Book Blitz: The Wise One by K.T. Anglehart #YoungAdult #Fantasy @kt_anglehart



The Wise One
K.T. Anglehart
(The Scottish Scrolls, #1)
Publication date: October 28th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Mckenna’s never thought much of her nightmares, but on her seventeenth birthday, a vivid dream of burning at the stake awakens her dormant abilities, thrusting her into a world where faeries are real, spirits hold a grudge, and a High Priestess obsessed with a 16th-century prophecy is tracking her every move.

Now, her overprotective dads, Seán and Andre, are forced to tell her the truth—they know who her birth mother is, and her life is not the surrogate story she’s always been told. Abigail, Mckenna’s mom, is some sort of mystic, and Mckenna a Wise One.

Whatever the hell that means.

With the help of a persistent little wren and company of a newfound friend, Mckenna journeys to Ireland in search of her mother and real answers. Along the way, she learns to harness her innate magic and trust her intuition, as best she can anyway—Cillian, a kind and passionate delegate who crosses her path, is proving much harder to read.

Only her mother could truly help her halt her ill fate and prepare her for what’s to come . . . before she gives in to the darkness she knows is buried deep within.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Bruised and battered, the young woman was dragged through the screaming, unruly mob. Her wrists were bound behind her by a rope as thick as the noose she now faced.

“Buidseach! Buidseach!” Witch. Witch.

“Bàsachadh!”

Die.

She halted in front of the noose, unperturbed, for she knew her death would end swiftly. The man who held the end of her rope looked from her calm expression to the noose, and let out a shrill laugh.

“A quick snap of the neck, aye, Bessie girl? You don’t think you’re getting off that easy, do you? Nah, that there isn’t for your kind.”

The ugly man, towering and troll-like, hauled her further on like a rag doll, finally leading her to a pit loaded with broken wood fragments, branches, and logs.

She was going to be burned alive.

In that instant, her body trembled with the fear she had been trying so desperately to conceal. Of dying, no—she knew this life would not be her last, and she was ready to part ways with this physical body. But she would be lying to herself if she said she hadn’t been hoping for a less painful demise.

He tightened the rope from her wrists around the wood banister that stood erect in the centre of the pit, then secured more rope round her ankles. “Spill your guts, now or never, buidseach,” he spat.

The woman scanned the crowd. Foolish, blind, she thought. They had no idea what would become of their Earth. No, she did not regret her actions. And if she had to burn for them, then so be it.

She held her chin up and addressed the spectators. Her voice was steady, knowing. “There will come a day when your fate shall depend upon a witch such as me—and you will beg for mercy.” The crowd cackled and spat back, simultaneously enraged and amused. But no one laughed louder than the troll-man. “Devil-worshipping hag.”

He lowered his torch to the base of the pit, and the flames caught quickly. She watched them crawl towards her boots, but her eyes were forced shut by the rising smoke. In an instant, beads of sweat leaked like rain on her forehead, and her lungs swelled to twice their size.

Just when she hoped she might pass out from the heat, the flames grew larger, now licking the base of her legs. What followed was an acute, unfathomable pain. The flames travelled higher, higher, until they enveloped the lower half of her body—and she could no longer bear the sheer agony of her skin melting away.

 

Author Bio:

Katrina Tortorici Anglehart is a born and bred Italian-Canadian from Montreal. A devoted academic, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism; a graduate certificate in Scriptwriting; and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. After dabbling in TV writing and working as a digital marketing content manager, she left the nine to five to launch her freelance editing and coaching career. Today, she relishes in helping aspiring authors to develop and refine their stories.

Besides English, Katrina speaks French, Italian, and Spanglish. When she’s not writing, diving into magical reads, or Netflixing, she’s travelling with her favourite human–her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, Andy–and obsessing over her pet bunny, Magic, and newly rescued pup, Nessie. Katrina currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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BOOK REVIEW: The Princess of Nothing (The Fate of Crowns) by Rebecca L. Garcia #YoungAdult #Fantasy @rlgarciabooks

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Run. Hide. Pray for escape.

Racing down the winding streets of Imperia, my only hope of reclaiming my throne is to escape. Unfortunately, that means returning to the one place I truly fear—Berovia.

