Monday, April 24, 2017

5* review of Subversion by @MelindaFriesen @ChapterXChapter #ya #dystopian #giveaway



~About the book~
Subversion (One Bright Future #2) by Melinda Friesen
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Publisher:  Rebelight Publishing
“I surrender my days, my efforts, myself to the OneEarth Bank . . .”

After fleeing slavery, Rielle James burns with the desire to topple OneEarth Bank and end its enslavement of young people as Contracts. When she learns that her friend Nathan has been sold to a logging company where Contracts die or vanish without a trace, she assumes a false identity and becomes a slave again to help him escape.

Her act of subversion uncovers the horrific truth behind the OneEarth Bank’s role in Contract disappearances and its link to a global pandemic.

Can Rielle and Nathan escape and expose the truth before it’s too late?



~My Review~
One word review: Wow!

The details:
I enjoyed Enslavement, the first book in Melinda Friesen’s One Bright Future series, so jumped at the chance to review Subversion, book 2 even though I have started a business and my writing/reading world has diminished over the past year. Even though I enjoyed book 1, I did comment in my review that I thought Rielle, the main character, allowed things to happen to her, she wasn’t really taking the reins in her own rescue.

That thought is completely and instantly gone from the first pages of Subversion. Rielle is determined to rescue Nathan, a fellow Contract at the Banker’s house. He was supposed to help her escape in Enslavement, but when things go wrong, she escapes without him and he’s captured and sold into a very dangerous position at a logging camp.

Even though Rielle is now with Justin, nephew to her previous owner and supporter of ending the slavery setup, she can’t leave Nathan to die, so she conspires to be sent to the camp to rescue him. And Rielle’s rebel aunt finds a way to communicate with her and asks her to up the risk by finding out what secret the camp is hiding and why so many people are disappearing there.

Of course Nathan would rather she be safe rather than risk her life saving him, so the rescue starts on rocky footing. There is daily tension between her kitchen co-workers, the often injured loggers, and the brutal supervisors. Rielle doesn’t back down even when she should. I won’t give away the rest of the story, but the action and tension are non-stop, Rielle is a true hero through gut-wrenching twists. The ending is painful, because of course it’s not the end and book 3 can’t come soon enough.

The writing is top-notch, grammar and punctuation in good shape, the story excellent. 5 stars. Don’t miss this one – go read Enslavement to get the maximum enjoyment from Subversion and then deal with waiting for book 3 like me!

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | IndieBound

Link to Tour Schedule:

Giveaway Details:
  •         Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (US/Canada)
  • ·       Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series:
"One world. One currency. One bright future."

That's the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse--but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.

When Rielle's parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent's crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract--a legalized form of slavery--and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.

The Banker's secrets hold the key to Rielle's freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?




~About the author~
Melinda Friesen was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended school in Texas and met a vastly interesting Canadian man, who she allowed to drag her to his home in the wilds of Manitoba, Canada. Living in an igloo wasn't easy. Wait. She didn't actually live in an igloo, but that would make this story much more interesting.

Among her accomplishments are surviving -40 degree weather, gestating four human beings inside her body, and staying happily married to that Canadian man for over 20 years despite the weather conditions he's exposed her to. And she writes too!

Melinda Friesen writes short stories and novels for teens. Enslavement, a YA sci-fi/dystopian read, is her first published novel and the first book in the One Bright Future series. Her work has appeared in Freefall Magazine, the Metro News and the upcoming Forging Freedom II anthology. She was shortlisted in the Writers' Village International novel contest, spring 2014. Her short stories have placed in several contests including earning grand prize in the 2013 Central Canada Lit Fest short story contest.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest



Friday, January 27, 2017

Review of The Amaranthine Chronicles by Tiffany Shand #fantasy



~ About the book ~
Title: The Amaranthine Chronicles Box Set (3 Novellas)
Author Name: Tiffany Shand
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 25, 2017
Page Count: 203

Amazon:

Goodreads:

Follow the Tour to Read Reviews of The Amaranthine Chronicles:

~ The Novellas in the Box Set ~
Betrayed by Blood:
In a city of lies and deception, only one thing stands between chaos and justice. For centuries, a band of outlaws called the Amaranthine has kept the peace in Ormere and hidden in plain sight whilst the Order of Sorcerers spreads their deadly magic among the city’s inhabitants.

After losing her fiancĂ© in [a] bust gone wrong, Amaranthine Agent Kaylan Avilion returns home to discover that Elijah didn’t die but instead was changed by the twisted guards of the Order, who seek to find a dangerous artifact tied to Kaylan’s past and the murder of her family. When her sister goes missing and a foe from their past remerges, Kaylan knows she must save Freya before she’s poisoned by the very people who took Elijah away from her. But how will Kaylan react when she learns Elijah’s secret and can they come together to stop the Order’s plan in time?

Dark Revenge:
Darkness is sweeping through the city of Ormere as unnatural creatures stalk through the streets. People are dying and time is running out as a new evil threatens to take control of everything. The Amaranthine Order has been decimated leaving only a few of its people left to fight the coming terror.

Stunned by her sister Freya’s betrayal and plot to take over the city, Kaylan must do everything she can to find out what Freya plans to do when she finds an infamous book linked to the murder of their family. A book considered so dangerous that the last High Lord erased its location from history, the Amaranthine Chronicles are said to contain the darkest of all magics.

Kaylan is happy to finally have her ex-fiancĂ©, Elijah, back in her life but he’s not the man she once knew and loved. After being turned into a shapeshifter, Elijah struggles to control his inner beast and his lingering feelings for Kaylan.

Can Elijah and Kaylan come together to stop Freya and uncover the secrets of the book before it’s too late?

