Sebastian Garcia, Juliet Okofor, and twins Angus and Celia McNeil could not be more different from one another. But when they accidently discover an enchanted house that once belonged to the great magician, Moriarty Mortimer, everything changes.
Legend has it that somewhere inside the mysterious mansion is the most powerful book of magic ever known, and the kids aren’t the only ones hoping to find it. Someone unexpected wants to use it for their evil plan.
Now, they must find the book and use a spell to travel back in time to convince Moriarty Mortimer to teach them magic well enough to defeat a maniacal mad man.
But magic is tricky, so they must work as a team. If they fail, unimaginable power will fall into exactly the wrong hands. If they succeed, they’ll go from magicless misfits to guardians of The Book of the Seven Spells.
Charlie Lovett lives in a house full of old books and can often be found reading on his back porch with his dog Rosie curled up next to him. He loves to run, watch movies, and travel, but most of all he loves to tell stories. He wrote The Book of the Seven Spells for a group of young friends and he hopes you like it as much as they do. Visit www.charlielovett.com
Welcome to the book tour for Theo and the Secret of Elshon! This is the second installment in Melanie Ansley’s Book ofTheo series and fans of Chronicles of Narnia and Watership Down will love it. Read on for more details and a chance to win a paperback edition of Theo and the Forbidden Language!
Theo and the Secret of Elshon (Book of Theo #2)
Publication Date: November 18th, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
A rabbit with the secret ability to read. An axe wielding bear. A warrior princess.
Together, they must find the fabled Library of Elshon, and fight the human empire bent on turning animals into mindless beasts of burden.
In the sequel to the award winning “Theo and the Forbidden Language”, Theo, Brune, and Indigo must find the infamous and feared muskrat, Orjo the Terrible. For only he can lead them to the legendary Elshon, a lost library in a land where reading and writing are punishable by death. At Elshon, Theo hopes to find the cure to Pacification—the empire’s power to make animals mute and mindless.
But can they find the Library and its hidden powers before Theo’s enemy, the vengeful human warlord Ornox, hunts them down? Can they even trust the notoriously conniving Orjo? It’s a race against time and overwhelming odds as Theo and his team must test their friendship, courage, and wits to uncover the secret to defeating the empire. For fans of Redwall, the Chronicles of Narnia and Watership Down comes a fantasy adventure about faith, self-acceptance, and the power of the written word.
Theo and his friends, the warrior rabbit princess Indigo and the bear Brune, are forced to drink with Orjo (a sly muskrat) in order to persuade him to lead them to the fabled Library of Elshon.
“There now! I suppose we should toast.” Orjo raised his cup. “Last to drain has manure for brains.” At their stiff expressions, he sighed. “Mankahar is losing its sense of fun along with its freedom, is it? You’ll never get me to take you to the Library if you don’t drink.”
Brune and Indigo each took cautious sips, while Theo couldn’t get beyond the smell. He pretended to drink, but kept his lips closed. Even so, he immediately wiped an arm across his mouth. Indigo made a guttural sound and nearly spat it back up.
“It tastes better once your tongue goes numb,” Orjo said, refilling their cups. “That’s the way. Now, who else knows you’re here?”
“No one,” Theo said.
“The sea bats,” Brune blurted. He looked surprised, then grimaced, as if trying to get the taste of the drink out of his mouth.
Orjo drained his cup again. “Good. Anyone else?”
“An otter rowed us here in his boat.” Indigo frowned, as if confused by her own words.
The muskrat chuckled at her expression. “Like I said, brew loosens the tongue, doesn’t it? So it sounds like you’ve exposed my whereabouts, and more than once. Doesn’t make me want to help you.”
“Even if it meant defeating the Urzoks?” Indigo pushed her cup away.
“That’s a noble cause. But I’ve found noble causes tend to be bad for your health.”
“The stories say you’re immortal,” the bear growled.
“I can live forever, if that’s what you mean. But that’s assuming something like a blade, let’s say, doesn’t find its way into my neck.” Orjo raised his cup. “To life! And longevity.”
At his expectant look, Brune downed his drink, and Indigo reluctantly pulled her cup back for a sip.
“How did you become immortal?”
“That’s a long story.” Orjo brushed Theo’s question away. “And I’m doing the asking here. Tell me about you, Griffinrider.”
“I never rode the griffin.”
Orjo made a sour face. “Some free advice, from one legend to another? Never spoil your reputation with truth, lad.”
