Midu Reads

 

http://phollo.me/miduhadi 

Review Overdue Series– Whimsy Moon Bookmarks, Online Book Outlet Giveaways, Paperback Emporium, & Desi Writer Lounge’s Literary Open Mic Night

 

 

 

Whimsy Moon

 
 
 
 
Who doesn’t like a touch of whimsy in their lives? Click on the link and look at the designs on their page and you will end up ordering something or the other. The designs are quirky and just plain, whimsical. They delivered on time and the product arrived in perfect condition. I found the price a tad high but I abso-loved the bookmark. The quote on the bookmark is from the Malazan series. If you haven’t read any of it, then there’s something wrong with you!

 

 

 

Online Books Outlet Giveaway

I came across this post on the page and was the first one to share it. Five minutes later and the bookstore PM’d me, asking me for my address. I had the book within several days of that message. I had recently gifted my own copy to a friend and I won this one in the giveaway. How awesome is that! Here’s a look at the booty won:

 

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Paperback Emporium

 

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When I need a book delivered that I can’t find anywhere, these are the guys I go to. They are extremely responsive on Facebook and always deliver. If they don’t have the book, then they will have it imported for you, like the one pictured above. I found about them via Instagram when I saw these lovelies featured on their feed:

 

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As you can see, I was already drooling and promptly ordered both books, impatiently waiting for them to arrive. Oh, they arrived!

 

As it stands now, I am slowly buying the remaining books from them in this series so as not to break the bank. Give PE a chance; they won’t disappoint!

 

Desi Writer’s Lounge Literary Open Mic Night

 

DWL is always active and always doing something to promote reading and writing in different areas of Pakistan! Since I’d love it if they had more events in my city (Karachi), when I saw the post for Open Mic, I knew I wasn’t going to miss it.

 

A simple registration process through email later and I had signed up as one of the people who would be sharing their work at the event. I was to pay Rs. 350 at the venue. Besides that, they had only one other rule: the work shared must be original. Mine was.

I read something that I had written for Wringo Ink. You can find it here.

 

 

The recital was well received because I was reading in a supportive environment. Whether it was poetry or prose and in English or Urdu, that was being shared, everybody was appreciative.

 

We were seated comfortably and munched on delicious bun-kebabs provided by Sattar Bakhsh while sipping Pepsi. In short, a good was had by all! DWL has promised to share videos and pictures of the event here, so be on the lookout.

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6 Literary Quotes For Mother's Day

Reblogged from BookLikes:
It's Mother's Day in Poland! Mum love books, books love mums. We wish all the mums all the best and bookish!

Wszystkiego najlepszego dla wszystkich Mam! :)

It's Mother's Day in the US! Mum love books, books love mums. Hug your mum on the Mother's Day with these bookish quotes about mother's love. 

 

Howards End - E.M. Forster Howards End - E.M. Forster  

The disregard of a dying woman's bequest, a girl's attempt to help an impoverished clerk, and the marriage of an idealist and a materialist — all intersect at an estate called Howards End. The fate of this country home symbolizes the future of England in an exploration of social, economic, and philosophical trends during the post-Victorian era.

 

 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin 

 

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPréHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley — a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry — and anyone who reads about him — will find unforgettable.

 

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey NiffeneggerThe Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger  

Passionately in love, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.

 

House Rules - Jodi PicoultHouse Rules - Jodi Picoult 

Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself to others, and like many children with Asperger's, Jacob has an obsessive focus on one subject - in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do - and he's usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. Reluctance to make eye contact, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate gestures, all these can look a lot like guilt.

For One More Day - Mitch AlbomFor One More Day - Mitch Albom 

This is the story of Charley, a child of divorce who is always forced to choose between his mother and his father. He grows into a man and starts a family of his own. But one fateful weekend, he leaves his mother to secretly be with his father - and she dies while he is gone. This haunts him for years. It unravels his own young family. It leads him to depression and drunkenness. One night, he decides to take his life. But somewhere between this world and the next, he encounters his mother again, in their hometown, and gets to spend one last day with her - the day he missed and always wished he'd had.

 

We wish all the mums all the best! <3

3 notes from BookLikes Librarians - ASINs, graphic novels, your BookLikes shelf

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Today BookLikes Librarians share some useful information about editing book information on BookLikes and filling up your BookLikes shelves.

 

1. ASINs

Some of you already noticed that when you edit the book information with ASIN (mainly Kindle ebooks) you'll probably receive "Enter correct ASIN" notification, even though the ASIN IS correct.

We're very sorry for the ongoing problem, unfortunately the issue persists so it's impossible to edit the existing book with an ASIN number directly on the site.

 

We can do the changes via our internal system, so if you notice that a book record needs a change or an update, please mail Kate@booklikes.com and we'll do it ASAP.

 

Please note that you can still update the book covers by using the green Add cover button (no need to enter the edit book form).

 

 

BookLikes Librarian Jenn from Murder by Death posted a workaround for the ASIN bug you may find helpful. Here it is:

 

The ASIN bug - a workaround!

As I mentioned in my last post here there is currently an issue with some Amazon kindle and Audible ASIN numbers being rejected by the BL database.

 

I might have found a workaround for users (this won't work for librarians directly because our edits don't go through the queue).

 

If you want to edit an ASIN kindle edition, or Audible audiobook edition and it spits out that dreaded Add correct ASIN, all you have to do is remove the ASIN number completely from the record and save it.

 

For the Librarians - when you see an edit request that includes removing what looks like a legit ASIN number, check to make sure it's a kindle, and then approve all the changes except the ASIN removal.  It works!  The record will update with all the new details and keep the ASIN number in place.  

 

Note:  this obviously does not work if you're trying to add an ASIN that BL doesn't like to a record.  That's still broken - but this will at least allow you to edit existing records to add descriptions, page number, etc. without losing the ASIN.

 

 

We would be thankful for following the rules for graphic novels and other book entries. You can check the BookLikes Book Edit Guidelines on the FAQ page. In case of any questions or concerns, please mail us or use the Report option on the book page.

 

3. Shelving books

 

Jenn from Murder by Death started a series of How to BookLikes stories that every blogger gonna find helpful. Here are some of the insights concerning the shelving issues:

 

How to: Shelves. Part 1 of possibly 100

(...)

I'm going to presume everyone knows how to get to their BookLikes shelves.  By default, BookLikes displays your shelves as, well, shelves.  This is fine, but sometimes you need to extra power seeing your shelves in list view allows, so if you see shelves, please change the view to lists by clicking on this button:

 

 

Once you're in your list view - take a moment to check out the differences.... then click the "Settings" button on your toolbar:

 

 

This will take you to your shelf settings where you can choose things like your default view, default sort order, etc. etc.  But for the purposes of this tutorial we're focusing on the shelves themselves, so scroll a bit until you get to the list of shelves towards the bottom.

 

What is going to follow is a giant graphic of that section with notations about each function.  It just seemed the clearest way to explain all the different bits:

 

 

Notes:  

Exclusive statuses - these are shelves that allow you to mark a book without also setting it as Read, Planning to Read, or Currently Reading.   The best example of the usefulness of this is dictionaries .  Most of the time, you don't actually read, cover to cover, a dictionary.  Creating an exclusive shelf called Reference allows you to shelve it without having to mark your intention of reading it.   There are many other examples of these types of books, so you can create as many exclusive shelves as you'd like.  The checkbox for set as status allows you to move your shelves back and forth between exclusive and non-exclusive (in case you change your mind someday and decide to read the OED cover to cover).

 

click and drag - please note that older browsers and computers might struggle with this - if you think you're tech isn't a young whipper snapper any longer, use the Position numbers instead (although if you have a lot of shelves, yes, they're a pain).

 

I included the visible columns part of the page in the image above for two reasons.  1. It's where you can decide what to display in your list view, and 2. to highlight the multiple "Save Changes" buttons.  Now, I don't know for sure but rather to be safe than sorry, use the Save Changes button that applies to each section of the settings page.  So if you make changes to the table -visible columns section, use that save button.  If you make changes to the exclusive statuses, use that save button.

 

I suspect they're all the same but the sheer number of them make me concerned that they're not.  So, like I said, better safe than sorry.

(...)

 

Check also BookLikes' blog post: A-Z ways to arrange your bookshelf where we share and list all options available on your Shelf , table shelf view and shelf settings.

 

 

BookLikes is a place where you can not only start your book blog and review books but also present your book collection in the most desirable way. The following bookshelf description is a reminder of numerous shelf options available on your shelf page on BookLikes.

 

Filling up the bookshelf page with your favorite titles is easy-peasy. What to do next? First you should answer the question which reading personality type are you, decide how you'd like to arrange your books and then read the following section with the Shelf page options on BookLikes. 

 

 

1. Add a new thematic shelf - a new thematic shelf will be added to your shelf page; you can also set it as status, then it will be added under other statuses: Read, Planning to read and Currently reading.

 

2. A Shelf search - search your shelf, type title or author;

 

3. Sort option for your books - choose how to view your books;

 

4. Your private notes - find books with your private notes; the book with a private note receives a little dot under the cover;

 

5. Shelve it!  - a feature that helps you shelving new books from other webpages, move the Shelve it icon to your bookmark bar and click when visiting a book pages of Amazon and other booksellers;

 

6 and 7 - Cover view and Table view for your Shelf - choose which one suits you better;

 

8 - Shelf Settings - a gateway to manage your shelves, statuses and sorting options, have a look at available options below. 

 

 Shelf settings:

 

 

There's quite a lot of things to do in here:

 

a. add shelf -  add a new shelf, or set the shelf as an exclusive status;

 

b. choose the default shelves order - alphabetical or manual (then you can decide how to order your thematic shelves);

 

c. shelf Page view - the cover view or the table view for your admin shelf page; 

 

d. books order - how books on your shelf should be presented (this is how you and your blog guest will see the books on your shelf);

 

e. visible columns - chose which columns should be visible in your table view

 

f. rename - change the name of your thematic shelf;

 

g. position - if you wish to set your shelves manually, you can choose theirs positions (write number or use the drag and drop);

 

h. set an existing shelf as an exclusive status;

 

i. delete the shelf.

 

Remember to Save all the changes in the particular sections to make all the updates visible on your Shelf page. 

 

If you choose to view the table view of your shelf page,

here's what you get:

 

 

i. select one or several books, this will activate the option on the top of the table view ( see: k, l, m);

 

j. select all the books - you can select all the books visible on this shelf page;

 

k. add to shelves - add selected book(s) to your thematic shelf/shelves;

 

l. take books off the selected shelf - choose a thematic shelf, select the books and take them off the chosen shelf; the books will stay on your Shelf Page, only the shelves they are on will be changed;

 

m. delete books from your shelf - select book(s) and delete them from your shelf page; even if you delete the books from the Shelf, the review attached to this book will remain on your blog;

 

n. choose how many books per page in the table view to see;

 

o. sort options; cover - see book without a cover and add missing images to green books; Title/Author - alphabetical order; Ratings - according to your rating stars; My review - books with/without a review; Date Read - finished reading date;

 

p. add rating stars to your books;

 

q. add review, see review or edit review; the options depend whether the review is attached or not; 

 

r. edit shelves for a given book - move or add the book to your thematic shelves;

 

s. add the finished reading date - remember that only books with filled up Read Date count to your reading challenge; 

 

t. delete a book from your shelf;

 

u. change an edition - choose other book edition to be presented on your shelf page.

 

 

This shelf compendium covers many shelving issues, if you have any doubts or questions, please let us know in the comment section below or mail us directly.

 

We also encourage you to look through BookLikes blog and tag tutorials to find other tips and tricks on BookLikes.

 

*

Feel free to write with any questions directly to the BookLikes team (mail: kate@booklikes.com). You can also post questions in the discussion groups:

A Review Overdue Series — Why the Notebookush Box is the Box For You!

— feeling big smile

 

 
I had been waiting for the Mystery Bag for some time now. It all began when I viewed the cutest thing on NB’s Facebook page. It is called the Reader’s Pet and you will completely understand why I went gaga over it if you make a big deal about reading hard copies of books. I read ebooks mostly, which is why reading an actual book is a huge deal for me. I absolutely make it that way. So, as I was scrolling down their page one day, I found this:
 
 
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Of course, I wanted it! When I PM’d Maryam, the name behind the stationary awesomeness, she told me to wait. Instead of misleading her customers like most people would have done, she told me to wait until I could get the Reader’s Pet and other goodies by ordering a Mystery Bag.
 
I listened to her and boy, am I glad I did! Here are the details about the long awaited Mystery Bag, which comes in three distinct flavors lol:
 
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I ordered the White Bag. The bags began to be sent out in the second week of May. A portion of the proceeds from each bag was to go to a charity helping children go to school.
 
I liked that Notebookush took the extra effort to customize the box:
 
 
 
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By now two of my friends, Icky and Weird Enough, had joined me. This reminds me if you ever want to read what they have to say about books, give Icky’s blog, Tranquil Tidings, a dekko. Or, you could read Weird Enough’s musings on Dune here and here.

On opening it, we found this adorably packed package:

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Pretty, right? The first thing that my eyes fell on was this cute tote, which Weird Enough declared had been made for her. Alas, I remain toteless but look:

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Besides the tote, there were three beautiful postcards and a personalized letter to me about Self-Love. I love the thought and effort that Maryam has put into each item. Two of the postcards were based on Mother’s Day theme. Both had inscriptions about strong women that touched my heart. I have been most fortunate to be gifted with an incredible mother. She gives me strength and loves me unconditionally. She has an amazing sense of humor and also tells me that she is proud of me!
 

 

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The last item in the Mystery Bag was my beloved, the Readers’ Pet. From the incredible map on its cover to the extremely useful things inside, I am in love! I used it to make notes on The Handmaid’s Tale and my review will tell you how much use I got out of it!

Another thing that I like about these boxes is that they are all COD unlike many subscription boxes that services that expect you to have money to spare to pre-order them.
 
I liked the Mystery Bad and am willing to subscribe for another month. Would you?

