Title: Tasting the Apple (The Bootleggers' Chronicles #2)
Author: Sherilyn Decter
Genre: Historical Fiction
A young widow on the edge. A policeman back from the dead. Together, can they take down the city’s most notorious bootlegger?
Philadelphia, 1925. With a son to raise and boarders to feed, Maggie Barnes is at her wit’s end. But when a criminal element infiltrates the police force, the single mother puts her cares aside to help. As she tries to dig up dirt on bootlegger mastermind Mickey Duffey, Maggie realizes she can’t take on the case alone…
Inspector Frank Geyer used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia before Maggie was born. As he attempts to clean up crime from beyond the grave, the spirit uses his Victorian sensibilities to fight back against lawbreakers. But with corruption throughout the police force, can the phantom informant save his city and Maggie’s livelihood?
With the roof leaking and the lawlessness spiraling, Maggie and Frank have one chance to take down a criminal and prevent the unthinkable…
Excerpt from Tasting the Apple
©2019 Sherilyn Decter
The handsome Russian lieutenant gazes down at the helpless woman supine before him. She trembles. His eyes smolder with desire. He is tall, dark, brooding. His Cossack uniform, ripped from his muscled body, lies scattered on the carpeted floor of the Czarina’s palace bedroom. She doesn’t struggle, caught by his magnetic eyes. He lowers his head, her lips part…
“Oh, Rudy,” Edith says. She breathes his name.
“Shh,” Maggie says.
“Oh, shh yourself.” Edith never takes her eyes off the screen until ‘The End’ flashes, and the theater lights come on. The Eagle is Rudolph Valentino’s latest silent movie to hit the theaters. The lineup to get tickets had been around the block.
“Oh, isn’t he just the dreamiest?” Maggie is standing, eyes shut. Raising a languid hand to her forehead, she pretends to swoon.
“Oh, you goof. Come on, let’s go grab a coffee before I run you home.” Edith slips into her fur coat, then links arms with Maggie.
Leaving the movie theater, adjusting to the afternoon light—despite the gathering clouds—the two women are a study in contrast. Edith Duffy, a tall, sleek beauty in her early thirties, has that pampered languidness that wealthy women often get. Her movie companion, Maggie Barnes, a few years younger, is not quite so well-turned out: a cloth coat to Edith’s fur; sensible shoes rather than satin pumps; a plain brown knit hat compared to Edith’s saucy garnet number that sports a jaunty feather.
Maggie is solid; some would say dependable. She’d cringe at that; aspires to something more glamorous. Where Maggie is steady, Edith is flamboyant. Where Maggie is cautious, Edith is devil-maycare. Where Maggie carefully counts out her pennies to pay for the movie, Edith throws a tenner onto
the counter, picking up the tab. Maggie looks forward to the day when she’ll be able to treat Edith. There’s a running tally in her head, keeping track of the obligation.
About Sherilyn Decter
The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.
Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why- wink.)
Bootleggers’ Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, and general lawlessness that defined Prohibition. The Bootlegger blog rose out of all the research that I’ve been doing about this incredible era.
Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what’s just over the next one. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a spoiled grandson, and two bad dogs.
Sherilyn Decter is enthralled with the flashing flappers and dangerous bootleggers from the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition. Through meticulous research, that lawless era is brought to life. Living in a century-old house, maybe the creaking pipes whisper stories in her ear.
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Title: Lost Horizon (Oz in Space #1)
Author: Michelle Hercules
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Romance
A magical planet torn apart by war. A defiant space pilot cadet determined to save the ones she loves. The adventure of a lifetime.
Oz like you have never seen before.
Space Academy prodigy Dorothy Hanson doesn’t have time for love nonsense. She has one goal, complete the mission her parents started before their untimely death.
When a cosmic disturbance hits the Kansas Space Station, Dorothy seizes that opportunity to go on her first space voyage. She didn’t expect to be sucked into a vortex nor land on a strange planet ravaged by war.
Stranded, she must embark on a perilous mission to the Land of Oz, the only nation that possesses the technology to send her home. Three strangers join Dorothy in her quest, all carrying reasons of their own for reaching Emerald City. A man without memories marked with a strange symbol on his face. A cyborg with a chip on his shoulder and a mysterious past. And a scarred hellioncat plagued by nightmares in the dark.
