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Cover Reveal: The Weaver (Book 1) by Heather Kindt

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Publisher: The Parliament House
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Book Title: The Weaver
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Series: Weaver Trilogy
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Author: Heather Kindt
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~*~ COVER REVEAL ~*~

Another Cover Reveal for another beautiful book!

Isn’t this gorgeous?!

The Weaver is a NA/Paranormal Romance about a girl named Laney who is a Weaver, someone who possesses the ability to bring their writing to life. Literally. As a writer, Laney comes up with detailed and wildly different types of characters, which turns to turmoil quickly as they begin moving from fictional to real.

~Click here to add this to your Goodreads list!~

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Book Synopsis

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.

Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.

Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.

THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

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Social Media Tags:
Instagram: @heatherkintweaver , @theparliamentpress
Website: http://www.heatherkindt.com/
Twitter: @Parliamentbooks
Facebook: The Parliament House

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Alarum (Walking Shadows, Book 1) by Talis Jones

Alarum

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Talis Jones, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Dystopian/Fantasy

Plot: I fled as they destroyed my home.
I watched as they murdered my family.
I stood silent as they stole my name and threw my life in chains.

I stare coldly at my fading reflection with only one question to ask:
Them or Me?

Set in a future where the United States has fallen, a girl is ripped from her home as a child and forced to endure the harshness around her or else surrender to the dust of bones she treads on. Her life becomes simple: kill or be killed. What she didn’t count on was the heavy cost this world would drain from her soul. When she crosses paths with a curious stranger who offers to show her a place without a map, they head across the crumbling land in search of the fabled Sanctuary. Neither enemies nor elements that rip her hair and claw at her heels can stand in the way of her will to survive.

They say demons lurk in the shadows, but here they strut boldly under the angry sun.

Opinion:

What started out as a coming-of-age story in a lawless dystopian land;

ripe with casual murders, children being trained as soldiers and slaves, and the occasional back-stab

…turned rather suddenly into a story that, quick and silent as a wraith, may have just crumbled my feelings into dust.

My hearthurts.

“Never trust strangers, unless you’re on death’s row anyway in which case you’ve got nothing to lose, Hero advised.”

After the collapse of the world that we know, a girl of many names is thrust into a time of lawlessness and endless miles of desert. Trained as a young child in skills to be made a soldier or slave in a place called the Coral, Flinch is taught the ways of fighting cruelly and self-preservation. As a teen, she is called Vizsla, and sold to a man named Hans to work as a slave at his homestead in Alabama.  But when a man in need of a blacksmiths’ skills arrives at the homestead, he takes an interest in Vizsla and makes an offer to buy her. With her new companion named Connors, Vizsla is given a new name, and given back her freedom. So ensues the tale of a girl with many names, and her journey to keep a promise that she made as a child.

I wasn’t equipped for this world. I had a vial of adrenaline and a knapsack of dreams and with every year that blew by another hope was plucked from my pockets, pinched from my purse, slipped from my bag. When my last hope was ripped from my rib cage I fell to my knees deflated and empty.”

This story is gritty.

You’re going to feel your lungs fill with dirt, your skin bubble under the angry sun, and your heart begin to turn to cold hard steal.

Alarum begins in the United States after it has fallen to harsh climate changes and the anger of the sun. The cities and towns have been decimated, flattened or completely wiped out. The population has dropped significantly, and only the strong and cunning survive. This world is lawless and unforgiving, where every man is out for themselves.

“Funny thing about this world, when it shifted and twisted it blew gales of sand in storms more powerful than anything our nation had seen before. Whole cities torn down, entire landscapes scraped flat, and all because of a lethal combination of wind, fire and earth, all set into chaos by some fool unknown.”

Though there isn’t an exact explanation of how the U.S. is destroyed, due to our main character being a young child during its demise, I found that the lack of explanation made the story feel so much more authentic. The reader is given just enough information on the subject to enjoy the story, and honestly, who really cares how it happened. Right?

Our main character is, like I said above, a girl of many names. We meet her as Vizsla, formerly called Flinch, afterwards called Kid, eventually called Fury, and another name that was given before all others. As a young child she endures gruesome deaths, brutal fights of survival, and a harsh realization that things will never again be easy. I found her character to be EVERYTHING that I could hope to be if the world ever crumbled: resilient, strong, sassy, capable and methodical. I instantly was fond of her character and became incredibly protective of her. Though I knew she could take care of herself, I kept finding my heart race and skip when something horrible would happen to her.

But probably the best trait of Fury is her perpetual affinity for snarky one-liners and sarcastic retorts.