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Blog Tour: A Honeyed Light by Freddie Milano with Guest Post and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for Freddie Milano’s A Honeyed Light. We will have info about the book and author, and a guest post, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Kunal, relative newcomer to the strange town of Harmony, has his hands full preparing for Diwali. That should be enough to keep anyone's mind preoccupied, but Kunal can't really ignore that he's nearly thirty, single, and still buried in the closet. Out of town at a gay club one night, he bumps into Oscar, proprietor of Harmony's only sex shop, and figures his secret is now officially out. What he doesn't expect is a slow seduction, or to have to decide what it is he really wants in life.

 

 

 

 

Buy Link

 

  

 

Why I Write HEAs.

 

If you're a romance fan I don't need to tell you what an HEA is. But for those who are sick of having to Google acronyms and feeling old, it just stands for Happily Ever After.

An alternative is Happy For Now or HFN, which implies that while the story ends happily at the moment, in the future there may be a change in relationship status. If I write HFN, I rarely imply it, so almost everything I write front-faces as HEA.

Note those qualifiers. I never say never.

So why do I write HEA? There are a few reasons.

First, I'm sappy and love a happy ending. I was raised on Disney, so I'm a sucker for true love stories and everyone finding someone. (Note: that doesn't have to be romantic. Platonic relations can also be HEAs.)

The second reason is the more important reason to me, and it's something I directly address in my upcoming novella, A Honeyed Light. (More to come on that soon!) Queer media is on the rise,but when I was younger, it was really, really difficult to find queer books or movies that ended happily. Someone was killed for being who they were, for whom they loved. Someone contracted HIV, died of complications from AIDS. Someone was kicked out of their family and home, forced to live on the streets and often, that also ended in death or violence.

I clearly remember But I'm a Cheerleader, as one of the first movies I saw where despite the unfortunate decisions of the teens' parents (sending them to a conversion therapy camp due to their sexualities) love prevailed. It ended with a happy couple.

I was shocked and confused that this wasn't more common. Why shouldn't we have happy endings? So I started looking for more positive media, and found it in some anime, few books, and few movies. It wasn't enough. And I always follow the edict of 'Be the change you wish to see in the world." If I wanted more positive queer representation in the world, By gum, I was gonna put it out there myself.

So that's why I do it. And because often queer media tends to not include a lot of people of color, I make sure they have prime roles in more work. It's the representation I needed, so I'm doing my part to put it out there.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Freddie Milano lives with her partner-in-crime, two adorable and devilish cats, and far more ideas than she really has time to set down on (electronic) paper. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen, though most of the embarrassing stories thankfully never made in onto the internet, and can stay safely buried.
She loves wine, Korean pop music, tea, chocolate, coffee, mythology, and both video and tabletop gaming. An ESFJ surrounded by introverts, Freddie has learned the art of socialization in moderation. Besides, staying in just leaves her more time to write.
Links
 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

apr 27- kickoff at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

apr 27- Angels With Attitude Book Reviews

apr 28- Romance Novel Giveaways – GUEST POST 1

apr 28- Books Dreams Life

may 1- A Fold in the Spine -GUEST POST 2

may 1- Lucky 13 Book Reviews and News

may 2- Teatime and Books

may 3- Blog of Author Jacey Holbrand

may 3- Lisa-Queen of Random

may 4- Booklover Sue – GUEST POST 1

may 4- The Book Town

may 5- Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews

may 5- U.S. - Brazil Book Review

may 8- Bound 2 Escape

may 8- The Authors Blog

may 9- A Mama's Corner of the World

may 9- The Pen and Muse Book Reviews

may 10- Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

may 10- The Bewitched Reader

may 11- Jazzy Book Reviews

may 12- The Avid Reader

may 12- Turning Another Page

may 13- Casey's Corner

may 15- Julayn Adams Books and Reviews

may 15- Yah gotta read this

may 16- Nicole's Book Musings

may 16- The Reading Spot

may 17- SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews -GUEST POST 2

may 17- The Bookworm Chronicles

may 18- Indie Wish List – GUEST POST 1

may 18- Sylv.net

may 19- Triquetra Reviews

may 22- Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

may 22- Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin'

may 23- Shh, I am Reading

may 23- Traci Hayden

may 24- CelticLady's Reviews

may 25- Paranormal Romance and Beyond

may 26- Mello & June

 

 

Source: http://snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-honeyed-light-freddie-milano-guest-post-giveaway

How to share your BookLikes posts when Facebook connection fails

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Sharing the blog content is crucial and Facebook auto posting is always super convenient but since we're still waiting for an update concerning BookLikes-Facebook features let us present you several other ways of sharing your book reviews and posts while waiting for the BL-Fb connection return.

 

At the same time we're terribly sorry for the inconvenience. The log in via Facebook, BL-Fb connection and the auto-posting options will be switched on as soon as we sort the problematic issues out. If you've used Facebook login for your BookLikes, please follow the step by step instruction on how to log into BookLikes when the Facebook login is off. We also wish to inform you that your Twitter connection should be working just fine.

 

1. Dashboard share option

Sharing straight from your Dashboard is not only fast but also handy. All you have to do it to click the arrow icon on the left and choose the social media you want to share the article on. The post will be published on your social channels within seconds. All links included in the tweets and social posts will redirect to the author's articles on his/her BookLikes public blog page.

 

The Dashboard share option is usually used for articles published by bloggers you follow, however, it can be also used for your writings.

 

 

2. Blog share option

If you wan to share your own writings (and the Fb auto post is off) use the share option on your admin blog page (menu->blog). The admin blog page presents only your reviews and articles so it's super easy and fast to send all your texts to your social media channels.

 

The links included in the tweets and social posts will redirect to your articles on your BookLikes public blog page.

 

3. Social share button on your BookLikes blog

Each of your blog post should have social share buttons (unless you did not switch them on in the customization tab). How to check if they are on? Just click the title of your review or article and look for the Like/ Tweet / Pin it / G+ buttons.

 

 

If they are not there, make the buttons visible by going to the customization tab (menu->Settings->Blog tab->Customization) and tick the social network boxes:

 

Remember to save all the changes in the customization tab! And check again.

 

Note: the position of the social share buttons may vary in accordance to the blog template. The Casual Smart blog design presents the button at the bottom of the post, whereas the Gentle Spirit design has them on the top:

 

 

Happy sharing!

SPOILER ALERT!

On the Relevance of The Handmaid's Tale -- A Book Published More Than Three Decades Ago!

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

 

 

The Prose

Books set in post-apocalyptic settings usually have an ominous feeling about them. You will start to get that vibe from the very first line. The Handmaid's Tale (THT) wasn't different in that regard.


Consider the following lines and you will see what I mean:

"We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
...for the games that were formerly played there
...the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone."

If you were to ask me to name one thing that I liked and disliked about the book, it would be the same:

It horrified me.
 
There is a certain sensuality and ripeness in the prose that on certain occasions became almost obscene to read. Two examples of the latter kind can be found below:
The stains on the mattress. Like dried flower petals. Not recent. Old love...
They touch with their eyes instead and I move my hips a little, feeling the full red skirt sway around me.
There were other examples like the ones mentioned above. I think the book was already amazing without them and they weren't really needed. On the other hand, the instances where the succulence of the prose worked for me were beautiful. Look at the greetings that Offred and Oflglen use, for instance:
"Blessed be the fruit..."
"May the Lord open..."
There is something about them that will make you downright uncomfortable. Then, there's a scene where Offred and the Commander are playing Scrabble. To Offred, spelling is a novelty and each word a tasty morsel:
 
http://www.foliosociety.com/images/books/illustrations/lrg/HDT_13500351810.jpg

 

We play two games. Larynx, I spell. Valance, Quince. Zygote. I hold the glossy counters with their smooth edges, finger the letters. The feeling is voluptuous. This is freedom, an eyeblink of it. Limp, I spell. Gorge. What a luxury.
Following are some of my favorite quotes:
 
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Image from here

The Symbolism

 

The Color Red

 

https://midureads.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/a5c48-the-handmaids-tale-s1-teaser.jpg


The book is littered with all kinds of symbols yet one is obvious and is constantly highlighted. The color red can be found in the Handmaids' dress, as well as, other places. For instance,
A Sister dripped in blood.
Hope is rising in me, like sap in a tree. Blood in a wound. We have made an opening,

The Relevance Today

 

There are certain themes that make this book highly relevant even after three decades. Let us look at some of them:

 

Hoarding of Knowledge (Religious and Otherwise)

If the masses are denied knowledge, a society hastens toward its decline. It has long been the tactic of rulers to divert the attention of the public with some distraction. The Ancient Roman emperors did it with gladiator fights. Nazi Germany did it by motivating people to snark on each other. Today's politicians do it with sports' tournaments. In THT, we find Nazi style has been adopted. People are too busy finding out what their neighbors are up to, which prevents them from focusing on what is going on around them.
 
Another way of making the public stay in an uneven footing is by allowing a privileged few access to religious knowledge. Regardless of the religion in question, a clique forms and the members of that esoteric group are the only ones who know what god requires from them. The rest of us are left floundering. Unable to verify the veracity of the claims being made in the name of a deity, we have no choice but to either denounce our faith or join the flock.
 
This Salon article raises some interesting points on the underlying themes in THT. It also discusses the next topic that I have in mind viz...
 

Women's Position in Society

I won't get into the things that will be obvious to most readers, such as women considered assets and being denied reproductive rights etc. It happens in the book, which was published in 1986. The fact that it is still being talked about today makes anything I say redundant. Let us look at some other interesting things that stood out to me:
 

Women's efforts and sacrifices being undermined constantly

Consider the scene where Janine is about to give birth. The instruments and methods being used are outdated. One of them, the birthing stool, can seat two persons, instead of one. To me, it felt like the construction of the stool had two purposes or one depending on how you choose to see it:

 

  1. The Wives being reminded of their inability to produce children by having to sit on the stool during the delivery and be humiliated.
  2. The Handmaids being reminded that all the sacrifice that they went through didn't change anything. Their seat is also lower than the Wives', which pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Getting Used to Something Equated with Things Getting Better

For the generations that come after, Aunt Lydia said, it will be so much better. The women will live in harmony together, all in one family; you will be like daughters to them, and when the population level is up to scratch again we’ll no longer have to transfer you from one house to another because there will be enough to go round.
This is the sole scrap of comfort that the "Aunt" had to offer to the Handmaids she was training. It reminds me of something I read on Facebook:
Image result for why we need feminism it could be worse
Things don't become right just because they have been going on for years. Telling us that our daughters would accept the situation because they didn't know any better does not cut it anymore. Saying that things could always be worse shouldn't be enough.
 
It isn't just feminism that this thought process can influence. The current events being recorded will soon become part of textbooks. Right now, the people who are alive in this time can differentiate between what happened and what was written down. For the future generations, the textbook version would become history.
 

Racism/Discrimination

Racism is very much a part of our society even today, as is discrimination. While the three main groups of women, Marthas, Handmaids, and Wives weren't from different races, they might as well have been.
 
https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/1/23/1327327126981/Margaret-Atwoods-The-Hand-002.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=2e59089f6535ab6c2e173e8913218da0

Provided that this comes to us via Offred, here is a look at what the Wives thought of the Handmaids:
Will Serena Joy talk about me like that, if I do as she wants?Agreed to it right away, really she didn’t care, anything with two legs and a good you-know-what was fine with her. They aren’t squeamish, they don’t have the same feelings we do. And the rest of them leaning forward in their chairs, My dear, all horror and prurience. How could she? Where? When?
You can see the discrimination in the naming of all the servants, Marthas, and the Handmaids being named after the Commander they are currently serving. Offred and Ofglen aren't their real names.
 
One of the throwaway lines from the book mentions that at first, the people thought that Islamic terrorists had taken over the government. I was surprised to find that reference in THT. When I look at the phobia that is still a part of today's society and the misconceptions surrounding my religion, I can see that this isn't something new.
 

Women Subjugating Women

If there is one thing that we need to stop doing, it is demeaning other women. You can see evidence of it in the book and you can see this happen in the real world. The "historical notes given at the end of the book had this to say about the "Aunts":
...the best and most cost-effective way to control women for reproductive and other purposes was through women themselves. For this there were many historical precedents; in fact, no empire imposed by force or otherwise has ever been without this feature: control of the indigenous by members of their own group.

Our attitude towards each other is largely responsible for how the rest of the world treats us. This was as relevant 30 years ago as it as today!

The excerpt below combines all of it: the gender discrimination, the generational brainwashing, the knowledge hoarding etc.

https://canadianartjunkie.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/balbusso_ceremony.jpg?w=1112
Are they old enough to remember anything of the time before, playing baseball, in jeans and sneakers, riding their bicycles? Reading books, all by themselves? Even though some of them are no more than fourteen – Start them soon is the policy, there’s not a moment to be lost – still they’ll remember. And the ones after them will, for three or four or five years; but after that they won’t. They’ll always have been in white, in groups of girls; they’ll always have been silent.

 

Other Thoughts

Moira

I am at odds while trying to see if I like Moira as a character or not. Offred is one of the wimpiest heroines I have read about, so she wasn't the one who made an impression on me. It was Moira who was intriguing. For instance, look at this exchange between them:
Women can’t hold property any more, she said. It’s a new law. Turned on the TV today?
No, I said.
It’s on there, she said. All over the place. She was not stunned, the way I was. In some strange way she was gleeful, as if this was what she’d been expecting for some time and now she’d been proven right. She even looked more energetic, more determined.
After reading this, I started thinking maybe she was feeling vindicated. Did that mean she hated men? I wasn't so sure about that when I read how she escaped and was grateful to the people, including men, who helped her escape.
 
We see another positive side of hers in the way she deals with a shell-shocked Janine. And finally, we see her giving up and resigning herself to a life of prostitution. Her character changed over time while Offred spends the whole book without evolving in any way.
 

Issues I Spotted

The book wasn't perfect and had some issues, including the fact that the main character doesn't really change over the course of the story.

I also found the ending somewhat a letdown. After investing so much of my emotion into reading what went on with Offred, I think I deserved to know what happened to her.


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There was a scene where Japanese tourists encounter Offred and Ofglen. It is made clear that the Japanese do not have the same custom. However, if radiation sickness and infertility are making Offred's people take such desperate measures, why isn't the rest of world doing the same?
 

