Toi Reads “We Are Jardin” #wip #sample #fantasy

For anyone interested, I’m updating the free short story that comes with my email list sign-up. I’m offering a story that’s only been offered previously in an sci-fi anthology; you can have Clepher’s Heart free when you join my email list.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#BooktagsBlogHop No. 3: Strength (Mark of Nexus Book 1) by @CarrieAButler #fantasy #amreading

Booktagbloghop

The purpose of this blog hop is for readers and writers to share what they are reading, have read, are writing, or have written with others. This is not about promoting free or discounted books, though some of those may be featured. This is about book lovers sharing what they love about books. This blog hop is about the Joy of Reading and the Joy of Writing with tags of your choosing and is hosted by me, Toi Thomas, the third Monday of the month. Learn more here.

This month’s optional theme is: Winter, cold, or holidays.

Excerpt from Chapter 7

I stood up and hastily buttoned myself into my purple, clearance-special pea coat. It pleated at the waist and had big, funky buttons down the front. I’d gotten it for thirteen dollars after Christmas and wore it like a victory medal.

I slung my bag over my shoulder and merged into the line for the door. Go, people. I hate loiterers. It’s one thing to have a legitimate reason to hold up the flow of traffic—like, maybe someone is on crutches or something. That’s fine. Well, not for them. It sucks for them. But pausing to have a conversation in the doorway? I blew out an aggravated sigh. Un-accepta-ble.

“A little impatient today?” a smooth voice cut in, interrupting my thoughts.

Was someone talking to me? I cast a quick glance over my shoulders and found a pair of amused brown eyes taking in my every move. My cheeks burned. “Uh, yeah, I guess.”

The guy grinned, studying me like he had some kind of divine insight. Laugh lines creased the corners of his eyes, and his warm gaze smoldered. “And it’s only the first day of class, sweetheart. How are we going to make it through fifteen weeks?”

I blinked. Was this guy for real? Who starts up a conversation like that out of nowhere? I wasn’t shy or anything, but the familiar language was throwing me off. “I guess we’ll have to manage.”

237 words from: Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) © 2013 Carrie Butler

My Thoughts

I’m making a point to get this review posted soon. I just finished this book and really enjoyed it. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series. As for why I shared this piece today, there are a few reasons.

1. I think this may be classified as YA, but for me, it has a more New Adult feel to it. The college banter here doesn’t feel as bothersome as what I usually read in YA, which is why I don’t read it much. In any case, much of the story reminds me of my own college experience, which I haven’t often felt when reading stories set in a college scene.

2. This passage goes great with the winter and cold theme for this month. This whole installment of this series takes place in winter and some of the scenes made me cold just reading them.

3. I like the way this character thinks. She’s very down to earth and her inner monolog isn’t annoying.

4. I like the originality of this story. It’s always surprising to me when I come across a story that feels truly unique. It’s hard for stories these days to be completely original, but when a story doesn’t come off cliché and there’s something I haven’t figured out by the end- I’m impressed.

Lastly, this passage is important to me because of how the story plays out at the end of this installment. I figured out something here, but I also completely missed something too. I hope you read it for yourself and see if this scene stands out once you’ve read it.

Find this title at Amazon Goodreads

What are you currently reading? I’d love to know.

Next blog hop post date will be January 18, 2016.

I’ll be setting up a new linky soon and emailing it to past participants. Thank you to those of you who joined me on this journey so far, whether you’re continuing or not.

Be sure to hop around and see what others are reading so you may continue to pile onto your TBR list.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

The Conduit by @Rourkewrites Tour by @Storytime4Ever #Review #thetoiboxofwords

The Conduit Tour BannerTitle: The Conduit
Author: Stacey Rourke
Pages: 212 on Amazon Kindle
Price: Perma Free
Genre: YA / Paranormal

Available Now

Amazon | Nook ibooks Kobo | Smash

BLURB: Gryphon Series Book 1

All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is The Conduit Coverto head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

“Okay, little side note here. If a psychopathic killer asks if you want to see a trick, say no. That’s the smart thing to do. I, on the other hand, responded, ‘Bring it’.”

