Friday, December 28, 2018

Blog Tour Excerpt—Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake

Analiese Rising
By Brenda Drake
ISBN: 978-1640635081

American Gods meets the Da Vinci Code in ANALIESE RISING (Entangled; 01/08/19), a suspense-filled novel by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Drake. This first book in a new fantasy series offers a new take on the paranormal romance genre—with a mythological spin. Gone are vampires and werewolves; in are descendants of the God of Death.
Brenda Drake is known for creating addictive, entertaining series with strong female characters (Library Jumpers and The Fated) and her fans will not be disappointed.

ABOUT ANALIESE RISING: When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.


The tiny scalpel shakes as I ready to make the cut. My stomach lurches as if it wants to leave my body and walk out the door. I don’t want to do this. It’s not right. The instrument slips from my hand and clatters onto the table. 
“I can’t.” I pull off the gloves, drop them beside the tray, and push the goggles up to my forehead. “This is just too inhumane. Poor frog never hurt anyone. I don’t get why we can’t do virtual dissections like they do at Grant.” 
“Ha!” That smug look is back on his face. “Do you concede, then?”

My eyes go back to the frog. Sadness deflates my soul the way a balloon loses air. Had it been hopping in a pond somewhere green and lush, minding its own business, searching for bugs to eat before the net caught it?

 Had it been scared, struggling against the cords to get out? Had it been docile once it realized there was no
 hope? No escape.

A girl’s squeal sounds behind me just before Rod stumbles and hits my back, pushing me forward. My bare palm lands on the frog, its body cold, firm, and lifeless. A shudder runs down my spine, and I pull back my hand as if I’ll catch a disease. 

Eww.” I push Rod away. “Be careful.”

“Oh sorry,” he says, a laugh hanging in his voice. 

Mrs. Cryer’s eyes shift in our direction. “Mr. Stone, settle down, or you’ll spend lunch in the office.”

Rod returns to his table, Maggie and Sofia’s stifled laughs greeting him.

Dalton shoots out of his chair. “Did you see that? It moved.”

I snap back around. The frog is as still as a statue in the tray. “It did not. Stop doing that.”

“Doing what? I swear it

The frog’s eyes pop open, and it struggles against the pins holding its limbs down. A gasp punches from my chest, and I scoot back. This time it’s me bumping into Rod. 

“Hey,” he protests, shoving me back toward my table.

“What is going on over there?” Mrs. Cryer’s commanding voice stills the class. 

This can’t be real.

ABOUT BRENDA DRAKE: Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother's animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she's not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Other blogs on the tour:
Dec. 29- (Excerpt 5)
Dec. 31- (Excerpt 9)
Jan. 3- (Excerpt 15)
Jan. 5- (Excerpt 19)
Jan. 6- (Excerpt 21)


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Blog Tour Review—The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: October 23, 2018
Genre: Middle School 
Source: Finished Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Why settle for a pony or a puppy for Christmas when you could have a dinosaur? A rollicking adventure from singer-songwriter and YouTuber Tom Fletcher.

Once upon a time--long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth--an egg rolled away from its mother and landed in the ocean, where it froze solid and stayed peacefully for thousands of years. Then one day Santa and his elves discover the frozen egg, and Santa sits on it to see if it will hatch. But he can't guess what's inside. . . . A dinosaur!

Meanwhile, a young boy named William Trundle has only ever wished for one thing for Christmas: a dinosaur! So when Santa accidentally gives William the real Christmasaurus instead of a stuffed replica, it's the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! Until an evil man known as the Hunter decides a dinosaur will be the perfect addition to his collection.

A wild and hilarious adventure ensues. An instant Christmas classic!

Oh. My. Goodness. This is probably one of the best and most imaginative children’s books I’ve read in a long time. It was absolute joy from the very first page until the very last to read. I love when books do that! I’ll admit I’ve never heard of the author until I was asked to be part of the blog tour for The Christmasaurus. 

I didn’t waste any time whatsoever going and buying the other books Fletcher has written. His mind is genius and I loved his take on Santa and Christmas. Bonus points for including dinosaurs. I believe with more books out there like those of Fletcher’s; more children will want to flock to reading. After all, reading is very essential to success. I read it in a book, so it must be true!

William Trundle is a boy whose only ever wanted one thing for Christmas—a dinosaur. Not a toy dinosaur either...a REAL ONE! The adventure that awaits the reader is magical. Magic is totally real and if there’s one thing to learn from this book, it’s to dream big. 

This is one families should have at Christmas time reading around a fire. And as the author himself suggests; prepare a plate of cookies and some hot cocoa for the occasion. I can see this story becoming a classic everywhere. It has the highest of recommendations from me!

