New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

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:

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
(The Last Hours #2)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Expected Publication: March 2, 2021

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Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

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Reviews

Review: The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

Book Review

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
Historical Fantasy

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Synopsis
Hard-drinking petty thief Dellaria Wells is down on her luck in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees a want ad for a female bodyguard, and she fast-talks her way into the high-paying job. Along with a team of other women, she’s meant to protect a rich young lady from mysterious assassins.

At first Delly thinks the danger is exaggerated, but a series of attacks shows there’s much to fear. Then she begins to fall for Winn, one of the other bodyguards, and the women team up against a mysterious, magical foe who seems to have allies everywhere.

What I thought
Thank you, Ace and Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

I found myself struggling to get through this one. I loved this book in the beginning it was a Victorianesque story with magic. However, the pacing was super slow and it took forever for anything to happen. Maybe I just expected it to move at a faster pace because of how it is described but I think there was more about them eating than action.

I am a character-driven reader so I have to be able to at least tolerate the characters. Delly our main character evolution is like a rollercoaster. Every time I started to like her she would do something that made me just not be able to stand her again. Winn is wonderful but there comes a point where I just wanted to shake her and say open your eyes. Then you have Abstentia Dok who in the beginning I never would have thought I would like her and at some point (around 70%) I realized she was the only one that I really liked.

The story isn’t bad it just did not jive with me. If you like slow-paced stories I say go for it.

My Rating: /5

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New Releases · Tours

Book Release Blitz: The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli @fixion4change @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheBirdthatSanginColor

Congratulations to author Grace Mattioli on the release of her novel The Bird that Sang in Color!

Today I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a copy of the book!

The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: January 17, 2021 (Today 🎉)

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Part family drama and part self-actualization story, this is about Donna Greco, who in her teens, subscribes to a conventional view of success in life and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent to do the same. However, he remains single, childless, and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbors guilt for her supposed failure to ensure his happiness until she discovers a book of sketches he made of his life, which allows her to see his internal joy and prompts her own journey of living authentically.

Thought-provoking, humorous, and filled with unforgettable characters, this book invites readers to ponder what pictures they will have of themselves by the end of their lives.

Beautifully rendered, hugely moving, brilliant,” Lidia Yucknavitch.

a refreshing family portrait about interpersonal evolution…presented with affection, humor, and insight…an inspiring slice of life blend of philosophy, psychology, and transformation that draws readers into a warm story and examines the wellsprings of creative force and future legacies…evocative, uplifting,” Midwest Book Review.

The golden garden bird of peace were the words painted on the wall in Vincent’s room. I thought Dad would have painted over them because he couldn’t stand all that “hippie crap.” Beside the words hung a bunch of paintings he made. He painted trees, mountains, rivers, flowers, and people with real-life expressions that made them more than just pictures. They were alive, and they told stories.

Some of his paintings were abstract, my favorite being one that looked like a kaleidoscope with no beginning and no end and colors that bounced off the canvas like a beautiful neon sign sparkling against a black sky. I could stare at it all day. I went between staring at it and the album cover before me—Let It Be by the Beatles. Vincent sat by the record player, dressed in his usual Levi’s, T-shirt, and Converse high-tops, bent towards the revolving album, listening intently, his head of black curly hair moving back and forth, his right foot tapping the hardwood floor, keeping rhythm to the Fab Four.

Finally, he turned his head away from the stereo and said to me, “I can’t believe this is it.” His face was serious and gloomy, and I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I pretended that I did because I’d never let my cool down around Vincent. It was because of him that I knew so much about rock and roll, which made me pretty sure that I was the coolest eighth-grade girl in the whole town and possibly in the whole state of New Jersey.

“I know,” I said seriously.

“I mean, I just never thought the Beatles would break up.” He shook his head with disappointment. 

“So, this is their last album, then?”

“Well, yeah,” he said, like I should have known better.

“Hey, check this out, Donna.” With the speed of a light switch flicking on, he turned into an entirely different person, no longer sad and gloomy but light and happy. He showed me a drawing he made of an old lady sitting on a chair with half of her body missing, and it looked as if the missing half was on the other side of an invisible door. She wore a mysterious smile as if she knew some extraordinary truth.

