Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blitz! The Last Seer by Cerece Murphy #LastintheSeries #NewRelease

To post this Blitz and add your Twitter or Facebook to the Rafflecopter giveaway, 
email us at PrismBookTours(at)gmail.com with "The Last Seers" in the subject line.

We're celebrating the RELEASE for
The Last Seer by Cerece Rennie Murphy!

Would you want to hold the future of the world in your hands? 
Read more about the Order of the Seers Trilogy below and enter the fabulous giveaway!

The Order of the Seers Trilogy & Review Opportunity

In Order of the Seers (Book I), the Trilogy begins with a family tragedy that sends a brother and sister on a perilous journey to escape an organization that will stop at nothing to destroy all that is left of their family. From there, the story quickly expands into a global conspiracy that extends from the suburbs of Oregon to the plains of rural Tanzania. Order of the Seers: The Red Order (Book II), continues the story of the Seers as their freedom reveals a deeper meaning and purpose for their power that could alter the course of human evolution. The epic conclusion of the Trilogy, Order of the Seers: The Last Seer was released today, September 30, 2014.

Would you like to review the series? Find out more by clicking on the image below:
Request to review the third Order of Seers book, The Last Seer!

The Last Seer (Order of the Seers, #3)The Last Seer
(Order of the Seers #3)
by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Adult/NA SciFi
September 30th 2014

The Seers face their greatest challenge in the final chapter of the Order of the Seers trilogy…

When the fall of one nemesis unleashes an even greater danger into the world, Lilli, Joel and the Lost Seers must stand against a new enemy with the means and the will to destroy all of mankind, starting with those they hold most dear.

As the Seers mobilize to confront this new evil, the Guild tries desperately to uphold the crumbling world order on which it depends. When their attempts to manage the crisis fail, the members of the Guild are forced to place themselves at the mercy of an unlikely ally.

But the Guild isn’t the only one interested in maintaining control.

An agreement made in secret threatens to destroy any hope of a peaceful alliance before it can be made and as the betrayals unfold, no one is safe against a power that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. To defeat this threat and ensure the survival of the human race, the Seers must push the boundaries of their abilities beyond any limits they have known and risk crossing the line between life and death.

How far would you go to protect what matters most?

Order of the Seers (Order of the Seers, #1)  The Red Order (Order of the Seers, #2)

Order of the Seers 

...begins with the journey of Liam and Lilith Knight, a brother and sister who are hunted by The Guild, a ruthless world organization that seeks to capture and exploit Lilith s unique ability as a Seer to envision the future. Soon after they are forced to leave their home, Lilith and Liam discover that she is not alone. Other Seers like Lilith are routinely kidnapped and enslaved by the Guild for the purpose of consolidating wealth and power around the world... see more on Goodreads

Praise for Order of the Seers

“Ms. Murphy's novel is an excellent example of why I love, not only indie authors, but debut authors so much. This book was fresh, hoppin' and a fun, yet engrossing read.” A Book and a Review, blog

"This story combines family, friendship, love, danger, discovery and loss all into one; and does it magnificently...As I was reading this, I felt immersed into Liam and Lilli's world and found myself rooting for them and their fight against the Guild."Luxury Reading, blog

Read Chapter 1 of Order of the Seers HERE.

The Red Order -

The Lost Seers embark upon a world-wide mission to save their kind from the tyranny of the Guild and unveil their greatest weapon - Developed in secret, The Restoration Project has the potential to awaken the supernatural ability within every man, woman, and child on earth and bring down the very foundation of the Guild’s power and authority.

But the Guild has other plans. Driven by the necessity for control, Crane Le Dieu creates The Red Order... see more on Goodreads.

