Tours

Blog Tour: The Queen’s Keeper by J.L. Vampa @VampaJl @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books #FantasyBooks

“Prey, you should have been ready.”

Welcome to the highly anticipated tour for dark fairytale, The Queen’s Keeper by J.L. Vampa! Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt, and a chance to enter an incredible giveaway!

The Queen’s Keeper by J.L. Vampa
Dark Fairy Tale/ Fantasy

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What if I told you that everything you knew about your life was a lie and that you’re being hunted?

What if I told you that you were prey?

This is the reality for Luvenia Rousseau. Amidst the struggle to survive in a famished, war-torn country and the fight against the phantoms of her past, her family is brutally ripped apart by a tyrant queen’s venomous army. Just when all hope seems lost, she stumbles upon an enchanted realm while the queen hunts for the one who got away.

A page-turning debut novel among the likes of Hunger Games, Snow White, and Throne of Glass, this dark fairy tale adaptation will have you on the edge of your seat.

The Queen of Aureland strode into her castle’s training hall like an ancient warrior comprised of bone crushing strength and the breathless wonder of snow-capped mountain air. Rarely did she wear riding pants and a tunic—for she believed one’s attire should reflect one’s character and she was a leader of others into excellence and virtue—but today her leading required a different sort of approach and a gown would not do. Granted, her tunic glistened with fine jewels—there was no need to look like a peasant. Her protégé thought she’d seen fierce opponents in her training, but she hadn’t seen Nuria. The queen’s most guarded secret may be of an entirely different nature, but her hundred years of honed battle skills came in at a close second.

“Hello, Luvenia,” she said to get the girl’s attention, her voice silken. “No need to look so shocked, darling. I will be conducting your training this fine morning. Darius needed to sleep. Though achieving his agreement on that fact was a battle in and of itself.” She rolled her eyes and smoothed her bejeweled tunic, then clapped both hands together. “Right, then, let us get to it. You are weakest in hand-to-hand combat, yes?” Veni nodded mutely, feeling as though she were about to discover the queen’s beauty and gentle spirit had merely been the adorned scabbard sheathing a powerful blade. “Very well.” The queen eyed the girl. “I will not hold back. Your training will not be complete until you are capable of disarming and defeating me. That will not happen today. There is no need for unrealistic expectations. Though you, my dear, will beat me one day. Recognize your potential without masking it in obscured reality.”

Veni’s mind spun. She’s going to run me into the ground, physically and mentally. “Use your words, dear. Are you prepared or not?” Veni smirked and sighed a breathy laugh. “Ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.” Nuria’s beauty turned lethal as she lunged for the wide-eyed girl. Before Veni could even get her hands up to defend herself, the queen nicked her chin with her bare knuckles, enough to stun her. In an instant, she had Veni’s own arm twisted behind her and forced her to her knees. The queen released her captive and Veni stood as her vision swam a bit from the blow to her chin. Nuria wiped the blood from her split knuckle on her pants. “My Hordemen go easy on you and spar with you.” She shook her head. “You have had enough of that. Sparring is unrealistic and you have grown used to how it works.” The queen put a finger to her temple. “Your mind is quick, dear heart, but wits alone will not win a battle. A sparring session, perhaps, but not a battle. Darius has taught you well how to predict your opponent’s next move, this is wise. However, most of the people you come across in a fight will not be calculated. They will be ruthless. There is a fine line between noble ferocity and ruthless ferocity. The truth of it is you will need to dance on the edge of that line in order to get your sister back. We will help you stay on the noble side, but you must embrace the ferocity. You can spar and train all day long, learning all the perfect maneuvers and defenses, but until you can take a true blow and get back up, you are not learning what you will need to succeed in bringing Ester home. Do you understand?

“Veni’s jaw stung, and her heart pounded, but she knew Nuria was right. It was time to cease pretending that she was learning to fight and to truly take hold of it. “Yes,” she told the queen. “Again. Let’s go.” Fast as lightning, Nuria came at her with no mercy over and over. The girl’s blood was splattered on the queen’s sparkling tunic and Nuria’s knuckles continued to bleed. Veni forgot everything she’d learned in routine sparring sessions and had little success discerning Nuria’s next move. That is, for the first half of their session. Once she’d taken several hits and tasted self-preservation as well as a sense of wildness, her training came back to her in a new way. She ended up on her back or rear or face countless times, but it would only take one hit. Luvenia had to hit that beautiful queen one time and she would be satisfied for the day.

“Are you certain you would like to continue? Your eye is beginning to swell.” Nuria watched her protégé struggle to stand, yet again. “I’m sure,” she said through gritted teeth. “Again.” Her eye was indeed swelling shut and her mouth was thick with blood and saliva, but she was going to hit that perfect face. Just once.

Giveaway:

A paperback edition of the prequel to The Queen’s Keeper, Gypsy Secrets, AND a $50 gift card (US) to spend at Wicked Whimsy! (US/ Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

J.L. was born and raised in the great state of Texas. After attending college in Oklahoma, J.L. became a bookkeeper and office manager. She swiftly discovered she was to be a Keeper of Books and a Manager of Fantastical Worlds, instead. Thus began the unfolding of her literary journey,

J.L. now lives with her husband and two children, penning her next masterpiece for you to enjoy, while running her own bookish shop, Wicked Whimsy Boutique.

October 11th
R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com
Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com *Also on IG
@amandasnoseinabook (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amandasnoseinabook/
@inkspit.blog (Review) https://www.instagram.com/inkspit.blog/
Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) https://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com/ *Also on IG
@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/
B is for Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

October 12th
@booktreasuresau (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/booktreasuresau/
Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight) http://sadiesspotlight.com/
@bluebowgrl (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bluebowgrl/
Jessical Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/ *Also on IG @happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/
@lizgriffinwords (Review) https://www.instagram.com/lizgriffinwords/
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
@she.gets.literary (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/she.gets.lit.erary/

October 13th
 Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com
Bri’s Book Nook (Review) https://brisbooknook.com/
@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/
Balancing Books and Beauties (Review) https://balancingbooksandbeauties.wordpress.com/ *Also on IG
@lianne_the_bibliophile (Review) https://www.instagram.com/lianne_the_bibliophile/
Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/
Bunny’s Book Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/
I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

October 14th
@cassandra.cielo (Review) https://www.instagram.com/cassandra.cielo/
@disneyallthe_way (Review) https://www.instagram.com/disneyallthe_way/
 @biblio.jojo (Review) https://www.instagram.com/biblio.jojo/
@bookishqueendom (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookishqueendom/
@acourtof_plants_and_books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/acourtof_plants_and_books/
Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/ *Also on IG
@blondeandbookish (Review) https://www.instagram.com/blondeandbookish/
Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com *Also on IG

October 15th
Sophril Reads (Spotlight) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
 @gin_books_crochethooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gin_books_crochethooks/
@efatuatedreadings (Review) https://www.instagram.com/efatuatedreadings/
Reviews by M (Review) https://reviewsbym.com/ *Also on IG
@loveleighreading (Review) https://www.instagram.com/loveleighreading/
@turningthepages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/turningpageswithmorgan/
@swimming.in.books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/swimming.in.books/

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Tours

Book Blitz: The Experience of Leadership by Fred Stuvek J.R. @FStuvek @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Congratulations to author Fred Stuvek J.R. on the release of The Experience of Leadership. Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

The Experience of Leadership by Fred Stuvek J.R.
Non-Fiction, Career Guide, Coaching

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The Experience of Leadership is an anthology of stories, insights, and reflections from highly successful leaders that will motivate and inspire readers of all ages to embrace their journey as a leader.

