Book Highlight: Final Life by Rose Garcia

Final Life by Rose Garcia

Book #1 in the Transhuman Chronicles

Nothing sucks more than being forced to move cross country during senior year. And Dominique Wells doesn’t think things can get any worse until she’s invited to a quirky neighbor’s party. When pressured into playing a magical card game, Dominique’s world goes from sucky to terrifying. She begins having visions of a red desert and an evil presence–a presence who hints at past lives and promises to kill her.

Plagued by fear and suspicion, and unaware of a family secret kept hidden from her, Dominique is determined to live. Together with a mysterious and gorgeous guy who’s moved in while his parents are away, and a hot, popular guy from school, Dominique must seek clues to her past if she’s to survive. That, and keep her emotions in check for the two guys she suddenly can’t stop thinking about because if she doesn’t, she’ll be dead. For real.

Available on  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
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EXCERPT
            The imageof blue sky, white sand, and calm waters popped into my mind, edging out the fear and panic that had taken over me.
            My bodyslipped to the ground. My knees sank into the cool, pebbly sand. A soft breeze flowed through my hair. Farrell stood beside me at the water’s edge, staringout at the still water. He extended his arm and helped me to my feet. I brushedmyself off, recalling the terror and pain I had just left behind in the red desert. I patted my chest.
            “Am Ireally here?”
            “No,”
Farrell said sadly. “Only your mind is here.”
“Farrell,am I—?” I paused, not wanting to say the words, as if keeping them to myselfwould change my fate. “Am I dying?”
            “Yes.” Hetook my hand. “There’s nothing I can do.” His calmness filtered into me. Andfor a minute there, death didn’t seem so bad.
            My attention turned to a bird in the distance that soared through the cloudlesssky. For eight lifetimes now I had died, and this was my last time. The worldwould never be the same, and it was my fault.
            Farrellsqueezed my hand. “Remember what I said? The last time we were here?”
           Of course I remembered. “You told me the end is not yet written, and to trust myself.”
            The bird, a white Egret, flew closer and glided right over us, wings outstretched. A lone, feather escaped its plumage. The delicate quill drifted back and forth in the sky. Just like the feather from my dreams and the feather Ms. Ryken had given me that I had later seen at Jan’s. And then it dawned on me that it was the same color as Farrell’s aura. I extended my hand, reaching out for it. When it touched my palm, it disappeared.
            Like flipping a switch, I was back in the desert. Heat exploded inside me. The air in my lungs had almost emptied. Warm, thick blood dripped from my fingers. Farrell and Trent were on the other side of Tavion’s dark energy force, and I was still inside, barely alive. Tavion continued to lift me at my throat, squeezing the life out of me.
            “Dominique! Fight!” Trent yelled.
___________________________________________________________ABOUT ROSE

Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other-worlds, fantastical creatures, and life and death situations. More recently she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Transhuman Chronicles–a series of books about people who have overcome human limitations.
Rose lives in Houston with her husband and two kids. You can visit Rose at www.rosegarciabooks.com

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Book Highlight: Thunderstone by Barbara Pietron

Thunderstone by Barbara Pietron

Genre: YA paranormal romance

Published: November 12, 2013

Sneaking out at night, driving without a license, and falling for a guy weren’t things fifteen-year-old Jeni expected to do while visiting Lake Itasca, Minnesota.  Then she meets Ice, the local medicine man’s apprentice.  Suddenly, her simple family gathering becomes an exciting – and terrifying – week of self-discovery.  At first Jeni doesn’t believe Ice’s claim that she can touch the spirit world and has somehow released a mythical underwater monster. However, she’s forced to reconsider when a teen swears a monster killed his father while fishing on the lake. Just as she comes to accept truth, Jeni finds she is the only one who can imprison the monster, making her the creature’s next target.  She’ll need immense faith in her newfound ability to put herself in harm’s way and face down the monster.  And even if she succeeds in delivering the local population – and Ice – from the creature’s wrath, there is no guarantee Jeni will escape with her own life.

