Monday, April 30, 2018

My Monday: 04/30/2018

This week has been busy, and once again it’s Monday. I’ve felt pretty good last week, and am looking forward to May. I’m still not sure if I’m going to have to get a job yet, or if I’ll be able to work from home, but I should know soon. In the mean time, I’m still trying to figure out my meds, as I’m stable, but just barely, and I don’t want to end up in another downward spiral because I was forced to work before I was ready.

In the mean time, I’m focused on getting my rabbits ready to sell, and to start getting a name in the community as rabbit owners. It’s a family business, so I’m hoping to get it off the grown.

While I figure things out, I’m taking advantage of my free time to catch up on ARCs and YA new release titles! Some of the books I’m reading were published the end of last year, while I was working, while others are coming out this year.

I’m getting along with my step-dad so far, and food-stamps also agreed to work with me, at least for this month, while they are threatening to only give me $50 a month, which isn’t enough for me to live on, but oh well, I’ll deal with that next month.

My current read?

26958226Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

34020950Whisper (Whisper #1)

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Release: After Dark

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After Dark

by Liz Butcher
Publication: May 1, 2018
Pre-order Price: $0.99
What’s waiting for you in the shadows?
Ghosts, curses and creatures of the dark, these stories take you on a journey from the secret whisperings of the trees, to the torments of the subconscious mind.

Anything But Books Tag

Hey guys!! I was tagged by Taiwo @ Stuffed Shelves Site.

  • Name a cartoon that you love

Disney, or Anime? XD (Also, I can’t name just one!)
Disney: Mulan, The Lion King, Brave, How To Train Your Dragon (1&2), Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast.

Anime: InuYasha, Bleach, Death Note, Naruto (Especially Shippuden), Tri-Gun, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

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  • What is your favourite song right now?

I…That’s like asking favorite book! I have so many!
“The Voice” by Celtic Thunder (or Celtic Woman)

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  • What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Taking pictures or working with animals. Those are my three loves, well that and baking but I don’t get to bake as often as I’d like.

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  • What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised at?

I love baking. I might have mentioned it a few times, but I really don’t often think to, but I love baking, anything from cheesecakes to breads!

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  • What is your favourite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Lore, legends, and mythologies. My favorite are Norse Mythology, Asian/Japanese folk-lore, and German fairy-tales/lore but I love myths, legends, and lore of all types from all over the world.

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  • What is something unusual you know how to do?

Make cheesecake?

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  • Name something you have made in the last year.

Desserts? I’ve done things in the last year, but I don’t think I’ve started anything new in that time?

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  • What is your most recent personal project?

I want to start working on making my blog more…my own? I want to talk about a little of everything, and make my blog more fun.

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  • Tell us something that you think of often

Life and the future? Actually, I think a lot about my blog, and getting better at reviewing, and blogging in general, and how to get better as blogging and taking pictures.

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  • Tell us something that is your favourite but make it oddly specific. 

The first time I went Disney World in Florida, we went to Epcot and ate in Norway. They had a whipped strawberry cheesecake that is to die for, and is to this day my favorite cheesecake! (Though the German apple strudel is also amazing!)
I tag:

OK, since I tried to find a few people to tag, and I don’t really know a whole lot of other bloggers yet, and wasn’t sure who has/hasn’t done this tag, and who might want to, I’m just tagging anyone who reads this and wants to do it.

If I didn’t tag you but you’re interested, please do this tag and tag me so I can read your answers!

April 2018 Wrap Up

This month has flown by! I’ve read some books I loved, and one not so much. I stuck to mostly YA this month, (and with all the ARCs I have for this year, it looks like I have a lot more in my future.) but that’s fine since YA is one of my favorite genre. I find I can read YA faster than adult books for the most part, and I still adore them, so it’s a win-win!

