SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews

Well there is not much to say abut me. I love coffee and books and if I can drink a fresh hot coffee while reading even better:)

I started to review a couple years ago and I still loving it. I love the book community and met many awesome people along the way. I'm looking forward to connect to even more of you awesome people out there and of course continue to discover more great books.

You can also find me at my blog over at SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews . And on Goodreads 

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Blog Tour: Chance at Redemption by Samatha Harris with Giveaway !

 

Today’s stop is for Samatha Harris’s Chance at Redemption. We will have info about the book and author, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Gwen Stevens had a privileged life until her father spoke three little words that turned her world upside down. “You’re cut off.”

Broke and desperate, Gwen is forced to accept a waitressing job, but this glimmer of hope has a price. As if being a cocktail waitress isn’t bad enough, she has to do it in a dive bar called The Den, and her bad luck doesn’t stop there. She also needs to deal with the new owner, a blue-eyed, self-righteous ass determined to make her life miserable.

Liam Sinclair walked away from the entitlement and obligation his family planned for him, vowing to make his own way in the world…

Adjusting to life as a new business owner, Liam has experienced more than his fair share of setbacks. When his only waitress breaks her leg, his sister takes it upon herself to hire a replacement—a spoiled, self-indulgent hothead with too much makeup and more than enough attitude. Gwen represents the world he’s trying to escape, a world of excess and greed that he was never cut out for.

Appearances can be deceiving, and first impressions aren’t always right…

Despite their apparent differences, the tension between them turns to a fiery passion that neither of them can resist. Together they find balance and learn to appreciate the simpler things in life. But Gwen soon discovers that old habits die hard, and one mistake is all it takes to ruin everything.

Forgiveness must be earned, but even a villain deserves a chance at redemption…

 

 

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Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid. Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

 

Links

 

Website *** Goodreads *** Facebook *** Twitter

 

 

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Starswept by Mary Fan

Starswept - Mary Fan

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

 

 

 

Will be available August 29th, 2017

 

Going in to this book I had no idea what to expect. I have read a few books set in the way future, some on earth, some set in space others somewhere in between. But this book is somewhat unique.

I really enjoyed the world setting, is was fantastic and really great explained. But so were the characters, I really loved Iris and her dark, yet beautiful journey in this book.

Iris, is coming from a poor household and struggles to keep afloat with her school for the arts. As if that is not enough she soon has to face so much more. She must make very hard decisions that could cost her everything. An Adryil boy, doesn’t help for the matter. And as they grow closer things are just getting more and more complicated and more dangerous for Iris.

Some things seemed odd but in the end everything just come together really great and make sense.

I really loved this book, it was dark, sweet and had some great twists. It also was really great written a much welcomed new book in the YA sci-fi book world.

This was my first book by Mary Fan but will definitely not be the last.

If you like YA dystopian, Sci-Fi books, I highly recommend this book.

I rate it 5 ★

 

Mary Fan

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, which comprises ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES (Red Adept Publishing, 2013), SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS (Red Adept Publishing, 2014), and VIRTUAL SHADOWS (2015), and STARSWEPT (Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017), a young adult sci-fi romance. Her works also include several young adult fantasy novellas: THE FIREDRAGON (Glass House Press, 2014), FIREDRAGON RISING (Glass House Press, 2015), TELL ME MY NAME (Glass House Press, 2014), and LET ME FLY FREE (Glass House Press, 2016). These serve as prequels to two full-length series currently under contract with Glass House Press,  Flynn Nightsider and Fated Stars.

In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

Mary has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time (when she has any), she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things—she'll try almost anything once.

Links

Website *** Blog *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Goodreads *** Instagram

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Feature Friday for Mary Fan's Starswept with Interview and Review

 

Today for "Feature Friday" let us welcome the lovely Mary Fan with her book Starswept that will release August 29th. 

We will have info about the book and Mary. Plus we have a great interview with her and my review of Starswept.

Make sure to check everything out and go and give Mary some love and add her to your TBR ;)

The cover below is NOT the final cover, that will be released in June.

Happy Reading :)

 


Starswept

 

 

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

 

 

 

 

Will be available August 29th, 2017

 

 

 

Hello Mary. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is lovely to have you.

 What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with reading?

My goodness, I’ve loved reading since literally before I can remember! In fact, I was “reading” before I could actually read, if that makes any sense at all. My parents have read me storybooks since I was an infant, and apparently, when I was about eighteen months old, I memorized one of them and knew just where to turn the pages. So I shocked all their friends by being this roly poly baby who could barely talk but somehow knew how to “read.” There are definitely books that stick out in my memory, though. The Boxcar Children… I was obsessed with those as a kid. Read every single one the bookstore carried, owned enough to take up two entire shelves. And the American Girl books… I remember devouring those over and over, especially the “Save the Day” ones where the girls got to take action and, well, save the day. And Sherlock Holmes—I checked out the complete anthology when I was 10 and kept renewing so I could read the whole thing over and over (it was too big for my backpack). And then there’s the book that turned me onto sci-fi: Jack Williamson’s Legion of Space. Looking back, it’s not my favorite sci-fi novel, but it was vivid enough to lead me down the wormhole to super-nerdom that has me reading and writing geeky books to this day.

 

 If you didn’t write, what would you do instead? Are there any other talents you are hiding from us?

I’d be a composer! I actually was a composer for several years—in fact, I was majored in composition. My senior thesis was an hour-long setting of the Dies Irae for choir and piano quartet. Music’s as much a part of me as reading and writing are… Sometimes, I think I learned how to read music before I could actually read words (I started violin when I was three). I don’t compose anymore, unfortunately. Not because I meant to give it up, but because I fell into the writing hole instead. And with a day job, I just didn’t have time to keep up with both. Every time I want to sit down and compose something, I have some pressing book matter to attend to. One of these days, I’ll get back to it. One of these days.

 

 What are your hardest scenes to write? And what are what are the easiest to write for you?

The hardest scenes for me to write are the really emotional ones. It’s because I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can never quite get everything I want to across. I want my words to burrow into a reader and let them feel what my characters feel, and I always worry that I haven’t done enough to achieve that connection. The easiest scenes for me to write are action scenes. I think it’s because I watch too many action movies. They just choreograph themselves in my head as I’m writing.

 

 What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I mostly research setting elements. Though I write faraway sci-fi and fantasy, everything is grounded in reality in one way or another. There’s a certain amount of verisimilitude that must be achieved… a thread tying back to the real world that keeps readers from feeling lost in a fantastical world. In the case of STARSWEPT, which is about young performing artists in the sci-fi future, I ended up doing a lot of research about ballet and aerial arts to inform the setting, and I already had the background knowledge in orchestra and opera, since I participated in both. Of course, most of what I found didn’t get used (no one wants to listen to me drone on about turnout or embouchure when there are telepathic alien boys to meet), and knew going in that it wouldn’t be. But just having that background, I believe, influenced my writing in subtle ways that help bring it to life.

 Tell us something about you that might surprise people. Oh dear… I feel like I’ve done many absurd things in my life, and yet day-to-day I’m really boring. How’s this… Twice I’ve found myself an unwitting model for ads. The first time was when I attended a science camp in high school. A photographer came to take pictures of the class, and I figured if the photos were used, they’d be wide shots of the classroom. The next summer, I found a brochure for that camp with my big face plastered across the top. Apparently I’m very photogenic when peering into a microscope. The second time was just this year… I attended a writers conference last year along with one of the members of my local writers group. Someone was taking photos, but I didn’t pay attention. I was considering going back this year and went to check out the programming on their website. A giant web banner greeted me, featuring a close-up of my friend’s face. And I’m sitting right next to him, out of focus but in the foreground. Maybe I should consider monetizing my “paying attention” face, since apparently people are using it to sell events… Not sure if that was a surprising fact, but I thought it might be amusing at least?

 

This was fun again thank you so much for taking the time to chat. You rock!

 

 

 

 

Going in to this book I had no idea what to expect. I have read a few books set in the way future, some on earth, some set in space others somewhere in between. But this book is somewhat unique.

I really enjoyed the world setting, is was fantastic and really great explained. But so were the characters, I really loved Iris and her dark, yet beautiful journey in this book.

Iris, is coming from a poor household and struggles to keep afloat with her school for the arts. As if that is not enough she soon has to face so much more. She must make very hard decisions that could cost her everything. An Adryil boy, doesn’t help for the matter. And as they grow closer things are just getting more and more complicated and more dangerous for Iris.

Some things seemed odd but in the end everything just come together really great and make sense.

I really loved this book, it was dark, sweet and had some great twists. It also was really great written a much welcomed new book in the YA sci-fi book world.

This was my first book by Mary Fan but will definitely not be the last.

If you like YA dystopian, Sci-Fi books, I highly recommend this book.

I rate it 5 ★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Fan

 

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, which comprises ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES (Red Adept Publishing, 2013), SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS (Red Adept Publishing, 2014), and VIRTUAL SHADOWS (2015), and STARSWEPT (Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017), a young adult sci-fi romance. Her works also include several young adult fantasy novellas: THE FIREDRAGON (Glass House Press, 2014), FIREDRAGON RISING (Glass House Press, 2015), TELL ME MY NAME (Glass House Press, 2014), and LET ME FLY FREE (Glass House Press, 2016). These serve as prequels to two full-length series currently under contract with Glass House Press,  Flynn Nightsider and Fated Stars.

In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

Mary has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time (when she has any), she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things—she'll try almost anything once.

 

 

Links

Website *** Blog *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Goodreads *** Instagram

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Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-mary-fans-starswept

Blog Tour: Camouflage by Kathleen Maree with Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Kathleen Maree’s Camouflage. We will have info about the book and author, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

 

On the surface, Giselle Duzido could be called many things. Sassy, determined and breathtakingly beautiful. But one thing that would never come to tongue, is broken and fragile; because she’s learned to keep that part of herself locked up tight. The veneer she chooses you to see - has it all. Her designer brand is on the rise from her original base in Sydney, to two more stores in Los Angeles and New York; a part of a world she has always fit into seamlessly. Career-wise? She’s flourishing. Social status? Almost famous! But scratch just beneath her surface and there it is, eating away at her insides. But at some point, doesn't Sel deserve to have the happily ever after? She may look just like another twenty-something woman, searching for that earth-shattering love… But it's all just a camouflage.

 

 

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From the earliest age I was a born storyteller. Ask my parents and they will tell you I had a gift for making a simple event seem like an elaborate one. Purposely? No. Innocently? Yes. It was my imaginary world that initially led me to believe I wanted to be an actor. All of that role playing and living in fantasy... it was an obvious direction for me. However, becoming quite uncomfortable with the limelight quickly saw that dream diminish. Over the years I turned my world of fantasy into stories, and eventually began writing them down. Before I knew it, 'Cut' had been completed. When I am not busy writing my next story, I am a working mum, housewife and sometimes hockey wag :) In other words, probably some kind of circus act who specialises in juggling ;) I hope you enjoy my blog, where I will be posting thoughts, other books I am currently reading and even sneak peeks of my novels. I encourage any feedback, comments or direct messages via my contact page should anyone wish to get in touch. I am so thrilled to be sharing my journey and hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. Dream often. Believe always.

