Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Spitting Post by Jason R. Barden

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the Book Blitz for
The Spitting Post
By Jason R. Barden!

Enjoy an excerpt, sign up to review the book, and enter to win a $10 gift card!


The Spitting Post
By Jason R. Barden
Dark Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 220 Pages
December 8th 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Vincent Carpenter’s life is a wreck. He has given up his dreams. He has lost his job after an economic disaster. His ten-year marriage is crumbling. Then he awakens in a maniacal land of frighteningly vivid realism with skull trees, glowing forests, ravenous beasts, and other psychologically haunting adversity.

While traveling through this demented unearthly world, he has a chance encounter with a beautiful maiden dressed in green; before he can start a conversation, she disappears into the unknown. Vincent must try to find her at a fantastical place known as the Spitting Post. But first he must overcome many macabre misfortunes and face nightmares that question his sanity. Will he reach her? What will the Spitting Post reveal? Will he suffer more disappointment and tragedy? Or will he find peace at last?



Read an Excerpt
I was lost in thought when again I heard the violin’s call. It was close this time—too close. I stopped and surveyed the land with terrified eyes, growing more anxious with each passing note. The ambient tune working itself into a manic frenzy. Can’t they shut up? With that racket the beast would find us, and I knew what would happen when it did. There would be no more violin playing for that musician, and I would never find The Green Maiden. 
I scanned the countryside for the insane violinist and spotted him on a small hill just to my right. When I saw his ghastly appearance, I almost wished I hadn’t found him. He was a stout man dressed in total blackness with a red violin resting against his shoulder. His skin was a brilliant white, as white as a bed sheet. On his head was a black top hat, and he wore a twisted grin on his porcelain face. 
“What are you doing?” I yelled. “It will hear us!” 
The man said nothing and kept playing his maddening melody. 
“Are you crazy?” 
The man opened his mouth wide and without moving his lips, he said, “Precisely.” 
Then he began to cry tears of blood, yet still he played. The blood rolled down his face and pooled on the grass. Then I came to a grotesque realization. He was not playing for amusement; he was calling the beast.

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About the Author

Jason R. Barden began writing poetry around the age of thirteen. At age thirty-three, he transitioned into dark fantasy and horror fiction. His first novel The Spitting Post is available at Amazon and other online retailers. In addition to writing, he enjoys hiking and photography.


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Ends April 21, 2019

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rachel Clark tells us more about her characters in The Blackfish Prophecy


Welcome to the book tour for The Blackfish Prophecy by Rachel Clark. Today she is telling us a bit more about her main characters Miles and Terra and her dreams of turning their story into a movie. There's also an excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy, as well as a great giveaway. Remember to follow the tour and leave Rachel your questions and comments along the way!


How did you come up with Miles and Terra’s characters for your book, The Blackfish Prophecy? Who are they and who would you cast to play these two characters if your book was made into a movie?

What a great question! Wow, it’s funny. I always knew Terra’s character. I had the idea for the book about 20 years ago, and Terra’s character was there from the beginning. She is probably a lot like me, and lives in a childhood setting that I – as a biologist- would have loved to grow up in. Writing Terra’s character is a little like writing about myself.

Miles is another story. He arrived out of nowhere as I began the book. He surprised me at every turn. And yet I felt like I knew him so well already. Miles is and was completely unpredictable but with a huge heart willing to take risks to do the right thing for those he loves. He does not give his heart easily but when he does, it’s for good. I adore Miles, and my sense is he came from somewhere ancient.

If The Blackfish Prophecy was made into a movie, I’d love to see it animated – my dream studio would absolutely be Pixar, for so many reasons!

I will have to think about who I would cast as human actors for these two! I’m not sure yet… But If I could choose someone to play Tiluk it would be Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of Earth Guardians. Xiuhtezcatl is an incredible, powerful indigenous climate and Earth activist who looks (and lives!) almost exactly the way I have always imagined Tiluk.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez



The Blackfish Prophecy


Best friends Terra and Tiluk live alongside the wild orcas of Washington State. On the other side of the continent, Miles wallows in anger and self-pity fueled by his parents' divorce. In a moment of harrowing fate, their lives converge when Miles witnesses a captive orca brutally kill his trainer at a marine amusement park.

