New Releases

Cover Reveal: Chosen Champion by Elise Kova

Chosen Champion Final Cover 72
Chosen Champion

Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #2
by Elise Kova
Young Adult, Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery,
Fantasy Romance, Coming of Age
Release Date:  May 1st, 2019

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

Preorder

(there will be print versions they just get added at a later date)
Want to pick up book one? Get it here
Want to get a hardcover copy of Book One? Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below!

Giveaway


Elise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of fantasy stories filled with magic and romance.

In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as a full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.

Her debut series was Air Awakens. Since then she’s penned the dark fantasy, the Loom Saga. As well as a co-authored paranormal romance, the Wish Quartet.

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Prince of Secrets and Shadows by C.S. Johnson

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Welcome to the blog tour for the highly anticipated follow up novel in The Order of the Crystal Daggers series, Prince of Secrets and Shadows! Please read on for an exclusive excerpt, purchase details, and of course, a fab giveaway to enter!

But wait, there’s more! Today I am also revealing the stunning cover for book #3, Heart of Hope and Fear with a little teaser!

2 Prince of Secrets and Shadows final front cover.jpg
Prince of Secrets and Shadows 
by C.S. Johnson
Publication Date: December 4th, 2018
Genre: YA/ Historical Fiction/ Adventure/ Romance

“How do I know you’re telling me the truth?” The last thing I wanted to do was hurt him, but if I did not find a way to break free of him, I would risk doing even more harm.

Ferdy met my gaze with his. “I promise you this, Ella, that as of now, I will never lie to you again.” He leaned forward and kissed me again, and I stood there, letting him, desperately debating whether I could trust him or not. His promise burned through me, his words scorched into my being. It was so tempting to believe him, more tempting than anything else I had ever faced in all my life.

Freedom was only freedom if I could trust it to be true.

PRAGUE, 1870

After joining the Order of the Crystal Daggers, led by her dauntless grandmother, Lady Penelope, Eleanora Svobodová set out to save her kingdom from oncoming devastation.
And she failed.
Following the attack on Prague Castle, Eleanora is determined to redeem herself. She sets out to win Karl’s trust while distancing herself from Ferdy, whose secrets and lies have done nothing to stop her from falling in love with him. As she struggles to let him go, questions about the mission and her mother’s past cause a rift between Amir and Lady Penelope and add to the growing discord between Eleanora and her brother.
But when a cunning provocateur arrives in Prague, Eleanora discovers there is an even more deadly game afoot, one that reaches into Amir’s past and threatens Lady Penelope’s future. Now, the members of the Order must work together if they are to uncover the true enemy hiding in Bohemia.
Can they work together despite their divisions? Or will their division lead to even more destruction?

With spies, secrets, and suspense, Prince of Secrets and Shadows is the second book in The Order of the Crystal Daggers, a spy adventure series from C. S. Johnson.

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Excerpt

2-prince-of-secrets-and-shadows-final-front-cover-e1552480694169.jpg

“I told you the truth about your grandmother’s past, including some of the secrets she carries,” Harshad said. “But you are still not any more inclined to trust her with your secrets, are you?”

I blushed at his perception and shook my head. “No.”

He nodded. “I thought as much. Trust is a process, especially in a fallen world.”

Perhaps for once, I understood why Harshad wanted me to remain silent while he talked. Everything he said was intentional, designed to tantalize the mind. I was suddenly appalled when I realized how much I had likely missed in our sessions before.

I hoped I would be able to make up for it, after our mission was over.

When he did speak again, it seemed as though ages had passed. “You really are so much like Dezda. I wanted to see for myself how different you are, and that required time.” His voice was much more of a whisper, and I knew he was taking a risk, and letting me know one of his secrets. “I know you are different enough that I can freely admit that I came to regret training Dezda. I did not want to make the same mistake with you.”

“This is not a mistake,” I said, but I felt my resolve weaken. I remembered how Ferdy told me that the Order of the Crystal Daggers was full of assassins, and I had nothing to say in return. He was likely right. I did not know if I was comfortable having the talent to kill someone.

Harshad seemed to agree with my unspoken concerns. “Fighting is contrary to your nature.”

“Being stubborn and contrary is not.” A wry grin appeared on my face, and I was suddenly determined to change the subject. “Besides, Lady Penelope says that Society can only exist when people do things that are unacceptable to save it.”

