Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Tour: The Harvesting By Melanis Karsak

The Harvesting Banner photo TheHarvestingButton300x225.png

The Harvesting Cover photo TheHarvestingPrintedFrontvistaprint.jpg

The Harvesting
The Harvesting Series, Book 1
Melanie Karsak

Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Steampunk Press

ISBN-10: 1479327247
ISBN-13: 978-1479327249

Number of pages: 394
Word Count: 71000

Cover Artist: Michael Hall Photography

TV interview with book info: Youtube

Amazon | Smashwords

Book Description:

When mankind finally consumes itself, can any spark of humanity survive? Layla fights to keep those she loves alive when the zombie apocalypse unfolds, but she soon learns that zombies are not the only problem. With mankind silenced, those beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power. Layla must learn who to trust, fast, if she hopes to save what is left of our kind.

The Harvesting Chapter 1

"If you ever need to slice someone's head off, this is the blade you want," I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me. "We've been practicing épée and foil so far, but tonight I want to introduce you to the sabre." The practice sabre's curved blade reflected the orange streetlight shining in through the window. A grant from the Smithsonian where I worked allowed me to teach my two passions: ancient weapons and their arts. "The sabre is a slashing weapon," I continued and then lunged, showing the wide-eyed and excited students a few moves. "And in general, it's my favorite," I admitted with a grin.

The students laughed.

"Is that why you have it tattooed on your arm?" Tyler, one of my best fencers, asked.

My hand went unconsciously toward the tattoo. The ink was a sword interlaced with other once-meaningful symbols. "That's not just any sabre," I said, mildly embarrassed. "Here, let me show you. I brought something special tonight." Setting the training sabre down, I lifted a rolled bundle. I laid it down on the table and unrolled it to reveal weapons in various elaborate scabbards.

"Some are épée, foils-you can tell by the hilt-a broadsword, a claymore, a katana, a scimitar, throwing daggers," I said, pointing, "but this, this is a Russian shashka." I pulled the shashka from the bundle. "It's like a traditional sabre, but has no guard. She's light, single-edged, wielded with one hand, and good for stabbing or slashing. Not awkward in close quarters like a Scottish claymore, but it will kill you just as dead," I said with a smile. I unsheathed the weapon and gave it an under- and over-hand spin around my head, shoulders, and back.

The students grinned from ear to ear.

I put it back in its scabbard and handed the shashka to them. "Pass it around, but keep in mind it is sharp enough to cut a blade of hair in half." I then turned my attention to Tyler. "Now, since you're so interested, let's see how you do with the sabre." I tossed one of the training swords to him.

Tyler, already in his gear, jumped up and lowered his fencing mask. "But you're not in gear," he said.

I shrugged. "Hit me--if you can.'"

We stood at the ready, made the ceremonial bow, and began. Tyler was not overly aggressive, which is partially why he was so successful. He waited for me, moving slowly. He was smart, quick, and often tried to over-tire his opponent.

I waited, dropped my sword a bit, and let him make the lunge. He took the bait.

The swords clanged together, and we clashed back and forth across the strip. He lunged and slashed while I dodged and blocked. He was fast. I was faster. When he lunged again, I ducked. With an upward movement, I went in.

"A hit," Kasey called.

They clapped.

"Man, that's what you get for taking on a former state champ-and the teacher," Trey told Tyler with a laugh.

Tyler pulled off the mask and smiled at me.

Just then, my cell rang. I would usually ignore it, but something told me to answer.

"Everyone pair up and start working with the training sabres," I said and pointed to the sword rack. I went to my bag and grabbed my cell.

Before I could say hello, she spoke.

"Layla, Grandma needs you to come home," my grandmother's voice, thick with Russian accent, came across through static. I was silent for a moment. My grandmother lived 500 miles away, and she never used her telephone. With the exception of her T.V., she hated technology. She'd cried and begged me to take away the microwave I'd purchased for her one Mother's Day.

