Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Blog tour banner for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Praefatio by Georgia McBride! As part of my stop today I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the novel as well as a chance for you to win a copy of this book for your very own. Enjoy!

About Praefatio

Book cover for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway…

After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety.

Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true?

Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

Excerpt

Officer Sarah Bladen sighed heavily.

“When you’re ready to talk, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll go see if your mom’s here.” She threw the newspaper she’d been holding on the table in front of me and left the room. I grabbed it before it hit the tabletop microphone. I flipped the paper around to find Gavin’s photo under the headline: ROCK STAR ARRESTED IN DISAPPEARANCE OF MISSING PEAK GIRL

Gavin Vault, lead singer of Venus Unearthed, was arrested on Christmas Day for the kidnapping and attempted assault of Grace Miller, daughter of Broadway actress Vivienne Miller. Miss Miller, seventeen, was reported as a runaway two months ago by her legal guardians, Victoria and Kenneth Larson, with whom she’d been living since her father, Gabriel Miller, died in a motor vehicular accident. Mr. Vault is considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Miss Miller’s brother, Remiel, fifteen, and the Larson’s daughter, Jennifer, also fifteen. The two teens were reported missing three weeks ago. At the time of Mr. Vault’s arrest, Miss Miller was found on the Vault estate in questionable physical condition. She is believed to be suffering from a condition similar to Stockholm Syndrome.

Something in the article triggered a flood of coherent thoughts and memories. When I tell them, when I finally answer their questions, it’s not gonna be good. They thought I was protecting Gavin; that I was his victim somehow. What were they going to say when I told them what really happened? What was Mom going to think?

My stomach churned as I took the last sip of the liquid they proudly called “coffee.” The door to the interrogation room swung open. I stood to throw the coffee cup away, and saw Gavin leaning against the wall in the hallway across from me. My stomach churned again, and a great sadness followed.

Every bit the rock star and not a hair out of place, he looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Gavin laughed with the same officers who’d arrested him, and I noticed he was in the clothes he’d been wearing when they took him away in handcuffs. I wish I’d told him how good he looked earlier. I wish I’d done so many things differently.

Can you hear me? I tried speaking to him telepathically. He didn’t answer or even acknowledge that I’d spoken, so, I opened my mouth to call to him.

Our eyes met, and my mouth clamped shut. I was suddenly at a loss for words. One of the officers began leading him down the hall. I wanted to run to him, but my legs were jerked back into place by what felt like shackles, though there weren’t any on me. I tried again, but could only move about a foot from where I stood before being yanked back into place.

“Gavin!” I yelled. My voice echoed off the walls of the interrogation room and out into the hall, making me sound way more desperate than I’d intended.

Gavin lowered his head as if the sight was too much for him. Hot tears streamed down my face, stinging my skin. “Please, Gavin, wait!” He kept walking. as if Gavin didn’t know me at all.

Officer Bladen reentered the room and closed the door.

Still, I heard them laughing and talking outside; it surprised me that I could hear them through the walls. Or was I just hearing voices again?

“You really make a lasting impression, huh, Vault?” One of the cops joked, followed by laughter from the others. By his tone, they seemed like they could have been old high school buddies.

Rage and humiliation got the best of me. I lunged forward, only to be pulled backward by the invisible shackles around my feet.

My landing wasn’t as graceful as I would have liked. Refusing help from a rather amused Officer Bladen, I stood, dusted off my knees and took a seat.

***

We sat in silence, occasionally staring at one another, listening for anything at all. The only interruptions were Officer Bladen’s rubbing of her arm at seemingly timed intervals and the dings of her cell phone. The fly was gone. He caught the flight out when Bladen opened the door. Smart fly. I found myself missing his flitting and buzzing.

A knock on the doorframe brought us both out of our bored trances. I think I was actually counting Officer Bladen’s arm hairs at the time.

“Ms. Miller,” intoned a cop who poked his head in from the hallway. Leaning in slightly and holding onto the doorframe as if the room were contaminated, he continued, “Your mother’s arrived and is right outside. I suspect you’ll want to start with your videotaped statement now.” He crooked a long index finger and motioned for Officer Bladen to follow him out into the hall. And then she was gone, leaving the lingering smell of her perfume.

A voice came from somewhere on the other side of the two-way mirror.

“Hi, Honey. Go ahead with your statement. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

A red light on the video camera above the mirror came on. I hadn’t noticed it until now.

“Mom?” I stood, ready to leave with her.

“Sit down, Grace,” Mom’s voice ordered. “Just give your statement and this will all be over with.”

“Mom…you’re not coming in?” My voice was small, almost mousey. The sound of the metal chair scraping along the concrete floor echoed in my ears as I sank back down.

“No, honey, just please give them your statement so we can be done with this whole mess,” Mom had not come to get me at all.

“Miss Miller, please. Look into the camera, state your name for the record, and start with your earliest recollections leading up to when we found you tonight, how you met Mr. Vault, came to be on his property, anything he may have said about your brother, Remiel, or Jennifer Larson from as far back as you can remember. Just take your time, Grace. If you need a break, let me know,” Sergeant Mullane’s voice boomed through the overhead speakers.

I squirmed, took a deep breath, cleared my throat and spoke into the microphone, “Archangel Grace Ann Miller.” My voice was barely above a whisper. I could still take it back.

“I’m sorry, Grace. Can you repeat? Not sure we caught that,” Sergeant Mullane requested.

I know what I am. I know what I saw.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I repeated, only slightly louder.

“Did she say what I think she said?” It was Officer Bladen’s unmistakably snarky voice.

