Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Giveaway and Review: ‘The Warlock’ Waterspell Book 1 by Deborah J. Lightfoot

Today’s post is something of a triple-decker; we have a book review, an excerpt and a giveaway all heaped together! Be sure to check out the whole thing if you want to get your hands on a copy of this fantasy novel!

“Drawn into the schemes of an angry wizard, Carin glimpses the place she once called home. It lies upon a shore that seems unreachable. To learn where she belongs and how to get there, the teenage traveler must decipher the words of an alien book, follow the clues in a bewitched poem, conjure a dragon from a pool of magic — and tread carefully around a seductive but volatile, emotionally scarred sorcerer who can’t seem to decide whether to love her or kill her.”

Before we get into anything else I think I’d like to share my opinion of this novel!

For starters I have to point out that the book description (above) doesn’t do it justice. When I first read it I wasn’t certain I wanted to review this book, it didn’t have the right tone for me… thankfully I chose to read a sample and was thus convinced to give it a try.

The beginning wasn’t my favorite, it seemed a little awkward and it took me probably a chapter before I started warming up to the story. By that point I’d gotten used to the author’s style of writing and before I knew it the book was finished and I was left wanting more.

It’s a fun read and reminded me slightly of Beauty and the Beast, (which happens to be one of my favorite Disney Fairy Tales…). Deborah obviously did her research and put a lot of time and effort into the book. Her love of literature is plainly evident and she weaves a tale that comes from the mind of an avid reader.

It’s a great medieval tale, and would be equally as interesting for men as women. (It’s no wispy piece of fluff fiction!) The complexity isn’t too high; minimal amount of characters but there is certainly plenty of mystery and twists and turns.

Though there is some violence and a few gruesome scenes I would say it would be suitable for most older teens.

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Lewis Carrol’s novels or is simply looking for a fun read.

Warning: This book ends on a CLIFFHANGER, so be prepared to want to read more! If I had the second novel I would have started it the instant ‘The Warlock’ ended.

Luckily both the second and third books are already available so you don’t need to worry about feeling unsatisfied!

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Ebook: Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo Books and Barnes & Noble.
Paperback: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Excerpt from
WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock
by Deborah J. Lightfoot
From
Chapter 9. The Note
The figure in the doorway seemed half trapped by the darkness of the corridor behind it, its features sunken, hollow, as indistinct as if charcoaled with heavy, slashing strokes. The eyes were lost in pits of deepest black, but still Carin felt the force of the gaze. It drove her back against the window. It made her draw in her breath: one short, quick gasp followed by another so sharp that her throat constricted. And then it gripped her so tightly that she could not breathe again—
—Not until the figure broke its stillness. Stiffly, it leaned to place a lamp upon the table by the door. And as the light fell upon it from this new angle, the face emerged from the gloom to become recognizably Verek’s.
Shadows! Carin told herself fiercely, gulping for her next lungful of air as if the warlock’s movements had triggered a reflex. You’re jumping at shadows.The lamp Verek had held had illuminated his face from directly under his chin, rendering his features grotesque. It was a trick of the light such as children played on Mydrismas Eve to frighten each other with spooky faces.
Carin leaned against the window and kept quiet. With her breath still convulsing her throat, she couldn’t trust herself to speak without a quaver—and any tremble in her voice would betray a fear she didn’t want him to see.
Verek addressed her in cool, clipped tones. “Be easy. I have not devised new torments for you. I know you loathe the sight of me, so I shall keep this visit short.”
He laid a thick volume down, next to the lamp. “This is a book of woods’ lore.” He rested his finger on it. “I charge you to study it well, for your life may depend on a mastery of its contents … You will study the book until you know it better than you know your own mind.
“When spring comes, I will question you to discover the depth and breadth of your knowledge. If I am satisfied that you’ve mastered every particular of each page, I will allow you to continue your journey northward—if that remains your wish. I think it likely, however, that when you have acquired a true understanding of the rigors of that place, you will see that you have come as far north as you can. Venture beyond my borders, and you will not survive.”
Verek paused.
Wordlessly then, he picked up the lamp and strode to face her at the window.
Carin recoiled from him, feeling the glass at her back like a sheet of ice against her shirt. The cold crawled up her spine. Her huge supper of half an hour ago lay in her stomach like a lumpfish swallowed whole. To avoid the warlock’s eyes, Carin focused her gaze over his left shoulder. As she stared into the comforting glow of the open bathing-room door, she thought only of holding down her dinner.
Verek shifted the lamp from his right hand to his left and raised the light to Carin’s face. Blinded, she could see nothing of his next movements, and started violently when his fingers touched her chin.
“Turn the bruise to the light,” he ordered, pressing against her jaw.
Carin squeezed her eyes shut and submitted to his examination, though her every fiber screamed a protest. When his fingers moved from her chin to touch her hair and lift it aside, she couldn’t help flinching away from him, her breath a piercing whistle through clenched teeth.
“The bruise remains tender, so it would seem,” Verek muttered, evidently misreading her horror of him for physical pain. “There’s some purpling yet, and slight swelling.” He stepped back a pace and lowered the lamp. “This would now be healed, had the poultice been left in place as I ordered. Who removed the dressing? Myra? Or yourself?”
“I did,” Carin whispered, her head still twisted away from him, her eyes closed. “I wanted to wash the stain off my face.”
“Hmm. If you had permitted the ocher to mar your beauty for a few hours longer, the bruise would now be gone, and the lump with it.
“No matter.” Verek turned on his heel and walked to the door, to replace the lamp on the table. Not looking back, he spoke over his shoulder. “A day’s time will remove the last traces of your injury. Therefore, you may spend tomorrow in bed, or with your books, or as you please. But at first light the morning after, be at your task in the library—or answer to me.”
Then he was gone, the bedroom door closing solidly behind him.
Carin unlocked her knees. She slumped to the floor, where she had no company for a time except the hammering of her heart and the rush of short, quick breaths …
Copyright © 2011–2012 by Deborah J. Lightfoot. All Rights Reserved.
Enjoy a longer sample at www.amazon.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Paperback: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Castles in the cornfield provided the setting for Deborah J. Lightfoot’s earliest flights of fancy. On her father’s farm in West Texas, she grew up reading extraordinary tales of adventure and reenacting them behind tall ramparts of sun-drenched corn. She left the farm to earn a bachelor of science degree in journalism and write award-winning books of history and biography, including The LH7 Ranch (University of North Texas Press) and Trail Fever (William Morrow, New York). High on her Bucket List was the desire to try her hand at the genre she most admired. The result is WATERSPELL, a complex, intricately detailed fantasy that begins with Book 1: The Warlock and Book 2: The Wysard, and concludes (for the present) with Book 3: The Wisewoman. But a legal pad filled with notes and tucked away in a desk drawer suggests a possible Book 4 before the saga may fairly be said to be finished.