The Final Battle:
Darkness has claimed the city of Ormere and death has become a certainty for anyone stalking its empty streets. The government is in ruins and lawlessness ensues.

After their last encounter, Kaylan and Elijah barely managed to thwart her sister, Freya’s, latest attempts to find and use the elusive Amaranthine Chronicles. But in her desperation to receive ultimate power, Freya will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Even if it means destroying the last of her family.

Kaylan and Elijah must work on their fragile relationship and put their personal feelings aside to find the book and stop Freya before it’s too late. But with their allies growing thin, and a gang of ruthless shapeshifters close on their trail, will they finally find the book and stop Freya before time runs out? And will Kaylan have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her city and the man she loves?

~ My Review ~
The Amaranthine Chronicles is set in an imaginative world of magic, mental powers, shapeshifters, and of course, the typical good guys and bad guys and really bad guys. The characters are well developed and it's clear what each are striving for. 

The main character, Kaylan, can fly, even carrying her wolf-form boyfriend, communicate with him and others mentally. Some of the other Amaranthine agents carry crystals and charms for instant transportation, creation of light, and other miscellaneous abilities that pop up when needed. 

Good thing for the flying ability or Kaylan and Elijah wouldn't be able to break into a mansion repeatedly by going through upper floor windows. While Kaylan tries to find her sister, the city is overrun with creatures that have been turned into shifters of some kind and are uncontrollable since they're recently turned. Virtually every Amarantine agent is killed except Kaylan and her group. Through the novellas, it's revealed to Kaylan that her memories have been altered and much of what she knows about her deceased father and sister is untrue. She and Elijah end up in several tense situations, barely escaping death.

I give the story concept and setting 3 stars and many people will enjoy it. However, for writers or people who like to pick books apart or have even a tinge of grammar Nazi in them, overall the book falls short with typos, missing words, half-edited sentences, punctuation issues, and many confusing pronouns. I give it 2 stars for writing as that's a hot button for me and will round the overall rating to 3 stars just in case I received an unedited copy. If you know the type of reader you are, you will either enjoy the series or experience some frustrations.

~ About the author ~
Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. After doing a creative writing course in her teens, she discovered her love of nonfiction writing and is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

She writes both non-fiction for writers and fiction, and is the author of the urban fantasy Excalibar Investigations Series. When she’s not writing, you’ll usually find her reading.

Tiffany lives in Essex, UK with her family, two very spoiled cats and a hamster.






Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review of Time Traveller's Resort & Museum by David McLain #sci-fi #fantasy


New Release by David McLain!
Title: The Time Traveller's Resort and Museum
Author Name: David McLain
Illustrator: Felix Eddy

Genre(s): Time Travel, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Steampunk

Release Date: November 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

Follow the Tour:

~ About The Time Traveller's Resort and Museum ~

“If you need to know men's secrets
Or if there's something you need to find 
If you want to see the dinosaurs 
Or the insides of your mind.
If you want to watch the earth begin,
Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,
You need to thank Alice Anderson,
For Alice is the mother of time.”

That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not telling her everything he knows.

~ My Review ~
The Time Traveller's Resort & Museum is quirky and a dirigible full of fun. Imagine not only that you could travel in time, but also slip into worlds where anything imagined was real. Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, dragons. Well, not dragons. Maybe.

Alice's world is turned upside down when she returns to England for a presentation with longtime friend Malcom and then he suddenly turns up dead. And she's the prime suspect. Luckily strange people start popping up to help her get away. Away from the police, away from the whole timestream where Malcom was killed.

Fabulous! Time travel exists. But the craziest thing is that Alice learns that sometime in her future, she's the one who invented it! We follow her twisted path to that invention along with her pet triceratops, a handsome pirate, a circus clown, and a mysterious oriental woman who knows Alice is a murder suspect and seems to be following her through time.

This was a really fun story. The writing was quirky and mostly fun although the tendency for many scenes to end in a telling mode, explaining what would happen in the future didn't always sit well with me. Mostly personal preference though. 

The characters were well developed, descriptions excellent. And the illustrations which don't usually come with adult reads were cute and really added to the overall imagery. The book could use some more editing to correct a few typos and unfinished sentences but the story twists kept that from being a focus.

Recommended read and I'd certainly love to read a sequel! 4 stars  from me.

~ Read an Excerpt ~

“Hello,” Alice said, with a certain degree of reluctant enthusiasm.

“You sound American,” an annoyed voice on the other end of the line said.

Alice dropped her bag. “I've been in New York for three years,” Alice said. “You're lucky I don't sound like I'm from the Bronx.”

It was Alice's sister, Wendy, giving what by her standards was a remarkably warm and friendly greeting. “You're lucky I don't steal your passport while you’re here and force you to teach Electrical Engineering at the University of the Orkneys. Electrical Engineering, that's what you do, isn't it?”

“You do realize that I just spent an entire evening in a metal tube, sitting on a very small seat that appeared to have been made from rocks confiscated from terrorists at security?”

“Terrorists use rocks these days?”

“Well, they're harder to spot going through metal detectors, aren't they?”

Ending a sentence with a question apparently sounded appropriately British and Wendy seemed to ease up a little.

“How was the flight, then?” she asked.

“I believe I aged three years,” Alice answered, looking for the way to the exit. “Do you want to have a drink?”

“Is that a rhetorical question?”

“In America, it's considered polite to ask.”

“I believe that the University of the Orkneys has early tenure.”

Wendy took pride in her absolute loathing of all things American. She saw Alice's decampment to New York as nothing less than a complete betrayal.

“Would you mind if we met in at my hotel?” Alice asked, trying to sound as if this were a polite request and not a desperate plea.

