July 28, 2017

Spotlight + Excerpt: The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

The Lucky Ones
Author: Mark Edwards
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: June 15, 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer


When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realizes she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorizing his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.

But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.

Happiness…and death


“Chilling, fast-paced, and unpredictable. I couldn't put it down!” 
—Robert Bryndza, author of THE GIRL IN THE ICE

“Another gripping read from Mark Edwards.”  —Howard Linskey, author of NO NAME LANE

“Tight plot, engaging characters, beautifully drawn setting.…Another compulsive domestic noir from the British Linwood Barclay.” 
—Ed James, author of THE HOPE THAT KILLS

“Another compellingly twisty read from Mark Edwards. They just get better and better.” —Sibel Hodge, author of DUPLICITY

“A terrific, tense read with a great twist.” *
—Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE

Even though it was a secluded spot and rain seemed unlikely, a tent had been erected over the corpse. Treading carefully on the stepping plates put down to preserve any important evidence, Imogen entered the tent, with just Emma behind her.

The woman was lying on her back, arms by her side, legs together, as if she were already in her coffin. As Pete had said, her eyes gazed sightlessly at the canvas overhead.

Scene of Crime Officers moved around the victim, taking pictures.

Imogen crouched beside the body. As with the others, there was no blood, no marks on the throat, no obvious signs of violence. The woman was in her late forties or early fifties, white, with mid-length brown hair that looked like it had been recently highlighted. Average weight, about five foot seven. Lightly made up, though the mascara around her eyes had smeared. She was a good-looking woman, well-groomed and wearing casual but expensive clothes: a pair of designer jeans and a light cashmere sweater. She wore white pumps on her feet. And Pete was right: she appeared to be smiling, her lips curled upwards at each corner.
Just like the others.

She wished she could roll up the woman's sleeve to check for what she was sure would be there, but she didn't want to risk incurring the wrath of Karen Lamb or do anything that would jeopardise this investigation.

She got to her feet, taking another look at the body and the grass around her.

'No drag marks,' she said. 'She was carried here. And no sign of a syringe of any other drugs paraphernalia. Just like the others.'
She left the tent, Emma at her heels, and turned slowly in a circle, scanning the perimeter. To the west and north, open countryside stretched as far as the eye could see. To the east, Imogen could see the town, and to the south, the streets where most of Much Wenlock's inhabitants lived, the houses a mix of new and old. Could the killer live there, within spitting distance of this place? It seemed unlikely. The three victims had been found at spots spread out across the country. There was nothing to suggest he was leaving them in his own backyard.

'He can't have carried her too far, not unless he's incredibly strong,' Imogen said. 'He must have parked somewhere nearby before entering the site.'

She closed her eyes and tried to picture it: the man she'd spent so many hours thinking about over the past few months, carrying this woman - like a groom carrying his bride over the threshold? Or over his shoulder? So far, they hadn't found signs of entry at any of the three scenes. It was as if he'd swooped down from the sky and placed his victims gently on the ground before taking off again. Her phone rang. She took the call, then turned back to Emma.

'That was the station. A guy in Ludlow's reported his wife missing. Five seven, brown hair with blonde highlights. He described her jewelry, too. It matches. Her name's Fiona Redbridge.'

She stepped back through the opening of the tent, hoping Karen would get here quickly so they could at least close the poor woman's eyes. Once more, she crouched beside the body, wishing again that she could roll up the sleeve of that blouse and check for the needle mark she was certain would be there.

Rising and leaving the tent, Imogen stopped as a movement in the middle distance caught her eye. Someone was standing in the field, just beyond the perimeter of the Priory. A man, dressed in black, too far away to make out his features. When she took a few steps towards him, he turned and began hurriedly walking away. Imogen approached one of the younger officers with orders to pursue him, but before she'd even finished speaking the man had vanished, as if he'd melted into thin air.

MARK EDWARDS writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.

His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on Amazon UK and has sold 300,000 copies to date.

Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. He now writes full-time and lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat, Billie, who was named after an actress from Doctor Who.

Mark's website is: www.markedwardsauthor.com
You can follow him @mredwards

July 27, 2017

Blight Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Author: Alexandra Duncan
Release Date: August 1, 2017 
Publisher: Greenwillow Books 
Pages: 400 
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

When an agribusiness facility producing genetically engineered food releases a deadly toxin into the environment, seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres races to deliver the cure before time runs out. 

From the author of the acclaimed American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce pick Salvage, which was called “Brilliant, feminist science fiction” by Stephanie Perkins, the internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. This stand-alone action-adventure story is perfect for fans of Oryx and Crake and The House of the Scorpion. 

Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta, Georgia, since she was found outside its gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the Company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again. 

Inspired by current environmental issues, specifically the genetic adjustment of seeds to resist blight and the risks of not allowing natural seed diversity, this is an action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.

Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads
Blight is an action-packed young adult novel that focuses on the topic of genetically engineered crops and the possible impact they can have on our society. I'm not a huge reader of environmental fiction, so this was definitely a departure for me. I think the author did a great job of both explaining the core concepts surrounding the environmental topics as well as the various problems - natural and man-made - that can be caused by them. I found it to be informative and thought-provoking - it made me sit back and think about where we are with this science and how far off something like this may be for us. 

 I liked Tempest as the main character for the story. She was realistic with both positive qualities and faults, like everyone else. I admired her bravery, determination, and her belief in what she had to do. I also liked that she had a different backstory that we got to learn about over the course of the book. It helped to explain how she became the person she is and how she struggles with both sides of herself - the one devoted to AgraStar and the person she is inside. The story is told from Tempest's point of view, which was a great choice (in my opinion). I always prefer the first person POV because of the deeper personal connection it allows with the narrator - and this book was no exception. I enjoyed getting to know Tempest and everything that went through her mind - emotions, memories, hopes and dreams, fears, and so much more. It was a perfect choice for writing style and I don't think I would have liked the story as much if it was done in a different way. I recommend this novel for fans of environmental fiction, contemporary fiction, and science fiction.

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, was published April 1, 2014, by Greenwillow Books. Her short fiction has appeared in several Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

You can visit her online at http://alexandra-duncan.com/ 

(1) Winner will receive a signed hardcover of BLIGHT - US Only!

Tour Schedule: 

Week One: 
7/24/2017- Savings in Seconds- Review 
7/25/2017- The Autumn Bookshelf- Interview 
7/26/2017- Wandering Bark Books- Excerpt 
7/27/2017- A Dream Within A Dream- Review 
7/28/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview 

Week Two: 
7/31/2017- Buried Under Books- Review 
8/1/2017- The Bewitched Reader- Guest Post 
8/2/2017- Here's to Happy Endings- Review 
8/3/2017-Kati's Bookaholic Rambling Reviews- Excerpt 
8/4/2017- YABooksCentral- Review


Book Blitz + Giveaway: Not His Werewolf by Annie Nicholas


Not His Werewolf (Not This Series #2)
Author: Annie Nicholas
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 24, 2017


After being disowned and labelled human because she can’t shift, Betty Newman rescues unwanted dogs to fulfill her need for pack. Being rejected by her birth pack was enough pain for a lifetime and she’ll do anything to avoid subjecting herself to their prejudices.

Things change when Ken Birch wakes in her kennel still in wolf form and declares she’s his soul mate. His presence wakes her feral heart and makes her long for a life she can’t have. Old wounds are opened and she refuses to listen to instinct.

But only a shifter can be a soul mate and now her life is in danger by New Port’s pack. Either Betty learns to shift or she dies. Problem is the only one willing to help is Ken, the last person she wants.


Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon's ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

July 26, 2017

Graveyard Shift Blog Tour: Vlog Post + Giveaway


Graveyard Shift
Author: Michael F. Haspil
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books


Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.

Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, race relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they'll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.  


“Gritty urban fantasy and hard-boiled noir packed into a hand grenade of awesome!” —Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown

“Those who enjoy police action mixed with urban fantasy may want to try this series launch.”—Library Journal, starred review

“The buddy-cop formula gets an undead twist with Alex—also known as the pharaoh Menkaure, reanimated to carry out an eternal duty—and Marcus, his vampiric colleague, who serve as cops in a special paranormal unit. Between the two of them, they have several thousand years' worth of superpowersand martial aptitude. The action is gritty, cinematic, and unrelenting...the worldbuilding is intriguing (as a figure drawn from Egyptian mythos, Alex injects fresh blood into undead tropes), and the reader runs no chance of growing bored during the tense race to the finish, in which a confrontation with an old enemy lays the groundwork for a potential sequel. Fans of urban fantasy, noir, and tightly choreographed action scenes will enjoy the blood and bullets in this adrenaline-heavy ride through crime scenes and secret societies.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Inventive and cleverly crafted with a unique premise, Haspil's urban fantasy is absolutely gripping. With strong, intelligent storytelling, distinctive, vivid characters, and gritty, edgy dialogue, Haspil will capture readers. Alex is a compelling, powerful hero and Marcus, his partner, is astrong and enthralling counterpart. With an intricate plot filled with action and intrigue, Haspil lends a fresh voice to urban fantasy with his exciting and riveting debut.”—RT Book Reviews, four stars

You can purchase Graveyard Shift at the following Retailers:

Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he had the opportunities to serve as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch director at Cape Canaveral. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul.

When he isn’t writing, you can find him sharing stories with his role-playing group, cosplaying, computer gaming, or collecting and creating replica movie props. Lately, he devotes the bulk of his hobby time to assembling and painting miniatures for his tabletop wargaming addiction.