 

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First off, I started with a Contemporary. While Romance/Contemporary isn’t my preferred genre, and I’m normally not a fan of romance outside of Fantasy, I went into this one hoping to really enjoy it. Sadly that was not that case. While it was okay, I can’t say I really liked this one, and ended up giving it 3 stars. ❂❂❂

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After reading Children of Icarus earlier this year, I was super excited about this ARC. It was an interesting read, and I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first. I feel like less happened in this one, and while I’m eagerly awaiting the next book, this one felt more like a filler or a bridge between the first and third book, without adding much depth of it’s own. That said I enjoyed reading it and gave it 4 stars. ❂❂❂❂

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This book…I have some friends who rave about it, so I went in with pretty high expectations. While it didn’t blow me away, I loved it, and highly recommend it! It is a slower read than I’m used to, but I never got bored or lost interest, which is saying a lot for me. I loved the characters, and while I guessed a few of the twists, I still loved seeing how they would play out. Still since it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that I crave, I gave it 4 stars, but if I did half points, it would really be a 4.5. ❂❂❂❂

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This was the one adult book I read this month. I have loved LIS (LoveInspired SUSPENSE) books since I was twelve and asked the local librarian for a good mystery series. While it’s more than a series, it’s a whole imprint of books offered by Harlequin Romance. I love them because they are each clean Christian romances with plenty of suspense. While I don’t always read Christian fiction, or clean romances, it’s nice to read when I want something quick and simple, yet entertaining. This one was by an author I had yet to read, but I really like her style, and look forward to reading more of her work. I was excited to get this and two other ARCs for this imprint, so look for reviews for the others soon. This one gets 4 stars. ❂❂❂❂

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Okay, confession. I started this last October as I had snagged an ARC and planned to review it before it came out last November…For some reason, soon after starting it, I ended up putting it down, likely I had blog tours coming up, and had to read those first. Then I started working, and one thing lead to another. Well I finally finished it, and loved it! Now I’m slightly glad I waited so long, as I need book two now! Ah! But at least I don’t have to wait quite so long as I would have had I finished it last October. 5 stars ❂❂❂❂❂

What did you read in April? Any books you absolutely loved or hated? Have you read any of the books I listed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Sunday’s Spotlight: Even the Darkest Stars

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Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April A-Z: xxxHolic

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xxxHolic

Watanuki Kimihiro is haunted by visions of ghosts and spirits. Seemingly by chance, he encounters a mysterious witch named Yuuko, who claims she can help. In desperation, he accepts, but realizes that he’s just been tricked into working for Yuuko in order to pay off the cost of her services. Soon he’s employed in her little shop–a job which turns out to be nothing like his previous work experience
Most of Yuuko’s customers live in Japan, but Yuko and Watanuki are about to have some unusual visitors named Sakura and Syaoran from a land called Clow. . . .
XXXHolic volume one “crosses over with “Tsubasa volume one
“Don’t miss it

My Thoughts: So…not a new release, but from what I could find, there isn’t a new release that interests me coming out this year that starts with X, so this is a series I’ve been meaning to start soon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

April A-Z: Whisper

34020950Whisper (Whisper #1)

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

Blog Tour: ANNA UNDREAMING

Title: ANNA UNDREAMING
Author: Thomas Welsh
Pub. Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 368
Find it: AmazonB&NGoodreads

Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, “Never play their game; their game is always rigged.” For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.
That all changes on the night of “The Big Storm,” when Anna is slipped a date rape drug. Though she saves herself and her best friend, Anna is lost to the dark heart of the city and finds herself hunted by The Night Collectors. Unsure if these monsters are real or hallucinations, Anna nonetheless fights them as best she can. The battle attracts a stranger—Teej—who saves her using powers she cannot understand. He explains that she is an Undreamer and possesses the same powers, and in the future, he will not be the one to save her. She will save him.
But Anna is not yet ready to join Teej and stand against The Dreamers. She has difficult decisions of her own to make. Decisions she has always run from. She still has her partner’s suicide letter. It remains unopened. She still wears his ring, though she can’t seem to remember his face.
Anna learns of The Dreamers – artists so preeminent in their respective fields that they can paint, dance, sew or sing new realities – and as she travels through their creations, she learns that there’s as much beauty in the world as there is horror. With a complex conspiracy at work within the community of Dreamers that threatens to undermine reality itself, Anna will have to look deep within herself, and eventually have to face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.
Anna Undreaming is a dark urban fantasy, and the first book in the The Metiks Fade trilogy.

Review: Such a fun read! This is a fast-paced sci-fi with plenty of twists and and turns! Every time I thought I knew where the story was headed, it took a twist I didn’t expect. I really enjoyed the characters in this one, and the setting and plot were well thought out.

About Thomas:

Hi there! My name is Thomas Welsh and my first novel ANNA UNDREAMING is a dark urban fantasy story that was released in March 2018. It is the first entry in the METIKS FADE trilogy. You can buy it here.

I am 37 years old and live in Scotland, and I started writing fiction early last year. I was the winner of the Elbow Room fiction prize for my short story “And Then I was Floating” and I’ve also been published in a few other short story collections, including 404 Ink and Leicester Writes. I received an honourable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction award and my story Suicide Vending Machine will soon be featured on the Pseudopod Podcast.

I have been published in You Died – a book about Dark Souls – and I also write about games, music and film. You can find my work on Kotaku, Unwinnable Magazine and GlitchFreeGame. For my games writing, I was inducted into the fellowship of BAFTA.

I love Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny and dark fantasy stories where women save themselves!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winners will receive a finished copy of ANNA UNDREAMING, US Only.

Rafflecopter Embed Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/16/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview

4/17/2018- Mama Reads Blog– Review

4/18/2018- Books A-Brewin’– Excerpt

4/19/2018- The BookWorm Drinketh– Review

4/20/2018- Book-Keeping– Review

Week Two:

4/23/2018- A Backwards Story– Review

4/24/2018- Paulette’s Papers– Excerpt

4/25/2018- Sweet Southern Home– Review

4/26/2018- Book Lady’s Reviews– Review

4/27/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

Thursday, April 26, 2018

ARC Review: The City of Brass

32718027The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

 

*I received an ARC from the publisher thanks to Edelweiss. This does not affect my review.*

I started this one last year, but ended up putting it down. Why? One, because I had some review deadlines that I had to meet, and two, because early on, I knew this was one of those books that I would love so much that I wouldn’t want it to end! So, after six months of putting off the ending, I finally finished this one…and I need more!

I loved this book, and it really amazed me. I don’t normally read things that are Muslim based, so the fact that I loved this one so much amazed me. I normally avoid books about religion because most are anti-Christian and just end up making me mad. This one wasn’t like that at all, and only somewhat focused on religion, and mostly avoided using names.

The characters? -Sigh- Where to start? I enjoyed Nahri’s will to survive, and was intrigued by the fact that she was more than she appeared, and than she had magical powers that were strange and yet familiar to her. Dara? Okay, it seems that I fall quickly for at least one character in any YA fantasy that I love. From the first, I was a fan of Dara, but strangely, I also quickly found myself cheering for Ali.

The world-building is complex and beautiful. I love all the characters and races in this. Many were only mentioned, so I’m hoping to see plenty more creatures throughout the series. The Daeva cities were unique and while not always the cleanest, they were impressive, and I loved seeing how the different tribes handled daily life.

April A-Z: Vanished in the Night

Vanished in the Night

by Lynette Eason

Someone is after her and her baby…

Danger returns to Wrangler’s Corner

After saving Kaylee Martin from abduction and delivering her baby boy on the side of the road, Dr. Joshua Crawford can’t get them out of his mind. Unfortunately, neither can Kaylee’s violent stalker. He’ll stop at nothing to get to the new mom and her child. Can Joshua keep them safe so they can become the family he’s dreamed about?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April A-Z: Unanchored

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Unanchored

Cecily Hastings fails to escape her captor when he gambles her away in a game of dice. Now, instead of getting her first taste of freedom, she’s rotting in a cell on the Hellbound, a pirate ship under the command of Captain Finnigan Worley. Cecily, however, has no plans of sticking around with a captain known for his heartless deeds.

As soon as they make port, Cecily attempts to alert the Royal Navy. While trying to get away, she stumbles upon Captain Worley liberating people from a life of abuse and servitude, which makes her question everything she thought she knew about the infamous buccaneer.

