#BookTour “A Friend Like Filby” by Mark Wakely

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Welcome to the book tour for A Friend Like Filby by Mark Wakely. Read on for more details!

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A Friend Like Filby

Expected Publication Date: December 6th, 2021

Genre: YA/ Young Adult/ YA Contemporary/ Time Travel

George has been fascinated with the idea of time travel ever since the unexpected death of his mother when he was ten, and hopes someday to find a friend like Filby, the forever loyal friend of the time traveler in the 1960 movie The Time Machine. George’s two closest high school friends, Dave and Nancy (nickname Onion), struggle at times to understand his odd obsession as they deal with issues of their own both in and out of school. The story takes place during the three friends’ tumultuous senior year from beginning to end, with a major realization in store for George on graduation day.

“Mark Wakely weaves an unusual tale with characters that are both emotionally and psychologically rich…The story is told from George’s perspective and in a first person narrative voice that is as clear as it is compelling. The prose is beautiful and evocative at times and I enjoyed the author’s peculiar turn of phrase, the humor, and his knack for vivid descriptions…It is a delightful read.” – Readers’ Favorite

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Author

Mark Wakely has held a lifelong interest in all things science-related, dating back to high school when he won the Bausch & Lomb science award in high school. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and is a college administrator at prestigious Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. He lives in a nearby town with his wife and three children, and is an avid reader and amateur astronomer.

Mark Wakely

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#MiniTour “Blackbird Rising (Harbingers Book 1)” by Jane Wiseman

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Welcome to the mini tour for this stunning new fantasy novel by Jane Wiseman, Blackbird Rising!

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Blackbird Rising (Harbingers 1)

Publication Date: December 2018

Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Mature YA Fantasy/ Coming-of-Age

Minstrel? Spy? Witch? What is Mirin, really?

She’s a young girl. She’s a boy. She loves her sister. She loves a man.

More important, who is she?

The gods have given her a task, to save a realm, to save a queen.

In a brutal world where the young are forced to grow up fast, Mirin’s story is about coming of age too soon, about love and betrayal. It’s about the heavy costs of standing for a cause but standing for it anyway because it is the right. About finding the lost and finding yourself along the way.

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CHAPTER NINE

Playing for Time

By morning, I had a bad case of jitters. I could see Wat did, too. After we breakfasted on some of the scraps we had managed to snag during our march the night before back through the kitchen shed, Wat sat thinking a long time. I tried not to interrupt, although I was itching to do it.

Finally, he looked up at me. “We’ll go in together.” He sounded certain, but his eyes betrayed him. I could tell he was far from certain. Wat’s eyes were a clear azure, like a cloudless noontide sky. But when he was angry or worried, they turned. They became somehow duller and sharper at the same time, as if you were to stare into a pond reflecting a clear noontide sky at the moment a cloud passes over. Or as if you were to sight down the blade of a sword made of fine-tempered steel. As you see, I’d had a long time to study Wat, and at close quarters, too. I knew how to read him, and I read that he was sick with worry.

“How? How will we manage that? Master Charlo is on to you now. He won’t allow it,” I said.
“Probably thinking I’m looking the place over to see what I can steal,” said Wat. “Yes, you’re right. But I’ll manage it.” He summoned up a smile. “You’re modest. You know that? You’re too modest to bathe in front of strangers. I need to be there. That’s what I’ll tell them.” “Will it work?”
“Maybe,” he said. “What if it doesn’t?”

“I’ll create a diversion.” “How in the Nine Spheres will you do that?” The corner of Wat’s mouth quirked up in what passed for one of his enigmatic smiles. But people were starting to drift down the road in our direction. They wanted to be entertained. Wat didn’t answer me. He headed over to our wagon and disappointed them by slapping a large NO PERFORMANCE TODAY sign on the outside of the wagon, and shaking his head firmly at the many who couldn’t read. I wanted him to tell me about his plans, but he wouldn’t talk about it. Instead, he made me go back into the wagon box bed.

“Otherwise every young girl in the Hundred is going to come crowding around to see if she can catch your eye,” said Wat as he shuttered me in. “I look like a girl,” I shouted through the slats.
“I think that may be the point,” he said in a reasonable tone of voice that sent me into a suppressed fury. “You’re not threatening. The mothers don’t fear you’ll run off with the daughters. You’re like a pet. But they can pretend to dream about you. Girls that age. That’s what they do.” He was sitting on the wagon seat, leaning back against the box bed, so we could have a conversation just as if we were face to face.
“No, not today. Sorry,” I heard him call out to someone. “I’m a girl that age. I don’t have thoughts like that.”
“You haven’t had time to. If you were home with your mother, you’d be having them about now.”
“That’s a lie,” I said between gritted teeth. Why was I getting so angry? Maybe so I wouldn’t think about what it would have been like, if I were home with my mother. Maybe because Wat hadn’t bothered to answer my question. “Not a lie. It’s just the truth,” said Wat. “And keep your voice down. Sorry, no performance today,” I heard him call. “How would you know what girls think?” I muttered.
“Oh, I know,” he said. He was infuriating, Wat was. I think he enjoyed it. But he was my master, so I knew not to push him too far. He had never beaten me, not yet. Once he was about to. “Remember your promise to Old Gwen!” I had screamed at him.
“I made her no such promise,” he told me as he circled around to get behind me with the strap he used to hobble Millicent. But in the end, he didn’t beat me. I don’t even remember what I had done to get him so worked up. Probably something dangerous. Every now and again I noticed it. He feared for me. Yet he wasn’t allowed to. That frustrated him, almost beyond bearing.