EXCERPT

The gas station door chimed and Gabe came out. His arms overflowed with chips, beef jerky, and a two liter of pop.
I gaped at him in slack-jawed astonishment. “What are you doing?”
“What?” he asked. “It’s a long drive, so I got snacks.”
“We’re not going on a road trip to an amusement park! We’re facing the forces of darkness, remember?”
“Yeah, so? I’m hungry,” he shrugged. “It’s like before my games, there’s no point in getting my game face on until I get there. In the meantime—road trip!”
“I bet Robin never made Batman stop for chips,” I muttered under my breath as I returned the nozzle to its resting place on the pump. I turned back toward the truck and saw a spiky blonde head bop around the side of the building. “Kendall! You’re supposed to be halfway to Memphis by now!”
She threw her hands up. “I’m going; I’m going! I just had to stop to pee. It’s a long flight.”
I squeezed the bridge of my nose between my fingers and shook my head. We had to be the lousiest warriors ever.
Gabe rolled down my driver’s side window and leaned out. “What are you waiting on? We goin’ or what?”
Batman had it easy. He was an only child.

My rating:5 of 5 stars

The Conduit (Gryphon, #1)As dysfunctional families go, the Garrets are actually doing pretty well considering the Garret kids, now teenagers and young adults, have been displaced from their home and are now living with their retro grandmother, as their mother stays behind to pick up the pieces after the death of her husband and their father. Even with that consideration, Celeste is a pretty good big sister, Kendal is almost the perfect little sister who just happens to be beautiful, and Gabe could be a lot worse, seeing as he’s the middle child and the only boy. But then one day the evil Barnabus decides to exact a century’s old revenge and the Garret kids receive an inheritance they’d rather leave to the dogs. With superpowers, shape shifting, and young adult hormonal disillusionment, The Conduit is a fascinating, thrilling, and at times, hilarious read.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I’d heard good things about it. I knew it was a YA fantasy series, but that was about it. I also knew I loved the artwork of the Gryphon on the cover of the book, but sadly, that cover has been discontinued…at least I like the new cover and the series’ covers match now.

From beginning to end, The Conduit was an exciting read. Even when the author had to slow down to explain something, the characters are so neurotic that the explanations come off as action packed. The only time the action slowed down was when the sarcastic humor of the author spilled out through her characters offering abundant laughter. There were a few touching moments in the story, but they were so perfectly paced that the flow of the story was a constant wave moving forward towards the end. Not that this book was terribly long, but it also wasn’t that short. I enjoyed reading this book so much, I finished it much quicker that I had expected.

When I purchased the Conduit, I thought I was just testing out this new author and had no intention of reading further, but halfway through this one, I bought the sequel and can’t wait the get the next one after that. I’m not an avid reader of YA fantasy and tend to toe the line when it comes to liking it, but this book is great.

Younger children may not get some of the references, but if this were a movie I’d give it a PG-13 rating; it’s good for the whole family, dad may not be interested…at first.

View all my reviews

AUTHOR BIO

Stacey Rourke Author PhotoRONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012 Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Adapted for Film. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

Find Stacey: Website Fan Club Facebook 

Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#BooktagsBlogHop No. 2: CassaStar by @AlexJCavanaugh #sci-fi #amreading

Booktagbloghop

The purpose of this blog hop is for readers and writers to share what they are reading, have read, are writing, or have written with others. This is not about promoting free or discounted books, though some of those may be featured. This is about book lovers sharing what they love about books. This blog hop is about the Joy of Reading and the Joy of Writing with tags of your choosing and is hosted by me, Toi Thomas, the third Monday of the month. Learn more here.

This month’s optional theme is: gratitude or acceptance.

Excerpt from Chapter 15

Reaching the last file in the database, he paused. Simply labeled ‘Byron,’ it gave no indication as to the contents within. Curious, he explored the file and discovered four separate areas. The first section contained information from his official and personal record. His complete history and profile were represented, and he frowned at the discovery. Noting his Cosbolt training record, Byron remembered that as his instructor, Bassa had enjoyed full access to his files. He’d apparently saved them for future reference.

Exploring the next file, Byron opened what appeared to be a journal chronicling Bassa’s personal experiences. Confused as to why this was located in his file, Byron scanned the entries. The first one was written not long after his arrival on Guaard. It described a pilot in training whose cocky, indifferent attitude stemmed from loneliness and insecurity rather than malice or rage. Bassa concluded his assessment that all the boy needed was a friend. Byron’s eyes widened in disbelief and he scanned the other entries. Every single one was about him.

Uncomfortable with the thought of invading Bassa’s privacy, Byron moved to the next file. A prerecorded video flashed on the screen and he leaned back in the chair. His chest tightened when Bassa’s image appeared, and he realized the recording had been made from his very position.

“Good day, Byron,” said Bassa’s image, a faint smile on his face.

Byron’s mouth fell open. Bassa had recorded a message for him.