Soon she’s recaptured and taken back to the ship, and Cecily vows to figure out the captain’s humanitarian angle. The more she learns, the more she believes in his benevolent mission. With the Royal Navy closing in, she must decide if she’s willing to fight beside Captain Worley or turn him over to the gallows for a chance at her own freedom.

Blog Tour: Song of Blood and Stone

“This debut, which won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award, shines a bright light into epic fantasy. Battle-scarred lands and peoples, ancient powers at war, star-crossed loves and hints of racial and refugee themes gives this a solid place on library shelves.” —Library Journal, STARRED review

“Penelope parallels our own world, exploring a refugee crisis and race relations with emotion and nuance…Fresh, suspenseful, and perceptive, Penelope’s first in a new series will appeal to historical-fantasy readers, especially fans of N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.” —Booklist

“”Penelope delivers an engrossing story with delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a promising series.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“L. Penelope’s page-turning apocalyptic epic SONG OF BLOOD & STONE does what fantasy does best: provide epic plots, epic world-building and epic myth. A rewarding, carefully crafted read.” —The Root

Song of Blood & Stone_cover imageSONG OF BLOOD & STONE Earthsinger Chronicles: Book One By L. Penelope

From the very first pages of her debut, L. Penelope delivers as a new force in the fantasy genre. The first book in the historical fantasy Earthsinger series was originally self-published, earning a quick fan base, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Award and a starred Publishers Weekly review calling it a “fantastic opening to a promising series”. Now traditionally published to kick off the new series, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE (St. Martin’s Press; May 1, 2018) is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. With the world building of Brandon Sanderson, the romance of Ilona Andrews, the epic quest of Lord of the Rings, and the doomed star-crossed love of Romeo & Juliet, the start of the Earthsinger series has something to keep any reader entranced for books to come.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs

Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

As a reader, it’s not common to come across a truly original world, but Penelope manages to do just that in SONG OF BLOOD & STONE. In the vein of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, Penelope “shines a bright light into epic fantasy” (Booklist) and bridges the gap between the world of romance and fantasy. Inspired by religion and folklore, Penelope develops the start to what will be a series that will take readers by a storm.

About the Author Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

SONG OF BLOOD & STONE Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One By L. Penelope Published by St. Martin’s Press **On Sale May 1, 2018** Hardcover | $26.99 ISBN: 9781250148070| Ebook ISBN: 9781250148087

For more information or to set up an interview with the author, contact: Brittani Hilles at brittani.hilles@stmartins.com or 646-307-5558

More early praise for SONG OF BLOOD & STONE:

“Wonderful characters, unique setting, and an engaging romance set against the backdrop of ancient magic. I can’t wait to see what L. Penelope will do next.” —Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Prepare to be hooked. SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is brimming with captivating lore, unique magic, and plot-turns you never saw coming. L. Penelope has written your next fantasy obsession.” —Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of The Loom Saga

“Set against a backdrop of myth and magic, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping tale of love, duty and destiny that feels as urgent as it does timeless.” —Rebecca Roanhorse, author of TRAIL OF LIGHTNING

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is an enchanting journey through a world more relevant than ever. Wars between Gods, romance, action—it’s everything I love all at once.” —K Arsenault Rivera, author of THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping journey of magic, romance, sacrifice, and self-discovery. These heartwarming characters, their trials and adventures, and their love for each other will stay with you long after the book ends.” —Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicles

“SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a thrilling and complex journey through a beautifully rendered world that is imaginative, magical, and eerily similar to our own. A terrific read!” —Daniel Jose Older, New York Times bestselling author

“Great characters, beautiful writing, incredible world building.” —Ann Aguirre, New York Times Bestselling Author

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER TWO

Jackal and Monkey stood at the edge of a wide canyon. Monkey asked, If I leap and make it to the other side, was that my destiny or merely my good luck?

Jackal replied, Our destiny can be taken in hand, molded, and shaped, while chance makes foolishness out of whatever attempts to control it. Does this make destiny the master of luck?

