The Book of Uriel

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TheBookofUriel

Congratulations to author Elyse Hoffman on the release of this absolutely stunning novel, The Book of Uriel! “The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.” Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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The Book of Uriel Expected Publication Date: January 26, 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction/ Jewish Fiction/ Jewish Folklore/ Holocaust Fiction Publisher: Project 613 Publishing In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness… Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real. In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil. With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger. Add to Goodreads

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Excerpt

Uriel wished he could scream.

Normally, he could. A scream was one of the few noises that ever emerged from the boy’s lips. No words ever escaped, but he could summon a scream.

Yet his lungs couldn’t gather enough air to produce a cry. They struggled to supply enough oxygen to keep the child awake. Smoke invaded his throat and clawed at his lungs. Although screams pierced the air from every angle, he couldn’t add his own to the din.

He still felt the pressure of mother’s fingers locked around his hand, even though she was gone. Uriel’s golden eyes darted to and fro, searching for her face. His fingers twitched as her warmth faded. He strained his ears, trying to hear her call to him, but her voice did not rise above the ruckus.

Mama! Uriel thought, his tears allying with the smoke and assaulting his eyes. He wanted to cry out for her. Perhaps if she heard him, she would find him, and they could get to safety. But his voice had never worked before, and though he opened his mouth to call out, all he could do was pant and cough.

Gunshots rang out. The fleeing villagers clung to their families and their few precious possessions, shoving one another out of the way as they tried to escape the flames enveloping the little town and the murderous mob cutting down the Jews. Young and old, women and men, little children and babies were thrown to the ground, beaten with clubs, shot, stabbed, and slaughtered. Their blood mingled with the warm ash coating the cobblestones.

Uriel stood in the midst of the mayhem, still as a statue, alone. His right hand yearned for his mother, while his left clutched the one possession he had snatched before fleeing his house. His little golden notebook. Small enough to fit in his pocket and filled with stories he couldn’t leave to burn.

Although the villagers would normally never leave a small child alone in the street, concern for their own lives and the lives of their families caused them to stampede. Uriel was pushed against a brick wall, and his golden notebook flew from his hand. He gasped, inhaling an army of ash. The boy desperately tried to crawl to his notebook. Boots and shoes stomped on the cherished book, but Uriel reached it. He grabbed the notebook and held it to his chest, shielding it with his body.

The child was trampled and kicked. His lungs began losing to the smoke and ash entering through his nostrils and silent lips. He felt as though his insides were on fire, as though every bone in his body was about to shatter. When darkness finally took him, all he felt was gratitude.

Available on Amazon! About the Author Author-picture-1-1 Elyse Hoffman can write a lot of things, but finds her own story dull and difficult. She has been interested in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany since she was thirteen. Her somewhat morbid fascination is purely intellectual and emotional. She advises you to be careful when signing contracts. You never know where or when you may end up.

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January 2021 Book Club Recs!

2021 is here and it came like a lamb after the lion of 2020. Since I’m reading a contemporary for my book club (really, you should join! We’re reading New Year’s Kiss by Lee Matthews) then I want to present some YA books that can creepy softly into your heart like they did mine. These are in no particular order, they’re just some of my faves.

  • 10 Blind Dates

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

  • Starry Eyes

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

  • Eliza and Her Monsters

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

  • I Kissed Alice

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

  • With The Fire on High

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

  • You Should See Me in a Crown

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

  • The Falling in Love Montage

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

  • The Henna Wars

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Anticipated 2021 Reads!

  • A Vow So Bold and Deadly

I’m apart of the Cursebreakers Team, so I get some updates periodically throughout the year… with some chapter excerpts as well. I’m so pumped for this book! I can’t wait to read it and to cry and cry and fight someone.

Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

  • Angel of Greenwood

I feel like 2020 was a good year to learn a lot of things. Some of the things I learned were about Black History, specifically the stories and periods I wasn’t taught in school. We can’t keep denying that our history has been severely white washed and I urge everyone to pick up books like this or to research more about our history. If we don’t know our past, we’re doomed to repeat it (like the 1918 pandemic).

A historical YA novel that takes place during the Greenwood Massacre of 1921, in an area of Tulsa, OK, known as the Black Wall Street.

Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. A passionate follower of WEB. Du Bois, he believes that black people should rise up to claim their place as equals.

Sixteen-year-old Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil. Also, as a loyal follower of Booker T. Washington, she believes, through education and tolerance, that black people should rise slowly and without forced conflict.

Though they’ve attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can’t turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon.

But life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.

