Time of Reckoning p2 (Wednesday Briefs)

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Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece. I am also working on Tide Pull, but I’d like to alternate the stories weekly so I don’t get burned out on one.

Time of Reckoning
Layla and Diane are assigned as partners on a massive school project. The two young women, different in their own ways, will find that they’re connected on a level that no one expected. They’ll face their darkest nightmares, and hopefully come out of it with high marks, and their souls in tact.

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She laughed, pushing wayward strands of hair out of her face. “As unbelievable as this is, Grady isn’t that bad, I can handle my own against him.”

“Yes, but why would you want to?” I said as I filled out the research proposal sheet. “To call him abrasive would be a compliment.” Making sure my handwriting was legible I filled in the lines on the form, signed my name, and turned it toward Layla who signed and dated it as well.

“I have Faden for homeroom, do you want me to turn it in then?” She asked. “No big deal.”

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Book feature! A Desperate Waager by Em Taylor.

Synopsis:

Nathaniel Spencer, the Fourteenth Duke of Kirkbourne wakes up with an almighty hangover and a wager note in his pocket stating he has agreed to marry the Earl of Brackingham’s daughter. And he can’t even remember ever meeting the chit. Clearly his drinking has got out of hand.

Lady Sarah Steele is horrified when her father announces that the Duke of Kirkbourne has agreed to marry her and even more horrified that her father wagered her hand in a game of cards. Not only that, but the earl has not told the duke of the riding accident that left Sarah paralysed when she was sixteen. But he’s dying and she knows he wants to see her settled before the inevitable happens.

Despite Nate’s drinking and Sarah’s possible complicity in the earl’s plan, they agree to marry. But when accidents start to happen, the newly-weds must deal not only with the fact they are practically strangers, but they must find out who is trying to kill one or both of them. Nate’s drink problem and Sarah’s disability are only a couple of the hurdles they must face to find lasting love.

About the Author:
Em was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an over active imagination–as if that is a bad thing. She’s traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGEWEBSITE / BLOGFACEBOOK


Read more for an excerpt from this novel
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Excerpt of Lady’s Destiny By A.R. Von.

Lady's Destiny Blog Tour BannerSynopsis

A Unique Magical, Erotic Novel.

When dreams haunt you in the most delicious ways and fate pulls you into destiny’s path, what can be done other than to accept and submit to it.

Can Iria truly get what she’s always dreamed of or will it always just remain a memory? Being a rare creature such as her with exceptional beauty and rarity of existence should be enough. Though, all she wants is her desire, her destiny… To be with a man—one man.

Are these dreams she’s having real? Could she really take on human form and become a Lady to be with the man she craves?

Dezso discovers a magical creature—a being of incredible light and peace. He is drawn to it again and again, and his feelings grow with every encounter. He carries a dark secret that he wishes never existed. The only thing that truly brings light upon his existence is the beauty that warms his heart but seems to only exist in his head—with dreams and visions of a magical woman, full of heartwarming light.

Will he ever know true love and happiness? Will he ever be able to lighten the weight and share his dark secret with another…?

Darkness is growing stronger, weakening the light and killing off what makes the world a beautiful place to live in. Enter a world of fantasy and dreams, passions and temptations. A world where dragons, unicorns, magic and mermaids really do exist.A world where love WILL conquer all!

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Excerpt #2
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Wednesday Briefs (Darkest Before Dawn #8)

It’s that time again! Wednesday briefs is a group of authors who write a piece of free flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of either a visual or text prompt. I’ve linked the other authors, so if you could please go check out their stories and show them some support. The prompt I’ve used this week is: He was gone for a month before it really sank in…

This week I am continuing with Darkest Before Dawn. Rose is a twenty-two year old woman who has taken custody of her younger brother Ben. The duo are fleeing cross-country, with something terrible and shadowy on their heels. They’ve come to rest in a farmhouse that’s been in their family for years–seemingly abandoned. Rose will do anything to protect her secret, and the secret that her little brother is unknowingly harboring.