—collected folktales

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year.

The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­ saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts.

His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first

 

l. penelope

 

he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ ing in, his muscle memory ofended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?

Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle.

The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.

“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­ self.

There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or song of blood & stone

she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth.

“You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the efort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ ant to look at.

He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­ sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.”

She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him.

“You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.

“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said. “I doubt that.”

Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again. “The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”

 

l. penelope

 

“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.”

She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless.

He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.”

Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to find shelter.”

She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.

“What is that?”

“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.”

He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”

“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”

“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

Review: This book is so good! I loved the characters, and the world-building is fantastic! I was at first drawn in by the beautiful cover, but after reading the blurb, I couldn’t wait to read it! Just a few pages in, and I knew I was going to like this one.

Jasminda has a special gift, one that could get her killed. When soldiers stay at her house, and bring a prisoner, she realizes that maybe she isn’t so different from this prisoner, and has an instant connection with him. Jack is on an important mission, he’s a spy who unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunatly?) gets caught and has a chance incounter with Jasminda.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie BeyL. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is the author of fantasy and paranormal romance with characters who match the real world. Her debut novel, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE, won the 2016 Self-Publishing eBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The fantasy series was picked up by St. Martin’s Press for publication starting 2018.

Blog Tour: Lie To Me

 

We are so excited to be sharing the release of #1 New York Times bestselling author Natasha Preston’s LIE TO ME with you today. LIE TO ME is a brand new standalone contemporary romance lovers won’t want to miss–be sure to grab your copy today!

 

About LIE TO ME

At nineteen, Savannah Dean escaped her family, leaving behind a note and the people who caused her so much pain.

Now, she lives on her own and keeps to herself.

At nineteen, Kent Lawson’s girlfriend betrayed him, leaving him behind with a broken heart and a whole lot of mistrust in women.

Now, he lives on his own and shares himself with nearly every pretty thing that walks by but only for one night.

When Savannah and Kent meet, they can’t stand each other.

Kent knows she’s hiding something, and he despises liars.

And Savannah has nothing but secrets.

Add LIE TO ME to your Goodreads TBR here!

 

Grab your copy of LIE TO ME today!

Amazon US / Amazon UK / iBooks / B&N / Kobo

 

 

Read an excerpt from LIE TO ME

 

Wednesday rolls around way too fast. I have a whole evening with Savannah. It’s been really nice these past four days that she’s been out of my life. Yet, the whole time, I’ve been craving the way we snip at each other.

I need help.

I cut my engine outside her building and look up. Apparently, she lives up on the first floor and faces out toward the road.

Is she looking at me right now?

Why I feel the need to get out and buzz her apartment, I don’t know, but somehow, I find myself getting out of the car and walking toward the building. I stop at the front door, realising that Heidi told me what floor Savannah is on but not the number. Or she might have told me, and I just didn’t listen.

This is a great start.

I’m about to call my sister when I see Savannah through the glass, walking down the stairs to ground level.

Fuck me.

Has she always looked like that?

She’s wearing a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and a grey off-the-shoulder shirt, but she looks sexier than any other woman I’ve ever seen in a little dress.

Why don’t I like her again?

Her steely eyes, looking even more prominent with the colour of her top, warily eye me. Our last encounter wasn’t exactly pleasant.

She opens the door and smiles. “Hi, Kent.”

My back stiffens. “Savannah.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind taking me tonight? I can Uber.”

And there it is. This is why she fucking bothers me so much. I feel like telling her to call a fucking Uber then. She always sounds so unsure of herself, like every tiny thing a person does for her is some massive inconvenience. Why?

“It’s fine,” I spit.

She folds her arms, carefully because her fractured arm hasn’t healed. It does take away a little of the dramatic flair she was going for. “Do you need to take a nap before we go?”

“What?”

“You’re cranky.”

“You’re too polite.”

“Being polite is a bad thing?”

I flex my jaw. “Yes.”

“Fine. Get in the car, and take me.”

The intent behind her words is clear; however, I hear it completely different and laugh.