My fears—it seems—were justified. In the dark underbelly of Berovia, I am captured by King Xenos’s men and thrown into the pits with traitors and criminals to pray for salvation I knew wouldn’t come. My only hope to make it out alive is by agreeing to marry the king’s arrogant son. But this union comes at a terrible price. If I agree to be his bride, my people may be stripped of their magic and forced into submission under Kiros’s reign. If I die, I leave my corruptible cousin, Edgar, to ruin my family’s rule.

Can I find a way to save my people and myself? Or, will I die as the princess of nothing?

Release Date: February 2, 2021

MY REVIEW:

5 stars

The saga continues as Winter fights for throne, her people, and struggles with the desires of her heart.

Book one hooked me, and the second installment in this fantastic series is no different. Intrigue, battles, love, and more fill the pages of The Princess of Nothing. If you’re ready to begin an epic journey fraught with danger, death, and love, you can’t go wrong with The Fate of Crowns series.

Winter fights for what she believes in, and will stop at nothing to reclaim her crown. Change is in the air, but it’s not the type the people need. With her cousin on the throne, the ways of the lunas have been threatened and will soon be a thing of the past. Unless Winter can find the courage and strength to take back what’s rightfully hers.

I enjoyed getting to see Winter grow. With each story, she matures a little more, and becomes more worthy of the crown she’s destined to wear. In book one, we saw her start as a spoiled child who believed everything she’d been told, refusing to question the beliefs she held dear were tainted. Until she met Cedric and the light fae opened her eyes to the world around her. In book two, she continues her journey of self-discovery, and learns more about herself and the world around her. By the end, Winter has grown from a spoiled girl to someone who wants to fight for the injustice of not only her people, but others who are treated unfairly.

Winter is full of passion and determination. But with anyone faced with such a heavy burden, she also has her doubts. She gains strength from her best friend, as well as the dark fae king and Cedric, her light fae prince. The secondary characters in this story add a richness to the book and help suck you into the world of magic.

As with the first installment, this one ends in a cliffhanger. While I typically dislike them, I find with The Fate of Crowns series, they only make me eagerly anticipate the next book. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Winter, Cedric, and even Blaise in book three. Very well done, Ms. Garcia! You’ve crafted another masterpiece.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blitz: Takakush by Raine Reiter #UrbanFantasy @rainereiter

“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm.” –Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series, and more.

When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

Book Links:

 

The World of Takakush – Genus Magica Book One

 
Takakush, the dark contemporary fantasy is the story of Elena Lukas and her family of powerful hereditary priestesses. All four human women manifest a powerful Goddess and practice the old ways of pagan Lithuania. The great powers they possess come with costs.
Mina Lukas, the family matriarch, is the priestess of Zemyna, the Lithuanian Earth Goddess, representing birth, rebirth and renewal. She became a consecrated servant to the deity in her twenties. A world traveler, Mina speaks many languages. Her major gift is healing.
The proprietor of the Swan House Inn and Retreat in the Pacific Northwest, Mina pays bills, raises her teenage daughter, an emerging fire goddess, and cares for her aging mother, Regana, priestess to the goddess of the occult, fate and death.
The goddess gifted Regana with great powers, including transformation and prophecy. She seldom leaves her bedroom, preferring to wander the “Penumbra”, a magical dimension where she is young, powerful and vital. No-one knows the human woman’s actual age, but she appears to be well over one hundred. The old woman’s mental capacity is declining as her individuality merges with her goddess.
Fifteen-year-old Gabby Lukas is a postulate of Gabija, the Lithuanian goddess of the fire. Gabija’s gifted her novitiate with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires at will. This dangerous gift is emerging and will take practice to control. Goddess Gabija’s nature is assertive, volatile and fiery. She has a temper. Gabby Lukas shares these traits.
Professor Elena Lukas believes she turned her back on her destiny until her fiance cancels their wedding. Broken-hearted, Elena retreats home to her eccentric family. At her birth, her family dedicated her to the Lithuanian Forest Goddess Mediena, but she hadn’t committed to the bond. Elena must decide if she will serve as a priestess and avatar, sealing her powers. Or turn her back and live a normal life. The goddess gifted Elena with a spiritual connection to nature and a raven familiar.
When Elena discovers a series of so-called animal attacks terrorizing her forest. With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area to quell its insatiable hunger. 
Author Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.

