Monday 29 July 2019

We'll be right back

*sings* No Milk Review Today!

I'm taking a week off from reviewing.
Enjoy your week. I'll be back with new reviews next week.

Friday 26 July 2019

Alien: Echo - Book Review

Alien: Echo
by Mira Grant

What is it about:
An original young adult novel of the Alien universe

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this virgin colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive...

What did I think of it:
After reading Immunity I was in the mood for more SF, so I picked up Mira Grant's Alien: Echo.

This book is set in the Alien Universe, so I of course expected Aliens! I was not disappointed.

The story has a nice build up of tension. We get introduced to Oivia and her family, the planet they're currently on and its inhabitants, both human and the native flora and fauna. There are some hints to secrets that had me guessing, and I was totally involved in Olivia's life, hopes, and dreams. There's a really cute romance as well that had me smiling.

Then the proverbial shit hits the fan and there is action and chaos abound.

People familiar with the Alien movies might be able to guess what horrors Olivia encounters, and what dangers she and those she cares about are subjected to. I was rooting like crazy for them to survive. Once the action started I couldn't put the book down, I had to know how things would end.

All in all this book was everything I hoped it would be. It will most definitely get a place on my reread shelves.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome YA SF read.

buy from bookdepository

Thursday 25 July 2019

Immunity - Book Review

Immunity (Contagion #2)
by Erin Bowman

What is it about:
They thought their nightmare was over, but Thea, Coen, and Nova’s rescue was only the beginning. After being imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety, it’s clear that the threat they left behind isn’t as distant as they’d hoped—and this time the entire galaxy is at risk.

Now that threat is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare. To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, the survivors must harness the evil they faced on the planet Achlys and learn to wield the only weapon they have left: themselves.

What did I think of it:
I absolutely loved Contagion (which was pitched as Alien meets Outbreak and rightly so) so I preordered Immunity as soon as it was possible.

And this is a cool read, but I didn't love it as much as Contagion. Now this is not surprising as Immunity is more about Coen, Thea, and Nova being used for nefarious plans and how they deal with it than it is full on mayhem and horror like Contagion was. Still this is an engaging read and I was invested from the start.

Later on in the book there is some more action and mayhem, but mostly this is a suspenseful story instead of horror. I especially liked Nova's storyline, but the things happening to Coen and Thea were really intriguing as well.

All in all this duology is really cool and worth reading and rereading.

Why should you read it:
It's a really suspenseful YA SF read.

buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Unearthed by Cecy Robson - Cover Reveal

Today I am excited to join Cecy Robson in unveiling the cover for Unearthed, the first book in her Death Seeker urban fantasy series.  To celebrate Cecy is sharing chapter one with you and offering five winners an eBook copy of Sealed with a Curse. Enjoy!

*cover designed by Rebecca Weeks @ Dark Wish Designs

September 24, 2019
Add to Goodreads
Pre-order your Copy:Amazon - B&N - iTunes - Kobo

Fae was once a flourishing paradise. Until Death turned greedy and destroyed it, targeting the creatures who inhabited it. Those who survived escaped to Earth’s realm, but Death wasn’t far behind . . .

Olivia Finn is just another pixie trying to blend in among humans and hide from the death hounds who devoured her family. Clinging to the talisman that keeps her veiled from those who hunt her, she believes she is safe. . .. Until Death finds her and discovers she’s immune to its grip.

Now that Olivia’s power is unearthed, she is sought by Fae who see her as their savior and stalked by dark entities compelled to destroy her. Can she trust the King of the Dead who has sworn to train and protect her? Or should she obey her instincts that warn he desires more?

Olivia can no longer hide from Death. To survive, she must seek it.

Chapter One

Ryker Scott, MacGregor and Santonelli’s newest associate, prowls past my cubicle wearing a tailored black suit that hugs his broad shoulders. I swear he’s not human. In the year he’s worked here, he’s represented a talk show host charged with having sex with multiple minors, a senator’s son accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, and a Wall Street executive snagged in a cocaine smuggling ring. All were acquitted under his watch, despite the odds and endless charges. His latest victory was mere days ago when his client, a Broadway star one blow shy of beating his wife to death, was found not guilty.

Ryker’s military haircut fits his serious persona. The guy doesn’t smile, ever. I suppose when you represent walking pieces of filth, it’s hard to pretend you’d skip through a field of daisies. I’d ask him how he sleeps at night, saving all those horrible people and releasing them back into society, but I don’t know him, and I don’t care to.

Ryker’s ice blue eyes dart in my direction when I glare. He knows I hate every inch of his hulking form. If I could flip him off, I would. Instead, I give him my back and return to my work, wishing he’d stay on his side of the office.

I sense him stalk around the corner to speak quietly to another paralegal. She’s likely falling all over herself to please him. He has that effect on the staff, unlike my boss, who everyone avoids like shingles.

Speaking of the most irate man to ever wear a suit, Marco slams down the receiver to the phone, his booming voice loud enough to rattle the glass of his fishbowl office. “Olivia! Where the hell are my notes?”

My fingers fly across my keyboard, finishing the deposition Marco needs before that vein on his forehead finally pops. “In your briefcase, along with copies of the court documents,” I reply.

My sensitive hearing picks up the click, click of the briefcase locks snapping open before the mad sound of rustling papers ensues. “I don’t have—”

“You have three pens and two highlighters in the small zippered compartment and a new legal pad in the side pocket,” I call out.


“Your cell phone is charging on the table behind you,” I remind him.

I hit print and swivel in my high back office chair, working quickly to stack the copies neatly into a folder. After taking one last sip of tea, I lift the folder and an extra-large cup of coffee and hurry into my boss’s office.

Marco welcomes me with a scowl, the motion joining his crazy caterpillar eyebrows. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” he asks.