She rolls her eyes. “Don’t be a knobhead, Kent. Take me to your parents’ house, I mean.”

“Knobhead. I’ve not heard that one in a while.”

Savannah takes another long breath. “I really don’t know why I thought accepting a lift from you would be a good idea. In fact, I didn’t. I stillthink it’s a bad idea.”

“You always follow through with bad ideas?”

“Tonight, I am.”

Fuck yeah. I love this fighting side of her. It’s like, when I rile her up enough, the cover slips, revealing the real Savannah. I’m not sure if she’s hiding something the way Freya was.

“You should work on that. I don’t do anything I don’t want to.”

She tilts her head to the side, fire and determination in her eyes. “Oh, you wanted me to come tonight? And you wanted to be the one to pick me up?”

“You’re hot when you’re angry, Savannah.”

Actually, she’s hot all the time. It’s just, right now, she’s the whole package.

“You always use bullshit like that to deflect from someone calling you out?”

“You’re the first woman to call me out.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” she mutters.

“Do you want to argue on your doorstep all night or get to my parents’ for dinner? I’m cool with either, just checking to see which way you’re leaning.”

She drops her arms, one still bound tightly in a splint. “I’m hungry.”

“Excellent, let’s go then.”

 

 

Don’t miss Natasha Preston’s other contemporary romance reads!

Silence / Broken Silence / Players, Bumps & Cocktail Sausages / Reliving Fate / Second Chance / Our Chance / With the Band / Save Me

Review:  Kent and Savannah have such a powerful story, and I loved seeing their journey. This books isn’t just a love story, it’s more about healing and learning to trust and love than it is about simply falling in-love.

Kent and Savannah are both hurt and realing from past relationships. It’s so beautiful to see not only the main characters, but also family and some otehr supproting characters in this story, showing how we build our own families as we travel through life.

 

About NATASHA PRESTON

UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she stumbled across an amateur writing site and uploaded her first story and hasn’t looked back since.

She enjoys writing contemporary romance, gritty Young Adult thrillers and, of course, the occasional serial killer.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Monday, April 23, 2018

ARC Review: Rodeo Standoff

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Rodeo Standoff (McKade Law #2)

The rodeo arena is always treacherous. Now it’s deadly…

It’s no accident Deputy Tessa McKade is trapped with an angry bull ready to trample her to death. She quickly realizes that McKade Law is no longer enough to keep her safe—and it’s her rescuer, Braden Hayes, who stands in as her bodyguard. As they seek to stop a would-be killer, Braden will have to use all his professional skills to guard Tessa’s life.

*I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not affect my review.*

This is the first of my time reading anything by Susan Sleeman, but I’ve been a long time fan of LoveInspired Suspense reads, and was excited to read this one. From the opening scene, I knew I would enjoy her writing style. From the beginning Tessa is in danger, and Braden quickly comes to the rescue. I enjoyed the whole McKade family, and am excited this is part of a series!

The criminals in this one are all interesting, and they all had reasons to want to hurt Tessa, and to cost her another championship. I enjoyed the fact that this story kept me guessing, and I was surprised at the end.

I also enjoyed how Tessa and Braden are both guarded, and not looking for anything romantic, though it seems God has other plans. They learned to accept and respect each other as friends and co-workers before anything romantic. I feel it added another layer of depth to their relationship, and to the story in general.

April A-Z: Soulstruck

Soulstruck
by Natasha Sinel

Blog Tour: The Ancient Tripod of Peace

The Ancient Tripod of Peace
by Kalen Cap
Genre: YA Mystery
Release Date: March 13th 2018

Summary:

Teens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies.

Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.

His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.

With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.

The Ancient Tripod of Peace is the first book in novelist Kalen Cap’s Teen Thief-Catchers Series. If you like stories with artifact treasures, fighting secret societies, and spirited protagonists, you’ll enjoy this novel.

Review: I really enjoyed this one! It’s a teen mystery with a little history and a bit of thriller thrown in. The mystery is one of the first events in the book, and most of the book revolves around a group of teen sleuthes trying to solves the mystery. Unlike some YA, I found these teens, both the main characters, and the large cast of supporting characters to be well developed and each unique. I really enjoyed reading this one!

