The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet – Blog Tour

551-09-Winter-Blog---Science-Fiction-Fantasy-Blog-Tour-2020-640x247

#theunwilling #netgalley #mirabooks #harlequin #fantasy #fantasybooknerd #booknerd #bloglife #bookblog

Welcome back and to the final blog tour post for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Winter 2020 tour train. As most of you know, Sci-fi and Fantasy are two of my favorite genres so this Tour was one that I really enjoyed participating in. I’m sad that it’s over, but there are plenty more to come that will be just as fun! So the final installment in this tour is The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet, which I haven’t finished but I have started and am about 15% into and really enjoying it so far! So stay tuned for a follow up post to include my review once I’ve finished. Until then, I am so excited to tell you more about this book and bring you a peak into it!

 

 

The Unwilling : A Novel 

Kelly Braffet

On Sale Date: February 11, 2020

9780778309406, 0778309401

Hardcover

$27.99 USD, $33.50 CAD

Fiction / Fantasy / Epic

576 pages

 

About the Book:

For fans of S.A. Chakraborty’s City of Brass, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles, and George RR Martin’s The Game of Thrones, this high concept medieval/high fantasy by Kelly Braffet is a deeply immersive and penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride.

The Unwilling is the story of a young woman, born an orphan with a secret gift, who grows up trapped, thinking of herself as an afterthought, but who discovers that she does not have to be given power: she can take it. An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, the novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.

For reasons that nobody knows or seems willing to discuss, Judah the Foundling was raised as siblings along with Gavin, the heir of Highfall, in the great house beyond the wall, the seat of power at the center of Lord Elban’s great empire. There is a mysterious–one might say unnatural connection–between the two, and it is both the key to Judah’s survival until this point, and now her possible undoing.

As Gavin prepares for his long-arranged marriage to Eleanor of Tiernan, and his brilliant but sickly younger brother Theron tries to avoid becoming commander of the army, Judah is left to realize that she has no actual power or position within the castle, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond the wall. Lord Elban–a man as powerful as he is cruel- has other plans for her, for all of them. She is a pawn to him and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Meanwhile, outside the wall, in the starving, desperate city, a Magus, a healer with a secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah. The girl who started off with no name and no history will be forced to discover there’s more to her story than she ever imagined.

About the Author:

Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels Save Yourself, Last Seen Leaving and Josie & Jack. Her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. She currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King. A lifelong reader of speculative fiction, the idea for The Unwilling originally came to her in college; twenty years later, it’s her first fantasy novel. Visit her at kellybraffet.com.

 

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.kellybraffet.com/

Facebook: @kellybraffetfiction

Twitter: @KellyBraffet

 

Buy Links:

Oblong Books: Signed, personalized preorders! 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Powell’s

Apple Books

IndieBound

 

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Excerpt – 

Prologue

On the third day of the convocation, two of the Slonimi scouts killed a calf, and the herbalist’s boy wept because he’d watched the calf being born and grown to love it. His
mother stroked his hair and promised he would forget by the time the feast came, the following night. He told her he would never forget. She said, “Just wait.”

He spent all of the next day playing with the children from the other caravan; three days before, they’d all been strangers, but Slonimi children were used to making friends quickly. The group the boy and his mother traveled with had come across the desert to the south, and they found the cool air of the rocky plain a relief from the heat. The others had come from the grassy plains farther west, and were used to milder weather. While the adults traded news and maps and equipment, the children ran wild. Only one boy, from the other caravan, didn’t run or play: a pale boy, with fine features, who followed by habit a few feet behind one of the older women from the other caravan. “Derie’s apprentice,” the other children told him, and shrugged, as if there was nothing more to say. The older woman was the other group’s best Worker, with dark hair going to grizzle and gimlet eyes. Every time she appeared the herbalist suddenly remembered an herb her son needed to help her prepare, or something in their wagon that needed cleaning. The boy was observant, and clever, and it didn’t take him long to figure out that his mother was trying to keep him away from the older woman: she, who had always demanded he face everything head-on, who had no patience for what she called squeamishness and megrims.

After a hard day of play over the rocks and dry, grayish grass, the boy was starving. A cold wind blew down over the rocky plain from the never-melting snow that topped the high peaks of the Barriers to the east; the bonfire was warm. The meat smelled good. The boy had not forgotten the calf but when his mother brought him meat and roasted potatoes and soft pan bread on a plate, he did not think of him. Gerta—the head driver of the boy’s caravan—had spent the last three days with the other head driver, poring over bloodline records to figure out who between their two groups might be well matched for breeding, and as soon as everybody had a plate of food in front of them they announced the results. The adults and older teenagers seemed to find this all fascinating. The herbalist’s boy was nine years old and he didn’t understand the fuss. He knew how it went: the matched pairs would travel together until a child was on the way, and then most likely never see each other again. Sometimes they liked each other, sometimes they didn’t. That, his mother had told him, was what brandy was for.

The Slonimi caravans kept to well-defined territories, and any time two caravans met there was feasting and trading and music and matching, but this was no ordinary meeting, and both sides knew it. After everyone had eaten their fill, a few bottles were passed. Someone had a set of pipes and someone else had a sitar, but after a song or two, nobody wanted any more music. Gerta—who was older than the other driver—stood up. She was tall and strong, with ropy, muscular limbs. “Well,” she said, “let’s see them.”

In the back, the herbalist slid an arm around her son. He squirmed under the attention but bore it.

 

From opposite sides of the fire, a young man and a young woman were produced. The young man, Tobin, had been traveling with Gerta’s people for years. He was smart but not unkind, but the herbalist’s son thought him aloof. With good reason, maybe; Tobin’s power was so strong that being near him made the hair on the back of the boy’s neck stand up. Unlike all the other Workers—who were always champing at the bit to get a chance to show off—Tobin was secretive about his skills. He shared a wagon with Tash, Gerta’s best Worker, even though the two men didn’t seem particularly friendly with each other. More than once the boy had glimpsed their lantern burning late into the night, long after the main fire was embers.

 

The young woman had come across the plains with the others. The boy had seen her a few times; she was small, round, and pleasant-enough looking. She didn’t strike the boy as particularly remarkable. But when she came forward, the other caravan’s best Worker—the woman named Derie—came with her. Tash stood up when Tobin did, and when they all stood in front of Gerta, the caravan driver looked from one of them to the other. “Tash and Derie,” she said, “you’re sure?”

“Already decided, and by smarter heads than yours,” the gimlet-eyed woman snapped.

Tash, who wasn’t much of a talker, merely said, “Sure.”

