Excerpt…Saving Ben

SavingBenTourBannerToday, I’m sharing a cool excerpt from Saving Ben by Ashley Farley, a New Adult Contemporary Mystery. Also you can enter to win 3 signed paperback copies (US only), 2 ebook copies (INTL), and a $25.00 amazon gift card (INTL)! Click here to enter.

Enjoy the Excerpt!

ONE

NEW YEAR’S DAY

I saw them from my upstairs bedroom window. A single set of footprints in the snow, leading to Emma’s car in the driveway and then around the house toward the cove. Other than a family of deer munching on the evergreen shrubs out by the road, the only sign of life was a cardinal nestled in the holly tree in front of me, his blood-red feathers a sharp contrast to the white landscape.

I stumbled down the hall and up the stairs to my parents’ room. I tapped on the door and peeked in, expecting to find my brother curled up with his more-off-than-on-again girlfriend in our parents’ king-size bed.

I shook him. “Ben, Ben, wake up.”

He peeked at me through one eye. “Go away, Kitty,” he said, pulling the covers up over his head.

“Gladly. But first tell me where Emma is.”

An arm appeared from beneath the blanket and patted the empty bed beside him. He scrambled into a sitting position. “What’s going on?” he asked, surveying the room.

“I’m not sure, but you’d better come look.”

He untangled his body from the sheets and followed me over to the bank of windows that offered a panoramic view of Carter’s Creek. “I didn’t know it was supposed to snow,” he said, holding his hand in front of his eyes to shield them from the glare of the early-morning sun.

“It was snowing at midnight. Don’t you remember?”

He shook his head, his expression blank. The memory was dim for me as well, but I wasn’t ready to admit that just yet.

“Look.” I pointed at the footprints leading across the snow-covered lawn and down the hill to the deserted dock.

“Damn.” He blinked several times. “Whoever went out on that dock did not come back.”

“Duh, Ben. And I’d be willing to bet those footprints belong to Emma.”

Ben rubbed his eyes as if to clear the haze of last night’s drink. “I can’t remember anything that happened after midnight. Did she come to bed when I did?”

Biting back the tears, I shrugged. I had long since exceeded the limits of what most sane people would do to protect their siblings. The experience of a missing girlfriend was just another episode in our continuing drama.

SavingBen
 Synopsis:

Life is sweet for Katherine Langley. A freshman at the University of Virginia, she is free from the drama of her parents’ dysfunctional marriage and ready to focus on studying to become a nurse. Her brother, Ben, belongs to the hottest fraternity on campus, and her new roommate, Emma, is beautiful and charming, a party girl whose answer for a hangover is happy hour. She is also a psychopath.

When Katherine’s obsessive-compulsive overprotective brother succumbs to Emma’s charms and falls dangerously off-track, Katherine must save Ben from himself. Lives are threatened and someone disappears on New Year’s Day. The only evidence left: a single set of footprints in the snow.

From the university campus to a cozy cottage on Carter’s Creek, Virginia, Saving Ben is a haunting tale of love and loyalty, anger management, substance abuse, and betrayal.

AUTHOR BIO
AshleyI wrote a novel, SAVING BEN, in honor of my brother, the boy I worshiped, the man I could not save. It’s not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.I’m a wife and mother of two teenagers. I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, for seventeen years, a city I love for its history and traditions. Personal experience with my brother inspired me to become involved with the leadership symposium in my son’s school where I’ve helped bring in speakers to raise parents’ awareness of the alcohol and drug problems children face. When I’m not steering volunteer committees or working on my next novel, I can be found swimming laps or playing tennis.
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I’ve Got The Travel Bug

Okay, that title is misleading because it makes it sounds like I “caught” the travel bug, when in reality I think it’s in my genetic makeup. Traveling is something coded in my DNA that can’t be erased. I LOVE to travel. A lot of times, I measure my memories by the places I’ve been.

As a small child, I could entertain myself for hours with a globe or a Rand McNally Road map (remember those before GPS?). I could stare at the intricate web of roads and geography for hours, imagining the destinations and what it would be like to go there.

When I was in elementary school, my friends dreamed of being teachers, veterinarians and doctors… I wanted to be a travel agent (no lie). And when I was old enough for sleepovers, I never had any qualms about leaving my house and staying somewhere else. It was always an adventure to me.

When college finally rolled around, I took every opportunity available to go somewhere. I said I would make it to the both coasts of the Continental USA  by the time I graduated and most people thought I was silly. That was my goal and they didn’t think I could do it.

Spring semester of my senior year I made it to Los Angeles through a school trip with Mock Trial (a free trip I might add) and New York City with my friend who had an interview and invited me to come along. Goal accomplished.

