Emeralds and Pearls by C. Spencer-Upton

Emeralds And Pearls coverGIVEAWAY DETAILS:

GRAND PRIZE:Paperback of Emeralds and Pearls & handmade keychain

1 RUNNERS UP:  one runner-up will receive a Keychain

LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDk3NGE1NDcwMTI3ZDNiOGM2NTQyNzVmNDFiMGJjOjI5Mw==/

 

EMERALDS AND PEARLS

Semi-Precious Series, #1

Genre:  young adult

Print Length: 283 pages

Publisher: Pink Bow Publishing

Publication Date:  October 11, 2013

ASIN: B00FTDM092

 

I’ve spent seventeen years being a wallflower. Seventeen years, watching people live their lives, while mine stood still. I was happy for those years, nothing new happened because I never let it, every day was the same and predictable.

When my parents told me we were moving…to another state, I freaked.

I spent the first week, after the move, wishing I could move back. But then something changed, I became a someone, and to begin with I enjoyed it, but I soon learned, some things aren’t always as they seem.

I have two lives now. Both of them are testing me, pushing me to my limits.

 Excerpt:

Angela seated herself beside me, Phil took the head of the table and Mom sat opposite me.

“Hi, Chelsea, how have you been?” Angela asked.

“Great thanks.”

Dad interrupted, asking the question I desperately wanted too. “Your boy not joining us?”

“He’s on his way. He went to the gym straight after school, he was just leaving when we called before we left.”

I mentally punched the air, thank God he was coming, although, he had been in the gym four whole hours – not the work out I imagined he’d been getting – but still. Four hours?

Mom took a sip of her wine, “We’ll wait for him, it shouldn’t take him too long. Should it?”

“No,” Phil said, “But he can catch up, I’m starving.”

At that, Dad removed the lids off the dishes and started serving out the food. I took a good helping of rice and chicken curry, certain that I was that hungry, I’d be licking the plate clean.

Adult conversation began, work, sports and gossip while I dug in. It all sounded very blah, blah, blah to me.

“Hi baby.” Angela chimed up.

I looked up, fork halfway to my mouth – which was gaping like a broken fish. Cory slid into his seat at the table, looking at and greeting everyone at the table but me. It didn’t bother me much, I was happy to just stare. He was wearing a tight fitting white shirt and his hair was wet, either from sweat or a shower, I wasn’t bothered which.

“Good workout kid?” Phil asked.

“Yeah, was good,” he remarked, grabbing for the dishes and filling his plate.

“Don’t you think you’re overdoing it?” his Mom asked, “You’ve been going every night, you need to relax too or you’ll cause yourself an injury.”

I looked to his biceps and felt a hot flush coming on. At least I could blame the curry.

“I’m fine, it was only a couple of hours.”

“A couple? You went straight from school didn’t you?”

“No,” he blushed, “I hung out with Liv for a while.”

My heart sank to the floor below my chair. I didn’t want to witness them, I didn’t want to hear about them. Period. After that, my interest was lost and I continued to eat my meal, that was less appetizing now.

The door bell rang, disturbing conversation. I looked at Mom confused. She got up and made her way to the door. I couldn’t hear who she was talking to or what she was saying, not until she walked back in the dining room, carrying my jacket from the night of the party. My blood ran as cold as ice through my veins. That sure helped my hot flush.

“Come on in, there’s plenty to go around.” I looked at Cory for help, but he was still ignoring me. “Chelsea, Dean brought your jacket back.”

That made Cory pay attention. He looked at me wide-eyed then, his jaw clenching.

“Thanks. I’m sure he has better things to do than eat with us, Mom.” I stuttered.

“No. I’ve got nothing better to do,” he chimed in.

“That’s settled then. Why don’t you kids go and eat in the kitchen, I’m sure you don’t want to listen to all the boring adult talk.”

Cory dropped his cutlery on the plate making them clatter against the ceramic. “Ya know what, he can sit here, I’m leaving.”

“Cory!” Angela chastised, “Your butt isn’t leaving this house.”

Mom looked around the table, confusion written in big, bold letters all over her face. “I’ll go grab you a plate.”

She wasn’t getting the message.

“That’s quite a bruise you’ve got there Dean, walk into a door?” Dad asked and I wanted to shut him up. I didn’t want him here and I didn’t want my parents being friendly with him either.

“Something like that.” he softly laughed.

I shouldn’t have, but I laughed into my curry. “If you want to call the door José.”

“Clearly José didn’t do a good enough job.” Cory responded under his breath.

