Book Tour & Excerpts: The Insurgent by Teri Polen


Welcome to the book tour for the exciting sequel of The Colony series, The Insurgent by Teri Polen! Teri is no stranger to my blog as she’s previously appeared in one of my author spotlights, so it makes me happy to be part of her new book’s tour. 🥳

Alas, with the long weekend and the fluctuating British weather that I’ve yet to fully adjust to (😅), I’ve hit a bit of a slump with my reading, so I’ll need a few more days to finish the first book, Subject A36, and then finally this sequel. But I’ve been having a great time with my reading so far as Teri’s quite the storyteller! Do check out the excerpts (yes, plural) below, and my review when it finally goes up. 🥰

If a megalomaniac threatened your family, would you give up your freedom for them? Would you give up your soul?

Asher Solomon is faced with that choice. And makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Exactly as Director Silas Reeves expected him to.

Unable to live as the Colony’s premier assassin, Ash retreats to a corner of his mind, ceding control of his body to the alter-ego he was engineered to be—Subject A36. As he’s unleashed to battle the Insurgents, the only family he ever knew, the tide of war shifts in Silas’s favor.

Combined with his expansion into new territories, the director is poised to take over the world.

But the Insurgents don’t give up easily. Not on their cause, and not on their people. With the help of a few double agents deep in the Colony, they stand a fighting chance at ending Silas’s reign.

In order to shut down the program, they face almost insurmountable odds. And their most dangerous foe—their former champion turned killing machine, A36.

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GENRE: Young Adult Dystopian
PUBLICATION DATE: 19 May 2022
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Black Rose Writing


Excerpt #1: Asher

My legs collapsed, and I fell to my knees.  The throbbing in my head hammered against my skull.  Like my brain was trying to force its way out somehow.  It was agonizing, and my stomach twisted with nausea.  My lungs heaved, still short of oxygen.  I crawled over to what was left of the mattress and rolled onto it.   

I’m here.

Clutching my head, I searched the room for the source of the voice.  I still couldn’t see.  Someone could have easily slipped in while I destroyed the room. 

Give me control.

So close.  It was so close.  But where?

End your pain.

In my head.  The voice echoed in my head. 

It was him.  A36.

Through the crushing agony I gritted my teeth and struggled to force the word through my lips. 

“No.” 

But I felt him clawing his way out, inch by inch from the deep abyss inside me where I’d kept him imprisoned for my own sanity and the safety of others.

You have nothing left.

I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head.  But he spoke the truth.  All that held me together were the scars of everything I’d lost.  Everyone I’d ever loved.  

And scars could be easily ripped open.


Excerpt #2: Brynn

Luci gawked at me as if I were delusional before she turned and sprinted toward Mason and Naira.  I laid down a spray of bullets in front of A36, and he diverted his attention toward me.  From the corner of my eye, I saw my three team members move in the direction of the fence.  They were easy targets.  He could probably pick them off blindfolded based on sound alone. 

A36 cast a glance in their direction, and I put a bullet on the ground in front of him to remind him I was still here.  Keeping his gun trained on me, he stepped out from behind the shelter of the Jeep door and flashed me a wide smile.  A smile I knew well.  One that lit up my world and made even the worst of days a little brighter.  Only it wasn’t quite Asher’s smile.  This one was laced with malice and challenge.  It taunted me, dared me to take the shot.  A36 slid through the moonlight quietly like the predator he was, all hard angles and taut muscles.  Gone were the sandy blond waves he’d always tied back for missions, his hair now closely cropped. 

My hands trembled as I kept him in my sights.  What was I doing?  A lethal killer closed the distance between us every second, and I stood here waiting for what?  A tearful reunion?  No matter the certainty I felt deep down that he wouldn’t harm me, was I really willing to take that chance?  I could be dead in the next thirty seconds. He was only fifteen feet away now, gun still raised, while I remained cloaked in the building’s shadow.  “You’re not even making this a challenge.  Where’s the fun in that?” He grinned as if this gave him great pleasure.  There wasn’t even a hint of recognition in his eyes or any sign A36 knew my identity.  I was a stranger to him. 


Excerpt #3: Declan

After passing more of the shallow vessels impersonating humans, I finally reached my office, swung open the door and halted.  Hairs rose on the back of my neck.

I was afraid to move a muscle. 

To even breathe. 

Casually leaning against my desk, ankles crossed, was a dangerous predator.  He watched me intently.  Muscles rippled in his forearms as he flipped a silver dagger in one hand. 

It was Asher.  But it wasn’t. 

Sure, Ash had killed before, but it was to save hostages or in self-defense.  He’d never outright murder anyone with no justification.  But I sensed the creature in front of me was on a wholly different level.  To him, killing was the same as eating or sleeping.  It was routine, a part of life, something he did every day.  And didn’t think twice about.