Deborah is a professional member of The Authors Guild. She and her husband live in the country south of Fort Worth, Texas. Find her online at www.waterspell.net.

***

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*

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Book Review: ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R.R. Martin

“Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.”

I‘m sure you already know about this novel, it was huge even BEFORE it was made into a tv series – what’s more likely to surprise you is the fact that it has taken me this long to read it. Normally length wouldn’t deter me, but I knew that while I was reading A Game of Thrones it would mean neglecting the other million books I’ve promised to read.

First of all I should say that I have watched the first season (which corresponds with this book) so the plot wasn’t wholly new to me. I was surprised to find that they actually kept the TV series relatively close to the plot in this novel. The book has somewhat less ‘adult’ content than the TV series and I found it slightly less creepy, though it is still 100% an adult book and leans toward the darker side of fantasy. It is truly ‘medieval’ in every sense of the word – the society featured in this book doesn’t have the morals that we pride ourselves on today. Consider yourself aptly warned.

There are a lot of characters in this book; it’s not until the end that you can claim to know any of them. It’s a tale woven from stories that take place in nearly as many different locations as there are characters and yet intertwined into one complete story.

I enjoyed the writing and the depth of the tale. This isn’t a surface story where everything is floating right in front of you. Bits of it will bob to the surface before sinking out of sight again, only to be replaced by a new choice tidbit. You have to pay attention or you won’t catch sight of it before it’s gone again.

If you’re looking for an easy read; this series isn’t going to be it. If you’re looking for a series that will suck you into another world and get you lost amid tales of heroes, treachery, unknown foes, retribution and forbidden love — then you’re probably looking in the right direction.

Winter is coming…

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Ebook: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and Ebooks.com.

Paperback: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion.com and Chapters Indigo.

Audio: Audible

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Orlind is Here!

After talking about this book and it’s author for the past few days it is my pleasure to announce that the novel is now available to purchase!

You can find Orlind on Smashwords (with formats for any ebook) and Amazon (US and UK). It will make its way to Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books over the next few weeks, unfortunately they always take a little bit longer!

Description of Draykon:

When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target.

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious “istore” gem.

The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone – before she herself becomes a victim.

If you haven’t begun this series yet you’ll want to start with Draykon which can be picked up at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.

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Book Review: "Orlind" (Draykon Book 3) by Charlotte E. English

Note: If you haven’t read the first two books, Draykon and Lokant, there are some minor spoilers in this post.

War has broken out between the humans of the Seven Realms and the long-lost draykoni race. Llandry’s home city is under attack, its defenders scrambling to find a way to fight the draykon enemy. The outcome of the conflict seems certain – until the draykoni vanish. Where could they have gone, and why?

