Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Student Bodies" by Susan Israel

Student Bodies
(Delilah Price Book 2)
by Susan Israel

Student Bodies is the second book in the Delilah Price series by Susan Israel. Also available: Over My Live Body.

Student Bodies is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Delilah Price is still dealing with the consequences of her recent abduction, but she needs to keep her life on track. In order to survive as an artist in New York City, she has started working as a substitute teacher, which leaves her navigating between two worlds that are foreign to her – students and educators.
Detective Patrick Quick has taken up a big place in Delilah’s life. That is, when he isn’t consumed by a case. And right now the case that is taking Quick away from Delilah involves a serial rapist and is striking very close to home.
On her way to her first day of work, Delilah witnesses a young girl falling in front of a subway train – or was she pushed? The victim turns out to have been a student at the middle school where Delilah has been assigned to teach and the teacher she is subbing for is a missing person herself. As Delilah gets to know her students and befriends a teacher on staff, she realizes that many have been hiding dark secrets that suggest abuse and worse. And when yet another girl who has hinted strongly that she was abused is a no show to class, Delilah stops counting on police help and follows leads on her own. Putting a dangerous predator on her trail.
The dramatic follow-up to Susan Israel’s debut suspense novel, Over My Live Body, Student Bodies is a novel rippling with tension and twists.