Mom walked back in and handed the plate to Dean, as Angela chastised Cory again. “Cory, what is wrong with you tonight. That’s no way to speak to other peoples guests when you have been invited into their home.”

Cory didn’t respond, but Dean did, and for once said something that made me unbelievably happy. “Ya know what, I’m not that hungry. I’ll just go.” He handed Mom the plate and she showed him out.

“Cory! Answer me when I talk to you.”

“Forget it!” he shouted, pushing the chair back from the table and standing. “What difference does it make? I’m leaving.” he took a couple of steps, then Angela screeched after him.

“Cory Reynolds! If you take one more step out this house, you better be sure you have somewhere else to sleep tonight. Don’t you dare act like a spoiled child when you’ve been invited into other peoples homes and don’t you dare think about using that tone on me again!” By the time she had finished, she was stood and leaning across the table.

He looked back, un-phased, “Really?”

“Yes really. So sit your backside down on that chair and finish your meal like a civilized human being and you can leave, when I say so.”

With a roll of the eyes, he sat back down, as did Mom.

After that, conversation was stale and the atmosphere was as thick as Olivia.

I poured myself a glass of water and politely offered some to Cory. “You want a glass?”

“No,” he mumbled, “Does he have anything else of yours?”

I placed the jug back on the table and blinked at Cory a few times, surprised that he was talking to me and hardly believing that he was. “No, that was all he had. Did you get my messages?” I asked, seizing the opportunity.

“Which one? The first or the millionth?”

“The middle one,” I joked, “Keira told me everything.”

He looked up from his position, elbow on table, resting his head against his fist. “Keira? When?”

That peeved him off and got him listening. “Last week. She told me everything.”

“I thought I told you to keep away from her,” he shouted.

I took a sip of water, quenching my thirst before argument three thousand and forty five took place, witnessed by our parents. I had better make sure I run through my words, before I speak them. “You did and, as per usual, I ignored you. Why didn’t you tell me the real reason, rather than expecting me to just listen?”

“Because, I didn’t want to get you involved, she had no right telling you.”

“She had every right. Since then I’ve stayed away, because I understand why. I’ve told you to talk instead of being cryptic, it’s a hell of a lot easier to understand.” We sat and scowled at each other for a couple of seconds, “Is that why you’ve been going to the gym?”

“Yes,” He mumbled, looking down at his plate.

“Not happening. You’re not doing it.”

His eyes snapped to me, laced with anger. “Not doing it? You think I have a choice? What do you want me to do? Sit around while all this crap happens and carry on living life as normal until it calms down?” he shouted – again.

I stood, leaning over the table. “Yes, that’s exactly what I want. I don’t want anything to happen to any of them, but I don’t want to be going to your funeral.”

He looked at me, shocked for blurting out that he was putting himself in a life-or-death situation, but I didn’t care, maybe his parents could talk some sense into him.

Angela grabbed my wrist. I looked at our company and noticed all eyes looking between us both, confused. “Chelsea, what’s wrong?” she asked, her voice shaking.

I looked at Cory, seeing if he’d see sense, but he didn’t. What he did though, was offer me an ultimatum, “Fine, I won’t do it, if you tell your parents here and now, about Dean.”

Shit! Had he just done that, had he given my parents ammunition to question the living daylights out of me. “Not happening. Not yet.”

“Fine. Let’s just hope you decide to tell them before it happens then.”

He went back to his food and I stared at him, shocked.

Mom nudged me from across the table. “Would someone like to tell us what’s going on?”

“No,” I mumbled, not making eye contact.

“Don’t think that this conversation is over, young lady.” Mom got up and started to clear away the empty plates, removing Cory’s even though he was still eating. The plates clattered loudly in the sink.

We all sat in an awkward silence. Mom walked back in and refilled the wineglasses, then took a huge gulp of hers.

I grabbed my water and took a gulp myself, imagining it was wine.

“I didn’t know that the ring lit up” Mom asked pointing at my hand.

After placing my glass down I quickly looked at my ring, sure enough it was lighting up. I looked at Cory, confused. He looked down his shirt and the color drained from his face as he looked at me.

“No. No. No. Cory, you’re seriously not suggesting what I think you are.”

The glasses on the table began shaking, softly at first but the rumbles became more persistent and stronger, the whole house began to shake.

Mom screamed, “Is it an earthquake?”

Cory got up and I tried to squeeze around the chairs to chase after him. “Cory! If you’re going then I am too, I shouldn’t have to sit it out if no one else is.”

He shouted back from the door jam, shouting over the loud rumble. “Make sure she doesn’t follow me.”

