Friday, September 30, 2011

J'Adore New York Book Tour & GIVEAWAY


Reader Girls are the hosts today for J'Adore New York Book Tour.

Book blurb: Catherine Lambert loves fashion and the law. One of only three applicants, out of a pool of thirty, selected to transfer from Edwards & White's Paris office to its Manhattan headquarters, and the only one assigned to the corporate group, Catherine is determined to continue impressing her bosses with her diligence and legal prowess. Meeting the firm's billable hours quota means long days and short nights, especially when two heinously spiteful secretaries are conspiring to undermine Catherine's reputation and efforts to please both the firm's clients and partners


Making matters worse, one of the firm's particularly powerful and obnoxious clients propositions her, actually referring to her as his "favorite little lawyer." When she refuses his advances, he accuses her of becoming intoxicated at a charity event and embarrassing him, several colleagues, and their wives. His behavior places Catherine into a quagmire and threatens to derail her career. 

Things start looking up when yet another client, Jeffrey Richardson, seems to show genuine interest in her. But is he too good to be true? She is just starting to believe that she might be able to "have it all" when Jeffrey requests that she engage in unethical conduct on his behalf that could ultimately lead to her disbarment and serious consequences for the firm. Did Jeffrey ever really care for her or was she merely his means to a financial end? Yet again, Catherine finds herself at a crossroads, questioning her career choices to date ... and what shape she wants her future to take.



About the author: Isabelle worked for over ten years in Toronto, New York City and Montreal as a lawyer in a large law firm and on Wall Street. In 2005, she was responsible for the business affairs of a fashion designer where she developed a penchant for haute couture. She enjoys running, skiing, and walking her pooch Leo. 

J'ADORE NEW YORK is her first novel and she's currently working on its sequel, J'ADORE PARISAuthor blog



Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper; Original edition (October 4, 2011)

Our review: J'Adore New York has the fashionable glitz of Sex and the City with a truly realistic adult storyline about a talented female lawyer dealing with the machinations of the corporate world while trying to stay true to herself. Think of Miranda as a fully fleshed out character at work more than at play. Catherine is a stylish Parisian lawyer who transfers to her company's Manhattan office. We know she is driven and smart from the beginning--out of three (reduced from thirty) who applied for the position, she is chosen. Once Catherine is living in the glitzy mecca of New York City, she discovers life in the Big Apple is not at all what she envisioned. 

Laborious hours, backstabbing and gossiping coworkers, a mean boss and corrupt clients, Catherine has a tremendous amount to deal with. Still, her enthusiasm may waver but never falters, and that makes her a charming and believable character, a woman to root for. Lafleche shows us a working woman actually working (which so many other stories seem to pass over) and we are never bogged down in law terms. Catherine knows what she wants, is determined to make partner, and doesn't let her workload shift her passion to succeed. And her ability to toss one liners throughout makes this story lively and enjoyable."I need a new pair of shoes like Paris needs more traffic" she tells her secretary, Rikash, another character I liked. Their conversations made me chuckle throughout and embued a serious story with a playful sense of humor and plenty of heart.

Just when Catherine thinks she has found a true New York romance with a client, Jeffrey Richardson, this man of wealth and power bursts her bubble and threatens her career as well. Yes, Catherine is the new girl in a new town, but author Isabelle Lafleche creates such an invigorating woman, the reader simply doesn't care if this is a tried formula. I'll admit I was surprised by Catherine's name and her ability to know so much American slang as she did being a Parisian. I expected a stronger sense of her background but having her character this way may have helped the story flow and keep the fast pace.

J'Adore New York works so well because of its well defined characters, involving story and strong plot, with a healthy dash of humor and fashion. Fans of chick lit may delight in this book.

Rating: Liked it.

Favorite excerpt: "Rikash approaches the counter as I pull out my wallet. "You're not going to like what I'm about to say, buttercup, but have you done a bit of background research on Jeffrey?"

"What do you mean?"

"Into his past. I just want to make sure he isn't another one of those players you find in the Hamptons. There's more out there by the square foot than privet hedges."

Catching me off guard, my back goes up. Why would Rikash say something like that a few hours before I leave?

"Rikash, this is no time to plant any doubts in my mind, I'm already nervous enough about the weekend as it is. Do you know something I don't?"

"I just don't want to see you get hurt.""

Cover comment: Lovely! The pink of Catherine's dress immediately grabs your eye and the way her head is tilted up as if looking up at Manhattan's skyline, is so symbolic to her struggles in the book.

Book source: Received from publisher for my honest critique.

Giveaway!!!
Reader Girls has one paperback copy of J'Adore New York to give away to one reader. This contest is open to US residents only (sorry).


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Your Child's Writing Life tour & Guest Post by Pam Allyn


There is a gaping hole in parenting literature. Despite the numerous bestsellers showing how to instill a love of reading, no book shows how to cultivate a love of an equally essential skill: writing. Finally, Pam Allyn, a nationally recognized educator and literacy expert, teaches us that writing is a fundamental part of self-discovery and critical to success later in life. Pam is the absolute best author for a book of this kind. She is the Executive Director of LitLife, a nationally recognized organization specializing in transformative school improvement through literacy education, and is also the Executive Director of LitWorld, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing quality education to the world’s most vulnerable children.

