Alice Daniels has a problem. Her reflection keeps misbehaving when she looks in the mirror–and the longer she ignores it, the harder it tries to get her attention. On her eighteenth birthday, she learns why: she is a huntress, someone gifted with the power to enter mirrors and the magical world that exists beyond. But with this power comes immense responsibility, for in the Mirror Realm lurks an evil that has infected the human race for centuries: demons. It is up to her and her three huntress sisters–with the help of one handsome and overbearing protector–to hunt and banish this evil one demon at a time, thereby keeping the chaos in check. But when an ancient god pays Alice a visit that turns deadly, it is clear the Mirror Realm is more than it seems, and she soon finds herself in a race against time to save the life–and soul–of the one man the gods are determined to never let her have.
The Last Huntress is a story of redemption and sacrifice, the bonds of true sisterhood, and the impossible, sometimes frightening, things we’ll do for love.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I was really excited to pick this book up as it sounded right up my alley. The premise sounded like it was something I was really going to love. Anything with mythology is a must read for me, so I was ready to dive in.
First off, I found the world building to be done really well. I very much felt immersed in the world, I also felt like the magic system/traveling methods were really cool and a great concept.
There’s a great found family in the story and I felt like the characters were vibrant and individuals. It was hard to put down and was full of intrigue. It’s a great start to a paranormal romance series.
Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria is a YA fantasy featuring asexual representation that follows a palace spy sent to infiltrate a neighboring kingdom in hopes of returning magic to her dying land.
Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed. And her mother became the Whisperer of Aris, the head of the spies, retreating into her position away from everyone… even her daughter.
Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. The malevolent magic force of The Mists is swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out.
Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.
The camp around me is shadowy and asleep—vulnerable—just the way I like it. At my back, metal poles hold lanterns that let out an erratic flicker of a glow. But it doesn’t reach as far in as I am, and even the patrolling soldiers barely stray from their circles of firelight. It’s sloppy, this whole camp.
I feel, rather than see, someone slip into the shadow of the tent behind me.
Lochlan’s jesting voice is that low tone that barely carries as far as my ears. I shift closer to the canvas of the tent so they can crouch beside me. “Fancy seeing you here,” they say.
Even though this is serious, my own lips twitch in response. Like me, Lochlan is dressed in tight-fitting clothes with their hood up, dark and practical and perfect for getting up to no good. They tug the strip of cloth covering their face down as they let out a huff. “This thing gets so itchy.”
I raise a brow. “That’s not regulation.”
They give me a look, but it’s edged with that sharp excitement neither of us can hide in the field. It tingles in my own fingertips. I want to get on with it, but as always, the Whisperer’s voice echoes in my head, tempering the impulse.
Take the time to observe. Know the lay of the land.
No matter how many missions I do, how much experience I think I’ve gained, it’s always my mother’s voice that sounds in my head out here in the field.
I scan the tents in front of us. There are three of them in the inner circle, five in the outer. If this camp has the usual layout, then the barracks, the mess, and the supplies will be in the outer tents. The scribes and those in command—in other words, everyone important—will be in this inner ring.
The tent on the far left is larger than the two beside it. All are in that deep navy color that is dyed even darker by the night, which only serves to offset the fabric’s silver lining. The canvas is thick enough that even if there was light inside the tents, we wouldn’t be able to see any silhouettes. It doesn’t give us much to go on, but at least it means once we’re inside, no one will be able to see us either.
“What did you find out?” I ask.
“Captain’s quarters are in the middle. The large one on the left is for the scribes. The last one houses the captain’s two pages.”
“So are the captain’s office and his sleeping quarters the same?”
I stifle my sigh. That will be a pain to deal with, but it’s not like we haven’t done it before. Multiple times. “The scribes?”
“They sleep with the soldiers as far as I can tell.”
That’s promising. I scan the area. The captain’s tent is the only one with a guard. The man is bored, idly fiddling with his sword’s sheath. He wears a tunic of soft blue lined with white, so neat it looks as if it’d get dirty if the guard glanced at the ground wrong.
“We can take him,” Lochlan says.
I elbow them. “No evidence outside of the theft, remember?” The scribes’ tent isn’t guarded, and there’s barely a foot of space between it and the captain’s tent beside it. That’s our best chance. “This way.”
We track down the row we’re sheltered by, moving from shadow to shadow, aware of the guards and the torchlight hovering just around the corners. At the end of the lane, I wait for the guard’s attention to shift and then we’re just two shadows slipping over the grassy gap. The canvas of the scribes’ tent is secured with thick ties, and I undo the row to let us in.
The space is shadowy in the dark and I take a moment to let my eyes adjust. Rows of portable desks fill the tent so tightly I have to step carefully as I ghost between them, Lochlan behind me.
The desks are littered with papers and worn writing implements, and among them lie pieces of filigree. The delicate swirls of the silvery patterns shine in the darkness, like fallen pieces of moonglow. My fingers hover over them. We aren’t supposed to leave any evidence, but I can’t resist swiping a couple of the shards into my pocket. This is a Cerenian camp. They won’t notice one or two missing pieces of filigree, while we need all the stolen magic we can get.
Behind me, Lochlan pauses as they look at the filigree.
Even though I can’t make out the expression on their face from this angle, I know what will be there. Loss.
I nudge them. “Bet you a week’s worth of chores I can find what we need first.”
Lochlan’s eyes glint in the dark as they grin. “You’re going to regret that.”
A couple more ties get us out the far wall, and I give a quick glance to make sure the guard can’t see us before slipping into the captain’s tent.
He’s a snorer. That much is obvious as we step in and a grinding noise like rocks being smashed together echoes over to us. Lochlan’s face contorts in laughter and I grab their face cloth and yank it back over their mouth.
There’s not much in here. Besides the bed, the only things are a camp desk and a chest. Well, that and the clothes scattered all over the place. There’s even a discarded sword not a foot away from where I stand. He’s not a strict captain then. I’m betting he’s the type to leave his papers lying out rather than filing them away at the end of the day.
I take the desk and sure enough, it’s cluttered with writing instruments and parchment. The Whisperer ordered us to bring back the original orders from the Cerenian monarch that sent these soldiers here. I don’t know exactly what they will say, but I can guess. There are a number of patrolling camps that work their way up and down the Cerenian border, making sure it’s secure. Normally they follow the exact same route. This camp, though, is well into the neutral territory of the Peaks.
The last true attack from Cerena was decades ago, long before I was born, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t planning another. I can’t see why else they would have strayed so far into the Peaks, when it’s such difficult territory to cover. We can’t face the Mists and an army.
My fingers shift through the papers, careful to disturb them as little as possible. Then in the dark, I catch the image of a songbird sitting on a branch: Cerena’s royal seal. The orders themselves are written in code but that seal means this is what we’ve come for.
I lift the paper high, so Lochlan can see it.
The snoring cuts off. I drop to a crouch behind the desk. As I peer around its edge I see the captain blinking sleepy eyes open.
I look at where Lochlan is hiding behind the chest. They’re closer to where we entered than I am. They should be able to get out if they move right now, before the captain is fully awake.
I wave my hand at them. They hesitate, but I give them a glare. Moving as silent as a shadow, they’re gone.
There’s a creak from the bed as the captain gets up, muttering beneath his breath. His footsteps come closer, padding over the canvas floor. My hand finds the knife at my hip. As soon as he’s close enough, I’ll jab the knife in his leg. Then I’ll run.
His feet come into view and I’m tensing to move when there’s a panicked shout from outside. It’s taken up, the sound multiplying.
What did Lochlan do?
The captain grabs his boots and races outside. As soon as he’s gone, I slip out the side of the tent. I smell the smoke the moment I’m free, the ring of light at the eastern outskirts of the camp now shining decidedly angrier.
“A lantern has fallen!” someone shouts. “Bring water!”
The camp is a flurry of activity. All of the soldiers, most only half-dressed and with mussed hair, are heading one way. I catch a clear moment and dash in the opposite direction.
I dart between the tents, breaking out of the last line and plunging into the forest at the base of the mountain. It’s darker beneath the trees, the branches scratching at my clothes, and even though I’m risking a broken ankle, I don’t slow. Better a broken ankle than an arrow in my back.
The ground beneath my feet turns from moss to dirt to stone, and the forest fades as I track up the path.
I turn the corner, and there it is.
A wall of white clings to the mountain like a shroud. It’s so thick I can’t even make out the rocks in it. All I can see are the flashes of lightning deep in its depths, bright and fierce.
Lochlan sits on a rock just outside the border of white, idly swinging one of their legs. Their hood is already down, showing their auburn hair with the single streak of gray, currently tied back into a ponytail. The filigree lantern we’d hidden on our way down shines at their feet, sparking off their bright green eyes.
I tug the cloth away from my face. “What did you set on fire?”
They grin at me. “You’re welcome.”
There’s a shout behind us from the direction of the camp and we plunge into the Mists.
Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not wordsmithing, she likes walking her overexcitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. Her librarian degree has allowed her to work at a library and take home far too many books.