The time of our summoning drew closer, and the people had all wandered off, so he let me out of the box bed. He still hadn’t told me how he planned to create a diversion. I pulled the Kenning the Juggler costume on again. It was all I could do. The people in the castle would see the boy they expected to see. “We won’t stuff the rags in,” Wat decided, looking me up and down. “They may fall out at the wrong moment, and we don’t want any extra attention. You’ll be fine. You look fine. The servants are not going to be looking too close, down there.”
I turned away to hide my blushing. This part of my costume always made me feel uneasy and wrong. “But when I step into the bath, they’ll notice,” I said, pressing the point.
“They would indeed, but we won’t let them see.”
“How do you plan to keep them from it?” Answer me, Wat. Before he could explain, we noticed Master Charlo shouldering past the guards. He came down the hill toward us.

“Follow my lead,” said Wat to me. I suppressed an annoyed grimace. Wat was always figuring out some plan, I’d have no idea what it was, and I just had to follow along, the instrument the master played upon. “Don’t forget your rebec,” said Wat. When Master Charlo was near enough to speak but not so close that we could give him any vermin or diseases, he addressed Wat. “None of your tricks, young man. Just the boy. I want just the boy.”

Wat bowed to him. Master Charlo reached out his hand to me, then snatched it back. “Come with me,” he said. He turned on his heel and started marching up the hill. With a helpless glance at Wat, I followed the elegantly clothed Master Charlo. But I quickly realized Wat was right behind me. At the gate, Master Charlo turned to me again. When he saw Wat, he frowned. “Fellow, I told you—just the boy. Not you.”

“Good Master Charlo,” said Wat, with another low bow. “My brother is very modest. He is frightened near to death. He’ll not be able to sing.”

It was true. I was frightened, frightened near to death. I didn’t have to act it. “I need to come with him,” said Wat. “At least for the bath and the dressing of him. He hasn’t been parted from me since he was a baby, when we were orphaned.” If Wat thought that heart-tugging story would affect Master Charlo, he was wrong.

“Nonsense,” Master Charlo snorted. “The boy is to come with me. You are to stay.” He looked over at the guards. “See that this fellow remains outside.” Both of them stepped forward. They were very large armored creatures with solid, inscrutable faces under the cones of their helmets. They both carried menacing steel-tipped pikes. Wat simply made another of those obsequious bows. “As you wish, Master Charlo.

“Aedan,” he said to me. “I’ll be waiting here for you, never fear. They’ll send you out to me soon.”
“He’ll sing, or he’ll wish he had,” said Master Charlo. “No one goes against a direct command of her ladyship.” I began to cry. It wasn’t hard to make myself do it.
“What a pathetic excuse of a boy you are,” Master Charlo said to me. “What those girls see in you—”
“Their ladyships?” asked Wat, his voice innocent. Master Charlo gave him a sharp look. “Yes,” he said slowly, with a kind of menace. “Their ladyships.”

“Well, go then, and do your best, brother,” Wat said to me in kind, unctuous tones. “They won’t hurt you. They won’t hurt him, will they? When he can’t? Sing?” he said to Master Charlo. Over Master Charlo’s shoulder, I arched an eyebrow at Wat. He gave me the smallest of shrugs back. We hardly had to speak to each other, Wat and I. That’s how well we knew each other by then, at least where giving a performance was concerned. Really? You’re going for that again? I was saying to him. Might as well was his reply. Might work. Worth a try. Master Charlo’s face clouded up the way the day was clouding up, big thunderheads boiling from behind the castle keep. It’s not going to work this time, I thought. You could fool Master Blue, but not this man.

“Come with me,” Master Charlo snapped. I stepped in behind him and the
guards stepped aside. “Both of them,” he said tight-lipped to the guards. Wat gave me a small sidelong smile as we came through the gates together at Master Charlo’s heels, but when the man turned to make sure we were following him, and probably to make sure Wat was not scouring the place for items to thieve, Wat had made his face as open and sincere and concerned as it was supposed to be. Wat’s ruse had worked again. It really had. Now I did have to act. Act to suppress an admiring exclamation, one actor to another. The fright I felt was too overwhelming, though.

