Spring Blog Tour

Spring
Lele Iturrioz
(Seasons Within #2)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Gaia finally knows who she is and what she’s meant to do. It’s only been a few weeks since the earth element woke in her. Now that she’s embracing her role as Mother Nature, she must journey with her group of power-wielding friends in a race against time to get back home before Azazel reaches them.

With the awakening of a brand new element, her true past with Edan, a dangerous decision that could change the very essence of who she is, and a traitor among her group, the broken road back to Terra will be a test of strength.

After all, even if Gaia doesn’t know it, war is closer than she thinks.

Goodreads / Amazon

Book One is on sale for $0.99 during the duration of this tour. Buy it here

Since I received both books for free, I will be reviewing both of them. When I first heard of these books, I thought it would be hard for me to keep up with the storyline because the plot seemed so complex.

These stories completely blew me away! I was not expecting it to be as addicting as it was, and I completely flew through these two books.

There were so many characters that sometimes I got confused, but they were all so interesting to learn about. Even the side characters had important roles in this story and felt fully fleshed out. The entire team worked so well together and each member got their spotlight. I absolutely loved G’s development and her figuring out her powers. 

Though I was afraid of it being too fast-paced and confusing, the books was not hard to follow, which I liked so that I could really meet the characters. I felt that the second book also had a more even pace to it. Some chapters were long and intensive, and others were fast and fun!

There’s definitely a lot more romance in the second book than in the first, but it still was not the main focus, which I appreciated.

The writing was okay in book one, but I saw so much improvement in book two. I love seeing authors grow as much as the characters they create!

 I will definitely be picking up the third installment of this series. It’s a super fun and interesting read with well-developed characters and plot. The second book is even better than the first in terms of writing, plot, and characters. I definitely recommend!

Final Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Author Bio:

Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.

I’m the author of the YA fantasy series, Seasons Within

I spend my time writing, planning on writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Moribund Blog Tour

Moribund
Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
(Circuit Fae #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Dark Fae. Romance. Evil Plots. High school. Our heroines could be in for the greatest adventure ever.

If only they could decide whether to kill or kiss each other.

High school sophomore Syl Skye is an ordinary girl. At least, she’s trying to be. School photographer and all-around geek, she introverts hard and keeps her crush on sexy-hot glam-Goth alt-rock star Euphoria on the down-low. But when a freak accident Awakens her slumbering power, Syl is forced to accept a destiny she never wanted—as the last sleeper-princess of the fair Fae.

Suddenly hunted by the dark Fae, Syl’s pretty sure things can’t get any worse. Until she discovers her secret crush, Euphoria, is really a dark Circuit Fae able to harness the killing magic in technology. Even worse, she’s been sent to destroy Syl.

With mean girls and magic and dark Fae trying to kill her, it’ll take more than just “clap if you believe in fairies” to save Syl’s bacon—not to mention, her heart.

Perfect for readers of romance, urban fantasy, fairy stories and LGBT.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Review:

This seemed like a super interesting read full of action and adventure. The main things that sold me were the modern fantasy with LGBT!

Ahhh, the characters were so adorable! In addition, they seemed to pop out of the pages. The romance also wasn’t unrealistic at all, which happens often in fast-pasted stories. 

I was a little uncertain about this book at first because of the complex plot, but the world building was so well done and I felt myself on the edge of my seat most of the time!

This story was so beautifully written and crafted. I can tell this author put a lot of heart into this book.

This was an intense and grappling introduction to this series. I definitely hope to read more in the future!

Final Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Author Bio:

Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance–where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.

She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.

She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.

GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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ReWired Blog Tour

ReWired
S.R. Johannes
Publication date: August 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

YA cyber thriller, ReWIRED, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.

It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.

With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWIRED delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWIRED is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

Goodreads / Amazon

My favorite thing about this story was the format. I absolutely adored the different fonts and chat room parts! It really made me feel fully immersed in the story.

I wasn’t sure about Ada at first, but I ended up really enjoying reading from her perspective. It was super interesting gradually learning about the other characters with Ada.

The plot was super action-packed and interesting! I was expecting this book to be a cookie-cutter sci-fi novel but it was far from that. I did have a small problem with the world building, since it was a little difficult for me to imagine the entire world, and I wish I could’ve seen more hacking.

