Friday, 31 July 2015

Book Review: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

The Storyspinner (The Keeper's Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Format: Library Book
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

If you love books about fantasy, acrobats, and a world where Storyspinners exist (which I do! Ahhh!) then you'll most likely love this book!

This is a 'typical' young adult book but I found myself really loving this book despite that. I feel like it's mostly because it made me feel like I was young again and I was back in middle school. This is both, in part, with the books I've read during this time and reading all the stories my closest friend wrote. It gave me that sort of vibe and I think that's what drew me in the most. It might seem odd to read this statement though - especially when I'm not being so descriptive about it. I guess it just gave me this sort of heartwarming feeling that I haven't felt in years.

Maybe I should recommend this book for her...

With that being said, though, if you're the kind of person who don't care about cliches in books or if you prefer to not be able to guess what's going to happen... this will probably not be the book for you. If you are willing to overlook these flaws then please do. It's for those reasons above, though, that I decided to give it a three stars.

It's a beautiful world that, while being full of magic, feels really attainable if that makes sense. I feel like it felt realistic while also still having this magic spark in the air. It's nice.

Oddly enough, I don't really feel like Johanna grew much in this book personality wise. I could be slightly biased though with the fact that I fell in love with The Keepers more than anyone else in the book. I like that she placed her focus on family and supporting them before herself but I just... I don't know. I want to learn more about The Keepers, please!

I also want to love Johanna much more in the sequel. Considering the ending, though, I'd be surprised if I didn't. Fingers crossed!

Awesome writing and execution. I can wait for the sequel and I'm more than excited to read more books by this author. Yay!!

Cadillac Payback Blog Tour! Excerpt + Giveaway

Cadillac Payback by Aj Elmore
Publication Date: July 30th, 2015
An old Cadillac and a gun are all she has left of her brother. Three men stand ready to follow her into the darkest pits of hell to avenge him. The Cadillac leads them down a swamp road lined with ghosts, consequence and the tangled web of business and pleasure, into the underbelly of New Orleans crime as she fights for vengeance for her brother.

Joshua was just a rookie, a kid caught up in a drug ring. It’s fun and dangerous, all easy, until it kills his best friend and drags what’s left of his companions into a war. All he knows is he would walk into hell with her, and she might ask before it’s over…

Isaiah thought he’d seen everything—but watching Charlie die tore the world apart. The regime is changing, and with the new leader come more questions than answers. He was Charlie’s right hand, but what will he be to her?

Frederick came up on the streets, learned fast and hard and dirty. His past has always been a sticking point for the group, but one person has never questioned him, and he’ll do anything for her…

Maria never wanted to take over Charlie’s operation. But with her brother dead, and vengeance the only thing she has left, she makes her first decision: drag Charlie’s killers down.

It might just be her last.

“Stay in the car,” she says softly, her tone solid and measured.

She opens the case with the precision and surety of an assassin. Inside, nestled between some egg crate foam is a fifth of Southern Comfort. The liquid inside is the right color, but it moves like mostly melted butter.

I'm too stunned to respond properly. Stay in the car? Not likely. She can't expect that of me. I watch her retrieve another bottle lid that has a big, white tampon hanging through it by the string. It is severely out of place, that tampon. Almost comical.

She replaces the bottle's lid with tampon-laden one, leaving the cotton to dangle inside. I watch with morbid fascination as the liquid bleeds into the misemployed feminine product. Events are beginning to reshape in my mind's eye, as the thing in her hand begins to make more sense in my frayed thought process. This is no bottle of summer evening rowdiness, this is one mean little molotov cocktail; Frederick's work, no doubt.

“At least stay here,” she says, unexpectedly nailing me with dead seriousness.

I can barely see the brown of her irises in the moonlight. Summer bugs buzz in my head. My stomach invades my lower intestines at the sight of the deadly intent on her face. She's sidelining me, putting me on the bench until her business here is done.

She steals away. Her feet barely make any sound in the gravel. Her hips sway slightly, sending upon me a wave of slow motion sensory that always seems to happen before something significant comes. My consciousness breathes in. I close the trunk as gently as I can manage, and wait.

She sidles up to the house, a stalking predator in the shadows. A siren erupts somewhere several blocks away. The noise makes my heart stutter, nearly fail, but Maria is steady, unaffected. She doesn't give a shit about authorities in the still, early morning air.