“These glasses are worth more to me than gold.

He nods towards my dirt-smudged lenses. ‘I trust you’ve got a backup pair somewhere?’

‘Yep.’

Connors squints at my face. ‘Liar.’

‘I don’t see why you say that, Connors. This is the damn end of the world, there are prescription glasses galore and I always make sure to carry a plethora of options at all times to coordinate with all my outfits.’”

This story follows Fury as she lives in the present, growing through the years, but also switches back to moments of her past. I really liked the switches between past and present in this story, because it gave me an amazing amount of information on Fury and how she lives up to her fierce name. Instead of the author TELLING me all about her past, the reader is immersed in those moments with the main character. I felt every bit of anger, sadness, disgust, terror, and happiness that she felt! Countless other characters were entwined in this story, and each given the care and consideration of being developed well. There are characters that you will hate, ones that you will love, and multiple you wish you had more time with.

I did have a few qualms with the story, by way of some moments not being fully explained or rushed over too quickly. Alarum moves fast. This book covers a TON of ground in its 422 pages, so it would be VERY hard for your attention to wander or for you to lose interest. But because it moves so quickly, I found there were a few moments that I had to go back and read again due to its quick pace. I found myself getting slightly confused in parts of the story by innuendos or confusing descriptions, but nothing that deters from the plot or makes the story hard to get through.

I think the true selling point on Alarum comes down to the writing. Talis Jones has an alluring way with words. She describes EVERYTHING in so much detail, with so much feeling, that you get swept away in the tale that she so elegantly lays before you. She does everything I am so un-used to by authors. Her sentences are LONG. Her characters have the substance of someone who is both enlightened and cursed. She has characters fall in love, but the ROMANCE DOESN’T TAKE OVER THE STORY! She introduces key characters throughout the book, and she even kills off the one’s you’ll grow attached to.

This book was everything I have always wanted in a YA Dystopian styled western.

I am officially hooked on Talis Jones and her stories, and I fully expect you all to be as well.

“Self-preservation makes demands on your body and I refuse to lay down and ignore the call.”

 

4-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · Reviews

Book Review: Evenfall (Shadowfire, Book 1) by Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos

Evenfall

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: As if waking up in an unfamiliar world isn’t enough of a surprise, Ember gains a new title to her name. Savior.

Hunted by the Crescent Prince and his lethal shadows, she accepts a young Mage’s help to navigate the land of blood magic and its many illusions. But where Ada sees the good in her power, Ember discovers something else.

An icy darkness, designed to take lives, not save them.

The only thing worse than not being able to rely on her senses—or the reality she had once believed to be true—is knowing that she cannot trust her heart. Especially as it seems to draw her to the one person in whose hands she can never fall…

Opinion:

 “The thing I noticed above all else when unconsciousness released me from its talons of darkness, was that for the first time in my life, I found myself gazing at the night sky.

The second, just as enchanting, yet infinitely more unbelievable, was that the world around me was no longer mine.”

Ember wakes to find the various hues of black, blue and velvet of the night sky staring down at her. Where her world is flushed in light, this new world is flushed in darkness. With no recollection of how she must have traveled between worlds, Ember finds herself exploring a city called Nysa during their celebrated winter solstice. But the warning from a young girl named Ada brings caution to Ember. Their planes have been fractured, broken, and only a child born of the three worlds may have a chance at repairing them. The Crescent Prince seeks the savior, the one, to use in his quest for power and complete control. As a powerful mage, Ada feels that Ember is the one they have been waiting for. As Ada works to hide Ember from the cruel and ruthless prince, they formulate a plan to sneak into his palace to steal one of the three fragments that could keep the worlds from falling apart. But Ember soon finds that nothing is as it seems, especially when it comes to the past.

“But what truly drew my gaze was a fountain of starlight, pure and mesmerizing, a work of art that commanded the space with singular grace.

I was stunned by its simplicity, by the beauty of thousands of minuscule stars, cascading down the three levels before they were drawn up to the top again to repeat the cycle. I wanted to sit down before it, stare at this wonder until the flickering specks were imprinted on the backs of my lids…”

If I was to pick a set of authors to describe a fantastical world to me, it would be these two. Somraque is a world of night, of starlight and dark shades of color. It is a world that I fell in love with instantly, as did the main character, Ember. Walking with Ember as she explores the city and witnesses the various types of illusions and magic, was exhilarating. The writing is exquisite and beautiful, and it crafts a detailed and pulsing world for the reader to easily visualize in their minds eye. But as bewitching as the writing is, the construction of the plot felt over-drawn and dragged-out.