There never seems to be a train lighting up the tunnel when you need one in a hurry, but today one is there and the doors close just as the red message at the turnstile commands me to swipe my MetroCard through again. And again. Damn! I drop my MetroCard and get shoved by someone behind me. I turn around to give whoever it is a dirty look and see a dark-haired young girl wearing a pleated white dress. Late for her confirmation or something like that, I’m thinking. How long is that dress going to stay pristine down here? She looks dazed. I pick up my MetroCard and get through the turnstile on the next swipe, then step out of her way. She swipes hers, too, her hand shaking.
I head for the public phone to my right to call the school I’m supposed to be at to say I’m running a little late. Nobody answers. I’ll apologize profusely when I get there. When I turn back toward the platform, the girl is on her knees, her head bowed. She must really be late if it’s come to this. I’ve never seen anyone kneeling on a subway platform before. She closes her eyes. Commuters make a part around her. A street person starts singing “The Greatest Love Of All” in front of the newsstand, palm extended, asking for handouts. Commuters make a part around him too. They’re just obstacles, like the red, white and blue poles along the length of the platform. I turn back to look at the girl. Behind me I get a whiff of cheap cologne. The same cologne I smelled in Sachi’s bedroom. I whirl around. Anyone here could be wearing that cologne. And a lot of it too. I’m at a disadvantage. I don’t know who I’m looking for. Who here would be Sachi’s type? Do I know Sachi’s type?
I go over to the newsstand to get a bag of M & Ms, sniffling so much from the cologne that the news-vendor gestures to a pile of pocket tissues. “You got a cold? You want these too, miss?” I shake my head. My feet sense the vibration of the approaching train first and I start dropping change in my hurry to pay the vendor before I miss this train too. A scream punctuates the approach of the train. Trains don’t make noise like this. I whirl around and see a man with his hands extended in front of him. I can’t tell if he’s been grabbing at something or pushing something. The girl in the white dress literally flies in front of the train as it hisses to a stop. I cover my eyes for a split second and then force myself to look around me. A crowd forms around where the girl was kneeling just moments ago. More people scream. A couple of people lean over the platform and gag. I turn away again. I don’t want to believe what I think just happened actually happened.
“She jumped.”
“She was trying to get away from that person who grabbed her elbow.”
“It looked to me like he was trying to keep her from jumping.”
“It looked to me like he pushed her toward it.”
“Well, she’s gone anyway.”
“Call nine-one-one, someone, hurry!”
All of these accounts turn out to be soliloquies because nobody’s here to question these people, not yet. I take several deep breaths. I’ve lost the urge to sneeze. Whoever was wearing that cologne is gone. I take a good look at the faces on the platform. Quite a few of them have a distinct greenish tinge, blending well with the mosaics of beavers on the subway wall. I imagine mine must look that way too. I hear the squawk of police radios on the stairway. Suddenly blue uniforms swarm the platform and start buzzing orders. “Okay, everybody, stay back, give the EMS guys a chance to get through.”
“She’s beyond EMS,” one onlooker says.
“You a doctor, sir?”
“Uh, no…”
“Well then, stand back with everyone else and let someone qualified make that determination.”
A few people back up toward the turnstiles. Another officer stops them. “No one’s going nowhere just yet. We got a report this girl was pushed.”
“She wasn’t pushed. Looked to me like she was trying to get away from somebody and lost her footing.”
“That ain’t all she lost.”
“People, I’m going to have to ask you to stay over there by the newsstand out of our way till somebody asks you some questions about what happened here.”
A man standing next to me clears his throat. “I didn’t see anything, can I go?”
“No one’s going nowhere,” the officer snaps.
“Candy, gum, magazines,” the newsstand vendor chants in a heavily accented voice. “Get something to pass the time.”
“We want to talk to you too,” the officer says to the vendor.
I can’t see beyond the wall of blue lined up along the platform. I realize I still have the bag of M & Ms clutched in my hand. I’ve lost my craving for them and it’s so hot on the platform that I’m sure they’ll have melted before I leave. I look around for a trash can to throw them in and see more scuffed shoes descending the stairs. Then I see someone that makes my hand squish the life out of that bag of M & Ms altogether.
“Delilah,” Quick says as he starts toward me. “Did you see anything?” I have a distinct feeling just from the tone of his voice that he would rather I didn’t see anything.
It may be more a question of what I smelled. I shake my head. “I’m not sure. I don’t know if what I noticed would be very helpful.”
“Try me,” he says. Under other circumstances there is nothing I’d rather do. “Wait here. I’ll want to talk to you at the station.”
“I have to wait here?”
He nods. “Afraid so.” He mumbles a few asides to a uniformed cop to his right and then turns back to me. “I can’t say how long we’ll be. We’ve got to talk to a lot of witnesses.” He looks around. “As you can see. We want to talk to anyone who’s handicapped and elderly first, so they can go. We don’t want anyone having heat stroke down here.”
Another detective saunters up to him. “Girl did an Anna Karenina, from what I understand.”
Where did he come up with that? I wonder if an all points bulletin is going to be posted for someone named Vronsky. The uniforms start beckoning potential witnesses away from the platform, toward the benches against the wall and through the turnstiles. A detective sidles up to the newsstand behind me. A baby begins to wail loudly. “I got to nurse,” his mother protests, pulling at one of the policeman’s sleeve with her free hand.
He whirls around. “Hey, don’t do that.”
“I got to nurse. My baby hungry.”
“Sit over there,” he points to the row of benches behind me, next to the newsstand.
I look over at the pay phone, thinking I better call the school to say I’m not going to be able to make it, period, that they’re going to need a substitute for this substitute, and probably call Heidi Obermeyer, too, to tell her to get another model, but the line is longer than the line to cash checks in banks the first of the month. I hate doing a no-show but expect everybody will understand. At least I hope they will. The girl on the tracks is never going to show up for anything again. I’m beginning to smell vomit. I don’t know how long it takes for a dead body to start to smell and I don’t want to find out. I look over at Quick who’s deep in conversation with yet another witness. How can he stand this, dealing with death all the time? I start to walk farther down the platform, as far away from the mayhem as I can, until I can’t go any further.
“Miss, where you going?” someone calls out. I ignore him.
Then, “Delilah!”
I reel around. Quick waves me back and points to the congregation of witnesses clustered around the newsstand. “I need air,” I whisper to him, clutching my stomach. “I feel like I’m going to be sick.”
“Okay, hold on, I’ll get someone to escort you.” I wish I could hold on to him, witnesses be damned. “I want to talk to you at the house, not here. I’ll be there as soon as I’m finished up here.” He keeps watch on me as he takes a uniformed officer aside and then says something to him I can’t hear and gestures for me to go with him. I’d gladly follow someone into a cell as long as it meant getting away from this. But I’d rather it be Quick.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"With a powerful sense of place, a compelling and twist-fueled plot, and characters of surprising depth, Student Bodies is as good a mystery as those written by modern-day masters. Susan Israel's second novel confirms for me that she is one of crime fiction's most talented new voices." ~ Doug Corleone, author of Good as Gone
"The dramatic follow-up to Susan Israel’s debut suspense novel, Over My Live Body, Student Bodies is a novel rippling with tension and twists. This book would make a terrific Movie-Of-The-Week it has all the right ingredients." ~ VicG
"This is the second book in a series and although I didn't read the first book I was easily able to keep up with what was going on in this book. [...] I read it in one day it's an easy read. I'm going to look into reading the first book now since I enjoyed this one and I will keep this author on my radar." ~ Lisa0169
"Very very good. I was turning pages like a fury. Wonderful twist at the end that I did not see coming :-) Great characters and interesting situations. Can't wait to read the next. Keep 'em coming Susan Israel!" ~ bseaman2000
"Read the first book so was great to read the 2nd book. It was hard to put book down at night. Can't wait till another book comes out. Good crime writer." ~ Linda Wood