With years of collective leadership experience, the 15 people featured share personal stories that illustrate that it’s about what leaders do, not just who they are that engenders trust, inspires action, and determines leadership. If you’re looking for practical, actionable and realistic insights into the leadership process you will love this book. Don’t just read about leadership – experience it.

International Giveaway:

Click the link below to enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card. Giveaway will close on Friday!

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Fred Stuvek, Jr. is the author and curator of The Experience of Leadership. He has achieved extraordinary success in diverse realms. Born in West Virginia and raised in Pennsylvania, he has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, after lettering three years as quarterback for the Midshipmen. After service as a Naval Officer, he transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Key successes include an international medical imaging start-up that led to a successful IPO, and forming a private medical services company, which he subsequently sold. His first book, It Starts With You: Turn Your Goals Into Success, is one of the top ranked books for self-development, garnering praise for its no nonsense approach to going after what you want out of life. From the playing field, to the war room, to the board room his leadership and accomplishments have given him a distinct perspective and a results-oriented mindset. To learn more about Fred and his work, please visit https://fredstuvek.com/

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? October 11, 2021

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 Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice by Fred Yu | (The Red Crest Book 1) | Asian Fantasy, Epic Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

He was born of prophecy. If he can’t embrace his destiny in time, his country is doomed.

Ancient China. Spoiled and overconfident, eighteen-year-old Mu Feng relishes life as the son of an honored general. But when his sister is abducted and his friends slaughtered, he flees home. He soon discovers the mystical birthmark on his body has attracted an enormous price on his head.

Pursued across the Middle Kingdom, Feng finds allies in two fierce warriors and a beautiful assassin. When he learns his ultimate enemy plans an incursion with advanced weaponry, he must call on his friends and his own budding military genius to defend his country. His plan is desperate, and the enemy outnumbers him twenty-five to one…

Can Feng fulfill a duty he didn’t know he had and unite the empire against a terrifying force?


Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney | (The Last Apprentice #10) | Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

Nobody enters here after dark. Come back in the morning . . . if you’re still breathing.

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son, and apprentice to the local Spook. He has battled boggarts, witches, and the most powerful evils of the Dark. But his most trying task is yet to come.

When Tom and the Spook are deceived by one they trust, they find themselves in the most terrifying danger yet. Blood-hungry creatures have invaded a sleepy village. Tom can save the Spook and the whole county but only by betraying one of his greatest allies. With everything on the line, Tom must have the courage to stand and fight, and to face a choice that could break his heart.


Slither by Joseph Delaney | (The Last Apprentice #11) | Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

“My name is Slither, and before my tale is finished you’ll find out why.”

The dark is full of terrifying creatures. And Tom Ward—the seventh son of a seventh son, and the Spook’s last apprentice—hasn’t seen all of them. Far from the county, one named Slither has lived for hundreds of years, hunting blood.

But a dying father binds the monster to a bargain. If Slither will take his two youngest daughters safely to their family in the south, then the eldest daughter, Nessa, is his.

For Nessa the nightmare is just beginning. And when Slither and Nessa cross paths with the feared witch assassin Grimalkin, they will become unwitting players in the quest to stop the Fiend once and for all.

The blood-curdling eleventh volume of the Last Apprentice series. 


Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 4 by Mizuho Kusanagi | (Yona of the Dawn #4) | Manga, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom… Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

While on a quest to find the Four Legendary Dragon Warriors, Yona and her friends meet Gija, the White Dragon. Gija uses his power to detect the other Dragons, but locating the Blue Dragon proves to be more difficult than expected, and the group runs into a string of disasters!


The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle | (Sherlock Holmes #6) | Sherlockian. Mystery | Add to Goodreads

One of the most popular characters of Victorian fiction, Sherlock Holmes returns here to take on his arch-enemy, Moriarty, in a collection of stories first published in the Strand Magazine between 1903 and 1904. This volume contains 13 classic detective stories featuring the iconic detective.


Notorious by Minerva Spencer | (Rebels of the Ton #1) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

The cure for a willful wife…

Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble…

…is a smitten husband.

She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love. 


Currently Reading

Queen of Oak: A Novel of Boudica by Melanie Karsak | (The Celtic Rebels #1) | Historical Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Fated to lead a rebellion against Rome.
Destined to become a legend.

Britain, A.D. 42—Boudica, second daughter of a Celtic king, has little concern for tribal tensions and political intrigues. Called by the gods and the stirrings of her own wild heart, she listens instead to whispers of the oaks. But Boudica would be wiser to heed the warning cries of eagles.

Rumors abound that the Romans are amassing forces for another invasion. In an effort to consolidate power, Boudica’s father turns to Prasutagus, the formidable ruler of the Greater Iceni. To win Prasutagus’s aid, Boudica’s father must strike a bargain—a deal with implications beyond Boudica’s imagining.


The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle | (Sherlock Holmes #7) | Sherlockian, Mystery | Add to Goodreads

Doyle’s final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order.


I Am Alice by Joseph Delaney | (The Last Apprentice #12) | Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

I must be brave.
I must do what has to be done.
I am Alice.

Alice is the most powerful witch the county has ever seen. She may one day be the most evil. But Alice is also the best friend -and true love- of Tom Ward. Together they work to defeat the Fiend -the world’s greatest evil- once and for all.

They have nearly everything they need, all except a blade hidden in the Dark, the Fiend’s domain. So Alice ventures there to find it. She faces the most terrifying creatures in existence. And she once again battles old enemies who bear grudges: Bony Lizzie, Bloodeye, and more.

And there’s something Tom didn’t tell her. To vanquish the Fiend, Tom must sacrifice the person he loves most. Alice is hunting for the very blade that will eventually kill her.


What are you hoping to get to read this week?

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Tours

Blog Tour: The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice by Fred Yu @FredLitYu @PRBookPro @RRBookTours1 #RRBooktours

I am so thrilled to share The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice with all of you today! This epic Asian fantasy novel will be available on October 5th, so read on for details!

