Synopsis A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.
Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.
My Review This was a fresh take on the urban fantasy genre. Jessa discovers she’s a Traveler, someone who can move between parallel universes. The purpose of the Traveler is to keep all the universes orderly, fixing things that can become catastrophic if left unchecked. Together with fellow Traveler, Finn, Jessa reluctantly accepts her fate until she discovers someone is trying to kill her, one universe at a time.The tale is magical with incredible world-building and complex characters. Because each character is slightly different in each universe, the author crafted a wonderfully deep cast. As Finn and Jessa race through portals, they develop a deep bond, but Jessa’s best friend, Ben, has strong feelings for her, setting up one of the most unique love triangles I’ve come across. The teen angst is palpable without being overly dramatic.
Plot The plot centers around Finn and Jessa’s search for whoever is trying to kill her. There’s a solid mystery component to it with some exciting moments. The romance almost takes a back seat, though. I was hoping for more romance earlier in the book. It takes a good three-quarters of the story to fully develop. Even so, it is well done and I feel as conflicted as Jessa does about the two boys in her life.
Characters While this is definitely a plot-driven story, the character development really shines. I loved seeing all the slight ripples in personality from Jessa’s viewpoint as she traveled. It’s clear the author spent a lot of time getting to know her characters.
What Didn’t Work for Me
1. Pacing. The story took too long to really get ramped up. At least for me. I had to plod through the first third waiting for it to grab me, and some sections I ended up skimming.
2. World Building. Don’t get me wrong, I love the world the author created, but I found some of the rules confusing and hard to follow.
What I Enjoyed About TRAVELER 1. Ben. I liked him immediately and I love how much he cares for Jessa.
2. Danny. Jessa’s brother takes different shape throughout the story as she travels to different dimensions, but her love for Danny, and seeing him the way he is in other realities and the way it affected her, was one of my favorite aspects of the story.
3. The ending. Even though it took awhile to build, once the story reached its pinnacle, it was a non-stop ride to the finish.
4. Alternate Universes. Or AUs as my teen likes to call them. This is almost as fascinating as time travel.
5. Finn. He’s such a tormented, complex hero. Strong, resilient, and so easy to love.
6. The cover. Seriously, this is absolutely gorgeous!! I’d totally frame it and hang it on my wall!
Bottom Line TRAVELER is everything I hoped it would be, a fascinating plot with plenty of twists.
About the Book Title: TRAVELER Author: L.E. DeLano Publisher: Swoon Reads Release Date: February 7, 2017 Pages: 351 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Author L.E. DeLano
About the Author L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.
Welcome to the book blitz for EERIE, an upper young adult fantasy romance, by C.M. McCoy. See below for information on the book, buy links, and details on her giveaway. From now through March 21, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99.
Synopsis Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship…
Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds only one place offers her answers–a paranormal university in Alaska. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive her otherworldly classes, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil monster doesn’t decide to kill her himself..
Praise for EERIE:
“EERIE, full of voice and romance, is a thrilling and beautifully crafted story that had me up late, racing through the pages to get to the end.” – Thief of Lies Author Brenda Drake
“5 stars! I felt there was a mash-up between Hogwarts, Xavier Institute for Exceptional Youngsters, and Beauty and the Beast, AND I LOVED IT! The creatures, the classes, the college, the Middle of Nowhere! How awesome!” – Truth About Books by A. Fae on EERIE
“Eerie is an unexpected, delightfully charming surprise. Equal parts creepy and inventive, there’s a light-hearted vibe that will keep you going til the bitter end. Romance, murder, mystery, and all things paranormal coupled with Fringe-worthy science, this book is perfect for fans of Eureka, Haven, Supernatural, and X-Files.” –YA Book Madness Blog
“Eerie is Harry Potter meets Twilight meets the Bible with a little bit of the abusive/controlling 50 Shades male mixed in. This is a really fast-paced, exciting novel. There is plenty of drama, romance, mystical beings and mystery to keep you flipping the pages and promising yourself “just one more chapter” before bed. And then before you know it, ten o’clock turns into two in the morning…again.” – Amanda’s Own Little Corner Book Reviews
Author C.M. McCoy
About the Author CM McCoy has one pointed ear, a 70-pound puppy from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen. She’s the PR manager for Inklings Literary Agency. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors pre-published authors through workshops and contests. Though she holds a BS in both Chemical Engineering and German, she’s far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working with Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance.
Author Desiree Williams is unveiling the cover to ILLUSIONARY, a young adult urban fantasy, releasing April 4, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, pre-order links, and an exclusive excerpt.
Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.
Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.
No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.
Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.
Excerpt The twittering of birds tugged at Kam’s consciousness. Heat warmed her back. She groaned and stretched her legs out. Hair tickled her face, and she pushed it out of the way, propping herself up with the other arm.
Rubbing the back of her throbbing head, she blinked until squashed blades of green grass came into view. Something stuck to her forehead. She swatted at it, clearing away flecks of dirt.
She drew her legs up to sit upright. Her heart hammered into her ribs, and her eyes widened.
A wooden grove encircled her. Vibrant bushes dotted with red flecks swayed with the wind. Sunlight streamed through slits in the canopy of leaves above. Tiny, fluffy birds fluttered along the sunbeams, their merry tunes lending more credibility to her insanity.
“Whaa …” She fingered the knot growing on her head.
Unconscious and dreaming. That’s what was happening.
She staggered to her feet. Her muscles tightened, screaming in protest. She arched her back and then leaned to the side to stretch.
Pain shouldn’t occur in a dream. So hallucination was the next logical step, right? She must have cracked her head pretty hard. Rubbing her sore hip, she allowed her gaze to wander. Pieces of bread littered the ground near a far bush. She squinted, bringing cheese, meat, and a scrap of fabric into focus.
Something rustled the bush. She pressed against a nearby tree. The rough bark ground into her tender flesh.
A whoosh shot through the grove, followed by a stinging of her cheek and a vibration near her ear.
Multi-colored feathers of blue, green, and yellow stuck off the end of an arrow shaft.
Kam scooted over, her hair tangling against the tree trunk.
The arrowhead lay embedded mere centimeters from where her face had been.
“I assure you, wanderer,” a masculine voice called from beyond the brush. “That is the only warning my archer will give you.”
Her heart dropped to her stomach. She reached shaky fingers to her cheek, only to swallow a whimper when the tips drew back coated with blood.
Someone had shot at her. Actually shot at her!
Author Desiree Williams
About the Author Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.
Welcome to the book blitz for SONGS OF INSURRECTION,the first book in the adult fantasy series, Daughter of the Dragon Throne, by J.C. Kang. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.Also, for a limited time, you can pick up all three books in the series for just $0.99 each.
SONGS OF INSURRECTION (Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1) by J.C. Kang
About the Book
Title: SONGS OF INSURRECTION Series: Daughter of the Dragon Throne #1 Author: J.C. Kang Publisher: Three Moons Press Release Date: March 2, 2016 Genre: Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Princess Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see her as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her voice.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend Tian and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
Excerpt #1 CHAPTER 1
If marriage were a woman’s grave, as the proverb claimed, sixteen-year-old Princess Kaiya suspected the emperor was arranging her funeral. Entourage in tow, she shuffled through the castle halls toward the garden where General Lu waited. Given his notorious dislike of the arts, the self-proclaimed Guardian Dragon of Hua had undoubtedly envisioned a different kind of audition when he requested to hear her sing.
After all, she was dressed like a potential bride.
She buried a snort. The Guardian Dragon—such a pretentious nickname. The only real dragon, Avarax, who lorded over some faraway land, might make for a more appealing audience. A quick trip down his gullet would spare her a slow death in a marriage with neither love nor music.
And it wouldn’t matter what she wore.
The gaudy dress compensated for her numerous physical imperfections, but stifled the only thing that made her special. How was she supposed to sing with the inner robe and gold sash squeezing her chest, in a futile attempt to misrepresent her woefully underdeveloped curves? The tight fold of the skirts concealed her lanky legs, but forced a deliberate pace. At least the short stride delayed the inevitable, while preventing her unsightly feet from tripping on the hanging sleeves of the vermilion outer gown.
At her side, Crown Princess Xiulan glided across the chirping floorboards. Kaiya suppressed a sigh. If only she could move with the nonchalant grace of her sister-in-law, or even the six handmaidens trailing them. She dug her nails into clammy palms. Through this choreographed farce, appearances had to be maintained, lest she embarrass her father, the Tianzi.
Chin up, back straight. A racing heart threatened to ruin her already meager semblance of imperial grace. Eyes forward. Servants knelt on either side of the looming double doors, ready to slide them open. She forced a smile, with her best approximation of feminine charm. If only she’d lived before Dragon Songs had faded into legend, she could’ve sent the realm’s victorious hero fleeing with the song he supposedly wanted to hear.
