The Scholar’s Heart by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Antonia Aquilante popping by today with her new re-release The Scholar’s Heart, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Scholar’s Heart

(Chronicles of Tournai 03)
by

Antonia Aquilante

Though he is the youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart, happiest in a library surrounded by his books. He contentedly juggles his work for the prince’s government with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, a subject of particular interest to him because he shares the secret magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. However, Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries someone else.

Tristan is the oldest son of a wealthy merchant, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family. Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, but he can’t forsake his duty to his father, even if it means giving up the possibility of having Etan as a lover.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together again, but even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside once more. When the unimaginable happens, Etan and Tristan must come together and support each other through the ordeal…and maybe beyond.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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The Artist’s Masquerade by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Artist’s Masquerade

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Two

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 109700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, gay, bi, cat shifters, royalty, court intrigue, arranged marriage, artist, spy

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Synopsis

As the first-born son of a royal duke and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always put his duty to family and country first, even when it conflicts with his own wishes. When Cathal’s father arranges a marriage between him and Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn, without consulting him, he sees no alternative but to go along with his plans for the good of Tournai. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal from the moment he first sets eyes on her. Cathal doesn’t know Flavia is really Flavian, an artist masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive and repressive place where Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s identity, even as he struggles with his obligations and duty, he cannot fight his attraction to the sharp-tongued artist. Flavian is intrigued by him as well, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries he is more taken with the feminine illusion Flavian presents than the man beneath it. He came to Tournai to start a new life—a safe one—as an artist, and an inconvenient attraction to his friend’s betrothed, a man who happens to be a member of the royal family, is not a part of his plans. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses and secrets. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent giving him the ability to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—something that would be invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

Excerpt

The Artist’s Masquerade
Antonia Aquilante © 2020
All Rights Reserved

“It’s time you took a wife.”

Cathal managed to keep his surprise hidden with some difficulty. That blunt statement was not what he’d expected when he received the summons to his father’s office. A discussion of family business, perhaps, or questions about happenings at the palace, even a diatribe about one of his cousin’s choices—since Father seemed to hate every one of them since the prince’s marriage to Amory—was what usually precipitated a call to Father’s presence.

He’d never imagined Father would bring up marriage. Cathal had seen no indication Father was even thinking in such a direction. Father had said plenty as he’d pushed the prince to marry, and plenty more when Philip had married a man of his choosing instead of the woman Father would have chosen, but he’d never said a word about his own sons’ need to marry.

Cathal probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. He was twenty-five years old and his father’s heir, and Father was a royal duke and dynastically minded. Producing an heir for the dukedom was Cathal’s duty, despite the existence of his younger brothers. He’d always known it, and he would never think of shirking that duty.

“Yes, Father.” He wasn’t interested in anyone in particular, but there were plenty of women who would make him a suitable wife in Father’s eyes. He was certain he could find someone who wouldn’t make the duty a chore. “I will begin looking for a wife immediately.”

“No need. It’s all arranged.” Father returned his attention to the papers on his desk, as if what he’d just said was of no particular consequence. As if he hadn’t just told Cathal his entire life was about to change and taken Cathal’s last bit of choice away at the same time.

Cathal snapped his mouth shut when he realized it was hanging open. “It is?”

“Of course.”

Of course it was. Cathal should have expected that as well. Father would never leave such an important choice—a family alliance, a mother for future dukes—up to Cathal. He should have done so, or at least he should have asked for Cathal’s opinion. Cathal was of age and had proven himself trustworthy time and again, or he thought he had. It left a sour taste in his mouth to think Father respected him so little.

“May I ask whom I will be marrying?” He immediately regretted his tone as Father arched a single brow.

When Cathal didn’t jump to apologize quickly enough, Father let out a huff that expressed his disappointment more eloquently than a hundred words would have, but he answered anyway. “She’s a cousin of the emperor of Ardunn. Velia is her name. Beautiful, by all accounts, and accomplished, but the connections are the important part.”

Cathal hardly heard anything after Ardunn. Cousin to the emperor of Ardunn? What was Father thinking? And how had he even managed it?

Father looked up again, and this time his huff held more than a little annoyance. “Why are you staring at me that way?”

Cathal didn’t know how he was looking at his father. Usually he had more control, but incredulity seemed to have obliterated it. “Ardunn, Father? I don’t understand. Why—?”

“Don’t be stupid. If your cousin isn’t going to do his duty and marry for the good of this country, then it falls to you to take up where Prince Philip failed.”

And that statement made even less sense. “But, Father, you negotiated a marriage contract with the emperor of Ardunn. Does Philip know?”

His cousin couldn’t know. Cathal had damaged their relationship and weakened the trust Philip had in him—he knew and regretted it—but Philip wasn’t vindictive enough to keep something so big from Cathal, especially considering the prince’s hatred of arranged marriages. Though how a prince came by such a view, Cathal would never know. Nevertheless, Philip would have said something, which meant Father had been negotiating with someone in Ardunn without Philip’s knowledge or consent.

Father scoffed. “He’ll know soon enough.”

“But, Father, negotiating with Ardunn…what did you—?”

“Are you questioning my ability to negotiate a marriage for my son?” Father snapped.

“No, sir.” Just the prudence of doing so with a powerful foreign emperor without the knowledge of their own ruler. “But—”

“This is the marriage your cousin should have negotiated for himself, but since he wouldn’t do his duty, we have to do it for him. For the good of Tournai and this family.”

“But, Father—”

“No more.” Father slapped a hand down on the wooden surface of the desk. “It’s done, and when she arrives next month, you will marry this woman. We’re finished discussing it.”

Cathal gritted his teeth against further protests and gave a sharp nod.

A few moments later, dismissed by his father, Cathal dragged in a lungful of crisp air. Spring was taking hold, but the mornings were still cool. At the moment, he was thankful for the gulp of bracing air.

That had been unexpected.

He shook his head and strode down the steps into the garden. The home where Cathal had grown up was probably the largest in the city. Constructed generations ago of pale-gray stone, the house had three stories surrounding the inner courtyard and the garden it contained. He’d played in the garden as a child with his brothers and cousin, chasing each other, hiding among the statuary and bushes. As he grew older, he’d come here when he needed a moment of peace. These days, he spent most of his time at the palace, and the garden was the domain of his mother and younger sisters, who often sat on the benches near the central fountain to do their needlework.

He didn’t linger, couldn’t have if he wanted to. Cathal couldn’t even go up to the palace and inform Philip of the betrothal, because he was due at the port to inspect improvements to the harbor defenses. Taking the most direct route from Father’s office to the front of the house, he strode through the garden and ducked inside again and then made for the entrance hall without slowing.

His sister’s melodic laugh and the quiet murmur of his mother’s voice floated back to him. Smiling, he stepped from the corridor into the grand room. His mother and sister stood at the polished table in the center of the large room. At his first step onto the red marble floor, both women looked up from where they were arranging early spring flowers in a large vase. Identical smiles of welcome lit their faces. His youngest sister looked remarkably like Mother, though Meriall was just fourteen. She was the only one of them to inherit Mother’s golden-brown hair and not Father’s much darker locks.

Each time he saw Meriall, he was surprised at how grown up she was becoming. It seemed just yesterday she was trailing after their brother Etan and getting into scrapes and jumping on her brothers whenever she saw them. Now she was a young lady. The oldest of his three younger sisters was married, and his second sister was nearly seventeen. Cathal might have expected, if he’d thought of the subject at all, Father to be negotiating a marriage for Ottilie, not for himself.

Meriall and Mother were still smiling at him, and they left off fussing with the flowers and greenery as he approached. When she was younger, Meriall would have flung herself at him. She’d learned more appropriate behavior since then, but a part of him missed her enthusiasm. Then again, she would probably still throw herself at Etan. They’d always been closer.

“Cathal.” Mother held out her hands to him and tilted her head for his kiss to her cheek. “I didn’t know you were here.”

He brushed a kiss over Meriall’s cheek as well. “Father wanted to meet with me.”

Because he was watching, he saw the flash of concern in Mother’s warm-brown eyes. Did she know her husband’s plans for Cathal? “Is everything all right?”

No, he didn’t think she knew. He doubted Father would have consulted her anyway. He flicked his glance at his sister, wondering if he should speak in front of her, but everyone would know soon enough. “Father wants me to marry.”

Mother blinked, once, twice, the only sign of surprise in a serene face. “I didn’t realize, but you are getting to be of an age to. There are many lovely girls you could meet and consider. Perhaps we can have a party and invite some of them.”

“Actually, Father has it all arranged already.”

“Oh. Well.” Mother fussed with the flowers before dropping her hands to smooth her skirt. “I didn’t realize you and your father had chosen someone. I wish you’d told me.” The statement wasn’t much of a rebuke, not the way she said it, but from his gentle mother, it was still censure.

“I wish he’d told me.” He bit back impatience. His ignorance of Father’s actions wasn’t Mother’s doing. “I only just found out myself, Mother. She arrives in a month. I assume we’ll all meet her then.”

“Arrives? From where? Who is she?”

He didn’t blame Mother for her bewilderment. “Father says her name is Velia. I only know she’s a cousin to the emperor of Ardunn.”

“The emperor? Does His Highness know?” Mother had been the wife of a royal duke for nearly thirty years. She could see the implications as well as he could.

“It doesn’t appear so.” He glanced from Mother, who was admirably controlling her surprise and concern, to Meriall and her avid, undisguised curiosity. Well, he shouldn’t be talking about Philip’s lack of knowledge of Father’s actions anyway. “You’ll have to ask Father for more information. I don’t know anything else.”

Mother frowned. “Will you tell your cousin?”

“I can’t now. I’m due at the port, and I may be tied up there for most of the day.” And he didn’t want to put this information in a note. Still, someone needed to tell Philip, and Cathal wasn’t sure when Father would. “I’ll tell him when I return to the palace later.”

She nodded. “I’ll speak with your father. We’ll see you soon?”

“Of course.” He took his leave of his mother and sister and strode out through the large front doors into the morning sunlight again. A servant appeared immediately with his horse. He mounted up and guided the horse out through the imposing gate, open in anticipation of his departure. He needed to hurry if he was going to be on time for his appointment, and he refused to be late. He would sort out the rest afterward, including informing the prince.

Philip was not going to be pleased.

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Meet the Author

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

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

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

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Scarlet Gaze by Foster Bridget Cassidy Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Scarlet Gaze

Author: Foster Bridget Cassidy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 69300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, new adult, virgin, college students, British setting, magic, demons, time travel, teleportation

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Synopsis

After a paranormal encounter in his youth with someone from his future, Collin Frey sets his sights on getting to Marke Staple University. Now eighteen and with a full scholarship to the prestigious university, Collin hopes to find an explanation to that life-changing event. Unfortunately, it only leads to more questions.

Finding out he’s there to study magic is the first surprise. The second is his roommate, Terrence, looks identical to the person who started him on the path to Marke Staple.

Collin’s more than willing to sell his soul to get closer to Terrence and uncover all the secrets hidden there. Can knowing a man will change after making a horrible mistake ease the pain of betrayal? Collin is going to find out.

Excerpt

Scarlet Gaze
Foster Bridget Cassidy © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Mom and Dad chatted softly as I gazed out the taxi window. Occasionally, the driver would point out a well-known sight, or something of interest. My parents oohed and aahed, but I barely registered the words. My thoughts focused inward, to the red-eyed man, his desperate pleas for forgiveness, and the total absurdity of the situation. When my mind dwelled on the event from my youth, the rational side wanted to dismiss it as a daydream, or some sort of hallucinated episode. The man had disappeared. That sort of thing didn’t happen in real life.

Yet here I was. Following the clues that could easily turn out to be nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

“And ’ere we are,” the cabbie said, pulling the car to a stop. “Marke Staple University. Very prestigious.” He turned around and smiled at me. “You’re a lucky one to get in.”

Mom leaned forward eagerly. “Not lucky at all! Collin got a full scholarship! He’s very bright.”

I wrinkled my nose and unbuckled my seat belt. “Thanks for the ride.”

I climbed out and gazed upon the school’s gothic spires. They sent ominous shadows stretching across the school grounds. One at the center of the campus stood higher than the rest. I recognized it from the school’s website. And the coin. The familiarity of it made my heart ache. So close.

The driver got out of the car and opened the trunk. He lifted our bags out and set them on the sidewalk. Dad slipped him a few American dollars, which he took with a wink. “Thanks a lot. And good luck in your studies.” He waved before climbing back inside and disappearing the way we came.

“So, here it is,” Dad said, following my gaze to the spires. “Kinda creepy.”

Mom lightly smacked Dad’s shoulder. “Travis! Don’t say things like that. It’s an old school, with old architecture.”

“And old ghosts,” Dad muttered, then shot me a mischievous grin. “I hope you don’t venture out at night.”

I laughed, and the tension filling me lessened. A bit.

Dad threw his arm over my shoulder and pulled me in for a side hug. “Come on, kiddo. Let’s check this place out.”

A man in a butler-type uniform headed our way, a trolley in front of him. He stopped in front of us and gave a formal bow. “Mr. and Mrs. Frey? I’m Stephen, Mr. Helmer’s coordinator. We sent a car to pick you up, but apparently they were stuck in traffic and didn’t make it on time. You’ll be compensated for the fee, of course.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dad said.

Stephen dipped his head, graying hair falling over his eyes, but when he rose, he didn’t look happy with Dad’s dismissal of the taxi fare. “Mr. Helmer will be here shortly, but he sent me ahead to collect your luggage.”

“Thank you,” Mom said as he loaded our bags onto the trolley.

“I’ll get them delivered to your rooms.” Another bow, then he scampered off.

“That’s awful nice,” Mom added. “A car to pick us up—even if we missed it—and a butler to carry our things. What else will they do for us?”

“Well, they’re giving me a full scholarship,” I said, walking forward. “That should be plenty.” The tuition here was enormous. I had been lucky they’d offered me a scholarship, or else I never could have afforded this place. Millionaires sent their children here. Mom and Dad barely made enough to send Mindy—my older sister—to Florida State. This was on the other side of the Atlantic.

Mom and Dad followed my lead. We stepped past the stone gate and onto campus. As soon as my foot touched the ground on the other side, a tingle ran up my spine. I glanced around, wondering if they had a laser or infrared camera pointed at us. Nothing looked out of place. No obvious surveillance. With the next step, the chill vanished, so I dismissed it as a fluke and pushed it from my mind.

The campus was constructed of stone buildings, most sporting tall spires. Nothing in Florida even came close to this. In age or in design. An odd sensation permeated the air, almost like the change in air pressure on an airplane. A hum sounded just a decibel below hearing.

“Which way should we go?” Dad asked.

Mom pointed to a small sign in the grassy area in front of us. “Freshman orientation. That way.” She gestured to the right.

We started in that direction, but an older gentleman jogging toward us slowed our steps. I recognized his face—Patrick Helmer, the dean.

“Mr. and Mrs. Frey,” he called out, waving his hands over his head.

We stopped and allowed him to catch up. When he did, he smiled broadly, adding more wrinkles to his kindly face. “And Collin, of course,” he said to me. “I’m glad you made it in safely. I’m Patrick Helmer, the dean.” He shook all our hands enthusiastically. “I must apologize for the mix-up with the car. We must have copied your flight time incorrectly.”

“It was no problem,” Mom said. “The cab driver got us here quickly.”

“We wanted to do more, Mrs. Frey, to show how excited we are to have Collin here.”

Mom smiled, happy for someone to be singing my praises.

“We were just heading to orientation,” I said, gesturing in the direction we’d been going.

Helmer waved his hand dismissively. “No, that’s for the ordinary students. You don’t need to listen in. If you don’t mind, I’ll give you a tour of the campus.”

“That would be lovely,” Mom said. “Are you sure you’re not too busy?”

“Never too busy to assist our new literature students. We take pride in both our programs, but literature is the jewel in our crown. Collin won’t want for anything while he’s in our care, Mrs. Frey.”

Some of the tension left Mom’s shoulders at his words.

“Now, this way.” He led us deeper onto campus. “Marke Staple is a very old, very selective school.”

“I know,” I said. When we’d returned home from Colorado, I had looked into this place. I had the whole history of it memorized. And when I’d found out they only had two degrees—literature and business—I had applied myself to my studies and set my sights on getting here. “You only select five students a year to be in your literature program.”

The dean grinned. “Correct. And we are very happy you selected our school, Collin. I know you had plenty to choose from.”

I nodded, but it wasn’t true. Oh sure, my grades were so fantastic I could have gone to almost any I chose, but Marke Staple was the only place for me. My encounter with the red-eyed man cemented it.