Lady Eva Glostrum is convinced that this means bad news. The Lokant sorcerer Krays is still at large, and his mysterious projects centre on her world – and the draykoni. Could he have something to do with their disappearance? If so, why? And what will it mean for the Seven Realms when the draykoni come back?

As Llandry fights to defend her home, Eva sets out in pursuit of Krays. Determined to learn the truth, she’ll go to any lengths to prevent him from damaging the Seven. Her quest will take her right into the heart of Krays’ Library – and there she will uncover another long-kept secret.”


Orlind begins a mere few days after all the twists and turns in Lokant – we are greeted by familiar characters and thrust immediately into the story. It is quite fast paced and though the war between the draykoni and humans is a primary focus, it plays out more like a mystery than your typical epic fantasy. It’s less about numbers or finding that perfect weapon and more about discovering all the little pieces in a very important puzzle. For the most part, all the things you thought you knew in Lokant were true; you just didn’t have all the information to piece it together. In Orlind you discover that information and sooooo much more.

Over the three books Eva seems to take on a gradually more important role and I found that at some point she ousted Llandry as the focal character. It seemed to me that she had the biggest role to play and without her the story would not have been as lively as it was. I found myself wishing to know more about a few of the other characters; Pensould and Devary to name two. The lack didn’t detract from the story, it’s just a readers wish to delve even deeper into a few characters she found quite intriguing.

In Orlind we cross even further into the steampunk/science fiction universe. There is much more in the way of technology and one or two things which I can’t tell you about that practically jump up and down shouting “HEY I’M SCI-FI!!!” – Don’t worry though, if you’re more of a fantasy buff you’ll like it anyway!

For a tiny clue, take a good look at the cover image at the top of this post. ;) You can click on it to view it larger. The cover is stunning, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed. It was only released yesterday, perfect timing for my review — I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was about that particular detail! As with the previous two covers, this one is stunning. It’ll definitely attract all those who never learnt the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ lesson. (I must admit… I am rather guilty of that myself.)

If you don’t like to start a series until it has all been written, it is time for you start reading this one! I really enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot and the big final twist was cleverly done and ties everything up with a lovely shimmering bow. If you enjoy endings that leave you content and with a smile on your face; the Draykon series is a must-try!

You can find Orlind on Smashwords (with formats for any ebook) and Amazon (US and UK). It will make its way to Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books over the next few weeks, unfortunately they always take a little bit longer!

You can also find a great review on Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews. He’s featuring ‘Orlind’ for the whole week and is even hosting a giveaway; be sure to stop by and enter!

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 You can find Draykon (Book 1) for sale at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.

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The schedule for this featured author week is as follows:
The Ebook Apothecary
30th: Review of Orlind
And don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!
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If you enjoyed this post, why not Subscribe to the Ebook Apothecary!

**Featured Author** Charlotte E. English – Draykon Short Story – Featuring Rikbeek!

Welcome to the third installation of Charlotte’s feature week! Today we have a short story from the Draykon Universe, featuring (of-course), Rikbeek the oh-so-stylin’ Gwaystrel!

Be sure to check out the other feature posts from this week; you’ll find them all at the bottom of this post!

