Hello, dear readers. How are you doing? Are you on lockdown in your country, your state? Are you with people or completely alone? I hope that you are hanging in there. It’s hard, but we can get through this together.
All this extra time has given me a moment to catch up on my book reviews, so let me proudly present – Sword of the Seven Sins!This is the most intense book I’ve read while under quarantine, binging it in just two days. It’s got amazing characters and a fast plot that will keep you up all night! An edge-of-you-seat, unputdownable roller coaster of a book. With So. Many. Feels.
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer.
Raised in the Commonwealth, where citizens live and die by the code of the Seven Sins, Eva is sickened by the barbaric punishments the High Priests inflict. She sees the Bellators of Light, the Commonwealth’s executioners, as no more than conscienceless killers.
When she’s Chosen as the first female bellator—and can’t refuse, on threat of exile or disgrace—Eva is devastated. But she turns out to be inordinately gifted at the very role she abhors…no thanks to her mentor, Ari Shepherd, who alternates between ignoring her and challenging her to impossible tests.
Ari’s indifference conceals a dangerous secret: He’s loved Eva since they were children. When Eva falls for Ari too, she knows they should do anything to avoid each other. Love is forbidden. Lust is a death sentence. But as mentor and apprentice, they’re bound by the blood oath they swore the day of Eva’s Choosing.
Balanced on a razor’s edge of desire and betrayal, the two uncover a secret that could overturn the Commonwealth itself. Now Eva must make an impossible choice: Turn her back on Ari, and remain loyal to the only home she’s ever known—or risk everything on the slim hope of freedom, and stake her life on the boy she’s come to love.
This book took me completely by surprise: I assumed it would take place in some sort of medieval setting, but instead, it’s in a dystopian, close-knit future society with 1984-level surveillance and a police-state run by the sword.
Imagine a society based on the Christian sins and virtues – but without belief. When a bastardization of morals are used to keep citizens in check. Eva and Ari live in the commonwealth of Ashes in a dystopian tomorrow, stumbling in love though the consequence is death. Here, if you are caught breaking one of the seven (deadly) sins, you’re lucky to get out alive, though the punishment is public and demeaning.
Eva is the first woman to be brought into the ranks of the commonwealth’s equivalent of police enforcers. Much to her dismay, I should add – she’s a computer wiz. It’s not like she has much say in the matter (ironically the day they are assigned their roles in society is called Choosing Day, despite them having no choice), and any complaint could see her badly punished.
To make matters worse, she is falling for her mentor, Ari. But imagine a society where love is a concept undefined from Lust: any feelings towards him make her a sinner. No matter how innocent their teenage love, they’re disgusted by their own feelings. Despite this, they have undeniable chemistry: both characters are complex and wonderfully fleshed out, and seeing them together is a blessing. You can’t help but hope that they love can prevail.
Of course, everything they know about their world is a lie – but I won’t say anything more here. No spoilers, I promise. And the author is STILL hiding things from us, so you know I can’t wait for the sequel!
Expected publication: July 6th 2020 by Blue Crow Books
Readers of this blog know that I’m a massive fan of Madeline Dyer, and have been for a few years now. I’m always excited when she releases a new book in the Untamed universe, this dark, end-of-humanity dystopia where those that are left are divided between the Enhanced, a majority where mankind takes drugs to become superior, and the untamed, the small remnants of society who are determined not to give up what makes them human.
This Vicious Way is her newest release, in the Dangerous Ones spin-off series. And it’s of the best books Madeline Dyer has written to date: fast-paced, thrilling, with unforgettable characters and twists you will never see coming!
REVENGE IS NEVER EASY…
Aged five, Inga was snatched from her sister’s arms by Bridie’s Assassins, a group of Untamed rebels who believe the way to win the War of Humanity is to use more Untamed children as soldiers. For seven years, Inga’s life consisted of violence, exploitation, and death as they shaped her into their most deadly weapon. Then she escaped.
Now twenty-one, Inga has spent the last six years seeking revenge on the assassins—using the skills they taught her against them—and trying to find her family. She knows the Gods and Goddesses are behind her, because with every assassin she murders, Inga’s gifted with a vision of her cousins, Keelie and Elf. And soon—very soon—Inga is sure she will find her family again. She’s just got to kill all the assassins first.
But when she discovers her own sister is now leading the assassins, Inga’s resolve is tested. Sure, she will stop at nothing to get the life she deserves—even if it means putting other Untamed in danger and losing herself—but can she kill her own flesh and blood?