“This”—Helmer said, lifting his hand toward the closest building—“is Lapris Hall. It’s the administrative building. My office is in there, as well as all the other teachers’. If you have any problems, you can find your solutions there.”

The building was two stories, with a dozen windows on this side. At each corner, elegant spires rose twice the height of the building. Atop each spire was an animal statue. A dog. A cat. A bird. A turtle. Curious. Most ancient buildings like this put statues of people or crosses, or at the very least gargoyles.

Helmer noticed my study of the spires and leaned close to me. “Wards,” he said softly. “They protect us.”

I shivered again, wondering what a university would need protection from.

He continued walking. Mom and Dad followed, but I lingered. Something about the building…wasn’t right. There was a haze that drew the eyes to the top, to the spires.

“Come on, Collin,” Dad called.

I pulled my gaze away and hurried after.

“This,” the dean said at the next building, “is Regalia Hall. All your classes will be in here. Besides the Staple Spire, it has the most original stonework. Only the west wall was affected by an earthquake in 1734.”

This building had one spire over the entrance, although several cats sat atop the buttresses. If four protecting Lapris Hall were enough, why did this building need a dozen?

“English departments are all the same,” Dad said, lifting his chin to study the detailed stonework. “And I bet the teachers all look like Dracula. That’s how it was at my college.”

Helmer laughed. “We don’t have any vampires on staff. A few hybrids, perhaps, but nothing dangerous.” Then he met my eyes and winked.

We continued around the rectangular campus, passing the café, and then the math building, the economics building, and other places the dean said I would have no use for. With only five students in each year, the literature program hosted twenty students total. The business program had four hundred. Naturally, most of the space would be devoted to their courses.

Finally, we reached the dormitories. There were three: lined in a row on the south side of campus. The school’s rock-wall perimeter stood just a few feet from the rear of the buildings.

“The men’s dormitory is on the left,” Dean Helmer said, gesturing. It was two stories, lacked any spires, and was identical to the one on the right. “The women’s dorm is on the right. The staff’s in the center.” The staff’s building was taller, and had two enormous statues peering down at the students’ dorms.

“Let me guess,” I said, nodding up toward the statues. One was a lion, the other a tiger. “They’re meant to keep us in after curfew.”

The dean chuckled and clapped a hand on my shoulder affectionately. “Ah, Collin. I do wish we could set them to that task. Unfortunately, we rely on resident assistants to enforce the curfew. Our statues are simply meant to ward off any danger.”

“Ah,” I said as if that made perfect sense.

“Now, why don’t we leave you to get settled into your room. You’ve got your room assignment?”

I wiggled my phone. “Yeah, it’s in my email.”

Helmer nodded, then turned to my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Frey? If you’ll join me in my office, I’ll go over the finer points of Collin’s scholarship. Give you our emergency contact information. Get yours in return. That sort of thing.”

Mom looked at me, hesitating. “Will you be okay on your own?”

“I’m fine, Mom. I don’t want you and Dad being overbearing when I meet my roommate.”

Helmer glanced at his watch. “We can meet in an hour at the cafe for dinner? Will that suit you, Mrs. Frey?”

She nibbled her lip, but dipped her head. “All right. We’ll see you in a bit.”

The dean smiled. “Wonderful! Michael is your RA, Collin. Ask him if you have any questions.”

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Meet the Author

Foster Bridget Cassidy is a rare, native Phoenician who enjoys hot desert air and likes to wear jackets in summer. She has wanted to be a fiction writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically—at Arizona State University—and as a hobby—attending conventions and workshops around the country. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper.

For fun, Foster likes to take pictures of her dachshunds, sew costumes for her dachshunds, snuggle her dachshunds, and bake treats for her dachshunds. In exchange for so much love and devotion, they pee vast amounts on the floor, click their nails loudly on the tile, and bark wildly at anything that moves outside. Somehow, this relationship works for all involved.

While not writing, Foster can usually be found playing a video game or watching a movie with her husband. While not doing any of those things, Foster can usually be found in bed, asleep.

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Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Lisa Henry - Anhaga Cover ncsue7Title: Anhaga

Author: Lisa Henry

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: Novel (262 pgs)

Publisher: Lisa Henry (30th September 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Aramin Decourcey—Min to his few friends—might be the best thief in Amberwich, and he might have a secret that helps him survive the cutthroat world of aristocratic families and their powerful magic users, but he does have one weakness: his affection for his adopted nephew, Harry.

When the formidable Sabadine family curses Harry, Min must accept a suicide mission to save his life: retrieve Kazimir Stone, a low-level Sabadine hedgewitch who refuses to come home after completing his apprenticeship… and who is in Anhaga, a seaside village under the control of the terrifying Hidden Lord of the fae. If that wasn’t enough, Kaz is far from the simple hedgewitch he seems.

With the Sabadines on one side and the fae on the other, Min doesn’t have time to deal with a crisis of conscience—or the growing attraction between him and Kaz. He needs to get Kaz back to Amberwich and get Harry’s curse lifted before it kills him. Saving Harry means handing Kaz over to his ruthless family. Saving Kaz means letting Harry die. Min might pride himself on his cleverness, but he can’t see his way out of this one.

The Hidden Lord might see that he never gets the choice.

ISBN-13: B07YMVYHBD

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Oh my word this was such a great story. You have Min whose a thief sent on a mission to retrieve Kaz from Anhaga. Not all is as it seems and soon secrets come to light about who exactly Kaz is but the biggest bombshell comes near the end.

I hated Kaz’s grandfather. He was a disgusting piece of crap that I so wanted to hurt. His forcing his son to marry his nephew was beyond words. I loved that despite Min guarding his feelings he went and tried to rescue Kaz after he returned him.