 
Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.
 
A fifth generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and wanders the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.
 
 
Raine Reiter on the Web:
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1st Prize – $10 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize – Paperback Copy of Takakush & a T-shirt
3rd Prize – An eBook Copy of Takakush
 
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Where did the Lukas family originally come from?

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  • Lithuania
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What is our hero, Elena Lukas’ occupation?

  • Butcher
  • Baker
  • Candlestick Maker
  • College Professor
 

The novel Takakush takes place in what region of the US?

  • The Pacific Northwest
  • The South
  • The Midwest
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BOOK REVIEW: The Fate of Crowns by Rebecca Garcia #YoungAdult #Fantasy @rlgarciabooks

With my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father—the most dangerous man in Magaelor—seeks to control my future.

But fate has other plans.

Thrown into mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must find my way back to my kingdom. There, a marriage between myself and the dark fae prince could bring peace to a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers.

But dark revelations and deadly lies threaten to destroy my destiny. I must make the choice between my duty, family, and heart before it’s too late.

Will I allow myself to become the exalted Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the shattered princess of nothing?

The Fate of Crowns is a young adult fantasy, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laura Sebastian, Holly Black and Kendare Blake.

Add to your Goodreads

MY REVIEW

5 stars!

Magic, intrigue, betrayal, and a princess determined to protect her people,

In a time of fae and magic-wielding humans, when prejudices run deep, there’s one girl who could save them all. The princess first has to learn to see the world with her own eyes and stop believing the lies she’s been told her entire life. Her family isn’t as perfect as she believes, and those closest to her will cause her the most pain. Even when she finds herself in enemy lands, Winter can’t accept that things aren’t what they seem. So eager to please and protect her family, she’s blinded to the truths she faces every day. Will she ever be able to accept her entire life has been a lie?

The book was beautifully written, full of mystery and fantasy, friendship, and so much more. With strong characters, the tried and true plot of corrupt kingdoms, and enough action and drama to keep you turning the pages, The Fate of Crowns has proven to be a memorable tale. But be warned, it does end with a cliffhanger. I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next installment in this series.

The Fate of Crowns is a must-read!

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz: Witch, Catch, and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon #LGBTQ #Fantasy @JKPendragon

Title: Witch, Cat, and Cobb

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 14, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 21700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fae/fey/fairies/faeries, Fairy tales, Humorous, Magic/ Magic users, Mythical creatures, Witch, Arranged marriage, Royalty, Transgender, Transspecies, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides her only option for escape is to run away. After announcing this plan to her trusted cat, Fen, she’s shocked when he asks that she take him along.

Following his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch begins a life-altering adventure and reveals shocking information that will lead to more than one happily ever after—if she and Fen survive.

Excerpt

Witch, Cat, and Cobb
J.K. Pendragon © 2020
All Rights Reserved

I was not accustomed to swamps.

I had been warned about the dangers of swamps, of course, as all children were, and knew the likelihood of traversing the swamp without grave peril befalling me was dismally low. But somehow, in the course of plotting my grand escape, I hadn’t given that fact as much thought as I should have. And to pay for it, I was knee-deep in muck with a cat’s claws digging painfully into my shoulders.

“Don’t make any sudden movements!” said Fen, digging his claws even deeper into my shoulder until I was certain he had latched onto my bone. “It’ll only make it worse.”

“Make it worse?” I screeched at him. “How could this possibly be worse?”

Fen released his front claws from my neck and placed them gently on my head, “I’ve heard about this sort of ground. If I’m right, it’ll be a few hours before it’s swallowed you whole. Whoops!” He had jumped up onto my head, his back legs scrambling over my ear and causing me to shout in pain as his claws grazed me.

“Ouch!”

“Shh, I’m balancing.” He turned delicately on my head and crouched, wiggling his backside for good measure. “Anyway, you don’t know what sort of creatures you’re likely to attract, making so much noise.” He jumped, shoving me deeper into the muck as he did so, and caught a branch, scrambling up and then perching deftly to look down at me. His normally tawny fur was black in silhouette against the full moon, his eyes a green glint in the otherwise dark swamp.

