Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 12

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The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram

Chronicles of the Stone: Book 1

 

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In this exciting Middle Grade adventure set in Egypt, a 5000-year-old mystery comes to life.

Scarab cover frontA scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs.

Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler.

They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!

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authorI am a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir….

Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I have now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in my MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3!

I also teach online novel writing for aspiring authors and I find that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds me enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. I love doing research for my book series. I love animals and have written two animal rescue stories. I have two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

Author Site • Books Site • BlogTwitterLinkedIn

 
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Top Ten List:

My Top Ten (in no particular order):

  1. Travel
    I have been fortunate enough to visit many countries but there are still more on my list.

  2. Animals
    I love animals and wish I had tons of money to donate to many of the causes I read about. One day, I will!

  3. Movies
    I LOVE movies. Detective, thrillers, animal feel goods, historical series, adventure, action, marvel character movies, I love it!

  4. Books
    I LOVE books, of course, and still have many of my old childhood favourites inherited from my parents and grandparents.

  5. Music
    Listening to music, mainly classical and movie themes, is very relaxing.

  6. Theatre and ballet
    Would you believe it I started out studying drama at university, went to drama school in London and mime school in Paris, came back home and ended up in writing and publishing.

  7. Writing
    Not just writing middle grade adventures though. I have an alter ego named Arabella Sheraton who writes Regency romances and has actually written more books than I have. Arabella is the proud author of eight books so far. Do I have a problem wearing two hats? Not at all. I love jumping into a historical fiction romance and having fun.

  8. Antiques and collectibles
    I have inherited so many beautiful antiques (furniture and collectibles) but that hasn’t stopped me browsing flea markets and antique shops to enjoy the beautiful items of yesteryear and sometimes buy.

  9. Friends/family
    Getting together with good friends is something that can’t be beaten. I love having friends/family over and making a great dinner for us to enjoy.

  10. Giving talks on child literacy
    I didn’t start off as an expert on child literacy, but after I fostered and later adopted my daughter Mabel (a disadvantaged young African girl) I had to learn pretty quickly because she came to me just about illiterate at age eleven. From my experiences in teaching Mabel to read, I then was asked to address many institutions and groups on the topic. I enjoy helping parents and teachers to get kids to love reading.

 

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Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 11

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Beyond by Catina Haverlock and Angela Larkin

 

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“Dangerous. Wrong.
She could be so close to finding out who I really am, and I don’t want to think about how badly that could damage her. If I have any conscience, I’ll turn and run. But I can’t let her go.”

Beyond-9781462120260 (2)
Presley Hale has no idea the guy she just told off in the school parking lot died in a drowning accident four months ago. Why would she? It’s not like she knows she can see the dead. Stunned by Presley’s sixth sense, Landon Blackwood rethinks his planned departure and begins tracking her to find answers to their mysterious connection.

When their complicated relationship turns dangerous, they learn that tampering with the boundaries of death comes with consequences. Can Landon save Presley from the insidious spirits who have marked her for death, or was their love doomed from the beginning?