Rikbeek Earns His Keep
The gwaystrel hung, upside down, in the folds of a voluminous skirt. With his webby wings clamped firmly around his furred body and all sounds muffled by the thick fabrics that surrounded him, he existed in a state of perfect repose, quite ready for sleep.
Until his host giant’s body shifted and began to descend in a manner that he recognised. The too-tall was sitting down.
A flash of brief panic. Which side am I on? Front or back? If too close to the rear side this fourteen-wing-spans-tall monstrosity will adhere me to the – a quick swivel of the head – hard surface rapidly approaching – evacuate
The gwaystrel twisted his small body, opened his wings and darted out and away, just as the host giant merged its lumbering body with the thing it thought of as a chair.
Spitting with indignation, the gwaystrel circled the giant’s head, dragging his claws through her no-colour hair to pull strands of it loose. The host always hated that.
Good.
She made a noise of protest and swatted him away. Her mind touched his with a brief note of apology for almost sitting on him.
He ignored that. Swooping at the hand that tried to banish him, he bared his small but well-sharpened teeth and bit.
Eeaw,’ the giant said, or something of that sort. ‘Rikbeek!
Rik-beek. He often heard those sounds, usually spoken in a manner rich with annoyance. Rik-beek. If it was supposed to be a name, it was a stupid one.
But at least her blood tasted good. He sampled a bit more, enjoying the musicality of her voice when she swore at him again. He’d chosen this particular too-tall because she smelled good, tasted good and sounded good. And she had such a succession of visitors; their blood never tasted as good as hers, but the flavours were varied and interesting. It was an endlessly renewing banquet, all for him.
A babble of sounds interrupted his reflections, rending his delicate ears. Testing the confines of his surroundings, he found that he was in a space, one of those too-big ones with a top on it. No access to sky. Many more too-talls streamed in, turning themselves into giants with chairs stuck on the back as his host had done. They brayed like worvilloes, their horrible sounds merging into an appalling cacophony that echoed painfully in his ears.
Meeting, his own too-tall told him in the silent way. Government.
Meeting-Government, he thought resentfully. Crush and noise. Babbling echoes. Mess of smells, danger of death. Stupid meeting. Stupid Government.
His too-tall host showed no signs of moving, so he flew up, over the heads of the babbling worvillo-imitators. A familiar whiff of scent reached him as he flew; he surveyed its source. Height: taller than the host giant, fifteen-and-one-half wing spans. This dark figure smelled of moonglow; his sounds were Ang-Strun.
This one had good blood too. The gwaystrel tasted it on his way past, nimbly dodged the resulting blow and hurled himself at the exit.
He passed through several rooms beyond, all full of too-talls, all reverberating with too much noise. Points of light streaked past his vision, searing his tiny, sensitive eyes. He careened onward, his mind a panicked blur of chaotic noise and lights and smells, until at last he reached somewhere new and everything faded into tranquillity.
This space was better.
Quiet. Dark. Not the thin stuff but real dark darkness, quiet quietness. Sleep!
He circled the room, seeking a suitable roost. His senses mapped the shapes of two too-talls lying horizontal on the floor.
Sleeping? This must be the sleeping-place.
Only the layout did not match his notion of the generality of too-tall sleeping places. There were no beds, no blankets. But there were desks, as big as the one his host giant used. More of the chair-things crouched behind them.
No matter. Suitable quiet-dark. Sleep.
He settled, snapping his wings shut around himself. Consciousness faded gradually…
Light seared through the comfortable cocoon of his webbed wings, hauling him out of slumber. He opened his wings and launched himself into the air, screaming his rage, arrowing at the source of the disturbance. He threw sounds at the thing, his large ears swivelling to catch the echoes. His mind built a picture of a too-tall, bending over the desk-thing. This one was careful in its movements, stealthy.
Doesn’t want to be discovered.
The intruder prowled through the contents of the desk, opening things and picking up pale, flat objects that rustled when they brushed against each other. Paper. The too-tall kept lifting its head, so its eyes would see if either of the two sleeping giants should wake. It had a nasty ball of light hovering near its face.
None of these activities justified the interruption.
Ruined my sleep. Stupid too-tall, too-fat, too-loud and too-bright.
The gwaystrel flew at the figure, teeth ready. He pierced the skin and blood flowed into his mouth.
Eurch. Tastes like crap.
He bit again anyway. He was hungry, now that he thought about it, and he might as well be recompensed for the loss of slumber. The too-tall ducked and moved away from the desk, flapping its hands at the gwaystrel. After another few bites the intruder began to make the harsh noises that indicated displeasure.
Good, he thought, and bit some more.
Rikbeek?His distant host giant’s words came to him in the silent way. He replied with fury, hurling at her an image of the skulking too-fat that had destroyed his rest.
He felt her approval before she withdrew. She applauded his torment? Betrayal! He would bite her extra hard when he saw her again.
In the meantime, this one had plenty of flesh left to puncture.
He drove the intruder before him, relishing the lumbering thing’s attempts to drive him off. But his entertainment was short-lived; several more giant-ones spilled into the room, his own nice-smelling host giant among them. They stopped and made some startled noises.
I don’t see anyone,’ said one of them.
Follow the gwaystrel, gentlemen,’ his host-giant replied. Rik-Beek had time for one last dive, one last bite, before the skulking one was grabbed and hauled away.
A spy,’ said one, shaking the intruder. ‘From?’
If the giant expected an answer, he didn’t get one. The skulker blessed the gwaystrel’s ears with beautiful silence.
Vale will get it out of you,’ the giant said. He sounded happy about it.
Rik-Beek hoped that this “getting it out of him” would hurt.
Some of the giants folded themselves over, peering at the horizontal ones. ‘One’s drugged,’ said one. ‘Other’s knocked out.’
This prompted some head-shaking and more of the harsh words. Then the talkative giant looked at his host.
Good work, Lady Glostrum. But, um, how did you know he was here?’
Glos-Trum. Yes, those were the sounds that went with his too-tall.
If that was a name, it was stupid too.
I had some help,’ she replied, pointing at him. Heads turned and bright eyes settled on the gwaystrel.
You wouldn’t care to sell him, I suppose?’
Glos-Trum laughed.
Sell. He knew that word. It meant to send something (him) away, replacing him with something more desirable (something that clinked and shone and that all the giants loved) in return.
Sell me? Sell me to some too-fat, too-stupid? He dived at her head.
No,’ she said to the other giant with a trace of regret. ‘I don’t think so.’
Rik-Beek bit her anyway.
***
 You can find Draykon (Book 1) for sale at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.
If you’d like to read more short-stories from the Draykon Universe you can find ‘Leximandra Reports, and other tales’ by Charlotte E. English FREE on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.
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The schedule for this featured author week is as follows:
The Ebook Apothecary
28th: Short story by Charlotte E. English
30th: Review of Orlind
And don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!
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If you enjoyed this post, why not Subscribe to the Ebook Apothecary!