“Grace, I’m sorry. Can you please repeat your name and speak directly into the microphone in front of you?” Sergeant Mullane instructed.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I stated as loud as I could without yelling.

I didn’t hear anything after that.

Add to Goodreads ButtonChapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD | IndieBound | iBooks

About Georgia McBrideAuthor photo for Georgia McBride

Georgia loves a good story. Whether it’s writing her own, or publishing someone else’s, story is at the heart of everything Georgia does. Founder of Month9Books, YALITCHAT.ORG and the weekly #yalitchat on Twitter, Georgia spends most of her days writing, editing, or talking about books. That is, of course, when she is not blasting really loud music or reading. She lives in North Carolina with four dogs, a frog, a parrot, two kids, parents and a husband. Praefatio is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to be one of five readers who will receive a digital copy of Praefatio The contest is open internationally, and winners will be selected on April 27, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan

Oracle of Philadelphia Book Cover Oracle of Philadelphia
Elizabeth Corrigan

Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve.

Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to prevent it.

In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

Review:

When I first heard about Oracle of Philadelphia, I couldn’t help but get excited. It’s not often I get to read a novel set in my beloved Philadelphia, much less a fantasy novel. Only after I started reading did I realize that most of the scenes in the book are actually set in other countries, or even in Hell, rather than in Philly itself. Although this was a bit of a letdown, I found I couldn’t be too disappointed, as there’s plenty of great stuff going on in this book to distract from the fact that there’s not enough Philadelphia.

Oracle of Philadelphia is the story of Carrie, an 8,000-year-old-but-looks-much-younger woman gifted with immortality and the ability to read minds. Although Carrie tries to live a quiet life and fly under the radar, she often finds herself playing host to angels, demons, and humans seeking aid or information. Most of the human supplicants come pleading for a way to escape the bonds of demonic contracts. Though she aches to help them, Carrie always turns these supplicants away, knowing that it is beyond her power to convince a demon to release a victim from his or her agreement.

This all changes, however, when Carrie meets Sebastian, a young man who has forfeited his soul to save his dying sister. Sebastian’s noble sacrifice and purity of heart cause his fate to weigh heavily on Carrie’s mind, filling her with a determination to save him no matter the cost.

The action in the book is twofold. Half of the events take place in the present and are related to Carrie’s quest to bargain with the archdemons of Hell and win back Sebastian’s soul. The other events in the book play out in flashbacks from the past, showing key moments in Carrie’s life throughout the millennia.

The sections of the book that deal with Carrie’s attempts to save Sebastian are interesting and well-paced, and I enjoyed watching how the decisions Carrie makes affect both her and the people she cares about. Likewise, the scenes in the past go a long way toward helping the reader get to know Carrie and understand the world of the angels and demons with whom she interacts. My only complaints about the plot are minor: the sections in the past feel a little too modern, and there are certain liberties taken with religion and the Bible that made me uncomfortable.

I’m all for new spins on old tales, but when the old tales are Bible stories, I get a little uneasy. There are times when Corrigan reworks the facts of the Bible to accommodate her own storyline, and I wasn’t very keen on tinkering with the details of Christ’s birth, Moses and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, etc. Likewise, I was a little bothered by some of the anachronisms in the scenes of Oracle of Philadelphia that tell of Carrie’s past.

For example, Carrie was born around 6,000 B.C., meaning she basically should have been a cavewoman grunting and wielding a club. Instead, she was attending fairs, humming music, and thinking about cribs, cradles, and other furnishings. Likewise, the dialogue in the book always sounds modern, whether that dialogue is taking place in ancient Greece or present-day Philly. Corrigan has a note at the end of the book acknowledging that her priority is entertainment, not historical accuracy, but it still made me wince to read phrases like, “Yeah, because that’s going to happen,” said by characters living in prehistoric Egypt.

As already mentioned, though, such things are minor and didn’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the story. Corrigan is a genuinely good writer, with no awkward diction or bothersome grammar issues to take me out of the book. It was so refreshing to read a book written with such a bright, clean style. I also really appreciated Corrigan’s great humor and appealing turns of phrase. One of my favorite lines from early on in the book is, “Madame Zarita devoured the obituary section of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the voraciousness that most people reserved for Thanksgiving dinners.” I literally laughed at loud when I read that, and I found myself grinning at several clever descriptions throughout the novel.

As much as I like Corrigan’s writing style, I love her cast of standout characters even more. Chief among them are Bedlam, a monsoon-loving, Terry-Pratchett-reading chaos demon, and Gabriel, an archangel so sweet and wonderful he’s like a warm, bright ball of (very handsome) sunshine. There’s something almost childlike about each of them, Gabriel in his innocence, unguarded and sincere, and Bedlam with his insatiable curiosity, short attention span, and fascination with oddities.

The two really jump off the page, and I can’t help but wish they existed in real life. It’s safe to say that I have a googly-eyed schoolgirl crush on Gabriel, and I couldn’t help grinning in delight every time Bedlam came on the scene, whether he was in the kitchen concocting strange dishes (such as garlic bread with gummy bears or pancakes topped with coleslaw) or enchanting Carrie’s jukebox to play nothing but obscure, angry break-up songs for days on end. The two are a lot of fun and play a big role in Oracle of Philadelphia‘s attainment of three stars.

Oracle of Philadelphia is Corrigan’s debut novel and appears to be the first in a trilogy of books with Carrie at the center. I can’t wait to see how the characters and plot progress in the subsequent books and hope to see more of Bedlam and Gabriel ASAP!

A free copy of this book was provided by Red Adept Publishing in exchange for an honest review.