We threaded our way through the castle outbuildings, as before. A patter of rain was starting to fall. I lifted my face to the sky. The rain felt good, comforting somehow, but I knew there was nothing comforting about our situation. Only Wat’s quick thinking saved us this time, as last time, but I knew our luck had to be running out.

Finally we came to an obscure shed with steam rising from its smoke-hole. A woodsy aroma wafted from the shed into the damp air. It reminded me suddenly of home. Master Charlo knocked. A man stuck his head out and glanced at us. “Which one is the boy?”
“Which one do you think?” Master Charlo’s voice was full of exasperation. “Come in, then,” he said to me, and opened the door wide. As Wat made to follow me, he put a hard calloused hand out. “Not you.” To Master Charlo he said, “I’m supposed to bathe one stinking fellow. Not two.”
“This man is his brother, and he says—” Master Charlo began, then clamped his lips together. He turned to the two of us. “The boy is to go in. You may stand outside,” he said to Wat. “I’ll send someone to make sure you don’t wander around. I have things to do.” He stalked off, stopping to talk to another servant, pointing back at us. The other servant, one of the lower-order brown-clad ones, began making his way over to us. Wat looked at the man who was about to bathe me. “My brother is very modest and very frightened. It would be better if I bathe him. You can stand outside.”
“No,” said the tub man.

That was it. There was no arguing with the man. I could see that, and so could Wat. Wat shrugged and turned to lounge against the side of the shed. The servant Master Charlo had sent to watch Wat was nearing. The tub man motioned me inside. I had no choice. Our luck had indeed run out. I went in with him.

There was a large cask steaming with hot water before a roaring fire. I saw stone crocks filled with fragrant soaps and lotions. I saw a suit of clothes, bright and lovely, laid over a bench. I saw large soft towels at the ready. I wanted to get into the cask.
“Put that fiddle down on the bench.” I did so. “Strip,” said the man, “and don’t give me any nonsense about it or I’ll see you beaten. I don’t want to hear about your damned modesty. Just do it. Get in that tub.”

“Will you look away?” I said in a timid voice. He just stood there with his arms folded over his leather apron. “What are you, a little girl? Strip and get in the tub. Don’t think I’m going to touch you. I don’t want your vermin. Leave those silly-looking clothes in a pile over there where I can pole them into the cistern.”
When I hesitated, wondering why he was going to dump my Kenning the Juggler costume into a cistern, he barked at me. “Do it. Do it now.”

Playing for time, I bent down and unwound the yellow cloth from around my tunic and then the cross-gartering from each leg. I dropped the long strips of yellow cloth beside me on the floor. I turned away from the tub man and began to pull the green tunic over my head.
With an impatient grunt, the tub man snatched it from me and threw it to the floor. And then he had the drooping leggings off me. He let out a bellow of surprise. He came at me, and I dodged around the cask of steaming water, trying to knee him in the groin as I darted past him. I missed. That made him angry. He caught up with me. His pig eyes, too small for his lump of a face, were narrowed and glinting. He drew back a meaty fist. There was a scuffle from outside the shed. The tub man and I both whirled around in time to see Wat and the brown-clad servant hurtling through the door and into the shed, falling on the floor and fighting.

“Nine Spheres,” said the tub man. He moved around the cask to pick up his long pole and stood over the two as they rolled and fought, looking for a chance to rap Wat on the head with it. I bent down and lifted one of the stone crocks of soap. I heaved it high and brought it down on the tub man’s skull as hard as I could as he was leaning over the fighters. It barely staggered him, but just enough so that Wat had time to knock the servant to the ground, spring up, and get the tub man by the throat, twisting the man’s leather apron straps tight about his neck. Wat shoved me aside as he hoisted the tub man up by this improvised garrote. “The door,” he said to me over his shoulder. I kicked it shut. When I turned around, Wat had thrust the tub man into the cask, pushing him under the water, holding him down. “Now hand me that pole,” he said.

I stood frozen. I grabbed up the tatters of my clothing and held them to myself.
“The pole,” said Wat. His voice was tense. He bore down on the man in the cask with both hands. Cords of muscle stood out on his arms. Water flew everywhere as the tub man struggled for his life. I reached down with one hand to get the pole, still trying to keep myself covered up with the other. I handed the pole to Wat. He shoved it straight down into the water and leaned on the tub man’s chest with it, keeping the man under. The man thrashed and kicked, but soon weaker. Soon not at all. A stream of bubbles erupted from the water. Then the water was still. “You did well, Mirin,” said Wat, stepping back and casting the pole aside with a clatter.

