Excerpt: The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires: Book 1) by Jeffe Kennedy

Book synopsis:

A PRISONER OF FATE

As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?


Excerpt:

“Arise, Your Highness. The realm awaits the sun of Your presence.”

The ritual words cut through the thick smoke of the nightmare, bringing me awake with a start. A bad omen that I hadn’t come out of the dreams on my own—and a sign that gave the images the power to linger in my mind, stains refusing to be scrubbed clean.

The wolf fought its chains, howling in hoarse rage, shedding fire and ash.

The sea churned, bloodred and crimson dark, bones tossed in the waves, white as foam.

The tower fell into a pile of golden rubble, then to fine sand, the grains sliding against one another with soul-grinding whispered screams.

I loathe dreaming, where I have even less control than in the waking world. Calanthe Herself sings sweetly to me of the seas, the plants, and the creatures that walk Her soil. But outside our fragile island, the abandoned lands beyond cry like frightened children in the night. I can’t help them. It’s all I can do to protect Calanthe, and most days I despair of being able to do even that.

Still, with no one else to hear them, they call to me in chaotic images, the nightmares dashing me from one dark scenario to the next. No matter how the dreams plague me, I usually wake when the light of the rising sun reddens my eyelids. I keep my eyes closed, pretending to anyone who checks on me that I’m still asleep. Pulling the pieces of my composure together, I listen to the morning song of Calanthe. The birds sitting high in the canopy to catch the first warming rays of the sun show me the sky. The fish swimming in the sea speak of clean water and plentiful food. Even the trees, the flowers, the small insects in the soil all hum to me of their lives.

All reassure me of the balance, that Calanthe, at least, is peaceful and vital.

Only I and the land I’m tied to exist in that time after sleep and before true waking, in what I call the dreamthink, an almost enchanted bubble where I belong entirely to Calanthe. The emperor does not own me. The crying lands he’s orphaned are silent. My ladies have not yet woken me to wrenching reality and the trials of the day ahead.

Dreams always seem to me a terrible price to pay for the succor of sleep. Neither my naturalists nor my physicians seem to be able to explain the purpose of such dreams. And of course, Anure killed all the wizards, so I have none to tell me if magic can answer those nighttime screams. So without answers, and like the exorbitant tithes I’m forced to send to the emperor, I do pay the price, and nightly. The dreamthink is my reward, my time with Calanthe. A gift arising from waking Ejarat of the earth welcoming the return of Her husband, Sawehl of the sun. In the dreamthink, in Calanthe’s sweet communion, I can believe the old gods are with us still, that they haven’t abandoned us. That I have reason to hope.

“Euthalia, wake up. We’re ready,” Tertulyn whispered in my ear. My first lady-in-waiting, doing her duty as always. She couldn’t know she’d woken me from the nightmare instead of the dreamthink. Or that starting my day this way meant it would be certainly cursed.

No one believes in omens or curses anymore. Or hope, for that matter. In this, too, I am alone.

Euthalia is a mouthful, but no one calls me that except for Tertulyn so it doesn’t matter. Only Emperor Anure has the rank to address me by my given name, and I avoid conversation with His Imperial Nastiness to the best of my ability. Tertulyn has called me by my name since we were children, but only when no one can overhear, as etiquette demands.

As if she’d whispered them into my ear along with my name, the concerns of the realm immediately flooded my mind. The emperor’s emissary should have returned in the night and would want an audience with me—something I’d been dreading, as he never brought good news. Rumors had spread of slave uprisings, possibly even rebellion, as unlikely as that would be, that had the emperor both angry and insecure in his power. The worst possible combination in a man like him.

If I believed a rebellion could succeed, I would rejoice in the battle to come. But I had no hope of that. No one could defy Anure’s vast power and ability to destroy the least whimper of resistance, as all those kingless and queenless lands testified, crying their hopelessness to me every night.

No, such rumors meant the Imperial Tyrant would only tighten his fist—one that already strangled us nearly to death. The prospect of worse to come made me inexpressibly weary, and I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet.

Nevertheless, I had to face the day. A realm awaited the sun of my presence, after all.

I opened my eyes and pasted a serene smile on my lips.

Tertulyn—already wigged, gowned, and decked in fresh flowers—stood a decorous three steps back from my bed, hands folded over her heart. All equally polished and lovely as morning dew, my five junior ladies awaited in a ring around her. They’d all been up since well before dawn to dress themselves before attending me. And yet their eyes sparkled as brightly as the birds that had shown me the sun on the sea, pretty painted lips curved in delighted smiles. Though I was only twenty-six, they made me feel old.