A few hours later, Rose collapsed into bed, covered in dust and soot, fingernails grimy even after washing them several times. The bedrooms took her a couple hours of cleaning. By the time they had sat down to a cold dinner, Ben was yawning more than eating. She had put him to bed, his snores carrying down the hallway. Rose turned onto her back, the old bed-springs groaned protesting. She stared up at the ceiling, pale green light from her ward washing into the room from the open window. Sleep was an elusive beast, staying just out of her grasp.

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Secret Santa Unboxing!

I participated in The Broke and The Bookish’s Secret Santa Exchange over the holidays, and I was super surprised at how quickly my box of goodies showed up. It was like only a few days after Thanksgiving. My Secret Santa was Nichole, though I don’t know anything else about her.

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker.

When Callie’s life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven.

Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.

However, Callie uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls who always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.

As she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love-and break.


The Raven Boys By Maggie Stiefvater

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow

Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night.

Not everyone tries.

But Jill Kismet is not just anyone.

She’s a Hunter, trained by the best – and in over her head.

Welcome to the night shift…

I also got lots of swag and pins from various series and authors. Some yummy candy that I ate shamelessly while playing MMORPGs, and hot chocolate. Two nail polishes that I didn’t have and I’ve already worn the green shade for Christmas. I was so surprised and I am so thankful to my secret santa. So if by chance you see this….Thank you. 🙂

13 Things I did in 2013

The year is drawing to a close, and I have to say that 2013 was amazing. I let go of a lot of things holding me back, and just went for it. I tried new things, I experienced lots of different things, I lived rather than listening to that little voice in the back of my head that seemed to keep me from venturing outside of my little box.

#1. I started a book blog. I originally started out on blogger, but I found myself getting irritated with the updates, so I came to wordpress. I figured it would be fun to tell the internet all of my thoughts on books, rather than just talking my friends’ ears off. Through blogging I’ve had the chance to read a lot of really interesting books that I wouldn’t have normally picked up. I dunked my toe into the YA world, and I’ve been caught up in it.

#2. I completed not one, but TWO 5k walks this year. I did the Color Me Rad 5k during the summer with a group of friends. It was a lot of fun–during this race every 1k you complete you’re pelted with colored cornstarch, so by the end of the race you’re a rainbow mess. And in December I did the Jingle Bell Dash with my mom, in 20*F weather. Chilly but fun.

#3. Took a huge chance, and submitted a short story to an open call, and was published in an anthology. My short story The Harrowing can be found in Bitter Blackout. This upcoming year, I plan on expanding it and releasing it on it’s own. I just got the cover art for it, and I’m SO excited to share it.

#4. Went on my first hike since I was a kid. A friend and I and her dad went to Tipsoo Lake and hiked the loop. It was beautiful, breathtaking and mosquito laden. I think I ended up with 50 bites in total. Learned the hard way that mosquito repellant and sunscreen cancel each other out.

#5. I went to Emerald City Comicon and had my picture taken with two Klingons.

#6. I had the chance to explore my county more and write with some amazing people through being an Municipal Liaison with NaNoWriMo. I’ve made some great friends, and I’m looking forward to next year and doing it all over again.

#7. I went camping with a bunch of Girl Scouts. My co-leader and I took our girls to Camporee, and had tons of fun. Our girls were Daisies so it was their first time at Girl Scout Camp.

#8. Speaking of Girl Scouts, I not only got the opportunity to start a troop, but after our summer break we not only doubled, but tripled our amount of girls in our troop.

#9. I went ‘grown up camping’ for the first time ever. For my birthday, my parents bought me tickets to Watershed festival. It’s a MASSIVE country music fest on the other side of the state. We camped for three days in 100+ weather all while getting the chance to listen to some of my favorite artists.

#10. This year was year of the concerts. I got the chance to see Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch and many other artists that I love.

#11. I grew a pretty elaborate, involved veggie garden. I had beets, three different types of peppers, carrots, onions, lettuce, broccoli, green beans, different varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, and a couple other types of squash. I also went blueberry picking for the first time.

#12. I participated in The Broke and Bookish’s Secret Santa! I’m so behind on posting, but I’ll have a post of what I received up in a few days.

