Reviews

Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Book Review

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
(The Licanius Trilogy #1)
Epic Fantasy
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Synopsis
It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

What I thought
This is one of my favorite books that I have read this year.  This book was so good I did not believe that it was a debut novel at first. 

I had not heard of this book until Audible sent me an email because the audiobook was for sale.  I did not purchase the audiobook, but something about the synopsis got me and I just had to pick it up a few days later.  Funny enough I picked it up on a weekend and the next week I was asked if I wanted to join the July buddy read for it.  It’s like I was meant to pick up this book now. Once I started reading it I could not put it down.  Really I had to leave the book at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to read it at work.

This book has multiple POVs and I want to say as of now that our main cast is: Davian, Caeden, Wirr, and Ash. Each of the characters has major roles that are playing out in this story.  I am not sure how popular/unpopular this opinion might be but my favorite right now is Ash. There have been hints dropped that make me feel like she is going to have a much larger role in future books. 

This story has a rich history and a magic system that is fairly easy to understand.  This does have the “chosen one” trope but is the chosen one who we are led to think it is? I have my own opinion on how this may play out but we will see.

Has anyone else read this book?  Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys by B.G. Hilton

Book Review

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys
by B.G. Hilton
Steampunk, Fantasy
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Synopsis
Hungover aristocrat Edward “Charlie” Decharles awakens in the back of a steam-cab, only to discover that the driver has been murdered. Unused to feeling responsible for anything, he feels compelled to find the killer. As he investigates, he meets “The Amazing” Gladys Dunchurch, a stage magician’s assistant whose employer has disappeared – and not in a good way. They form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains.

Soon they discover that their respective mysteries are not only connected to each other, but related to other seemingly unrelated strangeness transpiring in London – the murder of an astronomer, an attack on a patent medicine factory, a mysterious cult in an idyllic town, and reports of deadly creatures in the London sewers.

Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society that powers their world. Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is a fun, witty Steampunk adventure yarn, featuring a cast of eccentric characters. 

What I thought

This book was received from the Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was a little worried in the beginning of the book when everything was being set up, I was not sure how I felt about everything that the author was trying to accomplish. However, as the book progressed I began to really like it. It was really a fun read. The witty banter, mostly from Gladys, made the story that much more enjoyable.

This is set in a more traditional steampunk setting aka London; however, the author added in extraterrestrial beings. Yes, steampunk with aliens who would have thought that this would have been something that I really would have enjoyed.

I enjoyed Gladys’s character and I would love to see a book based on Charlie’s mom’s detective stories. I can’t help it, it sounded Holmesian. Gladys are Charlie’s opposites in so many ways and that is why they work so well together. They are able to progress through the story due to the differences and strengths.

The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was the constant telling of how dim everyone thinks Charlie is. No one really saw his potential so he moved through life as if he really didn’t have any. I just feel it was stated way too often.

If you would like to read a steampunk with an alien twist you really should give this one a try.

My Rating: /5

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New Releases

August 2020 Books I’m Excited About

Books I'm Excited About

Hey Everyone!

A new month a new set of releases.  There are 3 books that are coming out this month that I am excited about.

The Enforcer Enigma by GL Carriger
(San Andreas Shifters #3)
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Expected publication: August 1, 2020

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A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

Charming urban fantasy from New York Times bestselling comedy author Gail Carriger.

ENFORCER

Judd has wandered from pack to pack his whole life, searching for wolves who will accept him for who he is and who he loves. Now he believes that he’s finally found the right pack and the right man.

NERD

Rejected by his family for being gay and geeky, Colin has never fit in with werewolves, yet now he is one. He doesn’t know how to react when Judd starts courting him. He’s even more lost when a famous singer, the selkie mob, and the feds also start chasing him.

Can Judd protect Colin and still prove his love? Can Colin figure out why enemy shifters are invading his favorite cafe? And what’s with all the gold sparkle? Find out in The Enforcer Enigma.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This paranormal romance contains M/M sexy times, horrible puns regarding country music, and men who wear suits without shirts underneath. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories include blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (or mouth or tongue).