Allusions and Similarities

When Offred is talking/praying to God, her words are:

I wish You’d answer. I feel so alone. All alone by the telephone. Except I can’t use the telephone. And if I could, who could I call? Oh God. It’s no joke. Oh God oh God. How can I keep on living?
I felt as if the author was alluding to the song, What If God Were One of Us. It is a favorite of mine. You can listen to it here.
 
The Underground Femaleroad reminded me of the people who used to help Black slaves back in the day when slavery was legal.
 
The Salvaging scene that ends with the Handmaids mobbing and mauling a man who supposedly raped a pregnant Handmaid put me in mind of a gruesome incident that took place in my country recently. Since I don't believe in promoting violence, I won't include the link here. I will include the link to a piece that I wrote on the event though. Read it here.
 
THT might have issues but it also highlights the issues of our society beautifully. It might seem like it is talking about an outrageous situation when in fact, it is only holding up a mirror for us.  It isn't the story of one nation's nightmare. It is, "While we weren’t looking, the book became our reality."
SPOILER ALERT!

40+ Zombie-Licious Books that I’ve Had the Pleasure of Reading

 

This B&N post got me thinking about all the zombie books that I have read. Some I have reviewed while others I’ve barely gotten through.
Since it is possible to have zombies in a book without basing the whole novel around the undead horde, I am also including that detail along with others, as well as, what I thought of the books on this list. Use the following key to decode the zombie-liciousness in the books:

 

hot
Zombies barely there. Not a representative of the zombie fiction genre.
cool
Zombies were present but not the focus of the story.
cold
Zombies ruled the book. Read the book only if hordes of undead munching on alive ones don’t bother you.

 

 

 

1. Name of the Book:

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

hot
 

The zombies weren’t special in any way. So, I’d give it a pass, if I were looking for something zombie-ish. Check out my review for more details. 

 

2

 

2. Name of the Book:

Prince of Thorns

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

While the zombies come and go, a distant threat of an Undead King amassing his undead army remains in the background. The identity of the Undead King is revealed in the third — and last book — of the series. My opinion is to give this one a try; even, if the zombies aren’t unique, the protagonist will hold your interest.

 

 
3

 

3. Name of the Book:

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Part of a Series:

No, but it comes with a companion book.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This is the book to read, if you like a little science in your zombie fiction. The author uses a fungal agent as the cause of zombieism. The fungus, ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is real. It infects and zombifies certain ants.

 

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It even has favorites among the same types of ants!

 

Not only did I love the sciency bits, I remember starting that book cold. I hadn’t read any reviews and as a result, the moment when I realized who the little girl could be was delicious! Read this book, if you don’t read any other zombie fiction!

 

4

 

4. Name of the Book:

The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

Okay, so I’m rating it green because while it has zombies, they are only present in the first half of the book. Almost like a plot device that was needed to take the main characters to the next important bit of the story. Read my review for more details.

 

 

5

 

5. Name of the Book:

London: Surviving the evacuation by Frank Tayell

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This is the diary of a zombie apocalypse survivor. I liked it even if the origin was a tad well… unoriginal ! For more details, read my review.

 

6

 

6. Name of the Book:

Sweet Blood of Mine by John Corwin

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

Okay, if I remember correctly, this book had zombies at the very end, which is why I gave it a cool rating, instead of cold. The book wasn’t based on zombies either and is a better than average YA book, if you were wondering. My review for more details.

 

7

 

7. Name of the Book:

Evenstar by Darcy Town

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

No.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

hot

 

Oh man, everybody who loves silliness in their lives and books needs to read this book. Other than that, not much to write home about zombie-wise. Check out my review anyway!

 

8

 

8. Name of the Book:

Prophecies Awakening byPeter Koevari

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

I don’t remember the book being about zombies. They might have been in it but they certainly weren’t the highlight. My review will tell you about the other details if you’re interested in reading it.

 

 

1191124712032915

 

9. 10. Name of the Book:

The Guardian’s Kiss & The Guardian’s Soul by Jamie Lynn Dougherty

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes. No.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

hot

Proper zombie book, as was the first one in this series. Aside from the other issues that it has, which you will find highlighted in my reviews, here and here. the book does have something unique when it comes to zombies/eaters!

 

 

 

10

 

11. Name of the Book:

The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People by William Todd Rose

Part of a Series:

No.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

What I do remember about this book is something about eating a baby. That’s it! So, I gather it didn’t make much of an impression on me. Feel free to skip it.

 

 

11

 

12. Name of the Book:

The White Tree by Edward W. Robertson

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

While I enjoyed reading this book, the zombie parts weren’t the highlight of the story. It did make a good read though.

 

 

 
12

 

13. Name of the Book:

The Variant Effect: GreenMourning by G. Wells Taylor

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

The public is kept ignorant while a viral infection is turning people into zombies. It would be an okayish novella but the violence and bloodiness made it better than okay.

 

 

13

 

14. Name of the Book:

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This book doesn’t shy away from violence and you will be able to visualize the undead munching on people as you read it. It is also a new take on zombies that form gangs, communicate with each other telepathically, can die again, and be infected. Don’t let the inconsistencies in the story keep you from reading right up to the end; it will be worth it!

 
 

 

14-114

 

14. Name of the Book:

In Wilder Lands & Into The Desert Wilds by Jim Galford

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes. No.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

An indie that surprised me pleasantly enough that I continued with the second installment in the series. While it is a good book to read if you like anthropomorphic characters, it isn’t exactly focused on the undead. Family and love are the themes that you will find highlighted in this one.

 

 

15

 

17. Name of the Book:

Nether Regions by Jadette Paige

Part of a Series:

No.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes. 

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

A novella rich with mythology contains zombies, revolves around a same sex couple who happen to be Amazons. Need I say more? Didn’t think so!

 

 

 

 

18. 19. 20. Name of the Book:

Zombie Jamboree, The Minion Chronicles: Paul and Brady Get Hoodoo with the Voodoo, and Biting the Bullet by Jennifer Rardin

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

I don’t remember much about these, which means they mustn’t have made a lasting impression. Skip them, if you like or read the last one for the Reavers — they are SCARY!

 

 

 
17

 

21. Name of the Book:

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk by various authors

Part of a Series:

No.

Can be Read on its Own:

No.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

hot

The only story that I remember being about zombies in this collection was Reluctance by Cherie Priest. Lets just say that I was surprised to discover I could dislike a story that had both dirigibles and zombies in it!

 

 

18

 

22. Name of the Book:

Outbreak by Mark Clodi

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes. 

Undead-o-Meter:

cold

An unusual take on zombies. I mean it was full of all kinds of errors from lack of editing and yet the concept made me read and like it. Try it! Please?

 

 
22

 

23. Name of the Book:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol.2. by various authors

Story: Halloween Rains

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes. 

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

In my review, I describe the story as Jeepers Creepers meets Zombie Apocalypse. I found the story okay.

 

 
24

 

24. Name of the Book:

Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

Technically, the undead in this novella are vampires, however, they act more like zombies, which is why I am including this book on the list. If you would like to read about a creature that is a zombie-vamp hybrid, then you should try this series. If not the zombies, then read it for well-written female characters.

 

 
25

 

25. Name of the Book:

Dead Man Walking by Marty Shaw

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

Imagine being trapped in a prison with prisoners rapidly turning into zombies! If you want more reasons to read this book, then my review says it all.

 

 

 
26

 

26. Name of the Book:

Mind Over Monsters by Jennifer Harlow

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

So, a team of “freaks” is formed to look into paranormal cases. This book is about a necromancer raising run-of-the-mill zombies and a race against time to catch him. The book has the usual issues that I associate with YA novels. If you can get past those, then you might end liking the book.

 

 

 

27.jpg

 

27. Name of the Book:

Zombie Killa by Jason Z Christie

Part of a Series:

No.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

Okay, so you will either love this book or hate it. My review will tell you I loved it and all the reasons why. Expect craziness but don’t expect the zombies to be unique in any way.

 

 
28

 

28. Name of the Book:

Anything Can Be Dangerous by Matt Hults

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This one is icky and good. The book is actually a collection of several horror stories and 2 book previews.  The one that has zombies in it is called The Finger, where a man ends up biting more than he can chew! I mention the other stories in my review, as well.

 

 
29

 

29. Name of the Book:

The Zombie Story by M. M. Shelley

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This is a good place to start for most younger fans just sinking their teeth into zombie fiction. I found the whole zombie evolution idea intriguing.

 

 

 7940988

 

30. Name of the Book:

Zombie Nights by Tom Lichtenberg

Part of a Series:

No.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

I loved this one. Not only did it have a zombie as the main character, it also managed to be hilarious. Check out my review for more details.

 

 

 

7172680

 

31. Name of the Book:

Crimes by Moonlight: Mysteries from the Dark Side by Marty Shaw

Story: Limbo by Steve Brewer

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

Imagine being trapped in a prison with prisoners rapidly turning into zombies! If you want more reasons to read this book, then my review says it all.

 

7130616

 

32. Name of the Book:

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This one has an evil necromancer doing all sorts of illegal experiments and raising a ruckus, as well as, the dead. I like this series for its weirdness.

 

 
8908

 

33. Name of the Book:

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Part of a Series:

No

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This book is all kinds of good. I love the scope of the book since it gives you a global perspective of a zombie apocalypse. It also follows the progression of the zombie infection as it spread universally. Moreover, it sketches a situation that has its roots based on reality, when talking about the aftermath of the infection.

 

 

24376571

 

34. Name of the Book:

36 Hours by Anthony Barnhart

Part of a Series:

No

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

Looking for a typical zombie apocalypse? This book will do!

 

 

 

148213

 

35. Name of the Book:

Nightingale’s Lament by Simon R. Green

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

The main character has a side-kick in this book who happens to be a zombie. I like this series because of its darkness even though it is a little too similar to another series *cough* Harry Dresden *cough*.

 

 

 
6616579

 

36. Name of the Book:

Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

This book is actually an introduction to a deadly duo. They are necromancers who have no shame and no morals. Even though you might miss some of the references, if you haven’t read the other books in the series, I’d recommend you to go ahead and read it anyway. The zombies are fun to read about and the necromancers are bastards. What more could you want from a book? For details, here’s where you’ll find my review.

 

 

 
345299

 

37. Name of the Book:

Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

No.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

So, this book contains an undead trio who are important to the story’s plot. I am still rating it green because they aren’t the center of the story. Nevertheless, Erikson does undead the way he does all other characters, including different races, genders, etc, completely and beautifully!

 

 

 
12087573

 

38. Name of the Book:

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

Zombies and high school is a volatile combination. This book held my interest despite it being a YA, which isn’t really my cuppa. Read my review for more details.

 

 

 
478659

 

39. Name of the Book:

Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson 

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

hot

 

 

There is a zombie in this book. That is all I can say about it!

 

 

 

 
3570231

 

 

40. Name of the Book:

At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

 

cold

 

 

The book’s plot revolves around a voodoo queen who has a lot of juice and can raise your hair, as well as, the zombies! From a zombie-lover’s perspective: I’d say, give it a try!

 

 

 
6350486

 

 

41. Name of the Book:

Walking Dead by C. E. Murphy

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cold

 

 

This one is a fun-filled romp where the shaman heroine tries to deal with a major zombie uprising. 

 

 

 

3488375

 

 

42. Name of the Book:

Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

cool

 

 

Even though the zombies are a major part of the book, the plot isn’t based on them. They are attacking a town and the townspeople do their best to fight back.

 

 

 

8718281

 

 

43. Name of the Book:

Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Part of a Series:

Yes.

Can be Read on its Own:

Yes.

Undead-o-Meter:

 

 

cold

 

 

If you can get over the sacrilege that is taking the characters from a beloved classic and reinserting them into a zombie filled narrative, then this book is for you. Darcy gets bitten in this book and his necrotic conversion is written well. Lizzie has to go search for a possible cure to stop her husband from becoming a shambler. 

 

 

 
Okay, so this post was going to be about 50+ books and there are 57 books on my Zombie bookshelf on GR. However, I seem to have forgotten what went on in some of them. Any comments that can jog my memory down the undead lane would be most welcome!

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Blog Tour: Shadyia Ascendant by T.S. Adrian with Excerpt and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for T.S. Adrian’s Shadyia Ascendant. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the books, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :)

 


 

 

Beneath the Silver Rose

Book 1

 

 

Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic! When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a wealthy scholar. Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a darkness that returns to consume the world.

