New Release and Giveaway! HANDBOOK FOR MORTALS by Lani Sarem (Handbook for Mortals #1)

Handbook for Mortals
Lani Sarem
(Handbook for Mortals, #1)
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Zade Holder has always been a free-spirited young woman, from a long dynasty of tarot-card readers, fortunetellers, and practitioners of magick. Growing up in a small town and never quite fitting in, Zade is determined to forge her own path. She leaves her home in Tennessee to break free from her overprotective mother Dela, the local resident spellcaster and fortuneteller.

Zade travels to Las Vegas and uses supernatural powers to become part of a premiere magic show led by the infamous magician Charles Spellman. Zade fits right in with his troupe of artists and misfits. After all, when everyone is slightly eccentric, appearing ”normal” is much less important.

Behind the scenes of this multimillion-dollar production, Zade finds herself caught in a love triangle with Mac, the show’s good-looking but rough-around-the-edges technical director and Jackson, the tall, dark, handsome and charming bandleader.

Zade’s secrets and the struggle to choose between Mac or Jackson creates reckless tension during the grand finale of the show. Using Chaos magick, which is known for being unpredictable, she tests her abilities as a spellcaster farther than she’s ever tried and finds herself at death’s door. Her fate is left in the hands of a mortal who does not believe in a world of real magick, a fortuneteller who knew one day Zade would put herself in danger and a dagger with mystical powers…

Handbook for Mortals is the first book in the series of this urban fantasy, paranormal romance series by author Lani Sarem.

Following Zade through the trials–and romance–of finding her own place in the world, readers will identify with their own struggles to fit in, reflected in the fantastic, yet mundane world of Zade’s life.

Handbook for Mortals is in development as a motion picture set to debut in 2018

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

“Hopefully I wasn’t interrupting something important,” Mac said, with no attempt at feigning actual sincerity. I could tell he didn’t care that he had interrupted, or that he had been rude.

“Just kindness.” I responded. I don’t think he expected my answer to be truthful, and he looked taken aback. He had probably expected me to say “Oh, no worries! Nothing important.” He made no comment, but backed off a little. When he continued talking, he had a bit less snap in his voice.

“I’d like to schedule a crew call for you once your contract has been signed. You, me, and all of our techs, so we can go over your trick and map out how it will be safely implemented into the show.” He knew that calling what I had done a “trick” instead of an illusion I would take as a slight. It’s sort of like telling someone who had just won an Olympic gold medal and was proudly wearing it around their neck, that their necklace was cute. Mac kept incessantly tapping his Sharpie on the side of his clipboard and shifting his weight between his feet.

I stood up slowly and calculated, looking him square in the eye, which probably surprised him a bit, since he was at least six feet tall. I’ve always enjoyed the luxury of being a tall girl. I’m five foot nine inches and so while I don’t usually tower above any guys I know, I can definitely look them directly in the eye. Most girls who at five feet five inches (which, I believe, is an average height for a woman) have to look up. My height was an advantage that I never took for granted and here, again, I was happy that I didn’t have to look up to him—figuratively or literally. In heels I could even be as tall or taller than him and I’ve always loved that part about being the height I am. I half smiled and slowly spoke, “Maybe you misunderstood. I don’t show anyone how it’s done. That wasn’t just for the audition. I handle this illusion on my own.”

Mac held still for a moment, and then glanced up from his clipboard, looking irritated. He pursed his lips and flared his nostrils. The tapping stopped. He dropped the clipboard from his stomach and held it in his hand while pointing his finger directly in my face. “Listen, lady, I don’t know who else you worked for, but we don’t do that Lone Ranger stuff around here. I’m the technical director and in charge of everyone’s safety, no matter how stupid you want to be. You do what I say, and I keep your pretty self from getting hurt. Got it?” I’m fairly certain he growled at me as he spoke.

Myriad thoughts ran through my head and I’m pretty sure several seconds passed in silence as we stared each other down. I could feel my hands tightening into fists. I really did want to punch him. I could see it happening. I’m not strong by any means but I’m also not a wimp. I wouldn’t have broken anything, but he would have been bruised and sore. I quickly ran through the possible outcomes of punching the technical director on my first day of work. It didn’t really seem to be the best idea.