“Yup. Happy Monday.” I place the deposition on his desk and hand him the cup of coffee the new administrative assistant dropped off. So far, Marco is the only attorney she hasn’t hit on.

“Drink up,” I tell him. “You’re due in court in an hour.” I play with the talisman around my neck, reassuring myself that Death can’t find me while I wear it.

I examine my boss and shake my head. Marco is roughly five feet, six inches tall, three hundred pounds and balding, and about as cuddly as a rabid raccoon living in a sewer. And here he sits, partner of the most prestigious law firm in the region and the best defense attorney in Jersey.

“What are you looking at?”

I motion to his face. “I told you to do something about your eyebrows.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my eyebrows.” He tries to smooth them, but the motion only ruffles them further.

“Marco, they look ready to sprout teeth and bite.” I push off the desk. “Let me trim them.”

Marco is one second away from releasing the brows like Zeus did the Kraken. “Do I strike you as someone who manscapes?”

“No. That’s part of the problem.” I sigh when the vein on his forehead pulsates. “You need to take pride in your appearance. If I didn’t have your suits and shirts dry-cleaned, you’d resemble a serial killer walking into court.”

My voice trails when I take in the creases lining his gray suit. It’s my turn to scowl. “Isn’t this the suit you wore Friday?” He doesn’t answer. “Marco!”

“You’re one to talk. Look at you. Your hair is one pot of gold shy of a leprechaun.”

I point a nasty finger at him. “Don’t make fun of the hair.”

As a pixie, I look human, the exception being my rainbow-colored locks. That’s right, blond hair intermixed with strands of pink, lavender, and blue. It’s not on purpose. My hair was this color from birth, long before we crossed over from the dying realm of Fae. Many PTA moms scolded my mother for “doing this” to me. Mama tried to change the color, so I’d blend in better among humans, but nothing worked. Hair dyes dried my hair and faded in mere hours, and organic products made my hair shimmer like fairy dust.

Between my hair and the Celtic cross tat on the base of my skull, everyone in school assumed I was Goth. Truthfully, I prefer pretty clothes and music I can dance to without risking an elbow to the face.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Marco snaps. “This suit cost two grand.”

“It might as well cost two dollars by the way you take care of yourself.”

I stomp in my pink kitten heels toward Marco’s closet and whip out a fresh suit, tie, and set of underclothes. After taking a good whiff, I also grab a stick of Right Guard. I set everything neatly in his private bathroom and poke my head out. “You still have time to shower before court. Do you want me to turn on the water—”

The scuff of expensive shoes along the marble tile floor alert me we’re no longer alone. Damn it. It’s Ryker. Doesn’t he have puppy kickers to defend?

Rock hard muscles bulge against his designer suit. When he’s not freeing predators back into society, he must spend his time in the gym.

Ryker squares his jaw hard enough to smooth the dimple on his chin. He’s not pleased to see me or the glare I peg him with. Still, he tilts his head in polite acknowledgment. “Olivia.”

I smooth the skirt of my long white sundress and walk toward Marco, ignoring Ryker. “Do you need anything else?”

Marco’s features soften as he addresses Ryker. “Sorry you had to wait, son. I was negotiating the Andrews case with opposing counsel when you first stopped in.”

That explains Marco’s prior screaming and swearing. Marco is the type who prefers coercion to tact, which makes his interactions with Ryker odd. Marco smiles at him, as in, genuinely smiles.

“Congratulations on the acquittal, boy,” Marco says to Ryker. “That was a hell of a job you did. Keep this up, and you’ll make junior partner within a year.”

“Thank you, sir. It was a challenging case, and I was grateful for the help.”

“You can have all the help you want, anytime you want it.” Marco’s smile fades. “Is something wrong? You seem upset.”

“I’m fine, sir,” the leech answers.

“You don’t seem fine. Would you like some coffee? Olivia would be happy to bring you a cup.”

“No, she wouldn’t,” I mutter, walking toward the door. “You have fifty minutes, Marco. Take a shower.”

I shut the door behind me, muffling their conversation. The glass offices may allow a full view in, but they’re soundproof, except to my sensitive ears. Marco and Ryker glance in my direction before resuming their conversation. I was rude in there, and I’m embarrassed about my behavior. There’s just something about Ryker that fires me up and puts me in a hideous mood…

I freeze when I glance toward Bill MacGregor’s office. Bill is the other partner and a Fae like me. Right now, he’s in serious trouble. The very slutty and very human admin is slinking closer to him. She leans over his desk, her tiny black skirt rising and exposing her butt cheeks.

Bill’s eyes widen, and he tries to scramble away. The admin doesn’t let him. She yanks him to her by his tie and stamps her lips to his.

Thunder booms, shaking the thirty-story building. Lightning blankets Bill’s office in a painful blare of white light. As the light fades, so does Bill’s glamour, revealing his true form.

Glistening mocha-colored skin envelops the boulder-sized muscles of the seven-foot-tall gargoyle. Dagger-length fangs, sleek and deadly, protrude from his terrifying maw as glider-sized wings expand, shadowing the terrified woman in darkness.

She screams, loudly, the thick glass mercifully silencing her terror. I leap from my chair when she face-plants on Bill’s mahogany desk and call to the administrative assistant in the cubicle beside mine. “Jane, clean up in aisle five.”

Jane and I are both Fae and the only staff with a front and center view of Bill’s office. We don’t get a lot of traffic on this side of the building. Everyone avoids Marco, and no one wants to risk accidentally killing Jane.

Humans only see Jane’s chosen glamor, that of a ninety-year-old woman with severe osteoporosis and one awkward step shy of a broken hip. For an eight-hundred-year-old druid priestess, Jane looks damn good. Unfortunately, she is ancient, and her hearing reflects it.

“Jane? Jane!”

I round back when she doesn’t hear me and shake her shoulder. “Jane!”

She stops her two-finger typing and blinks her tiny black eyes at me, speaking in her two-pack-a-day smoker voice. “Whhhat?”

“Clean up in aisle five,” I repeat.

I bolt to Bill’s office, making quick work of drawing the privacy shades. Bill is freaking out. His mammoth wings snap irritably, and his clawed hands wave in distress. “Why dith thee havvvv to kitth meeth? Goth. Damnth ith!” he hisses through his fangs.

“Your glamour form is smoking hot,” I remind him.

He scowls, his forked tongue dangling from his mouth.

“Did you have to pick that glamour?” I ask. I motion to the picture of him standing with the governor. “You resemble a young Laurence Fishburne with a goatee.”

“I lithe Lawrenth Fishburth,” he replies.

I pat his arm. “Try to relax and call it back.”

I draw the last shade that blocks the view into his office and stick my head out the door to check on Jane. She’s resumed her two-finger typing. On a good day, Jane can type ten words a minute. This doesn’t appear to be a good day.


“Whhhat?” she croaks.

“You’re needed in Bill’s office!” I holler. “Bring the big guns—the big guns, Jane!”

The slutty admin slides off Bill’s desk and falls to the floor with a thump. She groans, her forehead crinkling.

“Sheeth wakingth,” Bill says, panicking.

There’s no way he can recall his glamour in this state. “Jane, haul ass, sister girl!”

Jane glances over her shoulder and adjusts the black veil on her head. With the speed of molasses, she reaches for the candy cane striped wand she keeps in her pencil holder and shuffles toward us. Her black dress, two sizes too big, drags behind her tiny form.

The wand looks ridiculous clutched in her spotted hand. It’s not just the red and white stripes, it’s the red plastic heart complete with ribbons decorating the tip. Still, I wouldn’t mess with Jane’s wand. Our last temp tried to take it as a joke. Following a severe case of genital herpes and a beard so thick she looked ready to swing an ax, she was never heard from again.

Jane reaches Bill’s office with all the grace and speed of a snail. Unlike Bill, Jane isn’t panicked. She merely passes her wand over the admin, chanting in ancient Irish.

I try to make out the spell through her deep mumbles. It rings similar to the one she used to try to restore my magic.

Unlike the Fae who occupy this world, I don’t possess magic. My power and wings were ripped from me when my family and I crossed dimensions and into Earth’s realm.

Although I was young, I remember the pain.

The last time Jane attempted to resurrect my magic, I cried with frustration. Jane wiped my tears, speaking slowly. “You have something, Livvie,” she insisted. She smiled softly and pointed at my heart with her long, crooked finger. “What you seek is in there.”

I want to believe her. My family comes from a powerful line of pixies. It’s devastating to not possess even a wisp of their strength. It’s not that I think I need magic to feel more Fae. I just want something—anything—to strike back at those who robbed me of my family. Until then, all I can do is hide beneath the veil and protection of my talisman, just like the rest of my kind.

Glitter sprinkles from Jane’s wand as she shakes it over the admin’s face, freezing her in place when she abruptly wakes and tries to scream.

I scoot around them and toward the large windows. “Please alter her memory, Jane, and kindly tell her to stop being such a skank— Oh, and if you could, help Bill recall his glamour. He’s having a tough time settling.”

My voice trails as I peer through the window. Across the Hudson River, dark clouds crawl along the New York skyline, expanding quickly and morphing day into night.

My blood chills to ice, threatening to snap my bones. Death has found us. It’s coming. It’s coming now. But why?

The growing cluster of ominous clouds inks the sky. Jane stops her chanting, training her beady eyes toward the ceiling when the lights flicker. “Livvie,” she warns.

My fingers find my Celtic sister knot—the talisman that hides me from Death. It’s still there. I look at Jane. Her talisman dangles from her neck. So then…

Bill whirls left and right, knocking books from the shelves and sending the paperwork on his desk flying with the bat of his powerful wings. He falls to his knees when something on the floor catches his eye, the tips of his wings leaving deeps scrapes along the walls. Like a frantic cat, he scratches at the floor, trying to retrieve his broken watch.

I dive for the watch, Bill’s talisman. The links snapped from his wrist when he resumed his true form, damaging the magical charge that gives the veiling spell its power.

In the distance, I hear them, the cavernous roars of the Cù-Sìth death hounds, the form of Death that devoured my family.

I drop the watch into his hand and cover it with my palm. It doesn’t work. With each crash of encroaching thunder, the growls intensify. The Cù-Sìth are hungry. They need a soul, and it’s Bill’s they hunt.

The fluorescent bulbs explode, encasing the room in darkness. “Livvie…” Jane’s throaty voice carries fear I’ve never seen in her. “Ma-gic”

My pixie eyes adjust to the darkness, only to widen when I realize what Jane is asking. She wants me to call my lost mojo. Is she crazy? Now? We’ve spent countless hours trying to summon it only to fail each time.

Lightning flashes against the windows, illuminating the room. “Hurry,” Jane urges.

The talisman can’t conceal Bill from Death. It knows he’s here. With sweat-soaked hands, I anchor the links around Bill’s giant fingers, searching deep within me and attempting what feels impossible.

I scrunch my face, concentrating cocooning us in my aura.

Emptiness is all that greets me. I hold my breath, focusing harder.

The emptiness grows more pronounced. I open my eyes. Bill shakes his head, his pointy ears drooping as he motions for me to leave.

Tears blur my vision. “No, Bill.” Magic or not, I won’t leave him alone to die.

Thunder rattles the building, and the chorus of howls reach a mind-numbing crescendo. My eyes scan the office for something I can use to connect the links. I find a discarded roll of tape on the floor and lead Bill to it, both of us crouching low when we reach it.

I snap the roll from the dispenser, careful not to lose the end. With more speed than grace, I wind the tape around the watch and secure it to Bill’s wrist.

I run out of tape just as the first Cù-Sìth arrives.

Tendrils of dark green smoke slink through the window and snake their way around the desk, widening and solidifying into a bear-sized hound with shaggy green fur and glowing red eyes. His long-braided tail snaps like a whip, cracking the tension-filled air while paws as big as my head scrape their long claws against the tile.

Jane doesn’t move. I don’t even think she breathes. I can’t stop trembling, pleading for the good in the world to banish the hound from my sight.

Like the time I was ten, my pleas go unanswered.

The hound shoves his box-shaped head between Bill and me, his nose twitching until he latches onto a scent.

A hungry growl vibrates through the hound’s immense chest. Slowly, he turns toward Bill, meeting him square in his eyes. Drool drips from his needle-length fangs, falling against Bill’s shoulder and sizzling like acid. He licks the air near Bill’s throat. My trembles turn into full out convulsions. He sniffs again. He’s almost on top of us.

The hound’s gaze cuts to me when a small cry breaks through my quivering lips. He pauses, drawing in a deep breath and trailing his scorching ember eyes down my body. I’m certain he can sense me, until he looks past me toward the metal door where claws scrape again, and again, and again. More death hounds have arrived.

The hound between us returns his attention to where Bill kneels, curling the lips of his long snout into a hideous snarl. He senses Bill’s soul and wants it for himself. He sniffs again. He knows Bill is here. Like the strike of a cobra, the hound snaps at the air, puncturing through Bill’s face.

The cords of Bill’s neck strain as he struggles to contain his moans. I’m certain Bill is done for. But the magic from his talisman holds strong, veiling Bill’s presence and masking the taste of his blood.

Dark blood dribbles from the hound’s fangs, staining his dark green fur. I cup my hand over my mouth as the hound withdraws and I see what remains of my friend’s face.

Mangled skin dangles in flaps against Bill’s neck. It’s all I can do to keep from screaming. Talismans muffle sounds, but they have their limits, and nothing on earth will be able to silence the horror shredding my insides if I let loose.

Bill’s heavy hand encases my small one. He’s trying to comfort me and encouraging me to be strong. But how can I be strong when Death has arrived to tear him apart?

I jump when roars bellow behind the door. The pack of Cù-Sìth lingering outside is growing more insistent.

I press my hand tighter against my mouth to stifle my sobs. It’s not right for Bill to die this way. He’s good and kind. It’s not his time.

Two more hounds materialize like smoke through the door jamb, silencing my cries. These are swathed in matted white fur. They stalk around the office, growling and frantic to eat. One of them knocks into the green one as if demanding food. The green one barrels her over, perceiving her actions as a challenge. They fight like hungry beasts over a piece of meat, clawing, biting, and snarling.

More hounds arrive. They prowl restlessly, sniffing for prey and ignoring the fight. The white hound never stood a chance against the green. He dominates her, driving her into the opposite wall of the large office.

In one fierce move, the green hound flips over the female. He pins her to the floor and digs his fangs into her belly, tearing it open like rotting flesh. Souls spill from her gut in waves of translucent images. I recognize the faint forms of dwarves and fairies, their agonized faces pleading with me to help them.

Tears spill down my face. I wish I could help. But like the rest of my kind, there’s nothing I can do except hide.

The dead try to flee, except the remaining Cù-Sìth are too fast. The pack sweeps through the door like a raging fog of white and green, mauling the already damaged souls.

Bill and I wrench our faces away, unable to stand the terror-filled cries and slurping noises of the feasting hounds.

I steal a glance as the last of the shrieks die out, hoping they’re done. The hounds remain, raking their claws and scavenging for more. The spirits all are gone… except for one little Fae.

A sprite hides trembling in the corner of Bill’s Juris Doctorate diploma. But just as I see her, so do the hounds.

The Alpha who bit Bill’s face spots her first. He lunges, trampling over the others who try to intercept him. The little sprite shoots through the window, screaming in pain and fear.

In streams of white and dark green smoke, the hounds give chase. I want to race after her and help. But I no longer have wings to fly nor magic to save her. My pathetic attempts to summon my power proved as much.

I sniff meekly. The little sprite needs someone stronger than me.

I weep in silence for the souls that will never find peace and curse all forms of Death for filling their bellies instead of carrying their charge to eternal rest.

Bill and I rise carefully when the roars of the Cù-Sìth grow too faint to hear. He keeps his hand over mine until my trembling subsides and my tears stop falling, speaking kind words while his body mends his ravaged face and Jane’s enchantments repair the damage to the office.

With Jane’s help, Bill recalls his glamour. The moment his resemblance of Laurence Fishburne returns, Jane goes to work on repairing his talisman as only an Ancient can.

It takes time and an endless well of power to recharge damaged magic. Time Jane wouldn’t have without the makeshift band the tape provided. Forged from rare copper, gold, and silver found only in Fae and triggered by rare gemstones and diamonds from Fae mountains, talismans are a wonder. They serve to hide us and open the portals between our homeland and earth. Yet to open the portal, you must remove your talisman and risk a direct call to Death.

My father took that risk, and it cost him his soul.

Jane nods to Bill and lifts her wand when she finishes. He walks naked to the opposite wall tugging on links to test her work. It’s only when her magic seems to hold that the tension surrounding him eases.

Bill punches a small indiscriminate button hidden in the dark mahogany paneling. Two sets of doors part, unveiling a hidden bar. He pours a large helping of Irish whiskey into a glass and downs it, and another. He then removes a pair of pants and a fresh shirt from his closet. As soon as he dresses, he pours another drink and offers it to me.

“No, thank you, Bill.”

“Cathasach,” Jane spits through her teeth.

Bill nods. “I know.”

My gaze dances between them. “What?”

“The green Cù-Sìth,” he says. “The Alpha.” Bill tips back the glass, this time only taking a small hesitant sip. His hand is quivering. I didn’t notice it before. I see it now despite the shots of courage he poured down his throat. “Cathasach is the father of all the death hounds and the first to taste Life. It was he who convinced the other forms of Death to feed on the souls of the living.” He knocks back the glass, draining it of its amber fluid.

“The Cù-Sìth originally carried the souls of mountain Fae into the Afterlife,” I say, my tears close to the surface. “They were peaceful. I don’t understand how they became what we saw.”

Bill’s eyebrows knit tight, his anger momentarily shoving aside his fear. “It doesn’t matter what they were, only what they are, creatures who lack souls of their own with no conscience or respect for the Fae they consume. Did you see their size? They’re enormous from the plethora of spirits trapped within them. There’s no rationale. No pity. No pardon. No loyalty. Like all forms of Death, they’re selfish and their appetites insatiable. Look at how easily they turned on their own.”

He pours a fresh shot and brings it to Jane. She takes a few gulps and resumes her wand waving over the admin. “Tell her she’s fired,” Bill says, his deep voice laced with resentment.

Jane nods and tosses the rest of the liquor down her throat. I retrieve her glass and return it to the bar. It seems wrong to end our conversation this way, without hope or gentle words to remind us we’re safe. But this sense of safety is a momentary luxury, nothing that’s guaranteed. Even with our talismans, Death is never far away.

I try to leave the office and this experience behind. Bill’s deep baritone halts my sluggish steps, keeping me in place. “Olivia, Cathasach knew you were here. The way he took you in, somehow he knew.”

My response is almost robotic. “We’ve met before. I just didn’t know his name.”

Jane stops chanting. Bill chokes on his next sip of whiskey. He rushes to me and grips my arms. “You met him before today?”

I nod, shaking from the force of his trembles. “Twice,” I admit.

The color drains from his face. “Listen to me, Olivia. Do not remove your talisman, ever,” he whispers tightly. “If you escape a hound more than once, you become more than prey, you become an obsession. He’ll want you and not stop until he finds you.”

This is the last thing I need to hear. I break free and run from the room. In my haste, I slam into Ryker.

I bounce off his broad torso and land hard on my ass. Shock parts my lips. Considering I’m the one sprawled on the marble tile, he seems plenty pissed.

Perspiration feathers his forehead and his chest rises and falls in furious bursts. He clenches his fists, his blue eyes searing as he looms over me.

By the way his imposing form takes me in, I should be terrified. Mostly, I’m baffled by his rage.

I try to stand, feeling vulnerable. Before I can make it to my feet, Ryker storms away.

©Unearthed, Death Seeker #1, Cecy Robson, LLC 2019

Pre-order your copy: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo 

About Cecy Robson

Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Newsletter 

Five lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Sealed with A Curse, the first full-length novel in the Weird Girls Urban Fantasy series by Cecy Robson. Open Internationally. Good luck!

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Tuesday 23 July 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Secrets of the Henna Girl

Tired and hungry, I decided that when I got home I would explain to Susan that poverty was not something to be admired.

(page 15, Secrets of the Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed)

buy from bookdepository


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you sh"are doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 22 July 2019

Queen of Ruin - Book Review

Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2)
by Tracy Banghart

What is it about:
Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi's sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina--polite, submissive Serina--is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they'll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart's unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

What did I think of it:
I loved the first book in this duology, so I eagerly dove into this book once it arrived.

And what a great read.

I loved seeing Nomi and Serina together. Serina grew from a submissive girl into a strong woman who fights for what she believes in and for her people, while Nomi is trying to find a way to handle the guilt she feels and to make things right.

I was hooked from the start and was rooting for both sisters and the people close to them to succeed in their plans. Things get very dire a few times, and there were some very emotional moments.

All in all this sequel is everything I had hoped for and I was more than satisfied when I finished it. What a great duology, and what a perfect ending.

You bet I'll reread and that I'll keep an eye out for Banghart's next book.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome YA Fantasy read.

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Thursday 18 July 2019

Enemy Within = Once Again Available!!! + Review

The amazing Enemy Within is once again available!

You want this SF Romance!

Enemy Within (Chronicles of the Empire #1)
by Marcella Burnard

What is it about:
Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle's military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father's ship, and she's once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn't what he pretends to be.

As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin's cross-hairs. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can't afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He'll stop at nothing, including her destruction, to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his.

What did I think of it:
I love this book!

It's got everything you want from a SciFi: spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens and firefights. Add an intense and complicated romance to this mix and you got a story that sizzles and captivates.

Ari is a character that's been damaged, but luckily not broken and it makes you cheer her on and hope she will get a happy end in both love and her normal life.

Some plot twist I saw coming, but that didn't spoil the story for me in the least. And I have to mention the aliens! They're nasty and cool!

If you haven't read this book when it was first available, you really need to go get it asap. You won't be disappointed.

Why should you read it:
Spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens, firefights and romance!!

Buy from Amazon

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Shadowscent - Book Review

Shadowscent/The Darkest Bloom (Shadowscent #1)
by P. M. Freestone

What is it about:
Across the Aramtesh Empire, scent is everything. Prayers only reach heaven on sacred incense, and perfumes are prized status symbols. 17-year-old Rakel has an uncanny ability with fragrances, but her skills aren't enough to buy her dying father more time.

Ash bears the tattoos of an imperial bodyguard. When his prince, Nisai, insists on a diplomatic mission to an outer province, Ash is duty-bound to join the caravan. It's a nightmare protecting Nisai on the road. But it's even harder for Ash to conceal a secret that could see him exiled or executed.

Rakel and Ash have nothing in common until smoke draws them to a plantation of the Empire's rarest flower. Nisai's been poisoned, flames devour the priceless blooms, and the pair have "suspect" clinging to them like a bad stench. Their futures depend on them working together to decipher clues, defy dangers and defeat their own demons in a race to source an antidote . . . before the imperial army hunts them down.

What did I think of it:
This is a really enjoyable Fantasy read.

I liked how it slowly builds towards the moment Rakel and Ash get in trouble. In alternating viewpoint chapters you get to know both of them, their motives, dreams, hopes. So once the two of them have to work together you know just how they both ended up in this situation and how important it is for both of them to survive and to save the prince.

I loved seeing both of them work together and to see how both have very different approaches to problems they encounter. Their quest leads them on a journey through the different provinces of the country, and I enjoyed discovering the dangers and beauty of each. The way the story is written it felt like one big exciting adventure, I never did get a feel of suspense or dread, or even great urgency. It would make a great Fantasy adventure movie in my opinion.

All in all I had a great time with this book, and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for the sequel.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable YA Fantasy Read.

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Tuesday 16 July 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Immunity

"It was never me, Nova. It was you. You were everything you needed to get through this, and you will continue to be everything you need moving forward. You are enough. Don't forget that on the other side."

(page 54 Immunity by Erin Bowman)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you sh"are doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 15 July 2019

American Hippo - Book Review

American Hippo (River of Teeth #1-2)
by Sarah Gailey

What is it about:
In 2017 Sarah Gailey made their debut with River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, two action-packed novellas that introduced readers to an alternate America in which hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River. Now readers have the chance to own both novellas in American Hippo, a single, beautiful volume.

Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

By the 1890s, the vast bayou that was once America's greatest waterway belongs to feral hippos, and Winslow Houndstooth has been contracted to take it back. To do so, he will gather a crew of the damnedest cons, outlaws, and assassins to ever ride a hippo. American Hippo is the story of their fortunes, their failures, and his revenge.

What did I think of it:
I read River of Teeth shortly after it released and loved it. I meant to read Taste of Marrow as well, but you know what happens when too many cool books arrive at the same time: some end up forgotten, no matter their awesomeness.

And then I saw this beauty!!!

Look at it! How can any hippo lover resist this? I couldn't anyway!

So when American Hippo arrived I dove right into it and reread River of Teeth before devouring the rest of the stories as well.

What a wonderful and awesome world Gailey created here. It's an alternate history where feral hippos rule the Mississippi and hippo wranglers ride hippos through the swamps. This is a hippo lover's dream! I loved the world building and the atmosphere in these stories.

I must say I enjoyed River of Teeth even more than the first time I read it. I was totally engaged and rooted for Winslow and his crew to succeed. I once again fell in love with Hero, they absolutely do their name proud in my opinion. And the hippos! There were lots of hippos: smart hippos, feral hippos, hippo mayhem: All the hippos!!

And I finally got to read what happens after that cliffhangery ending! Taste of Marrow was just as awesome as River of Teeth, and there were lots of hippos once again. Hero was once again my favorite character, although some of the others got more screen-time and were very cool as well.

Things were dire at times, and I was on the edge of my seat to see if things would turn out ok. The ending was everything I could hope for.

Next there were two short stories that take place before the start of River of Teeth and that are fun little extras you don't want to miss if you loved the duology.

All in all a hippo-filled and awesome book! I'm so going to try to get this beauty signed by Gailey when I'm at Worldcon.

Why should you read it:
Hippos in the Mississippi!
Awesome characters!
A daring caper operation!

buy from bookdepository

Friday 12 July 2019

Into the Drowning Deep - Book Review

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1)
by Mira Grant

What is it about:
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

What did I think of it:
I really enjoyed Parasite and remembered I bought Into the Drowning Deep when it was on sale, so I decided to give it a try.

And this is yet another suspenseful read.

Grant is a master at setting atmosphere and building tension. I think this might be what put me off Feed: I wanted a zombie mayhem story, but got moody suspense. Maybe if I would reread Feed I'd enjoy it more this time. But back to Into the Drowning Deep.

I loved the way the tension and suspense build up to the moment things start to go wrong. By the time the proverbial shit hits the fan I was so into the story and mood that I was unable to put the book down. I had to know what would happen to the characters: both those I loved and those I loathed.

There were some characters I had wanted to know a bit more about, but luckily there were plenty more to get to know, love or hate, and root for. This is a tense, dark, and creepy story, and you bet I will read more by Grant!

Why should you read it:
It's an atmospheric and suspenseful read set at sea.

buy from Amazon

Thursday 11 July 2019

Artificial Condition - Book Review

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
by Martha Wells

What is it about:
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

What did I think of it:
This is another Hugo read. I wasn't sure if I should read it as it's book 2 in a series, but then Jeffe told me she started it and didn't feel lost even though she hadn't read book 1, so I decided to give it a try as well.

And this is a really fun read. I especially loved ART and the interaction between ART and Murderbot. The two of them really have a unique and cool way of looking at things. I thought Wells did a great job at making them sound and act other than human.

The story itself delves into the past of Murderbot and also is about Murderbot trying to find out where it/they belong and how they want to be.

All in all a very enjoyable novella. I think I'll go back and read the first one as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable SF novella.

Buy from Amazon

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Ghost Seer - Book Review

Ghost Seer (Ghost Seer #1)
by Robin D. Owens

What is it about:
When her eccentric aunt passes away, no-nonsense accountant Clare Cermac inherits more than just a small fortune. She receives the gift of communicating with ghosts. While Clare may not believe in spirits, it’s hard to overlook the shadowy talking dog appearing on her bed or spectral cowboys tipping their hats to her in the streets of Denver. And when she locks eyes with sexy—and living—Zach Slade, there’s certainly no ignoring him either.

A former deputy sheriff, Zach is leaving a painful past behind in Montana for a new life in Denver as a private investigator, a job that has him crossing paths with beautiful Clare. Not that she minds. After the restless ghost of a Wild West gunman demands her assistance, Clare finds herself needing Zach more and more—and not just for help.

What did I think of it:
Sometimes it's hard to write a review.

