Nocturne (Nightmusic Trilogy, #2) by Heather McKenzie
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult
I am hunted.
A pawn in a vicious game.
The only way I can protect the ones I love…
…is to disappear.
Finally free of her father, Kaya has the one thing that keeps her heart beating—Luke.
Blissfully content in his arms, everything seems perfect…until their world is shattered by a deadly invasion. When an old ally comes to the rescue, Kaya wants none of it. She is devastated to learn the identity of her attacker, and that she must do something truly heartbreaking if she wants to save the ones she loves. Sacrificing everything and sinking into bottomless sorrow, Kaya finds solace in an unlikely friend—one who shows her a different kind of love, and helps her discover an inner strength she never thought possible.
A heart-pounding journey of self-discovery, Nocturne is the transformative second installment of The Nightmusic Trilogy by Heather McKenzie.
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This is a really good story full of romance, fantasy and lots of elemental magic.
This book is very captivating. It is easy to follow and flows well from chapter to chapter.
The characters are well-developed and interesting to get to know.
I find it fascinating to see how many different magical powers that are woven into the story.
I would highly recommend this book to the readers who love magic, fantasy and romance.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
Excerpt from NOCTURNE
I flew out the door into the cool night, took four steps, then stopped—the latest enlightening news about my father had sent me over the edge. Tears burst from my eyes. The last shred of hope I’d been hanging onto that Henry wasn’t all bad had been completely obliterated; he was an actual monster.
I dropped to the curb and put my head in my hands. The rain started falling, lightly dusting my shoulders at first, then becoming a downpour just to add to my misery. I became soaked head to toe, but I didn’t care. I stayed where I was, wishing the rain would melt me into a puddle that would drain into the gutter and then just disappear into the earth…
“You left something in my truck,” said a voice from out of nowhere.
At the edge of my vision was Ben, rain coming down even harder now and pouring off his cowboy hat in rivers. He was holding out a paper bag, which was now soaked. It was the muffin I hadn’t eaten.
“I didn’t want it to go to waste,” he added, eyeing me with concern, then glancing at the café window where I could feel many sets of eyes on my back.
I dropped my gaze back to the gutter. My body didn’t want to move, and I still held out hope that the rain might just wash me away. Ben said something, and then he hauled me up and turned me to face him. He lifted my chin, and I had no choice but to meet his eyes. The rain plastered my hair to my face, mixing with the tears that were spilling out of me with blinding force.
He gave me a weak smile. “I tried to leave. Got in my truck and was ten minutes out of town, but then I realized…” He paused, fumbling for the right words. “I could really use some help at my ranch. Now, the job doesn’t pay much, but you’ll have your own room and all the food you can eat. You’ll be dry.”
He waited patiently for an answer, but I was so grateful that all my words caught in my throat. He tossed the paper bag with the muffin into the garbage. After a quick glance at the internet café and the white-haired waiter watching from the doorway, his hand firmly latched onto mine. I had the sense I wasn’t being given a choice, I was going wherever this cowboy wanted me to.
“I’m taking you home now,” he said over the downpour.
Home. Home was in Luke’s arms….
The rain was falling in sheets. Since I wasn’t about to turn into a puddle and dissolve, I let the cowboy lead the way.
Heather McKenzie is the Canadian author of The Nightmusic Trilogy. Also a professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she told stories through music for years before falling in love with novel writing. Heather pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. She is a rocker at heart, a mom of three and an aspiring painter.
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Book & Author Details:
Dominion (Life After, #3) by Julie Hall
Publication date: March 19th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
After defeating the red dragon’s legion of bloodthirsty demons, Audrey can finally settle into the afterlife with the knowledge her family is safe. But her quest for a perfect existence shatters the moment Logan is kidnapped in an attempt to bend her to Satan’s will.
Audrey must now travel to the one place no hunter has ever ventured to save the man she loves . . . Hell.
Savage demons, desiccated corpses, life sucking zombie trees, and a land of death and rot await Audrey and her friends as they battle through the fiery realm.
But Logan’s freedom comes with a price . . . the destruction of Audrey’s happily ever after.
As Satan schemes for dominion over all the realms, Audrey learns that some acts may be beyond redemption.
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We sat on his bed, tucked up against the headboard, Logan sitting with one knee
bent and an outstretched leg, and me curled into a ball against his chest, practically
cuddled on his lap.
When my tears were spent, I let out a shaky breath of air.