#13. I met some of the most wonderful people this year. I made friends with other bloggers, some extraordinary authors, and I get to write along side some pretty awesome people in the flash fiction group I joined.

What are some things that you did this year that really stood out to you? I’d love to hear them.

Have a very Happy and safe New Year.

Book Review: This Could Have Been Our Song! by Danielle-Claude Ngotang Mba

This Could Have Been Our Song! A Coulda Woulda Shoulda Ballad (Coulda Woulda Shoulda Song #1) by Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba

Release Date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: Ever After Edition.

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The Summary: Lucia Mpobo-Riddell could have been a dancer like the rest of women of her family but instead she chose music. Marcus Grant could have been a doctor like the rest of his family but instead he chose music. She also could have not fallen for Marcus on her birthday but she did. And Marcus, he could have told Lucia the truth about his real reason for being in Toronto that night, but he didn’t. Now they have to deal with big reveals and consequences: Marcus almost stealing her job and being forced to work on an album together. Marcus, because he couldn’t swallow his pride, leave Toronto and go home to London. Lucia, because she just couldn’t give up on her first amazing opportunity to produce a whole album. And to complicate the situation further, the band they’re working for is not the easiest one. Mary Gillis, Marcus’ on and off flame, still has a hold on him. Greg McMullen, Lucia’s close friend and former dance partner is back in town and has been in love with her for years. Then there’s Marcus and Lucia, in the middle of their own a professional and personal tug-of- war with each over and the rest of the world. But maybe things could still work out… All things considered, this could have been one heck of a love song!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this to read and review. I am not influenced or compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.

The Review: I received this as part of a tour, and quickly read through it. It’s an engaging read full of really interesting characters. I liked the main female lead, Lucia, and I loved her chemistry with Greg. I’m not so sold on Marcus simply because of some things he did in the book, and the way he treated Lucia at times. I did enjoy that the chapters changed perspective and different characters told the story, creating a really neat woven together narrative. One thing in particular that I loved was the amount of music references. I’m a huge music nerd, so I really enjoyed seeing bits and pieces throughout the story.

The characters are well written, and for the most part I fell in love with them as much as I loved the story itself. I liked the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ aspect of this. How many of us have looked at a situation or person and thought about what would happen if circumstances were different. It’s a blossoming love story between strong characters, caught in a world of song and dance, and love that is a great read. It does end on a cliff-hanger, so I’m curious as to where it goes from here.

Purchase This Could Have Been Our Song! here:

B&N : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-could-have-been-our-song-a-coulda-woulda-shoulda-ballad-danielle-claude-ngontang-mba/1117105138?ean=2940045320542
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-could-have-been-our-song-a-coulda-woulda-shoulda-ballad
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360067

Amazon:
US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B2IJRKS

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B2IJRKS

CANADA – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00B2IJRKS

New Top Ten Tuesday!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish giving bloggers a chance to create their own Top Ten Lists based on a certain subject. This week it’s the books you were ‘forced’ to read–either by other bloggers, teachers or over zealous friends. I had a hard time coming up with these because normally I’m that friend who throws books at people and badgers them to read it.


About these choices— Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa is a manga series that was nearly constantly thrown at me by one of my friends who stressed that I HAD to read this. It’s really a second-chance kid for me. It’s one that I had tried to read when I first started getting into manga, and I didn’t really care for it. But on the second read, per the recommendation I really fell for it. It’s a really intense, great series that has a natural, non contrived ending.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak found it’s way onto my TBR pile because of bloggers, and found a solid place when I saw the preview for the film. I actually really enjoyed it, and haven’t gotten my review up, but I will soon.

x|1999 by Clamp is another manga series, this was recommended by the same friend who told me to read Paradise Kiss. My only complaint being that I waited so long to read this. Again, when I was first starting out with manga, I for some reason had this thing against the CLAMP circle of artists. I love their works now and want to own all of them one day. This series is very visually stunning, with great characters. It does randomly just end due to a couple of reasons.

