Guest Post: Deleted Scenes by: Connie L. Smith, author of Enscrolled

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Synopsis: In the aftermath of the latest battle, the stakes are higher than ever before, time hardly an ally to Nicholai’s army of paranormal soldiers. The Tomes remain hidden, and the clock is ticking for the Essenced tainted with the demon’s incurable toxin. And beyond those worries, reason exists to suspect that magic might be vanishing, a twist that could insurmountably cripple the army’s capabilities prior to the war’s conclusion.

Never has the conflict felt quite as desperate, danger escalating and hope lessening with the slow drain of each issue’s hourglass.

Will the answers to these dilemmas surface in time, or will the efforts of the band of warriors fail to prevent the ruin of the world?

Series: The Division Chronicles

Author Bio: Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

Guest Post: There are two main couples in the first two books of The Division Chronicles, and the third book of the trilogy begins with one of those couples in a bad situation. Johnny and McKenna ended Emblazed in a heartbreaking manner due to demonic poison as of yet incurable. The book begins with the two trying to maintain hope that an antidote will be found in time, but only time will tell if Johnny will survive or if McKenna will lose her love so soon after finding him.

I mention this not to offer spoilers, but to preface the following segment. This is part of a deleted scene from Enscrolled where McKenna is confiding her anxieties to fellow soldier, AJ, the pair both having endured significant grief in the most recent battle. As I said, this is a deleted scene, so you won’t be able to find it in any of the books, and there’s more to this chapter (yes, the whole chapter was deleted) that is planned to be available on my blog after this blog-stop fiasco. You’ll be able to read the entire chapter, from start to finish then, but this is a preview :)

Before we get into the scene, I want to let everyone know that there is a Goodreads giveaway going on NOW for the first book of this trilogy (Essenced).

And you can also add my upcoming NA Romance book (Tail Lights) to your Goodreads bookshelf while you’re there. And, of course, Enscrolled is available on Amazon and Smashwords for purchase.

Please give my books a chance!

Okay. Deleted scene…

McKenna’s hand fell away from AJ’s shoulder, dropping to her own lap. “Being strong doesn’t mean not crying. You’re grieving. Cry. Scream. Throw things. Whatever you need to do. Being strong means that you push through it, and you do what you gotta do anyway. Pausing between responsibilities to deal isn’t weak. It’s healthy.”

Sniffling, AJ’s expression grew thoughtful while she regarded her ally. “Is that what you’re doing? Pausing to deal?”

“Yeah.” McKenna shrugged, countenance tormented. “It is.”

AJ nodded slowly, sympathetically. “I’m sorry about Johnny. But you still have time…”

“I know.” A half hearted grin spread over McKenna’s face. “They’re looking for the cure. And Johnny’s tough. He’ll pull through.”

Though brave words, AJ detected the daunting fear within her friend. And who could blame her? Her boyfriend, without a cure, would be dead within two weeks. “You’re still scared. Anyone would be.”

“More like mind numbingly terrified.” McKenna smiled once more, though it was clearly forced. “He’s… I…”

“I’m in love, too,” AJ assured, paraphrasing McKenna’s earlier proclamation. “You don’t have to explain it to me.”

McKenna’s grin then mixed with a wince. “You know, he doesn’t even know.”

“Know what?”

“That I love him.” Bottom lip between her teeth, McKenna shrugged again before continuing. “I haven’t told him yet.”

Shocked, AJ lifted an eyebrow. “But you do.”

“I do. So much.”

Eyes wide, AJ waved her hand in front of her, visibly at a loss. “Then why haven’t you told him?”

McKenna laughed then, shaking her head. “He’s not Julius, AJ. He’s…” Her sigh echoed across the room. “Do you know how hard it was just to convince him to give us a chance to begin with? And I know he was feeling it. It was obvious. The way he’d look at me, talk to me, protect me…”

Chuckling, AJ nodded. “Yeah, we had a bet going on about you guys.”

Stunned, McKenna peeked at AJ. “What?”

“Lexia started it. We bet how long it would take for you guys to finally get together. It was obvious to everyone that it was gonna happen, so we figured we’d have a little fun with it.”

Still surprised, McKenna gawked at her friend for a few seconds more, clearly deciding how to react to this information. Finally, with a roll of her shoulders, she arched an eyebrow. “Who won?”

“Diego,” AJ smirked, “as if he needed another reason to have a big head. Didn’t you notice for days after, a different alpha gave him a popsicle at lunch?”