I want to write a positive review, because:

This was a well written book.
This was a good story.
The characters were believable.


But it wasn't the story I wanted!

I wanted something like The Ghost Whisperer, but this book was more focused on the relationship between Clare and Zach, and about Clare trying to accept what's happening to her, than it was really about communicating with ghosts. It was a good story, but not the story I expected and hoped for when I picked this book up.

I might try something else by Owens, but this book was too Paranormal Light for my tastes.

Why should you read it:
It's well written and a good story in its genre.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Shadowscent

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear Barden's voice. Be careful. I shake my head, trying to clear the last of the wooliness.

(page 27 Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone (US ARC))

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you sh"are doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 8 July 2019

Chaos Choreography - Book Review

Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5)
by Seanan McGuire

What is it about:
Destiny, Noun:
1. The inevitable or irresistible course of events.
2. The inescapable future.
3. See also "Screwed."

Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She's rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her...or so she thinks.

When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure of a comeback impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two of her fellow contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find--and a couple she wasn't looking for--in order to navigate the complicated steps of both the tango and a murder investigation without blowing her cover. It doesn't help that her official family backup is her grandmother, Alice Price-Healy, who thinks "subtle" is something that happens to other people.

Winning this competition may have just become a matter of life and death.

What did I think of it:
This is my favorite of the books in this series so far!

Verity is returning to the stage to find out once and for all if she made the right choice in giving up her dancing for cryptozoology. She didn't expect things to get quite so dicey though, and soon she's dancing for her life.

I love Verity and Dominic and was hooked from the start. Some really cool other characters got added to the action, grandmother Alice not even being the coolest in my opinion - and she is an awesome lady, I can tell you. The mice are also once again present, and I rooted for them to help save the day.

All in all this book is fun, action-packed, and suspenseful. I did have some suspicions as to who or what was behind it all, but there were some surprises along the way. The ending was totally awesome and promises lots more cool action and adventures for the Price family. You bet i'll get my trotters on the the next book soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and very entertaining UF read.

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Friday 5 July 2019

Eighth Grave After Dark - Book Review

Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson #8)
by Darynda Jones

What is it about:
With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.

Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally he swears he’s fine.

While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life…

What did I think of it:
This is yet another delightful addition to this series.

Even when stuck in one place Charley still manages to find trouble. The fact that she's about to deliver doesn't slow her down either. As she's finding trouble and is dealing with her sick lover, she also has a wedding to oversee. So fun times and more!

I very much enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. It's once again full of the snark, humor, and wacky situations I've come to expect from this series. Next to all the craziness there's also a lot of suspenseful things going on that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The ending of this book had me hungry for the next book, so you bet I'll read that soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun UF read.

buy from bookdepository

Thursday 4 July 2019

Valiant - Book Review (repost)

I did a reread ofthis book, but pretty much still agree with my review from 2014 (except that I now have read the first book), so here's a repost.

Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales #2)
by Holly Black

What is it about:
When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends.
And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

What did I think of it:
This is the second book in a series, but as it has different characters than the first book (as far as I understand) it can be read as a standalone. I haven't read the first book, but I didn't feel like missing out on anything.

I will confess being surprised by how dark and gritty this book is. I've gotten used to YA books that shy away from really serious topics, but this book takes you down in the underbelly of society. There's drug use, abuse, bad language, and more. It made for intense reading and I really liked it, but I can understand how some people could be disturbed by the grittiness of this book.

For me the darkness of the world building fitted with the story. I was drawn into the events and couldn't escape until I finished the book. I liked getting to know Val, and to see how she handles being out on the streets. The people she hooks up with are also very intriguing, and the events that unfold had me guessing at what was going on, and what would happen next.

There were some things I'd have wanted to read more about. Especially Ravus, one of the creatures Val encounters, didn't get enough scenes in my opinion. He does play a rather important role in the story, so I wanted to learn more about him, and see more interaction between him and Val.

That grumbling aside I really enjoyed this book and finished it way too fast. I will most certainly try to get hold of the other books in this series.

Why should you read it:
It's a dark and gritty YA Faerie Tale in a modern setting

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Tithe - Book Review

Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1)
by Holly Black

What is it about:
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms - a struggle that could very well mean her death.

What did I think of it:
I was not a fan of The Cruel Prince, but I read Valiant, the second book in a trilogy, in 2014 and really enjoyed it. It was perfectly readable as a standalone, but when I saw this omnibus that contains all three books would be released I pre-ordered it. When it arrived I immediately dove into the first book: Tithe

Ant this is my kind of faerie tale.

Kaye returns to the place she grew up, and when strange things start happening to her she tries to find her childhood friends, who may or may not be imaginary. When she stumbles upon a wounded faerie and helps him her life gets even more complicated and she is made aware of Faerie and its different factions.

Kaye is both world wary and naive at the same time. It was an interesting mix and I really liked her. It was more difficult to see what the motives were of those around her. As she gets mixed up with faeries from a couple of different factions, she will have to decide who to trust and what she will do with the secrets she uncovers.

You bet I was hooked soon after starting this book and I read it in almost one sitting. What a cool story and world building. This is what The Cruel Prince could have been if Cardan hadn't been the bully he is.

You bet I did a reread of Valiant soon after finishing this book, and I'll read the last book in the trilogy soon as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool YA with Urban Faeries.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Out Today: Protect the Prince

Out Today:

Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2)
by Jennifer Estep

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…



I stared up at the queen’s throne sitting on top of the dais. The chair was crafted of jagged pieces of tearstone that had been dug out of Seven Spire and fitted together centuries ago. The throne gleamed with a soft, muted light, shifting from starry gray to midnight-blue and back again, just like the columns did. The changing colors represented the Summer and Winter lines of the Blair royal family, as well as the everlasting strength of the Bellonan people.