Gerta looked back at the couple. For couple they were; the boy could see the strings tied round each wrist, to show they’d already been matched. “Hard to believe,” she said. “But I know it’s true. I can feel it down my spine. Quite a legacy you two carry; five generations’ worth, ever since mad old Martin bound up the power in the world. Five generations of working and planning and plotting and hoping; that’s the legacy you two carry.” The corner of her mouth twitched slightly. “No pressure.”

A faint ripple of mirth ran through the listeners around the fire. “Nothing to joke about, Gerta,” Derie said, lofty and hard, and Gerta nodded.

“I know it. They just seem so damn young, that’s all.” The driver sighed and shook her head. “Well, it’s a momentous occasion. We’ve come here to see the two of you off, and we send with you the hopes of all the Slonimi, all the Workers of all of our lines, back to the great John Slonim himself, whose plan this was. His blood runs in both of you. It’s strong and good and when we put it up against what’s left of Martin’s, we’re bound to prevail, and the world will be free.”

“What’ll we do with ourselves then, Gert?” someone called out from the darkness, and this time the laughter was a full burst, loud and relieved.

Gerta smiled. “Teach the rest of humanity how to use the power, that’s what we’ll do. Except you, Fausto. You can clean up after the horses.”

More laughter. Gerta let it run out, and then turned to the girl.

“Maia,” she said, serious once more. “I know Derie’s been drilling this into you since you were knee-high, but once you’re carrying, the clock is ticking. Got to be inside, at the end.”

“I know,” Maia said.

Gerta scanned the crowd. “Caterina? Cat, where are you?”

Next to the boy, the herbalist cleared her throat. “Here, Gerta.”

Gerta found her, nodded, and turned back to Maia. “Our Cat’s the best healer the Slonimi have. Go see her before you set out. If you’ve caught already, she’ll know. If you haven’t, she’ll know how to help.”

“It’s only been three days,” Tobin said, sounding slighted.

“Nothing against you, Tobe,” Gerta said. “Nature does what it will. Sometimes it takes a while.”

“Not this time,” Maia said calmly.

A murmur ran through the crowd. Derie sat up bolt-straight, her lips pressed together. “You think so?” Gerta said, matching Maia’s tone—although nobody was calm, even the boy could feel the sudden excited tension around the bonfire.

“I know so,” Maia said, laying a hand on her stomach. “I can feel her.”

The tension exploded in a mighty cheer. Instantly, Tobin wiped the sulk off his face and replaced it with pride. The boy leaned into his mother and whispered, under the roar, “Isn’t it too soon to tell?”

“For most women, far too soon, by a good ten days. For Maia?” Caterina sounded as if she were talking to herself, as much as to her son. The boy felt her arm tighten around him. “If she says there’s a baby, there’s a baby.”

After that the adults got drunk. Maia and Tobin slipped away early. Caterina knew a scout from the other group, a man named Sadao, and watching the two of them dancing together, the boy decided to make himself scarce. Tash would have an empty bunk, now that Tobin was gone, and he never brought women home. He’d probably share. If not, there would be a bed somewhere. There always was.

In the morning, the boy found Caterina by the fire, only slightly bleary, and brewing a kettle of strong-smelling tea. Her best hangover cure, she told her son. He took out his notebook and asked what was in it. Ginger, she told him, and willowbark, and a few other things; he wrote them all down carefully. Labeled the page. Caterina’s Hangover Cure.

Then he looked up to find the old woman from the bonfire, Derie, listening with shrewd, narrow eyes. Behind her hovered her apprentice, the pale boy, who this morning had a bruised cheek. “Charles, go fetch my satchel,” she said to him, and he scurried away. To Caterina, Derie said, “Your boy’s conscientious.”

“He learns quickly,” Caterina said, and maybe she just hadn’t had enough hangover tea yet, but the boy thought she sounded wary.

“And fair skinned,” Derie said. “Who’s his father?”

“Jasper Arasgain.”

Derie nodded. “Travels with Afia’s caravan, doesn’t he? Solid man.”

Caterina shrugged. The boy had only met his father a few times. He knew Caterina found Jasper boring.

“Healer’s a good trade. Everywhere needs healers.” Derie paused. “A healer could find his way in anywhere, I’d say. And with that skin—”

The boy noticed Gerta nearby, listening. Her own skin was black as obsidian. “Say what you’re thinking, Derie,” the driver said.

“Highfall,” the old woman said, and immediately, Caterina said, “No.”

“It’d be a great honor for him, Cat,” Gerta said. The boy thought he detected a hint of reluctance in Gerta’s voice.

“Has he done his first Work yet?” Derie said.

Caterina’s lips pressed together. “Not yet.”

Charles, the bruised boy, reappeared with Derie’s satchel.

“We’ll soon change that,” the old woman said, taking the satchel without a word and rooting through until she found a small leather case. Inside was a small knife, silver-colored but without the sheen of real silver.

The boy noticed his own heartbeat, hard hollow thuds in his chest. He glanced at his mother. She looked unhappy, her brow furrowed. But she said nothing.

“Come here, boy,” Derie said.

He sneaked another look at his mother, who still said nothing, and went to stand next to the woman. “Give me your arm,” she said, and he did. She held his wrist with a hand that was both soft and hard at the same time. Her eyes were the most terrifying thing he’d ever seen.

“It’s polite to ask permission before you do this,” she told him. “Not always possible, but polite. I need to see what’s in you, so if you say no, I’ll probably still cut you, but—do I have your permission?”

Behind Derie, Gerta nodded. The bruised boy watched curiously.

“Yes,” the boy said.

“Good,” Derie said. She made a quick, confident cut in the ball of her thumb, made an identical cut in his small hand, quickly drew their two sigils on her skin in the blood, and pressed the cuts together.

The world unfolded. But unfolded was too neat a word, too tidy. This was like when he’d gone wading in the western sea and been knocked off his feet, snatched underwater, tossed in a maelstrom of sand and sun and green water and foam—but this time it wasn’t merely sand and sun and water and foam that swirled around him, it was everything. All of existence, all that had ever been, all that would ever be. His mother was there, bright and hot as the bonfire the night before—not her face or her voice but the Caterina of her, her very essence rendered into flame and warmth.

But most of what he felt was Derie. Derie, immense and powerful and fierce: Derie, reaching into him, unfolding him as surely as she’d unfolded the world. And this was neat and tidy, methodical, almost cold. She unpacked him like a trunk, explored him like a new village. She sought out his secret corners and dark places. When he felt her approval, he thrilled. When he felt her contempt, he trembled. And everywhere she went she left a trace of herself behind like a scent, like the chalk marks the Slonimi sometimes left for each other. Her sigil was hard-edged, multi-cornered. It was everywhere. There was no part of him where it wasn’t.