 

Purchase:
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The Prequel:
Heart of Ice by Barbara Pietron
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Excerpts

 

Heart of Ice Excerpt:
Ice’s ankle was held fast in a
large leg-hold trap. He groaned as the metal teeth seemed to press deeper into his skin and grate on his bones. Stooping, he attempted to pull the jaws of the trap open and release his foot, but was unable to get the right leverage. Teeth  gritted against the pain radiating up his leg, Ice dug his phone from his pocket then heard the crunching sound of footsteps. “I’m here,” he shouted,  relieved that the medicine man had heard his cry.
He waited as the footsteps drew  near, calling out again.
But the figure that emerged from  the forest wasn’t the medicine man. It was Nesbitt.
            And he  carried an axe.
Horror engulfed Ice and he froze
momentarily, his thoughts scrambling for a means of defense. He had no weapon.
No bear spray. Nothing. Then he realized he still held his phone in his hand
and fumbled it in his numbed, shaking fingers.
Nesbitt was making his way through  the trees quickly. Humming.
Ice thumbed to the contacts in his  phone and found his favorites. He glanced up and realized Nesbitt’s eyes glowed with an odd, yellowish hue from out of his emaciated skull. He managed to get  his thumb on Nik’s name before the demented man smashed into him.
Dropping the phone to free his  hands, Ice grabbed Nesbitt’s arm that held the axe and shoved it away from him  as he fell. Before the man could topple onto him, Ice scurried backward,
yowling in pain as the trap bit harder into his ankle bone. He’d reached the  end of the chain fastened to a tree and the more he jerked against it, the tighter the jaws clamped down on his leg.
Nesbitt rose first to his knees and then to his feet, in no hurry since he knew his prey was tethered.Ice crawled sideways using his
elbows and feet, although he realized if he wrapped the chain around the tree, it would only grow shorter. His hands clawed the ground around him, searching
for a branch or stick, anything he might be able to swing at Nesbitt.The madman moved forward, breathing
heavily and drooling. Ice found a stick and wrapped his fingers around it, yanking it from the dead foliage. He jabbed at the man as he came forward and
yelled in despair as the stick snapped easily.
A foot rammed into Ice’s chest and he hit the ground hard, gasping for breath. Before he could rise to his elbows, the foot pressed down with force, pinning him. “Don’t do this,” Ice
begged, his voice ragged. “Mr. Nesbitt!” he shouted.”Please don’t do this!” He hoped somewhere inside the crazed man a person still resided: a teacher, a human who wouldn’t kill another human.
Nesbitt paused for a second, his face blank, eyes distant. Then he rasped, “Hungry,” and swung the axe.

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Thunderstone Excerpt:
     Ice sat motionless, staring at his knees.
How had he managed to make such a mess of things?  He’d felt comfortable with Jeni and her
family too; thought the evening had progressed smoothly.
     Then he’d looked down into Jeni’s upturned face and lost it. Despite the smoky bonfire, he could smell her; the fragrance
of an apple orchard in the fall. Then his gaze fell to her glossy, ripe lips and the reasonable explanation he had in mind vanished. Instead he’d just blurted something out and completely blew it.
     With a heavy sigh, Ice stood. His footsteps dragged as he headed between the cottages to the resort drive.
     “Ice.”
     Engulfed in despair, Ice didn’t register the whisper until it came the second time. He turned to see Jeni’s head poked out the side door. She edged outside when she saw him stop. She took a step
toward the porch rail. “I’m sorry. I overreacted.” She hugged her arms around her torso.  “I…I do that sometimes. I should’ve at least given you a chance to explain why you wanted my
statue.”
     Ice moved closer. “Yeah…well, I didn’t mean to say…ask…not like that.” Jeni watched him, waiting.  Ice took a deep breath. “Thing is, you’re not going to like the explanation anyway.”
     “Well,” she contemplated the toe of her shoe as she bounced it on the rail. “I can’t promise I’ll like it, but I’ll listen.” When she looked up she wore the ghost of a smile.
     Ice searched her face and thought for a long moment. No more lies; time to lay the cards on the table.  He wasn’t hopeful for any particular outcome, only resigned to do what he felt was right. “I owe you a story about the monster your statue represents, don’t I?”
     She nodded slowly, wearing a puzzled expression.
     “Let’s start there then.” So he told her how long ago, when the underwater monster swam freely, the people were plagued by bad fishing, overturned canoes, and children drawn under by whirlpools when they went swimming. “Eventually,”
Ice explained, “the medicine men of neighboring tribes joined together to lure the creature here. They trapped him in a cavern near the sacred burial
mounds of Lake Itasca and charmed him to sleep.” Ice paused, and then finished his story with the events of the past two days. “Then, about a hundred years later, a priestess…” He stopped to look at her, “…buys an artifact and falls into the water with it in her pocket. Her connection to the spirits combined with the power of the statue wakes the underwater monster. So the local medicine man sends his apprentice to find the girl and get the statue back. If he fails, the monster will likely escape and people will start disappearing.”
     Jeni narrowed her eyes at him for a moment and then laughed. “I get it. Cute. You made it sound like I was part of the story.”     Ice maintained a level stare. “You are part of the story.”
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About the Author