When Miles contacts Terra and her family of whale biologists to better understand the "killer" whale, the three teens soon realize they are more linked to each other - and the whales - than they ever imagined. Driven by a primal urge to connect with the highly-evolved consciousness of the orca, the teens take extraordinary risks to challenge big business and renew lost traditions.

Their journey is set to restore an ancient mystical bond between humans and whales that ultimately reveals The Blackfish Prophecy…a revelation about Terra - and those like her - that's about to change everything.

Read an excerpt:
He wasn’t sure whether the fence was supposed to keep people out of the swamp, or keep the swamp away from the people. The snakes were seriously getting out of control. You couldn’t live in Florida and not know about the yellow anacondas, Burmese pythons and boa constrictors. They were a huge problem since they’d been accidentally introduced. The snakes loved it here, and they didn’t have anybody to eat them, so they were pretty much everywhere. He’d heard rumors at school about snakes that had even eaten little kids. Sometimes he’d just come here and stare over the fence, peering from the concrete stronghold of their subdivision into the dank, vegetation choked, black‐watered quagmire. The swamp creeped him out but, at the same time, it pulled at him, beckoning somehow.

The sidewalk was much smoother than the pavement, and he rocketed past all the backyards, blipping from fence to fence at high speed. He veered into the swamp on the fenced walkway that linked the back edge of his massive development to the business district on the other side of the swamp.

There was trash everywhere in here; soda bottles, needles, plastic bags, broken glass. This pathway smelled even worse than plain old swamp; like exhaust and beer mixed with the smell of a dead body rotting in mud. He raced past a couple of sleeping old homeless guys on benches, relieved it was getting lighter outside. He never came here in the dark.

Once he hit the business district, everything clicked. I’m going to OceanLand. He hadn’t realized it until that very moment. He slowed for a fraction of a second, Seriously Frost? Umm, Duh! YES! It was only a couple of miles from their house, which was one reason their mom took them so often—she’d bought a family membership after the divorce. Broken family membership, more like. He whipped through the back parking lots of the Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s and Exxon. When he got to Wal‐Mart, he knew he was close. Slowing, he narrowed his eyes and scanned the OceanLand perimeter. First was the gigantic parking area, which is what people saw when they pulled in. It was so big you could plunk down a freaking small town on that lot with room to spare. Behind that was the park itself, which was enclosed by a huge 12‐foot‐tall solid wood fence that snaked back into thick vegetation. Miles’ gaze fell against the trees back there, and instinctively he pushed his board toward them. But this time his foot came down carefully, gently. He’d gone on high alert. He was pretty sure that OceanLand wouldn’t want people sneaking around back there, especially after that Harvey Mott guy managed to get himself killed. Not to mention Dusky yesterday. The hair on the back of Miles’ neck went up as he realized what he was about to do. He pressed his mouth tight in resolve. I am doing this.


Book Links:

http://www.rachelclarkauthor.com/

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781945419003

https://www.amazon.com/Blackfish-Prophecy-Terra-Incognita-Transition/dp/1945419008/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27227443-the-blackfish-prophecy

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-blackfish-prophecy-rachel-clark/1123608352

https://shop.whales.org/the-blackfish-prophecy.ir

https://twitter.com/BlckfshProphecy


About Rachel Clark


Rachel is a writer and biologist. As a kid she got hooked on all things animal, vegetable, and mineral. To complicate matters, she was hatching up stories before she could hold a crayon. Once she discovered biology it was all over. Ever since her first class in 7th grade when she refused to dissect a frog, a little voice in her head said: You gotta share this amazing stuff about how nature works, and ask if we really need to harm it. The little voice only got fiercer once she went to college and worked with captive dolphins and Beluga whales, then got to see wild killer whales only a few weeks later. From then on it was an all-out quest to convey the wonders of nature, while pointing out the serious problems of our very bad habit of dominating others and the Earth. She’s been a card-carrying science writer for twenty years. The Blackfish Prophecy is Rachel’s first book.

