BLOG TOUR: (Review & Giveaway) Freeks by Amanda Hocking!

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SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.


MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided by St. Matrin’s Griffin in exchange for an honest review*
I’ve been a fan of Amanda’s since I read her Trylle series and I’ve been dying to read more by her for quite a while. As soon as I found out about this release, I couldn’t request it fast enough and was stalking my mailman for weeks straight. Anything that has to do with traveling sideshows, or a circus, has me sold on it right off the bat. Freeks has been one of my top anticipated releases of 2016 and this world was a beautiful breath of fresh air.
This book takes place in the 1980’s over the course of 10 days and it tore my heart out in the first 100 pages. There was some brutality and darkness that I was not expecting but I most definitely enjoyed.
This story follows Mara, whose mother can speak to the dead and they both work at a traveling sideshow. As soon as they make it to Louisiana, bad things start to happen to the performers and it causes friction between them and the local town. She soon meets a local guy, Gabe, and she learns to juggle romance while trying to figure out what was going on around them. I wasn’t really on board with their romance until after halfway in. I thought Mara jumped to conclusions too quickly for her own good and their relationship felt too insta love for my taste. They both eventually won me over and I couldn’t wait to see where they would end up.
I was kept guessing most of the time but figured out some things before they were revealed. I thought the bad guy was defeated much too easily and it left a lot to be desired. Sadly, it was not believable.
Other than that, I had a bad feeling in my stomach with every turn of the page due to the dark atmosphere of the story. I was unquestionably enthralled and I loved seeing the gorgeous tarot card illustrations throughout the pages. But one of the most disappointing aspects of this world was that it was a standalone. I need more of these characters, especially since the way it ended!! That ending was the most perfect thing I could ask for and I really hope Amanda answers my wishes!!

4/5 stars!

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Buy Links:

[Amazon] [Barnes & Noble]

[Books-A-Million] [Macmillan]


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Amanda Hocking is a lifelong Minnesotan obsessed with Batman and Jim Henson. In between watching cooking shows, taking care of her menagerie of pets, and drinking too much Red Bull Zero, she writes young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Several of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers list, including the Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles.  Her zombie series, The Hollows, has been adapted into a graphic novel by Dynamite. She has published over fifteen novels, including the Watersong quartet and My Blood Approves series. Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom  – all three books in her latest trilogy, The Kanin Chronicles – are out now.

Her next book will be Swear, the final book in the My Blood Approves series, and it will be out November 9, 2016. After that, her next book is Freeks – a standalone YA paranormal romance novel set in the 1980s that follows a travelling sideshow. It will be out sometime in early 2017, with the St. Martin’s Griffin.

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SOCIAL MEDIA:

[Goodreads] [Pinterest] [Blog]

[Facebook] [Twitter]

[Author Website]


GIVEAWAY

I am giving away a HARDCOVER copy of FREEKS over on my [Instagram] page!

If you would like to win, please follow ALL of my rules and I wish you all good luck!

Click on the link above for more information!

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Question:

If you could own your own circus/sideshow, what would you name it?

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BLOG TOUR: (Interview & Giveaway) The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova!

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Book & Author Details:
The Alchemists of Loom 
by Elise Kova
(Loom Saga #1)
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Synopsis:

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

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*PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW IN ORDER TO WIN EXCLUSIVE SWAG FROM THE AUTHOR! ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED IS [HERE]!*
Purchase:
 [Kobo] [iBooks]

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Q: Which character of yours, from any of your worlds, are you dying to cosplay as?

A: I’d love to cosplay as Arianna or Petra! Arianna has her winchbox and harness, which would be a really awesome and intricate prop to conceive. Petra I imagine myself to look the most like (though she’s taller, and blue). But I’ve never done a full body paint cosplay, so that’d be something.

Q: What has been your favorite memory, as an author, so far?

A: This is so hard!! I collect amazing memories near daily, it feels like. Every time a reader, tweets, emails, messages me just to say they like my work. it’s really special. If I had to pick one memory so far… it would be the day I quit my corporate job and began writing full-time.

Q: Do you have a go-to writing quirk when you’re in the writing cave?

A: To no one’s surprise- tea and music. Tea is usually hot and black. Music is usually one song on repeat, interestingly enough.

Q:  What is your favorite childhood book/story?

A: I really have to go with Harry Potter. But a less cliche answer… Dave Duncan’s A Man of His Word series. 

Q: How did you choose Ari(anna), Cvareh, Flor(ence), and Leona’s names? Do they hold a special meaning to you? Or the story?

A: Arianna was just a name that appeared in my head. I think it’s a popular name right now, I’ve seen other books coming with Ari/ Ariannas as the leads. So maybe there’s something in the author water. 