The rest of that semester was filled with weekend trips to see friends and multiple trips by car and plane with Mock Trial across the country. I went from never having set foot on a plane to riding in 10+ planes in a 4 month time span.  It was my most memorable semester. I always thought I would love the jet set lifestyle and I loved it more than I could have imagined…living out of suitcases and sitting around airports across the country, waiting for the next plane to take me to a new place. I felt alive in a way I never had before.

After college, I had big plans. I was going to move to Brazil for a year or two and teach English, or maybe go to graduate school in Puerto Rico or somewhere else in the Caribbean. But life has a way of changing our plans and I ended up in Georgia.

I’m not complaining, because I wouldn’t have met my husband if I had followed through with Brazil or Puerto Rico. As much as I love to travel I wouldn’t trade life with him for a life of planes and destinations.

But the need to travel has NEVER left my veins. I don’t know how to describe it other than saying I need to see places like I need to breathe air. There’s something deep inside me that just NEEDS to see and experience new places. It’s an adrenaline rush that can’t be matched for me personally.

When my husband and I got married, I was more concerned about where we would go on our honeymoon, than the wedding itself. I still take every possible advantage to go some place new to the chagrin of my poor husband who doesn’t share the same enthusiasm (but I think he’s starting to catch the travel bug or admit defeat).

Tulum, Mexico

Now writing has afforded me new opportunities to travel and the travel gene is racing to life in my veins like an out of control virus. So, I’m planning to travel A LOT. Some will be book related, other trips will not.

On the book travel front, I will be signing at the Apple Festival this year in my home town and I will be attending a SIBA event in New Orleans this fall.

Next year I will be going back to Book Expo America in NYC and a trip to Alaska (yeah, Alaska isn’t book related, but I could be inspired, right?).

So, as I did in college I’m setting a new travel goal (2 actually):

(1) I will make it to all 50 states of the USA by the time I’m 35;

(2) I will make it to every continent (minus Antarctica) before I die;

Goal set. Time to make it happen. 🙂

Book Blitz…Visited

VisitedBlitzBannerToday I have another cool book for you to check out! And I have to say that I love this cover!

Visited Amazon GR SW (1)Visited by Janine Caldwell
Publication date: May 25th 2013
Genre: YA coming-of-age fantasy
Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy has lost faith in her life. Vying for her mom’s attention, she’s resentful of her stepdad’s intrusion to their family. Her best friend, Tommy, has no clue she’s in love with him as he dates girl after girl without noticing how it tortures her. The final kicker, though, is God’s sick joke to make her freakishly tall when everyone knows boys prefer petite girls.Then in a bizarre accident Joanna meets James, a breathtaking teen who appears to her after an unusual falling star sighting. Suddenly, her dream for an alien encounter becomes all too real. But when she finds her life has been made unrecognizable, she’s forced into an explosive study of the original design for her life that just may have her regretting every wish she ever made.

Goodreads/Amazon/BarnesandNoble 

Jan 08-Mars08 023 (1)AUTHOR BIO
Janine Caldwell was born in Concord, CA and raised in the small San Francisco Bay Area town of Clayton. Four days after her high school graduation, Janine attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and graduated with a degree in English.Janine now lives in Anthem, AZ with her husband and two sons. As a lifelong literature fanatic, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would become obsessed with writing her own work. With relatives like the Brothers Grimm and Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), she figured fantasy writing had to be in her DNA.

Books published by Janine include Visited, a YA coming-of-age fantasy, Rematch and Double Fault—the first two books of The Vortex Series. The final book in this YA fantasy romance, Deuce, will be released fall 2013.

LINKS:

Life, Love & Lemons…Cover Reveal

Today I’m participating in the cover reveal of Live, Love & Lemons, a YA Contemporary novel which will be published in August, 2013. Check out the cover!

Couple lying on a picnic table
Synopsis:

When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to say screw the lemons and bail.

Seventeen-year-old Bentley Evans had it all. Then her Dad got laid off.

Now she has to move across town to a small apartment and leave her life of luxury for public school and a job at the local burger place. Just when her world seems like it’s crumbling she finds solace in the unlikely punk boy next door, Kai Rowe. But as their relationship blossoms, a  jealous ex-girlfriend and a secret to tell that threatens to bring disaster back into Bentley’s life.

Goodreads


MaganAUTHOR BIO
Magan Vernon is a Young Adult and New Adult writer who lives with her family in the insurance capital of the world. She is in a very serious, fake relationship with Adam Lambert and constantly asks her husband to wear guyliner. He still refuses. She also believes her husband is secretly an alien, disguised as a southern gentleman.
Author Links:

Book Review…Hidden

HiddenTourBannerToday I’m featuring a book review of Hidden #1, a YA Paranormal novel. This is my first time doing a book review with Xpresso Book Tours and I wanted to preface my review by telling you that this review is my subjective opinion of the novel and that you’re opinion may differ.
As an author myself, it was hard for me to decide to do reviews, but in my own experience they’re largely more helpful than negative. Honest feedback only makes us better as authors. I will strive to give honest critiques while respecting the author.
HiddenHidden by M. Lathan
Series: Hidden, #1
Publication date: November, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.

Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden.

Where to buy the book:  Amazon   BarnesandNoble     Kobo     Smashwords  iTunes

 

REVIEW:

Pros:

I have to say this was an enjoyable read. Lathan’s writing style flows easily across the page. I also appreciate that it was a unique paranormal world she built of magical beings who lived among humans (although in secret…sort of). I especially liked the secondary characters of Paul, Emma and even Remi. They added a lot to the story.

I also think she did a great job of portraying Christine’s inner struggles with her past and who or what she is. I really could feel her struggle to find herself and she felt real to me.

There was also a twist that I didn’t see coming, which is always nice. I like it when unexpected things happen. The clues were spot on and well placed, without giving too much away. I had to keep reading, because I had to know what the mystery was and I was pleasantly surprised. I think Ms. Lathan could has a future in not only the Paranormal, but the mystery genre.

Cons:

Although I enjoyed the novel, there were a couple things that I had issues with.

I’m not sure how I feel about the character of Nathan. I believe he cared/cares for Christine, but he was a little too lovey for my taste and too perfect. I know he had his own baggage, but it wasn’t as developed and explored as Christine’s. He came off as a little bit too much of a nice guy to me. Now, being a nice guy isn’t a bad thing, but in a novel I feel like the sexy boyfriend should have an element of danger or mystery. He needed some real strength. They also spent way too much time just making out. It felt like I was skipping over one too many scenes of just kissing and more kissing. I get that’s what teenagers do, but I didn’t need it explained over and over again. But I think that’s more of a personal taste and not necessarily a flaw.

Another personal pet peeve is the constant use of pet names. It drove me bananas how quickly Nathan started calling Christine babe and/or baby. I would’ve knocked out any guy in high school who called me babe…it’s too objectifying in my opinion. (And for the record, my husband also knows not to call me babe, baby or any of the like). Sophia, also overused pet names and I just don’t care for it. Once again that’s a personal issue that others may not mind or think twice about…it’s just something that really bugs me.

Also, Sophia was another character I’m not sure about. I liked her overall, other than her constantly taking care of Christine and calling her pet names. Throughout the whole book I’m trying to figure out her motives in all of this as she isn’t related to Christine and why Sophia had been watching Christine all the time. That was a nice layer to the mystery, but I didn’t quite buy the relationship that’s revealed between Sophia and her employer. It seemed a little forced.

The action scenes were not as suspenseful as they could’ve been. What could’ve been a great action scene between Kamon, Christine, Nathan and Lydia was quickly glossed over in a couple of paragraphs. So much more suspense/action could’ve been pulled from that scene that would’ve left the reader sitting on the edge of their seat, biting their fingernails to see who lives or dies.

I know I’ve spent more time on the problems I had than what I liked…but that’s not because the issues outweigh the good. When something is good you don’t really have to say more than that, but when you have an issue it takes a little more time to explain it.

This was a unique story. I loved the writing style, and like I said, most of the issues I had were personal preferences…things that uniquely bother me that may be non-issues for everyone else. And for that reason I would recommend this book if you are looking for a new take on the YA Paranormal genre…I think you’ll really enjoy it. A great start to a series. Bravo Ms. Lathan!

AuthorAUTHOR BIO
M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.
Links:

Eversea by Natasha Boyd

Today I have another book highlight, this time featuring Eversea by Natasha Boyd.

I’m also hosting a giveaway in which you can win a ebook copy (1 available) of Eversea. There are several ways you can enter. You can enter up to four times by entering once on each of the following:

(1) Commenting on this post;

(2) Following my website (click follow in the sidebar);

(3) Following me on Facebook (here) and commenting you want Eversea; or

(4) Following me on Twitter (here) and tweeting me that you want Eversea.

Winner will be picked JUNE 30th.

EVERSEA_4Eversea by Natasha Boyd
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication date: June 10th 2013
Synopsis:

• An orphaned small-town southern girl, burdened by responsibility and stuck in time.
• A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.
• A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him with her married and much older director, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it.  He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation.  But fate has other plans.  Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

Eversea is a FINALIST in the Winter Rose Unpublished Contest for 2013.

Natasha Boyd author pic
AUTHOR BIO
Natasha Boyd is a writer with a background in marketing and public relations. She lives in the coastal Carolina Lowcountry, complete with Spanish moss, alligators and mosquitoes the size of tiny birds.  She has a husband, two sons and a cat named Tuna.  Eversea is her first full-length novel.
Author Links: