Review of Fireborn by Katie MacAlister

Rating: 2/5

Recommend: Probably not

Review:

I was really excited to read this book. The premise had a lot of promise and sounded so interested. But, the book itself unfortunately did not live up to that promise. There were a few times I almost put this book down, but I kept going because I wanted to give it a fair chance.

But, I will say that I still think the premise is a great idea. Honestly, that was what made me want to give it another go after I almost stopped reading a quarter of the way through. I kept hoping that my hopes might be rekindled a little, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I still like the idea behind this book, just not how that idea played out.

One of the hardest parts for me to get behind was the characters. I’m a huge fan of strong, interesting, and developed characters. But these people were all pretty annoying and made some seriously weird and questionable choices. I don’t mind some unexpected or morally ambiguous actions, but this book seemed to be riddled with them and their behavior didn’t sit well with me at all.

Overall, this book was kind of a disappointment. I wanted to love this, or at least have a fun time reading it, but it really fell short of my expectations. Maybe that’s just me and this will be the perfect book for you. Who knows? It might just be me who isn’t as fond of it.

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Sales Blitz for Glamour of Midnight by Casey L. Bond

GLAMOUR OF MIDNIGHT SB BANNER

Do you love epic fantasy? Are you a sucker for a fairy tale retelling? Then you should definitely check out Glamour of Midnight by Casey L. Bond! I’m so excited to partner with Lady Amber’s Reviews and PR to share this awesome book with you all.

Here is the synopsis:

Nineteen-year-old Karis has been blind since birth, but for some reason, she can see through the wall of smoke that separates the human lands from those of the Faeries that rule in grand courts on the other side. Most of the time, the only thing she can see on the other side of the wall is the swipe of a tail or the trailing of a bony hand along the surface. But one day, a handsome faerie appears and sweeps her away into his world—a world that is being ravaged by an evil so dark and deadly, she fears she may never see her home again.

Loftin is a bounty hunter and he has been searching for Karis since she went missing from the Court of Ash. He needs to return her and collect the ransom. But the longer they travel together and the more he teaches her about what she is now able to see, the more difficult he finds the thought of letting her go. A fiery passion ignites between them, but with a monster tracking their every move, they must find a way to reach the Court of Ash before it kills them both.

glamour 99 cent

Sound great? I know I think it sounds like a perfect read! If you’re still interested, here is the book trailer:

Book Trailer: https://www.authorcaseybond.com/coming-soon.html

Casey Bond (1)

Author Bio:
Casey Bond lives in West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. She likes goats and yoga, but hasn’t tried goat yoga because the family goat is so big he might break her back. Seriously, he’s the size of a pony. Her favorite books are the ones that contain magical worlds and flawed characters she would want to hang out with. Most days of the week, she writes young adult fantasy and paranormal fiction, letting her imaginary friends spill onto the blank page.

Casey is the award-winning author Frenzy series and fairy tale retellings such as Riches to Rags, Savage Beauty, Unlocked and Brutal Curse. Learn more about her work at www.authorcaseybond.com.


Author Links

Website: www.authorcaseybond.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorcaseybond 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorcaseybond

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7212486.Casey_L_Bond

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/caseyb007

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PmE0pg

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/casey-l-bond

Bond-Tourage: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1032678336804562/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gcAu9v

Universal Link: http://books2read.com/u/3GxZBP

Review of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Stars

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

I’ve been hearing so many great things about this book that I knew I had to at least give it a read. And I’m really glad I did. But…I’m a little disappointed too. This book was beautifully written and had a really interesting concept for a story. It just didn’t grab me like I hoped it would. I think the pacing was what threw me. It moved a little too slow at times which made it hard to stay interested.

But, despite the issues I had with this, I still thought it was a good book! Like I said, the concept is really interesting and I did really love the writing. Kaufman and Spooner created such a beautiful and fascinating world. I would have liked a little more world building, but I loved what was there.

And the characters were so fun. At first, Lilac drove me a little crazy, but she eventually grew on me. By the end, I adored her and Tarver. They were such well developed characters. And I loved seeing their growth throughout the book.

So, I liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I did like it. I’m glad I read it and I can see why so many people love it. There’s a lot to enjoy about this book. If you’re debating whether to read it, I would say go for it! It’s worth checking out if you like YA and Sci-Fi books.

Release Blitz for Someone Else’s Soul by Meradeth Houston

SOMEONE ELSE'S SOUL RDB BANNER

Are you looking for a creepy, science fiction book about clones? Well, then you’ll probably be as excited as I am about the release of Someone Else’s Soul by Meradeth Houston! This book sounds so interesting! But don’t take my word for it; read about it for yourself!