Cvareh was a toss up between his name and Cephas. But I went with Cvareh because I hate how names that end in s look with ‘s. So, Cephas’s while correct, bugs my eye and I didn’t want to write an entire book with the main character’s name ending in s. A quirk of mine…

Leona was just a pretty name to me.

Florence is fun… Because I actually named her after the band “Florence and the Machine.”  That was my pay on Florence/ Ari. Literally Florence and the machine woman/world.

Q: Which of the 4 main point of views was your favorite to write from?

A: Likely Leona’s. She is just deliciously dark and really unhinged. It was the first time I really wrote from an antagonist’s point of view.

Q: The Dragons in your story are a bit different than what someone would expect. Where did your inspiration for them come from?

A: Hmm, this is a hard one. I knew I wanted to play on the idea black/white/rigid structure of Loom versus the untamed colors of Nova. I also wanted, in that, the idea that beauty is very much what we’re accustomed to.So most of Nova see those of Loom as inherently ugly and vice versa. 

Finally, I liked the idea of taking something that people seem to ‘understand’ and saying, ‘what if it’s something different?’ Like, what if we imagine aliens as these big-eyed green Martian folk and they look a lot like us? I wanted to play with that idea in the Dragons, both for the reader, and for the Fenthri of Loom.

Q: If the 4 main characters of Loom were to visit the U.S., what would be their favorite fast food restaurant?

A: Leona would like KFC, because she’d want to pick at and chew on the chicken bones for the marrow. 

Cvareh would like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, or something else that’s really fancy- he wouldn’t like fast food because it wouldn’t be somewhere to ‘see of be seen.’

Florence would like Tijuana Flats, or some other place with lots of hot sauces to fit her explosive palate.

Arianna would go for… oh I think this is the hardest… Maybe one of those ‘bowl’ restaurants, where you can pick the food you want and it all goes in a bowl together- like Fresh Kitchen or Chipotle even. That way she can ‘calculate’ what the best nutrition possible per bowl is.


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AUTHOR BIO:
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).
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Author links:

Giveaway:
Tour-Wide Giveaway (US/CAN)
  • 1 Signed Hardcover of the Alchemists of Loom
  • 3 Hardcover Pre-orders of The Alchemists of Loom (Available through TBD)
  • 5 Swag Packs

Click [HERE] to enter!!


CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE TOUR [HERE]

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ARC Review: The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt!

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*ARC provided by St. Martins in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first read by Marie and I am honestly itching to read more of what she has to offer. I always mention on my reviews whether I have grown to respect a character but I will take a moment to point out that my respect was fully stolen by Marie herself. As a Latina and part Salvadoran, I appreciated the way she represented us immensely. This is probably the first time I’ve seen Spanish used so perfectly in a book. I have HUGE expectations when Spanish is used anywhere but I soon found out that Marie knows what she’s doing and I had nothing to worry about. My ethnicity made me connect to this story immediately and I can’t even begin to express my appreciation and devotion towards this novel. But, of course, I will try my best.
This book’s told in two point views and I have to say that I am biased towards the male one. We have Gretchen who is a trauma survivor and who I wished I could heal immediately. Her personality was cute and I found myself liking her right off the bat. I loved how we got to witness just how much her old life was shattered beyond repair and what she did to resolve it.
Then we have Phoenix who was born in El Salvador but is now residing in Atlanta. I had such a vivid picture of him in my mind that it was a breath of fresh air since I am horrible when it comes to picturing characters. Phoenix is running away from his home state and is looking for asylum for him and his brother. Let’s just say that his story shattered my heart and soul into a million pieces, repeatedly. Especially as I witnessed just how beautiful his heart was and how much love he had to offer to those around him. The injustices he had to suffer through were just so undeserved that I want to tear up just thinking about them. I also loved how his favorite food is pupusas which is a meal that my mom prepares quite often at our house. I wished he was real just so I could invite him over to eat some with us.
I loved how they brought out the best in each other and I couldn’t get enough of them. The backstories of these characters felt so raw and real that it seemed like I could encounter them in the street someday. If all wishes came true I would visit these guys in person and hug them with such force to let them know just how much I look up to them. They have taught me a lot of things in just 300 pages and I couldn’t help rooting for them 1001% of the way. I felt so protective of them that they minus well should have been my own flesh and blood.
I had some really high expectations for this novel ever since I heard that this book was going to be about a Latino character but Marie made me forget about them with just the first couple of sentences. This story had me crying, laughing, giggling, blushing, and everything in between. This novel was heartbreaking while at the same time uplifting. I enjoyed how there were some illustrations and articles in the mix as well. I loved every single (nice) character that I was introduced to and I need more of everyone! I am so fond of everything this novel encompasses that I can’t thank Marie enough for writing such a beautiful and profound piece of literature. This book will stay with me until the end of time.

