Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bitten


Welcome to the last day of the Bitten blog tour. It will run until July 16th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dark world

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.



A video from the author:



video



Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:







Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.





Would you like to win a copy of Bitten?

All you have to do is comment on a post during the tour. Two randomly drawn commenters will be awarded either a physical or digital copy of Bitten.

Visit http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/ and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!


Monday, 8 July 2013

King

 


King by R.J. Larson Fantasy Meets the Old Testament in a Novel That Will Reach Readers of All Ages. Against his wishes and desires, Akabe of Siphra has been chosen by his people to be King. But what does a warrior know of ruling during peacetime? Guided by the Infinite, Akabe seeks to rebuild the Temple in the city of Munra to give the sacred books of Parne a home. But dangerous factions are forming in the background. To gain the land he needs, Akabe must forsake the yearnings of his heart and instead align himself through marriage to the Thaenfall family. Meanwhile, Kien Lantec and Ela Roeh are drawn still closer together...while becoming pawns in a quest to gain power over the region. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies and murderous plots, each must seek the Infinite to guide them through an ever more tangled web of intrigue and danger.  


 [Akabe, Siphra's king, meets Ela of Parne.]  Her prophet’s staff in one hand, Ela stood with her two formidable chaperones just beyond the fringe of her makeshift canopied study area. Akabe eyed the prophet’s staff. The branch, Ela called it. An ordinary-seeming piece of vinewood. But he’d seen that branch glow like fiery-white metal, illuminating Ela’s dark hair and eyes with the Infinite’s power.
Healing her of fatal wounds.
Now the image of a model Siphran, Ela bowed. When she looked up at Akabe, her big brown eyes shone, serene. She appeared, for all of Munra, to be nothing more—or less—than a lovely young lady in a flowing tunic and embroidered mantle. Yet Akabe knew better than to be lulled by her delicate appearance. Strengthened by the Infinite’s Spirit, this girl felled kingdoms.
Never, for as long as he lived, did he wish to become a target of this prophet’s warnings.





Author R. J. Larson R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women's Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman's Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.
  Giveaway Details 
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/23/13 

Branded Tour and Review

Title: Branded
Author: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Genre: Mature Young Adult, Dystopian
Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Review
What an intense ride!  The story starts out with a young girl getting ready to kill herself.  We find out later why.  But progresses rapidly for a fight for survival.  Branded is a dystopian novel, and if I was to tell the truth, I'd hate to have to live in that world.  Where you are guilty and can never be proven innocent.  Not a good world to live in at all.

Character creation was fairly well done!  I must be honest here and say that the main character was just a little bit of a weakling for me.  A lot of time is spent telling you how strong she is going to be, but it isn't shown very much.  Unless you count her strength at love.  She has a very strong moral compass and does stand by her own thoughts and choices. 

The concept behind the story where a person is placed in "the Hole" and "Branded" due to committing one of the seven deadly sins sucked me in.  But the story is far larger than just that.  Lies, Deception, Hidden Agenda's, and Friendship all are of equal value in this book.  And I felt that the story had a ton of potential and paths it could take.

This book is a very quick read!  It will keep you flipping pages, and it is a very rapid paced book.  The story itself progresses along fairly quickly. But I must say that even with that, I felt that the ending should have been a bit more.  I still give the book 4 stars, and I do recommend the book to anyone who likes this genre of books.  If the ending wasn't so rushed I honestly would have given it 5 stars.  But the absolute speed at which what happens, happens is just far too distracting.  And it felt a tad bit disjointed for me.

As I said all in all I give this book 4 stars and I will read the next book simply to find out what happens next with Cole and Lexi.  I do offer one little piece of advice to the Author, don't rush the endings as much because it makes it feel off, and don't say someone is something that they aren't.  Show me how strong Lexi is, don't just tell me she is strong.

Details/Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free for my honest review.  This free book held no determination on my final review.


Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Links:
twitter @abiandmiss.com 
website and blog www.abiandmissy.com
 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Chasing Invisible Tour and Review.

Chasing Invisible Tour


From award winning children's author Karen Pokras Toz comes the contemporary adult novel

Chasing Invisible


Could you handle life in the spotlight?

Julia Alexander is a quiet girl from a small town. Content to spend her days with her small group of friends and a pile of books, Julia thinks her future is set. When she unexpectedly meets Chase, a fellow college student and budding musician, she is unaware of just how drastically things are about to change. 

Suddenly thrown into the limelight, her life is no longer her own. Relentlessly followed by the paparazzi, Julia is forced to make tough decisions about fame, love, family, and relationships. But just how much will Julia have to sacrifice to become invisible...