I leaned into him so closely that it might have looked like to an outsider that I was about to kiss him. I huffed a little and my words were slow and deliberate. “I understand this is your job and all, but I don’t think you’re listening to me,” I hissed. I tapped his chest with my finger and he jolted a bit at my touch. He looked at me like I was speaking some kind of foreign language.

I’m not listening? Lady, you need your ears cleaned,” he snarled back. He turned around to walk away, as if that was the end of our conversation. If he was trying to piss me off more, it was working.

I grabbed him by the shoulder, stopping him in his tracks and swinging him around to face me. My face had flushed and I’d raised my voice to a full yell. “And you need to get some manners. I’m not showing you how it’s done, okay? If we have a problem I can go to another show where the technical director doesn’t have a God complex. I’m not a girl who needs a knight in shining armor.” I was practically snarling at him.

Mac gritted his teeth and looked like he might hit me, but I knew that wasn’t really an option for him. Guys like him didn’t hit women, no matter how mad we made them. He laughed loudly. “Ha! Good luck finding a Technical Director who will treat you like the princess you clearly think you are. If I found you locked in a tower, I promise I’d leave you there.” Mac whipped around again and this time saw Riley, who had been standing just a few feet away from us the whole time. Riley was pretending not to be paying too much attention, but you could tell that was all he had been doing. I couldn’t blame him. Mac glowered at Riley and barked, “Where’s C.S.? Riley, go find Charles. Now!”

“On the move,” Riley replied with a nervous, almost panicked look on his face as he ran off to the side and disappeared.

 

Author Bio:

Lani Sarem basically grew up in the entertainment industry. She began acting at age three and continued to act and perform through her early years. Lani began writing scripts when she was eleven. Over the years she has become a jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment business. She became a rock n’ rolly gypsy at fifteen and started touring with bands and working on festivals. She’s toured with everyone from Ryan Adams to Gnarls Barkley. She also became one of the youngest female managers in the business and managed bands like the Plain White T’s, 100 Monkeys and Blues Traveler. Lani has appeared in films like Mall Cop 2, Jason Bourne, and Trailer Park Shark. Handbook for Mortals is a debut novel of a series of books, which are also being made into feature films. You can follow Lani on her social networks to keep up with her many adventures and look out for her at a Wizard World Comic Con near you.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook (book) / Facebook (author) / Twitter

 

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New Release and Giveaway! CRESCENT CALLING by Axelle Chandler (The Crescent With Chronicles #1)

Crescent Calling
Axelle Chandler
(The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.

Or so she thought.

When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.

Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.

Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.

More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.

Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.

She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.

Whether she likes it or not.

The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.

When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.

Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.

Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.

He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.

“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”

Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!

Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.

He howled in pain and retreated across the room.

Pervert!” I shrieked.

“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.

“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!

“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”

“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”

 

Author Bio:

Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE SWEETEST BURN by Jeanine Frost (Broken Destiny #2)

The breathtaking second novel in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Broken Destiny series finds Ivy and Adrian rekindling their alliance—and passion—as the struggle for the fate of the world begins… 

 

Synopsis:

Conquering a supernatural realm turned out to be easier than getting over a broken heart. But her initial victory has made Ivy a target for revenge, forcing her to reunite with the dangerous—and dangerously sexy—Adrian. Ivy isn’t sure which will be harder: finding the hallowed weapon that will repair the crumbling walls between the demon and human realms, or resisting Adrian, who’s decided that come hell or high water, he will make Ivy his.

At first, Adrian tried to resist his feelings for Ivy. Now, determined to break the curse that dooms their love, he’s vowed to save her and to have her. If only he can persuade her to forgive his past sins. But defying destiny—and surrendering to the smoldering desire between them—will bring consequences and sacrifices they never imagined…

 

Review:

My first book by Jeanine Frost, but definitely not my last! I loved the snarkiness she gave Ivy’s voice in this first-person POV story.