“That does not mean you must be such a person.”

“I do not agree,” I said. “I am free to see the truth of such a calling, even if it is uncomfortable.”

“This is not what you want.”

I did not know how to respond; Harshad was right. I had my doubts about the Order, about working with people who, as Lady POW said, would fail me.

But I was at the castle when Karl and Lord Maximillian’s attack commenced. If I had done nothing at all, if I had backed away from Lady Penelope’s offer, if I had jumped at the chance to travel abroad and find a husband, or if I had taken enough of her money to start up Liberté with Ben, I would not have been able to save Ferdy.

And he was worth it. Protecting Ferdy was worth it.

Now Available

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Indigo | Kobo| B&N | Nook

Fireworks

Here is the unbelievably gorgeous cover for book #3 in the series, called Heart of Hope and Fear! I also have a little teaser for you below!

3 Heart of Hope and Fear front cover

“What about the Order?” I hesitated to ask, knowing Amir had painful memories of his own. “I wanted to be free before. Lady Penelope pointed out that this is the opposite of what I wanted. I can’t help but feel she is right.”

“Wanting to be free is not a sin in itself,” Amir told me softly. “Only when that is everything and held to the highest priority is it so. We are loyal to the truth, Eleanora, but the truth is complicated, and freedom can be painful.”

PRAGUE, 1871

In the battle between the past and the present, one girl must stand and fight for the future.

Following Lord Maximillian’s escape and Karl’s disappearance, Eleanora Svobodová and the other members of the Order of the Crystal Daggers have plenty to keep them preoccupied. Just as the Emperor calls for a tripartite council to determine the sovereignty of Bohemia, war breaks out in France, and Lady Penelope prepares the Order to come face to face with their true foe at last.

But then Eleanora discovers the startling truth about her mother’s last mission in Prague.

Can she rescue the prince, save the Emperor, and still protect her friends and family?

Ferdy’s mother narrowed her eyes at me. “I am relieved to hear that you have made such a study of both my sons of late, Lady Eleanora. I confess, I was surprised to hear of your engagement to Karl through the papers.”

“I regret to inform you, Your Highness, that Karl made the arrangements with the papers. I did not agree to an engagement.” I did not need a mirror to know my face had flushed over in red.

“Well, that’s not entirely true,” Ferdy interjected. “Ella has agreed to marry me.”

“What?” Lady Penelope, Empress Maria Anna, and Amir all turned to look at me. The heat in my cheeks exponentially increased.

“I love her, and she loves me,” Ferdy continued, clearly indifferent to how uncomfortable he was making me. It was scandalous that he would love me at all, but the way in which he presented his claim on my heart was more than inappropriate—especially given that we had to find his brother, who was, in the eyes of Society, the one who was rightfully engaged to me. “We would like to speak with the archbishop while we are here.”

“Today?” The empress gaped at him.

“Yes.” Ferdy stepped down from before the throne to stand beside me. He took my hand in his and brought it to his lips.

“Ferdinand … ” Empress Maria Anna looked from Ferdy to me, and then back at her son. She seemed aghast at the idea, and I did not know what to do to calm her fears—if I could do such a thing at all. My own stomach was turning and twisting into knots.

“I have fallen deeply under her spell, Mother, and I would hate to fall even further into scandal and temptation,” Ferdy continued, watching his mother carefully. “It would be such a stain on our family’s virtuous history.”

The former empress blushed as she looked at me, and I was too shocked to assure her Ferdy and I were not engaged in an affair; even if I had, I worried Ferdy would divulge more of our stolen moments together, just vague enough to let everyone assume the worst.

I only felt some measure of relief when Amir gave me a small smile. From where he stood behind Lady Penelope, I could see the somberness as well as the sincerity of his approval.

Suddenly, I did not want to know what Lady Penelope was thinking; I deliberately kept my face turned away from hers.

“It was only a few days ago that my life was endangered as I made my way back to Silesia,” Ferdy said, so smoothly I did not even call him on his lie. “Life is so fragile, Mother, and I have been waiting for Ella for so long.”

He looked back up at his mother, resolved and proud, but still pleading for her approval.

Ferdy had told me once before that I was the one who was more determined between us, but as his fingers curled into mine, in a manner that was both so seductive and yet so innocent, I wondered if he had been lying.