“So your advice is to lie.” Theo sniffed his cup. It definitely didn’t smell like any liquor he’d known.
The muskrat put his eye to the bottle, then shook it and listened. “There’s a difference between lying and letting others believe what they want to believe. And I’ve enjoyed all the stories about you.”
Orjo stood, teetered unsteadily, and half walked, half groped his way to the cupboard, where he began to rummage for another bottle.
“You’re not the one who has to survive the stories.” Theo thought back to the bats. The exaggerations about him were almost more dangerous than the Urzoks themselves.
“True! My favorite is the children’s song.” Orjo pushed aside a jar, then pulled out what looked like another bottle of liquor. Not satisfied, he put it back and kept searching. “Aha!” He pulled out a third bottle and returned to the table. “Have you heard the children’s song? No? The gulls sing it once in a while when they pass through here, it goes like this:
The omatje’s riding now
Riding now, riding now
Theo the Omatje’s riding now
On his wings of flame.
Hide your gold and lock the door
Lock the door, lock the door
Hide your gold and lock the door
For Theo the omatje rides tonight.
“Infantile,” Orjo said, setting the bottle on the table and fishing out a knife from his pocket. “But catchy.”
“We need you to find the…” Indigo frowned, as if trying to herd her thoughts. “Library. And then I can kill you.”
Theo and Brune stared at her. She glared at Orjo. “There’s something in this brew!”
“I told you, brew makes conversation flow.” Orjo leaned forward. “So you want me to take you to the Library, and then kill me. Is that your plan?”
Theo had never seen Indigo drunk. She had the occasional cup of ale, he knew, but she was too keen on control to ever let it get any edge on her. But she clearly had no control of her words and seemed to know it.
“Well, Theo,” Orjo commented. “Seems you don’t know your own friends’ intentions. Doesn’t make me trust you.”
“Orjo, no one is killing anyone! We just want to find the Library,” Theo insisted.
Now Brune was swaying a little, eyes glazed. Theo had a sudden, random memory of his best friend Pozzi from Willago, who’d always argued that drinking brew was like sport. You got better at it with practice. How practiced was Orjo? Could he possibly outdrink a bear ten times his weight?
Orjo had managed to work the wood cork out of the bottle and began refilling the cups. “The cups don’t lie, Theo.”
Theo cursed his stupidity, and snatched the drink from Indigo’s paw. But it was too late. She slumped over the table. Brune stared at her, blinking.
“The cups…” The bear managed a slur of words and tried to stand, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate. Bottles and sheaves of paper flew as the giant crashed into the wall, then slid to the ground, blinking.
“You poisoned them!” Theo scrambled to his feet and put a paw to Indigo’s nose. She was breathing. Brune tried to push himself up on the toolbox, but only managed to knock it over before succumbing to the brew and lying still.
Orjo calmly poured himself another serving. “I said the brew wasn’t poisoned. And it wasn’t.”
“What do you call this then?”
The muskrat smiled. “A very simple truth tonic that I dipped the cups in. I needed to know who you told about my island. But if you manage to kill me, they’ll wake up with nothing but nasty headaches and the thirst of a four-humped camel.”
Theo clumsily freed Indigo’s sword from her scabbard, trying to keep his paws from shaking. “And if I don’t?”
The muskrat wiped his lips with his sleeve and stood. His smile, unlike his stance, was disturbingly sober. “Then I kill all of you.”
Theo and the Forbidden Language (The Book of Theo #1)
For fans of Watership Down, Redwall, Lord of the Rings, and Dragon Riders of Pern comes a fantasy adventure about courage, friendship, and the power of the written word.
In the land of Mankahar, where reading and writing are punishable by death, a battle is raging. The human empire is robbing animals of speech using a poison called “pacification,” and is marching to the furthest corners of the land to enslave creatures large and small. The only thing standing against them is the Order, a society of free animals determined to defend their way of life. On the western fringes of Mankahar, the rabbit Theo hides a secret: he knows the forbidden language, the symbols used to “catch words”. When his village exiles him, he joins Brune, an axe wielding bear and loyal member of the Order, in the epic fight against the empire. But the Order’s cause proves dangerous. Whom can Theo trust, when the empire punishes those who read or write with death? Worse, his fellow animals view the written word as sacrilegious. As the war for Mankahar’s fate looms, Theo must risk everything to learn the full power of the forbidden language, or be silenced forever.
