Monday, March 27, 2017

"Beauty of the Beast" by Rachel L. Demeter

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Beauty of the Beast
(Fairy Tale Retellings Book 1)
by Rachel L. Demeter


Beauty of the Beast, the first book in the new Fairy Tale Retellings series by Rachel L. Demeter, is currently on tour with Promo Stars Services. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well, and keep an eye out for my review, coming soon.

 
For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Frost of Springtime and my blog post on Finding Gabriel.

Description
Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story - retold with a dark and realistic twist.
A beast living in the shadow of his past ...
Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.
A beauty in pursuit of a better future ...
Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle - unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.
Beauty and the Beast ...
Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more ...
Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.
Note: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to very strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.


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Excerpt
~ The East Tower ~
Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.
“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.
“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”
“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”
She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.
“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”
“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.
Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.
He stood intimately close.
Far too close.
As close as Raphael had been that night.
“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”
Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.
Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.
Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…
She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.
Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.
He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin... His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.
His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.


[Want more? Click below to read another excerpt.]



Praise for the Book
"Another Fairy Tale grows up, gains some dark realism and proves that without love, even a saint can become a beast from within their heart and that love can make anyone beautiful in the eyes of those who love them. Rachel L. Demeter has shown her writing chops once again as she turns an already dark tale into an edgy read that will rock you back on your heels." ~ Tome Tender Book Blog
"Absolutely beautiful. A perfect retelling of one of the most famous fairy tales. This version doesn't involve talking teapots or enchanted roses, but this retelling is still beyond magical." ~ LYLY 5 STAR BOOKS
"5++ enchanting stars. This book is so beyond anything I could have ever expected. The author recreated the original Beauty and the Beast story with a sexy and dark edge and I completely LOVED it. Rachel L. Demeter's writing is just beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, my kindle is literally FILLED with highlights." ~ Katie's Book Blog
"I loved Ms. Demeter's Finding Gabriel, so I when I saw her Beauty of the Beast, I jumped at the chance to read it! The fact that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, my favorite fairy tale, only made me want to read it even more - and wow - was it good. Although good is too weak a word to describe it, it really was amazing and I positively loved it!" ~ A Hopeless Romantic's Booklandia
"Once I started reading it ...I. Could. Not. Stop!" ~ The Booknatics


My Review


I'm just over halfway through reading Beauty of the Beast, and I'm loving this original adaptation of Beauty and the Beast that reads like a historical romance with a touch of The Phantom of the Opera and Cinderella thrown in.
Full review coming soon!


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About the Author
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California, with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader's emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.
Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel's passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.
Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.
Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter.


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Friday, March 24, 2017

"The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan" by Steve Wiley

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan
by Steve Wiley


The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
"Did you know most anything that matters in this city was built by magic before it was built by men? Of course you didn’t. This city is different from other cities. The true history of it is unpublished. Lucky for you, I know it all by heart." ~ Francesca Finnegan
In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side ofthe city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.
When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.
Note: Half of the proceeds from this book are donated to Chicago Public Schools.


Excerpt
There is magic in the city.
When Rich Lyons was a little boy, he learned of the magic from an old, cockeyed, Captain Hook–looking magician. The old man sat alone at a table for two outside a neighborhood bar every summer day, all day, always with a glass of twinkling whiskey. He said the twinkle had once been in his eye, but had blown out one windy day and splashed right into the whiskey. Rich liked how the twinkle twinkled in the whiskey. He liked it so much, he asked the old man if he could have it. The man told Rich he didn’t need it, because he already had a twinkle of his own, and besides, that particular twinkling whiskey tasted like shit, worse than Malört[1], if that’s possible.
“You be careful,” the old man warned, “because in the city of wind, a twinkle may blow out. The wind here, it twirls and sings like a music-box ballerina. It plays tricks and tells stories like an old-man magician. Like me, like this …”
And so, the old man performed tricks for Rich and regaled him with city folklore and fantasy. He said the Great Chicago Fire was arson, started by a fire-breathing dragon from the Fulton River District who was fed up with the cold winters. He said the Chicago River started flowing backward when a giant sea serpent sneezed so powerfully, it changed the direction of the current. He said the sky was purple (not black) above the city because a wicked witch had stolen all the black for her cats and bats and witch hats.
Rich’s favorite story was one about the L trains, and how each had come to be named for a color. The old man said the colors arrived when the first skyscrapers did. Before then, all the trains were the same dull brown. On the day the first skyscraper went up, a rainbow, unused to encountering buildings so high in the sky, accidentally crashed into it. When the rainbow crashed, each of its individual colors went splattering in all directions. Some landed on the L trains and stained them. The only train to miss a color was the Brown Line, because, the old man said, it was offline for repairs.
The old man also said there was one line, a secret line, that got a splash of lavender.
One day, Rich asked the old man if he could use his magic to tell fortunes. The old man said, well, hell, of course he could, it was a matter of simple city magic. Rich asked if he might hear his own fortune. He wanted to know what he would be when he grew up.
The old man told Rich there wasn’t much he wouldn’t be when he grew up. He would be a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother, a friend. He would be a ghost in the graveyard. He would be a vice president of something. He would be a pisser in the pancake batter. He would be a reveler-adventurer. He would be a hider and seeker. He would be a rocket man. A businessman.
And, he would be a rich man.