An aging palace official stepped into her line of sight.
Singular focus on the doors broken, she blinked. Her fluttering pulse lurched to a stop as she blew out a breath.
His blue robes ruffled as he tottered forward with averted eyes and a bobbing head. He creaked down into a bow. “Emergency, Dian-xia,” he said, using the formal address for her rank. “The Tianzi commands you to greet a foreign delegation in the Hall of Bountiful Harvests.”
About the Author JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen epic fantasy stories..
Author Kayla Lavan is unveiling the cover to TO BETRAY MY KING, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, The Betrayal Legacy, releasing May 1, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and pre-order links.
TO BETRAY MY KING (The Betrayal Legacy #1) by Kayla Lavan
About the Book Title: TO BETRAY MY KING Series: The Betrayal Legacy Author: Kayla Lavan Release Date: May 1, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?
Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.
A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.
TO BETRAY MY KING (The Betrayal Legacy #1) by Kayla Lavan (Full Cover)
Author Kayla Lavan
About the Author I’ve been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being “Fun ‘N’ Games at Ouran”. A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself “I think I would like to get paid for this now” and then ‘To Betray My King’ was born. It seems so simple as I’m sitting here, typing this for you to read, but it’s the truth. ‘Betray’ is my first book, but it won’t be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.
Author Diane Moat is revealing the cover to THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER, the first book in the middle grade fantasy series, The Magic Thief, releasing March, 2017. See below for information on the book and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER (The Magic Thief #1) by Diane Moat
About the Novella Title: THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER Series: The Magic Thief #1 Author: Diane Moat Release Date: March, 2017 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Links:Goodreads
Synopsis Pepper is a 12 year old who pet sits magical animals. When someone steals their magic, Pepper must find the thief before the thief finds her!
Full Description TBA
Author Diane Moat
About the Author Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.
Curiosity Quills Press and author, Katie Hamstead, are unveiling the cover to MYTHS OF MISH, the second book in the space opera/scifi fantasy series, Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles, releasing on March 14, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
MYTHS OF MISH (Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2) by Katie Hamstead
About the Book Title: MYTHS OF MISH Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2 Author: Katie Hamstead Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press Release Date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Space Opera/SciFi Fantasy
Synopsis Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.
Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.
The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.
Princess of Tyrone (Fairytale Galaxy #1) by Katie Hamstead
About the Book Title: Princess of Tyrone Series: Fairytale Galaxy #1 Author: Katie Hamstead Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press Release Date: March 31, 2016
Genre: Space Opera/SciFi Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.
All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.
Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.
But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.
A quirky, adventurous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a less than princess-ly princess!
Author Katie Hamstead
About the Author Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of daydreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE PIPER’S PRICE, the second book in the young adult fantasy romance/fairytale retelling series, The Neverland Wars, by Audrey Greathouse. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt and details on her giveaway.
THE PIPER’S PRICE (The Neverland Wars #2) by Audrey Greathouse
About the Book Title: THE PIPER’S PRICE Series: The Neverland Wars #2 Author: Audrey Greathouse Release Date: February 21, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.
Excerpt #1 They found the forest’s hiking trail moments before breaking the tree line. “Where are we going, Peter?” He was heading toward a mobile home community next to the state park.
He continued to walk with confidence. His usual cocky stride looked surprisingly like the swagger of an ordinary teenage boy. “My friend lives here. Don’t worry. Don’t look like such a stranger here.”
She didn’t want to appear conspicuous, but Gwen was too baffled to help it. The unkempt lawns were boxed in by chain-link fences covered in varying degrees of rust. They passed a lawn littered with bicycles; on the other side of the gravel street, two different cars were parked on the lawn, clearly non-functional. Satellite dishes were on every trailer home. Despite all being painted differently, the track housing still managed to present a uniformity of depressing color.
Multiple houses had motorcycles out front or a dog milling around their yard. When she and Peter passed a pack of Rottweilers, the dogs ran up to the fence and began snarling until all the other dogs in the neighborhood were barking too. “Ignore it,” Peter advised her.
She was scared. This was not the sort of place she ever expected to visit with Peter. She didn’t trust his ability to protect her here. This wasn’t his world, but it wasn’t hers either. They were both out of their element. Peter just didn’t have the sense to realize it.
Winding down the gravel road, Gwen matched Peter’s pace almost step for step. They approached a blue-and-grey house. Like the others, it had wooden latticework around the bottom to help obscure the fact it didn’t have a foundation in the ground. The square house reminded Gwen of how she would take shoeboxes and try to turn them into homes for her dolls by decorating them. It was hard to fathom that she was walking up the plastic steps of the porch to knock on the door.
She waited, feeling her heartbeat in her throat, her toes, and everywhere besides her chest. Even the predictable noise of the door opening startled her.
A woman with a long, black braid and beige cardigan stood in the doorway. Gwen looked up at her, and then watched as the sharp features of her dark face dissolved into unadulterated shock.
The startled woman ushered them in. She was just as uncomfortable with their presence in the trailer park as Gwen. Once inside, they stood in a living room full of old furniture, facing a kitchen with old electric appliances. There was no unity or romance to the orange recliner, chipped mixing bowl, off-white blender, dull toaster, and sunken couch. It was a bunch of old stuff that looked like it represented several decades of objects abandoned at Goodwill. The chingadera and bric-a-brac wasn’t any more cohesive: porcelain angles, an antique pot, a vase full of bird feathers, and a stopped clock made the place confusing and strange in the same way her grandmother’s house had been.
“What are you doing here?” she hissed, pulling her cardigan close and tossing her thick braid over her shoulder and out of her way. She had a shapeless housedress underneath the beige sweater, and a pair of black leggings insulating her legs as she stomped around, heavy-footed in her leather slippers. She looked comfortable, except for the unexpected guests who were putting her so ill at ease. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I need your help,” Peter said.
“They’re still keeping tabs on me.”
“That’s why I came in disguise.”
“You’re being irresponsible. You’re jeopardizing us both, and Neverland to boot.”
“I took all the right precautions. This is important.” Hollyhock and Foxglove wrestled their way out of the pixie purse and came twinkling out now that they knew they were safely inside.
“You brought fairies here?” she exclaimed. She leaned down and grabbed a hold of his arm, forcing him to look her dead in her dark eyes. Gwen wanted to leave. This wasn’t a friend, not anymore. This was a grown-up, and unlike Antoine the aviator, she was not amused with Peter’s wartime antics.
“What happens if they figure it out and come to question me?”
Peter scoffed. “You won’t tell them.”
“What if they threaten to arrest me? They could put me away forever until I told them what they needed to know, and nobody here would stop them.”
Peter broke free of her hold with ease; she wasn’t actually trying to restrain him. “Preposterous,” he declared. “If they did that, you would sit, stone-faced and silent in your cell until they all died.”
“What if they beat me?”
“You’d take the blows as though you were made of rock, and you would not speak.” Peter seemed to disregard the question.
“What if they tortured me and stuck blades under my nails?” she demanded.
“Then you would not even scream, but stay silent as a stone!” Peter insisted, hopping up onto a wooden kitchen chair at her dining table, looking down at the woman.
“What if they bring knives and cut off my fingers, one at a time, until I told them how to find you?”
Peter yelled right back, “Then you would steal their knives and scalp them all like the redskin princess you are!”
Her anger slunk off her face and out of her shoulders. She shook her head, frowning as a sad laugh escaped her. She clung to her sweater, blinking back tears, until, at last, she flung her arms around Peter. Still on the chair, he had to bend down to return the embrace.
“Oh, Peter,” she muttered, unaware of the tears slipping off her smiling face. “Oh, Peter.”
“It’s good to see you, Tiger Lily.”
THE NEVERLAND WARS (The Neverland Wars #1) by Audrey Greathouse
About the Book Title: THE NEVERLAND WARS Series: The Neverland Wars #1 Author: Audrey Greathouse Release Date: May 9, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Synopsis Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.
Author Audrey Greathouse
About the Author Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot.
Radiant Crown Publishing and author Amber R. Duel are unveiling the cover to FRAGILE CHAOS, a young adult fantasy romance, releasing July 11, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and details on her giveaway.
FRAGILE CHAOS by Amber R. Duel
About the Book Title: FRAGILE CHAOS Author: Amber R. Duel Publisher: Radiant Crown Publishing Release Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Synopsis A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.
AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.
BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.
“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”
Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.
“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”
Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.
Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?
Author Amber R. Duel
About the Author Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s spent the last six years living in Germany and Maine as a military wife where the next step is always an adventure.
When Amber isn’t writing, she’s wrangling her two young sons. She is a lover of history, a fan of snowboarding, and a travel enthusiast. In her downtime, she can be found curling up with a good book and a cat or two.