Lobizona by Romina Garber
(Wolves of No World #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Expected publication: August 4, 2020

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Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.


Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Expected publication: August 11, 2020

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This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor. 


Are there any books that you are looking forward to this month?

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New Releases

Blog Tour: The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark @mikeclarkbooks @rrbooktours1 #Paranormal #Horror #Books

Welcome to the blog tour for chilling novel, The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark. Today we have an excerpt for you, and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

Read on… if you dare!

The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark
Publication Date: April 15, 2019
Genre: Horror/ Paranormal *Author has described it as more “chilling than gory”.

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He just spent everything on a house in disrepair, but he didn’t know someone was waiting inside.

Tim Russell just put his last dollar on a handyman’s dream; a quaint but dilapidated farmhouse in New Hampshire. Newly single after a messy divorce, his plan is to live in the house as he restores it for resale. To his horror, as soon as the papers are signed and his work starts, ghosts begin to appear. A bone-white little boy. A woman covered in flies. Tim can’t afford to leave and lose it all, so he turns to his real estate agent Holly Burns to help him decide whether he has any shot at solving his haunted problem. Can they solve the mystery before he loses his investment…or maybe his life?

CHAPTER ONE: Henry’s Demise
November 29th, 1965

The sun was low in the sky on another perfect New Hampshire day. Henry Smith had just washed and brushed his favorite horse just inside the old red barn. The workday was over until something caught his eye…something out beyond the pond, way out in the field. He walked toward the front of the house and stood there for a few seconds, scanning the tree line where he thought he might have seen her.

It had looked to Henry like the woman they would see from time to time at the corner of the property, cutting across the field into the woods. The closest neighbors were more than a mile away. Henry knew them, and this woman did not look familiar.

The truth was there was no explanation why the woman made frequent appearances way out here for the past few years. All of the neighbors had their own meadows full of wild grapes and blueberries, not to mention pumpkins. Why come here? Then he got to thinking: It was time to select the annual Christmas tree. Why not kill two birds with one stone? He went back to the barn, grabbed the hatchet and set off down the front lawn past the stone wall and headed toward the far left corner of the field. One hundred yards later, he turned left into the forest.

He had known about the overgrown grove since they bought the place, but he was still enamored by it. If this grove had been tended to over the years, I’d have my tree already. I’d just chop it down, and after a relatively short drag back to the house, I’d be done.

The grove started about thirty yards into the wild forest, fully on Smith property. The Christmas trees gone wild had become towering spruce and of course, too far gone for holiday use. They were all at least forty feet tall, more or less, and grew in perfect symmetrical rows. In and around the grove in odd spots however, were random wild spruce that could pass for Christmas trees if you looked hard enough.

Henry made his way through the first few yards of the wild forest, and as always, all at once, the grove opened up in front of his eyes. He was fond of this place. It was hidden, and then it was in your face. And if you were here, it was yours and yours alone for the moment, like being lost in the hallways of an empty mansion.  He angled his path to cut through the many rows, moving diagonally and to the right, deeper into the woods. Where’d she go?

He passed more rows than planned, and before he knew it, he could see the man-made symmetry coming to an end at the border of the congested wild forest. More and more rogue trees had claimed odd spots here– a near-even mixture of man and nature. The forest floor here wasn’t just spruce needles like the rest of the grove; leaves from all sorts of trees had drifted in over the years, leaving piles of natural mulch.

The briars were thick, and behind them, undisturbed forest. Nestled inside the briars and brush were two high mounds of leaves that had collected for decades. They seemed artificially high as if they covered something. At first, Henry thought it might be a section of stone wall, but the stone wall in this forest also happened to be the property line, and he was sure he was still a ways from that.

As he closed in, he realized the two piles were each nearly waist-high. A section of gray stone peered out from under twisting vines that had caught years of falling leaves, revealing something several shades lighter than anything naturally occurring.