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excerpt
Violet’s shivering had finally subsided and she sat wrapped up in my comforter at the foot of my bed. We sat cross legged, knees to knees. I could tell she had been crying for a while. I laid my hand over hers.
“Tell me what’s going on.”
Violet didn’t look at me, but stared over my shoulder. “I’m forgetting.”
“What do you mean?”
“I feel like I’m forgetting my brother,” she said, her voice distant.
“No, Vi. Of course you’re not.” Again, I felt the choking guilt of having free access to the one thing that Violet missed the most.
She met my eyes. “That day we ditched and went to Kings Beach. Landon’s beach. That was our place. But I let myself have fun that day without him. How could I?”
“That’s a good thing.”
“I don’t think so. He used to be in my thoughts every minute. And now I find myself going an hour, maybe two not thinking of him at all.”
“Why is allowing yourself a little happiness bad?”
“Because I’m forgetting.” Her voice broke.
“He’s your twin; you are never going to forget.”
“Exactly. He was my twin and I have to pull up videos to remember how his laugh sounded.”
His voice gets husky when he laughs, I thought.
“Which side his dimple was on when he smiled. The exact shade of his hair.” She pressed her face into her hands, then roughly pulled her fingers through her hair. “It’s getting blurred.”
Dimple on the left. Hair the color of coffee without cream.
My eyes dropped to my hands in my lap. “I know it’s not the same, and I’m not trying to marginalize your pain, but sometimes when I look at Chase, I feel like I’ve lost a brother too. I’ve thought of that day at Kings beach also. Where was Chase? While we were ditching school, he was in a special-ed classroom. If he didn’t have autism, I would have brought him with us. Who am I to be making new friends and being all spontaneous when both of those things are so hard for him?”
I risked a glance and looked at her carefully. Her eyes were locked on mine and filling with tears, but I felt safe to continue. “I just want you to know that I understand how it feels to have things not turn out the way you’d hoped. What it’s like to be alone.”
Violet nodded. “There’s just no escaping it. I can’t run fast enough. It doesn’t matter how many things I fill my life with; how I try to distract myself. The pain is always there. It will always be there.”
I squeezed her hands.
She continued. “I’m just so scared I’m losing that connection we had. I’m telling you, Presley…it was like paranormal.” She smiled ruefully. “There was this one time I was at leadership camp in Sacramento. I got totally sick in the middle of the night. I thought it was just food poisoning. Then it got so bad that I couldn’t get off the bathroom floor to ask for help. Somehow, from a hundred miles away, Landon knew I was in trouble. He called and woke up my camp counselor to make her check on me.” Her eyes rounded. “My appendix ruptured and the surgeon said I would’ve been dead by morning.”
“That’s incredible,” I said.
“Exactly. Who has that? It was something unexplainable. And after he died, I could still feel him. That probably sounds crazy, but I swear I could sense him. And it’s fading. And I will never get it back.”
I could’ve fixed it in one sentence and just told her that Landon was standing outside right now. But that wasn’t my place. And who knew? It might make things worse.
I chose my words carefully. “I think I’ve learned enough about Landon to know that he’d want you to be happy. That he would be glad that things are getting a little easier for you. You’re not betraying him.”
Violet leaned forward and threw her arms around me. Her chin rested on my shoulder. “Can I just stay here tonight?”
“Of course you can.”
Long after Violet’s breaths grew slow and rhythmic, I laid there wondering how I landed here and how long I could keep this up.

before

Before

The next book in this series is available this September!

Pre-order

 

authors

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Catina worked her way through college as a TV reporter and a dating game show host. She’s a sucker for Young Adult romance stories (both real and make-believe). She has a panache for match-making and loves that many of her “set-ups” have resulted in marriages.

After spending most of her adult life in Las Vegas, Catina traded in tumbleweeds for earthquakes and now lives with her husband and four children near San Diego, California. If she’s not home, chances are you can find her at the beach, Disneyland or In-N-Out Burger.

 

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Angela Larkin writes clean teen romance and is a big fan of kissing (in life and in books). She’s been a gold miner, a pool cleaner, a mannequin dresser, and a teacher. She’s lived a true romance: meeting her husband in a case of mistaken identity. They recently moved with their four children from the sparkling city of Las Vegas to the shade of the North Carolina Pines. Chances are, she’s reading past bedtime.

 

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Catina FacebookAngela Facebook

 

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Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 10

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Relics of the Divine: The Celestial Flame by Stephen R. Watts

 

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New_Relics of the Divine - ebook coverWhen sixteen-year-old Harius is chosen to guard a mystic key and sword, he’s sure there’s been some mistake. Protecting the divine relics requires the celestial flame, a power that only mystic warriors can wield. And while Harius is training to become such a warrior, he’s lacked the faith needed to access the flame ever since his mother’s tragic death.

Despite his doubts, Harius accepts the calling at a time when evil forces threaten to destabilize his world. As the son of his nation’s most controversial leader, Harius soon becomes a delegate to a foreign land filled with technological marvels capable of saving his ancient race of winged men. Acquiring the necessary tech won’t be easy, though, as the king of this land won’t share it unless Harius uses the celestial flame to rescue the royal family from a foe out to conquer the realm.

With so much resting on his fragile faith, Harius fears he will ultimately fail. Yet, amid all the danger he will learn that the relics he guards hold the secret to not only restoring his faith, but to revealing his untold destiny.

Amazon • Website

 

 
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Stephen Watts Age 30Stephen R. Watts was born and raised at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Northern Utah, where he developed a love for stories at a very young age. Having spent his adolescence creating alternate worlds where he could escape the hardships of mental illness, Stephen wanted nothing more than to grow up and write his own epic tales capable of entertaining readers in ways that reminds them of their untold worth. Stephen’s debut novel was a fourteen-year labor of love, and when he isn’t studying story craft he can be found traveling the world or spending quality time with his family in Salt Lake City.

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Top Ten List:

10 fun facts:

  1. Stephen defied many peoples’ expectations when he overcame severe mental health challenges.

  2. In 2002, Stephen lived less than ten miles from Salt Lake City where the Winter Olympic Games were being held that year.