Welcome to the book blitz for Obsidian Sky, the third book in the young adult dystopian romance series, Dark Sky, by Amy Braun. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis The final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…
After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.
In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.
Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy..
The storm came out of nowhere. They always did.
I gritted my teeth and held up the crate lid, protecting my face from the fresh torrent of hail that came on the wind. The shards of ice pummeled the battered wood, then vanished completely when the wind changed. I tossed down my makeshift shield, grabbed the spokes of the helm, and fought the wind.
“Hard to port!” I bellowed. My throat was already burning from constantly shouting orders, and more yelling wasn’t helping.
Good thing it’s raining, I thought grimly.
I watched Nash sprint across the deck below, racing for the trap door to repeat my command to Gemma. We were in the air when the storm hit, and Nash refused to follow any order until Gemma was safely tucked away in the engine room, using the airship’s automated controls to alter our course instead of changing sails by dangling hundreds of feet in the air on a piece of rope.
I didn’t argue with him. I knew what it was like, to be so in love with someone that you couldn’t think about anything but protecting them.
But you didn’t. You let her go. You weren’t strong enough to defend her. You weren’t strong enough to save her.
Shoving the truth back down, I wrenched the wheel to the left. The Dauntless Wanderer pitched, pushed by the savage wind. I twisted the helm around and around, my biceps burning as the Dauntless struggled to obey me. I could feel the wooden slats of the quarterdeck vibrating under my feet as the generator struggled to turn the sails. I watched the masts twist and grind in their riveted sockets on the deck. If I pushed them too hard against the wind, they would bend and we would lose control. The top of the main mast was already swaying ominously in the punishing wind.
I mastered the ship. Not the weather.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Nash race up the deck steps and came to a halt next to me. All my focus was on the ink black clouds ahead. I was searching for darker ones.
“Sawyer, we have to go back,” Nash shouted in my ear.
“Not yet,” I yelled back. “We can hold another five minutes.”
As if hearing me, the wind shifted again. I grabbed the crate lid. Nash ducked down and covered his head with his hands. Chunky blocks of hail beat down on us, but I shielded Nash and myself from the worst of it.
As soon as the hail switched to rain, I dropped the crate lid. Nash rose to his feet and swung in front of me. He grabbed some empty spokes on the helm and kept me from turning the wheel.
“Sawyer, we can’t stay out here.”
I looked at my friend, the first person I recruited to my crew. He’d been with me for nearly four years. I trusted him more than anyone else in the world. He would never lead me astray, never abandon me, never tell me something I didn’t need to hear.
Right now, I wanted to punch his lights out.
“Let go,” I warned.
I tried to jerk the wheel out of his grasp, but even when my arms weren’t sore from maneuvering an airship in a rain-wind-hail storm, Nash was stronger than me. His muscles were almost twice the size of mine. I knew how to fight with a blade. Nash earned his reputation with his fists. The dog-faced tattoo from his old marauder life– when he was forced to fight for survival against fiendish killers– snarled up at me from the dark skin of his arm. Cuts from sharp hail lined his cheeks and arms. He was bruised, exhausted, and worried. But he wouldn’t back down.
“We won’t find anything out here,” he said. “The storm will get worse, and the Dauntless can’t risk taking major hits. We don’t have anyone to repair her if she does.”
Anger and pain spiked in my chest. But Nash wasn’t done.
“We have a little girl on board, Sawyer. Or did you forget about her?”
Abby. How could I forget her? Every time I looked at those blonde curls and bright green eyes, I saw them on an older, willowy young woman. I thought about her pale skin, soft lips, and achingly sad eyes. I remembered how heartbroken she’d been when she walked away to save our lives.
To save my life.
Abby was a wreck, same as me. Her big sister would never forgive me if anything happened to her.
If that wasn’t enough, Nash had one more nail to drive into my heart.
“Do you think Claire would want us risking ourselves like this to find her?”
He was asking a question that would hurt in more ways than one, because it was the only way I would listen. I knew the answer, of course.
She would be furious. In fact, she would probably try to punch me again. I would probably welcome it, if that meant I would see her and know she was safe.
Not a warrior, but a fighter at heart. That was my Claire.
My chest tightened. I closed my eyes and sighed. It hurt to breathe.
“The storm’s coming from the north. Tell Gemma to keep turning south. We’re heading back to the ports.”
Nash checked my eyes, making sure I wouldn’t break my word. It stung to know he doubted me now.
He let go of the wheel and raced down the stairs. I kept turning the helm, shifting toward the dull grey skies of Westraven. I steadied the wheel and waited a couple more minutes until I was sure
Nash would be safe below deck with Gemma.
Then I took a deep breath, hit the accelerator, and left another hope behind.
Now that the Dauntless sailed freely, I constantly expected an attack. Someone to ambush us and take my ship. I would be killed and my friends enslaved. I dreaded to think what would happen to Abby, who was little more than a scared child.
But even now, with the Behemoth destroyed, no one ventured into the ports. When the Hellions entered Aon and attacked Westraven a decade ago in The Storm, dozens of survivors fled to the expansive tarmac. It used to be the Westraven Trade Board’s landing pad for other provincial airships to land with their goods, and it was assumed that the five hundred foot square air hangar in the middle of the concrete tarmac would be filled with enough supplies to outlast the Hellions.
But it didn’t matter when the monsters landed in their raiding skiffs and burst into the building. They were always watching, always hunting, and always knowing where to strike.
For a few months, smaller bands of survivors tried to sneak inside the ports during daylight and the rainy seasons, trying to get inside the hangar and assuming the Hellions wouldn’t find them.
They always did.
It didn’t take long for most of Westraven to decide that the ports were cursed, and nothing in them was worth the risk of being devoured. I suppose that even with the Behemoth gone, they wanted to keep thinking that. Maybe they would keep thinking that until the Breach was closed. If that was the case, the ports would stay cursed for a long time.
I had a bad habit of taking potentially suicidal risks. While the other survivors assumed the ports were cursed, I decided to take them over. It was a safe place for me to hide my ship– and myself.
I dropped the speed of the Dauntless, letting her glide over the concrete tarmac toward the hangar. I liked speed, but I understood the value of patience. It had taken me two years to find my ship and set up traps so it wouldn’t be stolen. Another year to clean up the worst of the damage. Two more years to move the damn ship in the rainy seasons and daylight, constantly watching the skies to make sure the Hellions wouldn’t blast it to pieces, and yet another year to do more thorough repairs in the hangar.
Not easy to do when you’re a lonely, orphaned seventeen-year old––or was I eighteen now? I couldn’t remember––with a family name that everyone hates.
Even with all those years of labor and fighting for survival against the people I stole from, it hadn’t been enough. The generator had been damaged, and I hadn’t gotten the Dauntless to fly no matter what experimental repairs I did. No one had been able to fix it.
Not until Claire came along.
Hiding the pain again, I eased the Dauntless Wanderer to a stop fifteen feet from the main building, where the concrete met sheets of metal plating that circled around the hangar. Hidden by the plates was a Pitfall, a trap that would react when it sensed any kind of vibration moving over it. A trap that would send a devastating electric pulse over and above the metal plates and shock whatever was standing on it.
Claire’s way of protecting us.
Once the ship came to a stop, I let it idle and walked down the steps. I glimpsed Nash slipping on heavy electrical gloves, slinging a rope over the side of the Dauntless, and climbing down. Gemma stood at the railing, watching him with anxious eyes. I stood next to her while Nash knelt down by the metal plating and began to search for the wire that would disarm the Pitfall until we were inside.
“What the hell was that out there?” Gemma asked me, never taking her eyes from Nash.
I looked at her. Gemma was my master gunner, my ship’s rigger, and my friend. She was tall, lithe, and beautiful. She wore a sleeveless leather jumpsuit, heavy black boots, and had her short brown hair tied in a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her pale skin was smeared with soot and grime, her dark brown eyes intense and focused on what mattered to her. Two knives and a flintlock pistol were strapped to her waist. When I met Gemma, she was a thief set on corrupting both Nash and me. But she saved our lives, and proved her loyalty a thousand times over. I valued her opinion.
I just wasn’t looking forward to the barbs that would come with it.
“Nash already gave me an earful, Gemma,” I muttered, resting my arms on the railing as Nash worked cautiously. “I’m not in the mood for another one.”
Her hand curled on my shoulder and yanked me away from the railing. Sometimes I forgot how strong Gemma was. It was the mistake her enemies made, one that they paid for in the worst ways.
Then again, she’d never used that strength against me.
“Too bad,” she said, dark eyes burning. “You need to hear it.”
I glared. “I give the orders. Not you,” I reminded.
As if that bit of truth would stop Gemma.
“You’re not the only one who wants to find Claire,” she snapped. “We all do. But did you forget why she gave herself up in the first place?”
I balled my fists, wishing I could crush my memories in them. They surged without my control.