Gravestones, he recognized. Thirty-one years living here and I didn’t know… He looked down at his hatchet, wishing it was a pair of pruning shears. The briars proved well prepared to protect their long-held secret, but Henry’s curiosity was powerful. He forged ahead, hacking and flattening the bases of the sharp plants so that getting back out wouldn’t be the same battle it was going in.

As soon as he broke through the last of the thorns, he put down the hatchet, dropped to his knees and began to clear the dead leaves and ivy. The stones were crooked from years of heaving frosts but remained steady as he worked. There was a large one on the left and a smaller one on the right.

There was so much moss they were illegible. Concentrating on the left one, Henry scraped gently at the space he estimated the epitaph would be. After three or four moments of gentle effort, he had cleared the top two engraved lines. The first, in smaller letters, read: “Here lies.” The second line, where the person’s name should appear, was taller than the first–but he couldn’t quite make out the inscription.

Then, a twig snapped. Henry looked around, attempting to focus in the dark; it must be her; time to meet the stranger. He looked back, down the near-perfect aisle of spruce. It was all shadows and night had finally fallen. He squinted and took off his glasses, trying to catch a better glance.

She stood there in the dark–the mystery woman in the long dress. All he could make out was her silhouette; her pale white hands were holding what might be a bouquet, and her hair was pinned up, worn away from her neck. It was as unkempt as the woods behind her, strands and bunches pushing out in odd directions.

And there was a smell.

There are many unpleasant odors on a farm, but Henry recognized this as the smell of something unmistakably dead. Like the time a mouse died inside the wall of their bedroom. It was decay, and it was coming from her.

Thank you, Michael Clark and R&R Book Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

I used to love reading horror books but I moved away from the genre mostly because I do not like to be grossed out. So in a lot of ways, I feel like there were not a whole lot of options for me in that genre anymore. At least I have had issues with finding some. So when the author described this book as more “chilling than gory” I was sold. However, I went into this book with low expectations. So I was wonderfully surprised by how much I loved it.

Not only did this book have me on the edge of my seat the storytelling was superb. I was hooked from the beginning. I was able to imagine the scene without any issues. Yes, there are diagrams in the beginning of the book but everything was described so well I never went back and looked at them.

In this story, you have some instances where you are pulled to view events from another time and not once was I pulled out of the story. Everything flowed so well together. I would say you should go into this knowing very little about what happens so as not to spoil the mystery.

What makes this tour extra special is that it’s part one of 3! This book is the first in a trilogy, best read as one big, terrifying story!

Here are the details for the other tours:

Dead Woman Scorned (The Patience of a Deadman #2): October 5th – 9th

Anger is Acid (The Patience of a Deadman #3): November 30th – December 4th
Contact R&R Book Tours if you are interested. They are happy to provide The Patience of a Dead Man as well.

Giveaway: Print copies of the entire trilogy (US Only),
or a print copy of The Patience of a Dead Man (International)

Enter the Giveaway+

Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based. The bats really circled the rafters of the barn all day long, and there really was a grove hidden in the forest. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba.

The Patience of a Dead Man, Dead Woman Scorned & Anger is an Acid are his first three novels.

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August 3rd
Cats Luv Coffee (Review) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com
Ity Reads Books (Review) www.ityreadsbooks.com
Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/
Ally’s Reading Corner (Review) https://allysreadingcorner.com/

August 4th
Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com
Sophril Reads (Review) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Cocktails and Fairy Tales (Review) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

August 5th
Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1
@DreaminginPages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com

August 6th
Dark Whimsical Art (Guest Post) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
@_MyBookCorner (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_mybookcorner/

August 7th
Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com
Blood Rose Writings (Review) http://www.bloodrosewritings.blogspot.com
@TheCrookedHouse (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thecrookedhouse/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
J. Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/
@heyyyitsfahh (Review) https://www.instagram.com/heyyyitsfahh/

Book Blitz Organized By:
R&R Book Tours

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Paralleled Bond by Stephanie Hansen @hansenwriter @rrbooktours1 #RRBookTours #BookBlitz #YABooks #Paranormal #Mystery #BookBirthday

Happy book birthday to author Stephanie Hansen! Today marks the release of Paralleled Bond, book #3 in her Altered Helix series. To celebrate we’re sharing the entire series! 