If a witch offered me a magic potion to remove the last ten years and restore my youth—and the innocent belief I’d had then, that my life would be a good one—I’d down it without question. Even if it meant my death the next day. No, that was a lie. I would never shirk my duty to Calanthe, not even for such a fantasy. Not without an heir to take my place. No matter how old and tired I felt.


Purchase Links:

Macmillan Publishers



JEFFE KENNEDY is an award-winning, bestselling author who writes fantasy, fantasy romance, and contemporary romance. She serves on the Board of Directors for SFWA as a Director at Large. 

Her most recent works include Prisoner of the Crown and the upcoming Exile of the Seas, from her high fantasy trilogy from Rebel Base books, The Chronicles of Dasnaria, in the same world as her award-winning fantasy series The Twelve Kingdoms and The Uncharted Realms. She is a hybrid author, and also self-publishes a fantasy series, Sorcerous Moons. Her books have won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015, been named Best Book of June 2014, and won RWA’s prestigious RITA® Award. 

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and on Twitter @jeffekennedy.

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Blog Tour: Nemesis (Circuit Fae: Book 4) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Welcome to my spot on the Nemesis blog tour. Thank you for taking time to read my review. Please make sure to visit the other spots on the tour!!

4 Stars

Nemesis 
by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge 
(Circuit Fae, #4) 
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: March 26th 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Add to Goodreads


Book Synopsis:

What would you do if your beloved girlfriend suddenly became your worst enemy? That dilemma’s all too real for Syl Skye.
As the last princess of the fair Fae, Syl is all things brightness and sun and white flame, but even though she’s Summer incarnate, she’s drawn to Rouen Rivoche, the dark Fae princess-assassin of the Winter Court.

They should be mortal enemies, but they’re best friends. Girlfriends. In love.

That is, until an old enemy puts Roue under a dark spell that makes her forget all about Syl, their lives and their love. Now Roue rules Dark Faerie as a cruel and cold Queen, and she wants nothing more than to destroy Syl and her fair Fae people.

Worse, both opposing Faerie realms stand on the brink of utter destruction, and only their queens, Syl and Rouen, can save them—and only if they can put their differences aside for two seconds and fight together as allies.

But how can you fight against an enemy when your true nemesis is on your team?


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends October 31st

The grand prize is:

  • a brand new Kindle Fire

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eed0146c10/


Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo


Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance–where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds. 

She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.    

She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.

GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality. The Circuit Fae series

Derailed – A Moribund Prequel NovellaMoribund eSampler (FREE)

Moribund

Ouroboros

Dethroned

Inimical

Website

Goodreads Page

Facebook Page

Twitter


Tour Schedule:

September 16th
Urban Fantasy Investigations >> Guest post
cupcakesandbookshelves >> Excerpt
C. J. Beaumont >> Guest post
breen.rb >> Review

September 17th
Rockin’ Book Reviews >> Review
The Book Junkie Reads . . . >> Review
united indie book blog >> Guest post

September 18th
Librorum in Sempiternum >> Review
Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author >> Playlist
Movies, Shows, & Books >> Excerpt

September 19th
Lisa Loves Literature >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Review
Reviews by Jaye >> Review
JL Gribble Online >> Interview

September 20th
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Review
Read With Me >> Review
Sarah Says >> Review


First Line:

In all the books I’ve ever read, Faeries are immortal.

Nemesis (Circuit Fae: Book 4) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

My Review:

I detest picking books up mid-series. I always feel that I am missing out on something by not reading the previous books, which was the case with Nemesis. There were things mentioned that made me think, “Darn it, I wish I had read that book.

I know you all are asking yourselves, “Well, Jolie, WHY did you agree to the blog tour if this happens to you?” Plain and simple, the blurb. There was enough written there that caught my attention. Add in that the LGBT angle and yeah, I needed to read it. Putting my frustration aside, Nemesis was a great book to read.

Nemesis’s plot was super fast. The author wasted no time getting the book going. What impressed me was that she was able to keep the fast pace up the ENTIRE book. I loved it!!

I liked Roue and Syl. They were wonderfully written with compelling backstories. There was a depth to these characters that made them come to life in my mind. But I couldn’t get as connected to them as I wanted to. I had so many questions about different things that were mentioned about them.