The pain as the Vesper, King of the Hellions reached into my mind with his own, bent on demolishing me. The empty look of the man who’d betrayed us. The cruel smile of my enemy when he knew he’d won. The heart-wrenching pain on the face of the girl I loved as she was taken, even as I gave her my deepest promise.
I’ll save you.
But that was what Claire did for us instead. She gave herself up to build a Palisade– a two towered device that could cut through the thin fabric of dimensions– in exchange for our lives. Claire was the daughter of Westraven’s most famous engineers, and easily as skilled as they were. She repaired the Palisade her mother and father created, and used it to fend off the Hellions that had swarmed us.
But it had been a rush job, nowhere near as destructive as the original Palisade was ten years ago when it created the Breach. Yet Claire claimed she could make another one, just as powerful.
If she did…
But Claire wouldn’t do that. She was too good, and too smart. If she made a deal with the Vesper, she had another reason to do so. She had a plan.
Except I didn’t know what it was, and I couldn’t help her if–
Gemma punched me in the arm. She didn’t hold back, either. I would feel that bruise for days.
“What the hell was that for?” I snarled.
“To prove a damn point,” she shot back. “You’re distracted, Sawyer. Claire is in every inch of your mind, and you can’t think about anything else. You can’t think like a captain.”
I wanted to argue, but she was right. Claire was all I could think about, even before her surrender. She’d gotten under my skin, into my very soul, the way no one else had. I didn’t think anyone could do that, because of who I was.
But she did. She didn’t even have to try.
“You’re not the only one who’s in love, Sawyer.”
I narrowed my eyes at Gemma. She just rolled her eyes. “Please. As if we all didn’t see it.” A sly grin crossed her lips before she turned her gaze to Nash. The smile fell from her face, but love continued to burn in her eyes.
“We’ve been with you for years. You made a choice, we followed it. You made enemies, we fought them. You made a stupid decision, we shrugged and went along with it.”
A sardonic grin twisted my lips. Gemma wasn’t one to mince words.
“But this is different. You’re not asking us to cross into marauder territory and swipe a few goods. This isn’t even like when we stormed the Behemoth. We only did that because we had armfuls of explosives and a crazy engineer.” Gemma shook her head, sadness cutting out the love in her eyes.
“You’re asking us to go through the Breach. The heart of Hellion territory, where they will absolutely see us coming. If they don’t, the Vesper will know. We don’t know the terrain. We don’t have the numbers or weapons to fight them. We’ll be dead before we touch ground. If we’re lucky.”
Luck. She said that word like it existed in our situation. If the Hellions captured us, our lives would become nothing but torture and pain until they grew bored of us. I remembered the stories Riley told of his captivity on the Behemoth. The things he claimed to have seen and endure. I had no love for the man, especially after what he’d done to us, but I hadn’t thought he was lying about the horrors he suffered.
My heart lurched at the thought of Claire enduring them now.
“I want to live, Sawyer,” Gemma said, her voice barely above a whisper. “I have something good in my life, and I don’t want to lose him.”
I glanced at Nash. He stood up and began peeling off the thick electrical gloves used to handle the Pitfall. He glanced at Gemma and smiled. She returned the expression.
“If you don’t slow down to think up a plan to get Claire safely, then we’re going to leave.”
I whirled my head so fast it almost wrenched off my neck. “You’re not serious.”
Gemma turned her sad eyes onto me, and gave me her answer. I would have rather she sucker-punched me again.
“We wouldn’t want to, but you wouldn’t give us a choice. Not if we wanted to live.” The hardness returned to her eyes. “So sort yourself out. Act like a leader. At the very least, pretend to care.”
I flinched. I couldn’t help it, because I did care. I cared too much.
And that was the whole problem.
Gemma winced when she saw the slip of my composure. Her eyes were pained, and she took a breath to apologize.
“Tell Nash to guide us in,” I said quietly. “You can open the door.”
I walked away before she could say anything else. I was glad that she didn’t call me back. I didn’t trust myself not to say something I would regret.
At least this way I could try and get some sleep.
I walked to the cabin door, then hesitated. Ever since her rescue, Abby had been sleeping in the captain’s cabin. The poor girl had been kidnapped by Hellions and turned into a blood donor for the monsters. As if standing for days on end, strapped to a cold table and having her blood drained from her ounce by ounce wasn’t enough, Abby was plagued with a disease that slowly turned her into a Hellion. Seeing her sister tortured in such a way nearly shattered Claire, and part of her bargain with the Vesper was to relieve Abby from the disease.
Abby was cured, but she couldn’t stop crying. I’d done my best to comfort her, but it had been a long time since I was an older brother. In the end, I failed at that, too.
Putting Micah in the back of my mind before memories of losing him could hurt me, I knocked on the door. There was no answer, but at least she would hear me. I twisted the doorknob and walked into the cabin.
It wasn’t as extravagant as it had been when my father was captain. The windows were covered with black cloth. Crates were piled in every corner. Clothing and blankets lay tossed over leather trunks. Hurricane lanterns were tacked to the walls. The wide oak desk was covered with swords, knives, pistols, and rags to clean them with.
At the far side of the room was a wide couch that doubled as a bed. Sitting on top of it, surrounded in sprinkles of sugar and nibbled bread, dressed in a baggy shirt and pants shortened and hemmed to fit her small frame, was Abby.
Claire’s baby sister reminded me of a cherub. Bouncy golden curls, pale skin, rosy cheeks, big green eyes filled with wonder. When she grew up, she would be a heartbreaker. She probably wouldn’t even know it. Her sister hadn’t, and Claire had caught my heart hook, line, and sinker.
Abby looked up from the book cradled in her lap. I smiled at her and crossed the hardwood floor to the bed.
“Hey, Stargazer,” I said.
Abby smiled at the nickname. She loved the sky. Her happiest moments seemed to be when we hovered in the cloudless night sky. Abby used a periscope to chart the constellations, drawing lines to connect them and turning stars into smiling faces.
It had been a long month since she’d drawn anything.
“Hi, Sawyer,” she said, scooting over so I could sit on the bed. She looked at the tiny crystals of sugar spotting the blanket and gasped lightly. She quickly brushed them away with her tiny hands.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make a mess.”
I smiled. “Don’t worry about it.” I wasn’t the least bit irritated. Abby was eating again, no longer looking pale and fragile. It hadn’t taken long for us to realize that Abby was obsessive about putting sugar on any and all foods. Even meats.
Moira, the caretaker who’d joined the crew a few months ago, had tried a few times to tempt Abby into eating by coating her food in sugar when she was sick, but the poor girl had been so plagued by the Vesper’s control and disease that it hadn’t worked. Moira would have been so happy to see that Abby was getting better, looking more like a little girl and less like a hollowed child. But she had died trying to defend Abby from Davin when he raided our home at the ports.
Moira had become another victim of my brother.
I kept the smile on my face and pushed the rage and hurt down, storing it for whenever I faced Davin next. He didn’t matter right now. This bright-eyed, curly haired girl did.
“How are you doing?” I asked, settling down next to her. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Abby told me. She closed the notebook and clutched it to her chest.
“Are you sure? I was sailing pretty wildly.”
“It’s okay,” she assured. “It was kinda fun.”
I grinned. “Glad to hear it. Maybe I’ll do it on purpose next time.”
Abby giggled, summer green eyes sparkling. Claire’s did the same when she was consumed by a project, or was intensely arguing a point.
I turned away from Abby and rubbed my chest, wishing I could shift the pain from it.
“You didn’t find it, did you?”
I dropped my hand. There was no point in trying to soothe the ache. Abby’s crushed voice just made it worse.
“No,” I told her honestly.
Abby and I sat in heavy silence. She sniffled quietly beside me. I gripped my kneecaps and stared at the floor.
“I’m trying to remember what Riley showed me,” Abby said after a long, long time.
When I looked at her again, she was shuffling closer and opening her book of constellations. But I wasn’t seeing stars. Dark, uneven circles were scrawled on the page. A jagged black shape spread across the middle of the pages, as if sketched by an angry fist.
“That’s what it looks like,” Abby continued. “The Breach.”
I stared at the drawing, wishing it would tell me where it was. How I could find it. Which direction to turn the ship. How to rescue the girl I loved without losing my crew in the process.
All I saw were scribbles.
“Did he tell you where it was?” I hedged, though I knew the answer. “Did he tell you exactly where the Breach was?”
Abby sucked in her lower lip. I could see her struggling to find an answer, to lie and keep up the search for her sister. Like me, she would rather scour the skies day and night, looking for any trace of the Breach or Claire. But Abby was a scared little girl. She wasn’t a fighter. She didn’t know how to operate an airship or work on the engines. She just wanted her big sister back.
