Justine's books

Last Sacrifice
My Soul to Take
My Soul to Save
My Soul to Keep
My Soul to Steal
Wings
Spells
Illusions
Sing Me to Sleep
Girl Stays in the Picture
The Eternal Ones
Beastly
Ash
Huntress
Secret Society
The Trust
Ascendant
Rampant
0.4
Fairy Tale


Justine's favorite books »

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Blog Tour and Review: Branded- Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki


Title: Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner Missy Kalicicki
Genre: YA Dystopian Romance



Summary: 
Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadliest sins were the downfall of our society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me.   I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.
Now, every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
Title: Branded
Author: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Pages: 252
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Review: I received this book free from the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Branded is one of the best dystopians, if not the best that I have ever read. It was a breath of fresh air because it was so unique. I have never came across another book about the seven deadly sins and I loved it! I also really enjoyed the romantic aspect of this book. The message was great, no matter how crappy your living situation or life is at that moment people can still find love, even if it is forbidden. That made the romance even better because it was forbidden. I could totally see how Abi Ketner being a nurse influenced the story. Their writing was so engaging and the only reason that I took a break from the book was because my kindle died. The book flowed so gracefully and I never wanted it to end. Unfortunately it did :( the story also contained some darker scenes and some scenes where I was tearing up but I loved it all! I have no negative comments besides "WHY ISN'T BOOK TWO IN MY HAND RIGHT NOW????"
I loved these characters. I loved how Lexi was put in a terrible spot and almost didn't survive, but she did overcome it and now hopefully will have. Bright future. Cole is just SEXY so he can't do anything wrong in my books. I can't wait to see how their relationship pines out and I can't wait for some more sexiness!! I also fell in love with a few other characters but by far Zeus was my favourite. You will have to read it to find out. And how about that shocker??? Damn villains being so villainous!!
Loved this book! If I could I would give it a million stars! This is definitely the next big thing in Dystopian genre. I can picture it rit up there with the Hunger Games. I can honestly say that I happen this series goes on forever! I would recommend this novel to everyone and their dog. Now the authors need to hurry up and write book two, like yesterday would have been good ;)


Excerpt:
Chapter One
I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.
My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”
I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.
“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.
I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.
The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.
Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.
Did they need so many guards to capture me?
I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.
The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.
To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.
“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.
“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.
Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.
They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.
Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.
I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.
The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.
The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.
I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.
“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.
What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.
“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.
“Lexi Hamilton.”
A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”
A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.
Click. Click. Click.
The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust ¾ Blue
Gluttony ¾ Orange
Greed ¾ Yellow
Sloth ¾ Light Blue
Wrath ¾ Red
Envy ¾ Green
Pride ¾ Purple

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.
He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,” Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.




Author Bio:
Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.
Links:

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY: Curse of the Beast- Ashley Lavering

Curse of the Beast & Star Cursed

Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Hosted by Lady Amber’s Reviews
Young Adult Novels by Ashley Lavering

I am so excited that you all could celebrate my new covers with me!! Curse of the Beast
and Star Cursed are Young Adult novels and a retelling of Beauty and the Beast
with a werewolf twist. They are my first books published and had different
models on each cover. I really wanted these novels to match as a set and really
shine. So I hired the amazing cover artist,
Design by Katt (aka Kathey Amaral) to redo them. https://www.facebook.com/DesignByKatt?fref=ts
She was fantastic to work with and was patient with my endless nit-picking. LOL. I am
sure she thought I was OCD.  But enough
about us, let’s see those marvelous covers shall we? Drum-roll please…..


Curse of the Beast
Seventeen-year-old Tayla Jonas longs for a simple life,
but an ancient curse forces a werewolf to hunt her, to claim what is his. Will
Tayla be strong enough to survive the Curse of the Beast? Or will it consume
her like so many before? Find out in the first installment of this unique
retelling of Beauty and the Beast.






Star Cursed


Tangled in a web of wills, Tayla must risk everything to
break the Curse of the Beast. With failure and possible death looming overhead,
Tayla will do anything to find true love. But will one moon cycle be long
enough to conquer her wolf and remain human? Or will she become a permanent member
of Beast’s pack? Find out in the second installment in the Curse of the Beast
series.