Guilty Pleasures/Anita Blake Laurell K. Hamilton. I remember my freshmen year of high school this book was passed around my entire freshmen class. At least it seemed like it. I got it from a girl named Becca, who had gotten it from another girl named Ty. I read it, and kept up with the series for a little while before it disintegrated into what I consider a hot mess.

Hounded/Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne. My favorite Simon R. Green series ended, and I went into a depressed slump. Seriously. And my friend Jenny told me to read these books that they’d fill my need for a snarky asshole narrator who is an incredible badass. I haven’t looked back, and Atticus is very close to my heart. Right next to John Taylor.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I was forced to read this my junior year of high school by a friend who was appalled that it wasn’t on the reading list. He maintained that it was one of the greatest literary forces, and I have to agree. I read it and fell in love.

Marked/House of Night P.C. and Kristin Cast. I picked this series up because of bloggers, and I have a serious love/hate relationship with it. Once I’ve finished all the books I’m going to do a comprehensive review. Expect a lot of shouting, and maybe even some gifs.

Naruto Masashi Kishimoto is a manga series that I fought tooth and nail against, as it conjured pictures of otakus, and I was seriously scared of falling into that, or the dreaded weebo pit. (if unfamiliar with terms, please google and try not to judge). I’ve accepted that I’m an otaku, who sometimes borders the weebo-land. I’ve come to love this series. It’s really great. Believe it. (sorry). If you’re considering it, just read it, and stick with it. The art/story lines get so much better.

Relic/Pendergast Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Lovingly thrust upon me by my wonderful friend Kate, I read this thinking it was decent. Until three weeks later I was elbow deep in Pedergast and loving every second of it. I’m so far behind on this series, but if you’re in the mood for smart, well written mystery just please check these out.

Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura. This was recommended to me by a friend who loves this artist. Minekura has one of the most beautiful, recognizable art styles. I’m so in love with this series, which is a retelling of the Chinese proverb Journey to the West. It’s so gorgeous. Just I have no words for it. It is currently unfinished in the English volumes, as Minekura has a lot of health issues and doesn’t release chapters very often. So I just re-read and lovingly pet the volumes that I do have.

Let’s talk about the books you were forced to read! Tell me about some of the choices your friends have forced you into, or you’ve picked up because everyone on the internet was talking about it. If you’ve got a Top Ten Tuesday post, feel free to leave a comment and link your post.

Top Ten Tuesday!

Good morning and happy Tuesday! Today I’m going to be participaiting in the weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesday. It’s hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week we’re supposed to talk about our Top Ten Book Turn-offs. Without further preamble, here is my Top Ten Tuesday.



Thankfully, I don’t come across this too much. But it one of the things that will make me toss a book across the room and never look back. Abuse is not something to be glorified, nor is it something to be condoned. I can’t stomach it in reality, I’m not going to tolerate it in my books.


Here I’m talking about prose that is so purple it’s got can trace it’s noble heritage. I’ve never understood the concept of using a six point vocabulary word when a word normally found in everyday vernacular is acceptable. (see what I did there?)


Telling me rather than showing me drives me absolutely crazy as a reader. I like to come up with my own mental pictures, some guidance is nice, but I don’t like to have to read every single detail.


This is another one that really should be higher up if I gave any weight to the ordering system. Costume porn, down to the minute detail. I don’t mind talking about outfits, or fancy dresses, but telling me how many holes for shoe laces the main character’s shoes have is a little much.


I’m all for bending and breaking the rules. However, I also think that an author should research and have knowledge of their subject before they break all the rules. Because if research isn’t done properly it can cast a culture/subculture/way of life into an unflattering light.


Every book needs a villain, or someone who simply is a pain in the rear to the protagonist. But I have honestly thrown a book simply because a character was bitchy for no reason. She had no motive, not even simply NOT liking the protagonist. This character was just a bitch without a reason. Irritates me every time.


This is something that I encountered first in fan fiction, where the author would insert massive paragraphs of prose in another language (mainly Japanese) for no reason, and without translation. I’ve seen it creeping in more and more into books and it drives me nuts.