The Vesper probably implanted the image of the Breach into Abby’s mind to scare her. He’d tortured her with nightmares of what she would become unless Claire surrendered, likely showing her the Breach to let her know the bleakness that waited for her in another world.
Now she was cured of the Vesper, and trapped in a different nightmare.
Abby made a choked, hiccupping sound. A hopeless noise.
I gently pried the notebook from her little fingers and set it on the blanket. I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her to my side. Abby didn’t need further invitation, throwing her arms around my ribs and squeezing with all her strength. Her tears soaked my shirt. I rubbed her back, like I’d done for Micah so many times whenever Davin scared him. My older brother took pleasure in tormenting anyone he thought below him.
And now he had Claire. She was tough, but Davin’s greatest joy came from breaking someone strong.
“I’m scared, Sawyer,” Abby sobbed into my chest. Her tiny fists balled my shirt. She trembled violently. “I’m scared she won’t come home. He… he’s going to hurt her, I know it, worse than he hurt me, he’s going to––”
I pushed back from Abby. I couldn’t handle the details right now.
But I wasn’t going to lie.
“Claire is tough, Stargazer. Tougher than me. Smarter, too. She’ll survive. And I’m going to get her back. I swear it, Abigail.”
Tears stained the little girl’s cheeks and still brimmed in her eyes, yet her sobs had quieted. She stopped shaking. She believed me.
I just wished I believed in myself.
Sort yourself out. Act like a leader.
Gemma’s words vibrated through my skull, and as Abby cuddled next to me for comfort, I knew she was right. If I was going go through with this crazy mission and save the stubborn, feisty engineer that captured my heart, I had to stop moping. I had to think of a way to outsmart my enemies.
Riley, my newest and traitorous former crewmate. Davin, the cruel man-turned-Hellion who shared my blood. The Vesper, a nightmare King with harrowing power.
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…..
Synopsis There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…..
Author Amy Braun
About the Author Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
Welcome to the blog tour for ISLAND OF EXILES, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles, by Erica Cameron, releasing February 14, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ISLAND OF EXILES (The Ryogan Chronicles #1) by Erica Cameron
Synopsis In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.
On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.
To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.
Excerpt: I breathe the briny air and try to consider the options objectively. As objectively as I ever can when my brother is involved.
Yorri was the first person to tell me that one day I’d be kaigo, just like our blood-parents, serving the Miriseh and earning high honors in Ryogo. I’d flicked him on the shoulder and said “Of course I will be,” but his faith had been what convinced me I was right.
Yorri gets so excited he stumbles over his own words when he’s explaining how he solved some new, impossible puzzle. He devotes himself with frightening fervor to anything that ensnares his arrow-quick mind, but sometimes needs reminding that the rest of the world exists.
Forget objectivity. It’s worth the risk.
I am going to keep him safe, just like I always have.
“You’re going to be late for the vigil if you stand here staring into nothing for much longer, Khya.”
I tense, keeping my eyes on the angry, dark, blue white-capped waves. I’d heard the footsteps approaching, but several people had come and gone already and left me alone.
Tessen, however, never was able to keep his thoughts inside his head.
“I won’t be late.” I answer without looking at him until he moves into my peripheral vision.
He leans against the wall to the left of me, his forearms crossed on the ledge and his head tilted up. With his arms folded on the ledge and his body held slightly away from the wall, I can make out the lines of muscle under layers of cloth, all of it hard-earned—though I probably won’t ever admit that to him. I don’t look directly at him, but I turn my head enough to get a better look at his face.
He’s taller than me, so looking down on him like this is strange. Seeing him without the hood and atakafu we always wear on duty is stranger. I don’t think I’ve seen his whole face since he became nyshin over a year ago.
His thick eyebrows sit low over his deep-set eyes and the line of his nose is straight, because somehow he was always quick enough in training to avoid all but the most glancing blows to his face. The setting sun highlights the red in his terra-cotta skin and makes his oddly pale eyes flash. Usually they’re limestone gray, but now they’re paler than ever and gleaming almost as bright as the sunlight off the ocean.
“Shouldn’t you be off training? Or guarding something?” I ask before he speaks.
“I am.” He smirks at me. “I’m guarding the mad nyshin girl who’s decided to perch on the walls and imitate a mykyn bird.”
“I’m not planning on attempting flight.” I wave my hand at him, trying to brush him off. “You can go, Nyshin-ten.”
His lips purse; I hide a smile. It was delightful discovering exactly how annoyed he got when I called him by his class and rank instead of his name. The flash of aggravation disappears quickly, replaced by his more usual sardonic smile. “Should I guess what has you lost in your own head the night of a vigil?”
“No. I don’t have that much time.”
“Then I won’t guess. Only your brother puts that look on your face.”
I look at him, expecting to see mockery in his eyes. There isn’t any. He looks almost…serious?
“You’re worried about his herynshi. Unless he’s in trouble again? It’s been a while. He’s overdue.”
“It’s been a while because he doesn’t have to deal with people who point out his every mistake anymore. Like you.” Gritting my teeth, I bend to brace my hand on the ledge and jump down to where Tessen stands. At six feet, he’s only an inch or two taller than me. Our eyes are nearly level when I square off against him. “You’re one of the reasons he ever got in trouble in the first place.”
“And you spent years trying to make him invisible.” Tessen’s lips thin, and the muscles in his jaw clench for a moment. “Even before you found your wards, you shielded him from everything. What he can do now that you’re not there to monitor his every move should be all the proof you need.”
“He would have died if I hadn’t protected him.” Nothing will ever convince me it was wrong to keep him alive. “You can’t seriously be suggesting I should have let that happen?”
“No, that isn’t— You don’t even know what he’s capable of! How long has it been since you’ve seen him fight? It’s been—” He steps back, his lips pressed tight and his hands held away from his weapons. “Bellows, Khya. I didn’t come here to fight with you. This isn’t how this was supposed to go.”
I blink. “What?” Tessen backing away from an argument? This has to be a trick. “How what was supposed to go?”
He shakes his head, a small smile quirking up the corners of his mouth. “I only came to ask if you’d dance with me tonight at the celebration.”
He can’t be serious…but there’s not a single sign that he isn’t being sincere.
I drop my gaze to hide the confusion that has to show on my face. My focus catches on the pendant gleaming against the undyed cloth of his tunic—a two-inch iron disc etched with crossed zeeka swords. Blood and rot, I hate seeing that around his neck. The zeeka is the symbol of the kaigo; the pendant is a symbol of their students.
Tessen is wearing the kaigo-sei pendant that should have been mine.
Out of the whole clan, the Miriseh and the kaigo only choose one nyshin-ten per year. His blood-mother, Neeva, is on the kaigo council. Being named a kaigo-sei isn’t a guarantee of advancement, but it is a sign that the leaders of the clan are keeping an eye on you. The kaigo-sei are given extra training and have to face additional tests of magic, skill, and leadership. Not every nyshin named a kaigo-sei student becomes a council member, but no one who isn’t a kaigo-sei will ever become one. I can still earn one—and I will, sooner rather than later—but it seems like they’re already grooming Tessen to take Kaigo Neeva’s place one day.
Rot take him, it was supposed to be me.
Swallowing the fruitless envy building in my chest, I raise my eyes to meet Tessen’s again. “I don’t make promises I don’t intend to keep.”
“But that’s not a no, so I’ll ask again tonight.” He smiles, inclines his head, and then walks away whistling. I hate that sound, and I’m almost positive he knows that.
Author Erica Cameron
About the Author After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, asexual, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Welcome to the book blitz for Curse of the Stars, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Diamond Crier, by Donna Compositor, releasing February 19, 2017.See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Curse of Stars (Diamond Crier #1) by Donna Compositor
About the Book – NOW ON SALE – $0.99! Title: Curse of the Stars Series: Diamond Crier #1 Author: Donna Compositor Release Date: February 19, 2017 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no for an answer.
Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.
In a fit of rage, power erupts out of Sabi, the same power Cabal has, and a spark of hope ignites. Together they may have a chance at escape, something no other Crier has done. Except a ruler hellbent on draining them of every last diamond tear isn’t their only hurdle. If they escape they’ll be hunted to the ends of the earth, if they survive the trek to safety. If they stay the ruler will leech them dry. Sabi would rather die trying than lie down and die, even if that means running away into even more danger.
“. . . vividly imagined and deftly plotted dark fantasy . . .” BookLife Prize in Fiction
“You must be Sabina,” he said.
Her heart felt ready to explode. Ringing in her ears made it hard to hear but she could have sworn he called her Sabina. She didn’t know whether to answer him or not. She went by Sabi but her birth certificate said Sabina. He wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t about to admit that.
The sound of his voice was soft, almost welcoming. But the way he looked at her, how his gaze bored directly into her eyes, it sent goose bumps across her skin. All she wanted to do right then was leave.