“You bought me a bit of time.” Still trying to cover myself with my ripped jerkin and leggings, I stood staring in horror at the man in the cask. Wat and I were both soaked, and Wat was breathing hard.
The tub man’s clothes were billowing up to the surface now. “You killed him,” I said. I looked down at the brown-clad servant, who lay sprawled at my feet, his eyes open, his mouth gaped wide. “And him.”

“Yes,” said Wat, not noticing my half-naked state. “Singing is your talent. This is one of mine.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Jane Wiseman is a writer who splits her time between urban Minneapolis and the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. Her interlocking fantasy series include HARBINGERS (I Blackbird Rising, II Halcyon, III Firebird, IV Ghost Bird), the prequel series STORMCLOUDS (I A Gyrfalcon for a King, II The Call of the Shrike, III Stormbird), the eerie BETWIXT & BETWEEN duology set in the Stormclouds/ Harbingers world (I The Martlet is a Wanderer, II The Nightingale Holds Up the Sky). A tenth book, Dark Ones Take It, is a stand-alone novel about the origins of the series villain. The Harbingers series has a YA-into-NA feel. The other books are many shades darker.

Jane M. Wiseman | Shrike Fantasy Channel | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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#Excerpt “Rebel of Fire (Vigilant, Book 3)” by L.M. Preston

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Vigilant, Book 3

 

YA, Urban Fantasy

 

Date Published: 10-08-2021

Publisher: Phenomenal One Press

Who knew that taking a job at a High School Newspaper would weave Rei into an underground news operation? She’d stupidly sacrificed her family and was blackmailed into becoming a member of a Vigilant operation to save the unsuspecting human population in what most thought was Newport, RI. Rei was no longer living in ignorance, but knowledge came with a price. Love wasn’t an emotion she could give into when the ransom of her family’s life was at stake. Asher was sent to help her, but she felt he was sent to ensure she paid the debt owed in order to save her family. Rei didn’t relish being held hostage by Megan and her puppets or being thrust into interfering with a war instigated by magical beings, and their fight to control humanity. Rei had no idea how she could create a diversion that would save her, destroy an unimaginable evil, and teach her to love – again. Read other books in the Vigilant series: Insatiable Darkness, Caged Fire, Unbreakable Darkness, Scepter of Fire, Break the Darkness.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Rei smelled blood. The metallic taste was in her mouth, enveloping her senses. Sirens blared, but the throbbing in her head hurt so bad she didn’t have the will to wake up fully. She had to open her eyes. The accident. Her last thought before being suffocated by the chilled waters beneath the bridge where they’d crashed was that her sister, EmVee was thrown from the van. Her brother hit his head. Dexter was drowning. Her mom and her twin brother, Reece… what happened to them? It was her fault. She had to save them, get them away from here. She struggled and jerked, feeling like she was fighting to get out of the suffocating waters of the lake.

“Ah!” She fought the pain that coursed through her entire body and pushed herself up. Rei’s trembling hands braced her on the hard cot in what appeared to be the inside of an ambulance. Rei willed her body to move.

She tried to open her eyes. One was bandaged closed, but the other was slightly crusted but opened. Rei’s vision cleared. She raised a hand to the gauze covering her head. Everything on her hurt, but suddenly, an energy she couldn’t explain rushed through her in waves, dulling the pain, giving her focus.

“They are on us!” a gruff curse came from a medic near the light from a window. The ambulance sharply whipped from side to side.

Rei slid off the hard bed, and her knees buckled when she hit the floor. “God! Ah.”

She willed herself to stand and pushed her back up against the wall, wincing at the burn in her side and on her head.

The crouching medic held on to a looped strap in the corner of the ambulance van. The medic pointed a gun through the broken glass window of the back-double doors. Several pops sounded, and the doors flew open. Someone was shooting at them? At an ambulance? Why? Rei crawled backward, grimacing at the pain.

“I can’t die today.” Rei searched for a weapon, anything she could use. The bed slammed to the opposite side of the ambulance then surged at her. Rei dropped to the floor, barely in time to keep her head attached to her neck.

The medic yelled a name, maybe the driver’s – Rei didn’t know. The medic fired at what sounded like a motorcycle gang outside. She could hear the revved-up engines in succession.

A huge explosion from a building or something shook the vehicle. It caught the wind from the blast and reeled forward. Rei’s petite form was jerked against the small cabinet of supplies then fell backward, striking her throbbing head against the metal back wall of the ambulance. The motorcycle riders didn’t relent though.

The medic shot several rounds from the gun he thrust forward. The back door flung open then closed then open again. The shots didn’t stop them. The dark smoke from the motorcycles kicked up. They swerved from one side to another behind the speeding ambulance as if setting up for another attack. A blue, glowing whip snapped through the opened door and wrapped around the medic. He fought against the weapon around his neck and braced himself by a foot against the wall within the cab of the ambulance. His fingers wrestled with it as it tightened.