  • Be Dazzled

I think the most fun I had with a fantasy book was Ryan La Sala’s Reverie so when he announced this new book I screamed! I absolutely love La Sala’s writing and I want to be dazzled!

Who’s ready to sparkle??

Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.

Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone–else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.

Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.

But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way. 

  • Blood Like Magic

In 2020, I decided that if I was going to be an ally I needed to support those I allied with in terms of my reading. Publishing has long had a horrible white washing problem and it’s time we fix that. I started a book club that focused on reading diverse reads and now I make it a priority to read books with POC main characters, especially ownvoice works. This one I specifically picked out because I’ve never heard of that concept before and I’m so excited to read this!

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

  • Broken Web

I had a blast reading Lori M. Lee’s Forest of Souls and I’m so pumped to see what comes of the tale! If you’ve not read Forest of Souls, you have until June to do so! Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

The sequel to the hotly-anticipated Forest of Souls, an epic and immersive tale of destiny and sisterhood. Perfect for fans of Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, and Netflix’s The Witcher!

The Soulless has woken from his centuries-long imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his strength, while Sirscha and her allies journey east to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. Everyone believes she is a soulguide—a savior—but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.

But there’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the shaman responsible for the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, like all shamans, his magic must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what—or who—that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.

With Queen Meilyr bent on destroying the magical kingdoms, Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the east and the Soulless waiting in the west. She should be trying to unite what peoples she can to face their common enemies, but instead, her hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing Sirscha to question who her enemies really are.

  • Cazadora

While there’s no formal blurb of this book yet, I absolutely loved Lobizona this past year. The story, featuring an undocumented immigrant with ownvoice narrative, absolutely turned the tales of werewolves on their head and I loved the tale. The book was amazing and I can’t wait to read more from Romina Garber!

In Cazadora, the follow-up to Lobizona, Romina Garber continues to weave Argentine folklore and real-world issues into a haunting, fantastical, and romantic story that will reunite readers with Manu and her friends as they continue to fight for a better future.

  • Concrete Rose

The Hate U Give turned the publishing game on its head and became an international phenomenon and I think Concrete Rose is going to do the same! I don’t think a lot of authors touch the issue of gangs because of a variety of reasons, so I’m excited to read from Mav’s POV and to have a book I can pass to my sons if I have any.

International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood.

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

  • Cool for the Summer

Yea, I know it looks cliché, but I love stories that touch on self-discovery, especially ones that hint at bisexual main characters! Bisexuals aren’t featured much in books and there’s still a lot of stereotypes about them, so I’m excited when any books feature them in what I can hope to be an accurate representation. Also, Jasmine is a very cute name.

Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

  • The Cost of Knowing

Do you ever wish to know the future? Well, this is what happens when you do! I’m so excited to read this because 1) it’s got They Both Die at the End vibes and 2) it’s by Brittney Morris who wrote Slay and she is a damn good author! Autobuy author for life.

Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End in this gripping, evocative novel about a Black teen who has the power to see into the future, whose life turns upside down when he foresees his younger brother’s imminent death, from the acclaimed author of SLAY.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.

  • Counting Down with You

I’m a sucker for the fake dating trope and I’m also a sucker for diverse reads, so when I saw this book coming to life I squeeled! Bangladeshi ownvoice and anxiety ownvoice! Be still my heart.

In this sparkling and romantic YA debut, a reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.

How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

  • A Crown So Cursed

One of the very few book series that I’m rereading in 2021, I’m so excited to see the ending of this series! I loved the first two books of the series and L.L. McKinney is an amazing author. Her words instantly sucked me into her work and I can’t wait to grab this one!

In the third book in L.L. McKinney’s Nightmare-Verse trilogy, Alice gets one last chance to save Wonderland from itself.

Alice and the gang are trying to recover from recent events—but members of her crew start having weird dreams. The same dreams. It seems the evil in Wonderland may not be as defeated as they thought—because someone’s building an army of Nightmares to attack the mortal world. But before Alice jumps into battle, she discovers she has a personal connection to Wonderland, and she must face what it means for the fight ahead.

  • The Darkness Outside Us

Spaceeeeeeeee! And gay romance. What’s more to love?!

Two boys, alone in space.

After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing is his own sister.

In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.

  • Firekeeper’s Daughter

There’s not enough books featuring Native main characters and Angeline Boulley is here to change that! The early reviews are all extremely positive with a 4.65 with 66 ratings! I’m excited to grab this book and read!

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

  • The Forest of Stolen Girls

June Hur stole my heart with The Silence of Bones and I’m pumped to grab this next book! I’m a mystery lover and crime drama enthusiast with an interest in historical fiction, so I’m basically a June Hur super fan.

After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

  • The Gilded Ones

I feel so bad that this book’s release date keeps getting pushed back, but it’s done so much to drum up extreme interest in the book! I feel like I’ve seen this book everywhere and I’ll probably be one of the many who read it fully on release day!

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

Number 1 – Adiba Jaigirdar can do no wrong in my eyes and will always be an autobuy author for me. And Number 2 – more fake dating tropes! Also more bisexual main characters! Need I say more?

Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.

Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

  • The Infinity Courts

I became a huge fan of Akemi Dawn Bowman when I read Harley in the Sky but this book I’m absolutely pumped for! I can’t wait! I love the dystopian aspect, but also the sci-fi feel of it! I can’t wait!

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

  • Jay’s Gay Agenda

I think that there should be room for sex-positive YA books for those who are interested in those. A lot of people, especially those in power, think that there shouldn’t be room for that because YA books are wrote for teens, but teens are having sex or are looking for experiences like that in books. Beyond  that rant, I’m going to read and support this book when it comes out!

There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all his friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

Then, against all odds, Jay’s family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he’s found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he’ll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones…because after all, life and love don’t always go according to plan.

From debut novelist Jason June comes a moving and hilarious sex-positive story about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming.

  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Historical fiction? Check. Lesbian romance? Check. Fighting societal norms to be seen as the norm? Check! I’m excited to read this one for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I like to prove to people that non-straight relationships existed beyond the 1970s.

 Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with her most personal and ambitious novel yet, a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

“Lo’s writing, restrained yet luscious, shimmers with the thrills of youthful desire. A lovely, memorable novel about listening to the whispers of a wayward heart and claiming a place in the world.”—Sarah Waters, bestselling and award winning author of Tipping the Velvet and The Night Watch

  • Lore

When my husband and I first met online, one of the first things we discussed in length is our love of Greek Mythology. I have an e-arc of this book, but I’m excited to grab a copy so we can read together.

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

  • My Contrary Mary

2021 is the year I want to take the plunge into The Lady Janies and into their new series with Marys! I’m excited to read these because I always see them on my timeline!

Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?⠀

Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀

Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper’s nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.

  • The Project

The cover looks scary, the story sounds scary, and honestly I like a little scary in my winter books. I’m so excited to read this one!

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

  • We Free The Stars

And last but certainly not least is this book! I fell in love with Hafsah Faizal’s writing in the first book and I can’t wait to read this one, but I’m not ready for the tears that will come!

The sequel to the New York Times–bestselling We Hunt the Flame, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.

The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.

As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.

Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.

Honestly though, there will be more books I’m excited about as 2021 progresses. Too many are so so good!

Emergence by Shira Shiloah

Emergance

Welcome to the tour for exciting medical thriller, Emergence by Shira Shiloah MD! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! EMERGENCE 2D CoverEmergence Publication Date: September 15th, 2020 Genre: Medical Thriller A SCALPEL WIELDING VILLAIN. A HEALTHCARE SYSTEM THAT FAILS. A WHISTLEBLOWER THAT PROTECTS HER PATIENTS – NO MATTER THE COSTS. Trusted anesthesiologist, Dr. Roxanne Roth, is healing from the loss of her fiancé by consuming her time with work. It doesn’t hurt that her new love interest, Dr. Justin Kirkland, spends almost as much time at the hospital as she does. Entranced in the throes and complications of new love, Roxanne looks forward to work every day. Her time at the hospital would almost be cathartic if not for Dr. D.K. Webb, a neurosurgeon, who is quickly amassing a pile of complaints – and bodies. Despite trying to avoid Webb, Roxanne finds herself working alongside the doctor during a routine, low-risk surgery. Fueled by cocaine and ego, Webb intentionally sabotages the case, leading to the patient dying on the operating table. Roxanne’s tenuous grip on recovery is shattered with her patient’s death, quickly replaced by anger and a drive for justice. Now Roxanne will do anything to protect her patients from the killer on the other side of the sterile surgical field—before he can silence her as well. In this gripping, sinister medical thriller, Dr. Shira Shiloah will leave readers wondering about the potential evil lurking behind every surgical mask. “Authentic characters and a vivid hospital setting enhance a tense medical tale.” – Kirkus Review Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

D.K. wasn’t concerned that Mrs. Welty, his grossly obese patient, was unable to swallow. His surgery had cured herdisc and he’d functionally given her a gastric bypass for free. She would lose all that weight, so she and her husband should be thanking him. The med exec board had already flagged the lumbar fusion from last month that woke paraplegic. Now they’d flagged Welty as well and he’d been “invited” to a review next week.