“Sorry,” she choked, the word barely making it out. “You have the wrong house.”
The thin smile that sliced across his face like a paper cut cracked open to reveal gleaming teeth underneath. Sabi couldn’t help but think of a wolf and how he would eat her with his big teeth.
“I don’t think so. But maybe it’s Perez now, yes? At least that’s what my sources say.”
Every thought she had smashed together in her head. He had her name. Her name. But who was Sabina Petris? And why did he say Perez like that wasn’t her real name? Crap, she needed to get out. Now.
“Baby, you okay?”
Sabi jumped and nearly choked on her heart. Keeping her eyes on the man in front of her she called down to Mrs. Wexler in the steadiest voice she could muster, “Fine. I’m fine.”
Nothing about her cracking voice sounded fine.
“Why don’t you come on down? Come sit with me until your Mama gets home?”
Yes! That’s what she’d do. Nothing could happen if she stayed out in the open with Mrs. Wexler. She took a step backward, not daring to turn her back on the man, but she stopped when he spoke.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t. Or your sister, Matti is it? Could feel the effects of that poor decision.”
Bile burned Sabi’s throat and her vision swam. The man took a step closer.
“You are my property, Sabina. Your parents knew this. They knew this would happen. Come with me now and I’ll forgive their indiscretions. I can’t say the same for their people, of course. So many deaths piling up behind your parents. Something like that is hard for people to forgive.”
Everything in Sabi’s head cleared and one thing rang out above it all: Matti. Get to Matti. Whoever this guy was, whatever he was saying, he wasn’t right. In the head, in life, in anything. Except just looking at him Sabi knew he was far from harmless. He was too casual, too confident. He was the wolf and she the prey and she was getting too close to backing into a corner.
With every ounce of air she had in her lungs Sabi screamed Mrs. Wexler’s name and booked back down the stairs. Footsteps thundered up to meet her and Mrs. Wexler mumbled ‘outside’ and nearly pushed Sabi down the rest of the stairs. But she didn’t need any help. And she didn’t stop on the stoop or to see what her neighbor was going to do.
Guilt slowed her down, but the way Matti rolled off the man’s tongue made her pump her legs harder. It was blocks to the school, but Sabi wasn’t about to wait at a subway stop, sitting like a duck with a price on its head. She needed to get to Matti.
Author Donna Compositor
About the Author Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy..
Welcome to the book blitz for JOURNEY TO THE RIFT, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Guardians of the Marked Ones, by Cathi Shaw. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
JOURNEY TO THE RIFT (Guardians of the Marked Ones #1) by Cathi Shaw
About the Book Title: JOURNEY TO THE RIFT Series: Guardians of the Marked Ones #1 Author: Cathi Shaw Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing Release Date: November 3, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble | !ndigo
Synopsis A dangerous quest into a forbidden land wasn’t exactly what Brijit Carnesîr was planning after her graduation from the Academy. For years she has looked forward starting her life as a member of the Coimirceoirí and she is thrilled to discover that she has been chosen as the Academy Apprentice of her year. But despite the fact that she has been longing to go to Séreméla and work with the Elders, it soon becomes apparent that her fate isn’t as rosy as it appears to be. First, she is paired up with a grumpy male apprentice from Stone Mountain, Weylon Forborrow. Second, it doesn’t take her long to discover that the Elders are not taking her to Séreméla, as tradition dictates. Instead, Weylon and her are sent to The Rift, a dead land tainted with evil. Even before they join the Elder royalty at Tèarmann, an ancient fortress on the cusp of the Rift, Brijit discovers that the Elders are hiding too many things. She is given the task of helping the Princess in birthing the long awaited Queen of the Elders but nothing is as it seems. There is talk of an old and forgotten Prophecy, Weylon is attacked by a creature from the Rift and her grandmother is killed, after revealing a secret that rocks everything Brijit knows about her past. Soon Brijit questions everything she had been led to believe and, worse, she realizes that the future of Séreméla and all of Five Corners is in jeopardy, unless she can find a way to save it!.
Excerpt #3 As they stepped onto the landing, Weylon let out a curse and began to run toward their rooms.
“Weylon, what are you doing?” Brijit called as she hurried after him wondering what could cause such a reaction. He didn’t reply but in a moment he didn’t need to, Brijit saw what had sparked his response.
The door to her room was open and two figures were fleeing down the hallway in the opposite direction of the landing. She watched in horror as Weylon chased them only to have them leap through the window at the end of the hall. Brijit caught up to where Weylon was standing at the open window, cursing softly under his breath. Brijit looked down to where he was gazing to see two black figures sprinting across the common and disappearing into the trees.
Weylon turned back to her.
“It seems, Brijit Carnesîr, that you have more than one secret you’ve been keeping.”
Brijit stepped back from the anger she saw in his dark eyes. “What do you mean?”
“Just why would an Elder and a Draíodóir be breaking into your rooms?”
Author Cathi Shaw
About the Author Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today and the true story, Surviving Logan.
Author Nicole Loufas is unveiling the cover to The Lunam Deception, the second book in her paranormal/urban fantasy romance series, The Lunam, releasing May 12, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
The Lunam Deception (The Lunam #2) by Nicole Loufas
About the Book
Title: The Lunam Deception Series: The Lunam #2 Author: Nicole Loufas Release Date: May 12, 2017 Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads
Synopsis Pregnant with the future leader of the pack, Kalysia is determined to change the archaic traditions that threaten people she loves before her child is born. Uncovering the truth about the pack could expose her darkest secret and jeopardize her relationship with Dillan.
Will she choose to bring down those that conspire against her or will she work with them to spare Dillan’s heart and keep her family together.
The Lunam Ceremony (Lunam #1) by Nicole Loufas
About Book 1
Title: The Lunam Ceremony Series: Lunam #1 Author: Nicole Loufas Release Date: April 3, 2016 Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Born from a curse that allows her kind to shift from human to wolf, Kalysia won the genetic lottery. She is the offspring of an original, born to lead and bound by her duty to produce an heir to continue their bloodline she must leave the only life she has ever known to take part in The Lunam Ceremony. This ancient ritual will solidify her place in the pack and determine who she will love for the rest of her life. There’s just one problem – Kalysia doesn’t believe in love.
That changes when she falls into the hands of Dillan Dukes. The attraction is undeniable. The connection unbreakable. He is everything love at first site is supposed to be, suddenly her future doesn’t look that bad.
Unwilling to give up hope on going to college and having the life her and Dillan fantasize about outside the pack, she reluctantly takes on the role as pack leader. When an unexpected proposal is made that will grant both Dillan and Kalysia their freedom she is willing to put her ego, and her heart aside, to make her dream come true.
One night. One act of selflessness. For the life she’s always dreamt about. Only things are not what they seem. Can Kalysia and Dillan find happily ever after with the consequences of that night haunting them forever?
Will one fateful night destroy Kalysia’s future along with the future of the pack?
Author Nicole Loufas
About the Author Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers..
Welcome to the blog tour for Fading Into the Shadows, a young adult fantasy, by Kelly Hashway. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive blog tour excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Fading Into the Shadows by Kelly Hashway
About the Book Title: Fading Into the Shadows Author: Kelly Hashway Release Date: January 16, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.
Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.
The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.
Can Ella save Stellaris before there’s nothing left of her and Avery?
Excerpt #4 “Things are different here. There’s no electricity. Everything is run by…magic.”
“Magic?” I motion to his armor. “So what, your armor magically appeared on your body?”
“You know the movie Iron Man?” He shrugged. “It’s more like the armor put itself on me.”
Oh great. Now we were the freakin’ Avengers! “Whatever. I’m going out there with you,” I said, not wanting to let him out of my sight. After all, I’d come to this place to find him. I wasn’t about to let him get killed by a bunch of giant constellations and leave me stranded in this awful world with only Gabe to get along with. Besides, even if he didn’t want to be my best friend anymore—which I hoped wasn’t true—I wasn’t giving up on us. If he was going into battle, I was going too.
He handed me a bow and arrow and some armor. After what Avery told me about the armor, I wasn’t eager to let anything magically wrap itself around my body—especially around my boobs of all things. Avery’s eyes lowered as if he was reading my mind. He smirked, and for a second, he was himself again. I smiled back at him as he tossed the armor aside.
“Ready?” he asked.
“If I say no, will you stay here with me?”
“Come on. We’re in this together. Like everything else.”
I smiled, relieved we were still Avery and Ella. The same Avery and Ella we’d always been. We ran to catch up with the army.
The north gate wasn’t exactly a gate anymore. More like a pile of rubble. And Serpens was slithering victoriously through it. Bobson and the front line were rushing toward Serpens, screaming their heads off. As if that would intimidate the world’s largest snake. It was like a bunch of gnats storming a glass door. This battle was going to end in a lot of squashed little boys.