These days when Rachel is not writing, reading, dreaming, or speaking, you can find her sculpting an unruly assortment of moose-pruned orchard trees & berry bushes, gathering veggies & eggs in her micro-farmyard, foraging for mushrooms, and feasting on local food with friends.

She is a lifelong yogini, devoted pack mate to her free-spirited Canid, and mama bear who's sustained by treks deep into the Pacific Northwest with her increasingly feral family. Rachel drives a 100% electric zero-emission car, and her family's home is powered by renewable energy. Their little house is nestled on an urban lot they tend for kids' play, territory Animalia, sequestering carbon, and a food forest to augment the bounty of local growers.

Her work is fiercely aligned with the science of Life, harmony & justice for all: the enduring dream of Earth.



Rachel Clark will be awarding 1 signed paperback of the Blackfish Prophecy 1 bookmark for The Blackfish Prophecy, 1 Orca-themed or book-themed mug to one randomly drawn US winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Soul Dark: Chosen by E.L. Reedy & A.M. Wade


Are you a fan of YA fantasy? Then you need to check out this book. I have an excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy. And then of course, please leave comments and questions for the author as you follow the tour. You'll get bonus chances to enter the great giveaway!


Soul Dark: Chosen

War is coming between Lukas’ Goddess and an ancient Demon Lord. But the death of his parents shakes his faith, and with the loss of his remaining family it is shattered. Blinded by rage, Lukas turns away from his friends and trains under a deceptive, yet formidable master to hone his magic and prevent the demon’s final objective--obliteration of all life on earth.

War begins! A forged weapon, Lukas rejoins his friends and sets after the Demon King. From a hidden crypt, where evil lies waiting, to the Iowa countryside, they battle to prevent the end of all they know. Lukas must overcome his doubts and allow the Light to work through him--to defeat both the foe of his Goddess and a new more familiar one.

Soul Dark: Chosen is a coming-of-age tale in the modern-day world when a war between ancient deities and demons culminates in a winner-takes-all battle that could determine the fate of all mankind.


Read an excerpt:
Lukas stopped and faced his grandmother. He rarely questioned her judgment, but in every person’s life, there comes a first time for everything. “Grandma? Why? Why now?” he asked. “My friends are on the way. They’ll be here any minute now. And here we are, out back, telling ghost stories in the cold, moonlit snow.”

“I had to wait for you to ask. She is always most insistent upon that—the sign of readiness,” she said, “Lukas… Your name itself is a great power. It means Light Bringer. Open yourself now to our Mother Goddess and you’ll wield a power you can’t even imagine. Far more than this tired old lady could ever muster.”

He bit back his rising anger—a pubescent force within him he found increasingly difficult to control in times of stress and some of it spilled free. “Don’t ask me that,” he shouted, kicking at a snowbank. “I’m no one’s pawn, Grandma! Yours, God’s, Goddess’s, or otherwise! You love Her so much, you wield her damned light! And please… Just make Her leave me alone!”

“Lukas. As you well know, the night your parents passed,” she said, touching her amulet, “something attacked me at the farm. This helped to protect me, and it will defend you or any who wield it in Her name.” She removed the necklace chain from which the amulet hung and held it forth in both shaking hands, offering it to him as both a gift and a curse. “Resume your training, son—take up this ancient mantle—you know I won’t last forever.”

Before the first coherent thought passed through his mind, Lukas took a step back. “I remember now. I was talking to Elliot and then the deer ran out in front of the car. There were so many. All at once. Driven by… By something in the dark.” He paused, reflecting, his face revealing the roused rage he could no longer hold back. An undirected burst of power from within him knocked snow loose from every tree and branch around them. “That was my price for serving the Goddess?” He screamed. “The lives of my parents? It was them or us—me and Elliot?” He heard branches snap and twist in the windless night and the ground shook around them. Three snow-devils raced away from him at thought speed chasing each other in a game of tag that flung snow in every direction.

***

As I mentioned earlier, for druids, or any wielders of magic it is as important to control ourselves, our rampant emotions, as it is to control our otherworldly gifts. If left to themselves, either could become catastrophic to the world and everyone within it.