I keep waiting for gunfire, or a signal of danger from a hidden look-out, for some indication that they have been waiting for us all this time. Perhaps, they really have underestimated the magnitude of their actions, and the force that they have angered. These fuckers are crazy if they believe they won't be hearing from us tonight, even crazier if they thought they could scare Charlie's little sister into inaction. Such is the smug self-confidence of their ring-leader.

I watch her silhouette slip a lighter from her pants pocket. Its flame illuminates her face for just a moment, and the tampon's fuse is lit. She waits long enough to make sure the flame will hold, then unceremoniously chucks the bottle toward the house, a baby sis with something to prove.

All I can think is that if he could see her now, he would be proud.

Aj is a beach migrant, and part-time muse. She enjoys the exploration of genres vast, and the search for untold worlds. A writer-for-fun since childhood, she has also been known to be a super hero, a gun slinger, and occasionally, a waitress. She lives on an island, has a bachelor's degree in journalism and some tattoos. She is most easily found at the water's edge.
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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Never Always Sometimes Book Tour! Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 4th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.
"On his own, Dave was a bit of a neat freak. But when Julia was nearby, messes seemed beautiful, life's untidiness easier to comprehend."
This was my first Adi Alsaid book and overall I enjoyed reading about the rollercoaster that was Dave and Julia's friendship. I'm generally pretty on the fence with these sorts of books as they tend to have a ton of high school cliches and whatnot but that was sort of the beauty within this story. The cliches were put to good use as Dave and Julia navigated the remainder of their final year at high school with the intent to experience everything they'd tried their very hardest to avoid like parties, lusting after teachers and falling in love with your best friend.
"Pining silently was a cliche, which meant that people were constantly in love with each other without saying a thing about it. How much unrequited, unspoken love filled up the halls every day?"
I knew where this story was going from the moment I read the synopsis, I mean where else could it go? But what I liked was all the different directions it took along the way as the pair took each cliche on their list and attempted them one at a time. Some of the outcomes were hilarious! Like accidentally dying your cat pink and green...

The relationship between Dave and Julia was good to start with. I loved the banter between them and how effortless the whole thing seemed.
"When you've cleared it, you give me the signal by starting a dance-off, and I go in."
"You realise this is insane, right?"
"You're mispronouncing 'genius.'"
As the book went on I liked Julia less and less... Her morals were awry, she couldn't see where the line was drawn and she was extremely judgy of her fellow students (cliche as they may be) which made her seem 'holier than thou' and very hard to like. A quote from the book is, "Ridiculing others was her usual coping mechanism..." nope. I liked Dave throughout, especially when he finally got a little independence and went in his own direction to see what else was out there for him. Sometimes he'd really annoy me and these were the times when he'd choose Julia over everyone/thing else and run to her like a lost puppy dog.
Theeeeen things got weird. Without giving too much away, the relationship between Julia and Dave made me really not want to read any further. By this point I had no idea what would happen anymore, I knew what I wanted to happen but...
"People were belittling teenage heartbreak. But heartbreak was heartbreak was heartbreak."
Anyways, the story really sagged in the middle but I'm glad I pushed on. The pacing was a big reason as to why I rated this book 3.5 stars and not 4.

Character development happened towards the very end and THANK GOD. The quote below was a huge turning point for Julia and I ended up liking her just that tiny bit more.
"We are more or less kind, or more or less not. More or less selfish, happy, wise, lonely. Just like things are rarely always true, we aren't ever exactly one thing or another. We are more or less.

It's like that in out love lives too. We like to think we're formulas that even out exactly, that we are perfect matches with each other. But we're not. We match up with lots of people, more or less."
The ending was fitting, nothing amazing, but fitting. Overall I'm glad I got the chance to read this one and I will definitely be trying other books by this author!
THE KIDS WALKING past Dave seemed to be in some other universe. They moved too quickly, they were too animated, they talked too loudly. They held on to their backpacks too tightly, checked themselves in tiny mirrors hanging on the inside of their lockers too often, acted as if everything mattered too much. Dave knew the truth: Nothing mattered. Nothing but the fact that when school was out for the day, he and Julia were going to spend the afternoon at Morro Bay.

No one had told him that March of senior year would feel like it was made of Jell-O. After he'd received his acceptance letter from UCLA, high school had morphed into something he could basically see through. When, two days later, Julia received her congratulations from UCSB, only an hour up the coastline, the whole world took on brighter notes, like the simple primary colors of Jell-O flavors. They giggled constantly.