“I should never have trusted you,” I said, glaring up at him. “You’ve led me to my death!”

“I haven’t!” called Fen, sounding offended. “Anyway, you agreed the swamp was the best choice because no one would come looking for us!”

“And no one will find us even if they do!” I squeaked.

“Hush.” Fen took a step forward, and the tree shifted as he arched his back, swaths of witch’s hair dipped into the muck next to me. He took another step forward, and the branch swayed and bowed downwards. “There, see? Grab that.”

I did so, tangling my fingers in the greasy mats. My shoulders shook as I pulled hand over hand to drag the lower half of my body out of the muck. I was glad I had thought to change into my riding breeches before leaving the castle. Fen made a very un-catlike screech and raced up the tree as it buckled further under my weight.

At last I managed to pull myself up and crawl over to where I hoped the ground was more solid. I let go, falling to the forest floor with a whump and sat, collecting myself. Fen landed lightly on my shoulder, and I hissed at him, causing him to scuttle away and behind the tree.

“Don’t do that,” he said presently, his voice muffled by the leaves and bracken. “Show some gratitude.”

“Right,” I said, standing and attempting to brush myself off as best I could. I was also not accustomed to being quite so dirty. “Thank you for saving me from the peril you yourself put me in.”

“You are the one who wanted to run away, Princess, if I might remind you.” Fen emerged from behind the tree and trotted up to me, jumping deftly back onto my shoulder. “I simply agreed to help you out.”

“You think I don’t know that you’ve got some sort of ulterior motive?” I asked him as I began to walk again, keeping a wary eye out for more of the muck I’d sunken into.

“What ulterior motive could I possibly have?” said Fen. “I’m a cat.”

“A talking cat, I might add. Who waited for how many years, twenty? To decide to reveal that fact to me, and not until I had mentioned I might be thinking of running away to the swamp. Why?”

“I liked the sound of it.”

“You liked the sound of this?” I gestured to the seething wet darkness around us and stopped walking. “No, tell me immediately.”

“Hmph,” said Fen. “If you must know, I’m not really a cat.”

“Fen, I’ve been undressed in front of you!”

“Oh, don’t be so full of yourself, Princess.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com.

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Book Blitz: Ocean Heart by ALly Aldridge #Fantasy #YoungAdult @Redfae7

Ocean Heart
Ally Aldridge
(The Soul Heart Series, #1)
Publication date: December 1st 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Being a mermaid brings a new depth to ‘it’s complicated.’

High school teen Mariah’s life is anything but simple. Between a crush on her best friend and a rivalry brewing with the swim team star, her powers awaken early.

When Mariah’s guardian meddles in her life with magic, she causes more harm than good. The soul reapers are coming and there’s a werewolf hungry for merblood. All secrets wash ashore sooner or later, and Mariah’s about to discover hers.

Mixing a messy love life with deadly powers will whip up a storm of trouble. Can Mariah contain it or will she be swept up in its wake?

A gripping story about a mermaid, self acceptance, and romance that literally sparks.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

My blood began to boil… except the bubbling felt more like a tingling. Didn’t he have any compassion for what he was doing to Jace and I? The angry current coursed through my veins. So charged, I felt a need to defuse. I threw my hands in the air and screamed.

“Mariah-,” Mum began but stopped.

Dramatically, the sky lit up like a stormy backdrop to my anger. Lightning pitched down from the sky and hit the lorry, cutting the engine out. The black cloud moved in to darken the before clear sky. The first plop of rain sent a chill through my cotton t-shirt. In no time, the sky was emptying buckets of rain.

“Temper, temper,” Jace teased.

“Quick!” Mum yelled over the rumbling sky as it began to chuck it down, “Everyone inside.”

We ran in. Denny invited the removal men to take shelter in our home with the promise of sampling their famous Sparkle Cakes and a brew.

As Jace and I were about to run up the stairs, Mum pulled me to one side.

“Are you okay, Mariah?”

“What do you think?” I snapped at her stupid question.