***

Undeterred, Grandma Helen stood firm. “Lukas, no,” she cried. “You know better and you’re much better than this.”

“The pain I see so much in my brother,” Lukas screamed. “Did you know he cries every night?” He turned away to hide his shameful tears and to bring his powers back in check. “Tell Her to find someone else,” he complained. He wiped his eyes then took Grandma Helen’s arm, indicating silence. “Your Goddess—She asks too much.”

Though there were countless questions left unanswered between them, neither spoke as they returned to the house. The grove had become colder somehow, darker, and uninviting. Lukas did however, hear the murmur of his grandmother’s unspoken thoughts. “Dearest Lukas, acknowledge Her or not, love Her or not, She’s your goddess too.”

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About E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade

E. L. Reedy was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.

A. M. Wade was born the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.

Together: Having lost many friends, associates, and even children from our home town over the years to suicide, they wrote their first novel, Upon Broken Wings. Told from the point-of-view of a young witness, the story teaches that suicide is not an end to suffering, but rather the beginning of unimaginable pain for those left behind and that there is always hope if we choose the path of life.

Twitter
@AuthorELR @keysmomma

Amazon
ELR– Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/elreedy
AMW– Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/amwade

Bookbub
ELR- Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-l-reedy
AMW- Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-m-wade

Facebook
Reedy & Wade's oflightandshadow FB Page
https://www.facebook.com/oflightandshadow/

Reedy & Wade's light and shadows FB Fan-Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LightShadows/


Other Sites

Allauthor 


The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn


Welcome to the book blast for The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn! Please enjoy an excerpt from this young adult romance. Leave questions and comments for the author and then follow the tour for more excerpts and reviews. Plus you have more chances to enter the giveaway!



The Next to Last Mistake

Tess Goodwin’s life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated. Although she chooses to spend most of her free time playing chess with her best friend Zander, the farm-boy from next door, her skills as a bovine midwife and tractor mechanic ensure that she fits in with the other kids at East Chester High. But when her veteran father reenlists in the Army, moving her family halfway across the country to North Carolina, Tess is forced out of her comfort zone into a world she knows nothing about.

Tess approaches the move as she would a new game of chess, plotting her course through the unfamiliar reality of her new life. While heeding Zander’s long-distance advice for making new friends and strategizing a means to endure her dad’s imminent deployment to the Middle East, she quickly discovers how ill-equipped she is to navigate the societal challenges she encounters and becomes convinced she’ll never fit in with the students at her new school.

When Leonetta Jackson is assigned as her mentor, she becomes Tess’s unexpected guide through the winding labyrinth of cultural disparities between them, sparking a tentative friendship and challenging Tess to confront her reluctant nature. As the pieces move across the board of her upended life, will Tess find the acceptance she so desperately desires?


Read an excerpt:
I’m almost asleep, barely conscious of drifting off, when I’m startled by a noise outside my window. Before I have a chance to turn on the light and investigate, the sash slides open and someone steps into my room.

I hope beyond all hope I’m not dreaming.

“Zander?” I ask, not wondering if it’s him but why he’s here.

He’s all the way in the room now, standing at the foot of my bed. “Did I wake you?” he whispers.

“No,” I tell him. He blows into his hands, and I lift my blankets, inviting him under the covers to warm up.

“It’s colder than a polar bear’s butt out there.” He snuggles against me in my tiny twin bed like we’re still six-year-olds, camping outside in each other’s backyards. I wrap my arms around him, and he settles against my shoulder. “You left your own party.”

“It wasn’t really my party,” I say. “More New Year’s than anything else.”

“The cake was good. Red velvet. You would’ve liked it.”

There’s so much I want to say. Apologies I want to give. Promises I want to make. But the words are jumbled around in my head, and I’m afraid if I speak everything will come out all wrong.

“I didn’t have anyone to kiss at the ball drop,” he says eventually, and I wonder if whatever was in his Solo cup has gone to his head.

“Tina and Claire were there.”