The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice by Fred Yu
(The Red Crest Series #1)
Asian Fantasy/ Epic Fantasy

Add to Goodreads

Amazon

He was born of prophecy. If he can’t embrace his destiny in time, his country is doomed.

Ancient China. Spoiled and overconfident, eighteen-year-old Mu Feng relishes life as the son of an honored general. But when his sister is abducted and his friends slaughtered, he flees home. He soon discovers the mystical birthmark on his body has attracted an enormous price on his head.

Pursued across the Middle Kingdom, Feng finds allies in two fierce warriors and a beautiful assassin. When he learns his ultimate enemy plans an incursion with advanced weaponry, he must call on his friends and his own budding military genius to defend his country. His plan is desperate, and the enemy outnumbers him twenty-five to one…

Can Feng fulfill a duty he didn’t know he had and unite the empire against a terrifying force?

Chapter One

Mu Feng woke to the call of a rooster, unsure where he was. He was staring into an empty flask flipped over and wedged against a stack of plates.

He pulled his silk robes tighter around his body. This was not his bed. His body lay bent and twisted against the hard edge of a wooden table, and his face was soaked from sleeping in a puddle of spilled liquor all night. He supported himself on one elbow to stretch his sore hip.

His three friends were still asleep, two of them snoring on the floor and another sprawled on a narrow bench, his arms and legs dangling.

Vague memories of the night before brought a smile to Feng’s lips—drinking, eating, and playing dice deep into the night. Empty flasks were scattered everywhere. Two large buckets of water remained half full.

Feng flinched against the dull pain at the base of his skull. He rubbed his oversized forehead and reached for a bowl. He hadn’t drunk enough water, and now the headache would nag him all day.

He sat back and gulped down the water, one bowl after another, and then paused to take a deep breath. He remembered coming to the Rider’s Inn with three of his best friends last night. The first floor of the little inn was packed. There were no rooms left upstairs, and the innkeeper was going to ask one of his customers to find somewhere else to stay because the general’s son, Mu Feng, needed a place to sleep.

Feng assured the innkeeper he would be drinking all night and didn’t need a room.

He remembered the innkeeper bringing him the very best drink they had to offer, a liquor made from sorghum buried in the ground for thirty years. It was something so exquisite only a Tiger General’s son could afford it. Feng remembered sipping the liquor and commenting that the taste resembled an onrush of invading cavalry, the sound of a thousand war drums approaching until it became thunder, then breezed by to leave an exhaustive state of calm. One of his friends laughed and told him to get drunk.

Feng needed to hurry home. The ride back would not be long—only a trip through a small forest. But he was to train his father’s pike unit that morning, and it wouldn’t look good for the instructor to arrive late.

The front door had been left open, and a little boy, his face filthy and his clothes in tatters, stood outside.

The boy’s a beggar and wants something to eat, Feng thought. He took a piece of copper from his pocket and stumbled to the door. The boy inched back, leaning away as if preparing himself to run.

Feng placed the coin on the table closest to the entrance. “Here, kid. Get yourself some food.”

Ding, facedown on a bench only a moment ago, was already on his feet.

“We need to go,” Feng said. “I can send a servant later to pay the innkeeper.”

“You must have paid him four times already,” Ding said. He planted a sharp kick into one of his friends on the floor and squatted down to scream in his ear. “Get up, Wen!”

He proceeded to the next drunk, curled under a table and still snoring, and kicked him in the ribs. “Get up, Little Chu. Feng needs to go home.”

Little Chu groaned. He lifted his head, his eyes still closed. “I don’t want any breakfast.”

“You’re not getting any,” Feng said with a laugh. “But there’s plenty of water in that bucket.”

Ding headed for the door, his long sword dangling by his side. “I’ll get the horses ready.” He stopped by the table near the entrance. “Who left the coin here?”

“It’s for the kid,” Feng said, turning and pointing outside. The boy was no longer there. Feng walked to the door and pulled it wide open for another look. “He was just here.”

Wen lumbered to his feet, towering over the others. “What boy?” he asked, his voice booming across the room. He hoisted a heavy bucket to his lips for a gulp or two, then poured the rest of the water over his head.

“A young beggar,” Feng said. “So many of those little things around here.”

Wen’s laughter thundered across the room. “See? Even a beggar knows he can’t take money from a dead man. You drank so much last night the boy thought you were a hungry ghost.”

“Shut your mouth,” Chu shouted, clapping Wen’s back with the hilt of his sword. Wen laughed even harder.

Ding returned, pulling the horses with one hand and carrying all four saddles with the other.

Feng stepped into the morning sun and took a deep breath. He reached for the harness of a gigantic warhorse, a gift from Uncle Shu this year for his eighteenth birthday. He stroked the nose of the charger, then the mane, and took the saddle. The horse reminded him every day that he was an adult, despite his boyish features and lanky arms, and he was commander of the best pike men in the world.

Little Chu turned back to the mess they were leaving behind—the empty bowls, the plates, and the overturned liquor flasks. “Too bad Du didn’t want to come last night. Since when did we ever go drinking without him?”

“He wanted to,” Ding said, “but he was vomiting and couldn’t get up. Must have been something he ate at the whorehouse.”

“He ate at a brothel?” Wen asked. “What kind of meat do they serve there?”

Ding turned to his friend with a smirk. “Why don’t you ever go to the whorehouse, Feng?”

Feng finished saddling his horse and leaped onto his charger. “Let’s go.”

“Feng’s father is a Tiger General,” Little Chu said. “He can get any girl he wants.” He guided his horse toward the road and squeezed its belly with his stirrups. The horse lurched forward.

“But then he’ll have to marry her!” Wen shouted from behind, hurrying after his friends. “I’d rather pay some money to amuse myself than be stuck with a wretch in my house.”

In a moment they were on the main road, riding at a comfortable pace. After a while the path bent into a forest and narrowed. The four friends merged behind one another, proceeding in single file. The dirt trail was an easy ride, well maintained and free of overhanging branches and intruding vegetation.

It was still early in the morning, and the ride home would be short. Feng relaxed a little, but not entirely. His father would be furious if he found out his son was too drunk to come home last night and couldn’t return in time to train his pike unit. He might even forbid Feng from leading his men again, a position Feng had to beg for over the years.

General Mu, Feng’s father and one of four Tiger Generals in the empire, was known as the General of the Uighur Border. He guarded the westernmost fortress in the empire. The portion of the Great Wall that he protected and the North Gate, which opened into the City of Stones, faced the land of the Uighur. It was the final stop on the Silk Road before entering the Middle Kingdom.

