Welcome to one of the April 22nd stops on the blog tour for Newhaven by Elizabeth J. Rekab, organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to check out other stops on this tour for spotlights, reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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The Reaper Trilogy Book Two
by Elizabeth J. Rekab
Published 20 April 2021
Genre: YA Paranormal
Page Count: 234
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
New town, new rules… Same evil.
After discovering that everything they believed in was a lie, the survivors of Everhaven struggle to adapt to life in the harsh Outside world. Abigail, her mother, and her boyfriend, Preston have settled into a town noted for psychics—a role Abbie quickly adapts to thanks to her continued ability to communicate with the Dead. She can’t help but wonder why ghosts disappear when they touch her, but she doesn’t have time to contemplate that when she has a vision of a new town, like Everhaven. Abbie realizes with horror that it’s happening all over again.
Now, she must locate the town and figure out a way back inside the Beneath to free her father and best friend. Secrets revealed along the way threaten to derail Abbie’s plans, but she can’t let them. She’s determined to defeat the terrible underworld ruler Ivan once and for all; the fate of thousands of souls depends on it.
The boy has grown up to be a man. He was once a scared little thing, skinny and trembling near the banks of the mighty Nile after his parents abandoned him and left him for dead. But he proved resilient, staying alive by fighting the rats and wild dogs for scraps. Later, he was taken in by a stone-faced couple who sought to use himfor their own means.They fed and clothed him, and offered him shelter, but in exchange for his innocence.He was no longer allowed to be a boy, but forced to grow up an indentured servant, doing what he was told without question or it meant the whip. But the boy never complained, though those brown eyes remained calculating. This wasn’t a boy who had given up; this was a boy who was biding his time.
He’s grown into a fine-looking young man now; he knows it and uses those looks to his advantage. His heart has hardened throughout the years, cruelty emanating in greater degrees as he worked his way up the ranks, tearing down all who stood in his way. He’s beaten the odds, but at the cost of his own soul.
“Kanefer, please,” a young woman says, pleading with the man who has no use for her now. They speak in their mother tongue, the language of the pharaohs. “You told me you loved me. You said I could trust you.”
Two large men flank her, grabbing her roughly by the elbows with their free hands. Their arms are banded with gold, chests plated with armor, and their other hands grasp long, sharp-looking spears that have pierced the flesh of hundreds. The pharaoh’s guards. “I love no one.” Kanefer’s dark brown eyes settle upon the young woman with a calculated coldness that makes her pretty, small-featured face fall into amask of despair. She now realizes thisman is not the one he claimed to be, and that it means her doom. The young man’s venomous gaze darts to the guards, and he gives a singular nod. “Take her away.”
“No. Please, don’t do this,” the woman cries as the guards drag her away, tears gliding down her face as she’s led roughly through the street to face her judgment, wild eyes searching for help that won’t come. “Kanefer!” Her shouts are soon swallowed by the crowd, who pay her no heed. They are too busy attempting to peddle their various trinkets and goods or haggle for a good bargain.
From the alley, a figure approaches the young man now, his guise that of a beggar stricken down by leprosy, the skin hanging off in slim ribbons, back hunched under a tattered robe.
“Please, sir, spare some change,” the beggar asks with his hands cupped hopefully, speaking in the local, native tongue. But the youngman looks upon himwithmalice and disgust. “Be gone, you filthy beast,” he snarls.
“But sir, I am starving.” The stranger’s pock-marked hand grasps Kanefer’s wrist to prevent him from moving past.He rips himself violently free and shoves the beggar, hard.
“Do not touch me, you disgusting animal! You should be dead, already.”
With that, he spins away and stomps off past the alley, and the stranger knows the young man’s soul is lost. He already thinks himself a god, believing himself to be above other humans.That is trouble, for he is no god. The beggar, on the other hand, is so much more than Kanefer realizes. The very thing he wishes to be. He’s lost, but not beyond redemption. And the young man has now become a personal mission of sorts. Because no soul is hopeless. Not even his.
Soon, the stranger thinks. Your time is coming yet. The beggar turns and slinks away from the bustling crowd at the market, disappearing fromview as he fades into the shadow of the alley.
The Reaper Trilogy Book One
by Elizabeth J. Rekab
Published 24 July 2020
Genre: YA Paranormal
Page Count: 435
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
17-year-old Abigail Walters knows that after an Everhaven resident dies, they will come to her, just as she knows she will always be an outcast due to her late father’s crimes and her close relationship with the Dead. What’s more, she can’t leave Everhaven no matter how badly she may want to; no resident can cross its border into the Outside world.
When a string of random deaths and missing corpses plagues the town, Abbie begins to wonder whether her own father’s death was truly accidental, or if he was punished for seeking something he was never meant to find. Unable to trust the authorities, Abbie embarks on a mission to finish what her father started; uncover the truth of a terrifying town conspiracy that threatens a fate far worse than becoming a restless corpse.
The Dead always ring three times.
Those words bounce around inside my head like an echo in the forest. They chip away at my brain like a creek wearing at the soil. When I close my eyes, the phrase floats there, suspended behind my eyelids. My mind pokes it, prods it, turns it upside down, considers its implications.
As I step out of the kitchen into the living room and look across to my front door, I don’t even realize my mouth is moving, whispering the words over and over again like a mantra.
“The Dead always ring three times.”
In Everhaven, the Dead don’t always stay still. Sometimes, they have unfinished business. In fact, they usually do. It could be a message for a husband, or a wife, or child; a need to find something that was lost or return something to where it belonged; or even just a desire to see the stars and walk the earth and just talk with someone once more. In those cases, not even advanced decomposition and a closed coffin lid will stop them. Every resident knows this, but we all go about our lives as though we don’t. It’s a gift from our Provider, after all. One of the more morbid ones, but still a gift. Nonetheless, the Dead generally stay out of sight and thus—somewhat—out of the mind of the usual townsfolk. Unless you’re the Rester.