He chuckles grimly and his voice turns serious. “We’ve been together every New Year’s since we were babies, you know that?” His words settle over me, and I strain under the weight of them. Heavier still is the burden of what he doesn’t say: And this might have been our last.

“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling the need to explain, “but it was so cold and I knew my dad was gonna need help with the herd and…”

He rolls over to face me, placing a finger over my lips. “It’s okay, Tess. I get it. It’s been hard being around each other for the past few weeks. I didn’t realize the anticipation of you leaving was gonna suck so bad. I didn’t know how horrible I was at long goodbyes.” Now he’s the one who’s apologizing. “I guess I didn’t know what else to do. I figured this day might be easier for both of us…”

“If you left me before I had the chance to leave you?”

“Something like that.” He sighs. “It wasn’t intentional. I guess I’ve been sorta messed up in my own head, thinking about not having you around. You’re the best part of my days.”

I blink back tears I don’t realize are already spilling down my cheeks. His admission is true for me as well—something we’ve always taken for granted.

“It’s only eighteen months, then we’ll both graduate and head to college together like we always planned. You and me. It’s not that long, right?”

“It’s not that long,” he agrees. “But it’ll never be the same, not having you right next door.”

His body is relaxed against mine, and I’m reminded of all the nights we spent together growing up, head to foot and back to back, me teasing him for his stinky feet and him making fun of my retainer. “Maybe someone better will move in here,” I laugh between sniffles. “Some Victoria’s Secret supermodel, schlepping around manure in waders and a thong.”

He chuckles, too, and I imagine him smiling in the darkness. “As tempting as she sounds, I still wouldn’t willingly trade you for her.”

There’s something unspoken in his words, a tiny invitation across a boundary we’ve never crossed. But I can’t cross it now. I won’t. There’s no reason to take something painful and make it complicated as well.

“I should go to sleep,” I tell him. “We’re leaving after the morning milking, and I gotta be alert enough to drive.”

He stirs under the covers and his warmth leaves my side. As he stands over me, silhouetted in the moonlight cascading through my window, I hear him sigh. Then, he leans down to place a kiss on my forehead like a father tucking in his child.

“Bye,” I say.

“Bye.”

“Love ya.”

“Love ya back.”

And then he’s gone, back through the window out into the night. I assume, in the wake of our farewell, it’s going to take me hours to fall asleep, but the next thing I know my alarm is going off, and it’s time to slide the chessboard of my past life onto the shelf and begin another match.


Buy links





About Amalie Jahn

Amalie Jahn is a USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 8 young adult novels, including The Next To Last Mistake, her latest release (Light Messages Publishing 2019).

Amalie is the recipient of the Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Readers' Favorite Gold Medal for her debut novel, The Clay Lion. She is a contributing blogger with the Huffington Post and Southern Writers Magazine, as well as a TED speaker, human rights advocate, and active promoter of kindness. She lives in the United States with her husband, two children, and three overfed cats.

When she's not at the computer coaxing characters into submission, you can find Amalie swimming laps, cycling, or running on the treadmill, probably training for her next triathlon. She hates pairing socks and loves avocados. She is also very happy time travel does not yet exist. Connect with her right here in the present day at these social media sites:

Websites – amaliejahn.com and lightmessages.com/amalie-jahn
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AmalieJahn
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AmalieJahn
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/amalie.jahn.official

Visit amaliejahn.com to join Amalie’s FREE Readers Group and in addition to receiving promotional discounts, sneak peeks, and monthly newsletters, your membership will now grant you exclusive access to bonus material (shorts and novelettes) delivered right to your inbox!




Amalie Jahn will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Piracy by L.P. Maxa



Welcome to the book blast for Piracy, a contemporary YA book in the Riffraff Records series from L.P. Maxa! Please enjoy an excerpt and then leave a question or a comment for the author after you download your copy. Follow the tour and have even more chances to enter to win the giveaway.


Piracy


No one has more fun than Jett Matthews, and he intends to keep it that way, but he has to convince the girl of his dreams, Devin King, that Jett's brand of fun means forever.