In YOUR CHILD’S WRITING LIFE: How to Inspire Your Child’s Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age (Avery, Paperback Original, August 2011, $16.00), award-winning educator, literacy expert and author of What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read With Your Child and All the Best Times to Read Them, Pam Allyn empowers parents to make writing, as much as reading, a part of life at home. Allyn teaches us that every child has the capability to write, and that writing is a fundamental part of self-discovery and is a skill essential to success later in life. After writing the go-to book on reading, Allyn’s mission is to encourage all children to define themselves as writers too—confident in their ability to communicate with the world through words.

YOUR CHILD’S WRITING LIFE is a practical and motivational guide to help parents inspire a love of writing. First and foremost, Allyn urges parents to establish “The Five Keys” to WRITE: Word Power, Ritual, Independence, Time, Environment.

These keys, when practiced regularly, provide the framework for developing writing skills in a child’s everyday life. Allyn also introduces parents to the “Writer’s Ladder,” to help them understand and guide their child’s writing development through each key stage. Allyn offers expert resources for igniting the fire of writing in a child and gives targeted and inspiring prompts for particular life moments like:

· What to write when ‘You are Afraid’, ‘You are Joyous’, or ‘You Want to Change the World’

· What to write when ‘You Need to Escape’, ‘Need To Tell it Your Way’, or ‘Need a Different Landscape’

· What to write when ‘You Need to Say Thank You’, ‘You Have a Blog’, or ‘You Got a New Journal’, and much more

In YOUR CHILD’S WRITING LIFE, Allyn shares concrete strategies to get children excited about writing, from putting together travelogues to spying for characters to sending out a modern message in a bottle. By turning writing into a game, one can teach children to be more in tune with the world around them—more engaged, curious, and thoughtful. And with a list of twenty great books to inspire writing, Allyn arms parents with motivating material for all ages.

YOUR CHILD’S WRITING LIFE provides ways for parents and teachers to encourage children to put words on the page, to convey stories that deeply matter to them, and to name and solidify those experiences for times to come. And as Allyn illuminates, if we teach our children that writing can be the most lasting and effective form of self-expression, as well as a concrete tool to solve problems, we are giving them the skill to last a lifetime.



Guest Post by Pam Allyn:
Two-thirds of the world's illiterate people are women. All across the world, girls are prevented from attending school, not provided the opportunity to go on to secondary school, and deprived of safe space while at school.  Girls everywhere struggle daily to survive, often without the tools of language that we take for granted. 

It doesn't have to be this way. 

Just as young women everywhere face trials and tribulations unimaginable to most of us, so to do young women everywhere have a quiet stirring in their soul to help others and change this reality for their fellow women. By simply having that first thought of "this is unfair, it has to change", you are taking the first step towards making a difference. 

But what can you do?

We at LitWorld believe that words change worlds. We believe that the power of story - YOUR personal story - is one of the greatest tools you have to advocate for yourself and change the world around you. We believe in developing individuals as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners, so that they have the tools they need to champion their own rights and the rights of others. By working with children and young adults such as yourselves in LitClubs, our literacy and empowerment workshops, we are cultivating young leaders who will change the world as we know it. LitWorld was born of a small idea that all people deserve a right to literacy (and a passion for change), and in a couple short years has reached thousands of children in tens of countries, providing them with love, support, and the tools to begin reading. We are spreading literacy faster than we ever could have imagined, and much of that success is because of passionate young people like yourself who decided that today was the last day they could sit around waiting for the world to change on their own. They had to take a stand. 

There are a million ways to make a difference, but perhaps the biggest challenge is finding the courage to take the first step. Take the time to think "what can I do?", "what are girls like me doing to make a difference?", "how can I help?" it doesn't take much, but by supporting each other as girls and change-makers, we can create a global community of women not afraid to raise their voices for what is right and, as Ghandi said, be the change they want to see in the world. If we can pledge one thing right now, let's pledge to change this world together. 


About Pam Allyn: Pam Allyn is a renowned educator and the Director of LitLife, a national organization dedicated to school improvement in the area of literacy education, and LitWorld, a global organization dedicated to ensuring that all children will learn to read and write. Her first book for parents and caregivers, What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read With Your Child and All the Best Times to Read Them won the 2010 Parents Choice Award as well as the National Parenting Publications Gold Award in 2009. Her reading initiative ‘Books for Boys’ won recognition from the Points of Light Foundation and a Disney Award. Pam has received the James Patterson PageTurner Award twice. She lives in Hastings on Hudson with her husband Jim and two daughters, Katie and Charlotte.

For more information on Pam Allyn, please visit: www.pamallyn.com/www.litworld.org

LitWorld is a 501C3 nonprofit organization led by Executive Director Pam Allyn, a renowned literacy educator and advocate. We work to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength.  Join us online at http://litworld.org/actnow/.  Stand Up for Girls with us on September 22, 2011 by visiting http://ow.ly/6iWjH. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BBT: Caressed By Moonlight Book Tour




Reader Girls is the host today for the Caressed By Moonlight Book Tour. We interviewed author Amanda J. Greene. Welcome everyone.

Caressed by Moonlight (Book 1 Rulers of Darkness Series) by Amanda J Greene

Book Description: Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.

Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Dorian Vlakhos.

After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire would bind them for all eternity. But treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.


Our interview with Amanda J. Greene:



Vampires, the aristocracy, Victorian times, romance--Caressed By Moonlight has so much to offer paranormal and Regency fans. How did Dorian and Victoria's story come about?