Phil tried to chase after him, but the house was shaking far too much, standing was becoming tough.

“Get under the table Chelsea. Where’s he gone?” Phil shouted.

“I have no idea.” I replied, scrambling under the table.

“Cut the crap. You know something that you aren’t telling us. If he’s putting his life in danger we need to know,” Dad barked from behind me.

The quaking stopped. We all crawled out, looking around at the pictures, that had fallen off the wall. Ornaments had toppled over, smashed glass and china littered the floor.

While they were occupied, looking at the devastation, I took off. I ran around them, easier now that the ground wasn’t shaking.

Running upstairs, I stripped off my shirt and bra and replaced it with a bikini top, and shirt. I quickly shoved my hair up into a messy bun and ran back downstairs.

Mom was in the kitchen, sweeping up some broken pottery and caught me. “Chelsea, you’re not leaving, you’re not chasing after him.” she warned, pointing a finger.

“Sorry Mom.” I was out the door before she could stop me. Running as fast as my feet could take me and at times, I thought I was going to fall over.

I ran down the street and to the beach, kicking my converse off at the entrance. I continued running, even though I could hear my parents shouting after me. I hoped they’d get bored and give up quickly.

I reached the rock and stood at the waters edge, looking for any signs of their whereabouts but the sea was calm, considering something was happening below. I knew it wouldn’t be any use, but I began shouting, screaming for Cory and Keira, hoping someone would hear me, even if I looked like a mad woman.

I was about to start climbing up the rock, but arms quickly grabbed me round the waist, pulling me back. “Chelsea! What the hell is wrong with you, what’s going on. If you tell us we can help.”

I laughed, full blown belly laughed. “If you want to help Dad, let me go.”

Mom grabbed my face, looking me in the eyes in an attempt to calm me down. “Chelsea, honey, you need to talk to us.”

I started crying, I was losing time and they wanted to talk. I wasn’t going to sit here while they fight a battle I could possibly help with. I wasn’t a strong mermaid like the rest, I knew that, I was new to it all but I was still there to help. I made up my mind and decided I’d deal with the consequences when I needed too. I stopped flailing my arms around, stopped kicking out and calmly caught my breath. My Dad didn’t remove his hold, but he loosened up. I looked out at sea, then judged the distance between me and the rock, as well as the positions of our parents. I had one-shot at this, I had better do it properly.

“Chelsea? Where’s Cory?” Mom asked, in that soothing voice that only Moms can use.

“He’s not where I thought he was,” I lied.

“Okay, Do you know where else he could be?”

“No,” I said, my eyes flitting to the horizon.

I took a deep breath, and calmly ran my toes through the sand. I looked down, pretending to be looking at the pattern I was making, instead I found my Dads foot.

I mentally prayed to God, asking for forgiveness, I hated this idea, I never wanted to physically try and hurt my parents. Taking another deep breath, I lifted my foot and used all the energy I could, to stamp on my Dads, he leaned into me and I quickly elbowed him in the stomach, before pushing Mom out the way as she went to grab for me.

I ran to the rock and scrambled to the top, ignoring the cuts that I got, while carelessly climbing up.

I made my way to the edge, Mom and Dad were angrily shouting my name and Phil was already climbing up after me. I shrugged out my shirt and removed my jeans – Thank God I was wearing boy shorts – Phil made it to the top, time was up, so I escaped the only way I could… Into the sea.

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00FTDM092

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/emeralds-and-pearls-1

 

 C. Spencer Upton PicAUTHOR BIO:

Born and raised in a small mining town in Derbyshire. Caroline (The C in ‘C Spencer-Upton’) has spent her adult years building a home and a future based on what’s in front of her, and for a while, that was all she needed. Family, friends and the dog.
In 2012, that all changed. Her new love of reading became a drug. Living in a fantasy became her happy place to escape from reality. Her imagination came to life and ideas that had laid dormant for years, came rushing back to the surface and Emeralds And Pearls was conceived, her debut novel.
In October 2013, that new chapter in her life started and Emeralds And Pearls were introduced to the world.
Caroline works a normal 8-5 job which has nothing to do with literature. When people discover that she has written a novel, the look of shock on their faces is enough to bring a smug smile to her face, knowing that people underestimate her.

Writing is her escape.  She loves reading about you guys enjoying something she loves.

This is the start of a new story of her own and can’t wait for you guys to be a part of it.

