Monday, August 18, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: WHAT GIFTS SHE CARRIED, by Lindsey Loucks

What Gifts She Carried, by Lindsey Loucks
Published by Crescent Moon Press, 2014

About the Book:
Leigh Baxton just wants to pick up the pieces of her life—if you could call it that—but someone keeps resurrecting the dead. These new zombies have a knack for spilling Leigh’s precious blood, something she was warned about by a certain pair of undead sorceresses.
Desperate to find out why they’re here so Leigh can put the nightmares behind her, she must learn more about the gifts she carries. With Tram’s training sessions and clues from her mom’s past, Leigh begins to piece together what she’s capable of.
Too bad there isn’t a Cliff’s Notes version to saving the world.
The zombies have teamed up with followers of the darkest sorceress who ever lived, and they’ll play a wicked game until she’s freed from her prison inside the earth. When the battle to the death begins, Leigh must rely on friends, crushes, and even her enemies to win the war, but not the grave.

MY TAKE:

This is the second book in the series that started with last year's The Grave Winner. Book two picks up soon after the first one ends, plunging us right back into the action.

Leigh Baxter just wants to go back to her normal, boring life. She wishes the worst thing she had to worry about was her upcoming finals, or the fact that her crush Callum is leaving town right after graduation to play college baseball.

But Leigh and her friends are still right in the thick of the battle raging in her small town between good and evil, between the dead and the undead. Leigh's mother had many secrets that she kept hidden, including her magical powers.

Now Leigh finds her dad has sorcerer blood too, making Leigh and her sister a rare combination, irresistible to the evil lurking in Kansas. How did sleepy Kansas become the epicenter for the end of days? And the uber-conflicted, insecure Leigh the world's only hope?

Part magical horror, part nuveau-zombie novel, What Gifts She Carried will keep you turning pages and guessing at Leigh's next misstep well past bed time. Not what I usually recommend for a summer beach read, but this is a good, spooky book for that dark and stormy night.

A few notes: This is not a stand-alone book. You really have to read the first book to understand what’s going on. And the ending is reminiscent of The Hunger Games, ending on a huge cliff with an “End of Book Two” tag. (Arrgh!) But at least we know there’s more to come. (Even if it isn’t available just yet…)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

#NEW RELEASE! What Gifts She Carried, by Lindsey Loucks - Available Now!



What Gifts She Carried (The Grave Winner #2)
by Lindsey R. Loucks
YA Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, from Crescent Moon Press
Release Date: August 15, 2014

About the Book:

Leigh Baxton just wants to pick up the pieces of her life—if you could call it that—but someone keeps resurrecting the dead. These new zombies have a knack for spilling Leigh’s precious blood, something she was warned about by a certain pair of undead sorceresses.
Desperate to find out why they’re here so Leigh can put the nightmares behind her, she must learn more about the gifts she carries. With Tram’s training sessions and clues from her mom’s past, Leigh begins to piece together what she’s capable of.
Too bad there isn’t a Cliff’s Notes version to saving the world.
The zombies have teamed up with followers of the darkest sorceress who ever lived, and they’ll play a wicked game until she’s freed from her prison inside the earth. When the battle to the death begins, Leigh must rely on friends, crushes, and even her enemies to win the war, but not the grave.