My favorite romance genres are historical and paranormal and I wanted to combine them. History, as a subject alone, has always interested, hence the reason I am a history major.
Although, I don’t remember exactly how I came up with the idea for Caressed by Moonlight. I wrote the original copy when I was in middle school. I found it in my closet not long ago and decided to the characters back to life.

With so many vampire novels on the market, were you concerned about having yours published? What did you do to make your story stand out?

Currently, the market is flooded with paranormal romance novels, but I thought I would throw mine out there and see how well it did. Much to my surprise, it floated rather than sank. I tried to make my characters a bit different than those you would find in the average paranormal romance. I also wanted to focus on their love story, since it is a romance after all, and not all the “bad” stuff that is going on around them. Their romance is slow and builds over the course of the book and I think that has helped set my work apart from some others.

Which was your favorite scene to write? Your least favorite?

My favorite scene to write was when Victoria goes to Dorian’s cabin on the ship. It’s sexy with a hunt of danger and I will stop there, I don’t want to give too much away.
My least favorite was the ending. I tried for months to come up with a suitable ending. I think reason is that I did not want the book to end.

Which character's voice spoke to you first? Which one was easy? Any difficult to craft?

I came up with Dorian’s character first. I knew exactly how I wanted him to look and act, although, Victoria’s character was the easiest to work with. I was in tune with her emotionally which made it easy to predict her next move and keep Dorian on a marry chase.

What would you like readers of Caressed by Moonlight to take away from the novel once they finished?

I want them to feel as much love for characters as I do and been looking forward to the next installment of the Rulers of Darkness series.


Get Caressed by Moonlight at: Amazon/Barnes and Noble/All Romance Books



About the Author: Amanda J. Greene is an erotic paranormal romance author. When she is not writing, she can be found playing the role of a full time university student, who works part time.

She lives in Southern California with her very supportive military husband and their sweet cocker spaniel.

For more information about her upcoming books, visit www.amandajgreene.com

You can also find her at: Facebook/Goodreads/Twitter


We apologize for the delay today and thank Amanda J. Greene and Bewitching Book Tours.

Monday, September 26, 2011

BBT: Spirit Seeker Book Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to Reader Girls. We are today's stop during the Spirit Seeker Virtual Book Tour. Below is a blurb about the book and an excerpt provided by the author and an entry form to enter into a contest to win a copy of the book. 

Book Description:

Life is strange and difficult for the granddaughter of a shaman. 

Sixteen-year-old Talisa Santiago was born in the desert underneath the full moon in January—the wolf moon. However, she left the desert with her mother when she was a young girl. She remembers bits and pieces of her past but it isn’t until she and her mom move to a remote barrier island off the coast of North Carolina that she feels fate has finally called—secretive and mysterious he stands alone on the edge of the bank. Her friends tell her to stay away; she hears rumors that he is dangerous. Still, she can’t resist. Whether Talisa realizes it or not, she knows a thing or two about boys like Jag Chavez. 

Fate is funny that way. 

For the first time in her life, Talisa meets kids just like her—Native Americans who know the way of the spirit. The closer she gets to Jag, the more she realizes he is hiding a dark secret. He may have the markings of the Thunderbird, but he is named for the powerful Jaguar. Together they embark on a journey that will haunt her forever.

Book trailer links:

EXCERPT:
Drowning would be a terrible way to die. Silent. As I gazed out to the summer sea, images of twinkling sands swept across my mind. The dark, unfathomed ocean with its mysterious tides filled my soul with a holy presence, for I knew that its depths were seldom seen. However, when I visited the corners of my life, it wasn’t water that I longed for. Instead, it was the desert of my past, a place of total isolation.

It was the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed. And the most wicked. Enchanting? Of course, that’s why I remember it so well.

I was only five when I first saw the dead man. I was awakened at midnight by the sound of beating drums.

Before me were two men with their bodies painted, wearing masks, dancing around the grotesque corpse. Their long, thick hair flapped against their backs as they moved in perfect rhythm. In and out, they went into a trance. Shadows appeared through the smoke. I could see the dead man’s spirit hovering around, waiting for redemption. His side had been torn in half, mauled it seemed by a wild animal of some sort. In the background there was a woman stirring a paste. I smiled when she looked at me. It was my mother.

She went to the dead man and began rubbing his ragged, maggot-ridden side with the magic potion. Her long hair flowed into his wounds. The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand. The ceremony took most of the night. By dawn, the drums finally stopped beating. And the dead man woke up. He staggered as he stood, walking out of the tent with a limp. The miracle workers removed their masks. I watched my mother with perfect clarity. She was mesmerizing. Her beauty was extraordinary. Divine. The way she carefully wiped the paint from their sweat filled faces and soaked their bloody, battered feet in buckets of warm water was a ritual my mother knew all too well. The two men she cleansed were my father and grandfather. She handed each of them a peace pipe. That was the last memory I have of my father. After that, I don’t remember ever seeing him again.

Although I do know the moon well, the lullabies sung to me as a child were never from storybooks that promised goodnight wishes to the beautiful planet. Instead, at night, when the stars shone upon me, I would recite a sacred prayer to the hidden sun, the earth father—the almighty jaguar. I would gaze into the night sky and dream of the jaguar’s spots shinning above me. I would wish into them and fantasize childlike dreams. I knew the jaguar had a sacred power in the earth and the animals that lived upon it. I just never knew I was creating my own destiny so long ago.