“I don't know,” Wendy said. “There aren't going to be a lot of randy outer-space types there, are there?”

“It's an astronomy conference,” Alice insisted. “Not a Sci-Fi convention.”

There was the unmistakable sound of pursing lips on the other end of the phone. “What hotel are you staying at?” Wendy asked.

“The Kensington.”

Wendy thought about it. “I'll meet you, but let's meet somewhere else. There's a pub down that way that I've had my eye on.”

“Wendy–”

“I have to drive in all the way from Brixton. You can walk a hundred metres out of the hotel lobby.”

Alice sighed. She decided not to point out that in fact she had come quite a bit farther than hundred meters. “What's the name of the place?” she asked.

“The Gristle and Thorn,” Wendy said.

Alice spotted the word “EXIT” on the far side of the hall. “Couldn't find any place with a ghastlier name? Was the ‘Skull and Crossbones’ already booked?”

“Just meet me,” Wendy insisted, and for a moment, she did her best to sound kind. “I've missed you.”

It has been said that all journeys begin with a single step, and while it might seem that Alice's journey began all the way back at JFK, in actuality the first step of Alice's journey began with a decision. It was not a big decision, not the kind of thing that would strike a historian as a significant chapter in the decline and fall of the Western Empire, but for Alice Anderson, it was the equivalent of crossing the Rubicon. It was the simplest thing really – a choice of restaurants.

“The Gristle and Thorn it is,” Alice said, picking up her bag again and shuffling through the crowd.

Meet the Author:

David McLain is the author of the two novels: Dragonbait, and The Life of a Thief. His stories have been published in the anthologies Metastasis, Penny Dread II, and the Doctor Who Anthology Time Shadows, as well as over two dozen magazines. He has been featured on NPR's Off the Page and the History of England podcast. He lives in New York.

Connect with David McLain: 






Meet the Illustrator: 

Felix Eddy graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Alfred University. She is the author and illustrator of A Bestiary Alphabet, and has illustrated several book covers and children's books. You can find out more about her at www.felixeddy.com


Purchase Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING: 




AMAZON.COM: 

AMAZON.CA: 

KOBO: 

BARNES & NOBLE: 

Chapters.Indigo: 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

5* review of Edward Aubry's Prelude to Mayhem #fantasy #sci-fi

Prelude to Mayhem (The Mayhem Wave, Book I)

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, New Adult

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­: November 28, 2016


~ Description ~

On May 30, 2004, the world transformed. Nearly all signs of civilization vanished, leaving in their wake a bizarre landscape of wilderness, advanced technology and magic, and leaving Harrison Cody very much alone. After weeks of surviving in solitude, he hears a voice on the radio, beckoning him to cross a thousand miles of terrifyingly random terrain to meet her, and other survivors, in Chicago. Eager to find any remnants of humanity, he sets forth, joined by an unexpected—and inhuman—companion.

For Dorothy O’Neill, the end of the world means she will never finish ninth grade. On her own, she builds a home in the ruins of a strip mall, relying on her ingenuity and hard work to maintain some semblance of creature comforts. When another survivor arrives, he brings futuristic technology and stories of monsters he has encountered. Armed with this information, she takes a new interest in exploring her world, but she is not prepared for what awaits her, and the new arrival has brought his own set of problems.

On their separate journeys, Harrison and Dorothy begin to piece together what has happened to their world. Their questions have answers to be found in what remains of Chicago, and from the mysterious voice on the radio offering the hope that civilization can be rebuilt.

Goodreads | Amazon Audio | Coming soon!


~ My Review ~

There are two sections to my review, first for people who’ve never read Static Mayhem and second, for those who have and why they should also read Prelude to Mayhem.

If you haven’t read Static Mayhem, then you should definitely read Prelude to Mayhem now! This is a awesome story in which most of Earth’s population has disappeared, leaving behind an odd scattering of magical devices and creatures as well as futuristic human technology.

What would you do in such a world? Have fun, panic, search for other humans? Probably some combination of all these. Harrison takes the crazy event in stride, but as soon as he finds out there are other humans left (from a radio transmission in Chicago) he’s on a mission to find them. Even though it means a dangerous trek from the northeast US where roads suddenly end in cliffs.

Along the way, he meets other humans and also magical creatures along with finding out that something/someone wants him dead. He meets Dorothy, a brilliant teenager surviving quite capably on her own and a young boy who’s terrified of something, along with my favorite character, Glimmer, a pixie.

What awaits them in Chicago? Of course not everything in this tumbled world can be loving and beneficial. And even Harrison finds out he’s been affected by magic in a completely unexpected way. Prelude to Mayhem shows the reader how these characters will be capable of handling a lot. Hopefully enough.

I thoroughly recommend this book. It’s a fun read with extremely well developed characters in an unexpected world.

Now, for those who’ve already read Static Mayhem - no major spoilers if you haven’t - I still recommend reading Prelude to Mayhem. While it’s basically the first part of Static Mayhem, it has been updated and explores more details of Harrison and Dorothy’s personalities. The chapters are more balanced between the two POVs.

I think this will set the reader up even better for the remainder of the story in the new version of Static Mayhem which is the final part of the first story. But even better, I thought the development of Dorothy was much deeper and made me appreciate her even more as a main character. I’ve also read an early version of the sequel, Mayhem’s Children, and this version of the start of the story sets up that book even better.

Aubry’s writing is awesome, the editing is quite good. Definitely one of my top reads for the last couple years. 5 stars, highly recommended.


~ About The Author ~

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

 ~ Find Edward Aubry Online ~

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Celebration book #giveaway from Month9Books


Welcome to Month9Books Turns 4 Birthday Bash! We’re thrilled to share this celebration with you!