He sauntered into the sushi restaurant and found Crystal, as instructed, waiting for him at the bar. Her outfit was to his specifications as well. A white see-through leotard with the thong clearly visible on her perfect booty; her red skin-tight pants hung low. She wore a white choker further accentuating her perfect deep ebony complexion. Her nails and eyelashes were as long as they were fake. Costume jewelry bracelets decorated her wrists.

He caressed her pierced left nipple and kissed her neck. She smiled and kissed his cheek.

Purchase Here! About the Author _MG_4879_sm Dr. Shira Shiloah is an anesthesiologist and author of the debut thriller, Emergence, that details Dr. D.K. Webb, a neurosurgeon who intentionally maims and kills his patients in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Shiloah bring both a personal and professional perspective for what may happen when a sociopath holds a scalpel.

Shira Shiloah MD | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway: For a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, please click the link below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emergance

Blog Tour Schedule

October 12th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

October 13th

Cup of Books (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

PoptheButterfly (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com

October 14th

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@burlingtonbibliophagist (Review) https://www.instagram.com/p/CC6Qy6yABBJ/?igshid=1gadff8igjmwv

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

The Consulting Writer (Spotlight) https://theconsultingwriter.wordpress.com

October 15th

@ace.blackmore (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ace_blackmore/

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

October 16th

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Bookstagrammer Interview: @chasethestories aka Elias Chase!

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1) What made you start your account?
I started my bookstagram account initially for my writing. I wanted to connect with readers and writers alike. I figured a bookstagram account would be the best way into the community. To introduce me to like minded individuals.
2) What is your current read and how are you liking it?
I am currently reading two books: a non-fiction called When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and I just downloaded a book to my kindle from an Indi-Author called The Tragedy of Marsh by Emile G. Harding.
I’m captivated with When Breath Becomes Air. I initially picked it up, as it was a suggested read in the preparation of my medical school application. It’s surprisingly poetic and really provides insight on what it feels like to be on the other side of a diagnoses for a doctor. But even more so-what it means to have a “full-life.”
I can’t say much for The Tragedy of Marsh as I literally just started it. But, the 10-word description that hooked me to pick it up was “the police’s investigation into the murder of an angel.” I have a weak spot for crime-thrillers and the like.
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3) What are you currently working on in your life?
I’m currently studying to take the Universal Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) at the end of September. It’s the last leg I need for my application to medical school to be complete.
I am also attempting to write an urban fantasy novel.
4) I see from your bio that you’re a coffee drinker! How do you take your coffee?
Yes! Coffee is life! On the daily I drink my coffee black. Sometimes I might treat myself with a little bit of hazelnut milk.
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5) How would you describe your feed/current theme?
Never really thought of a “theme” before. But what I can say, is I use dark/steampunk/autumn as an inspiration. But, above all-I want my feed to be authentic. Meaning I want ME to come through with the books I read and the words I write.
6) What’s been your favorite prop to use for Instagram?
At first I didn’t think much about my props. But after following @reviews_from_a_bookworm and seeing how pretty her feed was by the use of props… I started using what I had around and found that I love using my typewriter as a prop.
7) You’re writing your own urban fantasy book! So exciting! What’s it going to be about?
So I don’t have a proper synopsis for my book yet, nor do I have a title. 🙈 
Few words I can give are: werewolves, hunters, their origins inspired by Mesopotamian mythology, a fictitious city against a red desert (think southwest America), a feud among brothers and an MC who is a paramedic.
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8) If you could select any publishing house to pick up your book, which one would you prefer?
This is a great question-I’ve honestly never thought about it before. Personally, I would be happy to just get my work out there for people to enjoy
9) What inspires you to write? For IG?
I’m inspired to write as a personal goal I set for myself about 10 years ago. I wrote a bucket list and one of the things I wrote was “write a book.” So, I figured, now is as good a time as any to make good on that goal. IG helps keep me inspired.
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10) Who are some accounts that inspired you to start getting creative?
@theshybooknerd @bookishsmiles, plus many others – but I couldn’t remember them at the time when I was filling out the form.
Definitely check out this account! I can’t tell you enough how kind and sweet Elias is and their pictures are amazing! Go over to Instagram and click that follow button!
chasethestories2

Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody Excerpt!