“The Universe will give you exactly what you ask for. It only takes once for a wish to be willed,” my mother used to say as she kissed me to sleep each night in the desert. I always heard her but never answered. I think I knew, even then, what I really wanted in my life. Whom I really needed. And what I had to do in order to get it.

My name is Talisa Santiago and my grandfather is a shaman—a natural healer.

I was born in the desert on the dirt floor of his house under the full moon in January—the wolf moon. His home was a tent made of woven’s goat hair. When he first pulled me out of my mother’s warm womb and into the outside world, he whispered a chant and placed an arrowhead through a burning stick of sandalwood before hanging it around my neck. Something about sandalwood, it brings us closer to the divine. Something about arrowheads, it wards off evil spirits.

When I was seven, my mother told my grandfather we were leaving the desert and never coming back. She would travel with me and make a home for us by the water. He held a special ceremony, called me a water singer, and named me Talisa. With grief in his heart and tears in his eyes, he bid us farewell. As we were leaving, he handed me an eagle feather and told me a proverb. Since I was so young, I only know the proverb from the way my mother tells it and she hasn’t repeated it all that much. I think she wants to forget the desert and the dirt floors, so I never ask too many questions. Even kids have an innate sense of knowing when and when not to ask their mothers about the past. To me, the desert is a place I remember like a fairy tale told once upon a time. Time and time again, I’ve heard people say the first few years of a child’s life are the most important in mental development. They have no idea just how profound that statement truly is.


Spirit Seeker by Jamie Haden
ISBN: 978-1-61706-074-8
Price: $14.99
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Young Adult
Available at: www.pillhillpress.com & most other online retailers!

ABOUT JAMIE: Jamie lives by the seashore in Wilmington, NC with her husband and three daughters. Jamie has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and taught middle school in Kentucky and NC. Jamie is currently working on Illuminate-Alive, she cried, the sequel to Spirit Seeker. 

GIVEAWAY: Five print copies of Spirit Seeker will be given away tour wide. Enter below.
Additional links: 
And leave a comment on the tour stop!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Unruly Magic Giveaway Blitz


Today we're participating in the Unruly Magic  Giveaway Blitz. Unruly Magic is the second book in the Amazon UK contemporary fantasy Top 10 bestsellling Stella Mayweather series. we loved the first book, Illicit Magic, and our review can be found here

Camilla Chafer is offering two ebook copies of Unruly Magic to our readers so please leave a comment below (along with your email address) to be entered.
 
Here's what Unruly Magic is all about: 
A witch on the run.
A quiet little town where everything is far from normal.
A fractured witch council threatening to tear the supernatural world apart.
 
Life hasn't been easy for novice witch Stella but small town life seems to be agreeing with her. When a frightened young woman appears in Stella's house and begs for her protection, Stella is pulled into a dangerous game where she'll need both her magic and her wits to unravel the secrets that surround her.
 
Just what is her new home town's big mystery? Is Stella's new charge really on the run from the Council or is she a dangerous murderer ready to manipulate her way to freedom? And with old friends and new seemingly ready to help, who can Stella trust when she's not even all that sure that they don't have their own agenda.

With bewitching friends and two super-sexy mysterious men by her side, Stella must uncover dangerous truths, fast, before she ends up paying the ultimate price.
 
Links:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Smashwords
B&N
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Camilla Chafer's Website
: (includes free first chapter and deleted scene on the downloads page)
 
 
Author bio:
Hi, I'm Camilla and I'm the author of Illicit Magic and Unruly Magic, the first two books in the Stella Mayweather Paranormal Series. The series starts with a lonely young English woman, Stella, who has been caught up in a terrifying witch hunt and is whisked thousands of miles away to what she thinks is safety to learn her craft. The series is a blend of magic and mystery with a splash of romance and a dash of humour - and while the girls really do go all out to save themselves, there's always a hunky guy or two on hand to help them out.

I live in London, UK but I try to travel as often as I can - lately I've been to Paris, all over Denmark, Luxembourg, and several US states. In my day job I'm a journalist and editor so I write for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world (my favourite assignment was spending a week riding rollercoasters - if you listen carefully you can probably still hear me screaming).


Thursday, September 22, 2011

BBT: The Vampire Way Book Tour

Reader Girls is today's stop for The Vampire Way Book Tour.

Book blurb: Eighteen year old Rick Thompson is a marked man. When Damien Masonite comes to his school, he knows something is up. And when his friends start falling to vampire attacks, he knows that he and his girlfriend Laura are next. The quest to understand immortality, true love and undying friendship compromise his safety even more. Can he keep his best friends, his true love and keep his mortal life?

We welcome author Derek Clendening.

Guest Post
Ever hear writers tell stories about how it took them ten years to write a novel? Well, The Vampire Way took nine. As I write this post, I am hours removed from having finished writing the sequel Blood Promise, which took four months. Big difference, huh? So, if one took me so long, why should the sequel be so darn easy?

To start, I first conceived the idea for The Vampire Way in the summer of 1999. I was 17 and would turn 18 that November. Part of the trouble is that I was an aspiring writer in the truest sense of the word. I hadn’t learned how to properly develop an idea, unfold a plot and characters etc. I don’t beat myself up over that though. It’s pretty forgivable.