Then it was over, and he was kneeling by the campfire, throwing up. Caterina was next to him, making soothing noises as she wrapped a cloth around his hand. He leaned against her, weak and grateful.

“It’s all right, my love,” she whispered in his ear, and the nervousness was gone. Now she sounded proud, and sad, and as if she might be crying. “You did well.”

He closed his eyes and saw, on the inside of his eyelids, the woman’s hard, angular sigil, burning like a horse brand.

“Don’t coddle him,” Derie said, and her voice reached through him, back into the places inside him where she’d left her mark. Caterina’s arm dropped away. He forced himself to open his eyes and stand up. His entire body hurt. Derie was watching him, calculating but—yes—pleased. “Well, boy,” she said. “You’ll never be anyone’s best Worker, but you’re malleable, and you’ve got the right look. There’s enough power in you to be of use, once you’re taught to use it. You want to learn?”

“Yes,” he said, without hesitating.

“Good,” she said. “Then you’re my apprentice now, as much as your mother’s. You’ll still learn herbs from your mother, so we’ll join our wagon to your group. But don’t expect the kisses and cuddles from me you get from her. For me, you’ll work hard and you’ll learn hard and maybe someday you’ll be worthy of the knowledge I’ll pass on to you. Say, Yes, Derie.”

“Yes, Derie,” he said.

“You’ve got a lot to learn,” she said. “Go with Charles. He’ll show you where you sleep.”

He hesitated, looked at his mother, because it hadn’t occurred to him that he would be leaving her. Suddenly, swiftly, Derie kicked hard at his leg. He yelped and jumped out of the way. Behind her he saw Charles—he of the bruised face—wince, unsurprised but not unsympathetic.

“Don’t ever make me ask you anything twice,” she said.

“Yes, Derie,” he said, and ran.

 

Excerpted from The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet. Copyright © 2020 by Kelly Braffet. Published by MIRA Books.
I hope The Unwilling catches your eye and you take advantage of the opportunity to grab a copy for yourself, maybe even the signed personalized option! How cool is that?! I’m definitely enjoying it so far and can’t wait to see where the story goes. Thank you to Mira Books, NetGalley and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book!

 

Positive Vibes and Happy Reading!

Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long – Review

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#crimethriller #crimefictionnerd #netgalley #mirabooks #harlequin

Well hello there! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day (if that’s something you celebrate), and Happy Weekend!! I’m spending my weekend hosting a Read-a-thon in The Reading Corner Book Lounge on Facebook , I’m on of the Admins of that group. We always have such an awesome time in our Read-a-thons. What better way to blast through your long TBR than spend the entire weekend reading?? It allowed me to read Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long without any interruptions. I know, I know…. a Crime Thriller on Valentine’s Day? I’m a weird person and I like crime thrillers or horror at weird times of the year. LOL Check out out group and ask to join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/645383289222144/about/

 

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Description – 

A small Wisconsin town is being terrorized by the brutal, unrelenting Baywood Serial Killer in Beverly Long’s newest detective series TEN DAYS GONE (MIRA Mass Market Paperback; February 18, 2020; $7.99). In this exhilarating first installment, detective partners A.L. Kitteridge and Rena Morgan are hunting a serial killer who has murdered four women in forty days, ten days apart. With no connections or evidence, A.L. and Rena somehow have to find the next victim before the killer can strike again.

In all their years working for the Baywood police department, detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have never seen anything like it. Four women dead in forty days, each killed ten days apart. With the clock is already counting down to when the next body drops, A.L. and Rena will have to act fast if they’re going to find the killer’s next victim before he does. But identifying the killer’s next likely target is only half the battle. With pressure pushing in from all sides, a promising breakthrough leads the detectives to Tess Lyons, a woman whose past trauma has left her too damaged to appreciate the danger she’s in. Unwilling to let another woman die, A.L. and Rena will put everything on the line to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s deadly spree once and for all—before time runs out again.

 

Review – 

I absolutely love Crime Thrillers, especially with strong female characters. This one didn’t quite meet my expectations but it was in no way a horrible book. We have two main characters, Detectives A.L. Kitteridge and Rena Morgan, who are cast as competent units of the Baywood Police Force but also as two human beings navigating life outside of their careers. There was a huge focus on divorce and marital issues in Ten Days Gone, at times it was a little overwhelming and a downer for me but it clearly served a purpose in the plot line. I did enjoy how the victim been rescued was cast as someone with a physical disability and how it showed her adapting and accepting what happened. We don’t see a lot of that in fiction and it was a refreshing theme.

The character development was solid, but the sub characters popped in and out in kind of a choppy way. It felt a little confusing at times, but didn’t take too much away from the main story. It was clear that the author did her due diligence in research on how police investigations of this severity are handled, it was really interesting to see the Detectives train of thought on what leads to follow and who was a person of interest or not. All in all this was an overall solid 3.5 star read for me. It kept my interest but I wasn’t completely sucked in to the story like some other crime thrillers I’ve read where I obsess over what happens next. The characters were well thought out, and maybe for a reader who is married, or divorced, they will be able to relate more to the story. I have never been either and felt like I was held a distance.

 

Thank you to Harelquin and Mira Books for the opportunity to read Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long before it’s release date! I am so appreciative and enjoyed this book. To all who enjoy crime thrillers and want a good story to help escape the trials of real life, Ten Day Gone will be available online or at a store near you on February 18th. Thanks again for stopping by and as always, drop a comment and let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought! 🙂

 

Positive Vibes and Happy Reading!

Day Zero by Kelly Devos

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#dystopian #apocalyptic #YAdystopian #survivalfiction #goodread #booknerd #netgalley #Inkyardpress

Hi friends! I’m back and following up with a review from one of the blog tours that I participated in for Inkyard Press, for Day Zero by Kelly Devos. This was such an edge of the seat read that it only took me a couple days to finish it, and lucky for me book two of the series releases this year!!

 

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Description –

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

 

Review –

Day Zero is a YA Dystopian/apocalyptic novel in the truest sense. The opposing government parties are at the end of their ropes and starting to war with each other, and the main character Jinx Marshall and her father are at the very center of it all. It took me a few chapters to get into the story and really get a feel for the characters and what was going on, but once I did I couldn’t put the book down. I felt that Day Zero provided a very real picture to possible situations that could happen in our modern day world, and that in it’s own accord was terrifying!!

Some of the characters I found to be extremely annoying, but I believe they were written to be that way. Sisters are annoying, right?! I wouldn’t know because I only have an older brother. The plot line was fast paced, a little choppy and rushed at times, but it all added to the experience. The ending leaves you feeling thoroughly pummeled and full of emotion, but satisfied enough to wait for the sequel that you won’t feel like throwing the book across the room. All in all, this is definitely a must read for anyone who likes relatable dystopian stories.