**Featured Author** Charlotte E. English – Excerpt from ‘Orlind’

Welcome back to another of our posts featuring Charlotte E. English, author of the Draykon series.

Charlotte E. English (Author)

Rikbeek, a non-human character in her novels, is really the one getting all the attention though. Yesterday we gave him a chance to say a few words in the Character Interview and today Charlotte has given me an excerpt from the third Draykon novel, Orlind, which will be released on April 30th. It was a great choice on Charlotte’s part as it’s fun but doesn’t have much in the way of spoilers in it. Of course, Rikbeek kindly makes an appearance for us in this scene! 

If you haven’t, be sure to enter Ritesh Kala’s giveaway for the books in this series, including the yet unreleased Orlind

Excerpt from Orlind (Draykon #3)

A day or so later, Eva emerged from her room to find Tren already waiting for her.

She quickly hid her tiredness and mustered her usual smile for him. She’d slept for days, or that’s what it felt like, but her body still ached with weariness. Too much PsiTravel in a short space of time took its toll.
‘Good morning,’ she said. ‘I think.’
Tren returned her smile, but then his gaze travelled downwards and the smile disappeared. His eyes widened. He said something inarticulate, then coughed. ‘Uh. Is it the “good” part or the “morning” part you’re unsure about?’
‘Maybe both,’ she replied, her lips twitching. Tren’s eyes still hadn’t managed the long climb back up to her face.
‘Wh… what are you wearing,’ he said faintly.
‘Trousers.’
‘I can see that, yes, but…’ He swallowed. ‘Wh-where did those come from?’
‘I took a pattern from Llan’s.’ Llandry habitually wore trousers, of a pretty style she’d said was popular in Nimdre. Hers were fluid, with lots of soft fabric, and they were gathered in at the ankle. Good for flying, Llandry said.
Well, Eva didn’t have wings so flight wasn’t her concern. Running was. If she had to flee for her life again anytime soon, she didn’t want the hem of her customary long skirts working against her. So she’d avoided loose, billowy fabrics altogether. Her modified trousers were sturdier, flexible… and somewhat more closely fitting.
They were much more practical, but she hadn’t considered the potential effect on Tren. Women in Glour didn’t usually wear trousers: skirts were much more common. Long skirts, with layers and lots of fabric to hide everything under. Her new trousers, on the other hand, outlined her curves in some interesting ways.
‘I think I understand the new game plan,’ Tren said weakly. ‘Fatal distraction.’
‘Think it’ll work?’ She turned this way and that, checking to see how the new trousers looked from various angles.
Tren backed away. ‘I, um. Think I left something. In my room.’
He fled.
Grinning, Eva began to walk after him — then stopped when something hit her back, impacting with a solid thwack. The same something whizzed past her ear, bestowing a vicious fly-by bite upon it on the way past.
Rikbeek. He’d kept up a steady grumble of protest ever since he had discovered that her skirts were gone. No more draping folds of fabric to hide in, no shadows for him to conceal his dark little self in. He’d made a pretty good effort to hide in her trousers, and finding that futile he’d retired to the ceiling, grumbling all the way.
It seemed he would like her to understand that she was not forgiven.
‘Little wretch,’ she muttered. Touching the tip of her right ear, she found blood.
‘Plague,’ she added.
Rikbeek’s response resounded in her thoughts. His mutterings never resolved themselves into meaningful communications in her mind, but she had no trouble understanding the gist. For every name she called him, he had worse to say in return.
‘I’ve a blouse,’ she offered. ‘Quite a lot of fabric in that. There’ll be a coat, too, later on.’
No response.
‘Fine. Try to keep up.’ She set off down the corridor, Rikbeek stubbornly maintaining his station near the top of the wall. But when she was almost out of sight, he peeled himself off the plasterwork and charged after her.
‘Good plague,’ she smiled. ‘I’m probably going to need you.’
Devary had been given his own room, of course, like the rest of them. The Library certainly wasn’t short on space. But he’d taken to spending most of his time among the bookshelves, specifically those relating to musical studies. He had spent many hours there, before he’d left the Library for Rheas’s house. Eva wouldn’t be surprised to find he’d gone straight back there upon his return. She made for the music libraries at once. Rikbeek shadowed her, flying a few feet behind as though to suggest he wasn’t really with her.
Ah well. He’d get over it eventually.
Tren caught up with her along the way.
‘Found it?’ she asked.
‘What?’
‘Whatever it was you left in your room.’
‘Oh.’ He flushed. ‘Yep. All set.’ He paused. ‘So you’re wearing those?’
Eva looked down at her legs. ‘Apparently.’
Another pause, then he said, ‘Let’s hope Devary has a strong constitution.’
***
… you know you want to read it!