Melanie was born in Windsor, Ontario to a Chinese mother and a Canadian father, and grew up in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Beijing. She spent grades one to three in a Chinese primary school with concrete floors and no heating, so when she moved to a school with carpets and its very own library, she thought she’d gone to heaven. She spent all her free time devouring books of every kind—including ones that most adults probably wouldn’t recommend for children. Animal Farm, Watership Down, and The Chronicles of Narnia became staples, with a generous helping of Stephen King thrown in. She is currently a producer and screenwriter, with an MFA from USC in film producing. Over her diverse career she has directed a zombie film, been held at gunpoint, and had the good fortune to work with some of her idols. She lives with her husband and two impossibly energetic children in Ballarat, Australia.
Melanie enjoys writing dark fantasy stories about the power of language, self-acceptance, and the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs. Her first novel, Theo and the Forbidden Language, was the winner of Best YA at the 2018 IndieReader Discovery Awards, and the sequel, Theo and the Secret of Elshon, will be released November 2021.
The first in an all-new series by New York Times best-selling author Kendare Blake continues the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring the next generation of Scoobies and Slayers who must defeat a powerful new evil.
A new Slayer for a new generation…
Frankie Rosenberg is passionate about the environment, a sophomore at New Sunnydale High School, and the daughter of the most powerful witch in Sunnydale history. Her mom, Willow, is slowly teaching her magic on the condition that she use it to better the world. But Frankie’s happily quiet life is upended when new girl Hailey shows up with news that the annual Slayer convention has been the target of an attack, and all the Slayers—including Buffy, Faith, and Hailey’s older sister Vi—might be dead. That means it’s time for this generation’s Slayer to be born.
But being the first ever Slayer-Witch means learning how to wield a stake while trying to control her budding powers. With the help of Hailey, a werewolf named Jake, and a hot but nerdy sage demon, Frankie must become the Slayer, prevent the Hellmouth from opening again, and find out what happened to her Aunt Buffy, before she’s next.
Get ready for a whole new story within the world of Buffy!
I can’t remember feeling quite so conflicted over a review before. The writing itself was good, and the story entertaining. But here’s my dilemma …
If you’re a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, to the point you grew up watching the show (back when DVR and streaming services weren’t a thing – you were home to watch it or you were out of luck), and have read the comics, there’s a lot in this book that will be hard to swallow. Quite a few times I found myself screaming “that would never happen” or “what the heck was that?” … A time or two I contemplated not finishing the book. If you pick up this book and expect it to follow the Buffy-verse canon, you’ll likely be disappointed. Or outright angry.
That being said…
Once I realized all the things that happened in the comics, beyond the TV series ending, hadn’t even been taken into consideration when this book was written, I decided to try and enjoy it as a separate series altogether. If I had never been a Buffy fan, what would I have thought?
After tossing aside all my expectations, and reading this as someone who wasn’t familiar with Buffy, I enjoyed quite a bit of the story. I loved the addition of the Countess and Grimlock. With the new “scooby” gang in place and an unfinished story ARC, it’s clear there will be more to this than just one book. So many questions are left unanswered. The writing style was easy to follow and I could picture the scenes in my head. There was just enough description to let my imagination fill in the rest.
Frankie doesn’t feel like a strong character starting out. She’s quiet. Very much a “behind the scenes” sort. Until her slayer powers are activated. Even then, she’s so focused on how much she’s not like Buffy, she doesn’t stop to enhance the skills she has that are uniquely hers. It was enjoyable, watching her grow as a character. I also enjoyed the secondary characters of Hailey, Jake, and Grim.
I think teens will enjoy this story, and it’s clean enough for even tweens to read it, even if there are a few bloody scenes and quite a bit of fighting (hello! Vampire slayer!).
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Disney Hyperion for the chance to review this title. The review above is only my opinion.
The Grove Karri Thompson
Publication date: September 21st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Entering the woods is forbidden. To go in can mean a fate worse than death. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Laura has been told. But living in a new town with nothing to do, she ignores her mother’s dire warnings and explores the forest near her home.
The trees entice Laura deeper into the woods. A mysterious, soothing voice calls her name, and she becomes lost. When a young man finds her, she thinks she’s saved. But he insists their meeting is more than a coincidence. For centuries, his colony has been waiting for a savior. With his alluring eyes and gentle smile, Laura almost believes his crazy story.
Caught between worlds, and with her life at stake, she doesn’t know who to believe or trust. Her heart tells her one thing and her head another.
Is it her destiny, or will her fate only postpone the inevitable?