McKenna furrowed her brow, though amused. “You bet popsicles?” 

“We’re at war. What else were we gonna bet? And no, it wasn’t popsicles. It was a dessert of the winner’s preference. Diego just really, really likes popsicles.”

Absorbing the information, McKenna eventually shook her head. “I’ll agree it was obvious, but he still wouldn’t. Not until I brought it up when we were stuck on a cliff together. He doesn’t…” She laughed helplessly, shrugging yet again. “I know he cares about me. A lot. He’s done everything but say the words. But it was hard to even get him to go this far. I don’t wanna spook him.”

AJ chuckled. “He’s your boyfriend. Not a horse.”

McKenna rolled her eyes, fondness in their depths. “Too stubborn to be a horse. And he isn’t used to all this. I’ll not throw something at him that he isn’t ready to hear. Even if it wouldn’t scare him away…”

AJ took the cap from her water bottle, slowly bringing it toward her grinning lips. “I don’t think a crowbar and dynamite would get him away from you.”

“…He deserves to get there in his own time. When he’s ready. And not one second before.”

Seconds of silence filled the room until AJ snorted. Caught off guard, McKenna glanced at her oddly. 

Waving a hand at her friend, AJ grunted. “You guys are soo different from me and Julius…”

McKenna then offered her own snort. “Don’t I know it?” She sat quietly, seeming to gather her courage. “He has to live, AJ. He just has to. I can’t even…” Her words shifted to tears as she leaned forward, elbows on her knees, and sobbed. From beside her, AJ rested one hand on her back, the other on her right arm, offering what comfort she could to her fellow alpha. When she could again speak, McKenna shook her head. “I know he says that I’m the optimistic one, but with everything that’s happened here… I need him just as much as he needs me. Sometimes, it feels like he’s all that holds me together anymore. If I lose him…”

“You won’t. Not with Tobias looking day and night for a cure. Not with Johnny fighting on his end of the problem. He’ll get through this.”

Still, McKenna cried. “He has to, AJ. He just has to.”

“He will,” AJ whispered, peeking toward the medical center. “He will.”

Book Review: Jezebel's Ladder by: Scott Rhine

Publisher: Createspace

Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: A Vegas magician’s assistant with a drinking problem, Jezebel is being chased by the men who murdered her fiancé. After she reads an odd, golden page, she wakes with the ability to sense other actives within thirty feet. Benny, the handsome former actor, is the only one she thinks that she can rely on, but even he has secrets. Each page stretches the mind beyond what our civilization has discovered, sometimes too far. Each could give you the next Nobel Prize or a ticket to the psych ward. Strong-willed, smart, and sexy, Jez acquires pages faster than anyone. She uses her new paranormal talents to climb the corporate ladder. Now, companies and governments are killing people to find and keep the secrets that will guarantee supremacy for the next century. Jezebel needs to adapt fast if she's going to survive success.

Series: Jezebel's Ladder series

Review: Jezebel is a magician’s assistant in Vegas with a heavy drinking problem and a dead fiancé. When she’s in a bar, she’s warned desperately about men who are coming after her – the same men who killed her fiancé. When she’s touched by a strange golden page, she passes out and when she awakes, she’s filled with a new ability. Absorbing as many pages as she can (a la The Matrix), Jezebel becomes very powerful and a higher-up into an organization who wishes to keep the populace deaf and dumb to the possibilities of a new world order. JEZEBEL’S LADDER has plenty of action, some great characters, and a viciously fast pace. The reader is thrust into Jezebel’s new world along with her and there is little back story. I wish there had been some more meat to the story as far as where the pages came from and how they really worked, as well as character development. Jezebel seems to be the ultimate fantasy woman – beautiful, smart, funny, powerful, “magical”, and has the ability to do anything she puts her mind to doing. I think this is why, even though JEZEBEL’S LADDER is sci-fi/fantasy it is hard to connect with her being so perfect. I think the characters readers are most able to connect with have some type of flaw and Jez’s instantly cured alcoholism isn’t enough. However, I can see JEZEBEL’S LADDER turning into an action film very easily.

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Blog Tour: Ghost Heart by: Ripley Patton

Ghost Heart banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Ghost Heart (The PSS Chronicles #3) by Ripley Patton. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 20 till 26 October, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

So far this series contains 3 books: Ghost Hand (The PSS Chronicles #1), Ghost Hold (The PSS Chronicles #2) and Ghost Heart (The PSS Chronicles #3).