Julia's head appeared by his side, leaning against the locker next to his. It was strange how he could see her every day and still be surprised by how it felt to have her near. She knocked her head against the locker softly and combed her hair behind her ear. "It's like time has ceased to advance. I swear I've been in Marroney's class for a decade. I can't believe it's only lunch."

"here is nothing in here I care about," Dave announced into his locker. He reached into a crumpled heap of papers on top of a history textbook he hadn't pulled out in weeks and grabbed a single, ripped page. "Apparently, I got a C on an art assignment last year." He showed the drawing to Julia: a single palm tree growing out of a tiny half moon of an island in the middle of a turquoise ocean.

"Don't show UCLA that. hey'll pull your scholarship."

Dave crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it at a nearby garbage can. It careened off the edge and rolled back to his feet. He picked it up and shoved it back into the locker. "Any notable Marroney moments today?"

"I can't even remember," Julia said, moving aside to make room for Dave's locker neighbor. "he whole day has barely registered." She put her head on Dave's shoulder and let out a sigh. "I think he ate a piece of chalk."

It was pleasant torture, how casually she could touch him. Dave kept exploring the wasteland of his locker, tossing out a moldy, half-eaten bagel, occasionally unfolding a sheet of paper with mild curiosity, trying not to move too much so that Julia wouldn't either. He made a pile of papers to throw out and a much smaller one of things to keep. So far, the small pile contained two in-class notes from Julia and a short story he'd read in AP English.

"Still on for the harbor today?"

"It's the only thing that's kept me sane," Julia said, pulling away. "Come on, why are we still here? I'm starving. Marroney didn't ofer me any of his chalk."

"I do not care about any of this," Dave repeated. Liberated by the absence of her touch, he walked over to the trash can and dragged it toward his locker, then proceeded to shovel in the entirety of the contents except for the books. A USB memory stick was wrapped inside a candy wrapper, covered in chocolate, and he tossed that, too. A few sheets remained tucked into the corners, some ripped pieces stuck under the heavy history textbook.

But something caught his eye. One paper folded so neatly that for a second he thought it may have been a note he'd saved from his mom. She'd died when he was nine, and though he'd learned to live with that, he still treated the things she left behind like relics. But when he unfolded the sheet and realized what he was holding, a smile spread his lips. Dave's eyes went down the list to number eight: Never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school.

He looked at Julia, recalling the day they'd made the list, suddenly lushed with warmth at the thought that nothing had come between them in four years. She was holding on to her backpack's straps, starting to get impatient. Everything about Julia was beautiful to him, but it was the side of her face that he loved the most. The slope of her neck, the slight jut of her chin, how the blue in her eyes popped. Her ears, which were the cutest ears on the planet, or maybe the only cute ones ever crafted.

"David Nathaniel O'Flannery, why are we still here?"

"How have we been best friends for this long and you still don't know my full name?"

"I know most of your initials. Can we go, please?"

"Look at what I just found."

"Is it Marroney's mole from sophomore year?"

"Our Nevers list."

Julia turned around to face him. A couple of football players passed between them talking about a party happening on Friday. She was quiet, studying Dave with a raised eyebrow. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you, O'Flannery? I could never forgive you."

"Gutierrez. My last name is Gutierrez."

"Don't change the subject. Did you really find it?" She motioned for him to hand the paper over, which he did, making sure their ingers would brush. he linoleum hallways were starting to empty out, people were settling into their lunch spots. "I was actually thinking about this the other day. I even wrote my mom about it," Julia said, reading over the list. A smile shaped her lips, which were on the thin side, though Dave couldn't imagine wishing for them to be any different. "We did a pretty good job of sticking to this."

"Except for that time you hooked up with Marroney," Dave said, moving to her side and reading the list with her.

"I wish. He's such a dreamboat."

Dave closed his locker and they peered into classrooms they passed by, watching the teachers settle into their lunchtime rituals, doing some grading as they picked at meals packed into Tupperware. Dave and Julia wordlessly stopped in front of Mr. Marroney's room and watched him try to balance a pencil on the end of a yardstick.

"his is your one regret from high school?"

"here's a playful charm to him," Julia said, in full volume, though the door was open. "I'm surprised you don't see it." hey stared on for a while, then made their way out toward the cafeteria. he line was at its peak, snaking all the way around the tables and reaching almost to the door. he tables inside the cafeteria and out on the blacktop had long since been claimed. "Kind of cool that we never did get a permanent lunch spot," Dave said, gesturing with the list in hand. "I hadn't even remembered that it was on the list. Had you?"