I haven’t actually read the first book in the series yet (The Beautiful Ashes) but it didn’t take me too long to get caught up with what was going on/what the “rules” of this world were. Ivy and Adrian are likable characters; though their fated to be enemies/destined to be together romance plot sometimes felt like an excuse for insta-relationship, I really did like them together do it’s hard to find fault. The infusion of biblical elements into the worldbuilding kept it interesting; the ending insures I’ll be haunting my inbox, waiting to see when the third book will be released!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the author:

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series and the Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene’s books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! WILDFIRE by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #3)

In the thrilling conclusion to the Hidden Legacy series, Nevada and Rogan 
grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

WILDFIRE
Hidden Legacy #3
Ilona Andrews
Releasing July 25, 2017
Avon Books
From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…
 
Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating — harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.
Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

I opened my mouth. Nothing came out.

Mom made big eyes at me and nodded toward the table. I dropped my bag on the floor and sat.

“Drink your tea.” Grandma Frida pushed a steaming mug toward Rynda.

Rynda picked up and drank it, but her gaze was fixed on me. Desperation in her eyes turned to near panic. Right.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath from the stomach all the way up, held it, and let it out slowly. One . . . two . . . Calm . . . calm . . .

“Nevada?” Grandma Frida asked.

“She’s an empath Prime,” I said. “I’m upset, so it’s affecting her.”

Rynda gave a short laugh, and I heard Olivia Charles in her voice. “Oh, that’s rich.”

Five . . . six . . . Breathe in, breathe out . . . Ten. Good enough.

I opened my eyes and looked at Rynda. I had to keep my voice and my emotions under control. “Your mother killed an entire crew of Rogan’s soldiers and four lawyers, including two women your age. It was an unprovoked slaughter. Their husbands are now widowers and their children are motherless because of her.”

“A person is never just one thing,” Rynda said, putting the mug down. “To you she might have been a monster, but to me she was my mother. She was a wonderful grandmother to my children. She loved them so much. My mother-in- law doesn’t care for them. They have no grandparents now.”

“I’m sorry for your and their loss. I regret that things went the way they did. But it was a justified kill.” Dear God, I sounded like my mother.

“I don’t even know how she died.” Rynda clenched her hands into a single fist. “They only gave me back her bones. How did my mother die, Nevada?”

I took a deep breath. “It wasn’t an easy or a quick death.”

“I deserve to know.” There was steel in her voice. “Tell me.”

“No. You said you needed my help. Something terrible must’ve happened. Let’s talk about that.”

Her hand shook, and the mug danced a little as she brought it to her lips. She took another swallow of her tea. “My husband is missing.”

Okay. Missing husband. Familiar territory. “When was the last time you saw . . .” Rogan had said his name one time, what was it? “. . . Brian?”

“Three days ago. He went to work on Thursday and didn’t come back. He doesn’t answer his phone. Brian likes his routine. He’s always home by dinner. It’s almost Christmas. He wouldn’t miss it.” A note of hysteria crept into her voice. “I know what you’ll ask: does he have a mistress, did we have a good marriage, does he disappear on drunken binges? No. No, he doesn’t. He takes care of me and the kids. He comes home!”

She must’ve spoken to the Houston PD. “Did you fill out a missing person report?”

“Yes. They’re not going to look for him.” Her voice turned bitter. She was getting more agitated by the minute. “He’s a Prime. It’s House business. Except House Sherwood is convinced that Brian is okay and

he’s just taking a break. Nobody is looking for him, except me. Nobody is returning my calls. Even Rogan refuses to see me.”

That didn’t sound right. Rogan would never turn her away, even if I pitched a huge fit about it. I’d watched the two of them talking before. He liked her and he cared about her. “What did Rogan say exactly?”

“I came to him on Friday. His people told me he was out. He was out on Saturday. I asked to wait, and they told me it was a waste of time. They didn’t know when he would be back. I may be naive, but I’m not an idiot. I know what that means. Two weeks ago, I had friends. I had my mother’s friends, powerful, respected, and always so eager to do Olivia Charles a favor. Two weeks ago, one phone call and half of the city would be out looking for Brian. They would be putting pressure on the police, on the mayor, on the Texas Rangers. But now, everyone is out. Everyone is too busy to see me. There is an invisible wall around me. No matter how loud I scream, nobody can hear me. People just nod and offer platitudes.”