Rei could have sworn his hands turned to claws as he tried to rip the glowing blue whip’s tail from his neck. The medic roared. His teeth even appeared to grow into sharp points that protruded from his mouth. Rei gulped back the putrid taste of vomit as she held tightly to a small hook in the middle of the wall. She must be hallucinating.

“Grrrr.” The medic released an inhuman sound before the whip yanked him out of the cab of the ambulance.

She had to be dreaming. Rei felt nauseous. This couldn’t be real – could it? What kind of medicine did they put her on? Rei shook her head. She felt clammy, sweaty. She had to get out of the ambulance.

She blinked through her blurry vision while searching for a weapon. She crouched lower, wondering how she would get out of this alive.

Rei glanced at where the medic had fallen before he was snatched from the vehicle. His gun would work. There it was in the corner. She scrambled on her hands and knees to the tossed handgun. She remembered her father’s summer hunting trips and wished she’d paid attention when he told her how to shoot a stupid gun. Rei fumbled with the weapon, vaguely remembering how to fire it. She couldn’t make out what was behind the smoke from the ambulance.

Then two of the bikers appeared within the sway of the smoke they kicked up. One of them, in a black leather suit and helmet that covered his head, gave a hand signal to another. Rei squinted her eye and swore the bike resembled her twin brother Reece’s motorcycle. It had to have been stolen or a replica. Rei didn’t care. She wasn’t going with anyone without a fight. She pulled the trigger, bracing for the kickback of the weapon and – nothing. All of the bullets were gone.

The ambulance rocked to the left and up into the air. “No!” Rei was thrown against the door frame. The bed slammed the wall then rolled toward her. She kicked it away. It launched out of the door. The impact of the ambulance hitting something hard bounced it down and then up. She went flying, mid-air, and fell on the side of the breathing machine. She fell forward. Every bone and muscle on her body throbbed. Smoke and dust from the collision curled around the high blood-red moon Rei focused on trying to fight the throbbing of her head. A motorcycle guy climbed up into the cab of the ambulance.

Rei’s vision grew hazy. She fought to stay coherent, but the ache drumming into the back of her head traveled to her eyes. Rei tried to stand, but gravity sucked her down.

Someone caught her.

“I think she’s okay.”

Rei stumbled into the abyss of darkness once more.

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Other Books in the series

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About The Author

L.M. Preston, a native of Washington, DC. An avid reader, she loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. She is an author, an engineer, a professor, a mother and a wife. Her passion for writing and helping others to see their potential through her stories and encouragement has been her life’s greatest adventures.She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

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#BookBlitz “The Storm of Storms (Juche #3)” by Adria Carmichael

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To celebrate the release of The Storm of Storms, book #3 in her YA Dystopian saga, Juche, Adria Carmichael is giving the first two installments away for FREE! From September 14th to the 18th, you can download The Demon of Yodok and The Weeping Masses on Amazon for zero dollars!

Juche part three - eBook - CopyThe Storm of Storms (Juche #3)

Publication Date: September 15th, 2021

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Survival

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.

Nari’s shocking revelation in the watermill changes everything in an instant, and Areum is once more faced with an impossible decision. Will she betray her sister in order to save her life, or support her and let her die? In the midst of this struggle, the storm of the century hits the camp, and life goes from hard to impossible overnight. Areum slowly comes to realize there is only one way to ensure their survival.

To escape!

But how can they escape from an escape-proof prison camp? And even if they would get past the ferocious dog patrols, the machine gun-equipped guard towers and the electrified barbed wire fence… will she be willing to condemn everyone they’re leaving behind to an inescapable end through torture and death?

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The Demon of Yodok (Juche #1)Juche part one - eBook - Copy

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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The Weeping Masses (Juche #2)Juche part two - eBook

Areum’s hopes to be set free from the brutal political prison camp holding them is crushed, and the heinous assault on her sister plunges her into a state of shock and horror… and puts her on a collision course with her family. All hope seems to be lost. Just when she is about to give up, however, a disturbing revelation is made… and as the evil of the camp is given a face, Areum finds a new purpose to keep fighting.

Revenge!

But first they need to survive, and with the constantly harshening conditions and her family being targeted from all directions, daily life in Yodok turns into a never-ceasing fight to evade imminent doom.

On top of everything, an impossible tragedy strikes Choson, and the unquestionable truth Areum has built her life around is challenged to its very core.

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About the Author

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Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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#BookTour “Catwalk” by Nicole Gabor

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I’m thrilled to share this new book with you all today! Catwalk is a coming-of-age NA (Mature YA) novel by Nicole Gabor! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book AND a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

Catwalk_EbookCoverCatwalk

Publication Date: July 6th, 2021

Genre: YA/ NA Contemporary/ Fashion/ Modeling/ Coming-of-Age

Eighteen-year-old, shy, suburban aspiring model Cat Watson suddenly has it all as the New York fashion world’s new “It” girl and she thinks she has everything she ever dreamed of—until she realizes be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Leaving her good-girl image behind, Cat quickly learns things aren’t always what they seem on the catwalk, and she’s faced with a decision that will change her life forever.