Let There Be Snow Charlotte Rains Dixon
Publication date: November 3rd 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Christmas isn’t Christmas without snow.
So Dixie Dunham believes.
But she’s about to experience a Christmas with nothing but cold, gray rain after taking a job at the Starlight Winery in Pineview, Oregon, smack in the middle of wine country. Dixie likes her new job at the winery and she’s hoping owners Jamie and Ernest will soon name her to the position of national sales manager. She’s certain the proposal she’s working on for a city-sponsored contest will cement her claim to the job. That would be something to impress the friends and family she left behind in New York.
And Dixie is desperate to impress them, seeing as how she fled after her fiancée jilted her at the altar in favor of her maid-of-honor best friend. Now as the December days shorten and darken and Pineview celebrates the season with lavish decorations and festive events, it’s hitting Dixie hard how much she’s lost. All she has left besides her job is the company of her loyal dog, Bo. And a Christmas without snow.
When Jamie and Ernest introduce her to their good friend Max Pettigrew, who has just moved from Paris back to Pineview after a wrenching divorce, she’s instantly attracted to him. But Max Pettigrew never met a woman he didn’t want to flirt with. All in the strictest of innocence, of course. Too bad what he thinks is charming flirtatiousness is off-putting to Dixie. Ridiculously handsome he may be, but he’s also ridiculously annoying. And she does not need more annoyance in her life. When the two of them turn out to be vying to win the same city contest, her annoyance turns to anger. But Max grows more determined to win her over, inviting her to the Pineview Christmas parade and holiday parties, and turning to a stream of self-help books to help improve himself.
Can Max mend his entitled bro ways? Will Dixie get her promotion, and perhaps more important, her snow at Christmas in rainy Oregon? Let There Be Snow, a novella, launches November 3, 2022. Stay tuned for pre-order information.
Two steps remaining, someone appeared at the bottom of the stairs and startled Dixie. Her foot slid and she missed the step, landing awkwardly in front of the human who stood waiting to walk up.
The human who was a male in a brown wool coat dripping with water. The human who had rich brown eyes that smoldered as brightly as the tasting room fire, a graceful long nose, and a mouth that was now wreathed in an ear-to-ear smile. The human who had a thick head of chestnut hair, with one lock that fell over his forehead in a boyish way. The human who now reached out a hand to steady her and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I startled you. Are you okay?”
He was tall, really tall. She batted away the comparison to Tate, who had been short, shorter than Dixie herself, and for whom Dixie was always slumping so as not to be taller. Beneath this man’s overcoat a starched light blue shirt draped his broad shoulders and chest in a perfect fit, and his tan slacks fell from his waist in a sleek line.
He was ridiculously handsome. Stupidly handsome.
Except then she realized. He was Jamie and Ernest’s next appointment. Most likely a rival candidate for the marketing director job. Her job. She shook off his hand. “I’m fine.”
“You sure are,” he said.
Oh, for God’s sake. Really? Had he really just said that? She rolled her eyes.
But he still gazed down at her. “Really, really fine.”
“What are you, a relic from the dark ages?” she snapped. This man was totally riling her, despite his good looks. Maybe even because of his good looks.
His smile didn’t waver. “Just a man who appreciates the finer things in life.”
“Me too, which doesn’t include jerky men.” Dixie moved to step around him. She had to get away from him. She was being rude, and that was unprofessional. If her bosses heard her, it would be another black mark against her.
“Oh, don’t go without an introduction.” Unfortunately, his voice was as rich and deep as his eyes. He held out a hand. “Max. Max Pettigrew.”
She sighed and shook his hand, then withdrew it as quickly as possible. “Dixie. Dixie Dunham. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”
Luckily, Ernest’s voice called from the top of the staircase. “Oh, there you are, Max, you’re just in time.”
“For what, the vampire ball?” Dixie asked.
Damnit, she’d done it again.
“Oh now, do we have to be so harsh?”
The words came out of her mouth before she could stop herself. “Oh now, yes. Yes, we do.” She couldn’t help it. She’d had enough of men, especially those of the handsome, entitled, arrogant variety, to last her a lifetime. “We really do.”
Footsteps sounded on the steps and Ernest called down. “You ready?”
“I thought I was but now I’m not so sure,” Max said, then zeroed in on Dixie again. “I’ll have you know I’m attending the Christmas play that the Mapson twins are appearing in.”
“Try not to spoil the holiday cheer. I’m outta here.” Dixie made her escape.
“Was it something I said?” Max called after her.