The hair on my arms rose. My heart thumped hard, the blood pulsing through my chest into my throat. Looking left and right, my muscles tensed to run or fight.
“Who’s there? What do you want?” I said at the same low whisper, my voice shaking.
A shimmering blur disappeared behind a tree—a featureless something, flashing in indistinguishable color as quickly as a silent whip.
“Laura,” someone said again, gentle and feather-light, drifting between the largest trees in front of me.
I held my breath.
“Laura.” My name resonated through the humid night air, echoing through the sugar maples before it thinned and died.
It was a male voice, full- bodied, but lacking malevolence and hostility. Strangely, it put me at ease. There must be a boy somewhere out here in the woods. I was sure of it. The voice sounded young, maybe my age of seventeen.
Or maybe it was a ghost. My Uncle Dean had told me the locals believed these woods were haunted. But ghosts couldn’t kill. At least that’s what I believed.
“Who are you?” I asked, relaxing my stiff muscles just enough to take a step forward. My shoulders dropped as I exhaled a pent-up breath. Broadening my stance, I leaned forward, raising the branch, and squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to hear it again.
“Laura,” it repeated. The word lingered through the dead of night, ringing softly in my ears. I opened my eyes.
“How do you know my name?” I asked, moving toward the direction of the voice. As a cool breeze rustled my pajama shorts, I wrapped one arm around myself.
A bird chirp rode the wind, followed by several more, weaving into a rhythm of tweets and trills. I looked up. Within the tousle of leaves and sway of thin limbs, perched a gathering of birds, flexing their wings for flight.
I took a step backwards, my eyes fixed on the canopy of leaves.
The bird calls increased, one squawk overlapping the other until their unique melody collapsed, twisting into an eerie song and wing beats.
“A–are you still there?” I breathed, eyeing the woods ahead of me and taking another step back.
A smear of color flashed to my left, and a cloud of leaves rose from the forest floor.
“Don’t go,” I said, breaking from a whisper.
The woods resonated with angry bird speak, their unnatural song thumping in my ears.
“I want to see you,” I shouted above the rising mad twitter.
A shadow skated across the ground at my feet. Wings flapped overhead, and a bird beak met my scalp with a hard peck.
Karri Thompson, a native of San Diego, attended San Diego State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in education. When she’s not writing novels and teaching high school English, she can be found nerding out at San Diego Comic-Con and cooking delicious meals for her family. Karri is the recipient of the San Diego Book Awards Best Published Young Adult Novel for 2014.
The Gods demand absolutes, absolute devotion to a prophecy Seanait wishes wasn’t real. Ever since her riastrad awoke she has trained for her seventeenth birthday and the beginning of her destiny. With only a few months left, she is ready to return home to Ulster but when Romans invade Caledonia she can’t leave the land defenseless. Taking up arms next to her best friend Eion she is ready to defy the Gods and save lives. A chance encounter with the seventh fae prince of Amanthia, Cillian, awakens a dream that could change everything.
Cillian has spent nearly a year running from the trials for the crown of Amanthia. He wants nothing to do with the faelands who see him as a monster because of his Primal magic. He’s determined to never return but when Gods meddle in the fates of fae and humans alike everything will not go to plan. In order to survive the war with the Romans and their own destinies, Seanait and Cillian must depend on the one thing pulling them closer, their uncertain hearts.
This is YA historical fantasy series based on the Irish myth of Cu Chulainn.
About the Author
I am a new author who started my self-publishing journey this year in 2021. Curse of the Gods will be my fourth book this year but not my last. I live in the Philadelphia area with a house full of crazy cats you can see on my Instagram or website. I’m a long-time reader and fantasy fan. Anything with strong female protagonists pulls me in.
Charm Wars Dan Lutts
(Charm Wars, #1)
Publication date: September 2nd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Welcome to Caldon, a land of mages and magic, where the noblesse possess massive political and magical power and destroy anyone who threatens the noblesse way of life—especially the commoners.
Rill Larkin, the son of a commoner blacksmith, has high ambitions. To be a mage, join the exalted ranks of the ruling noblesse, and establish his own noblesse family. Defying both the system and his family, Rill becomes the apprentice of Deuth Estati, a powerful archmage. But appearances deceive. As training progresses, Rill learns of decades-long secrets and manipulations that threaten his dream. And Deuth might not be as benevolent as Rill thought.