6/5 stars!

ARC Review: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles!

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Publishes: January 31, 2017!

*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
“How could it be that the thing that made him strong, also brought him to his knees.”
This was my first read by Giles and I enjoyed it so much that I am pretty disappointed in myself for not having picked this baby up any sooner. This book is told between two perspectives and was split into fours parts. I absolutely loved how distinctive the voices of these two characters were.
I felt like Zoe was one of the most likable heroines ever. Her and her family are struggling with grief and I absolutely loved the dynamic between them. I became obsessed with her little brother, Jonah, in a non-creepy way. I kept looking forward to what other ridiculousness he would do or say. I couldn’t help but feel protective of the little adorable guy and I just wanted to hug him all the time. All I hope is that my kid resembles him in some way, in the future.
And then we have X, who is not your typical bounty hunter from hell. His powers are one of the most unique ones I’ve read about and my crush on him was basically completely formed with the first sighting I had of him. I thought his character development was incredible.
These two characters live in such completely different worlds that they should have never even crossed paths. But a storm brought them together and changed their lives forever. My respect for these two was off the charts. All the things they went through and learned from was beautiful, and at the same time, heartbreaking to witness.
Jeff’s writing style was quirky and I loved how he didn’t sugar coat many things. There was some savagery that took place and I loved every minute of it. This story got intense very quickly and was immensely intriguing from cover to cover. Some of the brutality in this novel made me tear up and feel for everyone caught in the crossfire. I predicted a few of the things that came to pass but other than that, I don’t have any bad things to say about this book. I will most definitely be rereading this baby sometime in the near future. There were some memorable characters and that ending was utterly bittersweet. The only thing left that I have to say is that there better be a sequel!!

4.5/5 stars!

Cover Reveal: Obsidian Sky by Amy Braun!

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BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:

Obsidian Sky
by Amy Braun
(Dark Sky #3)
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Design

Synopsis:

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The final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…

After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.

In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.

Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy.


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Purchase previous books in the series:

AUTHOR BIO:
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Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
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Author links:

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Review: Darkchylde by R. Queen!

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*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
“If you stare long enough, you start to realize the shadows stare back.”
This was my first novel by R. Queen and I am unbelievably proud to say that he has become one of my favorite authors ever. I had such high expectations for this book due to this GORGEOUS cover and the synopsis that I was beyond terrified I would ruin my experience because of it. But as soon as I cracked it open, Queen crumpled my expectations and gave me so much more than I hoped for. The beginning set the perfect mood for the entire story and it had me falling in love from the very first word. Every page in this novel appealed to so many parts of my soul that I kept getting teary eyed. THIS is exactly what I look for in a horror book. It made me cringe, it made me smile, it made me hope while at the same time dread the worst, and most often than not, it made me cry. Queen has such a flawless way with words that I was awestruck by him from cover to cover.
This book is beyond phenomenal, both inside and out. It has a beautiful cover, a satisfying plot, the perfect amount of gore, realistic characters, memorable monsters, a few journal entries from our main character, and fantastic illustrations at the beginning of every chapter.
This story is based on the comic books and I have never read anything like it before. It mainly follows Ariel Chylde, an 18 year old outcast who is grieving and who can’t catch a decent amount of sleep. Her nightmares keep her awake until they start manifesting into her real life, in the most fascinating way ever. She literally turns into the creatures from her nightmares and it made me so giddy to witness it all. Ariel is now one of my favorite female characters of all time. She has such a beautiful heart who has experienced some of the worst things imaginable but she somehow managed to keep a hold of the light within her. I actually related to her in a level that surprised me since I rarely come across it. Some of the things she said and did felt like they were ripped straight out of my life and it was the most amazing experience. We get a few other point of views here and there which made the story so much better, in my opinion, since I loved witnessing certain events through different eyes.
I can’t recommend this book enough and I will rave about it until the end of time. This book needs it’s own spotlight on my shelf and I won’t rest until I make it happen. Every word in this novel oozed extreme sadness and torment which made it even more memorable than it already was. It had enough physical and emotional brutality (and gore) to make my heart sing… I need more!! That ending ripped my heart to shreds and I couldn’t stop crying for a great while after finishing this. There were sooooo many stunning quotes that made up this novel so it was difficult to choose just one to feature on here. So I will feature another one that deeply resonated with me and won’t stop haunting me:
“That weird, apprehensive feeling where you realize someone could be a friend or just one more person to pour fuel on a fire when there’s not much left to burn.”

6/5 stars!

Surprise Release & Cover Reveal: Birthday Blaze by Kacey Shea!

It’s Kacey Shea’s birthday this week and she’s celebrating with five days of giveaways including the release of Birthday Blaze, which is FREE for iBooks, Nook, & Kobo. Amazon will match the zero price any day now (the more readers who report it the faster it will change).