“Audrey, I can’t—” Logan’s voice caught on something. His head rested on top
of mine. When he continued, his voice dropped an octave, thickened with emotion. “I
can’t imagine what you went through down there. I’m so very sorry. I should never
have bonded with you.”
I savored the warm thud of his heartbeat on my cheek for several seconds
before what he’d said sunk in. The leakage from my eyes along with a bad case of the
feels must have dulled my reactions.
I jerked to a sitting position to stare at him in disbelief—and anger. My face
was crusted with the salt of dried tears. There was no doubt I was a hot mess and a
half. But that was nothing compared to the mess he’d just spewed.
He reached for me again, but I put a hand up to ward off his movements and
curled my upper lip.
Where to even start?
“What I went through? Are you insane?” His gaze jumped around my face as
if he couldn’t decide on a safe place to land. “Logan, I actually felt an echo of what
you went through. I even experienced some of it in a dream or a weird out of body
experience where I was you. What I went through was nothing.”
He opened his mouth to speak, but I slashed a hand through the air to stop
him. “Nothing compared to what had been done to you. You were torn to shreds.
Literally, in some spots.”
His face paled. I shouldn’t have gone there and instantly regretted bringing it
up—but I couldn’t handle his concern for me when he had been tortured. We’d get
to the “should never have bonded with you” comment next.
“You experienced some of . . . of what I went through?” he asked.
Shoot, I gave him another reason to beat himself up. Rookie mistake. “Never
mind about that. And what’s this business about regretting bonding with me?
Frankly, that’s kind of—hey!”
He grabbed my upper arms and held me still as I tried to push away even
farther. His blue eyes flashed, and his face was hard as stone. “If bonding with you
caused you to feel even a second of what I endured in that place, then yes, it’s
something I deeply regret and would do anything to take back.”
Buried under the caveman response was something sweet, but I wasn’t
“Argh. You . . .” I pointed a finger at his face. “You just . . .”
As I sputtered to find the right words, the corners of Logan’s lips just barely
tipped up. I stopped talking when I spotted his involuntary reaction. Of course I’d
find a guy who thought it was cute when I got mad. Actually, that was probably
pretty lucky considering I did tend to have a short fuse.
I pressed my lips together and narrowed my eyelids before performing
another visual sweep of his body.
Yep, he looked to be relatively healthy.
I launched myself at him and grabbed the sides of his face, and then I planted
my lips right over his. Just like the first time I’d surprised him with a kiss, he was
I gently but firmly bit down on his full bottom lip in a silent demand for him
to get with the program. Then I pulled back a fraction, just far enough that my lips
grazed his when I spoke. “Less talking, more kissing.”
I’d gone to Hell and back for this guy. I wanted to collect my reward . . . with
Julie Hall is a USA Today bestselling YA fantasy author and 1st place winner of the 2012 Women of Faith national writing contest. She was also was awarded "Best Debut Author" at the 2017 Ozarks Indie Book Festival.
Before writing her first novel Julie worked as a film publicist and rubbed elbows with the rich and famous . . . as in she would gently nudge them to let them know their meal had arrived during press interviews.
She now spends most of her "office hours" with her two furry writing buddies. Her daughter thinks that mommy's superpower is “sleeping all day,” but that’s because she’s often awake until the wee hours of the morning weaving tales of adventure in worlds of her own creation. When asked in an interview what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’s quoted to have answered, “to never have to grow up.”
She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her four favorite people--her husband, daughter, and two doodles (because dogs are people too).
Author links: Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads |
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Galatine’s Curse (Tom’s Arthurian Legacy, #3) T.J. Green
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
An ancient sword. A dark secret. A new enemy.
In the third book in the series, Tom has established a new life in the Otherworld, a life he loves. He lives with Arthur in New Camelot, and Arthur is hosting a tournament. Eager to test his sword-fighting skills, Tom’s competing. But while the games are being played, his friends are attacked and everything he loves is threatened. Tom has to find the intruder before anyone else gets hurt.
Tom’s sword, Galatine, seems to be the focus of these attacks. Their investigations uncover Galatine’s dark history and a terrible betrayal that a family has kept secret for generations. But this secret now puts others at risk, including Tom, and he realises that he could lose everything unless he can solve the mystery of his sword’s past.
Galatine’s Curse is the third book in the YA Arthurian fantasy series, Tom’s Arthurian Legacy. If you enjoy magic and mystery, a strong group of characters and Arthurian fantasy, then you’ll love this action-filled adventure.
Buy Galatine’s Curse for your thrilling new fantasy adventure today!
