Weekly Wrap Up: November 30th through December 7th 2019

Books I’ve Read:

Alone in the Wild

Unmanageable

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas

The Silvered Serpents


Books with Pending Reviews:

Big Lies in a Small Town—Review coming January 14th, 2020

The Vanished Birds—Review coming January 14th, 2020

The God Game—Review coming January 7th, 2020


Books with Published Reviews:

Thin Ice—Review Here

Finding Kyler—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:

Scot Under the Covers

Tucker


Author/Publisher Requests:

Losing Kyler—Author Request

You Are Not Alone—St. Martin’s Press


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Volatile Love—Book Blitz

Metal Bones—Cover Reveal

A Very Wicked Man—Cover Reveal

Meet Me in the Strange—Book Blitz

Doctor Millionaire—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Cover Reveal: Metal Bones by Kathleen Contine

Leo Spearman cares about one thing: getting a cure for Gaeth’s “Steel Elbow”. Yet, when they decide to leave Earth to cure him, they realize they may have to break galactic law to get it. Leo believes everything is going according to plan but when their new ally Sonja comes along, Leo becomes more and more dedicated to the resistance, a group set on stopping the Sol Empire from taking over the galaxy. As Leo and Sonja’s connection starts to grow, Gaeth begins questioning his brothers’ dedication to finding his cure.

Across the galaxy, an alien named Tank is determined to win The Ceremony, hoping to find out what happened to his father, who won before him. Only when he finds his answer, he is forced to escape his home, losing his hand in the process. After being saved by Enzu, she equips him with an arm cannon, the only expense being to work for her and protect a small boy named Myca at all costs. Tank is grateful of Enzu for saving him, but the more time he spends at Bisekt, it makes him question everything and who to trust.

However when an outside threat forces Leo and Tank to work together, they’ll discover if they’ll be able to save the ones they love or if it’s already too late.


Metal Bones 
by Kathleen Contine 
Publication date: March 17th 2020
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Goodreads



Kathleen Contine is a New York-born author currently working on her debut Adult Sci-Fi novel. 
 
Inspired by her love of reading and frequent trips to the library with her mom as a child, Kathleen graduated from Saint Leo University with a B.A. in English with a concentration in professional writing. 
 
Today Kathleen is passionately pursuing the publication of her first book while also sharing her author journey and writing tips on her YouTube Channel and Instagram. You can also check out her Resource Library for more!
 
When Kathleen isn’t writing, she enjoys playing video games, spending time with friends, and playing with her dogs, Freddie and Pepper.

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WWW Wednesday: November 27th, 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:

Foul Is Fair

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.


I recently finished reading:

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)

“A thrilling adventure, through a vibrant city as alive as any character, about a girl willing to do anything to better her circumstances. ” — Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solis is as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas (River Ranch, #3)

Billionaires, cowboys, and romance collide during the holidays in this next book in the River Ranch series!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Ford family ranch. Will one cowboy’s homecoming be the greatest gift of all?

He left town and never looked back.

Cody Ford is a Wall Street honcho with humble Texas roots. This holiday season, he’d be content to just stay in New York and not face his family―and dodge their questions about when and with whom he plans to settle down. . .and if he will do so back at home. But his father isn’t getting any younger, and Cody doesn’t want to miss any last chances to see him and the rest of the folks back on the ranch. The last person Cody was expecting to see? His one-time girlfriend, Lexi Murphy, who’s been working as his dad’s new live-in nurse.

She never forgot him. Can she ever forgive him?

Lexi still holds a grudge against Cody. Back then, the college-bound heartthrob believed he was too good for a small-town girl like Lexi. But now Cody can’t help but see her in a whole new light. Could it be that this beautiful single mother with an unbeatable can-do spirit is the one he’s been waiting for all along? That depends on whether Cody can prove to Lexi that, this time, he means business―and if a sudden snowstorm can lend just the right amount of Christmas magic to help move things along. . .

