Sneak Peek!! Rise of the Sea Witch

Standard
Seriously guys, I just read an Advanced Reader Copy…It will BLOW YOUR MIND! Enjoy this sneak peek…
Title: Rise of the Sea Witch
Author: Stacey Rourke
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Fairy Tale and Folklore
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: 
Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.  
Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.   
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013 
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Adapted for Film. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head. 
Visit her at www.staceyrourke.com
or on Twitter or instagram at Rourkewrites.
Prologue
I admit that in the past I was a princess. They weren’t kidding when they called me … well, a spoiled twit.” Tentacles rolling and churning beneath me, I turn to the newest member of my little garden with effortless grace. Arms thrown out wide, I grant the shriveled polyp a beguiling smile. Those around him tremble in fear, pulling as far away from him as their roots deep within the ocean floor will allow. “Through rather unfortunate circumstances it became mandatory I mend my ways. And, yes, some of the techniques I employed earned me the title of villain.”
“Never, my Queen,” Floteson murmurs. Coiling around my upper arm, he drapes himself across my shoulder.
Jetteson’s oily scales lovingly brush my cheek. “Every one of them was deserving of your wrath.”
Shoulders curling in, I pucker my lips which are freshly glossed by a crimson sea-flower and tenderly scratch each of them under their chins. “How horrible can I be to be so adored by such sweet babies?”
“She shows us nothing but love,” my darling zebra sharks chorus.
Their unwavering dedication soothes me, allowing me to expel a calming breath that bubbles in a wreath around my face.
“I am not the horrible beast many think me to be. Yet I feel it is your own misconceptions that brought you here, and led to … well, you know.” Floating passed my ornate vanity mirror, which seems out of place in the dreary cave I call home, I suck in my cheeks. Turning my head one way and then the other, I inspect my reflection. A smug smile curls the corners of my lips. The woman staring back at me is positively voluptuous with power, mayhem swirling within her clay-gray eyes. “Undoubtedly, you’ve heard rumors of my banishment.”
Hitching one eyebrow at my newly planted polyp, I watch him squirm under the weight of my attention.
“Do you even know my true given name, I wonder? Before hateful whisperings from the farthest reaches of the Seven Seas dubbed me The Sea Witch, I went by another name: Princess Vanessa of Atlantica. I harbored dreams of bringing peace and happiness to the kingdom … as their noble queen.”
Jabbing my hands on to my ample hips, I turn in a swirl of black and purple. “I’m not sure if that pitiful pout is caused by your deep longing to hear more, or if you’re mourning the loss of your shriveled limbs. But,” with a theatrical roll of my wrist, I snap my fingers—my cauldron sparks to life, an ethereal green glow simmering from within, “I choose to think the former because it’s about me … and all of my favorite things are.
“It would be predictable for me to say it all began with the death of my mother. Predictable and false.”
Water rushes beneath me with one mighty flap of all my tentacles. The power of the act propels me over to my alchemy shelves, where my fingers flick over the exposed vials. Some days I seek to terrorize my captives, calling out each ingredient or dangling it over their heads before tossing it into my brew.
Tongue of porpoise.
Eye of cuttlefish.
Shell of sea turtle.
I won’t lie and say watching their complexions green and bug eyes bulge isn’t a guilty pleasure of mine. For the moment, however, a wave of generosity—brought on by the mention of my mother—prompts me to toss them in without my usual theatrics. Each is received into the cauldron’s wide-mouth drum with a puff of smoke and spray of sparks.
“As much as I loved my mother, losing her didn’t drive me to madness as some would have you believe.” Hearing the melancholy in my tone, I bristle. “Far from it, in fact. I would have subjected myself to an abysmal existence of the mundane in honor of her memory. No, it was after the black flags of mourning had been strung through the kingdom, after the spectacle of her funeral procession had passed, that my descent began.”
Throwing one final ingredient into the cauldron, a veil of greasy smoke wafts from its rim. Images begin to form within the haze: the king’s regal quarters, and a formidable frame seated in a high-backed chair behind a massive stone desk.
Crouching down, I position myself eye level with the miniscule scene unfolding. My tentacles coil into tight knots beneath me. “This was the night … the night when I was touched by magic for the very first time … and loathed it to my very core.”
Within the ghostly image, the curtain to the king’s quarters is pushed open. A heavy set nursemaid with stripes of gray in the messy twist of her bun swims in. On one hip she balances a cherub-faced baby that’s only two months shy of his second birthday. Blond ringlets halo his head. Both his eyes and cheeks are ruddy from crying. The frazzled servant’s other hand clings to that of a raven-haired princess who rubs at her tired, violet eyes with a chubby, toddler fist.
“If you aren’t following along yet, that princess is me,” I explain to my captive audience. “The maid softly shushing my younger self is Loriana. Oh, how dear she was to me. She was a servant in the castle, tasked with tending to my brother and I. That little sunset orange tail poking out from behind her belongs to her son, Alastor. He was Triton’s best friend and would become much more than that to me …”
“Sire,” respectfully bowing her head, Loriana readjusted her hold on Prince Triton, “I hate to interrupt.”
My father, King Poseidon, pushed his chair back from the desk in a swirl of water and sand, and rose in greeting. To the rest of the kingdom, he was known as simply the supreme ruler of Atlantica. To me, and my juvenile ignorance, he was the God of the Sea who towered over us all. I envisioned all of his enemies, and anyone that ever wished me harm, falling to their knees and trembling before his commanding presence. His hair and thick beard were the red of Precious Coral. Muscle rippled over every inch of his exposed torso. His narrow waist tapered into an emerald green tail that perfectly matched the shining jewels of his eyes. Countless times I had examined the lines of his face in search of some similarity between the two of us. None could be found. Triton had his smile, and later—when adolescence hit—he would inherit his strong chin. Me? Every inch of me was a lackluster shadow of my mother’s regal beauty. Where her eyes and tail sparkled like freshly polished amethyst, mine seemed dull by comparison. Or, perhaps the lighting from the pedestal I’d built for her in my mind shone for her with a more flattering shimmer.