I had seen the throne many, many times before, but now that it was mine, I found it far more intimidating, especially since the top featured the same crown-of-shards crest that adorned my tunic, bracelet, sword, and dagger. I had never paid any attention to that symbol before the royal massacre, but now, it was everywhere I went. Sometimes, I thought I would have been far happier if I had never seen it at all. I certainly would have been much safer.

Summer queens are fine and fair, with pretty ribbons and flowers in their hair. Winter queens are cold and hard, with frosted crowns made of icy shards.

The words to the old Bellonan fairy-tale rhyme echoed in my mind, as though all the queens who had come before were whispering them to me over and over again. I listened to the phantom voices a moment longer, then exhaled, slowly climbed up the dais steps, turned around, and sat down on the throne.

That was the signal everyone had been waiting for, and all the lords, ladies, senators, guilders, and others strode forward, stopping a few feet away from the bottom of the dais. They split into their usual cliques and began gossiping, while servants handed out sweet cakes, fresh fruits and cheeses, and glasses of blackberry sangria.

I looked up at the second-floor balcony. More nobles milled around there, eating, drinking, talking, and watching me, although they were all poorer and thus far less important than the ones on the first floor.

I started to drop my gaze when I noticed a man sitting by himself in the top corner of the balcony. He was wearing a long gray coat over a black tunic, and his dark brown hair gleamed under the lights, although a bit of stubble darkened his strong jaw. His handsome features were as blank as mine were, and I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, although his blue eyes burned into mine with fierce intensity.

My nostrils flared. Even though he was as far away from me as possible, I could still pick out his scent—cold, clean vanilla with just a hint of spice—above all the others in the room. I drew in another breath, letting his scent sink deep down into my lungs, and trying to ignore the hot spark of desire it ignited inside me.

Lucas Sullivan was the magier enforcer of the Black Swan troupe, a bastard prince of Andvari, and my . . . Well, I didn’t know exactly what he was to me. Much more than a friend, but not a lover, despite my pointed advances on that front. But I cared about him more than I wanted to think about, especially now, when I was facing another battle inside my own palace.

So I dropped my gaze from his and studied the nobles again. Even though I had been queen for about three months, ever since I had killed Vasilia, the crown princess and my treacherous cousin, this was my first formal court session. Practically every noble from across the kingdom had journeyed here to discuss business and other matters, and it was important that things went well. I doubted they would, though. The nobles weren’t going to like some of the things I had to say.

While the nobles chattered and downed their food and drinks, I discreetly drew in a breath, letting the air roll in over my tongue and tasting all the scents in it. The people’s floral perfumes and spicy colognes. The fruity tang of the sangria. The pungent aroma of the blue cheeses that the servants were slicing on the buffet tables along the walls.

I opened my mouth to start the session when one final scent assaulted my senses—hot, jalapeño rage so strong that it made my nose burn with its sudden, sharp intensity.

Most people scoffed at my mutt magic, but my enhanced sense of smell was quite useful in one regard—it let me sense people’s emotions, and very often their intentions. Garlic guilt, ashy heartbreak, minty regret. I could tell what someone was feeling—and often what they were plotting—just by tasting the scents that swirled around them.

I’d had years to hone my mutt magic, so I knew that jalapeño rage meant only one thing.

Someone here wanted to kill me.


About Jennifer Estep:

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Protect the Prince, book #2, will be released on July 2.

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit



Amazon Kindle - Barnes & Noble NOOK - Apple Books
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AUDIOBOOK digital audiobook - Amazon MP3 CD - Audible:
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Amazon print - Barnes & Noble print - Books-A-Million - IndieBound:


“KILL THE QUEEN is the definition of epic fantasy: exciting, original, and filled with characters who jump off the page. Jennifer Estep enters the arena and takes no prisoners. Long live the Winter Queen.” — Ilona Andrews #1 New York Times bestselling author

“KILL THE QUEEN rocked my world! With court intrigue, a cast of fantastic characters, epic political sweep, and a slow-burn romance to die for, this book had me rapt. I only regret I devoured it so fast. And that I didn’t write it. More please!” — Jeffe Kennedy, RITA® Award winning author of The Pages of the Mind

“Jennifer Estep takes the world of high fantasy by storm with a book so perfectly plotted and executed that I gasped out loud at each new reveal and unexpected turn. Evie is the heroine we all want to read about: as compassionate as she is ruthless, as cunning as she is kind, and as fierce and focused as anyone must be in order to KILL THE QUEEN.” — Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicles

“Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: A royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in Kill the Queen, the first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep — an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.” — PopSugar

“Kill the Queen is a sweeping, addictive adventure with a tiny hint of romance that will leave readers clamoring for more of this universe as soon as they reach the last page.” — Culturess

“Full of magic, fierce women, and revenge.” — Booklist


“Estep (“Elemental Assassin” series) follows up Kill the Queen with a tale as action- and character-driven as its predecessor, proving that strong female protagonists are still in fine form.” — Library Journal

Monday 1 July 2019

Fortuna Sworn - Book Review

Fortuna Sworn
by K.J. Sutton

What is it about:
We were meant to be seductive. We were designed to lure humans in.

Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.

Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him. The bleak pattern goes on and on... until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.

He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible. So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power.

It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.

What did I think of it:
This is a really cool read.

Fortuna is desperate to find her brother so when a very attractive faerie named Collith implies he can help her she's eager to make a deal with him. But we all know how dangerous a faerie deal can be...

I liked Fortuna although she at times doesn't listen close enough to others. She is sure she knows how the world works, and it is this that brings her into danger even more than Collith's manipulations at times. Still I could understand her and root for her.

I also was very intrigued by Collith and wondered what his motives were. There were also other men and women with their own agenda, making that Fortuna had to keep her wits together to survive. All in all a delicious read with intriguing characters and suspenseful situations.

I will most definitely keep an eye out for the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool UF read.

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