“He didn’t stonewall you,” I said. “He was out of state. With me.

She stopped. “You’re together?”

There was no point in lying. “Yes.”

“The thing with my mother, it wasn’t just a job for you?”

“No. She killed the wife of a man I consider a friend. He works here now.”

Rynda put her hand over her mouth. Silence fell, heavy and tense.

“I shouldn’t have come here,” she said. “I’ll get the children and go.”

“That’s right,” Grandma Frida said.

“No,” Mom said. I knew that voice. That was Sergeant Mom voice. Rynda knew that voice too, because she sat up straighter. Olivia Charles was never in the military, but three minutes of talking to her had told me that she had ruled her household with an iron fist and had very low tolerance for nonsense.

“You’re here now,” Mom said. “You came to us for help, because you had nowhere to turn and because you’re scared for your husband and your children. You came to the right place. Nevada is very good at tracking missing people. Either she’ll help you, or she will recommend someone who will.”

Grandma Frida turned and looked at Mom as if she had sprouted a pineapple on her head.

“Right,” I said. I may not have personally murdered Rynda’s mother, but I made that death possible. And now she was a pariah, alone and scared. She had lost her mother, her husband, and all of the people she thought were her friends. I had to help her. I had to at least get her started in the right direction.

Wow! The ride that began with the first book in the series (Burn for Me) continues here…and then some! Though there is some explanation given in books 2 and 3 of things that happened before that you should know/remember, you’re really better off reading the entire series in order. Now that all 3 books have been released, I am planning on reading the series back-to-back on audio, just to get the complete experience. I definitely recommend! 😉
There is just so much to like with this series–the world is imaginative, the story is a great blend of mystery and action, and the characters are awesome. The relationships are great–not only Nevada and Ronan, but also Nevada and her whole family, Nevada and Cornelius–I could go on and on. The threads of humor that hold it all together (I love, love, love the giant, especially bred-for-war, pacifist bear Sgt. Teddy!) make this one series I’m going to go back to read again and again.
Wildfire has been touted as the final book in the trilogy, but there’s definitely room for continuation with that ending. Fingers crossed that there is more to come, because I still have questions (and want to see more of…well, pretty much everyone!)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Start the Trilogy at the beginning!
“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series—the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge—and are working on the next volumes for both. They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

 

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New Release Box Set! VENOM AND VAMPIRES (23 Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy stories)

Venom & Vampires Box Set
A collection with bite…
Prepare to sink your teeth into 23 Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy stories featuring vampires, shifters, witches, demons, chimeras, and more from today’s NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and internationally best-selling and award-winning authors!
With over one million words of fiction and over 100 hours of prime reading material, this exciting collection will treat you to brand new worlds and inventive re-imaginings of our beloved monsters-in-the-dark. You won’t want to miss out on these stories with bite. We’re certain you’re gonna love it…to death!

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New Release and Giveaway! RISE by Sierra Cross (Coven of Fire #1)

Rise
Sierra Cross
(Coven of Fire, #1)
Publication date: June 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

I closed the door on magic long ago…the day it made me an orphan.

Ten years ago, the Coven of Fire sacrificed their lives—my mother among them—to hold off an overwhelming demonic force. Now it’s back.

As a poorly-paid bartender, how can any of this be my problem? But Callie, another orphan of that battle, swears I’m the key to reviving the coven. And there’s an incredibly sexy guardian stranded on my couch who’s promising to help me stop the demons and keep the veil between the realms standing.

One problem: I’ve never been able to use magic. Our local bad boy warlock assures me I have the talent, but even if I did, we don’t have enough witches to complete a coven. The only way to survive is to pull together this pack of magicborn misfits, who have more secrets than spells, into a makeshift coven.

Can we—three untrained witches, a sarcastic warlock, and an overly intense guardian—take back the city…before the demongate falls and the forces that killed my mother destroy us too?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Startled, I flailed backward. Losing my grip on all six bottles. With a sickening crash they toppled to the stone floor, exploding on impact. The crisp smell of alcohol punctured the dank air.

My heart was still thundering, but I saw no one. “Who’s there?” I demanded.

