Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Tour: Ash and Ruin Series by Shauna Granger @dyingechoes @NereydaG1003 #YABOUNDBOOKTOURS #Giveaway

World of Ash (Ash and Ruin #1)
by Shauna Granger
Release Date: 12/02/13

Summary from Goodreads:

There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.

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A few rows behind me, something hits the ground. It sounds like the metallic slap a can would make if it hit linoleum. Blue perks up his ears and turns toward the noise, his furry grey eyebrows lifting. A cold hand grips the base of my spine as I, too, turn toward the sound.

“Dylan?” I call softly, terrified to raise my voice. When he doesn’t answer, I grab a hunting knife hanging on the wall. I pull my mask back on to cover my nose and mouth as fear claws at my stomach.

I struggle with the hard plastic around the knife, cursing myself for leaving both of my weapons in my pack in the cart, but I manage to rip it open and free the knife. Adjusting my grip on the handle of the basket, I creep forward to the end of the aisle, letting the tiny lantern guide me. I lean around to look toward the market where I left Dylan. We had split up like idiots, just like the dumbass people who got themselves killed in horror movies, and all I can think about is the wide open door in the front of the store, inviting anyone to sneak up on us.

I can’t see or hear anything, so I step around the edge of the end cap and carefully walk forward. Blue walks alongside me, his ears flat against his head and his shoulders hunched up. With a deep breath, I turn the corner, but there is nothing. We walk on, pausing before each aisle. Many of the shelves are empty or nearly so. Jars are shattered on the floor, spilling their contents; bread is molding in plastic bags; sodas have spilled on the metal shelves, the liquid congealing into a syrupy mess that no longer drips. At the fourth row, Blue growls low in his throat, his hackles rising along his spine, sending a chill down mine as I freeze.

“Dylan?” I try to keep my voice low and steady even though my mask muffles my voice.

“Come on out, little girl,” an unfamiliar voice drawls, making that cold hand clench around my spine. Blue growls again, stepping forward, but I grab the scruff at his neck to stop him. I have no idea what’s around that corner, and I’m not about to let him get shot. I take a second to muster up my courage before I peek around the edge of the end cap. Dylan is on his knees, his hands behind his head, with two boys holding a knife to his throat.

Time of Ruin (Ash and Ruin #2)
Release Date: 07/22/14

Summary from Goodreads:

The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.

Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.

But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible.

And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.

The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.

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Sitting on the bumper again, my jagged nails scratch at the plastic as I fight the urge to tell Dylan to hurry. Blue looks up at me and whines. I shake my head at him and pet him with the toe of my boot. His eyes are dark blue in the evening light. Blue drops his head and looks at Dylan, his ears perked up into two triangles. I follow his gaze. Dylan’s still standing, holding his instruments of destruction, and staring at the raging fire.

Blue pushes to his feet and barks one sharp, loud yelp. My hand drifts over to the rifle by my leg as I let my eyes slide from Dylan’s back to search for the source of Blue’s panic.

“Dylan.” I mean to call to him, but my voice comes out in a strangled whisper.

I swallow as I stand and pull the rifle with me. Across the street, the shadows between the houses are taking shape. They’re no longer the snapping, twisting formless shadows from the fire, but something more, something substantial. Dylan lifts the can of fluid and squirts more onto the fire, making it spike and lick the air.

“Dylan,” I try again, my voice a little louder. The rifle is in my hands now. The stock is pressed into my shoulder as I aim at the shadows peeling away from the deeper black.

Still Dylan doesn’t hear me, or is ignoring me.

Blue barks repeatedly, backing up until he hits the car. I find my voice and scream his name loud enough that it hurts my throat. Finally he looks at me, his face cast in shadows with the light behind him. I can’t make out his features, but I can make out the horde of Pestas behind him.

“Run!” I aim the gun as I walk backward around the car.

Instead of listening to me, he looks back to see what has terrified me so. They shuffle forward, lines of them spilling out into the cul-de-sac. Dylan takes two steps backward, nearly tripping over his feet and making me scream again. I rip the rear door open for Blue to get in the car. Slamming the door behind Blue, I lift the rifle and fire a shot, aiming well away from Dylan. The Pestas cringe in unison, as though they are all puppets controlled by the same set of strings.

“Run, dammit!” I scream.

Age of Blood (Ash and Ruin #3)
Release Date: 05/05/15

Summary from Goodreads:

Hope is a dangerous thing, but powerful. Hope keeps you going. Hope can keep you alive.

But hope can shatter your world.

Kat and Dylan have found a home, but the monsters are still out there. The pox and plague still ravage the world. They have hope of finding a vaccine, but their encampment isn't equipped to develop it.

Dylan is still too weak from the pox to leave the encampment, so Kat must decide between staying by his side and protecting her last remaining family member as he leaves to find supplies. Separated for the first time since they came together, Kat and Dylan will have to fight their own battles to save what is left of their bloody world.

Kat will have to hold on to hope that she has anything left to save and someone to come home to. If she can survive.