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They shuffled towards the light, and Tom gasped. The passage had opened out, and they were on a narrow shelf, looking out across a large cave that twinkled with a faint blue glow. Far below them was a lake lit from beneath, reminding Tom of Ceridwen’s Cauldron.
“Where’s the light coming from?” Tom asked, as he craned round to look at the cave. It was almost circular, and although the lake was a long way down, the roof seemed far above them too.
“Great Goddess!” Nimue murmured. “It must be coming from daystar sapphires.” She pointed. “There are hundreds set into the cavern walls.”
“What are those? I’ve never heard of them,” Brenna said.
“Very rare stones with strong magical properties,” Nimue replied. “Only those who practise magic use them, and they’re very hard to get.” She gazed around with wonder.
“And yet Raghnall seems to have had his own enormous supply,” Arthur said.
“I wonder,” Merlin said, “could they have been used in Filtiarn’s spell?”
A narrow walkway ran off to their right before petering out, and Merlin felt his way along, heading towards where a smattering of stones came within reach.
“Maybe,” Nimue murmured, deep in thought. “They have the ability to enhance any spell, but the power actually makes them dangerous. I have never used them, even when I had some. If they’re used incorrectly, they can cause what I can only describe as a magical explosion.”
“That’s a long way down,” Bloodmoon said, peering over the edge. He picked up a stone and dropped it. It was several seconds before they heard a faint splash. “I think there’s something down there.”
“Like what?” Tom said, alarmed.
Beansprout dropped to her knees, better to look over the edge. “Can you see that black shape against the blue? It looks like it’s circling around.”
“It’s getting bigger,” Woodsmoke said. “Is that because it’s getting closer?” He looked at Bloodmoon, annoyed. “Have you woken something?”
“I only dropped a stone in!” he said, indignant. “Whatever it is, it’s a long way down. You worry too much, Woodsmoke!”
Before anyone else could comment there was an enormous splash and the black shape emerged from the water, silhouetted against the blue. The shape kept coming, and then a spurt of fire emerged from the blackness, followed by the familiar roar of a dragon.
“It’s a bloody great dragon,” Arthur yelled, pulling Excalibur free with a hiss. “Run!”
But Merlin was still at the end of the ledge, examining the stones.
“Merlin, get a bloody move on!” Arthur yelled, preparing to fight as they stood mesmerised by the dragon’s approach.
And suddenly Tom was aware of Galatine, trembling, its hilt warm to the touch. “How can it live in water?” he shouted as he pulled Galatine free, its opals now swirling furiously.
“Water dragon,” Nimue yelled above the roar, “very vicious, and territorial.”
A blinding white light emitted from her hands, held palms forward, forming a wall in front of them just as the dragon drew level and released another stream of fire.
They instinctively ducked, but the shield held, turning into a wall of flame as the fire hit it. Beyond, the dragon flapped its enormous wings and fixed them with a vicious stare before flying round to circle back, its huge wing span creating a rush of air.
“Wow!” Tom said, rising to his feet and looking with new appreciation at Nimue.
Merlin stumbled, and Arthur ran to him, helping him to his feet. Woodsmoke and Bloodmoon had already drawn their arrows in case the shield failed.
Without hesitating, Beansprout did as she asked, and Tom saw her stiffen as a wave of power travelled through her, strengthening the shield.
Tom watched the dragon turn back towards them, dripping with phosphorescent water, like a sheen of blue fire racing along its wings and dripping down its jaw. It was magnificent and terrifying all at the same time.
T J Green was born in England, but moved to New Zealand 10 years ago. She currently lives near Wellington with her partner and her cats Sacha and Leia. When not writing she does lots of reading, gardening and yoga.
In a previous life she's been a singer in a band, and has done some acting with a theatre company - both of which were lots of fun. On occasions she and a few friends make short films, which begs the question, where are the book trailers? Thinking on it ...
Tom's Inheritance is TJ Green's first book in the series Tom’s Arthurian Legacy, the sequel Twice Born was released in February 2017. Galatine’s Curse, book 3, will be released in March 2018. She is also working on a few short stories which further expand the world of Tom in the Other.
Her new project is an urban fantasy series about witches.
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Girl Vs (Sinister Skies#1) by X. Culletto
Publication Date: November 4, 2017
Before the Vela invasion, Rhyan's biggest concern was getting through a day of school. But when she is thrust into the madness of a kill-or-be-killed world, her true strength emerges and a deadly warrior is unleashed. Stumbling through the new morals of a post-apocalyptic world, she learns to depend only on herself. As she gets closer to discovering what the aliens actually want, her lethality becomes unmatched, and she soon learns the extent she'll go to in order to survive.