This was such a magical journey with plenty of tense situations and action. The chemistry between Kaz and Min was off the charts. Kaz’s abilities took me by surprise as well his other surprises.

Well written and brilliantly told this story captivates you from start to finish as it weaves it’s spell around you.

I loved it. Fantastic read.

The Spymaster’s Secret by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Antonia Aquilante popping by today with her new release The Spymaster’s Secret, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

Antonia Aquilante - The Spymaster's Secret Cover trmn495

The Spymaster’s Secret

(Chronicles of Tournai 07)
by

Antonia Aquilante

Alexander is doing his best to settle into life in Tournai’s royal palace after years living outside the country due to his father’s diplomatic work. The sense of belonging and home he feels is overwhelming, but none of his plans are going as he imagined. Many see him as only a lovely, charming adornment of the royal court and underestimate both his intelligence and abilities. His attraction to Marcus, a mysterious older man who does work for the prince, Alexander’s cousin, is unexpected but not unwelcome…if Marcus could possibly see who Alexander really is.

Lord Marcus is the second son of a minor noble family, a widower raising two children…and the prince’s spymaster. He knows his work is necessary for the security of the kingdom and its royal family, but he also knows it can be distasteful and dangerous to him and those around him. Marcus has vowed never to fall in love again, never to put anyone else at risk—a promise threatened for the first time by the vibrant, flirtatious Alexander. The attraction is unwelcome and entirely undeniable. He can’t believe someone like Alexander would want someone like him, but he also can’t stay away.

As they become ever more entangled, Marcus is investigating rumors of spies at work in Tournai’s university. As he gets closer to uncovering their plot, Alexander is drawn deeper into danger. Can their love survive when Alexander is put in peril by the very spies Marcus is hunting for?

Warning: depictions of kidnapping/abduction, grief

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UKSmashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale Blog Tour, Excerpt, Q&A & Giveaway!

Ginn Hale - Master of Restless Shadows Out Now Banner

Hi guys! We have Ginn Hale stopping by today with the tour for her new release Master of Restless Shadows (book 01), we have a brilliant Q&A, a great new excerpt and an awesome giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

Ginn Hale - Master of Restless Shadows Cover tnw5

Master of Restless Shadows

(The Cadeleonian Series 05)
by

Ginn Hale

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

.•.•.**❣️ Blind Eye Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale Blog Tour, Excerpt, Q&A & Giveaway!”

Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale Release Blast, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Ginn Hale - Master of Restless Shadows Out Now Banner

Hi guys! We have Ginn Hale stopping by today with her new release Master of Restless Shadows (book 01), we have a great exclusive excerpt and a awesome giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

Ginn Hale - Master of Restless Shadows Cover tnw5

Master of Restless Shadows

(The Cadeleonian Series 05)
by

Ginn Hale

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

.•.•.**❣️ Blind Eye Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale Release Blast, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!”

The King’s Dragon by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns - The King's Dragon Banner

Hi peeps, we have Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes dropping by today with their new release The King’s Dragon, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns - The King's Dragon Cover 3n37e

The King’s Dragon

(Fire and Valor 01)
by

W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

Lord Tristram Radcliffe has a secret—he is the only dragon at the king’s court in Llangard. It’s a secret he’s kept from the knights he’s fought beside, from the ladies who bat their lashes at him, and from his closest companion, Prince Reynold. If it were to get out, he’d be banished to the Mawrcraig Mountains along with the rest of his kind, but the kingdom of men is the only one he’s ever known, and his heart lives in the stone halls of those who’d count him an enemy.

When the old king dies and Prince Reynold takes the throne, two visitors from the north throw Tristram into the middle of the ancient conflict between dragons and men. They put him on a collision course with the king’s shadow, Bet Kyston, a dangerous assassin who may want him dead or may want more of Tristram that he’d ever thought to give.

With the eyes of dragons upon him and a threat from the north creeping toward the home he loves, Tristram must weigh his allegiances before his dual legacies tear him apart.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Magic Triumphed by Andi Van

Andi Van - Magic Triumphed Cover 847ghTitle: Magic Triumphed

Series: The Mage’s Guild Trilogy 03

Author: Andi Van

Genre: High Fantasy, Teen Fiction

Length: Novel (214pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 5, 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Zaree Muna’s loyalty to her brother Tasis has taken her to some strange places, but she never could’ve predicted ending up where she now finds herself. The victims of a spell, Tasis and his familiar are unable to wake, leaving Zaree and her allies to face the mad king of Archai on their own. Their quest brings them face-to-face with the Maker herself, and she offers a dire prophecy: they’ll suffer three deaths as they fight for the fate of their world. They’ll lose two people close to them before the final death threatens their chance of victory.

But Zaree isn’t planning to give up—not on Tasis’s dream and not on their future. If that means staring down death, she’s ready. A thousand years is too long to let their struggles end in anything but triumph.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-989-5

Product Link: Harmony Ink | Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: A lot happens in this conclusion to the series. Zaree takes up the reigns as Tasis is unable to. This book takes on a life of it’s own with a slew of characters that really add depth to the book. The journey itself is filled with danger and help from friends and allies.

I really enjoyed this addition. I was not expecting some of the twists and turns that happened so that was a pleasant surprise. I liked that unanswered questions from previous books were answered. Characters that were barely mentioned got their just dues in this exciting conclusion to the series.

Great read.

Anchors by Devon Vesper Release Blast & Excerpt!

