BETWEEN THE SEA AND STARS Release Week Blitz

I am so
excited that BETWEEN THE SEA AND STARS
by Chantal Gadoury is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Chantal Gadoury, be sure
to check out all the details below.
 
This blitz
also includes a pre-order giveaway courtesy of Chantal. So if you’d like a
chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.
About The Book:

Title: BETWEEN
THE SEA AND STARS
Author: Chantal
Gadoury
Pub. Date: June
19, 2018
Publisher: The
Parliament House
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Pages: ?
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks
A
Legend, 
A Magical
Shell 
A Girl Who
Dreamed Of Something More… 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and
her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered
by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s
blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability
to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting
their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the
shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends
and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks
around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the
human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept
into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

Excerpt:
“Tell me the legend of the Skagerrak queen.”
 
Javelin lifted a brow. “It’s hardly a legend, Lena,” he said. “It’s
barely been a decade.” His voice was easy, unbothered by the possibility of
being overheard. They were alone in this place. There was no need to whisper or
scold or shush. Still, he groaned. “I’ve told that one a thousand times. You
should know it by heart. Aren’t you tired of it yet?”
 
“Come on,” Lena urged him. “It’s my favorite. Tell me again.”
 
He rolled his eyes, but his mouth curved into a grin. “Fine.” His scooped
a clam shell out of the sand and began sliding the sharp side of a rock against
its grain. “The queen fell in love with a human man,” he began, his strong
fingers holding the clam firmly in place. “Every full moon, she used her magic
to travel ashore to see him.”
 
Lena settled onto her elbows, relishing the smooth sound of her brother’s
voice as he recited the tale. 
A dreamy smile spread over her lips.
 
“I wonder how she met him,” she murmured softly, tilting her chin up and
letting her lashes flutter shut.
 
“Likely the same way any merrow meets a human,” Javelin teased.
“Shipwrecked during one of Poseidon’s storms. She should have drowned him
immediately.”
 
“But she couldn’t!” Lena’s eyes pinged open. “For he was devilishly
handsome, even soaking wet. The most handsome man she’d ever seen.”
 
“Devilish is right,” Javelin allowed. “Whether he was handsome or not,
I’ll let your imagination decide.”
 
“Oh, he was.” Lena was smiling widely now. “He was, perhaps, the most
beautiful human man in existence, and desperately enraptured by the queen. Each
full moon, he waited for her, pacing the beach like a madman. And when she
would emerge from the sea, he’d run hip-deep to meet her, unable to spend one
more moment apart. He’d wrap his muscular arms around her—”
 
“For Poseidon’s sake, Lena.”
 
“And they’d dance together,” she pressed on, giggling, “as only humans
can do. They’d dance and dance the hours away, bathed in starlight, humming
songs into one another’s ears.”
 
“Until one night. . .” Javelin prompted smugly, and Lena rolled her eyes.
 
“Until one night,” she sighed, “something overcame the queen’s lover.
Greed.”
 
“Human greed,” Javelin corrected. “Human nature. It was only a matter of
time.”
 
She glared at him, but didn’t interrupt as he continued. This was the
best and the worst part of the tale, and Javelin—damn him, was good at telling
it. And he knew.
 
“That night, the queen swam toward the surface, impatient as ever she
was. Ready to be rid of her tail. Ready to be human again. Her magic was a gift
from Poseidon himself, contained in a delicate shell which she wore around her
neck on a gold chain. It gave her the ability to explore the shore, and to
control the storms and seas.”
 
Lena leaned in.
 
“As she swam, the queen began to change. Faint sobs faltered over her
blue-scaled lips—cries of pain, lost to the rushing lull of the waves and the
urgent beating of her fins. Swiftly, her tail separated into two perfectly
shaped legs, and she rose out of the sea.”
 
“Don’t leave out the good parts,” Lena whispered. She knew her brother
would skim over the romance just to annoy her.
 
Javelin gave her a pointed look. Then he grinned. “The moon was high that
night,” he said, lowering his voice to a hush for effect. “The land was
illuminated by an eerie, silver glow. Beneath its light, the queen’s new flesh
was creamy and soft. Her hair became one with the wind, and her body shivered
against a violent, uproarious breeze. Perhaps it was a warning from the gods,
but the queen didn’t see it as such. The human lands were cold, suffering a
new, frigid season, but her heart remained warm. She smiled, though her
transition had been agony, when she heard the sound of water splashing and saw
her beloved moving toward her through the shallows.
 