Here’s a quick note from Georgia McBride, owner of Month9Books!

“Month9Books is turning 4 this year, and I could not be happier. We are living proof that if you have a dream to write, create and inspire, you should follow that dream and let nothing keep you from realizing it. Thank you to all the readers, writers, agents, partners and friends who have made this possible. We write for you.

--Georgia McBride, Publisher and Owner of Month9Books”

Thanks so much for 4 awesome years! We look forward to celebrating #5 with you in 2017! We have something for everyone from every genre from Sci-Fi to Fantasy to Paranormal and Horror! As a thank you, we're giving away some well-loved books from 2015 and 2016. All paperback and hardcover winners must reside in the United States. International readers may receive only eBooks if they win.

Here’s a look at all of the books we have published through the years! 


Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition
Praefatio (Praefatio, #1) by Georgia McBride
THE Undertakers: Secret of The Corpse Eater by Ty Drago
Fledgling (Dragonrider Chronicles #1) by Nicole Conway
Avian (Dragonrider Chronicles #2) by Nicole Conway
Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton
The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham
Summer of The Oak Moon by Laura Templeton
The Undertakers: Last Siege of Haven by Ty Drago
The Artisans by Julie Reece
Into The Dark by Caroline Patti
Serpentine by Cindy Pon
Minotaur by Phillip Simpson
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
Ashes In The Sky (Fire in the Woods #2) By Jennifer M. Eaton
The Undertakers 5: End of the World by Ty Drago
The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman
Emerge by Tobie Easton
There Once were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece
Argos by Phillip W. Simpson
Traitor (Dragonrider Chronicles #3) by Nicole Conway
Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis
In The Shadow Of The Dragon King by J. Keller Ford
Hair In All The Wrong Places by Andrew Buckley
Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Into The Light (Into The Dark #2) by Caroline Patti
un/Fair by Steven Harper
Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
The Perilous Journey Of The Much Too Spontaneous Girl (The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl #2) by Leigh Statham
Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
Clanless (Nameless #2 ) by Jennifer Jenkins
The Legend of The Pumpkin Thief by Charles Day
In The Beginning Anthology
Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)  by Nicole Conway

Giveaway Details:
A total of 13 winners will receive….
(1) Hardcover of SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon, US Only.
(1) Paperback of EMERGE by Tobie Easton, US ONLY.
(1) Hardcover of POPPY MAYBERRY: THE MONDAY by Jennie K. Brown, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of THE DRAGONRIDERS CHRONICLES by Nicole Conway, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Andrew Buckley, POLARIS by Beth Bowland, and ARTIFACTS by Pete Catalano, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of THE UNDERTAKERS SECRET OF THE CORPSE EATER & THE UNDERTAKERS LAST SIEGE OF HAVEN, US Only.
(1) Paperback set of TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES, THE REQUIEM RED by Brynn Chapman, FIRE IN THE WOODS by Jennifer M. Eaton, & RISE by Jennifer Anne Davis, US Only.
(3) Paperbacks of MINOTAUR by Phillip W. Simpson, US Only.
(3) International winners will receive a 5 eBooks of their choice from books listed above.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 9, 2016

5 star review of Wicked Path by Eliza Tilton #ya #fantasy

Title: Wicked Path
Author: Eliza Tilton 
Genre: YA Fantasy
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
Blurb:
In Wicked Path: Book Two of the Daath Chronicles brother and sister are forced to opposite sides of Tarrtainya on a fast-paced adventure where the wildlife isn't the only thing trying to kill them.
Three months have passed since Avikar defeated the Reptilian Prince, and he still can't remember his battle with Lucino. On the hunt for answers, he returns to the scene of the fight and discovers a strange connection between his family's dagger and the mysterious kingdom of Daath, and it seems only his distant father can reveal the truth behind it all.
Before Avikar can travel back home, Lucy assaults him in the market and forces him to flee to Nod Mountains--a place few dare to enter, and even less return from. With Raven and her childhood friend by his side, they must survive the treacherous journey through the pass with a vengeful Lucy hunting them. If they don't, they'll never see home again.
Jeslyn's new life in Luna Harbor is the perfect remedy for her confused and broken heart. But when a group of mercenaries kidnap her beloved Grandfather, interrupting her daily routine as his jewelry apprentice, she's forced to join forces with the one person from her past she tried to forget.
And his assistance comes with a price.
Yay, book 3 is here! Crimson Tides picks up where Wicked Path left off. We get three perspectives nicely woven through the story from Avikar, Lucino, and Jeslyn. All three are on separate missions with conflicting goals, so you know this will get tense!

It was nice to see Avikar struggle with his feelings toward fallen comrades, his father’s mysterious past, and his blooming love of Raven. Lucino’s character is also deepened, you have to root for him (most of the time!) even though he has the ability and possible intention to slaughter all humans. Jeslyn must decide the future she wants as well as take her own path to get there – and by the end of the book, she is just learning the implications of her choice, so there is more to come for all three characters, which I’m glad to see.

There was a plot twist near the end that some people won’t like and it made me sad. But then all the more determined to know how the story continues.

This sequel is definitely worth reading. The writing is good and Ms. Tilton’s fight scenes are quite exciting. And if you haven’t read it, you should check out the short story Deadly Dance, which throws a fun twist in showing how Lucy and Derrick ended up together in Crimson Tides.