242 words from: CassaStar (CassaStar #1) © 2010 Alex J. Cavanaugh

My Thoughts

I’m actually reading CassaStorm (CassaStar #3) right now and am behind on my review of CassaFire (CassaStar #2), but with this month’s theme being acceptance or gratitude, I had to revisit the first book in this series. There is so much happening in this story by the time this passage comes along and as much as I hate to give away spoilers, I can only hope the true meaning of this passage remains a bit vague.

The passage is a revelation of acceptance for Byron in a way I can’t elaborate on without outright spoiling, but it’s clear that he has discovered something and it’s affecting him in an emotional way. Before and after this passage, the gratitude Byron feels for the off-scene Bassa is difficult to process. These two character experience life and combat together, and to say that they are like brothers is an understatement- they are brothers at the very core of their souls.

I have many friends who care about me and a wonderfully loving and supportive family, but I haven’t had a friendship like what Bassa and Byron have since I was in high school. That kind of friendship is precious and rare.

Find this title at Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

What are you currently reading? I’d love to know.
Next blog hop post date will be December 21, 2015.

Be sure to hop around and see what others are reading so you may continue to pile onto you TBR list.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Big DATA by @BHart_man Book Blitz by @RABTBookTours via #thetoiboxofwords #dystopia

 

Fiction / Dystopian / Humor
Date Published: November 2015

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It’s way past 1984.  Your toothbrush, your coffee maker and your Rice Krispies are running your life.  But don’t worry… BIG DATA IS WATCHING YOU!
Welcome to Goozle Earth®, a dystopia where the all-knowing and all-powerful force of Big Data rules humanity through the Internet of Things and the corporate power of Goozle Inc.  Where English® and every possible combination of words has been copyrighted and the only law is the Terms of Service, which has been replaced by the Terms of Servitude.  Where the proudly psychopathic Higgs, Caesar and Emperor Omnipotent (CEO) of Goozle Inc., is determined to launch the Next Big Thing.
Smith, a happy native of this paradise, wanders off the grid and discovers sex®, the knowledge of good and evil, and the pursuit of Happiness. Can he save the human race from the Next Big Thing?


EXCERPT
Smith stared back in confusion when Julia said he was living in a dystopia.
“A dystopia?” he repeated. The word was new to him. “What do you mean?”
They were somewhere in the Green Mountains, walking on a dirt road through a strangely silent woods. That was all Smith knew. He’d lost his way in the hills, his car stopping short where a huge fallen tree blocked the road. The woman who introduced herself as Julia climbed over the fallen tree before he could tell his car to turn around. Surprisingly, she offered to walk him into the nearby village to find something to eat. The eerie silence followed them into the village, swallowing his thoughts. Julia looked different from anyone he’d ever seen, though she had (he soon realized) the same blond hair and blue eyes and the same awkward gait as everyone else in the village. The others—he noticed half a dozen villagers cutting weeds or stacking firewood around a row of decaying frame houses—weren’t nearly so friendly as she was. Most of them turned away or receded into the shadows rather than to look at him. Some of them, he realized with a start, had beards.
“It’s a society where, basically, life sucks,” she explained. “You have no freedom or privacy. You can’t do anything, you can’t say anything, you can’t even think without somebody spying on you or listening in.”
Smith didn’t want to seem condescending, but he couldn’t help feeling superior to the crouching lowlifes he’d noticed slinking away as Julia led him into the village. These were apparently her neighbors. Who was she to cast aspersions on his life in Goozle Earth?
“My life doesn’t suck,” he said, smiling as always. “In fact, I can’t imagine being happier than I am. I have a good job at Celebrity Solutions, a nice condo, hundreds of friends, and two wonderful pets. Everything I want is delivered to my door within thirty minutes by an Amazzond drone.”
Julia laughed. “Guess who drank the Kool Aid!”
“Kool Aid?” Kool Aid® was Smith’s favorite beverage.
“Try thinking an original thought and see what happens.”
He stared back uncomprehendingly.
“You know,” she teased. “Say something more than 140 characters long.”
What was she talking about? Did she seriously expect him to violate the Terms of Service? She spoke fluent English® but used words he’d never heard before, like “freedom” and “privacy.” He’d heard that connectivity could be poor in rural areas, where the inhabitants—known as “Yahoos”—often expressed eccentric, paranoid ideas. Obviously, for whatever reason, he and Julia weren’t connecting. Still, there was something about her that affected him in a surprising, unfamiliar way. He later learned that it was called “sex®.”
Author Contact Links
Twitter: @BHart_man
 
Purchase Links 
 
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords