An outcast in her tight-knit community, Larkspur endures her poor health with help neither from her family nor her fickle sweetheart. At a yearly moon festival she beseeches the spirits for better luck…but they lead her to a foundling elf child she did not want and a quest she did not ask for.
Yet she and the mute spryte form a bond over their shared struggles. When danger arrives at their cottage, Larkspur sets out with the girl she’s named Gentian from the country of her homefolk into the land of songs and tales itself.
Through leagues of treacherous border woods lies miraculous Beledan, where the dwarf chieftains quarrel amongst themselves and, far to the north, the mysterious elves marshal for war…
Phew! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a review for a book not on a tour! But it’s just been so chaotic on my end that I literally haven’t had much time to read. PLUS I had to pack up my books because of some home renovations (good lord do I not want to ever move now, haha!). And on top of all of that I decided to go a little crazy and take my booksta in an entirely new direction. But I’m back now and I’m so happy that my first post back with my new and (maybe) improved self is about A Song for the Road. Because, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been sharing the heck out of this book and now I also get to gush about just how much I loved it.
There’s something that I really love about this style of fantasy and Labadie always manages to make me fall in love with her characters and worlds. Her writing is just so elegant and beautiful that I get transported into the story. And everything is just so well done. There is excellent world building, character development, and the plot is just amazing. And there’s something about it that feels so nostalgic while also being fresh and entirely new.
I wish there were more stories like this out there, but then again I also don’t because then I’d probably feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed by everything. As it is, stories like A Song for the Road really get to shine and stand out when I read them. And I hope that more and more people find this treasure of a book!
About the Author
Catherine Labadie lives in the mountains of the picturesque Carolinas with her husband and her dogs Fannie, Heidi, and Zoey. She’s written and self-published five novels: four new adult fantasy books and one young adult dystopian.
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, the second book in the thrilling and captivating A Blood and Ash Series by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, is available now.
Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance?
Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.
Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.
But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.
OH. MY. GODS. WHAT?! WHATTTT?!!!!!!! WHAT DID I JUST READ?! WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?! I NEED MORE! Seriously though, as soon as I finished this book I reread the last chapter at least 10 times. Then immediately started rereading the series. But yeah, it’s been a couple of weeks (I needed to settle down a little bit before I wrote my review) and I’m still thinking about this book daily for an obscenely large amount of time. Like, I would say it is a problem but I’m seriously too in love with it to even care or believe that it is actually a problem bordering on obsession.
But honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this review. There’s just so much I want to talk about but I also don’t want to risk spoiling ANYTHING because the whole book will have you reeling and DYING to find out what happens next. And that ending. That ending destroyed me. I literally screamed like some prehistoric creature and *carefully* threw my Kindle before quickly picking it back up and rereading the last chapter far too many times expecting a different outcome each time only to receive none (while also desperately trying to pick apart the meaning of each and every sentence in it). So yeah, this book is just next level stuff. Like my mind still cannot comprehend just how amazing and utterly mind blowing it was. And while I thought From Blood and Ash was absolute perfection, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire literally takes it to the next level and just demolishes all of the competition.
I do believe and can firmly state that A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire further solidified the Blood and Ash series as my favorite Armentrout series, and that is saying a LOT. I mean, the Lux series will forever be my favorite series for nostalgia reasons since it was my first introduction to Armentrout (and I have reread it multiple times each year since then), but Blood and Ash swiftly stole my heart for plot and hardcore story reasons. They’re everything I never knew I needed from Armentrout and then some. This series honestly reminds me of a combination of some of my favorite epic fantasies, i.e. The Witcher and Game of Thrones with a little bit of Throne of Glass, but still maintain that very distinct charm that is in every Armentrout book. And they’re just done in such a perfect manner that my only complaint is that this series is not finished and a little piece of my soul left my body when I realized that I needed to wait for book three instead of getting all the answers I so desperately need. But also, you really shouldn’t wait to read these books because they do not deserve to be slept on and while waiting you can just obsessively reread them like me!
About the Author
#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Border Jack Apollo. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was an Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over a hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.
Series: A Chorus of Dragons (3) (Book 3) Hardcover: 640 pages Publisher: Tor Books (August 25, 2020) Language: English ISBN-10: 1250175577 ISBN-13: 978-1250175571
WHAT IF YOU’RE THE ONE WHO HAS TO DIE?
Now that the city of Atrine has been destroyed and Relos Var’s plan to free the dark god Vol Karoth has been revealed—the end of the world is closer than ever.
To buy time for humanity, Kihrin, Janel, and Thurvishar must convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual that will strip the vané of their immortality—a ritual that certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the ones bringing the news.
Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to Vol Karoth is steadily growing in strength. How can Kihrin hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?
You can purchaseThe Memory of Souls at the following Retailers:
Praise for The Memory of Souls
“Lyons has cleverly taken the epic fantasy tropes of prophecy and lineage and stood them on their heads, all while delving deep into her multidimensional characters and spinning great battles with high body counts.” ―Booklist, starred review
Praise for The Ruin of Kings
“[A] jaw-dropping, action-packed story of betrayal, greed, and grand-scale conspiracy . . . Lyons ties it all together seamlessly to create literary magic. Epic fantasy fans looking for a virtually un-put-down-able read should look no further.” ―Kirkus, starred review
“Rich, cruel, gorgeous, brilliant, enthralling and deeply, deeply satisfying. I loved it.” ―Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians
“It was one hell of a ride. I gobbled it up and was hungry for more.” ―Glen Cook, author of The Black Company
“The Ruin of Kings is a fascinating story about a compellingly conflicted young hero in an intriguingly complex world.” ―L. E. Modesitt, Jr., author of the Recluse series
“A thriller plot of revenge and loyalty with a get-under-your-skin and keep-you-reading-all-night mystery at its heart. I loved it.”―John Gwynne, author of Malice
“The Ruin of Kings revs up with the glitz of a high-speed, multi-level video game, with extreme magic and a teen hero with angst.” ―Janny Wurts, author of The Curse of the Mistwraith
These are just perfect books for all the fantasy lovers out there! They’re wild and out there and sometimes confusing, but all roll into one giant amazing story. Because these books are thicc, just like any superb fantasy book should be. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a big book! But the stories warrant all that extra text and time to really portray what Lyons is going for!
One thing I love about epic fantasies is the world building, and while these books do an excellent job at that it is perhaps the character building that shines even more. These characters are whip smart and there are so many differences between them all. Which leads to some really unique individuals and relationships. And since reincarnation is involved Lyons has made it so that gender is and can be extremely fluid in this series, which to me is something that is much needed in the fantasy realm.
The Memory of Souls is the third book in the A Chorus of Dragons series, but it won’t be the last! So, don’t worry, the story shall continue and we will get to dive back into this realm in the not so distant future. Because there’s so much left to tell and so many different storylines to dive into. And because of how every other book in this series is, you know there will be a lot of craziness to look forward to!
About the Author
Photo Content from Jenn Lyons
Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, three cats, and a lot of opinions on anything from the Sumerian creation myths to the correct way to make a martini. At various points in her life, she has wanted to be an archaeologist, anthropologist, architect, diamond cutter, fashion illustrator, graphic designer, or Batman. Turning from such obvious trades, she is now a video game producer by day, and spends her evenings writing science fiction and fantasy. When not writing, she can be founding debating the Oxford comma and Joss Whedon’s oeuvre at various local coffee shops.
The Kingdom has been around for as long as mud has been on the planet. Magic abounds—and dragons are its physical manifestation. Once vibrant and proud, they now live in varying states of depression after having their wings clipped. New dragons have not been created since that fateful day, and the magical force has only dwindled with the passing of each dragon.
The Community, the residents of the Kingdom, are no longer the dominant beings in the world. They have ceded that title to humans, or as they inconsiderately call them, Cromies. To ensure the Kingdom’s survival, the Council of Elders made the monumental decision to concentrate all the magic in one place: New York City. From the far corners of the world, the Exodus occurred. Dubbed the City of York by this mythical Community, here they all follow the Order to stay concealed and not bring harm to the general population. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants at large, the Community lives among them.
In the present day, Emily and her friends Cat and James run a start-up news organization. Their quest to inform the public has them unexpectedly crossing paths with members of the Community. When it is discovered that they have an affinity to magic, they are all provided guides, and they immerse themselves in this hidden world.
A motley cast of additional characters is encountered along the way. Prominent among them is Hollister McAvoy, who is a magically made billionaire. He has harnessed the power emanated by dragons and brought cheap, renewable energy to the city. While the Cromies rejoice, he continues to work toward his ultimate objective. There is an age-old prophecy that foretells the dawn of a magical revival. With access to money and technology, he aims to fulfill it by creating prosthetic wings and returning dragons to their former prestige. Can the Kingdom remain in darkness when dragons once again fly?
City of York contains such a fun an interesting world rolled into one book. Throughout the beginning chapters you get introduced to multiple characters and begin to learn about the world through their eyes. Plus there’s dragons and that’s always an immediate win in my eyes. But dragons aren’t all you’re going to find in this magical world rife with adventure, so buckle up when you pick this one up!
This is one of those fantasy books that dives right into the story and world. So, if you’re not super familiar with many fantasy creatures just stick with it and soon enough everything gets explained. The writing in this book is really unique and Person did a wonderful job of creating something unique yet familiar. You’ll find yourself reminiscing as you read even though it’s an entirely new story.
But all in all this one has a little bit of everything. There’s great characters, delightful creatures, and an enthralling story throughout. And it’s all wrapped up in a wonderfully written way (just read it and then you’ll understand).
About the Author
A. Person is a dreamer who has finally been able to give those manifestation tangible form.
What you have here is mush. Sit in front of a screen for too long and apparently your brain will turn into it. For decades upon decades, the imaginary has been colliding with items heard and remembered alongside those enjoyably misremembered. The media has successfully crafted concepts and rhythms which have incepted their way into my head. The proof is in the pudding or should I say mush.
Take out my brain from which all these files are stored and place it in a slow cooker for ten hours. Set it and forget it. Come back later in the day and uncover the appliance. Stir about the gooey creation nice and well. No one likes lumps in their grits or their brains. Take a spatula full and swing it at a wall. Do so as if you were in a frantic attempt to ward of a pesky little flyer. The globs that fall off, discard. The stuff that sticks is to be held in high regard. This I now present to you, clingy, questionably nourishing, intriguing mush.
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
Ok, like where do I even begin with this book?! It was just even more than I expected, wanted, could ever imagine? But I guess first things first is admitting that I’ve been in at least a month long spiral of binge reading JLA. What can I say? It started with my addiction to the Lux series and need to reread it…. again… And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but it was at least my second time rereading the series this year alone. Armentrout is just one of those few authors that sucks me into a black hole and I would literally be happy to restart any of her books as soon as I finish it and jump right back into the world. But I digress, and I want to get this review up ASAP so that I can remind everyone that this book is available for $1.99 on the kindle TODAY, and there’s like an hour left in the day so I need to share this with the world quickly. And I blame my lateness for this review today on the fact that I’ve been a sleep deprived sloth all day because this book forced me (legit held my brain against my will) to stay up until 8AM to finish it. But there’s just so much I want to say about this book, so I’m going to try and fit it all in nice and neatly!
So, first things first. DAYUM! I typically keep things pretty PG on my reviews (which is funny because I swear like my father), but this book just blew my mind. JLA is amazing at paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy, but I never knew that I absolutely needed an epic fantasy from her as well. Like, mix my absolute favorite genre with probably my most addicted to author and it’s a match made in heaven. Plus we still get that steamy romance, snarky and beyond gorgeous men, and a kick-ass heroine. This book actually made me slip into my really bad habit of reading ahead (I know), and I wound up basically skim/fast reading the book as soon as I started because I was so into it and then I went back and slowly sucked in each and every word.
And I know I’m mostly just talking about my feelings and not the plot, but I really just don’t want to give anything away. It’s just so good that just experiencing the story while you read it is everything. But in a brief synopsis: Poppy is the awkward but tough MC that I love to see. She’s so cringey, but in all of the best ways and I kept finding myself snorting and dying laughing from second hand embarrassment but also applauding and fist pumping for her proving that she can fend for herself. Hawke, oh mamma. Just, muah *kisses*! The snark. His absolutely amazing kink for loving a girl who isn’t afraid to throw a dagger at his face. Just, you need to read it for these two alone. But they’re not the only amazing characters, but you should read it so that you can learn about them all on your own. And then there are also the evil characters that will make you cheer when they get served what they owe, there is a massive curveball (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it), and so much more. So, for probably the millionth time in this review: *psssttttt* read this book, you won’t regret it!
About the Author
# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.
Briana, Princess of Predonia, has lived a happy and sheltered life. Then, in a single night, her father’s kingdom is overthrown, her family is murdered, and centuries of peace are violently shattered. Fleeing for her life, Brie is rescued by Flinton, Derek, and Kove, three powerful protectors who take her under their wing and bring her to their secret stronghold deep in the mountains. There, Brie learns about the Blameless, people who receive magical gifts from the gods after performing acts of supreme selflessness. Among the Blameless, Brie discovers an amazing new world, gaining witty and resourceful companions as she strives to master the mysterious power within her. She determines to seek justice for her family, and, one day, to take back her people’s freedom.
Wow, I cannot believe that this is a debut novel! It was just so good! I’m a sucker for a good fantasy and The Blameless promises a wonderful new series. And even though this is a middle grade book it’s a bit higher level so all of my YA lovers out there will love this book just as much as the younger crowd! And I mean, anyone who loves a great fantasy book will instantly fall in love with this one.
The characters are all so endearing and amusing. I really fell in love with all of their bantering and just found myself really enjoying the read because of it. There was such a great balance between the story and the characters. The hardships that our princess has to face throughout the story show just how much something terrible can strengthen you.
One thing I have to say is that I really need the next book! I devoured this book and just wanted the story to continue. It’s just such a wholesome story that I hope many people discover!
About the Author
My very first job was as a scribe in a library. I was raised by my father, and he passed a love of reading to me, especially fantasy. I have passed this same love on to my seven children and, as a result, much of my adult life has been spent in the realms of their make-believe kingdoms, giving me firsthand experience with the whimsical workings of their young minds. I’ve shared my own stories with them at bedtime, but never chose to write them down until an idea that I just couldn’t ignore blazed into my mind . I live with my family in Ohio, and when I’m not busy navigating the seas of motherhood, working as a nurse, or castle-hopping and enjoying fine wine and chocolate with my husband, I can be found writing the sequel to The Blameless or dreaming up other tales.
The elementals have decided they’re gods, and humans are nothing but fuel for their fire.
A starving trapper.
Merciless drought withers Kira’s ranch, leaving her family hungry—and desperate enough to cross the border into the forbidden forest to trap wild game.
But the forest is infested with tree-scorpions and giant cats that wield elemental invisibility, and they’re hungry, too. When Kira mistakes one elemental creature for another, she ends up with the last thing she wants in her trap: an enemy soldier.
An invisible spy.
Ryon can’t afford to be a prisoner of war. If the Malaano Empire extracts his secrets, the rumors of war will be confirmed—and the tribes stand little chance against the Empire unless they can put aside generations of bad blood for the sake of a Tribal Alliance.
When Ryon’s escape leaves Kira injured and her livelihood in flames, Ryon must choose between aiding her… or returning to his chieftess with vital information. But can he survive the trek when an elemental pursues him for his rejected heritage?
A sacrificial princess.
Imperial Princess Vylia is given a powerful ancient stone as her wavesinger trials approach. But is the stone’s whispering voice from the water goddess, or a masquerading elemental the creator god imprisoned millennia ago?
When Vylia’s diplomatic mission to the tribal lands erupts in fiery revenge, she, Kira, and Ryon must work together to survive—or become pawns in the battle of the gods.
Oh my goodness this book! Not only is the cover beyond gorgeous, but the story is just so amazing and unique! I’m a sucker for elemental based magic, so I knew that I would absolutely love this one as soon as I saw it! Plus, pssstttttt, it’s got a gorgeous map inside! EEEEEE!!!!! Internal and external squeals when I saw that! I don’t know why but I just always find that extra touch of a well thought out map to make all the difference in my reading! I want to be able to see that the landscape makes sense and follow along on the characters’ journeys.
And speaking of characters, there are quite a few of them in this story! But I think Foley did an amazing job at alternative the characters and filling in the story between them all. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are two MCs who are amazing, but the other side characters are what make the story. Since this is the first book in this new series there is a lot of world building and I think that all of the intricacies of all of the characters helped in pulling out the minute details for the world building.
And (*dreamy*) sigh, the world building made me so happy! There is a skill that authors must have when writing a book that is heavy on the world building, and Foley definitely does! She perfectly balanced the world building info dump with being crisp and to the point. It is a tight line to walk and I was so pleased with how perfectly Foley did this. I never found myself bored even if a lot of things weren’t happening and I was just “learning.” Like I said, it takes skill to do this! Plus she was able to create such a unique magic system as well as unique cultures for all of the characters! Plus there’s beasties riddled throughout and Felix is a cutie patootie!
About the Author
Jamie loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. She’s terrified of plot holes and red wasps.
Her husband is her manly cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin and the cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack can run free.
May Sage & Alexi Blake will be revealing art from The Cursed Crown every month leading up to the December 1st release! Today’s art comes from Salome Totladze! Check it and an exciting new excerpt out now!
Title: The Cursed Crown
Author: May Sage & Alexi Blake
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Illustrator: Gabriela Dea Julia
Typography by Sylvia Frost from The Book Brander Boutique
Release Date: 1st of December
About The Cursed Crown:
My lips hitch up an inch as the hulking, slender man bends down to whisper in my ear. “A divided kingdom without a leader is weak. You will fall. You will fail. You will all die without my kindness, little girl.”
He expects me to falter, shiver, and drop my gaze to the ground like the flock of gentry buzzing around him.
My eyes widen in feigned dismay. “Kindness? Why did no one think to tell me you had any?”
I have to allow him that one concession: Rydekar is fun to tease.
He doesn’t even smile. I don’t think anyone has taunted him. “I have none. You will beg nonetheless.”
I just may, in his dreams. And in my nightmares.
No one was ever born less suited to ruling than Rissa, the thorn of the seelie realm—a half-fae so wild she’s spent the better part of a hundred years in the woods.
For all her flaws, she’s the last of the high court bloodline, and the southern king seems to think that’s reason enough to slap a crown on her feathered head. He needs her to unify the seelie forces. She needs him to forget about that nonsense.
In an effort to aid her people without condemning herself to a lifetime of misery, she sets off on a journey to find the one person with a stronger claim to the throne than hers: the cursed prince.
Sealed in the mountains of the Wilderness, under many spells, the heir of the first seelie queen is the only royal strong enough to protect the fae lands from their immortal invaders.
Surviving the untamed tribes and awakening a thousand-year-old prince seem a lot easier than ruling an entire kingdom where everyone hates her very nature.
And her choices won’t come without consequences.
Long have I heard tales of the cursed prince. I’ve seen dozens of paintings and statues of his effigy.
None prepared me for him.
Tharsen is said to be beautiful, when he is exquisite. They tell us of his luminous aura, when it’s brighter than that of a burning star. He is beyond gods and monsters, beyond fae and man.
I’ve never felt so strong a draw to anyone—anyone at all. It’s blinding and painful, claiming a piece of me. Capturing my mind.
We’re kin, he and I. I am the daughter of his brother’s great-great-great-great-grandchild, I think. Yet I feel like I am an insignificant sparrow and he, the fiercest of the beasts soaring the sky. Barely the same species. He’s everything I’m not. The dream to my nightmare.
One only needs to look at him to fall under his spell.
Yes, he’ll do. He’ll rule all of Denarhelm, and all will be only too pleased to bow at his feet. They’ll crawl to him and beg to be permitted to serve.