A figure came into view. Not like he stepped out of the shadows…more like he materialized in front of me. Tall. Powerfully built. With short brown hair and a lean angular face covered in bruises and bloody scrapes. I could have drawn that rugged face, and all its battle scars, from memory.

I forced myself to look into his dark, knowing eyes. The eyes that I’d once allowed to see into my deepest grief. “Matt?” My voice came out higher, younger than I expected. “I didn’t think you were ever coming back.”

“Alexandra…kid, we need to talk.” Matt’s gravelly voice—a voice I hadn’t heard since I was fourteen years old—was low and serious. “I’ve waited over a year for you to come down here. Don’t know how much longer I can hold this form. So listen and don’t interrupt.”

I’d almost forgotten how bossy Matt could be for a ghost. Well, ethereal being anyway. Despite his torn T-shirt and jeans, he had a palpable air of authority, like some kind of rogue commando. The impatient blaze in his eyes would be intimidating, if I didn’t know him. Actually, it still was. But as blown away as I was to see him again, my life had changed since the last time he’d paid me an astral visit. Since then, I’d learned that I had no business interacting with supernatural beings.

“I’m not a kid anymore, Matt,” I said, as firmly as I could. “And I’m not part of your world. Look…you helped me back then, I’ll always be grateful. But I think it would be best if you left now.”

“That’s because you don’t have all the information yet.” He folded his muscular arms, which looked so real and powerful I had to remind myself that they, like the rest of his strapping body, weren’t physically here in the room but in another realm entirely. “Once you’re up to speed on the magical dangers facing our city—”

“Thanks, but I have enough problems to deal with. You know, in the real world.” I couldn’t bring myself to tell Matt that I’d been officially declared magically deficient. Not when he’d always referred to me as “the next coven leader,” after my mother. Instead, I glanced at the shards at my feet and shook my head in despair. Randy was definitely going to make me pay for these broken vodka bottles. Just add it to my tab. “Sorry, but you need to leave me alone, so I can deal with this, okay?”

I started upstairs to get the broom…but didn’t make it past the third step before his form appeared again on the next highest step. Inches between us.

“You have no idea what your real problems are, Alexandra.”

I froze.

Walk right through him, I told myself. You’ve done it before. But Matt’s chiseled face, swathed in desperation, held my full attention. Something had changed there since I last saw him—startling, given that he was incorporeal. In the last ten years, he hadn’t aged one hour. Funny, how I used to think of him as an older guy. Now he looked about my age. The dark purple bruises flowering along his square jaw hadn’t healed. Nor had the bloody gash down his pillowy lower lip—the one part of him that looked incongruously boyish. It was his eyes that had changed.

“I need your help, Alexandra.” His dark eyes, once warm and charming, burned with an urgency that put fear into my heart. “Please.”

 

Author Bio:

Spells and skyscrapers. Warriors and warlocks. Coven secrets and forbidden romances. Sierra Cross lives for urban fantasy, for modern magic and the bold supernatural beings who stalk our contemporary world. Her Spelldrift universe stars kickass witches and their heroic guardians, as well as vampires, shifters, mages, Fidei, and the dark demonic forces that threaten them all.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! WHITE HOT by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #2)

The Hidden Legacy series continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate  a world where magic is the norm . . . and their relationship burns hot.

 

WHITE HOT
Hidden Legacy #2
Ilona Andrews
Releasing May 30, 2017
Avon Books

 

The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm . . . and their relationship burns hot.
 
Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice.

“My wife is dead.” His voice shook with barely controlled emotion. His eyes glistened. “She’s my light. She found me in the darkest time of my life and she saw something in me . . . She believed I could be a better man. I didn’t deserve her or the happiness we had. She loved me, Nevada. She loved me so much, in spite of my faults, and I was the luckiest man alive because when I opened my eyes in the morning, I saw her next to me. She had integrity. She was kind and intelligent, and she tried her hardest to do the right thing so this world would be a better place for our child to grow up in. She didn’t deserve this. She deserved to be happy. She deserved a full and long life. Nobody had the right to rob her of it.”