 

 

Thanks for checking out another book review of mine. I’d love to hear if you’ve read the book and what your thoughts were. Or, if you have any other dystopian recommendations feel free to add them in the comments. 🙂

 

Positive Vibes and Happy Reading!

 

Third to Die by Allison Brennan- Blog Tour

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#thethirdtodie #crimefiction #crimethriller #serialkillerfiction #harlequin #MIRAbooks

 

Hello and welcome back to another fabulous Blog Tour!! Thank you so much to Harlequin and MIRA Books for inviting me to participate in the Winter 2020 Mystery/Thriller Tour. It was so hard not to choose more than one book from this tour as I do love me some Thrillers! I am a huge fan of crime thrillers that have serial killer characters in them, so for me it was a no brainer to pick The Third To Die by Allison Brennan. I haven’t finished reading it yet but I’m almost halfway through and absolutely loving it!! I’m excited to bring you some more information about Allison and where to find a copy of her book, as well as an excerpt from the book. Let’s get this party started!!

 

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The Third to Die : A Novel 

Allison Brennan

On Sale Date: February 4, 2020

9780778309444, 0778309444

Hardcover

$26.99 USD, $33.50 CAD

Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense 

464 pages

 

About the Book:              9780778309444_RHC_PRD

New York Times bestselling author and gifted storyteller Allison Brennan’s new standalone thriller features a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer.

 

Brennan’s novel will launch a book-a-year series featuring a fabulous cast of recurring characters. It’s the story of a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer; and the bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for the future books in the series.

 

Detective Kara Quinn is visiting her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, after being placed on administrative leave by the LAPD, when she comes upon the mutilated body of a young nurse during an early morning jog. The manner of death is clearly ritualistic; she calls it in. Meanwhile back in DC, special agent in charge Mattias Costa is meticulously staffing his newly-minted Mobile Response Team. One of his first recruits is the brilliant FBI forensic psychologist Catherine Jones. When word reaches Matt that the Washington state murder appears to be the work of the Triple Killer–it will be the first case for the MRT. Jones has done the only profile on this serial killer, but she is reluctant to join the unit, still shaken by the death of her sister a year ago under circumstances for which she holds herself responsible. But only she holds the key to understanding the killer’s obsessive pattern–three murder victims, three deep slashes a piece, each three days apart, each series beginning on a March 3rd–3/3, then a three-year hiatus before he strikes again.

 

This time they have a chance to stop him before he claims another victim strikes, but only if they can figure out who he is and where is is hiding.

 

About the Author:                     Allison Brennan - photo credit Brittan Dodd

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers, has had multiple nominations and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a five-time RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense. Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids. Allison and her family live in Arizona. Visit her at allisonbrennan.com

 

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.allisonbrennan.com/

Facebook: @AllisonBrennan

Twitter: @Allison_Brennan

Instagram: @abwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52527.Allison_Brennan

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0778309444/httpwwwalli0f-20

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-third-to-die-allison-brennan/1131669020;jsessionid=C1F1BD4B1DE6C665460E505FA5022816.prodny_store02-atgap03?ean=9780778309444 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309444

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780778309444

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-third-to-die/id1464894471

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Allison_Brennan_The_Third_to_Die?id=0sWZDwAAQBAJ
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Here is an excerpt from the book, I hope it grabs you as much as it grabbed me! I am dying to know how this book ends and am not so patiently waiting for the rest of this series. Allison Brennan has definitely become a new author on my “must read” list!!

 

Excerpt –

Wednesday, March 3 

Liberty Lake, Washington 

12:09 a.m.

 

Warm blood covered him.

His arms, up to his elbows, were slick with it. His clothing splattered with it. The knife—the blade that had taken his retribution—hung in his gloved hand by his side.

It was good. Very good.

He was almost done.

The killer stared at the blackness in front of him, his mind as silent and dark as the night. The water lapped gently at the banks of the lake. A faint swish swish swish as it rolled up and back, up and back, in the lightest of breezes.

He breathed in cold air; he exhaled steam.

Calm. Focused.

As the sounds and chill penetrated his subconscious, he moved into action. Staying here with the body would be foolish, even in the middle of the night.

He placed the knife carefully on a waist-high boulder, then removed his clothes. Jacket. Sweater. Undershirt. He stuffed them into a plastic bag. Took off his shoes. Socks. Pants. Boxers. Added them to the bag. He stood naked except for his gloves.

He tied the top of the plastic, then picked up the knife again and stabbed the bag multiple times. With strength that belied his lean frame, he threw the knife into the water. He couldn’t see where it fell; he barely heard the plunk.

Then he placed the bag in the lake and pushed it under, holding it beneath the surface to let the frigid water seep in. When the bag was saturated, he pulled it out and spun himself around as if he were throwing a shot put. He let go and the bag flew, hitting the water with a loud splash.

Even if the police found it—which he doubted they would— the water would destroy any evidence. He’d bought the clothes and shoes, even his underwear, at a discount store in another city, at another time. He’d never worn them before tonight.

Though he didn’t want DNA evidence in the system, it didn’t scare him if the police found something. He didn’t have a record. He’d killed before, many times, and not one person had spoken to him. He was smart—smarter than the cops, and certainly smarter than the victims he’d carefully selected.

Still, he must be cautious. Meticulous. Being smart meant that he couldn’t assume anything. What did his old man use to say?

Assume makes an ass out of you and me…

The killer scowled. He wasn’t doing any of this for his old man, though his father would get the retribution he deserved. He was doing this for himself. His own retribution. He was this close to finishing the elaborate plan he’d conceived years ago.

He could scarcely wait until six days from now, March 9, when his revenge would be complete.

He was saving the guiltiest of them for last.

Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?

Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?

Yet his father just let it happen and did nothing about it! Nothing! Because he was weak. He was weak and pathetic and cruel.

Breathe. Focus. All in good time.

All in good time.

The killer took another, smaller plastic bag from his backpack. He removed his wet gloves, put them inside, added a good-sized rock, tied the bag, then threw it into the lake.

Still naked, he shivered in the cold, still air. He wasn’t done.

Do it quick.

He walked into the lake, the water colder than ice. Still, he took several steps forward, his feet sinking into the rough muck at the bottom. When his knees were submersed, he did a shallow dive. His chest scraped a rock, but he was too numb to feel pain. He broke through the surface with a loud scream. He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t think. His heart pounded in his chest, aching from the icy water.

But he was alive. He was fucking alive!

He went under once more, rubbed his hands briskly over his arms and face in case any blood remained. He would take a hot shower when he returned home, use soap and a towel to remove anything the lake left behind. But for now, this would do.