Michael is represented by Sara Megibow of the KT Literary Agency and Adrian Garcia of the Paradigm Talent Agency.

He has collected and made replica movie props for over twenty years and enjoys the way a particular collectible lets an individual connect with a meaningful story.

He spends entirely too much time gaming or thinking (some might say ‘scheming’) about strategies and tactics in all kinds of gaming be it board games, computer games, or his passion, tabletop wargaming. He devotes the largest share of the gaming pie to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. He has collected and played Grey Knights, Space Marines, Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Necrons, and Space Wolves. Michael is a regular contributor to “The Long War” a premiere podcast and webcast dedicated to tabletop gaming, but especially to Warhammer 40,000.


(5) Winners will receive a Copy of GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Michael F. Haspil
 Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter


Of Jenny and the Aliens Blog Tour: Meet the Characters + Giveaway

Of Jenny and the Aliens

Author: Ryan Gebhart

Genre: YA Contemporary/Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
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When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of love?
Meet the Characters

Derek Stratton (aka “ScroboCop” aka “Ducky” aka “Double D”): Derek's not his real first name. He's embarrassed by his first name, he's embarrassed by most everything about himself and his history, so he constantly feigns apathy, keeping his true emotions and identity close to the chest. That is, until Jenny comes along and he dares himself to be genuine for once in his life, with pretty messy results. He's a Texan who, as a child, moved to Ohio after his parents divorced and he chose to live with his mom. He smokes, he drinks, he's a beast at Mario Kart and beer pong, he's borderline depressive, and he believes in the traditional notion that everyone has a One True Love, and that Jenny might be his. The Cleveland Browns are his team. Nintendo GameCube is his gaming system. And he likes the red Starbursts best.

Jennifer Novak: Jenny wants to start her own line of T-shirts, her own TV show, she's an even bigger beast at beer pong than Derek, and she hates social constructs. She's approachable, she's quick to love and even quicker to act. She wants to explore everything life has to offer, and she's well-aware that these traits have given her a reputation for being slutty. She despises the fact that people think the trauma in her past life defines her as a person today. She wants world peace. And she likes the yellow Starbursts best.

Mark Shugar: Mark has been Derek's best friend since they met on the swim league in middle school. He played JV football until he got kicked off for having weed in his locker. He's equally loyal and selfish. He's the best kind of friend and the worst kind of friend. Like Jenny, he's also a slut and he's not ashamed to admit it. “Solid poops” and “No pants!” are his self-proclaimed catch-phrases, he keeps his room clean, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are his team. And he has never once stated his opinion about Starbursts.

Karo: Karo doesn't actually have a name, he just made one for the sake of convenience for Derek. Karo lives on a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, he's an amazing musician, and he thought it would be fun to be the first of his kind to be heard by humanity. Humans think he's a monster because of his menacing sharklike teeth, but he's in a loving relationship and odds are he holds no ill-will toward anyone. The beauty of the Maumee River never ceases to amaze him, he lives on a ranch with his grandmother, and concepts such as war and jealousy are foreign to him. And I ran out things to say about Starbursts.

Deborah Stratton: Debbie is originally from Cleveland, moved to Austin as a kid, married her high school sweetheart and had a child with him (Derek), but she filed for divorce when she found out he had a long-term affair with a co-worker and a secret second child. She kept his last name though. She's a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, she has anxiety disorder and depression, and she's like Derek in so many ways. Derek hates to admit how true this is.

Avery Stratton: Avery is Derek's half brother who lives with their dad in Texas. Even though he's only thirteen, he's taller than Derek, trendier than Derek, and he got the Nintendo Switch the day it came out, but prefers Playstation because: “Nintendo doesn't make many good titles.” He was supposed to go on a date with his dream girl Kayla, but ended up in Ohio to celebrate Derek's eighteenth birthday instead, and he resents anyone and everyone he can for this atrocity.

Derek's Dad: I just now realized while writing this interview that I never gave him a name in the book. Oops. I guess we can call him Keith. Or Chad. Those sound like dad names. Anyway, Keith is in love with Debbie, Derek's mom. Chad is also in love with Abby, Avery's mom. He's middle-aged and thinks he should have had his love life figured out at this point, and he's frustrated that he's nowhere close. And he hates that he's ruined so many lives simply because he's in love with two people at the same time.

Ryan Gebhart is the author of the middle-grade novel There Will Be Bears, about which Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, “ Fully developed characters, complex and realistic relationships... and a spot-on narrative voice...make this story stand out. About Of Jenny and the Aliens, the author says, “This book is about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, and how maybe those two things aren't that different from each other.” Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio.

His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.

Win 1 of 3 copies of OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS by Ryan Gebhart
US Only
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