Here’s how the original story went: Rick Thompson, an 18 year old high school senior, who is horror-obsessed and an aspiring writer, meets a pretty girl named Laura. Said pretty girl turns out to be a vampire and is behind a few killings. It’s okay to tell you about that. No spoilers there. The initial concept is nowhere close to the book it became. Laura was rewritten as a regular human girl in following drafts. Certain major characters and themes didn’t arrive until 2001 or later. The reason for that, I think, is because I had to make sense of some things that happened to me in the fall of 1999.

A friend I grew up with, whose father was best friends with my father growing up (it’s a small town guys, haha) succumbed to cancer on my 18th birthday. Another of our friends died in a car accident a few weeks later. I felt a type of survivor’s guilt because my friends were gone and I was lucky enough to be able to live my life. Those emotional aches and pains were incorporated into the book. My own quest to become a better person, in spite of the mistakes I may commit in the process, is thematically significant as Rick strives to become a better person.

In short, I needed the experiences that came later that fall, and the maturity that came in the following years to tell the story properly. I needed nearly a decade to make the story reach its full potential. Writing a sequel was easy because I knew the characters so well. Rick Thompson had become my best friend. I only hope that a reader can achieve the personal growth from the book as I did.


Excerpt from The Vampire Way:

Prologue

     Hamilton, Ontario
     August

     Damien Masonite’s heart quickened when he raised the stake and hammer high above his head and poised himself. He had to kill his father tonight, but he worried that he wouldn’t have the guts.
     To him, killing should’ve been easy, but he couldn’t stop his hands from shaking. Watching Dad suffer changed everything he knew about life, but the old man wouldn’t know what hit him if he did it quickly enough. He wouldn’t suffer and Damien wouldn’t have any remorse.
     Listening to the rain pelt the roof, his hands shuddered, and he rested the stake and hammer. It didn’t matter if his father was suffering; he knew that he wasn’t strong enough to finish him.
     Staring at Dad’s slackened jaw and the sweat streaming down his face, he asked himself how he could be so selfish. Since Mom was staked in Toronto last year, Dad’s life had taken a nose dive; he was feeding less, and allowing his body to weaken.
     Closing his eyes, Damien wanted to shut out the nightmare, but the terror enveloped him when he opened them. Certainly no other vampire family would have expected this to happen to them, he thought. Remembering all the times that Dad had sat him on his lap, telling him about the plentiful blood of his youth, he would also tell him about how books and movies had ruined their lives. The entire game had changed and it had forced them to move from town to town. Damien knew that once this was over, he would have to start a new life somewhere new, except this time he would have to do it alone.
     What is this feeling? Damien thought. Guilt seemed likely to him, since his own selfishness had allowed the old man to get sick. Whenever they’d fed, Dad had ignored his own needs, leaving the blood for him and Candace, and they had consumed it all, no questions asked. He was sure that if he’d forced Dad to take some blood for himself, he would’ve stayed healthy.
     Dropping to his knees, he cupped Dad’s clammy hands.
     “Anything I can do to make you more comfortable?” Damien asked.
     “Make me a promise.”
     “Anything.”
     “Carry on our name; I can’t bear to think that you’re the last. Only you have the power to make our family powerful again.”
     But I’m only eighteen, he thought. He wouldn’t dare say it.
     “Everyone knows about us. They think we’re normal then they figure us out.”
     Damien knew the sting of rejection all too well, particularly after they were run out of Toronto. Blood was plentiful in cities, but competition from other families was always tooth and nail. Knowing that rural people were never as na├»ve as they let on, they never managed to stay in small towns for long either. He was positive that if he could have stayed in any school for more than a semester, he wouldn’t have had to depend on family to break up the loneliness.
     “What should I do to make us strong again?” Damien asked.
     “You’re powerful,” Dad whispered, “even if you don’t know it.”
     “But we’re running out of places to go.”
     “Try the town I wanted to move to next and you’ll find yourself there.”
     “But where?”
     “Fort Erie.”
     Damien stared at his chest and sucked in a deep breath.
     “Every town has perfect blood,” Dad said. “I’ve never found it myself, but it’s there for the taking if you look hard enough. Whoever has it can expose you, but their blood can make you powerful again. If you find that person in Fort Erie, drink them dry and convert them.”
     “But who am I looking for?”
     Dad’s eyes fluttering, Damien worried that he’d be gone before he could tell him the answer.
     “I need you to do something important,” Dad said.
     “Anything.”
     “Finish me.” His lungs wheezed as he exhaled a deep breath. “Take that stake and drive it straight through my heart.”
     Feeling relieved that Dad wanted to be finished, Damien was also glad that he didn’t have to decide for him. He gripped the stake and hammer then raised them over his head and paused.
     “I’ll never let you down.”
     Closing his eyes, he pounded the stake into the old man’s chest, and a spray of hot blood struck his skin. Positive that he’d done the right thing, he still dropped to his knees, and buried his face in Dad’s chest to smother his tears.
     When Dad’s chest stopped heaving, Damien decided that the mortals were responsible for his pain. Standing tall, he stretched his arm like eagle’s wings, and screamed at the top of his voice. He decided to mourn for Dad before moving on, but nothing would stand in the way of his mission.
     The mortals had to pay.