I loved Roue and Syl’s relationship. It was evident that they loved each other, which made the scenes with Dark Roue hard to read. Because Dark Roue wanted to kill Syl. I also liked that the author didn’t add sex in the mix until the end of the book. Roue and Syl had some serious sexual chemistry and attraction going on. But it wasn’t the main focus of the book. I loved it!!

I thought the plot with Syl trying to stop the Faerie Apocalypse was interesting. She had to not only battle Dark Roue but her own “generals.” That made for a few tense chapters.

The storyline with Roue made my heart hurt. She didn’t want to battle Syl. She loved her. But she felt she didn’t have a choice when Jarden told her that she had the heart stones. I even felt awful when she changed into Dark Roue after Jarden gave her something that was her mother’s. She was manipulated the entire book (as was Syl).

I didn’t read the previous books but man, I didn’t like Jarden. I did figure out what her connection to Syl’s Glamma was. Well, kind of. There was a bit of a twist that made me go “Whoa.” I didn’t feel bad for her at the end of the book. She got what she deserved.

Speaking of the end of the book, I loved it. That final battle was epic. It was one of the best fights that I have read to date. The author did wrap up the main storyline in a way that I loved. There were a few storylines that were left open. Because there is going to be a book 5!!!!

I do want to add that Nemesis is not a stand-alone book. You do need to read the first four books before reading this one.


I would give Nemesis an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Nemesis. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

WWW Wednesday: September 18th, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

The Grace Year has been on my must read list for a few months. But, I kept having to put it off (real life issues). So, I was excited when I looked at my list of ARC’s to read and it was next. I read a chapter last night and can’t wait to continue reading it.

The Grace Year is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is October 8th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


I recently finished reading:

Rise of the Dragon (The Legend Series: Book 5) by Kylie Stewart

Alexandria is now The Duchess of Avalon, Arthur’s wife and rightful queen. Love declared, promised kept, and title won. Her victory, however fleeting, will cost her dearly.

Avalon now faces the full force of what Mordred has planned for him and his knights. But what he doesn’t know is that one among them has a secret.

Will the person in hiding prove to be friend, enemy, or something else entirely?

And what happens when a ghost from the past resurfaces not as a friend, but as mortal enemy?

Rise of the Dragon is book five of The Legend Series based off of the Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

I was disappointed when I saw that I missed out on book 4 of the series. When I started Rise of the Dragon, I felt that I was missing something. But, nonetheless, it was a good read. An excellent modern retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Rise of the Dragon is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review with in the next week.


What books I think I’ll read next:

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her sixties emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in her worst nightmare

Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she’s been committed to an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she’s “not making it through the week,” Rose is convinced that if she’s to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel’s friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they’re holding all the cards.

Snowfall on Cedar Trails (Sweetwater Springs: Book 3) by Annie Rains

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a heartwarming holiday romance between the a small-town florist and the handsome chief of police. Includes a bonus novel by Miranda Liasson!

Last Christmas was tough for Halona Locklear and her seven-year-old son Theo, who hasn’t spoken a word since his father’s death. This year, Halona wants nothing more than to give him a good holiday and to hear his sweet voice again. Enrolling him in the Mentor Match program might help, but when Theo gets matched with Sweetwater Springs Chief of Police, Alex Baker, Halona realizes that the handsome hero might know secrets about her past that she is determined to keep buried.

Chief of Police, Alex Baker, re-opens his father’s hit-and-run cold case every December, hoping to finally solve it. This year, his plate is full with being a Mentor Match to a young seven-year-old boy as well. His biggest obstacle, however, is fighting his attraction to the boy’s mother, Halona. As Alex gets close to solving his father’s cold case, he learns that those closest to him may be in danger — including Halona. Alex has already lost one of the most important people in his life; he isn’t about to lose her too, even if it means walking away to keep her safe.

Highland Jewel (Royal Highlander: Book 2) by May McGoldrick

The next book in the new lush Scottish historical series from USA Today bestselling author, May McGoldrick.

Maisie Murray is the picture of docility, quiet and compliant in the eyes of her family. To her activist friends, however, she’s a fearless crusader for women’s rights. In the wake of the Peterloo Massacre, Maisie and a friend found the Edinburgh Female Reform Society, and she carries the banner for universal suffrage.

