google-site-verification: google935433b691795853.html KRISTY BERRIDGE: 2013-04-14

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Skin Deep Reveal by TG Ayer


TITLE: Skin Deep
SERIES: The Darkworld Series, Volume: 1
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PUBLICATION DATE: 30th APRIL 2013
FORMAT: Paperback, E-Book & Hardback
PUBLISHER: Infinite Ink
PAGES: 390


EXCERPT:
"The cold cocking of guns set my body on fire.
It also did something worse. With mortal fear gripping me, my imminent Change wasn't taking second place anymore. My body churned the fear and my Panther grasped at the visceral power of the adrenalin in my veins.
I ran.
A gunshot echoed around the garden, the sound ping-ponging off the aging brick walls of the surrounding apartment buildings.
I gasped as a blast of searing pain slammed into me.
As a bullet buried itself deep within my shoulder."

DESCRIPTION:
Panther Shape-shifter Kailin Odel just wants to be normal. Leaving her clan, and her Alpha responsibilities, to live with her grandmother in Chicago had been the best thing for her. Only then did she discover her ability to track and kill the soul sucking undead creatures called Wraiths. Now she protected the humans, and had something to be proud of.
But, when she discovers the body of a murdered shape shifter, Kailin has to come to terms with the reality that her own kind are just as vulnerable as the humans.
The closer Kailin gets to the killer the more she has to face the intricacies of her people. When the time comes can she accept who and what her real purpose is?