Praise for The Red Order

With page-turning suspense, secrets revealed and noteworthy characters, Order of the Seers [The Red Order] is a must read for any supernatural fantasy fan. Tense, keen and gripping, Order of the Seers: the Red Order is highly recommended! – Minding Spot

I have to start out by saying if you haven't read Order of the Seers you have no idea what you're missing. The author has an uncanny knack for making the reader feel every bit a part of the story and feeling the characters' emotions….Order of the Seers is shaping up to be a fantastic series already and I highly recommend it. – A Thousand Lives Book Blog

Buy: Direct from Author * Amazon Barnes & Noble


Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry. She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas – all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed,” Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “The X-Files.” In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event - a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the “Order of the Seers” trilogy.

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.


Blitz Giveaway

- $20 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
- Paperback copies of the Order of the Seers Trilogy (US Only)
- Ebook copies of the Order of the Seers Trilogy (INT)
- Ends October 7th


Prism Book Tours

Monday, September 29, 2014

Launching Rachel Fisher's Tour for Dragon Rising! #ExcerptTour #TotallyAwesome

A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the BOOK TOUR for
Dragon Rising by Rachel E. Fisher

Dragon Rising is Asher's story and takes place during the first third of Eden's Root, which is the first book in the Eden's Root Trilogy. We hope you enjoy the tour!



Tour Schedule


Dragon Rising
by Rachel E. Fisher
(Eden's Root Trilogy #1.5)
YA Dystopian

In his freshman year at Columbia University, future journalist Asher Grey is forced to face his darkest demons when the world falls to pieces. A champion Tai Chi swordsman, he will be tested to his limits just to survive. With a heavy heart and swift hand, he must reach deep inside himself to discover what it means to be a Dragon.

The Eden's Root Trilogy

"Fisher doesn’t hold back. She never has. That’s what makes the ‘Eden’s Root’ series great." - Blakely from Indiscriminate Writes

"This dystopian novel drew me in from the start with it’s believable story of how a world changed by just having a few changes done to food we grow." - Sarah from Howling Books and Design

"No one is safe in this book. Everyone suffers something, and since I love these characters as my own friends, it's hard." - Rebecca from tHe crooKed WorD

"This story is just so intense, it drags the emotion from you whether you like it or not!" - from MySeryniti

Eden's Root
(Eden's Root Trilogy #1)


It is 2033, and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.


Seeds of War
(Eden's Root Trilogy #2)


The mission of Eden must be fulfilled and Eden’s best Seekers are needed. Forming a new group they dub the Seeders, Fi, Asher, and Sean are joined by a new addition as they set out to bring hope and support to the Topsiders in the form of radios and heirloom seeds. Their experiences Topside prepare them for the threat from marauding gangs they call Lobos, but it is a different, less obvious sort of threat that takes them by surprise. As radio broadcasts begin to reconnect Eden and the Topsiders, the Seeders stumble upon mysterious broadcasts from unknown stations. When two of their own new radio stations go silent within days of each other, Fi and her companions realize that something is terribly wrong. Eden finds itself pitted against a growing and unknown force as their very mission lights the flames of war.


Emergence (Eden's Root Trilogy #3)Emergence
(Eden's Root Trilogy #3)


"I promise you, Sean. We're going to stop them."

The pieces on the board are in motion and with both sides gathering strength, each move will be critical. When the Truthers make a play for checkmate, the Seeders are forced to respond. Fi and her companions will face greater challenges and higher stakes than ever before, because this time if they fail, it's for keeps.



About Rachel Fisher

I am a wife and entrepreneur living and working in Florida. I am also a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where I majored in Biology. It was always my assumption that I would end up making research my life. Though it did not work out that way in the end, my passion for Biology remains intact.

I have always loved biology-based science-fiction and the young adult genre. It is in this vein that I offer my work.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

$20 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook of Dragon Rising
19 ebooks of Dragon Rising
Ends October 12th

Prism Book Tours

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Better Man by Amy Vastine - The Grand Finale! #TourataGlance

To post this Grand Finale (we'll send you the HTML code) and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, 
email us at PrismBookTours(at)gmail.com with "The Better Man GF" in the subject line.
A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for
The Better Man by Amy Vastine!

The Better Man, which is the beginning of the new Chicago Sisters Series, is set in the busy city of Chicago, but is full of family, friendship, and love. It's also from the clean romance Heartwarming line of books from Harlequin.