"No," Julia said. "he subconscious is weird." She reached into her bag and grabbed a Granny Smith apple, rubbing it halfheartedly on the hem of her shirt. "How do you feel about the gym today?"

He shrugged and they walked across the blacktop to the basketball gym tucked behind the soccer ield. hey had a handful of spots they sometimes went to, usually agreeing on a spot wordlessly, both of them headed in the same direction as if pulled by the same invisible string. hey entered the old building, which used to smell of mold until a new court had been installed, so now it smelled like mold and new wood. he walls were painted the school colors: maroon and gold. Next to the banners hanging from the ceiling there was a delated soccer ball pinned to the rafters.

Julia led them up the plastic bleachers. A group of kids was shooting around, and one of them looked at Dave and called out to him. "Hey, man, we need one more! You wanna run?"

"No, thanks," Dave said. "I had a really bad dream about basketball once and I haven't been able to play since." he kid frowned, then looked over at his friends who shook their heads and laughed. Dave took a seat next to Julia as the kids resumed their shooting. "I think you've used that one before," Julia said, taking a bite out of her apple.

"I'm kind of ofended on your behalf that they don't ask you to play."

"hey did once."

"Really?" Dave rummaged through his backpack for the Tupperware he'd packed himself in the morning. "Why don't I remember that?"

"I was really good. Dunked on people. Scored more points than I did on the SAT. Every male in the room suppressed the memory immediately to keep their egos from disintegrating."

Dave laughed as he scooped a plastic forkful of chicken and rice. It was a recipe he vaguely remembered from childhood, one he'd found in his mom's old cookbooks and had taught himself to make. His dad and his older brother, Brett, never said anything about it, but the leftovers never lasted more than two days. "So, you've heard from your mom recently?" Julia had been raised by her adoptive fathers, but her biological mom had always lingered on the fringe, occasionally keeping in touch. Julia idolized her, and Dave, who'd been yearning for his mom for years, could never fault her for it.

"Yeah," Julia said, unable to keep a smile from forming. "She's even been calling. I heard the dads tell her the other day that she's welcome anytime, so there's a chance that a visit is in the works."

Dave reached over and grabbed Julia's head, shaking it from side to side. Long ago, in the awkward years of middle school, that had been established as his one gesture of afection when he didn't know how else to touch her. "Julia! hat's great."

"You goof, I'm gonna choke on my apple." She shook him of. "I don't want to get my hopes up."

"Her hopes should be up. Her biological daughter is awesome."

"She's lived in eight countries and has worked with famous painters and sculptors. No ofense, dear friend, but I think her standards for awesome are a little higher than yours."

Dave took another forkful of rice and chewed it over slowly, watching the basketball players shoot free throws to decide on teams. "I don't care how great of a life she's led, if she doesn't come visit you she's a very poor judge of awesomeness."

He glanced out the corner of his eye at Julia, who set her apple core aside and grabbed a napkin-wrapped sandwich out of her bag. He was waiting to catch that smile of hers, to know he had caused it. Instead, he only saw her eyes lick toward the Nevers list, which was resting folded on his knee. hey turned their attention to the pickup game happening on the court, each eating their lunch languidly.

For the last two periods of the day, Dave could feel the seconds ticking by, like bugs crawling on his skin. He reread the Nevers list, smiling to himself at the memory of him and Julia stealing the pen away from each other to write the next item. He gazed out the window at the blue California sky, texted Julia beneath his desk, scowled at the two kids in the back of the room who somehow believed that what they were doing was quiet enough to be called whispering. Next to him, Anika Watson took diligent notes, and he wondered how she was mustering the energy. He wondered how many of the items on the Nevers list she'd done, whether she was going to the Kapoor party that he'd overheard was happening that Friday night. Looking around the room, he imagined a little number popping up above each person's head depicting how many Nevers they'd done.

At the final releasing bell of the day, Dave and Julia met up in the hallway, silently making their way out to the parking lot, where Julia's supposedly white Mazda Miata should have been glimmering in the California sun but was barely reflective thanks to the year-long layer of dust she'd never bothered to clean off.

Before Julia said anything, Dave knew what she'd been thinking about. He knew her well enough to read her silences, and there'd been only one thing on her mind since he'd found the list. He smiled as she spoke. "What if we did the list?"

Dave shrugged and tossed his backpack into her trunk. "Why would we?"