Twenty seconds in the water was almost too long. He bolted out, coughed, his body shaking so hard he could scarcely think. But he had planned everything well and operated on autopilot.

He pulled a towel from his backpack and dried off as best he could. Stepped into new sweatpants, sweatshirt, and shoes. Pulled on a new pair of gloves. There might be blood on the ATV, but it wasn’t his blood, so he wasn’t concerned.

He took a moment to stare back at the dark, still lake. Then he took one final look at the body splayed faceup. He felt nothing, because she was nothing. Unimportant. Simply a small pawn in a much bigger game. A pawn easily sacrificed.

He hoped his old man would be proud of his work, but he would probably just criticize his son’s process. He’d complain about how he did the job, then open another bottle of booze.

He hoped his father was burning in hell.

He jumped on the ATV and rode into the night.

 

Excerpted from The Third to Die by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2020 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books. 

 

Thank you again for stopping by for another Blog Tour post. I am absolutely loving the opportunities that Harlequin has offered me and look forward to more to come! I am also excited for all of the books I have received advanced copies from through NetGalley. So keep your eyes open for some of my highly anticipated reads so you can get them on your watchlist.

 

Positive Vibes and Happy Reading!

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine – Review

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#NetGalley #BitterFalls #RachelCaine #StillhouseLakeSeries #crimefiction #serialkillerfiction

 

Welcome back to booksnbites for another review of what is quickly becoming one of my favorite crime series! Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine is a riveting  4th book in a fantastic crime series. Each one of these books has been incredibly difficult to put down and either been a one sitting read for me or one that I couldn’t get back to fast enough. If you love crime fiction and a badass female protagonist, then these are definitely the books for you. Unlike other crime fiction series, you do need to read these in order!

  1. Stillhouse Lake
  2. Killman Creek
  3. Wolfhunter River
  4. Bitter Falls
  5. Heartbreak Bay (Coming March 2021)

 

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Description – 

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

 

My Review – 

Yet again another riveting tale in the saga of Gwen Proctor. She truly is one of my fictional heroes and reminds me a lot of another fictional character in a crime series by Ann Frasier, Elise Sandberg. Gwen has been through a lot over the past couple years and just when you think she’ll catch a break one more thing is hurdled at her. I absolutely love Gwen and her two kids, Connor and Atlanta, as well as the hunk Sam. These are characters that are extremely likable, relatable and very easy to get attached to. It was a fast paced book as always, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page! As usual, I couldn’t put it down and am left with an ache for the next book of the series. I just don’t know how Rachel Caine does it, but I don’t ever want her to stop. If you haven’t read this series yet then I highly recommend!!

 

Thanks for checking out another one of my reviews here on booksnbites! If you’ve read any of these then please share with me what you thought in the comments. Same if you have another series or standalone that you think I might enjoy based off of the Stillhouse Lakes series.

 

Good Vibes and Happy Reading! 🙂

Don’t Read The Comments – Blog Tour

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#dontreadthecomments #netgalley #InkyardPress #HarlequinPress #EricSmith #gamerfiction #gamerchicksrule #YAfiction #booknerd

 

Hey friends and welcome back for another one of my blog tour reviews!! First and foremost I want to thank Harlequin and Inkyard Press for the opportunity to read this book before it’s release date. This book is now in stores and available online for purchase, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith. It truly is a powerful and fun read! Parents, this would be a great book for you to read and share with your young teenage children (especially girls) who love to play online video games. It has such a powerful message with a heartwarming cast of characters.

I have been a big fan of Eric Smith just from following the Book Riot’s Hey YA! Podcast that he cohosts with Kelly Jensen. I was so incredibly excited to be able to read a new release of his. Eric has such an incredible passion for YA, and even Middle Grade literature, and it definitely shows in his writing. So, that being said, let’s tell you more about the book and then get to my review. 🙂

 

Don’t Read the Comments  

Eric Smith

On Sale Date: January 28, 2020

9781335016027, 1335016023

Hardcover

$18.99 USD, $23.99 CAD

Ages 13 And Up

368 pages

 

Summary:

Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

 

Author Bio:

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Read-Comments-Eric-Smith/dp/1335016023

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-read-the-comments-eric-smith/1131303425#/

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Dont-Read-Comments/Eric-Smith/9781335016027?id=7715580291810

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/don-t-read-the-comments

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335016027

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Eric_Smith_Don_t_Read_the_Comments?id=Go6PDwAAQBAJ

 

Social Links: 

Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/

Twitter: @ericsmithrocks 

Instagram: @ericsmithrocks

Facebook: @ericsmithwrites

 

 
My Review:

I instantly fell in love with Divya Sharma, our main character, and her passion for family and to fight back in the face of social injustice. There really is nothing that I love more than a fiery, young female protagonist and Eric Smith did just that with Divya. Her love and loyalty to her mother is so raw and endearing. Then we have Aaron, a passionate young man who just wants to make a go of it on his own to pursue his passion of writing scripts for video games, even if it’s not what his parents want for him. The two family dynamics really made this whole story incredibly relatable. I really loved that Divya is a live gamer and has such a huge following, yet Aaron just does it for fun. The game that they play, Reclaim the Sun, sounds so amazing that I really wish it was real. I’d love to play it!!

Then enter the issue of cyber bullying. This is always going to be an ongoing issue in our society, especially because the internet makes it so easy for cowards and psychos to hide behind made up internet personalities so they can target minorities. The issue of the target being a young girl of ethnic background helps bring the issue to the forefront. I did feel that the detective was a little hokie with her speech on creating a task force to take care of it in the area, but the focus was on the kids and the cyber-bullying so it was a minor irk of mine. I absolutely loved the ending, and without giving too much away because no-one loves spoilers, it had me jumping onto my feet and cheering! As I finished the last page I had a cheesy grin on my face, which I would expect nothing less from Eric Smith.

This is a great story about how no-one should put up with bullying, regardless of where it happens or who it happens to. It is not ok, and you have every right to speak up and get help! It’s too easy now a days for instances like this to happen online, and I felt that Don’t Read The Comments was a great way to bring issues like this to light and to show that gamer chicks totally rock! I gave this book a 4 out 5 star rating on goodreads, and have already recommended it to many of my bookish friends. I’ll be sharing this review on my facebook groups that I admin (The Reading Corner Book Lounger and Stay Bookish), as well as my Instagram. So, feel free to find me on all of those and give my posts some love!

 

Thank you for checking out another review for the many blog tours I signed up for. I would love to hear if you’ve read this book or have it on your radar, and if you do pick it up I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Positive Vibes and Happy Reading!