Read an excerpt:
My plan for this upcoming takedown was to wait in the dark until I saw her stumble into the building. And then, I’d follow her stealthily into the classroom. Stalking probably wasn’t the number one way to get a girl, but it was all I had at the moment. I didn’t know her name, which was my bad, so I couldn’t look her up on social media. And I hadn’t seen her around campus that morning, so I hadn’t been able to accidentally “bump” into her.

Thus, the shadows.

I chuckled quietly when I saw her enter the building, instantly dropping her cell phone on the hard laminate flooring. This chick. I shook my head and left my hiding place, falling in step behind her and trailing her into the classroom. Then down the steps and across five people to sit smack-dab in the middle of the row. I had to make people move down so I could get a seat right next to her. And through it all, she never turned and noticed that I was behind her. Not once did she glance over her shoulder. She was completely unaware of her surroundings.

I pulled out my table and then watched as she once again set up her desk with more supplies than she’d need for the whole semester. I waited patiently, hiding my smirk behind my hand while she fumbled a pen and sent it sailing two levels down.

“Hi.” I spoke close to her ear, but not so close that it would be considered “rude.”

She jerked away from my lips in surprise and turned to glare at me. “What are you doing here?” I found that I enjoyed the flare of irritation in her eyes as much as I’d enjoyed the blush on her neck the first class we’d shared.

I raised an eyebrow, pointing to my tablet. “I’m in this class.”

Her eyes narrowed even further, and her lips made that straight line for a moment. “Yeah, but why are you here, next to me?”


BUY LINKS


About LP Maxa


L.P. lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, three rescue dogs, four chickens, two dwarf goats, and one adopted cat. The fish died. She is a full-time writer, and part time business owner. L.P. says she loves to read as much as she loves to write, and reading a good book is her reward after writing one. In her spare time, she fosters puppies for a rescue organization based in Austin.

Connect with L.P. –

lpmaxa.wordpress.com

facebook.com/pages/LP-Maxa/1442560722667127

twitter.com/lpmaxa

instagram.com/lpmaxa


L. P. Maxa will be awarding a copy of Royalty + Legacy to 2 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review of Ava (A Hart Twins Novel) by Charyse Allan


Welcome to the blog tour for Ava: A Hart Twins Novel by Charyse Allan! This twisting and turning YA novel is one you won't want to miss. Keep on reading to see an excerpt as well as my thoughts about this book. You can also follow the tour for even more fun. 



Ava: A Hart Twins Novel

by Charyse Allan

Genre: YA Romance/Suspense
Release Date: January 29th 2019

Summary:

Ava has everything planned, as usual. Finish senior year at the top of her class, perform her best dance routine at the dance concert, and have the greatest prom ever. But her best friend, Cade, has other ideas. He convinces Ava to abandon her rigid schedule and enjoy her last year of high school. After letting her hair down for one amazing night and exchanging a steamy kiss with Cade, she's ready to explore this carefree side of herself, until someone plays a cruel joke on her.

Humiliated and hurt, Ava retreats into her carefully constructed box, hoping everything will go back to normal. But it doesn't. What she thought was a prank has turned out to be so much more, and she doesn't even know the half of it. Determined to handle the situation herself, Ava hides her true feelings from her friends and her new love interest, but is quickly pushed past her breaking point.

The survival of a sickening betrayal, a broken heart, and a perilous attack mean very little when lost in a game you don’t even know you’re playing.


Add to Goodreads


Read an excerpt:
Prologue 
Before this moment—on the verge of nothingness, at the hands of someone I should have suspected—I had it all figured out… at least, for the most part. There was a perfect-sized box for everything in my life. The details fit nicely in their own little containers, and I could sort them and stack them as I pleased, so long as no one messed with my system. 
Chaos wasn’t even an option—it wasn’t tolerated. 
With his hands wrapped around my throat—his sweat dripping on my face, my nails digging into his knuckles—he told me why, he told me who was to blame, but it made no sense. Until the darkness came and choked me with guilt, with regret, with self-loathing. 
I thought there would be nothing when I finally passed out, but her face was there, tears running down her cheeks, smack in the middle of the black. She told me I should have been there, should have paid closer attention, should have helped her, even when she pushed everyone away. 
She wasn’t to blame. No. The rest of us were. But I was too focused on the chaos my life had become, too busy trying to shove everything back in its box, while ignoring those who mattered most. 
If I ever woke again, would she be there? Would she be okay? Was there still time to help her? 
There had to be.