After years in the corporate world, Barbara found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up.  Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer.  Drawing from her experience with technical writing, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication.  Her success encouraged her to complete a novel.  She learned much from her first manuscript, critiques, books, contests, and blogs.  In 2012, her novel Thunderstone, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and won a critique by Publisher’s Weekly.  A few months later, she was offered publication by Scribe Publishing Company.

Barbara has a few other novels in the works, including a Thunderstone sequel. If she’s not reading or writing, Barbara likes to walk, garden, and sew.  She works in a library and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with her husband, daughter, and their cat – who often acts like a dog.

Find Barbara online:
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GIVEAWAY


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Win a new young adult novel!

(Before it’s in stores!)
Barbara Pietron, author of Thunderstone, is running a contest to title her next novel.
If your title idea is chosen as one of the top four
suggestions, you will win the book!
Here’s how it works:
 
Based on the cover summary below, you think of an amazing title. You know, the kind of title that compels a potential reader to take the book off the shelf.
 
Then go to http://www.barbarapietron.com and click on the News/Events page. You can make your suggestion in the comment section of the post about the contest,
or click on the link which will take you to the Scribe Publishing website
suggestion form. Your email will be added to Barbara’s list so she can keep you in the loop about the contest and the book.
If your suggestion is chosen as a top four, you will win the new novel! Those top four entries will be posted for readers to vote on their favorite. If your suggestion becomes the book title, you’ll be mentioned in the book!
Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it.Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track-star, Natalie
Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell’s messengers—are real.
As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma’s rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a
way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie’s help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it’s clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him.
On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder’s daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he’s no longer sure what he wants. But
it’s too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord’s henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and
Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
Part one of the contest will run through January 31st, 2015 and the voting will take place in February.




Book Highlight: Son of Set by Kelsey Ketch

Title: Son of Set

Author: Kelsey Ketch

Series: Descendants of Isis #2

Genre: Upper Young Adult Fantasy

Publication: May 2nd, 2014

“. . . the Sons would never just let him go—alive.”

Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find the secret name of Ra.

Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma ‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*

Purchase

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Excerpt•
Natti awoke and
sat bolt upright in the bed, gasping for breath. Her heart raced and a headache
flared right between her temples. The nightmare seemed incredibly real, Sean’s
eyes and the dagger ingrained in her mind’s eye. Looking around the little
hotel room, she pulled the sheets closer to her chest. She felt cold and alone
in the queen-size bed, which only heightened her lingering fears. Everything
appeared ominous in the dark; the shadows seemed to slither along the walls.
These hauntings were eating her alive from the inside out.
 
Her pulse
pounding wildly, she glanced at the second bed. Seth’s chest rose and fell
under the blankets. He looked so peaceful, and though the idea seemed wrong,
she knew she would feel much safer curled up in Seth’s arms, like back in the
hospital when her friend, Wanda, had been drugged. She pictured herself resting
her head on his chest, his warmth easing her back to sleep.
 
She knew she
shouldn’t for a number of reasons, the top being he had the reputation of
sleeping with half the girls at Setemple High School. And if it was true he had
a power as mind-bending as a drug, then those girls, most likely, weren’t doing
it of their own free will. The thought sickened her, yet it didn’t deter her
need for his comfort. Was she becoming addicted, just like he had said? The Ma
‘at feather or whatever “blessing” she had was supposed to protect her, but if
it was, she couldn’t tell.
 
If I even have
a “blessing” at all.
 