Alyse Dejune despises magic, even if she does belong to one of the oldest and most powerful noblesse families in Caldon. The deceits and treacheries of noblesse life and the loveless marriage alliances among the noblesse families disgust her. Her family however has high expectations: that she fulfill her role as a noblesse girl by marrying Troy Estati, an arrogant, selfish noblesse boy she does not love. And Alyse harbors a secret—the potential to become one of the most powerful mages in generations and wield forbidden magic—that, if revealed, could mean her death.
In this deadly game of ever-shifting alliances, where the state wages perpetual war against an ancient enemy, Rill and Alyse are thrown together in a land where magic is failing. And as greedy noblesse families raid surrounding family compounds for powerful charms, Rill and Alyse are left standing at a terrible crossroads.
“This place is a real treasure trove,” Rill said as he and Jedd maneuvered the sarcophagus cover onto the ground. “If a charm seeker did open this tomb, why did she take the charm from that one Old Mage but not his staff? And why did she leave all the other charms and staffs behind? I wonder—”
“How fortunate for me she did,” a voice said behind them. “And how unfortunate for you.”
Rill and Jedd whirled around.
Just inside the entrance stood a skinny, middle-aged man of medium height. His gray tunic and tan pants were dirty and patched and his boots old and scuffed. Oily, unkempt hair framed his pockmarked face. In his right hand, he held a staff. The light from Rill’s and Jedd’s torches danced shadows across his face, making his malevolent grin appear even more evil.
A blacksmith’s vise clamped Rill’s chest making it hard for him to breathe. A rohan! A backwatcher or protector—either a mage or a bladeswoman or bladesman—who had been expelled by a noblesse matriarch for breaking her oath to serve and protect the matriarch’s family. An outcast from society no other noblesse First or Lesser Family would touch. A woman or man who was lower even than the criminals, dagger women, and prostitutes living in Caldon’s most dangerous neighborhood, The Slums.
Rill’s gaze fastened on the rohan’s left hand that clutched something beneath his grimy tunic.
“Actus,” the rohan mage said, his sinister smile showing he’d deliberately spoken the word loud enough for Rill and Jedd to hear.
Rill eyed the staff, his stomach paining him. The rohan had activated his charm. All he had to do now was point the staff at a target and cast a spell. Rill’s gaze slid to Jedd, who appeared as rigid as a marble statue.
With exaggerated slowness, the rohan aimed the staff at the gap between Rill and Jedd, then deliberately moved it from one to the other. His lips drew up into a cruel smile, making Rill feel like a mouse being toyed with by a cat.
Rill choked on a lump of regret. Why didn’t I listen to Jedd and leave the coffins alone? We could of been partway home by now.I could of been a mage. But now I never will be.
Slowly and deliberately, the rohan inhaled a mouthful of air and said, “Luco!”
Rill’s frightened breath blended with Jedd’s when the crystal burst into life, and white mage light flooded the tomb.
The rohan laughed as if he’d just watched a first-rate comedy routine as he stepped several paces forward. “Scared of a little light, boys?”
Rill’s gaze jumped to Jedd. His cousin was glowering at the man, his hands balled into fists.
The rohan smirked at Jedd.
Slowly, keeping his eyes on the rohan, Rill moved his hand toward his sword’s brown leather grip.
The rohan must have had invisible eyes in the side of his head. With a chuckle, he casually pointed the staff at Rill. “Foolish boy. I can kill you before your sword’s half out of its scabbard.”
Rill let his hand drop to his side.
“Tsk-tsk,” the rohan said, drawing closer. “Naughty boys charm seeking. That’s a death offense. Unless you’re mages, of course. Are you mages, naughty boys?”
“You know we ain’t,” Rill said through clenched teeth.
The rohan stepped forward a few more paces until only a staff’s length separated them. “When I came across your well-fed and groomed horses a while ago, I thought that maybe their owners came from good families. Families with money. So I went looking for you. My goodness, you weren’t hard to find. Not with all that racket you made in here with the cougar. Boys with horses and swords. And purses hanging from their belts.” His gaze riveted itself to Rill. “And with such interesting things inside.”
Rill’s heart froze into a lump of ice as he forced himself to return the rohan’s stare. He saw me take the charm.
The rohan flashed them both an evil smile. “So I said to myself, ‘Self, I bet those naughty little boys are carrying some nice shiny gildas in their purses. Or maybe even a goldie.’ You got any?”
“Why don’t you come closer and find out?” Rill said. He’d tried to sound cocky, but his voice broke halfway through the question.