“Damn right,” Dixie muttered as she stomped away. Air, she needed air. “Taking a quick break,” she called to Kate, and grabbed her coat and Bo’s leash. Outside, the rain had stopped but judging by the black clouds along the western horizon, it looked to be a brief respite. She led Bo up the path that snaked alongside the vineyard plantings to the top of a small rise. For the moment she could catch a glimpse of the spectacular view from the winery—green rolling hills, many covered with now-brown vineyards, others featuring farmhouses snuggled into them. It was a view she never tired of, even if she did wish the green would turn to white once in a while.
She inhaled the fresh Oregon air. Damnit, she’d done it again—gone apeshit irritable over nothing important, just a stupid man. Stupidly handsome man. She swatted the thought away. Dixie took another deep breath, trying to shake off the stress that her therapist said activated her PTSD. If one believed she had PTSD, which for sure Dixie didn’t. Nope, she wasn’t going there. Not a chance. No way. She’d tried, she really had, but Dixie couldn’t help thinking that all that psychological self-help crap was just mumbo jumbo. What she needed was some good old-fashioned revenge.
The great-granddaughter of pioneers who walked across the Oregon Trail, Charlotte Rains Dixon considers herself a westerner through and through. Many of her stories are set in her home state of Oregon, where her characters reside in fictional versions of her favorite wine area and coast towns, as well as Portland, where she lives.
When not writing fiction, Charlotte teaches writing in England, the south of France, and around the Pacific Northwest. She also coaches writers privately. She is Director Emeritus and a current mentor at the Writer’s Loft, a certificate-in-writing program at Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Spalding University and is also the author Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior.
Charlotte lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon, in a multi-generational home that is by turns boisterous and exuberant but seldom quiet. She believes no breakfast is complete without a crossword puzzle to work and no Happy Hour can actually be happy without popcorn. (Wine goes without saying.) Despite frequent stays in France, she regularly fractures the language. She is, however, fluent in Carney.
Charlotte writes stories about places you long to live filled with people you’d love to know.
Learn more about Charlotte at her website, charlotterainsdixonauthor.com and be sure to sign up for her author newsletter here.
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of This Book is Anti-Racist, Tiffany Jewell, with art by Eisner-nominated illustrator Nicole Miles, The Antiracist Kid is the essential illustrated chapter book guide to antiracism for empowering the young readers in your life!
What is racism? What is antiracism? Why are both important to learn about? In this book, systemic racism and the antiracist tools to fight it are easily accessible to the youngest readers.
In three sections, this must-have guide explains:
– Identity: What it is and how it applies to you – Justice: What it is, what racism has to do with it, and how to address injustice – Activism: A how-to with resources to be the best antiracist kid you can be
This book teaches younger children the words, language, and methods to recognize racism and injustice—and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school, and in the media they watch, play, and read.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
As soon as I saw this one I wanted to pick it up and give it a read. It’s extremely timely considering current events and I think a great addition to libraries or household collections to share with younger readers. I really enjoyed the characters that were created by the author and how they were crafted to help illustrate the concepts and issues being discussed. The way this was written is great for it’s target audience, the information is clear and presented in an open and conversational way. I can’t wait to see what the finished book looks like with all of the images as I think it will be a winner and great addition to anyone’s library.
Two years ago, a wormhole opened and ushered vicious dragons into the world. The dragons burned Earth’s cities to the ground and sent its inhabitants scattering for cover–and since then, Ayanna Grace, a seventeen-year-old Black girl, has been scratching out a life in an abandoned subway system, part of an extensive underground community.
Underground, medicine runs short and outbreaks of disease spread uncontrollably. The water supply is low, uprisings occur frequently, and dragon attacks are imminent. But those aren’t the only challenges Ayanna is facing: she’s also busy wrestling with her feelings, torn between Richard, who she’s known all her life, and Jackson, a mysterious newcomer. Worse, her mentor, the community’s only doctor, is dying from a failing heart. With no hope of rescue from aboveground, will Ayanna be able to save him before it’s too late?
Rating: 4 out of 5.
the combination of it with fantasy in this case. The book itself sounded so good that I couldn’t pass it up. Besides, who can pass up dragons? I wasn’t going to say no to dragons. I really enjoyed the main character and her motivation throughout the story, but there were some aspects of her that maybe didn’t live up to that drive. Still, she had heart and cared deeply about her community and helping, which was an endearing side of her and something that made her very relateable, even when she made mistakes. I would have liked some more expansion on other characters, but I could see this happening in a sequal if there is one. The writing style was really easy to fall into and overall the story was fun and engaging.
Happy release day to Love in the Age of Dragons! Make sure to pick up a copy if it interests you!