 Author Ashley Lavering




A
nomad at heart, Ashley currently claim Nevada as her home. She has a wonderful
husband and two young children that put up with her “writing time.” When she’s
not pondering a spell that will magically calm the ferocious winds that plague
the air around her, you can find her, with notepad in hand, frantically jotting
down ideas in those short moments between caring for her girls and working full
time at the Elko Institute for Academic Achievement.


Art
and science have always been her yin and yang. Throughout her college career,
she shifted between the two, but in the end graduated with a Bachelors of
Mathematics and Science from the University of Wyoming.



Charging into adventures and discovering something new has always been a
passion of hers, but as a teenager she used to run screaming from a reading or
writing assignment. Looking back, the irony isn’t lost on her. Now you can’t
catch her without a book in hand or an open word document. Every time a new
idea pops into her mind her heart races and her hand twitches to write it. In
that moment, she has her writer's high and prays it will sustain her through
thousands of hours of revision.




Giveaway







Friday, 28 June 2013

Release Day: Resisting Fate- Heather Van Fleet


Title: Resisting Fate
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Day: June 28thth 2013
Publisher: Sunshine Press


Seventeen-year-old Emmy O’Connell is the epitome of a hot mess.
Her boyfriend’s been shipped out of town to some boarding school four states away. Her step douche is constantly drunk and badgering her. And then there’s her good-ole-mom… The lady is nothing more than a miserable shell of a woman. She’s turned off all of her feelings and her ability to be a good mother as well, leaving poor Emmy and her four year old brother Jamie to suffer. Life couldn’t get much worse, right?
 Enter the elusive, cocky, and oh-so-broody Jack Hartman…
The jerk cousin of her boyfriend becomes Emmy’s worst nightmare…times ten. He’s cruel. He’s insensitive. But he also has this strange little ability over her – he makes her weak in the knees with the single touch of his hand. But no matter how miserable or amazing Jack makes her feel, Emmy can’t seem to deny him, especially when he takes on the role of her protector –her pseudo-knight in a black leather coat. A knight who also just so happens to ride in on his black Harley, instead of a white horse
And to make a bad situation worse…
Werewolves and teens shouldn’t mix! But what can Emmy do when she finds herself thrown head first into the center of it all?Can she handle the supernatural mess her life rapidly becomes or will she fight against the inevitable fate her heart desires?


About the author:
Heather Van Fleet currently reside in northern Illinois, with her three little ladies, and fabulous hubby, and high school sweetheart, Chris. She’s a stay at home mom by day, and an avid and completely obsessive writer and reader by night.
She’s always had a soft spot in her heart for books, and has been creating her own little stories since the age of seven. But she never really had the confidence or the time to actually sit down and really do something about it until her youngest daughter Isabella was born just two years ago. Bella, as well as her older sisters Kelsey and Emma, are and always will be her greatest inspirations.

Release Day Blitz: Branded- Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki



Title: Branded
Author: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Genre: Mature YA/NA, Dystopian
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours




Book Description:
Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are 
branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my 
brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.




Chapter One

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.
My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”
I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear.
“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.
I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.
The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms.
Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts.
Did they need so many guards to capture me? 
I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.
The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.
To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.
“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.
“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.
Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him. 
They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.
Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.
I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.
“Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.
The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white with fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.
I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.
“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.
What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.
“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
One
Two
Three
Four
Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.
“Lexi Hamilton.”
A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”
A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.
Click. Click. Click.
The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust ¾ Blue

Gluttony ¾ Orange

Greed ¾ Yellow

Sloth ¾ Black

Wrath ¾ Red

Envy ¾ Green

Pride ¾ Purple

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.
He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,” Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.




Author Bios:
Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.


WE are so excited to share Branded with you. We know some of you will love it, like it, think it's okay and some won't like it at all. We understand that this novel won't be for everyone, but we do want to thank you for taking the time to read Branded...and of course for supporting us as Indie Authors. 

Available
Amazon Kindle & Paperback and Barnes & Noble 
IBooks (soon) we will announce as soon as it goes live. 