Buy at Amazon

Review
Chasing Invisible is an interesting story.  Chase and Julia are in love, the romance between the two is slow moving but believable.  What happens next is something most people seem to forget about, the price of fame.  Chase is so involved in his career that he falls prey to everything the music industry is known for.  Meanwhile Julia is trying to have her own career and the paparazzi seem to just be everywhere and into everything.

The book itself is a slow but steady read.  There were points that for me dragged on just way too much but all in all the overall story itself was a good one.  The characters were believable and well written.  The dialogue was at times boring and at times very entertaining and interesting.  

For me I give this book 3.5 stars.  Now that does not mean I didn't enjoy it, it just means that I wouldn't re-read the book.  I liked the story, I liked the plot development, and while I hated the ending, I actually expected it.  All in all,its a very good story and I do recommended the book for someone who enjoys the slower paced stories.

Details/Disclaimers:  I received this book for my honest review. The free book held no determination on my final review.

The Path of the Fallen


Welcome to the seventh day of The Path of the Fallen blog tour. The author thought it might be fun to imagine who would play the characters from his sweeping fantasy novel. This is a list of actors and actresses he can imagine playing the characters based on what he has seen them in previously (he comments briefly on what it was specifically that makes them an ideal fit) as well as the look of the character as he envisioned them.

Without further ado, away we go:


E'Malkai Armen
(Connor Jessup)

E'Malkai has always been different than everyone else, and the actor who would play him would have to be able to convey both a sense of belonging and distance from those around him. Connor plays Ben Mason on TNT's Falling Skies, which, in the words of a friend of mine, is little more than a science fiction family drama. That being said, he delivers on a kind of quiet desperation and intelligence that I think would fit E'Malkai well. 


Elcites
(Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

Elcites, Umordoc guardian of young E'Malkai, must be able to convey tremendous emotion and power with only slight movements and limited facial expressions. Additionally, the beast-like appearance of the character requires much emoting without saying very much at all. Adewale has a great screen presence, and this was quite apparent in his character 'Mr. Eko' on Lost. I think his ability to convey emotional depth with a stare or a posture makes him ideal to play the remorseful and trustworthy Elcites.


Fe'rein
(Ryan Gosling)

Fe'rein, born Ryan Armen, has become the All-god of a world bathed in hatred and shadow. The character undulates between a sullen hatred and a wanton desperation obscured by tremendous power. Ryan has demonstrated his ability to be a likable character, a powerful actor. His performance in Drive solidified for me that he had the physicality and emotional range to truly bring to life the villainous and flawed Fe'rein.


Arile
(Jim Caviezel)

I have to admit that Arile is one of my favorite characters. His wry cynicism and quiet, yet powerful, demeanor makes the choice of Jim Caviezel a no-brainer. His portrayal of 'Mr.Reese' on Person of Interest has shown that he can play physically imposing characters. 


Leane
(Lena Headey)

Leane, E'Malkai's mother, is a character fraught with secrets and influence. Her sadness is hidden behind a veil of confidence and command that serves her too well. Lena Headey portrays 'Cersei Lannister' on HBO's Game of Thrones and has proven to be an incredible actress. I could not imagine a more cunning character, and as such I think she would be a perfect fit for Leane.


Seth Armen
(Jude Law)

The path of the Fallen began with the exile of Seth Armen. Seth has all of the qualities present in Jude Law's portrayal of 'Dr. Watson' in Sherlock Holmes. Seth is strong, intelligent, and somber by necessity. Though not a major component of The Path of the Fallen, he still has a strong influence over E'Malkai's journey to discover his place in the world. 


Kyien
(Ben Foster)

Kyien is the leader of the Culouth armies and a narcissistic, unlikable jackass. Ben Foster, from the moment I saw him on Six Feet Under, was brilliant. He has range and I would love to see him play a power-hungry madman who at moments can be cunning and manipulative. 


M'iordi
(Tom Hiddleston)

M'iordi is a manicured, cultured councilman who sits at the right hand of Fe'rein. His intelligence, as well as his lust for power, make him a useful ally and a frightening enemy. The obvious selection for Hiddleston's prowess would be his commanding villainy in Avengers. However, it was a quiet performance in Midnight in Paris that really resonated with me. 


T'elen
(Katee Sackhoff)

T'elen is a powerful and beautiful warrior woman who commands legions and is quick to take a man's head for foolishness. I have two words for you: Battlestar Galactica. I might as well have just named the character Kara Thrace, but honestly Katee encompasses everything about the character that I could imagine. 


Xi'iom
(Tim Kang)

Xi'iom is a commander with a simple demeanor and a severe dislike for smiling. If you have watched The Mentalist, then you will no doubt be familiar with Tim Kang's portrayal of CBI agent Kimball Cho. He has the serious demeanor and unwavering personality that defines Xi'iom so well. 