“She sang his name as he brushed chaste kisses against her neck, and
relaxed fully against him, trusting him completely. She was blind to the wicked
yearning which had wrapped around his heart. Which made his body tense, which
crushed his lungs till he could hardly breathe. He wanted her shell, for he’d
discovered what powers were locked inside that delicate charm. Powers gifted to
whomsoever possessed it. His fingers dipped to her throat, caressing the shell
which had allowed her to return to him, again and again. The queen eyed him
strangely, and he dropped his hands to her waist, tugging her against him,
kissing her deeply.”
 
Lena sighed, and Javelin smirked.
 
“She was a fool,” he said.
 
“She was in love,” Lena amended.
 
“She was both,” he conceded. “And that foolish love consumed her.
Deceived her. Seduced her. Clouded her eyes, so love was all she could see. But
that fateful eve, her beloved’s affection was not what it seemed. He’d seduced
himself too, with all the prospects of what might be. His own love had been
replaced by a lust for riches unknown. For control of the land and sea.”
 
Lena winced, for she knew what came next.
 
“He pressed his mouth against the queen’s skin, whispering sweet words,
distracting her. She was smiling as he sent a knife into her back. Smiling,
even as her eyes went wide with shock.”
 
Lena shuddered, picturing it. A joyful mouth, frozen in place. Bulging,
horrified eyes going dim.
 
“The queen’s lover twisted his blade, releasing her cold merrow blood to
the sand. He reached for the shell, yanking on its golden chain. But in the
last throes of breath, the queen resisted him and threw the shell into the
crashing waves, bidding Poseidon to wash it away.
 
“With a promised curse on his lips, her lover trailed back into the
night, determined to one day possess the world between the sea and stars, and
all who dwell beneath the earth, in the ocean’s depths. Our people.” He glanced
sidelong at Lena, his meaning clear. “The merrows.”
 
“And the queen. . .” Lena murmured, though she already knew how the tale
would end.
 
“He left her to dissolve into sea foam. She was washed away forever by
the waves.”
 
Lena released a long breath and gazed at her hands, trying to imagine
what it would be like to watch herself slowly disappear; what heartache and
betrayal the queen must have felt in her last moments. She knew this was a
gruesome tale, but a part of her thought the better parts, the magic and
romance, were worth the gruesome bits.
 
“What do you think it would be like, to walk?” she wondered aloud. “Would
it be like having two tails?”
 
“I don’t know,” Javelin chuckled. “I suppose it might be.”
 
“Where do you think the shell is now?”
 
Javelin shrugged. From a stony shelf above his head, he retrieved a slim,
wooden railing he’d found in a ship a few days before and carefully tied his
sharpened clamshell to its jagged end.
Lena smiled, realizing he’d made her a hunting spear.
 
“Poseidon is said to have hidden the shell before the human lover, or any
human, could steal it. It could be anywhere.”
 
“If you could go to the surface, would you?”
 
Javelin pinched his lips together and didn’t speak. It was a silent
reprimand. He knew how Lena longed to break through the waves, to see the human
world with her own eyes, to know the uses of all the odd objects they’d
collected over the years. But the laws of the sea were strict, and the king’s
leniency had all but vanished in recent years.
 
Any merrow caught peeking at the shore was punished. Some were even
struck down by Poseidon and reduced to sea foam, just like the queen.
 
“This is where we belong, Lena,” Javelin said softly, firmly.
 
“But how do you know?” She swirled upright and swam along the edge of the
grotto, brushing her fingertips over cups and spoons and heaps of sodden
fabric. Over small chests and tarnished, palm-sized figurines and other
mysterious, unnamed things. “Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like,
to live on the land? To live among them? To be one of them?”
 
“Not as much as you have, I can see.”
 
She groaned, and sank to her brother’s side, resting her head on his
shoulder. “It can’t be as bad as everyone believes. Humans can’t all be the
same. We’re not all the same,” she reasoned quietly.

About Chantal:

 

Amazon Best
Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University
with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has
published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and
“Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow.
Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with
that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long
dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of
DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy,
Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.
Giveaway Details: Pre Order Giveaway!
Enter your
Receipt for the chance to win a “Mermaid” Giveaway!
A Mermaid-Themed
Tumbler, Notebook, Nail Filer, Face Mask, Hand Sanitizer, Handcream, Makeup
Bag, Popsocket and an autographed
Paperback of “Between the Sea and Stars.”
Submit Your BETWEEN THE SEA AND STARS Book Receipts HERE!
Any format of this book will qualify: E-Book or Paperback.
It can be purchased at any retailer; Amazon, Kobo, B&N,
Parliament House – etc.
Receipts must be dated before June 24th.
You can also submit your receipt by emailing
cgauthorgiveaway@gmail.com

 

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OFF AND AWAY Blog Tour

OFF & AWAY banner

Off & Away

Title: OFF AND AWAY

Author: Cale Atkinson

Pub. Date: June 5, 2018

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 48

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It’s Jo’s dad’s job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own.

