Hiya peeps! We have August Li popping in today with his upcoming release Calling and Cull the fifth book in the amazing Blessed Epoch series. We have a wonderful post from Gus and a great excerpt, so join in the fun game with Gus and check out the excerpt! <3 ~Pixie~
Calling and Cull
(Blessed Epoch 05)
Whose hand will orchestrate the change in the world?
The decade-long war with Johmatra is over, but peace hangs by a thread in Garith’s kingdom. Yarrow, isolated in his island realm, refuses to abide by the treaty or to follow the dictates of the priestesses. Others—Octavian Rose among them—are uneasy with the growing military power of the temples, and the mage island of Espero remains a tenuous ally. Garith knows his people cannot weather another conflict and that infighting will leave their lands vulnerable to further invasion. The arrival of a Johmatran ambassador with his own agenda calls everyone’s loyalties into question.
Sides will be chosen, and the consequences of those choices will have repercussions no one can foresee. Even among the turmoil, Yarrow is determined to have his vengeance against the thirteen goddesses and heal the world’s magic. But how far will he go, and what lines is he willing to cross? As unlikely alliances are forged and enemies are revealed, Prince Thane seems to be the key to forgotten knowledge that will shape the future—and some will do whatever it takes to control him.
Title: Ash and Echoes (2nd Edition) Series: Blessed Epoch 01 Author: August Li Genre: High Fantasy/ M/M/M/ Medieval setting Length: Super Novel (360 pages) Publisher: DSP Publications (9th December 2014) Heat Level: Explicit Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power. But that power came at a price, and he carries the scars to prove it. Now he must do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the mission and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom.
The precarious alliance is strained further when a third member joins the cause for reasons of his own—reasons that may not be in the best interests of the prince or the kingdom. With enemies at every turn, no one left to trust, and the dark power within Yarrow pulling dangerously away from his control, the fragile bond the three of them have built may be all that stands between them and destruction.
Review:This is the second edition and there are no changes from the first edition… I mean come on; it was perfect the first time around 😉
Yarrow is called upon to escort his cousin to his wedding. It is something that he would rather not do, but for his aunt he will. It is a journey that brings him into contact with Duncan, a Knight who thinks little of him and Sasha, an assassin who could end up betraying them. It is a journey that brings danger, betrayal, political intrigue and exposes secrets and all three men have to band together to survive and expose the truth.
This is an absolute must read if you love high fantasy. Whoop, so happy! *little dance*. Yarrow is a magic user, the most powerful magic user of the time. But, Yarrow has a secret that makes him dangerous and he can’t trust anyone. So, he travels by himself keeping a distance from those around him… until he meets Duncan and then Sasha.
But how can he tell them his secret without losing them both? Duncan is a Knight, he will do his duty and make sure his charges reach their destination, but Yarrow calls to something inside him and then Sasha does as well. But, he hates Sasha for how he conducts his life and now Duncan is confused about his forbidden feelings. Sasha can’t love, it was trained out of him at a young age, but Yarrow causes him to begin to question what he has learned and Duncan drives him crazy and it ends up making Sasha make a choice that shouldn’t be a choice. After all, he is a cold-blooded assassin.
So, this is high fantasy at its highest and it is beautifully done. The world building is great, the backgrounds of the characters are well done and give us enough information to relate to them and the storyline and plot is wonderful. Although Yarrow is a powerful magic user, none of his magical scenes are overdone and there are even times when you think, he could have used more: but, as you learn, there is a high price he has to pay if he uses the most powerful magic, so, you can understand why he tries to limit what he does.
The main storyline is quite simple get the prince to his wedding. But, it is quickly quite apparent that there are plans afoot to derail the wedding and then the betrayals begin and the three men have to band together to ensure the prince lives and to save the kingdom.
There is a lot going on in this book with some interesting twists and turns. There are secrets that come out, political intrigue, betrayal, murders, traps, pursuits, battles, confrontations, lies and love. The relationship between Yarrow, Sasha and Duncan is complex and far from easy. There is plenty of hot sex, but these three men each have their own problems that they have to work through before they can fully accept the others; and Yarrow’s problem is a doozy.