Blurb:

Soul B

There are 14 strangers who share her face, and one company is determined to erase them all.

Everyone has secrets, and it’s Diana Kane’s job to know them. It’s a talent–being able to see into someone’s life from the scuffs on their shoes to the way they hold their hands–a talent that sets her apart from everyone. When a mysterious stranger drops into her life dangling the possibility of something she’s longed for, a real connection with someone who might actually understand her, she’s too intrigued to refuse.

But when David Addington shows up to their date knowing too much about her, and the top secret agency she works for, Diana realizes their meeting was anything but coincidence. David has more than his share of surprises, including an impossible claim about Diana’s past and photos of an inexplicable woman who shares her face.

When her life begins to unravel around her, Diana has no choice but to put her faith in the mysterious David and the man he claims is his father. As she struggles to piece together the truth about where she came from, she’s forced to face the reality that her entire life has been manufactured, along with fourteen other women who share her exact same DNA. Confronted with the troubling reality that she’s nothing more than a research experiment that’s pushed the boundaries of science and ethics, Diana must rescue the others like her before the company can erase them as mistakes, putting all her skills to the test in the ultimate game of survival…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39903809-someone-else-s-soul

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/IsZyMc_l3K8

Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1709002055997874/

Meradeth-17-199x300

Author Bio:
Meradeth Houston lives in Montana where she’s an anthropology professor and scientist. If you let her, she’ll tell you more than you ever wanted to know about getting DNA out of dead bodies and old poop. She specializes in degraded DNA (translation: really old DNA that’s decayed), and runs two laboratories filled with students, interns, and maybe a few shenanigans. Her research seeks to better understand the dynamic of past migration on human populations. Her goal is to someday clone herself because that’s probably the only way she’ll ever get through her to-do list. Though, who knows, maybe that’ll mean she’s donating to someone else’s soul?

Other than teaching, research, and writing, Meradeth enjoys the lakes and ski slopes of Western Montana. It’s not uncommon to find her haunting the cafes of Missoula. She is also a proud dog mom and represented by Cristi Marchetti.

Author Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5321667.Meradeth_Houston

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PNa7HV

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeradethHouston/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeradethHouston

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meradeth-houston

Website: http://meradethhouston.com/

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/31PXva

Review of Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

WickedSaints_BlogTourBanner_AFTER 4.2.png

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: YES!

Review:

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in this book’s blog tour. And let me tell you guys, it’s sooooo good! It reminded me of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy, which is another awesome series. In fact, I may actually like this book better than Shadow and Bone. It’s that good!

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you know how much I adore strong character development. And that is an aspect where I feel this book really shines. All of the characters have such powerful personalities and their backstories are so well developed. I feel like these are real people that I actually know.

The writing is truly beautiful too. From the dialogue, to the lush descriptions, my heart just melted as I read this book. I appreciated that Duncan didn’t bog the reader down with too many descriptions, but didn’t skip over them entirely. She seemed to have found the perfect balance between too much and not enough.

With my ravings, you might be wondering why I didn’t give it a full five stars. I was planning to, and up until the last quarter of the book I was going to give it five stars. But, I felt like the ending was a little too rushed and I had a little bit of a hard time following exactly what was happening and why it happened.

Aside from a little confusion at the end, I LOVED Wicked Saints. I’m going to need book two ASAP. Otherwise I might just explode from anticipation. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Emily A. Duncan

AUTHOR BIO:

Emily A. Duncan works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Wicked Saints_Cover FINAL.jpg

BUY LINK:

https://static.macmillan.com/static/smp/wicked-saints/

SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

FROM THE JACKET COVER:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N A D4E Z H D A

L A P T E V A

 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

 

 

Its certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few sec- onds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had

 

 

woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya com- muned with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, My- esta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was im- possible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Mar- zenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads,

 

 

a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of fig- ures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tight- ened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms be- came clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow si- lently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glow- ing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for any- thing.

 

 

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness.

Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,Marzenya hissed. Kill them all. Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where

 

 

the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to com- municate with them . . .

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi as- sassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N A D4E Z H D A

L A P T E V A

 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

 

 

Its certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few sec- onds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had

 

 

woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya com- muned with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, My- esta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was im- possible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Mar- zenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads,

 

 

a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of fig- ures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tight- ened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms be- came clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow si- lently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glow- ing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for any- thing.

 

 

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness.

Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,Marzenya hissed. Kill them all. Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where

 

 

the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to com- municate with them . . .