With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

Cale

About Cale:

Cale Atkinson is an illustrator/writer/animator currently residing in Kelowna Canada. Believing in tea more than sleep, Cale is constantly working on numerous projects. His work can be found in children’s books, animated shorts, television, and games.

Cale’s always looking for new and exciting projects that challenge his skills and allow him to grow creatively.

Clients:

Disney Hyperion, Marvel, Tundra books (imprint of Penguin Random House), OWL Books, Grosset and Dunlap (Penguin), Disney.com, Pearson, American Greetings, Hyper Hippo Games, Lerner Books, Scholastic.

Cale is currently working on multiple projects, including two picture books he is writing and illustrating.

Website | Twitter | Tumblr

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of OFF AND AWAY, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/4/2018- Little Red reads– Review

6/5/2018- Margie’s Must Reads– Excerpt

6/6/2018- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

6/7/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review

6/8/2018- Bookish Lifestyle– Review

Week Two:

6/11/2018- Beagles & Books– Review

6/12/2018- Jrsbookreviews– Review

6/13/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

6/14/2018- Peaceful Oblivion– Review

6/15/2018- Wonder Struck– Review

Book Review Engn by Simon Kewin

17983959.jpgFinn’s childhood in the valley is idyllic, but across the plains lies a threat. Engn is an ever-growing steam-powered fortress, that needs a never-ending supply of workers. Generation after generation have been taken away, escorted into its depths by the mysterious and terrifying Ironclads, never to return.

The Masters of Engn first take Finn’s sister, then his best friend, Connor. He thinks he, at least, is safe – until the day the ironclads come to haul him away too.

Yet all is not lost, Finn has a plan. In the peace of the valley he and Connor made a pact. A promise to join the mythical Wreckers and end Engn’s tyranny.

But now on his own, lost and thwarted in the vastness of Engn, Finn begins to have doubts. Is Connor really working to destroy Engn?

Or has he become part of the machine?

Jan’s Review

This is an amazing steam punk novel that drew me in fairly quickly, it did take a while for the major action to take place though.  I found the whole concept of the world run by this huge machine that takes people and has them tested and toil inside the innner workings to level up to different parts of the machine.  I thought the author did a great job of describing all the innner workings and the many relationships between the characters. You are kept guessing through out the whole novel where Finn is actually going to end up a wrecker or master or something else entirely.  I not really sure if should be a middle grade as the novel length is quite long for that genre and at times i felt like it could sway towards YA so maybe it sits somewhere in the middle.   Very enjoyable read.

 

ARC Book Review Oath of Deception by Jennifer Anne Davis

39075570.jpgFor Savenek, there is no greater honor than protecting Emperion. While other young men his age study a trade, he attends a secret, elite military academy where he has been honed into a lethal asset for his kingdom. He can gather information without detection and kill from the shadows. Savenek’s own father is the schoolmaster, and he forces Savenek to train harder than any other student. As graduation draws near, Savenek eagerly awaits the vows inducting him into the Brotherhood of the Crown.

When a messenger arrives with news of war brewing on the horizon, the Brotherhood is called into action. Eager to prove himself, Savenek goes on his first mission alone. He doesn’t expect to uncover a treacherous plot to destroy Emperion. He doesn’t expect to join forces with someone outside the Brotherhood, let alone a woman. He certainly doesn’t expect to fail.

But then again, his father taught him nothing ever goes as planned.

Political intrigue clashes with romance in this thrilling story that continues the Reign of Secrets saga.

Jan’s Review

If you wanted the back story about Savenek who shows up in the true reign series this is the book for you.  The story is amazing and fills in all the little details about the missing twin brother that you been asking for.  Old and new characters are introduced in this fast paced novel that will keep you guessing right up tell the end.  I was drawn into the story to the point where the everyday noise around me fading into a quite drone in the back of my mind.  I was absorbed into the story of Savenek and Ari and i hated to see it end though since i read the other books i kind of knew where we were going to end up.  Jennifer has done another amazing job of crafting a story that weaves around you and does not want to let go.

 

Cover Reveal for BIRTH OF CHAOS by Elise Kova

Three-Books

Pre-Order on Amazon: http://viewbook.at/BoC

(NOTE: The book is FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Readers who don’t have a Kindle can send proof of purchase from Amazon to Elise.Kova.Author@gmail.com to get a “read anywhere” link when the book is out.)

Elise’s Website: http://elisekova.com

Lynn’s Website: https://www.lynnlarsh.com/

Release Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/39698f6c26/?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39695547-birth-of-chaos


SUMMARY/GENERAL INFO:

Title: Birth of Chaos (Wish Quartet, #3)

Publication Date: June 28, 2018

Author: Elise Kova

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Genre(s): New-Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Summary:

A WISH FOR DESTRUCTION…
HAS JOSEPHINA UNRAVELING

A new wish is pushing the weary members of the Society to their breaking points. But as Jo’s complex relationship with their leader reveals dangerous truths about who she truly is, and was, her priorities quickly change. Now, she seeks to expose the enemy lurking in their midst, but it may already be too late to thwart an ancient goddess bent on stealing Jo’s power and destroying everything she loves.