 

Links

 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Instagram *** Pinterest *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and enter the giveaway!

 

Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-camouflage-kathleen-maree-giveaway

Blog Tour: A Honeyed Light by Freddie Milano with Guest Post and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Freddie Milano’s A Honeyed Light. We will have info about the book and author, and a guest post, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Kunal, relative newcomer to the strange town of Harmony, has his hands full preparing for Diwali. That should be enough to keep anyone's mind preoccupied, but Kunal can't really ignore that he's nearly thirty, single, and still buried in the closet. Out of town at a gay club one night, he bumps into Oscar, proprietor of Harmony's only sex shop, and figures his secret is now officially out. What he doesn't expect is a slow seduction, or to have to decide what it is he really wants in life.

 

 

 

 

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Why I Write HEAs.

 

If you're a romance fan I don't need to tell you what an HEA is. But for those who are sick of having to Google acronyms and feeling old, it just stands for Happily Ever After.

An alternative is Happy For Now or HFN, which implies that while the story ends happily at the moment, in the future there may be a change in relationship status. If I write HFN, I rarely imply it, so almost everything I write front-faces as HEA.

Note those qualifiers. I never say never.

So why do I write HEA? There are a few reasons.

First, I'm sappy and love a happy ending. I was raised on Disney, so I'm a sucker for true love stories and everyone finding someone. (Note: that doesn't have to be romantic. Platonic relations can also be HEAs.)

The second reason is the more important reason to me, and it's something I directly address in my upcoming novella, A Honeyed Light. (More to come on that soon!) Queer media is on the rise,but when I was younger, it was really, really difficult to find queer books or movies that ended happily. Someone was killed for being who they were, for whom they loved. Someone contracted HIV, died of complications from AIDS. Someone was kicked out of their family and home, forced to live on the streets and often, that also ended in death or violence.

I clearly remember But I'm a Cheerleader, as one of the first movies I saw where despite the unfortunate decisions of the teens' parents (sending them to a conversion therapy camp due to their sexualities) love prevailed. It ended with a happy couple.

I was shocked and confused that this wasn't more common. Why shouldn't we have happy endings? So I started looking for more positive media, and found it in some anime, few books, and few movies. It wasn't enough. And I always follow the edict of 'Be the change you wish to see in the world." If I wanted more positive queer representation in the world, By gum, I was gonna put it out there myself.

So that's why I do it. And because often queer media tends to not include a lot of people of color, I make sure they have prime roles in more work. It's the representation I needed, so I'm doing my part to put it out there.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Freddie Milano lives with her partner-in-crime, two adorable and devilish cats, and far more ideas than she really has time to set down on (electronic) paper. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen, though most of the embarrassing stories thankfully never made in onto the internet, and can stay safely buried.
She loves wine, Korean pop music, tea, chocolate, coffee, mythology, and both video and tabletop gaming. An ESFJ surrounded by introverts, Freddie has learned the art of socialization in moderation. Besides, staying in just leaves her more time to write.
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apr 27- kickoff at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

apr 27- Angels With Attitude Book Reviews

apr 28- Romance Novel Giveaways – GUEST POST 1

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may 23- Traci Hayden

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Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-honeyed-light-freddie-milano-guest-post-giveaway

Blog Tour: Remnants by Carolyn Arnold with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Carolyn Arnold’s Remnants. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI Series Book 6)

 

All that remains are whispers of the past…

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

 

 

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Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI series):

 

My senses were busy taking in the crime scene: marshland, relative seclusion, an arm and leg discovered last week, an arm yesterday. Aside from the human remains that had been found here, the property had a serene feeling to it, a sense of peace. There was a tangible quality to the air, though—or maybe it was the presence of law enforcement and crime scene investigators—that made it impossible to deny that death had touched the place.

“What else can you tell us about the limbs that were recovered?” Paige asked.

The lieutenant cleared his throat. “Well, both arms didn’t have hands, and the leg didn’t have a foot. We found incision marks indicating the hands and foot had been intentionally cut off.”

“Our killer could have taken them for trophies or to make identification impossible,” I suggested.

Pike gave a small nod and continued. “And while we know the hands and foot were removed, it’s not as clear how the appendages separated from the torso. It would be something we’d need the medical examiner to clarify.”

Jack’s brow furrowed, and I could tell his mind was racing through the possibilities.

“But,” Pike continued, “all the limbs have one thing in common: muscle tissue remained, even though the skin had been removed.”

“It is possible that the skin was also taken as a trophy,” Zach speculated.

“We could be looking for a hunter or a sexual sadist,” Jack said.

Hunters were typically identified by the type of weapon they used—a hunting knife, rifle, or crossbow, for example—and they tended to dispose of their victims’ bodies in remote, isolated areas. A sexual sadist, on the other hand, got off on the torture and pain. But we’d need to gather more facts before we could build any sort of profile on our unsub. Even knowing more about the victims themselves would help. Was the killer choosing people he or she was acquainted with? Were the victims of a certain gender, age group, occupation? The list went on and on. From there, we could more easily speculate on our killer’s motive and what they had to gain.

 

 

Series Information

 

 

 

What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:
 
Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.
 
This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.
 
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.
 
 
 

 

 

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

 

Links

Website *** Twitter *** Facebook *** Newsletter *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and giveaways!

 

 

Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-remnants-carolyn-arnold-excerpt-giveaway

Blog Tour: Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Cindi Madsen’s Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

 

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I'm just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder "Ox" Maddox's deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I'm powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can't stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it'd be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I'm not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I'll be totally pucked.

 

 

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Every thought turned to how strong he was. How much I’d like to see all those muscles without a shirt in the way. Once he’d counted off twenty-five, he stood and, as if he’d been reading my mind, peeled off his shirt. I stared. Not subtly, either. Nope, totally unabashed, taking in every dip and groove of his sweat-glistened skin. “Since we’re playing dirty,” he said, shooting his wadded shirt over to his bag. He grabbed my hand. “Last machine. I’m not sure you can handle it, though.” “I’m not sure you can handle it.” As far as comebacks went, not my best, but I mentioned he was shirtless and crazy ripped, right? He sat down on the leg machine, the one where the seat reclined at a forty-five-degree angle, and then he lifted the weighted bar that rested at shin-height with his legs. He reached for my hand, and since I’d already talked trash, I took it, even though I was starting to think I wouldn’t be able to handle it. He pulled me toward him, and I had no choice but to run my shins into the weights or to straddle the machine. I chose straddling, but kept space between us like I had earlier. My heart hammered against my rib cage, beating in time with his leg lifts, the steady clink of the weights filling the air. Ryder’s eyes remained locked on mine, and energy crackled in the air between us. He sat up enough to run his hands up my thighs. A dart of heat shot through my core, and my breath lodged in my throat. Ryder’s fingertips skimmed the skin between my pants and shirt and desire danced across my nerve endings. Still our eyes remained fixed on each other, and I wasn’t sure I was taking in oxygen anymore. A distant part of me whispered that if I didn’t stop this…whatever we were doing, I’d be in trouble. But fighting my attraction to him was exhausting and the ache that’d formed between my thighs grew more persistent, drowning out silly things like common sense. I leaned over like I had before, my hands braced on either side of him. He lifted the weights again, and then he brushed his lips against mine. Just a quick slide of soft lips. My throat went completely dry. I pressed my palm flat against his stomach and slowly slid it up, feeling his firm chest and the hammering of his heart, which echoed mine. Ryder gripped my hips and pulled me down to sit on his lap, eradicating the space between us. He lifted the weights with his legs a few more times, each rep bumping me tighter to him. Friction was definitely happening, and with each lift, it became clearer and clearer how much it was affecting him as well. The tiniest whimper escaped my lips and he raised an eyebrow that added even more smugness to the curve of his tempting mouth. Two could play dirty. So I sank farther into his lap and he groaned. Of course, all it did was give me dirty thoughts and turn me on that much more. He lifted his legs two more times, the movement shaky. He slowly ran his fingertips up my arm, across my collarbone, up my neck, and then he reached back and tugged my hair free of its ponytail. He drove his hand into my hair, cupped the back of my head, and for one torturous moment, time stopped, both of us suspended right there on edge of crossing lines.

 

 

 

 

cindi

 

USA Today Bestselling author Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she'd be even crazier. She has way too many shoes but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they're sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Visit her at www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter and learn about upcoming releases.

Cindi is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, Rift, Resolution, and Demons of the Sun, and adult romances Falling for Her Fiancé, Act Like You Love Me, Resisting the Hero, Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed.

 

 

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Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-confessions-former-puck-bunny-cindi-madsen-excerpt-giveaway

A Fire in the Blood by Amanda Ashley

A Fire in the Blood - Amanda Ashley

 

 

-I see a man. He is old. Very old. He will come into your life in a moment of danger. He will watch over you and protect you.- The gypsy's hand gripped Tessa's tighter. -He will bring you death, - she whispered, her voice like the rustle of dry leaves. -And life.-

Ten years later, when Andrei Dinescu saves Tessa from a vicious attacker, she has no idea that the handsome stranger the gypsy fortune teller predicted is not a hunter but a seven-hundred-year-old vampire. Darkly powerful, unbelievably compelling, he is obviously pursuing Tessa, but is it her love he's after or her blood?

-A classic vampire tale of sensual, spine-tingling suspense.- --Christine Feehan on Desire After Dark

-Sexy, fast-paced, gritty, this is Amanda Ashley at her best! A must read!- --Ronda Thompson on Dead Sexy.

 

 

 

 

To be honest the beginning reminded me a little of True Blood, which is not bad because I liked True Blood. But that was just the very beginning with Vampires coming out of the coffin and such. Though Andrei did also remind me a little of Bill. You know the “nice’ vampire wanting to protect the poor innocent human.

I must say I was not a huge fan of Andrei and his behavior. I really didn’t care for that he just kept the lie up and even later when it all came to light. I just never could really trust him anymore and was just waiting to see what else he is lying about.

I however did enjoy Tessa. She was likeable and seemed real. She was also funny and fast thinking and give up.

There was a rather big cast of side characters, which where a big part of the story and way more than side characters.

The overall story was enjoyable. Though some parts were very predictable and sometimes it just seemed very long and had some page fillers.  A little shorter book would not have been a bad idea in this case.  But as mentioned overall I enjoyed the book.

I rate it at 3 ★

 

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

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Amanda Ashley is one of those rare birds - a California native. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life and loves it (except for the earthquakes). She and her husband share a home with a fluffy Pomeranian named Lady, a tortoise named Buddy, and a wild sparrow named Tweety.

Amanda and her alter ego, Madeline Baker, have written over 50 books, many of which have appeared on various bestseller lists, including the New York Times List, the Waldenbooks Bestseller list, and the USA Today list. Not bad for someone who started writing just for the fun of it.

 

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Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/fire-blood-amanda-ashley

Happy

Happy Mothers day to all of you awesome moms out there.

Enjoy the day :) 

Feature Friday for Charity Becker's Presence: Awakening with Interview and Excerpt

 

Today for "Feature Friday" let us welcome the awesome Charity Becker with Presence: Awakening the first book in the Presence Series.

We will have info about the book and author. Plus a great interview with Charity and a excerpt from the book.