The rohan grinned, obviously enjoying himself. He pointed the staff at Rill. “Naughty boy. I hope you don’t melt.”
Terror ripped through Rill like a barbed arrowhead.
He had only moments to live.
Dan Lutts was brought up in Quincy, Massachusetts, and began addictively reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman comic books at an early age, much to his mother’s distress. In junior high school, he switched to reading science fiction novels. While in high school and college, he wrote science fiction short stories.
Dan taught history and archaeology in high school for ten years. After being laid off because of budget cuts, he used his love of writing to retrain and became a software technical editor and writer. He worked for several computer companies, taught technical writing at the college level, and worked as a freelance writer. Now, combining his love of history and writing, he works at a World War II museum doing research and writing.
Dan loves to read and has varied tastes, including Young Adult, historical fiction, mysteries, 18th-century sea epics, and history. He especially enjoys Young Adult fiction and decided to try his hand at it. Charm Wars, Dan’s first novel, is the result.
Dan lives in rural Maine with his wife, Lisa. When he’s not working or writing, Dan can be found reading, making and shooting medieval arrows with his longbow, or playing with his two dogs and two cats–all rescue animals.
Fire Prince H. Danielle Crabtree
(Fire & Reign, #2)
Publication date: October 19th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Myah has been betrayed.
Nordlin City lies in flames, destroyed by the Osten Army, and her greatest nightmare has become her greatest sorrow.
To avoid capture, Myah has no choice but to trust the master of the Osten Elite Guard to protect her and keep her out of the hands of her enemy and his people. However, trust is a fragile thing, easily fractured when her companion keeps his secrets as close as his steel, and Garrett’s reputation is not one that is easily dismissed.
Garrett’s secrets have kept him and those he loves safe for years. To reveal one is to unravel them all, and the fire-haired girl of the north has a way of plucking at those threads. A promise is a promise, though, and he gave his word to see her safely to the resistance leader hiding at the edges of Morgensol, the southern kingdom.
But as she has put her trust in him, he knows that he will have to do the same if he wants to regain the most precious thing he has lost in the kingdom wars.
H. Danielle Crabtree graduated from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a professional journalism degree and worked in journalism as a writer and editor in Oregon and Arizona. She started freelancing as an editor in 2011.
Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies, and she wrote with the G10 Writers group. Her first book with the group was published in 2011.
She lives in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley with her two dogs. Outside her career in health care and her passion for writing, she enjoys hiking, gardening, and dog training, and she is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Oregon State University.
Tempest C.J. Campbell
(The Veil Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
To unearth the truth, she must embrace the legend within.
For eighteen-year-old Lexi, freedom is a luxury. She’s spent her life evading capture for a genetic gift that feels more like a curse. Her bulletproof immunity and monstrous disfigurement is of great interest to a secret organization, but they aren’t the only ones. A cryptic tip alerts Lexi that something else hunts her–something darker.
Desperate to enjoy her life before it’s too late, Lexi leaves the protective cocoon her parents created for her and signs up for art classes at her local college. There she meets Conner, who is confined to a wheelchair, and they become friends who are willing to share each other’s secrets. But a chance encounter with Connor’s foster brother Killian changes everything.
Killian shares the same mysterious secret within his blood as Lexi. Their fateful meeting sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that exposes the terrifying truth–Lexi is a celestial queen of a bygone race. Connor is their last royal heir, and Killian is a half-breed abomination hated for his very existence. With Connor kidnapped by an ancient god determined to rid the world of the stain of humanity, Lexi and Killian find themselves under the protection of the secretive Order of Kings.
Lexi believes she’s been thrown into a world of myths and legends, but things are not as they seem. Lexi becomes convinced the Order is keeping dangerous secrets that threaten not just her but all of mankind.
I slide into a slouch and make a happy hum of approval with my next slurp. Resting my head against the window, I close my eyes and listen to the rain pound. The earlier spit has given way to a deluge. This is close to my idea of bliss—coffee, quiet, and the rain.
Between the beats against the car’s chassis, something vibrates. A noise so out of place in the lullaby of rainfall that I sit bolt upright.
Another buzz, and a shiver spider-walks my spine. I squint in the dark, chest so tight it’s impossible to breathe.
A light illuminates the driver’s side compartment. The sound the plastic makes with the third buzz rattles my very bones. I shove my coffee cup into the holder and squeeze my upper half through the gap between the seat and door. Fingers outstretched, I grapple for my father’s cell phone that blurs to life for the fourth time. Once in my hand, I clutch it to my chest and curl into the darkness of the backseat, as if the shadows might somehow protect me.
