Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Unknown by Wendy Higgins



About UNKNOWN:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.

Kindle: https://goo.gl/KEKn2D
iTunes: https://goo.gl/R9nav8
Kobo: https://goo.gl/XiYj6g



About Wendy Higgins:

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the SWEET EVIL series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology THE GREAT HUNT, and her independently published Irish Fantasy SEE ME.
After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.
Wendy lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.







Giveaway



Open International:
Grand Prize: Signed Paperback copy of Unknown with Poster, bookplate stickers, and bookmarks
1st & 2nd Prize: digital copies of Unknown (has to be B&N or Amazon user - will 
be gifted via their email address) plus signed bookmarks and bookplate stickers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour provided by:



Book Blitz & Giveaway: Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley


Extracted
Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley


Published by: Clean Teen Publishing


Publication date: August 15th 2016


Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed “Interesting” and “Unexpected” by Kirkus Reviews.
Lex and Ember—two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war—are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.

EXCERPT:

     My breath comes in short, shallow bursts. I can feel the warmth of Ethan’s body radiating like a tuning fork against my back. In front of me, there is only darkness. I strain, listening, waiting for the next wave of attack. The leather straps holding up my suede harness dig into the skin of my shoulders, but the ache only sharpens my focus. The urge to turn around is strong, though I know better. Months of training have taught me exactly what happens when I turn my back to the darkness. So I listen, honing my senses until I catch the sound of Ethan taking a small step forward, away from me. My eyes are useless, so I close them. Knowing my attackers are well paid for their ability to move in silence, there is little hope that they will give themselves away. We need another strategy. As if reading my mind, Ethan picks up the conversation we were having earlier.

     “All I’m saying is, maybe you need the extra practice,” Ethan says, his tone mocking. Even without being able to see him, I can sense him moving, beginning to circle counterclockwise. I know he’s trying to draw them out, to bring the fight to him. It seems like a sound strategy, so I jump on board.

     “Oh, yes, because it isn’t like she turned around and kicked the crap out of you, too.” I’m mimicking his movements now. My voice is flat, free from emotion, and my words are empty. I can’t see him moving, but I can feel him, as if we’re connected by a million invisible threads.

     “How am I supposed to just punch a girl?” Ethan asks. “And I was tired from taking the guy out like five seconds earlier.”

     “She isn’t a girl. She’s more like a pissed-off kangaroo in a top hat. She has a nasty right hook, I’ll give you that.”

     I hear the sharp whip of air as a bamboo pole cuts through the darkness, headed toward my face. Even with our phony argument going on, I’m able to hear it coming before it lands. I bring up my hands and block the blow with my forearms. The impact stings, bruising the bones there, but better my arms than my face. With a movement perfected after one too many blows to the head, I grab the pole and pull it aside, dragging my attacker with it. As he closes in, I drop the pole and lock arms with Ethan. I flip over his back and kick out, knocking my attacker to the mat. As he struggles back to his feet, Ethan spins into my place, delivering a secondary kick that sends the man flying into the wall with a dull thud. “Yeah, but she’s scrappy,” he says.

     “Scrappy? Is that boy code for you couldn’t stop staring at her rack?”

     Behind me, I feel Ethan duck a blow, and then land one of his own before pressing his back against mine. “I… that’s not… I didn’t even… I mean…” he sputters.

     I smirk. Busted.

     Footsteps approach, but we keep sparring. I bend over, using my attacker’s own momentum against him as I put my shoulder into his gut and stand, propelling him over my head and onto his back on the mat. I don’t need to see my victory to realize what the maneuver has cost me. A muscle in my lower back seizes, and it’s all I can do not to drop to my knees in agony. I clench my fists until I feel my fingernails cut bloody crescents in my palms. There is no way I’m going to be the weak link—no way I’m going to let Ethan fight alone. Back to back, that’s how Rifters are trained to fight. And Ethan always has my back.

     “Don’t feel too bad. She was pretty scrappy after all.”

     Ethan mumbles, “It’s a girl thing.”

     “Hold up, what’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, stiffly regaining my footing as my back screams in protest.

     As usual, Ethan turns to check on me. “Nothing personal, Ember.”

     Not wanting him to get slammed for it again, I grab him by the shoulder and pull, revolving us to our starting positions just as the first attacker flips back onto his feet and lunges. He would have taken me in the stomach, but I bring up my knee just in time to block his advance before kicking him in the face. There is a loud crunch that sounds like breaking bone. I hear him hit the mat with a groan. The lights flick back on, and Mistress Catherine blows her whistle.

     Normally we spar with off-duty guards, since most of them have military training of some kind. They know how to take a hit and how to deliver one without doing too much damage. We might be lowly recruits, but Rifters are rare, and our lives are precious.

     But as the man whose nose I have just broken pulls off his black ski mask, my heart falls into my shoes. Flynn is staring up at me, and his face is covered in blood.

     “Nice hit, Ember,” he says as blood drips from his nose and onto his white shirt. Mistress Catherine hands him his horn-rimmed glasses and shoots me an amused smirk. Behind me, Ethan snickers.

     Great. And here I was thinking this day couldn’t get any worse.

     Reaching down, I offer Flynn a hand up, which he accepts with a smile.

     “I’m so sorry,” I mutter, but he waves it off.

     “Catherine told me you were really coming along. I wanted to see for myself.”