"Because two more months of this will drive me crazy," Julia said. She unzipped her light blue hoodie and threw it into the car on top of his backpack, then stepped out of her sandals and slipped those into the trunk, too. "We've got nothing left to prove to ourselves. High school didn't change us. Maybe it's time to try out what everyone else has been doing. Just for kicks. God knows we could use some entertaining."

It was one of those perfect seventy-five-degree days, more L.A. than San Francisco, though San Luis Obispo was perfectly in between the two cities. A breeze was blowing, and now that Julia was wearing only her tank top it almost tired him how beautiful she was. It'd been a long time of this, keeping his love for her subdued. It'd been a long time of letting her rest her head on his shoulder during their movie nights, of letting her prop her almostalways bare feet on his lap, his hands nonchalantly gripping her ankles. He'd been a cliché all four years of high school, in love with his best friend, pining silently.

He opened the passenger door and looked across the roof ofJulia's car, which was more brown than white, covered with raindrop-shaped streaks of dirt, though it hadn't rained in weeks. "I hear there's a party at the Kapoors' on Friday."

Julia beamed a smile at him. "Look at you. In the know."

"I'm an influential man, Ms. Stokes. I'm expected to keep up with current events."

Julia snorted and plopped herself down into the driver's seat. "So, no Friday movie night, then? We're going to a party? With beers in red plastic cups and Top 40 music being blasted and kids our age? People hooking up in upstairs bedrooms and throwing up in the bushes outside and at least one girl running out in tears?"

"Presumably," Dave said. "I've never actually been to a party, so I have no idea if that's what happens."

Julia lowered the top of the car, then pulled out of the school's parking lot and turned right, headed toward California One and the harbor at Morro Bay.

"So, we're doing this?" Dave asked. "We're gonna join in on what everyone else has been doing?"

"Why not?" Julia said, and Dave couldn't help but smile at the side of her face, the way the sun made her eyes impossibly blue, how he could see her mom on her thoughts. "I'll come over before the party so we can decide what we're going to wear."

"And we can talk about how drunk we're gonna get," Dave added.

"And who we're gonna make out with."


Dave turned to face the road and sank into his seat. He lowered the mirror visor and stuck his arm out the side of the car, feeling the sun on his skin. He kept smiling, too experienced at hiding to let the tiny heartbreak show.
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Follow the Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.

The Creeping Book Tour - Exclusive Excerpt!

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of a summertime thriller in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her. Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work. And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.
 “No idea. For the first few years they sent me to shrinks, therapists, psychotherapists. Eventually the cops talked my mom into bringing me to a hypnotist. She was a total wacko and made me lie on a purple velvet couch as she burned incense and pretended to delve into my mind.” For some reason I lower my voice as I continue. “But no dice. I never remembered a thing. Just like it happened to someone else.” And in some ways it did. I was six years old then, and now I’m just past my seventeenth birthday. I don’t remember anything from that entire day or anything specific from any day before. It’s like someone reached inside my head and scrambled my memory that afternoon, leaving me with only my name and my parents’ faces.

My earliest memory is Zoey, stealing a chocolate marshmallow egg out of my Easter basket, the year after it happened. That’s more fitting than you know, since Zoey is a total savage. But she’s my savage, and I love her more than I love anyone and anything.

“But doesn’t it frighten you to be out here?” Cole gestures encompassingly at the wilderness around us.

I want to answer: not usually. “Not at all,” I say instead. “The trees didn’t spring to life and eat Jeanie. Whoever took her didn’t have anything to do with the woods. If I wanted to avoid the forest in Savage, I’d have to be a hermit.”

Zoey swings on the rope and screams, “Boring conversation!” as she plunges into the water.

Alexandra lives in a small town in Northern California. She enjoys writing about teens because she thinks they’re smart, have grit, are excited about engaging with the world, and are every bit as complex and dynamic as adults are.  In addition to writing fiction, she loves discovering new things, traveling, sourdough bread, trees, lighthouses, seven layer cakes, reading the news, music, adventures (some risky, some not-so-much), being silly with her sister, and her (partner in crime) husband. You can find her online at and on twitter at @AlexandraSirowy. THE CREEPING is her first novel. 
Look at that wonderfully creepy cover... I cannot WAIT to read it! Make sure you check out the posts for before me and after me! Happy reading :)

Happy Release Day to Cadillac Payback by Aj Elmore!