Guest Post by the Author
Creating Delilah Price
When I started writing my first novel, Over My Live Body, I had not yet envisioned it would be part of a series and didn’t realize how closely I would identify with my main character, Delilah Price. I had known a few sculptors and had modeled for sculpting classes and liked watching the process of molding a three dimensional form around a skeletal armature. I felt like I was molding her much as those artists modeled clay, to come up with a character of substance.
Once I knew that I was working on a series, it became even more imperative that I really liked her and could relate to her or else she could become the literary version of a very bad roommate. Her self-doubt, particularly when forced by financial circumstances to work at jobs that she feels less qualified for, seemed a natural. More than once when bemoaning how inadequate she feels as a teacher, she says to anyone who will listen, "I should’ve gotten a job as a waitress," though she acknowledges that she’s not any more confident in her restaurant skills. It’s in the sculpting studio that she feels she rules, but she has to pay the rent and so she’s stuck doing what she doesn’t necessary love much of the time. The majority of those sculptors I did know are working as teachers now, I believe. A twenty-something artist making a living solely from her art would be pushing the limits of believability, even for fiction. I wanted her to be somebody a lot of readers could relate to.
While she does get involved in an ungodly number of scrapes and close calls, I never set out to turn her into an amateur sleuth; her artistic skills benefit various police investigations. She can do a mean police sketch. Her personal involvement with Detective Patrick Quick complicates both of their lives. She’s not a chick-lit heroine; she doesn’t want a relationship so much as a one-woman show at a gallery and she doesn’t wait to be or expect to be "saved". But she still enjoys the emotional and physical perks of being involved with him (in magazine lingo, she’d be the archetypical "Cosmo girl"), and he both wants her to want him more and never has the time to invest more in the relationship.
One thing I felt badly about was that Delilah really didn’t have a close female friend in Over My Live Body, so in Student Bodies I gave her one - Freddie Shaw. (As Delilah herself says, "Every girl needs a BFF.")