“Where’s the other half of her body?” I said.

“I don’t know,” he said, grinning. “You tell me.”

“Wow.” I sat there, trying to wrap my head around this while listening to the song playing. Just as I was about to figure something out about the picture, and just as I was really getting into the song, he took the needle off, turned the album over, and put the needle on the first song on the other side, a tendency he had that bothered the hell out of our brother, Carmen.

He scratched his head and looked up, his eyes penetrating the ceiling, deep in thought. He resembled Mom with his olive skin, Roman nose, and black curls, and was the only one of us who got her curly hair. The rest of us had straight hair. Mine was super long—to the bottom of my back—and I wore it parted in the middle and was certain that I was wearing it that way long before it was the style.

Vincent was also taller than the rest of us at over six feet. Dad said he took after his own dad in stature. I never knew Grandpa Tucci because he died before I was born, but I was told he was called Lanky because he was tall and skinny. I was pretty thin myself and had a bottomless pit. People would say that all my eating would catch up with me one day, but that never stopped me from eating ice cream every day after school. Breyers butter almond was my favorite.

Vincent listened to the music with pure attention, like there was nothing else in the world as George sang I, me, mine, I, me, mine, I, me, mine. He was probably trying to figure out what the song was about or how he could play it on his guitar. His acoustic guitar sat in the corner of his room. He had the smallest room in the house, but it seemed like the biggest because it was its own self-contained universe. I felt like I could be on the other side of the world without ever leaving his room.

His paintings and drawings covered the walls. A bunch of leather-bound cases of albums colored red and black and bone sat on the floor between a stereo and a wooden desk with piles of books and sketchbooks on top. Comic books, pens, and paintbrushes were scattered on the floor like seashells on the sand.

I shared a room with my younger sister, Nancy, and she insisted on having the room be as pink as possible. She was the youngest, so she always got her way. On top of making our room a sickening pink paradise, she had a doll collection with faces that really creeped me out, and she started pushing over my beloved books on our shelves to make room for her dolls. A doll named Lucinda with blond hair and a blue satin dress was shoved up against two of my favorites—Animal Farm and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“Check this out, Donna,” Vincent said, emerging from his music-listening trance. He took a skinny metal whistle out of a plastic case. “Got it at the music store in town.”

“Neat. Some kind of flute?” I said.

“A pennywhistle.” He had a big smile that stretched from one side of his face to the other. “Or sometimes called a tin whistle.”

“I wish I could play an instrument,” I said. “Just one.” I was the only one in our family that didn’t play an instrument. Mom wanted me to learn ballet instead because she said I had a dancer’s body. I liked it all right and stayed with it until my teacher put me on toe, and the wooden shoes imprisoned my feet and made them ache hours after class ended.

“Have it.”

“Really?!”

“Sure.” He started fishing in one of his desk drawers for something.

“Thanks Vincent.” No response. He just kept on with his searching. I looked at the tin instrument wondering how I’d learn to play it, when he poked his head up and gave me an instructional songbook for it. I went through it seeing musical notation for simple songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” It was all new territory for me, but I knew I could learn it and thought I could go anywhere from there. I saw myself playing with Vincent as he strummed the guitar, playing on the street for money, playing in a small orchestra of other penny whistlers. Just then, Mom called out from the kitchen.

“Dinner’s ready!” I didn’t care that my fantasy was interrupted because I was starving.  Vincent was always up for eating and was the biggest eater I knew. He seemed especially hungry because he was walking to the kitchen really fast. Even when he walked fast, he looked cool. He walked with a bounce in his step, his head bobbing back and forth like he was keeping beat to a song that only he could hear. I tried to walk like him once, but I ended up looking like some kind of uncoordinated monkey. I walked like Dad who moved fast and forward-leaning, like he was continually running late for something.  

The kitchen smelled of garlic and fish. It was Friday, and Mom always cooked fish on Fridays. A big flat bowl with hand-painted flowers was filled with spaghetti, calamari and gravy, which was what we called tomato sauce in our house. My older sister, Gloria was setting the large wooden table that sat in the center of the kitchen. She wore her hair tucked neatly behind her ears and a black-and-tan argyle vest that fit snug on her shapely body. Her face had the usual serious, troubled look on it like something was wrong. Anthony—the oldest in the family—was away at college, and Nancy was at a sleepover, so the table was set for only six.

Mom was at the sink, getting a salad together. Above the sink was a long window that looked out onto our backyard, its ledge covered with little ladybug statues, which Mom loved because they meant good luck. She wore a red-and-white apron over a straight skirt and boots and took long, swift strides around the kitchen. Watching her get dinner together was like watching a performance. She’d put on her apron instead of a costume. The music played: the chopping of vegetables, the clanging of metal spoons against pots and the sweet sound of pouring. She’d dance around, gathering ingredients, sautéing, stirring, occasionally turning towards us—the audience—to say something or laugh with us so that we’d feel a part of the show. She presented her perfect meals like works of art, displaying them on the table, and we’d applaud by eating—grabbing, twirling, chewing—until we couldn’t fit anymore in.

 Dad was opening up one of his bottles of homemade wine. I had a sip once, and it went down my throat like an angry snake. He leaned on the table like he needed it to support him with his eyes half-shut and his black-and-gray hair falling forward in his face. In his tiredness, he didn’t speak, but even when he was quiet, he was loud, and whenever he walked into a room, everybody knew it, even if he didn’t say a word. 

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!!!

To win a copy of the book in any format (Print, Digital, Audio) enter HERE!

This Giveaway runs from January 17th to the 20th

Grace Mattioli is the author of two novels, Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees and Discovery of an Eagle, and a book of short stories—The Brightness Index. All titles have received stellar reviews from sources such as Midwest Book Review, Kirkus Reviews, and Indie Reader Reviews, and Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees has been on the prestigious “Best of” list in Suspense Magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats. She’s worked as a librarian for over 20 years and has been writing creatively since she was a child.

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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

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:

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick
(Rook & Rose #1)
Genre: Fantasy
Expected Publication: January 21, 2021

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Nightmares are creeping through the city of dreams…

Renata Viraudax is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupt magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.

Darkly magical and intricately imagined, The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a rich and dazzling fantasy adventure in which a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord must unite to save their city.

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Book Blitz: Freak by Leslie Georgeson @lesliegeorgeson and @Shalini_G26

Freak by Leslie Georgeson
(Something Real #1)
Romance, Suspense

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Jealousy. Betrayal. Family secrets.

Appearances are everything in my family. We are the Strongs. Fame is our birthright. Music flows through our veins in a continuous harmony. Flaws are unacceptable.

When my parents got a good look at the freak they’d created, I was hidden away, my existence wiped out.

Until they discovered my secret.

Now I had something they wanted.

Taking it from me didn’t faze them. They believed they were entitled.

I was just a boy, unable to fight back.

So I did the only thing I could.

I vanished.

That was nine years ago.

Now they are back, and they want something from me again.

They send the sexy and oh-so-tempting Mia Bennett to persuade me, and I’m helpless to resist her.

Mia seems innocent in my family feud, but is she really?

I can’t be sure.

All I know is she makes me feel alive again. She gives me the courage to just be me. She’s the new inspiration behind my music, my heart’s own melody.

But something dark and twisted lurks close to home, and leaves me questioning who is friend and who is foe.

Now I am forced to make a decision that could well break me.

How far am I willing to go for the woman I love?

These books contain strong language and adult situations. Recommended for readers ages 18 and up.

I eyed the nearest “no trespassing” sign mounted on the fence about ten feet away. With all the surveillance cameras, he had to know I was out here. I was probably lucky the guy hadn’t had me arrested yet.

Another hour passed.

The sun was disappearing over the horizon now, darkness settling in. It didn’t look like I was going to be successful today.

With a heavy sigh, I gathered up my bag and rose to my feet, deciding to call it a day.

My skin prickled as something moved on the other side the fence.

I spun around, my heart smacking into my ribs.

The heavily-treed yard now deep in shadows, it took a moment for my eyes to take in what had appeared before me. Even then, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking at in the low light. He stood as still as the tree trunks surrounding him.

My hand flew to my throat, my eyes widening. 

Gasping, I stumbled back, tripping over my own feet and falling into the underbrush, my bag landing beside me.

I tilted my head back, unable to tear my gaze away.

Ohmigod. Ohmigod. Oh. My. God.

Leslie Georgeson writes a blend of romance and suspense, sometimes tossing in a dash of sci-fi or paranormal to make things more interesting. From genetically-altered super soldiers (The Dregs) to deceptive, daredevil rescuers (The Pact), her stories are laced with danger, action, and plenty of steam. Music and the mafia combine in her newly released romantic suspense series, Something Real. Book one, FREAK, is now available at all retailers. Look for the next book, SNITCH, in the spring of 2021.

Leslie is an avid reader, a nature and animal lover, a plant enthusiast, and enjoys spending time with her amazing family. She lives with her husband of 25+ years and her teenage daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho.

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Cover Reveal: Tidepool by Nicole Willson @parliamentbooks @insomnicole

I am so happy to be working with The Parliament House to do this Cover Reveal of Nicole Willson’s upcoming book Tidepool!

It’s a Lovecraftian horror with romantic and fantasy elements. What more could I ask for. I can not wait until this one comes out!

Tidepool by Nicole Willson
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Romance
Expected Publication: August 3, 2021

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If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise…

In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother.

When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives.

However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret.

With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town.

Lovecraftian dark fantasy gets a modern treatment in this terrifying debut novel.

Nicole Willson lives with her husband outside of Washington, DC; this does not mean she wants to talk U.S. politics with you. She has been a frequent visitor to small coastal towns located along the Eastern seaboard but has yet to see anything truly alarming emerge from those waters, much to her disappointment. She’s hopeful that her lifelong aversion to eating fish or seafood might earn her a little mercy when the hungry ocean gods finally start coming ashore.

Nicole’s debut horror/dark fantasy novel Tidepool will be coming out from Parliament House Press in August 2021. The novel was showcased in Pitch Wars 2017, where Nicole was mentored by Peter McLean (Priest of Bones).

Her story “Christmas Every Day” appears in Cemetery Gates Media’s Halldark Holidays anthology edited by Gabino Iglesias (Coyote Songs). She is a regular contributor to The Weekly Knob, a prompt-based writing challenge on Medium. You can find an up-to-date list of Nicole’s fiction on Medium here.

Nicole is a member of the Horror Writers Association. She has attended the Borderlands Writers Boot Camp and the Futurescapes Writers Workshop.

She has been a publications editor, a web content specialist, and an editorial assistant. She fulfilled a longtime dream of competing on “Jeopardy!” in 2011, although she did not fulfill her longtime dream of being a Jeopardy champion, alas.

If you actually read all this, she’s grateful.

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Cover Reveal: Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee @entangledteen @MollyELee

I am so happy to be working with Entangled Teen to do this Cover Reveal of Molly E. Lee’s up coming book Ember of Night!

This book is Perfect for fans of HUSH, HUSH, this epic angels-and-demons YA series combines all the best tropes of the genre: pulse-pounding romance, epic worldbuilding, and plenty of twists and turns.

Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Expected Publication: May 4, 2021

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I am a weed.

Unloved by my abusive, alcoholic dad. Unwanted by my classmates. Unnoticed by everyone else.

But I’d suffer anything to give my kid sister a better life—the minute I turn eighteen, I’m getting us the hell out of here. And some hot stranger telling me I am the key to stopping a war between Heaven and Hell isn’t going to change that.

Let the world crumble and burn, for all I care.

Draven is relentless, though. And very much a liar. Every time his sexy lips are moving, I can see it—in the dip of his head, the grit of his jaw—even if my heart begs me to ignore the signs.

So what does he want?

I need to figure it out fast, because now everyone is gunning for me. And damn if I don’t want to show them what happens when you let weeds thrive in the cracks of the pavement…

We can grow powerful enough to shatter the whole foundation.

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, Ask Me Anything, the Grad Night series, and the Love on the Edge series. She is a 1001 Dark Nights Discovery Author for 2017. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves exploring the outdoors around her mountain home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

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