Happy Release Day: Stepping Stones by Kacey Vanderkarr

It’s release day for Kacey Vanderkarr’s new book, Stepping Stones! Check out an excerpt and go grab your copy now!

Stepping Stones (The Stone Series, Book 1)

Stepping Stones - FinalRelease Date August 25, 2015

Publisher – Urban Fey Press

Pages – 332

Genre – Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

b009a-dad13-add-to-goodreads-button3Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

b8580-f

717ee-isamazon1-e1409151482527

EXCERPT

Ahead of them, the expressway snaked in each direction. When Caleb lived at home, he and Onna would walk to the overpass at night and watch the cars speed past. Their lights created ribbons of color and the steady roar of rubber against concrete rumbled through the bridge and into their feet.

Once, after Caleb left, she climbed onto the barrier and dangled her bare feet over the edge. She imagined the drivers beneath her in a panic because they thought she’d jump. She sat there for nearly an hour, waiting for someone to call the police or her parents, but no one did. Then she walked home, tears streaming her face, though she couldn’t decide if she was angrier Caleb left or that no one noticed her.

“How did your mother die?” Onna asked, glancing out the window. Sunlight glinted off vehicles and made the road shimmer with heat. A long time ago, Onna thought the mirage of water over the road was a portal to another dimension.

“Car accident.”

Onna nodded, not taking her eyes from the window. There weren’t words to fill a void like that. Instead, she cranked the handle and let early fall air caress her cheeks.

Everett slowed on the overpass and Onna leaned against the door. A shift in traffic below caught her attention. A semi swerved from the outer lane, moving in slow motion, as though the truck waded through sludge. Screaming airbrakes reached her ears as the semi careened into the median and flung itself into oncoming traffic.

“Oh my god,” she yelled, white knuckling the doorframe.

“What is it?” Everett said, steering the Mustang to the shoulder.

Vehicles dodged the impending collision, taking sharp angles and sliding onto the edge of the road. Onna watched near misses, horrified. Most of the traffic cleared the bullet speeding toward them, filling up the sides of the highway and hurtling into the grass like blood clotting in a vein. One remaining silver car had nowhere to go. It swung to the right and spun out of control. From this distance, Onna couldn’t see the driver’s face, but she searched the windshield anyway. In the space of a heartbeat, the truck demolished the silver car.

Metal shrieked as the car and semi became one, twisting around each other like lovers. The immediate silence was deafening.

Onna was out of the Mustang and tearing down the weed-infested hill before the car stopped. Pickers slashed at her calves. Her heels slipped on rocks. Everett yelled for her to come back. She ignored him.

Below her, people climbed from their vehicles. They approached the wreck like cautious animals, circling, scenting for danger.

By the time she reached the road, flames leapt from the debris, hungry yellow fingers that grabbed for smoking remains. Onna tasted gasoline and fear.

The Prius’s driver side disappeared inside the car, a crumpled twist of metal. Nothing remained of the windshield. The deflated passenger airbag hung over remnants of the hood.

Onna’s heart squeezed into her throat next to her stomach.

She propelled herself forward, breaking through a barrier of onlookers. A hand grabbed for her, catching her elbow before she shook it off. There were voices, a constant, babbling stream that she couldn’t separate into words.

Lots of people drive Priuses, she told herself.

It’s not Caleb.

Still, her hands shook as her feet found concrete. A slim white hand hung from the shattered window. There was blood. Onna smelled it before she saw it. Rivulets trickled from the ravaging teeth of the window, mapping out a path to the dangling hand with a huge sparkling engagement ring.

Onna’s heartbeat rushed in her ears, insistent, like the sound of an explosion underwater. She struggled to make sense of the tangled metal, pale skin, and blood. Then, red hair.

“Cora!” she screamed. Adrenaline surged into Onna’s arteries and she hurled herself into the wreckage, mindless of flames and the growing puddle of gasoline. Shouts rose around her. Warnings, pleas. She tried the door handle first, unsurprised when it didn’t budge.

Arms slid around her waist and pulled her backwards. “Stop.”

She struggled against Everett, kicking and punching. “Let me go! That’s Caleb. It’s Caleb.” Her words broke into sobs and she finally wriggled free. Her knees stung when she hit pavement and crawled toward Caleb’s car. This time, Everett followed.

“Help me,” Onna begged, pushing to her feet and sliding her arms into the smoldering car. She caught Cora beneath the armpits, ignoring the startling white of jagged bone protruding from her forearm and shards of glass that remained in the window frame. Cora’s eyes were closed. Blood dripped from a gash in her hairline, from her nose, her ears.