Jan 2020 Wrap Up

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#januarywrapup #january2020books #booknerd #newyearnewbooks #myyearinbooks

 

I am absolutely mind blown that Today is the last day of January. It’s been a quick month full of positivity and struggles, but I survived and it can only get better from here. I’ll just keep repeating my new favorite mantra, Read Books and Be Happy! Speaking of reading books and being happy, I am very happy that this was a successful reading month for me. As of Today I have read a total of 13 books, which is my lucky number. I only read 1 five star book, 9 four star books and 3 three star books. I’ll list they out by rating below, and I’ll provide my review for the 5 star read. 🙂 My 4 star reads are books that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to all, and my 3 star reads just didn’t appeal to me/or were good but not amazing.

 

5 Star Read

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

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Description – Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

 

My Review –  I absolutely LOVED this book in every way possible! It ate me up heart and soul. I thought the setting in the mountains played a huge factor to the witchy, spooky woods vibe. I was so enthralled with the stories of the walkers in Nora’s family, and kept wondering why she said she didn’t have powers. I’d even love to see a novella of all the history of past walkers and their spells, I think it’d be a great addition to the book. The relationship that Nora had with the trees in the woods was magical, and something I always wanted as a little kid growing up on acres of land. I couldn’t get enough of the relationship between Nora and Oliver, it felt very fresh and almost like a young star-crossed lover type. It was almost as if Nora knew something subconsciously without actually having learned it, and to watch the plot progress that feeling kept getting stronger and stronger for me until the plot twist happened. I never saw that coming! I have ranted and raved about this book to all my friends in the book community, and I can’t tell you enough how magical this book is! This is the perfect witchy, spooky book for anyone who loves a light fantasy standalone.

 

4 Star Reads

  • Husband Material by Emily Belden (blog tour read)
  • Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3) by Rachel Caine
  • The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebbeca Raisin (blog tour read)
  • A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen (blog tour read)
  • The Night Country (Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert (NetGalley ARC review)
  • Home (Binti #2) by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Night Masquerade (Binti #3) by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
  • The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

 

3 Star Reads

  • Cari Mora by Thomas Harris
  • The Girl from the Other Side Vol 1 by Nagabe
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

 

I am about halfway through Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake #4) by Rachel Caine, and might finish it before midnight but might not, so that is all she wrote. LOL! So that is my month in books, I’d love to hear about what you read, or if you read any of the books I’ve listed and want to tell me your thoughts on them. Feel free to leave a comment, I love to get to know my readers better! 🙂

 

One thing that I am going to try and get better at doing is keeping up with my Bullet Journal and starting with back filling my January 2020 pages. So, while I nurse the rest of this monster migraine I’m going to go play with my pens and find some funs spreads for the pages of my bullet journal. Stay tuned for reviews and bujo posts!! If there is anything else you’d love to see in my posts please let me know, I’m open to suggestions.

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Positive vibes my friends. Happy Reading!

Cast In Wisdom – Winter 2020 Blog Tour : Science Fiction & Fantasy

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@Harlequin @MiraBooks #NetGalley #blogtour #Fantasy

 

Hey, hey I’m back again with another Blog Tour post!! So I apologize that I don’t have an actual review for this book yet. When I signed up to read it I was not aware that it’s actually the 15th book in a series, and although it sounds like it would be fine to be read as a standalone novel I have this thing where I absolutely do not read books out of order. Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara is actually the 15th book in The Chronicles of Elantra, and it sounds absolutely amazing!! I’m looking forward to reading it eventually, so I’m making plans to start the series in the next couple months. However, I still want to share this fantastic sounding book with you, as I’m sure many of you will want to add it to your TBR!! 🙂

 

 

CAST IN WISDOM

Author: Michelle Sagara

ISBN: 9780778309383

Publication Date: 01/28/20

Publisher: MIRA Books

 

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @msagara

Facebook: @MMSagara

Goodreads

 

Author Bio: Michelle Sagara is an author, bookseller, and lover of literature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels and lives with her husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs. Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is sometimes paid for her opinions about what she’s read by the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many bookshelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.

Book Summary:

In the aftermath of the events in the High Halls, there are loose ends. One of those loose ends is the fieflord, Candallar. In an attempt to understand his involvement—with the Barrani, with the High Court, and with the much hated Arcanum—Kaylin has been sent to the fiefs.

She has mixed feelings about this. There’s nothing mixed about her feelings when she discovers a very unusual building in the border zone between two fiefs, and far more questions are raised than are answered. Her attempt to get answers leads her back to the Imperial Palace and its resident Dragon librarian, the Arkon.

Things that were lost in the dim past were not, perhaps, destroyed or obliterated—and what remains appears to be in the hands of a fieflord and his allies—allies who would like to destroy Kaylin’s friends, the Emperor, and possibly the Barrani High Court itself. This is bad.

What’s worse: The librarian who hates to leave his library has a very strong interest in the things that might, just might, have been preserved, and—he is leaving his library to do in person research, no matter what Kaylin, the Hawks, or the Emperor think.

He is not the only one. Other people are gathering in the border zone; people who believe knowledge is power. But power is also power, and it might be too late for the Empire’s most dedicated Historian—and Kaylin and her friends, who’ve been tasked with his safety.

 

Excerpt –

“You are such a coward,” Bellusdeo said when they’d reached the relative safety of the street. The roads in and around Helen were sparsely populated at the busiest of times, which this wasn’t. They would soon join roads that were crowded at the slowest of times, but Kaylin was dressed for the office. The Hawk emblazoned on her tabard encouraged people to make space. 

Had Bellusdeo hit the streets in her Draconic form, she’d have cleared far more of it—but some of that space would be created by panic, and panic could cause both accidents and the type of traffic congestion that caused the Swords to investigate. Also, it was illegal. 

“It’s not cowardice,” Kaylin replied, scanning the windows of the buildings above ground level. 

“What would you call it?” 

“Wisdom.” 

“Oh, please.”

“There’s no point in arguing with them now. Sedarias thinks it’ll be months before this ridiculous command performance occurs. We have months to attempt to talk her out of—” 

“Out of expressing any appreciation or gratitude?” 

Ugh. “You know they’re grateful. This isn’t about gratitude. It’s about rubbing that gratitude in the faces of the Barrani who attempted to brand you a—an army. An attacking army.” 

“I believe the term you want is Flight.” Bellusdeo’s eyes were orange. 

Hope squawked at the Dragon. Kaylin didn’t understand what he was saying. Bellusdeo did, but her eyes didn’t get any lighter. 

“You know as well as I do,” Kaylin said, emboldened by Hope’s entry into the discussion, “that this is not the time to visit the High Halls. I’m not sure the Emperor has ever been a guest there.” 

