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!
Chaos and Cranberries Joann Keder
Publication date: November 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Paranormal investigator, Feather Jones and her boyfriend, Tug have arrived in picturesque Piney Falls for their Christmas getaway. To their dismay, they learn that their suite isn’t available because the last guest, author Dash Vixen, never checked out.
Dash was murdered when a copy of his own horror Christmas anthology was used to beat him to death.
Coming to their rescue is local sleuth, Lanie Anders, who invites them to spend the holiday with her and her husband. Unbeknownst to all of them, the murderer has bigger plans. Soon Lanie, Feather and their respective other halves are embroiled in a mystery that will stretch them both to their crime-solving limits!
This is a crossover book: Feather is a sleuth from the Charming Mysteries series and Lanie is a sleuth in the Piney Falls Mysteries.
Ivy Merrilee Globe was a prolific author, completing seventy-nine books in her twenty-six years of life. Her most recent, Snowily Severed, was a short story featured in the massively popular Christmas horror anthology, Strung by the Fire.
She recently signed a contract with Brain Gravy Pictures to turn her short story into a movie.
Driving home from physical therapy, she stopped for children crossing three blocks from her home, when her neighbor’s sleigh ornament slid off the roof of their home and through her car windshield, impaling her. Ivy herself couldn’t have written such a dramatic end.
Ivy leaves behind three brothers and a cat named Ice.
“She didn’t die on the twenty-second like the other two. Find the date of the Frosty attack, Lanie,” Vem urged.
I typed in the information and when the page came up, our mood was somber. “Ivy was attacked on the twenty-second by the Frosty wannabe. They intended to kill her that day, and when it didn’t work, they came back to finish the job.”
“Poor Ivy,” Vem lamented.
My phone rang and I jumped up to answer. Even though we’d been together for several years, I was always expecting his call.
“Mrs. Hill? This is the Tucson police department.”
USA TODAY bestselling author, Joann Keder spent most of her years in the Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master’s degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest led her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.
Academy of Magical Creatures: Books 1-3 Megan Linski & Alicia Rades
(Hidden Legends Omnibus Collections, #1)
Publication date: June 9th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHORS Megan Linski and Alicia Rades create a mythical three-book box set full of forbidden romance at a supernatural academy where magical creatures bond with powerful elementals and a hidden prophecy will decide the fate of all.
Sophia is destined to be the savior of an ancient tribe, but controlling her Fire magic at a school where dragons fly and mystery is around every corner is more complicated than she thought. At Orenda Academy, power is absolute, and students are thrown into a dangerous competition to survive. The Elders who run the tribe are ruthless, and they see Sophia as the ultimate threat.
Liam is the outcast son of a Water chief who’s lost everything. He’s been given a chance to restore his honor… if he helps the Elders take Sophia down. Unfortunately, she’s the one person he’s chosen to protect.
Fire and Water aren’t allowed to be together, and if anyone discovers Liam’s love for Sophia, death will be imminent for them both. To fight back against the Elders, their forbidden romance must come into the light… and ignite a rebellion within the tribe.
Academy of Magical Creatures: Books 1-3 includes the first three books in an emotional and enchanting new adult academy series. Magical creatures, found family, and extraordinary worlds abound in this forbidden love story featuring a diverse cast and disabled main characters.
Over 1400+ pages of mythical creatures and memorable characters!
“Descriptive sections breathe life into the magic creatures, fantastical setting, and awe-inspiring magic spells.” -The BookLife Prize by Publishers Weekly
“I truly recommend this book for anyone looking to get sucked into a world; to lose sleep; become depressed that the world isn’t real but also enjoy a delicious read!” -Rebecca M., Reviewer ★★★★★
“I have no words for how this book made me feel. There is literally nothing else out there like it at the moment. You so need to read to believe.” -Sandra Kaye, Reviewer ★★★★★
“Best book I’ve read in a long time!” -Sarah Cox, Reviewer ★★★★★
This title is one omnibus in a set of Hidden Legend collections. The Hidden Legends Universe features college-aged protagonists attending magical academies, dual points-of-view, disabled and diverse main characters, and steamy, empowering romances. Omnibus sets connected to this series include University of Sorcery, College of Witchcraft, and Prison for Supernatural Offenders.
Liam took my hands in his. “Sophia, what you just said about us being together… I don’t think you understand.”
My brow furrowed. “What’s there to understand, Liam? It’s against the rules. So we’ll change the rules. No big deal.”
“No big deal?” Liam hissed. “Sophia, this is the way it’s been for hundreds of years.”
It didn’t matter what Liam said about the House rules. There was no turning back from the line we’d already crossed.
Liam raked his fingers through his hair. God, he looked sexy when he did that. I wanted to run my hands through his hair… and down his forearms… and in other places I probably shouldn’t be thinking about.
I raised an eyebrow. “I don’t care about the rules. I want to be with you.”
“Ancestors, Sophia. You can’t talk like that.”
“Why not? It’s the truth.”
“Because…” Liam sighed and glanced toward the castle. No one was close enough to hear. “Because if you say things like that, it just might come true.”
“I know. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t want it to happen.”
He stared down at me, his expression hard to read. He looked conflicted– like he wanted to agree with me but argue at the same time.
A thought suddenly occurred, and I drew away from him. “Do you… do you not want to be with me?”
Liam looked hurt by the question. “Of course I do. But we don’t have a choice.”
I relaxed slightly. “You always have a choice, Liam.”
His hands balled into fists, and his lips tightened until he couldn’t hold it in any longer. “Aw, Sophia.”
Liam growled. He honest to God growled. And then like a wolf trapping his prey, he pounced on me. One second he was standing a few feet away from me, and the next he’d swept me into his arms and claimed my lips for his own.
The world spun around me so quickly that I could no longer feel the stone path beneath my feet. Liam held me tightly to his chest. One hand tangled in the hair at the base of my neck while the other settled on my hip. His lips parted, and I took the invitation to deepen the kiss. My hands ran up his back until they climbed so high they reached the side of his face. I pulled him in even closer until every possible inch of our bodies were touching. My hands moved to his hair, tangling into the strands like he did with mine. He inhaled a sharp breath in response.
Heat exploded through my chest like fireworks. I didn’t even care if my Fire surfaced and burned my dress off of me. Liam would like that, I was sure. So would I. But my Fire didn’t escape. It hung out just below the surface, just enough to feel amazing and to warm Liam’s cool skin.
Heat traveled down my chest and settled between my thighs. Being with Liam like this was unlike anything else. It was so overwhelmingly amazing that I thought I might cry. Feeling this way should be illegal–
No sooner did the thought cross my mind did it hit me that that was exactly what this was.
It was illegal. Liam and I were breaking the law by kissing like this… by kissing at all.
Megan Linski is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author who lives in Michigan. She is the author of more than fifty fantasy and paranormal novels which feature themes of friendship, community, and healthy romantic relationships. She has over fifteen years of experience writing books alongside working as a journalist and editor. She graduated from the University of Iowa, where she studied Creative Writing.
Her passions include ice skating and horseback riding. In her free time she enjoys dancing in the snow and drinking fancy coffee while at her natural habitat, the mall.
Megan advocates for the rights of the disabled, and is an activist for mental health awareness.
Megan co-writes the Hidden Legends Universe with Alicia Rades. She also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands series, co-authored by Krisen Lison.
Alicia Rades is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult and new adult paranormal fiction. When she’s not dreaming up magical stories, she’s either binge-watching Netflix, meditating, or spending time with her family. She has an unhealthy obsession with psychic characters and writes with a deck of tarot cards next to her computer.
The Christmas Letters Jenny Hale
Publication date: October 11th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Sometimes, it takes losing everything to find what it is we really need. From the USA Today bestselling author of Coming Home for Christmas, with over one million copies of her books sold, comes a heartwarming holiday story that’s perfect for fans of Sheila Roberts, Debbie Macomber, and Jill Shalvis.