A36 stood before me.


About the Author

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.ly.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

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Book Tour Organized By R&R Book Tours


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Book Tour & Review: MARY: Adrift in the Sea of Sorrow by Kate Cunningham


Welcome to my stop for the book tour of MARY: Adrift in the Sea of Sorrow by Kate Cunningham, organized by Random Things Tours. It’s my first time in a long while to read something on paperback instead of digital, so I have to say it’s been quite an experience! The book itself is lovely; I love the size, the font used, the chapter headers, and the texture of the cover and pages. It also came with a personalized note from the author herself, which I really appreciated. (And I used as a bookmark, haha.)

Let me say this early, however, that this book contains scenes relating to a pandemic, and some violence, including the use of guns. Those topics are particularly triggery as of late, so while the book isn’t needlessly or graphically violent or bleak, I’m putting this warning up for those who wish to steer clear.

Mary lives in her locked white room – alone apart from the testers who take samples from her.

Vander has lived through the Red Plague and seen the choices families had to make to survive.

When they meet their actions will trigger events that spiral out of their control and change countless lives.

They must decide what price to put on freedom.

Buy now on Amazon
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GENRE: YA Dystopian Fiction
PUBLICATION DATE: 22 November 2021
PUBLISHER: Reading Riddle


Review

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I received a complimentary paperback copy, but a review was not required and all thoughts and opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.

This book contains scenes relating to a pandemic, and some violence, including the use of guns. The author sufficiently warns readers of this (except the gun part, but violence is mentioned in the general sense) on the back after the blurb, and even on the Acknowledgments page (though that’s also at the tail end of the book). The blurb also explicitly mentions the word plague, and we see the biohazard symbol (☣️) on the front and back covers as well as the chapter headers. So hopefully the author isn’t given any bad reviews just for writing about a triggery subject!

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the physical attractiveness of the book. I mention this in this particular review because I read off a paperback copy instead of my usual digital means, and the book is lovely. I love the size, the font, the chapter headers, and the texture of the cover and pages. It seems long at 89 chapters plus an epilogue in the form of a memo, but some of the chapters are actually just one-pagers, totaling around 305 pages. The line spacing is good and I don’t remember having to read blocks and blocks of text. And because this is a young adult book, the prose is straightforward but compelling, so it was very much an easy read.

The story was inspired by Mary Mallon, a.k.a. Typhoid Mary, and was actually written pre-pandemic. Even if it might hit close to home in this day and age, it got me hooked and kept me on the edge of my seat. For one, the post-pandemic world the author had built was a frightening possibility. I’d previously seen a take on a dystopian world where large companies went on to rule so to speak, but Kate had crafted a different – but just as horrible – future for this story. A+ worldbuilding right there, and there’s so much potential for sequels and spin-offs. (Was the memo at the end a hint? HMMM.)

The story went to unexpected places in a lot of parts, and I honestly would’ve never guessed the ending. Mary was also a strange character for a protagonist. She’s interesting and complex for sure, but like a virus she was rather unpredictable, an enigma. The people around her were more relatable and more human – but I think that was actually the point. To have a whole ensemble of characters to root for, and maybe even to envision ourselves as, if we were plunged into the same circumstances. To ask ourselves the same questions: How far would we go to save our family? What does freedom truly mean? What price are we willing to pay for our survival?

The only thing that bothered me was the amount of head-hopping between the characters, which sometimes happened only after a few sentences. But it wasn’t distracting enough for me to put the book down. For a story that had a lot of traveling around and waiting, it didn’t drag or get boring. I thought the chat transcripts and memos were a nice touch, too.

If you like young adult dystopian fiction, you might want to give this book a try! And if you sign up for Kate’s newsletter, you can get a free copy of Fix, a short story about the character with the same name. 😉

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended Listening: As I mentioned in my open call for books to review, I’ll now be adding a song to my reviews! It’ll be one that either sums up the book for me, or what I’d imagine in a trailer were it a movie… or maybe even an original inspired by it 😉

Cause it’s all white noise swallowing me
Taking your high horse and I’ll be free
Cause it’s all white noise swallowing me
Maybe we’ll know why eventually
Cause it’s all white noise swallowing me

WHITE NOISE, ELLA VOS

About the Author

Kate Cunningham has worked for a development charity and as a primary teacher. She now writes books that are either directly about history, or inspired by events from the past.


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Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: From Brick and Darkness by J. L. Sullivan


Welcome to my stop on the tour for From Brick & Darkness, a gritty YA novel steeped in Djinn mythology. Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a signed copy!

This is the first time I’ve read a modern take on Aladdin, and it’s so far been a fun, thrilling ride. We know wishes are always a bad idea in fantasy, yet you just can’t help but feel for Bax, even as he stumbles and makes a mess out of things. His friends and companions are delightful too; some in the quirky kind of way. And there’s a whole lot of djinn lore to be engrossed over, admittedly an aspect of mythology I haven’t paid too much attention to.