  3. Stephen is the only one of five brothers to have become an Eagle Scout.

  4. Stephen was selected by his senior-class president to give a speech at his high school graduation.

  5. While attending college, Stephen was invited to give a presentation at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in 2012.

  6. Stephen finished graduate school with a perfect grade point average.

  7. Stephen shares a birthday with two friends from high school, as well as with a certain young prince in England.

  8. Hot Yoga is Stephen’s favorite form of Exercise.

  9. Stephen won’t eat any food he knows contains mushrooms.

  10. Stephen is saving his first kiss for the woman he hopes to one day marry.

 
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Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 9

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Raven’s Eye by Adam Gowans

 

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Ever since magic caused his mother’s death, Ha-Neul, crown prince of Balhae, hates witches and the magic they wield. He has instituted harsh laws against all magic users.

Raven's Eye_Fullcolor black_BDormanLisa is a young witch working undercover as a servant in his palace, hoping to gain freedom for her people. The last thing the two expect is to fall in love. But when Ha-Neul learns that Lisa is not only a witch, but the daughter of the Prince of Vires, land of witches, he banishes her. Distracted by heartbreak, he is caught off-guard by a military coup.

In hiding and on the run, Ha-Neul swallows his pride and travels with his siblings to Vires, planning to beg Lisa’s aid, only to learn that she has mysteriously vanished.

Now his only hope in reclaiming his kingdom and reuniting with Lisa lies in the remote Northern Mountains, a country no one has ever penetrated and rumored home of a powerful magic source. There, Ha-Neul learns that a being powerful beyond comprehension has been carefully guiding his destiny. But if Ha-Neul can’t let go of his hatred of all things magic, and accept the new path offered to him, it will mean the destruction of his entire world.

Amazon

 
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Author photo for amazonAdam Gowans is the youngest of five Air Force brats, out of which his siblings have voted him the weirdest. He loves anything that deals with stories, including movies, novels, television dramas, music, video games, manga/manhwa, and webtoons.

In his mid-twenties, he lived and taught English in South Korea for four years before returning to the States to live, like many LDS authors, in Utah.

His first novel is On Angelic Wings, which has a planned sequel, but the sequel will be released after two other novels that are calling for his attention.

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Top Ten List:

10 fun facts:

  1. I love chocolate. I always have a stash of Lindor Truffles and Reese’s, my favorite Reese’s being the large Easter’ eggs and Christmas trees. I also eat chocolate every day, sometimes with all three meals.

  2. I only buy the physical copies of books that I really like. All my other copies are digital. I started doing this after I moved to South Korea and had very limited living space.

  3. I spent a few hundred dollars collecting all of the single volumes of the manga Skip Beat! while I lived in South Korea. I still buy the new volumes as they come out and read each new chapter online every month.

  4. I like to cook, but I prefer cooking when it’s for more people than just me; otherwise, I cook simple meals.

  5. My favorite video game series is Kingdom Hearts. I own multiple copies off the main games. However, my favorite standalone (which is standalone for now) is Horizon Zero Dawn.

  6. I own four of the Harry Potter books with the original British covers (1, 3, 5, and 6) because I was given them while I lived in South Korea, but sadly can’t afford to try to buy the others.

  7. Weird fact: I have seven moles on my right arm that form a dipper.

  8. I was a bad student in university. I hardly ever did the reading assigned for my English classes. I always preferred to read a novel of my own choosing. Then I skimmed whatever reading was appropriate for the essays I wrote for class.

  9. Though my two novels are Sci Fi/Fantasy, I very rarely read that genre anymore.

  10. I’ll hold conversations with myself as different characters. It helps me hear their voice better and get to know them more.

 
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Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 8

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The Seeds of Dissolution by William C. Tracy

 

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On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

SoD Cover

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten diverse alien cultures—where he meets two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

Sam is surrounded by aliens, both strange and familiar. Soon, he meets sister and brother twins, also new to the Nether, who support him during his anxiety attacks. Sam finds he is attracted to both of them, and does not want to choose.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.

Amazon

 

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William C Tracy Author PhotoWilliam C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has a master’s in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has also trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer.

In his spare time, he wrangles three cats. He and his wife enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.

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Top Ten List:

10 fun facts about myself:

  1. I am trained in violin and fiddle

  2.  I’ve written nine books

  3. I’ve practiced Wado-Ryu karate for fifteen years

  4. I’ve designed and operated heavy construction equipment

  5. Two things in this list are false

  6.  I can juggle five objects at a time

  7. I’m a direct descendant of William de Tracy, one of Thomas a Becket’s four assassins

  8. My mother went to school with Robert Jordan’s wife

  9. I own a cast of my grandfather’s teeth

  10. I’ve visited eighteen countries

Answers:
False: #7 (probably) and #5 (because #7 is the only falsehood, which means #4 is false, but that means it’s true, which then means *head explodes*). #6 is technically true, though not for very long.