Coming Soon!

Giveaway Time!!!

To win a print copy of Prince of Secrets and Shadows, click on the link below!

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Author-CS-Johnson


C. S. Johnson
is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

 

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Blog Tour Schedule

March 18th
Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://readsandreels.com
The Writer’s Alley (Review) https://www.jacobrundle.com
Llissa’s Bookviews (Review) https://llissasbookviews.wordpress.com/
Scarlett Readz and Runz (Excerpt) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/
Yearwood La Novela (Excerpt) https://yearwooddailybookreview.com/

March 19th
Bobo’s Book Bank (Excerpt) http://bobosbookbank.com
Adventures Thru Wonderland (Review) http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/
The Hufflepuff Nerdette (Excerpt) https://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com
The Bibliophagist (Excerpt) http://thebibliophagist.blog/

March 20th
Dash Fan Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/
Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com
The Cozy Pages (Review) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/
Tsarina Press (Excerpt) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

March 21st
J Bronder Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

March 22nd
Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com
Sophril Reads (Excerpt) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Fool’s Errand by Ophelia Bell

Fool’s Errand
Ophelia Bell
(Fate’s Fools, #4)
Publication date: March 19th, 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

A lost soul…

You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. In my case that was literal – I had Ozzie West’s soul and didn’t know it, but now it’s been torn from me and him along with it. I’m afraid I will never get him back.

My heart is broken.

My three mates may try to fill that void, but they don’t understand what he meant to me. They can’t see the memories unlocked by Fate.

Only one man can help, but he’s the one man I’m afraid I can never trust again.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

“Sing with me,” I whispered as I began to move. I lifted my wet hands from his shoulders to his temples, raking my fingers through his damp curls and holding on, my grip forcing his head to tilt back.

Rohan’s golden gaze fixed on my face, his eyelids fluttering slightly and his breath coming quicker as I fucked him. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. I want to try . . . ”

He gripped my hips with both hands and took a deep breath. His exhale became a long, plaintive note, his brows creasing with the tension of the first verse of a song to accompany our lovemaking.

The music was the perfect mix of hungry and sweet, and I clung to him as the notes settled inside me. I ached to join in when the tension of the pleasure coiled so tight I needed an outlet before I came too fast, but my voice betrayed me once again. When I tried to sing, the sound just came out as a pitiful croak, so I clamped my mouth shut, focusing on the pleasure to hold back the tears.

I buried my face in his neck, my moan half pleasure, half despair. Rohan stroked the back of my neck, halting mid-verse. “It’ll come back to you, baby. I promise. I’m proof you don’t need a turul soul to sing.”

“Just make love to me,” I whispered, pulling back to look into his eyes. He gazed intently back at me, brow creased and jaw clenched, betraying how my own hurt affected him just as acutely.

I took a deep breath and started rocking my hips again, focusing on the pleasure of our connection as he resumed the song. The music truly helped, even if I couldn’t join in without an instrument.

I let myself get lost in the rhythm he set and the deep notes that rose above the steam. I could draw the pleasure out with him, trusting that he’d let me know when he’d given too much. Rohan urged me on, holding tighter and shifting his hips into mine at a quicker tempo.

The lyrics to the song gave way to his cries of pleasure as we crested together, both of us finding our climax at the same second amid sloshing water and slippery, gasping kisses. Rohan’s strained expression fell into laughter as he relaxed, his skin glowing faintly with my iridescent magic and my own skin glimmering golden and wet.

I sank against him with a sigh, grateful for yet another reprieve from the ever-encroaching threat to my sanity and the added disappointment of losing my voice. Perhaps with enough time and their continued attention, that need would fade and my songs would return. For now, I would enjoy the lucidity when I had it and let them do the singing for me.

Author Bio:

Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren’t apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don’t mind being with a woman who’s in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.

Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.

If you’d like to receive regular updates on Ophelia’s publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe

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New Releases

The Dragon Swan Princess by Tamara Grantham is up for Preorder

The Dragon Swan Princess Image

The Dragon Swan Princess Cover
The Dragon Swan Princess

by Tamara Grantham
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Expected publication: March 26th, 2019 (ebook)
Add to Goodreads

Odette is a prisoner, and her captor’s plans for her are unthinkable. But with a magical mark on her shoulder and the survival of her people hanging in the balance — she has no choice but to comply. Drekken has come home to find he must marry a noble — but he has no desire to do so. When their paths cross, sparks fly. True love and obligation war in this epic retelling of the Swan Princess story.