 You can find Draykon (Book 1) for sale at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.

***

The schedule for this featured author week is as follows:

The Ebook Apothecary
30th: Review of Orlind

And don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!

__________________________

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**Featured Author** Charlotte E. English — Character Interview

I have been granted the honor of featuring a fabulous indie author on the Apothecary this week. Along with Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews and Urban Fantasy Reviews. With Charlotte E. English as our focus we will be hosting interviews, sneak peaks into her new novel and even giveaways! Speaking of the latter, Ritesh Kala has a fabulous giveaway on his blog right now! He is giving away three copies of each Draykon, Lokant and the about to be released final novel in this trilogy, Orlind. He is also giving away two complete sets of the trilogy!! Be sure to head on over and enter to win!

You can read my reviews of Draykon and Lokant, HERE and HERE.

Let the festivities begin!!

It’s not very often that I have the chance to interview a fictional character; even more rare when that character isn’t human. Today’s guest might be small, but he certainly has no trouble getting exactly what he wants. He’s a Gwaystrel. If you don’t know what that is you obviously haven’t read “Draykon” yet. {Ahem…}

—–Be sure to check back for the rest of the Featured Author Posts, as they will ALL be featuring this One Of A Kind Creature.

Hello Rikbeek, welcome to the Apothecary. Charlotte has kindly promised to let you get in as many nibbles as you want this evening should you stick around for this interview. I’d offer the same, but seeing as I’m so far away… you understand of course.

“Thanks, Too-Tall Beth. I accept your apology – as long as some of your blog readers have good blood and are willing to share.”

You and Evastany Glostrum make an interesting pair; despite your tendency to leave permanent scars there appears to be a degree of respect or even affection that keeps you by Eva’s side, if I had to wager a guess I would think there is more to it than her abilities as a summoner. Is there another summoner you could see yourself allied with in a similar manner?

“No. Evastany is an excellent subordinate because she understands her place as a mobile source of warmth and food. And she never tries to pet me or tell me that I am cute. Though lately she has altered her wardrobe and I’m finding it inconvenient.”

Do you bite because you’re naturally grumpy or is there a deeper reason behind it?

“Grumpy? I have the sweetest temper. I only bite because it’s hard to get at the blood otherwise.”

When you first met Eva you were injured; care to share some details about what happened that day?

“I will tell you, but it is a secret from Evastany Too-Tall, all right? It all started when I first bit her. She was roaming about in the Lowers not paying attention – a free meal! And she had the best blood I had ever tasted. Think of your favourite food in the whole world and you will know what I mean. How could I let that get away? I used a convenient thorn bush to rip a little hole in my wing, and landed right in her lap. The rest was easy.”

So it’s all about the blood? But you often go out of your way to help Evastany when she’s in trouble. What’s the reason behind that?

“If Evastany is obliterated then the blood will go away. Also if she gets too sad, her blood sours, so I help with her friends too. It is a simple matter of protecting one’s food source, Too-Tall Beth.”

So it’s all about the blood. Okay, next question Rikbeek. I wouldn’t have thought that you would find a shortig hound worthy of your companionship but during your adventures in the Lowers you stuck quite close; tell us a little about him.

“In fact I like animals much better than too-talls generally. They are much less… towering. I am prone to cold, and Bartel has wonderful fur. He is also a hound of great common sense and stoicism, and he is an excellent conversationalist. When Evastany is busy being heroic, Bartel is my preferred companion. Though I do not mind Too-Tall Tren either.”

Surely you’ve spent more time with Eva than anyone else; what can you share about her that others might not know?

“She is much more soft-hearted than people think. Consider how easy it has been for me to keep her as my food supply. She likes to look after people, and I enjoy taking advantage of that.”

I have one last question before you take your leave. If you’ve been with Eva since her “irresponsible 20’s” you must be at the very least 10-15 years old. Care to divulge your age?

“I am probably older than you, Too-Tall Beth. People ask me how I do it? I tell them, Glostrum blood. A sip a day does wonders for my complexion. If you’re interested, keep an eye on the Glostrum household. There will probably be some new ones quite soon. Perhaps one of them could be your perambulating blood source?”