 
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Great Summer Reads 2018 Countdown Blitz: Day 7

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Awaken, Shadows of a Forgotten Past by Marcia Maidana

 

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Could there exist a love powerful enough to overcome the grave?

Awaken Cover

Hard times during the Great Depression force nineteen-year-old Florence to leave her service at the monastery and seek employment. Fate brings her to work for a wealthy recluse, General Alexander Sterling. Despite many daunting events and a meddling housekeeper with dark secrets of her own, Florence and the General find themselves falling deeply in love.

What she doesn’t know is that General Sterling has left his native country escaping a painful past, one he yearns to forget. Destiny won’t allow it as he meets Florence, whose resemblance to his deceased wife is unbearable. Could Florence actually be the same woman who still owns his heart and haunts his dreams?

When their blossoming romance is shattered by an explosive truth, a mysterious stranger gives her an opportunity to go back in time to unlock the secret to her existence. Florence must strive to return to the present time to save their relationship from the imminent danger that awaits them.

Amazon • B&N • Kobo • Google Books • Smashwords

 

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Marcia's PhotoMarcia was born and raised in Argentina during the military regime which ended with the loss of many young lives in the invasion of the Falkland Islands. Amidst the devastating effects of military government and war, reading and writing became a passion which expanded and transported her imagination with the possibility of a brighter future.

At the age of eighteen, she moved to the United States, where she studied English and started her own family. She soon discovered that the love she has for her husband and children would naturally unfold towards her European roots, leading her to become a genealogist and family historian. A decade of searching, compiling, and learning the stories of thousands of people has instilled in her a profound gratitude for the strong ties that can be achieved in families through personal sacrifice.

So it is that through fiction, Awaken explores and exposes the characteristics of true love and loyalty in times of fear, war, and finally, death. But perhaps the most captivating element in the story is the battle within the souls of the main characters as they search to know who they really are and how they are connected.

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Top Ten List:

Fun Facts:

  1. I was born and raised in Argentina among a mixed culture of Spaniards and Italians.

  2. I got my first library card when I was eight years old. It meant so much to me that after more than three decades, I still have it in my possession.

  3. The library allowed patrons to check out two books per week, which wasn’t enough for me. I then decided that I’d volunteer at the library so I could read books during breaks.

  4. I learned a little British English in Argentina.

  5. When I arrived in the United States, I had no idea what language was being spoken. 🙂

  6.  I’m an International Genealogist specializing in the countries of France, Italy, and Spain.

  7. I love to plant flowers and see them grow. I love mint, so I grow it in my garden as well.

  8. My grandmother was Italian. She made her pasta from scratch and it was delicious. Very rarely do I eat store-bought pasta since its taste is so different.

  9. My childhood home is located a block away from a Catholic convent. I was fascinated with the nuns and priests; hence, there are nuns and priests in Awaken.

  10. My children laugh when I tell them who the most influential women in my life are (of course they aren’t the most influential, but I do appreciate them very much), they are: Agatha Christie, for her incredible stories which inspire me to be a better writer; Denise Austin, who has kept me in shape through her workout videos without having to leave the house; Mary Kay, whose make-up products I can’t live without.

 
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Bitten by Dan O’Brien

bitten

Title: Bitten
Series: Lauren Westlake Mysteries Book 1
Author: Dan O’Brien
Genre: Horror, Occult, Supernatural

 
BittenA predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined FBI agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could imagine.

If you love supernatural fiction, a good mystery, and a fun story, then you’ll want to give Bitten a look. Releasing in July as well is the follow-up novella, Drained. The third novella in the series, Frighten, will be released in early 2019.

Get it today on Kindle!

 

What readers are saying about Bitten:

“Bitten is an extremely well-balanced and engaging novel. It contains mystery, suspense, horror, romance, and best of all – a creative, genre-bending twist on werewolf mythology. The story is quick-paced and dark without being too heavy or overdramatic. The protagonist is a strong and courageous FBI agent who is able to assert herself without casting aside her femininity. She reminds me of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum…. If a sequel follows, I will definitely read it.”

“Author Dan O’Brien left his mark with Bitten. I’ve now read three books by O’Brien, but BITTEN is by far my favorite. It not only showcases his literary skills, but leaves the reader wanting more. What else could an avid reader ask for?”

 

The Author:

Dan O_Brien

Dan O’Brien has over 50 publications to his name––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012.

Before starting Amalgam Consulting, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine.

You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website. Follow him on Twitter.