Avery and I were behind the group, so we had a great view of the opening attack. The front line stopped about twenty feet from Serpens and lowered to their knees. It would’ve been funny to watch, a bunch of guys on bended knee as if proposing to the great serpent. Of course the fact that Serpens could have killed them all right there kept it from being funny. I have to admit, I was hoping Serpens would give Bobson a little squeeze with his tail—just enough to knock him down a size or two. The guy needed an attitude adjustment.
The back line raised their bows and fired a volley of arrows, aiming for Serpens’s head. Most of them missed. Still, the ones that did make contact sent Serpens into a violent spasm, allowing the front line to attack with their axes.
“Be careful and don’t get too close,” Avery said. “The bows are magically enhanced so we can hit our targets from further distances.”
I swallowed hard and nodded as if I understood how any of this worked.
Author Kelly Hashway
About the Author Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing.
She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Kingmaker, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Kingmaker Trilogy, by Gemma Perfect. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
The Kingmaker (The Kingmaker Trilogy #1) by Gemma Perfect
Synopsis “I am sixteen years old and I will die on the morning of my seventeenth birthday. As tradition dictates, I will be sacrificed and my life’s blood will determine which one of my two brothers will be King. My blood will kill one and crown one. My name is Everleigh and I am the Kingmaker.”
The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.
Except this one.
Everleigh is special.
She is the Kingmaker who will live, the Kingmaker who will rule, the Kingmaker who will be Queen.
But not everyone agrees with an age old prophecy that says that a girl will rule the Realm and soon Everleigh is locked in a deadly battle for the throne.
Excerpt #1 Lanorie
Because there’s less than a week till Everleigh’s seventeenth birthday, it’s the Kingmaker’s feast. It’s the biggest celebration I’ve ever seen and I’ve been with her since I was seven and she was nine.
The food – more dishes than I’ve ever seen, and they usually have a lot. This is something else, though. There’s a cooked duck with all the feathers pushed back in so it looks like it’s still alive and a peacock with his tail all fanned out.
Everleigh is eating and drinking like she hasn’t a worry in the world. I think I’d feel too sick if I was her. To be honest with you, I don’t know how she does it; she’s never miserable. If I knew someone was going to slit my throat in less than a week’s time I wouldn’t feel like a feast.
Ah, well, that’s that – she’s the Kingmaker as her aunt was before her. She’s a princess too so she gets the best of everything. Oh, you should see some of her clothes, the dresses and furs – fit for a Queen, never mind a princess. And her jewellery, you’ve never seen anything like it. One of the King’s favourites sent her an emerald the size of an egg.
She lets me have her cast-offs too – I’m the best dressed hand maiden this castle has ever seen.
I mean princess is one thing, but Kingmaker is something else. Everyone loves her, no one can take their eyes off her. It’s like everyone wants to make up for the fact that she’ll die so young.
Look at Addyson. She’s a princess too but no one cares about her. But then she’s got the curse on her, so maybe they would if she wasn’t cursed. We’ll never know that though, will we?
The curse? Oh, well her mother died in childbirth. It’s so unlucky, to start your life by ending another – it’s the worst thing. She’s cursed now. Of course, lots of women die during child birth, so all those children can’t be cursed, but little Addyson killed a Queen, see. A Queen is sacred. The King himself can hardly look at her. Her brothers are nice enough and Everleigh’s like a mother to her. But she probably won’t ever marry, nor have children of her own. What man would want to marry the cursed one? Poor Addyson. Of course, she doesn’t know any of that. She doesn’t understand why the King can’t stand the sight of her and bless her, she trails around after him, like one of the hounds trailing around Cook for some scraps. Poor girl.
Hang on, Everleigh’s caught my eye. I bet she wants topping up – the amount of wine she can put away – oof.
I was right; wine.
Oh, it’s just so fancy and lovely here tonight. I topped up her drink and then Millard caught my eye – that’s her brother, you know – one of the brothers who might be King. I reckon it’ll be him – Macsen’s too soft. Kings need to be strong and powerful – and you should see the muscles on Millard.
So, I topped him up too. Oh, he’s awfully handsome. He’s younger than Macsen but I bet it’ll be him. They don’t even look like brothers really, if you didn’t know you’d never be able to tell. Millard is more handsome. He is tall, with a mop of dark hair and dark eyes. Macsen is shorter and fatter, his hair is blonde like Addy’s and his eyes are a lighter brown than Millard’s. He’s not ugly but he’s not as pleasing on my eye as his brother.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – this feast. So, I’m standing on the side of the great hall and, oh, it is great. When you walk in through the doors, the throne is straight ahead of you, but so far it would take you five minutes to get there. It’s full of tables and benches now but usually it’s a bit less crowded. The walls and the ceiling are painted with glorious pictures. It’s so beautiful. I’m on my tiptoes trying to see it all.
I’ve never seen a Kingmaker’s feast before and it is fancy. The main table’s enormous and covered in dishes of food and jugs of ale and wine, too much for any of them to eat – we’ll have a feast tonight in the kitchen, I tell you.
There are so many visitors here too – hundreds of people that I’ve never seen before. A Kingmaker’s feast is something to behold, apparently. It makes me sad and cross. We’ve always known it was coming, of course, but knowing it and being here are different. I feel sick all the time.
Everleigh’s face is flushed from wine, and she’s eating loads. She’s waving her spoon around as she talks to Macsen. She looks so lovely tonight. Lots of the King’s men have their eye on her, especially Brett. Not that there’s much point, though. Poor Everleigh, she’ll never marry, of course. What would be the point? She’ll be dead soon.
Oh, when I say it like that, so matter of fact – which it is – oh, it still makes me shiver. How can she live knowing she’ll die at such a young age? It would kill me.
I think this feast is quite sad really, celebrating the last days of her life. Cook said there’ll be a blessing later, not sure who does it though, probably the wise woman. Wait till you see her, oh she is creepy.
Well the entertainment has started, there’s singing now and it’s wonderful. There’s the usual crew, three of them. They sing and play for the King’s entertainment and it’s so good.
Hang on, summoned again.
Oh, cheeky Millard – he just patted me on my backside. He’ll be King for sure – I might not be Kingmaker, but you can just tell, can’t you?
Why not just make him King then? Indeed. It would spare Everleigh’s life, wouldn’t it?
No, the tradition of Kingmaker has been around forever. Every King is made by the Kingmaker. It’s always the first-born daughter that comes after at least two boys. That’s the one who holds the magic. Well, magic’s not my word – I’m not one for all that dilly dallying. But magic they say it is.
So, King Henry had his two boys and then Everleigh, and then Addyson. So Everleigh will die and so will one of the boys.
Oh, I don’t understand it all really. Apparently, the Kingmaker has the magic blood of the royal line in her. So, when she dies this magic passes on to one of her brothers. Whichever one survives drinking her life’s blood will be King. Eugh, I know – I love Everleigh but I wouldn’t want to drink her blood. They don’t drink much but it will kill one and crown the other.
Ah well. So, the singers have finished and now come the dancers. Soon they’ll all join in and well, to see Everleigh dance you’d think she hasn’t a care in the world.
I love dancing. We dance up a storm in the kitchen at night. I’m not allowed to dance here, of course, but I can’t stop my feet tapping.
I don’t sleep in with Everleigh – she likes her peace, so I leave her to it. It means I get to eat, dance and drink in the kitchen all night, so I’m happy.
Well, there’s something to see. The King is dancing. He doesn’t normally dance. In fact, this might be the first time I’ve seen it. And tonight, of all nights. He probably feels guilty.
Well, the mood’s a funny one. Macsen is his normal self; I can tell – nothing seems to bother him. Cook reckons he’s a little soft in the head, but that seems a bit harsh to me. He’s always smiling. And Millard seems happy enough too. He’s a born King, if you ask me. And our poor King Henry. Maybe he’s dancing to celebrate his last week as King. He’ll be shipped off somewhere when the new King is crowned. Not sure where they go, really. I’ll have to ask Cook.
Only thing is he’ll have to go by himself. Oh, poor man, he never got over the Queen dying like she did. Everleigh looks so much like her, and Addyson probably will as well. No wonder he can’t look at Addyson. It broke his heart when the Queen died.
What can I say? One daughter’s got the death curse on her and the other’s the Kingmaker. One boy will die and one will rule and the King’ll be sent elsewhere anyway.
Who would ever want to be King?
Anyway, he seems happy enough tonight. I like watching him dance. He looks younger. They’re good dancers, both of them. He adores Everleigh. Don’t know how he’ll cope when she dies, but what can he do? She is the Kingmaker. That’s what she was born to do.
I only asked her about it once – being Kingmaker, you know, and she was so matter of fact about it I didn’t ask again. There was no weeping or wailing, no tears. Not that I was hoping for any, of course. She just said: I am the Kingmaker, with a little shrug of her shoulders.
I suppose if you’ve known something since you were so young you wouldn’t even think to question it.
That’s what she said to Cook when Cook asked her too. She said, do you question why you are a cook and I’m a princess? Why one man is King and another a pauper? Why one new born child will die and one will live? How some can survive the black death and others will die almost instantly?
It’s true though. This world is a funny one – I think I’d rather be me than her. Poor Everleigh – she’s too lovely to die.
Well, I’m glad I’m just her handmaiden. Maybe once she’s gone, Millard will give me a job in the new royal household. Aye, he’ll be looking for a wife too. You never know my luck.
Oh, I can’t believe I even thought that. Don’t listen to me. I’m quite giddy with this wonderful night. The music, the laughter, the dancing – the spirits are high in everyone, not just me. Cook brought out a dish earlier and was dancing a jig with one of the stable boys, and she normally just hits them. The girls are grinning and the boys are laughing. The would-be Kings are relaxed and smiling. The King is as happy as I’ve ever seen him. And I see him every day.
Well, this girl who will die too soon is something else. All eyes are on her. She’s so lovely.
So, this is it. Less than a week to go. I can hardly believe it. It’ll fly by, I tell you.
Oh, hang on the King’s on his feet, Everleigh’s taken his arm. They’re going to the throne. Oh, he’s sitting down now. She’s kneeling in front of him. Hang on; I’m going to stand on my stool. She’s still kneeling on the floor and he’s still sitting.
I can’t see – I think someone’s come in to the hall – everyone’s looking but it’s too far away. Curse me for being short.
It’s the wise woman.
Ooh, I can’t help but shudder when I see her. She scares the life out of me. I avoid her at all costs. Whenever I pass her, wherever we are, I can’t meet her eyes. I did once, when I first came here and a shiver went right through me and I swear, all my hair stood on end.
She has the highest place in the court, except for the King and his children, but she’s a scary old thing, if you ask me.
She’s shuffling across to the throne. Her face is covered with the dark hood she always wears. She’s stopped in front of Everleigh.
Oh, I hope she’s not the one who sacrifices her. She’s enough to frighten someone half to death without raising a knife to them. I don’t like to ask Everleigh anything about it so I just nag Cook.
Everleigh’s head’s still down, her neck must be killing. The King is watching the wise woman. Her name’s Halfreda and I make it my life’s work to stay out of her way. I like the witch from the village better, Ginata. She’s so pretty. I try not to take much notice of Halfreda to be honest. She looks at me like she’s judging me. I keep right out of her way.
She’s put her hands on Everleigh’s head. Ooh, I did – I shivered again – I can’t help it.
Everleigh’s standing up now, everyone’s looking at her. Millard’s eyes are so wide. He’s smiling too. I bet he’s thinking he’ll be King.
Oh, what’s she doing now? She’s saying something but I can’t hear it, I’m too far away. Everleigh’s kneeling again and now the King is standing. He’s talking now.
I can hear mumbling but I can’t make out the words.
Oh, Millard and Macsen are going to the throne now. One’s standing either side of Everleigh. Halfreda has a hand on each head.
Everleigh just stood up. She’s got a hand on each of their heads now too. Ooh, they’re kneeling.
Oh, I don’t really know what it’s all about. Another question for Cook. No wonder she rolls her eyes when she sees me coming.
Now the singers are singing again and Everleigh’s hugging her father and her brothers.
Oh, they’re coming back to their seats. I think it’s all over with.
Well, it was a bit exciting. The countdown begins now I guess.
Less than one week until she’s dead. And then what?
Author Gemma Perfect
About the Author Gemma Perfect loves to write. She’s been doing it since she was nine. After a few false starts – self publishing children’s books, and being traditionally published with her romance novella, she has finally found her feet writing young adult historical fantasy books. She is currently writing The Cursed Princess, set five years after The Kingmaker Trilogy finishes, following the adventures of Everleigh’s sister, Addyson.
Gemma lives in Wales with her husband Craig and their three boys, Sam, Corey and Oliver. She is happiest when writing, day dreaming and eating smelly blue cheese.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Unleashed, the second book in the young adult contemporary/fantasy series, The Undelightened, by Bentz Deyo. See below for information on the book, buy links, a couple of exclusive teasers, and details on his giveaway.
The Unleashed (The Undelightened #2) by Bentz Deyo
About the Book
Title: The Unleashed Series: The Undelightened #2 Author: Bentz Deyo Release Date: January 13, 2017 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Fantasy Links: Goodreads |Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Culter Fuller came back into my life on the day my mother died, as if losing my mother wasn’t bad enough.
We hated each other since childhood. Well, I hated him. He had a very different story.
When I moved to my dad’s house to finish my last semester of high school, we went from bitter enemies to. . . something else. He was suddenly everywhere, occupying my space, determined to pull me into his life, filling me with thoughts I knew were wrong.
I knew that soon we would cross a line that should never be crossed.
I knew crossing that line could have very serious consequences; because Culter Fuller wasn’t just any irresistible boy, Culter Fuller was my stepbrother.
But, I was always very bad at making the right choices.
[Recommended 16 + this is a mature YA or New Adult book]
Author Bentz Deyo
About the Author Deyo is a New Jersey native who can usually be found running, writing, jotting new ideas in his million notebooks… or explaining things like “why pee is yellow” and “what is wind?” to his three year old daughter. He’s a fantasy nerd at heart and is currently writing book 3 of The Undelightened Series.
Skyscape Publishing and author Emily R. King are revealing the cover to The Hundredth Queen, a young adult fantasy, releasing June 1, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, and pre-order links.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
About the Book Title: The Hundredth Queen Author: Emily R. King Publisher: Skyscape Publishing Release Date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
Author Emily R. King
About the Author Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.
Synopsis The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.
The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.
When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?
Author Audrey Grey
About the Author Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in. .
Synopsis Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.
Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.
Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.
The Carver by Jacob Devlin
About the Book
Title: The Carver Author: Jacob Devlin Publisher: Blaze Publishing, LLC Release Date: July 19, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.
With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
The Surrendered by Case Maynard
About the Book
Title: The Surrendered Author: Case Maynard Publisher: Blaze Publishing Release Date: September 20, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind..
Welcome to the book blitz for Light in My Dark, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Beyond the Wall,by Jean Gilbert and William Dresden.See below for information on the book buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBooks for just $1.99.
Light in My Dark by William Dresden and Jean Gilbert
One of pro-hockey’s golden couples, Andrew and Caryn Chadwick live in the limelight reserved for elite professional athletes. On their second anniversary, Andrew receives an unexpected contract offer to join the Tampa Suns. As they look forward to a new adventure, neither foresees an event that challenges their love and threatens their marriage.
Until the day it doesn’t.
A sudden and senseless accident threatens Andrew’s life and inexplicably drives a wedge between the couple. Shattered by the incident, paralyzed by fear that it could happen again, Caryn finds herself at odds with her husband and unable to provide the support he needs—at the time he is most vulnerable.
As their perfect world crumbles, each makes choices that take Andrew and Caryn further apart. Distrust, fears, and secrets construct walls. This Piece of My Soul follows the joint and separate paths the couple navigate as each hopes to rediscover the love that can conquer all.
**Although This Piece of My Soul is the second book in the Clearing the Ice Series, it can be read as a standalone novel.**
A shadow disengaged from a tree and moved into the twilight. It was a hooded man in black, one of the three that were chasing him. In his hand glinted a curved sword. Jack turned to run but froze when the second hunter approached from the other side of the clearing. He too held a curved blade. Both men trained on him, stalking him.
“What do you want from me?” Jack cried out.
Silence filled the forest.
The black clad hunters continued to advance from both sides through the underbrush. When they came to the grass of bluebells, they entered without hesitation and raised their swords in unison.
A strange melody danced up from their knees as they moved to pin him in. Fear blinded Jack’s mind as he scooted to the center of the glade. The taste of bile came up into his mouth. He was going to die. He knew it.
The hunters tightened their grips on their swords, ready to strike down, when a silvery point suddenly jutted through the chest of one of them. His stormy blue eyes bulged in shock as blood spurted out around the point and poured down his black tunic. A grunt came from his mouth. His sword fell to the ground as he grabbed the steel point sticking out of his chest.
Behind him stood the pale-haired man. In his hand, he gripped the sword that was thrust through the hunter’s chest. With a jerk, he pulled it free, letting the man drop to the ground in a heap at his feet.
Author William Dresden
About the Authors William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.
About the Authors Jean Gilbert is an award winning speculative fiction writer from New Zealand. She is a Core member of SpecFicNZ, and is also the coordinator for SpecFicNZ Central. Jean’s novels include the Vault Agency Series: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault. You can find her short stories Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror, and Pride in the Contact Light Anthology..