Niall Campbell, a hero of the wars, a decorated officer of the Royal Highland Regiment, is battle weary and searching for stability in his life. A fierce warrior by training and a poet at heart, Niall walks away from the shining career that lies ahead of him, to the dismay of his superiors. In saving his sister when a protest turns violent, he meets Maisie. Their relationship begins as one of experience versus idealism, of scars versus hope. Soon, however, he finds in Maisie the heart he longs for.

When Niall’s sister is arrested and disappears, he quickly realizes his life is not his own, for the British authorities have a mission for him to accomplish in exchange for his sister’s freedom. Overnight, Maisie loses Niall, her friend, and her home. And the wake of the riots that sweep through the cities of Scotland, Maisie’s own sister Isabella is branded a traitor to the crown, and the family must flee to the Highlands. Here in the heart of the Highlands, Maisie runs into Niall again. He has a new name and carries a message of hope―but Niall has a task to complete―and their future rests on their ability to overcome the forces that divide them, or―for the future of Scotland―she must stop the man who owns her heart.

The Fixer Upper (Echo Springs: Book 1) by Maggie Mae Gallagher

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed.

The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires: Book 1) by Jeffe Kennedy

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.

A PRISONER OF FATE

As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

Amy’s Square by Dominic Schunker (not on Goodreads or Amazon yet)

Followers by Megan Angelo

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

Lethal Nights (Brute Force: Book 3) by Lora Leigh

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

Shantatown by Cara Martin and C.K. Kelly Martin

Tanvi isn’t the girl of Misha’s dreams; she’s the girl from his nightmares. She has appeared in his chilling dreams before he even meets her; when he DOES meet her, he falls for her.

Their relationship turns stormy, bordering on abusive, and takes a dramatic turn when they are held captive by a group hoping to extract money from Tanvi’s wealthy family.

But there is something more sinister at work, and the kidnappers and their victims find themselves struggling for survival as a supernatural force from Misha’s nightmares makes itself known in the real world.

Book Blitz: Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized: Book 1) by Annette Marie

Taming Demons for Beginners 
by Annette Marie 
(The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) 
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: September 13th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Add to Goodreads


Book Synopsis:

Rule one: Don’t look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don’t practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don’t listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I’m supposed to act like I don’t know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don’t talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn’t find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn’t notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn’t break the rules.

But I did, and now it’s too late.


From the author of The Guild Codex: Spellbound comes a new series that will plunge an unprepared young woman into the darkest magic of the mythic world.


Excerpt:

Amalia shot me a scathing look. “We’re all summoners.” 

“My parents weren’t.” I resumed stirring the batter with jerky movements. “They didn’t practice magic at all. Neither do I. I’ve never even seen a demon.” That brief glimpse in the library didn’t count. 

I finished folding the batter and shakily poured it into a tube pan. My eyes were stinging—typical Robin, tearing up at the first sign of scary, scary confrontation. As I smoothed the batter into the pan, Amalia stepped back from the counter. 

“Come with me,” she said. 

“Come … where?” 

“You’ll see.” 

I slid the pan into the oven, set a timer on my phone, then followed her across the kitchen. She pulled on a pair of sandals and pushed through the French doors. Her long legs carried her across the sprawling deck and onto the lawn. I stuck my feet into someone’s oversized flipflops and trotted after her on my much shorter legs, shivering in the October air, its chill resisting the afternoon sun’s warmth. 

A large greenhouse was nestled among shrubbery near a high white fence, and Amalia swept into the humid interior. Confused, I peered at the rows of plants as she opened a storage cupboard dominated by a rack of gardening tools. 

Then she swung that open, revealing a hidden staircase leading underground. 

My pulse throbbed in my ears as I cautiously followed her down the dim stairs. She wouldn’t hurt me, would she? Hostile or not, she didn’t seem like the type who’d chop me up and use my decomposing bones to fertilize the greenhouse. 

She halted at the closed door at the bottom and checked I was right behind her. With a cold smirk, she shoved the door open and stepped aside to give me an unobstructed view of what lay beyond. 

Dimly lit by a single bare bulb in the ceiling, the forty-square-foot room was windowless and damp. Water stains streaked the cinderblock walls and unfinished concrete floor, and in the center of the cold, ugly square, a ten-foot-diameter circle shone silver. Lines, arches, intersecting shapes, and hundreds of runes spiraled over the ring, weaving in and out of its interior. I knew exactly what it was. 