Devon Vesper - Anchors na promo

Hi guys! We have Devon Vesper stopping by today with her new fantasy release Anchors, we have a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤️ ~Pixie~

Devon Vesper - Anchors Cover j3k9i

Anchors

(The God Jars Saga 08 / Loyalty and War 02)
by

Devon Vesper

The choice between love and duty has never been harder.

Valis is on his way to free his father from the enemy compound, but it seems like everything is working against him.

The team sent to eliminate the last Anchor of Qos needs his help. Tavros falls ill after an accident, and if he doesn’t get help quickly he’s going to die. And the constant blizzards mean they are moving so slowly Valis is afraid they may be too late to save anyone.

With so much at stake—lives, family, his heart—one wrong move may cost Valis a price he’s not willing to pay.

His army needs him. His husband needs him more. Valis can’t afford to fail either. The race to save his family is on.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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On Wings Of Passion by M.D. Grimm Book Blast, Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt!

M.D. Grimm - On Wings Of Passion Banner

Hi guys! We have M.D. Grimm visiting today with her upcoming release On Wings Of Passion, we have a short guest post with an exclusive excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~

M.D. Grimm - On Wings of Passion Cover 3484uhm

On Wings Of Passion

(A Story from the On Wings Saga)
by

M.D. Grimm

Prequel to On Wings of Thunder

Every story has a beginning….

Dragons. Angels fear them and demons follow them. Formidable beasts of incredible power, they fight each other to the death for dominance. But dwindling dragon numbers cause alarm among the angelic ranks. Surely when the dragons have finished killing each other, the victors will search elsewhere for conquest… maybe even the Upper Realm.

Roland, an angelic artist of significant talent, doesn’t know what to believe. Part of him longs to see a dragon in person, and his peaceful life of contentment is wearing thin. He wants passion, desire, adventure, and love. He gets more than he bargained for when he and his sister are ambushed and captured by demons, and they bring him to a creature who surpasses Roland’s wildest imaginings.

But the mighty dragon Asagoroth is not all that he seems. Something sparks between him and Roland. Something neither anticipated. Something that will shake the cosmos to its core.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Pre-order:
.•.•.**
❣️ Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “On Wings Of Passion by M.D. Grimm Book Blast, Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt!”

The Seer of Ice and Sky by Natsuya Uesugi

Natsuya Uesugi - The Seer of Ice and Sky Cover 02h43m3kTitle: The Seer of Ice and Sky

Series: The Seer of Grace and Fire 02

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Length: Novel (280pgs)

Publisher: Xlibris US (December 30, 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Surviving the devastation of DarkFall, Timorn is now rightful King of Faerie. With evil lurking at the fringes between the kingdoms of the humans and the elves, the dark mage Dalannin travels to Dragonreise to forge an alliance with the Dragon King. Timorn’s travelling party sets off on request from an elven emissary but dissent grows as the party passes through the human city of Ekhrine. As they stop at the Ecclesiastical University where the cleric Kabal translated The Legend of Arden prophesy, a demonic aura haunts their path. Can Timorn forge an alliance with the dragons to ensure peace or will darkness drive a wedge between him and his magical twin Ethesian as they journey through the elven lands.

ISBN: B07MHV64SR

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Timorn is having trouble with his being king but an emissary unexpectedly shows up wanting Timorn and his group to come with him to the dragon King. Meanwhile Dalannin travels toward the same goal as Timorn. I liked the different POV’s throughout this adventurous story.

The path is fraught with danger around every corner. An interesting mix of characters are inter-spaced throughout this magical and highly engaging book. I loved everything about the story as it progressed further.

Timorn and his sister are at odds with one another due to Timorn and it shows in the way they interact with one another at times. Seih a captain of the dragon militia and the half dragon proves his worth over and over again and takes his duties seriously.

There is a lot that happens along the journey both good and bad. I was on the edge of my seat at times awaiting the outcome.

Fantastic read.

The Seer of Grace and Fire by Natsuya Uesugi

Natsuya Uesugi - 01 - The Seer of Grace and Fire Cover 134j3873Title: The Seer of Grace and Fire

Series: The Seer of Grace and Fire 01

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Genre: Fantasy

Length: Novel (268pgs)

Publisher: Xlibris US (June 19, 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: A human cleric translating an elfin prophesy must bring the work to the high court at Kannon in faerie before DarkFall, the solemn anniversary when all the male newborns were murdered seventeen years ago. If the translation does not arrive in time, all is lost. Timorn, a seventeen year old ranger travels the human towns, hiring out his services. A mysterious elfin woman hires him to take her to Kannon before DarkFall, and only he can lead her with his purple faerie eyes.

The evil Valkyris is amassing an army to attack Kannon at DarkFall, insisting she possesses the prophecy. Sending her dark mage Dalannin to infiltrate the faerie, he marches his demon hordes toward Kannon and sneaks into the palace. Ethesian, the seventeen year old faerie daughter of King Ailon, plays the dragon lyre, a female magic. Yet recently, she has started having prophetic dreams as if she were male. When a lie is revealed, Ethesian is tasked to study magic she must master before DarkFall. Will Timorn reach Kannon before the Valkyris, and Ethesian master a magic she shouldnt possess? Secrets and lies, revelations and wizardry, DarkFall is coming and so is the reluctant faerie who would be king. Learn more in the first book of the dark fantasy trilogy, The Seer of Grace and Fire.

ISBN: B07965GS97

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Several characters are tasked with specific tasks to a stop an event from happening. Kabal, Timorn, Ihal, Ishika and Ethesian finally meet and begin to get to know one another as well as see about the skills each have. I found they all worked well together when the time came but before that it seemed a little tense at times.

It was a long and intriguing story that had me enthralled. Yet there did not seem to be any real emotions. But then again with the task ahead of them I understood. All the characters throughout the story both good and bad brought the story to life.

I was intrigue by the plot and the roles each character had to play. Interesting and intriguing this book was a great beginning to the series. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Great read.

Breaking His Spell by Foster Bridget Cassidy Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Foster Bridget Cassidy - Breaking His Spell RB Banner

Hi guys! We have Foster Bridget Cassidy popping in today with her new release Breaking His Spell, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC Giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~

Breaking His Spell

by

Foster Bridget Cassidy

Klint doesn’t believe in true love. As an Alma, an immortal magician, he knows such feelings can’t last forever. The death of his mortal lover almost a hundred years ago proved it. But Klint’s resolve gets put to the test when he’s tasked with saving a prince from a dark spell. With Carishina, his friend and fellow Alma, in tow, he sets off for Terius.

Carishina’s ideas for breaking spells differ greatly from Klint’s. While he tries potions, Carishina tries kisses. Only one of them will succeed.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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The Seer of Ice and Sky by Natsuya Uesugi Blog Tour, Character Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway!

Natsuya Uesugi - The Seer of Ice and Sky BANNER 1

Hi guys, we have Natsuya Uesugi stopping by today with his newest release The Seer of Ice and Sky, we have a fantastic exclusive excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~ *Review coming soon!

The Seer of Ice and Sky

(The Seer of Grace and Fire 02)

Natsuya Uesugi

Surviving the devastation of DarkFall, Timorn is now rightful King of Faerie. With evil lurking at the fringes between the kingdoms of the humans and the elves, the dark mage Dalannin travels to Dragonreise to forge an alliance with the Dragon King.

Timorn’s travelling party sets off on request from an elven emissary but dissent grows as the party passes through the human city of Ekhrine. As they stop at the Ecclesiastical University where the cleric Kabal translated The Legend of Arden prophesy, a demonic aura haunts their path.

Can Timorn forge an alliance with the dragons to ensure peace or will darkness drive a wedge between him and his magical twin Ethesian as they journey through the elven lands.

Transgender heroine.

.•.•.**❣️ Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “The Seer of Ice and Sky by Natsuya Uesugi Blog Tour, Character Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway!”

Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

A. Alex Logan - Royal Rescue RB Banner

Hi peeps! We have debut author A. Alex Logan stopping by today with their stunning debut release Royal Rescue, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~

Royal Rescue

by

A. Alex Logan

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Jacqueline Rohrbach - Soulstealers RB Banner

Hi guys, we have Jacqueline Rohrbach popping in today with her new release Soulstealers, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar CG giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~

Soulstealers

by

Jacqueline Rohrbach

Arnaka Skytree grew up believing she was chosen to bring new magic to the world. As the heir to the cult of druids responsible for keeping their floating palace habitable for the wealthy aristocracy, she’s expected to wield her power as those before her did: by culling the souls of peasant women.

But when Arnaka learns more about the source of her magic, and that her best friend’s soul will be harvested, she embarks on a journey to end the barbarous practice and to restore a long-forgotten harmonious system of magic practiced by the original druids. Along the way, she discovers she’s not the only girl chosen to restore balance to their world—many others have powerful magic inside, and with them, she will tear the floating palace from the sky so everyone can live in the sun—out of the shadow of the eclipse.

Warning: Graphic violence, internalized misogyny, family abuse

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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A Wish Upon the Stars by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

Title: A Wish Upon the Stars

Series: Tales of Verania 04

Author: T.J. Klune

Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: 18 hrs, 17 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (28th November 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to fol-low the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.

The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.

But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices – and the friends he left behind.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: I absolutely adore TJ Klune. I adore just about every book he writes. I love how he can make a reader laugh and cry within the same book within pages of each other. But mostly I love how he can keep an audience entertained where I am, more often than not, laughing throughout a book, and in the case of audio books I’m often on public transport trying not to be obvious. However, that also applies for when I’m on public transport and trying not to cry.

A Wish Upon the Stars is the fourth and final book in TJ Klune’s Tales of Verania. The whole concept of wishing upon the stars is a theme that has been present throughout the series, as have the titles of the other books. However, I feel that this is the most aptly named of the series. It is essential to read this series in order because this is complex world that has been built, with some equally complex characters that are very well developed and at this point I am completely invested in.

The world is completely different in the aftermath of the previous book, The Consumption of Magic. Sam, strong willed as he is, decided that he had to fulfil the prophecy of the Great White Dragon (or as Sam calls him, GW). And so after being away almost a year, he has returned to chaos. On top of that his friends are furious with him, especially his very own knight and wizard’s cornerstone, Ryan Foxheart. They have become hardened warriors as the dark wizards take over and it is pure heartbreak. On top of that, the king is now held prisoner, but this has given the chance for Prince Justin to step up and become an absolutely amazing character. The only person he has on side at first is Kevin, who is also in the proverbial doghouse with Gary, since the dragon had followed Sam with no words to his sassy unicorn lover.

There is more heartbreak to comes as the ends of the stories are eventually woven and we find out the fate of Verania. This book brings in a lot more humour as the gang is reunited and are finally working together once again to defeat Myrin and the dark wizards he commands. There are so many funny moments, including when we get to meet Gary’s twin brother or the interpretive dance that was performed as Gary tells the story of how he lost his horn and therefore a great deal of his magic. I was so glad that that storyline was resolved and we got to see Gary return to all his glory as the pieces came together and the final battle takes place.

As with the previous instalments in this series Michael Lesley’s is an absolute joy. His delivery is heartfelt and pretty much flawless. He has carried on to the end with the same distinct voices that he gave to all the characters, which I feel has enhanced the entire experience. He wonderfully articulates the emotion in the characters as they go through their highs and lows. I don’t want to keep gushing as I know that I am repeating myself about my adoration of Lesley’s narration and Klune’s writing. Cannot recommend enough.