The screen illuminates for the last time. I peek at the number, but it’s listed as unknown. My heart bangs so loud that I’m afraid it will shatter my ribs. There’s no one outside, at least not that I can tell, but that doesn’t mean anything.
A car pulls into the space opposite, the garish headlights flood the backseat. I gasp and throw myself onto the floor, pulling Father’s jacket over my head. Each second that ticks by feels like an eternity. My breath comes in quick, startled pants, and I shut my eyes to pray. Not that I’m overly spiritual, but right now I’ll try anything.
“Please, please don’t be them,” I mouth, fingernails biting into the plastic of the phone. “Keep my parents inside, please.”
The lights die and doors slam. A second later, feminine laughter bounces around the empty lot and heeled shoes clatter past the car. Relief rushes through every vein in my body until I’m limp as a fish.
“Thank you,” I whisper and rub a hand down my face.
I toss off the jacket and heave up onto the backseat. It takes a full minute before my breathing regulates and I no longer feel my pulse in my ears. All I can do is stare at the phone screen, at the unlisted number, and contemplate what it means.
As if in answer, the phone buzzes in my hand again. I almost drop it, ready to nose-dive to the floor, but morbid curiosity keeps me glued to the spot.
It’s not a phone number this time, but a text.
A simple sentence that reads: You can’t protect her forever, Fred. They’ll come for her. She’ll need us. T.
Clare is a successful and highly popular author of award winning Fanfiction, with thousands of online fans and over 2 million reads on her Lord of the Rings Fanfic epic. Clare has also won several writing awards within the Fantasy, Inspirational, and Short Story genres. Her story Refuge was a top prize winner and as a direct result published in Faith & Freedom anthology by EA books. She has recently been shortlisted for Writer of the Year 2019.
As well as writing, Clare is an experienced Occupational Therapist, with a passion for enabling people. She has contributed articles for online organizations aimed at highlighting disability as a positive influence in modern literature. Her love of storytelling, merged with her positive messages inspires her to create meaningful narratives that represent diversity, and promote unity.
Ugliness is power, and the Virus of Beauty is spreading causing panic throughout the witch population.
Wilf Gilvary is a teenage wizard who is terrified of using magic. When his father dies under mysterious circumstances, Wilf is plunged into the middle of a political struggle between the witches and wizards in the Magical Realm. He’d rather play soccer than practice magic, but he’s forced to make a choice between the life of a normal Hong Kong teen and one of wizardry after a powerful virus begins to decimate the witch community. The cure is spellbound in a journal Wilf inherited from his father and when his friend Katryna contracts the virus, Wilf understands that he must overcome his fear of magic to unlock the journal’s secrets – but will it be too late to save her?
The tattoo pulsed. He shoved the hand into his pants pocket and continued threading his way through the store’s cluttered shelves of T-shirts, Laughing Buddhas, shot glasses, and Happy Cats. The sinking feeling in his stomach grew.
A sharp pain shot up his arm.
A rumbling groan echoed around the store. He glanced towards the alcove housing the Mages Crystal. His eyes widened as the mirrored surface glowed red. A loud crack pierced the air like a ball smashing through a window. He ran for the supply closet and forced his six-foot body inside.
Quartz exploded across the room from the crystal’s center.
He felt a whoosh of air next to his ear as he slammed the door shut. He switched on the closet light and stepped backward into brooms and mop handles that banged the back of his head. A large piece of polished quartz, still vibrating from its violent impact with the wall, reflected the shock in his gray eyes.
Thuds echoed in the tiny room as projectiles impaled the door. He touched his ear, but seeing no blood on his fingers, exhaled. That had been too close.
Several seconds passed before he braved stepping outside. The store was filled with colliding rainbows as sunlight hit the debris. Wilf blinked rapidly. Crystal daggers studded the closet’s wooden door. All he’d done was look in the crystal’s direction, but his father would blame him for this disaster.
“Wilf, is that you?” Reginald’s shout was followed by a creaking sound from the basement stairs.
Wilf bolted for the front door. His shoes crunched the broken glass. He jerked open the door and the bell gave a traitorous jingle.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Carolyn Lyall was born in Stockton-On-Tees, United Kingdom. As a child Carolyn growing up in Northern England in the sixties Carolyn loved sports, reading and amateur dramatics. She joined a renaissance group, practiced the broadsword and dreamed of visiting other worlds. Her passion for what could be drove her forward when faced with everyday struggles. Her first memorable skirmish with gender inequality came at nine-years old when she was told that only boys were allowed to play soccer. In response, she simply refused to do any classwork until they changed their old-fashioned policies. She won that battle.