Truth be told..

…I was practically falling asleep during the first half of this book.

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About HALF of Evenfall is story-building and fillers. For nineteen chapters I was slipping in and out of consciousness. There was some speed-reading, some page scanning for dialogue, and the ever-true sign of a book you just CANNOT get into: I put it down about thirty times. I DID enjoy some aspects of the first half, such as the descriptions of the city and the explanation of the fate of the worlds, but I felt like I was drowning in words that were completely unnecessary. I NEVER thought I would say this in a book review, but the first half of this book was WAY TOO WORDY. It felt like I had lived through the stone age before the story started to pick up and pull me in.

But once I hit chapter twenty, something magical happened.

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~*I woke up*~

My advice:

Stay and get to Chapter Twenty.

It will fulfill at least SOME of your dreams.

“A touch so gentle it barely existed, yet it enveloped every inch of me, radiating through my veins and crackling through the very shadows that reached towards the starlight sky beyond the illusion.”

THIS is what I was waiting for! The point when the authors would throw a rope around my ankles and drag me into the midst of turmoil and heartbreak. Chapter twenty is when you will get hooked, when you will swoon, and when you will finally be able to make sense of what is going on. Here we are finally blessed with the prolonged presence of the crescent prince, not just a snippet or two of him. He is dark and mysterious, stone-faced and stiff, but is he…cruel? I just wasn’t seeing it.

“And yet it wasn’t his face or elegant demeanor that stole away my breath. It was the shadows- tendrils of pure silver that seems to unfurl from his body and dance in his wake.

Horrifying. And beautiful.”

For the entire first half of Evenfall characters are telling Ember how horrible and cruel the crescent prince is. That he is a murderer and only craves power. That he wants to enslave her and bend her to his will. But when we finally “meet” him, he just seemed…blah. I was expecting the Beast that trapped the Beauty, the High Lord of the shadows and night, the Cruel Prince with sarcasm and charm. But he wasn’t any of those things. He may have been described in a beautiful way to make anyone swoon, but his character fell flat. For all the time it took to build the first nineteen chapters, I would have expected twice the time to build up his and Ember’s relationship.

But alas, the details and buildup of that relationship was just as quick as my eyes fluttering shut at the beginning of this book.

The relationship between Ember and the crescent prince had barely any beginning before it jumped right into the middle! This man has lived for years upon years in isolation, so how is he so quick to be familiar with Ember being around? A gradual relationship was what was needed for this story. One where the reader could REALLY connect with both characters on a different level. This would have been the opportune time to really sharpen and mold Ember and the crescent prince.

I am left feeling like I know the characters as if another reader had explained them to me, instead of me seeing them for myself. The authors touched the surface of them, but I feel no depth and no kinship to them. I think the only character I TRULY care for in this story, is the dog. And what a precious dog she is! Though I don’t feel a strong and heart-wrenching passion for these people, my interest is still peeked for what happens and the possibilities of what COULD happen. This story ends with a cliff-hanger that DOES leave me wanting more, if only to know what happens to the cruel-but-not-so-cruel prince.

Though my review comes off more negative than positive, I find that I am much more appreciative of this story than I sound. It was creative and beautifully crafted, I just wish there was an even and consistent flow throughout the read. I wanted to be engaged and hooked the entire time while reading, not just for the last half. I am hoping the characters will have a stronger presence in the next story, which I plan on reading. It was a beautifully woven tale of magic and adventure, so hopefully it is in book two where I will really fall in love.

3-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, Book 1) by Holly Black

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Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Opinion:

This tale may have faeries that harness such beauty that your throat will constrict on sight, a court of royalty both fierce and alluring, and a human girl thrust upon its center.

But this isn’t your typical Fae tale, and it isn’t for the fainthearted.

There are tricksters and murderers, kin slayers and cruel rulers.

There are romances with slit eyes and truths entwined in riddles.

There are faeries as flinty as a fox, ones who love tyrannical tricks and depraved deadly deeds.

But sometimes the most cold-blooded becomes the compassionate, and the most sympathetic becomes the sadistic.

Buckle up boys and girls. Your sweet faeries are dripping in poison.

At the age of seven Jude and her sisters were swept away to a land called faerie by the murderer of their parents, the general of the High King at the High Court of Faerie. After being forced to adapt to her new surroundings and way of life, Jude grows to love faerie even though humans are looked down upon. Ten years later, Jude can finally call the land of Faerie home with the goals of becoming a Knight to the High King. But Jude’s life in Faerie is far from easy. She is ridiculed and tortured by the Fae, especially by the youngest Prince of the High Court and his minions. Usually choosing to be meek and keep her head down, Jude decides to show a different hand. As she fights to win a place at court, she realizes that the politics and deceptions in the inner circle might just be more than she bargained for.

