Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book Review: Brink of Dawn by Jeff Altabef & Erynn Altabef

Title: Brink of Dawn
Series:  Chosen
Author(s): Jeff Altabef & Erynn Altabef
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Date of Publication: Nov. 28,2015

Goodreads Synopsis:
Follow-up to the multiple award-winning Wind Catcher
They walk among us as if they are gods.Only the Chosen know what they are.Only the Chosen know to fear them.And only the Chosen can defeat them.
Evolved Publishing presents the second book in the multiple award-winning Chosen series of young adult mystery thrillers, which feature an American Indian fantasy and supernatural theme, from the same author who brought you the award-winning thriller Shatter Point, and his daughter.
Juliet Wildfire Stone and her best friend, Troy Buckhorn, barely escaped their sleepy Arizona town alive. Now they’re speeding to New York City to find the three other Chosen. The Chosen must band together to face an ancient foe that threatens all humanity.
Yet Juliet doesn’t know whom to trust, and strange things are happening in the City.
The Chosen will be tested, their resolve questioned, and their flaws exposed. Each must decide whether he or she will fulfill their destiny—or run. To defeat the enemy, they must stop battling among themselves and overcome their own struggles.
Only one can lead them. Will Juliet embrace her powers in time?
Brink of Dawn picks up where the multiple-award-winning first book in the Chosen series, Wind Catcher, left off, but it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. Continue the adventure! And be sure to watch for the third and final installment in this exciting series, Scorched Souls, to launch in late 2016.
AWARDS FOR WIND CATCHER:WINNER: Readers' Favorite Awards -- Gold Medal 2015: Young Adult Coming-of-Age
WINNER: Mom's Choice Awards -- Silver Medal: Young Adult Books
WINNER: Beverly Hills Books Awards - 2015: Best Young Adult Fiction
WINNER: Awesome Indies -- Seal of Approval: "A treat to read."

My Thoughts:

Is it possible to actually fall  in love with something or someone more than you already are? 
Yep, absolutely possible.
And that is pretty much what has happened with this series, these authors, and the characters.  The Chosen series really does keep getting better and better.  
I love that  in the second installment, Brink of Dawn, we delve deeper into the prophecy and realize it isn't only central to Native American folklore; it gives us similarities and examples from the other major religions too.  So just like in the book where we have very different people from all walks of life coming together for a common purpose, we see that the beliefs have more in common than most people realize they do.  It is truly a breath of fresh air in this day and age.  
Our main character, Juliet, is still recovering from losing someone very close to her in the first book, Wind Catcher, as well as trying to reconcile herself with the fact she will have to commit crimes she may not be able to forgive herself for, even if it is to save the planet.  In this book, Juliet has to learn more about herself as she goes into a self-imposed exile internally.  
Troy is still there protecting his best friend, Juliet, and learning more about himself as well.  We see a tremendous growth in each of these characters as they learn their importance in each other's lives. 
We are also introduced to a few new characters that play pivotal roles in the progression of the story.  Connor, a young man who is very troubled and drinks to deal with the pains of the past, is an interesting character that I have to say I really enjoyed.  He proves the point "never judge a book by its cover" to be true time over time.
Akari is super fun!  I also love that we get to see Japanese mythos brought in and are able to find similarities between it and the other mythos in the story.  Akari is a strong and tough female but still has issues that she must learn to overcome.  She has panic attacks when she least needs to have them and I just find myself loving her so much because I , too, suffer from panic attacks.  I can definitely relate, even if I can't save the world from powerful aliens! 
Blake is also an enigma in his own right too.  At first glance, you would think he is a pompous and spoiled young man, but we soon come to find out he has the biggest heart you could imagine.  He, just like his counterparts, have some serious issues that he will have to work through to save the world.

I found myself reading Brink of Dawn nonstop and having a very hard time putting it down to do routine things like eat, sleep, or teach.  This is a story that has an exciting plot, relatable and lovable characters, and a theme to die for.  
I highly recommend this series to anyone that loves fantasy with a mixture of the different mythos (including Christianity) and has a scientific appeal to it too.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brink of Dawn Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway hosted by Novel Publicity and Jeff Altabef, Erynn Altabef

Welcome to the Brink of Dawn Tour
hosted by Novel Publicity

Authors Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

Follow-up to the multiple award-winning Wind Catcher:

They walk among us as if they are gods.