Make sure to check everything out and go and give her some love and add her books to your TBR ;)

Happy Reading :)

 


 

Presence: Awakening

 

Mina Jewel swears the boogeyman slaughtered her abusive stepfather. But as far as the quiet town of Port Orchard, Washington is concerned, Mina is a cold-blooded killer and Cadric Jaden had been a saint. After enduring nine years of psychiatric care and whispers of her guilt, Mina is hell-bent on clearing her name, exposing Cadric for the sadistic pedophile he really was, and uncovering the true identity of the strange being who saved her life.... See More Through a whirlwind of near-death experiences and sanity- shattering revelations, Mina discovers that Washington is a hotbed of supernatural activity, Cadric's sinister plan didn't die with him, and that she could hold the key to ending the suffering of millions. . . But first she has to survive.

 

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ONE

~~

“Mina, get up.”

The voice yanked me from my sleep, but I didn’t open my eyes. Opening my eyes would make it all real, make the punishments start again. Of course, I’d be punished no matter what I did; nothing I did was ever good enough. I was never good enough.

“Come on now,” the voice said, “open your eyes.”

My stomach cramped, waiting for the grabbing, hurting hands, but I cracked my eyelids, ready to face it because I had no other choice. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad this time. Maybe they’d get tired, or bored, or distracted by someone else for a change. Maybe.

“Welcome back to planet Earth.”

I turned toward the voice, squinting against the bright morning light. Gradually, a face came into focus. A smiling, kind face framed by soft black curls.

“Alice,” I whispered, and the memories hit me in a dizzying rush. I closed my eyes for a moment, basking in sweet relief. There were no more punishments, Cadric Jaden was really dead, and I. . . Well, I was here, safe at last. “I’m okay,” I said softly as the last bits of fear drained away.

“That’s debatable,” Alice said with a little chuckle. “Now, come on. Get up. We gotta go.”

I opened my eyes to see her still smiling, holding a hairbrush out for me to take.

Sitting up, I took the brush from Alice, then pulled it through my tangled curls. Static snapped with each stroke, and I cringed at the tingle against my neck. “Ugh,” I said, pulling the brush away from my long hair. “If I don’t shower first, I’ll be the only white girl on the second floor with an Afro.”

Alice folded her arms under her breasts, tipped her head to the side, and grinned. “Well, hurry it up, Sistah.”

“Why the hurry?” I raised an eyebrow. “What’s on the activity roster for today? Chess in the game-room? Square dancing? Maybe a little papier-mache?” I gave a mock shiver of excitement and dropped the brush onto my bed.

“Don’t be a dork.” Alice’s dark eyes twinkled with good humor. “Doc wants to see you in his office. . .″ she glanced at her watch. “Like, ten minutes ago.”

“Ah!” I said with a grin. “The truth comes out. Let me guess,” I wiggled my eyebrows up and down. “Anthony on the fourth floor keeping you from your nursing duties?”

Alice blushed and looked to the floor, a smile tugging the corners of her mouth.

“Don’t worry,” I said as I slid out of bed and moved toward my dresser. “Dr. Stevens won’t hear from me how you’ve been gallivanting around the surgery ward with the interns.”

~~

“Good morning,” Dr. Stevens said with a crisp nod. The sudden movement sent his glasses sliding down his long nose, saved only by the red, allergy-swollen tip.

“Aw, no lecture on the importance of promptness, Doc?” I said with a little pout. I slumped down into the rigid leather chair across from the doctor’s.

“Not today.” He smiled pleasantly and folded his hands on his desk. “You’ve made amazing progress, Mina, and done far better than I could have hoped for in these nine years.”

“Did I miss the ′Make A Loony Feel Special Day’ memo?”

Dr. Stevens pushed his thick glasses back in place, ignoring my attempts to rattle him. He’d gotten good over the years, but I was determined to shake him today. I was about to try again when he cut me off with one raised hand.

“Now, I’m not saying we want you to leave us—”

My playfulness dropped like a boulder to the bottom of my stomach, and I sat up straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “You’re sending me away?”

“No, not sending away. I believe you’re ready for the next step in your recovery, to venture out on your own. Isn’t that exciting?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I. . . I’m not ready.” The first wave of panic rolled my stomach around the boulder, squeezing it into a painful knot.

“In this phase of your rehabilitation, you’ll live your life the way it was meant to be lived, using all the skills we’ve taught you here at Divine Hope.” Dr. Stevens picked up a slip of paper from his desk, quickly looked it over, then held it out to me. “This man is willing to give you a job.”

I swallowed hard, staring at the doctor. “A job?” This wasn’t real. They wouldn’t just toss me out into the big wide world like this. I’d never had a job before, unless you counted working in the hospital library. But that was just busy work, something Dr. Stevens cooked up to keep me from pestering the hospital staff.

When I didn’t take the paper, the doctor stood and leaned across his desk to push it into my hands. I blinked once, then glanced at the paper. There was an address and Oliver Page written in neat block letters. My chest tightened around my pounding heart. It was real. They were throwing me away.

“But. . .” I looked up. “But, where will I live?” I asked, scrambling for something to say, something to keep me here just a little bit longer.

“As part of our rehabilitation program, we’ve secured an apartment for you a few blocks from your new job. Your landlord has many years of experience with ex-patients, so you’ll be in good hands. Each week you’ll come back here for your sessions, and you can always call if you need anything.” Dr. Stevens glanced down at my lap. “Just relax, Mina.”

I’d entwined my fingers so tightly around the paper that my knuckles were white and my fingertips had gone numb. I hadn’t even noticed my hands folded in my lap, my good girl posture, something I hadn’t done in years. I pulled my hands apart, flexing my fingers, leaving the paper crumpled in my lap. Quietly, I counted, concentrating on taking slow, steady breaths between each number.

“Good,” Dr. Stevens said softly. “Good. Now remember, you’re not a prisoner to Cadric anymore. You’ve earned your freedom.”

“Right,” I said, my skin prickling. “Freedom.”

~~

 

Check out the rest of the series 

 

Presence: Wolf Moon  Presence: Smoke and Fire Presence: Into the Dark Presence: August Heat (Presence #5) Presence Caged  

 

 

 How many hours a day do you write?

That depends on the day, how I’m feeling, and what other things I’ve got going on. Since I do editing, ghostwriting, work for video game companies, and do some freelance copywriting in addition to my novels, I feel like I’m writing all day long. If I had to give it an average, I’d say probably 8 + hours a day writing, not including emails, social media, and personal stuff. Thankfully, I type really fast!

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

An interesting tidbit about my characters is that I know every single one of them in my real life. EVERY one, even the bit parts or the people you only see a quick description of one time. They’re friends, family, acquaintances, people that have piqued my interest in some way. It’s not always good, and in fact, every villain in my stories is someone from my life who hurt me or a loved one in some way. So, it stands to reason I’d also choose names based on the people in question. Generally, I use their middle name as a starting point and adjust it from there. Some of the stranger names (like Zia, Teo, and Mr. Boad) are still people I know, but their names are anagrams for something personal. Sometimes an anagram won’t work, so I use abbreviations or the result of a name-code chart I created when I was ten.

 

 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read every book review! I deal with negative reviews the same way I deal with positive ones: I thank the reviewer (if possible), and I take the time to appreciate and acknowledge their opinions. If the critical review points out a flaw, I take it to heart and consider the topic for future books. I don’t see a negative review as inherently BAD, but rather an opportunity to look at my writing from a new perspective. That’s not to say I don’t get my feelings hurt; I am human, after all. But I don’t let it affect me on a personal level. Logically, I know my books won’t be for everyone. It’s impossible to write a book that 100% of people will love 100% of the time! If someone is just being mean though, like a troll just out to be hurtful, I’ll ignore it. If a critical review only says “This book is shit” then it’s not really a review, is it? If they won’t take the time to explain why they think it’s shit, why should I take the time to care what they said? That said, I’ve never received a review like that, lol. I appreciate well-worded and thought out reviews, both positive and critical, and I listen when my readers talk.

 

 As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A wolf or a tiger, depending on my mood. I love both equally, and each possesses traits that I connect with. I have a collection of plush wolves and tigers all over my house, and I even have a tattoo with a wolf paw print and a tiger paw print.

 

 What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I wrote a letter to my dad when I was very young, and it said “I hate you!” Of course, I didn’t actually hate my dad; I loved him very much. But I was angry that I’d been caught being naughty and that I’d been disciplined for it. At 5 or 6 I didn’t have the capacity to understand it was my fault I was in trouble because I broke a rule. Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud (because I knew in my heart I didn’t really hate him), but I could write it out and almost feel brave. But then he read it, and everything changed. I remember it vividly! I stood in my bedroom doorway, peeking down the hall as he picked it up and read it. He turned to face the hallway and I zipped back into my room before he could see me (though I’m sure he knew I was there). The next morning, there was a folded note taped to my bedroom door. I opened it up, and I saw it was my note, and my dad had added to it. He’d circled my poorly scrawled “I hate you!” and underneath, in his flowing, beautiful handwriting, he said, “And I will always love you.” That day, I realized that words were powerful, and that we should wield them with care. A hastily scribbled note of hate and cruelty can destroy a person as surely as a sweet love note can remind them they are adored, appreciated, and wanted . . . even when they’re being snotty little assholes who shot the BB gun without permission.

 

 

As a domestic violence survivor, Charity uses her past as fuel for her fiction, creating strong characters who overcome great odds to learn, grow, and evolve past their own pain. In her non-fiction, Charity is straight-forward and no-nonsense, giving the facts (and her opinions) with no apologies.

Bibliography:Presence: Awakening, Presence: Wolf Moon, Presence: Smoke and Fire, Presence: Into the Dark , Presence: August Heat, Beyond the Veil: Book One, Blyssfully Abnormal, Bird's Town Presents: Chick Rebuilds, Brother Toad and the Giants, The Pit Monthly, the Don't Sweat series, The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect by Gilligames (video game storyline), projects for Nekki (video games), and various ghost writing gigs.

Besides writing, Charity is also a professional editor, as well as an accomplished artist and musician. See her stuff at http://www.optycal.com or chat on Charity Becker's Facebook.

All books are available for great prices at the Blysster Press store!

 

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Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-charity-beckers-presence-awakening-interview-excerpt

Blog Tour: Shadyia Ascendant by T.S. Adrian with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for T.S. Adrian’s Shadyia Ascendant. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the books, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :)

 


 

 

Beneath the Silver Rose

Book 1

 

 

Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic! When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a wealthy scholar. Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a darkness that returns to consume the world.