… Well. That was certainly enlightening. You can never say that Gwaystrels are dishonest creatures — and you now know what will happen if you get just a little bit too close.

If you’re starting to wonder why anyone would ever keep one of these constantly biting, not particularly affectionate creatures around them — look to ‘Draykon’ for the answers.

It is one of the most highly recommended indies that the Apothecary has had the pleasure to feature, and I can guarantee that you won’t find a better source of information on the infamous Rikbeek.

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 You can find Draykon for sale at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books.

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The schedule for this featured author week is as follows:

The Ebook Apothecary
30th: Review of Orlind

And don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!

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Author Interview with Bertel King (Painting Thoughts)

I’m super excited to have Bertel King, Author of Painting Thoughts, with me on the Apothecary today.

He has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions and submit to a brief cross-examination.

Bertel King, Jr. sculpts with words. A senior at the College of William & Mary, he is studying history and government while working on a sequel. He hopes you’ll enjoy your trip through Allsterra.

The Book

“Kae, a student on the planet of Allsterra, must paint thoughts in others’ minds while keeping them far from his. But on Allsterra, a magical planet of elves and humans, being a one-of-a-kind mixed blood makes painting, friendships, and first love easier said than done. When a murder breaks out at Two Branch Academy, Kae finds himself embroiled in a far-reaching conspiracy threatening not only his school but also his life. With only a gleeful smiley face claiming credit for the blood spattered through the halls of Two Branch, headache and heartache push Kae’s body and mind to the brink.”

What Authors/Books got you hooked on reading/helped you choose which genre to write in?
One of the first series to stir passion in me was the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale. I started reading his work while I was in middle school, and I absolutely fell in love with his ability to make his characters seem believable and their world come alive. As each book in the series took place on a different world, I was impressed by the creativity he was able to channel for each new installment. I never finished the series, and I wonder what I would think of the books now, were I to re-visit them all these years later.
My favorite author is currently Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read these books during my senior year of high school, four years ago. I was blown away by Hosseini’s prose, and these books, the second one in particular, were the first to make me fight back a few tears as I read. Actually, to this day, I think they remain the only books to have evoked such a strong reaction from me. I had already written most of Painting Thoughts by the time I read his work, but his writing style definitely inspired me, despite my chosen genre being so different from his. From the time I started writing my book, I intended to make it accessible to people who weren’t necessarily big fans of fantasy or science fiction. I wanted my characters to feel real, and by extension, so would their world. It’s all about telling a convincing story, and to this day, Hosseini motivates me to push myself further.
If you could choose one Author to read ‘Painting Thoughts’ and give you an honest opinion, who would it be?
When it comes to the quality of my prose, I would love to get feedback from Khaled Hosseini. I have yet to encounter an author whose story moved me so much based largely by the way it was written, rather than what it was about. I don’t want to imply that I wasn’t interested in the content of his work, because I deeply was, but his prose just took it so much further.
As for the content of my work: the plot, the character development, the authenticity of the world; I’d love to hear the opinion of Orson Scott Card. I haven’t read much of his work, just Ender’s Game, but I feel that novel had the strongest plot of any I have ever read. Every aspect of the story came together to form a cohesive whole, and I was thoroughly surprised by the ending.  

When/Where did you first come up with the idea for your novel?

I don’t remember an exact time or place, to be honest. I do remember that I started the novel at the end of my sophomore year of high school and finished it a few months into my senior year, roughly four years before I made it available to the public. I had written stories for most of my life, and they were always works of fantasy or science fiction, so I knew what book I managed to finish would fall under this genre.
What made this story special was that it was immensely autobiographical. Painting Thoughtsis in many ways the story of my high school experience. It’s a love story, but it’s wrapped in so much more. I’m black and my girlfriend at the time was white. We were not allowed to date each other because of the color of my skin, and this had profound effects on me as I was grappling with my identity and growing into adulthood. Painting Thoughts was a vehicle for me to acknowledge and understand what I was going through.
Painting Thoughts also reflects many of the interactions I had with other high school peers, and I feel that it is due to these personal relationships that the book is as accessible as it is. Anyone who has gone through the high school experience should be able to relate to Kae’s world, even though they’ve never been to Two Branch or witnessed someone cast a lightning bolt from their finger.

Why did you choose to self-publish?
I grew tired of sitting on the manuscript. I knew I had created a beautiful story, and I wanted to share it with others. If it doesn’t sell a million copies or get reviewed by the New York Times as a result, I’m okay with that. My passion is in writing, not in hunting for a publisher, and self-publishing allows me to focus on precisely that. If my work isn’t any good, readers will let me know, but so far, the response has been positive.