Did you miss any of the tour? You still have time to go back and check out all the stops and enter the amazing giveaway!

Launch - Intro and Excerpt
The Better Man is the first book in the Chicago Sisters Series, which introduces us to the three Everhart sisters, Lucy, Kendall, and Emma. All three sisters live in the Lincoln Park area, and even though the story has a big city backdrop, the focus is still on family and community. These sisters always have one another’s backs, even though they couldn’t be any different...

Colorimetry - Guest Post
In The Better Man, the heroine of the story is an interior designer. This profession was born out of my love of all things HGTV, of course. I think I can lose whole days to that channel. I love all the shows about surprise makeovers and house flippings, but my favorite is Property Brothers...

The Written Adventure - Guest Post
Kendall Montgomery is the middle sister and the heroine of The Better Man. Her sisters are always there for her, even if they drive her a little crazy sometimes.... Despite their different views on life, Lucy and Emma never fail to support their sister through the toughest times of her life...

Kendall is facing reality now. She's a very talented and gifted designer and artist and is now able to use those abilities to make a living. Based off of her life experiences and relationships, she's a little gun-shy, with good reason. I loved watching her evolve. Being a mother isn't easy and doing what's best for your kids isn't always easy, either, but, as Kendall learns, the hard things are often the most rewarding.

Today I thought I would introduce you to Max, the hero. In my mind, Max always looked like and had similar personality traits as the character Ryan Gosling played in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. Easy on the eyes, charisma and charm, and let’s not forget great fashion sense. Max is always well put together and did I mention he often has a five o’clock shadow? I love a guy with a little scruff!..

This story is so sweet! I love the characters, and can't wait to read more books about Kendall's sisters. Amy has definitely become one of my new favorite authors!

The hero in The Better Man is new to Chicago. Max has recently moved there from Los Angeles. To help a guy out, I thought I would suggest a few romantic spots in the Windy City that he or anyone here for a visit might want to consider...

SBM Book Obsession - Excerpt
“Trevor’s been gone just over a year,” she said wearily. The anniversary of his death had led to Simon’s regression. It seemed every time Kendall thought they were making some good progress, something would set him back. She was not going to give her son another reason to worry. “Simon does not need to see me running around with men on dates. He needs me home. He needs to know I’m not ever going to leave him.”
His father had left. His father had left them both.

“Avoiding a date here and there isn’t going to make him better.”

Nana!” Simon burst into the foyer, his drawing clenched in his hand. You wont believe it! Youll never believe who we saw today!
Kendall gave her mother an apologetic grimace, but Nana was too startled by Simons verbosity to notice. Who? Who did you see?” she asked, crouching down to his level. He handed her the picture hed drawn.
My dad! We saw my dad right down the street!
Kelly P's Blog - Guest Post
In the story, a young widow and mother is hired to remodel a restaurant managed by a man who happens to look exactly like her dead husband. It’s a messy romance but one that I hope wins your hearts...

And the twist. Which I refuse to ruin for you. But let me just say, Amy. Well flipping done, my friend. Because you know I love stuff like this. And the way you wove this tale, and took me along for the ride, quite willingly, I might add . . . and revealed everything just the way it was supposed to be revealed, at the exact time it needed to be revealed . . . made me smile so big. I just love the way my heart was happy for (almost) everyone, in the end.

He mirrored her movement to keep her from escaping and put a hand on her arm when she tried once more to move around him. It was the first time he’d touched her since their disastrous introduction. Kendall couldn’t stop the déjà vu that it prompted. The last time she saw Trevor alive, she’d been storming away and he’d tried to stop her. The memory jolted through her like an electrical shock.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Max said firmly. “I will be here. Every day. Whether you want me here or not.”
The relationship between Max and Kendall grows slowly and as it does, we learn more back history about them both.  The unfolding process was well written.  Max and Kendall struggle separately and they struggle together.  Of course, my favorite bits are when they support each other.