[1] Disgusting alcoholic spirit, occupied by the evil spirit of a bootlegger, who was bootlegged himself. Available only in Chicago.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]



Praise for the Book
"This is a book for intelligent adult readers who love a playful escape into teenage fantasies of fleeting first kisses, exceptional Ferris wheels, extraordinary cocktails, and a castle that has the sky's stars for a ceiling." ~ Publishers Weekly
"Filled with clever rhymes and plays on words, the prose itself is pure fun. Witty, humorous, and at times profound, the tone is true to its fairytale style. And like all good fairytales, it teaches a lesson - one that older readers are sure to benefit from." ~ Indie Reader
"There are just enough obscenities uttered to ensure this book is never shelved in the children’s or even young adult section. The story, though, is anything but vulgar, a sweet and uplifting tale as heartwarming as the ones it’s poking fun at." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"Twists on Chicago history and fantastical insights into uniquely Chicago phenomenon, such as the reason Malort tastes so bad, make for an entrancingly magical journey that's half Midwestern Miyazaki, half Mad Men, and all Windy City." ~ Windy City Reviews
"The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is an imaginative, modern-day adventure-fantasy for readers of all ages. Offering a view askew of the mundane and the magical, The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is a lighthearted joy to read, highly recommended!" ~ Midwest Book Review


My Review


By Lynda Dickson
Richard Lyons may be rich, but he's not happy. He's going through life like a zombie. But then, one Friday night, he meets a girl who tells fairy tales in the street. An accidental bump to the head later, and so begin the adventures of Rich Lyons through Francesca Finnegan's fairytale Chicago.
I was captivated from the opening line - "There is magic in the city." - which sets the tone for this magical story that reads like a modern, original fairy tale. It's a charming, whimsical, alternate history of Chicago, complete with funny footnotes, nonsense verse, and cute illustrations (by Chris Cihon). Fragments of things Richard saw before he becomes unconscious, manifest themselves in his adventures. In this respect, the book is reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Take a trip with Rich on the mythical Lavender Line through Chicago's non-existent East Side. You'll meet real-life historical figures, as well as fairytale creatures such as the house-cat train conductor, Queen Billy Boyle, Templeton the elf, Thumbelina, Lucy the mermaid, the Grand Duke of Rhine Falls, Mr. Fox, and - of course - the blue-haired Francesca Finnegan. You'll be regaled with tales (look out, it's contagious!) of old Chicago landmarks: the last city farm, Dunning Mental Hospital, Riverview Amusement park, the Green Mill cocktail lounge, Aragon castle, and the abandoned Chicago cable car tunnels.
You'll learn how the Windy City got its name, the cause of the Great Chicago Fire, the origin of the infamous Chicago liqueur Malört, the true events of the Saint Valentine's Day massacre, the legend of footballer George Gipp, the origin of the city's flag, why the Chicago River flows backwards, the story of John Kinzie and the Polish Potawatomi, the origin of Chicago's name, the story of the Dearborn Massacre, the phenomenon of the Chicago River turning green, the cause of the lightening of the Chicago night sky, the origin of Chicago's mermaid statue, and how the Aragon Ballroom came to have its star-studded ceiling.
Along the way, Richard regains some of the magic of his youth - and so will you. A wonderful, satisfying fairy tale for adults.

"Asking how to get anyvere on zis map is like asking vere to fall down a rabbit hole, or how to valk srough a looking glass." ~ The Grand Duke of Rhine Falls

Some of My Favorite Lines
"As a man, spirits were drunk and not dreamed. He snorted pixie dust, and while it made him high, he could never truly fly."
"It was the moment between afternoon and evening when the moon and sun swapped ownership of the sky."
"The Brown Line is one of those color-coded trains that make up the greater Chicago L system, coursing through the city’s anatomy like old-man blood vessels, clumsily pumping life in and out of the loop at the city’s heart."
"Jerking off with a cold is like reading a book upside down. You can start, but never finish, and there is no satisfaction in the endeavor.”
"The rain covered Rich’s face and seeped in his mouth and dripped down his throat. It tasted sweet as soda, and when Rich swallowed it, he was positive he’d live forever. It was the second-to-last time rain would make him feel like that."


About the Author
Steve Wiley is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. This is his first book. He has an undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten from DePaul University. Follow him on Goodreads and Instagram.

About the Illustrator
Chris Cihon is an artist who studied at Columbia College Chicago. He is a Chicago native and has lived here all his life. Chris’s paintings have been showcased in many local galleries and beyond. When he feels like it, he travels elsewhere to find inspiration. Follow him on Instagram.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a hardcover or ebook copy of The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley.

Book Links