Call me naïve, and maybe even innocent as a stretch, but here I thought I was going to be reading a nice Fae tale with a grumpy prince, a whirlwind romance and the potential of a swift rebellion.

Dear oh me. Was I f*****g wrong.

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Where do I even start?! This book just went to the TOP of my favorites list, and THANKFULLY book two, The Wicked King, is coming out in four days or I might just have to fall over in some sort of dramatic goth-like fashion!

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The tale goes as such: long, long ago, in the far away land called Faerie that isn’t’ all that far away, Jude’s human mother marries a Fae general named Madoc and they sire a half-Fae daughter. Soon the human wife falls in love with a human swordsmith in Faerie, and they both escape to the mortal lands with the half-Fae daughter. Some odd years later AFTER the mortals sire their twin human daughters, said Fae General named Madoc finds the mortal couple and attempts to convince his wife and daughter to return to Faerie. After refusals and threats, the impatient Fae general murders the mortal couple in front of their children. But EVER the gentlemen that this Fae male is, he takes his half-Fae daughter AND her human sisters back to Faerie whilst bringing honor to the wife that he just killed.

Isn’t that just dreamy?

I knew you’d love it.

Let’s start with our lovable, though debatable, female lead: Jude. Jude is the epitome of an underdog. Nobody in Faerie expects much from her and Taryn due to their humanly status, and as such they are ridiculed and taunted mercilessly by Prince Cardan and his loathsome entourage. At first Jude strikes the reader as a meek and dutiful girl, trying to stay in line and invisible to the Fae. But quiet quickly a drastic change in her is thrust upon the reader, and we are given this formidable and fierce female. Plainly put, Jude becomes a Grade-A BADASS with a pension for s**t disturbing. I don’t know about you guys, but I want this girl on my team. Ruthless.

But what is the cause of this sudden change in demeanor for our female lead? Why, it’s the cruel prince himself, Cardan! Naturally it was easy to assume that the romance of this story would be between Cardan and Jude. That Cardan would be a sulky little prince at first meeting and then transform into a valiant and respectable man fit for a fairytale! Well…not so much.

Ladies, Cardan is a hulking jackass.

He is vicious, constantly in a state of inebriation, and does everything in his power to torment Jude. But this isn’t just a case of name-calling and shoving. He tears off other Faeries wings and tries relentlessly to persuade Jude to kill herself. BRUTAL. Truthfully though, I find Cardan to be sinfully delicious and intriguing. The author goes out of her way to confuse the reader about this character, and I am left with a vague and mysterious idea of him that makes me crave more.

The sisters of Jude are also interesting characters that bring an ENTIRELY different level of innocence and cruelty to this book. Taryn embodies the roll of a submissive female. She seems willing to do just about ANYTHING to stay out the path of ruthlessness provided by Cardan and his friends. The girl has a floppy spine, the heart of a rock and I would be GLAD to be rid of her. But Vivi is a completely different case. She is Fae but loathes living in Faerie, and wants nothing more than to return to the mortal world. She is a fiery and outspoken woman, especially when it comes to her EXTREME distaste for Madoc. I wish she had a bigger role in this story, but in the end, I suppose it make no difference.

The Cruel Prince has proved to be an extremely imaginative and completely different story than what I was expecting. These faeries are brutish and downright wild when it comes to getting what they want. I feel completely constricted in what I can say, but look out for those blindsides, because you will NOT see them coming! This book is packed with vague answers, manipulation, mind games, murder and brutality. However, I am slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more descriptions and world building for the land of Faerie. I felt that the author had a HUGE chance to make this world a whimsical and dauntingly beautiful place, but instead it comes across as “okay” due to the lack of description. I also would have preferred a little more insight into Jude’s physical training and to see her grow in that way as well. This was all mentioned, but moved over rather quickly.

With that said, I honestly can’t say anything more or I will give everything away to those of you who haven’t had the chance at reading this FANTASTIC book. I am counting down the days for The Wicked King to be released! Hopefully it will be just as addicting as the first.

4-stars

 

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Release Day Blitz: Dark Days – Semester 1 by Liz Meldon

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Title: Dark Days: Semester 1

Author: Liz Meldon

Genre: Enemies-to-Lovers Paranormal Romance

Release Day: December 6th, 2018

Dark Days Semester 1 Cover

Blurb

A vampire desperate to escape his past. A wolf shifter determined to protect her future.