Birth-of-Chaos-Cover-FINAL-sm-1

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

ELISE KOVA

Author-Photo-3-sm

Elise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet.

In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.

LYNN LARSH

Lynn-Larsh-Author-Photo-smLynn Larsh considers herself to be a serial hobby-dabbler. She got a bachelors degree in music (which she used for all of four months), studied aerial acrobatics and classical piano for many years, worked briefly as a stunt woman in a Wild West stunt show (it’s a long story), and eventually settled down into the bar tending business in St. Petersberg, FL. When she’s not acting as a purveyor of fine libations, you can find her diving head first into her newest venture as a New Adult author, or simply writing Voltron fan fiction on Archive of Our Own.

ARGOS: THE STORY OF ODYSSEUS AS TOLD BY HIS LOYAL DOG by Ralph Hardy Official NERD BLAST

Argos - The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog Nerd Blast Banner

FOLLOW THE BLAST 

Argos - The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

SYNOPSIS
 

From a compelling new voice in middle grade comes a reimagination of The Odyssey told from the point of view of Odysseus’s loyal dog—a thrilling tale of loyalty, determination, and adventure.

For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to Ithaka. After ten years beneath the walls of Troy, he begins the long journey back home. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He struggles to survive and do whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure if they will ever see Odysseus again. But Argos has found a way to track his master. Any animal who sets foot or wing on Ithaka brings him news of Odysseus’s voyage—and hope that one day his master will return. Meanwhile, Argos watches over his master’s family and protects them from the dangers that surround a throne without its king.

 

Praise for ARGOS: THE STORY OF ODYSSEUS AS TOLD BY HIS LOYAL DOG

Hand this one to die-hard readers of the “Percy Jackson” series who are looking for a more traditional rendition of the Greek tales. ―School Library Journal

Inventive retelling of Homer’s Odyssey ―ALA Booklist

Argos offers mythology-loving 9- to 12-year-olds a fresh point of access to the great story. ―Wall Street Journal

Ralph Hardy
Ralph Hardy graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in English and received his MFA from Columbia College, Chicago. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and children and a dog named Harvey, who is nothing like Argos. He is the author of The Cheetah Diaries, Lefty, and a number of short stories.
 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM RALPH HARDY
 

WEBSITE: http://ralphhardyfiction.com/
TWITTER:  
@RalphHardy1
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15654834.Ralph_Hardy
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ralph.hardy.96

Giveaway Banner (1)
– 5 Winners will receive a Copy of ARGOS: THE STORY OF ODYSSEUS AS TOLD BY HIS LOYAL DOG by Ralph Hardy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK TRAILER

FURYBORN Spotlight Tour

Furyborn-Pub-Day-Graphic_Twitter.jpg

 

 

9781492656623-300RGB

·        Book Info:

Title: Furyborn

Author: Claire Legrand

ISBN: 9781492656623, Hardcover

Release Date: May 22nd, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

·        Praise for Furyborn

“A page-turner. Readers will find the complex and flawed characters immensely relatable. The two narratives are deftly interwoven, and plot twists will keep teens on the edge of their seats.”

 —School Library Journal, popular pick

“A dark yet rousing adventure story that combines passion and danger at every turn.”

Booklist

“High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.”

Kirkus

 

Strikingly vivid prose… the nearly five hundred pages race by in stunning fashion. This is a must-have for fans of Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles (Finnikin of the Rock, or Cashore’s Graceling.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s BooksSTARRED Review

 

“Beautiful, brutal, heart-stopping, and epic, Furyborn is a world to lose yourself in—just bring weapons. It’s dangerous there.”

Laini TaylorNew York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone saga

 

Legrand has created magic on every page. Flawed, smart, and fierce heroines kept me dazzled and breathless. Furyborn is explosive and stunning.”

Mary E. PearsonNew York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles and The Jenna Fox Chronicles

·        Summary:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

·        Book Site Link:

http://empiriumtrilogy.com/

·        Furyborn Video Trailers Link:

Blood Queen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTe7AZmSHh4

Sun Queen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-f2jvmmyok

·        Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34323570-furyborn?from_search=true

 

·        Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Furyborn-Empirium-Trilogy-Claire-Legrand/dp/1492656623/?tag=sbnews-20

Barnes&Noble: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8520536/type/dlg/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/furyborn-claire-legrand/1127017275?ean=9781492656623

BooksAMillion: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Furyborn/Claire-Legrand/9781492656623?id=6538300475571

!ndigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/furyborn/9781492656623-item.html?ikwid=furyborn&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781492656623

Jan’s Review

I had the honor of reading and reviewing an early review copy via sourcebooks netgalley copy.  This is a unique story of two girls who have grown up with the whispers of a prophecy of a queen will that will rise with the power to save or destroy the world.  The complexity in this story comes from the fact that the girls stories are told in tandem but they are thousand years apart.  It was a unique way to tell the story.  My main issue that i found as this is marketed as a teen story and i did feel the level of sexual intensity might be pushing it a bit for a teen novel.  Not that it took much away from the story but i was not expecting the amount of description that i did read.  The author does a fantastic job with the world building of this story and i am eager to read the following books.

Claire Legrand author photo_credit Ellen B. Wright

·        About the Author:

Claire Legrand is the author of several novels for children and young adults, most notably The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsSome Kind of Happiness, and Winterspell. Claire lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Visit claire-legrand.com.

 

·        Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.claire-legrand.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/clairelegrand

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairelegrand/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairelegrandwriter

 

·         Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Furyborn

Runs May 22 – May 31 (US & Canada only)

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7657/?

·        Excerpt from Furyborn:

1

RIELLE

“Lord Commander Dardenne came to me in the middle of the night, his daughter in his arms. They smelled of fire; their clothes were singed. He could hardly speak. I had never seen the man afraid before. He thrust Rielle into my arms and said, ‘Help us. Help her. Don’t let them take her from me.’”

—Testimony of Grand Magister Taliesin Belounnon, on Lady Rielle Dardenne’s involvement in the Boon Chase massacreApril 29, Year 998 of the Second Age

TWO YEARS EARLIER

Rielle Dardenne hurried into Tal’s office and dropped the sparrow’s message onto his desk.

“Princess Runa is dead,” she announced.

She wouldn’t describe her mood as excited exactly, but her own kingdom, Celdaria, and their northeastern neighbor, Borsvall, had lived in a state of tension for so many decades that it was hardly noteworthy when, say, a Celdarian merchant ship sank off Borsvall’s coast or patrols came to blows near the border.

But a murdered Borsvall princess? That was news. And Rielle wanted to dissect every piece of it.

Tal let out a sigh, set down his pen, and dragged his ink-smudged hands through his messy blond hair. The polished golden flame pinned to his lapel winked in the sunlight.

“Perhaps,” Tal suggested, turning a look on Rielle that was not quite disapproval and not quite amusement, “you should consider looking less thrilled about a princess’s murder?”

She slid into the chair across from him. “I’m not happy about it or anything. I’m simply intrigued.” Rielle pulled the slip of paper back across the desk and read over the inked words once more. “So you do think it was assassination? Audric thinks so.”

“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid today, Rielle.”

She smiled sweetly at him. “When have I ever done anything stupid?”

He quirked an eyebrow. “The city guard is on high alert. I want you here, safe in the temple, in case anything happens.” He took the message from her, scanning its contents. “How did you get this, anyway? No, wait. I know. Audric gave it to you.”

Rielle stiffened. “Audric keeps me informed. He’s a good friend. Where’s the harm in that?”

Tal didn’t answer, but he didn’t have to.

“If you have something to say to me,” she snapped, color climbing up her cheeks, “then just say it. Or else let’s begin our lesson.”

Tal watched her a moment longer, then turned to pick up four enormous books sitting on the shelf behind him.

“Here,” he said, ignoring the mutinous expression on her face. “I’ve marked some passages for you to read. Today will be devoted to quiet study. And I’ll test you later, so don’t even think about skimming.”

Rielle narrowed her eyes at the book on the top of the stack. “A Concise History of the Second Age, Volume I: The Aftermath of the Angelic Wars.” She made a face. “This hardly looks concise.”

“It’s all a matter of perspective,” he said, returning to the papers on his desk.

Rielle’s favorite place in Tal’s office was the window seat overlooking the main temple courtyard. It was piled high with scarlet cushions lined in gold piping, and when she sat there, dangling her legs out into the sun, she could almost forget that there was an enormous world beyond the temple and her city—a world she would never see.

She settled by the window, kicked off her boots, hiked up her heavy lace-trimmed skirts, and rested her bare feet on the sill. The spring sunlight washed her legs in warmth, and soon she was thinking of how Audric blossomed on bright, sun-filled days like this one. How his skin seemed to glow and crackle, begging to be touched.

Tal cleared his throat, breaking her focus.

Tal knew her far too well.