Well done, 4.5 stars, rounding to 5.
Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BA in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. Her YA Fantasy series, The Daath Chronicles, is published by Curiosity Quills Press.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Broken Forest: http://amzn.to/1Tzv6ar
Crimson Tides: http://amzn.to/1rSWmd9
Deadly Dance: http://amzn.to/2dowHCZ
Our ship was gone, leaving us alone in an empty sea. Out here with nothing but calm water, I felt deserted; terrified. All those mornings I’d wished to venture out into the sea, to explore its beauty and splendor, I had no real understanding of the danger. How easily it was to be lost—and what about the creatures? We had no weapons, and if a shark attacked, how would we survive?
I wrapped my arms around my sides, praying and wishing this was all a horrific dream—that Grandfather was safe in his bed, snoring, and none of this was real.
Because if it wasn’t a dream, I was going to die.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cover & chapter reveal of Nicole Conway's Immortal #giveaway


Today Nicole Conway and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for IMMORTAL, the final book in the Dragonrider Chronicles which releases November 8, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:

This book marks the end of the first Dragonrider series, and I couldn't imagine a better cover to go with it. It's a darker but beautiful reflection of the first book's cover, just as the war has changed Jaevid from an innocent boy to a man chosen by destiny and driven to do what is necessary to save his loved ones. To be honest, I had mixed feelings as I put the final touches on this book. I'm filled with hope for the next series, confidence that my readers will enjoy it as much as they have the first one, but also sadness to see this one come to a close. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend, knowing you'll see them again someday.

On to the reveal! 



Title: IMMORTAL (Dragonriders Chronicles#4)
Author: Nicole Conway
Pub. Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Goodreads


Destiny has called.

With Jaevid Broadfeather forever lost to the depths of Luntharda, Felix Farrow struggles to stand on his own. He begins a violent downward spiral which causes him to abandon his post as a dragonrider, hiding in the halls of his family estate. His one hope for redemption lies within the heart of someone from his past—and the very last person he ever wanted to see again.

And now the time has finally come.

Hovrid, who has ruled Maldobar as a tyrannical imposter, is preparing to make a decisive assault against Luntharda that will destroy what remains of the elven race. Only Jaevid, Felix, and their trusted friends are able to stand in his way. They have only one chance to end the war, and only one hope to absolve the curse that threatens to destroy their world. The stage is set. The plan is in motion.


What began as one boy’s adventure will now end in blood.



Excerpt


PART ONE

FELIX

ONE

I lost Jaevid and Mavrik in the fray almost immediately.

In front of me, my riding partner, Lieutenant Darion Prax, was leaning into his dragon’s speed as we made our final approach. Behind me, a dozen more riders were following us in. Below me, the city of Barrowton boiled with the fury of battle. Our lines of infantry were broken, but trying to reform. The gray elves fought like savages, wielding spears, bows, and scimitars. Some of them rode on the backs of jungle monsters, others were zipping around us through the sky on creatures called shrikes. Our natural enemies.

Prax gave me a few brisk hand signals, instructing me to move into place and get ready. I twisted my saddle handles slightly, applying a bit of pressure under the saddle. With a few heavy beats of her wings, my dragon caught up with him and flew right underneath him. Nova was a big girl, bigger than most male dragons twice her age. But what she lacked in speed she made up for in other ways—something the gray elves were about to figure out

first hand.

We dropped down lower. Arrows sailed past my helmet. One bounced off my breastplate and gave me a scare. I leaned down closer to Nova’s body for shelter from the hail of fire coming from below. Unlike most of the other dragons, gray elf arrows couldn’t pierce her thick hide.

I checked Prax out of the corner of my eye. He was giving me one finger and a closed fist. First target. Time to hit hard. I clenched my teeth and twisted the saddle handles, giving Nova the signal.


Prax and I dove as one, our dragons spiraling in unison towards the ground. We pulled out of the dive flying side-by-side, barely a hundred feet off the ground behind the enemy lines. I squeezed Nova’s sides with my boot heels, and I felt her take in a deep breath.

Together, our dragons showered the ground with a storm of their burning venom.

Gray elf warriors screamed. They fired at us with everything they had. But our rain of fire didn’t end until Nova had to stop for another breath.

We broke skyward and began preparing to make another coordinated pass.

But the second time wouldn’t be so easy. The trail of flames and burning corpses we’d left behind had gotten the attention of a few warriors on shrikes. I spotted four of them heading straight for us.

I gave Prax the news—we had company.

He quickly replied with a plan.

I was slower, so I was bound to be their first target. But that was fine; I was ready.

When his volley of arrows failed, the first gray elf rider had his shrike attack us outright. The bizarre creature was like a furious mirage of mirrored glass scales. It wrapped around Nova’s neck and started clawing at her eyes. Nova roared and slung her head back and forth. The shrike’s rider was twisting in his saddle, drawing another arrow that was aimed right at me.

“Better make that shot count,” I yelled and drew my sword.

Suddenly, Prax blurred past us.

There was a crunching sound and a shrike’s yelp of pain as his dragon got a tasty mouthful of the monster. I saw the gray elf rider fall from the saddle and begin to plummet toward the ground. A very small part of me felt bad for him. The rest of me still remembered he’d just tried to kill me.

Another shrike hit Nova. Then another. One was wrapped around her head again while the other hit much closer to the saddle—closer to me—right at the base of her tail. I twisted the one saddle handle I was still hanging onto and Nova pitched into a violent roll. She spun, getting faster and faster.

The shrike on her head lost his grip. He flew backwards, bouncing along her body and whooshing past me. One well aimed thrust of my sword made sure he wouldn’t be coming back around for a second try.

The last shrike and rider were a problem, though. She was trying to cut my saddle straps. Clever. Effective, too, if she managed it.

But I wasn’t about to give her that chance.

I sheathed my sword and twisted the handles again, hanging on for dear life. Nova snapped her wings in tight against her body and dropped from the sky like a giant, scaly stone. The further we fell, the faster we went. The wind howled past my helmet. The ground was getting closer and closer.

I bit back a curse and looked back. It was working. The shrike was losing his grip, sliding further away from me down Nova’s tail.

I squeezed my heels against her ribs.

Nova spat a burst of flame directly in front of us, and I hunkered down against her as she wrapped her wings around herself. Everything went dark. I could smell the acrid venom in the air. It made my eyes sting. I could feel the heat of the flames as I panted for breath.

Dragon venom is funny stuff. It’s sticky like sap and highly acidic. It’ll burn through just about anything—except a dragon’s own hide.

Nova flew through her own burst of flames, shielding me with her wings. When we came out the other side, she flared her wings wide and caught the air like a kite. Below us, a shrike-shaped fireball crashed into the ground.

Prax appeared next to us, giving me hand signals again. You okay?

I gave him a thumb’s up.

Good. Time for another pass.

*****

The battle was over.

The shouting voices and clashing blades had gone quiet. Now, there was only the crackling of the flames still smoldering in what was left of Barrowton. It was a wasteland – barely more than a charred crater littered with the bodies of the fallen.

Yet another ugly scar on Maldobar’s landscape.

We’d only just gotten back to the citadel at Northwatch—our little slice of paradise where the forces assigned to protecting the northern border were housed. Group after group of dragons and their riders continued to land on the platform and file into the tower. One hundred proud warriors had left to retake the city only a few days before. Less than forty of us returned.

Still, I was only looking for one.

“Where is he? Does anyone see him?!” I shouted at the top of my lungs and shoved my way through the other dragonriders. I called his name over and over, hoping to spot him or his blue dragon making their way down the corridor ahead of me. They must have fallen behind.

I searched every bloodied, war-beaten face that came walking in from the rain. Before I knew it, I was standing back at the open gateway that led out onto the platform.

Jaevid Broadfeather was nowhere to be found.

Someone grabbed my shoulder. A bolt of hope shot through me as I spun around, hoping to see him standing there.

It wasn’t him.

It was my riding partner, Lieutenant Prax, standing over me like a giant in blood-spattered battle armor. He was much older than I was and a far more seasoned rider. That’s why the look on his face absolutely terrified me.

“No one saw him or Jace depart with us.”

I was instantly sick. I couldn’t accept that. Jaevid wouldn’t just roll over and die—not this easily. We’d made it this far, gone through all of our dragonrider training together from beginning to end – so I knew he could fight. Sure, I’d teased him plenty about sucking at hand-to-hand combat, but I’d never met anyone faster or better with a blade. He was half gray elf, for crying out loud. Granted, he hid it well, but I knew he had that elven killer instinct buried down deep in his soul. I’d seen it surface once or twice before when someone pushed him too far.

I had to believe he was here somewhere. I just hadn’t found him yet.

I turned around with every intention of standing out on the platform in the driving rain until I saw him land. Boy, was he in for it. That little jerk should have known better than to pull a stunt like this after our first battle, the one time I hadn’t been standing right next to him while we did something ridiculously dangerous to make sure he didn’t get killed.

Prax grabbed my arm to stop me. There was no shaking off his grip. “We can’t go out there. They want the platform clear for the riders still landing. We’ll have to wait in the stable.”

I stole another glance out of the gateway. The skies were choked with rumbling black storm clouds and the rain was falling hard enough to obscure the city below. Every couple of minutes, the ominous, dark shape of a dragon appeared through the gloom, wings spread wide and legs outstretched to stick the landing. As they landed, infantrymen rushed out to help the riders dismount and escort them inside. Some of them had to be carried because of their injuries. Their cries of pain were drowned out by the sound of the thunder.

“Come on.” Prax shook me a little to break my trance. “You need to look after your lady. Then I’ll wait with you back at his stall.”

I didn’t like it. I wanted to be standing right here when Jae finally dared to show his face after making me stress out like this. But Prax was right. My dragon, Nova, was still dressed in her saddle and I needed to get her settled in before I did anything else.

The work was distracting. It kept me from staring at the gateway every single second while I unbuckled her saddle strap-by-strap and checked her over for injuries. Thankfully, she was unharmed. Her scales really were as strong as iron plates. And judging by a few nicks and scrapes I found around her chest and neck, that trait had saved her life more than once.

Once she was fed and nestled into a bed of hay for the night, I closed the door to her stall and immediately made a break for the platform. I had every intention of waiting there again. I didn’t make it there, though.

Everyone was waiting on me. The other surviving riders in Emerald Flight had gathered outside Nova’s stall.

“They still haven’t come back yet?” I looked at Prax, expecting an answer.

He didn’t have to give a verbal one. Once again, his expression said it all. Jaevid and his senior partner, Lieutenant Jace Rordin, still hadn’t returned.

So we waited.

Sitting outside Jaevid’s empty dragon stall, we watched the rest of our dragonrider brothers tending to their mounts like I had. It wasn’t looking good. The elves had made an impressive stand at Barrowton and our ranks had taken a beating. Less than half of us had returned and many of those were wounded or grounded because their mount had been injured. The riders landing now were barely able to limp in out of the rain. Some of them even had to be carried. I watched one rider who had to be dragged off the platform by the infantrymen. He was shouting like a madman, still crazed from battle. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying or why he was so upset until a big group of soldiers rushed past us to help restrain him. Then I heard why.

His dragon had managed to carry him back safely to the tower, but the creature had died on the platform shortly after.

The rider’s grief-stricken screams mingled with the constant rush of the rain. It was a sound I’d never forget.

I couldn’t watch anymore after that. I leaned against the stall door with my eyes closed, trying not to think about or imagine anything. Then, infantrymen rolled the iron grate down over the passage that led out onto the platform. It made an awful clanging sound.

That was it. The last of us who survived the battle had landed.

It was over. We all knew it, and yet none of us wanted to be the first to get up and leave.

It didn’t feel real. I didn’t want to believe it was. There had to be some kind of mistake. He was going to pull off another miracle, come wandering in with that weird, self-conscious smile on his face and start apologizing—he had to. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

“Jace was set on going head- to- head with that gray elf princess again.” Someone finally spoke up and broke the heavy silence. “He must’ve dragged Jaevid into it, too. Poor kid wouldn’t stand a chance in a skirmish like that.”

I pushed away from the door and started walking away. I didn’t want to hear this. I didn’t care how he died. He was gone. The how didn’t matter.

I thought I managed to get away without any of them following me. But I should’ve known better than to think Prax would let me go. I heard his heavy footsteps and the clinking of his armor as he fell in right behind me.

He waited until we were well away from the others, standing just inside the stairwell that spanned the full height of the fifty-story tower, to catch me by the shoulder. “I’m sorry, boy.”

“Sorry won’t bring my best friend back from the dead. Sorry never did anyone any good. It’s a waste of everyone’s time,” I snapped.

He let me go. I could see sympathy in his eyes as he stared down at me. It pissed me off. For a few seconds, neither of us said a word. Then he shook his head. “We’ve all lost someone today, Felix. Every last one of us. So go do whatever you have to do. Work it out. Then clean up your armor and get ready again. You and I are some of the few who are still battle-ready.”

I already felt like a total failure for letting my best friend down. I’d let him die alone in battle. And now I felt worse knowing I’d offended Prax, although there wasn’t a lot I wanted to do about it right now. All I knew was that my insides hurt. I couldn’t think beyond the rage that was burning in my body like hellfire. I could practically taste the flames crackling over my tongue. I needed a way to let it out.

****

Three days. That’s how long it took Prax to resurface and try talking to me again.

I knew he’d be coming. I was already on borrowed time. At any given moment, orders could come down and I’d be sent back to the battlefront somewhere to kill more elves in the name of peace and justice. A bunch of crap, really. Neither existed in my world.

My knuckles were bleeding through the strips of bandages I’d wrapped them in. It probably had something to do with me facing off with a sparring bag every day at dawn, pounding at it with all my strength until I was too weak to stand. I didn’t stop to eat and sleeping was totally out of the question so I didn’t even bother trying.

Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. I was asking myself a lot of hard questions while whaling against the sand-filled training bag, and most of those questions I no longer had an answer for.

Why was I here? Punch. What was this all for? Punch. Could I even justify not being at my estate now? Punch.

“Felix.” Prax’s voice interrupted the rhythm of my internal interrogation.

I stopped and let my arms drop. They were so numb I couldn’t even feel my fingers anymore. I turned around, wiping away the sweat that was dripping into my eyes.

I expected to see Prax there, giving me one of those cautious, sympathetic gazes. But I hadn’t expected to see the guy next to him. I didn’t know him. Rather, I’d never laid eyes on him before. But I knew right away who he must be.

Jae had never been all that chatty when it came to his family. I could sympathize. My own family life hadn’t been great, but it didn’t hold a candle to what I suspected Jae had put up with.

When we’d first met, he looked like a pulverized, half-starved puppy. Some of the other guys training with us liked to pick on him because he was one heck of an easy target—but they weren’t the cause of all those bruises. Some of those marks had been older. Much older. He’d gotten them long before he’d darkened the door of the dragonrider academy. So I went out of my way to ask Sile about them. Needless to say, the answer had been unsavory.

My father had never beaten me, even when I probably deserved it. He didn’t have the strength or the audacity. He popped me across the cheek a few times for mouthing off, sure, but that was more embarrassing than anything else.

Jae, though? He probably weighed eighty pounds soaking wet when we first met. And that father of his had been beating him mercilessly for years, according to Sile.

Now I was looking at the one person who should have stuck up for the little guy whenever his dad decided to use him like a doormat. I knew this had to be his older brother. The family resemblance was strong, even if this guy wasn’t a half elf like Jae. Same piercing eyes. Same strong jawline.

“Roland, I presume?” I glanced him up and down. He was taller than me, unsurprisingly. Chalk that up to yet another Broadfeather family trait. “You look like hell.”

It wasn’t an insult. He really did look awful. His right arm was sealed in a plaster cast all the way up to his shoulder and he had bloody bandages wrapped around a wound on his head. He was obviously one of the lucky infantrymen who made it back to the citadel from Barrowton—the uniform tipped me off. Except for the stubble on his chin, he looked so much like Jae it would make anyone stop and take a second look. Granted, this guy had a lot more muscle to throw around, but he had the same piercing eyes, squared jaw, and high cheekbones.

“I don’t believe we’ve met.” He was looking at me cautiously. I suspected being in the dragonrider quarters was making him uneasy. Infantrymen weren’t supposed to be up here.

“We haven’t,” I replied. I left it at that, hoping Prax would take the hint that I wasn’t really up for a heart-to-heart discussion with this guy.

I walked past them to a corner of the sparring room where I’d stashed a few of my things, including a towel to wipe myself off with. I could hear them both following me.

“Colonel Bragg has issued his official statement. Medics swept the battlefield at Barrowton looking for any remaining survivors and taking record of the dead,” Prax spoke up.

I stopped. All the little prickly hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “And?”

“They never found his body—or Jace’s for that matter. But his dragon was sighted in the area with an empty saddle,” he answered quietly. “Some of the other riders report having seen them engaging the gray elf princess in aerial combat. They saw her shoot Jace’s mount down. Jaevid was right on his tail, so . . . we can only assume . . .”

“—That he’s dead. Yep. Thanks. Figured that much out on my own, you know, when he didn’t come back.” I scowled at them both, hoping it would be enough to stop this conversation from going any further.

It wasn’t.

Prax turned his attention to the silent infantryman standing next to him. “We cleaned out their room. There wasn’t much left behind, but Jae’s brother here insisted you should have it.”

That’s when I noticed Roland was holding something. It was a mostly empty burlap sack. He held it out to me with a tense expression. “They tell me you two were close.”

I didn’t want to take it. Just the thought of seeing what was in there made me start to feel nauseated all over again. “Shouldn’t this be given to his family?”

“That’s why I’m giving it to you.” Roland fixed his gaze right on me. “I know how you must feel about me. And you’re right to despise me. I can only imagine the things Jaevid told you about me let alone the rest of our family. I won’t deny any of it. But I never laid a hand on him. Not even once.”

I snatched the bag away from him. “Some might argue that joining in and just standing by and watching it happen are basically the same thing.”

Roland hesitated. Slowly, his eyes moved down until he was staring at the floor. “We were both trapped in that house, both suffering at the hands of the same man. Jaevid never knew how many beatings I took for him, how many nights I would sleep by my bedroom door so I’d hear if Ulric went outside after him. My every waking thought was about how I could get out of there. But I couldn’t just run away and leave Jaevid there alone. I would have never done that to him. So I waited until Ulric came back from Blybrig and told us he’d been adopted by the dragonriders. Then I left.”

An uncomfortable silence settled over us. I’m sure Prax was learning a lot more about the Broadfeather family than he ever cared to. After a few seconds I cleared my throat, crammed the bag of Jae’s belongings under the rest of my gear, and nodded. “Actually, he didn’t talk about his family life much.”

“I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me,” Roland sighed. “I just thought, since you were closest with him, you ought to have what was left of his things. He’d probably want it that way. And considering the circumstances, I wanted to thank you in person.”

“Thank me?”

“Yes. I’m not trying to be condescending. But I am grateful that you were willing to step in and befriend him. Someone of your social standing—”

I stopped him right there. “That never had anything to do with it. It wasn’t charity.”

He nodded. “I understand. I’m just saying that there aren’t many others who would be willing to jeopardize their reputation. You’re a better man than most. And I want you to know I appreciate that.”

“Ah.” This was beginning to make me really uncomfortable. I began picking up my stuff and planning a quick exit.

“I also wanted to ask if there was anyone else we should inform,” Roland added, as I slung my bag of gear over my shoulder. “Did he ever mention having a lover?”

Once again, my body locked up involuntarily. I hadn’t even thought about her. Did she know? Who was I kidding . . . of course she didn’t know. I cursed under my breath and flashed Prax a telling glance. Someone was going to have to tell Beckah Derrick what had happened.

“I’m willing to do it,” Roland offered. I guess he could read my expressions well enough to tell what I was thinking.

I clenched my teeth. “No. I’ll do it. She should hear it from me. I’m the one she’ll blame.”

The trouble was, I didn’t know how I was going to find her. Beckah lurked on the edge of every battlefield, haunting our blind spots like some kind of avenging angel. To my knowledge, she’d been keeping her distance from the riders otherwise, which was smart since she was playing a dangerous game. Being the only female dragonrider wasn’t something to be proud of. It might earn her the hangman’s noose or the business end of a sword if anyone found out her real identity.

If anyone could actually catch her, that is. Being paired up with a king drake, the biggest and baddest of all the dragons in Maldobar, put her at a big advantage over the rest of us.

I had my work cut out for me. As soon as I managed to shake off the pity brigade, I headed straight for my room and started thinking of ways to get in contact with her. I didn’t know where she was hiding out between battles, though. Jae might have known, but if they had a secret lovey-dovey rendezvous spot, he’d never spoken a word about it to me. That sneaky devil.

I decided to look for clues when I got back to my room. I dumped out the burlap sack of his belongings onto my bed and began to look through them. There wasn’t much. It was mostly spare uniform pieces and a few bundles of letters tied together with twine. I hesitated to go through those because that kind of stuff was probably pretty personal. What right did I have to go digging around in his private life?

Then again, what did it matter now? And one of those letters might contain a clue about how to get in touch with Beckah.

Hesitantly, I untied one of the bundles and opened up a few of the letters. None of them were helpful, really, and going through them gave me an eerie feeling. It just felt wrong.

Finally, I came to one that looked like it hadn’t been opened in a while. The address scribbled across the front said it was from Saltmarsh, a town down on the southern coast. I’d never been there, never had a reason to. It was a port city, home to mostly fisherman and hired hands looking for shifts on the merchant ships that came and went from the harbor.

Seeing that address struck a chord in my memory. Jae had mentioned to me before that Beckah and the rest of her family lived there. He’d visited them before the start of our avian year. When I opened up the letter, I found only one line scribbled inside. There wasn’t a signature, either. Just two initials:

— B. D.

They had to be Beckah’s.

I knew she wouldn’t be there. It was a long flight between Saltmarsh and Northwatch, too long for her to be going back and forth every time there was a battle. Heck, I couldn’t even be sure her family still lived at that address, either. Sile struck me as kind of a shady character, like he had something to hide. He might just pick up and leave without saying anything. But this was the best lead I had. I was going to have to start there and hope for the best.

I lit a candle and took out a few sheets of fresh paper. I wrote three letters. The first one was to Sile Derrick, letting him know what happened and where he could find me. The second one was to my commanding officer, Colonel Bragg, who was in charge of all the dragonriders here at the citadel.

And the last one . . . was to my mom.


About Nicole: 
Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s
career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time
occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.




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