A killer on the loose.

One year ago, wolf shifter Emma accepted her dream job teaching PE at a Norwegian international school, finally freeing herself from her mother’s incessant matchmaking. As the alpha’s heir, walking away from her pack, from her obligations—potentially even her fated mate—weighed heavy on her heart. But deep down, she knew it was the right decision.

Unfortunately, her sacrifice may have been for nothing—because the new history teacher has fangs.

With a reputation for kidnapping and selling shifters to research labs, a vampire is the last thing Emma needs in her life, but she refuses to be intimidated. This is her territory and she’s not going anywhere, so that grumpy, gorgeous vampire can suck it.

Forced together at a prestigious boarding school, two supernatural enemies are torn between ripping each other’s clothes off…

And ripping each other apart.

Eager for a fresh start, vampire Calder accepts an invitation to teach history at a private school above the Arctic Circle. Its remote location appeals to his sensibilities, and years of practice have taught him how to charm his human colleagues, but a certain gym teacher is seriously trying his last nerve.

All Calder wants to do is teach, so if the strikingly beautiful shifter refuses to see him as anything but the big bad vampire, perhaps he ought to lean into the part and really give her a show.

As summer turns to winter, humans disappear from nearby villages, gone without a trace and presumed missing—or worse.

Only one thing is certain: there are dark days ahead.

Even for creatures of the night.

Dark Days is a standalone enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance duet. While Book 1 has a cliffhanger, all will be resolved with a supernatural happily-ever-after in Book 2.

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Excerpt

My least favorite staff member had been assigned as a floater, helping wherever he could. Calder had shown up this afternoon the most dressed-down I had ever seen him, sporting a pair of dark jeans and a plain white T-shirt, just fitted enough to contour the muscular outline of his figure. I blamed Casual Friday, the last day of our homecoming spirit week, which had also included such hits as Crazy Hair Day, Crazy Hat Day—the works.

Predictably, there had been a squabble over where the vampire would be placed, groups of teenage girls bickering with one another until Calder graciously offered to share his time between everyone. I’d just rolled my eyes and done my best to ignore him, but he was kind of difficult to ignore with all that muscle normally hidden beneath a three-piece tweed suit on display.

I couldn’t blame the girls for fighting over him, either. The guy was gorgeous. They just didn’t know he was a vampiric ass beneath that shiny, hunky veneer.

After giving my precious gymnasium a onceover, the transformation for the upcoming dance making my inner wolf grumble, I folded the sheet of paper in half again and made my way to the far back corner, toward the door that would open to a hallway, my hallway, at the end of which sat my office. Hopefully the internet would have a suggestion or two for “cooler”, more “authentic”, on-theme drink names to appease the senior class president.

Never mind that she and the student council had come up with these ones in the first place.

One of the major items out of place during the prep stages were the chairs. Stacked some fifteen high, they sat bunched together in the back corner, and a crew of seniors had been moving them into the gym all afternoon, lugging the large black and gold chairs up from the storage room one or two at a time. As I neared the towers, my first thought was that they were stacked too high—that it wasn’t safe.

A suspicion proven correct mere moments later when someone on the other side of the chair wall tripped, their shoes squeaking out a familiar cry, followed by the clunk of chairs colliding with chairs. The row to my immediate left teetered, stacked too precariously tall, and I staggered back, tensed, waiting to catch the damn things, then pretend it had hurt me to do so.

Only the stack never fell.

Because some gorgeous vampire dick stopped it.

Calder appeared out of nowhere, his back to the stack, catching and righting it again in the span of about five seconds. It was a risk, using his speed around all these humans, but the music faintly whumping from the AV club’s speakers carried on, as did the chatter, the clatter of furniture, like nothing had ever happened.

“You okay?” I called, Calder and I no more than a foot apart, my heart in my throat as he stared me down, for once neither smarmy nor smirking.

“Yeah, I’m good,” the culprit on the other side called back, and I caught his shadow moving beneath the chair legs, marching back and forth, walking it off. “Tripped over my own feet.”

“These are stacked too high,” I said, still holding Calder’s gaze, unable to tear myself away, my stomach looping. “Cut them down by half so they don’t fall on someone.”

“Yes, Miss Kingsley.”

Calder smelled earthy today. Sandalwood. Oakmoss. Musk. My cheeks peppered with heat the longer I breathed him in, and when he eased away from the tower of chairs, I took a sizeable step back, crinkling the paper in my hand.