I can’t deny that the thought terrifies me. This creature could bring an end to the free will of the folk, with no more than a glance.
I dare to caress the icy wall encasing him.
Then I step back, startled. It feels…
His pulse beating so hard I can sense it through the ice. That shouldn’t be possible, but I left the realm of possibility the moment I entered his eternal prison.
He’s a myth come alive. A painfully striking prince under a curse.
I suppose that makes me the hero of the story. The brave princess who rescues him, so that he may rule and I may return to the shadows, where I belong.
My story ends where his begins.
I will return to the solitary woods I’ve claimed as my own, and let the kings of the world play games of war.
Just as I wanted. Everything is within my grasp.
So why am I hesitating?
May Sage is a USA Today Bestselling romance writer dabbling in different genres, although the readers who follow every series know they’re all related.
When she isn’t writing, she spends her time with her German Shepherd, her two Savannahs, and her black rescue cat, in England. She loves reading, ballet, running, and cake. Mostly, cake.
Follow her on Facebook or join her newsletter for the latest update.
Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers Release Date: February 4th 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fiction, High Fantasy, Science Fiction, Magic, Epic Fantasy
It strikes me suddenly that we are all together again, in a way I never imagined we would be.
The thrilling conclusion to the series that began with the instant New York Times bestseller “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.
Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo’s blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.
It barged into my world unprovoked, and all I’ve done is try to put an end to it.
Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.
The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart’s sister.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by trilogies! Trilogies are like the perfect length for books, but also the worst. They’re just long enough to where you never feel like the story is dragging, but then they also pull you so deeply into the story that at the same time you have to suffer through the withdrawals of knowing no more books are coming.
And it seems you have all of the oafishness of an ogre.
It’s always so bitter sweet to get to the end of a series, but Ember Queen was such an amazing finish! It’s just got all of the action, magic, and bits of romance that I love and desire to see in a book! And it has also finally made me excited to get back into kingdom/queendom types of books! As with many YA books there were some predictable moments, but that’s something that I actually look forward to when reading young adult. I don’t know, I just feel as if it comes with the genre.
You had better not kick.
But this series is just one of those pure and simply enjoyable stories to read! It’s got everything you expect and then some! It covered some really important topics surrounding rebuilding stolen kingdoms and I loved seeing how the characters and people in the world were able to regroup, recover, and just live. I really look forward to seeing what Sebastian comes up with next.
About the Author
Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.
After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.
When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.
Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).
The sun is blinding when I step out of the mouth of the cave on weak legs. I lift a heavy, aching arm to shield my eyes, but the effort of even that small gesture makes the world around me spin. My knees buckle and the ground comes up to meet me, hard and sharp with rocks. It hurts, but oh, it feels so good to lie down, to have fresh air in my lungs, to have light, even if it is too much all at once.
My throat is so dry, it hurts to even breathe. There is caked blood on my fingers, on my arms, in my hair. Distantly I realize that it’s mine, but I can’t say where it came from. My memories are a desert–I remember stepping into the cave, remember hearing my friends’ voices begging me to come back. And then . . . nothing.
“Theo,” a voice calls, familiar but so far away. A thousand footsteps beat against the ground, each one making my head throb. I flinch away from the sound, curling tighter into myself.
Hands touch my skin–my wrists, the pulse point behind my ear. They are so cold, they raise goose bumps on my skin.
“Is she . . . ,” a voice says. Blaise. I try to say his name, but nothing comes out.
“She’s alive, but her pulse is faint and her skin is hot,” another voice says. Heron. “We have to get her inside.”
Arms scoop me up and carry me–Heron’s, I think. Again, I try to speak, but I can’t make so much as a sound.
“Art, your cloak,” Heron says, his chest rumbling against my cheek with each word. “Cover her head with it. Her eyes are oversensitive.”
“Yes, I remember,” Art says. Fabric rustles and her cloak falls over my eyes, wrapping my world in darkness once more.
I let myself fall into it now. My friends have me, and so I am safe.
The next time I open my eyes, I’m on a cot inside a tent, the bright sun filtered through thick white cotton so that it is bearable. The pounding in my head is still there, but it’s dull and faraway now. My throat is no longer dry and raw, and if I focus, I have a hazy memory of Artemisia pouring water into my open mouth. The pillow beneath my head is still damp from where she missed.
Now, though, I’m alone.
I force myself to sit up even though it intensifies the pain echoing through my every nerve. The Kalovaxians will return sooner or later, and who knows how long Cress will keep Søren alive? There is so much to be done and not nearly enough time to do it.
Placing my bare feet on the dirt floor, I push myself to stand. As I do, the tent flap pulls open and Heron steps inside, ducking his tall frame in order to fit through the small opening. When he sees me awake and standing, he falters, blinking a few times to ensure he isn’t imagining me.
“Theo,” he says slowly, testing out the sound of my name.
“How long has it been?” I ask him quietly. “Since I entered the mine?”
Heron surveys me for a moment. “Two weeks,” he says.
The words knock me backward, and I sit down on the cot again. “Two weeks,” I echo. “It felt like hours, maybe days.”
Heron doesn’t look surprised by that. Why would he? He’s gone through the same thing.
“Do you remember sleeping?” he asks me. “Eating? Drinking? You must have, at some point, or you would be in much worse shape.”
I shake my head, trying to grasp what I do remember, but very little of it solidifies enough for me to hold on to. Scraps of details, ghosts that could not have been real, fire flooding my veins. But nothing more than that.
“You should have left me,” I tell him. “Two weeks . . . Cress’s army could be back any day now, and Søren–”
“Is alive, according to reports,” Heron interrupts. “And the Kalovaxians have received no orders to return here.”
I stare at him. “How can you possibly know that?” I ask.
He lifts a shoulder in a lopsided shrug. “Spies,” he says, as if the answer should be obvious.
“We don’t have spies,” I say slowly.
“We didn’t have spies. But we got word that the new Theyn was at his country home, two days’ ride from here. We were able to turn several of his slaves before they returned to the capital. We just received our first missive. The Theyn hasn’t ordered troops back yet. Besides, the vast majority of the army has left. It’s only Blaise, Artemisia, Erik, Dragonsbane, and me, plus a group of those still recovering from the battle. But even they’ll be going to safety with Dragonsbane in a day or two.”
I barely hear him, still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of spies. All I can think of is Elpis, of what happened the last time I made a spy of someone.
“I didn’t approve the use of spies,” I tell him.
“You’d walked into the mine the day before the plan was hatched,” Heron says, his voice level. “You weren’t around to approve much of anything, and there was no time to wait for you to come back. If you came back at all.”
A retort dies in my throat, and I swallow it. “If they die–”
“It will have been a necessary risk,” Heron says. “They knew as much when they volunteered. Besides, the Kaiserin is not as paranoid as the Kaiser, from what we’ve heard. She thinks you’re dead, she thinks we aren’t a threat, she has Søren. She thinks she’s won, and so she’s getting sloppy.”
The Kaiserin. Will there ever come a day when I hear that title and think first of Cress and not Kaiserin Anke?
“You said the army had left,” I say. “Where to?”
Heron lets out a long exhale. “You missed quite a lot of squabbling while you were gone–I almost envy you. The Vecturian chief sent his daughter Maile to assist us, along with his troops. With Søren gone, she and Erik have the most battle experience, but they don’t agree on anything. Erik wants to march straight to the capital to take the city and rescue Søren.”
“That’s foolish,” I say, shaking my head. “It’s exactly what they’ll expect, and even if it weren’t, we don’t have the numbers for that kind of siege.”
“That’s exactly what Maile said,” Heron says, shaking his head. “She said we should continue to the Earth Mine.”
“But we can’t do that without marching past the most populous cities, without even the cover of forests or mountains,” I say. “It’ll be impossible to avoid detection, and then Cress will have an army waiting to greet us at the Earth Mine.”
“Which is exactly what Erik said,” Heron says. “See, you’re all caught up.”
“So who won?” I ask.
“No one,” Heron says. “It was decided that we should send the troops to the cities along the Savria River. None of them is heavily populated, but we’ll be able to contain the Kalovaxians, free their slaves, add to our numbers, and collect weapons and food as well. And most importantly, our troops aren’t just waiting here like sitting ducks.”
“Like we are, you mean,” I say, rubbing my temples. The headache blossoming has nothing to do with the mine this time. “And now I’m here to break the tie, I suppose.”
“Later,” he says. “Once you can actually walk on your own.”
“I’m fine,” I tell him, more forcefully than necessary.
Heron watches me warily. He opens his mouth, but closes it again quickly, shaking his head.
“If there’s something you want to ask me about the mines, I don’t remember anything,” I tell him. “The last thing I remember is going in–after that, it’s a blur.”
“You will remember, in time,” he says. “For better or worse. But I know I never want to speak of my experience. I assumed you would feel the same way.”
I swallow, pushing the thought aside. A problem for another day–and I have too many problems before me as it is. “But something is on your mind,” I say to Heron. “What is it?”
He weighs the question in his mind for an instant. “Did it work?” he asks.
For a second, I don’t know what he means, but I suddenly remember–the reason I went into the mines in the first place, the weak power I had over fire before, the side effect from Cress’s poison. I went into the mine to claim my power, in hopes that I will have enough to stand against Cress when the time comes.
Did it work? There is only one way to find out.
I hold my left palm up and summon fire. Even before I uncurl my fingers, I feel heat thrumming beneath them, stronger than I’ve ever felt it before. It comes easily when I summon it, like it’s a part of me, always lurking just below the surface. It burns brighter, feels hotter, but it’s more than that. To show him, I toss it into the air, hold it there, suspended but still alive, still bright. Heron’s eyes grow wide, but he says nothing as I lift my hand and flex it. The ball of fire mimics me, becoming a hand of its own. When I move my fingers, it matches each movement. I make a fist, and it does that as well.
“Theo,” he says, his voice a hoarse whisper. “I saw the extent of Ampelio’s power when he trained me. He couldn’t do that.”
I swallow and take hold of the flame again, smothering it in my grip and turning it to ash in my hand.
“If you don’t mind, Heron,” I say, my gaze fixed on the dark pigment that smears over my skin just as the ash crown had, “is Mina still here? She’s–”
“The healer,” he supplies, nodding. “Yes, she’s still here. She’s been helping with the wounded. I’ll find her.”
When he’s gone, I dust ash from my hands and let it settle into the dirt floor.
By the time Mina enters the tent, I’ve gotten used to standing again, though my body still doesn’t feel entirely like mine. Every move–every breath–feels like a labor, and every muscle aches. Mina must notice, because she takes one look at me and gives a knowing smile.
“It’s normal,” she says. “When I came out of the mine, the priestesses said that the gods had broken me and remade me anew. It seemed to sum up how I felt.”
I nod, easing myself back to sit on my cot once more. “How long does it last?” I ask her.
She shrugs. “My pain lasted a couple of days, but it varies.” She pauses, looking me over. “What you did was incredibly foolish. Going into the mine when you already possessed a measure of power–when you were already a vessel half-full–you were asking for mine madness. You realize that, don’t you?”
I look at the ground. It’s been some time since I’ve been chastised like this, by someone concerned about my well-being. I rack my mind for the last person; it very well may have been my mother. I suppose Hoa did as well, in her wordless way.
“I understood the risks,” I tell her.
“You’re the Queen of Astrea,” she continues, as if I haven’t spoken. “What would we have done without you?
“You would have persisted,” I say, louder this time. “I am one person. We lost far more in the war, far more in the siege itself, including my mother. We have always persisted. I wouldn’t have made a difference.”
Mina fixes me with a level look. “It was still foolish,” she insists. “But I suppose it was also brave.”
I shrug again. “Whatever it might have been, it worked,” I say.
I show her the same thing I showed Heron, how I can not just summon fire but turn it into an extension of my own self. Mina watches me all the while with her lips pursed, not saying a word until I’ve finished and am scattering the ash to the ground once more.
“And you slept,” she says, more to herself than me.
“Quite heavily, as I understand it,” I say dryly.
She steps toward me. “May I feel your forehead?” she asks.
I nod, and she presses the back of her hand to my brow. “You aren’t warm,” she says before reaching out to touch the single tendril of white in my auburn hair.
“It was there before,” I tell her. “After the poison.”
She nods. “I remember. Not like the Kaiserin’s hair, is it? But I suppose you have Artemisia to thank for that–if she hadn’t used her own gift on you so quickly to negate the poison, it would have affected you far more. If it hadn’t killed you on the spot, the mine certainly would have.”
“You didn’t see Cress–the Kaiserin–yourself,” I say, changing the subject. “But you must have heard stories of her power by now.”
Mina considers this. “I’ve heard stories,” she says carefully. “Though I find stories are often exaggerated.”
I remember Cress killing the Kaiser with just her scalding hands around his throat, the way she trailed ash over the desk with her fingertips. She radiated power in a way that I have never seen equaled. I’m not sure how anyone could exaggerate what I saw with my own eyes.
“It’s as if . . . she doesn’t even have to call on her gift. She killed the Kaiser in a few seconds with just her hands,” I say.
“And you still don’t feel strong enough to stand against her,” Mina guesses.
“I don’t think anyone is,” I admit. “Did you ever hear of Guardians killing with that little effort?”
She shakes her head. “I didn’t hear anything about Guardians killing at all,” she says. “It wasn’t their way. If a person’s crimes ever warranted execution, it was carried out by more mundane means. Guardians never did the deed with the gifts given to them by the gods. It would have been its own kind of sacrilege, a perversion of something holy.”
I think about Blaise going out into the battlefield, knowing he could have died but determined to kill as many Kalovaxians as possible before he did. Was that a perversion of his gift? Or are the standards different now, in times of war?
“The children I saw before, the ones you were testing,” I say, remembering the boy and girl with the same unstable power as Blaise. “How are they?”
“Laius and Griselda,” she supplies. “They are as well as can be expected, I suppose. Frightened and traumatized by the horrific experiments the Kalovaxians did on them, but they’re strong in more ways than one.” She pauses for a second. “Your hypothetical friend has been helpful. They like him, standoffish though he might be. It truly is something, to discover you aren’t as alone in the world as you thought.”
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*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
A Kingdom of Men is pushing the Elven clans of the Sunderlands over the brink of extinction. The mortal counterpart to the God of Death, Keres has the power to stem the tide of bloodshed. As brutal civil war threatens to tear her homeland asunder, she struggles to control her gift without succumbing to a curse of unslakable blood-lust. When her people are attacked, she can no longer hold back. The beast within awakens. Gods know there will be no redemption on the other side of her revenge. Wading deeper into the darkness plaguing her land, unraveling the secrets of her heritage, Keres faces a greater challenge: finding her place in this world or being broken by it. Many seek to tame her and use her as a divine weapon.Including a Knight desiring to claim her body and spirit. As the war between Man and Elf stains the Sunderlands with innocent blood, Keres must make a choice: save her people and damn her cursed soul, or forsake the Gods and her homeland to gain freedom.
Note: This story is not suitable for persons under the age of 18.