Deal Sharing Aunt - Excerpt
The three of them got busy painting and embellishing the costume. Their collective laughter created a lightness Kendall hadn’t felt in a long time. Seeing Simon act like a normal six-year-old freed her from the year’s worth of guilt and worry she’d been carrying around. This wasn’t like having Trevor around. It was better.

There are a couple of things about the book that truly stand out as dynamic stylistic characteristics. For one thing, the author switched back and forth between the man’s and women’s perspective. Not all authors have the knack for doing that, but this author does. I also appreciate the fact that the author introduces a child who is grieving the death of his father in a unique way. I found that to be a realistic element that will connect with others who have been in that position.

Southern Chelle - Review
I love books like this that grip you and you don’t want to put them down! (This was a book that did that.) The Better Man seemed to have a different storyline than any other book that I have ever read. It was extremely refreshing to read totally new content.

First time ever reading from this author and was completely impressed. Her work is well written and easy to follow. This particular storyline is heart grabbing.

Bookworm Lisa - Review
I am enjoying this story.  Two separate people, each with a child with a need to be parented.
 
The hard obstacle to overcome is that Max look like Kendall's deceased  husband, It lends a unique situation to the story... 

Reader Girls - Excerpt
Winner!” Max jumped her last checker and threw his hands up in the air, victorious. Im pretty sure you cheated,” Kendall mumbled.
Dont be a sore loser.
Im not, but I was killing you. Your massive comeback is fishy, admit it.
Maxs mouth dropped open. That is a lie. There was nothing fishy about my comeback. You opened up that side for my guy to get through!”                                  
Are you going to give Max kisses because he won?” Simon asked, completely putting an end to their playful argument.

My Life, Loves and Passion - Review & Excerpt
“It’s better that you rip the Max Band-Aid off now rather than later,” Lucy said while they cooked. “Simon will get over it. So will you. It’s always better to be the one who walked away instead of the one left behind.”

“Which one were you again?” Kendall asked, recognizing that Lucy’s guard was down.

“Ha-ha. I’ve been both. At the same time,” she added. “Now, stop making this about me.”

I Am A Reader - Guest Post
At the heart of the story is Kendall and Simon, a mother and son who are both still grieving the loss of their husband/father. Kendall struggles with how to help ease her son’s anxiety after his father’s death. Feeling helpless is something to which all parents can relate. Kendall is sensitive to her son’s needs and has to find a way to balance what he wants with what he needs. It’s not always so easy to distinguish between the two...

Lola's Reviews - Review
I really enjoyed this story, it had some really sad and some really happy moments. The characters where what made this book shine, they all had a past, personality and motives, even the side characters. This book has a fun and quirky cast of characters and I enjoyed seeing them interact with each other.

Wishful Endings - Review
The Better Man was quite an original story and one I haven't read before in this genre. The leading man looks almost exactly like the heroine's dead husband and this causes all sort of issues because they have to work together. Sparks definitely fly, both good and bad, but the author kept a great balance between heavier issues (such as Kendall's son who has become mostly mute as a way to deal with his father's death), humor, and then those sweet romantic moments.

The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance…until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?


Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Website - Goodreads - Facebook - Twitter

Tour-Wide Giveaway


- Gift Card Grand Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback (US) or ebook (INT) of The Better Man
- US Grand Prize: Signed paperback of The Better Man plus swag (shown above)
- 5 copies of The Better Man (paperback for US and ebooks for INT)
- Ends October 5th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prism Book Tours

Friday, September 19, 2014

Once Upon a Time... Meanderings

There's a time to prepare for a "day" by preparing speeches and then there's a time when thoughts just go 'round in circles. You totally know what I mean...
You gotta tell so -n- something but it's important to get it right otherwise they'll take it wrong and you can barely wrap yer head around "it" anyway, 'cause yer borderline TICKED and so you gotta say it right... and it's important...
Just shoot me now.

(Not really. That was for dramatics.)

The best defense to circular thoughts, otherwise known as "worry" (but who's wants labels?) is a good story. Book. Grab a book. Dive into someone else's life, let your crazy mind chew on their issues for awhile.