The long weekend had pushed back my reading some so I’m a little behind schedule, but I’m looking forward to finishing this in a few days and dropping a full review! 🧞‍♀️

Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

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GENRE: Young Adult / Modern Fantasy / Retelling
PUBLICATION DATE: 16 May 2022
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt

Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.

A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.

“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.

His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.

It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.

His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”

Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?” The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.


About the Author

J.L. Sullivan writes young adult stories inspired by gritty urban environments and the tales that percolate within abandoned buildings and desolate alleys. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Princess Penelope Picklesworth.

J.L. Sullivan | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway

Click the link below to enter for a chance to win a signed copy (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Tour Organized By R&R Book Tours


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Author Spotlight: Anthony Engebretson


Anthony Engebretson is a writer, grad student and cat dad living in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has been published in several anthologies, and he was an editor of the anthology Prolescaryet: Tales of Horror and Class WarfareSair Back, Sair Banes is his debut novella.

What character archetype would you be if you were a character in a book, movie or TV series?

Probably the guy who dies first.

What do you consider as your weakness as a writer, and what have you done to overcome it?

Getting too caught up (especially at the first draft) at what I think I “should” write rather than what I want to write. I just have to go for it when I’m feeling that way.

Read the full interview on Vocal.


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Author Spotlight: TC Marti


TC Marti is a full-time freelance and sports writer, and a lover of all things fitness. But he writes speculative fiction, you say? Yes, yes he does. Fusing epic fantasy, metaphysical fiction and modern technology, he started the first drafts of his Elementals of Nordica series back in June 2020 and has come a long way since.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I actually think I inspire people, both young and old, who crave an entrepreneurial mindset. Writing and selling fiction is on the harder end of the spectrum. So basically, if I can succeed in it, then people who see what I do can definitely succeed in their own business ventures. Ultimately, I want to inspire people to start and maintain their own businesses, whether it is writing fiction or anything that they are passionate about.

If you were cursed to only be able to sing ONE song in karaoke for the rest of your life, what would you like it to be and why?

Chi Mat Ba Ram by the Brave Girls – one of the best songs ever written.

Read the full interview on Vocal.


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Cover Reveal: Alpha By Blood by D.H. Gibbs

USA Today Bestselling author D.H. Gibbs is pleased to reveal
the cover of her upcoming book, Alpha By Blood!

Check out the amazing cover and blurb below!
Also, get to know the author with her bio and social media links below.

Queen versus alpha. Sister versus brother.
Each Konstantinos has claimed a throne.
Now… who will survive? And who will be left to pick up the pieces?

For decades, Nika Konstantinos has been on the run—from a past that nearly destroyed her and the truth about her family. Settled now, she has embraced her destiny. As queen of the Immortals, her first order of business must be to ensure the death of her twin brother.

Nikolaj Konstantinos has chosen to be the Alpha of the Totems for one reason and one reason only… to get revenge against the ones who murdered his mother. Now that the truce between the races has ended, he will stop at nothing to destroy the Immortals.

Friends are lost and gained as brother and sister face-off. But there is more than a war brewing on the island of Seychatka. When Nika’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to keep the memories at bay. Can she overcome this new obstacle, or will it prove to be too much for her to bear?

Fans of Sarah J Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout will surely enjoy the second installment of the Lost Thrones series.

Get your copy here: https://books2read.com/alphabyblood


Meet USA Today Bestselling Author, D.H. Gibbs

Website:

http://www.dhgibbs.com

Social Media Links:

Book Tour & Giveaway: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith


Welcome to the book tour for YA Thriller, Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith! Read on for details and a chance to win one of two $50 Visa gift cards!

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

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GENRE: Young Adult Action-Adventure, Young Adult Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/ Thriller
PUBLICATION DATE: 15 September 2021 (Second Edition)
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google


About the Author

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. K.N. inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at www.knsmith.com.

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Giveaway

Win one of two $50 Visa gift cards!

Enter Rafflecopter Draw


Book Tour Organized By R&R Book Tours


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Feedback Please: The Vow, A Fantasy Short Story


Hi, friends! 🥰 I just wanted to (re)share a fantasy short story I wrote recently, and I’d like to get your feedback on it too, if you would be so kind to check it out. Should I make it longer? Use it as an opening to a longer piece, maybe a novella? Write a couple more so I can put them together into a collection and publish as a proper ebook? (How many stories does it take to make a collection, anyway?)

Thank you so much in advance for your time, I really appreciate it! 💖

Until today, I had never been to a marriage ceremony. Those were private affairs only the couple, their parents, and the priestesses attended.