Ghost Heart coverGhost Heart (The PSS Chronicles #3)
By Ripley Patton

Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Age category: Young Adult
Release date: October 14, 2014

In the aftermath of a brutal tragedy, Jason and Passion are on the run. Marcus is lost beyond reach, and The Hold is in shambles. If that weren't enough, Olivia Black has been taken by the CAMFers to be used as Dr. Fineman's personal lab rat in his merciless quest to uncover the mysteries of Psyche Sans Soma once and for all. But only if he can break her.

They are scattered.
They are devastated.
They are ruined.

Their only hope is Olivia's stubborn determination to thwart her captors and unlock the secrets of her ghost hand before Dr. Fineman can. Will she finally find the strength within herself to embrace the full power of her PSS?

And will it even matter if Marcus has already betrayed her?
Excerpt: GHOST HEART Excerpt from Marcus's perspective – some strong language.

 I pressed my arm into the cartilage of my uncle's windpipe, pinning him to the door. My other hand found the lock, turning the deadbolt into place. No one was going to come rescue him now, none of his bodyguards or entourage. It was him and me, man to man. I wasn't a defenseless little boy anymore. I was bigger than he was. Younger. Stronger. All the weakness in me was gone. I had saved a life's worth of strength for this one moment. 

"David, no!" Samantha cried, moving toward us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Passion grab her hand and hold her back.

"They need to settle this," she said to my cousin. "You need to let them."

Nice sentiment, but it wasn't going to happen. There was nothing for me and my uncle to settle. I was going to hurt him the way he'd hurt me and Danielle and my parents. I would run him over, leaving him mangled and abandoned beside a road somewhere. I would make him feel pain, endless, insatiable pain.

 "You killed them," I spat into his face. "You ran us into a fucking train, your own family, your own sister."

"No," he squeezed out, trying to shake his head.

"Yes!" I pressed my arm even harder into his throat. He didn't get to say no to me. Not ever again. 

"David," Samantha pleaded behind me, "don't do this. Let him explain."

"There's nothing to fucking explain," I snarled at her, never taking my eyes off of him. "I was there. I know what happened."

His face was turning red and his eyes were bulging a little. He was running out of air. 
Footsteps pounded up the stairwell beyond the door. Someone downstairs had heard the noise, and they were coming to save him. Too bad there was a solid oak door between him and his lackeys.  

"David, please," Samantha said, laying her hand gently on my bulging bicep. "He's my father."

I turned just enough to look at her. 

Passion was standing behind her, still holding her other hand. 

I looked back at my uncle. 

I could kill him. It would only take a little longer. He was gasping for breath now, struggling weakly under my arm. 

I looked back at Sam, her eyes full of fear and pain, so like Danielle's.

"Fuck!" I roared, pulling myself off my uncle and pacing to the window, my back turned against all of them. I was too weak. I couldn't do it. Not in front of Sam.   

My uncle was coughing and hacking, trying to catch his breath. 

There was a loud banging at the door and the knob rattled frantically. "Everything okay in there?" a man's voice boomed. "Mr. James, are you all right?"

"Yes, I'm fine," my uncle called back hoarsely. It was hardly convincing. 

"Sir, do you need assistance?" the voice persisted. 

"No," my uncle said, louder this time. "I'm fine. Stand down."

"Yes sir," the voice said, but I didn't hear the guy go back downstairs. He was waiting out there for me. I'd lost my chance, my only chance. My uncle would open that door, and I'd never be alone with him again. I'd never get the satisfaction I'd yearned for all these years. 

I turned and looked at him, a pompous man in an expensive suit. God, I hated him and the look of self-righteous pity in his eyes. How could he pity me when he was the one who'd fucked up my life in the first place?

"Why'd you do it?" I asked. I couldn't murder him in front of Sam, but I could expose him. It wasn't anything compared to what he'd done to me, but it was still something. "I want to know, really. What's your justification for killing me and my parents? I'm dying to hear it." 

You can find Ghost Heart on Goodreads.

You can buy Ghost Heart here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo

Earlier books in the series:
ghost handGhost Hand (The PSS Chronicles #1)
By Ripley Patton

Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Age category: Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Black has a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Instead of a right hand made of flesh and blood, she was born with a hand made of ethereal energy.

How does Olivia handle being the girl with the ghost hand? Well, she's a little bit morbid and a whole lot snarky.