Dorothy doesn’t know if she can trust them, but as their journey progresses, their bond becomes stronger and Dorothy's feelings evolve from suspicion to caring too much. Torn between contradicting emotions, she must find the strength to fight the evil forces that stack up against them along the way. Surviving the trip on the yellow road is priority number one, but can she survive losing her heart?
About Michelle Hercules
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born.
Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter. She is currently working on the Legends of Gattica series.
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Excerpt from A Phoenix is Forever
©2019 Ashlyn Chase
Instead of going straight home, Luca parked nearby and started to walk off his hurt and frustration. He wasn’t in the best part of town, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t in the best mood either. How the heck had he gotten to this point in his life? Up until a short while ago, he had been hopeful about his future. Now, he wasn’t so sure. Still wearing his police uniform, he stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets and walked aimlessly with his head down.
Half an hour later, nearing the fountain of the Christian Science Center, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, he barely noticed the regal elegance of the domed structure overlooking the calm reflecting pool. But in the quiet of the early morning, his ears perked up in sudden alert when he heard a woman’s strained gasp.
He glanced up and saw a young woman standing near the fountain. She was about five six with short, spiky brown hair, wearing a black leather jacket. Neck tattoos and a lot of piercings gave her a bad-girl vibe, but what was even odder was that she was staring right at him, wide-eyed. Then she passed out.
“Shit,” he muttered and ran over—faster than a human could. Worried she could wind up with a concussion, he cradled her head before she hit the pavement. He shook her shoulder and shouted, “Hey! Are you all right?”
Eventually, she opened her eyes. Big gray-green eyes. Unusual. Supporting her back, he helped her sit up.
“What’s the matter?” He was tempted to ask if she’d ever seen a cop before, but that was because he was in a crappy mood. Sarcasm aside, he was trained not to assume what was going on in a person’s brain. Asking open-ended questions would gain more information.
“I…saw blood.” She paused and closed those big green eyes again, taking a deep breath. “I always faint at the sight of blood.”
“What do you mean? You saw an accident or someone get hurt?” Luca gentled his voice in concern. Perhaps she’d witnessed a murder and had a delayed reaction.
She shook her head and reached out to grasp his hand. “Look, this may sound crazy,” she said, “but I’m a psychic. I saw you walking this way, and I got a dreadful feeling. Did something just happen to you? I see auras and have premonitions. Your aura is just…well, terrible. Then I had a vision. I saw you covered in blood.”
Blood? Luca helped her to stand. He believed in psychics—the genuine kind. After all, he was a shapeshifter, and he came from a family of shifters. But there were a lot of charlatans out there.
Given where his head was at after just being dumped by Lisa, he could only imagine what kind of energy he was giving off, let alone his aura…but blood? This chick could just be some wacko.
He folded his arms. “Do you want money to tell me more?”
“No! I’m not like that. I help people. Maybe the accident I just saw is something you can prevent from happening.”
He cocked his head. “You saw an accident? Where?”
“On a side street. It looked like an older part of town. They were just kids. Maybe sixteen or seventeen at the most. It looked like they were drag racing. A little kid rode his bike into the street and he was struck by one of the cars.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes I see through other people’s eyes. I think I was looking through yours.”
Luca wanted to stay openminded in case she was the real deal.
“Some more weird energy is clinging to you,” she went on, her expression seeming earnest. “I think it has to do with other people in your life. Your aura is red. Angry. But it feels justified—and not just that. I-I feel as if someone is out to get you.”
Who could be out to get him? Was it just his fellow cops, taking advantage of the rookie? Doubtful. That was just for their own chuckles and part of the usual hazing. Something all newbies went through.
No, his dark mood was due to getting dumped. Lisa had acted strange that morning, but he didn’t see her as a danger. Did she have someone else already, and maybe that someone considered him a threat?
He was still mulling over the possibilities when the spiky-haired girl pulled out a card and wrote her name and number on the back.
“I’m sorry if you think I’m trying to take advantage of you. I’m not. Knowing that cops are usually close-minded about psychics, I wouldn’t have even bothered, except I think you’re in danger. And those kids certainly are.”