His face contorted with raw pain and grief. I was trying so hard not to cry. “I love her determination. I love her spirit. I’m proud to have been her husband. And now she’s dead. Someone took this wonderful—this truly beautiful—human being and turned her into a corpse. I saw her on the morgue table. She’s just . . . cold and lifeless as if she never was. Everything is gone except for our daughter and my memories. I have to strive to be the man she thought I was. When my daughter grows up, she’ll ask me why her mother was murdered and I’ll have to answer her. I have to account for my actions. I want to tell her that I found those responsible and I made sure they wouldn’t hurt anyone else.”

He brushed moisture from his eyes with a furious swipe of his hand. “Nobody else will do this. Her family doesn’t have the means, my family doesn’t care, and her employer might have murdered her. There is only me. Will you help me? Please.”

He fell silent. He was sitting here asking for my help and I couldn’t throw him out of my office. I just couldn’t. I remembered when Mom sold our house to pay for Dad’s bills. I remembered when we mortgaged the business and kept it from him, because it would’ve killed him faster than any disease. If someone I loved was murdered, I would do the same thing Cornelius did. He had nowhere to turn. If I slammed the door in his face now, I wouldn’t be able to look my reflection in the eye.

I reached into the top drawer of my desk and took out the blue new-client folder. I opened it so it faced him, placed it on the table, and wrote $50,000 in the margins on the front. “This is my retainer. This stays with the agency no matter what happens. It’s nonnegotiable.”

I used my pen to circle the bottom number on the right side. “These are our rates. This job is likely to be high-risk, so the top rate right here will apply. As you can see, it’s a daily and not hourly rate. Depending on the situation, I may have to charge you hazard pay or additional expenses. The retainer acts like a deductible. Once the amount billed to you exceeds it, you will make additional payments in installments of $10,000. After we’re done here, you may want to go to the bank and withdraw at least $20,000 in cash. We may have to bribe people . . .”

“Thank you.”

“This is a bad idea. Please reconsider.”

He shook his head. “No.”

I walked him through the privacy policy and had him sign all of the waivers. “What happens once we find whoever is responsible?”

“I’ll take care of things from there.”

“Meaning you’ll kill your wife’s murderer.”

“It’s the way Houses handle things,” Cornelius said.

“Well, I’m not a House. I’m a person with a family, and I respect and try to obey the laws of this country. I won’t hesitate to defend you or myself, but I won’t condone murder.”

“Understood,” Cornelius said. “How do we start?”

“I need to be able to speak to Matthias Forsberg. I need face-to-face time so I can ask him some questions. I can make the necessary calls tomorrow, but he’ll refuse to see me.”

“You don’t have the social status and you work for his competitor.” Cornelius nodded. “Matthias is an active participant in the Assembly. He never misses a session. Tomorrow happens to be December 15th. The session starts at 9:00 a.m.”

“I don’t have admission to the Assembly.” The Assembly was an unofficial executive body that governed the magic users at state and national levels. The Texas State Assembly met in Houston. A family had to have at least two Prime-caliber magic users in three generations to be considered a House and each House had a single seat. Technically the Assembly had no power within the US government, but, practically, when the Houses spoke in one collective voice, both Congress and the White House listened.

“A family name has to be good for something, right?”

Cornelius smiled. It never reached his eyes. They stayed bitter and haunted. “As a Significant and a scion of a House, I’m free to attend the Assembly and bring a companion of my choice. I intend to be an active participant in this investigation, Ms. Baylor.”

“Call me Nevada,” I told him. “Good. Then we’ll meet here tomorrow at seven.”

 

Wow. This book.
White Hot is the first book I’ve read by Ilona Andrews, but it definitely won’t be my last! I loved Nevada’s snarkiness and her relationship with her family, and don’t even get me started on Connor…whoa. This book’s writing makes a world full of fantastic (and quite frankly, scary as heck) stuff seem perfectly normal. I do wish I’d had time to read the first book in the trilogy first (Burn for Me)–you do get some background here, but I still felt behind times a bit. And of course, I absolutely need to see Nevada and  Connor from the very beginning.
No worries. It’ll give me something to do while I wait for book three…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Start the Trilogy at the beginning
“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series—the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge—and are working on the next volumes for both. They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.