Higald
(Alexander Skarsgard)

Higald, proud chieftain of the Fallen, is built like a viking: blond hair, cold blue eyes, and a somberness that cannot be quelled. Sounds a bit like Eric Northman, no? Not really, but Alexander Skarsgard has the look, though he would need to put on some muscle to look the part and smile a little less. Higald is not as pleased with himself as Eric on True Blood is. 


S'rean
(Idris Elba)

S'rean is by no means a major character, but he is a significant presence in the second half of the book. Idris Elba has taken on so many fantastic roles from The Wire to Luther that I wish I could cast him somewhere else. Perhaps if the movie ever does get made, casting folks will be able to place him in a role worthy of his acting prowess. Either way, he would be a wonderful fit for S'rean. 


Augustine
(Ian McNeice)

This might have been the most obvious cast for me. Ian McNeice has been delighting moviegoers for a very long time, and if I didn't know better, I would think that I created the part specifically for him. Augustine is the speaker of the Culouth population, a vociferous and superfluous orator with a powerful and distinct voice. 



Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:


E’Malkai


E’Malkai visited the same balcony each time he felt the need to be alone. The dawn had come and it would soon be midday, but to E’Malkai the lights made no difference. He was awake most nights and slept very little, usually when the artificial lights of Culouth shone their brightest. Leane and Elcites had pressured him to speak about what had happened on the Avenue, but he refused.

Culouth was both silent and a cornucopia of noise all at once. This characteristic was determined by whether or not a person chose to focus on the sounds of the city or to drown them out in thought.

The silence was quickly broken as Fe’rein descended from the skies. His trail grew faint and then receded before E’Malkai turned to look upon his uncle. Despite his typical, angst-ridden attitude, Fe’rein cracked a smile and opened his arms for his nephew to embrace him.

E’Malkai did so without hesitation. 

All of the words that had been spoken about his uncle dissolved as soon as he saw him. The scarred features could not displace the love that E’Malkai felt when he saw Fe’rein’s face. Voices tugged at his being, telling him otherwise. As they pushed apart, Fe’rein’s smile faded back to his trademark stoicism. 

“You are troubled. I sense that there are those speaking ill of me, that they fill your head with lies and deceit,” spoke Fe’rein. His voice was ever like a professor or a historian, each word in rhythm. 

“That’s not fair. Takes the fun out of saying anything,” mused E’Malkai, throwing a mock punch at his uncle. To which Fe’rein parried, even though he pretended it had come much faster than he could have anticipated. 

He knew that in the House of Di’letirich there was no need for him to play the part of mion. “Indeed, but you are troubled,” he replied, reinforcing his initial words. 

E’Malkai hesitated, averting his gaze for a moment. Fe’rein cocked an eyebrow. “There is much going on: with the trials of Tal’marath and the Resistance.”

Fe’rein let his apprehension slide and flashed a tight, grim smile. “There will always be battles to fight, E’Malkai, though hopefully not for you. May you live your whole life without ever having to take a life.”

“But I am training to be a ward––your ward. There will be a need for me to fight at your side.” Strangely, the talk made E’Malkai giddy despite the warnings that whispered in the back of his mind. 

Fe’rein smiled. “I had forgotten that you were to undertake them. You will make a great warrior, E’Malkai, your father would be proud.” His words tapered off and he lowered his head, growing silent. 

The youth and Fe’rein were the same height. E’Malkai bent in closer upon seeing the pained look on Fe’rein’s face. “I will do my father proud,” he whispered. 

Fe’rein’s head snapped back into place. The power he possessed crawled over his eyes. Red and black lines intermingled like horrific dead vines through his eyes before they dissipated as he met the youth’s gaze. 

“I imagine you will at that.”

E’Malkai jogged forward, staying alongside Fe’rein. The youth admired the wealth of power that his uncle walked with. E’Malkai thought that the others were mistaken, that his uncle was none of those terrible things. “Do you want to see my mother and Elcites? I am sure they would like to see you.” 

The line of Fe’rein’s grimace slackened at E’Malkai’s exuberance. He nodded and allowed himself to be led into the common room of the House of Di’letirich. The room had been tinted over for the day and the shades drawn all the way around it. Only an illuminated globe on the center table cast any light over the room. 

Leane and Elcites sat opposite each other. Silence had descended, but it appeared that they had been amidst a heated discussion only moments before. Elcites was the first to stand, bowing quickly and moving away from the comfortable seat across from Leane. 

“My mion,” he spoke as he bowed gracefully, more so than any other Umordoc was capable of. Even Fe’rein took note of that. His distaste for Umordoc was strong. 

