Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Welcome to the Apocalypse: Pandora by D.L Richardson Review!

35510608Title: Welcome to the Apocalypse: Pandora
Author: D.L Richardson
Series: Welcome to the Apocalypse #1
Pages: 416
Published: November 21st 2016 
Source: Netgalley

PURCHASE: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Over 100 players enter a virtual world to play a game – survive 24 hours of their chosen apocalypse. Instead of game over at the end, they’re plunged straight into another game, and then another. 
They have no communication with the outside operators. Their simulation pods are designed to only last 3 days. The artificial intelligence is tapping into their minds and creating ‘death dreams’. And they’re trapped in a dangerous world with strangers they can’t trust.
It’s clear something is keeping them inside the game, but who or what? Everyone dreams of escaping reality but this game has far greater risks than they could have imagined…
Read the complete the series: Welcome to the Apocalypse - Pandora (Book 1)Welcome to the Apocalypse - CyberNexis (Book 2) Welcome to the Apocalypse - Primal Scream (Book 3)
Please note that book one of this series has a cliffhanger ending and leads directly into book two.


My Thoughts:

Players hook up to a new virtual reality world where you have to survive an apocalyptic event for 24hrs, after which time, you come out of your pod and return to the real world. But that's not what happens to three friends. When Jack, Kelly and Reis hook into the game, they complete their first day but are then immediately transported to another situation. It's not till it keeps happening that they realise that something isn't right! They will have to hope someone outside will save them before it's too late. 

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this! It was a unique LitRPG book. I've read a few and while they deal with a virtual world it's not like this one. In Pandora, the players are put into apocalyptic situations like zombies, aliens, end of the world things, and are told to put together a bug out bag and reach safety. I loved seeing all the different places they were sent to and loved experiencing them with the characters. Even though you know it's not real and you can't die, it's hard to not react when a dangerous situation presents itself!!

I liked the characters too. Kelly's husband worked on the game, and upon his death, she decided to have a look and see what it was all about. Plus she hopes to see something of her husband in the game. My heart went out to Kelly!! She doesn't really want to take part, but the game wont let her sit on the sidelines. Jack and Reis were also awesome characters. They were all well written and developed. 

I think I loved the sense of urgency created by the characters the most. That's what kept me reading quickly. They know that they can't survive long hooked up to the game without experiencing some serious complications, so as you're reading, you are feeling the need to figure things out and the sense that things are coming to a head soon. You're heart is pounding along with the characters!!

In all, this was a great read. It's unique and exciting and I'm looking forward to the next one. I can't wait to see where the author takes the story. 


Monday, 30 July 2018

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker Nerd Blast and Giveaway!

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 8, 2017)


SYNOPSIS

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...
One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.


AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY


Praise for EMMA IN THE NIGHT

"Twisty...a thriller that keeps readers guessing." —The New York Times

"In this searing psychological thriller...Walker's portrayal of the ways in which a narcissistic, self-involved mother can affect her children deepens the plot as it builds to a shocking finale." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"A tense thriller explores the bond between sisters and family dynamics that give new meaning to the term 'dysfunctional'...This thriller aims right for the heart and never lets go." —Kirkus, Starred Review

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." —Booklist, Starred Review


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy Walker is a former family law attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten. Her second thriller, Emma In The Night, will be released August 8, 2017.
Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure. She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies.
Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the mergers and acquisitions group. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.
Wendy is currently writing her third thriller while managing a busy household.

PHOTO CREDIT: BILL MILES

WEBSITE: https://www.wendywalkerbooks.com/
TWITTER: @Wendy_Walker
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3111135.Wendy_Walker
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/WendyWalkerAuthor/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wendygwalker/



--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

- 2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker.

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Thresher by Michael Cole Review!

40758773Title: Thresher
Author: Michael Cole
Pages: 264
Published July 8th 2018 by Severed Press
Source: Netgalley

PURCHASE: Amazon US / Amazon UK


In the aftermath of a hurricane, a series of strange events plague the coastal waters off Florida. People go into the water and never return. Corpses of killer whales drift ashore, ravaged from enormous bite marks. A fishing trawler is found adrift, with a mysterious gash in its hull. 
Transferred to the coastal town of Merit, police officer Leonard Riker uncovers the horrible reality of an enormous Thresher shark lurking off the coast. Forty feet in length, it has taken a territorial claim to the waters near the town harbor. Armed with three-inch teeth, a scythe-like caudal fin, and unmatched aggression, the beast seeks to kill anything sharing the waters.


My Thoughts:

Another fun filled, deep sea adventure from Michael Cole!! 

I just finished another book from this author and immediately dived into this one. I actually enjoyed this a lot more than Creature from the Crevasse, and I think it's because the plot was plausible and the fact it's a shark!. 

The plot was fast paced and exciting. I liked how we learned about what happened the Thresher. I liked that there was a little more science in the facts surrounding the Thresher's disposition, and I especially liked that this had more action with the shark than the authors previous work. It made for a faster and more entertaining read!

The characters were quite cliched, but likable. Riker is a deeply flawed character, and I couldn't help but root for him!! I enjoyed the dynamics between Riker and his new partner as well, and enjoyed the interactions between them. 

In all, this was a good read. I'm not a fan of the open water, and this just made me respect it more. Sharks are beautiful creatures, but they are scary and deadly, and reading about the Thresher here just made them even scarier!! I'm delighted the author went with a different shark than a great white one, it made for a far more interesting read. I'm hoping for a sequel because that ending left me with hopes of one!! A fun, entertaining and quick read!! 


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Creature From the Crevasse by Michael Cole Review!

38191753Title: Creature From the Crevasse
Author: Michael Cole
Pages: 240
Published: January 23rd 2018 by Severed Press
Source: Netgalley

PURCHASE: Amazon US / Amazon UK

A bizarre series of incidents take place on a usually tranquil lake. Boats are found ravaged, a body torn in two, other people are missing and an injured victim cries of a monster. Chief of Police Morgan Sydney must face the reality that a huge monster is lurking in the lake. With bulletproof scales, territorial aggression, and an insatiable appetite, the beast causes mayhem in the peaceful town. To destroy the creature, Sydney must form an alliance with the sheriff, a local lodge employee, his ex-wife, and an eccentric biologist who has a theory on what the creature is and its origins.


My Thoughts:

I went into this with very low expectations because I saw so many negative reviews about it, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it!! It was an easy, mindless and entertaining read.

Morgan Sydney took the Chief of Police in the small town when he had had enough of being a police man in a big city, and after getting a serious gun shot wound. He thinks the job will be easy, and it usually is, but when people start disappearing near the lake, and accounts of a "big fish", he realises that there is a creature intent on killing anyone or anything that's in it's territory. 

The plot of this was relatively fast paced and quite entertaining. I love a good creature feature and also love a good b movie horror and this ticked both the boxes. The parts with the fish were well written and exciting, and I loved that we get to know more about the characters during the rest of the book. It made them easy to like and connect with. 

In all, this was a fun read. It held my attention till the end and made me want to check out more from this author. Yes, it mightn't be a masterpiece, but it's an enjoyable read non the less!


Vesta’s Clockwork Companions By Juli D. Revezzo Spotlight!

40727706Vesta’s Clockwork Companions
Genre: Steampunk romance/Victorian romance
Word count: 84,000
Cover art: Raven Queen Publications.
Rating: PG
Heat level: sweet

Vesta's Clockwork Companions is available in kindle and paperback at Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/eu66uu 

Blurb:
When Vesta Bartlett, a wealthy alchemist and inventor, arrives in England to finalize an arranged marriage and help overhaul a family friend's outdated ironworks, she never expects to find the family so secretive, nor to develop feelings for her fiancĂ©’s younger brother, Henry.
But the growing attraction between Vesta and Henry is just the beginning of their troubles. Things really heat up when they're drawn into a secret project for Queen Victoria's military, one that requires Vesta's knowledge of clockwork and Henry’s iron.
An epidemic has wiped out all the dogs in Britain, and beyond. If the military fail in their effort to restore the species, a clockwork creation may be all that stands in the way of a world without canine companionship.
Are Vesta and Henry up to the challenge?


Bio:


Juli D. Revezzo writes fantasy and romantic stories filled in with elements garnered from a lifetime love affair with magic, myth, witches, wizards, and fated lovers and legend. She is the author of The Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, steampunk historical romances VESTA’S CLOCKWORK COMPANIONS, WATCHMAKER’S HEART, and short stories published in ETERNAL HAUNTED SUMMER, LUNA STATION QUARTERLY, among others. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.


