Blog Tour | The Lost City by Amanda Hocking | Review

Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles, returns to the magical world of the Trylle Trilogy with The Lost City, the first novel in The Omte Origins—and the final story arc in her beloved series.

The storm and the orphan

Twenty years ago, a woman sought safety from the spinning ice and darkness that descended upon a small village. She was given shelter for the night by the local innkeepers but in the morning, she disappeared—leaving behind an infant. Now nineteen, Ulla Tulin is ready to find who abandoned her as a baby or why.

The institution and the quest

Ulla knows the answers to her identity and heritage may be found at the Mimirin where scholars dedicate themselves to chronicling troll history. Granted an internship translating old documents, Ulla starts researching her own family lineage with help from her handsome and charming colleague Pan Soriano.

The runaway and the mystery

But then Ulla meets Eliana, a young girl who no memory of who she is but who possesses otherworldly abilities. When Eliana is pursued and captured by bounty hunters, Ulla and Pan find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game where folklore and myth become very real and very deadly—but one that could lead Ulla to the answers she’s been looking for.

Buy Links | Macmillan | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

I’ve never read any of Amanda Hocking’s previous works, but I have heard of them, so when I got the chance to give this one a read I was really excited. While I know this is in the same world as some of her other books, this book definitely gave enough world building that I feel you don’t have to read the other books first. I’m sure if you read the other books first you will benefit from them, but I feel you don’t have to.

The pacing of the story was pretty good, though there were sections that certainly slowed a bit because of the info dumps that occasionally happened, but other than that it was really well paced and enjoyable. I really liked the characters as we got to know them and felt that they were well rounded. I’m definitely excited to see where this story goes.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

AMANDA HOCKING is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Happy reading!

Review | St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid by C.L. Polk

I’ve really been enjoying the Tor.com originals that I picked up recently as they are fun, quick reads that are great palette cleansers. Plus – these types of short stories are a great way to get exposed to author’s you may not have read works from yet.

All magical requests come with a price. A girl with witchcraft, no friends, and only her mother’s bees to confide in will pay whatever’s necessary to keep the girl she loves safe.

I enjoyed the fact that this story had a very short blurb, which served a dual purpose – not a ton was revealed about the story and it’s just enough to intrigue you and get you to read it.

This is the first thing I have read from C.L. Polk and I LOVED the writing style. At first it’s like you’re entering the middle of the story, but Polk very quickly weaves the world and characters into a fully shaped story. This story has a ton of magic and mysticism, and looks at the lengths people may go to protect those they love, without realizing the consequences.

Happy reading!

Review | Requiem: Changing Times by R.J. Parker

Clint and Corbin are having a weird day. Best friends for life, things are getting a little strange around their town, and at school. When they’re followed by a strange man looking for Clint and later attacked by an imp, it makes sense to retreat to the safety of home. But when strangers from another world, Banks and O’Neil, arrive with their medley of allies, things get even weirder. Why are they here? What do they want? And what is The Requiem that everyone keeps talking about? As Clint and his friends and family are drawn deeper into a thrilling adventure, only one thing is for sure. They may not be getting out alive. And class with Mrs Christenson will seem like a walk in the park after this. 

This book was quite an adventure, truth be told. At first I had a hard time seeing where it would go since there is some jumping around in the beginning, but once it got going it was hilarious, witty, fun and felt like it had a little bit of everything. I enjoyed the dialogue between characters and for the most part enjoyed the descriptions though there were a few that I had to read a couple time to make sure I was understanding them right. There is a ton of action in this book and at point it can jump around a bit, but it was a really fun read. It was definitely quirky in a lot of ways and I feel there are a lot of people who would really enjoy the adventure of reading this book. It was a solid read and great for anyone looking for an adventure with a varied cast of characters and a roller coaster of a story!

If you want to check it out it is currently out and available on Kindle Unlimited! Happy reading!

Blitz | Shadow’s Lyric by C.A. Worley

Shadow’s Lyric
C.A. Worley
(Crossing Daggers, #1)
Publication date: June 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

It began with a blood oath.
It ended in bloodshed.

When twenty-one-year-old Lyric is told by her father, Gabrian, she will be crossing into the Otherland as payment for a favor he owes the Shadow Lord, she thinks her life is over. In truth, it is just beginning. Years of training as a soldier and an uncanny ability to learn pretty much anything give Lyric the tools she needs to survive her new reality—and it totally helps that her new lord and master is sex incarnate.

Draven has long awaited Lyric’s arrival, and not just because he needs her to track a powerful weapon stolen by an unknown adversary. He believes he has everything firmly in hand, despite the subterfuge he foolishly agreed to some twenty years back. When Draven’s enemies and lies of omission both threaten the fragile bond he and Lyric are forming, he refuses to allow anything to stand in the way, not even the razor-sharp blade of Lyric’s favorite sword.