Elizabeth Holloway abandons her New York party at The Plaza, her sparkling world crashing down around her when her boyfriend of seven years drops the bomb that he’s leaving her—at Christmas. She suddenly finds herself seven hundred miles from her home in the city, trudging through the snow, back at her childhood farm in the Great Smoky Mountains in an attempt to piece her life back together.
However, she isn’t expecting to meet visitor Paul Dawson with his dazzlingly blue eyes and warm smile, chipping away at her resolve to focus on figuring out who she is and what she really wants in life.
When her mother is informed that they don’t actually own the farm that’s been in their family for generations, the news makes absolutely no sense to either of them. Nan had married Elizabeth’s grandfather at that house, and they’d lived out their years there.
But a stack of letters from Elizabeth’s grandmother will change everything she thought she knew about her family and cause a divide between her and Paul that she never saw coming.
Under the glitter of Christmas trees and bundles of mistletoe, Elizabeth uncovers more than she’d ever thought possible. Will the Christmas letters strip her of everything she holds dear? Or will they be the biggest gift of the season?
A heartwarming holiday escape that will have you rushing to your loved ones this Christmas. If you enjoyed the Christmas movies based on Jenny’s books and are looking for more feel-good, small-town romance, look no further!
“I’m so sorry, Mama, I can’t talk right now,” Elizabeth Holloway said gently, the phone pressed to her diamond-studded ear, as snow fell like feathers against the glittering buildings of the New York City skyline. “I’ll call you back first thing tomorrow, I promise.”
“Liz,” her mother, Loretta, breathed anxiously down the line in that southern accent that used to sing Elizabeth to sleep at night.
If Elizabeth closed her eyes, she could almost hear her mother’s melody over the chirping of the crickets out back of Nan’s old farmhouse in Mason’s Ridge, Tennessee, the rustling of the trees in the apple orchard, and the squeak of the screened door as Mama stepped through it onto the front porch. While they’d lived just down the road, Nan’s little farmhouse tucked away in the hills had been where both of them had spent most of their time.
Having been so intent on getting out of her hometown, it had taken Elizabeth years to realize how much she missed those sounds.
Growing up, Elizabeth had wanted to get a degree in social work and then go into the Peace Corps, leaving everything behind to learn and work in faraway places. She’d been constrained by her small town and had never really felt like she’d belonged with the people in it. They were all invested in their land and their place within the community, yet she’d wanted to spread her wings. However, she’d only managed to accomplish one of her goals: she’d left that little town, and everyone in it, over a decade ago.
Now her mother was tending to the aftermath of handling Nan’s will and her grandmother’s belongings all by herself, and she had tons of questions about taxes and the legalities of how to assume ownership of Nan’s property. Elizabeth had been trying to support her with it all as much as she could from New York, but it was proving difficult to do.
“I need your help with this,” Mama said, bringing Elizabeth back to the present. “I’m worried it ain’t gonna wait too long.”
A pinch of guilt took hold of Elizabeth’s chest. She wanted to speak to her mother, but the charity benefit that had kept her in New York instead of back in Mason’s Ridge was starting. Nothing could be done with whatever the issue was at this hour, and she needed to take her seat.
“I wish I could discuss this right now,” Elizabeth said, “but I’m on my way in to the event I told you about.”
Holding the phone, she put one stiletto heel out of the limo and took the bellman’s gloved hand, the man guiding her out of the car outside The Plaza where she planned to have drinks, chat with important people, and, if she was lucky, she’d get to do the waltz on the dance floor—her favorite thing at these events. She raised her bright red ball gown to keep the satin from grazing the snow that had piled up in the gutter, a chill slithering down her limbs. Her mother continued to speak, but Elizabeth struggled to concentrate on her words with all the commotion.