     The others are shuffling out, so I turn to grab a towel and follow them, but Mistress Catherine closes the door behind a worried-looking Ethan, presses her back against it, and narrows her eyes at me. I used to think it was hard to look menacing in a knee-length pencil skirt and beige brocade top, but she radiates power. It might be the stern pucker of her thin lips, or the way her graying hair is knotted tightly at the nape of her neck. She resembles a librarian except for the long, jagged scar that runs from her left temple to the cleft in her chin. Well, that and the spider-shaped, iron shoulder harness permanently affixed to her upper arm.

     Not sure what’s going on, I freeze, yellow towel in hand. Before I can say anything, I feel something moving behind me. I manage to move to the side just as a wooden staff comes slamming down against the spot where I’d stood a heartbeat earlier. I turn and see Flynn grinning, blood still dripping off his chin. He spits before whirling the staff like a windmill in front of him. “What I don’t understand,” he says, circling to my left, “is how that Hollow got the best of you. According to Ethan’s report, Kara had no problem with her. And Catherine here tells me that you mat Kara at almost every practice now.”

     I have no idea what to say. Does he think I let her beat up on me? Just then, my legs are swept out from under me. I fall to the mat, but, rolling swiftly backward, I bounce up onto my feet. Catherine has a staff, too, and comes toward me from the right. I hold up my hands and back up slowly. In the corner of the room, a vent erupts in a cloud of steam, and Tesla’s image appears but says nothing.

     “Look, I didn’t let her get away,” I say. “If that’s what you’re implying. She was strong. And fast.”

     Catherine shakes her head. “You are strong. And fast. And clever.”

     “I’m sorry!” I blurt out when my back hits the corner and they are still coming at me.

     I don’t think Flynn would ever hurt me, not really, but Catherine, well…

     Without another word, they both attack. I manage to duck one blow but take another in the ribs before I decide to make a break for it. Jumping as high as possible, I’m able to get a hand on the chain attaching one of the punching bags to the ceiling and hoist myself up. I leap over Flynn and roll as I hit the ground behind him. They’re quick, though, and have me surrounded again in seconds.

     It’s easy to forget that they are trained Rifters, too. Catherine doesn’t rift anymore, but Flynn is still active and in really good shape. They aren’t holding anything back either. Flynn lands a blow to my lower back, but when Catherine moves in, I’m able to grab her staff and force it from her bad arm. Suddenly, time is moving in a blur. I’m not thinking about my next move anymore. My body is reacting of its own accord. I’m not sure how it happens, but I blink and Catherine is on her knees. Flynn is standing in front of me, and I have the two staffs crossed at his neck. He’s holding up his hands and saying my name.

     I drop the sticks and step back. The muscles in my arms and legs are twitching like I’ve just run ten miles.

     “That’s what we mean,” Catherine says, climbing stiffly to her feet. “You could have taken the Hollow girl. So, why did you hesitate?”

     I close my eyes, calling the fight to the front of my memory. There was something about the girl. She was beautiful, for sure, but that wasn’t it. There was something else, too. Something I can’t put into words. I look up to find they’re staring at me, waiting for some kind of answer. I can feel Tesla glaring holes into my back, watching me like one of his little science experiments. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

     Flynn sighs and holds his hands out to me. I take them without hesitation. “Ember, I know it’s hard. I know you don’t like hurting people. It’s against your very nature to harm someone or let someone suffer. But you are too important to risk losing. Understand? Sometimes, you have to put someone down, let someone get hurt or even die, to save yourself and your team. You can’t hold anything back.”

     I take a deep breath. “And what if someone dies because of me? Because, for some reason, my life is worth more than theirs?”

     Flynn lowers his head, looking me in the eye. “That is a burden you will have to learn to carry.”

3 Questions With:


Ember

1. What does she love most?

     Her family, Ethan, Kara, and Riley, and when she remembers him, Lex. Anyone she considers hers.

2. What is her greatest fear?

     Losing her family (again). Fire freaks her out, but losing the little family she’s made in the Institute scares her. The only thing that scares her more is the idea of losing Lex again.

3. What is her Achilles heel?

     Sometimes she’s hesitant to stand up for herself. She lets people lead her around. Partly because she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings, partly because she’s afraid they will leave her if she stands her ground.


Ethan

1. What does he love most?

     He’s in love with Ember. It’s the strongest connection in his life. He has a brotherly bond with Riley, but it’s not as intense.

2. What is his greatest fear?

     Not being there for the people who depend on him. Falling short of what he thinks people expect of him.

3. What is his Achilles heel?

     His need to push boundaries. To take things just a step too far. Being too impulsive. Not looking before he leaps. It stems from a mixture of overconfidence and a desire to constantly test himself; prove himself.

Lex

1. What does he love most?  

He loves his family (EMBER) but lately the Hollows and Steinward. He is loving the idea of revenge and rescue.  

2.  What is his greatest fear?  

Losing Ember again

3.  What is his Achilles heel?  

He is a natural born leader but his cockiness could get in the way.  He can be big headed sometimes.

Stein

1.  What does she love most?  

Herself.  She is really into just watching out for herself although she will conform to helping LEX.  She is afraid of falling in love.

2.  What is her greatest fear?  

Her past.  She doesn’t know where she is from or how she came to be with the Hollows and this scares her

3.  What is her Achilles heel?  

Once she learns about her past, she isn’t sure where she fits in anymore.



Author Bio:

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.
Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

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