 

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Chapter 1

 

BELLS CLAMORED throughout the Silver Rose. Shadyia glanced up from her board game as the sisters around her stopped mid-sentence and leaped to their feet. The tones were far from the usual rhythm beckoning them to meals or a lesson with the madam. Could the palace be under attack? The doors to the east vestibule burst open and Mistress Sybaris strode into White Hall. “Reception Etiquette,” she said and made a shooing gesture with a flick of her arms. Her silver clips scarcely held her frizzled hair in place and dampness stained the armpits of her burgundy gown. “To your positions.” The sisters scattered and Shadyia stepped toward the doors of the audience. Whatever had kicked over the anthill had to be serious. During the six years she had resided within the palace, she had never known Sybaris to lose her poise or move at other than a steady and measured pace. “Sister Shadyia, wait. Come with me,” Sybaris said over her shoulder as she lifted the hem of her gown and glided up the grand stairs. “The madam wants a word with you.” Shadyia froze in her tracks. Why did Madam Amrita want to see her? She hurried to catch up, her house slippers slapping the shallow steps built for ladies in dresses. The bells fell silent as they entered the east ballroom. Only moonlight pushing between the tall, purple curtains showed the way as they crossed the dance floor, viewed by the silhouettes of ghosts tooled into the tapestries. Madam Amrita and Mistress Makayla stood buried in the drapes as if hiding from someone. The madam beckoned them over. “We must use all our skills, Sisters,” Amrita said as they drew near. “Dustan is the most dangerous of the House of Mienhard.” Shadyia parted the heavy drape and peered down at the dawn gate. Lord Dunstan Mienhard—here? Beneath the light of lanterns set on high poles, three shadowy figures dismounted gray chargers. Stable hands rushed to take over the horses as the riders moved toward the gated arch. A well-dressed man in a brimmed hat led the other two, his head tilted back as if searching the windows where Shadyia observed. As he neared the gate, his elbow pushed aside a leather riding coat and his gloved hand rested on the hilt of sword. Cold fingers grazed her spine. It was he, sure enough. Dunstan Mienhard, the infamous swordsman known as the King’s Beloved Uncle. The man to Lord Dunstan’s right had hair that hung straight and fair, his stern gaze and hewn physique suggested years of hard training. Tattoos of black flame covered his arms. He kept pace with his master, his fist tight on the hilt of a curved dagger at his side. The other man mirrored the first perfectly, save for a longsword strapped across his back. Shadyia gripped the curtain. Wolfguard!—the sentinels of the king’s family, trained from birth to kill at a nod. The three men halted before the gate and Lord Dunstan leaned slightly as if to speak to the man with the curved dagger. The wolfguard answered and pointed with his chin at the palace. “What are they saying?” Amrita asked. “He said she’s in there,” Sybaris replied. Shadyia glanced at her mistress of guardians. How had she—? Ah! Lip reading. Useful. Lord Dunstan pulled hard on the bell. Guardian sisters dressed in white tunics and armed with slender batons rushed down the marble steps. They unbarred the gate and Dunstan’s guard shoved them aside. He marched up the steps into the palace. Shadyia backed away from the window and glanced at the madam and her two mistresses. Hopefully, someone would tell her what all this was about—and why she, of all the sisters, had been invited to bear witness. Sybaris knelt and loosened a stiletto sheathed in a boot. Uttering grim predictions, the raven-haired Makayla paced, gripping the sides of her black gown. Madam Amrita turned from the window. “Ladies, please wait for me at the back doors to the audience. I’ll be with you shortly.” They bowed and departed. The madam gathered her dark brown hair, streaked with gray, behind her shoulders. “I believe I know why Lord Dunstan is here. He’s come for you, Sister.” Shadyia blinked. There must be some mistake. Dunstan wasn’t one of her coins; he wasn’t any sister’s coin. The madam forbid servicing House Mienhard. No amount of silver, she often schooled them, was worth the peril of learning the secrets of the king’s house. “For me? Why?” “You are the favorite of Lord William Querry. This afternoon at the Diamond, the horse owned by William defeated the horse owned by Lord Dunstan. That race was very important to Dunstan, and he is furious.” Shadyia stared hard at her madam. The ringing bells, scrambling sisters, Sybaris appearing as if she were moments from wading into battle—all this over a horse race? Then again, nobles obsessed over such things, but what had she herself to do with— A chill seized her. Dunstan killed men who offended him, but for women he was known to pursue a different form of amusement. “Dunstan will punish William Querry by commanding his guard to rape and beat me.” “Correct,” Amrita said. “That is why you must hide. Don’t go to your quarters. He may know where that is. I suggest one of the storerooms beneath the kitchens. Go now and avoid the east vestibule.” She turned to leave. Madam, wait. Mistress Sybaris said the wolfguard knows I’m here.” Amrita stopped. “I’ll tell him you’re not,” she said over her shoulder. “I’ll tell him you are servicing a coin and are away from the palace.” “Dunstan will never believe you over his guard. Even if he does, he’ll just choose another sister.” Amrita faced her. “Unlikely. To beat another would fail to send the message he desires to William Querry.” “But it would punish you for denying his wrath. Madam, this is Dunstan Mienhard. You were with me at the plaza last month. Did he strike you as a man who will just walk away on your word alone?” She hoped her point had hammered home. Just the month before, Dunstan had accepted a challenge from a retired knight-general, a veteran of numerous campaigns and a grandfather of sixteen. The stodgy general had little choice but to demand a duel when Lord Dunstan called him a coward. Duels were a common form of entertainment for the gentry, and seldom to the death, so quite a crowd had gathered to bear witness, Amrita and Shadyia among them. They’d watched in shock as Dunstan repeatedly sliced the elderly knight-general and finished him with a piercing stab to the throat. ‘Cowards deserve no quarter,’ Dunstan had said, using a white cloth to wipe the general’s blood off his blacksteel sword. “What is your concern?” the madam asked. “If Dunstan has come for me,” Shadyia answered, tapping her chest, “then it is I who should deal with him.” She didn’t know exactly how she would deal with him, but another sister would not suffer in her stead. Amrita studied her for a moment, but Shadyia couldn’t tell if her madam’s thoughts were filled with admiration or doubt. “Very well,” she said at last. “Take your place in the audience, but keep your hood low and blend in with the others. You are not to reveal yourself until I command it. Understood?” “Yes, Madam.” Amrita walked toward the back steps to the audience. Shadyia pulled up the hood on her short sapphire dress, dashed from the ballroom and hurried down the grand stairs to White Hall. She followed the last of her sisters into the audience and closed the doors behind her. Lanterns on hooks pooled light throughout the domed, circular chamber. Hood pulled low, Shadyia leaned against a pillar and crossed her arms above her waist. The others had taken various postures meant to distract, lure and entice, their faces partly hidden under low hoods. Red-haired Deresi, a sister from Shadyia’s own circle, looked particularly tempting as she sat on the lip of the fountain, her fingers playing in the rippling water and her legs parted just enough to tease a man’s attention. The doors to the Welcome Hall thundered open and Lord Dunstan entered. He swept his gaze over the chamber, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword, and made for the madam’s chair. His wolfguard slammed the doors in the face their guardian sister escort, and then turned their backs to better observe their master. Dunstan halted before the single-step dais and scowled up at the statue of Luun standing protectively behind the madam’s chair. He removed his hat and cast it over the hand of the statue that held the silver rose. Shadyia seethed. Luun was more than the sister’s patroness; she was an emblem of feminine strength and dignity—one that Dunstan had reduced to a rack for his hat. The rear doors to the chamber opened. Chin elevated, shoulders back and one hand placed upon the other at waist-level, Madam Amrita entered with Mistress Sybaris and Mistress Makayla a few steps behind. Lord Dunstan pivoted toward the approaching women, grasped his blacksteel longsword and tugged it within reach. Shadyia furrowed her brow. Was he actually afraid of the madam? Ah, of course. She grinned beneath her hood. His hilt-grip was meant for Sybaris. The mistress of guardians had a fearsome reputation. Holding the hem of her elaborate pearl gown, Amrita dipped, her gaze lowered. Sybaris and Makayla did likewise. “Lord Dunstan, you honor my house,” Amrita said, rising. Dunstan puffed his cheeks behind a blond mustache. “That’s not saying much.” He removed his riding coat and flung it across the chair. Their backs still to the main doors, his wolfguard grinned like jackals over a fresh kill. Shadyia ground her teeth. The pig! He would not even allow the madam her place of honor. “How may I be of service?” Amrita asked with—remarkably—no hint of outrage in her voice. Dunstan faced her. “Service? I thought you didn’t service House Mienhard.” “As a matter of policy, my lord.” “Your girls suck half the cocks in Anderholm, but the king’s house isn’t good enough for them?” “Take no offense, my lord. Even the most skilled courtesan can conceive a child. With any other house we are free to terminate the seed, but if the house that straddles a sister also sits upon the throne, this…solution…is inappropriate.” Shadyia tensed as Dunstan took a step toward Amrita. “I am offended you think me fool enough to accept that excuse. But it is of no matter.” He addressed the room. “This policy ends tonight. I require one of your girls, the favorite of Querry’s third son, William. She goes by the name Shadyia. Bring her to my guard at once.” “I’m sorry, my lord, but Sister Shadyia is away from the Silver Rose until tomorrow.” Dunstan rounded on Amrita and struck her across her face. She cried out, fell back and only Sybaris’s reflexes kept her head from smacking the floor. Gasps erupted from the sisters about the chamber as Shadyia pushed against her pillar, her hands becoming fists. Dunstan rubbed his knuckles in the palm of his hand. “Do not lie to me, whore. I know she’s here. Bring her to me at once.” Sybaris reached back to her boot—but the madam caught her wrist. “She is not, sire. I swear it. She lies with her client, Lord Martel—” Amrita cried out as Dunstan kicked her hip with a steel-tipped boot and reached for his sword. Enough! Shadyia swept the hood off her gown. Amrita would not suffer on her behalf. No one would. She stepped to the center of the room. “My lord, I am here!” The wolfguard rushed forward and seized her arms. Amrita shot her a seething look, but changed to an expression of pleading as Dunstan glared back down at her. “Mercy, Lord. She’s just a girl.” Dunstan sneered, a look of victory in his eyes. “She’s no girl. And, from the way William boasted, he’s quite taken with her.” He turned his vulturous gaze on Shadyia and followed her curves. “But, after my men are finished, he won’t find her so attractive.” Disgust nearly forced her to twist away, but she closed her mind to Dunstan’s words. Think. Don’t struggle. The calloused hands clamped on her biceps offered no hope for escape. What could she do? Once again, Dunstan addressed the women in the audience chamber. “Let this stand as a warning. My horse is not to be defeated, at the Diamond, or anyplace else!” Deception. It was her only chance. Deceit had worked six years ago when the king’s men had found her covered in blood near a dead noble. It would work here as well. She went limp and hung in the men’s arms, her dark hair obscuring her face. The wolfguard’s laughter jostled their hands. Dunstan chuckled from across the room. “Rouse her. Do her here, before all.” She’d counted on that. Few cruel men enjoyed battering an unconscious girl—and Dunstan would want plenty of witnesses. The brute to her right released her arm. Boots appeared below her limp knees as his companion took her full weight. A fist seized her hair and jerked her head upright—but the man’s grin melted beneath her searing glare. Putting some strength back into her legs, she reached low and slid his curved blade from its sheath. Slash hard with the edge! Fast! The upward cut she dealt beneath his chin spattered his blood across her face. His eyes bulged like a toad as he freed her hair and grasped at his spurting artery. Perfect. One down and the other had his hands full—of