Available on Amazon

Yes, this is my affiliate link. This just means I'll earn a couple of pennies should you make a purchase through it, but it won't cost you anything extra. This helps support all of my sites. Thanks!


**My thoughts**
I need book 2!

First I have to say that reading this seriously made me not miss high school in any way, shape, or form. I hate the catty, petty drama that goes on. And it definitely seems to be more intense these days. (Yes, I know this is just a book, but still. It's a whole new world out there.)

I love Ava. She is strong, determined, and knows what she wants. She doesn't take crap from anyone, which is going to serve her well in life. But she also has a soft and vulnerable side. Usually she uses that for good, but it can get her into trouble, as it pretty much does in this book. She is one of those Type A personalities who likes to be in control of a lot, and somehow seems to manage being involved in dozens of activities while also maintaining an excellent GPA to get her into her chosen college.

And then there is Mia. She is Ava's identical twin sister, who comes off as being a really nasty person that you don't want to have anything to do with. She is clearly having severe problems of some kind, altering her appearance, going out and getting drunk, withdrawing from her friends and family. Red flags are flying all over the place. And considering some recent events with teenagers in my own life, I just want to shake both of her parents for not paying close enough attention or pushing a little harder to find out what is going on. I am also sad that Ava and Mia, who are identical twins, just don't seem to have that strong connection you would expect them to have. But there is a good reason why. It starts in this book and is why I need to read the second book.

Cade is one of Ava's best friends. He is also an ex from two years ago, and the two of them clearly still have feelings for each other. He has a bit of a checkered past from when he previously lived in Seattle with his mom. I cannot stand his temper. I don't like it when guys fly off the handle so easily and personally would remain extremely cautious, if not holding such a guy at arm's length if I saw him demonstrate his anger so rapidly. His saving graces are that he is never physical with Ava or any other female. He is also aware that he has anger issues and wants to do something about them. I also realize that he is under a lot of pressure with school and craziness with his parents, etc.

Kai is Ava and Mia's older brother who is across the world in the service. He also seems to get angry quite easily, but is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. He definitely seems to be closer to Ava than Mia. But because this story is told from Ava's point of view (alternating with Cade), we really cannot know the extent of his relationship with the other twin. I do like seeing a tight family that loves each other, though I feel like the parents are somewhat burying their heads in the sand.When they're aware of something, they are also like alpha dogs hunting down the enemy and trying to make things right. I just want them to act a little sooner. Then again, I have the advantage of omniscience. 

Ava and Cade have some amazing friends in their lives. And then there are the nasty, manipulative people who hate them. And then weird things start to happen to Ava. Because she is so determined and strong-willed, it is easy for her to piss off people. And she certainly manages to do so with a few people. So those people are retaliating and it is pretty scary. They are not sure who is behind the attacks and vandalism, but I pretty much had it figured out from the get-go.

I have to jump on my educator soap box for a moment and implore teens who are reading this to PLEASE find a trusted adult should you ever find yourself or a friend in any of these situations. These teens don't want to tell anyone what is going on, because they don't want to upset any adults or make matters worse. But that's what we are here for.

I actually really enjoyed this book. There's enough suspense and roller coaster action to keep you engaged. I actually read it all in one evening. And like I keep saying, I really need to read the next book, which is from Mia's point of view, to find out what is really going on with her. 

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.


About Charyse Allan


Charyse Allan grew up in Arizona dancing and riding horses. She is an avid reader, but didn’t become one until high school. This is also when she realized her passion for writing, however it wasn’t until a couple years into her marriage that she tried her hand at writing a novel.

When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found in Northern Arizona, tending her garden with her husband and best friend, while their two kids and two crazy dogs run around the yard. Charyse is also a big fan of Holy yoga, juicing and being a vegetarian—she misses bacon like nobody’s business.


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