WARNING: This novel contains tons of bad language, the occasional smackdown, and a good deal of inappropriate humor–sometimes all at once.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Draven was waiting for me in the hall when I exited my quarters. Something about the way he was casually leaning against the stone, with his arms and legs crossed, made him look especially yummy.

His nostrils flared right as his silver eyes took on an ethereal glow. I turned into a startled rabbit, frozen in his high beams. The oxygen between us heated, increasing in weight. Suddenly I felt hot, my mouth dry.

“I know how we can wet it,” he rumbled, pushing off the wall and crowding my personal space.

Stupid shield!

In my defense, it was hard to concentrate on anything when Draven was looking at me like he was about to eat me alive.

“Do you have any idea what you did to me out there?” he accused.

“I didn’t do anything to you.”

Draven grabbed my hand and flattened it on his crotch. My fingers reflexively squeezed, like they had a mind of their own. A dirty, naughty, whorish little mind of their own. A thrill shot through me and my adrenaline kicked in.

Well, hello there, nipples. Are you trying to tear through my shirt? Looks like.

“I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch you best them again and again, but that’s exactly what you’ll do, isn’t it, Angel?”

“You—you liked that? It was just me losing my temper.”

Squeeze.

I was somebody else at that moment. Someone whose hand had no problem fondling big packages.

“No, it was so much more,” Draven contended.

Squeeze.

This time he released a satisfying exhale. I was affecting him. I liked—scratch that—I loved how I was affecting him. I felt powerful. Desired.

Despite any misgivings over the Shadow Lord’s intentions, I wanted him with an irrational craving bordering on obsession. I wanted this male I hardly knew. Wanted him enough that I was standing in the hallway, after getting pissed on by a gargoyle, stroking him through his leathers.

We were having a conversation about what I did on the archery range while I was giving him a handy. Damn if I could get my stupid fingers to let go. I knew Draven wanted me. I didn’t understand it, but he’d made it very clear. The proof was throbbing in my palm.

The question was, what was I going to do about it? Probably what I always did when someone pushed me. I was going to push back.

“Did you follow me up here for a quickie, Draven?”

Ohmysweetjesus, I seriously just said that out loud. Another person was inhabiting my body. Probably a prostitute’s ghost.

“What would you do if I said yes?”

My heart sped up, thinking of the answer, picturing it vividly in my head.

Shield, Lyric. My control around you is tenuous at best, and the images you’re projecting are telling me you’d be more than okay with me locking us up in your room for a few hours while I take up residence in the cradle of your thighs.”

I bit my lip, which I guess was code for go ahead and do me because Draven had me pinned to the wall with my legs around his waist faster than I could blink. So distracted by this exalted male, I hardly noticed the discomfort of my swords getting sandwiched between my back and the cool stone.

“Maybe just a taste, then,” he bade, his mouth so close to mine I was breathing his exhale.

I waited, then quickly realized he was waiting for me to decide. My sensitized skin felt tight. My core ached. I hungered. Gods, how I hungered.

These stirrings had always been dormant in me. One second in Draven’s orbit had awoken the carnal side of my being, the demon side which should have always had an appetite for pleasures of the flesh.

Mateus and the other demons in our clan had no issue finding a warm body for just a night. Getting naked with the humans whose names they’d not remember was commonplace.

I’d grown into adulthood believing I was lacking in this, convinced my halfling chromosomes had dampened those instincts. I had lived in the presence of hundreds of males my entire life and not one of them made me feel any amount of sexual desire, not even Mateus. Only Draven made me feel this way and had since the second I’d stepped into his world.

Lyric,” he growled.

I involuntarily tilted my pelvis, groaning at the faintest touch of sweet friction. Draven shook, holding himself in check. For me. He was holding back for me.

It was heady stuff having any sort of power over the biggest and baddest Shadow in the land.

My soul pushed energies out and when his magics pushed back, I was lost. I could no more stop this than I could stop a rising tide.

My hands flew to his hair, grabbing two fistfuls. I yanked him the rest of the distance, holding him to me, unable to get close enough.

Unlike our first kiss, this one was raw. Primal. All teeth and tongue and desperation. I loved it. Locking my legs behind his back, I ground against him.

“Fuck, Lyric.”

His curse added to my impulse to behave badly. I’d bet he was a dirty talker in bed. Not that I had much experience with that, but I did have satellite television in my room back home. One can learn a lot from soft porn.

“Have to … make you … come,” he gritted between kisses.

Oh, yes, please!

Draven’s mouth drifted down the column of my throat. He kept one hand under my ass and the other slid under my shirt, then under my sports bra. I threw my head back when he reached my nipple, pinching and pulling. All the while he continuously rolled his hips into me.

Shadows started moving around us. Just like in my dreams, they slithered against my limbs, humming with vibrations. I froze.

“Draven?”

“Shh. It’s just me,” he whispered, licking my collarbone. “I need your mouth, but I want to taste and touch you everywhere. Let me show you how I can do both.”

“Uh—”

His lips were on mine again, the tendrils of darkness taking over his scorching kisses below my ear and down my neck. The maelstrom of sensations obliterated any hesitation I might have had. It was like there were three Dravens making out with me against the wall.

He dropped his other hand back to my rear. Magics skated under my clothing, across my breasts, feeling like electric fingers.

When he started lifting me up and down against his rigid cock, I moaned. The movement was chafing, holding me in that narrow space between pleasure and pain. That foreign storm, the one I’d only ever experienced in my dreams where a shadowy figure played my body like a master, built with the force of a tsunami.

Electric currents slithered down my abdomen, under my pants, and settled atop my clit. Holy fucking shit. They increased in intensity, alternating with his jerking hips. Every part of me was covered in his essence.

The only place he wasn’t was the one place I knew we both wanted him to be. Conjuring the image of Draven moving inside me, imagining his weight pinning me down as he thrust between my legs, the dam finally broke.

I cried out in pleasured shock, unable to hold it in. On and on it went with those electric currents prolonging my ecstasy until I was nothing more than a drooping form Draven had to hold upright.

My body went limp, my head dropping to his shoulder. He was still hard and I wondered if we should do something about that, though, maybe not out here in the hall.

Draven kissed my neck then straightened. Pulling gently on my hair, he tilted my head enough to see my face.

“You’re exactly as I knew you’d be,” he said.

“How’s that?” I puffed, still somewhat winded.

“Passionate. Wild. A force to be reckoned with.”

I blushed hard. Make-out session against wall? No problem. Complement from the Shadow Lord? Total embarrassment.

“Yes, well, you’re nothing like I thought. None of this is, aside from the atmospheric differences.”

“What did you think I’d be?”

“Cold. Scary. Murdery.”

He fought a smile. “I’m not sure murdery is a word, but I can be—and often am—all three. Though, not to you, Lyric. Never to you.”

Emotions rolled through me, plucking a haunting tune on my heartstrings. I wasn’t sure I was ready to identify what I was feeling.

He spoke to me as he might speak to a lover. He showed care for me, concern even. He’d fucking bought me a set of katanas and a personalized flask, things I’d treasure far more than any gift of flowers or jewelry.

“Draven …”

His lips pressed softly to mine. I knew my shield had been annihilated, so he was catching everything. It was grossly unfair.

“It’s okay, Angel. This was all I needed, for now. You come beautifully, by the way.”

If I flushed any further, I was going to have an aneurism.

Draven lowered me to my feet, brushing back the stray hairs that had fallen out of my ponytail during our hallway tryst.

“You might want to shower and change again, unless you want everyone to know what we were doing.”

“They’ll still catch traces, anyway, won’t they?”

“Probably.”

Lamerson’s words about my worth got stuck on repeat in my mind. “I don’t want them to think I’m, that I’m …”

“That you’re what?”

“That that’s why I’m here, all I’m good for.”

I waited for the regret to seep through my pores. When it didn’t, I chalked it up to the endorphins still pumping through me. Surely, I’d regret this by morning.

Draven pushed open my door and nudged me inside. “Then go rinse off, get dressed, return to the training area, and kick someone’s ass.”

Oh, gods. Draven got me. He sooo got me. How could I possibly keep my panties dry when the Shadow Lord was over there getting me?

I was in over my head.

Author Bio:

C.A. Worley is the alter-ego of Romance Author Cass Alexander. Where Cass tends to focus on humor in her publications, C.A. loves to write fantasy. She chose to write under the two different monikers so as to not confuse (or tick off) her readers.

C.A. currently resides in the Midwest, but was born and raised in the South. She spends her days working from home and her evenings are spent shuttling her kids to and fro. Her dinners are subpar, but she makes a mean dessert.

When she’s tired of living her sons’ travel sports schedules, C.A. enjoys a glass (or four) of wine. She needs the liquid courage to click the publish button for her fantasy romance novels.

Her motto is, “Be Brave,” and she tries to live it every day. It takes a healthy dose of courage to get through this thing we call life.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Can’t Wait Wednesday | 5/13

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings based on the meme Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking the Spine. In this weekly post people share a book that they’re excited about being released.