If you're very good at this, or if you find a very, very good book, you might distract yourself so thoroughly that you elbow out some wiggle room for a fresh perspective to the stupid THING you can't avoid no matter how much running away looks like a viable option. In such cases, getting lost into a good book so thoroughly is refreshing. If that book makes me laugh out loud one minute while freaking me out the next, even better.

This morning I was so "good" at the distraction that I missed my stop. I glanced up from my awesome reading device (otherwise known as a cell phone, which is a joke since the device is clearly an entertainment center and has very little to do with making and receiving calls at all) to see a strange landscape. For a second, I glanced longingly at my book. But then logic took over. If I didn't leap out of the train before the doors closed, it would take that much longer to figure out how far away I was from my stop.

Well. *shrug*  My thoughts were in another world and the most I could immediately manage was the very basics.

The weather was beautiful, for Oregon, and the fresh morning air pumped me full of this... confidence for the day. Like, "Yeah! I can do this!" I totally forgot I was backtracking down the train tracks and strutted like I always took an extra long route to work. To increase my step count. Or something.

I passed this group of enthusiastic iphone line-standers also enjoying the morning like they had a plan.


You can tell how quickly I was walking by how fuzzy the picture is. Or... maybe how nervous I was about a bunch of bored people noticing I was taking a picture of them.

I discovered, eventually, that I only missed my stop by two, which wasn't bad considering how successful I was.

You're curious what I'm reading, no doubt.  I have this love for Charming and now (a preview of) Daring. I'm not sure I can recommend them to all my followers since the grit turns into horror with a minor slip in splattered brains. Oh... sorry.  It's so gross. So gross I can't look away. Or so sensual I can't look away. Or soooo flippin' funny I *snort* OUT LOUD in public transportation, which is embarrassing, believe me. Or... so tender and transparent I hold the words close to my heart and just *breathe* for a few minutes. I guess I love the snarky humor and the sensitive rawness of the story. I haven't gone all fan-crazy over an author in a long time, but I can't help it. I'm in awe of Elliott James' writing. *sigh*

Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)  Daring (Pax Arcana, #2)
(The covers are linked to Goodreads.)

I'm not sure if I was going to start reviewing these titles next or where my thoughts were headed, but now they're getting sucked into HOMEWORK. Yep. 5th grade lit and 4th grade snacks. "I don't know where the orange-juicer thingame is if it's not where it's supposed to be."  I'm getting help putting the dishes away nowadays, so it's anybody's guess where stuff is. Speaking of... I think I started loading the washing machine for the standard 8-load excitement I tackle every weekend. Getting a jump on it Friday night is a Good Idea since I'm hoping to see near relatives on Sunday and, as everyone knows, it's tricky to do laundry AND visit over tea. Or BBQ. Or whatever it is we're doing. I nearly set the side of the house on fire last time I lit the BBQ from grilling up those frozen burgers loaded with 12% grease, or whatever they claim. The drippings light up real good.

I would go back to the idea of preppin' for a decent Friday, but then this wouldn't be "meandering" thoughts as someone thoughtfully pointed out. "Meandering" implies not arriving back at the beginning, which is really hard for me to do. I like full circles.

:-)  Did you catch that? I cheated. I wrapped up my meanders.

Fires are not funny, even though I threw it in there like it was/is. There's a forest fire that's not too far away (Estacada!) and we haven't had enough rain around here, yet. All our greenery is rather dry and brittle and begging for our normal rainfall. Now you know... Oregonians like rain. Some.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Amy Vastine, The Better Man, and DIY Home Improvement! #AwesomeGuestPost

Please welcome Amy Vastine to Colorimetry!

A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance?until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?



Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.



Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post today! I am so excited to be here. In The Better Man, the heroine of the story is an interior designer. This profession was born out of my love of all things HGTV, of course. I think I can lose whole days to that channel. I love all the shows about surprise makeovers and house flippings, but my favorite is Property Brothers. If you haven’t seen this show, you need to. Two twin brothers help couples find a new house. One is the realtor and one is the contractor. They convince the people to buy a house that needs some work and then do the work so it looks like the houses they wanted but cost too much for them to afford. I absolutely love the transformation of the spaces. It fascinates me to watch someone take something rundown and reimagine it into something new and fabulous.

If I could have someone come do some work in my house (even if I had to do a little DIY like many of these shows make the people do), I would love a kitchen remodel. I have a feeling my husband would argue we should turn our basement into a mancave instead, but since this is my fantasy, I would choose kitchen. New quartz countertops, dark wood cabinets, a large center island, all stainless steel appliances, updated light fixtures, tile backsplashes, oh the fun I would have!

In The Better Man, my hero Max is sort of in need of a character transformation and it is through his relationship with Kendall and her son, Simon, that he does just that. He doubts himself throughout the story, thinks he’s possibly no good to anyone, especially his son. Luckily, Simon and Kendall show him he has more to offer the world than he thinks. Max just needs someone to uncover the hidden beauty within, knock down some walls, and let the light in.

If you could update something in your home, what would it be? Have you taken on a DIY project and lived to tell about it? I’d love to hear what you would do if HGTV came to your neighborhood!


Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for prizes (sorry, no home makeovers in there!) Thanks for stopping by!



Tour-Wide Giveaway


- Gift Card Grand Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback (US) or ebook (INT) of The Better Man
- US Grand Prize: Signed paperback of The Better Man plus swag (shown above)
- 5 copies of The Better Man (paperback for US and ebooks for INT)
- Ends October 5th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Better Man by Amy Vastine #PrismBookTour #Launch

A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're excited to be launching the BOOK TOUR for
The Better Man by Amy Vastine!

The Better Man, which is the beginning of the new Chicago Sisters Series, is set in the busy city of Chicago, but is full of family, friendship, and love. It's also from the clean romance Heartwarming line of books from Harlequin. Scroll on down to read a little about this book and series and to read an exclusive excerpt! We hope you enjoy the tour!

September Tour Schedule

28 - Grand Finale

The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance…until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?


An Intro to The Better Man and an Exclusive Excerpt

The Better Man is the first book in the Chicago Sisters Series, which introduces us to the three Everhart sisters, Lucy, Kendall, and Emma. All three sisters live in the Lincoln Park area, and even though the story has a big city backdrop, the focus is still on family and community. These sisters always have one another’s backs, even though they couldn’t be any different. Funny how siblings can be raised in the same family but develop such separate identities! Lucy is the strong-willed, fanatical health-nut who takes up any cause she deems worthy. Middle-child Kendall is the shy artist, whose loyalty knows no bounds. Emma is the confident baby of the family who believes she has her entire life mapped out. The Better Man features Kendall and her son, Simon. Book Two, The Best Laid Plans, is Emma’s story and scheduled to come out in March 2015. Lucy’s story is told in the third book, with the working title, The Better Fight, and should be out at the end of 2015.

Here’s a little excerpt of the three sisters in action:

“And I am now, officially, the meanest mommy. Ever.”

Lucy put a hand on her sister’s head. “Oh boy. Just remember every mom has felt like that at one point in time. I know I crowned Mom the meanest when I was little. She was a repeat winner of the title for years.”

Kendall let out a breathy laugh. “I remember you being much meaner to her than she ever was to you.”

“Of course I was. I’m meaner than everyone,” Lucy said, unashamed.

“I still love you, though.” Kendall got up and grabbed a large bowl off the top of the refrigerator. From the pantry, she pulled out three bags of Halloween candy and tossed them on the kitchen table.

“You really shouldn’t give out candy. I could have brought over a whole bushel of organic apples.”

“We are not going to be that house.” The two sisters opened and emptied the bags into the bowl. Lucy offered to help with dinner. Kendall had bought the ingredients for chili and no one chopped vegetables better than Lucy. Kendall set her up on the cutting board with an onion and some peppers.

“It’s better that you rip the Max Band-Aid off now rather than later,” Lucy said while they cooked. “Simon will get over it. So will you. It’s always better to be the one who walked away instead of the one left behind.”

“Which one were you again?” Kendall asked, recognizing that Lucy’s guard was down.

“Ha-ha. I’ve been both. At the same time,” she added. “Now, stop making this about me.”

“You love when things are about you,” Emma said, joining the conversation. Dressed in her nursing scrubs and a purple witch’s hat on her head, she sat down at the table next to Lucy with a bag of cheese puffs.

Kendall held a hand over her heart. “Maybe knock next time and give a girl some warning. Isn’t it against your nurse’s training to give people heart attacks?”

“And isn’t it against your nurse’s training to put processed poison into your body?” Lucy added. She snatched the cheese puffs out of her sister’s hands and walked them over to the garbage.

“Hey!” Emma sprung to her feet. “I was eating those! I haven’t eaten all day.”

“Another reason you shouldn’t eat them. Your body needs fuel, not intestine-destroying acids.”

“Uh-oh, who’s eating junk food in front of Lucy?” Kendall’s mom popped her head into the kitchen. “Girls, don’t fight over food.” She took the bag away from Lucy and handed it back to Emma, who scrunched up her face and pursed her lips at her sister.

“It’s your body,” Lucy relented. “Sorry for trying to protect it.”

Their dad followed behind their mom and gave Lucy a hug. “You’re a good big sister, but never throw away someone’s cheese puffs.”

“I’m coming over tomorrow and helping Mom throw away all your junk food. We’re putting you on a diet.”

“What?” He looked at his wife for confirmation.

Maureen’s shoulders slumped and she glared at Lucy. “I wasn’t going to tell him what we were doing. If you don’t tell him, he doesn’t miss it. When you tell him, he gets all worked up.”


Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Altered by Gennifer Albin - my 3.5 review


Altered (Crewel World, #2)
Altered
by Gennifer Albin
401 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads

Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.


Gennifer Albin

Gennifer Albin: I like coffee. A lot. Writing gives me time to go get a cup without my kids. I like books as much as I like coffee, but it is easier to read with children hanging on you than drink coffee due to the threat of third degree burns. That's why coffee gets top billing in my intro: its unattainability.


I hold a Masters in English with a specialization in 18th century women's studies. While this is a highly marketable area of expertise, I stay home with my kids, which means my 3 year-old son uses correct grammar and doesn't burn down the house.


I have a ridiculously supportive husband who dreams of being included on a book jacket: "The author lives in Kansas with her husband, two children, and a Tuesday cat."


I'm represented by Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media.

My Review:

I like this book and I don't, simultaneously.

For one, it's probably best read all at once instead of bit by bit like I read it in 30 min segments. It was clear, however, that I was able to put the book down, that there was a mass amount of information, and that the action sequences were very short and spread out sparsely.  Of course, I'm comparing Altered to Crewel.

Unlike Crewel, there were moments where I felt all the characters would manage for awhile and I could let them hang out, making it very handy to set the book aside frequently. I wasn't anxious about their safety, although they were always in danger. I wasn't concerned about their relationships, although... there is a beautiful switcheroo in Altered. Possibly the un-anxiety comes from Adelice's ability?  and her confidence? She's grasped this fateful view of things and proceeds forward without questioning herself overmuch. That might be it.

The action sequences come like sprinkles on the chocolate cookie mocha blended thing at Starbucks. (I had one the other day and Yum!!)  They're delicious and perfect, just not enough. (Actually, there were plenty of chocolate cookie bits. You'd have to get a rotten stingy barista, which isn't likely in Starbucks, but I can imagine how that would be sad.)  When there is action, it's grip-yer-seat exciting. Jumping out of a hot air balloon thingame? Very exciting. Facing remnants? Always deadly and very, very exciting.  Just short. Way too short. Adelice screams and someone comes to her rescue. I can imagine how characters from other books wished Albin was writing their story 'cause it just seemed to work out too neatly too quickly.