“I could have caught that,” I muttered, then ducked my head down and made a beeline for the nearby door. The metal handle squeaked when I gripped it, but the brightly lit corridor on the other side was mercifully silent. As soon as the door closed, the chaos outside disappeared. His scent vanished. Smoothing a hand over my loose waves, I dragged in a deep breath, then exhaled it slowly, making my way by the trio of closed, locked grey doors, beyond which was all my equipment. Balls. Netting. Rackets. The final door, way at the end of the hall, offered me guaranteed sanctuary, a private place to quiet my hammering heart.

The handle squeaked again, and I whirled around at the sound. Calder stalked in, letting the door slam shut behind him, and I turned away, unable to withstand that dark, brooding look for a second longer than necessary. If he wanted a proper thank-you for doing something I honestly could have done myself, he’d be waiting a long time.

I hadn’t made it more than three steps closer to my office before his hand snapped around my elbow, and my inner wolf snarled when he yanked me back and shoved me against the wall. Hackles up, my lips peeled back as the crumpled paper fluttered to the ground, forgotten at our feet. Calder caged me in with a hand on either side of my shoulders, his face ducking down to meet my eyeline…

Buy Links
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KYteg1

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Stay in the DARK DAYS loop!

Keep up to date with the enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance duet by signing up for Liz Meldon’s mailing list. You’ll receive exclusive content and news regarding Calder and Emma’s steamy romance + paranormal romance deals on release day.

Keep me in the loop!

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Author Bio

Liz is a Canadian author who grew up in the Middle East. She has a degree in Bioarchaeology from Western University, and when she isn’t writing about her own snarky characters, she is reading about other people’s snarky characters, babying her herb garden, loitering on social media, or taking care of her furbabies.

Liz dabbles in both paranormal and contemporary erotic romance. Her paranormals are usually dark and angsty, and her contemporaries are stress-free smutfests, but you’ll find both full of feels. Most of all, she loves writing realistic characters in fantastical settings.

Author LinksWebsite | BookBub | Booksprout | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Newsletter

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Book Review: Joshua and the Shadow of Death (Berserker Series, Book 1) by Gary McPherson

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Amazon.com – Joshua and the Shadow of Death (Berserker Series, Book 1) by Gary McPherson

Barnesandnoble.com – Joshua and the Shadow of Death (Berserker Series, Book 1) by Gary McPherson

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Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by JKS Communications on behalf of the author, for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Crime Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

Plot: “I never thought my life would turn out like this. My best friend Richard Brown is dead. Parts of his brain still paint the wall where he shot himself. Eighteen years ago, he and Barbara entrusted me with curing their adopted son, Harold. I was so sure of myself. After all, I had cured his half-brother at the orphanage. I thought I knew what I was doing, but now I’m not sure of anything.

Richard left me a note telling me to help Harold find the men responsible. Richard claims if we fail to solve his suicide that his company and everyone working there will be lost. What does that mean, and does it matter? How can I help? I am a psychiatrist, not a detective. If I fail, what will become of Barbara? Will Harold’s grief unleash the beast living inside him? The berserker is controlled, but he is not contained.”

Join childhood development psychiatrist Doctor Joshua Zeev as he attempts to find the answers to his best friend’s death and help the family through their grief. Can Joshua survive his insufficiencies? Does Maria’s patient love give him the focus that he needs to discover the truth, or will she be a distraction? Does his challenge of a lifetime, bring answers and closure, or even more perilous dangers?

Opinion:

A suspenseful thriller JUST in time for the holiday season!

Put on those trench coats and grab those magnifying glasses boys and girls, there’s a conspiracy afoot!

Joshua has spent many diligent years working with countless young boys at an orphanage in North Carolina. Two of his most memorable cases were that of two half brothers who were both left at an orphanage by their mother. Both boys were diagnosed by Joshua with “Berserker Syndrome”, a condition that makes the person fly into a blind rage so bizarre that it can be described as being possessed. After curing the youngest of the brothers, Bill, Joshua is enlisted by the adoptive parents of the oldest boy, Harold, in hopes that he may also be cured. Years later in California, Harold is a grown man and Joshua is still living with the family and working with Harold on his blind rage. But when the sudden suicide of Harold’s father Richard Brown occurs, Joshua’s concern for the young man is at an all time high. As he tries to find the reason for his friend’s sudden death, while also keeping Harold under control, Joshua finds himself with more questions than answers.

This story has just about everything I could ask for in a suspense thriller; a man with a dangerous blind rage, blackmail, countless deaths, and even a little bit of romance. Did somebody say swoon?! Though I was expecting a story that focused on the slightly disturbed inner workings of a young man who starts beating people to a pulp out of nowhere; I was instead welcomed with a mystery on the suicide of a man who ran a very profitable weapons company. Though I am not upset about this change of events, I must say that I feel slightly derailed from what I was expecting of this story.