She cracked open A Concise History, took one look at the tiny, faded text, and imagined tossing the book out the window and into the temple courtyard, where citizens were filing in for morning prayers—to pray that the riders they had wagered upon in today’s race would win, no doubt. Every temple in the capital would be full of such eager souls, not just there in the Pyre—Tal’s temple, where citizens worshipped Saint Marzana the firebrand—but in the House of Light and the House of Night as well and the Baths and the Firmament, the Forge and the Holdfast. Whispered prayers in all seven temples, to all seven saints and their elements.

Wasted prayers, thought Rielle with a slight, sharp thrill. The other racers will look like children on ponies compared to me.

She flipped through a few pages, biting the inside of her lip until she felt calm enough to speak. “I’ve heard many in the Borsvall court are blaming Celdaria for Runa’s death. We wouldn’t do such a thing, would we?”

Tal’s pen scratched across his paper. “Certainly not.”

“But it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, does it? If King Hallvard’s councils convince him that we killed his daughter, he will declare war at last.”

Tal dropped his pen with a huff of annoyance. “I’m not going to get any work done today, am I?”

Rielle swallowed her grin. If only you knew how true that is, dearest Tal.

“I’m sorry if I have questions about the political climate of our country,” she said. “Does that fall under the category of things we’re not allowed to discuss, lest my poor vulnerable brain shatter from the stress?”

A smile twitched at the corner of Tal’s mouth. “Borsvall might declare war, yes.”

“You don’t seem concerned about this possibility.”

“I find it unlikely. We’ve been on the edge of war with Borsvall for decades, and yet it has never happened. And it will never happen, because the Borsvall people may be warmongers, but King Hallvard is neither healthy nor stupid. We would flatten his army. He can’t afford a war with anyone, much less with Celdaria.”

“Audric said…” Rielle hesitated. A twist of unease slipped down her throat. “Audric said he thinks Princess Runa’s death, and the slave rebellion in Kirvaya, means it’s time. That the Queens are coming.”

Silence fell over the room like a shroud.

“Audric has always been fascinated with the prophecy,” Tal said, his voice deceptively calm. “He’s been looking for signs of the Queens’ coming for years.”

“He sounds rather convinced this time.”

“A slave rebellion and a dead princess are hardly enough to—”

“But I heard Grand Magister Duval talking about how there have been storms across the ocean in Meridian,” she pressed on, searching his face. “Even as far as Ventera and Astavar. Strange storms, out of season.”

Tal blinked. Ah, thought Rielle. You didn’t know that, did you?

“Storms do occur out of season from time to time,” Tal said. “The empirium works in mysterious ways.”

Rielle curled her fingers in her skirts, taking comfort in the fact that soon she would be in her riding trousers and boots, her collar open to the breeze.

She would be on the starting line.

“The report I read,” she continued, “said that a dust storm in southern Meridian had shut down the entire port of Morsia for days.”

“Audric needs to stop showing you every report that comes across his desk.”

“Audric didn’t show me anything. I found this one myself.”

Tal raised an eyebrow. “You mean you snuck into his office when he wasn’t there and went through his papers.”

Rielle’s cheeks grew hot. “I was looking for a book I’d left behind.”

“Indeed. And what would Audric say if he knew you’d been in his office without his permission?”

“He wouldn’t care. I’m free to come and go as I please.”

Tal closed his eyes. “Lady Rielle, you can’t just visit the crown prince’s private rooms day and night as though it’s nothing. You’re not children anymore. And you are not his fiancée.”

Rielle lost her breath for an instant. “I’m well aware of that.”

Tal waved a hand and rose from his chair, effectively ending all talk of the prophecy and its Queens.

“The city is crowded today—and unpredictable,” he said, walking across the room to pour himself another cup of tea. “Word is spreading about Princess Runa’s death. In such a climate, the empirium can behave in similarly unpredictable ways. Perhaps we should begin a round of prayers to steady our minds. Amid the chaos of the world, the burning flame serves as an anchor, binding us in peace to the empirium and to God.”

Rielle glared at him. “Don’t use your magister voice, Tal. It makes you sound old.”

He sighed, took a sip of his tea. “I am old. And grumpy, thanks to you.”

“Thirty-two is hardly old, especially to already be Grand Magister of the Pyre.” She paused. She would need to proceed carefully. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were appointed as the next Archon. Surely, with someone as talented as you beside me, I could safely watch the Chase from your box—”

“Don’t try to flatter me, Lady Rielle.” His eyes sparked at her. There was the Tal she liked—the ferocious firebrand, not the pious teacher. “It isn’t safe for you out there right now, not to mention dangerous for everyone else if something set you off and you lost control.”

Rielle slammed shut A Concise History and rose from the window seat. “Damn you, Tal.”

“Not in the temple, please,” Tal admonished over the rim of his cup.