Find Juli at:

Website: https://www.julidrevezzo.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julidrevezzo/
Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782712.Juli_D_Revezzo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julidrevezzo/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jewelsraven/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/julidrevezzo
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/juli-d-revezzo

Newsletter signup at: http://bit.ly/SNI5K6

Book Trailer:


Monday, 23 July 2018

Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky Nerd Blast and Giveaway!




Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Tor Teen (June 19, 2018)



SYNOPSIS

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.
Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.
But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

A 2018 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION


AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY


Praise for DIVE SMACK

"A tense psychological drama with a voice that pulls you in and a twist you won't see coming, Dive Smack is an instant Hitchcockian classic!" —Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten

"A twisty, witty thriller readers will love puzzling through to the very end. A visceral, delightful debut." —Carrie Mesrobian, author of William C. Morris award finalist Sex & Violence

"This riveting debut will plunge readers into an accelerating coil of twists and turns as if in free fall, plummeting them from a precipice as they cling to the dwindling hope of safe entry into the mysterious darkness below." —S.A. Bodeen, author of The Compound

"Brodsky’s debut combines an engaging school story, filled with best friend shenanigans, first love, and a fascinating look at competitive diving, with a tense psychological mystery." —Booklist

"In an impressive debut, Brodsky injects her teen drama with ambiguity, and a subtle hint of paranormal phenomena, leaving readers to guess at what’s really going on. Strong characters and a compelling mystery make this a real page-turner." —Publishers Weekly

"A taut thriller with a twist ending that will blow your mind." —Kim Liggett, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of The Last Harvest

"Complex, thrilling, and with a pitch-perfect narrative voice, Dive Smack will leave you on the edge of your seat and unable to put this one down." —C. Desir, author of Bleed Like Me

"Heartbreaking, human and heroic, Dive Smack is a Perfect 10!" —Karen LaFace, 1992 USA Olympic Springboard Diver

“A taut roller coaster of a thriller chock full of dark family secrets, twisty lies, and finally, the redeeming power of truth.” —Michelle Zink, author of This Wicked Game




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A. from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs where she is always trying to make more time for the beach. Dive Smack is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you'll understand why.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM DEMETRA BRODSKY

WEBSITE: https://www.demetrabrodsky.com/
TWITTER: @demetrabrodsky
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15852879.Demetra_Brodsky
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/demetrabrodsky
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/demebrodsky

--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

- 2 Winners will receive the Ultimate DIVE SMACK Swag by Demetra Brodsky.



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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A Pilgrimage to Death by Alexa Padgett Book Blitz and Giveaway!


A Pilgrimage to Death
Alexa Padgett
Publication date: August 14th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller


They murdered her sister. They threatened her church. But their day of reckoning will cost her everything…
When Cici Gurule finds the dead body of a parishioner in the nearby Santa Fe National Forest, she’s horrified to realize the victim bears the same stab wounds that ended her twin sister’s life one year earlier.
Now, as a freewheeling, progressive reverend who’ll stop at nothing to protect her flock, she’ll need to join forces with her detective friend and loyal pair of Great Pyrenees to hunt down the killer before she’s forced to officiate another funeral.
Soon, however, Cici discovers her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation, and her death was no random act of violence. With the criminals out for Cici’s blood, she needs to catch the wolf by the tail…before it goes in for the kill.
Fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Stacy Claflin will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel! Scroll up and click to start this fast-paced, high-octane mystery thriller!


Are you a book bloggers?
Request a review copy here!


EXCERPT:

Sam brought his chair down with a soft thump as it hit the patio paver but he didn’t say anything for another long moment.
“Anna Carmen was my best friend. She helped me through a hard time—she helped me see what I couldn’t then.”
Cici’s lip trembled as she lifted her teacup. “I miss her, too. So much. Yesterday . . . it all came bubbling back up.”
Sam’s hand settled on Cici’s shoulder in that gesture of comfort she’d come to depend on.
“I know you do. And, yeah, I figured it would.”
Jaycee sidled up to their table and settled Sam’s large glass of iced tea on the table. Condensation formed on the glass, dripping down to wet the white napkin beneath it.
“I thought of something,” the girl said.
Both Cici and Sam turned their faces up to the teenager.
“Mr. Johnson told me one time he was meeting someone about a case.” Her brow wrinkled for a moment before she shrugged. “Does that help?”
Sam tugged at his short ponytail. “Maybe. Thanks, Jaycee.”
“Sure.” The girl skittered off to greet some new patrons.
“You think you know what the case is, don’t you?” Cici asked, pouring more tea into her cup.



Author Bio:
With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $50 Amazon gift card

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Monday, 16 July 2018

Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer Nerd Blast and Giveaway!


Publisher: Talem Press; 1 edition (August 25, 2017)
Publication Date: August 25, 2017


SYNOPSIS

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions. 



Praise for HEART OF MIST

"I fell in love with the world Scheuerer has built..." ―Book Series Recaps

"Scheuerer has crafted a vibrant world shrouded in magic, mystery and deadly mist, slowly revealing a back story that has the reader clamouring to know more. Heart of Mist ends on the promise of future adventure, and I for one can't wait to go!" ―the AU review

"A brilliant, absorbing read - I absolutely loved it. The dark, rich characterisation, the wonderful world building, the breathtaking plot and the beautiful writing make the whole experience a joy from start to finish." ―Alexandra Nahlous

"Heart of Mist is captivating in its world-building and brilliant character development. Scheuerer is a true master at weaving together magic, mystery, passion and politics in her standout debut." ―The Literary Casanova 

"Heart of Mist is an incredible fantasy novel: magic, hints of romance, friendship, betrayal, secrets and deeply rooted plot twists abound... A unique fantasy series that I can see easily becoming one of my all-time favourite fantasy novels." ―The Book Tweeter

"Scheuerer's tale is intense, filled with details of scenes of action, despair and danger. Well-defined characters will leap off the pages as Bleak and the rest come to life. Scheuerer has done a fabulous job of pulling me into her story and her world. A wonderful fantasy series with a very firm foundation to build upon!" ―Tome Tender



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.
Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.
Helen is now a full-time author living by the beach.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM HELEN SCHEUERER

WEBSITE: http://helenscheuerer.com/
TWITTER:  @HelenScheuerer
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9898249.Helen_Scheuerer
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/helenscheuererauthor/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/helenscheuerer/



--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

- 1 Winner will receive an Audio Book Copy of HEART OF MIST by Helen Scheuerer
- Winner will receive a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.




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Friday, 6 July 2018

Audiobook Review: A Looming of Vultures by Richard Storry! @RichardStorry @JU_AudioBooks




Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Book Depository

While an ugly war with its neighboring realm continues to rage, the insulated members of Ruritania's upper class laugh and dance their way through their superficial lives. Some people, increasingly disillusioned by the pointless conflict, start to consider how the King might be persuaded - or forced - to end it.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of items of great value are going missing from those attending these high society gatherings. At whom will the finger of suspicion point? Who can be trusted? With so many competing, yet intertwined, agendas, what will be the outcome of this looming of vultures?

My Thoughts

This book!!! This surprised me so much. I didn't read the blurb fully and was expecting a high fantasy kind of book filled with war and fighting etc, but what I got was a fun, story that's filled with mystery, murder plots, theft and highly likable characters. I really think you should go into this book blind, it's such fun!!

I adored the duo of Rudolph and Wilhelm. Rudolph is the rich master, but he also has sticky hands and Wilhelm has made him promise not to take anything again. But when one of his friends tells Rudolph about an uncrackable safe he recently got, Rudolph just has to take up the challenge and try to crack it! It helps when his friend entrusts Rudolph with some of the code for the safe. 2 others have the other parts of the code. This is to ensure that nobody other that the owner will have access to the code should he ever forget it. So Rudolph sets off to get the parts of the code and crack the safe! But he finds out something along the way... there is a plot to kill the king! Rudolph has to twart the plot before it's too late. 

Rudy and Willy were such great characters!! I know you shouldn't root for the thief but it's hard not to when he is such a lovable rogue!! I was hoping he wouldn't get caught. I loved the dynamics between the two too! I laughed out loud a good few times while listening to it!! Willy threatens Rudy with not making his favourite treat if he keeps stealing, but Rudy wants this last big score to earn more than enough to keep them both comfortably! The author has created some unforgettable characters!!

In all, this is a gem of a book and one I urge everyone to try!!It's extremely well written and entertaining and I can not wait till book 2 comes out!!

Jake Urry was exceptional!! He has such a distinctive voice and it worked so well here. I know he has experience in theater and it shows because he brought the atmosphere and characters to life effortlessly. He didn't just read this, he performed it! He immersed me in the world the author created and I can't recommend him enough!! 

I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts

Story:    

Performance:   

Monday, 2 July 2018

Rival by Arwen Paris Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Rival
Arwen Paris
(Fate of the Stars, #2)
Publication date: November 1st 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult


It’s a role she didn’t want…
One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.
And a game she can’t afford to lose.
Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.



EXCERPT:

Staring out of the tinted bulletproof windows of the limo, I can’t tell for sure how gray the clouds are that gather above us. I hope it doesn’t rain again. It’s unsettling to come back here. To see the complete destruction of the California ocean side town that I once called home—Avilene Beach. It’s a ghost-like cemetery of charred, crumbling homes and palm trees turned askew and broken apart. Just like me.
This is the direct result of my decisions.
Wind skitters across the surface of black puddles racing by, reminding me of the oily blood of the Ma’tiok. It’s been just one week since my old life, my human life, ended and this new one exploded into existence. Acid rises in the back of my throat, burning hot, and I crush my jaw together hard until my lips press into a thin line. Why did Eenoki pick me?
“Priestess, do you understand what I said?”
Katok’s sharp telepathic tone startles me out of my immersive guilt. “Stick to the speech the High Priestess provided. Yes. I got it.” I swallow hard against the rising bile being pressed there by the trembling in my gut. What if this press conference makes things worse?
“Allison, don’t worry so much. You’ll be safe.” Stephen reaches out to me and Katok snatches his hand midair, crushing it in his huge taloned palm.
“Ow! Dammit, Katok!” Stephen clutches his wounded limb.
I swear, that’s almost a smirk on the massive Vongjar commander’s leopard-like face. Katok’s lips curl back menacingly to reveal his white fangs and piercing resolve. Stephen knows better than to try and touch me.
I sigh, and can’t help but glare at Stephen who sits across from me. His dark muscular arms are crossed hard against his white Navy button up shirt. Even with the blotchy purple and yellow bruises healing across his tense neck and face, he’s still handsome. But his haircut, shaved in military style, makes me miss his longer tawny surfer hair.
“Stephen, if I can’t be the bridge between the Alliance and Earth, our world won’t survive the Ma’tiok. You understand that, right?”
His angry blue eyes lock on me, softening, and he smiles.
I look away and clench my fists on the cold, empty, black leather seats beside me. We can never make it work. He’ll never understand what I am, or what I have to do. I have to serve the Alliance to have any chance of getting them to fight the Ma’tiok on the ground, instead of glassing the Earth like they have so many other infected worlds.
The blue tint to the air thickens as we get closer to our destination. What if I had just gone with Z’iram and left Earth behind? Maybe he would have spared those who died here.
No. If we left, there would be no hope of the Alliance helping this world fight back. Any other choice would have meant the total destruction of Earth without any chance of survival.
I know Eenoki is right, but the truth still hurts.
The High Priestess will arrive soon, aboard the planet killer Star Fire, to judge and test me. This speech is another test, one that I can’t afford to mess up. If Kiobaan doesn’t publicly declare me a Priestess, of Earth, then there will be no ambassador to the Alliance or protection for our world.
I take a deep breath and straighten the pale gown Tarem made me wear, irritated at how ridiculous I look. Not that I own any clothes besides what the Alliance has provided me. Before we left, my reflection shocked me. The way they pinned up my long auburn waves under a small crystalline hairpiece that stands a few inches high, reminded me of my vision of Aakina. The memory Eenoki shared with me from her last day alive, before she and her world were wiped out by the Ma’tiok.
“How much longer Katok, until there are too many Ma’tiok for your troops to handle”
His golden eyes widen. “They multiply too quick. The ground troops struggle to do more than contain them. Our current calculations project ten Earth days at most. We need Alliance support to do any more.” Katok shakes his head.
Ten days left? It’s only been twenty one since the Ma’tiok arrived!
Stephen leans closer. “He’s not telling you the whole story. Admiral Hurst says that there are over ten thousand Ma’tiok and infected humans on the ground, and that combined kills between Katok’s troops and the US military don’t even equal the rate that they’re multiplying at. We are losing every day.”



Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic

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  • $50 Amazon gift card

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