her. She reversed the dagger and plunged it into the hip of the man behind. The guard shrieked and released her arm. She glanced over her shoulder as he snatched at the sword strapped to his back. Idiot! With a twist on the balls of her feet, she yanked the dagger out of his side and slashed open his throat in one smooth circle. The man gurgled on a red spray beneath his chin, his knees buckled and he fell like a wall of bricks. His head struck the floor and his sword, half drawn, slipped from his fingers. A grin tugged at the corner of Shadyia’s mouth. Not bad at all. Four seconds, three cuts, and two of Dunstan’s finest were down, thrashing in their own blood. A sword hissed from its scabbard to her left. “You bitch.” Lord Dunstan pointed his blade at her. Shadyia glanced at his weapon. Blacksteel, probably Erebros. It would be light and fast. She took a quick measure of the room. The area wasn’t ideal for a duel, but it should pose little hindrance. Slender pillars supported the dome around the madam’s chair and several ornate stands held potted plants, but there was still plenty of open space. Many of the sisters had pulled back their hoods and gawked with wide eyes, but they were far enough away to be out of danger. Over at the dais, Sybaris helped the madam back to her feet. The mistress of guardians would protect the madam if Dunstan attacked her. Shadyia dropped the dagger on the corpse of the man who had grabbed her hair. He could have it back. A drop of blood slid from her chin and stained her short gown as she put her foot on the shoulder of the dying wolfguard and slid free his half-drawn longsword. She swung the blade high over her head and faced Dunstan. He slashed the air. “Yes, come to me, whore. I’ve killed eleven men in duels.” The leather-wrapped hilt felt good in her hand. She smirked at Dunstan. No man walked into her home and battered her sisters. “I’ll need to catch up. I’ve only bagged two today.” Laughter skipped among the women. Lord Dunstan snarled and lunged with an overhand strike, his sword a whistling blur. Their blades met with clang of steel that shocked her arms from wrists to elbows. Dunstan leaped back and thrust forward, a tactic she’d observed when he had killed the fat general. She knocked his blade aside and repeated the move so perfectly he nearly died from his own assault. He recovered and charged, swinging wildly. She sidestepped and smacked his bottom with the flat of her sword as he passed. The sisters laughed and even Amrita rewarded her with a grin. The doors to the audience swung open and four guardian sisters poured in, their batons held at the ready. Dunstan maintained his gaze on Shadyia and took up a balanced, controlled fighting stance. He’d gotten the message. Here was no easy prey. She risked a glance past Dunstan. At the dais, Sybaris jabbed at the air, pointing at positions around the chamber. The guardians dispersed, likely to defend unarmed sisters. Shadyia nodded in approval toward her mistress of guardians. This was not their fight. She touched the sword’s hilt to her forehead and mirrored his pose. Dunstan opened with a thrust. She parried and stepped back to hold her balance. The slash and slice of sharp steel echoed off walls and pillars as she fended off Dunstan’s every assault and thrice forced him to retreat. She passed over an opening to critically wound him and end the duel, and then another a few parries later. This was the great swordsman? Oh, how I’d enjoy skewering you before the madam and my sisters—but she mustn’t. Slaying guards was permitted, but no one could kill a member of the king’s house and hope to be excused. She would just have to settle for humiliating him. Sisters scattered as, swords striking, the pair moved toward them, some diving behind the fountain or Amrita’s chair. Dunstan leaped past a pillar, reversed his step and stabbed where he had obviously hoped she would chase him. Shadyia scoffed and stepped back—Did he think she would fall for that?—and re-engaged with a slash at his ankles that forced him to block low and stumble. Sweat beading his brow, he parried her follow-up stab at his side and backed toward the fountain. Dunstan glared at her, his sword trembling in his hand. He looked to be on the verge of surrendering. Pathetic. Shadyia glanced over her shoulder and offered the madam a sardonic glance. Was this the man they feared so much? As her attention returned to Dunstan, he seized a potted fern from a low table. Before she could advance, he hurled the pot at her and, his sword raised for a strike, leaped at Sister Deresi who knelt next to the fountain. No! Shadyia struck the pot out of air with a swipe of her sword and charged Dunstan. She could not bring her blade up quickly enough, but slammed her shoulder into his back and knocked him into the shallow water. Thrashing, cursing and coughing, he rolled out of the fountain and flopped like an eel on the floor. He tried to rise, but Shadyia held the tip of her sword at his throat. He had almost killed Deresi. Bastard! Shadyia glared down at him, her teeth clenched and her heart hammering a river of hot rage through her veins. Dunstan had one chance to live. Just one. She jabbed his throat. “Yield, my lord.” He cleared mucus from his throat. “Fucking whore”—and spat at her. Thick warmth pelted her cheek in the same place he had struck Amrita. The sisters, the audience chamber, the madam and her mistresses vanished in a red haze. Her entire world became this vile man and her—and it wasn’t big enough for them both. She caught the sword by its pommel in her fists and lifted it, point down, over Dunstan. “Shadyia, no!” Amrita cried. Shadyia slammed her heel into his crotch. As Dunstan heaved up, she impaled his chest with such force the sword pierced clean through his ribs and struck the floor behind him. Dunstan looked at the spreading stain on his soaked shirt and turned a shocked gaze up at the woman who had killed him. “Cowards deserve no quarter,” Shadyia said and twisted the blade. Lord Dunstan’s final gasp ended with a sob as the life drained from his eyes. His chest slid down her sword, leaving it red. She grinned. Those fine words would follow him into Abysm. She pushed her sandaled foot against his groin, wrenched the sword free and stepped back. Only the rush of the fountain filled the audience. Shadyia flung down the sword. The impact startled her sisters and spattered Lord Dunstan’s blood in red streaks across the floor. She swept her gaze over the chamber, meeting the eyes of each woman. If any of them should speak of this night to a coin or whisper it in a tavern, Shadyia would trade the mattress in her quarters for a pile of filthy straw before her life ended in a noose. Or worse. She knelt beside the shallow fountain and washed the blood and spittle from her face. Deresi peeked over its far edge and gaped at her through unkempt red hair. Their gazes met and Deresi bit her lower lip, an enthralled look in her green eyes. Shadyia winked. That was quite a show, wasn’t it? Mistress Makayla broke the thick stillness. “We are finished. Ruined.” Shadyia stood and shook the water out of her hands. She stared down at her handiwork. Dunstan’s eyes were open and disbelief was still etched in his face. What had she done? The beloved uncle of the king lay skewered on the floor. I don’t care! She glared at her mistress of sisters and kicked dead Dunstan’s leg. “He tried to kill Sister Deresi.” Makayla gnashed her teeth. “He was at your mercy and you butchered him like—” “—like a pig, yes.“ Makayla rounded on the dais. “Madam, we should send a rider to Anderholm at once and summon Magistrate Alberich. Have the guardians hold Sisters Shadyia in custody and turn her over to the Redcloaks when he arrives.” Shadyia scowled. Did Makayla just—? One more word like that, bitch, and I will… Amrita dabbed at the cut on her lips with her sleeve. “I will do no such thing.” “She did this!” Makayla pointed at Shadyia. “She! Are we all to suffer because of one idiot girl?” Shadyia charged. Before her fist could make contact with Makayla’s jaw, her arm was caught and the room blurred. Pain drove the wind from her ribs as her back slammed onto the floor. A finger stabbed down at her like the tip of a spear. “Stand down, Sister.” Shadyia blinked to clear her vision. Sybaris! How had she crossed the floor so quickly? “You see, Madam?” Makayla said, her face pale. “She’s out of control. You must have her confined and summon the Redcloaks.” With a groan, Shadyia rolled to her feet. Sybaris moved between her and Makayla, but she held up her hands in submission; she had no desire to meet the floor again. “What’s done is done,” Sybaris said, directing her words to Makayla. “Alberich will never believe one sister killed three men—not without help, which means by the madam’s command. If we involve them, we will all spend a fortnight in the bastille.” A visible chill moved through the room. Shadyia, a caged tiger, halted her pacing. There were laws in Anderholm against torturing women, but none of those laws mattered in cases of treason—and slaying a member of the king’s house was treason. Makayla threw up her arms. “When Dunstan and his guard fail to return to his estate, the Redcloaks will get involved whether we tell them or not.” Amrita stepped down off the dais. “I need three volunteers to dress in the dead men’s clothing.” She leveled her gaze at Shadyia, appointing her as one of the volunteers. “They will pretend to be Dunstan and his guard, in case we are being watched, and ride into the forest for Waytower clearing. Mistress Sybaris, arm a detachment of guardians. Sister Deresi, kindly go—Sister Deresi!” Startled, Deresi pulled her gaze off Shadyia and jumped to her feet. “Yes, Madam.” “Kindly go to the stables and ask the hands to ready a covered wagon. Tell them nothing and drive the wagon back to the palace yourself.” Deresi hurried out through the main doors. Makayla’s heels clicked across the floor. “Count me out of this.” The rear doors to the audience chamber slammed shut behind her. Madam Amrita addressed the room. “The rest of you, roll up the bodies in carpets and load them into the wagon when it arrives. You will meet with the imposters in the forest. Guardians will provide an escort.” “We’ll need more blood,” Sybaris said. Amrita took a quick breath and blew it out. “Dunstan’s horses will provide that. Get moving, all of you.” Shadyia glared down at dead Dunstan. Would she really have to wear his wet, bloodstained clothing? She stepped out of her house slippers, yanked off one of his boots and sniffed it. Ugh. That was a mistake. She’d wear his bloody shirt and sodden trousers, but his hose would remain where it was. Nothing that had cradled Dunstan’s cock and balls would touch her. She stripped him and pulled his soaked shirt and trousers over her house gown. Her bare foot bitterly protested being in Dunstan’s clammy boot. A sigh pushed through her lips as she tucked in the leg of his damp trousers. Wearing wet clothes was better than being locked up in a room and waiting to be handed over to the Redcloaks. She reached for the next boot—and paused. What would happen at Waytower clearing? And why would they need more blood? Fingers of gray from an unseen moon silhouetted the black trunks of trees, their branches closing overhead until the packed road nearly vanished. Shadyia shifted in the saddle of Lord Dunstan’s horse and glanced back at the sisters who rode behind her. They said nothing and looked away. Yesterday they had laughed, bathed and dined with her. Now they refused to make eye contact. She shivered in the damp clothing and stroked the horse’s neck, grateful for the animal’s warmth. At least Dunstan’s hat and cloak, recovered from the statue of Luun and the madam’s chair, were dry and comfortable. Shadyia ground her teeth. Didn’t her friends understand? She had slain those men to protect their sorority. The moment a man of privilege such as Lord Dunstan believed he could rape and kill women without consequence, other vicious men would do the same. The thought of Dunstan made Shadyia grip the reins until the animal took that as a command to stop. She clicked her tongue and urged him on. Dunstan had ordered his thugs to rape and beat her because his horse had been bested at the Diamond by the one owned by William Querry. He had struck Madam Amrita as if she were a servant who had spilled his ale. Such disrespect could not go unchallenged. She had tried to speak to Amrita as the sisters rolled Dunstan and his guards into three carpets and loaded them into a wagon. Shadyia had wanted to explain why she had defied the madam’s order, but Amrita had silenced her with an icy glare. ‘We’ll talk upon your return,’ she had told Shadyia before walking away. Shadyia concentrated on guiding the horse along the dark road to stave off her fear at the madam’s demeanor. Damn Dunstan and all gentlemen of his ilk. She should be having supper now, not creeping through a murky forest full of outlaws and bandits. My father liked to ride at night. He had often told her the silence allowed his spirit to roam lands unseen. Father, may the gods favor you to ride their