The mammoth building in front of her gleamed like a golden torch, surrounded by dazzling Christmas trees, but Elizabeth barely gave it a thought. Her long-time boyfriend, Richard Oppenheim, was already out of the limo and on the sidewalk, standing opposite her in his tuxedo with a collar that showed off his strong jawline. He ran his hand through his salt-and-pepper hair that had come early for his age, making him look distinguished. Then, spinning a finger in the air impatiently, he indicated that she should wrap up the call before they went inside.
Jenny Hale is a USA Today, Amazon, and international bestselling author of romantic contemporary fiction. Her books have sold worldwide, have been translated into multiple languages, and adapted for television. Her novels Coming Home for Christmas and Movie Guide Epiphany Award winner Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses are Hallmark Channel original movies.
She was included in Oprah Magazine’s “19 Dreamy Summer Romances to Whisk You Away” and Southern Living’s “30 Christmas Novels to Start Reading Now.” Her stories are chock-full of feel-good romance and overflowing with warm settings, great friends, and family. Jenny is at work on her next novel, delighted to be bringing even more heartwarming stories to her readers.
When she isn’t writing, or heading up her romantic fiction imprint Harpeth Road, she can be found running around her hometown of Nashville with her husband, two boys, and their labradoodle, taking pictures—her favorite pastime.
Sixteen-year-old Sayers Wayte has everything—until he’s kidnapped by a man who tells him the privileged life he’s been living is based on a lie.
Trapped in a windowless room, without knowing why he’s been taken or how long the man plans to keep him shut away, Sayers faces a terrifying new reality. To survive, he must forget the world he once knew, and play the part his abductor has created for him.
But as time passes, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur, and Sayers begins to wonder if he can escape . . . before he loses himself.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Wow, talk about a roller coaster of trauma. This book is chock full of it and really is very multifaceted. I did not like Saye at the beginning, which worried me since this was my first Robin Roe book, but as I moved through the story I came to understand while he was portrayed the way he was. This is a story of his trauma, but also his healing, finding out who he is and where he fits after experiencing the trauma that he went through. While this book is a pretty long read, it was hard to put down and kept hold of me all the way.
While there were definitely a lot of moments in this story that were hard to read, but overall it was an amazing story. Saye isn’t the only character that has depth, but many of the side characters did as well. Do keep in mind that this is a trauma filled story, if you’re not able to handle stories of kidnapping, torture, abuse, sexual assault, death and more – tread carefully and be mindful that this story goes very dark.
Wild at Heart Stacy Gold
(Wild Love, #1)
Publication date: May 2nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
They each hit the trail solo in search of themselves…
Overworked entrepreneur Jules Martinez is sick and tired of men leaving her for their exes. Determined to wipe the giant, scarlet Rfor rebound off her forehead, she kicks off a yearlong vow of celibacy with five, blissful weeks backpacking her favorite trails through Washington State. Solo.
Out-of-work financial analyst Evan Davenport hasn’t been happy since camping in Scouts as a kid—before his wealthy parents and now ex-fiancé made all his major life decisions. Hoping to find joy and purpose, he buys all the latest ultralight backpacking gear, flies to Washington, and sets off alone on a weeklong speed hike through the wilderness.
Mother Nature has other plans, though, and keeps shoving Evan and Jules in each other’s paths. Usually naked. When sparks fly, can they find what they’re looking for in life together instead of apart?
“I’m so jealous, Jules.” Bryn perched on the end of one of the beds in our hotel room at Cascade Locks, watching me pack gear. The thin, gray light of pre-dawn filtered through a crack in gold curtains that’d seen better days.
I tucked a bag of snacks and my rain jacket into the top of my backpack, cinched the drawcord, and buckled the lid with a solid click. “Of what, twelve guys dumping me for their exes in a row? I’m sure we could arrange that for you too. If you ever really start dating again.”
“Ha. Funny.” She toed my calf. “You’re taking five weeks off to go backpacking solo. Who cares why?”