“We visited the Halls—more or less—when they came under attack, and the Barrani needed our help.” 

“From the outside. No one invited the Dragon Court in.” 

The chorus of Barrani voices that sometimes offered entirely unasked for opinions on the inside of her head maintained their silence for half a beat. The first person to break that silence was the fieflord. His words were tinged with amusement. 

You cannot expect that the cohort would suddenly cease to cause any difficulty, surely? 

I’m almost certain that the cohort understands why inviting a Dragon—any Dragon—to attend the High Halls would be a disaster. 

For the Dragons? 

For everyone. 

I believe some of the more conservative High Lords might be surprisingly supportive of such an invitation. 

Of course they would. It would be their best shot at killing Bellusdeo. If Bellusdeo died, there would be no new Dragons. No hatchlings. 

There’s no way the Emperor would give her permission to attend. 

Nightshade concurred. In his position, I would not. But I would be prepared, should I refuse to grant that permission, for all-out war. My brother has grown inordinately fond of her; living with you has made him reckless. 

He’s not— 

He has known Bellusdeo for even less time than you. He is willing to trust her in a fashion no one older would. And do not cite the Consort, please. 

Kaylin hadn’t intended to. The Consort seems to like her. 

Kaylin, the Consort “likes” me. But she does not trust me. 

She does. 

“Stop making that face, or it will freeze that way.” Kaylin reddened. 

I understand that you are attempting to avoid the Emperor’s ire. I consider this wise on your part. It is not, however, the ire of the Emperor that will be your most significant problem; he will do nothing to harm Bellusdeo. 

I know that. 

It is the ire of the High Lords. Sedarias is, I believe, genuinely grateful for Bellusdeo’s intervention. She does wish to honor her. But gratitude can be expressed privately—and in most cases, it is. Only rulers feel obliged to make that expression public because the public expression elevates those to whom one feels gratitude. It makes clear to witnesses that the aid tendered—in whatever fashion—is important and significant. The Emperor has codified such significance in public ceremonies and public titles, has he not? 

Kaylin shrugged. 

For Sedarias, however, genuine gratitude is not an impediment to political displays. She can be genuinely grateful and simultaneously, extremely political. She wishes to highlight Bellusdeo’s aid and import to Mellarionne. Why do you think this is? 

Kaylin thought about this. After a long pause, she said, She wants to thumb her nose at the rest of the High Lords, many of whom weren’t helpful at all? 

Nightshade’s silence was one of encouragement. 

Bellusdeo’s a Dragon. So…her presence means that even Dragons—with whom you’ve had a war or two— 

Three. 

Fine, a war or three, were more helpful, or at least more of a genuine ally, than any of the Barrani. 

Yes. I believe that is some part of Sedarias’s intent. That’s not going to help Mellarionne any. 

Perhaps, perhaps not. She will do so as An’Mellarionne. It would be considered a very bold move—but there are those who would assume that Sedarias is confident in her own power, and they would hesitate to challenge her. 

“If you are speaking about me,” Bellusdeo said, her voice almost a whisper of sound, “I must insist that you include me.” 

Hope squawked. 

“Well, yes, that could cause some difficulty,” the Dragon replied. “But I dislike Kaylin’s worry. She is mortal.” Squawk. “The marks of the Chosen don’t matter. She’s mortal. I may be a displaced person in these lands; I may no longer have a home or lands of my own. But I am a Dragon.” 

“I’m not exactly worried about you,” Kaylin said. When one golden brow rose in response, she added, “Not about you specifically. But—there’s no way for Dragon and High Halls to combine that isn’t political. Explosively political. On your own, you can survive more than any of the rest of the cohort—or me. But you won’t be on your own. The cohort won’t abandon you.” 

It was the Dragon’s turn to snort. 

Kaylin reconsidered her words and chose better ones. “Most of the cohort wouldn’t abandon you. Annarion wouldn’t. Mandoran wouldn’t. I don’t believe Allaron would either, from what I’ve seen. And you know what the cohort is like. The minute one of them enters combat to save you, they’re all going to rush in. It doesn’t matter if they’re there for your sake or their friends’; they’ll be there. But this is political, and anything political is far above my pay grade.” 

“You don’t seem to find this insulting.” 

“I consider it one of the biggest advantages of my rank. Which is the lowest rank I could be given and still be called a Hawk.” 

“One of? What’s another one?” 

“I’m not in command. I don’t need to make decisions that might cost the lives of other Hawks. No matter what happens in an action, large or small, I won’t have their deaths on my hands.” 

“But you don’t like being a private.” 

“Well, I could be a corporal, and it would still be mostly true. And the pay is higher.” 

“It’s not much higher,” a familiar voice said. It was Mandoran’s. Of course it was. Kaylin didn’t miss a step. 

“I don’t suggest you try to enter the Halls of Law looking like that.” 

“Like what?” 

“Like thin air.” 

“Oh. That.” Mandoran caused other people some consternation as he materialized to the side of Kaylin that Bellusdeo wasn’t occupying. To be fair, most of the street didn’t notice; people always had their own problems and their own schedules. “I was going to follow Teela into the office, but Teela’s not heading there directly.” 

“So you followed us?” 

“Not most of the way, no. I decided to head straight here to wait, but I caught up because you’re doing the Hawk-walk.” He glanced at Bellusdeo. “For what it’s worth, I think insisting on your presence on the inside of the High Halls is suicidal.” 

“Oh?” The Dragon’s voice was cool. “For who?” 

Mandoran grinned. “Mostly Kaylin.” 

Kaylin watched as flecks of gold appeared in Bellusdeo’s eyes. Mandoran had, once again, managed to set Bellusdeo at ease. Kaylin wondered if that was why he’d chosen to speak when he had. He never treated the Dragon with respect; had the Emperor been present for most of their spats, she wasn’t certain Mandoran wouldn’t be a pile of bleeding ash. Well, ash, because ash didn’t bleed, but still. 

“You left the rest of the cohort behind?” Kaylin asked. 

“We had a vote, and Helen decided it was safest to send me.” 

“She was the tie-breaker?” 

“Ah, no. She didn’t consider the first choice viable. But— we can all see what I see anyway, so unless there’s an attack, having more than one person here is superfluous. If Teela had been coming directly to the office, someone would have followed Teela.” 

“Not you?” Bellusdeo asked. 

“I had to live with Tain for a few years. Compressed into a few weeks, I might add. He’s stuffy and remarkably straightforward. Also, he hates fun.” 

“He hates mess,” Kaylin said, as they approached the stairs that led into the Halls of Law. 

“Define mess. No, wait, don’t. The problem with Tain—at least for me—is that Teela might actually kill us if we’re indirectly responsible for his death. He’s not like the rest of us; we can’t speak to him without shouting, and even if we can, he doesn’t listen half the time. So…it’s a lot less safe to tail Tain.” 