She pulled her
knees up to her chest, wishing Seth had brought Anubis, the stuffed jackal he
had given her at the Pharaoh’s Festival. It had become her most precious
keepsake and a source of comfort when she felt lost and confused. She also
wished Seth hadn’t surrendered the locket, which she never finished
translating. At least that would have occupied her mind for a while as she
tried to piece the family secret together. Except she already knew what the
secret was, supposedly: the location of the secret name of Ra. And now it was
in the hands of the cult Seth keeps referring to as the “Sons of Set” or the
“Sons.”
 
The darkness
seemed to continue to press in on Natti, making her restless. Wrestling with
her conscience, she slipped out of her bed, lifted Seth’s covers, and crawled
in. She was quiet and careful, trying not to wake him. Finally able to place
her head on his pillow, she snuggled up next to him.
 
Her body jerked
when his arm draped over her. “You have no idea how often I’ve dreamed of this
moment,” Seth whispered in a drowsy voice.
 
He moved
closer, slipping one arm under to support her head and shifting the other
around her waist. His hand slid under her “Keep Calm and Carry On” nightshirt
to massage her spine, his nimble fingers rotating in small circles over her
skin. Natti snorted softly, secretly loving his touch and hating herself for
it. The feel of his flesh was smooth as silk and every lean muscle flexed
steadily while he moved his hand up behind her neck. Her body warmed, completely
aware of every place their skin made contact. Thank the lord for her nightshirt
and the Calvin Klein pajama bottoms Seth slept in. There was hardly any space
between them, and yet, he managed to pull her even closer.
 
“So to what do
I owe the pleasure?” Seth asked.
 
“I couldn’t
sleep,” Natti breathed, her galloping heart drummed in her ears.
 
“Hmm.” A smile
pulled at Seth’s perfect lips. “So you crawled in looking for some company?”
 
“Well, I would
have stayed in my own bed, but you forgot to pack Anubis.”
A laugh rumbled
in Seth’s throat. “What is it with girls and stuffed animals?”

“Oy, you gave him to me,” Natti shot back while slapping her hand against his chest. “And he’s been providing comfort when I need it ever since. But since you left him behind, you’ll just have to take his place.”

“I guess I can live with that.” Seth stroked the back of her neck, sending goose bumps over her skin.

The room was quiet. With no sight and no sound, Natti was only left with her heightened sense of touch and smell. She memorized Seth’s embrace; every little shift of his muscles and every little movement of his fingertips. The gentle heat that took her breath away slowly radiated through her system. She felt closer to Seth right now than she had ever felt with anyone in her life. Yet she hardly knew him. She knew who he was and even what he was, just nothing really about him. What music did he like? What kind of films did he watch? What was his favorite past time? Well, actually, she already had a sense what his answer would be to that last question just by knowing his reputation. Still, she wanted to know more. Rattling her brain for a conversation starter, she asked the simplest question she could think of.

“What’s your favorite color?”

He groaned in response and crinkled his brow. “Is that what it would have taken to get you into bed with me? Knowing my favorite color? We could have fixed that long ago.”

“No,” Natti hissed. “This is just a conversation. You know, something normal people do.”

“I know what a conversation is.” Seth’s perfect grin glistened in the dark. “There’s just other things I’d rather be doing in the middle of the night, like sleeping or . . .”

Natti’s cheeks burned when his hand moved south. “Bloody hell, Seth!” She pushed his hand back to the small of her back. “I’m talking about things like your favorite class subject, when your birthday is—”

“What’s my favorite color?” Seth mocked with a hidden smile, his exhaustion weighing in his voice.

“What about you? What’s your favorite color then?”

Taken aback by his abrupt turnaround, Natti sputtered her answer. “Red.”

“Hmm.” Seth fell silent, his eyelids drooping a bit. Natti shifted, thinking he had dozed off. She closed her eyes, his warmth gently pulling her into sleep.

“History. March fifteenth. Black,” Seth finally responded.

“Wait—What?” Natti jerked, now fully awake again.

“The answers to your questions.” Seth’s eyes opened, taking her in while they laid together in the dark. His hand skimmed her hair, pulling a lock toward him. “My favorite subject is history. My birthday is March fifteenth. And my favorite color is black, like the color of your hair.”

A smile pulled at Natti’s lips. “Is black even a color?”

“Hey, don’t knock it.” He paused, looking deep into her eyes. “I’ll admit, though, lately I’ve also become enamored with a unique shade of purple.”