Preorder on Amazon

tamara grantham
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series, the Shine novellas, and the upcoming Twisted Ever After trilogy. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.

Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at numerous writing conferences and has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made.

Favorite Books: Childhood faves: The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis and The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. As I got older, I enjoyed books by Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind (the first few.) I also fell in love with Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. Today, some of my favorite reads are The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews. Oh–and Harry Potter. But who doesn’t love Harry Potter, right?

Favorite Movies: All the Star Wars movies, Star Trek everything, A&E’s Pride and Prejudice,  and the new Thor movies.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: The Onyx Crown by Alan Hurst

The OnyxCrownBlitz

To celebrate the release of Alan Hurst’s debut novel, The Onyx Crown, we are having a week-long book blitz! There will be an exclusive excerpt reveal, and a chance to win a digital copy of the book at the bottom!

Front Cover
The Onyx Crown #1
by Alan Hurst
Publication Date: January 27th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

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onyx crown poster - savannah

Excerpt

For the next few days, the three of them did virtually everything together, including games, horse riding, and spear training with the First Knight, who seemed to be getting sterner and tougher on them with every lesson. The First Knight, whose given name was Jorell Boro, was famed throughout the fourteen provinces as one of the best living warriors of all time. He’d made his name fighting for the upstart Regent Okon in his war of usurpation against the High King Toloron.

After Toloron was defeated, the regent rewarded Boro with the titles of First Knight of the Crown, Protector of the House of the First Prince, and the moniker “the Bloodless Death,” because supposedly his bladed spear could kill a person so quickly and with such precision that they would be dead before any blood was even visible.

Okon, along with the ruling conclave, also granted a treaty to Pala Jorell’s home kingdom of East Rhydor, including a guarantee that no Numerian troops would invade as long as the East Rhydor king or his son, the prince, were in power.

The First Prince had asked Pala Jorell to begin instructing Zadeemo in the ways of knighthood, and also Gesemni himself, most likely reasoning that Zadeemo would need a sparring partner when the First Prince was absent.

The First Knight had been reluctant to train a “commoner” in the higher arts of warfare but, at the insistence of both the First Prince and Zadeemo, had relented. Still, one could tell he took The Onyx Crown -26- great pains to make sure that Zadeemo understood some of the finer points of the moves he instructed, while not deigning to help Gesi.

Luckily for Gesi, he had tremendous aptitude and seemingly a womb-borne comprehension of instinctual combat. As such, he rarely needed the extra tutoring that Zadeemo couldn’t seem to do without. On this day, the two of them were instructed for quite some time on hand-spear counters, an ancient method of grappling that involved an unarmed warrior wresting the control of spears and other long objects away from their adversary. It was an extremely rough and unpolished method of fighting, and the First Knight took the better part of the morning explaining it to them.

Finally, the paladin suggested they work the puzzling elements out with a few rounds of sparring. Boro handed him a bladed spear and marked out a circle four en-yawo in diameter with his carving knife. Zadeemo was given a pair of lyocell gloves, which felt like silk but were made from the toughest fibers in existence. These were to be used to protect his hands from blade cuts.

Gesi shifted nervously. Always when they’d fought before they’d both been armed. Oddly, there’s a certain amount of safety involved when two weapons compete against each other. But with Zadeemo being unarmed, Gesi felt he’d have to be very careful. He was also very conscious of Zoe sitting on her tilbury, watching them both amusedly.

“Engage!” The First Knight’s voice rang out through the square as the boys stepped into the circle. Zadeemo immediately lowered his stance, thrusting the heel of his boot inside Gesi’s left calf to disrupt his balance, simultaneously snatching at the bladed spear handle.

Shuffle-stepping to counter, Gesi twisted the blade ninety degrees, forcing Zadeemo to withdraw his hands. He knew he was supposed to be nothing more than a punching target for Zadeemo, but in situations like this, his stubborn, competitive imoya always got in the way of things, and yes…he also wanted to show off a bit in front of Zoe.