QUEEN OF VOLTS

By Amanda Foody

On Sale: September 1, 2020 

INKYARD PRESS

Teen & Young Adult Fantasy & Supernatural Mysteries & Thriller

978-1335145864; 1335145869

$20.99 USD

608 pages

 

About the Book

 

GAME OF THRONES meets THE DIVINERS in this thrilling fantasy — the highly anticipated final book in Amanda Foody’s THE SHADOW GAME series.

Return to the City of Sin, where the perilous final game is about to begin…The players? Twenty-two of the most powerful, most notorious people in New Reynes.

With no choice but to play, Enne and Levi are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But any misstep could turn deadly when a far more dangerous opponent appears on the board — one plucked straight from the city’s most gruesome legends. While Levi hides behind a mask of false promises, Enne is finally forced out from behind hers and as the game takes its final, vicious turn, these two must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies.

Because in a game for survival, there are no winners…

There are only monsters.

 

About the author

 

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a master’s in accountancy from Villanova University and a bachelor of arts in English literature from the College of William and Mary.

 

Social Links:

 

Author website: www.amandafoody.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandafoody

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandafoody/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37545599-queen-of-volts

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Queen-Volts-Shadow-Amanda-Foody/dp/1335145869

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/queen-of-volts-amanda-foody/1133810276

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335145864

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Queen-Volts/Amanda-Foody/9781335145864?id=7941582454467

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/queen-of-volts/id1481655059

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amanda_Foody_Queen_of_Volts?id=ZSiyDwAAQBAJ

 

Excerpted from Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody © 2020 by Amanda Foody, used with permission from Inkyard Press. 

 

HARVEY 

It was early morning when Harvey Gabbiano dug the grave. 

Harvey didn’t like the cemeteries in the Deadman District, precisely because they were cemeteries. Most people didn’t know it, but there was a difference between a cemetery and a graveyard— graveyards were connected to a church. But the only place to find devotion in this neighborhood was at the bottom of a bottle. 

This cemetery was a bleak, soulless plot of land, made bleaker by the drizzle that had soaked through Harvey’s clothes. Rusted industrial plaques marked each of the graves. There were no f lowers anywhere, not even weeds, and the unkept grass grew patchy and brown. 

“It would’ve been easier if you’d burned it,” Bryce told him. He’d watched Harvey work all morning, but not once had he offered to help…or even to share his umbrella. Bryce didn’t see the point in helping with tasks he disapproved of, even if this task was important to Harvey. 

“It’s holier to bury him,” Harvey repeated yet again. Even though Harvey was Faithful, he wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble had the deceased not been wearing a Creed of his own. He didn’t know many others who practiced the Faith anymore—it had been banned for so long now. “You don’t have to stay.”

“I’m staying. You’re funny, you and those superstitions of yours. I could use a laugh.”

Harvey didn’t know how Bryce could find humor in the situation. The November weather was cold. The cemetery was irreverent and depressing. The dead had not deserved to die.

But Bryce had come with him, and so, no matter the circumstances, Harvey couldn’t help but feel a little bit pleased.

“I’m not doing this to be funny,” Harvey responded, forcing his voice into a grumble. He pressed his bulky leather boot against the step of the shovel. The mud he lifted glinted with green shards of broken bottles.

“My mistake,” Bryce said dryly. “You’re doing this to be decent.”

Harvey absolutely was doing it to be decent. To be good. Because Harvey might not have been the person who killed this man or any of the other hundred who’d perished two nights ago at the party in St. Morse Casino, but as long as he remained hopelessly in love with Bryce Balfour, he would always have blood on his hands.

It was hard not to glance at his friend as he worked. Harvey hated to look at him. But he didn’t need to—he had long ago memorized every agonizing detail of his face, his figure, his posture. Bryce could be absent and still be Harvey’s distraction.

Harvey hated himself for it.

The body made a thump when he pushed it into the hole.

Harvey straightened, his back aching from the exertion, his fingers blistered even through his gloves. The hours of rain had made the dried blood on the body and clothes run again, and the flattened brown grass it had been lying on moments before was now flooded with red. Harvey watched as the puddles washed the blood away, and he murmured a silent prayer that the rain would do the same for his immortal soul.

“Harvey,” Bryce said sharply.

Harvey’s gaze shot toward him, and he flinched. Bryce hadn’t worn his brown-colored contacts since that night at St. Morse, when he revealed himself to be a malison, someone with the talent to create curses known as shades, a talent the world feared but hadn’t believed to truly exist. And despite always knowing what Bryce was, Harvey wasn’t used to this adjustment.

Bryce’s malison scarlet eyes were a reminder of how low Harvey had fallen.