WILMINGTON, Delaware, April 2021

When 18-year-old Catherine Watson disobeys her parents and ditches her Ivy-league acceptance to start fresh as an aspiring model in New York City, a chance encounter with fashion world bigwigs gives her a world-class agent plus a boyfriend she only dreamed about. But as she navigates the fickle world of modeling, she realizes that to get ahead, she’ll have to leave herself behind—but is it worth it? Catwalk is an expertly written tale of first love, coming of age, and high-fashion, from award-winning author and editor Nicole Gabor, inspired by her own experiences as a runway model.

In her suburban hometown, Catherine had what most would consider a charmed life: a 4.0 GPA, a good-guy boyfriend who had his whole life planned out down to the two kids, two dogs, two-car garage—and it scared her to death. She wasn’t ready to follow a traditional path to a paint-by-numbers existence. She longed for adventure, for a life less…ordinary. When Catherine moves away to pursue her modeling dream in New York City and moves in with Jon-Michelle “Jonnie” who tackles the newly-named “Cat” as “her next project,” she revels in her newfound career, thinking “this is what it’s like to be young and beautiful in the greatest city in the world.”

“At that moment, it hit me. I was a mere mortal in a room full of demigods: actors, actresses, bygone legends of the stage and screen; men and women who had traipsed down red carpets all of their lives, whom the rest of the country, no, the world, had pined for, had paid to know the secrets of. Here I was standing among them, cavorting with twenty-first century royals.”

Cat meets Seth, a beautiful and kind but troubled New York scenester, the son of a ‘70s fashion model icon who fatally overdosed during her prime, and she feels strangely protective. She wants to save him like he saved her on her first night out on the town in New York City’s gritty yet swanky meatpacking district club scene.

When Cat is “discovered” by the one and only Philippe Borghetta, the hottest fashion designer in the pages of Vogue magazine, she thinks she has it all. Her life is thrust into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolve around her like constellations. She tries to play the part. Her former self, “Catherine,” was now a shadow of who she was and what she was becoming.

Cat thinks she’s finally gotten what she wanted all along—a chance to start over, a redo, a refresh. But as the lines blur between who she once was and who she wants to be, she’s reminded of her mother’s words, “Sometimes the things that are most worth fighting for are the things you already have.” Cat finds she has to make a decision that will change her life—and possibly the modeling world—forever.

Drawing on her own experiences in the fast-paced fashion model industry, former model and author of more than twenty children’s books, Nicole Gabor masterfully weaves a timeless story of self-discovery, coming of age, and the heartache of first loves. Catwalk is her debut young adult/new adult novel, available in Summer 2021 wherever books are sold.

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Excerpt

“She was discovered! Discovered by Philippe!” Clive, my new agent (yes, agent!) at Icon, chimed into the phone as I walked into his office to get my daily appointments in late-September.

“Yes, she is booked for the spring show and Philippe’s fall print campaign … Fashion week? Booked solid!” he said, winking at me. “Sorry, honey, she’s in high demand. But for you, maybe we could work something out. Say, time and a half?”

Time and a half? Ohmigod. I still couldn’t believe the turn of events here. This man was talking about me, Catherine Watson, and not some other incredibly fortunate girl.

Pinch me. Smack me. Punch me!

“Oh, she can’t walk out of the house for twice that! … I know, I know, but I’m telling you, she’s gonna be huge! Remember Fosgate?”

The last three weeks had thrust me into an alternate universe, where star-studded cocktail parties, casting calls, go-sees, and nightclub openings revolved around me like constellations. I tried to play along and not think about the catalyst of this sudden success — that fact that I was running around with the son of the dead woman I supposedly resembled. Given its Freudian implications, it wasn’t something I really wanted to dwell on.

Sitting there, waiting for Clive to get off the phone (yes, Clive of the “we have no place for you here” notoriety), I let my mind wander, reimaging for the three-hundredth time the scene in the Icon offices when, weeks earlier, Philippe’s personal assistant called up to ask if I was available for the showing of his spring collection at Fashion Week.

Jaws dropped, eyebrows arched, and coffee cups tumbled, no doubt. Wasn’t I that forgettable girl they had dared to take a chance on to appease their star, Jonnie, only days earlier? My god, yes.

Then miraculously and all at once, as if a fairy godmother had sprinkled dewdrops and glitter into the eyes of all who gazed upon me, I became the most enchanting creature, one worthy of the Icon name. Before I could ask for it, I had a portfolio with my name emblazoned on the cover, a new iPhone filled with go-see appointments, blond highlights framing my face, and hair extensions that would make the Kardashians jealous. I, Catherine Watson, had been “made.” AGH!