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List your all time favorite literary characters and why you like them.
A few of my all-time favorite literary characters would be Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I never get tired of reading those two dance around each other, and they’re stellar examples of organic character growth. You’ll also find me on the Harry Potter bandwagon. Harry is such a great character because he embodies courage, which is a trait I admire in anyone, fictional or not. Finally, I have to add Ender Wiggin to the list, because Card did such a masterful job creating a true leader that not only inspires the other characters in his story, but living, breathing readers also.
Xela Culletto loves all genres, but especially loves to geek out to sci-fi and fantasy. She currently lives in Utah with her husband and three children.
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The Tour Schedule Linl:
Book Title: The Clock Flower (Book 3 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Genre: Mystery / Fantasy
Publisher: Gauthier Publications, The Hungry Goat Press Imprint | Category: YA Fiction, 208 pages
Release date: February 2018
Tour dates: Feb 26 to March 30, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is light profanity and some threat of violence.)
Dara Roux, abandoned when she was seven years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan. Accepted to Yale University.
Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan. Accepted to MIT.
Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was sixteen. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan. Accepted to Juilliard.
The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—as they are called, have graduated from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women after returning from New York City where Dara learned why her mother abandoned her all those years ago, and they are now attending universities where they can further their special talents. This means they will be separated from each other and from Carolina, their much-loved mentor and teacher who is “one of them,” for the first time in their young lives. They vow to try living apart for one semester, in the so-called real world that doesn’t include the orphanage; but if things don’t work out, they will come up with another plan—a plan where they can be together once again.
Dara is invited through Yale University to take part in an exciting archeological project in China. Jennifer, once again visualizing black and white images and the unusual sounds of another cadence that seem to be connected to Mackenzie, is engrossed in creating her next symphony at Juilliard. Mackenzie, because of her genius at problem-solving, is personally chosen by a US Senator to get involved in a mysterious, secret research project involving immortality that is being conducted in a small village in China—not too far from where Dara is involved with the archeological site. Once there, however, she finds herself facing a terrifying death from the blood-dripping teeth of an ancient evil dragon. Her best friends, the FIGs and Carolina, rely on their own unique genius and special talents to save her as she discovers the truth of her birth parents.
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MY REVIEW: (LAWonder10)
The three "FIGS boarded the plane leaving to their various destinations. They will be attending separate Universities and will be separated for the first time in over two years. They would be leaving Caroline behind. They would avoid separation anxieties by Skyping each night at 8:30 p.m. Caroline's time.
Jennifer was in one of her creative trances and everyone knew to avoid disturbing her until it was complete. Something was seriously happening. Soon Caroline's gypsy mother, and McKenzie knew something big was coming. They soon discovered this involved more than just them and in a faraway place.
This is the third boo of the F.I.G. series and was just s captivating than the others, if not more so!
*This was gifted me with no requirement for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Four and a Half Stars
THE CLOCK FLOWER is the 3rd book in the F.I.G. Mystery series, it is a stand-alone novel. Below are the other two.
RESEARCHING THE CLOCK FLOWER By Barbara Casey
I always make it a practice to thoroughly research the themes in my books, whether they are fiction or nonfiction. I feel that by being accurate in the details, it makes the story more credible. Writing The Clock Flower was no different.
In the story, the FIGs have now graduated from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. For the first time since meeting one another at the orphanage as young children, they are now going their separate ways to the universities where they will continue their advance education. Not having ever been apart, the idea of no longer being Carolina and the FIGs is frightening. They are more than uncertain and fearful as to what to expect in a world that doesn’t include Wood Rose and Headmaster Thurgood Harcourt, not to mention their teacher and mentor who is more of a big sister to them, Carolina. As always, it is Dara who first comes up with a plan. If for any reason any one of them is unhappy with her situation, they will return to Wood Rose where Carolina will help them come up with another plan. To accentuate this pledge, Carolina has given them their own smart phones so that they can send the code word “Thurgood” to each of the others, letting them know there is something critical going on and they need to meet at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose as soon as they can get there. It is a pact that is made out of love, but also because of the uncertainty Carolina feels about whether the world is ready for the FIGs.