“I imagine it’s safer to tail Tain than it is to tail Kaylin if you’re worried about Teela’s reaction,” Bellusdeo said, frowning slightly. 

“You need a better imagination.”

 

Excerpted from Cast In Wisdom by Michelle Sagara, Copyright © 2020 by Michelle Sagara. Published by MIRA Books.

 

I hope this book intrigues you as much as it does me! If you’ve read any of the books from The Chronicles of Elantra please let me know what you thought of them! Or, if you know that this absolutely 100% can be read as a standalone novel I’d love to know.

 

Happy Reading! 🙂

 

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Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

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#Binti #NnediOkorafor #YAscifi #scifi #ownvoice #amazingreads #booknerd #scifinerd

Hello friends and welcome back! As promised I’m posting more than just ARC and Blog Tour reviews!! This past weekend in the facebook group that I help Admin, The Reading Corner Book Lounge, we held an 8 in 48 Readathon. For those who don’t know what 8 in 48 stands for or what a Readathon really is I’ll provide a little breakdown. A Readthon an event set for a specific length of time, 24/48/72 etc, that you forget all of your adulating and just read!! There are some that are more strict and involved and some that are more lax (like in my facebook groups) and you can read as much or as little as you’d like. So, an 8 in 48 Readathon is where your goal is to read at least 8 hours in the 48 hour Readathon span. These tend to be a bit more popular than the others as we all have our own busy lives and can’t always spend every waking moment reading for 48 hours straight, even though I try my damndest!! LOL. Where was I? Oh yeah, so we held an 8 in 48 Readathon over at The Reading Corner Book Lounge facebook group and it was focused on reading diverse authors. I took it as a great opportunity to finally finish the Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor and I’m so glad I did!! Shout out to my book bestie Danny for recommending this trilogy to me.

 

Trilogy Summary –

In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family’s concerns, Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.

But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti’s spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.

There is more to the history of the Medusae–and their war with the Khoush–than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.

 

My Review – 

I thought it unique that the first book was less than 100 pages, and each book after that got bigger by about 100 pages or so and each had very strategic endings. They made for incredibly quick but powerful reads. Not like anything I’ve read before! I was really intrigued by the familial structure of Binti’s family, and the concept of “the root” which is the name for their home, and the tribal communities. The Medusae are a very intriguing species and I loved everything about them from their jellyfish like bodies to the relationship they develop with Binti. I’d have loved to get to know more about them though, just not enough of the Medusae in the books to satisfy me. Although, it would be a great spinoff idea!

Some of the other aspects of the books I enjoyed were the bio-ships that transport Binti to and from the infamous Oomza University, where the brightest of all species come to study and learn and become great scientists and such in the galaxy. The whole concept of a Master Harmonizer is incredibly brilliant and the mathematical basis behind it far exceeds my math skills! In the third book we see Binti go on her pilgrimage that initiates them as women into their tribe. I loved the idea of this, in Australia it is known as a walkabout, in the Amish belief system known as the Rumspringa. Most cultures have a sort of “coming of age” celebration or ceremony and I thought the version in Binti was very creative, spiritual and full of self-awareness.

Overall each book got a 4 star rating from me. They were creative, exciting and had a very unique viewpoint. For anyone who loves #ownvoices reads, Scifi and strong female characters then this trilogy is 100% something I suggest you read. I think the story of Binti will most definitely stick with me throughout the years, and even will warrant a reread down the road.

 

 

Thank you to all who took the time to check out this review. If you’ve read the Binti Trilogy please share your thoughts on it in a comment. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. If you have other book recommendations you think I might like based off of enjoying the Binti books feel free to share those as well!  Like I mentioned in a previous review post, I’m trying to read more Sci-fi as it’s a genre I really enjoy but need to read more of on a consistent basis.

 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

The Night Country by Melissa Albert – Review

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#NetGalley #TheNightCountry #HazelWood #YAFantasy #FlatIronBooks #review #darkfantasy #fairytales #favoritereads

Hi friends and Happy Sunday!! It’s been a snowy weekend here in Rochester, NY!! The perfect winter weather for staying, snuggling up and reading a good book. So many of you have heard me talk about The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It was one of my absolute favorite reads in 2018 and I’ve continuously recommended it to everyone I know who loves a good fantasy read with a dark twist. Well, I got super lucky and got approved for an advanced ebook copy of the sequel, The Night Country by Melissa Albert!!! Thank you #NetGalley and #FlatIronBooks for the chance to read The Night Country prior to it’s release date. It is out in stores and available to purchase now, and I highly recommend you scurry to get a copy, or both books if you haven’t read The Hazel Wood yet either!! Also, the covers are absolutely BEAUTIFUL so they make great books to display on your shelves.

 

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Description –

The instant New York Times bestseller! The Night Country is the highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, bestselling debut The Hazel Wood.

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors of The Hazel Wood. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors—and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and—if he can find it—a way back home…

 

Review –

 

I cannot tell you how excited I was to get back to Alice three times, Ellory Finch and the Hinterland Ex-Stories. I am a big sucker for dark fairy tales and twisted characters and this series is chock full of it. The start of The Night Country felt so smooth and like it picked right up from where we left off in Hazel Wood. Sometimes it takes a while for a reader to get into the sequel and figure out the chain of events, but this one was seamless.

We get to meet more of the Ex-Stories who followed Alice out of the Hinterland when she left and broke out of her story. I loved that they all lived together, and had meetings kind of like AA meetings. It was interesting to see how Alice interacted with them, and her struggle to decide if she was going to keep her life with them or forsake it all and run away with her mom Ella. The absence of Finch in Alice’s life was written so beautifully, and I loved how the chapters started to intertwine and we really got a great look at Finch’s character now that he’s found his own story.

The ending left me with a million questions, but in a good way!! It’s torture having to wait for the next book. I’m a sucker for torture though and love this feeling. The ending really picked up and was so action packed that I flew through the last 80 or so pages. I don’t think I even blinked! There wasn’t really any dull parts in the book, as any lulls were well written and enough to keep you moving along so as not to lose interest. My only grievance is that I didn’t love it more than Hazel Wood, but this isn’t a bad thing! I did rate The Night Country 4 out of 5 stars (Hazel Wood was a 5 star book for me), and definitely recommend all lovers of Hazel Wood to not skip this book!!

 

 

Thanks for tuning in for my review! I’ve got quite a bit on my agenda Today, but most importantly I do need to get some reading done. So I’m going to sign off for now, but stay tuned for my next blog tour posts and reviews!

 

Happy Reading! 🙂