*sigh*  A little of not working out is nice.  If you're looking for Not-Working-Out, there are two doozies, so go ahead and dive into this book, but just know that you won't be chewing off your fingernails.

Ah... the infodump.  I have a love/hate relationship with the amount of info in Altered. Crewel sets up the craziest world imaginable. I wanted to know more - I wanted to see the world again, I wanted to know what was going on, how it worked and who all those characters were who seemed to have long histories. I love finding out why!!  :-D  And Altered did not disappoint, oh no. There was the beautiful world, this time from the inside out. I love the strands of reality, like seeing neurons as vibrant threads, or something. LOVE.  But... but, every other bit of scene required so much information to support all the story and sprinkles of action. It's like we have to stop and take history and biology to be able to proceed.  Yes, it's spread through-out the story very tastefully, but it's spread thickly like a generous amount of peanut butter that overfills your mouth from beginning to end.

What did I love?

Adelice. Her relationships with everyone. The other characters and that gorgeous world.  These things are as vibrant as those strands of life throughout the book.

I love Adelice.  She takes life head-on, standing up in the middle of the storm, smartin' off to the big world manipulaters, diving into love with both feet. She's vibrant and real and I'm very comfortable reading from her perspective. I feel a little daring, a little astonished, but a whole lot of YESSSSSSS!!!!!!

The other characters are also vibrant and unique. I did not remember all the details about Jost, Eric and Cormac from Crewel, but in Altered, they came to life with all their history from book one with no effort. They are alive in my mind, very real, very handsome, very powerful, very multi-dimensional!  Each has ulterior motives and I love the way Adelice accepts this about people and almost clarifies the bright thread of motivation in each one before deciding whether or not to trust them.

The romance felt droopy the first half of the book, lacking in vibrant life compared to the rest of the story, but then these motivations were clarified and the perspective zoomed into different focus and I was absolutely delighted how it all worked out. The lack-luster was on purpose and created a great backdrop for the romance during the second half of the book, which was quite vibrant and promising, if... um... somewhat tragic.  This romance became one of my favorite aspects of Altered because of this mid-story change. It was ALIVE!!

But wait! There's more!!

I loved the quoting of Shakespeare. Marvelous. Fitting.

There is an origin argument:  Random vs. Created. Very interesting. Adelice/the author argues for random. Arras, the controlled world on the looms, is sited as what Creation looks like and the people who grow up not realizing what world they are in as the offspring of a created world. The juxtaposition is how beautiful the loom is, all those threads that Adelice can see? She can see them in Arras or outside of it, both, and both are uniquely beautiful. Plus, all the characters are an example of how people have choices, the freedom to choose is not taken away because of the beauty of the world. So, in arguing that it is preferred to have no Creator, she proves the opposite.

Which brings me to Choices.  As the story develops, the choices grow more difficult. "Right" and "wrong" are getting muddied while the power to make important choices for many other people continues to rest in the hands of the few. If the current trajectory is followed... book #3 will hold some tragedy. I hope Albin included some sweet for relationships because I have hope that Adelice can find the best choices and that someone else comes forward to assist with the monumental task of fixing everything.

I really loved the parts I loved... and these thought-provoking themes are delightful. 4.5 stars for those bits. The slow speed of the story plus the nippy-short action sprinkles drove me nuts. 2 stars for those bits. The amount of information was necessary and tastefully delivered, so I'm not rating it at all. Between loving this world and needing mountains of info to see it, I'm left more grateful than not over the amount of info.
3.5 starts altogether for me. And yeah, I'll definitely be reading Unraveled!



Crewel (Crewel World, #1)
Crewel
by Gennifer Albin
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.


Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

My Review

I guess I didn't review Crewel when I read it last summer. I totally hate it when I do that. I remember my thoughts about the story, but they're distant...

Crewel is amazing... all beautiful world, high tension, dramatic action. What a great introduction to this gorgeous, unique world full of vibrant characters. There's a some scoops of scientific info, a peak at the structure behind the action, but this book is all character-relationship-action... beautiful & amazing. I really love this cover, too. 4.5 Stars