Glancing at the card, he saw the name she’d written. Dawn Forest. He flipped the card over. It read ScholarTech: Academic Software for Brilliant Minds.
“Is that your real name?”
“Yeah. If I were going to come up with a fake name, it would be better than that.”
“You mean something exotic, like Zelda the Magnificent?”
She laughed. “No. Something like Susan Jones. I don’t think my mom realized how many times people would ask me if my name was fake or if my middle name was ‘inthe.’”
“So you work at this software company?” He wondered why someone who looked like her, with her tats and piercings, would be working for a company that created academic software.
“Yes, I just started there last month. Someday, I’ll get my own business cards instead of the generic ones.”
“Your look doesn’t exactly scream ‘corporate head office.’”
“Well, your assumption is outdated,” she retorted, hands firmly on her hips. “I have a college degree and was top in my class. Not to mention, I’m the only person at ScholarTech, including the engineers, who can recite the entire software manual by heart.”
“Wow. And you’ve only been there a month? How did you learn everything in so short a time?”
“I have a photographic memory.”
“You’re a psychic and you have a photographic memory? Shouldn’t you be raking in the big bucks on Wall Street?” Luca flashed her his trademark grin. It usually got him out of hot water. She smiled back and visibly relaxed.
He took a good look at her, past the tats and piercings and spiky hair, and noticed how pretty she was. Her nose was slightly turned up and covered with cute freckles. The tiny diamond stud in her left nostril almost got lost among them. Her hair made her look like a pixie. Maybe the badass tattoos and piercings were a way to counteract all that cuteness and be taken seriously.
“So do you do anything with your psychic talent, professionally?”
“Like working at a tea room? Or doing parties? No.”
“Anything other than stopping strangers on the street?”
She looked at her feet and kicked at the pavement with the end of her leather-booted toe. “Sometimes. If friends ask me for help, I do what I can for them.”
There was something about her body language that had him questioning that statement.
He tucked her business card into his jacket pocket. “It was nice to meet you, Dawn Forest. I should be getting home though. I worked the night shift, and I need to get some sleep.”
“Okay. Watch your back,” she said and returned to her spot by the fountain to retrieve her backpack.
About Ashlyn Chase
Award winning author, Ashlyn Chase specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. With a degree in behavioral sciences, she mainly worked as a psychiatric nurse and Red Cross RN. She’s happily married to her true-life hero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman if you squint.
Connect with Ashlyn online
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Title: Aries 181
Author: Tiana Warner
Genre: LGBTQ+, Science Fiction
A crime spree to steal aerospace technology. An intern with the brains to stop it.
When Jess uncovers evidence that her boss is stealing technology to build his company, her coveted internship at Aries turns from dream job to catastrophe. Worse, her boss cons another young woman into becoming his accomplice, and the duo’s chemically enhanced skills and weapons help them become the most infamous supercriminals to sweep the tech world. Before they pilfer every aerospace lab in North America, Jess must use her ingenuity to stop them—risking her career, her relationships, and maybe even her life.
Excerpt from Aries 181
©2019 Tiana Warner
A dead engineer was an inconvenient way to start the week.
From the passenger’s seat of his Bentley, Tony used his phone to post a new job opening.
“Get her car out of the parking lot. Torch it so it looks like tragedy struck on her way in.”
“Yes, sir,” said Reah, weaving through traffic as she took him to the Aries office.
Accidents were uncommon in the research lab. The work involved too much time behind a computer for that. But when the occasional ‘whoops’ did happen, it was an annoyance. Covering them up was a pain. Finding a willing and qualified replacement was worse.
“Warehouse,” said Scott when Tony entered the lab to check the damage. “She was modifying the propellant.”
Tony stifled a curse. Of course it was the propellant—the substance too stubborn to realize its own potential.
He and Scott crossed the lab with its white lights reflecting off white tiles, white walls, white tables, and white lab coats. The five other engineers kept working, unease leaking from their pores like sweat. With only seven of Tony’s two hundred employees cleared for the lab, the hole left by their dead colleague was more of a chasm.
Tony was unruffled. Their non-disclosure agreements were thorough enough for a situation like this.
“What’s the damage?”
“She, uh—she was completely burnt, Doctor Ries.”