About the Author

Kalen Cap is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio. Active in animal protection and environmental causes, he often brings such concerns into his fiction writing.

After having a number of poems and short stories published, as well as original plays produced locally, he took up novel writing.

Author Links:   

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday’s Spotlight: Rodeo Standoff

36704174

Rodeo Standoff (McKade Law #2)

The rodeo arena is always treacherous. Now it’s deadly…

It’s no accident Deputy Tessa McKade is trapped with an angry bull ready to trample her to death. She quickly realizes that McKade Law is no longer enough to keep her safe—and it’s her rescuer, Braden Hayes, who stands in as her bodyguard. As they seek to stop a would-be killer, Braden will have to use all his professional skills to guard Tessa’s life.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Blog Tour: Notes of Magic

NotesOfMagicTour

Notes of Magic (The Bohemians #1)

by Jessica Bucher

Enchanted city. Old magic. New threat.

Taq, a young fiddler, comes to Prague with dreams of joining the Bohemians—a band of immortal, magic-wielding street performers. With a mission to right past wrongs, things don’t go as planned when he meets the beautiful performer, Katia. Now, he must decide if revealing his secret is worth losing her heart.

Katia has spent one hundred years chained to the city, broken-hearted and silent,

waiting for her chance to be free. But with an impending threat on Bohemia itself and a mysterious newcomer, peace is starting look farther than ever. Now she must decide if she should trust Taq or put her faith in the one who broke her heart—the tyrannical Magistrate of Bohemia.

Curses can be broken, but at what cost?

Notes of Magic (The Bohemians #1) by Jessica Bucher

Publication Date: February 24, 2018

236 pages 
Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38479001-notes-of-magic

Purchase Links:

BAM | Indies | Amazon | B&N | TBD| Amazon UK

Review:  I loved the setting and characters in this story! Taq and Katia are such fun characters, and I loved their chemistry. I loved seeing the world through their eyes and seeing this magical version of  Prague and Bohemia.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Bucher is a Young Adult author living in Texas with her husband and children. Her first book, The Hereafter, was published in 2016. When she’s not writing, editing, or chasing her kids, she can be found scrolling through Facebook or planning her next travel adventure.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-notes-of-magic-by-jessica-bucher/

Giveaway Details:

One winner will receive a signed copy of Notes of Magic by Jessica Bucher
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: RUTHLESS MAGIC




Today Megan Crewe and Rockstar Book
Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for RUTHLESS MAGIC, her
new YA Fantasy which releases May 30, 2018! Check out the awesome cover and
enter the giveaway!
 
On to the reveal! 
 
 
Title: RUTHLESS
MAGIC
Author: Megan Crewe
Pub. Date: May 30, 2018
Publisher: Megan Crewe
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Pages: ?
Find it: Goodreads,
Pre-Order  
 
In the contest to keep their magic, the only
options may be die… or kill.


Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every
sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure
to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious
and brutal Mages’ Exam.



Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself
to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation.
Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.



Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation
accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam
instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.



Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves
becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more
horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really
testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are
they willing to sacrifice to win?



The start of a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless
Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games
alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no
further for your next urban fantasy fix!

 
 
 Grab the prequel MAGIC UNMASKED for FREE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exclusive Excerpt!


Hail pelted us, and the wind lashed at us from all sides. I could hardly
breathe. The only solid thing was Finn. I curled my fingers into the damp
fabric of his shirt and sang into the stiller space between us. “Como veían que
resistía.”

 
Magic hummed from the vicious air into me. An image swam up
of the grate I’d come across in the courtyard, between the buildings. A grate
that led to something below.
 
I knelt down, pulling Finn with me, and pressed my free hand
to the spongy ground. The wind tried to steal my next lyrics from my lips, but
the magic raced through me all the same—through me and down, down, into an open
space I sensed below us like a gasp of fresh air.
 
I did gasp then, and forced out a verse. I’d never magically
transported another person with me before, but I had to. I had to.
 