 

AUTHOR CONTACT LINK:

Website: http://cspencerupton.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/cspenceruptonauthoruk

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/cspencerupton

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/cspencerupton

 

 

TOUR BUTTON_EMERALDSANDPEARLSTour_CSpenserUpton

Advertisements

Review: Still Photo by Kim Harnes

Still Photo CoverStill Photo

By: Kim Harnes

Reviewed by Danielle Bryant

You Want to Read/3 Stars

Buy here

 Still Photo by Kim Harnes is an interesting read that will keep you captivated to the end. The main character is a love struck tomboy named Jess. In half the book she is a photographer with an outstanding boyfriend. Her life is perfect, but as her photos print with weird smudges on them, Jess finds pieces of a murder scene in the deformed shapes. When Jess finally completes the photo and sees the face of her abusive mother’s murderer, she awakens from a coma. In her awakened world, Jess finds that her perfect life was a 7 year hallucination. All of her school friends and bosses are nurses and doctors of the hospital where she has been detained since age 9. Once awake, she has the devastating realization that if she ever wants to be released and live normally she has to control her anger and give up her imaginary boyfriend forever.

                Still Photo is an intriguing story about the true love of a lunatic. When roused from her comatose state, Jess is overcome with anger spells and often blacks out and loses control. During these bouts she is completely unpredictable and dangerous. I absolutely love how Kim Harnes develops Jess as a character. Tons of authors produce heroes and villains, but Kim Harnes has found the perfect mix of both. The result is a lovable personality with a maniac edge that keeps the story twisted but not to the point where you drop the book altogether. However, I feel that the plot somewhat skipped around, and at times I did not fully understand how something happened in a chapter. Overall, Still Photo is a distinctive book with well thought out settings and developed characters that you won’t soon forget!

Guest author – Kim Harnes

Why I enjoy writing:

 

1)       Writing is awesome.

 

Any questions?

 

I guess I could just leave it there, but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting post, would it? J

Writing has been such a release for me. Just like reading a book or watching a movie, writing allows me to escape the real world and spend some time in someone else’s mind for a while. Of course, in my case, some of my characters are a little … shall we say … disturbed?

Writers get to say things everyone else is afraid to say. They get to talk about topics no one else wants to touch upon. They get to speak for the downtrodden, invent villains of all shapes and sizes, and give hope to dying breeds.

It’s not about just telling a story. It’s about inventing your characters from the feet up and building a world around them. About letting the reader not only see what they’re seeing, but also feel what they’re feeling and know their thoughts and fears.

It’s about making the reader cry when your characters cry.

There’s something very powerful about being a writer. You are, so to speak, the God of the world you’re creating in your story, right?

But, (and pardon the Spiderman quote), “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

I am so afraid of cheating my readers. I don’t want to leave questions unanswered. Though I want to leave them wanting more, I don’t want to leave them unsatisfied with what they got.

But despite the worry over leaving my readers unfulfilled with something I may have written, writing is something I do for me, because I enjoy it. And so I would encourage others to do the same. If you wrote your first story at the age of seven and always wondered why you never wrote another one … If you wake up one day and can’t see yourself doing anything else but writing … If you start to watch a movie and think you’d have done it some other way—do it. Sit down and do it.

Because you enjoy it, too.

STILL PHOTOStill Photo Cover

 

Kim Harnes

 

Evernight Teen

 

Upper YA Contemporary Suspense Romance

62,760 words

 

Evernight Editor’s Pick!

 

“This story is absolutely brilliant. It is the best thing I’ve read as a fiction editor.” — JC Chute

 

 

 

Jess Waterford’s mother is evil. Since she took off seven years ago—just days after Jess’s ninth birthday—without so much as a wave goodbye, Jess has always wondered what happened to her. And despite the end of her mother’s mental and physical abuse, the memories and the scars still remain. Jess conceals the hurt within by practicing her photography, and by spending as much time as her dad will allow with her baseball star boyfriend, Brody Campbell.

 

Determined to make use of her new camera, Jess dives into photographing everything in sight. But periodically the resulting prints are flawed, ever so slightly: a smudge on a tree trunk; a blemish in the bus window. These imperfections are not as random as they may seem, however, and Brody and Jess soon discover together that each of these pictures combine to form another image—the grisly image of a murder scene, with Jess’s mother as the victim.

 

 

As the new photograph takes shape, Jess’s desire to complete it consumes her, and Brody’s health begins to deteriorate. Torn between her quest to reveal her mother’s killer and her continued worry over Brody’s failing health, Jess finally finds the last piece to the puzzle, and the answer sends her world spiraling into depths from which she may never recover.