“The hour is late. I welcome the interruption.” Poseidon set his fish bone quill onto the desk top, and positioned its stone cradle on top of it. “How can I be of service, Loriana?”
 “It’s the children, Your Highness.” Her face a mask of maternal sorrow, Loriana gave my hand a quick pulse of comfort. “This is the first night they have ever tried to go to sleep without a lullaby from their dear mother. I’m afraid I can’t seem to calm their troubled little hearts.”
Poseidon’s broad chest expanded with a deep inhalation, and tipping his head he exhaled a flurry of rushing water and bubbles. “This is a troubling time for us all,” he agreed. Crossing the room with one stroke of his tail, he extended his hands to receive Triton. My brother waved his arms in eager delight, wriggling into the security of Father’s strong embrace. Inching forward, I blinked up at the mighty king. He floated past without so much as ruffling my hair. “I’m afraid I don’t have your mother’s gift of song, but perhaps we could sit a spell and find peace in our togetherness.”
Honoring her position outside of the room, Loriana gave me a gentle push forward to follow my father. Casting a tentative glance over my shoulder, I did just that. Poseidon swirled Triton around, eliciting a giggle that crinkled the corners of his ocean blue eyes, before the king collapsed on the sea sponge sofa with his darling son on his lap. I perched on the very edge of the far cushion, uninvited and unnoticed.
Before that moment our father had been more of a … hmm, how to put this delicately? A figurehead in our lives. We knew of him and regarded him fondly, but unfortunately his kingly duties allowed our primary interactions to be those staged for political potency. Our mother, the lovely Queen Titonis, spent her days caring for my brother and I with only Loriana to aid her. Now, Poseidon had no choice but to pick up the yolk. For Triton this transition seemed to be going swimmingly. I, however, was getting as much attention as the Orca-bone end table.
Hands under the little prince’s pits, Poseidon turned Triton to face him. “I was so proud of how you behaved during the processional today,” he gushed. “You honored not only me, but your mother’s memory when you clasped your tiny fist over your heart and held your head high as her carriage passed.”
“Follow Nessa.” Triton looked to me with love, his tailfin a muted clap when connecting with Father’s lap.
“Your sister has two whole years of further training and experience than you, my boy.” Poseidon’s shoulders raised, his voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper. “You exhibited the poise of a true leader.”
My lips clamped shut to stifle a sob, his words stinging like a slap. I had just as much right to the throne as Triton, but this was the first moment I became painfully aware of who he longed to see succeed him. It would not be the last … or the most painful.
“She held her curtsy so long, merfolk threw flowers!” Alastor, a year and a half older and far more eloquent than Triton, darted into the room to brazenly interject. Mahogany waves curled over his earlobes, adding dimension to his round little face that resembled a bubble. The boldness of his gesture quickly shriveled under Father’s menacing glare.
“The son of a servant entering the king’s quarters?” Father boomed, one eyebrow raising in question. “One might question your upbringing, lad.”
“A thousand apologies, Your Majesty!” Loriana blushed from her neck clear up to her earlobes and snapped her fingers at her wandering boy. “Alastor, come here at once!”
Shoulders sagging like a stone cast to the depths, Alastor returned to his rightful place in the hall. The heat of his topaz stare bore into me as he paddled along, searching for even the slightest acknowledgement of his noble deed.
I had none to offer.
My own gaze had drawn away from my brother, laughing while Father tickled his cheeks with his beard, to scan the items neatly arranged on father’s desk. Inanimate objects which earned his attentions daily just by being. On the right side, closest to his scrawling hand, sat the quill. Its fat little ink pot was perfectly positioned perpendicular beside it. In the center of the desk, weighted by stones carved with the royal crest, rested a stack of scrolls awaiting the king’s notice. On the left-hand corner, Poseidon’s late night snacking needs were met by a plate of rolled and seasoned seaweed puffs.
The ink pot lured my attention back as if calling to me.
I had never had to work for attention in any capacity. My mother had always given it freely, and in limitless supply. Since she had been taken from me, I had unquenched needs: hugs, stories, and all of that … drivel. So, yes, I thought about acting out. I toyed with the idea of knocking over that little clay pot and letting the ink flow to ruin the staged perfection of father’s space. More than that, I wanted to. I wanted to hear him shout out my name in his menacing vibrato, because at least then he would have to acknowledge me. While my hands stayed folded neatly in my lap, as the good little mergirl I was, something within me I had never felt before reached out. Palpable energy, only I seemed privy to, crackled through the water to cradle the pot in its hold. I could feel it, poised and ready, awaiting my command. Biting my lower lip to fend off a threatening grin, my essence gave barely a nudge and the ink pot tumbled. A thick black cloud exploded over my father’s desk, staining the scrolls and ruining the once delectable wraps.
“Vanessa!” thundered my father, rocketing off the sofa. “Look what you’ve done!”
I turned toward him with feigned remorse … and screamed. The howl of terror tore from my chest until my gills ached and my throat was raw.
There was a buzz of activity: Poseidon calling to the nursemaid, Loriana swimming in as fast as her fins could carry her, Triton wailing in fear, Alastor trying to shush his friend from the doorway to which he’d been banished. I neither saw nor heard any of this.
Floating in the center of the room, bobbing with the current, was my mother.
Not the serene vision of loveliness I had known her to be that was full of life and love. Heck, I even would’ve happily settled for the slumbering beauty she appeared to be during her funeral. In vast contrast, the entity hovering before me had chunks of flesh gnawed away by assorted sea beasts. Cracked, ashen lips curled into a snarl. Black ooze bubbled through her teeth, dripping from her chin and clouding the water. My scream reached a fevered pitch, spots dancing before my eyes. The ghoul, who in life sang me to sleep, reached for me with one hand that had been gnawed to bone.
You see, by using magic I opened a door and allowed the darkness in. The cost being more than I could bear, I vowed to myself—as my consciousness waned—never, ever to dabble with such things again.
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves …

 

Review: The Ultimate Agent by Derek Borne

Standard

So after a series of unfortunate events, I slapped together a video commentary for Thegiphy (1) Ultimate Agent by Derek Borne, only to have my internet go down in the storm.  Things seem to be back on track now and I’m ready to go!  First things first though, I gave The Ultimate Agent a 5 out of 5 and I posted a written review on Goodreads.  Take a minute to read it and then prepare to make fun of my low-quality video as I explain in better detail why I liked this book so much!

The Ultimate AgentThe Ultimate Agent by Derek Borne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So flipping good!
This Superhero Novel has everything I want in a good hero saga. The good guys, Devon and Brett, are teammates and they travel around the world stopping crime. I love that they have a Bromance going and they truly are 50/50 on their team. No sidekick status going on here! There’s romance, but not in your face butts and boobs stuff. Sweet and clean and heartfelt stuff, the kind of stuff you can recommend to your 14-year-old cousin or your Granny (if she’s into Superheroes) and feel happy about.
The ladies featured on the team are a force to be reckoned with as well! Scientists who are brave as well as smart! I love a smart lady heroine!!!
So to wrap this up: There are amazingly choreographed fight scenes, heartfelt emotions, friendships, and family. Seriously, what more do you need?
When I finished this book I felt happy and I wanted the next one immediately!

View all my reviews

Full Paperback

Happy Release Day!