mighty horses across the eternal plains of Eriensym. The prayer was calming and Shadyia took a deep breath of the night air. It would be the reward her father deserved. He’d spent decades in the royal cavalry protecting Anderholm from its enemies, and upon retirement had received a small pension and patch of land. Afterwards, he had adopted Shadyia, just eleven summers old, from Mother Sara’s orphanage. Raising her as his own, he had trained her to ride and plant and harvest. Moreover, he taught her the hard values he’d learned from years of untainted duty. Once she had asked him why he had taken a girl from Mother Sara and not a boy. His response had surprised her. ‘Women are superior to men in every measurable way’ he’d said. She liked that answer. The years with him had been the happiest of her life—until a noble like Dunstan had driven him to his death. That had been six years ago. She’d lost a home she loved that night and the nearest she had ever had to a father. What would he think of her now? Would her father understand why she had come into Madam Amrita’s service? Would he blame himself? Or would he curse her and never call her daughter again? Shame clouded her thoughts until she forced them aside by reminiscing about William Querry. She grinned in the dark. She enjoyed his company as much as his money. He was well muscled and handsome enough to have his pick of women in the city, but like most nobles he preferred a professional touch—and the fact that sisters chewed larsenic leaves to prevent conception lessened the chance of bastard children wandering the streets of Anderholm. Each meeting with him ended the same: dinner, followed by a story about his beloved horses, and then an evening of well-paid passion. At last they reached Waytower clearing. Shadyia listened for the wagon the sisters should have loaded with dead Dunstan and his guards after she and the others had ridden into the forest. Only the wind in the leaves, the hoot of an owl and a grunt from one of the horses disturbed the inky silence. Amrita had chosen the clearing well. This road through the Kingsleaf was one route Lord Dunstan might have taken back to his estate. Shadyia now understood. The madam intended to make it look as if he and his guard had been attacked by hostiles in the forest. It was a sound plan. Magistrate Alberich and the Redcloaks should have no trouble believing a man with Dunstan’s arrogance would ride through Kingsleaf at night with only two guards. Lost in her thoughts, she failed to hear the wagon approach until it was almost upon them. The sisters who had masqueraded as Dunstan’s men dismounted and began stripping off the guards’ clothing. Shadyia dropped from her horse. Guardians formed a protective ring, their batons replaced by swords and loaded crossbows in case actual bandits attacked while they staged the faux assault. Two sisters held torches while the others dragged out three bundles wrapped in carpets. The bodies of Dunstan and his men were unrolled by the time Shadyia stood shivering in her thin house gown, damp and stained with blood from Dunstan’s clothing. She pulled out the house slippers she had tucked into her gold belt as the sisters redressed the bodies before tying them upright on the skittish horses. Sybaris passed crossbows and several bolts to Shadyia and two of her guardians. Shadyia once had a coin who enjoyed shooting bottles off a fence with bolts from his crossbow. He had allowed her a few tries and she rewarded him well for the practice. Sisters were busy securing the horses to prevent their escape as she grounded the stirrup, loaded an iron-tipped bolt and used both hands to lock the string. She rested the tiller against her shoulder, clenched her jaw and took aim at the gray stallion she had ridden into the Kingsleaf—but lowered the weapon. Couldn’t the horses have escaped or had been captured and sold? She sighed. No. For the ambush to seem genuine, the ‘bandits’ could show no regard for the animals Dunstan and his guard had ridden. “Aim for the neck,” Sybaris said. They loosed at her command. The horses reared and cried out in agony. Misty-eyed, Shadyia reloaded. May you shriek in the empty torment of Abysm for all time, Dunstan! She reloaded and released again and again until her horse stopped thrashing. Her remaining three bolts proved far easier. These she shot into Dunstan, who lay on his slain horse, slack-mouthed and eyes glazed over. The ropes were then removed and Sybaris added the finishing touch by soaking a cloth in horse blood and dripping it profusely where the bolts had struck the men. The bodies were stripped of rings, purses, boots and weapons. After one last search to ensure nothing could be traced back to the Silver Rose, Shadyia helped her sisters roll up the carpets and load them into the wagon. The others took a place in back. Sybaris turned and held up her hand. “Sister Shadyia, you will stay and see that the tracks are covered.” Fear stabbed her. Was Sybaris really going to leave her here? Did she want her lost in the forest, like the unwanted baby of a peasant? She turned down her gaze. “Yes, Mistress.” “Do you know how to do this?” “Yes, Mistress. I will find heavy branches and drag them over the tracks.” None of her sisters looked back as the wagon pulled away. Her breath frosting, Shadyia stood shivering in her damp house gown and sandals. All she had wanted to do was protect herself and the home she loved, and they were punishing her for it. She searched for a suitable branch. The moon shone so bright it washed the stars from the sky by the time Shadyia staggered back barefoot to the Silver Rose. Her sandals had caught so often in the underbrush, she had cast them away in frustration. Her gashed and throbbing feet constantly reminded her how much of a mistake that had been. She gazed up into the night. There was a tale from her childhood of the Goddess Luun battling constantly against giants of darkness that sought to devour her sacred light. The memory gave her enough strength to scale the vine-covered wall. A guardian sister stepped into view from her station on the tower. Shadyia waved and the guardian lifted a hand in greeting. There was a servant’s door hidden by thick ivy that allowed her to enter the vestibule. Limping, she crossed the freezing floor and glowered at the stairs that led up to her apartment. Would she even have the strength to climb them? I’ll make it to my bed, even if I have to crawl. Makayla and Sybaris would be denied the satisfaction of finding her collapsed on the floor in the morning. She would wake fresh and face them with dignity. A flurry of movement caused her to whip her head around before finding herself caught in a sudden embrace. “Oh, thank Luun you are safe!” Deresi’s words were muffled in Shadyia’s hair. “I was so worried.” Shadyia returned the hug with as much strength as her numb muscles allowed. “I am well. I am well.” “I cannot believe they just left you out there. What was Sybaris thinking? You could have been raped, killed, even worse.” Shadyia snickered. “Worse?” Deresi’s own laugh turned into a sob. “I am well, Sister. Shh.” Clicks against the stone floor forced them apart. Shadyia groaned. Only one person in the Silver Rose tapped her heels like that. Makayla emerged from the dark between the pillars. “Mistress Sybaris was thinking that Sister Shadyia needed to learn a lesson.” She placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head. “And from the looks of her, I would say she learned it rather well.” Shadyia kept her jaw tight. She would enjoy seeing Makayla after a stomp through the forest dressed in nothing but a house dress and slippers. The pampered witch would have fainted after ten steps. “It was a good lesson, Mistress, and I thank her for it.” Makayla’s scowl pierced into her. Shadyia pressed her knees together and refused to cringe. At last, the mistress dropped her hands to her sides. “Rest, Sister Shadyia. The madam has retired for the evening, but she will speak with you after first meal. Before you return to your comforts, take a moment to look at all the Silver Rose has given you. Take a good, long look.” Makayla spun and clicked away, her long black hair on a black dress merging with the shadows. Her voice speared out of the dark. “It will be the last you see of it.” Shadyia rubbed her forehead. Had she lost her home after all? Six years of whoring just to be returned to the streets. She put her foot on the first step and gathered her strength for the long climb to her apartment. Deresi laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Come with me.” “Where?” “The baths. You need one, badly.” Shadyia groaned. That would hardly help. Without servants to stroke the fires, the baths would be cold and the water freezing. “Sister, I—” Deresi placed a finger on her lips. With a mischievous glint in her green eyes, she ushered Shadyia across the floor and down the circling steps to a heavy door that Deresi pulled open. Shadyia expected darkness and cold air, but was greeted by soft light and scented steam. Caprasia, another sister from Shadyia’s circle, stood next to a shallow pool filled with foaming water. Lit candles, accentuating the blond woman’s golden hair, lined the floor around the pool’s edge. Shadyia gaped at the warm pool. They had done all this for her? Deresi loosened Shadyia’s bloodstained robe and slipped it off her shoulders, followed by her undergarments. She took Shadyia by the hands and, walking backward, led her into the pool. The cuts on her feet jabbed like wasp stings as the she waded in, but her wounds soon crooned with the rest of her legs. Caprasia filled a decanter and poured a foamy cascade of warm water over Shadyia’s head. Her hair held as much as it could then released rivulets of warmth down her back and over her breasts. “Blessed gods, that feels good,” Shadyia said as Caprasia upended a second decanter. Deresi tossed her unkempt hair over her shoulder and, sensuously rubbing with her hands, worked an amofous blossom to a rich lather. She and Caprasia caressed off layers of dirt and sweat until their hair hung in wet strings and their gowns clung to their skin. Caprasia doused her once more to wash off the soap and Deresi led her out of the water to a masseuse bench covered with a white cloth. Shadyia sat on the bench, dripping wet and wonderfully clean. Deresi raised her foot and poured a small vial of golden oil over her cuts and bruises. Shadyia gasped. Jilqu oil! She tried to pull her foot free, but Deresi held firm. Her sore feet sent messages of relief as the healing oil sealed her cuts and soothed her blisters—but the pleasure collided with a rush of guilt. Sisters were issued one vial of jilqu oil every six moons, each containing twenty drops of oil, each drop worth a laymen’s yearly wage. Deresi must have sacrificed her private allotment. Mist formed over Shadyia’s eyes and became streaks of tears. While Deresi lifted her other foot and rubbed jilqu into her wounds, Caprasia stepped in front of her. She kissed Shadyia’s lips and cheeks, instantly drying her tears. Not a kiss of passion, but of comfort. Inviting Shadyia to lie on her stomach, Caprasia worked a deep massage that bordered on the edge of abuse on Shadyia’s shoulders, lower back and neck. Shadyia groaned with bliss. Men would pay a fortune for this—and probably twice that to watch it, but they would see something that wasn’t there. Her sister’s caresses were meant to relax, not arouse; to comfort, not excite. The massage complete, Caprasia slipped a clean robe over Shadyia’s shoulders and soft sandals on her feet. Deresi led her up the steps to the apartments of the gold belts, entered Shadyia’s room, and guided her to bed. Deresi pulled a heavy blanket up to her chin, kissed her cheek and exited quietly. Shadyia sailed on a calm, euphoric sea. Damn it. I didn’t thank Deresi and Caprasia for the bath. She would have to remedy that tomorrow. Storm clouds raged on her peaceful horizon. Would the Silver Rose still be her home tomorrow? Makayla had said this would be the last Shadyia saw of her comforts. That could only mean one thing. Expulsion. Dismissal. Of course, I could always go to work at one of the other brothels in Anderholm. Eat pasty porridge and sleep on a straw-stuffed mattress crawling with fleas. Service men who had no fear of a Mistress Sybaris to keep them in line. Tomorrow she might be back on the street—or arrested for Dunstan’s death and brought in chains to the bastille. She honestly didn’t know which was worse. She had seen the poor wretches who lived on the street. Before that would become her fate, she would find a sharp knife and cut her—wait a moment. How had Caprasia and Deresi warmed the baths just for her? It must have been—yes!—it could only have been on the orders of Amrita. Only the madam could have roused the staff and commanded them to do so. It would be just Amrita’s style to teach a lesson with pleasure, to make Shadyia fully appreciate what she had risked by killing those men. Could that mean Amrita had no intentions to expel her, despite what Makayla had said? Please, goddess, let that be so. Allow me to stay in my home.