But Harvey’s gaze didn’t stop there—of course it didn’t. It traveled across Bryce’s face, down concave cheekbones and lips chapped from kissing someone who wasn’t him. Down bony shoulders and a tall, skinny frame, over threadbare clothes and a black wool coat that draped shapelessly over him. Harvey lingered on the places he had kissed, on slender fingers and narrow hips and the smooth pale skin between. Those memories haunted him.

Bryce didn’t pay Harvey’s staring any attention. He never did. His concentration was focused on the card in his hand. He ran his thumb over its foiled gold back.

It was a Shadow Card, one of the cursed cards the Phoenix Club used to play the Shadow Game. Except it wasn’t. Shadow Cards were silver. This one belonged to a different game, one Bryce and his girlfriend, Rebecca, had devised themselves, one they had set in motion at St. Morse two nights prior. Harvey had helped them deliver golden cards to every designated “player” across New Reynes, and now all that remained was to wait for the star player to make a move.

“They’re here. I can feel it,” Bryce said hoarsely, squeezing the card so hard it bent.

By “they,” he meant the Bargainer. The City of Sin treated all of its legends with a hallowed reverence, and this one was the oldest, most famous of them all: the wandering Devil who would bargain for anything. Bryce had been obsessed with the tale for a year, ever since Rebecca had fallen sick. Despite every effort—ethical or otherwise—Rebecca wasn’t improving, and Bryce had convinced himself that her last hope for a cure was the Bargainer’s power. It was why he’d murdered all those people at St. Morse—a desperate, ruthless attempt for the Bargainer’s attention.

I’ll sell my soul, if that’s what it takes, Bryce had once confided in Harvey, back when his smiles weren’t so much like sneers, when he looked more like the boy Harvey used to love—the kinder version of himself, the one Harvey couldn’t manage to let go of. Though Harvey had never voiced his opinion, Bryce had lost his soul the moment he’d formulated this despicable plan.

They all had.

Harvey tried to ignore Bryce’s words. In the legend, the Bargainer approached people of their own choosing. The only way to summon them directly was through chaos.

Surely Bryce wouldn’t attempt such evil, Harvey had once told himself.

But he had, and since that night at St. Morse, all of New Reynes seemed ablaze. The Scarhands, the largest gang in the seedy North Side, had crumbled, their lord executed. Séance, the notorious assassin of Chancellor Malcolm Semper, had been unmasked as both the last surviving Mizer and, to the city’s shock, a seventeen-year-old girl from finishing school. Mafia donna Vianca Augustine had been shot dead, and her son had won his election. Luckluster Casino had burned, and the Torren Family empire along with it.

Thanks to Bryce, the City of Sin was in a state worse than chaos—it was in hell.

And now the Devil had returned home. 

 

Even though Harvey was an accomplice in Bryce’s plans, the thought of all that had transpired—and all that was still left to unfold—filled him with dread. He tried to focus on the shovel and the dirt and the grave, on this one good thing, but his sins weighed heavy on his soul.

“Harvey,” Bryce snapped again. He never tolerated being ignored.

Harvey sighed. “How can you be certain the Bargainer is in New Reynes now?”

“I told you. I can feel it.”

At that moment, the rain began to fall harder, shifting from a drizzle into a downpour. Harvey’s brown corkscrew curls stuck against his fair skin, and he wiped the water from his eyes.

“Why haven’t they come to me yet?” Bryce rasped, his hands trembling while he clutched his umbrella. “I’m the one who summoned them. I deserve my bargain.”

“The legends never mentioned whether the Bargainer was prompt,” Harvey pointed out. He dumped another pile of mud into the hole.

Bryce’s lips formed a thin line. He trudged over to the grave. The body was now entirely covered with earth, but the plot was only half-filled. “That’s good enough. We should go back.”

“You can go. I’ll finish,” Harvey told him.

Bryce nodded and fiddled with his card anxiously. It was moments like these, when he looked so young and vulnerable, that made Harvey weak. Because even if Bryce Balfour had lost his soul, Harvey still kindled a hope that it could be found. That he could be the one to find it.

“Never mind,” Harvey murmured. “I’ll go with you.”

Harvey heaved his shovel over his shoulder, said a final prayer for Jac Mardlin and his unfinished, unmarked grave, and followed his friend home. 

 

Dueling Fates by Stephanie M. Allen

DuelingFate copy

For fans of GOT and Throne of Glass, comes fantasy novel Dueling Fates by Stephanie M. Allen. Read on for book details, and an exclusive excerpt!

