Release Day Blitz: Arcadia (The Wonderlust Chronicles #1) by Hope Christine

Ever since Sky Captain Lemise Holdif was a boy, he’s been faced with the End of Days. For decades an unknown enemy has been systematically wiping out life in the galaxy, starting with the most advanced societies. Now Arcadia, a world built from the trash of an entire galaxy, is the only planet left capable of distant space travel, and the next target. Lemise is desperate to save his home world, but his plans are interrupted when an alien visitor transports onto his ship.

Lead Specialist Paelae Madison is the last of her kind. The only survivor of the First Attack, and bent on revenge for the destruction of her people. In desperation, she teleports onto an Arcadian ship and offers aid in the coming war. Arcadia sees her as a hero, but Lemise is weary to trust a stranger who’s survived over five hundred previous battles.

Together the two fight to defeat an enemy far more advanced, and far more cunning than Arcadia has ever known. But extinction lurks around every corner, and The Enemy isn’t the only one threatening to destroy the world.

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Take a Peek at Arcadian Culture:
 
Arcadia is a junkyard planet but it collects more than just broken ships. Before it was a recognized planet, it had been a place of refuge for lost voyagers. Eventually it began to collect people like it collected trashed technology. Some were refugees, others were stranded after running out of money for their journey, and some were simply shunned from their own worlds.
 
With so many different people there’s a lot of borrowed pieces of culture that has been meshed together to form the Arcadian way of life. For example: they love to refurbish or repurpose technology but it is the highest crime of their court systems to help create or aide in the creation of cyborgs: part human, part technology. Don’t improve what man did not make.
 
The law developed from their belief that a soul cannot find the World Beyond unless the body is whole. It makes navigating the Field of Stars, a type of purgatory, difficult because a partial soul would have to wait for a whole soul to help guide them. This belief was stolen from the Monks on the planet Maldeen who had a very different lifestyle, rarely traveling into space.
 
Paelae is the outsider on Arcadia, she comes from a more crisp and clean way of traveling space. It’s like taking Captain Picard and putting him on the Serenity. She has a hard time adjusting to their way of life but as you read it from her perspective you begin to pick up on where all those bits and pieces of Arcadian society came from.
 
Lemise, who is born on Arcadia and has had little contact with other races (since most just fire at them for scavenging the graves of the dead) sees Paelae’s past life on the Imladian ships as very excessive and wasteful. In this way, as well as others, they tend to clash.
 
As the story progresses you can really see how Paelae’s and Lemise’s culture begin to shape who they become from a young age. 
Read an Excerpt:
 