She tugged on my sleeve. “You must stay in control of your emotions.”

I shrugged her off me and hurried up the stairs with Jace. In my room, we revelled in the storm’s blessing of extra time together. I grinned, pleased with myself as if I had caused the storm.

Author Bio:

Ally was born in London but grew up in Suffolk which is where most of her YA Fantasy novels are based.

She is happily married to her high school sweetheart, and together they are raising two cats, their son and daughter.

When Ally is not writing (or at her day job), she loves spending time with her family at the local beach, in the forest or watching way too much Netflix.

Ally loves a cup of tea and has been known to order one on a night out.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Soul Heart Readers FB Group / Twitter / Instagram


GIVEAWAY!

To thank everyone who orders Ocean Heart between 1 Oct and 30 Nov, they author would like to offer them the chance to win a bookish prize of goodies.

There is a UK prize and an International prize. The winner will be announced live on 1 Dec at 8pm GMT, during her launch party on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ho6J-PQTvvI

Full details and entry here!

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BOOK REVIEW: Crowned a Traitor by Kate Callaghan #Young Adult #Fantasy #NetGalley @CallaghanWriter

A Young Adult Dark Fantasy from Hell. Crowned A Traitor is like no fantasy you have come across.

Heir to Hell and the Dark Forest of Malum, Klara has been called upon to take her place as High Queen of Malum. Though Klara has no intention of ruling, her guardians want her head on a spike. Klara’s only option – escape to Kalos, Fae ruled lands free from Dark Magic. To survive the perilous journey, she needs help…

A Leprechaun with a talent for smuggling.
A mischievous Demon with swaying loyalties.
The soul of a greying Warlock.
Lycaon siblings with a talent for deception.

Destiny has an awful habit of catching up with those who run.

Available at Amazon

My Review:

5 stars!

Crowned a Traitor is a fabulous, action-packed fantasy that pulls you in from page one.

I found Klara to be a strong heroine. She wasn’t perfect, but her imperfections are what made her so wonderful. In battle, she was fearless, yet she also showed mercy. It was a trait many thought made her weak, but was one of her greatest assests.

There were multiple twists I didn’t see coming, and a plethora of supernatural beings, which made the book all that more amazing. Demons, fae, witches, lycaons, and Lucifer himself… just to name a few.

If you enjoy paranormal tales of intrigue, suspense, action, and a bit of romance, you can’t go wrong with Crowned a Traitor.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review posted above is merely my opinion.

Release Blitz: The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante #LGBTQ #FantasyRomance @antoniaquilante

Title: The Sorcerer’s Guardian

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Four

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 111400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, family-drama, gay, cisgender, magic, cat shifters, magician, captain of the guards, storm, antagonists to lovers, court intrigue

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Synopsis

Savarin honed his Talent through years of study, and to achieve his goal of becoming the most powerful and accomplished sorcerer in Tournai, he made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings—which is how Savarin prefers it. He wants to be seen only as the man he’s made himself. When Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack, he is more than happy to do so. The spells are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. But to his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompany him on his journey.

Second son of a minor noble family, Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain with single-minded determination and takes pride in his service to the crown. He must obey the prince’s orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere and his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, Loriot has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. He still believes it’s best to avoid most magic entirely, which is difficult when he’s tasked with playing guard to a powerful sorcerer.

Loriot and Savarin clash repeatedly during their journey, but the simmering tension between them doesn’t only stem from their work, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still secure Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution will endanger both him and the royal family.

Excerpt

The Sorcerer’s Guardian

Antonia Aquilante © 2020

All Rights Reserved

As afternoon waned into evening, Loriot approached his house on Dove Lane. Weariness dragged at him with each step. He hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last few days, and now that the crisis had passed, he felt the fatigue down to his bones. But the lack of sleep was worth it for the good outcome of the situation.

He trudged up the few steps to his front door, its rich blue color recently freshened, and let himself in. The key turned smoothly in the lock, and the magical protections on the house recognized him as belonging, allowing him inside. He shivered, even though he didn’t feel anything as he crossed the threshold; perhaps someone with a Talent would, but he had neither Talent nor any sensitivity to magic.