 [Nook] [iBooks] [Kobo] [Kindle] [Goodreads]

Download your free copy and be sure and join [HERE] for more birthday fun!

Cover Design: Bridgette O’Hare, Wit & Whimsy Cover Design


Synopsis:

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Brennan O’Shea might be every woman’s dream.

Gorgeous.

Single.

Built like a tank and inked to perfection.

A fireman. Really, what else is there?

Yeah, he’s a fantasy brought to life if only it weren’t for one little problem. Okay, it’s a big one. He can’t talk to women. The more attractive the lady, the more words fail him. And his beautiful, friendly neighbor Jenny has Brennan lusting for more than chatty banter. Will a birthday wish give him a shot with the woman he wants? Or will his hopes go up in flames?


 EXCERPT:

Today is my birthday.

Thirty years old. Fuck. When did I get old? Besides my firefighting career and my health, what do I have? I pictured myself in a little ranch style house, married with at least one kid by now. Instead, my plan for this Wednesday afternoon is to sleep the day away and hope my friends don’t remember it’s my special day because they’ll drag me to the bar. Fuck. I am old. I don’t even want to get wasted on my birthday.

I slide the key in my lock and the slam of another nearby door pulls my gaze to the neighboring unit.

“Hey! I’m glad I caught you!” Jenny huffs between labored breaths.

Oh. Fuck me. Maybe the universe is feeling generous. Jen’s covered in a sheen of sweat. Droplets form between the valley of her breasts and disappear beneath her sports bra. Her tiny black shorts are practically painted on her skin and it takes all my willpower not to stare.

“Hey, Jen,” I stutter.

“So . . .” She flashes a playful grin and walks over. “I have to work ’til four, but a little birdie told me it was your birthday and I have a surprise for you. Do you have plans later so I can drop by?”

“No plans.” I blow out a breath, take off my ball cap and run my other hand over my head. “Wait! How’d you know it’s my birthday?”

“Facebook reminders.” She laughs and backs up to her door. “Okay, I’ll stop by about five? Gives me time to wash off the blood.” She scrunches her nose up and it’s so fucking adorable I almost forget we’re discussing slaughtered animals.

I smile and mumble “sounds good,” as she retreats inside her apartment. I open my own door and my cell phone chimes from my pocket. I glance at the screen and grin. She never forgets.

“Hey sis,” I say.

“Happy birthday, little bro! I love you! Want me to sing?”

“God, no!” I laugh and she scoffs through the line. “It’s a gift for my ears if you don’t.”

“Fuck you,” she says with a smile in her voice. “So . . . any big plans for your dirty thirty?”

“Not really. Cruz is on shift, so we’ll go out this weekend for beers.”

“You are the worst bachelor ever. What I would give for a night out without crying, midnight feedings, and diapers.” Emily sighs.

“How is my nephew, anyway?”

“Sucking on my boob as we speak.”

“God! Don’t say things like that.” We’re just two years apart and best friends as much as siblings, but she has no filter, especially now that she’s a sleep deprived mom.

Emily just laughs. “Sorry, I can’t help messing with you. But really, you have no plans? Maybe I should come over tonight.”

“No!” I answer a little too emphatically.

“Oh, so you do have plans. Maybe a booty call? You are a first responder, after all . . .”

“God, stop. Sister-brother boundaries. Is nothing sacred?”

“Sorry. It’s been so long since I got laid. Seven weeks exactly. If I’m not getting lucky tonight then you should be. Who’s the lady?”

“It’s not like that. It’s my neighbor, Jen. She mentioned stopping by tonight. She has something for me. It’s probably nothing.”

“She sounds hot,” Emily teases.

I chuckle, because Emily never stops. “Yeah. She is hot, but she’s also really sweet, funny, and smart; but I don’t think she’s into me.”

“Then she has horrible taste in men. But I think if she’s coming by she might be into you. Now’s your chance, Brennan! Sweep her off her feet. Take charge. Be the man! Besides, it’s your birthday; luck is on your side.”

“I don’t know . . .” Maybe Emily is right. Maybe I should stop pussyfooting around and make a move.

“Do it! Now, I’ve got to go change stinker’s diaper. Love you, Brennan. Have a great day. And use condoms!”

“’Bye, Emily.” I smile and end the call.

Before I crash I check the fridge and pantry. Emily’s right. If I want a chance with Jenny I need to pull out all the stops and go with my strengths. I may not be a smooth talker but I can cook like a top chef. Today’s forecast: baked ziti with a side of romance.

Birthday Blaze originally appeared in the Amazon bestselling charity anthology Hook & Ladder 69. This short story is a fun, sexy read that showcases Kacey’s humorous story-telling and colorful characters. For more by Kacey check out her [website].


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.