I was hoping to have a better understanding of this “berserker syndrome”, which the reader is introduced to right away at the beginning of the story. The reader is taken through a part of Harold’s life as a young boy when Joshua is first treating him for his condition, and the author paints a nice picture of how little Harold can control his rages. But we are fast-forwarded years later to when Harold is a grown man, and the story turns into more of a “who-done-it” rather than focusing on Harold and his condition. It feels like this initial idea for the book to be based more on the psychiatric and mental side of the experiences of this family was thrown by the waste side a little. I wish it would have had bigger role in the overall telling of this story, instead of just going right into being a search to find out the reason for Richard brown’s suicide. I felt like I didn’t get an in-depth look into Harold as much as I would have liked, which in turn made it harder for me to connect with his character.

Our other main character in this story is Joshua, a psychiatrist who specializes in child development and who had coined “berserker syndrome”. I found that Joshua’s character could have also been given a little more depth and attention. Many times, I found myself slightly irritated with the comments he would make about suicide or other observations. He didn’t come across as the intelligent and worldly man that I think the author was trying to mold him to be. Instead, I found him to be a little dim and overly simplistic in the way he thought and spoke. There were a few examples of Joshua and other characters emotions being TOLD to the reader, rather than SHOWN. A book can tell me someone is sad, but I won’t believe it until I see the evidence backed by the actions of the character.

Characters aside, the overall story has an interesting and thoughtful plot. The Brown family runs a very successful weapons company. Now, I think this may be something to do with nuclear weapons, but I am not very clear on that. Anyways. One day Richard Brown shoots himself in the head in his office in front of Harold (super casual), which commences the true question of the story: WHY?! This takes the reader on a hunt to find the cause of Richard’s suicide, which eventually leads to a bigger scandal. Now I don’t want to give anything away, but BE WARNED that this book will reference some not so pleasant things. Nothing graphic, so don’t worry. I found the journey to the truth in this tale to be likable, but at times a bit too wordy. There was a lot of dialogue that wasn’t completely necessary, but I think was used to give the reader a deeper connection to the characters. Unfortunately, it didn’t for me and I just ended up skimming through those parts.

I think Joshua and the Shadow of Death was an entertaining and different read but didn’t quite hit the mark for me in terms of a deep connection and concern for the characters. I think the plot definitely makes it a great book that had me yearning for what really happened, and I found that I rather enjoyed that aspect of the book. I think the writing and character development can use a little work, but it is still very easy to read and enjoy.

3-stars

 

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Book Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s – Delacorte Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Opinion:

Though I DID read this MONTHS ago, I didn’t review it right away, which in turn has caused me to re-read it so that I could properly refresh myself.

So, my review for Ash Princess…better late than never, right?!

10 years ago, Princess Theodosia Eirene Houzzara’s country was invaded by the Kalovaxians. Her people were slaughtered and enslaved, her home overrun by her enemy, and her mother’s throat was slit before her eyes. Now at sixteen, Theodosia wears a new name, Thora the Ash Princess. She now lives among the people that brought destruction upon her kind, the Astreans, and endures torment and abuse to just live another day. But life as the Ash Princess doesn’t come without it’s catches. Her best friend is a Kalovaxian named Cress who is the daughter of the Theyn, the man that killed Theodosia’s mother; she is whipped and beaten by order of the Kaiser when rebel Astrean groups attack, and she is guarded at all times to ensure that she stays loyal to her enemy. But everything changes when the Kaiser forces Thora to kill a man from her childhood, a man loyal to her mother. Soon Thora finds herself in a position to strike against the Kaiser, and to exact revenge on the people that stole everything form her. But sometimes not everything is fair in love and war, and Theodosia must make a choice when it comes to what she thinks is right.

My mother was known as the Fire queen, regal and strong. But I am the Ash Princess, a living joke.” – Thora, Ash Princess

Okay guys, Check. This. Out.

If any of you know me, you know that I LOVE a great fantasy read about royals and a little bloodshed. It just makes my blood thrum with happiness! Ash Princess does just that by giving the reader a little romance, suspense, turmoil, a question of morals vs. karma, magic, and of course some killing to keep in interesting. This is definitely a story you will have no problem devouring and speeding through, but be warned that it might feel a little “young” depending on your age/preference (despite the killing, etc.) which I will get into in a moment.