I am sad to see the end of this series. I was surprised that I did in fact love The Lightning Struck, which is why I continued on to the next three books, after not enjoying reading it a few years ago when it first came out. I absolutely loved the ending as the ends all tied together. I feel battered and bruised but just as Klune expertly does, he’s pulls you apart with the emotions he injects into his words and slowly builds you back up, even when the odds were completely against our heroes. Rumour has it TJ plans to do a story for Prince Justin (Sam’s best friend 5eva) and that is something I look forward to, although the man seems so busy I’m sure it’s going to be at least a few years.

A Taste for Poison by Aleksandr Voinov (2nd Edition)

Title: A Taste for Poison

Series: Memory of Scorpions 03

Author: Aleksandr Voinov

Genre: Fantasy, Military

Length: Novel (247 pages)

ISBN: 9781386750864

Publisher: 44 Raccoons (23rd December 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: Even a king gets stung when he reaches for a scorpion.

After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves. While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.

Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.

With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: I think it took me forever to find the time and finally finish this book. I seriously hated real life for stealing my time away, but I made it and *sigh* now I’m going to have to go over yet another book-hangover. It’s a thing with Voinov’s books and me, happens almost every time.

A Taste for Poison is the third and final book of the Memory of Scorpions universe, though rumour has it that Voinov is considering writing some shorts about some characters. As a fan, I truly hope it’ll happen.

So back to this book, yet again we were graced with a strong story, capable of grabbing your brain and imprisoning it in the depths of the plot. Action, blood, gore. Love, lust, passion. Jealousy, pain, fury. Intrigues, betrayals, back-stabbings.

More often than not, I felt like living in the story and I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful a feeling that is. The intensity of the storytelling is spectacular and leaves you without breath. Expect heart palpitations, heartbreaks, and even a tear shedding or two. Also, expect the sizzling hot passion and the one-of-the-kind love manifestation Voinov is so famous for being able to recreate in writing. And if you think you won’t get bat-shit-crazy mad with characters and events, think again.

The story itself takes a turn and what we suspected in book #2 became reality. It shifted from having Adrastes as the main person of Kendras’s interest to Graukar and while that was expected it managed to shock us with what Graukar suffers in the path of Adrastes’s fury. It will make you cringe and shudder, but it’s well worth it and raises the tension of the story way above high. It made Kendras look so damn good in my eyes too and I think it was about time, as he left me with an uneasy feeling in book #2.

Other than that, I don’t think I need to point out the quality of this book. Anyone who has read a book from Aleksandr Voinov knows to expect only the best. Wonderful editing work, fonts and presentation always making you feel like you’re reading a paperback. There are times I wonder why I can’t smell the pages and I laugh at myself. But you get the point. It’s so nice to have to focus only in the story without having minor details, such as typos or poor proofing, take your concentration away.

In the end, all there is to add here is; if you are not acquainted with the Memory of Scorpions universe I strongly recommend it to you.

Lying with Scorpions by Aleksandr Voinov (2nd Edition)

Title: Lying with Scorpions

Series: Memory of Scorpions 02

Author: Aleksandr Voinov

Genre:  Historical Fantasy

ISBN: 9781540151353

Length: Novel (303 pgs)

Publisher: 44 Raccoons (23rd December 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.

Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.

And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.

As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Well, it’s finally done and after a long time filled with anticipation, book two of the Memory of Scorpions takes us into yet another enthralling tale.

In direct opposition with Book one, this novel starts relatively calm. Adrastes is now the new Lord Protector and on his way to claim Dalman and her throne with his very own personal guard, the Scorpions, and his lover Kendras at his side as his personal bodyguard. And they are needed too, because Adrastes claims the throne with barely concealed threats.

And it is apparent that this book is quite different from the previous in many ways. It starts calmly and the plot flows steady, slowly taking you through the story. Nearly half of the book is a slow pacing through Adrastes’s setting on the throne, the games and politics of the generals, a slow change on Adrastes’ personality or perhaps character leaving Kendras in a state of uncertainty for most of the read. Now I always thought that Kendras has a lot of inner thinking going on with him, but his new role as Officer has him overdoing it. I’m not sure how much I liked that fact or the drag of half of this story.

However the pace did pick up, the story became quite interesting and surprising. I think I felt the same with Kendras there when it came to Graukar and the Ambassador of the Jaishani. I was astonished with those characters. I expected a brute on Graukar and his genteel soul left me with a jaw hanging. As for the Ambassador, oh my, what a character, and what amazing possibilities that one brings for the future of this series.

So there it is, this book starts shattering slowly into pieces once the action picks up. I loved the “mission,” I loved the amazing help of the Black Legion, I loved the feeling and emotions that came from the unexpected new love affair, and I felt the painful grip in my heart when Kendras finally got a glimpse in his past and his family. I think that was the mostly emotional charged part of this entire second installment, with a second the Betrayal that came to the end. The pinnacle of intensity and what made me so sad in the end, but so very much-needed to give the story the push and reason to move on. As much as I saw the need for it, I must admit I close the book with the thought “poor Kendras.”

Overall, it was a great sequel to the first book however, for me it didn’t quite shake me like the first one. I loved it however and I’m definitely now more interested on the third book of the series. It is now that Kendras will rise and I can’t wait for it. As for this one, it’s quite worth reading it, with amazing scenes of battle and secret missions, the blood we’ve come to expect from the Scorpions, and a great deal of conspiracy and back-stabbing. Recommended!