 

 

 

The Penance of Pride

Book 2

 

 

 
Shadyia's Adventure Continues!
'I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.'
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and envelope the sisterhood she adores.
As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.
Meanwhile, the adviser to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to carry out his ultimate plan.
Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.
 

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The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance), the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful, mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace. When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I'm an avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a foreign language. I'm American and currently reside in Poland.
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Blog Tour: Case File Phantom by Dana Ford with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Dana Ford’s Case File Phantom. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Georgia Richards lost hope of ever seeing her husband again since he disappeared over a year ago. On a Saturday afternoon, she thought she saw him at a play; on stage at the Oaksdale Playhouse. But, Georgia didn’t have the courage to find out if it was really him. Constance McCauley was empathetic to Georgia’s faint of heart and decided to offer her investigation services to find the true identity of this mysterious man. Would Constance be able to track down Georgia’s estranged husband? If he was found, why had he been missing for over a year? As Constance pursued this case with a combination of faith and persistence, she witnessed the power of forgiveness unfold before her eyes.

 

 

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Why weren’t there more lights backstage? I felt like a mouse in a maze. It was difficult to tell if the hanging costumes were people or if the shadows were hanging costumes. There he was! “Excuse me sir! Sir!” He turned around and caught my eye. I managed to hold his gaze for a moment. He was nervous, almost frightened. His eyes a deep brown, he seemed to want to say something, but instead he fell into the low lighting and disappeared. I picked up my pace to try and catch him. “Wait!” I briskly walked and then ran past racks and racks of costumes and odd set design items like furniture, tall plants, and a fake standing bear. “Wait! Please, I want to talk to you!” The backstage door swung open and blinding light flooded me where I stood, and hindered my view. He was gone. I quickly looked to the left and then to the right and no one was there. I looked to the left again and then began to run along the backside of the theatre. I slowed down, because I realized that he was in fact gone. Why would anyone run from a perfect stranger unless they had something to hide or something to lose? Turning around, I walked back towards the backstage door. I again waded through the racks of hanging costumes and walking shadows of actors and busy people. Why would he run? I found myself back in my seat.

 

 

 

Dana Ford has enjoyed writing stories since she can remember. She has penned several books and has found a new love in writing mystery fiction. Her favorite hobbies besides writing is watching old movies, volunteering in her community, and spending precious moments with her family.

 
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Blog Tour: Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Corine Mekaouche’s Last Semester. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 
College. Party. Drama. Life.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn't always easy and it's up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?
Navigating through college isn’t easy especially when you don’t know what the future holds, but Jo is determined to conquer her present even if it means figuring out what being an adult is all about. With graduation around the corner, Jo and her roommates have some growing up to do and the last semester is all they have.
College is complicated.
Partying is a necessity.
Drama is guaranteed.
Life is just beginning.
 
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“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him. Shit! I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around. “Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!” Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance. “Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head. “I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath. Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong. Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out? I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now. It’s official. I killed my roommate. Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill...and probably drove off a cliff or something... Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it? The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it. “I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.” Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze. Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself! Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle. “I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.” “Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him. I’m frozen.
 
 
 
The geek and the dreamer, Corine Mekaouche has always had the vision of becoming a writer. While growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, Corine spent her childhood immersed in music, novels, and writing. To her, the arts was the best escape ever. For college, she attended Rutgers University majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Arts. Somehow, Corine survived the college experience and became somewhat of a grown-up yet still kept the vision of being a writer alive because it may be all she’s qualified for. So, she wrote and wrote until Last Semester, a new adult novel about college life and growing up, was born. Currently, she is writing other novels and plays for future release. When she’s not writing, loudly singing to songs in her car or dancing in random places for no apparent reason, Corine is being an awesome wife and a mom residing outside of the wonderfully flawed New York City.
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Blog Tour: The Wizard Killer by Adam Dreece with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Adam Dreece’s The Wizard Killer.We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

"Harry Potter meets Die Hard" - M. Bybee, WereBook.org "Madmax meets Lord of the Rings" - Goodreads.com A world once at the height of magical technology and social order has collapsed. How and why are the least of the wizard killer’s worries. Leaning my bloody head against the back of the crashed levitating carriage, I flex my cramped fingers. With a renewed grip on the mana-pistol, I steal a quick breath. The others better wake up fast, otherwise we’re all going to burn. Written using a binge-TV show model, Season 1 contains 20 pulse-pounding episodes, and is an all new side to best-selling YA author, Adam Dreece.

“…an intense action movie-style romp through a wonderfully detailed fantasy world. I freaking LOVED this story! I loved the cinematic feel, I loved the action scenes, I loved the characters. It is like Harry Potter meets Die Hard” — M Bybee, WereBooks.org, 5 Stars

"...imaginative and compelling series that is quite difficult to stop reading. Dreece knows exactly how to build and then neatly tie up each episode, while leaving the reader wanting more.... highly recommended." Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PREVIOUSLY

In Season 1 of The Wizard Killer, we met a man with no name as he awoke from the dead with his short-sword impaled in his chest, his magic failing, and his memories scrambled. As he ventured into the barren wasteland trying to figure out what had happened to him, he narrowly avoided being burned alive by a carn and eaten by a family of ghouls. A chance encounter with a trio of bandits revealed he was something called a weslek, some kind of living mana-battery. Fighting alongside them in a desperate battle against two flaming carnu, the nameless man drained the remaining life force from one of the dying bandits, and shot another. The battle won, their leader, a magic-wielding woman named Ania, took off, leaving the nameless man with the haunted feeling that their business wasn’t over. And in the final moments of Season 1, the nameless man and a oner woman raced against time to escape the wrath of the raw devastation being wrought by a floating city. As the city passed over them, ripping every speck of life and mana from the surrounding area, the oner woman sacrificed herself for a chance to save the nameless man.

Episode 3 (Part 1 of a Flashback Scene)

"Hey!" yells a deep voice, followed by a hard shove. I stumble backwards, disoriented, knocking over the chair I must have been in. I hit the wall and slump down. My head feels two sizes too small. Where am I? Why’s my heart racing? The smell of stale and rancid beer immediately assaults my nose, clearing some of the fog in my mind and waking me up. Looking down at what’s on my hands, I’m distracted by the floor’s shiny, orange-and-brown sheen. Half my brain tells me the stuff on my hands feels like sandpaper; the other half, like dried snot. My eyes go from the floor to my sleeve, and then to how I’m dressed. I'm wearing matching brown pants, vest, and long coat—all neatly pressed. On the uneven table in front of me sits a brown, bowl-shaped hat. After a momentary debate of whether to rub my eyes, I decide against it and gaze about the rest of the bar, ignoring the figure standing beside me. The tavern has ‘rock bottom’ written all over it. The dingy walls and bowing ceiling don't do it any favors. There are a few high windows, though I suspect they've never been cleaned, and thankfully they’re keeping most of the morning light at bay. The man standing beside me goes to flick my ear, and I slap his hand, glaring at him. He clears his throat and glares back at me. He's got a tall, stocky frame and a big, bushy beard that is dark brown with a white streak from lip to chin. In one of his meaty hands is a black bowl hat, his wiry hair showing that he's been wearing it for a good part of the day already. Under his dark long coat is a red-and-silver vest with the chain of a pocket watch showing. Most importantly, he's got a two-bar, tin rectangle pinned on the outside of his coat and the scowl of authority to accompany it. “Sheriff,” I say grudgingly. His face relaxes a touch. “I’ve had to look all over town for you. You’ve almost missed your time to meet with the librarian, and if you miss this one, there ain’t going to be another. Now get up and get moving. She doesn't stay in one place long. And if a Scourge patrol finds her? You’re going to be looking over both shoulders every minute of every day until you’re having a dirt nap.” I put a hand out. He reluctantly grabs it and hauls me to my feet. My head’s throbbing, and the empty beer mugs on the table tell me why. Rolling my other shoulder, it barks at me painfully. "Mother of Mercy," I say under my breath. I must have done something to it when I fell off my chair… or last night. All that remains of what happened is a vague hint, nothing more. I can’t remember walking into this place or drinking a thing. All the consequences and none of the fun, that’s no way to live. “I know that look,” he grumbles, a disapproving smirk on his face. “When you strolled into town yesterday, I told you to stay away from the black beer. That stuff will knock the smile off a horse. I also told you not to play cards with the three sisters who run the place. From what I heard this morning, you’re lucky they left you with your dignity, never mind your clothes.” I grimace as the shoulder pain subsides a bit. "I'll keep that in mind." "Good. Now put some gloves on," he says pointing at my bare hands. I pull my sleeves up and stare at my arms. “Where are my tattoos?” The sheriff raises an eyebrow. “I was talking about your hands.” He takes one of my hands and turns it sideways. There’s a blue line that runs along the edge, disappearing up my sleeve. I look at my other hand, it’s there too. “Unlike most folk, I don’t care where you came from, and I care even less what horrible things happened to you to put that on you. I’m sure it’s why the librarian will meet with you, but I don’t want to know.” He bends down and picks up a pair of gloves from under the table. “Put these on.” He then hands me my hat. “Keep your head down, and no one should notice the line at your neck.” He leans in. “You remember that much, don’t you?” I nod and put the gloves and hat on. "You all good?" "Yeah,” I reply. We step out of the bar and into the blinding, dusty outdoors. The sky's got a familiar red haze to it. My fingers start rubbing together like they’re pulling on a fishing line with an unwilling memory on the end of it. There's about two dozen people walking about, all of them dressed up beyond what I'd expect for an outskirts town. Most of the women have shiny dresses and parasols, and most of the men long coats and hats. Either this place is rich in something, or it’s got a secret that some pay handsomely for. Glancing about at the two-storey buildings and dirt-road nature of the town, knots start to form in my stomach. I’m not sure if I’m paranoid, or I remember something, but I’ve got a bad feeling about the place. I nudge the sheriff and point at the red haze. “What’s that?” He gives me a wide-eyed glare. “You stupid or something?” I frown at him. Leaning in, he whispers. “It ain’t smart to bring up the affairs of wizards and the like.” I’m tempted to ask something else, but am interrupted by the image of a floating city being built. Mana leaks… it’s one of the things that can lead to this haze, I remember. Looking again, my stomach turns as I’m sure there’s something far worse going on than building a floating city. “Come on, people’ll start staring,” he says, leading the way. I keep my head tilted down as people walk by. "They’re building that pretty close to a town, aren’t they? I thought they were always paranoid about that type of thing.” He gives me a sharp glare and gets right in my face, his hand resting atop the pistol on his hip. “I believe in upsetting the apple cart a bit every now and then. That’s why I’m helping you. There are things most unnatural happening, and they’ve got to stop. But I need you to understand; I ain’t going to risk my life or this town.” I slowly nod. Everyone likes to be a little bit of a rebel. “Wizards have eyes and ears everywhere. I’ve heard a man mention a certain one, and then out of nowhere appears a hot-headed acolyte with the powers of a god and trigger-happy soldiers with something to prove.” He pulls back and straightens his vest. “Now, shut up or I’ll shoot you. We clear?” He flashes a politician's smile and starts moving. Across the street’s a two-storey building with a sign reading General Store. There’s an old man, bald, staring at me. I stare back. There’s something about him, like he’s a person standing among paintings, something that makes him more real than the rest. Taking a step into the road, the sheriff immediately gets in front of me and shoves me back. “I think we’re having a communication problem.” I point at the general store, but there’s no one there. “I thought I saw someone I know.” “Doubt it,” he replies with a scoff. I look first at the store’s door, which doesn’t look like it’s closing, and then around, but there’s no sign of him. The only thing out of place is a faint buzzing in my head. Strange. I can remember every detail of the man’s face. I swear I’ve seen him before… just not here. Shaking it off, I follow the sheriff for a few blocks before tapping him on the shoulder. He turns around, his face showing his frustration. I raise a finger. “Do you hear that? There’s like— a clicking.” He listens for a moment. “Might be coming from the trailer house,” he says gesturing at a long building coming up. “That’s where we have the levi-cars. A few horses, too. Sometimes those levis make funny noises when people are working on them.” As we continue walking, I keep glancing about, unable to shake the feeling of being watched. I perch my sweaty hands on my belt, feel something. Looking down, I see I’ve got an empty holster on one side. On the other, I’ve got an empty place for a knife. Yig, maybe there was something to that three sisters thing. Finally, he stops and turns around, leaning towards the light-blue door of the white-washed two-storey building. Glancing around the main street, I’m sure that clicking sound is not coming from the levi’s place. The sheriff takes his hat off and taps twice on the door with his knuckles. He listens for a second, then straightens up and puts his hat back on. “Go on in. You’ve got five minutes, and then you need to get out of here.” I narrow my eyes at him, tempted to ask why. He rolls his shoulders and scans the street, his hands resting on his pistols. Glancing at me, he’s got an anxious look in his eye. “Go on. Clock’s ticking.” I start to push on the door and stop. “You hear it too, don’t you? It’s like… like hollow bone being hit on hollow bone.” “Doesn’t matter. Scourge spies are going to know something’s up soon and I’m not going to have this town known as the place where the only free librarian died.” My palms are sweaty, my heart's racing. Something bad is about to happen. I just don't know what.

