Thursday, October 31, 2019

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Grimworld by Avery Moray

Grimworld banner
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Grimworld by Avery Moray. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours.  On my stop, I have my review for you as well as the tour wide giveaway to win a copy of the book and some great swag! Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more reviews, excerpts, and more! Enjoy!
GrimworldTitle: Grimworld
Author: Avery Moray
Publisher: Our Street Books
Publication Date: November 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade
Every day, thirteen year old Henry Bats has his usual bowl of Sugar Slugs, helps tend Cobalt Sidewinders at Frank’s Peculiar Pets, and keeps to himself with his comic book collection. Just your typical day in Grimworld, where the sky is always dark and shadows lurk in the streets. What’s not typical is a suspicious Nightspook luring Henry into a cemetery in the middle of the night with the promise of a prized comic book. The Nightspook steals part of Henry's lifespan with a pocket watch, which begins counting down to his death. Henry is running out of time, and the pocket watch won't stop ticking...

Lately, I've been reading more Middle Grade books. There's just something refreshing about them. When the opportunity to read Grimworld by Avery Moray arose, I just couldn't say no. I love Middle Grade books as I've just said, and I love books that have a creepy, spooky factor. Grimworld checked both of those boxes. I will say that I enjoyed this short read for sure.

Thirteen year old Henry Bats lives in an eccentric world where all sorts of paranormal creatures lurk. Most of the time, he isn't really scared as this is just a normal thing to him. When one of these paranormal creatures scares him into helping it as well as promising him whatever he wants in return, Henry agrees. This turns out to be a deadly mistake because in return, instead of the comic book he wanted, Henry is now stuck with a pocket watch around his neck telling him when he will die. Part of Henry's life has been stolen away, and now he must figure out a way to get his life back or die in the process.

The plot for Grimworld was definitely intriguing and original. I loved all the crazy creature names and the world in which Henry lived. It sort of reminded me of the Harry Potter world in a way. There is plenty of action throughout the book, and I found myself really rooting for Henry and his friends. There's definitely some scary scenes in there, but I don't think it would be overly scary for middle graders who love horror. There are a few minor plot twists in there which aren't too predictable which is great! Although there is no real cliff hanger, Avery Moray does leave this book open for a sequel.

For the most part, Moray does a fantastic job at pitching to her target age group of around 11 - 13 years of age. She uses silly words throughout which children are sure to enjoy. However, sometimes the language may be a bit difficult for that age group due to more difficult words or as I like to call them "big words." Luckily, this doesn't happen that often. Also, there is a point in the book where Moray mentions pay phones and receivers which young kids may not know about in this day and age. Another thing I found a wee bit strange was that Henry's parents are always referred to by their actual names, Gobbert and Mildred, instead of mom and dad. While I know that some kids refer to their parents by their actual names, the majority of children do not. I felt it would have been a bit easier for children to reference Henry's parents as mom and dad instead of as Mildred and Gobbert.

The pacing is done beautifully in Grimworld.  Although this is a middle grade read, this book still held my attention throughout. I was always looking forward to how the story would progress. I had to know if Henry and his friends would escape their horrible fate of the life that was stolen from them. This is also a short read, so I think children will have no problem reading Grimworld.

Character development was on point throughout Grimworld, and I really did feel as if every character acted their age. I admired Henry's determination to not only help himself but his other friends that were facing the same problem as him. I loved his quest to stop at nothing to find a solution. Lang was one of my favorite characters. I felt bad for what he had been through, and I guess that made me really bond with him. It was interesting to hear about his life. Hattie, Henry's younger sister, was also a great character. It was obvious she cared a lot about her brother all throughout the book. Persi was also a favorite of mine simply because I loved her dress sense and personality!

Trigger warnings for Grimworld include death (although it's nothing too heavy), minor violence, and paranormal creatures. However, this is a fantasy horror book so keep that in mind. I don't think it's too dark or  overly scary when it comes to the age group it's written for.

Overall, Grimworld is a spooky read with fantastic characters and a great plot which will suck you right in! I would recommend Grimworld by Avery Moray to those aged 11 to 13 years of age who love a quirky spooky read. I'd also recommend it to adults as well who enjoy middle grade fantasy horror. You'll definitely be entertained by this book!
(A special thank you to Avery Moray for providing me with a paperback of Grimworld in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)

Avery Moray
Avery Moray is a storyteller who specializes in middle grade and young adult fantasy. She lives in a land with tall mountains and wide plains with her two furry sidekicks and one non-furry accomplice. She likes sweets, cats, Halloween, and loves creating all kind of things, stories being one of them.

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This is the tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Grimworld. All prizes are US Only. These are the prizes you can win:

- Signed copy of Grimworld by Avery Moray

- Signed copy of Grimworld by Avery Moray plus a bookmark, a notepad, and a pin

- Signed copy of Grimworld by Avery Moray plus a bookmark, notepad, and a pin as well as unreleased chapter art print

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Devil's Tree by Susan McCauley

Title: The Devil's Tree
Author: Susan McCauley
Publisher: Celtic Tree Publishing
Publication Date: October 15th 2019
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Kaitlyn didn’t believe in ghosts—not until one killed her boyfriend and her best friend. Now she must stop the spirit haunting the Devil’s Tree, or she could be next.

Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn wants to escape her drunk mama and her trailer park home life to enjoy a Saturday night off work. Instead, her boyfriend, Hunter, convinces her to go with him and their best friends, Dylan and Keisha, to photograph a desolate tree with an evil past. A terrifying presence chases them from the tree, killing Hunter and Keisha. Left alive with Dylan, Kaitlyn must struggle with her unexpected romantic feelings for him, come to terms with her loss, and face being trapped in a dead-end town. Kaitlyn is desperate to put the past to rest, but when their friends’ spirits begin haunting them, she and Dylan have no choice but to seek help from a Catholic priest and attempt to set the trapped spirits free.

Hunter was crumpled against the broken windshield. I reached forward and tried to touch him. Something dark and wet and sticky covered his skin. Blood. I started crying again. I scrabbled for my seat-belt buckle, but couldn’t find it. My hands kept groping.

“Dylan? Keisha?”

Dylan moaned, but didn’t answer.

“We gotta get out of the car.” Away from the fumes. Away from whatever was chasing us.

There. My shaky fingers brushed the buckle and I pushed. The seat belt released me and I fell onto the smashed windshield next to Hunter. I let my hand graze his cheek. Still warm. Ragged breathing. Thank God.

I reached for my door. Pushed. Being upside down, it was jammed shut. I aimed my heel-less shoed feet toward the passenger-side window and kicked. The glass cracked, but stayed intact. I kicked again and cleared a space, then I twisted around to face the busted-out window and looked into the backseat. “We’ve gotta get out of here.”

“Keisha.” Dylan shook her bloody shoulder. “Keisha!” He shook her harder. “She’s not breathing. Kaitlyn, help me!” Panic laced his voice. The smell of gas grew stronger, mingled with the metallic scent of blood.

“We’ll go around to the other side of the truck to get them out.” I slithered over broken glass, sharp against my skin.

Dylan stopped, eyes wide. Wild. “What—what if it’s out there?”

Fear congealed in my veins, and I tried to clear my head. “We don’t have a choice,” I said, sounding way braver than I felt. “We have to get out. Now.” I pulled myself forward, a few shards of metal slicing my palms and shredding my knees.

Dylan climbed out after me. Blood smeared his pale face; his normally pristine shirt was torn and dirty.

I crawled around the mangled wreck to Hunter’s door, but Dylan pushed past me and grabbed Keisha.

Whoosh. A strange sucking wind whipped my hair into my mouth. Salt and blood and smoke.

I grabbed Dylan under his arms and yanked him backwards. Hard. We both fell, the pain of the concrete exploding up my tailbone and into my spine.


“Hunter!” I screamed and lurched forward, the heat searing my face. My gut twisting in agony. I crawled toward the twisted, burning heap that had been Hunter’s pride and joy. Tears burned a cut on my face. My legs ached as I dragged them across the ground.

Then Dylan’s arms were around me. Solid. Real. Alive.

Sirens blared in the distance. Someone must’ve seen. Must’ve called. They were coming. But they were too late. We were all too late.
Susan McCauley delivers a poignant and frightening tale of love and redemption against a backdrop of evil, both supernatural and not. It’s a fast and exciting read filled with demons, ghosts, and stolen kisses, and it does an excellent job of reminding us that both revenge and love can be eternal desires. This is one teens and adults will both enjoy.” ⎯JG Faherty, multiaward- nominated author of Hellrider, The Cure, and Cemetery Club

Evil is not always the only enemy you should fear . . . Fast-paced and deftly written, with emotional depth from the darkest of characters, this is a ghost story to savor.” ⎯Peter Adam Salomon, Bram Stoker Award® nominated novelist, author of All Those Broken Angels and Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds
Susan McCauley was born and raised on the gulf coast of Texas, not far from Houston. She spent several years in Los Angeles, California acting, writing, and teaching college English. In 2002, she moved to London to further explore professional theater. While in London, her stage adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's "The Nose" was performed at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's George Bernard Shaw Theatre; and, scenes from her play The Prisoner: Princess Elizabeth were performed at HMS Tower of London. She returned to the U.S. in 2005. In 2007, she was the line producer of the Emmy Award nominated Civil War short film Now & Forever Yours: Letters to an Old Soldier. She has had short stories published in several anthologies, and her short story, "The Cask," was made into an award winning short film.

Q. What is something unique/quirky about you?
A. Well, I’m very tall (for a woman). I’m just over 5’ 10’’ tall, and I’m naturally quite pale. I’m also a very compassionate and friendly person who loves to write dark/horror stories, which confounds my mother, family, and friends!

Q. Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
A. While living in London, I made a trip to Tenerife, Spain. While visiting a zoo there, my ex-boyfriend and I went into an enclosure where we were allowed to feed (and even pet) the animals. There were iguanas, tamarin monkeys, and a variety of other critters. Well, leave it to me, to get bitten by a tamarin and then peed on by the same one!

Q. Where were you born/grew up?
A. I was born in Webster, Texas and grew up in the Houston area. I lived in Nassau Bay, Texas from birth to age 18. Across the street from my old neighborhood is the Johnson Space Center, which houses Mission Control. So, my childhood was an interesting mix of boating, spaceships, and theater. Something quite cool from when I was a pre-teen: when former Head of NASA, Charles Bolden was an astronaut, he took a poem I wrote up to space with him on a mission he piloted.

Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A. I love going on ghost tours and researching haunted and historic places. I often listen to these stories and legends in an attempt to spark my imagination for a short story or book. When I heard the story of the Devil’s Tree in New Jersey, my imagination was ignited. However, I wanted to give the story a southern feel and address certain themes, which is why I set my novel in Texas.

Q. What can we expect from you in the future?
A. I except I’ll have another novel or novella out in the next year, and the first book in a YA ghost story series following that. I’m also a professional screenwriter. One of my short films (“The Cask”) is available now on YouTube, and another of them is currently at festivals. There are two feature films I’ve written that are in development. So, hopefully, in the next few years you’ll see some feature films I’ve written either in the theaters or on Netflix (or both)!

Q. Do you read yourself, and, if so, what is your favorite genre?
A. I read every night before bed—for at least an hour, but more if I can. My favorite genres are MG and YA horror and dark fantasy. Some of my favorite books are Took by Mary Downing Hahn, The Lockwood & Co series by Johnathan Stroud, and The Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney.
There are two giveaways. The top giveaway is to win a $20 Amazon gift card. The bottom giveaway is for a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Devil's Tree by Susan McCauley. Good luck!
Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card Here!
Enter to win a Hardcover Copy Here!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Princes of the Lower East Side (A Scalisi Family Novel #2) by Meredith Allison

Title: Princes of the Lower East Side
Series: A Scalisi Family Novel #2
Author: Meredith Allison
Publication Date: October 28th 2019
Genres: Adult, Historical, Thriller
Mia Scalisi returns in this highly anticipated follow-up to Blood & Whiskey!

Sicily is a paradise on earth Mia Angela Scalisi doesn’t want to leave, but after over a year of peace, obligations—like being Hyman Goldberg’s It Girl at his new nightclub—call her back to New York City.

But everything she’s known in New York has changed…and that might even include the men she once thought were her friends.

When a new, ambitious gangster threatens to take over the old neighborhood, bringing devastation to the poor families who live there, Mia can’t ignore the bonds that tie her to the underworld way of life that killed her brother and set her upon a merciless, bloody path of revenge.

With her brother’s widow, her niece, and a mysterious, devoted bodyguard at her side, Mia must reclaim her position as head of her dead brother’s business, establish herself as the reigning queen among the princes of the Lower East Side, and make the ultimate decision: who lives, and who must die.

Mia thought back to that terrible night when her world had changed forever, when Nick had been murdered. Joey had been crouched over his body on the sidewalk. He’d looked up at her with tears in his eyes, agony on his face. There’s nothing I can do, he’d said in a broken voice. I couldn’t get to him in time.

“I used to work as bouncer at this Irish joint in the Bowery,” Bobby spoke up quietly. “All the work I could find, and I had a sick mother to take care of. Nick come in one night, he sees me takin’ all kinds of shit from the owner, some of the patrons. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, paesano, how about a real job?’ He had me start driving for him for a while. We’d talk, I’d tell him about my mother. The cancer eating away at her. He fixed her up with a good doctor to get her medicine to make her final months as painless as possible. Paid for everything. He always used to come visit her too, bring her flowers and books and little things like that. When she passed, he paid for her funeral. Stood right by my side the whole time, cried with me like a brother.” Bobby swallowed and looked down at his hands for a moment.

Mia’s eyes stung. She should not display this much emotion in front of men if she wanted them to take her seriously, but hearing of the kindnesses her brother had shown these men, the second chances they’d gotten because of him, the loyalty he’d shown them and had earned in kind, moved her beyond measure.

“The one thing he always asked of us,” Bobby went on, “was that if anything should ever happen to him, we look out for you. He only asked that of us and Mr. Lazzari. He never would have trusted anybody else to watch out for you, but he trusted us. I made him a promise I would do that. And I intend to keep it.”

“Me, too,” Joey said. “And even if you’d never done the things you did to avenge him, we’d still keep that promise. But…you did.”

“We respect you,” Bobby added. “And we respect what you’re trying to do now—save his business. It ain’t my place to say so, but…it ain’t the same as it was before you left. It’s like the rules changed.”

“It’s like they forgot whose business it was in the first place,” Joey said, a sharp edge in his low voice.

“I’m hoping you’ll help me make them remember,” Mia said.

Bobby stood, then Joey. Bobby clasped her hand. “I pledge my loyalty and service to you, Miss Scalisi, until the day I die.” He kissed the back of her hand.

Before she could lower it, Joey took her hand next, kissed it, and said, “My loyalty is yours, Miss Scalisi. Now, until I die.”

For a moment, brief panic set in, though Mia struggled not to show it. What exactly did this mean? What had she gotten herself into?

From the depths of her mind, a frightened girl’s voice cried out. I just want to sing. I just want to dance. That’s all. I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t—

She drew a deep breath, and the frightened girl’s voice lowered into the voice of Nick, speaking now to a grown woman—one resigned to her destiny, loyalty to her blood. Loyalty to her dead brother, who had been a prince in this world still so foreign to her.

It’s your world now, surrùzza.

There in the empty dining room of the Murray Hill Hotel, with only three trusted men as witnesses, a young queen was crowned.


Meredith Allison has embraced her nerdiness from youth, with minor jaunts of attempting to be "cool" during high school and college. Spoiler alert: she was unsuccessful at fooling anyone. After this dark period, she returned to the light, embracing her bookish nature and penchant for action and horror films, bloody survivalist video games (she's looking at you, Resident Evil and Call of Duty) interspersed with the occasional sweeping fantasy adventure RPG (Final Fantasy, anyone?). Along the way, she developed her knack for storytelling, which began when she was a mere child-person many moons ago.

Meredith is a writer (and reader) of many kinds of fiction, but in particular spy thrillers, military-esque suspense, and historical crime. A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, she is by proxy a Huskers fan (GO BIG RED!), as UNL is her undergraduate alma mater, and moonlights as an obligatory Blue Jays fan due to completing her graduate MFA studies at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

When she emerges from her writing cave, blinking in dismay at having to be exposed to the cruel light of day yet again, she can be found romping with her two Pomeranians, serving her overlord cat, hanging with her husband, battling it out with the undead or practicing a new kind of magery on her PlayStation, or simply huddled in a dark corner somewhere with just enough light to read a favorite book. Other interests include baking, cooking, and blogging about new restaurants.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Death Island by Kelsey Ketch

Title: Death Island
Author: Kelsey Ketch
Publication Date: December 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 512
Genre: New Adult Historical Fantasy
Her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes of piracy, Meriden Cummings is far from the typical 18th century woman. A social outcast, she works in a carpentry shop in a small village, where the people barely tolerate unconventional behavior.

However, her life takes a turn after a gang of pirates attack her village and her blood reveals an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs leading to Death Island. An island legends say is ruled by the Mayan god of the underworld, Ah Puch. Her great-grandfather had sought after the island before he vanished without a trace. Now, Meriden is about to journey across the sea to understand her family history.

There are only a few problems: her growing feelings toward a mysterious stranger linked to her great-grandfather’s past; a greedy band of pirates after her great-grandfather’s legendary treasure; and a contract she has unwittingly signed in blood with Ah Puch himself.

“My apologies,” I told her. I attempted to move, but found myself paralyzed to the spot. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

My voice slightly broke at the end of my sentence, which made my cheeks burn hotter. Maybe this was a bad idea after all, but the mere thought of climbing the shrouds back down curdled the acid building in my stomach.

What the hell was I thinking coming up here?

I felt Meriden’s eyes study me. “May I ask why you followed me?”

“It didn’t seem to me that a woman like yourself should be alone at night,” I answered with a shaky laugh. “Particularly seeing how certain members of the crew perceive you.”

It might’ve been an on-the-spot lie, but thinking on Lemmon, Scrapper, and Harrows, I was probably not far from the truth. If they were here instead of me, who knows what they would’ve done. Images such as rape and killing flooded my mind. They terrified me more than the sway of the ship or the height of the mast.

“You’re sweet, but I want to be alone,” she said rather coldly. Damn, she really was upset with me. All because I was trying to be a gentleman.

I attempted to get my feet back on the Jacob’s ladder, but they wouldn’t work. My legs were jelly. The only thing supporting me being the bit of mast at my back. “I’d love to oblige.” I chuckled from nerves. “But I’ve seemed to have lost my sea legs.”

Meriden shifted her waist to face me. Her hip brushing my thigh while she moved about. “You’re scared of heights?”

“Not normally.”

She let go of the guardrail and crossed her arms. “How is it that you’ve gone all this time without getting at least one shift up here?”

Hearing the laughter in her voice, I ran my fingers through my hair. “Just lucky, I guess. Not much rigging work in the galley of the ship.” I paused to take in Meriden’s form before me. God, she was so easy to talk to. Even about things I didn’t want to admit. “Not that climbing the shrouds is a bother. I found it invigorating. But standing here, feeling the full force of the ship sway, it’s a bit—”

“Unsteadying?” she finished for me. I nodded, then she laughed. “I was the same way when my father first brought me to a crow’s nest he was repairing back home. And that ship was anchored, even. Here.” She took my arm and pulled me toward her. At the same time, she moved her own body so her abdomen was pressed to the railing. She laid my hand on the guardrail next to her. “Place your hand here.” When I had a firm grip, she grasped my other hand. “And your other one here.”

Hesitantly, she placed my palm gently on her waist. My eyes widened in shock, my first instinct being to pull away. Yet my mind and heart were at odds. Giving into what I wanted verses what was appropriate, I pressed my hand more firmly, which almost became a death grip when we dipped forward a bit. The motion of the ship securing my hip against her backside. Meriden didn’t even flinch. She just stared at the stars above. For the first time, I could see her face. Her skin shimmered in the light of the moon and stars, and her eyes glittered with specks of gold.

“Amazing, isn’t it,” Meriden breathed. “I love coming up here and gazing at them once and a while.”

Not really wanting to take my eyes off her, I focused on the horizon and the stars above. It was brilliant, to say the least. Thousands of stars, including miniature ones, dazzled the navy sky. The Milky Way a gorgeous arch over our heads.

Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist in the state of North Carolina. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress or organizing the New Adult Scavenger Hunt, a biannual blog hop. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Tarnished Brass by Max L. Knight

Genre: Historical Fiction / Novella / War 
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 114

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The war in El Salvador as seen through the eyes of a U.S. Army officer, a guerrilla leader, and a refugee turned gang member

Patrick Michael Moynihan finds himself returning to the small Central American country where, as a young impressionistic junior officer, he was thrust into the middle of a brutal civil war.

Miguel Alejandro Xenias, once a member of the ruling elite in El Salvador, recalls his change of heart, advancement within the guerrilla movement, and his new-found hope for the country now that the FMLN is in power.

Antonio Cruz, seeking a new life in America, finds only a different kind of hatred and conflict, joins the street gang MS-13, and returns home bringing with him a new kind of warfare.

These perspectives spotlight an ongoing struggle in El Salvador that continues to impact the immigration crisis on our southern border and the spread of gang violence throughout the United States.

More than just a history of the war in El Salvador, a conflict that ended almost thirty years ago, Tarnished Brass gives voice to those who fought and those who only wanted to escape the violence.
Max Knight was born in Panama and grew up in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English. A Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and served twenty-four years in the Air Defense Artillery retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In addition to assignments within his basic branch, Max also specialized as a Foreign Area Officer in both the European Theatre of Operations (Germany and Greece) and within USSOUTHCOM (Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador). He received the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service in El Salvador during that country’s civil war. Max earned his master’s degree in government from Campbell University, and retired from the Army in 1997.

Upon retirement Max was hired by RCI Technologies in San Antonio and became its Director of Internal Operations. He also was the first volunteer docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department. However, following the tragic events of 9/11, he became an Independent Contractor and spent the next ten years as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America before cancer forced him to quit.

Max has since published a memoir, Silver Taps, and a novel of westward expansion, Palo Duro. He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Janet “Gray.” They have three surviving children; Lisa, Brian, and Sean, and three grandchildren; Tony, Nicholas, and Cecilia Marie.
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