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

About the Author:
Written by McFly band member, YouTuber, and UK celebrity TOM FLETCHER (he has over 1+ MILLION FOLLOWERS on TwitterInstagram and YouTube), THE CHRISTMASAURUS is sure to become an instant Christmas classic.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post ft. Giveaway—A Dreadful Fairy Book Written by Jon Etter

Publisher’s Synopsis: Shade the sprite is dreadful at being the perfect fairy. After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade embarks on a quest, albeit with rather questionable companions, to find a place her outré self can finally fit in—a place of companionship and comfort and, most importantly, positively filled with books. When fantastic ruffians, swindlers, and a pack of ruthless Unseelie hunters threaten to halt her at every turn, can Shade survive the dreadful journey and find a destination she can truly call home?

Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing | November 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948705141

Fairy Tales and How They Influenced A Dreadful Fairy Book
Looking back on my childhood, I’ve come to believe myself the product of the most wonderful and benevolent negligence. At age six, my parents started letting me watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus with them, thus making me constitutionally unable to take much of anything seriously. I don’t remember a single time when the good librarians at Forrest Public Library questioned a single book I ever checked out, even when a parent was nowhere in sight and my choices were all but guaranteed to cause nightmares.  And my first grade art teacher, having confirmed that my drawing was indeed a guillotine (complete with basket filled with severed heads), replied with a nod and nonplussed “Okay” rather than referring me to the school psychologist (if we even had one back then).

My Grandma Ruth, however, is probably the one we have to blame for A Dreadful Fairy Book. Whenever I spent the day at her house, she would read to me. Sometimes it was Edgar Allan Poe (“You share a birthday with him, so you should know his work,” she explained to me at age 5 before kindly terrorizing me with “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”), but more often than not it was with fairy tales. Not the sanitized, Disney-fied, tasteless pap that passed for fairy tales in the early ‘80s. The good, old, savory stuff. Tales of tricksters and shapeshifters, blessings and curses, bewitchments and bafflements, schemes and thefts and adductions and patricide, matricide, infanticide, and just about every other –cide you could think of. In the stories that she read to me, Little Red Riding
 Hood and Grandma ended up in the wolf’s belly (later to be cut out of it) instead of a cozy little closet, helpful little birds were sweet enough to peck the eyes out of Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters, and Jack killed more than just one giantand in more inventive and gruesome ways than chopping down a beanstalk.

As I grew older, stories on Grandma’s lap fell by the wayside but the fairy stories remained, thanks to that perennial corrupter of young imaginations: the local library. There lurking in the 398s of the Dewey Decimal system were the elves, dwarves, kobolds, grindylows, pixies, redcaps, and other fairy folk, lovingly compiled by folklorists like Katharine Briggs, ready to snatch up a curious reader like an untended baby from its crib. These were some of my most regular companions as I grew up there in those wonderfully musty stacks.

And so when I decided in the spring of 2016 to write a fairy book to amuse my children (and, to be honest, myself), I went back to the source. I pillaged the shelves of my local library and hopped into the first fairy circle I could find, careful to consume no food nor drink and to accept no gifts to guarantee my safe return. There were all my old friends and many new ones I had never met before—cowlugsskrikers, and the fearsome nuckelavee to name but a few—all of whom seemed ready for a romp. Sure, some of them got a bit deconstructed and fractured and made just plain silly along the way (fortunately, your average fairy seems to have a pretty good sense of humor), but many if not most were brought to the page just as they were. And when it came time to slap a namenames being, as we all know, extremely powerful thingson my fairyland, it didn’t make much sense to call it anything other than what the Scots have always called it: Elfame.

Now I know at the beginning of this post I highlighted my early love of the more sanguine elements of traditional fairy and folk tales, which, if you are kind enough to read my little book, you’ll no doubt notice are largely absent (it is a comedy for kids, after all, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t do a Game of Thrones-esque culling of my characters). That wasn’t what left the greatest impression on me as a child. It was the morality of fairy tales. Granted, I never much cared for the ones that stressed obedience to one’s elders (and care even less for those now!) and always thought those maidens would be a great deal better off if they could—or, more accurately, were allowed to—save themselves a little more often (perhaps fencing lessons and self-esteem workshops are in order), but the others? Stories where wickedness is always revealed and punished? Stories where acts of kindness and mercy are always rewarded? Stories where being clever always trumps being big and strong and cruel? Those are the stories I loved, still love,always will love, and it’s those stories that I like to think are embedded deep in the DNA of my book.
For all the fun that it pokes, I really believe that A Dreadful Fairy Book is more of a traditional fairy story than not. If it breaks completely from any traditions, it would be from more modern ones that call for children’s stories to be simple and bland and as safe as an unloaded Nerf gun bundled up in bubble wrap. Those traditions I would kindly ask to go see if the oven is hot enough. Gretel there would be delighted to give you a hand…



Enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter!

Ten (10) winners receive:

  • A bound galley copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book

Giveaway begins November 13, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December , 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Amberjack Publishing is responsible for prize fulfillment.
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