This week I have to talk about Where Dreams Descend. The first thing I head about this book was that it was Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera, and I had to get my hands on it. I’m excited to be included in the blog tour for it but sad that it’s publication date got pushed back to August 25th. Make sure to check it out!

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Happy reading!

Review: Forgotten Ones – Drabbles of Myth and Legend

For as long as men have lived, myths and legends have permeated cultures across the globe. But for every known monster, are there creatures of lore, gods of fable, and rituals of old that have been forgotten by time?

Delve into the darkness that came before and witness over 100 short drabbles resurrect the ancient world in 100 words or less.

Featuring award-winning horror and fiction authors from around the world, we dare you to remember the fear of the unknown and to dive headfirst into the beyond.

Within these pages the old gods have awoken and with them, chaos will reign again.

I thought the concept of this collection was really interesting, as I’d never heard of a collection of drabbles (100 word stories) before. It may not be the best format for me as there were so many of these that I was sucked into and left wanting more. For me I’m not sure if I can be satisfied with only 100 words. Still it was a great way to get acquainted with a number of different authors and their writing styles.

There were so many of these that were written beautiful and had a great punchline, but there were also some that just didn’t do it for me, which is something you can see with any collection. Still, I did enjoy the stories but I’m not sure if drabbles are something I’m going to read a lot in the future as I feel like I will always want more in some way.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon

All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Buy Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Books-A-Million AppleBooks Google Play

Night of the Dragon was easily my most anticipated book of the year. I have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the Shadow of the Fox trilogy and HAD to know what happened to the characters. That being said, this book pretty much broke me. If Julie Kagawa has a tear quota she needs to meet, I’m pretty sure I provided what she needs.

That being said, Night of the Dragon was just as amazing as the other two books and was a fast paced, well formed conclusion. I don’t really feel like anything was left unresolved but it was certainly a difficult and emotional journey to get to the end. We follow the same characters as we have followed previously as they continue to try to defeat Genno in his quest to claim the Dragon’s Wish. There were so many twists and turns (some predictable and some out of left field) and Kagawa again succeeded in writing this book so that it reads like an anime. It is action packed and there’s never really a dull moment.

It was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time, if you have grown to love the world she has created in the first two books, be prepared to get emotional but to also love this conclusion to the trilogy.

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Social Links:
Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/
Facebook
Twitter: @jkagawa
Instagram: @juliekagawaauthor
Goodreads

Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for giving me the opportunity to finally read the conclusion and be included in the blog tour!

Happy reading!

Review: Odriel’s Heirs

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out. 

This story is non stop, there was never a slow point or a point where it felt like it lagged. I really enjoyed the fact that it was so fast but also full of detail. Some of the author’s descriptions were rich and perfectly painted an image. There were certainly some elements of the story which were similar to other fantasies, but you are going to see that in a lot of stories, especially if they are following a hero’s journey.

I loved the little glimmers of personalities and felt that Kaia was a complex character. She definitely had the most depth out of everyone, but I could see other characters growing and becoming more fully fledged in further books.

I do hope that there is a little bit more world building in the next book as I feel like I don’t completely understand the world and it may be a little confusing for some at first. Still, it was a fun read and great start to a series.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: The Unwilling

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

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

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

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

Buy Links: Oblong Books Barnes & Noble Amazon Powell’s Apple Books IndieBound

First things first, this book is very dark and has a TON of trigger warnings, so if you are considering picking it up, please look into them and judge if this book is something you can handle. There is a lot of abuse in the story, so be warned about that. Also, I’m not sure why this is being described as young adult, because it clearly isn’t YA, it’s fantasy.

The story line was complex and unfortunately a little hard to follow at times, but it did come together. I feel like this is going to be a very polarizing book, so I’m sure some people are going to absolutely love it. The characters, though most of them are young, are complex and have unique bonds that grow or are cemented through the book. There are some great connections and relationships in this book.

Overall it was a very intriguing story with lots of twists and turns. Though it wasn’t the perfect read for me, I could definitely see a lot of people loving it.

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

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kellybraffet.com/
Facebook: @kellybraffetfiction
Twitter: @KellyBraffet

Happy reading!

Review: Moonstruck Vol 1

Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.

I didn’t know much about this except that a lot of people I follow thought it was adorable but I had definitely heard enough to want to pick it up. Let me just say that I am so glad I did! The art style is so whimsical and beautiful, the style and color palette just perfect for the setting and story. I loved the mystery and overall storyline and really feel like it is a good start to the series. I definitely would like to see more in the series and learn more about the characters and their backstories. These characters have such great relationships, but also their own insecurities and I would love to see more expanding on that.

Happy reading!