That much was obvious. Scott’s fluorescent-pale skin and lab coat were smudged, leaving a goggle-shaped clear spot around his eyes. Holes split the toes of his shoes, revealing socks with hamburgers printed on them.
“Was anything else destroyed?”
An empire of technology filled the warehouse. These were his top achievements, past and future. No accident, no matter how messy, could quash the pride he felt every time he entered it.
He flung open the double doors. The stench of burnt metal and hair tickled his gag reflex.
“Minor damage to the surrounding area,” said Scott, dabbing his sweaty brow with a singed sleeve. “No property was ruined.”
It took a moment to blink the warehouse into focus. Dim, cold, and vast, the place could have passed for a storage facility. Walkways snaked between mounds of technology.
An early prototype of the Aries satellites—what the world came to know as the Aries 180 fleet—stole Tony’s attention as he entered. The size of a bald eagle and mounted on a podium, it was the one now-useless technology he refused to incinerate. He caressed it as they passed.
Yet, despite all that filled the floor, the place was a cold vacuum, a void. Like the invisible substance called dark matter, every space in the warehouse represented an irksome gap in knowledge. Empty corners, walkways, every molecule of dead air held promise. As creator of the Aries universe, Tony intended to use any means necessary to fill those gaps.
Tony’s watch vibrated. He looked at it to find a text.
Reah: Need your clearance to get her purse. Locker 4.
He replied, 5 mins, and quickened his step.
The temperature rose as he and Scott drew deeper into the warehouse. A drone whirred overhead, taking photos at intervals. More drones hovered beneath the three-story ceiling, LED lights marking their presence. He would have to review the surveillance images later to see what happened. He might enjoy popcorn with it.
They stopped at the explosion site. The concrete floor rippled, like it had melted and hardened again. Every adjacent surface was dented and singed. Five dry chemical fire extinguishers lay nearby. Most intriguingly, a black, body-shaped imprint traced the floor like a shadow, a dusting of ash in its center.
Tony scattered the ash with his toe. “Looks like this place was pretty lit.”
Scott cast him a sideways glance.
The culprit was the twelve-foot vat towering beside the scene of the accident. Smoke wisped from the top, Tony’s hopes and plans disappearing with it into the black ceiling. The heat wrapped around him like a wool blanket.
“So the propellant isn’t going well,” said Tony, like a challenge.
“It just reacted badly,” said Scott. “I’m confident we’ll get it in time.”
“Hm.” Don’t placate me, Scotty. What churned inside that vat represented tens of millions of dollars.
Sure, every aerospace company had rocket propellant, but no one had this. This was his next opportunity for international success—his next Aries 180 fleet, so to speak. If only the damn stuff would stop failing him. The setback choked his sense of control like a vice around his throat.
His father had told him there was no point in going into business unless you were going to be the best. Rather, the advice had been something like, “You wanna run a business, you gotta do whatever it takes to get on top. Might as well quit and be a shit-scraper if you’re gonna be a pussy about it.”
Tony held that wisdom close. Using methods no one else was brave enough to try, he was on his way to upgrading Aries from a humble Canadian startup to the world’s most cutting-edge aerospace company.
His watch vibrated.
Steve: Korean Space Agency wants you to join the call.
Korea would have to wait. He was already late for an appointment with the bank.
“What are you going to do to fix it?” he said to Scott.
“We’re, uh, looking into it.”
“I hired all of you because you’re the smartest engineers in the world. You’re telling me you don’t know?”
Scott hesitated. Tony hated hesitation.
“There are other engineers who might know more about high-energy liquid tetrapropellant, Doctor Ries.”
“I’ve scoured universities. I’ve head-hunted in the Silicon Valley. They’re too—” Tony waved a hand. “They’re not ready for the scope of the job.”
Scott didn’t need to know how many applicants failed the psychological evaluation. A PhD and a 150 IQ meant squat when the candidate couldn’t pass a basic obedience experiment.
Tony’s watch buzzed again. He ignored it.
If he wanted this propellant, he would have to get his engineers something to work from. Sometimes, they needed a push. Call it inspiration, or pieces of the aerospace puzzle.
This was a gap in the matter that made up his universe. It needed to be filled.