About the Author
Susan Israel lives in Connecticut with her beloved dog, but New York City lives in her heart and mind. Her first novel, Over My Live Body, was published by The Story Plant in 2014. A graduate of Yale College, her fiction has been published in Other Voices, Hawaii Review and Vignette, and she has written for magazines, websites and newspapers, including Glamour, Girls Life, Ladies Home Journal, and The Washington Post. She’s currently at work on the third book in the Delilah Price series.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three paperback (US only) or ebook (international) copies of Student Bodies by Susan Israel.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"The Everlasting Circle" by Juliana Haygert

The Everlasting Circle
(Everlast Book 3)
by Juliana Haygert

The Everlasting Circle is the third book in the Everlast trilogy by Juliana Haygert. Also available: Destiny Gift (FREE), Soul Oath, and Cup of Life.

This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

For more books by this author, check out Breaking Fences (read my blog post) and Captured Love (read my blog post).

The war is approaching and the time to find enough allies for an army is running out. As is Nadine’s life.
Though Micah would love to spend more time trying to find a solution for Nadine’s impeding death, she would rather focus on strategies to win the war. With a new hero, a new god, and new abilities, Nadine starts to believe they might actually have a chance to chase the darkness away from the world.
Until betrayal drags them back to step zero.
Lost and angry, Nadine almost gives up. Almost. Her time on this Earth might be ending, but she has too much to do before she’s ready to die. Against all odds, Nadine will keep fighting to win the war until her very last breath.
Warnings: Strong language, sex scene. This is the third book in the Everlast trilogy. May contain spoilers of the previous books.

Click below to read an excerpt.

Praise for the Book
"Woohoo! Finally, after almost two years of waiting I was able to read the conclusion to the Everlast Trilogy and let me tell you it was worth the wait! [...] it was beautiful returning to the world that Juliana Haygert has created.The myths and storylines are really original and creative. Though, I'll miss these characters, I loved seeing everything come together in a satisfying ending. So, go pick up your copy of The Everlasting Circle today and if you haven't read this amazing series yet, start with Destiny Gift which is free!" ~ Shrimalya Srinivasan
"This woman rocks! Really! Yep, you all know about my author crush with Juliana, but if you know how hard she works for her books, how beautiful her stories are, or how nice she is with her readers, you'd understand my obsession ;)" ~ Savannah

About the Author
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting - but equally gratifying - life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in North Carolina and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Starbucks giftcard OR one of two signed paperback sets of Destiny Gift and Soul Oath OR one of two ebook sets of Destiny Gift and Soul Oath and Cup of Life by Juliana Haygert (US/Canada only).

Juliana also has a mystery box giveaway happening on Instagram. Simply subscribe to the author's newsletter for a chance to win (ends 1 August).


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Road to Shandara" by Ken Lozito

Road to Shandara
(Safanarion Order Book 1)
by Ken Lozito

Road to Shandara, the first book in the Safanarion Order series by Ken Lozito, is currently FREE. The author stops by today to share an excerpt from the book. Also available: Echoes of a Gloried Past, Amidst the Rising Shadows, and Heir of Shandara.

When a mythical world threatens everything, an unlikely hero must join the battle ...
College senior Aaron Jace is ready to start life in the real world. After the unexpected death of his grandfather, Aaron finds an unbelievable note that will change his world. The unknowing descendent of an ancient and powerful family, Aaron is thrust into a struggle that began long ago and will reach across worlds to pull him into the fight.
When he learns of the world of Safanar, it seems to be the stuff of legends: dragons, castles, and technologically-advanced cities. But it's as much a dream as it is a nightmare. Danger lurks in the shadows, and a demon sentinel named Tarimus wants to steal Aaron's power before he can learn his full potential.
With the help of an imprisoned Safanarion guardian, two mystical swords, and a puzzling family heirloom, Aaron must journey from Earth to find the fabled land of his ancestors. It may be a path that's impossible to survive.
The Road to Shandara is the first book in an epic fantasy series that features fast-paced action, compelling characters, and a breathtaking world that will make you want to snatch up the whole series. This is not your traditional fantasy novel. Grab the first book in your next fantasy series today!