Inside, the house was quiet. The formal parlor was empty, which was unsurprising as they rarely used it—only when Joceline and Oriana chose to entertain. He wanted more than anything to go up to his bedchamber and collapse into his bed for the next few days, but he couldn’t. Couldn’t even collapse for a few hours without checking on his family. But he knew where at least one of them was likely to be at this time of day.

The sitting room at the back of the house was quiet, too, so quiet he could hear the scratch of his sister’s pen on paper as he stepped into the doorway. Joceline sat at her writing desk, papers spread around her, pen flying across the page. Despite the silence, she didn’t notice him. A good writing day, then. He hated to disturb her, but she’d want to know he was home.

“Story going well?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet so he wouldn’t startle her. He’d learned it was better to have to repeat himself than to scare her when she was absorbed in a world of her own creation.

But he didn’t have to repeat himself today. She glanced up immediately, her gaze hazy and then sharpening. “There you are! I was wondering if you were ever coming home.”

He hadn’t been gone so long—only a couple of days—but he did try not to let a day go by without returning for at least a little while. He stepped farther into the room and sank down into a comfortable chair. “It was unavoidable. You got my notes?”

“Of course. You know I was just teasing.” Joceline narrowed her eyes and studied him with an intensity he could almost feel. “Is everything all right? You look exhausted, and I heard yesterday the guard was searching everyone leaving the city.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face. Sitting had been a mistake. His eyelids wanted to droop; his body wanted to melt into the cushions. “There was a kidnapping.”

“Not Prince Julien?”

“No, no. And it’s fine now,” he reassured her, trying to keep her from coming out of her chair in her alarm at a threat to the heir to Tournai’s throne. “It wasn’t a member of the royal family at all.”

“But you were involved?”

As captain of the royal guard, Loriot normally wouldn’t be directly involved in such a situation. “The baby taken was the daughter of Prince Amory’s friend, Master Tristan. The merchant. Though if what I saw means anything, he’ll likely be a member of the royal family soon.”

“Really?” Joceline leaned forward, her interest of a different kind now. “There’s going to be a marriage? To whom? The princess?”

He shook his head. He didn’t need to tell her what he said should go no further. He didn’t ever tell her anything truly secret, but Loriot didn’t see the harm in a little meaningless court gossip now and then, especially since she wouldn’t spread it. “No. Lord Etan.”

She sat back with a huff. “Well, they really are bucking tradition, aren’t they?”

He let out a short laugh. But what she said wasn’t untrue. Both Tournai’s prince and his cousin, a royal duke, had married men in the last couple of years, and now it seemed Lord Etan, another cousin of Prince Philip’s, would do the same. Loriot couldn’t think of a time when such a thing had happened, as the royal family and nobility tended to marry those who could provide bloodline heirs for their titles—and some families were even more conservative, only marrying women.

“Good for them,” Joceline said. “I hope they’re happy.”

“Now that Tristan’s daughter is back with them, I believe they are.”

Concern flooded back into her pretty face. “You found her? And the person who took her?”

“Yes, with Master Savarin’s help.” He’d gotten over any resentment he might have had that he needed the help of magic long before today and was happy to use any tool he had access to. Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, was not someone whose help should be turned away, and Savarin never withheld it, serving Tournai whenever he was called upon.

“The sorcerer? How did he help?” Joceline sat forward, a gleam in her eyes he recognized well. She wasn’t simply curious; she wanted to know because she might use the information in a story.

“Joceline.”

“What?”

He sighed and shook his head. “He used his magic to try to track the kidnappers and then to try to find the baby directly. He pointed us in the right direction, let us know where to search for them.” Loriot didn’t bother mentioning the help they’d received from someone else, a scholar at the university. If he read Savarin right, Savarin would be finding Master Corentin at the university soon and asking him about the magic he used, because it also sounded as if Savarin hadn’t heard of anything like it.

“Interesting.”

“Let me guess, your new story has a sorcerer character.” He arched an eyebrow at her, his mildly disapproving tone mostly put on. Which she would know, as she was aware how proud he was of her accomplishments.

“I have an idea that would call for one. What’s Master Savarin like?”

“I don’t know him very well.” He tried to think of anything he knew about Savarin beyond the surface. “He’s powerful and arrogant with it.”