Standard
Title: Dally
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Western, Historical Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
She’s ready to spread her wing and fly…
            He’s scrambling to set down roots.
Unconventional, Dally Douglas is as likely to be found wearing her brother’s britches and riding a horse as she is dressed in lace-trimmed finery sipping tea in the parlor. With no plans to wed, she convinces her family to allow her to stay at their ranch in Oregon. Free and unfettered, she plans to remain that way, even when the town’s beloved young doctor returns home and captures both her interest and her heart.
Charismatic, handsome, and dedicated to his work, Doctor Nik Nash finally makes his way back to Pendleton. After years of dedication to his studies, Nik is excited to bring his skills and knowledge to the place he calls home. Focused on his career, he has no time for a woman, especially not one as lively, fascinating, and enchanting as Dally Douglas.
When a freak accident brings the two of them together, their stubborn determination may cost them the chance to know true love.
Bursting with sweet romance, this tender yet lighthearted story draws readers into a world of rustic elegant charm..
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.
Author Links:
Buy Link:

However, someone like Nik Nash, someone who had no interest in raising horses or cattle, wasn’t a man who’d claim her attention — even if he was handsome and charming and had the most heart-melting smile she’d ever seen. Or, at least he had five years ago.
Dally wouldn’t admit to anyone she had a crush on the older boy. If memory served her correctly, Nick was five or so years her senior. No doubt, he’d seen her as a child back then, if he noticed her at all.
In spite of her tendency to romanticize her thoughts, she had no intention of getting married for a long while. She wanted to experience life before she tied herself down with a husband and the responsibilities of being a wife and mother.
Even though her family joked about it, Dally knew she wasn’t a girl most men wanted to court. She was stubborn and freethinking, and treasured her independence. It would take a special man to reach the depths of her heart and build a future with her.
And that man certainly was not recklessly wheeling through town on a motorcycle.





Review: Loving You With Teeth and Claws

Standard

Jesus Murphy! This stupid book will plague me forever.  If this blog did awards I would msygive LYWTAC the award for Best Paranormal Romance of the Year…seriously.  Once again, Mcatee has reached out to my jaded soul and soothed it with amazing storytelling and relatable characters.

When I got my copy of LYWTAC, I’m not going to lie.  My fangirl mode was activated and I was giddy. I was unable to do anything but think about this book.  I’m a fan of the Dead Things Series and this prequel has been anticipated for months!! It did not disappoint! 2fa99da0b1b57e7d1d30a92cb9290721

While this is a prequel to Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, it can be read on its own.  WARNING: Once you read it, you will want to read the other books in the series…you’ve been warned.  (You can also check out my reviews for them here and here)

This book has it all.  Snark, a smart heroine, heated encounters, mythology, witches, shifters, fae, reapers, and banshees all come together to create a well-written and addictive novel.  The writing is smart and I never lost interest.  In fact, I didn’t put it down and read the ENTIRE book in a day and trust me, it’s a big one.

I am happily giving this book 5 out of 5 Stars and I’m going to rock back and forth crazily until my addiction is fed with a third Dead Things novel.  I should also note that tumblr_mjxz84yElm1qkfwf2o1_500while the series is YA, this book is Adult Romance, with some smolder but no graphic depictions of intimacy, so I would personally deem it appropriate for older teens. (Disclaimer: My opinion solely, not based on ANY professional recommendations blah blah blah)

I especially loved this book because it’s an origin story of involving everyone’s favorite blended family.  I love how the author depicts the struggles of raising a family, sure, it’s a blended supernatural family of orphans and a college-aged alpha wolf trying to raise largethem, but it works and it’s beautiful. Everyone has a past and everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has to learn how to deal.  I can’t say enough about this book, or the series in general.  This deserves to go on my shelf as an actual paperback and not just an e-copy.

Ultimate Agent Release Day!!!

Standard

#Superhero #Spy #Novel #Newrelease

The Ultimate Agent by Derek Borne

Ultimate Agency

Blurb:

Get recruited into a world with a mix of secret agents a-la Bond and superheroes and supervillains with enormous world-shattering powers! Get your copy of the action-packed novel The Ultimate Agent today! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N254UQN

 

Synopsis:

WARNING: THIS MISSIVE CONTAINS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

 

Your Mission:

Undertake an adventure of epic, global, and dire proportions.

 

Agent #524 – Devon Bertrand

Once a normal civilian, Agent Bertrand has been recruited by the Ultimate Agency—a secret organization of the world’s best spies. Now, after undergoing genetic upgrades, he has become a superhuman agent dedicated to fighting against all threats against the nation he now calls home.

