Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Some Blooming Love Spring Blog Hop!!

This hop features 

52 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another.  The hop runs from April 1st - April 15th


Hop on to the next giveaway!!

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No Joke! Win Big - April Fools Kindle Fire Giveaway!

No Joke - Win Big April Fools Giveaway
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

Or $199 Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Authors

The Breeders by Katie French

"The Breeders is a YA dystopian read that's as gritty and dark as the cover and title suggest. It takes a look at how society might devolve if females were commodities: bought, sold, stolen, and traded to keep the dwindling human race going. Frightening concept. I loved it." --A.G. Henley, author of The Scourge

Dissidence by Jamie Canosa

"An amazingly snarky protagonist, two hot boys, a mass rebellion, and an ending that will blow your mind are the perfect ingredients that will make Dissidence the next big thing in YA." --Beth, YA Sisterhood

The Moon Dwellers and Fire Country 
by David Estes

“Fire Country is an epic start to the Country saga and left me with my heart pounding and totally breathless. Phenomenal"

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Love between humans and androids is forbidden, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen...

The Tale of Mally Biddle by M.L. LeGette

"To say I loved this book is an understatement." --April Holgate

Terra by Gretchen Powell

"This could be your world... but it's definitely Terra's, and she navigates it with determination, and a longing for answers that makes her story engrossing and entertaining." --

After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers

"The book is just breathtaking from the moment you start till the moment you put it down." -- Amazon review

Entanglement by Dan Rix

A YA Dystopian Romance where every human is born with a soulmate, whom they meet on their 18th birthday...and the one boy who's the exception.

daynight by Megan Thomason

“Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story” --Kirkus Reviews
 “Gripping; page-turner” --BlueInk Review (starred review)

Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan

"The novel's take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans." - Kirkus Reviews

Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
Ends 4/15/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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BOOK TOUR [Interview & Excerpt] Innovera Yakov Journey of a Thousand Eyes by Kia Garriques

I would like to welcome author Kia Garriques to the blog! She stopped by to tell us a little about herself and her book 'Innovera Yakov Journey of a Thousand Eyes'!

Top 5 songs on your playlist?
1: A whole new world
2: Mr Incredible by Mya
3: I was here by Beyonce
4: Wind beneath my wings by Bette Midler
5: Beauty and the beast by Celine Dion

How much time do you spend reading each week?
I try to read as often as I can. I must admit I have been incredibly busy these past few weeks, so I haven’t gotten as much reading time slotted in as I would have.  I would say maybe a couple of hours.

What is the last thing you Googled?
Hmmm…the last thing I googled was how to get to Bedford School. I am terrible with directions and had to find the school because I recently went there on a tour visit to speak to the students and give away signed copies of my book. Google is my best friend when it comes to finding places or getting directions.

Favorite places to travel?
Do you mean in my imagination or an actual place? If it’s a place in my imagination then it would naturally be Innovera Yakov. It’s the kind of world I wish to live in and sometimes it does feel real to me. If it’s an actual place on Earth, then it would have to be some place warm and that would probably be an island in the Caribbean, maybe the Cayman Islands.

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Watching my favorite movie and eating vanilla ice cream.

Favorite TV Shows?
The Simpsons. I can watch the same scenes over and over again and laugh myself silly. I really can.

If you had a time machine, where would you go (past or future) and who would you like to visit?
I would go to the past! I would love to meet Mary Shelley.

What’s next on you TBR Pile?
Captivate by Carrie Jones! I heard so much about it, that I must read it.

Where is your favorite spot to read?
In my bed - it’s so much cozier - or curled up in the sofa

If you were on Death Row what would your last meal be?
Special Fried Rice!

M&M’s or Skittles?
M &M’s

Can we get a hint on what you are working on? What are your future plans?
To introduce Innovera Yakov to the world. I want people to read it, talk about it and above all, enjoy the book. That’s my goal this year - to introduce it to as many people as possible.

Blu Tara stared her sister in the face. ‘Let me tell you what you don't know about love, Gamma. It is a curse. You will scoop out your core and abandon it just to have the Being that you love. You will steal another person's life force if it makes it easier to get it. You will abandon the world you have been cradled in, betray everything and everyone you care for. You’ll give up your name for it.’
Blu Tara's voice went soft and dreamy. ‘You will gladly close your eyes and embrace the world of darkness. You will kill or die for it. And you will hate yourself for the weakness that it brings on you. So don’t talk to me about love.’
Gamma shook her head. ‘You're not making sense,’ Blu Tara. ‘You talk as if... I’m the one who should be upset about all this.’
Blu Tara lifted her hand dismissively. She pointed a hot finger at Gamma. ‘Anyway don’t forget what we are.’
'And what are we?’ Gamma glared at her..
'Different. Strange. Something to be frightened of. Two Beings that can fuse and burn everything to ashes. That's the way they all see us down there. That's what the Stardog wants from you - the powers you possess.
‘I hate them all. With their suspicious, shiny faces and their empty games. I hate that Voice which drones on and on at us in the Learning Dome as soon as we've finished resting.
Innoverans! All those perfect, pretty Beings; they remember nothing — it’s the curse of this shallow, shining world. Tell me, Gamma - what do you remember of the world we come from before your Odors Apeno dumped us here?’
Gamma swung around to face her sister fully. ‘Blu Tara! What's got into you? Where’s all that coming from? I've never heard you speak like that before. This is about Krave and I- not you!’
Krave and you - don't make me laugh. And, oh! Here’s a big difference — between you and I this time, Twin Sister. It’s the answer to your question that you brought me up here to ask.’ Blu Tara mimicked Gamma's soft and musical voice, Why do you want to kill Krave?
Here's the answer, Gamma. I will do whatever I have to do to save myself. I'm the half of you that's not like you. I don't have a weeping heart. Now I'm out of here. I need my Rest.

Innovera Yakov Journey of a Thousand Eyes
by Kia Garriques
YA Fantasy
Date Published: 2/14/13

Innovera Yakov is a beautiful world of crystals that turns under five moons and two brilliant suns that never set. Flitters take care of domestic chores while Starbirds and Starflies soar through the never-ending sunlight of this crystalline world. The Circle of Knowing decides their fate; the forbidden forests of the Dimmer Zone swallow trespassers. And at the very edges of Innovera Yakov there is the terrifying watery darkness of Verheer.
We meet Ayana, the healer and lonely outcast with her scarred face; Vinton, her protector (or is he her imaginary friend?); Gamma and Blu Tara, the beautiful, fiery twins who can kill with one look. These twins are important characters in the book. They could hardly be more different from each other. Krave, beloved by Gamma, hated by Blu Tara, ‘tall and upright as a polished spear with a beautiful crop of golden hair that cascaded down his back in waves’; his ‘brother’ Skylar, pure trouble with ‘muscles on his arms and legs that stood out in lumps’; Ryder with his crystal spear, forever seeking Ayana’s approval although she, refusing to believe she's worth it, can only wonder, ‘What does he see in me?’ And Ice, mysterious, dangerous, murderous with eyes like bright furnaces who feeds on Innoverans. These young Innoverans are often haunted by a forgotten past recalled only in strange dreams. They form friendships, make enemies and face constant physical and emotional challenges that test them to their limits. They have amazing powers; they can fly, they can communicate through 'thought-words', their minds can travel to other worlds. They harbour secrets.
But life is not easy on Innovera Yakov and the young Beings must live in constant fear of Blu Tara; ‘What I want, I have. What I can’t have, I destroy.’ They find that the great powers they are gifted with are nothing compared to the dangers they face. They must shelter from Solar-storms. To fall in love is dangerous. Lovers long to combine to become stronger, better Beings but it can go terribly wrong and when that happens they perish. Their survival is further threatened by Ice, who consumes Innoverans and holds both Blu Tara and Ayana in his control.
Everyone seeks a partner with whom they can ‘merge.’ This desire to ease the passage through life by joining forces with a true companion, is one of the main themes of the story. Love for Blu Tara, is a terrible thing. She tells her sister, ‘It is a curse. You will scoop out your core and abandon it just to have the Being that you love... You will steal another person’s life force if it makes it easier to get it. You will kill or die for it. And you’ll hate yourself for the weakness that it brings on you.'
They are told that they must embark on 'The Journey', this journey will be more terrifying than any of them could imagine and a strong leader must be elected from their midst. They are shocked to discover who that leader is, none more so than the chosen one herself. Many of them will perish as they make their way through the watery darkness of Verheer while battling the army of underworld warriors bent on destroying and consuming them.
Finally, diminished in strength and numbers, they reach their journey’s end only to learn the final brutal truth.
Kia Garriques studied writing and English literature at University and has been a
published short story writer since 2009. Her first story “The Invisible Alien Watcher” was published by Micro Horror in 2009 and reprinted by Pill Hill Press in 2011. Innovera Yakov: The Journey of a Thousand Eyes – is her first novel in the ‘Worlds’ series and will be out on amazon mid February. visit to read the first chapter

Saturday, March 30, 2013

BOOK TOUR [Interview] Monster Night by P.B. Azeltine & M.E. Drewry

I would like to welcome authors P.B. Azeltine and M.E. Drewry to the blog! They are letting us into their lives a little and introducing us to their new book, 'Monster Night.'

What are the top 5 songs on your playlist? 
P.B.: The Star Spangled Banner by Madison Rising (if you are working out and need inspiration to get motivated, listen to this song), A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson (I love her), Just A Dream by Carrie Underwood (I cry every time I hear it!), Come Sail Away by Styx, Dream On by Aerosmith.
M.E: What have you done by Within Temptatio
My songs know what you did in the dark by Fall Out Boys
Bring me to life by Evanescence
Hurricane by 30 Seconds to Mars
Kick it in the Sticks by Brantley Gilbert

How much time do you spend reading each week? 
P.B.: A lot and so much of it is nonfiction for research.  I average 10 hours per week at least.
M.E.: On an average week I read about 3 hours.  If it is during the summer I will read 3-4 hours a day.

What is the last thing you Googled? 
P.B.: Forensics on how to package evidence. It’s for the middle-grade book I’m writing.
M.E.: The last thing I googled was a book for work.

Favorite places to travel? 
P.B.: Hawaii.  Although it’s been my dream to jump in an RV and travel our country.  I’d love to see the sunsets in Austin, Texas, the fall leaves in the New England States, the Atlantic Ocean, the fields of the Midwest, Arizona and New Mexico’s amazing terrain. And believe me I’ll have my camera with me (and of course my laptop to write)!  Aren’t we lucky to live in this country?
M.E.: Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are very lucky to have a variety of different places to travel to in a very short distance.  Within three hours, I can go to two busy cities, the ocean, the mountains, the temperate rainforest and a desert.  I love traveling all over the Pacific Northwest to the oceans, mountains and the forest.  It’s great to get away for a while and relax with nature.
Apart from around my area, I have been to Europe and loved the trip.  I went to Paris, London, Lucern in Switzerland, Rome, Florence, Venice and a few stops in between.  I would definently go back if I had the chance.

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?  
P.B.: Crafting, making scented candles, sprays, and soaps or any crafts to be honest.
M.E.: My favorite way to spend a rainy day is either watching tv/movies with my husband on the couch, reading a good book, playing video games, or doing some type of crafting (knitting, crocheting, sculpting, etc.)

Favorite TV Shows?  
P.B.:  This is a tough one.  Probably Revenge, but I love Dallas too.  I also watch every mystery on television, even the old classics.  I really like the new Sherlock Holmes series on HBO.  I have to buy the DVD’s because I can’t afford HBO!
M.E.: SUPERNATURAL!!! I love Jensen Ackles.  Other shows I watch are Beauty and the Beast (on CW 11), Criminal Minds, Sweet Genius, The Tudors, Family Guy, and American Dad.

If you had a time machine, where would you go (past or future) and who would you like to visit? 
P.B: I would like to meet Leonardo da Vinci.  He was an artist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.  I’d love to tap his creative mind and talk to him for hours.  
M.E.: That’s a tough question.  The future would be fun to see how everything turns out for me and the world.  But the past would be cool to see as well.  I would probably want to see a fast forward version of the past starting with the dinosaurs and going through the 1980’s.  I would like to see famous people such as President Abraham Lincoln, and Henry VIII.  I have recently become more interested in history and am fascinated by how one event impacts the world.

What’s next on you TBR Pile?  
P.B.: Book 8 in the Dresden Files series.  It keeps staring at me on my desk!
M.E.: I have this ever growing stack of books that I plan on reading when I have free time (ha ha).  The next books that I have to choose between are The Man in the Iron Mask, Halo: First Strike, and The Other Bolyn Girl.

Where is your favorite spot to read?  
P.B.: In the living room on the sofa, when NO ONE is home, so it’s nice and quiet!  It is rare when I’m alone.
M.E.: In my craft room I have a chaise lounge that is very comfortable.  I love to sit in that and read.  It is near the window so I can look out to my back yard or get a little sun.

If you were on Death Row what would your last meal be?  
P.B.: Wow, I hope I’m never on Death Row, but if I were I guess my last meal would be this incredible steak meal I had at Birch & Barley in Pullman, Washington.  If you ever get over that way, go to that restaurant.  It’s pretty new and the steak and meal we had was amazing!   
M.E.: I would probably get Salmon, potatoes, soda, apple pie and a large chocolate mousse.

M&M’s or Skittles? 
P.B.: Definitely M&M’s.  I can’t live without chocolate.
M.E.: Both.

Can we get a hint on what you are working on? What are your future plans? 
P.B.: I just finished my second book in my Jesse Skylock Holmes middle-grade mysteries series and am sending in the process of sending it to the editor. I am writing the third book for the Monster series, Monster Luck.  I have so much fun with David.  I have plans for a YA historical series with female protagonists and I’m writing adult contemporary and historical romances and will put those under PK Burian.  Some will be rewrites of previous published romances I recently received my reversions rights back on and others will be new stories.  I also plan to never stop working hard to become a better writer, through studying, taking classes, practicing, reading, and always being open to learning from others.
M.E.: PB Azeltine and I are working on the next book in the Monster series (PB is doing 95% of the work because she is awesome).  I’m working on some other young adult fantasy stories that PB helps edit for me.

 I’d like to thank you for selecting us and our book to interview.We really appreciate you taking the time to ask us these questions.  We had fun.  We hope you enjoy the book.  And if you’re a mom who is driving your kid(s) to football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, fast pitch, Girl’s Scouts, Boy’s Scouts, band, orchestra, or any of the number of activities they are in now, a Kindle is the way to go.  I wish they had been around when I was Mom bus driver!  
Warm Regards, PB Azeltine.

You are WELCOME!! Thanks for taking time to answer my questions today! And for visiting Mom With A Kindle!!!! :)

Monster Night
by P.B.  Azeltine, M.E. Drewry, Judy Bullard (Illustrations)
Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: November 2012

When a drug surfaces in town that turns teens into the mythological creature of the chupacabra, David
Copperfield Finkleman is called in to help. Why? Because David possesses a rare gift. He is a true blue,
magic out of the fingertips, potions and spells, wizard. Well, that and because his grandfather is the
lead investigator on the case and the drug is circulating in David's own high school. David is thrust into a
world of danger and monsters he never knew existed, all the while living his normal daily life. He learns
that he will have to save the very bullies who torment him in school and the chemistry teacher who
wants nothing more than to flunk him. Adding to his problems, he deals with girl troubles, a boss who
doesn't appreciate his sarcasm, and saving an agent's life before it's too pressure!


"That crazy creature they had in the book?" I asked. I'd never heard of anything like this before.  “Wow!” I ran my hand through my hair and stared wide-eyed at my grandfather. “I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
"And this isn’t the Land of Oz,” Gramps said. “This is my world and now yours, where magic comes to life and threatens people and their lives. As wizards it’s our duty to protect the average person from bad magic. That’s why I need your help. I can’t do this in the condition I’m in.” He patted his heart. “My ticker’s left me weak, which weakens my powers. You’ve got to take my place, David. You’re the only who can. I don’t know anyone else who has the power you do and could take on someone like this.”
“Gramps, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll help you. Keep reporting to me. Now, Tom had a lead on the man who brought the drug into the country. He'd come to the Northwest, because he thought the area would keep him hidden."


P.B. Azeltine has been writing for many years. She is a Land Surveyor
Instrument woman by day and a writer at lunch time, traveling in the car time, any
spare moment time, days off time, and evenings. She loves writing young adult,
middle-grade, historical romance, and contemporary romance. She tries to put
humor in all her writing. She has learned that as she goes through life, humor can
make it much easier to get through. She lives in Olympia, Washington (U.S.A.) with
her husband, two daughters, son in-law, future son in-law, two dogs, one cat, and
one lovebird.

M.E. Drewry

M.E. Drewry is a teacher and writer. An avid fan and reader of fantasy, she
decided to co-write her own fantasy story for young adult. She lives in Rochester,
Washington (U.S.A.) with her husband, Jacob and her overly pampered black lab

BOOK TOUR +Giveaway! I Kissed a Dog (Werewolves of the West #1) by Carol Van Atta

I Kissed a Dog (Werewolves of the West #1)
by Carol Van Atta
Published October 20th 2012
by Charles River Press