A summoning circle. A second one. Unlike the library’s circle, this one held no darkness … but it wasn’t empty. 

A demon crouched inside it. Four long horns rose off its head, a pair protruding from each temple and curving upward. Enormous wings were folded against its broad back, and a thick tail lay on the concrete behind it, ending in a mace-like scale plate. Heavily muscled shoulders supported its large head and those huge horns. 

Even crouched, it was massive. Standing, it would be seven feet tall and built like a linebacker. Dark, reddish-brown skin stretched across bulging muscle. 

Deep-set eyes fixed on me. They glowed like lava, but instead of heat, they radiated primal hatred and zealous bloodlust. Its need to kill, to rip and tear and spill my blood across the floor, hung in the air like a poisonous miasma. 

I didn’t realize I’d moved until my heel caught on something. I fell back into the stairs, slamming my elbows into the concrete. 

Amalia swung the door shut, concealing the circle and beast behind it. 


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends September 26th

The grand prize is:

  • 2x $10 Amazon gift cards

Purchase Links:

Amazon


Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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Weekly Wrap Up: September 8th through September 14th 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Requests,and Author/Publisher Requests will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.


Books I’ve Read:

Holding On To Forever

Steel Crow Saga

The Girl the Sea Gave Back


Books with Pending Reviews:

Holding On To Forever— Review coming September 15th


Books with Published Reviews:

29 Seconds

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Merlin’s Shakespeare

The Mercutio Problem


NetGalley Requests:

Forever My Duke


Author/Publisher/Blog Tour Review Requests:

Christmas in Harmony Harbor—(Forever/Grand Central Publishing)

A Cowboy Like You—Publisher Request (SMP)

Agent Jack—Publisher Request (SMP)


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Fangs and Frenemies—Book Blitz

Feather—Cover Reveal

Alee—Cover Reveal

Rites of Spring—Book Blitz

Submitting to Two Doms—Book Blitz

Married to the Lord—Book Blitz

Not Suitable for Work—Cover Reveal

Georgie’s Secret—Book Blitz

The Long Night: Blood Will Be Served—Book Blitz

Helix—Excerpt

Dope & Diamonds—Book Blitz

Until I Fall-–Book Blitz

Alec—Cover Reveal

Reluctant Heiress—Book Blitz

Shadow Caster—Book Blitz

The Last Huntsman—Book Blitz

Out of Bounds—Cover Reveal

The Minimalist Babe—Book Blitz

No More Bad Dates—Book Blitz

After We Met—Book Blitz

In Over Her Head—Book Blitz


Giveaways I’ve Entered:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Catch Up Sunday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday

WWW Wednesday: September 11th, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.

I have been looking forward to read the Steel Crow Saga. But I kept pushing it back because I had books that needed to be reviewed ASAP. I am finally reading it and so far, I love it!!!

Steel Crow Saga is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is September 24th. Be on the look out for my review after that date.


I recently finished reading:

Holding On To Forever by Siobhan Davis and S.B. Alexander

Secretly dating Coach Parker’s daughter was never part of the plan. Neither was becoming her dealer…

ADAM
Returning to my drug-dealing past wasn’t on the agenda when I accepted the full ride to play ball at Cypress U. But Mom lost her job. And my sister’s medical bills are mounting. So, I’ve no choice but to change the playbook.

When Emily walks into my life, like a fallen goddess with the ultimate power to destroy me, I know I’m screwed. I should steer clear, but I’m the one supplying her poison of choice. Falling for her is a complication I don’t need, but the more she’s around, the harder it gets to walk away. She needs me, and I crave her more than the sport I love.

Now, it’s all on the line. Including the NFL career that’s tantalizingly close.

The stakes are high, but family means everything, so I’ll take my chances.

EMILY
It’s only a problem if it’s out of control. And I have it in hand.

Except a certain a-hole discovers I’m using again, and he threatens to rat me out to my folks. Mom’s president of Cypress U, and Dad’s the illustrious football coach. Appearances mean everything to them, and I’m a continuous disappointment. They told me I’d be out on my ass if I fell off the wagon, so keeping it a secret is my number one priority.

Until the super-hot all-star QB takes more than a passing interest in me. Adam gets me, in a way no guy ever has, filling my head with ideas of forever—and now, I want more.

Dating my dealer is a recipe for disaster, especially when it’s forbidden, but I can’t help myself.

Because I’ve fallen too deep.

And the hole is too large to crawl out of.