“This book is packed with action nonstop from the very beginning. Once you get trapped in this world, you’ll be so invested in the characters. When I received this book as an ARC, I was interested to see how death itself could be a character without getting boring. Well, this book did Death justice. I was hooked immediately.” – Michelle
“Must read now. Thrilling new novel on death possession. Yes, you read that right. Death has captured a princess and has a use for her! This book has a lot of emotional struggles, will tear at your heartstrings, and keep you guessing. What you think you know… you really have no idea.” – Nicole
“What the bloody hell?! What an amazing find! Excellent start to a debut series. Great spin on fantasy, great action & lusty moments. I can’t wait to see what happens next!” – Emily “This was a dark and edgy read. Plot twists were on point. I was literally glued to the screen, rooting for Death to take the wheel!” – Elizabeth
“Fantastic read! Keres is the type of heroine who makes you cheer her on for her next kill. So many twists and turns, brilliant world building. I couldn’t put this book down!!” – Vanessa
This book was a slow burn romance between me and the story. I went into it seeing it being rated a New Adult and expected to devour it, but it turned out that there was so much more to the story than I was expecting! So, I wound up REALLY taking my time reading it. Which is something of a rare occurrence for me, as I am typically a binge reader. BUT, there are some books that just deserve your time and consideration.
Ok, but honestly, all I really have to say after finishing this book is: What the h*ll? Seriously, have you ever had a lucid dream where you wake up and can’t tell up from down? That’s what finishing this story is like. It’s an amazing feel, but also, I like seriously need the second book twenty minutes ago. THIS is why I hate reading series before every book is out. I am destroyed and distraught by this ending! AHHHHHH!!!
But on a more serious note, this book is good. The first 2/3 of the book is really focused on world building. And, if you have read any of my other reviews, you know that’s basically what I fantasize about in my dreams. I salivate when I hear there’s some amazing world building in a book. What can I say? I was raised on Tolkien. But, this book NEEDED to spend all that time setting the scene, as some may say. There is a LOT in this book and even with that much focus on world building, I still don’t know everything about this world, or even honestly some of what I read! Which is fantastic, because that means there’s going to be even more foundation laid in the upcoming book.
So, imagine you’re going on this lovely but Wonderland inspired stroll through the park. That’s what the first 2/3 of the books feels like. There’s so much happening, but it still feels like hardly anything is happening all at the same time. Lucid fever dream, I’m telling you. Then you get to the last third of the book. And phew, child, I… I have no words. I literally couldn’t put the book down. Asides from the couple of (ignored, RUDE) messages to my friend who I read this with of me asking her: WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?! I mean, it’s just wild. Like holy heck, just wow.
But now that I’ve ranted on and on about my feelings (ew, who wants to talk about those?), I should probably give a little info about the book? Maybe? So, take a little bit of ACOTAR and a pinch of Throne of Glass, throw in some elves, a dash of “Off with their heads!” and you have The Sunderlands. First off, I’m loving that this is a book about elves. While I love the fae, elves need their limelight too! Plus these are smexy warrior elves, so, I mean, what’s not to love? My girl Keres is a total babe. She is in essence a vessel on earth for the God of Death, which is honestly pretty cool. I really loved learning about how the Gods worked in this world, and I am particularly intrigued to learn more about this harbinger of Death. Then you have the two main hulking elven men vying for Keres’ attention (’nuff said). BUT, who I am most intrigued to learn more about is Keres’ sister, Liriene. Read it and find out why (because spoilers and secrets).
But yeah, that’s it. I should stop pouring out all of my feelings over needing the second book yesterday (see how my time is going further and further back?) because you could have started reading this book in the time that it took you to read this review! Oh! And before I leave I forgot to mention how ecstatic I was to see a book filled with characters that didn’t shy away from swearing! The inner sailor in me was ecstatic!
About the Author
What’s Up! I’m Anastasia King. Obsession with cute animals & avocados aside, I promise I’m not your average millennial, Italian girl from Brooklyn.
What started as my best-kept secret turned into a full-blown writing career. After 15 years of hiding my stories, I stopped stopping myself. Now you’re reading my Author Bio on Goodreads. I’d high five you, but we’d spill our champagne. Let’s silently agree to stalk each other on IG instead: @anastasiaking.og
Oh, and you’ll hate my stories if you can’t handle dangerously intelligent women, unflinching violence & gore, monster hunting, soaked panties, broody alpha males, and meddling gods. My books are best paired with wine.
THANK YOU to anyone who leaves an honest review here on Goodreads and on Amazon. It’s the HIGHEST form of support you can show any author. Reviews help authors create more magic. So, you’re a wizard if you write one 😉
You can see The Sunderlands featured on many stunning #bookstagram accounts on Instagram. Check out some of the best shots taken by my lil monsters (readers) @worldofaureum ! Pretty please stalk me @anastasiaking.og on IG for everything Books, Beauty, & Biz. If you’re really cool, come party in my reader FaceBook group “Anastasia King’s Queens.” You can also check out my videos on IGTV & YouTube for BTS look at my self-publishing journey.