September 16, 2014

EXCERPT + EPIC GIVEAWAY: The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black

I'm super excited to be on the blog tour for Jenna Black's new urban fantasy novel, The Gifted Dead!
Presented by Kismet Book Touring.

For your reading pleasure, I have an exclusive excerpt from The Gifted Dead!

Oh...and did I mention the EPIC giveaway?!?! :D

The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black
Publisher: Aardwolf Press 
Publication Date: September 23rd 2014 
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Epic Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Available Formats: Paperback, ebook

Book Summary:
Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.
Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.
Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn't be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.
What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile.
***Exclusive Excerpt***
- Intro to Melanie Burns
Cary, NC
Melanie Burns had just hung up the phone with her husband, David, having let him know she was on her way home. Her workday was supposed to start at eight and end at five, but it counted as a short and lucky day if she got to leave by six. She was the most junior member of the Triangle Parish Board, having taken office six months ago. That was reason enough for her to work hard to prove her worth, but she had other reasons, too. For one thing, the Triangle Parish was notoriously conservative, and she was very aware of the prevailing opinion that she should be home taking care of her two-year-old instead of pursuing a career. She could almost smell the disapproval from some of the older members of the Board, most of whom thought she’d been elected only because her father was Matthew Landry, one of the three American members of the Council of Elders.
Mel knew that was bullshit. She’d been elected on her own merits, had run her campaign using her own funds, had refused to let her father give her any money or endorsements. Hell, she and her dad could barely have a civil conversation, at least not since she’d eloped with David.
She was almost out the door when Jessica, one of the Board’s interns, knocked softly and poked her head in. “Are you on your way out, Mrs. Burns?” Jessica asked, but it was little more than a rhetorical question. Melanie had donned her navy blue blazer, which usually lay draped over the back of her chair throughout the work day, and she had her laptop case slung over her shoulder and car keys in her hand.
Mel let out a silent sigh. She could just say yes and go home for once. Whatever was in the folder Jessica held tucked under her arm could no doubt wait until tomorrow. It was certainly what any of the male Board members would do, unless Jessica declared it some kind of emergency. But, dammit, she wanted a political career in the Order, and she was barely clinging to the bottom of step one. This first term on the Board would be critical to her chances of future advancement, and she had to make it crystal clear to the stodgy old men who dominated the Order that she would always put her career first.
“What have you got there?” she asked, holding her hand out for the folder.
Jessica handed it over. “Police report from last week. Someone dug up Roberta Quinn’s grave and burned the body.”
Mel practically dropped the laptop she’d been slinging off her shoulder. “What?” she cried, opening the folder and staring in disbelief.
“They caught one of the guys involved,” Jessica continued, “but he’s some unGifted petty crook who was just hired on for the night. The guy in charge apparently dropped some kind of fireball into the grave, and the body burned to ashes even though it was pouring rain.”
Mel shook her head, feeling the first burn of tears in her eyes. She kept flipping through the report, but she couldn’t focus well enough to read. One of the reasons she’d worked so hard to get a foot in the Order’s door was so that she could advocate for women, and Roberta Quinn had been her first success. Most of the Board had been dead-set against consecrating Roberta, but Mel had made changing their minds into a personal mission. And she’d won, though the consecration vote had passed by the slimmest possible margin. Helping get Roberta consecrated was Mel’s proudest achievement so far, and it filled her with hope that she really could make a difference in this world.
“Mr. Carl said the police didn’t see a grave desecration as that big a deal,” Jessica said. “He thought maybe you could talk to them.”
Placing the report on her blotter with care—or she might have given in to temper and slammed it down—Mel lowered herself into her chair. Trevor Carl was their Board President. He was ninety-two years old and had been on the Board for more than fifty of those years before he’d finally been elected President. Mel was pretty sure he’d been elected because the rest of the Board was sick of him running and failing every four years and they had finally given in to fatigue. It certainly wasn’t because of his competence or personality, and if there was an opposite to “forward-thinking,” it would definitely apply to Carl.
Mel imagined the mean-spirited old jackass sitting on this folder all day in joyous anticipation of handing it over to her. If he had his way, no women would be consecrated ever, and he’d never made even a token show of bending when Mel had been campaigning for Roberta Quinn’s consecration. He’d probably held on to the folder until he was sure she was about to go home so he could ruin her day with it at the last minute. He was that petty.
“Thank you, Jessica,” Mel managed to choke out. She knew her eyes had to be getting that shiny, I’m-about-to-cry glaze and wished she were better at hiding her emotions. There was nothing worse for a woman’s career in the Order than crying.
“I’m sorry,” Jessica said. “I really thought she belonged in the Anima.”
Mel’s throat tightened when she saw that Jessica was getting teary-eyed, too. Carl would give a sniff of disdain and make some disparaging remark about women being too emotional if he saw the two of them.
“Thank you,” Mel said again, and to her relief, Jessica slipped out. Mel would have lost it completely if Jessica had started crying in earnest.
Taking a moment to steel herself, Mel blinked her incipient tears away and began to read the report.
Jessica had summed up the most important details of the case. Roberta Quinn’s grave had been dug up by some lowlife who’d been hired for the night and hadn’t bothered asking any questions. He couldn’t even tell the police the name of the guy who’d hired him, despite his obvious desire to cooperate so someone else could take the blame. All he knew was the guy was Russian and drove a rented black sedan. And that the Russian could make fire appear in the palm of his hand and burn a body to ashes in moments.
The PD had done a search on the Gift Registry looking for someone who claimed that ability, but they hadn’t been surprised to come up empty. As long as the damned Registry remained optional, only the tiniest percentage of the Gifted would provide any data. Mel couldn’t imagine what would move anyone to volunteer information about their Gifts to the unGifted public—and the PD’s search was exactly the reason why Mel wouldn’t dream of doing it herself. The Registry was supposed to be a “helpful” resource, kind of like an employment database: you need someone to nurse your crop through a drought, you search the Registry for a Gifted who could either find hidden water or make plants thrive without it. But everyone knew it was an attempt by the fearful unGifted to keep tabs on those who had abilities they felt threatened by. Sort of like a sex offenders database—a good way to make sure the people within it were regarded with suspicion and prejudice, only in this case, the crime was being born.
Even if the perpetrator had been willing to admit his ability to create a fireball in the national registry, there was a good chance this guy wasn’t even a US citizen. But at least the PD could say they’d made some attempt to solve the crime. It would be hard for them to understand how dreadful a crime the desecration was. Mel had never met an unGifted who didn’t regard the Anima with some degree of skepticism, as though it might be a myth despite what Mel thought was very obvious and tangible evidence of its existence. Gifts didn’t come out of nowhere, after all. But because the unGifted couldn’t see or feel or hear it, they often thought of it as some kind of ineffable god. Certainly not a living entity that was literally made up of the souls of the Gifted dead. People who had trouble grasping the very nature of the Anima would obviously have a hard time grasping the enormity of preventing a consecrated soul from becoming a part of it.
Rubbing her eyes, Mel sat back in her chair and wondered why some Russian guy would come to North Carolina and desecrate Roberta’s grave.
Hired by one of the Board members who had objected so strenuously to Roberta being consecrated, maybe?
Mel shook her head. A lot of the Board members—like Carl—had been against consecrating her and had spoken out passionately against it, but it was hard to believe any of them would have been so outraged that they’d dig her up after she’d been buried. And she couldn’t imagine why or how they’d have hired a Russian to do it. Mel didn’t know of anyone in the region who had a Gift such as the Russian’s accomplice described, but it would have been easy enough to burn the body the old fashioned way on a night when it wasn’t pouring down rain.
A personal vendetta, maybe? Mel would have to check with the family, see if Roberta had had any enemies who might hate her enough to have her grave desecrated. Though why those potential enemies had hired a Russian would be anyone’s guess.