Dueling Fates CoverDueling Fates

Publication Date: June 30th, 2020

Genre: Fairy Tale/ Fantasy

Publisher: Liminal Books

In the world of Erez, three kingdoms share a tentative peace. In the far west, Princess Isemay yearns for much more than frilly dresses and etiquette classes. While her twin sister, Alena, prepares for life as a monarch in a neighboring kingdom, Isemay roams the woods with her loyal cheetah, hunting dagger strapped to her belt. It’s only when two surprising visitors arrive at the castle that Isemay must come to terms with her royal future – and a secret magical heritage. Now engaged to the king of the east, Isemay prepares for a position she never wanted.

After saying good-bye to all that she loves, Princess Alena travels north in trepidation – fully prepared to marry a spoiled prince she does not desire and usurp the throne from his insane father who does not deserve it. But when tragedy strikes at her wedding ceremony and she is wrongfully imprisoned, she can only hope that her hurried plea for help will reach her father in time.

Frantic to save her sister – and against the wishes of her betrothed – Isemay joins the army sent to free Alena. A mysterious encounter with a dragon in disguise leaves her with a warning that her life is in danger – but can it save her from the battle to come?

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Excerpt

Reaching the first tree, Isemay gently placed her palm on the rough bark and scanned the shaded area directly in front of her. The bright sun made it difficult to see much detail in the shadows, but her eyes adjusted quickly. Golda stood perfectly still next to her, one paw lifted off the ground, the bushy fur around her neck raised higher than normal. Movement to the left caught Isemay’s eye. She yelped in fright at what she saw.

A huge black wolf, larger than any she had ever seen, was standing a mere ten feet away, piercing yellow eyes trained on her. A low rumbling sound was vibrating from its chest and its lips were lifted in a snarl.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Stephanie M. Allen graduated from California Baptist University in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a desire to share her imaginative stories with the world. She loves to write fantasy, particularly centered around young adults. Aside from writing, Stephanie loves to read, ride horses, and sing. She currently lives in Wyoming with her husband and two children.

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From Them to Now by Mitzi Mensch

FromThentoNow

Welcome to the blog tour for From Then to Now by Mitzi Mensch! Read on for details and a chance to win a print copy of the book!

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From Then to Now

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Author House

From Then to Now is a novel within a novel. Maggie figures that, with events being so old, it is safe to tell all. Figuring wrong is her first mistake. Downloading the manuscript onto her grown daughter’s computer is her second mistake.
Andrea is dismayed to discover Maggie’s infidelity in her first marriage and shocked to learn of her grandmother’s cloistered pregnancy and forced adoption of her newborn daughter. She uses the Internet to find the people mentioned in her mother’s story, more to satisfy her own curiosity than to bring her mother peace.
From Then to Now spans six decades and addresses changes, both individual and societal, in attitude, perception, and awareness. These changes, triggered in part by outside world events, bring about personal understanding achieved only after loss is experienced and enlightenment has been attained.

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Excerpt

I must have gone too far on Waialae Avenue because all of a sudden

I was on a freeway and then the freeway turned into a winding road cut

through a sheer cliff. There was no place to turn around so I kept going

and watched in wonder at the water pounding the rocks below and the vast

expanse of blue ocean beyond. I was ten minutes late for my assignment.

This was the road — I recognized it — where they had filmed Blue Hawai`i,

with Elvis. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. So far all I’d seen was

Schofield, Waikiki, downtown. Now I was in Hawai`i. The assignment

no longer mattered. I stopped at a look-out point called the Blow Hole and

peered down at a rock with a hole in it where the water spouted up like a

whale. I watched, mesmerized, for time indeterminate, enthralled at the

energy of the ocean. I had to see more. Continuing on I drove past a beach

where body-boarders sailed through the surf and flew through the foam,

flipping just in time to escape the fury before the waves crashed straight

down on the sand with frightening ferocity. When I thought I’d seen all

the glory this island could possibly offer, I came to another place where

the road steepened precipitously and the view was more spectacular, if

imaginable, than before. I craned my neck to see what beauty lay beneath

the guard rails but the sharp curves forced me to focus on the wheel. I

turned the bend and there was Sea Life Park on the mountain, or mauka

side of the road as Glen had taught me to say, and on the ocean side, or

makai, was Makapu`u. I drove down, parked, took off my shoes, walked

to the beach. It was so beautiful. I sat on a rock to take in the majesty

and totally gave up on the assignment. I thought of Michener’s words in

the first chapter of Hawaii, the book I was reading, about the creation

of the islands. About the force deep below the sea which built and grew

until volcanic eruptions burst through the surface and left molten deposits

which cooled and became rocks. I thought about the birds, from far

away, flying over, dropping seeds, creating vegetation. I thought about

the marvel of how these islands were formed, then found, and inhabited,

and now here I was, a tiny, insignificant speck on the face of the earth,

sitting on a rock, at the edge of an island, in the middle of the sea, in the

most beautiful place in the world. As I felt the water lap at my feet and

the sun caress my skin I knew, without a doubt, I was the luckiest person

who ever lived.