Natti swallowed a lump forming in her throat. Seth leaned his forehead to hers, their noses touching. Even in the dark, his gaze captured her, drawing her full attention.

“You know how tempting it is to kiss you right now?” he said, an intense, fiery tingling sensation growing strong throughout her body.

Natti could barely speak as she melted into the sheets. She really wanted to kiss him. He was too tempting with his heat, his eyes, and the feel of his body conforming to hers.

A sudden flashback to the halls of Setemple High caused her to hold back and bite her lower lip. It had been her first kiss with Seth. The very thought of it still coursed fire through her veins. It had only been a distraction. A method he used to pickpocket her grandmother’s letter before abandoning her and leaving her in the hands of his friend, Ky.

“Don’t push it,” Natti mumbled. “Not after you used the last one to pinch from me.”

His eyes searched hers, his voice deep with pain. “You really don’t remember then.”

Natti tried to think of what he was referring to. “Remember what?”
Seth attempted a charming grin, but it faltered. “Never mind. It wasn’t important.”

He lightened his touch, withdrawing a bit. The sensations that were running rapid finally eased. She watched Seth’s expression fill with disappointment, making her wonder what she had forgotten that had been clearly special to him.

She slipped her hand along his well-formed abs and over his chest. She could feel him shiver. Goose bumps appeared over his skin. Her own body also reacted to the touch, her skin prickling with little sparks. She froze when he caught her gaze, desire shining in his eyes like a beacon in the night. Reality struck, and it struck hard. She wanted him too.

“Maybe I made a mistake.” Natti’s body quivered, and she moved back. What had she been thinking, crawling into a guy’s bed? In a freaking hotel no less! What kind of impression does that give? “I shouldn’t have come over here. I’m sorry.”

Seth strengthened his grip, his voice tight with emotion. “No. It’s fine. Stay.”

A strange calm replaced her abrupt urge to run. She looked at Seth, feeling the tingle of magic under her skin. She was scared. She stupidly crawled right into his element, and she knew in her heart she was too weak to resist any advance. His fingers reached up and stroked her cheek. With the warm breeze from his touch, her excitement and fear were whisked away, leaving her to feel only a bliss that affected her very being. She lowered her body back into Seth’s arms. Her muscles relaxed into his embrace. She gave into the power, unsure if she was staying of her own free will or if he was controlling her actions. Either way, it was too late. She had stepped into his web, just like the oracle at the Pharaoh Festival had warned. But maybe if she kept him talking, nothing ominous would come of it.

Natti’s voice came out flustered when she finally spoke. “We used to talk about you. My mates and I, that is. Back in school.”

Seth perked up. “Really? What about?”

“Oh.” Natti tried to be sly with her words while thinking about Jen, Kevin, and Wanda. She missed them all very much. Even more than some of her friends back in London. “Different things.”

Seth raised a brow and smiled. “Like how devilishly handsome and extremely charming I am?”

“Actually, we couldn’t decide if you were a vampire, a werewolf, or a fae.”

“Say what?” Seth jerked. “What plebs have you been talking to?”

Natti rolled her eyes. “Well, you can’t really blame us. With your looks and how you charm most of the teachers and students, Jen figured you had to be paranormal.”

“And what did you think? Did you think I was a vampire or a werewolf?”

“No. I only thought you were a spoiled rotten rich kid whose only charm was his father’s money.” A malicious grin spread on her lips. “And I still stand by it.”

Seth crinkled his nose, smiled, and shoved her back slightly. Natti burst into laughter; her first real laugh since the day of the fire. Her body released all its tension in one fell swoop. The high was addicting, her adrenalin soaring to new heights. Finally, as her body became weary and calmed, she could still hear Seth laughing beside her. A laugh that was as soothing as Big Ben chiming out the time, giving her a sense of home. Natti basked in the sound until Seth abruptly faded from sight and Sean’s cold eyes flashed before her. She gasped and pushed away as the icy cold emptiness burned her insides.“Natti.” She felt Seth pull at her waist. “Natti, stop!”

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About Kelsey


During her high school years,
Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall
or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps.
Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office
building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina.
She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at
Ketch’s Book Nook,
and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.

For more information, please
visit her site at
kelseyketch.com.

 

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