 

 

Buy Links: (coming soon)

 

 

14+ for violence, sexuality, and adult situations

Excerpt:

Brody’s temple began to pound with each beat of his heart and he tried to push the pain away with his fingertips. Try as he might, the throbbing continued to grow and he unwillingly exhaled an agonized moan.

“Are you okay, Brody?” Miss Wolfe, who probably didn’t want to witness a second apocalyptic episode in as many days, approached his desk.

Her voice was barely audible to Brody. The pain had grown rapidly and it was now so intense it pulsed bright screams across his forehead and down his neck. “Oh, God,” he mumbled and pressed his face against the desk. “Oh, God, what is happening to me?” He stood, but his head protested and his vision blurred. “Make it stop. Please make it stop.” He pleaded to anyone who would listen to put him out of his misery. His head shrieked again. Or did that noise come from him? “Please,” he begged. “Can’t somebody please make it stop?” Brody stammered and stumbled aimlessly, positive his head would soon explode and end his suffering. His leg banged into someone’s desk. He didn’t feel it, but it was hard enough to move it several meters across the floor. He vaguely heard someone protest as he stepped on her foot.

“Jessica.” Someone whispered her name. He didn’t know who’d done it or where they were but it sounded as if it were inside his own throbbing head. “Jessica.” Was he calling for her? Was someone going to get her? Would she be coming to help him? And could she make him better?

Just when he thought the pain couldn’t get any worse, another squeal of hurt detonated within his left eyebrow and buckled his knees. “Can’t someone please make it stop?” He implored one last time to anyone who may still be within earshot. He crawled across the linoleum, oblivious to anything but the searing sting like a white-hot sword twisting in his temple.

Exhausted and spent, he curled into the fetal position on the floor and waited for death to come and mercifully take him away, because he was sure that was the only thing that would release him from this torture.

His skull opened and whiteness entered.

The warm, bright light comforted him and he reached for it.

“Jessica,” his head whispered again.

Evernight Teen: http://www.evernightteen.com/still-photo-by-kim-harnes/
>
> Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Still-Photo-Kim-Harnes-ebook/dp/B00JAPPUBK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396265961&sr=8-1&keywords=still+photo+by+kim
>
> Print: https://www.createspace.com/4717670
>
> AllRomance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-stillphoto-1464817-344.html
>
> BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/still-photo

 

About the Author:

 

Kim Harnes learned to read at the age of two and never looked back.  Growing up as an avid lover of horror novels, campfire stories, and the obsession with ghost towns and cemeteries, it only made sense that her own writing would incorporate the paranormal, the bizarre, and the unexplained.  She is an award-winning songwriter, an Active member of the SCBWI, and lives with her family and numerous pets in Sparks, Nevada.

 

 

 

Website: http://www.kimharnes.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimharnesauthor

 

KimHarnesTwitter: @kimharnes

 

 

 

Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fdb58626/

Still Photo Tour Banner

 

 

Review: Win the Rings by K.D. van Brunt

win-rings

Win the Rings by K.D. van Brunt

Review by Danielle Bryant

You Need To Read / 4 Stars

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Win-Rings-The-Cracked-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00IU85KU4

Blurb:  Jace has been the property of the U.S. Army since they found out about her when she was five, and now she has become one of its most valuable weapons.  But Jace is not the only one of her kind. Gray is one too, but with the help of his sister, he has spent most of his sixteen years hiding from the Army.

 

Now, the Army has found out about Gray and they cannot allow him to roam free.  Operating on the theory that it takes one to catch one, Jace is send out with a special ops squad to hunt Gray down. But Jace is not the only one pursuing Gray, and the competition is after her too.  What ensues is a desperate chase through city after city as duty and honor collide with love and sacrifice.

 

Review: Win the Rings by K.D. van Brunt is an exciting thriller with realistic characters. The main heroine of this story is a tough-as-nails army girl named Jace. Army life has made her hard, but as she gains leadership, she also realizes it is easier to succeed with support than when standing alone.

Gray is, in truth, the anti-Jace. He has run since he was five with his sister and uses his shifting to steal, but only from those who “deserve it”. All his life, though, he has wondered if it would have been better if he had been found. As the wild chase goes on, Gray wants nothing more than to end his running and give his sister her life back.

Win the Rings by K.D. van Brunt is a breathtaking work of art. Van Brunt balances two polar personalities in harmony without interrupting the flow of the book. Win the Rings keeps you on the edge of your seat as a man-hunt takes place. It shows the views on each side without making the book confusing, and leaves you in nail-biting suspense until the next chapter. Jace is determined to get out of C.R.A.C.D. and Gray is her last ring in a set of three to earn freedom. Will Street or Army win? No spoilers here!