But perhaps most unbelievable of all, I had a new name: Cat.

“It’s hip, modern,” Clive had said.

Catherine, on the other hand, was what he called “stuffy, boring, old,” a person his mother would watch on PBS. There’s no denying that. In junior high, I tried shortening my name to Cate, but at the time Cate Winters (the most popular girl in 8th grade) was already a Cate with a “C” and there was no way a peon like me was going to steal her nickname. So, since Cate with a “C” was ruined for me, “Cat” seemed a welcome change.

It was all part of the branding process, Clive said. “Babe, you exude youth and innocence. It’s refreshing! I can read the headlines now: ‘Plucked from Obscurity!'”

Not completely true, but evidently we weren’t going for truth here.

“We’re gonna make you the girl next door, the one out in hicksville driving all the boys crazy with her kitty cat eyes …”

I was excited, but somehow listening to a balding, fat man say “kitty cat eyes” made me want to puke.

“So, I know you’ve got the good girl thing down pat, but you’re going to have to get a little naughty.”

“Naughty?” I said, hoping I misheard him and this wasn’t really the premise for a Hallmark movie.

“Step it up a bit,” he said. “Nice girls with no edge get nowhere in fashion.”

He handed over the contract — about 10 pages of tiny text. I flipped through it, trying to absorb all the information in the five-minute window he had allotted for this purpose.

“It’s standard,” he said. “We get a cut from each job you take, you take home the rest.”

I’d never had to sign something so official-looking before.

“Is it nonbinding?” I asked, having heard my father talk about contracts before and trying to appear in the know.

“Look, it’s what all our girls sign,” he said, slightly annoyed by my dilly-dallying. “Do you need more time? ‘Cause you gotta run if you’re going to make your go-sees in Midtown.”

A part of me wanted to hold back. I knew I should go over the contract with my father, but Clive wouldn’t have gone for that. That was part of the “little girl” mentality I was going to have to shed. I held my breath and signed on the dotted line.

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About the Author

PIC.Gabor

Nicole is a published author of more than twenty children’s picture books and an award-winning health writer and editor. Her debut young adult/new adult fiction novel Catwalk, is inspired by her experiences living and working in New York City as a model. Nicole is also a contributor at Highlights for Children and a senior editor at KidsHealth.org, the Web’s most-visited site for children’s health. She lives in Delaware with her husband, three young children, and their Goldendoodle named Ginger.

Nicole Gabor | Twitter | Instagram

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#AudioTour “Sedition (Children of Erikkson, Book 1)” by E. M. Wright

Sedition

Author: E. M. Wright

Narrator: Micah Cottingham

Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Series: Children of Erikkson, Book 1

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Mar. 29, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction; Young Adult


She was created for more than slavery; she was built for rebellion.

In an alternate Victorian England, clockwork cyborgs provide the primary source of labor for the upper class. Known as biomatons, they are property by law and have been manipulated and mind-controlled into subservience.

Taryn Roft, a 17-year-old girl, attending classes at Grafton’s School of Mechanicks in London has a secret. What’s even worse – she cannot remember anything before her 12th birthday.

When a mysterious privateer discovers her secret, he offers her an ultimatum: accompany him to his airship, or her secret will be revealed to everyone. For Taryn, it’s not much of a choice. Facing prejudice and cruelty may be nothing new to the only girl at an all-boys’ school, but the further from home she gets, the darker her situation becomes.

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E.M. Wright is an author from Portland, OR. When she’s not writing, she can be found daydreaming, taking long walks with her husband, or working on a musical-in-progress with a friend. She writes books in the hopes of inflicting her imaginary friends on other people so she can eventually sleep in peace. Sedition is her first novel.

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Narrator Bio

Micah Cottingham was born in North Carolina alongside the dogwoods and tobacco. Most of her adult life has been spent outside of the state, traveling and living in most of the 50 states as well as living abroad. Micah is a Musician and Voice Actor and will use any excuse to spend the day outside. In her free time she enjoys slacklining, hiking, and anything that leaves room for creativity. Currently, she is recording a new album and working full time as a Voice Actor.

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Taryn Roft

Age: 17

Height: 5’5”

Appearance: Taryn has long copper hair, intense green eyes, and high cheekbones. She holds herself with dignity that usually disguises the fact that she lived on the streets for some time when she was twelve. She’s secretive and a bit touchy, but once you get to know her, she’ll protect you with her life. She wears a silk glove over her left hand, hiding a secret she can never reveal.