*     *     *
     
Fort Erie, Ontario
     September

     Sitting slumped on a rock, Damien stared out at the Niagara River, and thought about Dad. Watching the water smacking against the rocks that lined the river soothed him whenever he felt down. It had quickly become his favorite spot. Next, he glanced up at the Peace Bridge and saw that traffic was backing up.
    Coping with his pain had been a daily struggle but taking care of Candace and making his own decisions made him feel like more of a man. He’d buried Dad in the back yard, packed his few belongings, hit the road, and hadn’t looked back since. All that mattered to him was his new life in Fort Erie.
     “What are you looking at?” Candace asked.
     “You’ve broken the rules.” He didn’t turn to face her. “You know that I want to be alone when I’m sitting here.”
     Brushing her off was no big deal to him because he was in charge now, and she was to obey his rules.
     “You sure this is the right place?” She asked.
     “Positive.”
     “Water sucks.”
     “Dad would’ve wanted you to trust me.”
     “How do you know they won’t figure us out like they did in Toronto or Hamilton?”
     “Look around you.”
     Hopping off of the rock, he inched closer to the water, and rested his hands on his hips.
     “The mortals don’t suspect a thing,” he said.
     “How can you be sure?”
     “I just know.”
     Instinct had taken him this far and he wanted to keep trusting his gut. They had stayed in an empty house tucked away in the woods and Damien had read that it was haunted. Peace and quiet at last.
     “We’ve hardly fed in a month,” she said. “I’m starving and I want to go home!”
     “Don’t you get it? This is home!”
     She shut up.
     “School starts in a week and I’m already enrolled at Fort Erie High,” he said.
     “But I wanted to go to school this year!” Her hands were on her hips and her eyebrows were slanted.
     “We can’t be seen together. We screw this up, we move again. You want that?”
     “At least let me have the first kill.”
     “Dad died because of selfish thinking. Now we’re all each other have and we have to look out for each other’s good.”
     “Won’t going to school keep you from finding the perfect mortal?”
     “He’s out there . . . or she.” He found himself almost hypnotized by the water.
     “What happens to us if you don’t?”
     He shook his head. “It’s just a matter of time.”


About the author: 
Derek Clendening lives in Fort Erie, Ontario where he works at the public library. When not writing, he enjoys reading and is a die hard football fan (Go Bills!) 
Derek's blog: www.thehorrorofderekclendening.blogspot.com
Find The Vampire Way at: Smashwords, Amazon paperback/Kindle


Follow the rest of the Book Tour:
Sept 22 Interview 
Sept 23 Interview Sept 24 Guest Blog 

Reader Girls thanks Derek Clendening and Bewitching Book Tours


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BSP: Betrayed Blog Tour + Giveaways


It's Wednesday and Reader Girls is so happy to be hosting the Betrayed Blog Tour. We welcome author Ednah Walters back with her second title of The Guardian Legacy. The author has provided us with an excerpt, news about her contest, and the addition of another contest for us to offer one ebook copy of Betrayed to one person who comments below.

Betrayed blurb: Lil has come to terms with her life as a Guardian/demon hunter and the wielder of the Nephilim most powerful weapon. She trains everyday to master her growing powers, gets along with her Guardian trainee friends (most of the time) and cherishes her moments with her human friends.

Just when she feels she belongs, her nature-bender father contacts her and warns her about a betrayal by someone close to her. Then Bran, the guy she loves, starts to act strange and one of her human friends acquires a supernatural ability. While Lil struggles find a connection between these three things, she begins to realize that someone is manipulating her and Bran, and will stop at nothing (including hurting those she loves) to lure them to the dark side.

Get Betrayed for Kindle/Barnes & Noble/available at other bookstores

Excerpt from Betrayed - 06-Lil and Bran’s Fight

On Friday night, Bran was in his bedroom when I teleported to their place. He came and went into my bedroom all the time, but I never visited his, not even when he lived in Park City. Heart hammering hard in my chest, I knocked and peeked inside when he mumbled something. He was in bed, arms behind his head.

“Dinner is ready,” I told him. We’d been eating at our house most evenings.

“I’m not hungry,” he said in a flat voice.

“Can I come in then?” I gave him a toothy grin.

He didn’t return it. Instead, he studied me with an unreadable expression. “You already are.”

Not exactly the invitation I was hoping for. I glanced around with interest. The once plain white room now had fern-colored carpet, lime-green walls and a giant bed in the middle with a yellow and green striped duvet. Despite Bran’s clothes visible through the open closet door, three trench coats on racks and shoes and boots on the floor, the room felt like a hotel suite. There were no personal pictures on the wall or side table, books or hand-held games like in Sykes and Remy’s rooms. No computer or Mp3 player on the desk to his right. Bran’s essence was missing. On the other hand, they just moved in, so maybe he hadn’t finished unpacking.

“I’m over here,” he griped, drawing my attention back to him.

Hesitating by the door, I studied him. Was he worrying about his brother again?

Bran sighed and beckoned me with a finger. When I reached him and bent over, he leaned up on one elbow, gripped the back of my head, and nudged me closer enough for our lips to touch. Something primal flashed in his eyes, exciting yet worrisome at the same time. Just as suddenly, he let go of me, flopped back on the bed and flung an arm across his face.

“Are you okay?” I asked, concern coiling through me. Something wasn’t right. He looked like he’d hit rock-bottom.