I did, at least, know what to expect. It wasn’t customary, but my mother shared with me all that she could, wanting the wedding to go as seamlessly as possible. She told me of the procession through the square, where everyone in town would gather to catch a glimpse of me. She instructed me how to navigate through the crowd, of what was and wasn’t acceptable behavior for a bride.

She also reminded me how lucky I was to marry in spring. I’d nodded in agreement, for indeed it was the perfect season, the time for new beginnings. She laughed at my naivete. “No, little one.” She settled my veil over my head with a maid’s help, fastening one side to my red hair with a golden pin. “I meant the flowers.”

Read the full story on Vocal.


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Hotel Fen Audiobook, Launch Party & New Song


Hi, friends! 🥰 It’s been a while, so I hope you’ve been doing well! Any project updates on your end now that we’re nearing the middle of the year? (I can’t believe it either 😱)

I’ve been settling in pretty good, but there are still things that my husband and I are taking care of paperwork-wise. I’m also struggling to build a routine, so I’m yet to be back and really focusing on my author stuff. My 9-5 has shifted to 8-4 because of timezones, but while that’s all good, there’s cooking and cleaning and chores to do, plus workout routines, reading, and R&R with hubby, which is usually a movie or a few episodes of a show. (We’re currently binging the live-action version of the anime Erased.) I am also terrible at waking up early. I think I can do more and actually write if I wake up at like, 5AM, but my head already hurts just thinking about how early that is 😂

I do owe these ladies a signal boost of our project, so for those of you who missed it, here is the replay of the Hotel Fen audiobook launch party! We had lovely chatter, musical performances from our resident singers, exclusive behind the scenes previews, games, Q&A and an overall fun time. I answered some really fun interview questions – like my karaoke song of choice if I’d be cursed to sing just ONE for the rest of my life 🤣 – and I also previewed upcoming songs like Elevator II and Ivaldi’s song Stand Tall 😉

Victor’s solo song, Your Name, also unexpectedly released that day, still performed by the superbly talented Dave Feril. You can watch his performance during the event through the link above, or stream the studio version below:

Our lovely narrator, Rebecca, also had an in-person event last weekend and featured the audiobook alongside her other works! Thank you, Rebecca 💖


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Author Spotlight: Rishikesh Upadhyay

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Rishikesh Upadhyay, also known as R K Upadhyay, is a multi-award winning Indian author, research writer and Professor (Assistant). He was born and grew up in a small Nepali’s hamlet, Bhanjung Basti, via Mahadev Tilla, just a few kilometers of Haflong, the district headquarter of NC Hills (now Dima Hasao), India. He is an alumnus of Assam University, Haflong Government College and Don Bosco School Haflong, India. He took a couple of degrees, PhD, MPhil, MSc of Plant Stress Biology, Plant Environmental Physiology and Plant Biochemistry and had class room experiences of more than fifteen years including three years of post-graduate level at Assam University, India.

He writes non-fiction, with four books in the same genera of non-fiction, plant, environment or nature. He is a recipient of the Research Fellowship Award, the Pencraft Literary Excellence Award, the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, the Literary Titan Award and the Elsevier Science Reviewer Recognition Award. His research and teaching works has focused largely on the environmental physiology, stress biology and biochemistry of plants.


What do you think is the best thing about being an author?

Deeply experience things, feel more alive and able to tell your stories to the world.

Who do you think you inspire? If not, who and what do you want to inspire?

I want to inspire young writers and even all other people that genuine writing is so powerful. It can change someone’s life.

What else do you enjoy doing other than reading and writing?

Teaching or doing experimental works in the laboratory, rather I love both.

Anything else you want to tell your fans, our readers, and the writing/reading/blogging community at large?

Be ready for a lot of rejection. But, think before you start writing anything!

And, thank you so much, Marie, for giving me this opportunity. Happy reading!

Plants experience stress due to environmental changes, either in biotic or abiotic form, during their life cycle. Non-heritable modifications in morphological, physiological or biochemical characteristics tend to reduce or decrease growth and productivity, and sometimes lead to death.

This book presents an exhaustive overview of the specific effects and modifications that could occur in this regard, and will serve to consolidate the ideas to promote standardization of plant adaptation to these changes in the environment. This book returns to the facts of both biotic and abiotic stress, detailing an essential aspect of plant life in the context of stress response.

The text is a comprehensive, current reference that effectively addresses issues and concerns related to plant stress in natural environments. Although many reference books about abiotic stress and other environmental stresses have been published, they all exist in relative isolation from one another, covering only one specific topic. This book is, rather, a comprehensive review of all aspects of the responses of plants to changes in the environment.

Genre: Non-fiction, Nature, Plant, Environment, Science and Gardening
Purchase Links: AmazonGoogle BooksGoogle PlayGoodreads


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