Time proves that they are more than capable of handling any awkward situation. Each FIG is allowed to advance her own special talent in the formal setting of a university. For Jennifer, it is her continued advancement in art and music. Dara is invited to be part of an exclusive team of archeologists in China. And Mackenzie is assigned to a secret government medical research project that is being conducted in China and overseen by a U.S. Senator.
Each of these areas—art and music, archeology, and medical research—required thorough research in order to bring this story to life. The things that are revealed in the story are based on fact. At one point in the story, Mackenzie faces death, and it is because of an ancient dragon that many of the older Chinese believe in still today. It is one more element that brings life into the story.
Every time I finish writing a book in The FIG Mystery Series, I am physically drained and emotionally exhausted. My husband always brings me a box of tissues because he knows from experience that I am going to bawl. And I do.
There will be one more book in this series. I will research it, write it, and then sob when I have finished. I think it is because these characters have been my companions for so long now that the idea of turning them loose is extremely emotional for me. But I know they will be fine; my husband will bring me a box of tissues; and Carolina and the FIGs have a special code word to use just in case.
About the Author:
Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara is also a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband, and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Fitz, a miniature dachshund; and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.
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Book & Author Details:
Sneaking Out (Chased, #1) by Chuck Vance
Published by: Dunemere Books | Publication date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Synopsis:Could you sleep next to a murderer?
Luke Chase—yes, that Luke Chase, a modern hero ripped from the headlines—didn’t mean to get caught up in Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to hook up with the hot new British girl at St. Benedict’s, and if that meant sneaking out to the woods after hours, then so be it. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would go down for it. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to find the true killer.
For fans of “A Study in Charlotte” and boarding school lit, “Sneaking Out” (book one in the “Chased” series) immerses readers in the privileged prep school world, with a mystery that exposes the dark side of life on a residential high school campus.
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They continued deeper into the woods, carefully maneuvering over errant twigs and rocks as they headed into the autumn darkness. In the moonlight, branches and trees took on more sinister aspects. Random wildlife noises made them all look over their shoulder more than once. They were jumpy, but in a fun kind of way. Luke understood why so many students took the risk to sneak out. He was feeling the same run of emotions that made horror movies worthwhile: fear and dread, mixed with anticipation and relief.
Their place of debauchery had already been selected for them, because students of St. Benedict’s had stolen away for years to the very spot where they were headed. “The Dip,” as some unknown alum had christened it, was at the base of the remains of a hand-laid rock wall of mysterious origin. Rumors about the wall abounded: witches were burned there in the old days; it was part of the Underground Railroad; it was a farmhouse that had burned and the whole family had perished, and so on. The forgotten partition jutted out of the gravelly earth in the middle of nowhere, and ended just as abruptly ten yards later. It would look innocuous to most, except that on one side there was a deep drop-off mostly shielded by saplings and birch trees. Shadowy figures could hide in plain sight (and leave their vodka bottles and cigarette butts behind). Luke had passed by often enough during his daily runs but had never been there at night.
Suddenly a rush of memories from three years ago flashed in Luke’s mind like a series of snapshots. He shivered involuntarily, and shook his head as if to clear his mind. That was weird. He’d spent tons of time outdoors in the three years since that episode, never once thinking about it. Why tonight? Maybe there was something about the danger of sneaking out that echoed his ordeal three years ago, bringing it all back to the surface.
Not now, he told himself. Don’t think about that now. “You okay?” asked Pippa, with real concern.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
Pippa scrutinized him carefully, but before she could say anything, Oscar spoke.
“Okay, we’re here.” Oscar hopped down into the hole and turned around to lend Kelsey a hand.
“Ready?” Luke asked Pippa.
“Quite.” She dropped down into the Dip without waiting for assistance.
Luke looked down, hesitating for a second. What was wrong with him tonight? This was fun. They were having a good time.
Everything will be fine, he told himself. Nothing bad is going to happen.
He followed Pippa, descending into near darkness.
Excerpt From: Chuck Vance. “Chased, Book 1: Sneaking Out.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=5A5BF7AEB7E709DFAF15E342D6A5167B
Chuck Vance is a pseudonym for a bestselling writer of both adult mysteries and novels for young adults. Vance attended boarding school in Connecticut and graduated from Columbia University. Vance has lived in New York, Moscow, London, Paris and Los Angeles and is frequently on the move.
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Damaged (Dark Road Series, #2) by Krys Fenner
Publication date: November 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hope springs eternal for everyone except Bella Kynaston. She survived the rape, but the aftermath is a whole other story. She struggles to figure out who she really is as more truths are revealed about her heritage. With no real anchor, sometimes ending it all seems like the only way out.
