blogger. Books Available by Alivia Anders: The Illumine Series: Illumine (Book #1) Obumbrate (Book #2) Riven (Book #3) Ethereal (Book #3.5, releases March 2013) Other Series By Alivia Anders: The Black Symphony Saga Novellas: An Ice Princess Heart (Novella #1, releases 2013) An Ice Princess Kiss (Novella #2, releases 2013) An Ice Princess Symphony (Novella #3, releases 2013) An Ice Princess Dream (Novella #4, releases 2013) The Black Symphony Saga: A Shard of Ice (Book #1, releases April 2014) A Brush of Fire (Book #2, releases January 2015) A Breath of Life (Book #3, releases December 2015)

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Monday, 16 September 2013

Keepers of Arden Book Review

Author: L.K.Evans
Date of Publication: June 27, 2013 (Kindle)
Publisher: Unleashed LLC
Pages: 465
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback or Kindle: Kindle


Fiery Fantasy Thoughts

The lands of Arden are being plagued by horrors from a vile darkness. One terrifying night, shadow and fire come together to spawn a child, granting Wilhelm’s wish for a sibling. His brother, Salvarias, is born with gifts of magic and a soul that can grant instant victory to the evil. But Wilhelm’s immunity to the darkness gives him the ability to thwart the evil’s scheme to poison Salvarias to its purpose. Will courage and the brothers’ bond keep Arden from falling into eternal darkness?

I really enjoyed this book as it was the first real adult fantasy book I had read for a while that wasn't in the YA genre.

Written from the third person perspective, we are introduced to young Wilhelm and the attack on his town by the shadow entities.

Clinging onto his mother as they tried to get back home, we see how innocent he is and how close he is to his mother as he witnesses these misty beasts killing individuals around him.

With very good descriptive skills, L.K. Evans was able to build an unique fantasy world, complete with strongly developed characters and good twists and turns to keep the reader interested until the end.

Although, heavily descriptive in the beginning as it set the scene about the 'Shadowfire's' killing people in the town and suspicions of witches conjuring them up, it did not distract me from the nicely described relationship between the brothers and sisters as the style of the writing makes you feel a number of emotions as she are taken on this magical ride with them.

I did feel that maybe if it was written from a first person point of view (in particular, Wilhelm) I might have felt like I was deeper in this fantasy world as at some points I did feel I was being told too much and not being able to let my imagination flow.

With all of these points, I give this book 4 wings out of 5 as I would recommend this book to ALL fantasy fans and look forward to more of L.K. Evan's books.







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Alana