General Mu’s city was one of few fortresses built in a valley along the northern mountain chains. It was low enough to lose the advantage of elevation, which so much of the Great Wall depended on, but flat enough for travelers and barbarian traders to meet in this border city. Over the years General Mu had imposed heavy punishments on anyone harassing or discriminating against the foreigners, and despite countless skirmishes at the Great Wall, the City of Stones was never attacked in earnest. Commerce thrived at a time of heightened tensions between the Middle Kingdom and the barbarian nations. Chinese and Uighur, Khitans and Mongols assembled in the same bustling marketplace in the center of town and bartered. The city seemed oblivious to the politics of the Asian kingdoms.

The general placed his only son, Mu Feng, in command of the pike unit, but he was never permitted to confront the barbarians. The archers, the cavalry, and the anti-siege personnel were all deployed during border skirmishes with the Uighur.

Feng’s pike units were never battle-tested, and he never understood why. In military matters his father always sought his advice and often adopted his strategies. For years he studied The Art of War and every other military classic his father could access. In simulated battle, Feng had proven again and again he was capable. Yet, his father never trusted him in a real war.

Feng and his friends breezed along the narrow forest trail with Ding in front, Feng following from a short distance, and the other two in the rear.

Moments later, Feng noticed two rows of armed men standing in a line, motionless, blocking the road.

“Slow,” Feng said, loud enough only for his friends to hear. “Bandits.”

The foliage around them was dense with thick trees and low branches reaching into every empty space. It would be impossible to penetrate the forest and ride around the blockade.

Ding reined in his horse and slowed to a walk. “Small-time bandits trying to rob the general’s son. Wait till they find out who you are.”

Wen sent his horse lurching forward and stopped in front of the outlaws, so close he could have easily barreled into them. “Why are you blocking the road?”

None of them answered. They simply stared.

“If you don’t step aside, we’re going to run you over!” Wen said, his booming voice echoing through the forest.

 The armed thugs remained silent, motionless. Wen reached for his sword. Feng held out his hand, fingers outstretched, and motioned for him to stop.

“There’s only ten of them,” Little Chu said in a low voice. “And they’re on foot.”

“Get out of my way,” Feng said to the bandits, his voice loud and firm. “We’re military officials. We have important business in the City of Stones.”

A short bandit with a gray topknot broke into a smile. “Military officials,” he said, speaking slowly as if to pronounce every syllable. “Exactly what we’re waiting for.”

Feng stiffened. Soldiers earned modest salaries. They were well trained and armed, and very few of them traveled this road. For a small team of robbers to block the road, waiting for soldiers to rob, didn’t make any sense.

“One of our women was raped last night,” the short one continued.

Ding moved forward to Feng, his hand on his weapon, and whispered, “There’s more of them in the forest on both sides. Maybe a hundred.”

Feng nodded and turned back to the short bandit. “You’re not listening. Civilian crimes should be reported to the magistrate, not the army.”

“The criminal was a military official!” the thug shouted over Feng’s voice.

“I see,” Feng replied, fighting to remain calm. His heart was pounding.

His hand crept into his pocket to touch a bronze plate half the size of his palm, a token he always carried with himself. He still remembered the day so many years ago when he was afraid to climb onto a horse for the first time. He went to bed that night feeling disgraced and useless. His father came to his bedside and gave him this little bronze plate embossed with an image of a fierce tiger. His father told him if he carried it in his pocket, he would be able to do anything he set his mind to because the tiger held the powers of the Tiger General, powers meant for the strong and courageous. Much later he realized it was a standard pass the Tiger Generals’ messengers used.

He kept this one particular plate on himself every day.

The situation in front of him required much more than strength and courage. A hundred bandits had gathered to surround a few soldiers when very little money could be made.

Something was very wrong.

“Bring your evidence to the magistrate, and he’ll assign officers to investigate,” Feng said. “But blocking the road and randomly harassing any soldier is plain stupid. Harm the wrong soldier, and you’re all going to be killed.”

Chu pulled up behind Feng. “They’re behind us as well. We’re surrounded.”

“The criminal may be you!” the bandit continued, pointing the butt of his saber at Feng. “Why don’t you come with us to the magistrate, and we’ll talk about it in front of him?”

So, they didn’t intend to rob. They were looking to abduct, and they were waiting for the right moment to strike. The group of friends was in grave danger. Feng drew his horse back, opening up the space in front so he could see everything around him. How could this be happening?

Feng’s heart raced faster than he could withstand. They were on horses, and the bandits were not. That extra speed was their only advantage. He didn’t notice anyone on the road earlier, so they couldn’t have installed too many traps or ambushes behind them. Turning around, charging through the bandits in the rear, and riding the main road back toward the Rider’s Inn seemed like the sole course of action.

“After all, you look like a sleazy rapist to me!” the bandit shouted for all to hear. There was a roar of laughter.

“How dare you!” Wen shouted, drawing his sword. “Do you know who he is?”

Feng reached out in alarm, trying to grab Wen’s attention. He was too far away. Wen’s loud voice pierced through the thundering laughter.

“He’s General Mu’s son! Do you all want to die?”

The bandits fell silent, but only for a second. With a roar the men from both sides of the forest charged. Feng drew his sword, spun his horse around, and shouted, “Retreat! Back to the Rider’s Inn!”

His friends reacted, turned, and broke into a hard gallop. The bandits swarmed in like floodwater. Feng had never encountered a real battle before, but if they were out to kidnap for ransom, then he—not his friends—would be the prized possession. He needed to lead the bandits away from his friends if they were to have any chance of escaping.

Feng turned around and attacked the short bandit with the topknot, flying past him and slashing him across the face, almost cutting his skull open. The thug died instantly. Feng stabbed left and right, kicking his horse’s belly to urge it forward, struggling to break through the ring of hostiles.

Then he heard Wen shouting from behind. “Feng’s stuck back there! Feng’s stuck back there!”

“No!” Feng screamed as loud as he could. “Back to the inn!”

He knew they heard him, but in the distance he saw them approaching as fast as they could.

“No!” he shouted again. A spear flew across the air and struck Wen in the belly. He bowled over and fell from his horse. The bandits surrounded him and stabbed him over and over again.

Feng stared in disbelief. “Wen!” he shouted. They weren’t out to kidnap. They intended to murder. He kicked his warhorse and pummeled into the dense rows of bandits, slashing and stabbing as hard as he could, hoping to get to his other two friends before it was too late.

Chu’s horse screamed, lurching back and dismounting its rider.

They were attacking the horses. Without horses there would be no hope of getting out alive. Feng leaped off his mount and sent his horse away, wielding his sword with both hands like a battle ax and carving a path to Little Chu.

It was already too late. Chu was surrounded and stabbed from all directions at once, multiple spears and swords buried in his body. Dark blood poured from his mouth, and with his last breath, he screamed, “Run, Feng!”

Feng stabbed a bandit in the rib cage, pushed his sword all the way in until the hilt slammed against his chest. With a roar he shoved the writhing body into a crowd of enemies. He grabbed someone’s saber and swung and thrashed behind himself, fighting off those attacking his back while shielding his front with the dying bandit. He planted his feet on the hard ground, sensed Ding’s location, and pushed his way through.

Ding had already fallen off his horse, but he was hiding behind two trees standing very close together in front of a narrow gap only one person could penetrate at once, allowing him to hold back his attackers.

Feng forced his way to the two trees and dumped the dead bandit from his own sword and into the gap to seal it. He then circled around the smaller tree. “My horse is still alive,” he said. “Let’s go!”

He whistled for his horse and grabbed another saber from a dead bandit, and with a weapon in each hand, he leaped out from behind the trees and slashed at his nearest enemy.

The bandits were hardly skilled swordsmen. They were poorly coordinated and clearly had never trained to fight together.

But there were so many of them.

Feng created an opening when his warhorse broke through from behind. The massive charger was kicking and stomping the enemy, pressing them back, throwing them into disarray.

Ding stood right beside him, covered in blood—perhaps some of his own blood. “Go!” Feng shouted. He slashed another bandit in the neck, lodging his blade in the man’s collarbone.

“Careful!” Ding shouted from behind. Out of the corner of his eye, Feng noticed a spear flying toward him. Ding leaped in, crossing in front of Feng and blocking the spear with his body. He collapsed, the warhead plunged in his abdomen.

“No!” Feng wrenched his weapon free, hacked down another enemy, and leaped onto his horse. He grabbed Ding and dragged him onto the saddle, smacking the horse with the side of his saber. The charger surged forward. They were on a warhorse, one of the best in the army, and the bandits originally sealing off the road were out of position. Many were killed. Others couldn’t climb over the dead bodies littered across the narrow path. Feng’s warhorse met little resistance.

Ding yanked the spear out of his belly, and with a shout he threw it into the closest bandit. A stream of dark blood flew from Ding’s mouth.

Slowly he leaned his full weight against Feng’s back, fading out of consciousness. Feng threw away his saber and reached back with one hand to clutch his friend’s belt, preventing him from falling over. He urged the horse on, and the powerful stallion responded, charging forward at breakneck speed. The shouts and insults from behind were fading. In a moment, Feng found himself riding in silence.

His back was soaked with Ding’s blood. Ding’s breathing was becoming shorter and quicker.

“Ding! Wake up, Ding!”

How could this be happening? To think a few hundred untrained ruffians would dare confront a Tiger General’s army for mere ransom was hard to believe. Besides, they could have captured Wen and Little Chu when they fell off their horses. But they rushed in to kill without hesitating a step, as if taking them alive was never considered.

Feng felt a squeezing pain in his chest at the thought of Wen and Chu. They were gone. They were drinking and laughing and bickering only last night, and now they were gone.

A little side path branched off from the main road, and a small house hid behind a row of trees. He pulled his horse’s reins toward the house. It looked like the home of a local peasant, with coarse mud walls and an old wooden door once painted red. Feng had never spoken to a peasant before, much less asked one for help. He was the son of a Tiger General, high above the rest. Normally the peasants would be kneeling in front of his father’s mansion.

With Ding dying behind him, it didn’t matter if he had to bow to a beggar.

Feng reached the front door of the hut, dismounted, and dragged his friend’s unconscious body with him.

He took a deep breath and pounded the door with his fist.

An old woman with a wide gap between her oversized front teeth opened the door. She looked at Feng from head to toe, then at Ding. “Come on in,” she said. “I was afraid you wouldn’t knock. He’s bleeding to death, you know.”

Feng was more thankful than surprised. He lifted his friend as gently as he could and dragged him into the little hut. There was nothing inside except for a small bed, a table, and a brick cooking stove in the corner.

“We were attacked by bandits. There were four of us, and—”

The old woman sneered. “Stop barking like a neutered dog. You lost a fight, and you want to hide here. Put him in the bed. I’ll boil some towels to clean his wounds.”

Feng ignored her insolence, dragged his friend to the bed, placed him on his back, and tucked a coarse pillow under his head. Blood dripped everywhere. He yanked open Ding’s shirt and sucked in his breath. “No,” he whispered. “No.”

Ding looked up with a blank, lifeless stare.

The old woman brought a bucket of water and with one glance turned around to leave. “You should’ve told me earlier. I wouldn’t have brought the towels if I knew he was almost dead.”

Feng climbed onto the bed with trembling hands, lifted his friend’s head, and wrapped his body in his arms. “How do you feel, Ding?”

“I’m cold.”

“I-I’ll find you a blanket. I’ll—”

“No. Don’t leave.”

Feng held his friend tighter. “I’m here. I’m here.”

“What happened, Feng?”

Feng’s entire torso shook. His quivering lips were barely able to speak. “I don’t know.”

“Wen and Chu. They’re gone?”

Feng nodded.

A sob escaped Ding’s lips, and a trickle of tears rolled down his face. “I’ll . . . I’ll see them soon.”

“No!” Feng said. “Stay with me, Ding. Stay with me.”

“I’m sorry, Feng. You and Du are left behind. It’s still better than drinking alone. Tell him to stop eating at the whorehouse.” Ding tried to laugh at his own joke but only managed a choked sob. “How could there be so many bandits here?”

Feng shook his head, unable to respond.

“I’ve never heard of . . . of so many bandits . . .” Ding’s voice trailed off, and then the room was silent. Even his light gasps for air faded.

“How did we fail the people?” Feng whispered, struggling to speak so Ding could hear him. “Why did so many turn to crime?”

Ding took his last breath, his cold, limp body sinking into Feng’s arms. For a moment, the tears wouldn’t flow.

“Why are the people discontent?” Feng’s broken voice managed to say. He held his friend’s body closer. He felt ill and dizzy, as if he might vomit and faint all at once. He squeezed his eyes so tightly together that his tears couldn’t flow.

He threw his head back to scream.

“He had a gaping hole in his chest,” the old woman shouted from across the room. “Did you expect him to live?”

Feng collapsed on his friend’s body and wept. He shook with every sob, his clenched fists pounding the bed with every convulsion.

The door flew open so hard the old iron hinges rattled. A group of peasants carrying thick bamboo poles charged in, all of them young and strong. They moved in lock step with perfect discipline. They formed an arc around the door, each facing a different direction with their bodies poised to react. Feng recognized them.

“How dare you break my door!” the old woman shouted. “Get out of my house! I’ll report you to the magistrate!”

One peasant drew a sword halfway out of his bamboo pole, and the old woman fell silent.

A tall man with thick eyebrows and a short beard stepped in. He acknowledged the old woman once, then turned to Ding’s body.

“I’m sorry.”

“Uncle Shu,” Feng said, his voice trembling. His father’s brother was here, a powerful man of great skill and military prowess. At least he was safe now. “Wen, Chu, and now Ding. They’re all gone.”

Uncle Shu came to the side of the bed.

“How did you find me?” Feng asked. “How did you know?”

His uncle pulled a ragged sheet over Ding’s face so the horrid look of death would not stare back at them. The little hut was silent while he took Feng’s hand and led him to the table on the other side of the room. “Sit. I need you to calm down and tell me what happened.”

“I . . . we . . .” Feng couldn’t find words. He was so relieved to see his uncle and even more relieved to see the army’s elite, personally trained by his uncle, gathered around him. Strange, they were dressed in the coarse gray fabric of peasants, and their weapons were concealed in bamboo poles. Why would his uncle need to travel under disguise?

“You’re safe now, Feng,” Uncle Shu said. “Tell me what happened.”

Feng’s hands were still shaking.

Uncle Shu motioned for one of his men. “Bring the young master some liquor.”

Just the night before, they were drinking the finest liquor the little inn had to offer, laughing and playing dice late into the night. Feng remembered debating Mongol military tactics. Little Chu’s words echoed in his head. The Mongols may have the strongest cavalry in the world, but horses can’t climb walls. I can drink a bucket of liquor and still defend the country.

One of the soldiers placed a flask of liquor in front of Feng.

“I let my friends die,” Feng whispered. He didn’t wait for his uncle to respond. He grabbed the flask and emptied it in his mouth, guzzling the hard alcohol without taking a breath. He planted the flask on the table and tried to shake his head clear as his vision already began to blur.

“You shouldn’t be drinking like that, young man,” he heard the old woman say behind him. “Here, drink some water before you vomit all over my table. Not that I don’t have to spend all day cleaning up your friend’s blood.”

Feng grabbed the bowl of water placed before him and drank everything in one gulp.

“Take her outside,” Uncle Shu said to one of his men. “Give her some money for her troubles and ask her to leave us alone.”

Feng felt dizzy, incredibly drunk for a single flask of liquor. Maybe that was what his uncle wanted for him, something to numb his senses and help him forget. “Where is my father?” he asked.

He lowered his head onto his arms, leaned against the table, and closed his eyes. He had slept in the same position on a similar table the night before. His friends were alive then.

Nothing made sense anyway. His uncle was here, and very soon he would be taken home. His father would summon the army, they would round up all the bandits, and soon after he would find out why his friends were slaughtered in broad daylight, why even a Tiger General’s son could be attacked on his own land.

But in that moment he was dizzy and intoxicated, and he wanted to let everything go.

Very quickly the effects of the alcohol disappeared. He didn’t want it to leave his head, didn’t want his escape to be over so soon. He remained still, head in his arms, resting on the table with his eyes squeezed shut. Maybe if he tried not to move, he would eventually fall asleep and have sweet dreams.

“Sir, the young master is unconscious,” one of the soldiers said.

“Bring him to the carriage,” Uncle Shu replied.

“Do we need to secure him? In case he wakes up before we get there?”

“No need. He won’t wake up for another day.”

Feng’s heart beat so hard he thought his ribs would crack. He waited. Two men lifted him off his seat, wrapped his arms around their shoulders, and dragged him outside. Feng was determined to find out where they were taking him and whatever Uncle Shu wanted to do to him. He kept his eyes closed, his arms limp, his head hanging.

They lifted him into an enclosed carriage, settled him on his back, and walked away. Outside, at least a hundred men and numerous horses and carriages shuffled around. Feng heard his uncle giving orders to depart.

“You stay with the young master,” Uncle Shu said.

The operation was well planned and rehearsed. No one asked a single question after that.

Someone climbed into the carriage with Feng. The soldier placed his sword on the floor and shouted, “Go!”

The driver cracked his whip. They eased forward, then pulled into a steady speed. Feng waited. The road became smoother, and the horses picked up the pace. The heavy pounding of warhorses shifted to the front of the carriage, leaving only a few soldiers to protect the rear. The attack units had moved, and it was time.

Feng grabbed the sword lying on the floor of the carriage, drew the weapon, and pinned the blade against the soldier’s throat before he had time to react.

“Where are you taking me?” Feng asked in a quiet voice.

The soldier shook his head. “You—you were supposed to be unconscious . . .”

Feng pressed the tip of the sword harder into the base of his throat, piercing the skin. Blood trickled at the tip. The soldier froze.

“Answer me!”

“We’re going to the City of Eternal Peace.”

Feng’s eyebrows knit together. “General Wu’s fortress?”

The soldier nodded. “Young master, we didn’t mean to—”

“Why is my uncle doing this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why am I being escorted to another Tiger General’s city? Where’s my father?”

“I’m just a soldier, young master. You know we only receive our orders.”

Feng took a deep breath. “I’m going to kill you if you don’t tell me.”

The soldier’s face was blank, his lips pressed together.

“I’m the general’s son. I can kill you for entertainment, and no one would do a thing.”

“We’re the general’s soldiers, young master. But we’re also your soldiers.”

Feng paused, lowering his sword. “You’re the people’s soldiers. You fight to defend the people, not my father or me. Don’t ever forget.”

“I won’t, young master.”

Feng spun his sword around and hammered the soldier’s head with the handle. The soldier collapsed.

Feng reached for his peasant clothing, about to strip him, and hesitated. He had never worn the coarse fabric of a common man, much less the filthy rags of a peasant. He could almost smell the soil stains on the straw sandals.

His own clothing reeked of dried blood, so changing into dirty canvas would not be so bad.

Feng cursed himself for worrying about the quality of his clothes at a time like this. He stripped the soldier and dressed him in his own bloody robes, then lifted the unconscious body with one hand and the sword with his other and kicked the carriage door open. He threw the soldier halfway out, facedown, and released a long, tortured cry.

“Young master!” one of the riders in the rear called. The soldier hurried forward, closing the distance between himself and Feng’s carriage. Feng threw his sword out the partially opened door. The soldier outside evaded the flying sword and was barely recovering when Feng leaped out, slammed into him, and sent him toppling off his horse. Feng recovered his own position on the speeding mount, grabbed the reins, planted his feet in the stirrups, and squeezed the horse’s belly. The other guards were charging up behind him. A side road appeared ahead. Feng saw his opportunity and brought his horse thundering down the little path.

The guards followed. Feng reached for the sword hanging from the saddle, spun around, and charged into his pursuers.

“Young master!” one guard shouted. They recognized him and pulled back. No one wanted to fight the general’s son.

He tried not to think of how his friends had died that morning, how hundreds of bandits waited for him in ambush, how Ding died in his arms. The little beggar at the inn that morning, who watched them from outside and didn’t bother to collect the coins Feng left for him, must have been there to report when they began their ride home. The ambush was prepared for them and only them.

His uncle could have encountered the slaughter in the forest and traced his tracks and Ding’s blood to the peasant woman’s house. There was no way to understand why his uncle was out there looking for him, his elite unit dressed as peasants, or why he drugged his own nephew.

Feng kicked his horse and rode as hard as he could, heading south for Major Pass toward the City of Stones. Major Pass, the main artery running across the north of the empire and parallel to the Great Wall, connected the city fortresses of all four Tiger Generals. It used to be named something else, but the people called it Major Pass because it was the widest, most well paved road north of the capital. Armies and their supply wagons could efficiently move on this road.

As far back as Feng could remember, the empire was at peace within its borders.  Aside from skirmishes with the barbarians in the north and short wars with the island nations in the south, people lived well in China.

He remembered the quick briefing he received from two officers right before he left for the Rider’s Inn. They had told him the Venom Sect was recently active in this area, but no one knew why. Feng recalled asking the local government to involve themselves, saying that the military shouldn’t interfere with civilian criminals.

The Venom Sect was a powerful group of poison users rumored to be four hundred members strong and headed by a ruthless leader named Red Cobra. The officers told him yesterday that Red Cobra was also spotted in the area. Feng laughed and asked how much snake venom it would take to poison an army.

Then they informed him that the Silencer had killed Tiger General Lo. They had expected this news ever since he was ordered to invade Mongolia and capture the undefeated barbarian king known as the Silencer. General Lo walked into Mongolia with only two hundred men in an apparent act of suicide. As of yesterday they still hadn’t found his body. All his men were dead, and the Silencer took no prisoners. Some even said the Silencer was spotted killing off the Chinese soldiers by himself. General Lo guarded the easternmost fortress in the empire facing the Khitans. For the emperor to order him to march away from the barbarian nation he was guarding against to attack an undefeated Mongol king made no sense at all.

None of these events should have had anything to do with what happened that morning. The bandits were clearly not members of the Venom Sect. They were thugs carrying steel weapons they didn’t know how to use, fighting in plain view instead of killing from the shadows.

It was almost noon by now, and Feng was rapidly approaching the City of Stones.

The Redcrest Prequel

This is the first book in The Red Crest Series.  This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be I really enjoyed it and did not want to put it down.  I read this book in a couple of sittings.  I think that if I didn’t have to adult I would have read it in one day.  

This book focuses on Feng.  He was an interesting character.  He grows by leaps and bounds as this story goes on.  There is a lot of fighting in this book but I enjoyed how Feng was able to outsmart/out strategize his enemy.  What he did was not farfetched either it was just simply playing smarter.  The one thing that really bothered me about his character was that you would think that Feng would be more careful about trusting people after the events that happen at the beginning of the book but he wasn’t and I found that to be a little off-putting. 

I mean he is supposed to be really smart and then he makes decisions that make me shake my head.  

I liked how the romance in this book was not center stage. Yes, it was a part of the story but the story was not built around it.  Let me just say that Ming was a strong female character and I loved how she was written.  I think that as far as side characters go Iron Spider is my absolute favorite.  More than once I found myself laughing, she does not hold back anything.  

I won’t lie at one point I thought I had it all figured out and oops I was wrong about some things.  I also have some unanswered questions that I need to know the answers to.  

If you enjoy war-based fantasy or the chosen one trope then I highly suggest you give this book a chance.  

As a lifelong student of martial arts, and growing up watching martial arts flicks in the 80s and 90s, Yu decided early on that he would write in this genre. Inspired by George RR Martin’s work, he decided he would write a series in English in this centuries-old Asian genre. Yu has written three previous novels, The Legend of Snow WolfHaute Tea Cuisine and Yin Yang Blades. Yu has aBFA Film and Television from NYU Tisch School of Arts. He was born inGuangzhou, China, but presently lives in New York City.

October 4th
Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
@swimming.in.books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/swimming.in.books/
@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/
MacroMicroCosm (Review) https://www.vraeydamedia.ca/macromicrocosm-online
Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

October 5th
@tiny.bibliophile (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tiny.bibliophile/
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/
B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

October 6th
@NerdyFoxReads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/nerdyfoxreads/
Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com
PoptheButterfly (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com
Auto.Erraticism (Spotlight) https://www.autoerraticism.com/

October 7th
Balancing Books & Beauties (Review) https://balancingbooksandbeauties.wordpress.com/
@happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/
Lecari’s Live Journal (Review) http://www.lecari.co.uk
Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com
Bri’s Book Nook (Review) http://brisbooknook.wordpress.com
Behind the Pages (Review) https://www.behindthepages.org/
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

October 8th
@hoardingbooks.herdingcats (Review) https://www.instagram.com/hoardingbooks.herdingcats/
@acourtof_plants_and_books (Review)  https://www.instagram.com/acourtof_plants_and_books/
 @loveleighreading (Review) https://www.instagram.com/loveleighreading/
Sophril Reads (Review) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Stine Writing (Spotlight)  https://christinebialczak.com/
MacroMicroCosm (Podcast Interview) https://www.vraeydamedia.ca/macromicrocosm-online

This Event Was Organized By:
R&R Book Tours

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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Queen of Oak: A Novel of Boudica by Melanie Karsak

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen:

Queen of Oak: A Novel of Boudica
by Melanie Karsak
(The Celtic Rebels #1)
Genre: Historical
Expected Publication: October 12, 2021

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Fated to lead a rebellion against Rome.
Destined to become a legend.

Britain, A.D. 42—Boudica, second daughter of a Celtic king, has little concern for tribal tensions and political intrigues. Called by the gods and the stirrings of her own wild heart, she listens instead to whispers of the oaks. But Boudica would be wiser to heed the warning cries of eagles.

Rumors abound that the Romans are amassing forces for another invasion. In an effort to consolidate power, Boudica’s father turns to Prasutagus, the formidable ruler of the Greater Iceni. To win Prasutagus’s aid, Boudica’s father must strike a bargain—a deal with implications beyond Boudica’s imagining.

Are you looking forward to this book too?

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New Releases

October 2021 Books I’m Excited About

Books I'm Excited About

Hey Everyone!

A new month a new set of releases.  There are 4 books that are coming out this month that I am excited about.

October 1, 2021

Ambush or Adore by Gail Carriger
(Delightfully Deadly #3)
Steampunk, Fantasy, Romance, Historical

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London’s best and most covert spy tries to escape the man who has always adored her.

INTELLIGENCER

Agatha Woosmoss, the Wallflower, is the greatest intelligencer of her generation. And no one knows she exists. She has been invisible, capable, and cunning for well over four decades. Her greatest skill is in her ability to go forever unnoticed. Except by one man.

VERSUS INTELLECTUAL

Pillover Plumleigh-Teignmott is a professor of ancient languages at Oxford University. He’s tried to ignore his training as an Evil Genius and live a quiet life away from politics and intrigue. When an assignment goes horribly wrong, Agatha must hide and heal. So she goes to ground with the only person who’s always kept her safe, Pillover.

Can Pillover hold onto the deadly woman who specializes in getting away? Will Agatha realize that patience is indeed a virtue, and that perhaps it is good to be noticed by the one who waits? Spinning off from the Finishing School series, this story stands on its own and spans decades but was written after Defy or Defend. May contain vampires, old injuries, lost love, and the reappearance of many favorite characters. 


October 5, 2021

Blood of the Chosen by Django Wexler
(Burningblade & Silvereye #2)
Fantasy

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In the second book of Django Wexler’s epic fantasy trilogy about two siblings divided by magic and revolution, Gyre must travel across the Splinter Kingdoms to rally the rebels to his side, while his sister Maya uncovers the secrets of a powerful artifact that could change everything.

Gyre finally sees a way to overthrow the all-powerful Twilight Order. But he’ll have to gain the alliance of both the ghouls and the human rebels to the south in order to even stand have a chance. And uniting them won’t be so simple.

His sister Maya is still a soldier of the Order. But after clashing with her brother, she isn’t so certain where her loyalties lie. Chasing the origins of a mysterious artifact to a long-lost library, she just might find the answers she’s looking for.


Moriarty the Patriot, Vol. 5 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi
(Moriarty the Patriot #5)
Manga, Historical, Mystery

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The untold story of Sherlock Holmes’ greatest rival, Moriarty!

Before he was Sherlock’s rival, Moriarty fought against the unfair class system in London by making sure corrupt nobility got their comeuppance. But even the most well-intentioned plans can spin out of control—will Moriarty’s dream of a more just and equal world turn him into a hero…or a monster?

William James Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes meet again on a train back to London, and a dead body is discovered in a locked passenger cabin with John Watson named the prime suspect! Sherlock challenges William to a contest to be the first to solve the murder and clear John’s name. Back in London, a state secret which only the royal family is privy to has been stolen and MI6 is tasked with retrieving it, lest the whole empire fall into ruin! Meanwhile, Sherlock is visited by the king of Bohemia, who asks him to cover up a recent scandal…


October 12, 2021

Queen of Oak: A Novel of Boudica by Melanie Karsak
(The Celtic Rebels #1)
Historical

Add to Goodreads

Fated to lead a rebellion against Rome.
Destined to become a legend.

Britain, A.D. 42—Boudica, second daughter of a Celtic king, has little concern for tribal tensions and political intrigues. Called by the gods and the stirrings of her own wild heart, she listens instead to whispers of the oaks. But Boudica would be wiser to heed the warning cries of eagles.

Rumors abound that the Romans are amassing forces for another invasion. In an effort to consolidate power, Boudica’s father turns to Prasutagus, the formidable ruler of the Greater Iceni. To win Prasutagus’s aid, Boudica’s father must strike a bargain—a deal with implications beyond Boudica’s imagining.


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

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? October 4, 2021

It's Monday What are you reading.png

Good Evening,

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.

So as it turns out I am so far behind and I am going to be winging things for a little while.

Recent Books

Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward | (Legacy Trilogy #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.

Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.

And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.

As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.


The Assassin’s Legacy by D. Lieber | (Minte and Magic Adventure #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

He hasn’t been Aleksandr Sergeyevich Volonov, legendary monster-hunting assassin for ten years. Now, he is only Sasha, charming deckhand on a merchant airship so recently destroyed by pirates.

All he wants is to find another job and keep moving. But that simple plan is thwarted when his sister sends an assassin to murder him. His only choice is to return to Saint Petersburg and renounce his claim to his family’s title.

Trapped by his late father’s machinations, Sasha finds himself surrounded by death threats, engaged to a brutal villainess, shadowed by his cheeky assassin, and forced to lead the organization bent on eliminating all supernatural creatures from the Russian Empire.

As he struggles to keep hold on the man he is, Sasha must face who he used to be in this modern steampunk fantasy adventure full of folklore, banter, and artifice. 


Mao, Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi | (Mao #1) | Manga, Historical, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Exorcise your destiny in an era-spanning supernatural adventure from manga legend Rumiko Takahashi!

Teenage Nanako travels back in time to early 19th-century Japan and meets teenage exorcist Mao. What is the thread of fate that connects them? Together, they seek answers…and kick some demon butt along the way!

Nanako passes through a portal into Taisho-era Japan, a world populated by phantom people, monstrous yokai and a surly young exorcist named Mao. When Nanako returns to the present, she discovers she has some new, unusual abilities. So she goes back to the past looking for answers, only to get caught up in Mao’s investigation of a demon crime. As her questions about herself multiply, she learns that Mao is cursed by a cat demon called Byouki—and so is his sword. If anyone but Mao attempts to wield it, they are doomed. But when Mao’s life is in jeopardy, Nanako picks up his blade and swings…!


Currently Reading

The Orchid Farmer’s Sacrifice by Fred Yu | (The Red Crest Book 1) | Asian Fantasy, Epic Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

He was born of prophecy. If he can’t embrace his destiny in time, his country is doomed.

Ancient China. Spoiled and overconfident, eighteen-year-old Mu Feng relishes life as the son of an honored general. But when his sister is abducted and his friends slaughtered, he flees home. He soon discovers the mystical birthmark on his body has attracted an enormous price on his head.

Pursued across the Middle Kingdom, Feng finds allies in two fierce warriors and a beautiful assassin. When he learns his ultimate enemy plans an incursion with advanced weaponry, he must call on his friends and his own budding military genius to defend his country. His plan is desperate, and the enemy outnumbers him twenty-five to one…

Can Feng fulfill a duty he didn’t know he had and unite the empire against a terrifying force?


Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney | (The Last Apprentice #10) | Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

Nobody enters here after dark. Come back in the morning . . . if you’re still breathing.

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son, and apprentice to the local Spook. He has battled boggarts, witches, and the most powerful evils of the Dark. But his most trying task is yet to come.

When Tom and the Spook are deceived by one they trust, they find themselves in the most terrifying danger yet. Blood-hungry creatures have invaded a sleepy village. Tom can save the Spook and the whole county but only by betraying one of his greatest allies. With everything on the line, Tom must have the courage to stand and fight, and to face a choice that could break his heart.


What are you hoping to get to read this week?

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