The magic rushed up around us with the thrust of my words. I
clung to Finn, singing the energy around him as tightly as I could. Then I
propelled us downward with a lurch.
 
We surged through rough blackness that rasped over my skin
and landed with a feet-jarring thump. I exhaled in a rush, dizzy in the sudden
quiet. My eardrums ached from the pounding of the storm we’d escaped and the
effort of the conjuring.
 
We crouched in total darkness. The surface beneath me felt
like concrete. Cold dank air hovered around us with a faintly salty flavor that
reminded me of the ocean.
 
My fingers were tangled in Finn’s shirt. His arm was still
around me. In the dark, I was abruptly aware of the rise and fall of his
rasping breath, the warmth of his chest, and the answering warmth it sent
through me.
 
He was alive—we were alive—and in that moment, it felt like
a miracle.
 
About Megan:
Photo credit: Chris Blanchenot
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say “eh”), she’s always planning some new trip around the world, and she’s spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.Megan’s first novel, Give Up the Ghost, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. The Way We Fall was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Literacy Association Young Adults’ Choices List, and Earth & Sky was an OLA Best Bet for 2015. She is also the author of the rest of the Fallen World series (The Lives We Lost, The Worlds We Make, and Those Who Lived), the rest of the Earth & Sky trilogy (The Clouded Sky and A Sky Unbroken), and the standalone contemporary fantasy A Mortal Song.
Giveaway Details:
One lucky winner will receive a $10
Amazon gift card and a pack of Ruthless Magic swag featuring the cover and
character art.





Ruthless Magic cover reveal giveaway

Blog Tour: Total Bravery

True heroes will do anything to protect the women they love…

Out April 24th – Total Bravery, a True Heroes novel, by Piper J Drake. Pre-order your copy today!

Title: Total Bravery

Author: Piper J. Drake

Series: True Heroes

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – Forever

Print Length: 304 Pages

Format: Digital and Mass Market Paperback

True heroes will do anything to protect the women they love…

As the newest recruit at Search and Protect, Raul has a lot to prove. Luckily, he’s got the best friend and partner a man could ask for: a highly trained, fiercely loyal German Shepherd Dog named Taz. Together, Raul and Taz make an unbeatable team. But their first mission in Hawaii really puts them to the test when an international kidnapping ring sets its sights on the bravest woman Raul’s ever met . . .

Mali knows her latest job has put one hell of a target on her back. And on this small island paradise, there’s nowhere to hide. With a service dog like Taz, Mali feels safe. Sharing close quarters with a smoldering muscle-for-hire like Raul, she feels something else – an unexpected wave of desire. Raul feels it too. But when the kidnappers make their move, he’s got to turn that slow-burning passion into hard-hitting action – and save the life of the woman he loves.

Get More information at: Goodreads   Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay

Today Only!! Pick up your copy of ABSOLUTE TRUST, a True Heroes novel, for just $1.99

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Review: What an exciting read! I loved the characters in this one, and the suspense and plot were well written. I loved the fast pace, and the quick thinking of the characters.

About Piper J. Drake:

Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. She is often distracted by dogs, cupcakes, and random shenanigans.

Enter to win a Piper J Drake Gift Basket (print copies of Extreme Honor and Hidden Impact, sports bag, fun Piper J Drake and Corbin swag)

 

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Connect with Piper at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads| Youtube

Blog Tour: Tracing Shadows

April A-Z: Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon

Book 1—Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook

by Josef Bastian

Aaron is an average young teenager, who has a penchant for a good story. When his grandfather mysteriously disappears, the teen and his friends, Wendy and Jake, are drawn into a fantastic, unseen world of stories, in an effort to save his grandfather, Pap.

In the process of being pursued by evil Shadow People, Aaron learns that Pap is a Folkteller, one of the chosen few who spend their lives traveling across time and space to share the stories people need to hear.

And the Shadow People will resort to anything to have Pap’s Guidebook – even murder.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April A-Z: Onyx and Ivory

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Onyx and Ivory

by Mindee Arnett
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.