 

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Buy Link

 

amazonBig

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

BELLS CLAMORED throughout the Silver Rose. Shadyia glanced up from her board game as the sisters around her stopped mid-sentence and leaped to their feet. The tones were far from the usual rhythm beckoning them to meals or a lesson with the madam. Could the palace be under attack? The doors to the east vestibule burst open and Mistress Sybaris strode into White Hall. “Reception Etiquette,” she said and made a shooing gesture with a flick of her arms. Her silver clips scarcely held her frizzled hair in place and dampness stained the armpits of her burgundy gown. “To your positions.” The sisters scattered and Shadyia stepped toward the doors of the audience. Whatever had kicked over the anthill had to be serious. During the six years she had resided within the palace, she had never known Sybaris to lose her poise or move at other than a steady and measured pace. “Sister Shadyia, wait. Come with me,” Sybaris said over her shoulder as she lifted the hem of her gown and glided up the grand stairs. “The madam wants a word with you.” Shadyia froze in her tracks. Why did Madam Amrita want to see her? She hurried to catch up, her house slippers slapping the shallow steps built for ladies in dresses. The bells fell silent as they entered the east ballroom. Only moonlight pushing between the tall, purple curtains showed the way as they crossed the dance floor, viewed by the silhouettes of ghosts tooled into the tapestries. Madam Amrita and Mistress Makayla stood buried in the drapes as if hiding from someone. The madam beckoned them over. “We must use all our skills, Sisters,” Amrita said as they drew near. “Dustan is the most dangerous of the House of Mienhard.” Shadyia parted the heavy drape and peered down at the dawn gate. Lord Dunstan Mienhard—here? Beneath the light of lanterns set on high poles, three shadowy figures dismounted gray chargers. Stable hands rushed to take over the horses as the riders moved toward the gated arch. A well-dressed man in a brimmed hat led the other two, his head tilted back as if searching the windows where Shadyia observed. As he neared the gate, his elbow pushed aside a leather riding coat and his gloved hand rested on the hilt of sword. Cold fingers grazed her spine. It was he, sure enough. Dunstan Mienhard, the infamous swordsman known as the King’s Beloved Uncle. The man to Lord Dunstan’s right had hair that hung straight and fair, his stern gaze and hewn physique suggested years of hard training. Tattoos of black flame covered his arms. He kept pace with his master, his fist tight on the hilt of a curved dagger at his side. The other man mirrored the first perfectly, save for a longsword strapped across his back. Shadyia gripped the curtain. Wolfguard!—the sentinels of the king’s family, trained from birth to kill at a nod. The three men halted before the gate and Lord Dunstan leaned slightly as if to speak to the man with the curved dagger. The wolfguard answered and pointed with his chin at the palace. “What are they saying?” Amrita asked. “He said she’s in there,” Sybaris replied. Shadyia glanced at her mistress of guardians. How had she—? Ah! Lip reading. Useful. Lord Dunstan pulled hard on the bell. Guardian sisters dressed in white tunics and armed with slender batons rushed down the marble steps. They unbarred the gate and Dunstan’s guard shoved them aside. He marched up the steps into the palace. Shadyia backed away from the window and glanced at the madam and her two mistresses. Hopefully, someone would tell her what all this was about—and why she, of all the sisters, had been invited to bear witness. Sybaris knelt and loosened a stiletto sheathed in a boot. Uttering grim predictions, the raven-haired Makayla paced, gripping the sides of her black gown. Madam Amrita turned from the window. “Ladies, please wait for me at the back doors to the audience. I’ll be with you shortly.” They bowed and departed. The madam gathered her dark brown hair, streaked with gray, behind her shoulders. “I believe I know why Lord Dunstan is here. He’s come for you, Sister.” Shadyia blinked. There must be some mistake. Dunstan wasn’t one of her coins; he wasn’t any sister’s coin. The madam forbid servicing House Mienhard. No amount of silver, she often schooled them, was worth the peril of learning the secrets of the king’s house. “For me? Why?” “You are the favorite of Lord William Querry. This afternoon at the Diamond, the horse owned by William defeated the horse owned by Lord Dunstan. That race was very important to Dunstan, and he is furious.” Shadyia stared hard at her madam. The ringing bells, scrambling sisters, Sybaris appearing as if she were moments from wading into battle—all this over a horse race? Then again, nobles obsessed over such things, but what had she herself to do with— A chill seized her. Dunstan killed men who offended him, but for women he was known to pursue a different form of amusement. “Dunstan will punish William Querry by commanding his guard to rape and beat me.” “Correct,” Amrita said. “That is why you must hide. Don’t go to your quarters. He may know where that is. I suggest one of the storerooms beneath the kitchens. Go now and avoid the east vestibule.” She turned to leave. Madam, wait. Mistress Sybaris said the wolfguard knows I’m here.” Amrita stopped. “I’ll tell him you’re not,” she said over her shoulder. “I’ll tell him you are servicing a coin and are away from the palace.” “Dunstan will never believe you over his guard. Even if he does, he’ll just choose another sister.” Amrita faced her. “Unlikely. To beat another would fail to send the message he desires to William Querry.” “But it would punish you for denying his wrath. Madam, this is Dunstan Mienhard. You were with me at the plaza last month. Did he strike you as a man who will just walk away on your word alone?” She hoped her point had hammered home. Just the month before, Dunstan had accepted a challenge from a retired knight-general, a veteran of numerous campaigns and a grandfather of sixteen. The stodgy general had little choice but to demand a duel when Lord Dunstan called him a coward. Duels were a common form of entertainment for the gentry, and seldom to the death, so quite a crowd had gathered to bear witness, Amrita and Shadyia among them. They’d watched in shock as Dunstan repeatedly sliced the elderly knight-general and finished him with a piercing stab to the throat. ‘Cowards deserve no quarter,’ Dunstan had said, using a white cloth to wipe the general’s blood off his blacksteel sword. “What is your concern?” the madam asked. “If Dunstan has come for me,” Shadyia answered, tapping her chest, “then it is I who should deal with him.” She didn’t know exactly how she would deal with him, but another sister would not suffer in her stead. Amrita studied her for a moment, but Shadyia couldn’t tell if her madam’s thoughts were filled with admiration or doubt. “Very well,” she said at last. “Take your place in the audience, but keep your hood low and blend in with the others. You are not to reveal yourself until I command it. Understood?” “Yes, Madam.” Amrita walked toward the back steps to the audience. Shadyia pulled up the hood on her short sapphire dress, dashed from the ballroom and hurried down the grand stairs to White Hall. She followed the last of her sisters into the audience and closed the doors behind her. Lanterns on hooks pooled light throughout the domed, circular chamber. Hood pulled low, Shadyia leaned against a pillar and crossed her arms above her waist. The others had taken various postures meant to distract, lure and entice, their faces partly hidden under low hoods. Red-haired Deresi, a sister from Shadyia’s own circle, looked particularly tempting as she sat on the lip of the fountain, her fingers playing in the rippling water and her legs parted just enough to tease a man’s attention. The doors to the Welcome Hall thundered open and Lord Dunstan entered. He swept his gaze over the chamber, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword, and made for the madam’s chair. His wolfguard slammed the doors in the face their guardian sister escort, and then turned their backs to better observe their master. Dunstan halted before the single-step dais and scowled up at the statue of Luun standing protectively behind the madam’s chair. He removed his hat and cast it over the hand of the statue that held the silver rose. Shadyia seethed. Luun was more than the sister’s patroness; she was an emblem of feminine strength and dignity—one that Dunstan had reduced to a rack for his hat. The rear doors to the chamber opened. Chin elevated, shoulders back and one hand placed upon the other at waist-level, Madam Amrita entered with Mistress Sybaris and Mistress Makayla a few steps behind. Lord Dunstan pivoted toward the approaching women, grasped his blacksteel longsword and tugged it within reach. Shadyia furrowed her brow. Was he actually afraid of the madam? Ah, of course. She grinned beneath her hood. His hilt-grip was meant for Sybaris. The mistress of guardians had a fearsome reputation. Holding the hem of her elaborate pearl gown, Amrita dipped, her gaze lowered. Sybaris and Makayla did likewise. “Lord Dunstan, you honor my house,” Amrita said, rising. Dunstan puffed his cheeks behind a blond mustache. “That’s not saying much.” He removed his riding coat and flung it across the chair. Their backs still to the main doors, his wolfguard grinned like jackals over a fresh kill. Shadyia ground her teeth. The pig! He would not even allow the madam her place of honor. “How may I be of service?” Amrita asked with—remarkably—no hint of outrage in her voice. Dunstan faced her. “Service? I thought you didn’t service House Mienhard.” “As a matter of policy, my lord.” “Your girls suck half the cocks in Anderholm, but the king’s house isn’t good enough for them?” “Take no offense, my lord. Even the most skilled courtesan can conceive a child. With any other house we are free to terminate the seed, but if the house that straddles a sister also sits upon the throne, this…solution…is inappropriate.” Shadyia tensed as Dunstan took a step toward Amrita. “I am offended you think me fool enough to accept that excuse. But it is of no matter.” He addressed the room. “This policy ends tonight. I require one of your girls, the favorite of Querry’s third son, William. She goes by the name Shadyia. Bring her to my guard at once.” “I’m sorry, my lord, but Sister Shadyia is away from the Silver Rose until tomorrow.” Dunstan rounded on Amrita and struck her across her face. She cried out, fell back and only Sybaris’s reflexes kept her head from smacking the floor. Gasps erupted from the sisters about the chamber as Shadyia pushed against her pillar, her hands becoming fists. Dunstan rubbed his knuckles in the palm of his hand. “Do not lie to me, whore. I know she’s here. Bring her to me at once.” Sybaris reached back to her boot—but the madam caught her wrist. “She is not, sire. I swear it. She lies with her client, Lord Martel—” Amrita cried out as Dunstan kicked her hip with a steel-tipped boot and reached for his sword. Enough! Shadyia swept the hood off her gown. Amrita would not suffer on her behalf. No one would. She stepped to the center of the room. “My lord, I am here!” The wolfguard rushed forward and seized her arms. Amrita shot her a seething look, but changed to an expression of pleading as Dunstan glared back down at her. “Mercy, Lord. She’s just a girl.” Dunstan sneered, a look of victory in his eyes. “She’s no girl. And, from the way William boasted, he’s quite taken with her.” He turned his vulturous gaze on Shadyia and followed her curves. “But, after my men are finished, he won’t find her so attractive.” Disgust nearly forced her to twist away, but she closed her mind to Dunstan’s words. Think. Don’t struggle. The calloused hands clamped on her biceps offered no hope for escape. What could she do? Once again, Dunstan addressed the women in the audience chamber. “Let this stand as a warning. My horse is not to be defeated, at the Diamond, or anyplace else!” Deception. It was her only chance. Deceit had worked six years ago when the king’s men had found her covered in blood near a dead noble. It would work here as well. She went limp and hung in the men’s arms, her dark hair obscuring her face. The wolfguard’s laughter jostled their hands. Dunstan chuckled from across the room. “Rouse her. Do her here, before all.” She’d counted on that. Few cruel men enjoyed battering an unconscious girl—and Dunstan would want plenty of witnesses. The brute to her right released her arm. Boots appeared below her limp knees as his companion took her full weight. A fist seized her hair and jerked her head upright—but the man’s grin melted beneath her searing glare. Putting some strength back into her legs, she reached low and slid his curved blade from its sheath. Slash hard with the edge! Fast! The upward cut she dealt beneath his chin spattered his blood across her face. His eyes bulged like a toad as he freed her hair and grasped at his spurting artery. Perfect. One down and the other had his hands full—of her. She reversed the dagger and plunged it into the hip of the man behind. The guard shrieked and released her arm. She glanced over her shoulder as he snatched at the sword strapped to his back. Idiot! With a twist on the balls of her feet, she yanked the dagger out of his side and slashed open his throat in one smooth circle. The man gurgled on a red spray beneath his chin, his knees buckled and he fell like a wall of bricks. His head struck the floor and his sword, half drawn, slipped from his fingers. A grin tugged at the corner of Shadyia’s mouth. Not bad at all. Four seconds, three cuts, and two of Dunstan’s finest were down, thrashing in their own blood. A sword hissed from its scabbard to her left. “You bitch.” Lord Dunstan pointed his blade at her. Shadyia glanced at his weapon. Blacksteel, probably Erebros. It would be light and fast. She took a quick measure of the room. The area wasn’t ideal for a duel, but it should pose little hindrance. Slender pillars supported the dome around the madam’s chair and several ornate stands held potted plants, but there was still plenty of open space. Many of the sisters had pulled back their hoods and gawked with wide eyes, but they were far enough away to be out of danger. Over at the dais, Sybaris helped the madam back to her feet. The mistress of guardians would protect the madam if Dunstan attacked her. Shadyia dropped the dagger on the corpse of the man who had grabbed her hair. He could have it back. A drop of blood slid from her chin and stained her short gown as she put her foot on the shoulder of the dying wolfguard and slid free his half-drawn longsword. She swung the blade high over her head and faced Dunstan. He slashed the air. “Yes, come to me, whore. I’ve killed eleven men in duels.” The leather-wrapped hilt felt good in her hand. She smirked at Dunstan. No man walked into her home and battered her sisters. “I’ll need to catch up. I’ve only bagged two today.” Laughter skipped among the women. Lord Dunstan snarled and lunged with an overhand strike, his sword a whistling blur. Their blades met with clang of steel that shocked her arms from wrists to elbows. Dunstan leaped back and thrust forward, a tactic she’d observed when he had killed the fat general. She knocked his blade aside and repeated the move so perfectly he nearly died from his own assault. He recovered and charged, swinging wildly. She sidestepped and smacked his bottom with the flat of her sword as he passed. The sisters laughed and even Amrita rewarded her with a grin. The doors to the audience swung open and four guardian sisters poured in, their batons held at the ready. Dunstan maintained his gaze on Shadyia and took up a balanced, controlled fighting stance. He’d gotten the message. Here was no easy prey. She risked a glance past Dunstan. At the dais, Sybaris jabbed at the air, pointing at positions around the chamber. The guardians dispersed, likely to defend unarmed sisters. Shadyia nodded in approval toward her mistress of guardians. This was not their fight. She touched the sword’s hilt to her forehead and mirrored his pose. Dunstan opened with a thrust. She parried and stepped back to hold her balance. The slash and slice of sharp steel echoed off walls and pillars as she fended off Dunstan’s every assault and thrice forced him to retreat. She passed over an opening to critically wound him and end the duel, and then another a few parries later. This was the great swordsman? Oh, how I’d enjoy skewering you before the madam and my sisters—but she mustn’t. Slaying guards was permitted, but no one could kill a member of the king’s house and hope to be excused. She would just have to settle for humiliating him. Sisters scattered as, swords striking, the pair moved toward them, some diving behind the fountain or Amrita’s chair. Dunstan leaped past a pillar, reversed his step and stabbed where he had obviously hoped she would chase him. Shadyia scoffed and stepped back—Did he think she would fall for that?—and re-engaged with a slash at his ankles that forced him to block low and stumble. Sweat beading his brow, he parried her follow-up stab at his side and backed toward the fountain. Dunstan glared at her, his sword trembling in his hand. He looked to be on the verge of surrendering. Pathetic. Shadyia glanced over her shoulder and offered the madam a sardonic glance. Was this the man they feared so much? As her attention returned to Dunstan, he seized a potted fern from a low table. Before she could advance, he hurled the pot at her and, his sword raised for a strike, leaped at Sister Deresi who knelt next to the fountain. No! Shadyia struck the pot out of air with a swipe of her sword and charged Dunstan. She could not bring her blade up quickly enough, but slammed her shoulder into his back and knocked him into the shallow water. Thrashing, cursing and coughing, he rolled out of the fountain and flopped like an eel on the floor. He tried to rise, but Shadyia held the tip of her sword at his throat. He had almost killed Deresi. Bastard! Shadyia glared down at him, her teeth clenched and her heart hammering a river of hot rage through her veins. Dunstan had one chance to live. Just one. She jabbed his throat. “Yield, my lord.” He cleared mucus from his throat. “Fucking whore”—and spat at her. Thick warmth pelted her cheek in the same place he had struck Amrita. The sisters, the audience chamber, the madam and her mistresses vanished in a red haze. Her entire world became this vile man and her—and it wasn’t big enough for them both. She caught the sword by its pommel in her fists and lifted it, point down, over Dunstan. “Shadyia, no!” Amrita cried. Shadyia slammed her heel into his crotch. As Dunstan heaved up, she impaled his chest with such force the sword pierced clean through his ribs and struck the floor behind him. Dunstan looked at the spreading stain on his soaked shirt and turned a shocked gaze up at the woman who had killed him. “Cowards deserve no quarter,” Shadyia said and twisted the blade. Lord Dunstan’s final gasp ended with a sob as the life drained from his eyes. His chest slid down her sword, leaving it red. She grinned. Those fine words would follow him into Abysm. She pushed her sandaled foot against his groin, wrenched the sword free and stepped back. Only the rush of the fountain filled the audience. Shadyia flung down the sword. The impact startled her sisters and spattered Lord Dunstan’s blood in red streaks across the floor. She swept her gaze over the chamber, meeting the eyes of each woman. If any of them should speak of this night to a coin or whisper it in a tavern, Shadyia would trade the mattress in her quarters for a pile of filthy straw before her life ended in a noose. Or worse. She knelt beside the shallow fountain and washed the blood and spittle from her face. Deresi peeked over its far edge and gaped at her through unkempt red hair. Their gazes met and Deresi bit her lower lip, an enthralled look in her green eyes. Shadyia winked. That was quite a show, wasn’t it? Mistress Makayla broke the thick stillness. “We are finished. Ruined.” Shadyia stood and shook the water out of her hands. She stared down at her handiwork. Dunstan’s eyes were open and disbelief was still etched in his face. What had she done? The beloved uncle of the king lay skewered on the floor. I don’t care! She glared at her mistress of sisters and kicked dead Dunstan’s leg. “He tried to kill Sister Deresi.” Makayla gnashed her teeth. “He was at your mercy and you butchered him like—” “—like a pig, yes.“ Makayla rounded on the dais. “Madam, we should send a rider to Anderholm at once and summon Magistrate Alberich. Have the guardians hold Sisters Shadyia in custody and turn her over to the Redcloaks when he arrives.” Shadyia scowled. Did Makayla just—? One more word like that, bitch, and I will… Amrita dabbed at the cut on her lips with her sleeve. “I will do no such thing.” “She did this!” Makayla pointed at Shadyia. “She! Are we all to suffer because of one idiot girl?” Shadyia charged. Before her fist could make contact with Makayla’s jaw, her arm was caught and the room blurred. Pain drove the wind from her ribs as her back slammed onto the floor. A finger stabbed down at her like the tip of a spear. “Stand down, Sister.” Shadyia blinked to clear her vision. Sybaris! How had she crossed the floor so quickly? “You see, Madam?” Makayla said, her face pale. “She’s out of control. You must have her confined and summon the Redcloaks.” With a groan, Shadyia rolled to her feet. Sybaris moved between her and Makayla, but she held up her hands in submission; she had no desire to meet the floor again. “What’s done is done,” Sybaris said, directing her words to Makayla. “Alberich will never believe one sister killed three men—not without help, which means by the madam’s command. If we involve them, we will all spend a fortnight in the bastille.” A visible chill moved through the room. Shadyia, a caged tiger, halted her pacing. There were laws in Anderholm against torturing women, but none of those laws mattered in cases of treason—and slaying a member of the king’s house was treason. Makayla threw up her arms. “When Dunstan and his guard fail to return to his estate, the Redcloaks will get involved whether we tell them or not.” Amrita stepped down off the dais. “I need three volunteers to dress in the dead men’s clothing.” She leveled her gaze at Shadyia, appointing her as one of the volunteers. “They will pretend to be Dunstan and his guard, in case we are being watched, and ride into the forest for Waytower clearing. Mistress Sybaris, arm a detachment of guardians. Sister Deresi, kindly go—Sister Deresi!” Startled, Deresi pulled her gaze off Shadyia and jumped to her feet. “Yes, Madam.” “Kindly go to the stables and ask the hands to ready a covered wagon. Tell them nothing and drive the wagon back to the palace yourself.” Deresi hurried out through the main doors. Makayla’s heels clicked across the floor. “Count me out of this.” The rear doors to the audience chamber slammed shut behind her. Madam Amrita addressed the room. “The rest of you, roll up the bodies in carpets and load them into the wagon when it arrives. You will meet with the imposters in the forest. Guardians will provide an escort.” “We’ll need more blood,” Sybaris said. Amrita took a quick breath and blew it out. “Dunstan’s horses will provide that. Get moving, all of you.” Shadyia glared down at dead Dunstan. Would she really have to wear his wet, bloodstained clothing? She stepped out of her house slippers, yanked off one of his boots and sniffed it. Ugh. That was a mistake. She’d wear his bloody shirt and sodden trousers, but his hose would remain where it was. Nothing that had cradled Dunstan’s cock and balls would touch her. She stripped him and pulled his soaked shirt and trousers over her house gown. Her bare foot bitterly protested being in Dunstan’s clammy boot. A sigh pushed through her lips as she tucked in the leg of his damp trousers. Wearing wet clothes was better than being locked up in a room and waiting to be handed over to the Redcloaks. She reached for the next boot—and paused. What would happen at Waytower clearing? And why would they need more blood? Fingers of gray from an unseen moon silhouetted the black trunks of trees, their branches closing overhead until the packed road nearly vanished. Shadyia shifted in the saddle of Lord Dunstan’s horse and glanced back at the sisters who rode behind her. They said nothing and looked away. Yesterday they had laughed, bathed and dined with her. Now they refused to make eye contact. She shivered in the damp clothing and stroked the horse’s neck, grateful for the animal’s warmth. At least Dunstan’s hat and cloak, recovered from the statue of Luun and the madam’s chair, were dry and comfortable. Shadyia ground her teeth. Didn’t her friends understand? She had slain those men to protect their sorority. The moment a man of privilege such as Lord Dunstan believed he could rape and kill women without consequence, other vicious men would do the same. The thought of Dunstan made Shadyia grip the reins until the animal took that as a command to stop. She clicked her tongue and urged him on. Dunstan had ordered his thugs to rape and beat her because his horse had been bested at the Diamond by the one owned by William Querry. He had struck Madam Amrita as if she were a servant who had spilled his ale. Such disrespect could not go unchallenged. She had tried to speak to Amrita as the sisters rolled Dunstan and his guards into three carpets and loaded them into a wagon. Shadyia had wanted to explain why she had defied the madam’s order, but Amrita had silenced her with an icy glare. ‘We’ll talk upon your return,’ she had told Shadyia before walking away. Shadyia concentrated on guiding the horse along the dark road to stave off her fear at the madam’s demeanor. Damn Dunstan and all gentlemen of his ilk. She should be having supper now, not creeping through a murky forest full of outlaws and bandits. My father liked to ride at night. He had often told her the silence allowed his spirit to roam lands unseen. Father, may the gods favor you to ride their mighty horses across the eternal plains of Eriensym. The prayer was calming and Shadyia took a deep breath of the night air. It would be the reward her father deserved. He’d spent decades in the royal cavalry protecting Anderholm from its enemies, and upon retirement had received a small pension and patch of land. Afterwards, he had adopted Shadyia, just eleven summers old, from Mother Sara’s orphanage. Raising her as his own, he had trained her to ride and plant and harvest. Moreover, he taught her the hard values he’d learned from years of untainted duty. Once she had asked him why he had taken a girl from Mother Sara and not a boy. His response had surprised her. ‘Women are superior to men in every measurable way’ he’d said. She liked that answer. The years with him had been the happiest of her life—until a noble like Dunstan had driven him to his death. That had been six years ago. She’d lost a home she loved that night and the nearest she had ever had to a father. What would he think of her now? Would her father understand why she had come into Madam Amrita’s service? Would he blame himself? Or would he curse her and never call her daughter again? Shame clouded her thoughts until she forced them aside by reminiscing about William Querry. She grinned in the dark. She enjoyed his company as much as his money. He was well muscled and handsome enough to have his pick of women in the city, but like most nobles he preferred a professional touch—and the fact that sisters chewed larsenic leaves to prevent conception lessened the chance of bastard children wandering the streets of Anderholm. Each meeting with him ended the same: dinner, followed by a story about his beloved horses, and then an evening of well-paid passion. At last they reached Waytower clearing. Shadyia listened for the wagon the sisters should have loaded with dead Dunstan and his guards after she and the others had ridden into the forest. Only the wind in the leaves, the hoot of an owl and a grunt from one of the horses disturbed the inky silence. Amrita had chosen the clearing well. This road through the Kingsleaf was one route Lord Dunstan might have taken back to his estate. Shadyia now understood. The madam intended to make it look as if he and his guard had been attacked by hostiles in the forest. It was a sound plan. Magistrate Alberich and the Redcloaks should have no trouble believing a man with Dunstan’s arrogance would ride through Kingsleaf at night with only two guards. Lost in her thoughts, she failed to hear the wagon approach until it was almost upon them. The sisters who had masqueraded as Dunstan’s men dismounted and began stripping off the guards’ clothing. Shadyia dropped from her horse. Guardians formed a protective ring, their batons replaced by swords and loaded crossbows in case actual bandits attacked while they staged the faux assault. Two sisters held torches while the others dragged out three bundles wrapped in carpets. The bodies of Dunstan and his men were unrolled by the time Shadyia stood shivering in her thin house gown, damp and stained with blood from Dunstan’s clothing. She pulled out the house slippers she had tucked into her gold belt as the sisters redressed the bodies before tying them upright on the skittish horses. Sybaris passed crossbows and several bolts to Shadyia and two of her guardians. Shadyia once had a coin who enjoyed shooting bottles off a fence with bolts from his crossbow. He had allowed her a few tries and she rewarded him well for the practice. Sisters were busy securing the horses to prevent their escape as she grounded the stirrup, loaded an iron-tipped bolt and used both hands to lock the string. She rested the tiller against her shoulder, clenched her jaw and took aim at the gray stallion she had ridden into the Kingsleaf—but lowered the weapon. Couldn’t the horses have escaped or had been captured and sold? She sighed. No. For the ambush to seem genuine, the ‘bandits’ could show no regard for the animals Dunstan and his guard had ridden. “Aim for the neck,” Sybaris said. They loosed at her command. The horses reared and cried out in agony. Misty-eyed, Shadyia reloaded. May you shriek in the empty torment of Abysm for all time, Dunstan! She reloaded and released again and again until her horse stopped thrashing. Her remaining three bolts proved far easier. These she shot into Dunstan, who lay on his slain horse, slack-mouthed and eyes glazed over. The ropes were then removed and Sybaris added the finishing touch by soaking a cloth in horse blood and dripping it profusely where the bolts had struck the men. The bodies were stripped of rings, purses, boots and weapons. After one last search to ensure nothing could be traced back to the Silver Rose, Shadyia helped her sisters roll up the carpets and load them into the wagon. The others took a place in back. Sybaris turned and held up her hand. “Sister Shadyia, you will stay and see that the tracks are covered.” Fear stabbed her. Was Sybaris really going to leave her here? Did she want her lost in the forest, like the unwanted baby of a peasant? She turned down her gaze. “Yes, Mistress.” “Do you know how to do this?” “Yes, Mistress. I will find heavy branches and drag them over the tracks.” None of her sisters looked back as the wagon pulled away. Her breath frosting, Shadyia stood shivering in her damp house gown and sandals. All she had wanted to do was protect herself and the home she loved, and they were punishing her for it. She searched for a suitable branch. The moon shone so bright it washed the stars from the sky by the time Shadyia staggered back barefoot to the Silver Rose. Her sandals had caught so often in the underbrush, she had cast them away in frustration. Her gashed and throbbing feet constantly reminded her how much of a mistake that had been. She gazed up into the night. There was a tale from her childhood of the Goddess Luun battling constantly against giants of darkness that sought to devour her sacred light. The memory gave her enough strength to scale the vine-covered wall. A guardian sister stepped into view from her station on the tower. Shadyia waved and the guardian lifted a hand in greeting. There was a servant’s door hidden by thick ivy that allowed her to enter the vestibule. Limping, she crossed the freezing floor and glowered at the stairs that led up to her apartment. Would she even have the strength to climb them? I’ll make it to my bed, even if I have to crawl. Makayla and Sybaris would be denied the satisfaction of finding her collapsed on the floor in the morning. She would wake fresh and face them with dignity. A flurry of movement caused her to whip her head around before finding herself caught in a sudden embrace. “Oh, thank Luun you are safe!” Deresi’s words were muffled in Shadyia’s hair. “I was so worried.” Shadyia returned the hug with as much strength as her numb muscles allowed. “I am well. I am well.” “I cannot believe they just left you out there. What was Sybaris thinking? You could have been raped, killed, even worse.” Shadyia snickered. “Worse?” Deresi’s own laugh turned into a sob. “I am well, Sister. Shh.” Clicks against the stone floor forced them apart. Shadyia groaned. Only one person in the Silver Rose tapped her heels like that. Makayla emerged from the dark between the pillars. “Mistress Sybaris was thinking that Sister Shadyia needed to learn a lesson.” She placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head. “And from the looks of her, I would say she learned it rather well.” Shadyia kept her jaw tight. She would enjoy seeing Makayla after a stomp through the forest dressed in nothing but a house dress and slippers. The pampered witch would have fainted after ten steps. “It was a good lesson, Mistress, and I thank her for it.” Makayla’s scowl pierced into her. Shadyia pressed her knees together and refused to cringe. At last, the mistress dropped her hands to her sides. “Rest, Sister Shadyia. The madam has retired for the evening, but she will speak with you after first meal. Before you return to your comforts, take a moment to look at all the Silver Rose has given you. Take a good, long look.” Makayla spun and clicked away, her long black hair on a black dress merging with the shadows. Her voice speared out of the dark. “It will be the last you see of it.” Shadyia rubbed her forehead. Had she lost her home after all? Six years of whoring just to be returned to the streets. She put her foot on the first step and gathered her strength for the long climb to her apartment. Deresi laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Come with me.” “Where?” “The baths. You need one, badly.” Shadyia groaned. That would hardly help. Without servants to stroke the fires, the baths would be cold and the water freezing. “Sister, I—” Deresi placed a finger on her lips. With a mischievous glint in her green eyes, she ushered Shadyia across the floor and down the circling steps to a heavy door that Deresi pulled open. Shadyia expected darkness and cold air, but was greeted by soft light and scented steam. Caprasia, another sister from Shadyia’s circle, stood next to a shallow pool filled with foaming water. Lit candles, accentuating the blond woman’s golden hair, lined the floor around the pool’s edge. Shadyia gaped at the warm pool. They had done all this for her? Deresi loosened Shadyia’s bloodstained robe and slipped it off her shoulders, followed by her undergarments. She took Shadyia by the hands and, walking backward, led her into the pool. The cuts on her feet jabbed like wasp stings as the she waded in, but her wounds soon crooned with the rest of her legs. Caprasia filled a decanter and poured a foamy cascade of warm water over Shadyia’s head. Her hair held as much as it could then released rivulets of warmth down her back and over her breasts. “Blessed gods, that feels good,” Shadyia said as Caprasia upended a second decanter. Deresi tossed her unkempt hair over her shoulder and, sensuously rubbing with her hands, worked an amofous blossom to a rich lather. She and Caprasia caressed off layers of dirt and sweat until their hair hung in wet strings and their gowns clung to their skin. Caprasia doused her once more to wash off the soap and Deresi led her out of the water to a masseuse bench covered with a white cloth. Shadyia sat on the bench, dripping wet and wonderfully clean. Deresi raised her foot and poured a small vial of golden oil over her cuts and bruises. Shadyia gasped. Jilqu oil! She tried to pull her foot free, but Deresi held firm. Her sore feet sent messages of relief as the healing oil sealed her cuts and soothed her blisters—but the pleasure collided with a rush of guilt. Sisters were issued one vial of jilqu oil every six moons, each containing twenty drops of oil, each drop worth a laymen’s yearly wage. Deresi must have sacrificed her private allotment. Mist formed over Shadyia’s eyes and became streaks of tears. While Deresi lifted her other foot and rubbed jilqu into her wounds, Caprasia stepped in front of her. She kissed Shadyia’s lips and cheeks, instantly drying her tears. Not a kiss of passion, but of comfort. Inviting Shadyia to lie on her stomach, Caprasia worked a deep massage that bordered on the edge of abuse on Shadyia’s shoulders, lower back and neck. Shadyia groaned with bliss. Men would pay a fortune for this—and probably twice that to watch it, but they would see something that wasn’t there. Her sister’s caresses were meant to relax, not arouse; to comfort, not excite. The massage complete, Caprasia slipped a clean robe over Shadyia’s shoulders and soft sandals on her feet. Deresi led her up the steps to the apartments of the gold belts, entered Shadyia’s room, and guided her to bed. Deresi pulled a heavy blanket up to her chin, kissed her cheek and exited quietly. Shadyia sailed on a calm, euphoric sea. Damn it. I didn’t thank Deresi and Caprasia for the bath. She would have to remedy that tomorrow. Storm clouds raged on her peaceful horizon. Would the Silver Rose still be her home tomorrow? Makayla had said this would be the last Shadyia saw of her comforts. That could only mean one thing. Expulsion. Dismissal. Of course, I could always go to work at one of the other brothels in Anderholm. Eat pasty porridge and sleep on a straw-stuffed mattress crawling with fleas. Service men who had no fear of a Mistress Sybaris to keep them in line. Tomorrow she might be back on the street—or arrested for Dunstan’s death and brought in chains to the bastille. She honestly didn’t know which was worse. She had seen the poor wretches who lived on the street. Before that would become her fate, she would find a sharp knife and cut her—wait a moment. How had Caprasia and Deresi warmed the baths just for her? It must have been—yes!—it could only have been on the orders of Amrita. Only the madam could have roused the staff and commanded them to do so. It would be just Amrita’s style to teach a lesson with pleasure, to make Shadyia fully appreciate what she had risked by killing those men. Could that mean Amrita had no intentions to expel her, despite what Makayla had said? Please, goddess, let that be so. Allow me to stay in my home.

 

 

 

The Penance of Pride

Book 2

 

 

 
Shadyia's Adventure Continues!
'I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.'
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and envelope the sisterhood she adores.
As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.
Meanwhile, the adviser to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to carry out his ultimate plan.
Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.
 

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The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance), the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful, mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace. When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I'm an avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a foreign language. I'm American and currently reside in Poland.
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Goodreads Giveaway

Reblogged from Carpe Librum:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/235997-queen-of-martyrs-the-story-of-mary-i

 

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Favorite, Wishlist, Private -- additional shelving options for your books / ASIN edit issue

Reblogged from BookLikes:

Have you noticed additional options for your books on BookLikes? If you've missed these spots, we'll be more than happy to draw your attention to these extra shelving features.

 

The shelving on BookLikes is split into two parts: the quick shelving (via +Shelf button under each book cover) and the advanced shelving (via +Shelf advanced pop up)

 

 

If you wish to mark your book as read/planning/currently on the go, use the quick shelving but if you prefer to add some additional attributes to the title you've encountered, click +Shelf advanced and choose an extra tag for the book.

 

 

With the +Shelf advanced pop up you can mark a book as your favorite, add it to your wishlist or make it a private title visible only to you in your admin shelf view.

 

All off these options are visible on your admin shelf view (menu->shelf) and will appear with the shelf menu on the left .

 

 

Marking your books as favorites is a great way of recommending the titles you love. Your blog guests will have an instant look into your reading preferences and genres you're into. We also use the "favorite" tag to mark the e-books we loved so much that we simply had to buy the paper copies :) The wishlist, on the other hand, is perfect for the upcoming titles, books you're anticipating the most and next series installments.

 

Note: the private shelf stays invisible in your public view (yourusername.booklikes.com/shelf). This means your blog guests won't see what's shelved on this very shelf, they won't even know that the shelf exists.

 

 

If you wish to add a text about a book you've marked private, please consider using the private note option to keep your opinion safe and private.

 

If you're wondering what BookLikes bloggers are shelving on their Favorite and Wishlist tagged shelves, have a look:

 

Favorite books

Wishlist books

 

If you've missed our previous post about BookLikes bookshelf features, here's a quick link A-Z ways to arrange your bookshelf->

 

Happy shelving and shelves exploring!

 

 

P.S.  A note from BookLikes Librarian

 

A post by Jenn from Murder by Death

 

The ASIN bug - a workaround!

As I mentioned in my last post here there is currently an issue with some Amazon kindle and Audible ASIN numbers being rejected by the BL database.

 

I might have found a workaround for users (this won't work for librarians directly because our edits don't go through the queue).

 

If you want to edit an ASIN kindle edition, or Audible audiobook edition and it spits out that dreaded Add correct ASIN, all you have to do is remove the ASIN number completely from the record and save it.

 

For the Librarians - when you see an edit request that includes removing what looks like a legit ASIN number, check to make sure it's a kindle, and then approve all the changes except the ASIN removal.  It works!  The record will update with all the new details and keep the ASIN number in place.  

 

Note:  this obviously does not work if you're trying to add an ASIN that BL doesn't like to a record.  That's still broken - but this will at least allow you to edit existing records to add descriptions, page number, etc. without losing the ASIN.

Blog Tour: Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche with Excerpt and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for Corine Mekaouche’s Last Semester. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 
College. Party. Drama. Life.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn't always easy and it's up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?
Navigating through college isn’t easy especially when you don’t know what the future holds, but Jo is determined to conquer her present even if it means figuring out what being an adult is all about. With graduation around the corner, Jo and her roommates have some growing up to do and the last semester is all they have.
College is complicated.
Partying is a necessity.
Drama is guaranteed.
Life is just beginning.
 
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“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him. Shit! I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around. “Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!” Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance. “Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head. “I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath. Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong. Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out? I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now. It’s official. I killed my roommate. Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill...and probably drove off a cliff or something... Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it? The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it. “I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.” Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze. Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself! Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle. “I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.” “Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him. I’m frozen.
 
 
 
The geek and the dreamer, Corine Mekaouche has always had the vision of becoming a writer. While growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, Corine spent her childhood immersed in music, novels, and writing. To her, the arts was the best escape ever. For college, she attended Rutgers University majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Arts. Somehow, Corine survived the college experience and became somewhat of a grown-up yet still kept the vision of being a writer alive because it may be all she’s qualified for. So, she wrote and wrote until Last Semester, a new adult novel about college life and growing up, was born. Currently, she is writing other novels and plays for future release. When she’s not writing, loudly singing to songs in her car or dancing in random places for no apparent reason, Corine is being an awesome wife and a mom residing outside of the wonderfully flawed New York City.
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Blog Tour: Case File Phantom by Dana Ford with Excerpt and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for Dana Ford’s Case File Phantom. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Georgia Richards lost hope of ever seeing her husband again since he disappeared over a year ago. On a Saturday afternoon, she thought she saw him at a play; on stage at the Oaksdale Playhouse. But, Georgia didn’t have the courage to find out if it was really him. Constance McCauley was empathetic to Georgia’s faint of heart and decided to offer her investigation services to find the true identity of this mysterious man. Would Constance be able to track down Georgia’s estranged husband? If he was found, why had he been missing for over a year? As Constance pursued this case with a combination of faith and persistence, she witnessed the power of forgiveness unfold before her eyes.

 

 

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Why weren’t there more lights backstage? I felt like a mouse in a maze. It was difficult to tell if the hanging costumes were people or if the shadows were hanging costumes. There he was! “Excuse me sir! Sir!” He turned around and caught my eye. I managed to hold his gaze for a moment. He was nervous, almost frightened. His eyes a deep brown, he seemed to want to say something, but instead he fell into the low lighting and disappeared. I picked up my pace to try and catch him. “Wait!” I briskly walked and then ran past racks and racks of costumes and odd set design items like furniture, tall plants, and a fake standing bear. “Wait! Please, I want to talk to you!” The backstage door swung open and blinding light flooded me where I stood, and hindered my view. He was gone. I quickly looked to the left and then to the right and no one was there. I looked to the left again and then began to run along the backside of the theatre. I slowed down, because I realized that he was in fact gone. Why would anyone run from a perfect stranger unless they had something to hide or something to lose? Turning around, I walked back towards the backstage door. I again waded through the racks of hanging costumes and walking shadows of actors and busy people. Why would he run? I found myself back in my seat.

 

 

 

Dana Ford has enjoyed writing stories since she can remember. She has penned several books and has found a new love in writing mystery fiction. Her favorite hobbies besides writing is watching old movies, volunteering in her community, and spending precious moments with her family.

 
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Blog Tour Stop for A Charmed Little Lie by Sharla Lovelace with Excerpt and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for Sharla Lovelace’s A Charmed Little Lie. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :)

 


AbtheB

 

 

Charmed, Texas, is everything the name implies—quaint, comfortable, and as small-town friendly as they come. And when it comes to romance, there’s no place quite as enchanting . . .

Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to Charmed for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.

Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described. He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .

 

 

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In retrospect, I should have known the day was off. From the wee hours of the morning when I awoke to find Ralph—my neighbor’s ninety-pound Rottweiler—in bed with me and hiking his leg, to waking up the second time on my crappy uncomfortable couch with a hitch in my hip. Then the coffeemaker mishap and realizing I was out of toothpaste. Pretty much, all the markers were there. Aunt Ruby would have thumped me in the head and asked me where my Barrett intuition was. But I never had her kind of intuition. And Aunt Ruby wasn’t around to thump me. Not anymore. Not even long distance. “Ow! Shit!” I yelped as my phone rang, making me sling pancake batter across the kitchen as I burned my finger on the griddle. I’m coordinated like that. Cursing my way to the phone, I hit speaker when I saw the name of said neighbor. “Hey, Tilly.” “How’s my sweet boy?” she crooned. I glared at Ralph. “He’s got bladder denial,” I said. “Possibly separation anxiety. Mommy issues.” “Uh-oh, why?” she asked. “He marked three pieces of furniture, and me,” I said, hearing her gasp. “While I was in the bed. With him.” “Ralph was in the bed?” Tilly asked. “That was the part that caught your attention?” “Well, I just don’t allow him up there,” she said. “It wasn’t by invitation,” I said. “I woke up to him staring down at me and then he let it rip.” I liked my neighbor, Tilly. She was from two apartments down, was sweet, kinda goofy, and was always making new desserts she liked to try out on me. So when she suddenly had to bail for some family emergency with her mom and couldn’t take her dog, I decided to take a page from her book and be a giver. Offer to dog-sit Ralph while she was gone for a few days. “Oh wow, I’m so sorry, Lanie,” she said. “Not a problem,” I lied. I’m not really cut out to be a giver. “We’re bonding.” “How’s he eating?” Tilly asked. “Sometimes he’s shy about eating around other people.” I glanced over to see Ralph lick pancake batter off the cabinet, then sit back on his haunches and lick himself. “I think he’s doing all right.” Tilly sighed on the other end. “Thank you so much for this,” she said. “It takes a load off my mind to know he’s taken care of.” Something in that sentence or in her voice sounded weird. “So, how long are you going to be gone again?” I asked. “Um, well,” she began. “Things are a little complicated, so it may be a little bit.” A little bit. My weird radar perked up. “Yeah?” I prompted. “Like—a week? What are we talking?” “Well, I’ll call you in a couple of days when I know more,” she said. “It’s—you know, my dad is really sick, and family just gets so—” “Your dad?” I asked. “I thought it was your mom.” “Oh yeah,” she said. “That’s what I meant. Sorry, I’m just a little scattered right now.” She laughed. “I’m buzzing on too much coffee, probably.” Too much something. Ralphed belched. “Hey, remember,” Tilly continued. “When you put him outside to leave for work, talk sweet to him so he doesn’t think it’s a punishment.” “Heaven forbid.” “Seriously, Lanie.” “He peed on me!” I exclaimed. “His fragile ego isn’t my biggest concern right now.” “I know, I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll send you some money to clean your mattress. I actually kind of hoped he’d cheer you up.” What? “Cheer me up?” “You’ve been so—I don’t know—forlorn?” she asked. “Since your aunt died, it’s like you lost your energy source.” Damn, that was freakishly observant of her. Maybe she got the Barrett intuition. She nailed it in one sentence. Aunt Ruby was my energy source. Even from the next state over, the woman that raised me kept me buzzing with her unstoppable magical spirit. When her eyes went, the other senses jumped to the fight. When her life went, it was like someone turned out the lights. All the way to Louisiana. Honestly, I had this thought. That I’d feel her more after she passed. After all, she’d been the one with all the intuition. A rumor that had wagged tongues in Charmed, Texas my whole young life. Something I’d thought was cool when I was little, spent most of my teenage years denying, and mostly forgot as an adult—living hundreds of miles away. Forgot until I’d go for a visit, anyway. One step inside that old house left little question. There hadn’t been any intuition my way, however. No feelings. No aromas of baked apples or orange peels. No sudden penchant for raw honey or the color blue or the new ability to sew. No Aunt Ruby. Well, maybe the honey part, but that was just me. You can’t grow up in a bee-farming community and not become a honey addict. I was truly alone and on my own. Realizing that at thirty-three was sobering. Realizing Aunt Ruby now knew I’d lied about everything was mortifying. Maybe that’s why she was staying otherwise occupied out there in the afterlife. Then again, lying was maybe too strong a word. Was there another word? Maybe a whole turn of phrase would be better. Something like coloring the story to make an old woman happy. Yeah. Coloring with crayons that turned into shovels. No one knew the extent of the ridiculous hole I had dug myself into. The one that involved my hometown of Charmed, Texas believing I was married and successful, living with my husband in sunny California and absorbing the good life. Why California? Because it sounded more exciting than Louisiana. And a fantasy-worthy advertising job I submitted an online resume for a year ago was located there. That’s about all the sane thought that went into that. The tale was spun at first for Aunt Ruby when she got sick, diabetes taking her down quickly, with her eyesight being the first victim. I regaled her on my short visits home with funny stories from my quickie wedding in Vegas (I did go to Vegas with a guy I was sort of seeing), my successful career in advertising (I hadn’t made it past promotional copy), and my hot, doting, super gorgeous husband named Michael who travelled a lot for work and therefore was never with me. You’d think I’d need pictures for that part, right? Even for a mostly blind woman? Yeah. I did. I showed her pictures of a smoking hot dark and dangerous looking guy I flirted with one night at Caesar’s Palace while my boyfriend was flirting with a waitress. A guy who, incidentally, was named—Michael. I know. I rot. But it made her happy to know I was happy and taken care of, when all that mattered in her entire wacky world was that I find love and be taken care of. That I not end up alone, with my ovaries withering in a dusty desert. Did I know that she would then relay all that information on to every mouthpiece in Charmed? Bragging about how well her Lanie had done? How I’d lived up to the Most-Likely-To-Set-The-World-On-Fire vote I’d received senior year. Including the visuals I’d sent her of me and Michael-the-Smoking-Hottie. So later on, in Aunt Ruby’s last days, when said boyfriend—a very fair, blond-haired GQ-style guy named Benjamin—wanted to come with me to meet the woman that raised me, and be with me at the sparse little funeral, I couldn’t do that. Not when Lanie Barrett’s husband was dark-haired, tall and blue-collar sexy Michael. Which would have come as somewhat of a surprise to Benjamin. “I know, Tilly,” I said, pulling my thoughts back to her as Ralph finished up cleaning the cabinets and had come nosing around the counter to find the source. “I probably have been in a funk. Just—nothing’s been the same.” “Well, and Benjamin,” she said, and I could hear the nod. Damn, I really needed to stop talking to people so much about my personal life. I forgot I’d told her about my boyfriend. “Benjamin was a douche,” I said, feeding Ralph a burned pancake. Maybe he’d be less likely to pee on me tonight. Benjamin was a douche. He called me cute. He didn’t understand the insult, but it was really the whole disclaimer phrase that went with it that got my goat. The words still echoed in my head. I’ve always wanted that average, girl-next-door, dependable girlfriend. The one that isn’t too sparkly. Cute but not gorgeous. I wanted to throw up just thinking about it. Nothing in my entire life had made me feel more mediocre than that. Whether it was true or not, your man shouldn’t be the one to say it. Not that I was looking for undying love. I didn’t do love. But I was certainly looking for unbridled lust with someone who thought me above average. My phone beeped in my ear, announcing another call, from an unknown number. Unknown to the phone, maybe, but as of late I’d come to recognize it. “Hey Till,” I said, finger hovering over the button. “The lawyer is calling. I should probably see if there’s any news on the will.” “Go ahead,” she said. “I’ll call you in a few days and see how my Ralph is doing.” So, not coming back in a few days. “Sounds good,” I said, clicking over. “Hey, Carmen.” “Hey yourself,” she said, her voice friendly but smooth and full of that lawyer professionalism they must inject them with in law school. She warmed it up for an old best friend, but it wasn’t the same tone that used to prank call boys in junior high or howl at the top of her lungs as we sped drunk down Dreary Road senior year. This Carmen Frost was polished. I saw that at the funeral. Still Carmen, but edited and photo shopped. Even when I met her for drinks afterward and we drove over to the house to reminisce. This Carmen felt different from the childhood best buddy that had slept in many a blanket fort in our living room. Strung of course with Christmas lights in July and blessed with incense from Aunt Ruby. That Carmen was the only person I truly let into my odd little family circle. She never made fun of Aunt Ruby or perpetuated the gossip. Coming from a single mom household where her mother had to work late often, she enjoyed the warm weirdness at our house. It wasn’t uncommon for her to join us to spontaneously have dinner in the backyard under the stars or dress up in homemade togas (sheets) to celebrate Julius Caesar’s birthday. Returning for the funeral, it broke me, walking into that house for the first time without Aunt Ruby in it. It was full of her. She was in every cushion. Every bookcase. Every oddball knickknack. Her scent was in the curtains that had been recently washed and ironed, as if she’d known the end was near and had someone come clean the house. Couldn’t leave it untidy on her exit to heaven for people to talk. We sat in Aunt Ruby’s living room and cried a little and told a few nostalgic stories, trying to bring back the old banter, but it was as if Carmen had forgotten how to relax. She was wound up on a spool of bungee rope and someone had tied the ends down. Tight and unable to yield. Still, we had history. At one time, she was family. Which is why Aunt Ruby hired her to handle her will and estate. A word that seemed so silly on my tongue, as I would have never associated estate with my aunt or her property. But that was the word Carmen used again and again when we talked. Her estate involved the house and some money (she didn’t elaborate), but it had to be probated and there were complications due to medical bills that had to be paid first. Which made sense. It had taken almost two months, and I had almost written off hearing anything. Not that I was holding my breath on the money part. I was pretty sure whatever dollars there were would be used up with the medical bills, and that just left the house. I figured that would probably be left to me. I was really her only family after my mom died young. Well, except for some cousins that I barely knew from her brother she rarely talked to, but I couldn’t imagine them keeping up with her enough to even know that she died. I didn’t know what on earth I’d do with the house. It was old and creaky and probably full of problems—one being it was in Charmed and I was not. But it was home. And it had character and memories and laughter soaked into the walls. Aunt Ruby was there. I felt it. If that was intuition, then okay. I felt it there. But only there. So I’d probably keep it as a place to get away, and spend the next several months going back and forth on the weekends like I had right after she passed, cleaning out the fridge and things that were crucial. Mentally, I ticked off a list of the work that was about to begin. That was okay. Aunt Ruby was worth it. “How’s it going over there?” I asked. “Good, good,” Carmen said. “How’s California?” Oh yeah. “Fine,” I said. “You know. Sunshine and pretty people. All that.” I closed my eyes and shook my head. Where did I get this shit? “Sounds wonderful,” she said. “It’s been raining and muggy here for three days.” “Yeah,” I said, just to say something. “So the will has been probated,” Carmen said. “Everything’s ready to be read. I wanted to see when you’d be able to make it back to Charmed for that?” “Oh,” I said, slightly surprised. “I have to come in person?” “For the reading, yes,” she said. “You have to sign some paperwork and so do the other parties.” “Other parties?” “Yes—well, normally I don’t disclose that but you’re you, so…” she said on a chuckle. “The Clarks?” she said, her tone ending in question. “As in my cousins?” Really? “I was surprised, too,” she said. “I don’t remember ever even hearing about them.” “Because I maybe saw them three times in my whole life,” I said. “They live in Denning. Or they did. I don’t think you ever met them.” “Hmm, okay,” she said, her tone sounding like she was checking off a list. “And you’ll need to bring some things with you.” “Things?” “Two, actually,” Carmen said, laughing. “Just like your aunt to make a will reading quirky. But they are easy. Just your marriage certificate—” “My what?” Carmen chuckled again, and I was feeling a little something in my throat, too. Probably not of the same variety. “I know,” she said. “Goofy request, but I see some doozies all the time. Had a client once insist that his dog be present at the reading of the will. He left him almost everything. Knowing Aunt Ruby, there is some cosmic reason.” Uh-huh. She was messing with me. I swallowed hard, my mind reeling and already trying to figure out how I could fake a marriage certificate. “And the second thing?” I managed to push past the lump in my throat. “Easy peasy,” she said. “Your husband, of course.” s smoking-hot body, he’d be okay.

 

 

Abouttheauth

 

 

 

 

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. Her novels include The Reason Is You, Before and Ever Since, Just One Day, Don’t Let Go, and Stay with Me.

Sharla writes modern day, quirky love stories with dysfunctional families, love problems, and snarky humor. Because who doesn’t love a love story? Especially one with strong women and drama and baggage and hot men that can’t get enough of them.…

 

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Blog Tour: The Wizard Killer by Adam Dreece with Excerpt and Giveaway

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews :

 

Today’s stop is for Adam Dreece’s The Wizard Killer.We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

"Harry Potter meets Die Hard" - M. Bybee, WereBook.org "Madmax meets Lord of the Rings" - Goodreads.com A world once at the height of magical technology and social order has collapsed. How and why are the least of the wizard killer’s worries. Leaning my bloody head against the back of the crashed levitating carriage, I flex my cramped fingers. With a renewed grip on the mana-pistol, I steal a quick breath. The others better wake up fast, otherwise we’re all going to burn. Written using a binge-TV show model, Season 1 contains 20 pulse-pounding episodes, and is an all new side to best-selling YA author, Adam Dreece.

“…an intense action movie-style romp through a wonderfully detailed fantasy world. I freaking LOVED this story! I loved the cinematic feel, I loved the action scenes, I loved the characters. It is like Harry Potter meets Die Hard” — M Bybee, WereBooks.org, 5 Stars

"...imaginative and compelling series that is quite difficult to stop reading. Dreece knows exactly how to build and then neatly tie up each episode, while leaving the reader wanting more.... highly recommended." Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PREVIOUSLY

In Season 1 of The Wizard Killer, we met a man with no name as he awoke from the dead with his short-sword impaled in his chest, his magic failing, and his memories scrambled. As he ventured into the barren wasteland trying to figure out what had happened to him, he narrowly avoided being burned alive by a carn and eaten by a family of ghouls. A chance encounter with a trio of bandits revealed he was something called a weslek, some kind of living mana-battery. Fighting alongside them in a desperate battle against two flaming carnu, the nameless man drained the remaining life force from one of the dying bandits, and shot another. The battle won, their leader, a magic-wielding woman named Ania, took off, leaving the nameless man with the haunted feeling that their business wasn’t over. And in the final moments of Season 1, the nameless man and a oner woman raced against time to escape the wrath of the raw devastation being wrought by a floating city. As the city passed over them, ripping every speck of life and mana from the surrounding area, the oner woman sacrificed herself for a chance to save the nameless man.

Episode 3 (Part 1 of a Flashback Scene)

"Hey!" yells a deep voice, followed by a hard shove. I stumble backwards, disoriented, knocking over the chair I must have been in. I hit the wall and slump down. My head feels two sizes too small. Where am I? Why’s my heart racing? The smell of stale and rancid beer immediately assaults my nose, clearing some of the fog in my mind and waking me up. Looking down at what’s on my hands, I’m distracted by the floor’s shiny, orange-and-brown sheen. Half my brain tells me the stuff on my hands feels like sandpaper; the other half, like dried snot. My eyes go from the floor to my sleeve, and then to how I’m dressed. I'm wearing matching brown pants, vest, and long coat—all neatly pressed. On the uneven table in front of me sits a brown, bowl-shaped hat. After a momentary debate of whether to rub my eyes, I decide against it and gaze about the rest of the bar, ignoring the figure standing beside me. The tavern has ‘rock bottom’ written all over it. The dingy walls and bowing ceiling don't do it any favors. There are a few high windows, though I suspect they've never been cleaned, and thankfully they’re keeping most of the morning light at bay. The man standing beside me goes to flick my ear, and I slap his hand, glaring at him. He clears his throat and glares back at me. He's got a tall, stocky frame and a big, bushy beard that is dark brown with a white streak from lip to chin. In one of his meaty hands is a black bowl hat, his wiry hair showing that he's been wearing it for a good part of the day already. Under his dark long coat is a red-and-silver vest with the chain of a pocket watch showing. Most importantly, he's got a two-bar, tin rectangle pinned on the outside of his coat and the scowl of authority to accompany it. “Sheriff,” I say grudgingly. His face relaxes a touch. “I’ve had to look all over town for you. You’ve almost missed your time to meet with the librarian, and if you miss this one, there ain’t going to be another. Now get up and get moving. She doesn't stay in one place long. And if a Scourge patrol finds her? You’re going to be looking over both shoulders every minute of every day until you’re having a dirt nap.” I put a hand out. He reluctantly grabs it and hauls me to my feet. My head’s throbbing, and the empty beer mugs on the table tell me why. Rolling my other shoulder, it barks at me painfully. "Mother of Mercy," I say under my breath. I must have done something to it when I fell off my chair… or last night. All that remains of what happened is a vague hint, nothing more. I can’t remember walking into this place or drinking a thing. All the consequences and none of the fun, that’s no way to live. “I know that look,” he grumbles, a disapproving smirk on his face. “When you strolled into town yesterday, I told you to stay away from the black beer. That stuff will knock the smile off a horse. I also told you not to play cards with the three sisters who run the place. From what I heard this morning, you’re lucky they left you with your dignity, never mind your clothes.” I grimace as the shoulder pain subsides a bit. "I'll keep that in mind." "Good. Now put some gloves on," he says pointing at my bare hands. I pull my sleeves up and stare at my arms. “Where are my tattoos?” The sheriff raises an eyebrow. “I was talking about your hands.” He takes one of my hands and turns it sideways. There’s a blue line that runs along the edge, disappearing up my sleeve. I look at my other hand, it’s there too. “Unlike most folk, I don’t care where you came from, and I care even less what horrible things happened to you to put that on you. I’m sure it’s why the librarian will meet with you, but I don’t want to know.” He bends down and picks up a pair of gloves from under the table. “Put these on.” He then hands me my hat. “Keep your head down, and no one should notice the line at your neck.” He leans in. “You remember that much, don’t you?” I nod and put the gloves and hat on. "You all good?" "Yeah,” I reply. We step out of the bar and into the blinding, dusty outdoors. The sky's got a familiar red haze to it. My fingers start rubbing together like they’re pulling on a fishing line with an unwilling memory on the end of it. There's about two dozen people walking about, all of them dressed up beyond what I'd expect for an outskirts town. Most of the women have shiny dresses and parasols, and most of the men long coats and hats. Either this place is rich in something, or it’s got a secret that some pay handsomely for. Glancing about at the two-storey buildings and dirt-road nature of the town, knots start to form in my stomach. I’m not sure if I’m paranoid, or I remember something, but I’ve got a bad feeling about the place. I nudge the sheriff and point at the red haze. “What’s that?” He gives me a wide-eyed glare. “You stupid or something?” I frown at him. Leaning in, he whispers. “It ain’t smart to bring up the affairs of wizards and the like.” I’m tempted to ask something else, but am interrupted by the image of a floating city being built. Mana leaks… it’s one of the things that can lead to this haze, I remember. Looking again, my stomach turns as I’m sure there’s something far worse going on than building a floating city. “Come on, people’ll start staring,” he says, leading the way. I keep my head tilted down as people walk by. "They’re building that pretty close to a town, aren’t they? I thought they were always paranoid about that type of thing.” He gives me a sharp glare and gets right in my face, his hand resting atop the pistol on his hip. “I believe in upsetting the apple cart a bit every now and then. That’s why I’m helping you. There are things most unnatural happening, and they’ve got to stop. But I need you to understand; I ain’t going to risk my life or this town.” I slowly nod. Everyone likes to be a little bit of a rebel. “Wizards have eyes and ears everywhere. I’ve heard a man mention a certain one, and then out of nowhere appears a hot-headed acolyte with the powers of a god and trigger-happy soldiers with something to prove.” He pulls back and straightens his vest. “Now, shut up or I’ll shoot you. We clear?” He flashes a politician's smile and starts moving. Across the street’s a two-storey building with a sign reading General Store. There’s an old man, bald, staring at me. I stare back. There’s something about him, like he’s a person standing among paintings, something that makes him more real than the rest. Taking a step into the road, the sheriff immediately gets in front of me and shoves me back. “I think we’re having a communication problem.” I point at the general store, but there’s no one there. “I thought I saw someone I know.” “Doubt it,” he replies with a scoff. I look first at the store’s door, which doesn’t look like it’s closing, and then around, but there’s no sign of him. The only thing out of place is a faint buzzing in my head. Strange. I can remember every detail of the man’s face. I swear I’ve seen him before… just not here. Shaking it off, I follow the sheriff for a few blocks before tapping him on the shoulder. He turns around, his face showing his frustration. I raise a finger. “Do you hear that? There’s like— a clicking.” He listens for a moment. “Might be coming from the trailer house,” he says gesturing at a long building coming up. “That’s where we have the levi-cars. A few horses, too. Sometimes those levis make funny noises when people are working on them.” As we continue walking, I keep glancing about, unable to shake the feeling of being watched. I perch my sweaty hands on my belt, feel something. Looking down, I see I’ve got an empty holster on one side. On the other, I’ve got an empty place for a knife. Yig, maybe there was something to that three sisters thing. Finally, he stops and turns around, leaning towards the light-blue door of the white-washed two-storey building. Glancing around the main street, I’m sure that clicking sound is not coming from the levi’s place. The sheriff takes his hat off and taps twice on the door with his knuckles. He listens for a second, then straightens up and puts his hat back on. “Go on in. You’ve got five minutes, and then you need to get out of here.” I narrow my eyes at him, tempted to ask why. He rolls his shoulders and scans the street, his hands resting on his pistols. Glancing at me, he’s got an anxious look in his eye. “Go on. Clock’s ticking.” I start to push on the door and stop. “You hear it too, don’t you? It’s like… like hollow bone being hit on hollow bone.” “Doesn’t matter. Scourge spies are going to know something’s up soon and I’m not going to have this town known as the place where the only free librarian died.” My palms are sweaty, my heart's racing. Something bad is about to happen. I just don't know what.

Episode 4 - (2nd half of Flashback) The sunlight from the door stops two feet into the room with no rhyme nor reason. Stepping into the room, I close the door and take my hat off. I stand quietly, listening to the creak of the floorboards under me, waiting for my eyes to adjust. The room seems barren, except for a counter a few feet away. “Gah… that sound.” I put a finger in my ear and give it a good shake. A silhouette appears behind the empty counter. “These are dangerous times,” it says, the voice soft and melodic. The head turns and I'm thrown off. It's like staring at a star-filled night sky. Swallowing nervously, I nod. “You're the last of the free librarians I take it.” There's a scream outside, followed by another. My hands twist my hat, and I stare at the door. “I’m…” I turn and face the librarian. “I’m told you’ll have an answer for me. Though, I hate to say it, I wasn’t told what the question was.” “The answer is a yes. A wizard can be killed through means other than simply time and frailty of the body. There's a High Acolyte who knows… in Banareal. He’s learned the secret experiments of his master, the Wizard of Banareal. The Wizard suspects him of treachery. It won’t be long before the High Acolyte is arrested and tortured.” “Are we supposed to get him before he’s arrested? After?” I don’t even know what I’m talking about. Staring at the floor, an image comes to me. “Old man. Is he an old man?” I can feel her staring at me; I’ve thrown her off. “The High Acolyte will be alive for some time, though barely. The Wizard will experiment on him, to see if it’s possible to make an acolyte into a weslek." “So, we need to get him out?” “The wards won’t allow him to leave the laboratory alive.” I glare at the librarian. “How is this helpful?” Several gunshots go off on the other side of the door. It's followed by screeches and a wave of that bone-chattering sound. "I must go," says the librarian, pushing open a door at the back, the room filling with sunlight. Wincing and turning away, I raise a hand. “If I follow what you’re saying, then we need to get him out of there. How do we do that?” “Take his life from him then give it back. There are a few who can craft such magical weapons. You’ll need to be careful, and make it discreet.” “Like one of the soldiers’ short swords?” I wish she had an expression; I can’t tell if she’s agreeing or staring me like an idiot. “We are out of time." She exits and the back door closes, leaving me standing in the dark. The screams outnumber the gunshots. There’s that clicking sound coming from everywhere, even above me somewhere. I crack the door open a bit and look. The scene doesn’t make sense, people shooting at nothing and being ripped apart by nothing. Without thinking, my hand goes into one of the long coat pockets and pulls out an orb. It’s maroon and sleek-looking, with a silver streak. Holding it up to my mouth, I mutter some words without thinking. The orb pulses. “It’s the H. A. of Banareal that we need. He’s going to be taken soon, we have a limited window of time. Wards will stop us from taking him, so we need to suspend his life. We need to find someone who can put that kind of enchantment on a common item, like a short sword. Suspend his life; then we get him out of there.” Leaning against the doorframe, sweat drips off my forehead. Bowing my head for a second, I recall someone warning me that the orb could suck the life out of you, but wow, I wasn’t ready for this. I feel like I’ve got the flu of the century. I stroke the silver streak of the orb. It pulses once, and it’s done. I stuff it back in my pocket. Alright, now I’ve got to get out of here. Pulling the door open fully, I take in the gruesome scene. There are pieces of bodies everywhere. Across the street, I see terrified people huddled together on the second-floor balcony. If this was a Scourge Patrol, they wouldn’t be safe up there, and I’ve known Scourge Patrols to be brutal but never to rip people apart like what I’m seeing. I’m not taking any chances. I step out of the building, closing the door behind me. Glancing each way, I don’t see any fighting going on. I give the orb a squeeze and toss it into the air. It falls, like a lump, to the ground. I shuffle over and scoop it up. “Come on, you’re supposed to go.” Tossing it again, I glare angrily as it lands without dignity on the brown, dusty, main street. Picking it up and shaking my head, I notice the sheriff’s body, one of his arms missing. A thought slips out from my foggy memories and I look around. “Whatever they’re doing that’s causing the red haze, there’s not enough mana in the air to activate the magic for the orb.” I glare at the ground. “What was I supposed to do?” As if replying, the sheriff gives me the answer. “It needs more from me.” Just then I catch sight of a blur in the wind, then two more. This isn’t what I needed. I reach down and snatch one of sheriff’s long-barreled pistols. Spinning the chamber with the back of my hand, I see its got three hopes of me living loaded. It’s not much, but it might be enough to get me to more. Scanning about, I notice that only the door to the general store is closed. Maybe people are holed up in there, or maybe it’s a front for something. Either way, it strikes me as a good place to go. I make a dash for it, the clicking bone on bone sound erupting from everywhere. The people on the balcony start screaming and crying. They’ve probably watched and heard this play out a dozen times already; now they’re waiting for my torturous end. I hope to disappoint them. Peeking over my shoulder, everything's deformed and distorted, like I'm looking through warped glass. “The wind spiders are all around you!” yells a woman from the balcony. I’ve never heard of wind spiders. Sliding to a stop in front of the general store, I turn and accidentally shoot blindly. Yig, down to two. Holding the orb tightly up to my chest, I wait, my heart pounding. It feels like each thought of mine is fighting through a raging river to get heard, and the river’s growing. My eyes dart about, waiting for the inevitable. Everything’s quiet. I scream as something slashes my leg. Falling to the ground, I drop my pistol and put a hand over the bleeding wound. It’s like someone’s put warped mirrors all around me, making the whole world look weird. I rub my blood hand on the orb. “That’s got to count for something,” I mutter. The orb pulses twice as I get slashed again, this time from the left and right. I feebly lob the orb into the air. My heart sinks as nothing happens, as it falls towards the ground. But then it turns, arcing up, and vanishes. With renewed vigor, I grab the pistol and scramble backwards to the general store’s door. I bang on the door with one hand, and fire at a warped area. Nothing on either front. I crane my head, looking up at the door, and bang hard again. Then I gasp, as something pierces my chest, pinning me to the door. All I can get are short, shallow breaths. There’s blood seeping out of me. Glancing about, I see there’s a slight purple in the air. Then I see it, in all its terrifying glory: the wind spider. It smells of death, and radiates sweaty heat. I plunge the pistol into where I figure its mouth is and pull the trigger. Yellow goo goes everywhere, and the other blurry images back off, at least for a moment. The pistol tumbles out of my hand as it goes numb. I can’t breathe. My head hurts. I close my eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

 

 

 

 

 
Adam Dreece kicked off his indie author career with his best-selling steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the former software architect put out two more young adult books, the post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and then his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent Author’s Network.
When he’s not working on his next book, Adam can be found giving talks at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada on subjects from how to get one’s ideas out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, to how to give a successful book signing.
Along the way, Adam has faced many challenges, including working around his Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder), and needing to be ruthless with his time and energy in face of his severe asthma and chronic abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a symbol of tenacious hard work to others.
He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and children. He is an active online mentor at adamdreece.com, and is a busy public speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
 
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5 BookLikes features you didn't know about (or you've forgotten)

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Do you know all BookLikes features? Here's a bunch of tips that may come in handy for regular bloggers on BookLikes, as well as for newbies.

 

1. Top tags - what's trending on BookLikes

 

The Top tags section can be entered from your Dashboard (menu->Dashboard->Top tags) and your admin Blog (menu->Blog->Top tags on BookLikes).

 

 

 

By entering the section you can check which topics were trending in a given week on BookLikes. Make sure to add tags to your posts to make them count to the top tags overview.

 

 

To view the tagged posts just click the tag you're interested with:

 

 

 

2. Grab free e-books

 

Did you know that we have a free e-books section on BookLikes? Just go to Daily Deals (Menu->Daily deals),choose a Free ebooks tab, and click the category you love to look through hundreds of free books from your favorite genres to download.

 

 

 

3. Fixed header - a menu and a book search always on the top

 

In the general settings tab (menu->Settings) you'll see a check box with a fixed header position. If you wish to see the menu and a search box always on the top of the page tick the box and Save.

 

 

 

 

4. Newsletter - language targeted

 

BookLikes newsletter presents reviews, posts, bloggers and authors adjusted to your BookLikes language selection.

 

If you've chosen the English language for your BookLikes, the newsletter sent to you will present English posts, reviews and bloggers who have chosen the same language selection. It's the same for other languages: if you've chosen the German language for your BookLikes, the newsletter will present German posts, reviews and bloggers. And if you've chosen the Polish language for your BookLikes, the newsletter will present Polish posts and bloggers.

 

If you wish to change the newsletter settings and receive the German newsletter instead of the English one, for example, go to general Settings and update the language section.

 

 

 

5. Let other know about your BookLikes

 

Let your readers know about all your pages and bookish profiles. If you have other blogs and webpages it's recommended to add a link to your BookLikes page (yourusername.booklikes.com). You can find and download the social icons for your BL profile on the Goodies page (menu->Goodies).

 

 

Happy blogging!

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