CHAPTER ONE:
Icy pain sliced through my bones, the muscles of my arms, and the flesh of my back. My spine and thighs rippled, shifted. Changing.
Damn. Too fast.
I spared a rueful glance at my new leather pants. And ran faster.
Had to make it to the Rehab Center a few blocks away. I ran, my speed super-human, my need super-charged, covering ground fast enough to make it to safety before my Panther took over.
I took the corner of the street behind the Center at breakneck speed, and headed for the nearest of the gaping holes pockmarking the rusted fence.
The wind changed before I stepped off the curb. My ears peaked and I skidded to a halt, panting slightly, my backpack thumping against my side. The scream of tires on blacktop echoed on the night air, shattering the silence as it grew ever louder.
Closer.
Followed in tandem by the whining wail of sirens. A battered sedan scorched down the street, suspended on the turn on only two wheels. The angry whip of charred rubber spiked the air. Horizontal again, the car jumped the curb and skidded sideways, avoiding a collision with the fence by mere inches.
I shrank into the shadows at my back, expelling a long, stale breath. My Panther, still confined within my body, bucked and jerked, craving release.
I let her surface.
A little.
For now, super-sight would be welcome. Unlike the ability to run like the wind while still in my Human skin, tapping into my Panther's sight required a partial transformation—a risk I needed to take as my gut screamed danger.
Adrenalin surged, different again from the calm fervor of my wraith hunts. I blinked. Heat nipped at my corneas as I released my Panther sight—enough to give my eyes feline vision.
Sight, which sliced deep into the black nothing hugging the sidewalk, transformed my eyes into a solid Panther emerald. For the moment, plain old Kailin Odel was back to being Kailin of the Clan Panthera.
My cat sight adjusted, focused. The blackness surrounding the darkened vehicle changed depth and color, became lighter, clearer.
Someone shoved the rear door open, and I cringed as it creaked and complained. The occupants remained shrouded in the shadows of the vehicle's interior. Something large, long and heavy hit the ground with a dull thunk. Then the sedan revved as unseen sirens drew closer, louder, and it spun around and skidded off the curb.
The battered car roared off, a police cruiser close on its tail with sirens screaming blue murder. It didn't take a genius to figure out the parcel had to be awfully incriminating, for them to chuck it into the garden in such a flaming hurry.
My nostrils twitched at the stench of exhaust smoke, and my heart thumped as I waited to cross the street. I flicked a furtive glance at the dull red glow of taillights disappearing into the darkness. A breeze skimmed the sidewalk, ruffling my hair, and I hurried across the street as the sounds of sirens faded in the distance. I paused a few meters from the bundle, released my Panther's nose and sniffed. Whatever I'd expected to scent on the air, it wasn't the tang of copper drifting toward me—strong, rich and intoxicating.
Blood. Fresh blood. A luscious odor, laced with tendrils of the familiar.
I moved closer, my mind warring with my emotions. This was no bundle of rags, or some stolen junk those thugs had thrown away, but a living being. The blood surely meant the person now lying on the sidewalk needed medical attention.
I stood over the bundle, the cloying odor of the blood filling my nostrils, and hesitated in a moment of doubt and fear.
Now or never.
I took a deep breath and crouched beside the silent form. My hand quivered as I reached out and touched the scratchy, ragged fabric covering the shoulder of the silent figure. At first it resisted my tug, stiff against my touch, but one more gentle urging turned him toward me.
I gasped, my throat closing on the sound. My heel caught as I pulled away, and I staggered backward as hot horror burned through my veins. The face glistened, bloody and mangled. Raw muscles and ligaments lay exposed, bare. A low moan of horror echoed around me. Chills streaked up my spine when I realized the stricken sound had originated from my own throat. The familiar richness of him clouded my mind, clogging my throat and drugging my senses.
A Skinwalker.
My throat spasmed, silencing a shriek as he stared at me. His breath whispered—shallow, irregular, the sound ragged as he labored in his final moments. He gripped with desperation to the disappearing threads which held him to this mortal earth.
His face held my gaze, and somewhere behind ribs of ice my heart clenched, threatening to implode. My own face stared back at me, reflected from within eyes as blue as oceans. Eyes filled with excruciating pain and desperate fear. He didn't speak, just studied me for a few moments with those glorious eyes.
Recognition. Gratitude. Relief.
Then... release.
Life flickered and sputtered out of his beautiful eyes—eyes unable to close even after his soul departed his mortal body. Eyes stark and ghastly within a face flayed of every inch of its skin.
Mere seconds had passed, although I would have sworn it had been hours. Screeching tires again interrupted my horror, and the sedan skidded beside me before I could do much more than scramble away from the body. The killers had managed to lose the cops, and now they'd returned to retrieve the body.
They hadn't bargained on having a witness.
The cold-cocking of guns set my body on fire.
It also did something worse. With mortal fear gripping me, my imminent Change refused to take second place anymore. My body churned the fear and my Panther grasped at the visceral power of the adrenalin in my veins.
I ran.
A gunshot echoed around the garden, the sound ping-ponging off the aging brick walls of the surrounding apartment buildings.
I gasped as a blast of searing pain slammed into me, as a bullet buried itself deep within my shoulder.

ADDITIONAL EXCERPTS
"These last few minutes had felt like days of agony and fear. My breath still came in little hysterical hiccups. Where had the cool, calm wraith hunter gone?
Things changed when hunter became prey."


***

"What have you gotten yourself into this time?" (asked Anjelo)
"Wasn't my fault...." Hard to bristle with indignation while I lay sprawled and bleeding at the feet of my scolder. I'd be wasting my breath. We'd argue again later, as I was way too tired to make the effort now.
"When is it ever? Always said one day you'll get yourself hurt. And wasn't I right?" He waved his hands at both my torn body and shredded clothes, sighing as if he were the one shot and bleeding out pints.
Oh, the drama.