Read on for an excerpt from her latest installment, and enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card!

Paralleled Bond by Stephanie Hansen
(Altered Helix #3)
Publication Date: Today!
Genre: YA/ Paranormal Mystery/ Novella

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When the only option left means losing someone you love, you have no options. How could you, how could you save one person you care about, when doing so would harm another? What if they weren’t even letting you choose but choosing for you? You’d have to intervene without letting them know, right?

To be an Altered Helix and put others in danger is the new reality for Austria. Luckily someone’s there to catch her when she falls, Josh, and fall she does, in love that is. While witnessing her family being put in danger, Austria’s haunted house family grows. Now that Austria has found a way to defeat Mutant Altered Helixes after her, a dangerous stream of events occur to those around her. Just when the family has finally come together, could they be ruined?

The amazing conclusion to the Altered Helix series, Paralleled Bond displays the results when polar opposites come together for the greater good.

“Please let them be okay.” If I had known I would be chanting this phrase over and over again, I don’t believe I would have ever set out on this mission. If I had known that my entire world would change in just a matter of months, would I have taken the job at the haunted house? If I had been given a heads up about my DNA being different, would I have lived a different life?

I don’t know; those are not options for me now. We’re too far in. We are inches away from saving many lives. We can do this. I know we can. I just don’t know what it will cost us. I have no clue how I’m going to find the dough to pay. The odds seem stacked up against us. Is that because it is impossible to accomplish what we want to, or is it because we’ve gotten too close?

Giveaway

$30 Amazon GC (International) Giveaway will run from August 4th to the 7th.

Enter Here

Book One

Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen

I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria’s life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

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Book Two

Stranded Coil by Stephanie Hansen

For Austria, travelling to the Stranded Coil means she gets to see someone she believed was lost. She’s able to do this because she’s an Altered Helix. But doing so takes her away from her first true love, Josh. Josh is working hard to keep their Haunted House family safe on Earth, but seems to fall in love with Austria more with every second they spend together.

Austria and Josh face a devastating challenge, the mysterious appearance of Mutant Altered Helixes, and an enticingly dangerous answer to their questions.

Impulsive, caring, and full of surprises, this teenage love against the odds is well on its way to breaking even…maybe.

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Stephanie Hansen’s short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She’s part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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Book Blitz Organized By:
R&R Book Tours

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? August 3, 2020

It's Monday What are you reading.png

Good Morning!

It’s the start of another week. It’s Monday! What are you Reading is hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, this is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind.

Recent Books

The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark | The Patience of a Dead Man #1 | Horror, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

He just spent everything on a house in disrepair, but he didn’t know someone was waiting inside.

Tim Russell just put his last dollar on a handyman’s dream; a quaint but dilapidated farmhouse in New Hampshire. Newly single after a messy divorce, his plan is to live in the house as he restores it for resale. To his horror, as soon as the papers are signed and his work starts, ghosts begin to appear. A bone-white little boy. A woman covered in flies. Tim can’t afford to leave and lose it all, so he turns to his real estate agent Holly Burns to help him decide whether he has any shot at solving his haunted problem. Can they solve the mystery before he loses his investment…or maybe his life?


The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.


Currently Reading

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.


Home Before Dark by Riley Sager | Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.


What are you hoping to read this week?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

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New Releases

Cover Reveal: Hiding Cracked Glass by James J. Cudney @@Shalini_G26 @jamescudney4

Hiding Cracked Glass
by James J. Cudney
(Perceptions of Glass #2)
Genre: Mystery
Expected Publication: October 8, 2020

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An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.  

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Genres, Formats & Languages

I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)

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