David has loved Bella for three years. Too bad he feels as if he no longer deserves a chance with her. Much to his surprise that’s exactly what he gets, but she’s far more damaged than he ever imagined. Still, he’ll do anything to help her even if it means losing himself in the process. Any transgression can be forgiven. Or so he thinks.
Will Bella find the peace she so desperately seeks if the pain permanently ended? Is there someone who can get to her in time? Or will the damage she’s suffered prove too much to bear?
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Damaged by Krys Fenner
As I said in the previous book, Addicted, this is excellent writing. Big thumbs up to Krys Fenner.
Again, the characters are well-developed It was great to get to know them better in this story. I felt their emotions deeply.
I'm still amazed at the things that happen in this life that we never see or at least I hope we never have to see or experience.
As with Addicted, the book cover and the title of the story are a perfect fit.
I highly recommend this book to other readers and am anxiously waiting for the follow-up to this story.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
Krys Fenner has been infinitely passionate about writing and helping people for as long as she can remember. To date, she has published two books, numerous poems, and is now avidly working on a fantasy series. Krys received an Associate of Arts in Psychology and is currently working on her B.A.
To find out more about Krys Fenner and her upcoming book releases, visit her official Website | Author links: Twitter | Goodreads |
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Book & Author Details:
by Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins 0.5 - prequel novella)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
An Angelbound Prequel Novella by Christina Bauer
As the High Prince of the demon-fighting thrax, Lincoln knows he must marry for political gain. Not that he minds. For all of his eighteen years, Lincoln’s been bound to his duty. Fighting demons is his life, and he’s never given romance a second thought. Instead, the High Prince lives for the days when he leaves his hidden realm to fight demons on Earth.
Then, everything changes.
Lincoln and his nobles become forced to visit Purgatory, the home of quasi-demons (who are mostly human with a bit of demonic DNA). Here Lincoln spies Myla Lewis, a lady warrior who enflames his heart, ignites his interest, and inspires his respect. Trouble is, Myla’s also a quasi. By thrax law, Lincoln must kill anything demonic—not date them. For the first time in his life, Lincoln wonders if he’ll follow his duty…or heed the demands of his heart.
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I am Lincoln Vidar Osric Aquilus, High Prince of the Thrax. My people are renowned as the greatest demon hunters across Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and the Dark Lands. At eighteen years old, I’ve killed precisely one thousand four hundred and thirty-seven demons in hand-to-hand combat, more than any other thrax in history. All of which leads to a single inescapable conclusion.
I can make it through this breakfast with my mother.
At least, I think I can.
“You haven’t touched your eggs, my son.” Mother spears a strawberry off her plate. After many years of maternal encounters, I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed in situations like this one. Mother will bring up her true concerns when she’s good and ready.
In reply, I merely maintain her stare. We’ve an odd relationship, but a close one. We’re both natural schemers, so neither wants to pass up a test of intelligence and charm.
“Perhaps you dislike formal breakfasts,” says Mother as she gestures to my tunic.
“I’m fine with wearing royal garb to meals. Rest assured, all my Batman costumes are safely packed away.” As a child, I fought hard to dress as a human superhero. Unlike demon killing, that was one battle I ultimately lost.
“So you say.” A small smile rounds Mother’s mouth. “Those tunics hide quite a lot.”
“True. I’ve a Bohemian Rhapsody T-shirt on under this thing.”
“I have no idea what that is, but I’m pleased to see you turned out so well.”
This morning, I’m dressed in a velvet tunic, leather pants, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Mother looks regal and lethal in her black velvet gown. She has porcelain skin, delicate features, and an all-knowing glare that reduces hardened warriors to mush.
Needless to say, I’m pleased that her glare has softened. I must remember to work Batman into our conversations more often.
For a few minutes, Mother and I continue our breakfast in silence. It would be pleasant, except for the setting. Our new feasting hall is located in Purgatory.
This place combines the worst of a rundown human suburb with the best of a rotting Dumpster. The sky is constantly cloudy with two types of weather: rainy and about to rain. It’s part of the magic of this realm that the weather is always dreary. Plus, the sky never reveals the sun or moon, and even if it did, those celestial bodies follow different patterns than they do in other realms.
Closing my eyes, I let my thoughts return to the glittering caverns of my homeland. As a rule, thrax live underground on Earth in the realm of Antrum. For some reason, the oracle angel, Verus, has demanded the royal family—and our noble entourage—move to Purgatory for a short period of time. This wasn’t a popular idea, but the oracle’s word is law, so we arrived here three months ago. Until Verus sets us loose, our days will be spent in tents and wooden halls like this one.
I scan the empty benches around me and sigh. It’s hard being separated from the bulk of my people. Quiet breakfasts like this only make things worse. Usually our feasting hall is packed with thrax sharing breakfast at communal tables. However, today Mother insisted on having a family-only morning meal, which in this case translates into me, Mother, and a half-dozen terrified workers. Father should get here any minute now. I can only hope he arrives before Mother’s temper returns.
As if in reply to my thoughts, Mother spears another wilted strawberry with a vengeance. Looks like her temper will resurface before Father does. Bugger.
“You never answered my question,” says Mother. “You haven’t touched your food.” She spears a grape with such force the entire table wobbles.
“Careful there,” I say. “You’ll bring down the roof down.”
“One perk of being queen. I can bring down roofs and no one says a thing.”
At those words, the half-dozen servants in the room visibly shiver.
There’s no question about the general topic of Mother’s angst, either. It’s always the same issue: the House of Acca. That tribe is the largest and most troublesome of all thrax.
At this point, problems with Acca could fall into one of two categories.
One, Mother might be worried about my impending marriage contract with Acca’s most eligible noblewoman, Lady Adair. If Mother thinks there are problems on that front, she would be sorely mistaken. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more. I’d regret that, but I’m a prince. I always knew I’d never marry for love.
Two—and far more worrisome—would be if Mother discovered my ongoing scheme against Aldred, the dreaded Earl of Acca himself. I’ve many issues with the Earl, but my largest is how Aldred keeps leading his warriors into ill-planned demon attacks on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to the Earl of Acca, hundreds of good thrax meet bad ends every week. I meet with the families of the fallen, trying to provide comfort as their worlds fall apart. So many tears and ruined lives…and all so the Earl can prove his so-called prowess in battle.
Even worse, my parents have forbidden me from doing anything to stop Aldred’s bloodshed. Per some ancient treaty, if I interfere with Aldred’s rights to lead his troops, then the Earl has the unmitigated right to execute me on the spot.
And as every royal knows, execution threats and breakfast do not mix well.
—End Of Excerpt-
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Book & Author Details:
The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
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Bullying: A Multiple Retrospective
Bullying is one of the main themes of my young adult novel, The History of Hilary Hambrushina. To coincide with Pink Shirt Day, a Canadian anti-bullying initiative, I recently asked several people about their experiences with bullying. Their honest, thoughtful responses broadened my understanding of bullying and several key issues surrounding it. (All names used here are pseudonyms.)
I was struck by the range of ages at which my respondents experienced bullying, which is often thought of as a teen problem. Many people did indeed recall being bullied by classmates in junior high school. Yet bullying begins at a young age and continues into adulthood. Stacey’s daughter was picked on by a classmate in junior kindergarten, and Vanessa and Bonita in elementary school. Ingrid was targeted by her colleagues and Bert by his boss in the workplace. Respondents were taunted for various reasons, including physical characteristics: Rick for his “big nose,” Bonita her “dirty ears,” and Gabrielle her pale skin. As an immigrant new to Canada, Carmen was mocked by her classmates for her clothing and lunches. She attributes this jeering to cultural and class differences between her and her peers.
I also wondered about the level of support provided to the bullied by individuals and institutions in whom the bullied confided. Most respondents did ultimately tell someone, usually a family member or friend, about their ordeal. While most confidants were supportive, Nicole recalls a different experience with her parents: “[My mother] would also tell me I needed to try better to fit in—and not be so strange.” Stacey had a positive experience with institutional support. When she spoke to her daughter’s teacher about the teasing, the teacher offered to look out for any bullying and invited Stacey’s daughter to speak to her (the teacher) about any incidents. This support empowered Stacey’s daughter, giving her “the confidence she needed to deal with the situation better herself so she never did go to the teacher about it.”