Siobhan Davis writes deliciously dark romances and Holding On To Forever is no exception. Normally, I would be “meh” about a drug dealer dating his client. But not with this book. The characters were achingly real and flawed.

Holding On To Forever is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is September 15th. Be on the lookout for my review on that date.


What books I think I’ll read next?

The Lost and the Scarred by T. Marie Alexander

ROX
When I was six, Wran Belmont found me buried in snow and gave me a place to live.

He became my best friend.

When I was fifteen, I gave him all of me—only for him to abandon me.

Now, he’s back and expecting the lost, scarred girl he’s left behind. I’m not that girl anymore. And while I may still have secrets, it will not be as easy for him to retrieve them this time around.

WRAN
When I was eleven, my father lost his job and became a pathetic excuse for a father. A few months later I found Roxanna Raine buried in snow, barely hanging on to life.

Her father was the reason mine was an alcoholic, and I thought about letting her freeze to death.

One look in her eyes and she became my kryptonite. I swore I would get my revenge, though, even if it was on the fair-skinned beauty.

When I was nineteen, I left Rox without an explanation—broken-hearted and even more lost.

Now, I’m back and I’ll do anything to make up for the stolen time.

I am looking forward to reading The Lost and the Scarred. I have read books by T. Marie Alexander before and had enjoyed them. Plus, the blurb got me hugely interested.

The Lost and the Scarred is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is September 16th. Be on the lookout for my review on that date.

Nemesis by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

What would you do if your beloved girlfriend suddenly became your worst enemy? That dilemma’s all too real for Syl Skye.
As the last princess of the fair Fae, Syl is all things brightness and sun and white flame, but even though she’s Summer incarnate, she’s drawn to Rouen Rivoche, the dark Fae princess-assassin of the Winter Court.

They should be mortal enemies, but they’re best friends. Girlfriends. In love.

That is, until an old enemy puts Roue under a dark spell that makes her forget all about Syl, their lives and their love. Now Roue rules Dark Faerie as a cruel and cold Queen, and she wants nothing more than to destroy Syl and her fair Fae people.

Worse, both opposing Faerie realms stand on the brink of utter destruction, and only their queens, Syl and Rouen, can save them—and only if they can put their differences aside for two seconds and fight together as allies.

But how can you fight against an enemy when your true nemesis is on your team?

I am interested in reading Nemesis. I have read plenty of books where the Dark Fae and the Light Fae are at odds. But I haven’t read one where the leaders are dating. So, it should be interesting.

Nemesis is currently on available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review on September 20th.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

Again, this is another book that I keep pushing off. But not this week. I will read it.

The Wives is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is December 30th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

The blurb for this book grabbed me. I love a good mystery/thriller and can’t wait to read this!!

As Long as We Both Shall Live is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review at some point in the next couple of week.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between. 

I am excited to read this book. Girls living in the wild for a year to release magic? Count me in. But my excitement is tempered. I have read mixed reviews.

The Grace Year is currently available for pre-order. Its expected publication date is October 9th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her sixties emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in her worst nightmare
Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she’s been committed to an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she’s “not making it through the week,” Rose is convinced that if she’s to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel’s friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they’re holding all the cards.

I can’t wait to read this book!! The blurb had me hooked and I was excited when I got the email that I was approved for it.

What Rose Forgot is currently on pre-order. Its expected publication date is September 17th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Snowfall on Cedar Trail by Annie Rains

Christmas is always bustling for Halona Locklear’s flower shop, but this year, she’s determined to take some time out to give her young son an extra special holiday. So she should be thrilled when hunky police chief Alex Baker wants to be their not-so-secret Santa. But Halona can’t get too close to Alex. He knows a truth she needs to keep hidden…for her boy’s sake.

Though Alex always had a thing for Halona, he never dared to pursue his best friend’s little sister. But he can’t shake the feeling that the gorgeous single mom and her little boy could use some holiday cheer, even if Halona refuses to let down her guard. But when ghosts of Christmas past threaten, Alex and Halona must decide what matters more: protecting their secrets or opening their wary hearts to new possibilities.

Another book that I can’t wait to read. I have read the previous two books in the series and loved them. I am hoping that Snowfall on Cedar Trail is just as good!!