“Guardian Elcites, I take care in knowing that you watch over my nephew with your life,” returned Fe’rein with a bow. He did not look directly at the Umordoc. Sitting down across from Leane, he crossed one leg over the other. He fixed her with a complacent glance as E’Malkai moved alongside Elcites.

“He just got here, mom. Found me out on the balcony.” 

His tone belied his maturity. 

“I see that. How are you, Fe’rein?” She refrained from using his formal title. Had there been another there, it could easily have been a rather tense and uncomfortable display. 

“Quite well. I see that the House of Di’letirich has served you well,” began Fe’rein, looking around the room with a twinge of a smile. “Appears that you are well taken care of, pampered even?” His eyebrow arched with noticeable mockery.

Leane sniffed angrily, crossing her arms over her chest. “Not nearly as well as a Creator whom a city bows before,” returned Leane with equal rancor. Her face was a thin line of dissatisfaction. The silence between them was nearly a tangible one. 

E’Malkai shirked away from the battle of furrowed brows. 

“I will not have this argument with you again, Leane. This will not bring back Seth, nor will it change what has happened,” snapped Fe’rein. 

“Nor will I sit here and pretend that your presence does not affect me. Or that you sitting there serves as a reminder that the only man that I have ever loved is gone forever and what stands in his place is his brother, a man who should revel in his memory, but instead hides and shrouds it from others so they may not know.”

Leane stood suddenly. Flashing another angry glare at Fe’rein, she stormed from the room. Fe’rein sighed, sitting deeper into the plush cushioning of the chair and lacing his fingers together on his knee. 

“Your mother and I have a past, one of which we should not speak,” remarked Fe’rein without looking at E’Malkai. His hard stare was set forward as he spoke. “Your father, Seth, was a great man by any standard, and a selfless one at that. She misses him very much. I am a reminder of that.”

E’Malkai moved around Fe’rein’s seat, taking up the one that Leane had just sat in. Bending forward, his hands on his knees, he had a curious glean in his eyes. “Will you tell me about my father?”

Fe’rein smiled despite himself.

He bowed his head. 

Memories washed over him, fading the smile quickly. It was replaced by the same tight lip that he presented always, bitterness or otherwise. “What would you like to know about him?”

“Anything. My mother never speaks of him. It is as if the mere thought of him is too much to bear, and she cannot bring herself to say another word,” replied E’Malkai as Elcites looked over with his even gaze, without sound. 

“He was not a tall man by any means, though strong. His muscles were long and taut. When he flexed, they bulged like this.” Fe’rein tightened his arm, showing the ball that formed there as an explanation and then continued. “He was brave in a way that I cannot explain. His flawless logic led countless missions into the upper regions of the tundra where no man had gone. Well, we had thought at the time that no one had journeyed that far. He was entrusted with the location of the Fallen amidst the snow drifts that covered the land, each looking like the others. Many a Culouth traveler has tried to find it. Entire legions have been lost out there in the cold.”

E’Malkai was captured by the story now.

Fe’rein continued. This uncharacteristic storytelling was driven only by the youth’s zeal for the past. “He left you when he was very young to take me south into the deserts to find a man. Anyways, he was a very solitary man. Although he rarely spoke of it, his mind was constantly on the horizon watching for another time to come, another age of men.”

E’Malkai’s eyes sparkled. “I wish I could have known him, could have talked to him just once.”

“Sometimes I wish he were here as well,” whispered Fe’rein.

“What was that, uncle?” 

The mion continued. “I was not much older than you when I accompanied your father on the treks north. I was but a headstrong boy and knew not how to mind my words yet.” Fe’rein shook his head and then added, “I was foolish.”

“Someday I wish to see the tundra, to walk where my father had.”

Fe’rein’s eyes leapt with fire at E’Malkai’s words, standing suddenly. He manipulated the shadow, making his lank figure seem much larger than it was. 

“There is nothing to see in the north, young E’Malkai. All that would greet you there would be the icy grip of death.” Fe’rein’s words were beset with an annoyance that crackled as he spoke. 

“Pardon my words, uncle. I meant no harm,” spoke E’Malkai softly. He was unsure exactly what it was that he had done wrong. Seeing the wrath of Fe’rein unfurled, he shrank back from the mion, his head bowed. 

“I take my leave of you both.”

By the time that E’Malkai had lifted his head, the words had been spoken. Fe’rein disappeared from the room, and the boy sat there contemplating his words. His guardian stood in the shadows behind him as he looked out the tinted windows into the city, wondering about the uncertain future and the distant tundra.




Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.





Would you like to win a copy of The Path of the Fallen?

All you have to do is comment on a post during the tour. Two randomly drawn commenters will be awarded either a physical or digital copy of The Path of the Fallen.

Visit http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/ and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!