"Grandma? What's wrong?"

"Come home now. Be here tomorrow," she said. She hung up.

I lowered my cell and stared at it. Confused and worried, I dialed her back. The phone rang, but she did not answer. I had obligations: practice, bills to pay, groceries to buy, tons of work to do, and a date for god-sakes. But my grandmother was the only one I had left in the world.

"Sorry, guys. Emergency," I called to my students.

Disappointed, they groaned.

"Sorry. Let's pack it up for the night." My hands shaking, I slid the shashka back into the bundle and rolled up the weapons. What had happened? Maybe Grandma was sick. Maybe she had some problem. Or maybe she had seen something.

The monuments on the Mall faded into the distance behind me as I made my way to my Georgetown apartment. It was Friday night. Wisconsin Avenue was packed. The upscale shops and restaurants teemed with people. In the crowd you could see the mix of international tourists, Georgetown students, and designer-dressed hotties headed to clubs. I sighed. For the last month I had turned myself inside out trying to get the attention of Lars Burmeister, the German specialist the Smithsonian had brought in to consult on our new medieval poleaxe exhibit. He had finally asked me to dinner; we were going to meet at Levantes, a Turkish restaurant near Dupont Circle, at nine that night. I had dreamed of authentic dolma and a chance to sit across from Lars somewhere other than a museum. I had even bought a new dress: black, strapless, come-hither.

I circled my block three times before I finally found a parking space. Regardless, I loved Georgetown. It was early fall. The mature trees had turned shades of deep red and orange and were losing their leaves. The air was filled with an interesting mixture of smells: the natural decay of autumn, dusty heat from the old cobblestone streets, and the mildly rancid odor of too many people. In my 4th floor attic apartment of an old Brownstone, I could occasionally catch the sweet scent of the Potomac River. It reminded me just enough of home.

The apartment was ghastly hot. The small, one-bedroom had been closed up all day. I lifted the window and let the noise of the city fill the room. The street lamps cast twinkling light across my apartment. The weapons I had mounted on the wall, swords, shields, axes and the like, glimmered. I peeled off my sweaty practice clothes. Pulling a bag from the closet, I threw in several changes of clothes and a few other supplies. On my coffee table, my laptop light blinked glaringly. An overflowing email inbox, an article on bucklers that needed editing for a peer-reviewed journal, and a PowerPoint on Medieval Russian swords for a presentation for next week's symposium all called me. My coffee table was stacked with paper. I was flooded with work; half my department was out on sick leave. There was a bad flu was going around. Thankfully, I had not yet gotten sick.

I pulled my cell out of my bag. I stared at the phone for a moment; Grandma's recent call was still displayed on the screen. I dialed Lars' number. My stomach shook when he answered.

"Guten abend, Lars. It's Layla."

"Ahh, Layla, good evening," he replied.

I loved his German accent. He'd learned English from a British teacher; he said arse with a German lilt. It made me smile. I could tell by his tone he was trying to hide his excitement. I didn't let him get far. I told him I had been called away for an emergency. I could sense his disappointment.

"I'll be back by Monday. Let me make it up to you. Dinner at my place Monday night?"

He agreed.

"Gute nacht," I said as sweetly as possible, hoping I had not pissed him off, and stuffed my phone into my bag. I stared out the window taking in the view. I did not want to go back, not even for a weekend. I loved my life. Hamletville was an old, ghost-filled place: too many memories, too much heartache. Yet I knew my grandmother. If she said I needed to come home, then I needed to come home.

I closed the windows, slid on a pair of jeans, a black t-shirt, boots, and a light vest. I looked again at the display on the wall. At the center I had crossed two Russian poyasni or boot-daggers. One dagger had the head of a wolf on the hilt. The other had the head of a doe. I grabbed them and tossed them in my bag. I then headed back downstairs and into the night. It was the last time I would lay eyes on D.C. for many years.