Snowfall on Cedar Trail is currently on pre-order. Its expected publication date is September 24th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Book Blitz: Shadow Caster (The Nightwatch Academy: Book 1) by Debbie Cassidy

Shadow Caster 
by Debbie Cassidy 
(The Nightwatch Academy #1) 
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Add to Goodreads


Book Synopsis:

Murdering humans is a huge no-no and comes with an off-with-your-head sentence. Doesn’t matter if you don’t remember doing the crime.

I killed a human, and no, it wasn’t on purpose, but that shit doesn’t matter to the council. I’m facing death. So, when I’m offered a deal to avoid execution, I’d be a fool not to take it, even if it means leaving the human world and urban life behind to enroll in the Nightwatch Academy – a gothic monstrosity hidden from human eyes, located way too close to the largest tear in the fabric of our reality.

It would be fun if I had any inclination of becoming a member of the Watch or supporting the shadow knights at keeping the Formorian threat at bay. But heck, the monsters beyond the mist aren’t my problem. I have personal demons to deal with.

Once I’m out, the Watch can shove it.

But one sip from the ceremonial goblet and my plans to coast are out of the window as my powers spark to life.

I’m an anomaly, one the Watch won’t be letting walk any time soon.

My only comfort is a man who prides himself on his ability to harness pain. Battle scarred and formidable, he’s my tutor, my mentor, and the object of some super saucy dreams. He’s completely off limits and my only hope of surviving my first test.

I’ll need to harness my powers fast.

There can be no distractions.

But when my fellow cadets start going missing then returning with no memory of who they used to be and my best friend is taken, turning a blind eye is no longer an option.

Allies are limited when you’re a freak. Luckily, I don’t need a cheer squad to get shit done.  Whoever is responsible better watch out. I’m coming for them, and I’ll be bringing the pain.

The Vampire Academy meets Game of Thrones in this kick-ass, supernatural academy, Urban Fantasy Romance.


Excerpt:

“Wake up, Indie.”

A hand landed on my shoulder and had the audacity to give it a shake.

Fuck off was the desired response, but the word that came out was harrumph.

“Indie, come on. You promised you wouldn’t miss today.”

Today? Oh, yeah, the team exercise, as in there is no I in team, as in I didn’t give a shit. But the exam was the last lesson of the evening, and my bio clock told me the sun had only just set. 

Still, Minnie’s shadow loomed over me, and the heat of her gorgon glare burned holes in the back of my head. 

“The whole day, Indie. You promised to do a whole day.” She reminded me with that stern edge to her tone, which told me that ten-inch-thick steel would break before she would.

Me and my big mouth. Maybe if I faked sickness, she’d piss off and leave me be. Going to shitty classes was the last thing I wanted to do tonight.

I coughed and made a gagging sound.

“Nah-uh,” she said. “The whole frickin’ day and the exam. You skip the test, and we all get a fail. And you don’t want me to fail, do you?”

Urgh. Emotional blackmail, which coming from anyone else I’d be immune to. I rolled onto my back and stared at the pixie-cute woman looking down at me. Her crimson bob grazed her delicate jaw as she leaned over me, and her wide jade eyes were hard with determination.

Over the last two months, I’d learned three things about Minnie Faraday. First, that she wasn’t a stuck-up arsehole like the rest of the Faraday family. Second, she had a soft spot for kittens, and anything small and furry, and third—the most important—that she did not take no for an answer.

Trust me, I’d tried to keep her at a distance. I mean, sharing a room with her didn’t mean we had to be friends. I didn’t need or want any friends here. But Minnie had decided that’s exactly what we were going to be, and she’d pursued me unrelentingly until she’d worn me down.

So, here we were. Two friends in a glare off. One I knew I was about to lose, because yeah, I’d promised not to skip out on the simulation today. Team exercises were graded based on team performance, if one member was a no show, the whole team suffered.

I closed my eyes and blew out a breath. “Fine. Give me five minutes, and I’ll meet you in the lobby.

“Five.” She narrowed her eyes. “I’ll be back to get you if you don’t show.”

I flashed my teeth at her. “Have I ever let you down, pixie -boo?”

“Do not call me that.” She crossed her arms. “You know I hate it.” She sniffed.

“Riiight. So, you just wrote it in the back of your notebook and decorated it with tiny flowers for no reason then?”

She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times and then took a deep breath. “Five minutes.”

She grabbed her book bag and headed out of the room. 

The door didn’t slam behind her.

Not too pissed off then.


Giveaway:

Giveaway ends September 19th.

The grand prize is a $15 Amazon gift card.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251233260/


Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.

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