Surprisingly, Zadeemo must’ve anticipated his counter because he nimbly moved to his left, crashing his knee into Gesi’s right thigh and causing him to grimace. Ducking underneath the spear, Zadeemo swung his right elbow fiercely into Gesi’s solar plexus. The few servants and townspeople who were looking on cheered loudly, including Zoe.

At that second, he felt like he was going to black out. Zadeemo may have been slower than a stuck rhino, but he had strength far beyond what most twelve-year-olds could muster.

Instinctively, he twisted his bladed spear to block the next grasping move he felt was coming, slid his left knee under Zadeemo’s right, and reverse-swung the spear in a sweeping arc toward Zadeemo’s chest. The cheering stopped, followed by a deathly silence as Zadeemo crashed down to the dirt awkwardly. Everyone was staring at Gesi. Some looked angry, some fearful, some puzzled. Even he didn’t know how he’d won.

*Available Now*

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About the Author
45351188_299947667514495_293631078483099648_n

Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

Alan Hurst | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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New Releases

Book Blitz: The Witch’s Tower by Tamara Grantham

The Witch’s Tower
Tamara Grantham
(Twisted Ever After #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 11th, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel—or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well—until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.

Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.

THE WITCH’S TOWER is the first in an inspired new series of fairy-tale retellings from award-winning fantasy author Tamara Grantham.

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99¢ on release week only!

EXCERPT:

Moonlight illuminated the tower as Raj and I crossed into the meadow. The handcart’s wheels squeaked as I pulled it to a stop at the base of the tower. Raj had been true to his word and purchased all the supplies we needed for winter. I couldn’t complain—I was grateful he’d done it. I only hoped he didn’t expect a miracle in return.

Now I had the chore of transporting everything into the tower. Luckily, I’d brought my largest knapsack. As I loaded vessels of lentils, bags of flour, and a few jars of syrup into my bag, Raj stood over me.

“You’re bringing all that up there?” he asked.

“It’s better than leaving it down here.”

“You really live up there all the time?”

“Yes, I only ever come out to gather edibles, or when we’re desperate for supplies.”

“But how do you get water?”

“We have a well inside the tower. Can you help me?” I tossed him an empty burlap sack. If he was so insistent on being here, he might as well help me.

“It seems like a lonely existence.”

I eyed him. Lonely? What did he know of loneliness? I didn’t feel like admitting to this stranger how desperately lonely the past five years had been, how I lay awake at night wishing I had someone to talk to, feeling as if the silence would drive me to insanity. No, he didn’t need to know any of that.

“It’s not that bad. Rapunzel isn’t one for talking, but we have a cat. His name is Jester. He keeps me company most of the time.”

“A cat?”

“Yes. He’s mostly feral. But he’s friendly enough, and he comes and goes as he pleases. He’s even learned to climb the vines to get in and out of the tower. He’s quite clever.” I adjusted the pack’s straps on my shoulders. “Now, let’s get up there before Rapunzel…” I stopped myself. “Let’s get up there.”

With the pack strapped to my back, I turned to the tower. Wind rushed past, battering my hair against my cheeks, as I prepared to speak the spell.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” My words carried on the wind, echoing through the forest.

I waited, nervousness making my hands grow clammy as I held to the pack’s straps, but why did I feel so uneasy? Was it because Raj was with me?

I turned to him. He stood with haunting dark eyes as he watched a coil of ropy, matted hair drop from the tower’s only window high above us. I stepped to the length of hair and grabbed it, holding my breath against the scent of unwashed scalp. I never got used to that smell.

“Should I follow you?” Raj asked.

“Yes. But let me enter first.” Gripping the hair tightly, I started the climb. I made my way toward the window at the top of the tower. Halfway up, my muscles burned, and I focused on breathing to make it the rest of the way. This part was always the hardest, and the sack of supplies weighing me down wasn’t helping. Why did Varlocke have to put his daughter into such an impossibly tall tower?

When I reached the window, I grabbed the ledge. The worn stones felt smooth under my palms as I climbed over, then landed inside. As I straightened, I pulled off the pack and left it on the floor, then focused on the room. Moonlight illuminated the bare stones walls, the well sitting at the room’s center, the wooden chairs, roughly-hewn tables, huge bookcases cluttered with dusty spell journals and vials, and the bed where Rapunzel lay.

I stepped over the matted coils of hair. Pieces of rat and bird bones lay trapped in the knotted strands, seeming to glow white against the dark hair. The sound of gnawing stopped me.

She wasn’t.

“Rapunzel,” I said quietly. “What are you doing?”

The gnawing continued. I approached her on quiet feet, afraid of what I might find. Behind me, Raj scrambled inside the room.

Please don’t let it be the prince.

When I reached her side, her pale, skeleton-white skin glowed in the moonlight. She held a rat.

I exhaled, grateful it was only a rodent and not something—someone—else. A crust of bread and a handful of wild beets sat on the bedside table, but they were untouched.

Raj’s footsteps echoed, and I turned to face him. His tall, lean frame looked so out of place. Only the high sorcerer ever visited, and to have an Outlander squire inside my home unnerved me.

“Is she eating something?” he asked. “What is that?”

“Sorry. It’s the cat’s fault. He catches them and leaves them on her lap. He thinks he’s giving her a prize or something. Rapunzel does that with them sometimes—with the rats—eats them, I mean.” I stumbled over my words, feeling immeasurably mortified that Raj had to see it. But it could’ve been worse.

I approached her. She looked up, as if only seeing me now, and she hissed. With her red-rimmed eyes, it looked as if she hadn’t been sleeping, and her collarbones seemed to be protruding more than I remembered. Her white gown hung off her meatless frame, but at least it was the clean one I’d left for her. She’d managed to change clothes—at least there was that.

“Where is the prince?” Raj asked.

“I don’t know.” I scanned the room. With the large piles of hair covering the floor, he could’ve been hidden, but we should’ve seen some clue he was here—his feet or a hand poking out. Something. “You’re certain he came up here?”

“Yes, positive.”

I studied the tower more thoroughly but didn’t see anything that resembled the prince. Odd. Where was he?

“Rapunzel,” I said, turning to her, “we’re looking for a prince. Have you seen him?”

She shook her head, clutching the rat, her fingers digging into the carcass.

“Please,” Raj said. “I need to find him. His father is the king. He’ll be very sad if he loses his only son. Can’t you tell us where he is?”

Rapunzel focused on the man, but she remained silent. Outside, the sky lightened. Pink streaked through the gray as dawn approached. As the sun rose, sunlight streamed into the room, giving light to the dark places. Something thudded inside the well, and Raj followed me as I maneuvered around the coiled hair toward the raised ring of stones surrounding the deep drop that went straight through the bottom of the tower.

“Is there something in the well?” Raj asked.

“Someone probably.”

I pried open the lid. Sitting atop the wide-mouthed bucket was the prince, who stared up at us with a vacant expression. Hair coiled around him as blue bands of magic wrapped his wrists and ankles. I grabbed his tunic with both hands and attempted to lug him out. He was heavier than he looked.

“How’d he get in there?” Raj asked.

“Rapunzel. She tried to throw him down, I assume.”

“She can do that?”

“With her hair, yes. She’s clever when she’s motivated.”

“He was looking at me!” Rapunzel yelled. Well, at least she was finally speaking.

 

Author Bio:

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.

Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks–which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds–and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at http://www.TamaraGrantham.com.

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New Releases · Reviews

Review: The Witch’s Tower by Tamara Grantham

Review

witches tower
The Witch’s Tower

by Tamara Grantham
Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
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Synopsis
Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel — or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well — until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.

Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.

What I thought
I was gifted a copy of this book by the author for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tamara Grantham does it again! It’s no secret that I am a fan of her Fairy World MD series. So when she reached out about this book I couldn’t say no.

Now let’s be honest here I surprisingly love re-tellings. I say this because a year ago I didn’t think they were something I would ever enjoy. Also, to be completely honest going into this I knew nothing of Rapunzel except she has long hair. I mean I still haven’t even seen Tangled before picking up this book.

I really like how this story is focused on Gothel, who is living out a punishment due to her mother’s actions. In this story you see her grow so much. One of my favorite things is how she gains self-respect and self-worth throughout the story. I also love the fact this book points out that you shouldn’t stereotype people. Yes, Gothel is a witch but Raj refuses to judge her based on that.  Long story short I adored Gothel and Raj and I really loved how this story ended. The story as a whole wrapped up all of the loose ends wonderfully and I felt satisfied with this being only one book (and that does not happen often).

If you like retellings you really should pick this one up!!

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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