“Give me a week. I’ll get you the data.”
Global Nanosats was making headway in liquid propulsion. They could be of use.
He pulled out his phone to check his calendar. An email notification appeared, reminding him of a development meeting in twenty minutes. He swiped it away.
Stress tickled the base of his brain. He would have to make time to get that data between his other appointments, or cancel a few. This was more important.
He’d known for a while that he was overexerting himself. His universe was expanding faster than he could manage. If he wasn’t careful there would be a stellar collision. He couldn’t keep filling these voids alone.
He needed someone to help him get this information—someone smart, fearless, and malleable. He needed a personal assistant.
About Tiana Warner
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer's Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.
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Inferno was such a satisfying conclusion to The Fourth Talisman series. I'm not entirely sure how she managed it, but Kat Ross wrapped up the loose ends (not always into pretty little bows - but they were wrapped up) and still managed to leave the world open for rediscovery - and I'm hoping she does takes me back there again someday.
The war is on - the world vs the Vatras. Meb was amazing and powerful and somehow still just a kid doing what needed to be done, but she stole the show here. One of the things I loved best was seeing that while she was the most powerful of her kind, she wasn't all-powerful and the shock and violence of everything really seemed to hit her.
Nazarareen needs to learn to fight another way. After her trip to the Dominion and coming back feeling a bit helpless, she struggles to find her place in the battle. Darius is there for here - he was the only character in the whole series that seemed a little too perfect at times. He always seemed to do the right thing.
The ending gave me a nice glimpse into the far future of their lives as well. Seeing how they begin to live out the rest of their days always makes these epic series stick with me a little bit longer. If you haven't read any of the books from Kat Ross - I highly encourage you to go do so now! I will be picking up The Fourth Element and The Dominion series so I can see what happened before the grand adventure of The Fourth Talisman.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
About Kat Ross
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She's the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. For more information about Kat's books, come visit her at katrossbooks.com.
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Ten Reasons Why I Have a Total Love-Hate Relationship With My Abilities
by Maité Martinez
I LOVE BEING A HALFER.
I HATE BEING A HALFER.
Title: Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles #1)
Author: Aileen Erin
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin
Maite Martinez has always yearned for more than waitressing in a greasy diner on the polluted ruins of planet Earth. Hiding her special abilities is a full-time job on its own, even with the government distracted by the mysterious alien race – the Aunare.
When a SpaceTech officer gets handsy with her, she reacts without thinking. Breaking his nose might not have been her smartest move. Now she’s faced with a choice: serious jail time working in a chain gang on a volcano planet or join the corporate army to fight against the impending war with the Aunare. It’s really no choice at all.
As with everything in her life, Maite quickly realizes that the war with the Aurnare isn’t what it seems. And Lorne, the Aunare prince, keeps popping up everywhere she goes. Being seen with him could get her in even deeper trouble with her commanders, but he’s the first person who sees through the wall she’s built around herself and she can’t bring herself to send him away.
When the situation between SpaceTech and the Aunare escalates, Maite has a way to end the war before it even begins. There’s only one question: Can she stop the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?
About Aileen Erin
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
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Building the World of Bellona
by Jessika Fleck
Like all stories, Beware the Night, slowly evolved from a loose skeleton of a concept to a complete work in several stages. Originally titled, The Offering, the world in which Veda, Nico, and Dorian face Sun verses Night and all the shadows in between certainly didn’t materialize in my brain overnight. However, the setting was probably the first thing I was sure of when I began drafting the book.
I knew I wanted this story to take place on an island. In the beginning, it was a series of islands all surrounding the main island of Bellona and linked by sea and canals. It was a very cool concept but presented too many logistical issues to juggle. Plus, I definitely wanted Veda’s community to feel intimate and fairly small; a place where two very different groups of people have to work together to keep their community thriving. A place where everyone knows who the glassblower is and who sells bait at the market and certainly who to avoid and who to trade with. Thus, the single island of Bellona was born.