The university campus was a buzz of bleary-eyed students going to and from class. Some exited the buildings with a slight spring in their step having finished another semester, while others were in such a haggard state that each step was carefully placed as if they walked on a path of eggshells and the slightest misstep would reveal just how unprepared they really were.
Having finished for the day, Aaron left Robertson Hall, home to the college of engineering sciences. Only one final exam separated him from a summer internship before starting graduate school, and he couldn’t wait. He headed to the parking lot and quickly located his old-style Jeep CJ7. Aaron had rescued the old CJ from a farm about a hundred miles from his house. His father thought he was crazy, but under the dirt and rust, a beast slept. “Beast” was the Jeep’s nickname and was a running joke between him and his father. He’d spent a year restoring it. The black paint shined and the chrome circling the traditional round headlights gleamed. The soft top was down, of course. Unless it was raining, the top to his Jeep always stayed down. There was nothing like driving with the top down and the wind blowing through his hair...freedom.
His mother had sent him a message asking that he cover for one of the horse trainers at his grandfather’s stables. He didn’t mind helping out and knew that his days working with the horses at the stables were numbered.
The drive out to the stables never took long, and a half hour later he came within sight of the tall hedges that ran the length of the property. He turned onto the long driveway lined with red maples. As he closed in on the main house, Aaron’s brows drew forward and he clutched the steering wheel. Bright, flashing red lights from police cars parked outside his grandfather’s colonial farmhouse lit up the area. Aaron steered to a stone wall, threw the shifter into park, and climbed out of the Jeep. A knot of police officers and paramedics gathered near the stairway that led to the house. At the top of the stairs, Zeus, his grandfather’s wolf half-breed, stood with his head lowered and teeth bared. A deep growl rumbled from Zeus’s chest and his ears were pinned back.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Great start to an awesome series."
"Couldn't put this one down."
"A compelling read. Fantasy at its best."
"This is one of those rare books that once I started reading I didn't want to put it down. Just had to see what was next and was never disappointed."

About the Author
I'm Ken Lozito, and I write fantasy, science fiction, and thriller adventure stories. The only thing I enjoy more than reading a great book is writing them. My main focus is to write books that I would like to read and I hope you enjoy them as well.


"In the Absence of You" by Sunniva Dee

In the Absence of You
by Sunniva Dee

In the Absence of You by Sunniva Dee has just been released. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

For more books by this author, check out Shattering Halos (read my blog post), Leon's Way (read my blog post), Adrenaline Crush (read my blog post), Cat Love (read my blog post), Walking Heartbreak (read my blog post), and Dodging Trains (read my blog post).

A new adult fiction novel about a self-indulgent prick of a lead singer
And a Gypsy girl with an agenda of her own.
Let the mayhem commence.
Emil isn’t your usual adoring leading man.
He’s the monster anti-hero.
Aishe isn’t your classic protagonist.
She’s the temptress anti-heroine.
This isn’t your typical romance.
It’s a horror anti-love story.
This isn’t the traditional novel where the sweet, innocent girl finds her prince charming and they live happily-ever-after. If that’s what you’re looking for, look somewhere else.
Because in this story, no one gets out unscathed.
Aishe is running. Running from the burn of a love she knows will consume her.
Running from a soul mate she’s never even met.
If only she hadn’t been hired as a merch girl for the hottest indie band on earth.
If only she’d never laid eyes on its front man, Emil - intense, sexy, and so unlike the men of her culture.
If only she hadn’t fallen onto his lips, then into his bed.
If only her flame hadn’t exploded into a full-on forest fire.
If only Emil’s heart didn’t belong to someone else.
Emil is running. Running from a broken heart.
Running from who he was with her.
If only Zoe hadn’t left.
If only Aishe hadn’t been right there.
If only she hadn’t been so damn gorgeous - insistent - different.
If only he could control himself around her.
If. Only.