Tingles of excitement zoomed around in my chest and I flashed her a grin. “Yeah. Dealing with zero assholes and zero clients for more than a month does sound pretty heavenly, doesn’t it?”
She grinned back. “Like I said, totally jealous. At least of your trip.” Her expression went serious. “I still can’t believe the next guy you date is gonna be unlucky number thirteen, though.”
“Yeah. I’ve thought about that. Probably too much. Definitely enough to jinx the next one for sure. So, I’m swearing off men for at least a year to restart the count.” I hesitated, the excitement buzz fading. “A year is enough time to consider it a clean dating slate, right?”
“Wait. You mean you’re swearing off dating, or swearing off sex too?”
The last eight years had been nothing but suckage on the relationship front. It’d probably take more than a year to fix my shit. But nothing would change if I didn’t change something. “Yes. Both. All of it.”
Bryn eyes widened. “You’re serious.”
“Dead.” Bending, I tugged the rough nylon laces of my left boot. The well-worn leather snugged around my foot. “I’m never gonna figure out anything buried in too much work plus too many bad dates.”
“When did you decide this?”
“Last night.” I shouldered my pack and adjusted the straps until the familiar weight settled on the tops of my hipbones. “What I’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time to take a big step back and focus on myself for longer than just a few weeks.”
“I guess that’s one way to break the pattern.” Bryn opened the door, and we stepped outside into early morning stillness. “And yes, a year is definitely long enough to clean your dating slate.”
Fog tendrils drifted from the Columbia River across the half-empty parking lot. The air hung thick with moisture and cedar and the sweet mustiness of damp soil. The best smell in the world after too many days breathing city fumes.
“I sure as hell hope so. If not, at least maybe I can figure out what to do about my business. I can’t keep working this much.”
We strolled across the lot side-by-side, the chill air nipping my skin through my nylon hiking pants and shirt, waking me up. The sky glowed marigold behind the inky silhouettes of the mountains.
“You’ll come up with a plan. You always do.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” We crossed the empty highway, walked a few hundred yards, and turned off. Gravel crunched under our soles. “And thanks for driving me down here from Seattle. And picking me up at the other end.”
“Of course. That’s what best friends are for.” She wrapped a hand around my arm and leaned in, hugging one of my few body parts not covered by my backpack. “Though I still wish I was going with you. I could use a break from assholes and clients, too.”
The first golden rays of sunlight slanted through the tree branches, lighting the dirt road ahead. “We’ll have to plan a girlfriends’ trip once I get back.”
“I’m holding you to that.” Her warm hand tightened on my biceps. “Maybe we can convince Aly to come with us for once.”
I snorted. “We’ll get Aly on a backpacking trip when pigs fly. But I’m all for trying.”
A handful of parked cars and a dark brown trailhead kiosk appeared, marking the southern end of the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington. And my starting point. And the start of five weeks of solitary bliss in one of my favorite places in the whole world.
Bryn pulled out her phone. “Hey. Let me grab a shot of you in front of the sign, to commemorate the moment.”
“Okay.” I took a few steps back.
“Say, single life.”
I popped a hip and smiled for the camera. “Single life.”
“Perfect.” She slipped her phone into her pocket. “I love you, girlfriend. Stay safe out there and call me whenever you hit civilization.”
“I will.” My throat tightened. “I love you, too.”
Award-winning adventure romance author Stacy Gold would rather be in the middle of nowhere than almost anywhere else. To that end, she’s run more than 50 rivers in three countries, been heli-dropped into remote ski huts multiple times (and made it into even more under her own steam), worked for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service as a backcountry ranger, river ranger, and naturalist, and spent fourteen years as a commercial river guide and kayak instructor. Her last “real job” was serving as Communications Director for a state-wide mountain biking non-profit.
When she’s not busy kayaking, skiing, mountain biking, or hiking, with her husband and happy dogs, Ms. Gold writes about independent, badass women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. Her latest release, Wild at Heart, came out May 2nd, 2022.