 

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YA Fantasy Showdown! Team Urban VS Team Epic: TEAM EPIC

Team Epic: Why I Love Epic Fantasy!

Erica Cameron – Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles, #1):

Why do I love epic fantasy? It’s a blank slate. We can erase all of our preconceived notions of society and law and even science, throwing all of that over the side of a cliff. Epic fantasy lets us push humanity well past the breaking point with ever more impossible landscapes and situations. It lets us see what we could be if only we let ourselves get there. Plus, epic fantasy is, well, epic!

 

Book Description:

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle. On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

 

Buy Island of Exiles

Amber Mitchell – Garden of Thorns:

When I read and write, it’s because I want to escape and nothing gets you farther from your troubles than the distant shores of entirely new worlds. Epic fantasy invites you onto its tropical beaches, into its lush jungles and through its exotic cityscapes, shaking out its uncharted map for you to explore. Every page brims with fantastic characters questing, battling men and extraordinary beasts alike with magic flowing from nimble fingertips and daring sword fights. The allure of entirely new cultures, the epic stakes, swoon-worthy romances, and the flowing dresses of epic fantasy will always have my heart.

 

Book Description:

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll to take to her grave if she must.

 

Buy Garden of Thorns

 

L.E. Sterling – True North (True Born, #2):

Don’t get me wrong — #TeamUrban is great. I love time jumpers and magicians running around a book. They make you blink and question what you saw. But I prefer life in a funhouse mirror. Give me a goblin market. Give me a warrior queen with immortal blood. I want the snow queen’s glass shard to be embedded in my eye. I want to completely escape the bounds of reality — not be shackled by them. I don’t want to just question my perceptions — I want to know I’m not in Kansas any longer.

 

Book Description:

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

 

Buy True North

 

Nicole Luiken – In Truth & Ashes (Otherselves, #3):

First for the endlessly inventive magic. Second for the fascinating new worlds to explore. Third for the fantastic creatures that dwell there: dragons, gargoyles, demi-gods and phoenixes are just a few of the ones I’ve used.

Epic fantasy gives a writer a bigger canvas to paint. Instead of a city, a country or even worlds. Wars. Heroes. Villains. Destinies. Everything is bigger is epic fantasy. The stakes are higher, instead of a single group, the fate of a world can hang in the balance.

 

Book Description:

The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…

On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.

But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.

But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.

 

Buy In Truth & Ashes

 

Renee Collins – Relic

 

Book Description:

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

 

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

Buy Relic

 

Rebekah L. Purdy – The Summer Marked (The Winter People, #2):

Epic Fantasy is an escape from the “real world” and takes you to other lands, places you can only dream of, which is why I love it so much.  And there’s so much more opportunity to really explore new creatures and characters within these worlds. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of stepping through a closet and finding a cool fantasy world? LOL.

I’m also a big fan of the epic battles (think Lord of the Rings or Throne of Glass). Girl with a sword=Awesome.

 

Book Description:

Fresh off a break-up with her boyfriend, Kadie’s glad to be home from college for Thanksgiving. All she needs is a rebound guy, a box of chocolates, and some girl time with her best friend, Salome. Problem is, Salome isn’t returning her calls, and her family won’t say where she is. Feeling sorry for herself, Kadie ends up at Club Blade, a place filled with pumping music, dangerous guys, and promises of a good time. However, when midnight strikes, Kadie’s fun turns into a nightmare as she’s ripped from the human world into Faerie by a vengeful Winter Prince named Etienne. For the first time in her life, she realizes the monsters Salome always spoke of are real, and they’ll stop at nothing to destroy her friend.

Salome thought the winter curse was behind her. But winter has left its mark. Not just on her, but on the whole summer court. The Kingdom of Summer is falling apart, and Nevin is hanging onto his throne by a thread. With war on his doorstep, he has no choice but to send Gareth into enemy territory, which means Salome will be left alone—vulnerable in a world she doesn’t understand. A place where beauty is deadly and humans are pawns in the macabre games the Fae play. Both Kadie and Salome will have to call on all their strength to survive in a world where humans aren’t meant to be. With death and enemies all around them, it’ll be a miracle if they can survive.