Only the Chosen know what they are.

Only the Chosen know to fear them.

And only the Chosen can defeat them.

Juliet Wildfire Stone and her best friend, Troy Buckhorn, barely escaped their sleepy Arizona town alive. Now they’re speeding to New York City to find the three other Chosen. The Chosen must band together to face an ancient foe that threatens all humanity.

Yet Juliet doesn’t know whom to trust, and strange things are happening in the City.

The Chosen will be tested, their resolve questioned, and their flaws exposed. Each must decide whether he or she will fulfill their destiny—or run. To defeat the enemy, they must stop battling among themselves and overcome their own struggles.

Only one can lead them. Will Juliet embrace her powers in time?

Brink of Dawn picks up where the multiple-award-winning first book in the Chosen series, Wind Catcher, left off, but it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. Continue the adventure! And be sure to watch for the third and final installment in this exciting series, Scorched Souls, to launch in late 2016.

About the Authors
jeff altabef
Jeff Altabef is an award winning author who lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of "telling stories," he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres. Fourteenth Colony, a political thriller, was his debut novel. Evolved Publishing has published Jeff’s second thriller, Shatter Point, which won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Fall 2014 in the category of Best Thriller.

Jeff's first young adult novel, Wind Catcher: A Chosen Novel was published in March by Evolved Publishing. He's extremely excited that his daughter, Erynn Altabef, is his co-author on the Chosen Series. As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those that like telling stories.

As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those who like telling stories.

~Excerpt ~

Please enjoy this wonderful excerpt from the novel Brink of Dawn and be sure to enter the giveaway afterwards.  And when you get the chance, run out there and grab this book as well as the first one.  YOU will not be disappointed!


“You don’t have to do this, Jules.” Troy cocks his head to the side a little, the way he does when he’s worried about me.

The warm expression in his eyes melts my heart. What would I do without him?

He’s always looking out for me. I used to get into fights, but even when they were my fault, he’d always stand up for me. Now I need him more then ever. The fate of the world is at stake, and he’s still here beside me, standing up for me. He’ll die to protect me if he has to, but I don’t need him to protect me anymore. I need him close, to wrap his friendship around me like a blanket, to connect, to feel human.

Lately I’ve had a hard time feeling human without him.

“When was the last time I did something I didn’t want?” I smirk, but my words ring hollow, untrue—at least for me. I’m always stuck doing chores for other people, and now there’s an entire destiny to fulfill that’s been thrust upon me. I’d rather be normal and have nothing to do with this future, but we don’t get a chance to pick our destiny. At least I didn’t.

“What’s your mom going to say when she finds out?”

“Since when are you worried about my mom? You’ve been getting me in trouble since we were in kindergarten. Your name has been etched at the top of her Undesirable List since we were six. I’ve seen it. She keeps it posted on the refrigerator.”

Troy arches his eyebrows. “Hey, your mom loves me! I’m the other child she’s never had.”

“Are you serious?” I shoot him a half smile so he knows I’m joking.

Everybody loves Troy. Still, he’s not on the college track, and Mom wants me to go to one of the best colleges so I can make tons of money and become a big shot lawyer, like her or some other Master of the Universe that has no fun and works way too hard.

“Mom’s back home and we’re here. She doesn’t get a vote.”

He frowns. “It’s just that... once you do this, you can’t undo it. It’s forever.”

“Really. That’s the point.” I shove him lightly in the chest. I’m old enough to make up my own mind, but he’s just trying to protect me, so I can’t get too angry with him.

“What are your classmates at that fancy private school going to think when they find out?”

I pause for a second and look at him. I mean, really look at him, and peer past the handsome exterior: the almond-colored eyes, the chiseled chin, and the long raven hair that falls past his broad shoulders in a tight braid.