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi as- sassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N A D4E Z H D A

L A P T E V A

 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

 

 

Its certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few sec- onds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had

 

 

woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya com- muned with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, My- esta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was im- possible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Mar- zenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads,

 

 

a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of fig- ures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tight- ened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms be- came clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow si- lently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glow- ing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for any- thing.

 

 

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness.

Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,Marzenya hissed. Kill them all. Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where

 

 

the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to com- municate with them . . .

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi as- sassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N A D4E Z H D A

L A P T E V A

 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

 

 

Its certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few sec- onds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had

 

 

woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya com- muned with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, My- esta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was im- possible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Mar- zenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads,

 

 

a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of fig- ures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tight- ened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms be- came clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow si- lently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glow- ing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for any- thing.

 

 

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness.

Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,Marzenya hissed. Kill them all. Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where

 

 

the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to com- municate with them . . .

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi as- sassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.

Review of The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore

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Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes!

Review:

As a lifelong lover of fantasy, I’m always happy when I read a fresh, new take on world building. So when I picked up The Perfect Assassin, I was excited to see this wouldn’t be the kind-of-like-medieval-Europe-but-a-little-different world that I often find in fantasy. That, combined with the fun and developed characters, made this a really good read!

Even though I ended up really enjoying The Perfect Assassin, it didn’t start off as one of my favorite books. I mean, I recognized right away that the world building and character development was really impressive. But for some reason the story seemed to lag for me. It wasn’t until about halfway through that I really started getting wrapped up in this book. Once I did, however, I couldn’t put this one down!

I adored the characters. Amastan is such a precious cinnamon roll and the rest of the cast was equally interesting in their own ways. Even when the plot seemed to drag a bit, I kept coming back to this book in large part because of the wonderful characters. (And, of course, the world building made up for a lot too!).

The Perfect Assassin is definitely worth reading if you like fantasy or murder mysteries, or both! I might not have started off the strongest, but the ending blew me away. I’m excited to see what comes next!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Books for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review!

Whispers from the Depths Blog Tour and Review

Whispers-Blog-Tour.jpg

What, two posts from Laura in one day?! I know, crazy, right? But, I have one more book that I want to share with you all. And this is not one you want to miss out on!

I was lucky enough to get the chance to participate in the blog tour for Whispers from the Depths. This is a powerhouse of a book; with water spirits/demons, super interesting magic, and enough heartbreak to crack even the hardest of hearts. It’s not one for the faint of heart, but if you’re in the mood for a darker fantasy, this is your kind of book!

You all know how I feel about characters: if a book has good characters, there’s a 99% that I will really like the book. And these ladies/gents don’t disappoint. I found myself really caring what happened to these characters, which made their trials even more heart-wrenching.

I was also really impressed with the world created here. It felt so fresh and unique. At times I had a little bit of a hard time fully understanding the magic rules and little details, but overall, I really appreciated all of the world building that went into this book.

So all in all, you guys should check this book out! It’s a quick, but powerful read. I’m so excited to see what Briar comes up with next.

And if you are too, here are some important links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40800052-whispers-from-the-depths

UUP website: https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/whispers-from-the-depths/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Depths-C-W-Briar-ebook/dp/B07LC2VTLM/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-from-the-depths-c-w-briar/1130009932

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1446792349

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/whispers-from-the-depths-1

 

In case you need a little more information, here is the synopsis:

Joyful and blessed are Voice-bearers, for the Heavens have set them apart.

 As Whisperers gifted with the Voice, Betka and her people are enslaved. Only they can control the dangerous spirits that haunt the waters, but they are forced to serve under cruel taskmasters. Betka has little hope of freedom from her service or her own bitterness.

 They toil for the goodness of others. 

 A powerful water spirit terrorizes the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. Betka is assigned to the crew sailing to face the foe, and she fears for the only family she has left.

 Rage is found nowhere in them.

 In the beleaguered, flooded castle, a new threat awaits—a magic more powerful and horrifying than anything they have ever seen. Loyalties will be tested, and enemies will become desperate allies.

 Betka is their only hope of escape—if she can subdue the wrath that endangers them all.

She who wields the waters for revenge drowns herself tenfold.

CW Briar - Author Photo.jpg                                         3D Graphic, no background.png

Author Bio:

C.W. Briar writes fantasy that’s dark but hopeful, filled with wonder and humor along with the suspense and creepiness. His favorite stories are the ones that make him both smile and perch on the edge of his seat. By day, he works as a systems engineer, testing or even riding on trains, airplanes, and helicopters. At night, when not writing, he prepares fancy dinners and shows off his awesome corgis. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and lives in Upstate NY with his wife, three kids, and secret stashes of chocolate.

Sign up for newsletter exclusives through his website: http://www.cwbriar.com

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CWBriar

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