No, there was something very strange about this whole thing. Stranger even than it seemed at first glance. Frowning, Mel pushed the folder aside and reached for the phone. It was time to reach out to Roberta’s family, both to offer her condolences and to try to find some clue as to who might have hated her—or her family—enough to rob her of the afterlife she’d earned.

Check the tour schedule at the end of my post, and visit the other blogs for more awesome excerpts from the book!

About the Author:
Jenna Black
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like eighty percent of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She is now a full-time author of fantasy, young adult, and romance novels.
Find Jenna Online:

  • ONE (1) grand prize package including a $100 gift card from either Amazon, iTunes or B&N
  • TEN (10) eCopies of The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black

      Please enter via the Rafflecopter form.
Giveaway is open internationally!    

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Monday, September 8th – Fiktshun
Tuesday, September 9th – Books and Things
Wednesday, September 10th – Xpresso Reads
Thursday, September 11th – Addicted 2 Heroines
Friday, September 12th – Gizmo’s Reviews

Monday, September 15th – The Book Swarm
Tuesday, September 16th – Jessabella Reads
Wednesday, September 17th – Romancing the Dark Side
Thursday, September 18th – Literary Escapism
Friday, September 19th – Bookish


  1. Can't wait to read this!!!

  2. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    LOVE this scene! Lots of emotion and backstory but it's done so well:)

    thank you :)

  3. I can't wait to read this. I love Black's work. I've read all her adult books and some of her YA books.

  4. I may sound hollow, lo, but just the AWESOME cover bought me xD

    But then again, reading your post just made me want this book more xD

    Thanks so much for the giveaway xD

    Ana Death Duarte

  5. I loved the cover of this book, and I liked the sound of it too. It has a lot going for it and I look forward to reading. Thanks for being on this blog tour... yet another new reader to add to my growing collection.

  6. I am excited to read this book! The teaser and excerpt were great. I enjoyed the whole excerpt. Great giveaway. Thanks for the chance!!

  7. I could almost imagine the texture of this book... IF the cover is actually made of that type of cloth.

  8. Sounds great can't wait to read!! Thanks for the giveaway<3

  9. I am excited now, expecially now after reading the teaser, & I have to agree, it does sound exciting. I love how it gives us the gist of the plot, w/out giving too much away. I can't wait to start reading it!!!

    1. OOPS****Especially not expecially*****


I truly appreciate each and every one of your comments!