Chloe Carpenter isn't like other women. She can communicate with animals. A gift she unwrapped following one of her frequent dances with death.
In her otherwise wacky life, she's finally found a semblance of sanity working at the Plum Beach Wildlife Park, where her unique talents can make life or death differences for the animals in her care. That semblance is shattered when a new veterinarian roars into the park in his spiffed up sports car and sets his golden gaze on her. If she had her way, he'd roar right back out.
Problem: He's her new coworker and he's saved her life twice - in the past twenty-four hours.
Zane Marshall, Enforcer for the Pacific Pack of purebred werewolves, has a job to do - figure out who or what is mutilating the young men of Plum Beach.
With orders to find the woman who talks to animals, he accepts a position working alongside the fiery Chloe Carpenter, a female who ignites his interest far more than he ever expected. Remarkably, she's the one elusive female with potential to bring meaning and passion to his empty existence.
Problem: She despises him.
Together, they're forced to unravel a mystery of supernatural proportions, a murderous mystery with eternal implications for everyone. In the process, they discover opposites really do attract.
Major Problem: Zane is pledged to another woman, and she'll do anything to keep him from Chloe.

Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a
short novel at age 12. (somewhat frightening illustrations included), and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper (about David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs LP). Yes, she’s an ex-80’s rocker chick.
She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotional books, and lives in the rainy wetlands of Oregon with one terrifying teen (another in college) and a small zoo of animals. She is taking an undetermined hiatus away from inspirational writing to delve into her darker side. It is rumored that this genre-jumping occurred after Carol discovered two suspicious read marks on her neck, and experienced an unquenchable urge to howl at the moon.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

RELEASE DAY BLITZ + GIVEAWAY: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

Book Blurb:
 Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is.  She doesn't know her real name or when she was born.  Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old.  At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on in life, she is just a senior in high school.   With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.
This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody.  It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love.  But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are.  Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.

Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, so she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called "What I Know" - also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold.  She lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband and four kids, and doesn't plan to ever move somewhere, because nowhere is sublime.  She has written Running Barefoot, and the Young Adult books Slow Dance in Purgatory and the sequel, Prom Night in Purgatory.  A Different Blue is her fourth novel.

Where to find Amy:

I love being creative with my chapter titles.  If you've read any of my other books, you already know that!  This book has titles that are all related to one word.  It is not obvious, at least it wasn't to me!  When you download the book, scroll through the chapter titles to figure out what each title has in common with the others.  Once you think you've got it figured out, write your answer in a message.  No one will be able to see anyone else's response.  The winner, selected by rafflecopter, will get a beautiful necklace AND charm bracelet with charms that represent different elements in the book OR a $20 Amazon gift card, whichever the winner chooses, and a runner up will get the remaining prize.

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BOOK TOUR [PROMO] Taming Tyler by Rebecca Rembish

YA Contemporary Romance
2nd In the Texting Tyler Series
Date Published: 2/18/13
In Rebecca Rembish's premier novel, 'texting tyler', Chris lives in the shadow of his older brother, struggling to be the popular one... the good looking one... the one all the girls adored. No doubt about it, Tyler Clarke is hot. Tyler Clarke has a reputation. Tyler Clarke has been with every girl in school. Tyler Clarke is also a virgin... or at least he was until his first date with Lori Matthews.
One thing Tyler could never seem to avoid was a label. Good or bad, no label had ever bothered him quite as much as the one he received from Lori.  What was it about her that made him care so much? Why was she different from all the other girls he ever met?
While Tyler never made decisions on a future beyond high school, Lori is a planner. After graduation, she decides to spend her first year at home and attend the community college for two reasons. She needs more time to plan her future and she needs to save money. Tyler and what came next were never part of her plan.
With an uncertain future, a pregnant girlfriend and not many people to turn to, Tyler struggles with one of the toughest years of his life.
Lori's careful plans are turned upside down. The fear of raising a baby in the same difficult circumstances she grew up with and a relationship that scares her to death, Lori must make the most heart wrenching decision of her life.

Rebecca Rembish is a stay at home mom to a mini super-hero. To help balance out her adventurous days with a pre-schooler and grown-up married life, she escapes by writing Young Adult Romantic Fiction. 
She is a compulsive nail biter, who makes daily trips to 7-11 for blueberry coffee. Rebecca grew up in Rockland County, New York, and now resides in New Jersey with her husband and son. Although Rebecca loves to text, amazingly, she and her husband of ten years have never once sent each other a text message. 

[COVER REVEAL] Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel) by Trisha Wolfe

Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena. .0

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.

I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface. But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone. “Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words. He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.” A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart. When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—” “It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.” “No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so. He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs. Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him. “Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.” A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—”  “Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.” “Is that the rumor in Perinya?” “What?” I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.” From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.” My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.” “All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.” “Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.” His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.” I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.” Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.” Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?"

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