More hands appeared beside Onna’s as onlookers braved the fire. Everett counted to three and they pulled. Black smoke poured from the engine, filling the car and making it impossible to see. Distantly, Onna knew she was coughing, suffocating. Her lungs ached from lack of oxygen.

Undeterred, she rearranged her grip on Cora and Everett counted again. It took four tries, but eventually Cora came free, her weight falling against them like the dead limbs of a ragdoll. Onna climbed toward the spot Cora vacated before they’d even carried Cora to safety.

Hands pulled her back. “You can’t.” Everett’s words ended with a wracking cough that loosened his grip.

She stumbled away and lunged for the opening. Glass tore at her arms and legs and ripped her shirt. Smoke oozed across her vision like poison, scalding her eyes. Gasoline and heat filled her throat. She coughed. “Caleb?” Using her fingertips, she found hot metal, sharp bits of glass, and cottony stuffing spewing from the seat. She tried to call his name again, but no sound came out.

Her head grew heavy.

She was spinning. Dizzying lights flashed in front of her eyes. Onna jammed her hands farther into twisting metal. She felt something warm. Damp. Solid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey VanderkarrKACEY VANDERKARR has a penchant for fantasy and frequently listens to the voices in her head—most of whom are teenagers. Her favorite place to write is an old salon chair in her kitchen, with coffee in one hand and adoring cats sprawled across her arms. She prefers her music loud and her skeptics quiet. When she’s not writing, Kacey coaches winterguard, works as a sonographer, and hangs out with

other weirdos like her at the Flint Area Writer’s club. In addition to her novels, The Reflection Pond Series, Antithesis, and The Stone Series, Kacey’s short fiction is featured in Sucker Literary Vol III, Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, and Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland.

FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER

Pretty Dark Sacrifice by Heather L. Reid

18718039Published July 28th 2015 by Month9Books

Young-Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Romance

Series Reviews Pretty Dark Nothing

eARC provided by  author via blog tour

My Rating 2.5 Stars

b009a-dad13-add-to-goodreads-button3It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since his body disappeared without a trace.

Everyone wants Quinn to move on, but she can’t, not after a spirit appears to her at Aaron’s memorial, convincing her he’s still alive.

When a mysterious box materializes on the very spot Aaron disappeared, Quinn finds she’s at the center of an ancient prophesy of betrayal, revenge, and sacrifice that takes her to the depths of the underworld to face Lilith—Adam’s first wife.

If Quinn can stop Lilith from unleashing the demon horde Eve, trapped inside the box during the Battle of Eden millennia ago, she will save the human realm and free Aaron from an eternity in torment.

All it will cost is her blood.

Read More »

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

25265721Published July 14th 2015 by Thomas Nelson

Adult, Suspense, Psychological-Thriller, Domestic-Abuse. Crime

Paperback provided by Publisher

My Rating 4.5 Stars

b009a-dad13-add-to-goodreads-button3The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Read More »

The Uninvited by Cat Winters

19547848Publication August 11th 2015 by William Morrow

Adult, Historical, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

My Rating 3.5 Stars

GOODREADSTwenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

Read More »

Melancholy: The Cure #2 by Charlotte McConaghy

25331577Published June 11th 2015 by Momentum / Pan Macmillan

Series Reviews Fury: The Cure #1 | Melancholy: Episode 1, The Cure #2

New-Adult, Dystopia, Science-Fiction, Romance

eARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley

My Rating 5 stars

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Here in the west they know a lot about hope. They know how to ration it just as they do with food and water.

Josephine is at last free of the blood moon. But in a desperate rush to find help for a comatose Luke, she discovers the strange and dangerous world of the resistance, and it is unlike any world Josi has known.

In the west they believe in fury – they cultivate and encourage it. The unruly people of the resistance know that to survive means to fight. But can they fight the inevitable cure for sadness that rushes steadily closer?

In the action-packed sequel to Fury, everything Josi believes about herself will be challenged. Haunted by atrocities and betrayals, she must find the strength to trust again, and decide how far she is willing to go to fight the inevitable.

At times both brutal and sweet, Melancholy is the story of second chances and finding love in a ruined world.

Read More »

Waiting On Wednesday 10 #Shadowshaper

new-wow

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights books we are eagerly anticipating.

22295304Title: Shadowshaper  

Author: Daniel Jose` Older

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Release Date: June 30th 2015

Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.


I’m waiting on this book because I’ve read a few of the advance reviews from Publisher’s WeeklyLibrary Journal, etc… and I’ve been itching to read it. It’s diverse characters and UF vibe just make me want it that much sooner. Also, the blending of cultures only adds to the awesomeness.  Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

What book are you waiting on this week?