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“They’re getting pretty loud,” he says, looking over his shoulder.

The voices that brought me out of my reverie are carrying over the hillside, and I realize they aren’t behind us. They’re off to the side, up the hill.

“Weird,” I say, cocking my head to listen better.

Those aren’t seeking voices—those are voices raised in panic. Blue boofs, his whole body practically vibrating as he stares toward the voices, his ears lifted to listen.

“What do you think?” Dylan asks.

“Oh shit,” I whisper.

My hands move faster than my mind, instinctively strapping my thigh holster into place in seconds, then I’m on my feet and running. Dylan is calling out behind me, but Blue is at my side, running ahead of me in another heartbeat. I pull my pistol out of the holster, my thumb finding the safety without me looking. My feet carve into the grass, propelling me faster and faster. With my other hand, I’m pulling my bandana up over my face, covering my mouth and nose. I’ve been inoculated, but I won’t take any chances.

My lungs burn as my breathing becomes shallow, but then I crest the top of the hill and see the source of the screaming. Two boys I’ve walked the perimeter with on plenty of shifts, Edgar and Jeff, are at the fence and screaming.

Edgar’s shoulder is to the fence as I pound toward them, my gun trained on the dark form behind the fence, too close to Edgar. Her rattling breath crawls up my spine, louder in my ears than the boys’ screaming. Her hood billows and collapses in the breeze, and I almost see her face, almost see her milky green eyes. Her fingers reach, knobby and bone thin, the skin sickly and plastic looking.

Edgar screams again, his eyes wide and full of tears. He rips his body away from the fence, stumbling over his own feet, and almost catches the barrel of his rifle on the ground. The fence rattles, reminding me how flimsy it is, how far apart the support poles are. When I look, the Pesta is gripping the chain link, her black nails almost piercing her hands as she clutches the fence.

A cloud of green gas fills the air in front of her face. The sound of her breath is a death rattle. It fills my ears and drowns out the boys’ screams. Blue is jumping and barking but keeping his distance, the noxious gas enough to keep him back.

Panic claws and crawls in my stomach, twisting and reaching. Edgar has dropped his weapon to grab his shirt, pulling it off his head and twisting in every direction to check his body. Jeff screams at him, but I can’t make out his words over the sound of the Pesta and Blue barking. Jeff still has his rifle in his hands, but it isn’t trained on the monster in front of us.

Distantly I think I hear Dylan’s voice, the sound of my name being called, but I don’t answer him. He’s still recovering. He shouldn’t be hiking up this stupid hill to see what these stupid boys are doing—or aren’t doing.

“Kill it!” I scream, my voice ripping from my throat. My voice rends the air, shutting the boys up and making Blue fall to all four paws to look at me, his mouth open in a forgotten bark. “Kill it! Kill it now!”

I feel my gun in my hand, but Jeff is between the Pesta and me. She has cleverly kept herself out of my line of sight, and with Jeff swinging that massive rifle around, I have to keep Blue and me out of his way. But my voice seems to have reached him and pulled him out of his panic. Jeff spins around, lifting the rifle. The cloud of green gas is bigger, reaching for him, so he steps back and pulls the trigger at the same time. The shot is resounding and deafening so close.

My whole body flinches, but my finger isn’t on the trigger, so we’re safe from me at least. Dylan’s voice is louder. I know he’s making his way up the hill, and I could kick myself for not telling him to go back to the encampment for help instead of taxing himself by following me. Blue whines at my feet, and I realize I’ve grabbed his collar with my empty hand, keeping him at my side. I won’t—can’t—let him go yet.

Edgar is dry heaving, his hands braced on his knees, bent double as his stomach tries to give up whatever is inside, which isn’t much. The sounds crawl into my ears and twist my stomach, threatening to make me sick.

“Edgar, answer me,” Jeff screams. How his throat isn’t raw yet, I don’t know.

My gaze travels past Jeff to the crumpled mass on the ground behind the fence. Her black cloak pools around her emaciated body so I can’t see her face—I can’t be sure she’s dead. She looks dead, but they always look dead. I let go of Blue, and thankfully, he runs to meet Dylan as he makes to the top of the hill, pausing to catch his breath when he sees me alive and well.

“Edgar, did she?” Jeff asks, taking a cautious step toward his friend. He’s put some distance between him and the fence, so I can move behind him.

The toe of my boot touches the chain link, and it rattles, shifting with the tiniest of nudges. This fence is complete bullshit—a false sense of security that can and will come down with enough force.

The hem of the black cloak ruffles, but I can’t tell if it was the breeze that moved it or the breathing of the monster hidden in the folds. I can just make out the tips of her black, claw-like nails peeking out of the sleeve, stark against the green clover. My mouth goes dry, and I lift my gun. It’s awkward, but I slip the barrel through the diamond-shaped hole and take aim at where I think the head should be. The report of the shot stops Jeff’s screaming for a moment. The black fabric shreds, and her skull explodes in a mass of green and grey matter, leaving a gaping hole that oozes black and red.

About the Author:
 Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.

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