You do not want to miss the fighting scenes or the battle scenes because they are brilliant, all the attention to detail was great and I loved it (have I mentioned I’m a bit Blood Thirsty). I loved each of the MCs as they were all completely different, with completely different values and attitudes towards things, so much potential conflict between them.
This is not the book to read if you want a nice light romance. The romance is hard going, but well-earned. The storyline is intertwined with danger and betrayal from all directions, the characters all have problems but aren’t too angsty and the action is great. The ending is one that leaves you wishing that the next book was already published so you can continue the journey.
So, I recommend this to anyone who loves high fantasy, difficult romances, hot sex, difficult journeys, betrayal, secrets, lies, action, battles, some bloody gore and three very intriguing heroes… oh, and an ending that will make you grit your teeth and scream silently for the next book.
Join authors Gus Li and Tushmore on their virtual boozy blog crawl as they chat about new releases ‘Wine and Roses’ (Gus Li) and ‘Love on the Rocks’ (Tushmore) both available from Dreamspinner Press this August.
Both authors will answer some quick questions about their romance stories, as well as recommend wines and cocktails of the day 🙂
Please read on for excerpts from both new releases, and be sure to leave a comment on ANY of the Tipsy Blog Tour posts to automatically be entered into the grand prize draw! Your chance to win ebook copies of ‘Wine and Roses’, ‘Love on the Rocks’, plus a whole host of other goodies including signed artwork, wine stoppers, and more!
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th December 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: Despite their disparate natures, Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha united against overwhelming odds to save Prince Garith’s life. Now Garith is king and the three friends may be facing their undoing.
Distraught over Yarrow’s departure to find the cure to his magical affliction, Duncan struggles with his new role as Bairn of Windwake, a realm left bankrupt by his predecessor. Many of Duncan’s vassals conspire against him, and Sasha’s unorthodox solutions to Duncan’s problem have earned them the contempt of Garith’s nobles.
When word reaches Duncan and Sasha that Yarrow is in danger, they want nothing more than to rush to his aid. But Duncan’s absence could tip Windwake into the hands of his enemies. In addition, a near-mythic order of assassins wants Sasha dead. Without Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha can’t take the fight to the assassins. They are stuck, entangled in a political world they don’t understand. But finding Yarrow may cause more problems, and with his court divided, King Garith must strike a balance between supporting his friends and assuaging the nobles who want Duncan punished—and Sasha executed.
Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Duncan and Sasha are trying to settle into life at Windwake, but it is a struggle for both of them when many of Duncan’s vassals are against them. Sasha’s assassin ways are frowned upon and Duncan’s refusal to reward the conspiring vassals cause unrest, Duncan and Sasha cross swords when Sasha seeks to protect Duncan. Yarrow has left the men he loves behind to seek a way to final part with the creature within him, but it is far harder than he ever imagined to even finding any clues, but his one slim hope is an old map and journal and with his friend, Sai, by his side he sets off. When Duncan and Sasha learn of Yarrow’s perilous journey, they race to be by his side, but what faces them all when they return home could end up destroying what the ancient being couldn’t.
Whoo *wipes sweat off brow* what can you say about a book that can weave a tale exceptionally well, while leading you in different directions and dangerous adventures… brilliant!! We re-join Duncan, Sasha and Yarrow as they love, argue and despair of the circumstances as they all try to do what is best for them and their country. Each and every character is exactly as we remember them, Duncan is still devoted to what is right, Sasha still loves being an assassin and Yarrow is still a confusing jumble, as they progress in this story each man has his fears about the other two really accepting them and those fears are hard to put away when the politics of the country is determined to interfere.
The adventures that they face are astounding, the danger inherent and their love tested. I would love to say that we get all the answers that we want, but Augusta Li leaves us with more questions, and I can’t wait for the answers. We finally discover who the creature was in its previous life, we discover the truth of the Thirteen Goddesses and Yarrow faces up to his past, but it doesn’t end there as bargains are struck and new discoveries are made. I love this epic adventure and its incredible descriptions, I hate the circumstances that our men fall into, but adore the devotion they show to each other and I really can’t wait to see what happens next to our trio of characters.
I have to recommend this story to those who love high fantasy, bloody battles, escaping port, strange lands, incredible turns, dangerous sea journeys, binding love and an ending that makes you secretly grin in delight.