 

Agent #146 – Brett Gallagher

A brilliant scientist, Dr. Gallagher invents and utilizes technologically advanced gadgets and weapons to fight against national security threats like a modern day superhero.

 

The Target – Maximus Romanov

Employed by a mysterious Russian terrorist group, Romanov is a superhuman operative wreaking havoc in the United States.

 

Mission Data – Confidential

Join Agent Bertrand and Dr. Gallagher on a mission to stop Romanov from destroying the United States. As Bertrand and Gallagher work to discover why Maximus harbors a deep hatred toward America, they uncover a conspiracy brewing against the Ultimate Agency, and one man will make the ultimate sacrifice.

Sacrifice

Author Bio:

Derek Borne lives in Paris, Canada (thought it was going to say France, right?) with his wife and moody bearded dragon Ziggy. When he isn’t writing superhero spy novels, he’s selling olive oil and balsamics, belting out Phantom of the Opera, playing guitar, and watching Marvel superhero movies and TV shows, playing hockey, and making movie references daily.
Official Website: www.derekborne.weebly.com

Amazon Profile Page: https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Borne/e/B06XRHTP65/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33801124-the-ultimate-agent

Facebook Fan Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/715300458639939/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Derek.Borne.Author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/db_ultimagent

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.ultimate.agent.novel/

Full Paperback

 

Review: Love on the Prairie (McKinnie Mail Order Brides Book #1)

Standard

I really love Mail Order Bride Historical Romances, they hold a special place in my heart because they were the first romances I ever read as a kid. Now whenever I get my chubby paws on one, I do a happy dance and usually read it within a day. That’s what I did with this one. I’m pretty sure I finished it in under 2 hours!
Abigail McKinnie is no shrinking violet and doesn’t back down from a fight. She’s feisty and resilient and one heck of a loyal sister. The writing was good, but the pacing was a bit skewed. I really enjoyed reading this one, which is a feat because I’ve become quite jaded on this genre and haven’t picked up as many new reads as I normally do. Knight has given me a breath of fresh air and renewed my love of Mail Order Bride Sweet Romances! Luckily for me, Abigail has a bunch of sisters so I can look forward to more books in the future!

Image result for victory gif

This book is a Sweet and Clean Historical Romance, which means it has no explicit or graphic content.  There is some violence but again, nothing graphic.

Love On The Prairie (McKinnie Mail Order Brides Book 1)

 

Review: Between Two Worlds by Tyler Henry

Standard

This is a Bibliogal first! I have never “OFFICIALLY” reviewed this type of book before! I am an avid reader of memoirs, self-help, and spiritually driven books. A friend of mine knew this and sent me a surprise in the mail…an autographed copy of Between Two Worlds! (I have to disclose that I am a fan of Henry’s reality show Hollywood Medium on E!) I cracked open this book with enthusiasm and excitement and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s part memoir and part self -help, (and we all know I can use all the self-help a book can throw at me). tenor

The book starts with a very quick recap of Henry’s early childhood and his first “experience”, the premonition of the death of his beloved grandmother.  The book takes a chronological journey from there, recounting how he honed his abilities as a medium and how he got his big break at such an early age.  Midway through, Henry talks about how he focuses and the methods he uses to keep his gift sharp. He also talks about how he struggled to gain acceptance from his conservative father about his abilities, which is also a wonderful story.

I really enjoyed this book. Henry’s writing comes across just as he does on his show: calm and steady.  I personally read it with light-heartedness and in the interest of learning something new.  While I read a ton of paranormal subject matter, it’s usually in a fictional setting.  I’m not here to debate whether mediums are real or hokum, I’m reviewing the book as a fan of the show and as someone who has experienced a few things that I can’t explain. I found that reading something Paranormal in the context of real life situations is quite fascinating and this book awoke me to a new genre of reading. It also inspired further research for my own Urban Fantasy novel in progress!  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal accountings, memoirs, uplifting reads, or fans of Henry’s in general. I’m giving it a 5 out of 5 Stars.  The content was clear and easy to follow. There is no graphic or explicit material which means it’s safe for my YA readers and fans of clean reads. Most importantly, it left me optimistic and happy, something that doesn’t happen often.  I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did!

I am very thankful to my friend Derric for being so thoughtful in sending me a copy! ❤

Between Two Worlds is available on Amazon and major retailers.

18268428_1858970644353866_2647758528099631351_n