“I’m done unpacking, and no, I don’t need pictures of those I love. They are in my head,” he mumbled as though talking to himself. “Games are a diversion I don’t need, so are music and computers. There. I hope that satisfies your curiosity.”

Heat crawled up my face. Crossing my arms, I rocked on my heels and wished I hadn’t come downstairs. I’d hoped to talk to him about everything that happened with Haziel the last four days, but that wasn’t going to happen in his present, crappy mood. I’d put off bringing up my energy ability, not wanting to burden him with my problems when he had so much to deal with.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” I griped.

“Do what? Get inside your head?” He removed his arm and cocked an eyebrow. “You do it to me all the time.”

“I stopped months ago, and I apologized whenever I did it,” I added softly.

“Yes, you did, didn’t you? But you and I are different, Sunshine. I do things my way, and you do yours your way. I’m damaged while you,” he swung his feet over the side of the bed and sat up, a derisive smile on his lips, “you’re perfect.”

Not when he said it like that. “What’s that supposed to mean? Why are you being such a jerk?” I asked sharply.

“Perhaps that’s who I am.” He stood.

I took a step back and bit my lower lip, trying not to let his attitude get to me. “What’s wrong, Bran?”

“Nothing. How about this?” he continued, his narrowed gaze locked on me. “I promise not to get inside your head if you promise not to get inside mine. In fact, let’s not link for a while, okay?” He gripped the back of his tee shirt as though to yank it off and paused to add, “Now I’m sorry for being rude, but you need to get out of here. I need to change.” He pulled his shirt off.

My breath caught. I stared. Swallowed. The scar of the Cardinal Guardian amulet didn’t mar the perfection of his masculine chest. Instead it drew attention to it and to his taut stomach muscles. He was really a beautiful guy. My face burned when our gazes met. Something feral flashed in his eyes, setting my blood on fire. I felt hot and cold at the same time.

I fidgeted, not wanting to leave like this. “If this is about the List—”

“Leave, Lil. Right now.”

My first reaction was to do as he ordered, teleport, put as much distance between us. Something dark and out of control brewed inside him, but for some reason, I didn’t want to leave. Maybe it was because I hated double standards. Maybe it was something else.

“You come to my room all the time,” I said, my voice uneven.

He took a step toward me, then another. I took two back.

“That’s different.” He continued to stalk me, and I kept retreating.

“How?” I asked, my voice sounding strange to my ears. I took one more step. My heel touched the wall.

Bran raised his arms, braced himself against wall, and boxed me in. The same wildness I saw earlier entered his eyes. “I’m in a very strange mood, Sunshine, and you do not want to be in here pushing my buttons.” He enunciated his words.

About the author: I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries before I graduated to Mills & Boons (starting with Janet Daily's Shutter the Sky).

I enjoy good love stories, tingly mysteries and wondrous adventures. When I finished college and decided to be a stay-at-home mother, I devoured books like they were going out of production, until reading just wasn't enough. So I decided to teach myself to write fiction.

I've written picture books, contemporary and romantic suspense, biracial/multicultural books, and finally YA fantasy. Most of them are still taking up RAM on my computer. Awakened is the first book in The Guardian Legacy series. It was released in September 2011 with rave reviews. Betrayed (book 2 in the series) was released August 1st 2011. Hunted, book 3 in the series, is due out in March.

When I'm not knee deep in battles between Guardians and demons, I write adult contemporary romance (the Fitzgerald family series), sassy, stubborn and gutsy women anyone can identify with and men anyone would be proud to claim. When not writing, I do things with my family, five children or my darling husband of 19 years. I live in a picturesque valley in Utah, the setting for my YA series.

Awakened, now available on Amazon and B&N
http://www.ednahwalters.com
http://ednahwalters.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/ednahwalters
http://www.facebook.com/people/Ednah-Walters/100000535104042


Visit Ednah Walter's site to enter her contest Giveaway includes a T-shirt, bookmarks and Guardian Legacy greetings cards. Reader Girls is also giving one ebook copy of Betrayed to one commenter below. Please leave your email so we can contact you.

The next blog stop: Sept 22nd - Ednah Walter's Blog Site


Monday, September 19, 2011

YA book review: Initiation by Rebecca Royce

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 745 KB
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company (February 2, 2011)

Blurb: My name is Rachel Clancy. Thirty years before I was born, the world ended. Today is my sixteenth birthday. Today I will go Upwards to fight the monsters and, statistically speaking, I won’t be coming back—at least not still living.

Initiation is the story of sixteen year old Rachel Clancy, born with a specific set of genes that let her fight monsters, she has trained her entire life to kill Vampires and Werewolves. Knowing since birth what her destiny would be has not made the onslaught of emotions she faces as she journey Upwards any easier. It doesn’t help that her father is drunk and her best friend just doesn’t get ‘it.’

Rachel isn’t prepared for the level of deception she faces, and before long she will find herself on a quest she is in no way prepared to handle. What happens next will alter not only Rachel’s life but the lives of everyone she knows. She will learn beyond a shadow of a doubt that sometimes the monsters we know are worse than the ones we don’t and that love can surprise us when it comes from somewhere we never anticipated it.

If she lives, she will be a Warrior. If she doesn’t, no one will ever remember her name.