What’s next?
I started the sequel to Painting Thoughts immediately after finishing the first book, but due to the rush, excitement, and workload of college, writing it has been a much slower process. I’ve also started another story on the side that is entirely unrelated to Painting Thoughts. I don’t know which I’ll finish first, but I’m excited to find out how both of them will end. I don’t plan out my writing, so where each story goes is as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader. I don’t think I’d want to have it any other way.

If ‘Painting Thoughts’ was a recipe, what would it look like?

Painting Thoughts is a salad. Parts of it are pretty familiar to most people. It has spinach (simply because I prefer spinach to lettuce), slices of tomato, and croutons. Some of its additions are less universal, such as the handful of olives, the slices of green pepper, and the chick peas. Salads can be deceptive, tasting completely different depending on the proportions and how thoroughly they’re mixed. Experiencing a salad is as much about the nuance of how it was constructed as it is about the ingredients that were chosen.
As for the dressing, it’s hard to identify what vinaigrette has been spread on top, so I’ll leave that up to the reader’s imagination. They’re free to use as much as they want and mix it in as thoroughly as they want. And if they want cheese on top, go for it. After all, that’s what painting thoughts is all about.

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Painting Thoughts begins with:

“Right from the beginning, I want to disprove the belief that all dark things are evil and all light things are good.” 


To continue this story you will have to find it on either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Bertel mentioned that he is planning to release Painting Thoughts on Smashwords at some point in the future as well, I’ll be sure to mention it when he does!

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did, Bertel really went above and beyond when answering these questions. I loved the opportunity to get to know him, not just by his works, but as an individual. Knowing that he loved Ender’s Game just as much as I did, and discovering the story behind this novel has inspired me to add Painting Thoughts to my ‘to-read’ list

Visit Bertel’s Blog.
Find him on Facebook.
Follow him on Twitter.

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Book Review: "The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice" by Tara Maya

I had to continue on with this series, the first books were simply too compelling to stop! This review is for the third book in the “Unfinished Song” series.

Read my review for Book One: Initiate
or Book Two: Taboo

“As war looms on the horizon, Kavio continues to teach Dindi forbidden magics. Dindi’s cohort of fellow Initiates secretly select her to be the target of a vicious prank; an enemy of Kavio has targeted her for an even viler crime. Meanwhile, Brena seeks allies hidden among the enemy, which puts her on a collision course with her former captive and husband, Rthan, who is sent to stop her by any means necessary. As powerful magic spins out of control, the fae themselves are in peril, and what started as a tribal war could become the cataclysm that wipes humans from Faearth. For, in Faearth, there is a price to be paid for breaking taboos, and it can only be atoned for with a terrible sacrifice.”

When this book begins you feel for a moment that you are being propelled towards some happy occurrence. There’s ‘something’ that you think you know and you race through the pages trying to determine if you’re right.

I finished the previous books with a feeling of satisfaction; eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the story. Though no less entertaining and vivid than its predecessors, I finished this book with a feeling of dread.

I can no longer say that I think I know what is going to happen next.

There is quite a harsh difference in the emotion this novel evokes; there is so much magic, heart-wrenching hope and disaster that it can only leave you feeling like you swallowed something bitter-sweet.  

 Again, there were a few typos, but they weren’t that bad. For me to really get into a story it has to flow, I have to stop noticing the words and then I get swept up in the story they are telling. These books definitely do that for me, once I start them, I need to keep reading until I’m done.

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Now before you run off, I should mention once again that the first book in this series is free. You can pick it up for any ereader as it is available on Kobobooks.com, Amazon and Smashwords.

Sacrifice can also be found at Kobobooks.com, Amazon and Smashwords

See you Tuesday; Have a great weekend!

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Romance with a Paranormal Twist – or Paranormal with a Romantic Twist?

Over the last few weeks I have come across the following paranormal novels, all of which I have added to my ‘Potential Cures‘ list. I figured why not share them with the rest of you, if they looked good to me, they might be right up your alley! I hope you enjoy this list and if you’ve read any of the books, let me know what you thought of them!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

“New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?”

Find this ebook on:

Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)

You can also enter to win Incarnate, contest ends January 30th.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

“Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.”

Find this ebook on:

Kobobooks.com (Kobo)
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook) 

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

“Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to step up and help out—in the name of love.

Plus, her rent is due.

Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…”

Find this ebook on:

Kobobooks.com (Kobo)
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook) 

(This book also has a sequel called Deeply, Desperately — which looks equally good!)

All the books in this list have some rather fabulous reviews floating around on the inter-webs! They haven’t been tested at the Apothecary yet, but they look like they might contain some pretty riveting ingredients!

Thanks for stopping by; Check back on Monday for some exciting news!

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