Excerpt:
                Jo slammed the door behind me, which made me jump a little, then waved. They backed out and rode off, leaving me all alone. Well, almost all alone.
                I watched them go for a second, but the shadow above lanced the top of my head like only an angry dad’s stare could.
                The puddles in the cracked pavement rippled with the moon’s reflection, and I hopped over them on my way up the iron staircase. Time to face the music, or in this case really loud shouting. Every step upward vibrated doom, doom, doom. I gave it the middle finger for the friendly reminder and rounded the corner.
                As soon as I reached the top step, the shadow unplugged the pen light from his mouth and shined it in my face. I turned my head away from the spots dotting my vision and took my final steps toward him. The green paint on the walls and doors had peeled and crumbled to the walkway like little piles of broken dragon scales. My boots crunched over them. Welcome to Krapper’s finest and friendliest Crumbly Motel.
                “Why didn’t you call?” Dad asked in a low voice. He sounded as tired as I felt. And way pissed.
                “I’m sorry.” I blocked the light with my hand and tried to look him in the face. “I lost track of time.”
                “Were you really working on a school project?”
                The truth was loony-bin crazy, and I’d already lied before. Might as well play it up. “Yes, I was. And we finished the pirate project. The pirates have sailed on to loot and pillage their hearts out. I’m really sorry I’m late, Dad.”
                He stood, his book tucked under his elbow, the pen light still aimed at my eyes. “Do you have any idea—”
                A loud thud came from inside the motel room. Both our heads whipped towards the door.
                My heartbeat skipped. Too many bizarre things had happened. Too many weird sounds would haunt me forever, and this one didn’t feel right at all. I lunged for the doorknob, but it was locked.
“Darby?” I shouted and pounded on the door.
                “Leigh, quiet down. I’ve got the key.” Dad pulled the card from his pocket and stuck it in the slot. When the light flashed green, I tore through the door. I had to wait for my eyes to adjust to the dim overhead light before I saw her. Directly across from us. Outside on the balcony. Leaning over the railing so far I could barely see her upper half.
Her purple mermaid nightgown fluttered around her legs. A sudden sharp breeze tossed the hair around her shoulders and unsteadied her grip on the rail for half a second. That half second shot me across the room.
                Once I reached the balcony door, I grabbed her foot and pulled. “Darby, what are you—?” Something trickled from my nose. I brushed it away, and blood smeared my hand. A pinprick of dread punctured the small amount of hope I clung to. Hope that all the nightmares in my life could be done. That hope left me deflated when Darby turned around.
                Blood seeped from her nose, too. Her hands were covered with it. Terror blazed bright behind her glasses. “You’re…you’re bleeding.”
                “You are, too.” The hairs along my arms lifted. Both of us had nose bleeds and both of us were Trammeler sorceressi. One and Two had warned me not to waste my precious blood, but now it flowed down both our fronts for everyone to see. For what? I swallowed. So we could be hunted down? With the balcony and front doors still open, I felt very exposed. “What are you doing out here, Darby?”
Blood settled above the curve of her upper lip. “I—I thought I heard something.”
Dad, hovering in the doorway, raked his hands through his hair. “What on Earth is going on with you girls?” He took Darby by the shoulder and guided her to the bathroom. “Leigh, get the doors and then let’s get you both cleaned up.”
                I reached for the handle while holding a sleeve up to my nose. As I slid the door closed, a small, bloody handprint smudged the streetlights behind it. Darby’s. She was bleeding more than me.
A slow but steady doom, doom, doom of footsteps echoed up the stairs outside the still open front door. Someone was coming. And with them came the stink of nasty meat floating in a sewer. Even with all the blood gushing a river out my nose, I could still smell it. Death. Coming closer.

What Gifts She Carried Links:
Add to Goodreads.
Buy it on Amazon

The Grave Winner Links:
Add to Goodreads
Watch the book trailer on Youtube

Bio:
Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she's not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she's dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she'll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.
She's been with her significant other for almost two decades.
Check out Lindsey’s website.
Follow Lindsey on Facebook.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guest Blogging at Marilyn Almodovar's blog today!

As you can see, the lifeguard chair here at Read, Write, Repeat is empty today! I'm guest blogging at YA author Marilyn Almodovar's place, "Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street."

I'm discussing mermaids and world building, and how you can't use some common words and phrases when the speaker doesn't have a leg to stand on - see there's one right there!

Think about it - mermaids don't run away from danger, because they don't "run." The things you have to think about when your characters have fins instead of feet...

Come on over and see what else I'm saying...


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Counting Down the Days of Summer

Mid-August can be bittersweet to some - summer is almost over and school looms on the horizon. For some, classes have already started this week. For my oldest child, the new school year began just a week after high school graduation, back in June.

He's attending college at the United States Air Force Academy, and has spent the summer undergoing Basic Training, getting prepared for the Academy lifestyle.
Last week, Basic ended and the new cadets earned their first shoulder boards. Yesterday, academic classes began for the fall semester. His summer is over.

I'm still counting down the last days of August until Parents Weekend, when we will fly out and see him. Looking forward to hearing all his stories and seeing his smiling face in person.

Until then, I'll be busy enjoying the last days of summer vacation with my other kids - and getting them ready for back-to-school.