Officers stumbled over each other in preparation for the day ahead. As soon as the first rays of purple sunshine peaked over the city, a line had started to form for the bathrooms, and Paelae was thrust back into the world of the living with a jolt. Sweat covered her face, and her breathing was too rapid.
Despite the cramped space, the other women gave her a reasonable berth, some eying her while checking their weapons.
Had she screamed in her sleep? The nights had grown increasingly rare when she didn’t have a nightmare.
“Hey.” Paelae sat up and tugged the clothes out of her trunk. She ran a hand over the purple and black jumpsuit provided for her; it felt wrong, wearing the colors of another people. It was the first time anyone offered her a uniform. She preferred the Imladian one; it was familiar.
“Hey.” This time she looked up, noticing that the one-word sentence had been directed to her.
A woman stood at the end of her bed, arms crossed and legs apart as if at ease. “Name’s Benni. I’m your guard.”
Of course, the woman from the ship. 
Benni was a head shorter than Paelae and bore the markings of a low rank.
“I’m Paelae,” she said and stood to greet Benni with a hard stare. “I’m your…” She searched for an appropriate word.
“Ally,” Benni finished for her. “Sky cap’s waiting outside for you.”
Paelae took the cue and began her attempt to navigate out of the barracks, jumping over beds and weaving around people until she reached the metal door. Outside, the world was tainted purple as the sun filtered through Arcadia’s atmospheric shielding, a product of too many chemical bombs. What had once been a rushed patch job to keep air on the planet had since evolved into a last line of defense worthy of acknowledgment. It was one of few things Arcadians boasted about among the planets—when the planets still existed.
Captain Lemise stood just outside the barrack doors, looking across the miles of asphalt designated for intergalactic travel. Bordering the west side of the airfield and encroaching fast upon the north, were piles of rejected technology and broken spaceships tossed out by hundreds of different races. 
That’s how Arcadia had started, as a junkyard, but then lost voyagers found a home on it, attracting others—from those shunned by their own people to travelers broken down with no funds to continue on their journey. Eventually, it became a home for those who had nowhere else to go, and scavenging became more than an act of survival; it became a trade.
Most of the north and east were surrounded by low-class, brick apartment buildings, meant for the soldiers and their families.
“You’re not in uniform.” Lemise deduced upon seeing her. “If you want on my Chasers, you wear my uniform.”
Paelae shrugged. “Bathroom line was too long to change.”
Lemise began to walk away. “Then wake up earlier.”
Paelae walked close behind with Benni in tow as the sky captain began to explain. “Miss Demitri is our chief innovation and engineering specialist; with a screwdriver and a handful of computer chips, she could change a toaster into an engine. You will work beside her under close supervision. I want a particle shield by the end of the week.”
She almost laughed. Particle shields were difficult with the right materials, but with makeshift metals and roundabout wiring, he would be lucky if it turned on in three weeks.
“In exchange, you will work beside me in the evenings,” he continued.
Lemise didn’t expand any further on her evening expectations, but Paelae suspected they would be dull at best until Lemise began to trust her better.
“Unless there are complications. Then I will jettison you out of an airlock in EWAN territory. Am I understood?”
“Yes, sir,” she said. Centuries of military training had drilled the habit into her.
He led them to a jeep, and another soldier drove them east to a warehouse that stood ten stories tall. Behind it, a mesh, wire gate separated civilian from soldiers. Paelae watched as a group of young boys tossed a ball back and forth to each other, running down a deserted street to throw it in a trash can.
They used to play a similar game on the cityship as trainees. It was one of the few bits and pieces they had smuggled from the Earthen culture, played in secret when the officers had left.
Once, General Amir had caught them midgame when he came to get Paelae for sparring lessons. Anything Earthen was not to be spoken of or remembered in any way, but she had been rebellious as all teenagers were those days. Everyone had frozen in place. The terror coursing through their bodies made them forget to even salute. Trying to run would have been devastating.
Amir had walked between them, assessing the trainees. He had been furious, but his anger hadn’t been displayed in shouting or beating; it had filled the silence that spread between moments in time.
“Madison,” he addressed with a calm, collected demeanor, turning to look at her. “Why do we not register Earth as a planet in our systems?”
She didn’t reply.
“Madison!” This time the words were forceful, bringing her back from the past. Lemise and Benni had already departed from the vehicle and waited for her.
With a sigh, she shook the memory away, letting it dissipate into the morning air and jumped out of the jeep.
Lemise led them through an open garage door. Inside, the warehouse resembled a miniature junkyard. As Paelae looked closer, she could tell that the piles had been organized to some degree. One had wire, another had chips, and a third was weaponry.
“Demitri!” Lemise called. A clatter of metal followed, and the sky captain took that as a cue. They wove in and out of large piles and then climbed over smaller ones until the ground could be seen again. A giant square of cleared floor sat under an open roof, and near the opposite end, a young woman drew up schematics on a metalwork table.
“Demitri,” Lemise called again as they walked up to her.
Demitri glanced up through layers of grease stains and smudges of dirt. Bright red hair fell in a tangled mess past her shoulders, held back by a set of goggles. Deep, blue crescents were visible beneath her eyes, as if the woman had been bruised. 
“Did you sleep here last night?” He didn’t address her as a soldier, nor did she wear a uniform. Instead, brown overalls adorned her skeletal frame, and a belt of odd tools kept it hanging up.
Demitri gave him a confused look. “No. I’ve only just arrived.”
“You were supposed to be in an hour ago,” Lemise said as the military eased back into his speech.
“I was delayed,” she said and threw her arms open. “It’s not like I don’t stay past midnight anyway. Every genius needs sleep. Is this the Imladian?”
Lemise pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “This is Madison.”
Demitri stepped around the table and snatched Paelae’s arm up, pushing back the black leather sleeve. After a moment, Demitri let out a whistle. “That’s a particle shield all right. I’ll need the big guns for those supplies.”
“One week,” Lemise said.
Demitri laughed before realizing he was serious. “Two weeks, sleep, free meals, and you throw in that glass plating I need to fix the Mirage.”
“One week, no sleep, free breakfast, and you fix the Mirage because it’s your job, not a bargaining chip.”
“Two weeks, no sleep, and lunches.”
“A week and a half, sleep, and no food.”
Demitri was about to throw in another bargain when a little girl ran out from behind a pile of piping. She held up a colored picture with evident pride, tugging on Demitri’s pants and grunting to get her attention.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and forget this happened,” Demitri said as she placed a hand on her daughter’s head. “The daycare was filled, and Pops is working cross-continent. I wouldn’t bring her unless it was my only option, I swear.”
Lemise knelt down to the girl’s level. “Hello, Demi.” He smiled.
Demi held up her picture of colorful stick figures, grunting as she pointed in stunted movements at each one.
“I see.” Lemise took her picture and gave it a further inspection. “It is a beautiful picture. Will you draw me one?”
Paelae watched in mild horror. Demi was broken. On the cityship, they considered it a mercy to chloroform such children at birth, if they made it that far without detection; and it shocked her that all those years she never thought twice about it. Never before had she encountered one on other planets, though she’d heard stories.
Lemise stood, turning back to Demitri. “Will she be okay around new faces?”
“Yeah, she’s better with it now.” Demitri cracked her knuckles in anticipation.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and lunches,” he offered.
“Deal.”
They shook on it.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” Lemise said and left, disappearing behind piles of trash.
Demitri pulled a chair up for her daughter to continue drawing, and then lounged back in one of her own.
“You named her after yourself,” Paelae stated when the silence had extended beyond comfort.
“Of course I did. She’s a Devonian.” Demitri fiddled with the lenses on her goggles.
Paelae nodded, though she didn’t know what that meant. “Should we get started, then?”
Demitri tossed her a pencil. “Copy your arm, please.”
She looked at the writing instrument with amusement. Once, this had been the only way to transcribe thoughts, but it had been centuries since she used one. “I don’t know how to use this.”
That caught Demitri’s attention. “You don’t know how to use a pencil?”
“Not anymore, no.”
Demitri laughed. “Aliens, sometimes you get too advanced for your own good. Come here. I’ll do it.” Another pencil was pulled from the depths of her ponytail. “Please tell me you can at least use a welder.”
About the Author:
Hope Christine was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. Her youth was spent in Narnia and her teenage years in Middle-Earth. Like most, she grew up with reluctance and then attended college for multiple degrees before settling on Linguistics.
Today she studies Middle-Eastern languages and works in retail.
She’s opinionated, blunt, loves to bike, and bares an extreme hate of peaches.

Bryce Evans – Cravings – Read an Excerpt!

Lori King Books

Cravings

Alpha City, Book 2

By Bryce Evans

Zoey Malone has it all. Her best friend is now her sister in law, and her partner in a new and thriving business, she’s treated like a princess by the members of her pack, and she’s found the man she wants to give her heart to in Kayden Lynn, Alpha of the Panther Pride. When business takes her to sunny Las Vegas and puts her in the path of Alpha wolf Johnny Ringo; she has to make a decision between the guaranteed security Johnny offers, and a deep soul-stealing love with Kayden.

Forced back to her hometown, and hurt by the man who’s held her heart for years, she and the rest of the Malone Pack are threatened by outside forces. Will Kayden be the man she knows he can be, and come to her rescue, or will his pride put an…

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TAINTED ENERY Book Blitz and Giveaway with Lynn Vroman

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A Young Adult Fantasy Novel

TAINTED ENERGY

by

Lynn Vroman

published by Untold Press

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For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can’t keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.

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Born in Pennsylvania, Lynn spent most of her childhood, especially during math class, daydreaming. The main result that came from honing her imagination skills was brilliantly failing algebra. Today, she still spends an obscene amount of time in her head, only now she writes down all the cool stuff.

With a degree in English Literature, Lynn used college as an excuse to read for four years straight. She lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels, both fantasy and contemporary.

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Amazon Author Page

Be sure to click the link below for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and E-copies of Tainted Energy!

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EXCERPT TIME!

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Nothing annoyed me more than crappy best friends. The type who did stupid stuff, like grab my shoulder and scream right in my ear, “Help me, Barbara!”

I jumped and a cloud of popcorn exploded above us. The kernels remaining in the tub I threw in Zander’s face.

We sat in the back row, Night of the Living Dead on the screen. No emergency exit signs interrupted the darkness, adding a little more to the scare department. But Zander killed the mood as soon as the graveyard scene popped up.

“You promised to watch, now watch.” I chucked the popcorn tub at him when he wouldn’t stop laughing.

“Fine, but my hands are stayin’ in my pockets this time.” He rubbed the tiny crescent-shaped marks on his left hand. “I have no idea why you watch these things. You can’t sit through one without a week of nightmares.”

“Not true. The Ring was just extra freaky.”

“Ah, and so were The Shining and Paranormal Activity…” His southern accent rolled off his tongue like sap from a maple tree. “I think you like bein’ afraid all the time.”

I hated it when he was right. “Shut up.”

Fear triggered the fight-or-flight mechanism in our brains. The signal that proved we still wanted to live. That was my theory, anyway.

Maybe I was a masochist, but I did like experiencing the fear. It ensured the numbness hadn’t completely taken over. Numb could be good. A takeover, though…not so good. Zander shoved that logic in my face and smeared my nose in it every time I decided to make sure fight or flight still worked.

“All right, but when you’re lyin’ in that floating bed tonight, don’t expect dream guy to save you.”
“Don’t worry.” I slumped in my chair, focusing on the screen. During a weak moment, and after a couple stolen beers from Dad’s case, I told Zander about Him–my dream guy with gray eyes and dimples. He acted odd afterward, especially when I admitted what Him always promised: I’ll find you.

Yeah, Him was what I called my imaginary guy. No one ever accused me of being creative. Point was, for the last month Zander decided to make a joke of it. I’d never told anybody about my dreams, and I guess I should’ve kept it that way.

Hey, self, remind me again why Zander held the bestie slot? Oh, right. He was the only one who applied for the position.

The next hour we watched in silence. I’d seen this movie at least ten times already, and so his concern of me mauling him never happened.

About the time Barbara annoyed everyone in the house with her relentless Where’s Johnny question, Zander’s constant slurping and ice-crunching crawled under my skin. “It’s empty.”
He took one last noisy sip and stood, blocking my view. “I’m gonna get a refill. You want one?”
“No. Christ!” I bent and twisted to see around him while he countered every move with a grin. I didn’t want to admit it, but that grin always caused my brain to cloud. Hell, having him within a ten-foot radius caused a huge case of head fuzz. But to be clear, I wasn’t the only mountain dweller who found that smile, or that accent, hot.

“Suit yourself. Be back in a sec.” He gathered up some empty wrappers and went out the door, creating a quick flash of light in the room.

Once he left, it didn’t take long for the dark to fold me into its arms as the moans on the screen grew louder. When a particularly menacing zombie ate Barbara, I let out a tiny yelp–even though I knew it was going to happen. My face heated, and I looked around, happy no one witnessed.
I’ll go with coward for $500, Alex.

Sinking deeper into my seat, I watched the whole house get taken over by zombies, my heart pounding and the hairs on my arms standing at attention. Two minutes alone and I was already freaked out.

I gripped the armrests, stealing a glance at the exit. My nails dug into the plastic. Leaving was the obvious remedy, but my legs refused to walk toward the door.
A zombie eating black and white brains filled the screen.
Screw this.

I was out of there whether my legs were ready or not. Yes! Fight or flight still in perfect working order.

Zander was right. I had issues.

I planted my feet on the cement floor and tensed to run. As I hopped up, my arms refused to come with me. I made the mistake of looking down.

What the…?
The armrests curled around my hands, the plastic ends separating into thin, spider-like fingers. I screamed, trying to yank my hands away, but the armrests became stronger, forming rows of fingers that encased the whole length of my arms, burning them. Tears flooded my vision, the pain branding my skin.

Panic turned into terror when the theater filled with whispers that brushed through my hair like wind and hit me in the face like an open palm. The whispering slipped into my throat when I opened my mouth, gagging me while it pushed me back into the seat. I struggled as the chair sucked me in and gasped for enough air to yell, the sound coming out as a grunt.
My head stayed glued against the seat, my scalp searing as I tried to yank it free. Then the movie stopped playing. Total darkness swallowed me, the blackness stealing the last drops of my courage. No matter how hard I tugged, my arms refused to pull free. I strained to turn my head toward the exit, but it stayed nailed to the chair. All I could do was look forward and try to relax my arms to stop the burning.

The whispers grew quieter, and the hold it had on my head weakened when I stopped moving. I cleared my throat. “Zander!”
My arms loosened a fraction.

“Help me!”

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“You always smell like apples and flowers.” She inhaled deeper, making it hard for him to breath.
“It’s our orchard.” The strain of control made his voice a whisper, and against his better judgment, he bent to kiss the top of her head, allowing his lips to linger in the softness of her hair.
“Our orchard? Is that where we’re going?” She craned her neck, and green eyes shot him straight in the heart.
Mouth dry, he said, “Somewhere better.”

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“What about you? You immortal or something?”
His eyes hardened, the smile turning a little dangerous. “No, I’m just really good at staying alive.”

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