“I’m not a child. Do you really think I don’t know better by now?” Her voice turned mocking. “‘Rielle, let’s say a prayer together to calm you.’ ‘Rielle, let’s sing a song about Saint Katell the Magnificent to take your mind off things.’ ‘No, Rielle, you can’t go to the masque. You might forget yourself. You might have fun, God forbid.’ If Father had his way, I’d stay locked up for the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book or on my knees in prayer, whipping myself every time I had a stray angry thought. Is that the kind of life you would like for me too?”

Tal watched her, unmoved. “If it meant you were safe and that others were safe as well? Yes, I would.”

“Kept under lock and key like some criminal.” A familiar, frustrated feeling rose within her; she pushed it back down with a vengeance. She would not lose control, not today of all days.

“Do you know,” she said, her voice falsely bright, “that when it storms, Father takes me down to the servants’ quarters and gives me dumbwort? It puts me to sleep, and he locks me up and leaves me there.”

After a pause, Tal answered, “Yes.”

“I used to fight him. He would hold me down and slap me, pinch my nose shut until I couldn’t breathe and had to open my mouth. Then he would shove the vial between my lips and make me drink, and I would spit it up, but he would keep forcing me to drink, whispering to me everything I’d ever done wrong, and right in the middle of yelling how much I hated him, I would fall asleep. And when I would wake up, the storm would be over.”

A longer pause. “Yes,” Tal answered softly. “I know.”

“He thinks storms are too provocative for me. They give me ideas, he says.”

Tal cleared his throat. “That was my fault.”

“I know.”

“But the medicine, that was his suggestion.”

She gave him a withering look. “And did you try to talk him out of it?”

He did not answer, and the patience on his face left her seething.

“I don’t fight him anymore,” she said. “I hear a crack of thunder and go below without him even asking me to. How pathetic I’ve become.”

“Rielle…” Tal sighed, shook his head. “Everything I could say to you, I’ve said before.”

She approached him, letting the loneliness she typically hid from him—from everyone—soften her face. Come, good Magister Belounnon. Pity your sweet Rielle. He broke first, looking away from her. Something like sorrow shifted across his face, and his jaw tightened.

Good.

“He’d let me sleep through life if he could,” she said.

“He loves you, Rielle. He worries for you.”

Heat snapped at Rielle’s fingertips, growing along with her anger. With a stubborn stab of fury, she let it come. She knew she shouldn’t, that an outburst would only make it more difficult to sneak away, but suddenly she could not bring herself to care.

He loves you, Rielle.

A father who loved his daughter would not make her his prisoner.

She seized one of the candles from Tal’s desk and watched with grim satisfaction as the wick burst into a spitting, unruly flame. As she stared at it, she imagined her fury as a flooding river, steadily spilling over its banks and feeding the flame in her hands.

The flame grew—the size of a pen, a dagger, a sword. Then every candle followed suit, a forest of fiery blades.

Tal rose from his desk and picked up the handsome polished shield from its stand in the corner of the room. Every elemental who had ever lived—every waterworker and windsinger, every shadowcaster and every firebrand like Tal—had to use a casting, a physical object uniquely forged by their own hands, to access their power. Their singular power, the one element they could control.

But not Rielle.

She needed no casting, and fire was not the only element that obeyed her.

All of them did.

Tal stood behind her, one hand holding his shield, the other hand resting gently on her own. As a child, back when she had still thought she loved Tal, such touches had thrilled her.

Now she seriously considered punching him.

“In the name of Saint Marzana the Brilliant,” Tal murmured, “we offer this prayer to the flames, that the empirium might hear our plea and grant us strength: Fleet-footed fire, blaze not with fury or abandon. Burn steady and true, burn clean and burn bright.”

Rielle bit down on harsh words. How she hated praying. Every familiar word felt like a new bar being added to the cage her father and Tal had crafted for her.

The room began to shake—the inkwell on Tal’s desk, the panes of glass in the open window, Tal’s half-finished cup of tea.

“Rielle?” Tal prompted, shifting his shield. In his body behind her, she felt a rising hot tension as he prepared to douse her fire with his own power. Despite her best efforts, the concern in his voice caused her a twinge of remorse. He meant well, she knew. He wanted, desperately, for her to be happy.

Unlike her father.

So Rielle bowed her head and swallowed her anger. After all, what she was about to do might turn Tal against her forever. She could allow him this small victory.

“Blaze not with fury or abandon,” she repeated, closing her eyes. She imagined setting aside every scrap of emotion, every sound, every thought, until her mind was a vast field of darkness—except for the tiny spot of light that was the flame in her hands.

Then she allowed the darkness to seep across the flame as well and was left alone in the cool, still void of her mind.

The room calmed.

Tal’s hand fell away.

Rielle listened as he returned his shield to its stand. The prayer had scraped her clean, and in the wake of her anger she felt…nothing. A hollow heart and an empty head.