Firstly, more about this story! Theodosia (Thora) is sixteen years old and living in her palace that the Kaiser and the Kalovaxians took over ten years prior. After Theodosia’s mother was killed, the Kaiser gave Theo the choice to die or live amongst her enemy. She chose to live, thus thrusting her into the lions’ den and leading a life pretending to hate her own people. The Kaiser is a brutal man who takes what he wants and has no remorse for what he does. He uses Theo as a tool against the Astreans by publicly whipping and beating Theo every time rebel groups try to fight against the Kalovaxians.

When the reader is first introduced to Theodosia, she is living as Thora the Ash Princess. Thora is a timid, meek and subservient girl. Her spirit is broken, and she seems to have given up on ever being rescued and freed from her cage. Though she does have a friend in the palace, Cress, it is still a friend she can’t speak freely to. She is forced to censor herself and put on an act to show the Kaiser that she is loyal to the Kalovaxians, and it is truly sad to read. But what I liked about Thora was that even when she had metaphorically locked Theodosia away, there were still moments where she showed the reader that she hadn’t completely lost herself.

‘“You requested my presence, your highness?” I ask, dropping into a curtsy so deep I am flat against the ground. Even after a decade, my bones still protest the posture. My body remembers-even when the rest of me forgets-that I am not made for curtsying.’ – Thora, Ash Princess

But after the Kaiser forces Thora to kill one of her own, things start to change drastically.  Thora finds herself among rebels that want to rescue her, but instead she makes the decision to stay and work as a spy. Now I can’t go in to too much more detail because I don’t want to give away the good stuff, but I CAN tell you guys about this little romance we have brewing!

Insert: A Love Triangle. Or…is it?

Soren, the Prinz of the Kalovaxians and the son of the cruel Kaiser. He has just come back from apprenticing under the Theyn for 5 years, and APPARENTLY he is a legendary and fierce warrior. Soren proves to be the opposite of his father, and seems like he might genuinely care about changing the world. Blaise is our other male in this triangle, and he is an Astrean who grew up with Theodosia. As part of the rebels plan for Theo, she must basically make the Prinz fall in love with her. Of course along the way some true feelings arise between Theo and the Prinz, but not without some moments happening between Theo and Blaise as well. I can honestly say guys, I am TORN on this one. Usually I ALWAYS favor one character over the other, but I don’t in this story! Will she choose Blaise? Will she choose Soren?? Well I don’t know, because the author left me with this annoyingly HUGE cliffhanger!

Now there is also some magic that is happening in this story. For the Astreans, Spritgems were sacred gems that made up the four elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Water. The gems would give the wielder an extra boost of power to use with their magical element, and were considered very sacred. A select few Astreans would spend years in temples praying to their gods in order to be blessed. Some would be blessed with powers and become guardians, while others would go mad. Once the Kalovaxians took over, they forced the remaining Astreans into the mines to mine for the Spiritgems, while disgracing their beliefs and using the gems as jewelry. Wicked, right? Of course, our poor Theo was forbidden to be around any sort of gems. But if you are wondering why this poor girl is called the “Ash Princess”, the obvious reason is this: the Kaiser forces Thora to wear a crown of ashes every time they throw a party. Now if that isn’t the most legendary and cruel symbol of someone destroying your entire life and forcing you to show it off, I don’t know what is.

The only qualms I have with this story are this: it feels a little TOO young at times, and some things aren’t fully explained. Now I know that our main character is sixteen, but there are some HEAVY things happening in this story that make this character grow up fast. My issue is that Theo, Blaise, and a few of the other characters act and speak in such an adolescent way…that I found myself getting confused. The author is pulling me back and forth between them being mature, and not mature, and I am just not sure which direction I should be going in. If this supposed to be a YA read, or a Teen YA read?

My other small problem is the author not fully explaining things, or not fully building up moments. For example: Blaise tells Theo that she always gets a certain look on her face when she is about to do something rebellious. Theo retorts that he can never stop her anyways. As the reader, I don’t recall this happening much at all? I feel like I am being told something rather than just coming to that conclusion on my own. Another example is when it is said that Soren is a legendary warrior. This seems so shocking to me because I can’t help but imagine Soren as a teenage boy, not a fierce and feared man. There was no context that proves he should be anything else than what I am visualizing, so it left me a bit confused.

Those things aside, I think this is a really great read. I am sitting her twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next book, which I know will be a while from now. Sorry for that LONG ass review, but there was just so much to talk about! Though I did have a few annoyances while reading Ash Princess, I wholeheartedly recommend it if you love YA/Fantasy reads. I am a sucker for anything with royalty and fantasy, so if you are the same then you will REALLY enjoy this book.

4-stars

 

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