This one is pretty self explanatory, and a trope used that I feel only makes the main character look like even more of a special snowflake that’s the best at everything.


Even Dragon Ball Z characters had to work for their level ups. They have limits, they have flaws. Show me your character working hard, failing, and continuing to strive toward better. Don’t make them someone who can’t lift a ten pound weight without working at it, and then being able to bench press a mini-van.


I will not read something with insta-love. Love to me doesn’t work that way. I like the slow build, the slow burn. Most things that are passed off as love at first sight I consider Lust at first sight. It’s at trope that drives me nuts, and I’ve not so calmly put books back on the shelf after reading the synopsis.

Thanks for stopping by and checking my list out. Let’s talk more! What’s the one thing that makes you put a book down? Go ahead and leave a comment, and if you’ve done a TTT feel free to leave your link. 🙂

Have a great day!

Shelly.

Top Five Reads of the Summer

Yesterday was the first day of fall, and I cannot be more ready for it. Summer was uncharacteristically hot in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m more than happy to welcome the rain and cold temperatures. In the spirit of saying goodbye to summer, aside from burning yummy fall scented candles from Bath and Body Works, I’m going to share my favorite books that I read this summer.

1. Woodcutter’s Grim Series by Karen Wiesner. This was a strange read for summer, because it’s creepy, bringing memories of Halloween. Many times through this collection of interwoven short stories I felt the hair at the back of my neck stand on end. It’s wonderfully written, each story having enough substance to stand on it’s own, but when woven together they create a complex web of horror. It’s a story and concept that made me pause, and wish I had written it first. The setting and characters are really awesome. I’d recommend this for Halloween/Fall type reading lists, but if you’re in the mood for Halloween in July–pick this up.
(Read my original review at http://btsemag.com in the August issue).

2. Where the Rain is Made by Keta Diablo I haven’t read a lot of Western genre books, and period books aren’t something I generally go toward either, but the opportunity came up for me to review this for BTS EMag, and I’m really glad I got to. It’s a beautiful love story that blends romance, science fiction, historical fiction seamlessly. It’s a whirlwind story and features the love between a Cheyenne dog soldier and a captive woman. Now the premise sounds like it could go really wrong, really fast, but it doesn’t. There’s time travel, epic battles, danger, action, and above all a love story that spans the ages.
(Read my original review at http://btsemag.com in the August issue)

3. Pierced by J.C. Mells I originally received this as a R&R copy through a group on Goodreads. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but after I read the first page I was hooked. Pierce is a character in all aspects of the word. A strong female of color, she has a narration style that’s completely unique. This book has a lot of things going for it, and a lot of things going on. Pierced is a book that I devoured, and instantly wanted more. It kept me guessing, up to the last page. Paranormal in nature with the inclusion of vampires and werewolves, but blended so naturally into the surrounding world that it was just another character quirk rather than a definition. Though I want everyone to read this, not everyone will be able to handle it.

4. Obscurra Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen The book is well written, well paced and the characters are ones that I keep thinking about and coming back to. I like the science in this story, and the fact that it’s a very different take on an apocalyptic story. Kyle, whether you love him or hate him, will stick with you for a while. The ending of this book is something that I would not change. I like the way it ends, and the sentiment in the ambiguity. I like that Kyle Wolfe is more of an anti-hero or a dark hero, but I tend to fall for characters who have baggage. Obscura Burning is a book that I would recommend to people, even if they’re a bit turned off by the ‘young-adult’ label. It’s mature and fast paced, dealing with some heavy issues. I like that the main character is conflicted with his own personal issues, along with having to deal with the societal labels that go along with them.

5. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama I don’t tend to review manga online because of how long it takes for volumes to be released in the states, but I cannot not put this on my list. Attack on Titan is a beautifully violent, twisted story of survival. The characters are solid, the art is really nice. It’s got a sketchy quality that I like in manga. I haven’t seen this concept before and as horrible as the story line is there are bright rays of light, (though they disappear later but that’s for another day). There are six volumes currently out in the states, and you can read it online.

Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk about them. If you’ve read anything this summer that still sticks out in your mind, I’d love to hear about it.