Twitter @abiandmissy 

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 


Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review #137: The Mysterious Beach- Natasha Vahora


Summary: What if you got stuck in a mysterious beach or cave? Two sisters will stop at nothing to get free. They meet some people along the way, some good, some bad. Will they make it out alive? Buckle up, or shall I say swim, because this is an adventure you don't want to miss.
Title: The Mysterious Beach
Author: Natasha Vahora
Pages: 70
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Review: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I'm having a really hard time giving this book a rating. I have taken into consideration that the author is extremely young, so that accounts for some of the language and the direction that the story has taken. But I do give her props for being so young and having a book published. I did find TheMysterious Beach to be very original but defininately a book for younger readers. Also I found the story to be a little jumpy with no explanations of time. But I am curious what will happen in book two after the visit that occurred at the end of the book. I think with a few touch ups the ratings of this short story will go up. 
I would recommend this book to readers on the younger side and to mermaid lovers. I will be keeping my eye on Natasha Vahora in the future.

About the Author: 

My name is Natasha, I have a stupid nickname as tosh.0 though... Haha, don't ask. I've been OBSESSED with mermaids ever since I heard about a mythological creature that swims with a tail... I love secrets, I love mysteries, mermaids, and the water, but I could NEVER find the perfect book that had all of that, so I created ''The Mysterious Beach''

Testing

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review #136: Lucien's Hell Bound Angel- Cyndi Harris


Title: Lucien's Hell Bound Angel
Author: Cyndi Harris
Pages: 258
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Review: I received this book free from the aloe in exchange for an honest review.
For me, Lucien's Hell Bound Angel was stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit because it was an adult novel instead of my usual YA. But regardless I enjoyed this read. My only issues were that there were quite a few characters who kept popping in and out and I kept forgetting who was who. Also I just found there to be a lot going on and it was kind of confusing at times what was going on. I did really enjoy the storyline even though it contained angels lol. But luckily this story was more about demons then the angels.
Like I mentioned before, there were a lot of characters to try and remember, especially when one character was in someone else's body lol. But I did enjoy reading about our two main characters Lucien and Athena. I loved reading about their forbidden romance and how they tried not to love each other but in the end they realized that they were meant for each other. I can't wait to hear more about their relationship. I would also really enjoy learning more about their backgrounds. I want to know who they were before they met each other.
I am excited to read book tw to see where Cyndi Harris will take the characters and where she will take the reader. I would recommend this book to paranormal romance lovers.


About this author


A mother of two and author of too many haha. I love reading and writing Paranormal Romance. When I pick up a book that's published and see an idea I have started working on I smile because I know I'm in the right line of business. My goal is to tickle the fancy of all those who love to read, but most of all it's for me. I can't put a pen or laptop down because my brain is always brewing up a new character or scenario. So if you're like me and love to read and even write indulge into my world.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Review #135: The Prisoner- Kol Anderson


Summary: Aaron Taylor has been working at an escort company for the past six months. Just when life seems to have gotten better and he is beginning to think that he has a grasp of this line of work, his handler sends him to a new client. Vincent Greene looks like he might just be Aaron’s best client yet but he doesn't know the extent of Vincent's cruelty.

Tags: GAY, MM, EROTICA, BDSM, RAPE, KIDNAP, KIDNAPPING, RAPE FANTASY, SEX INDUSTRY, MALE PROSTITUTE, SEX WORKER


Title: The Prisoner
Author: Kol Anderson
Pages: 81
Series: The Broken Series
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Review: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
First off, I just wanted to clarify that I have never read an erotica or M/M book before and I was very hesitant to, but I did it for a good friend. When I started this book it was a light, airy, romantic read and I thought to myself okay, I can do this, it won't be so bad for "my first time". Then thing got ugly (story wise not the book). The story took a turn for the worst for the main character Aaron and the events that he went through were horrific and I feel like I will be scarred for life, but I couldn't put the book down. I had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. I NEED to know what happens! Will Aaron ever be rescued? Will the whole operation be shut down? What happened to Vincent in his life that made him so f*cked up? What is Aaron's background? How did he end up doing what he is doing? Will he find a soulmate in Sebastian? Argh and so many more.i don't even know how to write my feelings my heart broke for Aaron and I was disgusted by what he is dealing with. But at the same time I am happy that he met Sebastian so he has something good to hold onto to keep him for giving up completely. And I am glad that Sebastian cares enough aboutaaron to look for him. 
I feel like by reading this book my eyes have been opened to real life situations. Not that this was based on a true story but I would have never thought that stuff like this happens in real life but it must. And that makes me truly sad for the human race. But despite the dark contents I will read the next book because like I said I need to know what will happen next. I would recommend this book to those readers who enjoy the darker side of erotica.