Likes: Earl Grey tea, long walks through London with her best friend, mechanicks, airships

Dislikes: Being asked out, injustice, being paid too much attention

Ace Highmore

Age: 20

Height: 6’0”

Appearance: Ace’s sharp features and olive skin tone hide a thoughtful, soft-spoken personality. He has black hair and ice blue eyes, which can be so intense it feels as if he’s staring straight through you. He wears a naval-style greatcoat without any decoration, and is meticulously groomed despite being surrounded by scruffier shipmates. His prized possessions are a pair of pearl-handled flintlock pistols he wears at all times—and which he can use with deadly accuracy.

Likes: The Dauntless, his friend Emmett, gunfights, being a privateer

Dislikes: Fighting with his sister, confrontation, his own cowardice

Emmett LeBeau

Age: 20

Height: 5’9”

Appearance: Covered in freckles and usually smiling, Emmett’s small but wiry, with soft dirty blond curls. He loves loud, colourful clothes, pairing large, bright cravats with striped waistcoats. He’s skilled with the sword and friendly (sometimes overly so), greeting new acquaintances with a hello and a compliment in his thick French accent.

Likes: Flying aboard the Dauntless, good food, fine wine, meeting new people

Dislikes: People insulting his home country, cruelty

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#ReleaseBlitz “Snake Bandit” by Nikki Ashton

**Available Now**

Snake Bandit by Nikki Ashton

YA Rock Band romantic humour – standalone read

UNIVERSAL LINK: mybook.to/SnakeBandit

#NewRelease #SnakeBandit #NikkiAshton #YA #RockBand #RomanticHumour #BareNakedWords

“Hilarious, sexy, exciting, and uplifting! An outlandish, yet inspiring book that takes you through the lives of the next rockers generation. Eliza, Rocco, Ethan, Hendrix, Lessie, GiGi, and the rest of the gang are amazing! Nonstop banter, young love,” ~Kelly: Amuse Me Books~

Blurb

When Dirty Riches have taught you how to rock
The rest don’t stand a chance

Summer has arrived and all the kids of the band Dirty Riches have plans

Eliza wants to get Rocco to fall in love with her, but he just wants to have sex with as many girls as possible. In fact, he and Ethan appear to be in competition for biggest manwhore of the summer. Rocco’s younger sister, Gigi also has sex on her mind because she wants to lose her virginity. Shame the guy she has in mind isn’t the best choice. Hendrix, Eliza’s, brother is a model who only has eyes for his girlfriend who he wants to Netflix and Chill with for the summer. Then there’s Lessie and Matilda, who as usual are joined at the hip trying to find ways to make some money. Rafa and Hettie, want to spend the summer practicing kissing so that they literally don’t suck at it! And finally, Jackson and Harrison two of the youngest. Well, they’re happy playing footy and having fun.

So, everyone has their summer planned out.

But when your dads are in a world-famous band, things don’t always go to plan

Sometimes you have to step up and take the stage
Hold on for a fun ride

Fans of the Rock Stars Don’t Like series are going to love this book. Not only do you get the usual banter from your favourite rockers, but their kids too. There’s love, laughs and heartache in Snake Bandit and you’re going to love every minute of it.

Meet the Author

Nikki lives in Cheshire with her husband, two dogs, and lovely mother-in-law who supplies her with endless cups of tea. She writes contemporary and romantic comedy romances and hopes that she puts a smile on her reader’s faces and a sigh in their heart. Nikki is grateful for the wide variety of strange and wonderful people in her life, otherwise, she’d never know what to write about! She always takes a keen interest in family and friends, finding out their innermost secrets in readiness for her next book.

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#BlogTour “The Demon of Yodok (Juche #1)” by Adria Carmichael

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To celebrate the release of the latest novel in the Juche series, The Storm of Storms, we’re going back to the book that started it all! The Demon of Yodok! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of the novel!

Juche part one - eBook - Copy

The Demon of Yodok (Juche 1)

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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Excerpt

Cranes sang songs of joy from the mountain tops.

Double rainbows appeared in the sky.

The aggressors from the west were defeated. The invaders from the east were expunged. The traitors from the south were put at bay.

The people of Choson were finally free to create their own destiny, and so a hermit kingdom of people’s rule rose from the ashes, and the doors to the enemies of the outside world were closed, never to be opened again.

The world around them moved on. Years passed. Decades passed. Peace and prosperity spread throughout the world, and nothing was heard from the secluded hermit paradise.

Then one day, people started emerging from its closed borders. The stories they brought with them were, however, not of a paradise on earth. Instead, what they depicted were horrors so vile and cruel that they almost exceeded human comprehension.

Little had the people of the kingdom known when they closed its doors to the outside world, that the vilest beast of all was still lurking among their midst, and as soon as the curtains had been drawn, the beast unleashed its reign of terror upon the people, not stopping until it had crushed and enslaved every soul within its reach.

The beast now rules the kingdom from a throne of human misery and agony.

No one alive has ever encountered this beast, but everybody knows its name.

JUCHE

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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