For most people, however, institutional support was lacking. Several respondents indicated that while individual teachers were sympathetic and would try to stop bullying, these on-the-spot interventions resulted in only a pause in the taunting. Sadly, some educators simply ignore or refuse to deal with bullying. According to Gabrielle, “[the vice-principal] said that the school couldn’t really do much since kids would always be kids.” Vanessa was pushed into a wall in full view of her principal, who did nothing to help. She says, “Whenever I went to talk to my teacher about [the bullying], he would put up his hand and say, ‘I don’t want to hear about it!’” The situation had to escalate to an extreme level—the bullies threatening to shoot Vanessa—before the school finally took action. The only support Bert received in the workplace was a meeting in which Human Resources told his boss not to call Bert names. The boss agreed, then promptly broke his promise as soon as the meeting had ended. Nicole was even berated by her principal for defending herself against a group of classmates who were physically attacking her. Her daughter has fared better: When she is bullied, the school allows her “to leave her classroom (or any area of the school) immediately without having to ask permission and enter the office where she [can] sit on the couch.”
Respondents were also lukewarm about the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs in schools. While several felt that schools’ handling of bullying has improved in recent years, others emphasize that much more needs to be done. “I don’t think celebrating one day [Pink Shirt Day] helps,” says Vanessa. Carmen feels that even with anti-bullying programs in place, “unless the parents are big advocates and can demonstrate a level of assertiveness, not much is done.” Ingrid has an interesting take on such programs: “Current efforts place the power to stop the bullying with the bully.” Instead, she argues, programs should focus on “empowering those who are being bullied to respond in socially appropriate and effective ways using real world examples.” Bonita, a teacher, laments, “Since I am an occasional teacher, I don’t have the opportunity for extended periods of time to help children who bully and children who are bullied. I feel like I provide more of a Band-Aid response.” And even the best school anti-bullying programs can’t protect children outside of school, as Nicole’s daughter discovered. Once her bullies knew that the principal was powerless to punish them for bullying that didn’t occur on school property, they simply moved their tormenting off the playground and into the street.
For my respondents, the impact of bullying has been profound and long-lasting. psychological wounds such as low self-esteem, high self-doubt, and wariness of others are common, even years after the tormenting ended. Rick admits that being bullied has resulted in “a narrative of self-loathing that continues until today…. It's like sharing headspace with both Siskel and Ebert; every [Rick] review is two thumbs down.” Ingrid confesses that “it’s been a long road to feel like an equal to my peers.” After Bert quit the job at which he was being bullied, his experience with workplace harassment caused him anxiety in his subsequent jobs.
Yet bullying has also resulted in positive self-growth for many respondents. Stacey believes that her daughter is now “more empathetic, faith-filled, and has a stronger sense of self.” Surviving bullying has emboldened Gabrielle “to take more risks in life.” Rick extends compassion to everyone he meets and stands up for those being bullied. Carmen has harnessed her experience “to support others who don’t feel that they have a voice.” Perhaps the words of twelve-year-old Vanessa, the youngest questionnaire respondent, offer the most hope to those currently suffering through this trauma: “For others out there that are bullied, keep your chin up and know that you ARE strong, you ARE good, you ARE beautiful, and you ARE smart! And most important, you ARE worth it!”
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.
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Mercury Rises by Scarlett Kol
Publication Date: February 13, 2018 | Publisher:: Inkspell Publishing
A girl looking for a way out.
Being the daughter of New America’s leader, Mercury Masters has everything a girl could want. A glamorous life full of beautiful people, and the power to have anything she wants, except for one thing—to escape. Because Mercury’s perfect life comes with secrets to keep. Dangerous secrets that if made public would destroy her, her family, and her father’s reign. Then she meets Hawk.
A boy looking to be a hero.
Hawk, a handsome prep school dropout turned vigilante, has his own family secrets. Deadly secrets that have haunted him since he was fifteen. But instead of fighting the ghosts of his past, Hawk has assembled a group of misfit hackers and thieves to save the future from the corrupt government of New America and the mysterious virus that is killing off its citizens. But trying to do the right thing is tough when the person you really want to save is your enemy’s daughter.
A love that could kill them both.
Powerful forces keep them apart, but coming together could be the key to saving New America from destruction—even though it may cost both their lives.
A near-future YA biopunk retelling of Robin Hood.
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Mercury Rises - Scarlett Kol
This is a really good book. I really like the story line. As you read you begin to understand the characters actions more fully.
The characters are well-developed. It is easy to feel their emotions. The more I read the more I found myself really liking the characters.
The book cover fits well and the title is perfect for the story.
I recommend this book to those who like romance, crime and a variety of other actions that are included in this story.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Scarlett Kol grew up in Northern Manitoba reading books and writing stories about creatures that make you want to sleep with the lights on. As an adult, she's still a little afraid of the dark. Scarlett now lives just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her husband and two boys, but if you need to find her she's likely freezing at the hockey rink.
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