When she opened her eyes, they were dry and tired. She wondered bitterly what it would be like to live without a constant refrain of prayers in her thoughts, warning her against her own feelings.

The temple bells chimed eleven times; Rielle’s pulse jumped. Any moment now, she would hear Ludivine’s signal.

She turned toward the window. No more prayers, no more reading. Every muscle in her body surged with energy. She wanted to ride.

“I’d rather be dead than live as my father’s prisoner,” she said at last, unable to resist that last petulant stab.

“Dead like your mother?”

Rielle froze. When she faced Tal, he did not look away. She had not expected that cruelty. From her father, yes, but never from Tal.

The memory of long-ago flames blazed across her vision.

“Did Father instruct you to bring that up if I got out of hand?” she asked, keeping her voice flat and cool. “What with the Chase and all.”

“Yes,” Tal answered, unflinching.

“Well, I’m happy to tell you I’ve only killed the one time. You needn’t worry yourself.”

After a moment, Tal turned to straighten the books on his desk. “This is as much for your safety as it is for everyone else’s. If the king discovered we’d been hiding the truth of your power all these years…You know what could happen. Especially to your father. And yet he does it because he loves you more than you’ll ever understand.”

Rielle laughed sharply. “That isn’t reason enough to treat me like this. I’ll never forgive him for it. Someday, I’ll stop forgiving you too.”

“I know,” Tal said, and at the sadness in his voice, Rielle nearly took pity on him.

Nearly.

But then a great crash sounded from downstairs, and an unmistakable cry of alarm.

Ludivine.

Tal gave Rielle that familiar look he so often had—when she had, at seven, overflowed their pool at the Baths; when he had found her, at fifteen, the first time she snuck out to Odo’s tavern. That look of What did I do to deserve such trials?

Rielle gazed innocently back at him.

“Stay here,” he ordered. “I mean it, Rielle. I appreciate your frustration—truly, I do—but this is about more than the injustice of you feeling bored.”

Rielle returned to the window seat, hoping her expression appeared suitably abashed.

“I love you, Tal,” she said, and the truth of that was enough to make her hate herself a little.

“I know,” he replied. Then he threw on his magisterial robe and swept out the door.

“Magister, it’s Lady Ludivine,” came a panicked voice from the hallway—one of Tal’s young acolytes. “She’d only just arrived in the chapel, my lord, when she turned pale and collapsed. I don’t know what happened!”

“Summon my healer,” Tal instructed, “and send a message to the queen. She’ll be in her box at the starting line. Tell her that her niece has taken ill and will not be joining her there.”

Once they had gone, Rielle smiled and yanked on her boots.

Stay here?

Not a chance.

She hurried through the sitting room outside Tal’s office and into the temple’s red-veined marble hallways, where embroidered flourishes of shimmering flames lined the plush carpets. The temple entryway, its parquet floor polished to a sheen of gold, was a flurry of activity as worshippers, acolytes, and servants hurried across to the peaked chapel doors.

“It’s Lady Ludivine,” a young acolyte whispered to her companion as Rielle passed. “Apparently she’s taken ill.”

Rielle grinned, imagining everyone fussing over poor Ludivine, tragically lovely and faint on the temple floor. Ludivine would enjoy the attention—and the reminder that she had the entire capital held like a puppet on its master’s strings.

Even so, Rielle would owe her a tremendous favor after this.

Whatever it was, it would be more than worth it.

Ludivine’s horse stood next to her own just outside the temple, held by a young stable hand who seemed on the verge of panic. He recognized Rielle and sagged with relief.

“Pardon me, Lady Rielle, but is Lady Ludivine all right?” he asked.

“Haven’t the faintest,” Rielle replied, swinging up into the saddle. Then she snapped the reins, and her mare bolted down the main road that led from the Pyre into the heart of the city, hooves clattering against the cobblestones. A tumbled array of apartments and temple buildings rose around them—gray stone walls engraved with scenes of the capital city’s creation, rounded roofs of burnished copper, slender columns wrapped in flowering ivy, white fountains crowned with likenesses of the seven saints in prayer. So many visitors had come from all over the world to Âme de la Terre for the Chase that the cool spring air now pressed thick and close. The city smelled of sweat and spices, hot horse and hot coin.

As Rielle tore down the road, the crowd parted in alarm on either side of her, shouting angry curses until they realized who she was and fell silent. She guided her mare through the twisting streets and made for the main city gates, her body pulled tight with nerves.

But she would not give in to her power today.

She would compete in the Boon Chase, as any citizen was free to do, and prove to her father that she could control herself, even when her life was in danger and the eyes of the entire city were upon her.

She would prove to him, and to Tal, that she deserved to live a normal life.