The Professor of Immortality

Professor Maxine Sayers once found her personal and professional life so fulfilling that she founded the Institute of Future Studies, a program dedicated to studying the effects of technology on our culture and finding ways to prolong human life. But when her beloved husband dies, she is so devastated she can barely get out of bed. To make matters worse, her son, Zach, has abruptly quit his job in Silicon Valley and been out of contact for seven months.

Maxine is jolted from her grief by her sudden suspicion that a favorite former student (and a former close friend of her son) might be a terrorist called the Technobomber and that Zach might either be involved in or become a victim of this extremist’s bombing. Deserting her teaching responsibilities, her ailing mother, and an appealing suitor, Maxine feels compelled to set out and search for her son in order to warn and protect him, even as she knows she should report her suspicions to the FBI to prevent greater carnage.

Unmanageable (Forbidden Cove, #2)

A woman with a plan—and the man who shakes it all up.

Veronica Andersen might not need a man in her life, but in the bedroom . . . well, that’s a different story. With her eye on making partner at her father’s law firm, she doesn’t have time to think about much beyond a fling. So when she can’t get her mind off the hot young thing who walks her dog, Veronica knows exactly what to do.

Brian Walsh isn’t just a dog walker. He’s a former hockey pro who’s rebuilding his life after a career-ending injury on the ice. He’s taking his time and enjoying his current freedom—and the four-legged companionship. If only he could stop fantasizing about the best two legs he’s ever seen. . . .

Brian and Veronica can’t help coming together. Again. And again. Suddenly, Veronica finds herself throwing all her best-laid plans out the window. Could she possibly have fallen in love with a man who’s wrong in every way—except the only one that matters?

Alone in the Wild (Rockton, #5)

In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.

Weekly Wrap Up: November 17th through November 23rd 2019

Books I’ve Read:

The Vanished Birds

The God Game

Finding Kyler

Westering Women

Forever My Duke


Books with Pending Reviews:

The Dead Girls Club—Review coming December 10th

Weekend Fling—Review coming November 26th

Thin Ice—Review coming December 3rd

A Cowboy Like You—review coming November 26th


Books with Published Reviews:

Twenty-one Truths About Love—Review Here

Win Big—Review Here

Into the Inferno—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:

Dark Alpha’s Temptation


Author/Publisher Requests:


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

The Rule—Book Blitz

Tasting Her Christmas Cookies—Book Blitz

Freeing Eden—Book Blitz

Pinky Promises—Book Blitz

Alee—Book Blitz

Unravel You—Book Blitz

Two Thousand Lines—Book Blitz

Back to You This Christmas—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: November 20th, 2019 + Weekly Personal Update

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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?


Personal Update:

I know that I haven’t been posting as much as I used to. I was getting burned out by writing reviews. I was having issues putting together reviews (which explains some of the reviews I have written lately). I was seriously debating just ending the blog because it was becoming a chore to me. Thankfully a 2 week forced hiatus was what I needed and I am back at it.

My forced hiatus started when I took a trip to Texas. See, BK got a new job, which required him to move. We needed to go to Texas to find a place to live. On the way to the airport, he got a phone call from his boss. And guess what….we didn’t have to move. The supervisor for the Southeast had quit and BK was to take over. Talk about last minute!! That was the first week of my hiatus. I spent it unpacking (I had packed up my kitchen and the closets).

The second week was unexpected. Miss R got sick with a strain of strep that was resistant to the antibiotics she was initially given. Her fever didn’t go under 102 for 4 days. It spiked at 104 during those days too. I took her back to the Dr and was prescribed another antibiotic. Because the first medication didn’t work, they ended up having to do a whole bunch of bloodwork on her. Just to make sure there was nothing else going on. She was a trooper and thankfully, is 100% better.