***

"Clutching the phone, I whispered Anjelo's name into the device. The darned thing promptly advised me to speak more clearly, its tone annoyingly authoritative, seeming to laugh at me.
Damned machine.
Clearing my throat, I spoke his name again, this time restraining the urge to shout at the piece-of-crap phone.
Dial tone. Thank Ailuros.
"Kailin? What time is it?" Anjelo grumbled, his voice thick with sleep, grumpy and perplexed. He loved sleep, even more than his widely known love affair with Italian pasta. Nothing the school cafeteria supplied would ever tempt his taste buds. Anjelo had gourmet taste.
All he would've heard was my grunt of pain as I slid further to the floor, the phone suddenly too heavy to hold to my ear.
"Kailin, you okay?" His voice gurgled as if I were underwater—hollow, strange.
I took a deep breath and gripped the phone, pulling on every last dreg of energy, and said, "Sure. Shot. Bleeding. But okay."
My voice cracked on each syllable, and I barely heard his urgent request for my location. I scowled at the phone, again so heavy it began to pull my hand to the floor, inch by inch.
Why was he shouting at me? I could hear him perfectly.
I spoke with a false calm. "I'm at the center." Then I let the phone fall, unable to bear its incredible weight.
Scrambling. The knocking sounds of someone bumping into things in the dark. Muffled oaths, and then a slamming door.
Good. Anjelo's coming."



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each other's loves – it works wonderfully…

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Book Review: A Chance for Charity by SL Baum

Being a senior at a new school isn't easy, especially if it's the sixth time you've capitulated to too long days of calculus, social studies and the endless barrage of mindless, teenage gossip.
Charity, AKA Emily Johnston doesn't seem to mind. It sort of comes with the territory of being immortal. Blending in and moving from one small town to the next is all part of the process of keeping her unusual longevity and that of her two closest friends/family a secret.
Hunted for centuries, Charity is forced to constantly hide who she really is, lie to everyone she meets and avoid emotional connections. It isn't until she moves to the snow capped town of Telluride, Colorado and meets the handsome and strangely familiar Lincoln that she begins to question his existence, her past, and uncover a rather uncertain future.
A Chance for Charity spends most of the novel exploring Charity's cautious nature and inability to trust as well as the slowly evolving romance with Lincoln that tends to illicit much yawning. Quickly in love and physically sedate, there isn't a whole lot of excitement on the romantic front.
Well written and teamed with some angst ridden moments, I wanted to fall in love with the clearly defined characters and allotted roles. I wanted to immerse myself in Charity's conflict and be compelled to scream at her to take risk and live in the moment, but sadly, I was left wanting.
Perhaps the purpose of this novel was to warm the heart with an old fashioned romance and add just a touch of supernatural action as set up for future novels. 
The intrigue developed via additional characters seated in the last half of the novel, and did ramp up the plot to a suitable conclusion, but again, it was not entirely unexpected - a show down between immortal and hunter always on the cards.
Imagery was sufficient but not efficient in enticement. I wanted action, I wanted detail - I wanted ... more. A chance for Charity is an easy read, suitably pleasant and recommended for those that like to keep the darkness locked in their closets rather than head on in with a flashlight and baseball bat.
I rate this novel two and half fangs out of five.

Synopsis:

A new family has just arrived in the isolated mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. Welcome the Johnstons - Jason (a doctor), Rachel (a designer), and their niece Emily (a current High School Senior).
Emily has lived the life of a quiet loner in the past, trying to go unnoticed. But with Telluride being such a small and welcoming town, she finds a group of friends at school almost immediately. When Emily meets Link (another new transplant in town) her world turns upside down. She doesn't understand why she feels a magnetic pull toward him, or why she unknowingly lets her guard down around him. Link is just as confused by his own need to be with her.
Emily knows she is playing with fire. She should be doing whatever she can to keep herself isolated, to keep Link from getting too close. Danger has a way of finding Emily's family - that is what keeps them on the move. They arrive in a new town every few years - it is safer that way.
Because... Emily isn't really Emily... her real name is Charity - and Charity has an even bigger secret. Charity and her family are not like other people, they have "skills" that mere mortals cannot begin to comprehend.
Before long, Charity is struggling with the reality that her two lives are coming closer to each other with each passing day. Soon Link will find himself wrapped in a supernatural world that he never knew existed - and discover that mortals are not the only beings that walk this earth.