I come from a family that burns with love. You wouldn’t understand unless you were one of us. I’m not just talking my father and my mother—I’m talking every one of my ancestors. It’s in our genetic build to spend all of our energy on love.
Once we come of age, it strikes and blazes with a fire that eats you alive. This love is a plague that boils in my race and in my culture, and I wouldn’t know a different way unless I’d broken free and seen strangers love with milder flames.
Tonight, my eyes go from the merchandise on my table to the blond-headed burst of life hopping off the stage. His gaze shimmers with amusement, a cocky lip twitching as he slaps high-fives to guys and pinches girl-cheeks on his way over.
“Aishe! You got those super-tight, hot little tees with the broken heart thingy on the front? The ones the chicks dig?” he asks once he’s in front of me, Emil, the vocalist of Clown Irruption, one of the hottest alt-rock indie-bands out there. I’ve been their merch girl for a few months now. Each night, I zoom in on Emil with less and less difficulty.
“Yeah. Troll picked them up this morning,” I say referring to their tour manager.
“This is so cool—finally we see actual merch money,” Emil laughs out. Then he sets a hand to the table and squints at me. “You’ve done much better than your cousin. I mean, Shandor, man.” He shakes his head playfully. “He couldn’t draw dudes to the stand worth shit.”
My face loosens in a smile. I send a subtle glance at Shandor, who’s busy wrapping things up on stage, coiling cables and breaking down drums. To sell T-shirts wasn’t what he burned for. Shandor was born with the plague of our people too, but he hasn’t found his beloved yet. My people, we need something to obsess over, so if it’s not a man’s love for a woman or vice versa, it’s something else, and Shandor, he loves his music. Once the band promoted him from merch guy to monitors on stage, he recommended me to fill his spot, and voilà, here I am.
Shandor raises his head and stills on us, focus intent from under dark locks. He’s got a sixth sense for when guys chitchat with me. Like me, he left our traveling community years back, but the need to protect any girl of our people is so deep-rooted I doubt he ever questions it. Shandor would do everything in his power to stop any man, employer or not, from toying with his little cousin.
I straighten so that I’m tall for my height. Though I’m not overly curvy, I’m lean and strong. Supposedly, I’m also fiery, a bit fierce, a bit ferocious, traits that make me who I am, traits I don’t need here in the outside world as opposed to amongst those I was born to.
I intimidate most men with the stance I take right now, but I can’t intimidate Shandor. He glares, telling me without words what not to do, and next he pierces his stare into Emil’s back. Oblivious, Emil juts his index finger at the case of lukewarm beers behind me, wiggles it back and forth quickly, lips pursed in anticipation. “Hand over one of those babies, will ya?”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"You never know what you are going to get when you open up a Sunniva Dee book. Well, you do. You get great writing, real characters, angst, and emotion. What you don't know is where she'll take the story. And this book is no exception." ~ D. King
"Sunniva always pushes the envelope, and does it with expertise, but this time she has outdone even herself. Emil and Aishe’s story isn’t a cookie-cutter romance where everything falls neatly into place. These beautifully flawed characters suck you in and force you to experience their ups and downs." ~ Lynn Vroman
"Sunniva is BRILLIANT!!! This is not the typical contemporary romance. None of Sunniva's books are. Which is why I LOVE reading them! This is one of those creatively brilliant works in that it shows light by showing darkness; much of the book dealt with some dark, heavy issues, but it made the ending that much brighter." ~ Lauren Seiberling
"Kudos to Sunniva Dee for taking romance in a whole new and exciting direction." ~ Cheryl McIntyre
"First off, I have to say I love Sunniva's style of writing. It captures you and entwines you into the story. This story has all the angst, frustration, hope, love, so you are constantly left unbalanced. I loved Aishe, she was such an easy character to root for. While things get crazy, you know what is right and you cheer when things all clear up. Another incredible story by Sunniva Dee. A must read!" ~ Tracey Parker

About the Author
Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground: Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece), Argentina (Buenos Aires, in particular). The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it's contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon's Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.