The kids are doing fine. Mr Z and Miss B are in 6th and 8th grade. Mr. Z has had a bit of an issue adjusting to 6th grade (his grades took a nosedive) but he is working to get back on A Honor roll. Miss B is looking at high schools (yikes!!). She wants to be a CSI/police officer. One of the high schools in the area offers a forensics course (4 years with college credit if she completes it) and she wants in.

Miss R started Kindergarten. She has adjusted well to the new schedule. She is advanced too. She knows her sight words, her letters by sight and sound, can count to 110 (believe me, she does it everytime BK and I go out), and is reading words in books. Her teacher will be starting her on bagged books shortly. Plus, her printing is wonderful. Now if she can keep healthy for the rest of the year, I’ll be good.

So, that’s what has been going on with me. Until next week!!


What I am currently reading:

Finding Kyler (The Kennedy Boys, #1)

Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

Will I enjoy this book?

Full of scandal, dysfunctional families, teen soap-opera-style angst and drama, secrets and lies, mean girls and catfights, lust and love, book one in the unputdownable Kennedy Boys series will have you flipping the pages’ way beyond bedtime! Only suitable for readers aged seventeen and older due to mature content and language. Please note this book contains a forbidden love theme featuring first cousins and a cliffhanger. It is not a standalone read.

Books in this Series
Finding Kyler
Losing Kyler
Keeping Kyler
The Irish Getaway – optional short novel

KENNEDY BOYS STANDALONE NOVELS
Loving Kalvin- friends-to-lovers second chance romance
Saving Brad – enemies-to-lovers romance
Seducing Kaden – second chance/forbidden romance
Forgiving Keven – second chance romance

The three Kyler books must be read together. Thereafter, every book in the series will focus on a single Kennedy boy and his love interest, and they will be standalone titles with an HEA and no cliff hanger.


I recently finished reading:

Westering Women

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

The Vanished Birds

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Big Lies in a Small Town

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solis is as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

 

The Look-Alike

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Girl and Justice for Sara comes a thrilling psychological drama about a woman who believes she escaped a brutal murder years ago—but does anyone else believe her?

Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she’s returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.

In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head —that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?

As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?

Foul Is Fair

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job. 

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas (River Ranch, #3)

Billionaires, cowboys, and romance collide during the holidays in this next book in the River Ranch series!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Ford family ranch. Will one cowboy’s homecoming be the greatest gift of all?

He left town and never looked back.
Cody Ford is a Wall Street honcho with humble Texas roots. This holiday season, he’d be content to just stay in New York and not face his family―and dodge their questions about when and with whom he plans to settle down. . .and if he will do so back at home. But his father isn’t getting any younger, and Cody doesn’t want to miss any last chances to see him and the rest of the folks back on the ranch. The last person Cody was expecting to see? His one-time girlfriend, Lexi Murphy, who’s been working as his dad’s new live-in nurse.

She never forgot him. Can she ever forgive him?
Lexi still holds a grudge against Cody. Back then, the college-bound heartthrob believed he was too good for a small-town girl like Lexi. But now Cody can’t help but see her in a whole new light. Could it be that this beautiful single mother with an unbeatable can-do spirit is the one he’s been waiting for all along? That depends on whether Cody can prove to Lexi that, this time, he means business―and if a sudden snowstorm can lend just the right amount of Christmas magic to help move things along. . .

Book Blitz: Freeing Eden by G.S. Kenney

Freeing Eden 
by G.S. Kenney 
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: May 29th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

Goodreads


A unique take on the eternal quandary of “good” versus “evil.”
— Joan D. Vinge, Hugo Award-winning author of The Snow Queen

All trader Zara wanted was to help Kell, a clone, retrieve his maker’s memories and discover who he really is. The conflict-torn planet Eden was supposed to be just a stop en route, but Kell begins recalling fragments of memories from Swifthammer, Eden’s now-deceased resistance leader. Despite Zara’s misgivings, Kell assumes Swifthammer’s role, opposing the planet’s foreign warlord Reuel.