Her mother thinks her obsession with death, black clothing, and the local cemetery is a bid for attention. But when Marcus, the new guy in Olivia's calculus class, stares at her like she's a freak, Olivia doesn't like it. And when her hand goes rogue, doing things she never imagined possible, Olivia finds herself running for her life with Marcus from a group of men bent on taking the power of her hand for their own nefarious purposes.

You can add Ghost hand to your to-read list on Goodreads.

You can download Ghost Hand for free here:
- Amazon
- Kobo

ghost holdGhost Hold (The PSS Chronicles #2)
By Ripley Patton

Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Age category: Young Adult

Olivia Black is back.

Only this time she's not the one in need of rescue.

Samantha James, rich, popular, and an award-winning composer at age seventeen, is the next target on the CAMFers' list. In order to convince Samantha to come with them, Olivia and Passion must pose as cousins, blend into the most affluent high school in Indianapolis, and infiltrate a mysterious cult known as The Hold.

Olivia doesn't expect it to be easy, even with the PSS guys backing them up. But what she discovers over the course of the mission will call into question everything she ever believed about herself, her family, and especially about Marcus, the guy she is undoubtedly falling in love with.

You can add Ghost Hold to your to-read list on Goodreads.

You can buy Ghost Hold here:
- Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
- Kobo

Ripley PattonAbout the Author:
Ripley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She is an award-winning short story writer and author of The PSS Chronicles, a young adult paranormal thriller series.

Ripley doesn't smoke, or drink, or cuss as much as her characters. Her only real vices are writing, eating M&Ms, and watching reality television.

You can find and contact Ripley here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Google +

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Ghost Heart. These are the prizes you can win:
- a set of signed cover posters (US only)
- a $10 Amazon gift card (international)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: How To Build a Girl by: Caitlin Moran

Publisher: Ebury Press

Publication Date: July 3, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes - and build yourself.

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer – like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes - but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less. 

But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease, with a soundtrack by My Bloody Valentine and Happy Mondays. As beautiful as it is funny, How To Build a Girl is a brilliant coming-of-age novel in DMs and ripped tights, that captures perfectly the terror and joy of trying to discover exactly who it is you are going to be.

Review: HOW TO BUILD A GIRL gives us Johanna Morrigan, a 14 year old girl who doesn’t fit in her family and doesn’t fit in her skin. After a particularly embarrassing moment in the spotlight, she decides she doesn’t want to be Johanna Morrigan anymore. She reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, music reviewer and Lady Sex Adventurer. She is determined to fix her family’s money troubles with her writing. By 16, she’s drinking, smoking, having sex, and working for a music paper giving nasty reviews to so many bands they all fear her sharp tongue now. Yet somehow being Dolly is not enough to make Johanna happy, but she doesn’t know what is missing from the way she’s built herself. HOW TO BUILD A GIRL is a coming of age novel set in the early ‘90s featuring Johanna Morrigan, an overweight bookworm who is socially awkward, with 4 brothers and her family on the dole. HOW TO BUILD A GIRL is funny, irreverent, raunchy, and heart-breaking. While all of us have to decide who we’ll be as we grow up, adding and discarding traits, the author points out how much more difficult it is for girls to explore their secret desires and fears. An outrageous feminist manifesto with sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, HOW TO BUILD A GIRL will speak to something primal inside all readers.

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Book Review: State of Grace by: Elizabeth Davies

Publication Date: January 14, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood.

Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man.

'Death is only one option.'

A love story with a supernatural twist, it looks at vampires from an unusual angle, knitting together the twelfth century with the present day.

This is the first novel in the Resurrection trilogy..

Review: Grace is a 27 year old woman who has come home to die. She’s been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and none of the treatments have worked. So she moves back in with her parents and brother until it is her time. Grace starts seeing strange things, seemingly transported to the past, which she first attributes to her tumor. However, the visions persist and she’s captivated by Roman, a man with a passion for her and for blood. Readers aren't given an explanation for Grace’s ability to time travel and why she moves about in time, but always comes upon Roman. Perhaps it will be laid out in book 2 or book 3 of this trilogy. Grace’s courage and tenderness are readily apparent and it was good to see her out experiencing life since her diagnosis – even if it was centuries in the past! STATE OF GRACE is a peculiar blend of romance genres, with time-traveling and vampires. The time periods and the settings were quite well-researched and the characters pretty well-developed. Ending on a bit of a cliffhanger, readers will be sure to pick up the next book quickly.

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