When I finally got back to my car there was a cop, writing a ticket

Available on Amazon and at Author House

About the Author

Mitzi Mensch

Mitzi Mensch was born and raised in New England and attended college in Vermont. An island girl at heart, she moved to Hawai’i, where she has lived long enough to be a kama`aina.

Author House

Giveaway: For a chance to win a print copy of the book, click the link below!

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FromThentoNow

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One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell

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Release Date: October 6, 2020

 

Pre-Order anywhere books are sold!

 

Paige Collins lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. That’s why when Paige is presented with two options for Christmas vacation, she’s paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family’s romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about? Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in — in the form of a slippery grocery store floor — and Paige’s life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz. However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she’ll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety — and learn that you don’t have to be “perfect” to deserve true love.

Telephone Road by Ann Swann

TelephoneRoad copy

Looking for the perfect twisty thriller, try Telephone Road by Ann Swann!

TelephoneRoadEbookCoverUse

Telephone Road

Publication Date: August 4th

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing

Marlena caught the eye of one of the richest, hottest guys on campus, Preston. But when her attention shifts, and she falls in love with a hometown boy, Jimmy, she finds out that Preston is also deeply disturbed.

What follows is a life-changing evening out on Telephone Road, and Marlena knows she will never be the same when she takes matters into her own hands.

Justice has a new meaning. It’s called revenge.

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Excerpt

The remains of the sunset reflecting across the rippling water drew me to lean down and dip my fingers into the cold, bubbling flow. The sounds lent a storybook feel to the scene. The air was cool and still, fragrant with the loamy, nose-tickling scent of damp earth and fresh water. Multicolored leaves and drifts of pine needles carpeted the ground, softening our steps and turning the whole area into a painter’s fall palette.

I sat cross-legged on the plaid blanket he’d spread. “This is kind of amazing,” I admitted around a mouthful of pizza. “How’d you find it?”

Preston looked into the distance. “I spend a lot of time in the woods,” he said. “It’s my refuge. I just needed you to share it with me.”

He looked at me and I knew, suddenly and without a shred of doubt, that I had made a huge mistake. His light blue eyes had gone as cold as the water in the creek.

I tried not to panic, tried to keep my suspicions in check, but alarm bells clanged inside my head. “It’s really beautiful,” I said. “Thank you for sharing it with me.” I put one hand down to push myself to my feet. “Now I’ve really got to get back—”

He grabbed my shoulder, forcing me to remain seated on the blanket. For a moment, I had a ridiculous hope that he was playing, roughhousing the way Jim and I had done. But when he held me there, when his other hand clamped down on my opposite shoulder, when he smashed me backward onto the remains of the pizza, I knew this was no game.

“Stop!” I cried. “What are you—?”

His face came closer and closer, his lips questing.

I jerked my head from side to side. “Preston, stop! What’re you doing?”

His weight pinned me to the blanket, his hard chin dug into the side of my neck. He tried to hold my face still without using his hands.

“I love you.” His voice had gone as hard and cold as his eyes. “I know you love me, too. I don’t know why you won’t show it.”

His lips found mine and he let go of my right shoulder long enough to tangle his fingers into my hair.

My head was trapped. Anger crashed through my body. I jerked my head aside to get his mouth off mine. Strands of my hair were ripped out of my scalp, but suddenly my hands were fighting, clawing, raking at his face, his clothing, his skin. Anything to get him off me.

He tightened his grip on my hair but his other hand came up holding the campfire lighter. Just as he depressed the trigger to ignite it, my right hand found the wine bottle lying on its side. I wrapped my fingers around the neck of the bottle and swung it through the air, smashing it into the side of his head with as much force as I could muster.

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About the Author

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Ann has been a writer since junior high, but to pay the bills she has waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and had a stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station.

She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

Her fiction began to win awards during her college days. Since then she’s published several short stories, novels, and novellas. She’s always reading and always writing, but even if she never sold another story, Ann would not stop writing. For her it’s a necessity, like breathing. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.

Ann Swann | Facebook | Goodreads

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