The Dead won’t follow you on the street, or track you down at school, or do their stiff-legged saunter into Henry’s Diner. But if you’re the Rester, they will come straight to your front porch at night. They won’t knock, or jiggle your doorknob, or throw stones at your window. No, they ring the doorbell three times for reasons I can’t pretend to comprehend. How can I decipher the behavior of the Dead when the town’s former Rester, Rodney Brown, didn’t even fully understand?
His words are what churn through my mind tonight as I stare at the front door; more importantly, at the figure standing just outside on my porch—a distorted shadow, visible through the door’s frosted glass pane.
My home suddenly feels ten degrees cooler. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck begin to prickle. Every follicle on my body zaps to attention, as though I’ve been rolling around in wool for hours and built a static charge to epic proportions, sending strange tingling sensations skittering up and down my spine.
“The Dead always ring three times,” Rodney Brown had said. He’d spoken those words less than a month before his death.
He wasn’t talking to me, wasn’t even sitting at the same table as me, but I heard it like he was speaking right into my ear. Like somehow it had been said with me in mind. I’d watched as he wiped a bead of sweat from his gray, caterpillar-sized eyebrows. The little droplet fell square into the steaming chowder he was hunched over, but he didn’t seem to notice.
“Don’t know why, but it’s always three, one right after the other. Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong,” he continued between noisy slurps of sweat-infused soup. He made wide gestures with his free arm, as though acting out a campfire story. “And if you don’t answer, they won’t leave. Oh, no. They’ll stand on your porch, still as a lamp post until you open that door. It’s a gift—and praise our Provider for that—but them Ringers are stubborn.”
My mother would’ve chastised me if she’d known I was eavesdropping. So, while she finished her black tea, I shoveled a spoonful of blueberry pie into my mouth and kept what I’d heard to myself. But not even my favorite dessert in honor of my fourteenth birthday could erase it from memory. The Rester’s gruff voice continued to fill my head long after he’d left Henry’s Diner. Until his death two days ago, Rodney Brown answered when the Dead came to his door for sixty long years. It was his duty to finish their business and get them back into their graves. Anyone in town can see the Dead, but only the Rester can hear their voice. Everhaven needs a new Rester now.
“Not me,” I whisper to no one in particular as my gaze remains fixated on the blurred shadow outside my door. The implications of what this will mean for me, for my already-outcast status, and the duties I’ll have to perform . . . none of it seems desirable. Not one bit. “Please, not me.”
My fingers loosen their hold on the large wooden spoon I’m clutching, which I’d been using to stir the spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove when the doorbell rang and made me forget all about dinner. The spoon slides from my hand and hits the plush, white living room carpet, staining it marinara-red. Somewhere in the back of my mind, my mother’s voice screams that I’m like some sort of barnyard animal and scolds me for making a mess. Right now, I can’t bring myself to care.
Legs trembling, I step over the fallen spoon and creep across the rest of the living room toward the door. The shadow through the glass pane doesn’t move. I can make out a head and hunched shoulders, still as a statue. Still as a lamp post.
My mouth opens to say something, to yell for whoever it is to go away. Anything. But my voice lodges in my throat like a chunk of barely chewed steak, and I’m unable to force even a strangled squeak from my vocal cords. I want to shout for my mother, but even if I could, I know she’s out trying to nudge her way into the town’s social committee and not due back for an hour. Which means I’m alone except for whatever stands on my porch. Still, my stubborn feet continue to shuffle forward. I’m terrified to see what’s out there, but I want to know. I need to.
My stomach tightens, feeling like an almond getting crushed in a nutcracker, because somehow, I already know the truth in my bones.
As I reach the foyer, the shiny white tiles are an unexpected contrast to the cushy carpeting. The sudden, stiff coldness under my toes shocks me into a moment’s hesitation. Just a moment. Then I move again. I’m inches from the door now. Breath hitches in my chest and wheezes out through clenched teeth. My shaking finger close around the brass doorknob, but my hand is so clammy that they keep slipping off. After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally turn the knob, hearing the soft click as the lock pops out of place. Just do it, I tell myself. Now.
Without further hesitation, I yank the door wide open. A brick wall of stench greets me first. It’s so pungent that I slap my open palm over my mouth and nose, and bile stings the back of my throat. So overpowering that I momentarily forget about the Ringer standing on my front porch, muddying up the tan welcome mat.
I almost don’t recognize him. His once-dark skin is paler, ashen. The face is somehow bloated yet sagging at the same time, eyes sunken and glazed over like cellophane wrap has been stretched over the brown irises. The whites of his eyes are peppered with broken lines of black veins. Silver hair caked with dirt and decay.
Despite his appearance, I know who it is; I’d known the moment the doorbell rang the telltale three times. The bile climbs higher up my throat and suddenly I’m biting my lips together to hold it in. The Ringer’s dead eyes lock on mine as the swollen mouth begins to move. A raspy voice grates my ears as it speaks the words I’ve been dreading to hear.
“I’m sorry, Abigail,” Rodney Brown says. “It’s you.”
Elizabeth J. Rekab is the author of Young Adult novels Everhaven and Hawnt. Her specialty is teen angst with a paranormal twist. She loves all fiction from comedic to romantic but gravitates towards fantasy, the supernatural, and the macabre. Her favorite thing to do is write chilling short stories and Young Adult paranormal thrillers with no shortage of her trademark wise-cracking characters.
When she’s not creating an immersive page-turner, she’s either searching for her next travel destination or hanging out with her Yorkipoo, three cats, and Senegal parrot in her home in Florida.
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