I was not a fan of the random attraction to Ada that the boys appeared to have. I don’t like romance in books usually, so it was not a surprise that I cringed a little every time Ada made out with the love interest.

When reading, the author’s writing is always something that stands out to me. For Reboot, the writing was far better than I had expected. The author’s writing was super easy to read and had me flying through this book.

In full, this was an exciting science fiction novel that had me staying up all night reading.

Final Rating: 4/5 stars

Author Bio:

S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.

Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.

Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with hEnglish-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.

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Is Having A Big TBR A Bad Thing? | Discussion

For those who are unfamiliar with the term TBR, it stands for To Be Read, or books that we want to read in the near future. Recently, I reorganized my shelves and put all of my TBR books onto one shelf. As someone who has watched hundreds of BookTube videos and has read hundreds of blog posts, I noticed the amount of TBR books I own isn't that common. I own about 100 books that I have yet to read. Most other book nerds have around 20-50. Even as I'm writing this, my rainbow bookshelf full of unread books stares back at me. So it got me to thinking: is there such thing as too many unread books?

The dreaded TBR pile. A long, long list of books we may or may not ever pick up. I personally have a theory when it comes to the TBR pile: when we have too many books, reading can start to become a chore. This can lead to reading slumps. When I first started BookTube and book blogging, I had never before had a reading slump (I didn't even know what they were). But, as I entered the world of books, all the books I had yet to read were daunting and, honestly, scary. Anyone who has read a dozen or so BookTube videos knows the pain– you start buying and buying new books until your TBR has spiraled out of control. That basically happened to me, and I can't recover from it.

That being said, it isn't necessarily bad to have a big TBR pile. After finishing a good book, you can automatically pick up your next read. And when you consider purchasing a brand new hardcover book, you can look at your giant pile and convince yourself not to buy it. Whenever I see a new book coming out, I look to my TBR shelf and tell myself to read those first. In fact, I set a rule for myself this year that I can't buy more books than I read each month. This has been helping a lot, as my TBR shelf has been getting increasingly more space.

So, ultimately, is having a big TBR pile a bad thing? In my opinion, it's both a good and a bad thing. Still, when I personally see TBR, I usually think of negative things: all the books I have yet to read. I won't lie, my TBR pile is out of control. But it's almost fun trying to get that high number down. These are all the books I have yet to read! We'll never get our TBR number down to zero, but that's part of the fun of reading: the fun never ends.

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Little Forevers by Katie Kaleski


Publication date: June 6th 2017
Genres:Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
How I obtained it: ARC
Blurb:
Phoebe likes Gage, but there’s a problem—he’s her brother’s best friend.
As the result of an extra-marital affair, Phoebe Bautista has had little contact with her dad, none with her step-mom, and her siblings have just recently learned of her of her existence. Now she goes to stay with them while her mom is on assignment in The Yukon for three months. As she tries to find her place and navigate the developing and rocky relationship with her temporary family, she begins to spend time playing music with her brother, Oliver, along with his best friend, Gage.
Gage is cute, smart, has selective mutism, and makes Phoebe’s heart skip a beat, but she knows she has to fight her feelings for him, so she doesn’t ruin her growing bond with Oliver. But the more time the three of them spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore what she feels for Gage, especially when she learns he might like her too.
And with her dad pretending everything’s fine, the fact that she might never belong anywhere, and knowing that she only has so much time with her new family, Phoebe might not make it out with her heart intact.

Review:
I received a copy from Xpresso Book Tours in return for an honest review.

This story was a pure guilty pleasure. It was super adorable and fluffy, and it featured one of the most adorable couples I've seen in a long time!

Phoebe, the main character, admitted her feelings for Gage early on in the book, which I appreciated. I absolutely hate when there's a bunch of denial from the main character! Gage was super adorable, and it was really fascinating to learn about him since he's mute. Phoebe's siblings were also extremely interesting! Each of them had their individual struggles and flaws that readers get to find and explore.

Probably my least favorite part of this book. There were way too many sentences that didn't add at all to the story.