My review: There are some books I berate myself over--why didn't I read it sooner? Why did I let it sit on my TBR pile for so long? When I first read the summary for Initiation, I wondered if it would be similar to the Hunger Games series. Yes, it's set in a dystopian world and features a strong female heroine. But in this novel, Rachel Clancy is born to be a Warrior, it's actually in her genes. So apart from being in the same genre, this book is nothing like Katniss' saga and I should have picked it up as soon as I received it.

From the two opening lines "My name is Rachel Clancy. Thirty years before I was born, the world ended," I was intrigued. A world where humans live underground, separated into two factions, the regulars and the one who defend them called Warriors, this was a unique world. At night, the Warriors go above ground to fight and destroy vampires and werewolves (both are depicted as true monsters, responsible for Armageddon decades before which forced the humans to seek shelter underground). Both of Rachel's parents were Warriors--her mom was also a patriot and her dad was the best fighter in their history--but after her mom is killed by vampires, her dad consoles himself with alcohol. Subsequently, she is raised by a loving family and their daughter, Tia, becomes Rachel's best friend.

There was such a vast array of characters, from the Warriors, Rachel's friends and teachers, to the werewolf family she meets and the young man, Jason, whom she falls for. Each was fully fleshed out into realized beings. The pacing escalated right along with Rachel's tension towards her sixteenth birthday and her 'initiation' night--the first time she goes above to fight with the Ones and Twos. I loved how the author really increased the tension by having her teacher pull a stunt on her that morning. That stunt laid the foundation for Rachel's physical and emotional journey. As we watch and witness, she has to grow up, face the repercussions of her father's abandonment of the Warriors and pay for his indiscretions, as well as begin to question authority. I truly felt for Rachel's plight, her parental abandonment, and her own inability to love another. This was all combined with other surprise revelations and the romantic attachment by an otherworldly creature she was taught to kill.

I had to remind myself to slow down in parts for once Rachel was above ground, I couldn't wait to see what she encounters. Royce's writing was clear and concise and held me in each moment. There were a few occasions I wanted to see a little more detail in Rachel's fighting (the scene towards the end with the caged humans needed some more detail to convince me) and the romance between her and Jason, despite my understanding of Rachel's feelings, I still felt their relationship developed too quickly (I suspect this was done on purpose). 

Fans of YA dystopian will really enjoy this first book in the Warrior series. I really liked Initiation, the strong minded Rachel and a fascinating cast of characters, and cannot wait to dig into the next title, Driven.

Rating: I really, really liked it.

Favorite excerpt: "I grinned back at him. It was amazing how fast I'd gotten used to all this craziness.

And that made me really, really nervous."

Cover comment: The photo reminds me of the cover for The Vampire's Warden (by S.J. Wright) and didn't do the novel justice.

Book source: From the publisher for my honest review.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Author Stop: Lexus Luke talks about Manitou The Sky People Saga


Today's Author Stop is from indie YA author Lexus Luke. Her debut novel, Manitou The Sky People Saga, was published on July 26 and Lexus Luke is offering one of our readers a FREE copy of her book. Details are below. 

Book blurb: When her adoptive parents were murdered a year ago in New York City, fifteen-year-old Wray Sky moved home to Manitou Springs, Colorado to live with her Ute Indian great-grandmother. Wray’s faith in all that is logical gets rocked to the core by bones that never die, her sudden mind bending abilities and the realization that her parents' murder may not have been as random as everyone thought.

With support from sweetheart, Kanaan, and best friend, Amaya, Wray faces danger from unknown sources and ultimately discovers that she isn’t who, or what, she thinks she is.


Guest Post
Do you know where you come from? What you are and who you are? Are you sure? What if that certainty was in doubt? Shaken by shocking information, Wray Sky, the fifteen year old protagonist in Manitou The Sky People Saga, has to face just that.

Adopted by a Ute family as an infant, Wray is the polar opposite of the people who raised her. She’s pale with blue eyes and blonde hair, and while respectful of the traditions of her adoptive tribe, she doesn’t believe in their myths. To Wray, logic and science can explain everything. That is, until a peculiar skull disturbs her rational convictions.

The skull sparkles. The skull heals. The skull matches an ancient legend that tells of bones that never die. What’s more, there are people willing to kill for those bones. They killed her adoptive parents and will let nothing stand between them and the bones.

With support from her brave and loyal sweetheart, Kanaan, and lifelong best friend, Amaya, Wray faces the danger and the truth that she isn’t who or even what she thinks she is.

Thank you, Reader Girls for having me. As special thanks, I’d like to giveaway a copy of Manitou The Sky People Saga to one of your blog readers. Readers, tweet exactly the following: @lexusluke @readergirls I want to read #ManitouTSPS http://amzn.to/pTq6L5

Tweet as often as you like. Every tweet between now and Saturday, Sept. 24, will be entered to win.

Find Manitou The Sky People Saga for the Kindle or Nook/Goodreads
Author Bio: 
Born in a U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, Lexus Luke grew up a military brat. After graduating first in her class from the School of Journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder, she worked as a Creative Services producer at TV stations in Omaha, Denver and Colorado Springs.

Penning an award-winning screenplay was her first foray into the world of fiction. Her debut novel, Manitou The Sky People Saga, is a young adult fantasy garnering positive reviews from readers.

A cat lover, and avid knitter and crocheter, she lives with her husband in beautiful, story-inspiring Colorado. Author website/Goodreads page

We thank Lexus Luke.