But Reuel’s schemes take a dangerous turn when it becomes clear he has tampered with Kell’s programming. Could the memories Kell now begins to experience be . . . Reuel’s?

Kell struggles to bring peace to Eden by uniting his maker’s heritage with that of the planet’s oppressor, but Zara fears she may be losing her heart to the man who is poised to become Eden’s next and most terrible warlord. Can she help Kell find an identity all his own–and a future they can share together?


Excerpt:

No door was locked on Eden, but Avram knocked at the door of a house that seemed a bit larger than most. A small girl perhaps eight years old opened the door, her blond hair in long braids that hung down her back. Like so many of the children Kell had seen, she was painfully thin. Her clothes were old and faded and patched, but they were clean and neat. Her eyes widened when she saw the strangers at the door, but she spoke politely. “Please wait here a moment. I’ll get my father.”

The father was tall and strongly built, with a long, thick black beard and dark brown eyes. He examined the three strangers and must have deemed them acceptable, for he opened the door wide and said simply, “Come in. There is plenty here for a few more. My name is Seth. You are welcome.”

Avram spoke for the group. “My name is Avram, and these are Kell and Zara. Zara is a trader bringing seed. We need only a place to sleep in your barn, if you are willing.”

Seth smiled warmly. “That, and dinner, I expect. Well, you are welcome to both, and there are rooms in the house, too. We will need seed in this village next spring.”

The family had already sat down for dinner, but the children crowded more closely together and places were set for the three newcomers. An older woman with white hair rolled neatly into a bun at the nape of her neck glanced vaguely at the visitors as they took seats. She looked away, seemingly uninterested, and then she looked back at Kell, watching him as a cat might a mouse. Her eyes glittered in the flickering lamplight as she stared at him. She was tiny and bent. Her face was a map of wrinkles, more pronounced when she squinted to keep him in focus.

Kell couldn’t face the recognition in her eyes. His heart beat faster. He looked at the family around the table: his host, black-bearded and large-boned Seth, the three young children, and the weary housewife Annie, who placed a serving bowl on the table and sat down. He studied the age-worn wood of the table, the empty plates still waiting to be served, the yellowed and peeling paper on the walls.

He’d seen that look of recognition several times since he and Zara landed on Eden, and each time it was harder to face than the last. When he first became conscious back on Zara’s ship, he’d briefly wanted to remember his maker. But now, after a month of being no one but himself, he didn’t want to know more about the man. He was afraid of his maker’s memories.

He glanced at Avram. The old man’s white hair and beard were unkempt as always. When they’d first met, Avram too had stared at him with that I-didn’t-expect-to-meet-you-out-here look, but Avram didn’t meet his eyes now.

“Will you be leading us again, Swifthammer? Like before?” The grandmother asked the question as casually as she might have asked whether he thought it would rain. Silence fell around the table. Though the smell of a hot root-vegetable stew still in its serving bowl beckoned enticingly, no one moved.

Kell’s breath caught. He glanced at Zara, who sat perfectly still on the other side of Avram, her lips rounded in what could have been a silent “No.”

He wrapped his arms around himself and with difficulty returned the grandmother’s gaze. He shook his head slightly, apologetically. “My name is Kell.” His voice sounded hollow in his own ears. His heart was pounding. “Not—” He couldn’t make himself speak the syllables of the strange name. “Just Kell. I’m sorry.”

“It’s we who apologize, Kell.” Seth spoke quietly, but his basso voice reverberated off the walls. He frowned reprovingly at his mother. “But you do look a bit like him. My mother is old. Sometimes she gets confused.”

Around the table, people began serving the stew and eating. “Many of us resemble one another,” Avram said. He patted Kell’s arm and smiled encouragingly. “Too many shared bloodlines. Everyone is someone’s third cousin.”

Kell let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and returned Avram’s smile. He took the serving bowl as it came around and ladled some stew onto his plate. It smelled delicious. Garden thyme, Kell thought. Hardy oregano. Sage. The recognition was sudden and certain. He had no idea where it came from.