 

Buy The Summer Marked

 

Chloe Jacobs – Greta and the Goblin King (Mylena Chronicles, #1)

 

Book Description:

While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse.

To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

 

Buy Greta and the Goblin King

 

 

YA Showdown! Team Urban VS Team Epic: Urban Version!

Team Urban: Why I Love Urban Fantasy!

 

Brenda Drake – Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers, #2):

I’m such a fan of Urban Fantasy for many reasons, but mostly because writers can take our normal world and, either secret or not, add a dash of the fantastical to it. With mystical creatures hiding from humans or living side by side with them, deliciously nefarious things can happen. There’s just something extraordinary about urban fantasy. It’s the ability of the writer to look at something normal in the human world and mix it up. Changing a simple book into something that can transport someone from library to library or hiding a zoo of magical beasts in a common suitcase.

 

Book Description:

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

 

Buy Guardian of Secrets

 

Chris Cannon – Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames, #4):

  1. There are no maidens that need to be rescued in urban fantasy. More than likely the females are the ones kicking ass.
  2. I love the snarky banter that occurs when you throw modern day characters into strange/magical/supernatural circumstances.
  3. Anything is possible in urban fantasy. There are no rules about what types of paranormal creatures you can have. If you want to create dragons that breathe fire, ice, wind, sonic waves, and lightning, you can, just like I did in Going Down In Flames *cough cough shameless self promotion

 

Book Description:

She isn’t afraid of anything…except losing the knight she loves. Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

 

Buy Fanning the Flames

 

Shonna Slayton – Spindle:

Urban fantasy reminds me that our own world is magical. We are so used to the way our world works that we take for granted how incredible it is that our heart beats, our brain imagines, that our eyes see color.

As a writer, urban fantasy allows me to open up my imagination on multiple planes. I still work with the real world, but I get to add layers onto that. It’s like going from black and white TV to color. Like Dorothy in dusty old Kansas stepping into the colorful land of Oz.

 

Book Description:

In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

 

Buy Spindle

 

Tara Fuller – Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1)

Book Description:

Death doesn’t fall in love. Usually. Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

Buy Inbetween

 

Danielle Ellison – Salt (Salt, #1):

Whether it’s witches, demons, ghosts or other types monsters, there’s nothing like escaping the sometimes mundane reality of our world, or giving what we know every day a spice of fantasy.  Filled with kick-ass heroines who aren’t afraid to fight for what they believe in (and hot, just-as-fierce love interests) Urban Fantasy inspires you look beyond what you see and be more than you think you can be. Plus, life is more with some magic: more dangerous, more unpredictable, more chaotic, more fun.

 

Book Description:

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

 

Buy Salt

 

Rachel Harris – My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1)

Book Description:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits…right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Buy My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

 

Gloria Craw – Atlantis Rising (Atlantis Rising, #1):

I love Urban Fantasy because it infuses normal life with myth and magic. It’s so exciting to have something in common with a character who finds a magic object, special ability or a secret origin. The possible ways her courage and passion might be tested are endless. When she does triumph against fantastic odds, I’m left feeling inspired and reassured that I can overcome great obstacles in my everyday life too. Urban Fantasy reminds me that the ordinary in us can sometimes be…extraordinary.

 

Book Description:

We’ve stayed hidden too long… I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

 

Buy Atlantis Rising

Cover Reveal! LIFE IS BUT A NIGHTMARE by Erin Hayes (The Elysium Legacies #2)

 

Life is but a Nightmare
Erin Hayes
(The Elysium Legacies, #2)
Publication date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mythology, Urban Fantasy

The sequel to the genre-bending, hugely imaginative Death is but a Dream.

“There must always be a God of Wealth…”

Former police detective Callie Saunders shouldn’t be alive, but she’s been thriving with her new lease on life away from the machinations of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses.

Yet there’s always been someone missing from this little piece of paradise.

When a vengeful god kidnaps her son, she travels back to a world she barely understands to find him. A world where she must face humanity’s greatest enemies and her former lover. If she’s not careful, she’ll lose her soul again. And, maybe, even her heart.

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Sequel to:

 

 

Author Bio:

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.

She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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