Beyond his confident shell, deep in his soul, he harbors doubts that trouble him—doubts he’ll never share with me. He’s making believe life will go back to normal once I fulfill this destiny—if I fulfill this destiny—but that’s not possible. Normal has become a bad joke, but I won’t shatter the illusion for him. He needs to sort events into a pattern he understands and imagine a time when life returns to what it was for us. It’s how he’s coping with the situation. I need to be strong for him. I can’t weaken his defenses, even if fears riddle my mind at every turn.

I straighten my back. “You know I don’t care about what they think at Bartens. I want to do this. I need to do it.” The wind kicks up, and the cool night air sweeps against my skin, leaving an army of goose bumps in its wake.

The almost full moon lights the cloudless sky. We inch toward the store and hesitate at the door. A red neon sign reads Lost Souls Tattoos in the front window. I take a deep breath and shove the door open, and a bell jingles above us.

No one’s in sight. Pictures of various tattoos line the walls of the small rectangular shop.

Toward the front left is a glass case with a cash register on top, and farther in the back are a massage table, some bright lights, and a chair with wheels on the legs.

A woman strolls from a back room. She’s in her twenties, gaunt with sharp features, smoky gray eyes, short hair, one nose ring, and small hoops that circle the edges of her ears. She holds a half-eaten wrap as she ambles toward us. “What do you guys want?”

She wears a loose gray T-shirt and tight jeans. Brightly colored tats cover her left arm, mostly eagles and hawks, and on the left side of her neck is a teardrop the size of my palm.

“I want a tattoo,” I say casually, as if ordering a cheeseburger at McDonalds.

She points to a sign taped on the cash register. “You’ve got to be eighteen for me to give you a tattoo, and there’s no way you’re eighteen.”

I’m almost sixteen. In the right light I could pass for eighteen, but she probably has a lot of experience with underage teenagers asking for tattoos. Still, I feel a lot older than eighteen and that should count for something.

“No one else is here. It’s late and this tattoo is really important to me.” My voice whines slightly at the end. I wish it hadn’t.

“Why?” She crosses her arms against her chest and arches her eyebrows upward. Two gold rings, one in each eyebrow, bob up and down.

An invisible door creaks open. I’ll only get one chance to persuade her to give me the ink. Her teardrop tattoo stands out and must be important. Grief dulls the sparkle in her eyes and shows in the muscles that tighten her jaw. She’ll relate to my story, if it’s truthful.

“I need to remember someone who died recently. He was really important to me.”


“My grandfather. I called him Sicheii, and he raised me like a father. He died to protect me.” Tears moisten my eyes. The tears are real, as Sicheii’s death is a fresh wound. People tell me the pain will get better with time, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. They mean well, but this hurt will always be fresh. He’ll always be gone, and it’s my fault. The woman’s face softens. “Just for the sake of discussion, what’re you looking for?”

Troy drops the satchel looped over his shoulder, smiles, lifts his T-shirt, and reveals his well-muscled chest and copper skin. Across his heart is a blue tat of two twisted arrows in a circle. Each arrow features different feathers and arrowheads.

The woman glides toward him and examines the ink on his chest. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and symmetry. She clearly admires it and perhaps wouldn’t mind trying to copy it.

Her eyes widen as she lingers over the details. “What does it mean?”

I hesitate. What am I going to tell her, the truth? That the symbol represents the ancient Order of the Twisted Arrows? Or that my grandfather unwittingly injected me at birth with alien DNA, which has changed me forever? Or that I’m one of four Chosen thrust into a battle for our world against a powerful enemy called from a different planet?

None of those explanations will get me a tattoo. She’d probably chase us from the store. I settle for something bland. “It represents an old society he belonged to. It meant everything to him. It was kind of a... club.”

At least it’s not a lie. She’s probably used to people lying to her and would catch a whiff of one right away.

She traces the circle with her finger. “Is it some weird Native American thing?”

“You could say that.” Native Americans use tattoos generally to identify with certain tribes or to honor their animal spirit guide. I’m half Native American on my mom’s side, and Sicheii was her father. I have long black hair, an oval face, coffee-colored eyes that are round but not quite round enough to be beautiful, and a long, pointy nose I inherited from my Irish father. I look Native American except for the ghastly nose.