This brought him back to the problem the old woman had raised. He had to face it. With his stomach in a knot and his dinner forgotten, he braced himself. He held the spoon tightly in white-knuckled hands that might have bent a more delicate implement. “I’d like to hear about this Sw—” His throat constricted, as if the name had to be kept down. “It’s a strange name.”

Seth laughed. The sound filled the room much like his large-framed body filled his chair, and his amusement overflowed into his words. “It’s a nickname, actually, because he was so good at striking quick, hard blows against our oppressors. Proof, if you need it, that we are a people more comfortable with tools than with weapons. His real name was Yakob. I don’t know his surname. But everyone called him Swifthammer.”

“Kell.” Zara leaned forward to talk past Avram, who sat between them. “You don’t have to do this.” She spoke in Trade, though whether because she didn’t want the others to understand her comment or because of her difficulty with Edenian, Kell didn’t know.

“I can’t keep avoiding it,” he replied in the same language. To Seth, he said, “Yakob.” Yakob . . . —what? “You’ve met him?” The blood pounding in his temples made his voice echo inside his head. He felt dizzy.

“Oh, yes,” the old woman said, a ripple of laughter punctuating the two words into seven or eight happy syllables. “You came by this way when Seth and Annie here were just married and none of their children born. I may forget some things, but I wouldn’t forget you.”

“Come, now, Mother, can’t you see he’s not Swifthammer but a stranger?” Seth chided her as he would a small child. To Kell, he said, “I am truly sorry. She’s mistaken you for him.”

“Mistake?” The old woman laughed again, and her eyes glittered with excitement. “Look at you! Look at him, Seth. Is it not young Swifthammer returned to us?”

“Yes, he looks a lot like him,” Seth said, “but that was years ago.” He frowned impatiently. “Swifthammer wouldn’t be young any more. His beard would be gray now, like mine.”

Kell spoke to the old woman. “Please tell me. What was he like?”

“But surely you remember!”

“No. No, I don’t.” Kell looked away, shuffling through his meager store of memories, but as usual he found nothing. “Can you tell me the story?”

The old woman put down her spoon and sat back in her chair, her eyes unfocused as she remembered. “When you came here last, my children were about the age you are now, and you . . . you looked exactly like you do today. Not one whit different. You rode into the village on a white stallion with that blue cape you favored—”

Kell shivered. A memory surfaced . . . or a dream. “Emblazoned with something . . . silver lightning bolts?”

“Yes. Lightning bolts.”

“It was . . . a vanity. A gift, maybe, from . . .” He almost had it, a memory of a face, but it eluded him. “. . . someone . . .” A group of people, faces vague, wearing worn homespun, working together on a hillside somewhere, prying loose boulders to block the way below. Laughing. “I was trying to get people to resist, wasn’t I?” Kell’s hands felt cold and he was lightheaded, as if his heart had stopped beating in order to pay closer attention to this memory fragment, his and yet not his.

“Yes.” The old woman spoke with the assurance of a schoolteacher whose lesson has been well taught. “You see, you do remember. Before, we faced a terrible choice. Some of us defied the warlords and risked terrible punishment, but most of us did as the warlords wished and planted the drug, though it was evil. But you taught us to plant what should be planted and to hide our crops and harvests. To take to the hills when the armies came through and to hinder the armies when we could.”

“Hinder them?” Kell asked. “How? Surely not by fighting.”

“No,” Seth said. “We wouldn’t do violence, not even to violent people. But sometimes we can alter or hide the ways.”

“And then there was that time we managed to divert the army’s supply wagons,” Annie added, smiling at the memory.

“And do you remember that one year,” the old woman added, “when the apple harvest was so good, and we all baked apple pies for the soldiers, and that poor commander paced back and forth, and finally ordered them onward without bothering us further?” She laughed. “That really confused them. And it was fun. We have never forgotten those lessons, Swifthammer.”