The romance was so cute! I absolutely love secret relationships, and I adored Phoebe and Gage! I just wanted them to be happy. More important than the romance was the familial relationships in this novel. Phoebe is constantly conflicted with her family, and it was so interesting to see those relationship evolve.

The plot dragged a ton at the beginning, but it did pick up towards the end. I loved the incorporation of a band in this novel. I felt like it really pulled the plot points into one cohesive story.

In all, this story was a fun and adorable young adult novel full of interesting characters and plot. Though I didn't love the writing, I look forward to reading more from Katie Kaleski.

Final rating: 3.5/5 stars

I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter | Xpresso Tours Book Blitz

I Stop Somewhere
T.E. Carter
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE in a searing, heartbreaking contemporary story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But then the unthinkable happens and Ellie is trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture but also makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

Later, I remember how my dad would stand in my doorway, watching me. Trying to reach me across so little space, yet so much. He stared at me like you look at a museum display or a creature in the zoo. I was the coelacanth and he was awed by my strangeness.

“I brought you something,” he said, holding a bag out across the threshold to my bedroom.

My room was an experiment. Posters and magazine pages and images covered the walls and the vanity and my dresser. All the people I wanted to be, wanted to look like. They were the people who mattered. I stared at myself in the mirror, hating how I looked. I hated how the curves made the boys poke me through the back of my chair in class, and how they made the girls call me fat. I hated how far the people in the magazines were from me. I thought I would never count, because I wasn’t them.

“What is it?” I asked my dad, gesturing toward the bag he was holding.

“I thought you might like it.”

It happened every few nights. He’d show up, presenting an offering in a plastic bag. Makeup. Clothes. Hair bands. He tried. He tried and so I tried, but the discount stickers said it all.

They were marked down, because the lipstick was too orange. The tank top wasn’t cut right. The hair pins would have been perfect for a girl my age – ten years ago. But I wore them for him and he smiled, because he didn’t know the difference.

“Thanks, Dad. I love it,” I lied.

“You’re beautiful, Ellie.”

I was a markdown girl.

I did know the difference.


Author Bio:

TE Carter was born in New England and has lived in New England for pretty much her entire life. Throughout her career, she’s done a lot of things, although her passion has always been writing. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (she’s one hundred percent Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and their two cats.

Website

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The Reckoning By Jenna Leigh | Xpresso Book Tours Book Blitz

Reckoning
Jena Leigh
(The Variant Series, #4)
Publication date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Alexandra Parker came home from the past only to find herself in the middle of an underground war—one that could affect the fate of Variants everywhere.

Fighting an all-powerful government agency is tough enough, but when a secret from John Grayson’s past comes back to haunt them all, the group’s united front begins to crumble. And when Alex’s own painful memories threaten to push her past her breaking point, the uprising stands to lose its most powerful weapon.

With their lives and their freedom on the line, can Declan, Nate, and the rest of the Grayson family hold it together long enough to bring down Director Carter and derail Brian’s apocalyptic visions?

As Alex struggles to master her most volatile ability yet, only one thing is certain: the uprising’s cold war with the Agency is about to turn red hot.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“Would you like to continue?” Brandt asked, his tone mocking. “Or do you need a break?”

Alex wiped distractedly at her brow, straightened her posture, and gave a nod. “I’m ready. Let’s keep going.”

Brandt smiled. “As you wish, little girl.”

He split the fiery orb he held in two before allowing each of them to double in size—and then he lobbed one of them directly at her head.

Standing as they were, only a few yards apart, she barely had time to dive out of the way. The fireball hit the ground just behind her, singeing the earth to a blackened char before fizzling out.

Alex got back to her feet. Again, Brandt split the orb he held in two before sending one spiraling toward her face.

This time she was ready and managed to catch the blazing orb just a few fleeting inches from the tip of her nose. She shrank the ball little by little until she was able to force it to blink out entirely.

Distracted as she was by her efforts, she almost failed to notice the next orb hurtling her way. It took everything she had to react in time to catch that one, too, and dissolve it. This time, she glanced up to discover two fiery masses spiraling in her direction.

Again, Alex was forced to redouble her efforts in order to catch both simultaneously and dissipate them.

And then there were three.

Four.

Five.

Soon Alex’s world consisted only of the flames hurtling toward her and the effort it required to force each orb out of existence.

Within another two minutes, the number of orbs being launched simultaneously in her direction had hit double digits.

Drowning beneath the constant onslaught, Alex grew desperate.

“Brandt, stop!” she gasped out. “Please!

Instead of slowing, the speed and strength of his volleys intensified.

Stop?” he repeated, incredulous. “I thought you were here this morning to learn. To train. Are you really going to give up so easily, little girl?”

Exhaustion turned swiftly to rage. Alex growled as she countered orb after orb, dissolving each one with barely an instant remaining to prepare for the next explosive torrent.

“Stop calling me little girl,” she spat through clenched teeth, struggling to hold back the barrage.

“Then stop acting like one,” he replied. “If you just wait around for people to start taking you seriously, you’re never gonna get anywhere. You want to go toe-to-toe with the boys? You want to stand on an equal playing field? Newsflash, little girl. Such a field doesn’t exist. Not for you.”

She could feel the anger burning through her, hotter even than the fire she wielded.

“Don’t ask to be their equal,” Brandt said. “Demand it. Then ready yourself so that, when the time comes, you leave them all behind. Make certain that there will be no doubt that you’re so much more than they ever dreamed.”

Alex could feel her strength—and her ability to focus—waning. She had seconds at most before her concentration gave out and the hailstorm of orbs made contact.

Summoning the last of her willpower, Alex took hold of every lick of fire in the open field, including the ones Brandt still held. Ripping them away from his control, she stretched out her arms, drew the nearly two dozen orbs toward her, and formed a veritable wall with them… and then she catapulted them all back toward her opponent.

Eyes widening in surprise behind his wire-rimmed glasses, Brandt stumbled backward, unable to stop the attack that was now heading straight for him.


Author Bio:

Jena Leigh is the author of the Variant Series novels REVIVAL, RESISTANCE, REDUX, and RECKONING. She’s currently hard at work on the fifth novel in the series. Born and raised in the lightning capital of North America, she eventually made her home in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. A shameless geek, she loves coffee, loud music, bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, and shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts.

To find out more about The Variant Series and author Jena Leigh, visit her online at http://www.jenaleighbooks.com or @jenaleighbooks.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy | Review


Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 384

How I Obtained It: Free eBook

Goodreads Description: 

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Initial Thoughts: I had heard quite a bit of buzz about this book. A lot of the reviews were mixed, but I was still interested in this book. In fact, Julie Murphy has come to speak at a local library, but I was unable to attend. Then I got an email asking to fill out a survey and that I would receive a free eBook in return. And that’s how I came to read Dumplin’.

Thoughts:

Willowdean, the main character, struggles with her weight throughout the novel. In addition, we see other characters that have disabilities. I loved seeing these characters slowly come to terms with what they view as flaws and become more confident people.

Even though this was about a beauty pageant, a lot of the book instead centered around the romance. I did enjoy the ending, when the pageant actually took place, but the other parts just seemed like filler chapters.

There’s a bit of a love triangle in this book. Not only that, the romance shows how insecure Willowdean is with her weight. Some of the romance was unnecessary but for the most part it was really cute and fluffy.

The writing was pretty standard for first person contemporary. It was simplistic, with few literary devices.

Even though I enjoyed this book, I have no urge to pick up another Julie Murphy book, but if I’m offered one for free then I’d happily enjoy more of her stories.

Final rating: 3/5 stars

Gate Of Air By Resa Nelsor | Xpresso Book Tours Book Blitz

Gate of Air
Resa Nelson
(Dragon Gods, #1)
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.

The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.

Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.

But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.

Especially when the one being punished is a woman.

Goodreads / Amazon

CHAPTER 1:

How did my life become so turbulent?

As the pale blue and pink light foretold the dawn of a new day, Frayka walked the narrow length of the Northlander ship, a long and sleek vessel that looked like a sea dragon slicing through the choppy ocean waves. The oars piled on the center of the deck rattled against each other. The scent of fish and brine permeated the air. The taste of salt in the air gave her a thirst that seemed impossible to quench. Frayka focused on the horizon instead.

She approached the rail and leaned on it, barely noticing the sound of her sweetheart Njall grunting while he adjusted the sail. After several days at sea, Frayka recognized the coast of her homeland, the Land of Ice, in the distance ahead. But instead of filling her heart with happiness or even meager content, the sight made her stomach twist into knots.

All her life, Frayka had given no thought to the fact that she looked like no other Northlander. Everyone in her homeland—including her own family—stood tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. While Frayka stood as tall as any Northlander woman, she inherited her looks from her father’s grandmother, a woman from the Far East who must have died many years ago.

Although Frayka’s skin looked similar to everyone else’s during the winter months, too much exposure to the sun simply turned Frayka’s skin a golden brown while the skin of all other Northlanders burned bright red. And her long black hair, straight as rain, made her stand out, as well as her dark brown eyes.

Njall joined her side and draped an arm across her shoulders. “Home at last.”

Exhausted from the journey and lost in worry about the days ahead, Frayka didn’t respond.

Njall squeezed her shoulder. “Why so glum?”

“No one told me I’d be meeting a Northlander god,” Frayka said. “I’m still reeling from what the All-Father told me.”

Weeks ago, a shaman led Frayka to the ethereal world of the gods. The god of all Northlander gods—the All-Father—singled out Frayka because she dared to live as a Northlander despite her Far Eastern looks.

To appease the anger of all Northlander gods, the All-Father tasked Frayka with the duty of finding the dragon gods of the Far East. The All-Father told Frayka she then must figure out how to make peace between those dragon gods and the Northlander gods. If Frayka failed, the Northlander gods would kill her.

Why did all gods have to act so foolish and petty?

Why should it be her problem that Northlanders had once worshipped the dragon gods instead of their own gods?

Why should the Northlander gods involve her just because they felt angry and rejected by the mortals who adopted the dragon gods in their absence?

Frayka knew the dragon gods destroyed the Northlands and surrounding countries, even though she’d been an infant at the time. The full blame for that destruction fell on the true Northlander gods, who were enraged first for being ignored and then for being faulted for something they didn’t do.

Why should I care that mortals blame the Northlander gods for the sins of the dragon gods?

The task given to Frayka by the Northlander gods overwhelmed her. Frayka wished she could crawl below deck, curl up in a corner, and sleep until her life felt normal again.

But Northlanders never talked of such feelings. If Frayka admitted to any of them, she would appear weak in Njall’s eyes. He loved her because of her strength and courage. And right now, only Njall knew about the task she’d been given. If no one else believed her, she’d still have Njall by her side.

I can’t afford to lose him, too.

Njall laughed. “You’re spoiled by your own portents. Welcome to the ordinary world that the rest of us live in.”

Frayka knew Njall was right. Since birth, her portents gave her regular glimpses into the future, something no other Northlander could do. She’d known for years that Njall would someday marry her, and her faith never waived. Years ago, he teased Frayka about her portents. Thinking about those days, she said, “Remember when you used to call me Frayka the Freak?”

“Be fair,” Njall said, failing to hide his shame. “I don’t call you that anymore.” He ran his rough hand against her silky black hair. “Not since I saw you become a brave warrior. Not since you saved my life. Once I tell everyone what you’ve done, everyone will love you as much as I do.” Njall hesitated. “Wait. That’s a terrible idea. Someone might try to marry you before I can.”

“If anyone tries to get between you and me, I’ll kick him in the shins.” Frayka laughed briefly before worry overtook her again. “But it’s not my portents I’m worried about. It’s what the gods want me to do. What I have to do.”

“This isn’t like you. You never worry.”

Frayka cleared her throat, knowing the time to keep secrets had to end. “I had a portent last night after you fell asleep. A portent about the gods.”

His arm tensed. “What kind of portent?”

Frayka looked at the sea. “I saw what will happen if I fail. If I don’t do what the gods ask.” When Njall stayed silent, she continued. “They will kill every Northlander who still survives. They will kill you and me and our families and everyone in the Land of Ice.”

“But your portents,” Njall said. “Sometimes they give you an idea of the future. They’re not always exact.”

“This one was,” Frayka said. “Very exact and very clear. I have to find the dragon gods and figure out how to make peace between them and the Northlander gods. Otherwise, we all die.”

Njall shifted his weight when the ship tilted. “Then let’s fight the Northlander gods. Let’s kill them before they can kill us.”

Frayka shook her head. “You don’t understand. All the stories we heard about gods are lies. Northlanders thought the dragon gods were their gods, but it’s not true. Mortals thought the Northlander gods forced the dragon gods to destroy our homeland, but that’s not true either.” She frowned. “Not entirely. Even if we could find the Northlander gods—which is impossible—it wouldn’t solve anything. The All-Father told me what I have to do, and nothing else will satisfy him.”

Njall wrapped his arms around Frayka and held her close. “You’re not alone, you know,” he said. “You’ve got me, and I’ll walk by your side every step of the way.”

His words comforted Frayka. For a moment she found hope and felt excited about the chance to make a difference in the world. She felt no fear of the danger she might face.

Njall pointed at the coastline, now close enough that Frayka saw its black sandy beaches glitter and sparkle in the sunlight. “We’re home,” Njall said. “Look how beautiful it is.”

Taking his advice, Frayka stared at the waterfalls falling from the high cliffs standing behind the beaches. Pointing, she said, “There’s Blackstone.” The settlement of small stone houses rested a short distance from the shore, and grassy hills stretched behind it. In the far distance, a mountain of ice glinted. “What are we going to tell them about why we left?” Frayka said.

“The truth always strikes me as a good idea,” Njall said.

But the truth would involve stories about Frayka’s portents and gods and strange lands.

“What if they don’t believe me?”

“Be yourself!” Njall said. “This is your home! Your family knows you. Everyone in Blackstone knows you. And I know you, too.”

But I befriended someone who suffered because she looked different. Because she came from a different world than the people she lived with. Because she walked with one foot in each world: the one she came from and the one she lived in.

And if I do what the gods ask me to do, won’t I have to do the same?

“Frayka?” Njall said. “Did you hear me?”

“Of course.” Frayka straightened her spine and drew again on her new-found hope. “Let’s go home.”


Author Bio:

Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.

Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .

Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter


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Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start But Haven’t

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s prompt is Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start But Haven’t.

I feel like this list was too easy to compile. Yes, I do have a shelf of just my TBR books, but I’d expected at least some struggle when coming up with ten series. But I digress. Here are my top ten series I need to read.


1. A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Description of 1st book:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

I’m starting this list off with a big one. I’ve heard absolutely nothing but good things about this series, especially the second book. I’m not even caught up with Sarah J. Maas’s other series, Throne of Glass (whoops).


2. Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

Okay, so I’m kinda cheating with this one. I’ve started the first book but ended up DNF-ing it due to not having time to sit down and really read it. I didn’t dislike it, though, so I hope to pick it up since I bought the next two books in the series.


3. The Queen of the Tearling Series by Erika Johansen

Goodreads Descriptions of the 1st book:

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

When this book first came out, there was sooo much hype surrounding it. To be honest, I only purchased this book because it was on sale and the cover was gorgeous. It has since then sat on my shelf collecting dust on its beautiful cover.


4. The Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.

After reading The Diviners by Libba Bray, I splurged and bought the entire Gemma Doyle trilogy. Do I have a problem? Probably.


5. The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

This is probably the series I’m most ashamed of not reading! I absolutely adore all of Rick Riordan’s books, and yet I haven’t read all of his books. Shame on me.


6. An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

 But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

The first book in this series has been sitting on my shelf for sooo long. Maybe I just have a problem with commitment, haha.


7. The Wrath and the Dawn Series by Renee Ahdieh

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

So I may or may not have bought this series just because of the covers. I’ll read it someday.


8. The Half Bad Trilogy by Sally Green

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

Wanted by no one.

Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.
This series sounds soooo cool. And the covers are beautiful! I kinda want to buy the other two books in the trilogy and then binge it.


9. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

The hype surrounding this series. The hype. That’s probably why I haven’t picked these books up. One day.


10. Snow Like Ashes Series by Sara Raasch

Goodreads Description of the 1st book:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I tried listening to the first book on audiobook and didn’t even get through the first chapter. The description seems super interesting, though!

After writing this list, I have the urge to pick up a few of these series and just binge read them.