The tattoo artist leaves Troy and slides in front of me. She stands close, no more than a foot away, and traces of vegetable wrap linger on her breath. I’m taller than the average person and stand at least three inches higher than she does.

She studies my face for a long moment; perhaps she’s trying to see if I’m serious. “What’s your name?”

“Juliet Wildfire Stone.” I never used to tell people my middle name. It embarrassed me. Now I realize it’s who I am, part of my identity.

“Wildfire, huh? I can see that. Where do you want the tattoo?”

I roll up the right sleeve of my T-shirt. “My shoulder would be great.”

She nods. “It’ll cost you two hundred cash, and you can’t tell anyone you got it here.”

“Done.” I hand her four fifty-dollar bills.

She locks the door to the shop, guides me to the table in the back, and places a pillow on one end. “You want it the same color?”

I jump on the table. “Yep.”

She gestures for Troy to come close. “Keep your shirt up. I want to get it just right.”

Two hours later, she wipes my arm with a towel. “That’s so weird.”

“What’s wrong?” My heart jumps. Did she just totally mess up my arm and leave me with some ugly circle thing?

Troy’s smiling, so how bad of a job could she have done?

“Usually it takes a couple weeks for the tat to heal. It always bleeds a little or gets puffy, but your arm already looks perfect, as if the ink had been on it forever.”

She hands me a mirror, and I smile. My tattoo is exactly the same as Troy’s. Exactly the same as Sicheii’s had been.

I shrug and hop from the table. “I’ve always been a fast healer.”

My DNA’s been changed, so my body can regenerate itself almost instantly. I didn’t know that before. It’s just another one of my abilities, as Sicheii would say. I’ve started to think of them as aberrations.

I have five so far: I can hear other people’s thoughts and read their emotions; I can possess animals for a short period of time; I have increased strength and speed; can move things with my mind; and heal instantly. There will probably be more, but they scare me. With each new one, I become less human.

“We’d better head out.”

I step toward the door, and she grabs my wrist. “Wait. I want to take a picture of the ink for the wall.”

“You can’t.” I yank my arm away from her.

“I won’t take your face. Just the ink.”

“Tough.” She scowls at me, but I ignore her and march outside.

When we leave the store a sharp pain stabs through my head, as though someone has taken an axe to my skull and cleaved it in two. A wild rage burns through me, and all of a sudden I’m inside a villa next to a piano.

Breath catches in my throat, all the strength saps from my body, and I plummet to the ground.

About the Prizes

We've got great prizes for this tour including signed paperbacks AND a 6 month subscription to Kindle Unlimited! You can enter multiple times & every day if you want!

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Blog Tour: Here They Lie by D'Ann Burrow

Hi everyone!!  I was so honored to get to participate in this blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! 
This is a really great book and I cannot wait to share my review with ya'll.  Also, don't forget to check out the giveaway going on too!  Thanks again!

Title: Here They Lie by D’Ann Burrow 
 Series: (The Bloodstone Legacy #1) 
Publication date: October 5th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Southern Gothic
Add to Goodreads 

Book Synopsis:

Reese Everett’s aunt picked a bad time to die. Just weeks after a car accident left Reese’s mother unable to travel, her aunt’s house needs to be emptied and sold, leaving Reese as the only member of the family who can do the job. She typically wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to sift through her aunt’s collection of antiques, but when she arrives in Devil’s Vale, Georgia, she discovers the family house in a state of disrepair she won’t be able to handle alone.
Colton Waters is back in Devil’s Vale – whether he likes it or not. After he loses his acceptance to medical school with no explanation, he’s left with a single job offer…one that will return him to the hometown he’d hoped to escape.When an errand to help his sister ends in a meeting with Reese neither will easily forget, Colton takes a job as her temporary handyman.
The longer Reese stays in town, the more she realizes the condition of her aunt’s house isn’t the only thing she hadn’t expected when she made the trip to Devil’s Vale. Reese isn’t the only gifted member of the family – her aunt Kate has been practicing the family business…the business Reese has been sworn never to discuss.
After a ghostly visitor arrives one night, Reese and Colton learn Kate wasn’t the only one practicing the darker arts. They begin to uncover secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Here They Lie won the Young Adult Romance Writer’s 2014 award for New Adult fiction.