Episode 4 - (2nd half of Flashback) The sunlight from the door stops two feet into the room with no rhyme nor reason. Stepping into the room, I close the door and take my hat off. I stand quietly, listening to the creak of the floorboards under me, waiting for my eyes to adjust. The room seems barren, except for a counter a few feet away. “Gah… that sound.” I put a finger in my ear and give it a good shake. A silhouette appears behind the empty counter. “These are dangerous times,” it says, the voice soft and melodic. The head turns and I'm thrown off. It's like staring at a star-filled night sky. Swallowing nervously, I nod. “You're the last of the free librarians I take it.” There's a scream outside, followed by another. My hands twist my hat, and I stare at the door. “I’m…” I turn and face the librarian. “I’m told you’ll have an answer for me. Though, I hate to say it, I wasn’t told what the question was.” “The answer is a yes. A wizard can be killed through means other than simply time and frailty of the body. There's a High Acolyte who knows… in Banareal. He’s learned the secret experiments of his master, the Wizard of Banareal. The Wizard suspects him of treachery. It won’t be long before the High Acolyte is arrested and tortured.” “Are we supposed to get him before he’s arrested? After?” I don’t even know what I’m talking about. Staring at the floor, an image comes to me. “Old man. Is he an old man?” I can feel her staring at me; I’ve thrown her off. “The High Acolyte will be alive for some time, though barely. The Wizard will experiment on him, to see if it’s possible to make an acolyte into a weslek." “So, we need to get him out?” “The wards won’t allow him to leave the laboratory alive.” I glare at the librarian. “How is this helpful?” Several gunshots go off on the other side of the door. It's followed by screeches and a wave of that bone-chattering sound. "I must go," says the librarian, pushing open a door at the back, the room filling with sunlight. Wincing and turning away, I raise a hand. “If I follow what you’re saying, then we need to get him out of there. How do we do that?” “Take his life from him then give it back. There are a few who can craft such magical weapons. You’ll need to be careful, and make it discreet.” “Like one of the soldiers’ short swords?” I wish she had an expression; I can’t tell if she’s agreeing or staring me like an idiot. “We are out of time." She exits and the back door closes, leaving me standing in the dark. The screams outnumber the gunshots. There’s that clicking sound coming from everywhere, even above me somewhere. I crack the door open a bit and look. The scene doesn’t make sense, people shooting at nothing and being ripped apart by nothing. Without thinking, my hand goes into one of the long coat pockets and pulls out an orb. It’s maroon and sleek-looking, with a silver streak. Holding it up to my mouth, I mutter some words without thinking. The orb pulses. “It’s the H. A. of Banareal that we need. He’s going to be taken soon, we have a limited window of time. Wards will stop us from taking him, so we need to suspend his life. We need to find someone who can put that kind of enchantment on a common item, like a short sword. Suspend his life; then we get him out of there.” Leaning against the doorframe, sweat drips off my forehead. Bowing my head for a second, I recall someone warning me that the orb could suck the life out of you, but wow, I wasn’t ready for this. I feel like I’ve got the flu of the century. I stroke the silver streak of the orb. It pulses once, and it’s done. I stuff it back in my pocket. Alright, now I’ve got to get out of here. Pulling the door open fully, I take in the gruesome scene. There are pieces of bodies everywhere. Across the street, I see terrified people huddled together on the second-floor balcony. If this was a Scourge Patrol, they wouldn’t be safe up there, and I’ve known Scourge Patrols to be brutal but never to rip people apart like what I’m seeing. I’m not taking any chances. I step out of the building, closing the door behind me. Glancing each way, I don’t see any fighting going on. I give the orb a squeeze and toss it into the air. It falls, like a lump, to the ground. I shuffle over and scoop it up. “Come on, you’re supposed to go.” Tossing it again, I glare angrily as it lands without dignity on the brown, dusty, main street. Picking it up and shaking my head, I notice the sheriff’s body, one of his arms missing. A thought slips out from my foggy memories and I look around. “Whatever they’re doing that’s causing the red haze, there’s not enough mana in the air to activate the magic for the orb.” I glare at the ground. “What was I supposed to do?” As if replying, the sheriff gives me the answer. “It needs more from me.” Just then I catch sight of a blur in the wind, then two more. This isn’t what I needed. I reach down and snatch one of sheriff’s long-barreled pistols. Spinning the chamber with the back of my hand, I see its got three hopes of me living loaded. It’s not much, but it might be enough to get me to more. Scanning about, I notice that only the door to the general store is closed. Maybe people are holed up in there, or maybe it’s a front for something. Either way, it strikes me as a good place to go. I make a dash for it, the clicking bone on bone sound erupting from everywhere. The people on the balcony start screaming and crying. They’ve probably watched and heard this play out a dozen times already; now they’re waiting for my torturous end. I hope to disappoint them. Peeking over my shoulder, everything's deformed and distorted, like I'm looking through warped glass. “The wind spiders are all around you!” yells a woman from the balcony. I’ve never heard of wind spiders. Sliding to a stop in front of the general store, I turn and accidentally shoot blindly. Yig, down to two. Holding the orb tightly up to my chest, I wait, my heart pounding. It feels like each thought of mine is fighting through a raging river to get heard, and the river’s growing. My eyes dart about, waiting for the inevitable. Everything’s quiet. I scream as something slashes my leg. Falling to the ground, I drop my pistol and put a hand over the bleeding wound. It’s like someone’s put warped mirrors all around me, making the whole world look weird. I rub my blood hand on the orb. “That’s got to count for something,” I mutter. The orb pulses twice as I get slashed again, this time from the left and right. I feebly lob the orb into the air. My heart sinks as nothing happens, as it falls towards the ground. But then it turns, arcing up, and vanishes. With renewed vigor, I grab the pistol and scramble backwards to the general store’s door. I bang on the door with one hand, and fire at a warped area. Nothing on either front. I crane my head, looking up at the door, and bang hard again. Then I gasp, as something pierces my chest, pinning me to the door. All I can get are short, shallow breaths. There’s blood seeping out of me. Glancing about, I see there’s a slight purple in the air. Then I see it, in all its terrifying glory: the wind spider. It smells of death, and radiates sweaty heat. I plunge the pistol into where I figure its mouth is and pull the trigger. Yellow goo goes everywhere, and the other blurry images back off, at least for a moment. The pistol tumbles out of my hand as it goes numb. I can’t breathe. My head hurts. I close my eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

 

 

 

 

 
Adam Dreece kicked off his indie author career with his best-selling steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the former software architect put out two more young adult books, the post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and then his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent Author’s Network.
When he’s not working on his next book, Adam can be found giving talks at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada on subjects from how to get one’s ideas out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, to how to give a successful book signing.
Along the way, Adam has faced many challenges, including working around his Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder), and needing to be ruthless with his time and energy in face of his severe asthma and chronic abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a symbol of tenacious hard work to others.
He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and children. He is an active online mentor at adamdreece.com, and is a busy public speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
 
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Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny (Taking Shots #4) by Cindi Madsen

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny (Taking Shots) - Cindi Madsen

 

 

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I'm just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder "Ox" Maddox's deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I'm powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can't stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it'd be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I'm not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I'll be totally pucked

 

 

This is book four in the Taking Shots series, but all books including this one can be read as a standalone. It helps to know all the people in the world of college, hockey and life that Cindi Madsen so wonderfully created. We have met Ryder and Lindsay in previous books and now finally get their own story. While I loved all books in the series I must say this one was my favorite one so far. I really enjoyed Lindsay and her backstory, even the not so fun parts of her past, but it made her to what we know and love now. Ryder. Oh My Swoon. He has his eyes on Lindsay and is pulling out all the stops to win her over. Their journey was sooo much fun to read. Though, of course not all is rainbows and unicorns for them and they are hitting a rough spot. I love how Cindi Madsen always finds the most sweetest and romantic ways to make it up not only to the characters but also the readers. Overall, great funny, sweet, romantic but also heartfelt and sexy read.

I really enjoyed it.

Rating 5★

 

 

 

 

 

 

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USA Today Bestselling author Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she'd be even crazier. She has way too many shoes but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they're sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Visit her at www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter and learn about upcoming releases.

Cindi is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, Rift, Resolution, and Demons of the Sun, and adult romances Falling for Her Fiancé, Act Like You Love Me, Resisting the Hero, Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed.

 

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Snoopydoo sigi

Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/confessions-former-puck-bunny-taking-shots-4-cindi-madsen

Reading progress update: I've read 343 out of 705 pages.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses) - Sarah J. Maas

I wish life wouldn't keep interrupting me :P 

 I really starting to love Nesta 

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