She shrugged. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. Aren’t all powerful sorcerers arrogant about their power?”

“I wouldn’t know. I don’t know any others.” He resolutely pushed his newly acquired knowledge of the royal family’s secret Talent from his mind. He didn’t need Joceline seeing a hint in his expression and trying to badger the information out of him. He would never tell, but life would be easier if he didn’t have to fight Joceline about it.

“All the ones I’ve read about in stories are. Especially the evil ones.”

“Tell me you’re not going to base a character on Master Savarin and make him evil.” Making the most powerful sorcerer in the country an evil character in a book sounded like a horrible idea.

Another shrug. “Powerful sorcerers always seem to be evil characters. Or self-sacrificing ones who save the day.”

Loriot shook his head and heaved himself to his feet. If he didn’t move, he’d end up sleeping right there. “Alain is upstairs?”

“Yes. But wait,” she called after him as he walked toward the door. “You must know something else about Master Savarin.”

“I really don’t.” He didn’t turn.

“Is he handsome?”

Savarin’s image filled his mind—his height and broad shoulders, perfectly carved features, blond hair he thought would be soft under his hands. His stride hitched, but he shook the image away and ignored Joceline calling after him. Perhaps she would forget the idea entirely if he didn’t encourage her.

He doubted it, but he could hope. The idea of Savarin as a character in a book on the shelf of a bookshop made him cringe.

Trudging up the stairs took the last of his energy, but he forced himself to bypass his own bedchamber. He couldn’t go to bed without seeing Alain. Not after so long away, not even if it hadn’t been very long. The door to the room at the back of the house was partially open. He peeked in as he pushed it open the rest of the way. The room was tidy, except for a veritable city built of blocks in the middle of the rug. The nursemaid noticed him first, but Alain wasn’t far behind. He looked up, his bright-green eyes—twins of Loriot’s own—lighting up, and something inside Loriot melted, just as it always did under those eyes.

“Papa!”

With ease of long practice, he caught the five-year-old bundle of energy that came flying at him and swung his son up into his arms. He cuddled him close for as long as Alain would allow. As tired as he was, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “There’s my boy. I missed you. Show me what you’ve been doing.”

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Blog Tour: Dead Ringer by Kat Ross #fantasy #paranormal

Dead Ringer
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

A poisonous secret.

A terrifying curse.

And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with.

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents.

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

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MY REVIEW:

Dead Ringer has the feel of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde combined with Sherlock Holmes. I found the story to be well-written, and the characters were very three dimensional. Harry, in particular, was entertaining. I loved that she was such a strong woman, especially for that time period. It was my first time reading this author, but I think I may be hooked. 

If you like historical books that also have mystery, suspense, action and all the other ingredients for a page-turning-stay-up-all-night experience, Dead Ringer is a must-read! 

 

Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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Book Blitz: Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr #fantasy #GayRomance

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WinterMasquerade-500Title:  Winter Masquerade

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 20, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 32800

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Romance, fantasy, gay, party, musicians, mythical creatures, trial, judge, alternative universe

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Synopsis

Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.

The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam.

Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.

With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.

Winter Masquerade Now Available

 

Excerpt

Winter Masquerade

Kevin Klehr © 2020

All Rights Reserved

 

Pitch black. Then candlelight. One lonely flame lit the face of a plump-faced man in a robe.

“How did I get here?” I asked.

“That’s not important right now,” the monk replied. “It’s where you’re going.” He reached for a journal, which sat on the stool to his right, and set the candle in its place. He flipped several pages and held it to the flame. “Are you fond of voyages?”

I shook like nervous prey. “I really need to know how I got here.”

“You’re a troubled man in need of rest and recreation. And a healthy dose of self-reflection.”

“But—”

“I wish you’d stop asking questions. You’ve never bothered listening to those who’ve responded.”

Harmonious chants filled the silence. These men’s voices calmed me, even though a dozen questions still needed answering.

Another light appeared coming from a round window. I shuffled toward it. There I was in the dark on the other side. I lay sleeping.

 

Purchase Links

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Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.

His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.

So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

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Giveaway –

One lucky winner will receive a $10.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

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