At the age of 18, she took a role as typist for a nursing school in Middlesbrough. She then moved to London and enrolled in night school. She was quickly recognized for her ability to fit in anywhere and for not being afraid to push back on the predominantly male leadership. She eventually became a project manager in software development and micro-computers, bridging the gap between computer programmers and management.
Her dream to travel was finally realized in 1990 when she moved to New York City, USA with her husband and the first of three sons. This was the steppingstone to a lifelong adventure that has taken her and her family to India, Belgium and Hong Kong.
Raising her family in multiple countries around the world, she saw that each move, while a shock, was an opportunity for her sons to redefine themselves against new challenges and different cultural norms. Now, that her sons have left home, Carolyn has used her passion for the fantastic to create a world where every day gender inequalities are at the forefront of a world ending conflict. She shares this story through the eyes of a young man who is suddenly thrust into this new world along with all of his own woes and prejudices. The introduction to this world is in Carolyn’s debut YA fantasy novel, “The Virus of Beauty,” due to be released July 31, 2019 under C B Lyall.
Carolyn has published two short stories in an annual anthology by 25 Servings of Soop. She wrote a number of articles for the American Women’s Associates Magazine. Fueled by her love of the works of Terry Pratchett, Sarah J Maas, Cassandra Clare, Brandon Sanderson and others, Carolyn has completed a number of writing courses, which included a Master Fantasy/Science Fiction writers course with Gotham Writers’ Workshop, a YA Voice class and Advance Novel Writing course at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute.
Before tonight Cassie Tate’s biggest concerns were whether she could pass Algebra and how she was going to keep Elora, her best friend, from dressing her in a skimpy fairy costume for Halloween. Her feet were firmly planted in suburban reality and she had no reason to believe her life would be anything but that of a typical teenager. That is until tonight, when Cassie saw something that no human was ever supposed to see; in the blink of an eye she was thrown into the world of the Light and Dark Elves.
He comes from a realm where light and dark have fought for millennia. He is of a race known to humans only in myths and legends. The darkness that lives inside him is a part of both who and what he is and it makes him the most gifted spy and assassin in the history of his time. His life is not his own; he lives in the service of the Dark Elf King. He slays who he must, has mercy on no one, is relentless in his hunt, and never tires of seeing his prey fall. He is Triktapic, assassin, spy, most feared of the Dark Elves.
Now, in the midst of his King’s complicated plans to expand the Dark Elves’ holdings into the mortal realm, for the first time, Trik finds his loyalties divided. For no Elf, Dark or Light, can turn away from their Chosen.
Unbeknownst to the mortal realm, the battle between Light and Dark is being brought to their doorstep. The only one who can keep it at bay holds darkness in his heart like a lover, and the one who can sway that heart must decide if she can look beyond his black past, beyond his evil nature and see the man he is destined to be.
The question must be asked, does love really cover a multitude of sins? Can true love actually conquer all or will his darkness consume those around him until all that stands is an assassin with the blood of the mortal realm on his hands?
In a YA Fantasy involving elves, I have certain expectations. This one fell a bit short. Honestly, the biggest issue I had were the elves. An elf assassin who’s centuries old is not going to roll his eyes all the time or speak and act like a teenager. If the book had been a paperback, I may have thrown it across the room by the tenth time he acted like an immature brat. The next issue I had was the outdated slang the high school students used. They came across more like a fifty year old attempting to be seventeen. While I understand slang changes all the time, the terms in this book were decades out of date. If those two issues were resolved, the book would be immensely better.
There were other issues, but for the most part, I could have overlooked them. The one that stood out the most were the heroine’s parents who hardly ever appear in the story. I found it a bit odd, and I honestly wasn’t sure why they were even in the book to begin with. It would have been better to make her an orphan. She supposedly loves her parents, and yet, we hardly see them. It was just a little strange to me. Almost like the author forgot about them and just randomly tossed in a mention of them here and there.
Overall, the storyline was good. It intrigued me enough I picked up book two, since it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. As annoying as I found most of the characters, I can’t stand not knowing how the story ends. Hopefully, I’ll have the answers to my questions. If not, I don’t think I can last through a third book of eye-rolling elves.
*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review of this title. I purchased/borrowed through Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.