Caddy Payback RDLBan

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Cadillac Payback by Aj Elmore
Publication Date: July 30th, 2015
An old Cadillac and a gun are all she has left of her brother. Three men stand ready to follow her into the darkest pits of hell to avenge him. The Cadillac leads them down a swamp road lined with ghosts, consequence and the tangled web of business and pleasure, into the underbelly of New Orleans crime as she fights for vengeance for her brother.

Joshua was just a rookie, a kid caught up in a drug ring. It’s fun and dangerous, all easy, until it kills his best friend and drags what’s left of his companions into a war.

All he knows is he would walk into hell with her, and she might ask before it’s over…

Isaiah thought he’d seen everything—but watching Charlie die tore the world apart. The regime is changing, and with the new leader come more questions than answers. He was Charlie’s right hand, but what will he be to her?

Frederick came up on the streets, learned fast and hard and dirty. His past has always been a sticking point for the group, but one person has never questioned him, and he’ll do anything for her…

Maria never wanted to take over Charlie’s operation. But with her brother dead, and vengeance the only thing she has left, she makes her first decision: drag Charlie’s killers down.

It might just be her last. 

Perfect womans body

She stops just short of entering the kitchen, hands releasing the paper bag full of produce. Her eyes rove the situation, trying to make sense of what she's seeing. Onions and apples and peppers, the ingredients for our plans to grill, roll about. Huge brown eyes find mine, beg for understanding. Another car door slams outside. I can't speak. What words can I give her? None that will help.

“Isaiah, what happened?” Maria says, voice low, demonic.

Her feet slide forward slowly, mechanically, pulling red. She kicks a crimson onion away, falling beside him as if her body has lost the strength to support her. Tears are welling quickly along the bottom rims of her eyes.

Footsteps pound down the hall, owner no doubt alarmed by the gut-wrenching trail. It's Josh, Mr.-Jeans-and-a-T-shirt, Charlie's right hand man. He's a damn good drug dealer, and god-damned punk.

“What the fuck?” he mutters, stunned to the spot, eyes wide and uncomprehending. Maria is all intense, blazing brown eyes on me, demanding I speak. The tears break, lighting trails on her cheeks. Her hands have curled around Charlie's shirt, squeezing into white fists. The room feels like a thousand pounds around me.

“All he said was Reaps,” I admit finally, eyes shying away from hers.

I've broken too, cheeks wet and salty. It's all I can do to force the voice from my chest. I got nothing for you, boss.

She stares for a long time before her eyes fall to him. Tears stream to her chin, then drip to her little maroon t-shirt. She ignores them. She looks like maybe if she stares at him hard enough, he will wake. He will be her big brother and laugh. He'll still be here to beat up her boyfriends, and know what to do when there's trouble.

I want to go to her, but my hands - his blood is all over me. Then she stands, swaying unsteadily. Joshua moves to help her, but she pushes him away with nothing but a look. Her world is full right now. And she storms through the house, leaving crashes and breaking sounds in her wake.

He looks to me. I only shake my head. Stupid boy, such an idealist little prick. Before either of us can follow or find any words for each other, she's back, Charlie's gun in one hand and a black case in the other. She takes another long look at her dead brother. She says, “He always wanted a jazz funeral.” Her voice is shaking and distant, fighting the storm.

Then she looks at me. It seems she has something to say, but she only stares. She's fucking crazy.

So I say, “You're fucking crazy. What are you gonna do?”

She doesn't answer. She doesn't need to. She's taking charge of the situation. She wants me to deal with the one here. A few wayward tears escape despite her efforts. “Maria, don't do this,” I say from the floor. There's no heart in my words. She's never taken orders from me. I know it won't work, but I have to say it. Charlie would say it. Charlie would stop her.

She only cocks an eyebrow at me, tucking the gun into her pants. I should know better. Yeah, I do. She grabs a massive car key from the counter, its large, metal, dollar sign keychain scraping across the surface like the coattails of death. Without another word or even a glance, she walks away from her world, down the rudely redecorated hall. Josh stands for a split second, watching her. He looks to me, heartbreak all over his sleeve, then curses as he follows her. The door slams seconds later, and I am suddenly left alone again, covered in my cohort's blood as I sit in the kitchen floor. And he's there, growing cold, eyes scrunched in his last expression; pain.
sexy woman holding up her weapon
Aj is a beach migrant, and part-time muse. She enjoys the exploration of genres vast, and the search for untold worlds. A writer-for-fun since childhood, she has also been known to be a super hero, a gun slinger, and occasionally, a waitress. She lives on an island, has a bachelor's degree in journalism and some tattoos. She is most easily found at the water's edge.

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