Kell remembered none of these incidents, but he did recall the burnt farmhouse they’d seen riding into this village. It wasn’t the first evidence of the Black Lord’s retribution they’d seen on Eden. He swallowed past a lump in his throat. “They’ve gained you so little in all these years.”

“No! Not little!” Seth slammed his empty palm down on the table, rattling both the dishes and his wife, whose spoon dropped from her hand to clang on the wooden floor. He glared around the table as if to defy anyone to contradict him. No one did. “They have helped us gain self-respect and integrity before God and the community of men! And for that, we would sacrifice the same all over again!”

“As you have too, Swifthammer,” his mother said sadly, “to die as they say you did and to come back to us as you promised.”

Kell shivered as if a ghost’s wings had lightly brushed his cheek in passing. His maker’s ghost. For an instant, he doubted his own substantiality. “How did I . . . did he die?”

“We heard only rumors,” Seth said.

The fragile world Kell had constructed in the last month seemed about to break apart like thin ice under his weight. He looked at Zara, hoping for help. Zara had made no move to eat, nor to brush aside a dark curl that fell across her face. She sat intensely watching her plate as if to make sure that it wouldn’t come to life and walk away. She was breathing shallowly.

Seth’s wife Annie took pity on Kell. “We have been told that the Black Lord killed Swifthammer. But of course, the rumor might be false. For all we know, it might have been the Black Lord’s soldiers that spread this tale.”

“Or it might have happened,” Seth said with a scowl as grim as his voice.

No one spoke. A burning log collapsed in the fireplace. Silently, Seth stood, took a poker, and rearranged the burning wood. The fire blazed brighter.

After a while, Kell asked, “The resistance . . . continues?”

“In its way,” Seth said. “But not like in Swifthammer’s day.”

“Now, Seth,” said his wife. “They try, the ones up in Keephold.”

“Perhaps.” Seth’s jaw tightened, and a scar across his cheek gleamed almost white in the firelight as he frowned. “But if they are doing anything useful, we don’t hear of it out this way.” He jabbed viciously at a log, which fell from where he had just neatly arranged it. He jabbed at it again, then turned to glare at anyone who might be about to say anything further. As if anyone would dare.


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Author G. S. Kenney started reading early, and never stopped. In kindergarten, drawn in by an interesting book with a picture of three witches at a cauldron, she learned to read by starting with Macbeth. Now she writes speculative fiction. Her science-fiction romance novel Freeing Eden, published by Soul Mate Publishing, was a 2018 finalist in the Golden Heart® contest of the Romance Writers of America. The Last Lord of Eden, the second novel in the Ascent of Eden series, will be published by Soul Mate soon. 

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Weekly Wrap Up: November 10th through November 16th 2019

Books I’ve Read:

The Glittering Hour

The Dead Girls Club

Weekend Fling

Thin Ice

Into the Inferno

A Cowboy Like You

Win Big


Books with Pending Reviews:

Win Big—Review coming November 19th


Books with Published Reviews:

Awakening: Rise as the Fall Unfolds—Review Here

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunters—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:

In Her Shadow—Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Ballantine Books

The Only Good Indians—Gallery, Pocket Books/Gallery Saga Press

The Last Human—Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Del Ray


Author/Publisher Requests:

Jane Anonymous—St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Two Thousand Lines—Book Trailer Reveal

Breathe In—Book Blitz

Devious Resolutions Anthology—Cover Reveal

Tempting Heat—Book Blitz

Begin with Me—Book Blitz

Skin and Bone—Book Blitz

Awakening: Rise as the Fall Unfolds—Blog Tour

Season of ’72-–Book Blitz

Beneath London’s Fog—Book Blitz

A Perfect Mistake—Book Blitz

A Whole New Duke—Book Blitz

Take Me to Bed: Bedtime Quickies Collection—Book Blitz

No Broken Beast—Book Blitz

My Billionaire Fake Fiance—Book Blitz

Montana Mistletoe—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday