Thursday, January 16, 2014

[3 Reviews] Winter Thrills and Chills Tour [Excerpt + Giveaway]

I'm hosting a stop on  E.J. Wesley's Winter Thrills and Chills Tour for his Moonsongs Series.  This tour is running January 6-17 and consists of reviews, interviews, top tens, guest posts and of course, giveaways!  Be sure to check out the tour page for the full list of stops.

~Book 1 - Blood Fugue~

“Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried. 

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

I will admit I was a little reluctant to start this book since it is on the shorter side, but I am glad I relented and decided to give it a try. This was a really fast read at around 47 pages. Like.. really fast. But it kept me engaged all the way through and I am looking forward to starting the second installment. (: 

Jenny is rather entertaining with her sarcasm and general sour disposition. I loved reading about her interactions with her best friend, Marshall. Her grandpa was even pretty cool and for an old guy. ;) Now Jenny can cuss like a sailor and Marshall was sort of pushy, but they were real to me and by the end of the novella, I found myself somewhat attached to them as characters. There were interesting twists as well, which were well done, considering the length of the book. Cannot wait to see what is going to happen to Jenny after that bombshell! O.O

Also, I really enjoy the writing style. Everything just flows really well. 


~Book 2 - Witch's Nocturne~

After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.

~Witch's Nocturne Review~

There must be some special components to these novella series. I have no idea how a read so light and small can still leave me so satisfied. Of course, I wish they were longer, but the author seems to be doing just fine with novellas. 

You can read this book without having previously read Blood Fugue, but seriously why would you do that? I mean.. Blood Fugue is only 45 pages. (: Just sayin'. Book one flowed smoothly into book two as well, even if it does not pick up exactly where one left off. 

In this book, I got to learn more about Jenny and Marshall and I must say, they are still rather enjoyable, especially when they don't get along. I got to see a bit of a progression in character for Jenny (as much as can be expected in a novella) and she is pretty badass, now.  I was super excited for the addition of more characters in the book. There was basically around four characters in book one. While it was nice, I needed more! hehe. And I am rather pleased with the additions, if only for the fact they may stir up a little trouble. *wiggles eyebrows* Bring it on. I wonder what will happen in book three? (: 


 ~Book 3 - Dark Prelude~


Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Unfortunately, a lot of on-the-job training is required to be a monster hunter, and unlike her computer repair business, this gig could literally kill her.

Dark Prelude finds the feisty protagonist, Jenny, searching for her best friend Marshal's missing father in the midst of a freak, West Texas winter storm. To survive the frigid night, she'll have to deal with a hated town rival, face a monstrous creature no Moonsong hunter has ever encountered before, and undo a mysterious curse. Can she keep everyone alive? If not, who will pay the ultimate price?

~Dark Prelude Review~

Wow. This book made me feel so much. So much happens to Jenny in just 56 short pages. That poor girl has to make some hard calls. Some dark stuff goes down, but It was not a hard read by any means. It was just as gory as the previous books in the series, but nothing that is going to keep me up tonight. The bad guys and the good guys are not all cut and dry. I was reading some sections nervously just waiting for something terrible to happen. The suspense, man. The suspense. O.o

I got to read about even more characters, widening the Moonsong world just a little bit more than the previous book. There was action, suspense, and some crazy twists. A delightful addition to the first two novellas in the series. 


~Book 4: Dragon's Game~

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...

Dragon's Game, Moonsongs Book 4, finds Jenny out of her rural West Texas element, searching for an evil witch in an urban Houston nightclub. After attempting to help a handsome and mysterious stranger out of a jam, she finds herself on the run from a ruthless gang who are even more dangerous than they initially appear.

Forced into a twisted game of life and death, Jenny must navigate the complexity of a budding relationship, and somehow survive a night filled with unexpected horror and paranormal mystery.

Dragon's Game is approximately 14,000 words or 45 pages of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fourth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.

~Book 5- Vampire's Ball~

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Being a girl of action, she has found herself particularly capable when it comes to battling the werewolves, trolls, and other supernatural denizens lurking in the Texas night. Until now.

Vampire's Ball, Moonsongs book 5, finds Jenny and her best friend Marshal in their most harrowing adventure yet. Traveling by boat to an extravagant masquerade party located at a Galveston Island mansion, Jenny must parlay with an ancient vampire in order to secure the release of the dragon princes, Isis. The unexpected return of an old "friend" turns the evening into chaos, and leaves Jenny and company once again fighting for survival amidst a sea of supernatural foes.

Vampire's Ball is approximately 12,500 words of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fifth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.

~Moonsongs Anthology~

The Moonsongs Anthology 1 collects the first three Moonsongs books--a series of New Adult paranormal-horror-action novelettes--in one exciting volume. Follow Jenny and her best friend Marshal on their dangerous quest to unlock the secrets of her past.

Moonsongs Anthology 1 collects the three previously published Moonsongs adventures: Blood Fugue (Book 1), Witch's Nocturne (Book 2), and Dark Prelude (Book 3).

Available in print & eBook via Amazon  | Goodreads

~About the Author~

Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, there were limits on the amount and types of entertainment at my disposal. Perhaps that’s why I set my imagination free. After collecting degrees in psychology and counseling, life brought me to Missouri, Texas, and Northern California—where I currently read, write, and live. I fill my spare time playing video games, watching movies, planning for the zombie apocalypse, reading graphic novels, and playing with my dogs.

My passion for New Adult literature led me to producing the weekly New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter, and contributing to the NA Alley Blog. I’m also the author of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, speculative-rural fantasy novelettes.





Marshal pointed to a creek that had sprung up out of nowhere and followed along beside the dirt road. Not far ahead, a large reflective-orange sign read, DANGER: BRIDGE OUT. The sky above the sign was tinged an even more sullen shade of murk than an hour before, changing the palette from gloomy to slightly foreboding. The twisted oak trees lining the road and the creek’s banks swayed in the stiffening breeze, their leafless limbs contorting like grasping, skeletal fingers.

“I still doubt we’ll see precipitation, but it damn sure looks nasty out there,” I said in quiet disbelief.

Weather skepticism was a birthright to all Texans. Ninety-five degree days in November, tornadoes in January, and snow in May gave Mother Nature a less-than favorable reputation in our part of the world. We treated her like our bat-shit crazy Aunt Edna; just humor her and give her lots of space, and she won’t stick around long.

“If you don’t believe in miracles…” Marshal wagged a finger in my face.

“Shut it.” I slapped his hand away with a laugh. “That your Dad’s truck?”

We parked behind an oversized work pickup. The passenger door was open. Odd, considering how cold it was outside.

Stepping out into the biting wind, I winced, and pushed a large, hunter’s orange beanie onto my head. The hat was the last piece of winter gear left at the Dollar Mart, and I couldn’t afford to be picky—both literally and practically. We were in the financial doldrums of After Christmas, Before Tax Day, so the computer repair jobs—my normal gig—had been few and far between of late. Plus my hair was short, which didn’t leave a lot of insulation. I had a disturbing mental image of the gel I used to spike my faux-hawk freezing and snapping off fifty bucks worth of fresh, purple highlights.

As I walked toward the vehicle, the droning chime of the key reminder rang through the air. The sounding alarm was painfully loud out here where only the wind and chirping birds contended with it. I moved to the driver’s side door, leaned in, and pulled out the keys—an almost subconscious gesture. A blast of frigid air nearly took my hat off, prompting me to zip up my jacket.

Something didn’t feel right.

“That’s weird,” Marshal said from the open passenger door across the cab. “Dad’s personal cell phone is in here. He almost always has it on him.”

He picked up the mobile and gave it a thoughtful glance. The pale skin on his cheeks had bloomed into crimson circles from the cold. Swirls of his breath danced in the air.

I licked my lips, which had suddenly gone painfully dry. I didn’t want to stumble over my words, either. I was concerned, but I didn’t think Marshal needed to share my jitters just yet.

“Probably under the bridge working and didn’t want to get it wet,” I said.

That didn’t explain the door being left ajar with the keys inside, however. I wrapped my arms around my torso for warmth.

We’re in country, West Texas, not downtown Houston. Except for possibly a rowdy raccoon, it wasn’t like someone was going to drive off with his truck out here. Why would he worry about locking the vehicle up tight?

The uneasy tension that had settled over me became a full on vice grip of dread when we pushed the doors shut in unison. The sound echoed softly in the country void, sending a couple of curious crows perched on a nearby highline into squawking flight. Marshal’s furrowed brow said it all. He’d picked up on the same bad vibe I was getting.

We set off toward the edge of the bridge. Rows of orange and white construction barriers with blinking yellow lights were lined up across the road near the new bridge. A large, earth-moving machine rested quietly a hundred yards or so to the left, where the old bridge sat. Seeing the younger model’s shiny steel and smooth concrete next to the old design’s warped and fatigued wood made me rethink my future bridge crossing strategies.

“Dad? Brought you some lunch and a coffee refill for your thermos,” Marshal called, as we stopped in front of the barriers.

The wind greedily pulled at his scarf and muted his voice. We listened, but only the groaning tree branches replied. Marshal looked at me. Like the heat pouring out of my body, concern seeped from his blue eyes.

“Let’s check under the old bridge. They’re probably walking the creek,” I said.

If Marshal had checked my pulse, he’d have known I was lying.

At the edge of the road, I spotted an oddly shaped dark, rust-colored blot on the dirt. The mark glistened like it was still wet. Then we came to another. Then a dozen more that grew from spots to splotches, all leading toward the ditch. I’d opened my mouth to mention the oddity to Marshal when I saw the bloody hand lying in the weeds.

While my brain did a hard reboot, trying to make sense of a severed hand poking out of the overgrowth like some kind of morbid dandelion, my body wasn’t waiting around to respond. My spine went rigid, ready to propel me into action; I scanned the rows of trees around us, looking for an attacker; my head cocked to the side as I listened for any hint of danger.

Marshal broke into a run. “Dad!”

He was already in the ditch and stumbling down the gentle slope of earth toward the creek bottom before my body could respond.

“Wait.” I chased after him.

By the time I’d made it to the bottom of the hill, he’d already waded into creek’s shallow waters. The cold flow was barely over the shoelaces on his sneakers, so I went in after him.

The frigid water quickly soaked through my pant legs where it splashed up on me, first burning, then numbing the skin beneath. I grimaced and cursed with every step.

Marshal snapped his head from side to side, shouting. He sloshed toward the dim area underneath the bridge.

“Hold on a second, damn it. We’re going to catch pneumonia,” I said, slogging after him.

Or worse, something is going to catch us. I’d seen too many scary things lately to believe bloody limbs just fell out of Santa’s sleigh. From my somewhat limited experience, teeth and claws were usually the culprits.


This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.

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  1. *Happy Dance* I am the same way, I don't always love novellas, but this series is different. I was surprised with how satisfied I felt as well! I'm just so excited that you read them and I was right, you did enjoy! I love that feeling, especially when I'm a book pusher, I'm always afraid I might be wrong. So it makes me super happy that I wasn't wrong here!
    Thank you so much for your awesome reviews and for hosting a tour stop!


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