In the earliest stages of the story, I knew I wanted a society inspired by Venice with canals and tunnels and winding, cobbled walkways. Less grand than true modern-day Venice, but with all of the charm and mystery. My husband and I actually visited Rome and Venice on our honeymoon and literally found ourselves lost within the maze of streets and towering buildings and it was magical. So, I knew the sort of aesthetic I was going for—just a more rustic, darker version. The Romanesque touches came later with the addition of a coliseum and spectator style ceremonies. But instead of the rituals being a game and for sport (despite how those in charge might take advantage), I knew I wanted Bellona to have a more sacred relationship with its Offerings.
Once the main structure was set, I sprinkled the world of Bellona with unique details to make it its own. It made sense that fish would be a major resource and I loved the idea of a female main character who was a skilled fisher. Having hourglasses instead of clocks entered around this time as well. I really liked the idea of the characters using something old-world and different to keep the hour. The rest of the landscape: thick forests, long tunnels, underground caves, piazzas, and a dormant volcano naturally evolved as the story progressed. I adore this world so much (can you tell?)! I even attempted drawing my own map (on the title page of my pass-pages, no less)…
Title: Beware the Night
Author: Jessika Fleck
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits.
Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace in a cruel world where the division between her people and the ruling Dogio is as wide and winding as the canals that snake through their island.
But when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night—and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life.
About Jessika Fleck
Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019. More at www.jessikafleck.co
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Title: Right Girl Wrong Timing (Offsides #3)
Author: Natalie Decker
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Adaline Frost’s life officially sucks. Now that her BFF has found her true love, Addy is constantly stuck being the third wheel. On top of that, she hasn’t started her junior project yet, so her advisor pairs her up with what could only be described as the “Reject Breakfast Club.” Instead of the weirdo and the troublemaker, Addy is forced to work with two stoners, a popular girl, and her crush, Austin Reed, the jock who broke her heart.
Austin Reed is sick of being labeled “dumb jock.” If he doesn’t get an A on this project, he can kiss his future goodbye. Austin thought he’d gotten lucky being partners with the very nerdy Adaline Frost, but boy was he wrong. Addy jumps down his throat about his being late and calls him names like “manwhore” on the daily. She has no idea Austin works before and after school in order to help his mom with the bills. Yeah, he’s made mistakes and has had lots of girlfriends, but he doesn’t need Adaline Frost to remind him of it every time he sees her.
Can Austin and Addy ever be a thing?
Right Girl Wrong Timing is book 3 in the Offsides series by Natalie Decker.
Right Girl Wrong Timing Excerpt
©2019 Natalie Decker
It’s like my body is on GPS vibe, and I sense her before I see her. Adaline enters the commons, and Brock is talking about something, but I’m no longer listening to him. “Hey, Brock, scoot your ass down one,” I say.
He lifts his head and gawks around. “Grab another chair, and pull it up for her,” he says.
Slick move. I’ll take it. “You still gotta move down. I want her close, man, not really you in my lap.”
He laughs as he slides his chair down, making room for me to pull another chair for Adaline in its place. I steal one from the table next to me. I hope to hell she’s coming over here, otherwise I’ll feel stupid.
She reaches the table and mumbles. “Got a minute before everyone else arrives?”
I pat the empty chair next to me. “Sure.”
“I don’t think I should sit there.”
I frown. “Ads, please take the seat.”
She rolls her eyes. “All right. Only if you stop pouting.”
Brock barks out a laugh as she plops down next to me. I grip the edge of her chair and pull her close to me. Our legs touch, and her eyes widen. “That’s better. You were too far away, and you know how crappy my attention is.”
She looks as if she’s half tempted to slap me. I wouldn’t blame her. “You’re impossible. You know that?” Irritation laces her words. “I was thinking since we must work together, we should get one thing straight. This will not be a repeat of our history project.”
Wow. She’s really scorned. I mean, I got she was mad at me but damn. She knows how to kick a dude while he’s down. “How many times do I have to apologize to you?” I whisper.
“I’ll catch you later, man,” Brock says, and he leaves.
I wait until he’s gone before I clasp Adaline’s chin and direct her attention to me. Her eyes narrow. “Don’t. Can we forget about it and just move on?”
I lean toward Adaline. Her breath hitches slightly. I dip my mouth close to Adaline’s ear and whisper, “We’re not done discussing this. Far from it.”
About Natalie Decker
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
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Title: The Aviary (The Uncaged Series #1)
Author: Emily Shore
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Gentlemen, we have a special treat for you today. Feast your eyes on this pure-blooded beauty!”
Sixteen-year-old Serenity has spent her entire life in hiding to protect her from this
exact moment. In a world where beauty is bought and sold on the streets like a corporate commodity, Serenity’s natural assets are more like liabilities. Despite her parents’ best efforts, she’s been taken—ripped from her home and the only life she’s ever known—to find herself on sale to the highest bidder. And that bidder? Enigmatic and dangerous, Luc is the director of The Aviary—an elite museum where girls are displayed as living art by day…and cater to the lascivious whims of the highest bidder by night. In this elaborate and competitive world, girls go by names like Raven and Nightingale, and will stop at nothing to become top Bird.
Luc comes to idolize Serenity’s purity and aims to turn her into his grandest exhibit of all time—The Swan. In no time, she becomes one of the most coveted exhibits in Aviary history. When she discovers Luc holds the key to finding her parents, she must learn to play The Swan to perfection…to win his heart and earn his trust. But she doesn’t anticipate falling for him in the process. Now she faces an impossible choice: escape The Aviary and lose her only chance at finding her parents—or become Luc’s Swan for good and lose her identity forever.
The Jewel by Amy Ewing meets Tricks by Ellen Hopkins in this gritty Young Adult Dystopian that tells of a fear-inducing future where the world of sex trafficking has become a social norm and where woman aren’t treated as humans and are no safer than they were than they were in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
The Aviary Excerpt
©2019 Emily Shore
My cage used to be the hotels where I grew up. There, I knew what to do and how to act. Now, I would choose to spend an eternity inside those walls, just being Serenity instead of a caged bird. At least in the hotel, I always had one constant. Sky.
Who will I become here? Girls have adopted their feathers, seemingly as easy as zipping up a jacket. But I wear my lightning on my sleeve, and I always will.
After Dove departs, I thumb my silver tattoo. Like flames and frost, it taunts my skin. Somehow, I must keep the Aviary from conquering me.
About Emily Shore
Emily Shore is a MN author with a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University and was a grand prize winner of #PitchtoPublication, which led her to working with professionals in the publishing industry. She is signed with Clean Teen Publishing for her anti-trafficking dystopian The Aviary, first in the Uncaged Series. For every sale, proceeds return to trafficking rescue and to Emily and her husband's international adoption fund.
Throughout the years, Emily has connected with rescue organizations and survivors of sex-trafficking and injects the truths she's learned into her books for youth. She loves motivational speaking on the issue of sex-trafficking and always hopes for more speaking events in schools, churches, and libraries. Please contact her on her website if you are interested in hearing her speak.
Emily lives in Saint Paul with her husband and two daughters. They are currently in the process of adopting a little girl from India.
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Just how do you find your accidentally married to a cowboy? Well, when you run away from your wedding in your wedding dress and head out west for adventure, you never know where it's going to take you. Courtney finds herself in quite the predicament with the oh-so-grumpy cowboy, Dean Lawton. Which is more than a little crazy because Dean doesn't want a wife.
Rolling from one mistake and misunderstanding right into another, Courtney and Dean have to stick out their new married life for a month. And what a month it is. In addition to learning about the way so of a real ranch, Courtney bonds with Dean's family, and even starts learning how to cook! But Dean has more important things on his mind, such as who is killing off his cattle, to try and deal with the woman he's accidentally married to.
I loved how both characters started the book heading in one direction, but life quickly steered them in another. I loved how sweet the gruff and grumpy Dean could be when he let his guard down. And Courtney's fiery temper had me grinning as she set the rough cowboy in his place a few times. They make a wonderfully balanced couple, and I think I'm going to have to go back and grab book one, because from what I saw of that couple, I want to know more.
Westerns can be hit or miss for me, but the accidental marriage concept of Cowboy's Honor intrigued me. I'm really glad I gave this one a chance.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
The Cowboy's Honor Excerpt
©2019 Amy Sandas
“Is there a hotel in town where I might procure a room for a few days?”
“Miss Mabel has a boardinghouse down the road, though I don’t know for sure if she’s got any open rooms.”
Courtney smiled her thanks to the postal clerk, already envisioning a quaint but comfortable room with clean sheets on the bed. Maybe even a hot, tasty meal. She had given up on finding food that was near the same quality she was accustomed to, but she would settle for edible and filling right now. She couldn’t very well expect a rugged town in the Western Territories to provide the same levels of comfort as a big city back East. She had left Boston in search of a new life. It was time to embrace all of what that meant.
As she stepped onto the boardwalk, blinking against the bright summer sunlight, Courtney didn’t realize she had stepped right into someone’s path until it was too late.
And of course, it had to be Mr. Martin.
What should have been just a very brief bumping of elbows and shoulders became much more when he took swift advantage of the encounter by wrapping his arms around her in an exaggerated and unnecessary attempt at steadying her.
Courtney immediately put her hands up to try to shove him away, but her efforts were ineffectual. He was intent on holding her close.
“It’s my lovely traveling companion,” he exclaimed. His face was so close that she could feel the heat of his breath on her cheek. “What a pleasure to run into you again so soon.”
“I would thank you to release me, sir.”
“Not yet, sweetheart. I never did get your name.”
“And you never will. Now let me go,” Courtney stated more forcefully. Her stomach turned in distress as she glanced around to see if there was anyone who might come to her aid.
“Let the lady go.”
Despite their low timbre, the words were spoken from behind her in such a hard and forceful tone that Mr. Martin’s grip around her waist loosened as though on command. She did not waste time in giving a solid push against his chest and wrenching free. She quickly backed away from Mr. Martin’s grabby reach, which brought her closer to her unknown rescuer.
Turning to acknowledge the man who had come to her aid, all she saw was the expanse of a broad male chest covered by a faded blue cotton shirt. The scents of horse and leather and sunbaked earth filled her nostrils. Distracted and still a little distressed, she felt her foot catch in the twisted length of her skirts on her next step, and she started to stumble. Warm, rough, capable hands grasped her arms as the stranger held her secure until she regained her balance. A low sound escaped the man’s throat as his hands dropped away.
“My apologies,” he muttered as he stepped back from her. The velvety texture of his voice soothed and flustered at the same time.
Courtney took a deep breath, trying to regain her composure after the discomfiting experience of being handled so familiarly first by Mr. Martin and then by the tall stranger. She wasn’t used to such treatment…but while Mr. Martin’s assistance had caused only irritation, this stranger certainly deserved her thanks. She corrected her posture and made sure her expression was perfectly neutral before she lifted her chin, prepared to utter a swift expression of gratitude.
The words never made it past her lips.
In fact, everything—her train of thought, her breath, time itself—just stopped.
The man stood a few inches taller than her and wore a wide-brimmed cowboy hat that blocked the sun, giving her an unimpeded look at one of the most handsome faces she had ever seen.
His skin was bronzed from exposure to the sun, and a hint of sandy-brown beard shadowed a hard jawline and square chin. Though his mouth was pressed into a firm line, it didn’t disguise the masculine beauty of his arched lips beneath a well-shaped nose and strong cheekbones. His features were put together in a way that was rugged yet undeniably attractive.
But his eyes—pale blue like a summer sky brushed with wispy clouds—were what had given her the intense little shock of awareness. It was like being woken up from a hazy dream. Everything just suddenly became more vivid, more…awake. His gaze held a hint of impatience as he looked down at her from beneath a furrowed brow.
While she stood dumbfounded, he swept his stunning gaze over her person.
His hard expression tensed even more as he took in the sight of her elaborate wedding gown before finally returning to her face. Only now, instead of impatience, she saw the glimmer of something more in his eyes.
She had to consciously tell herself not to react to the way he eyed her so openly. Keeping her expression calm and unruffled under this man’s intense regard was not an easy task, especially now that she was dealing with strange little sparks that had ignited beneath her skin everywhere his gaze had fallen.
She was accustomed to inciting admiration in the gentlemen of her circles—she had been told she was beautiful often enough throughout her life to believe it was so. But she could not say she had ever inspired the flash of irritation she noted in his eyes when he finished his perusal.
He sent a focused glare toward the post office behind her before looking down at her once again. “You’ve gotta be kidding me,” he muttered, his smooth-textured voice a strange contradiction to his harsh visage.
He was scowling. At her.
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