My Review :

The following review is my opinion and not a paid review. I was given a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion.

Layla Petrovich's Grandma called her one evening while she was teaching her fencing class. Her Grandma told her to come home now, be here tomorrow. Layla knew her Grandma well enough that if she called something was up. So Layla packed her bags and headed to her Grandma's house 500 miles away. When she arrived she found her Grandma boarding up all the windows in the house. She tried to get her Grandma to tell her what was wrong and why she was boarding up the house. All Grandma would say is you'll see. The first thing she had Layla do is go into town with a list of thing she needed and also pick up stuff she had already put in an order in for. Everyone thought Grandma was crazy, even called her a witch. When Layla was a child her mother left her and ran off with the town drunk and she didn't know who Layla's father was. Layla has never heard from her since. She doesn't know if her mother is dead or alive. Grandma took her into her home and raised her as if she was her child. Grandma loves Layla probably more than her own daughter who left and Layla loves her Grandma just as much if not more. She has always been an obedient child doing whatever Grandma said without any questions.

Ian Campbell was the reason Layla left town all those years ago. Layla and Ian were in love but they had a disagreement one night which pissed both of them off. Ian went out and had a one night stand with Kristie and she became pregnant. Ian loved Layla but he did the right thing by Kristie and his baby he married her. Layla was heartbroken when she found out so she left. Now she is back in town with a flu virus going around that has a 100% killing rate. The dead are starting to walk around wanting to bite people. Ian is still in love with Layla but she is not sure of her feelings anymore. But who can blame her. Her boyfriend cheated on her and then left her. I have heard that love can be killed too so maybe this is what has happened to Layla. I think at this point in the book that Layla is starting have a spark for Jamie, Ian brother but I am not sure as of yet. I also think Jamie is falling for Layla too. I don't blame Layla if she doesn't love Ian anymore and falls for Jamie. I can't say what I would do in her situation because I have never been there but I wouldn't blame her, Jamie or Ian. They all have to go with their own feelings and they are the only ones who know how they feel and what will make them happy. At this point which is about 27% through the book I don't know if I am team Ian or team Jaime.

Layla and Jamie have finally admitted to themselves and everyone else that they loved one another. Of course poor Ian is very upset and heartbroken. Everything is going fine; the people in the town have boarded themselves in and hopefully the undead out. But then they get a visit from two men after the undead find a weak spot in one of their barricades. The two men claim they are looking for "survivors" and gathering them all up and taking them to an island where they are staying at the HarpWind Grand Hotel. They tell them that they will be safe there. The undead can't swim so they can't gain access to the island. Layla thinks this is a bad idea but the whole town is going including Jamie. Her Grandmother brought her there to take care of the of the people town and keep them safe. Layla is dead set about going to the island she thinks these two men are not what they seem. But everyone is going and she has to keep them safe and she can't do that without going with them. So they all jump on board the ship and head out to the island. What or who are these men? Are they alive or undead?

The Harvesting is a very great book and I really loved reading it. I do love all paranormal creatures though. I love the undead and how each author has their own version of what the undead are. The ending is a big cliffhanger leaving you wondering what happened to Layla, Jamie and everyone else. Are they alive, dead or undead?

Kristy CN photo KristyCN.jpg

About the Author:

Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Visit the author at her blog,, to learn more about upcoming projects.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


10 swag packs (as seen in the picture attached) which includes a t-shirt, an autographed hard copy of the novel, a bumper sticker, and postcards (US Shipping Only)

10 ecopies of the novel (open internationally)

Giveaway Pack photo GiveawayPack.jpg

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bewitching Book Tours


Lee Todd said...

thanks for the giveaway :)

Melanie Karsak said...

Thanks for hosting my tour stop and for the review!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway!! Can't wait to read the book. :)

Mary Preston said...

That's one super, creepy photo. No doubts about subject matter.

Post a Comment