My Review:

I really love a book that gives so much ado to Southern history.  Actually, I really love any history; but I can't help but be partial to Georgia history because I am from GA!
It's also really cool when you're reading a book and you see the town you live in mentioned as being only 30 minutes away from the fictional setting.  That is almost as good as seeing your state on TV!   That is a great way for me to share a intimate familiarity with the book, Here They Lie.  

As I was saying, I love history and it is amazingly cool that the main character, Reese, is an anthropologist, or at least one in the making.   Reading the beautiful descriptions of the old houses and the town of Devil's Vale; you can definitely tell the author is a huge Southern history fan.   She does such a wonderful job of world building that you really feel as if you are taking a stroll through town. 

Besides the wonderful world building, the characters are also interesting too.  Each person in Devil's Vale seems to have some sort of magical power that again makes the story that much better.  Devil's Vale is this tourist town based on pretend magic (according to the tourists) which in reality is real magic!  It is very creative!

The area of the town is what adds to this intense ghostly feel of the story.  The dark swamps, with the silent forests, and the very bumpy and old dirt roads just makes it feel like someone is always watching.  And yes, there is this creepy fog.  Even, as I write this right now, living on a bumpy dirt road, there is fog everywhere surrounding my house.  Its is freaking awesome!

The plot was also a pretty creative one too!  You get pulled into the story  and swept up with the characters as the past and future seem to collide together.  Even as you get to know some of the more prominent characters, there is this nagging sensation that nothing is as it seems. 

However, the pace did seem to move a little slow at times.  But instead of the tempo, we get more in depth with the history of Devil's Vale and its inhabitants.  It seems to be a fair trade.

There was also a couple other areas that I didn't enjoy- like the alternating point of views.  It was confusing without a sub title telling who was talking at the time.  There was one time, it was talking about driving the jeep through the woods to the house and I literally didn't know who it was: Reese or Colton, especially since they both have a jeep.  
Another irritation was the amount of sex going on in this book.  Now let me explain myself first.  I am not a prude; I love erotica and try to experience all types of genres.  However, it just seemed like our two main characters would have sexual relations at the drop of a hat.  And that's cool ; but we are talking about major plot events that were pretty sad and devastating and they seemed to getting ready to do the dirty jig.  
It just seemed to stretched; instead of letting it just happen.  

Other than these mishaps, I still enjoyed Here They Lie very much.  It has lots of twists and turns, with such a cool understanding of ghosts it was hard not to love this book.  It is full of rich history and it has my home state in it.  I am really loving the Southern Gothic genre and I think Here They Lie is a great asset to the genre.

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Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |

D’Ann Burrow once told her preschool teacher she wanted to be a witch when she grew up. That simple comment signaled the start of a life-long fondness of things that go bump in the night. As she grew older, she could most often be found with her nose buried in a book, and she was especially fond of the Nancy Drew series as well as anything by Christopher Pike or Stephen King. Occasionally she’d take a trip to the world of the classics where The Scarlet Pimpernel and A Little Princess reigned among her favorites. She’s lost count of the times she’s read Little Women.
Today, D’Ann enjoys the world of Supernatural, stories about guys with fangs, and she’s seldom met a disaster film she hasn’t liked. When she grows up, she’d like to work at the Haunted Mansion. Until then, watching Ghost Hunters will have to count as research.
D’Ann writes about secrets people keep. Even the bravest heroine or a guy with a heart of gold has a few skeletons in the closet they’d rather not share with the world. When those secrets get out, things get interesting.
A Texas native, she knows making great guacamole is an art form. As a theater mom, she’ll happily chat about Broadway musicals by the hour. Molly and Lizzie, the family furry ones, are frequent stars of her Instagram account.

Giveaway Time

Tour wide giveaway:

2 x $15 Amazon gift cards (International)
2 x Signed copies of Here They Lie (US Only)

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