It’s always hardest to write a review about a book I adored because most of my thoughts are just muddled screaming nonsense of just “read it read it read it!” which I am urging all my friends to do with this book right now.
Whether you’ve read the Untamed series or not, this book still manages to grip you from the first page. It’s perfectly self-contained, though certain familiar characters make a return. It’s not a spoiler to say that Keelie from A Dangerous Game plays a role, and seeing her from a different perspective was really cool. Vice versa, being inside Inga’s head after having met her in the main series was a fascinating change.
Inga is violent. Not in the uninhibited way Keelie was in ADG, but in the cool and calculated way an assassin behaves. This is, at its core, a revenge story: a girl’s childhood is stolen away, and she will kill all of those responsible for making her into the killing machine is today. She’s brutal in a way the other Untamed characters haven’t been yet, and it makes the read all the more engrossing.
This book was a wild ride start to finish. I can’t wait to see who we’ll meet next in this series!
You know that I’m a sucker for a good retelling. I love books that take a story we all know and love and turn it on its head, bringing depth to the characters we thought we understood and making a classic more complex. There’s a wonderful safety and warmth in these stories, and authors who manage to shift our expectations are to be commended.
Such as author M.D. Frank, who has embraced the task of revisiting the tale of Robin Hood and turning it into a story of assassins, betrayal, torture, and revenge. It’s brilliant, making Maid Marian so much more than a swooning princess, turning her into something bold and new. And her Robin Hood? Swoon. Worthy.
I should shut up and just let you check out my review. And take a minute to swoon over this gorgeous cover with me!
In the second installment of the Outlaws series, there are more deadly secrets, more pining and more danger to be found. You’ll discover the answers to many of your questions from book one, and new ones will keep you at the edge of your seat. Will Robin Hood find out the truth about Ru? Will Robin and Ru kiss? Will they finally share the truth about their origins? Will they stay alive? Will every wrong be made right?
Unlike the first book, this book was fast – it takes place over the course of around 24h, and would be perfectly adapted a television episode if this series was ever made into a show (which you know I would LOVE). It centers around a high stakes mission that the band of Outlaws leads in the heart of the castle, with a daring escape and a dangerous fallout.
Ru and Robin’s past becomes clearer, flashbacks filling us in as we go along, giving us more information about how they were split and Ru’s transformation into a little killing machine. We also learn more about her relationship with her father and the other men in the castle – including her future husband. This girl just cannot catch a break, and my heart weeps for her.
Her loyalties are put further to the test as her brother is once again waved in front of her eyes. Yet she cannot deny the positive change Robin is striving for. Whose side is she on – and who will she choose? I just can’t wait for the next book!
Are you tired of everything being so gloomy? Do you need a break from stress and anxiety? Well, Tweet Cute is the adorable little book that will set your heart fluttering and warm again. I hadn’t realized how much I just needed a book like this in my life until I had finished it, and breathed a breath of fresh air. It’s hot tea and a warm bath for the soul.
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
I just can’t get over how cute and sweet this book was. There are stakes, but there’s nothing but people with good intentions on both sides. There are complex relationships and flawed people, but there was heart in every single one of them.
It’s lighthearted, so if you need something more down to earth, it might not be your best match. But if you need something sweet to lift the soul? Tweet cute is the book for you. It’s fun, it’s witty, and so darn lovable.
And hey, it’s out today!
“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”
Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”
“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”
Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”
“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”
“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”
The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.
The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.
“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.
“So . . .”
Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.
“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”
“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”
“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”
“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”
“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”
“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”
Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.
I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.
“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”
“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”
Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.
“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”
Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.
Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.
“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.
I raise my eyebrows at her.
“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”
“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”
Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.
“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”
Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—
“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.
I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.
“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”
She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.
I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”
It’s not often I review poetry collections, but Madeline Dyer’s makes for an exception as it is an exceptional read. Being a fan of her YA Dystopian series ‘Untamed’ (reviewed quite a few times on this blog) I knew alrighty that she had a talent for vivid imagery, but this collection puts that talent on full display. It’s astounding, and, frankly, terrifying: it details a slow descent into darkness, madness, chronicling the ways your brain can turn against you.
I just want to get better and see the stars and believe in hope again.
Captive, Madeline Dyer’s first poetry collection, is based on the therapy writings she produced when she was experiencing psychosis and OCD due to Autoimmune Basal Ganglia Encephalitis, a rare type of brain inflammation caused by the immune system attacking the brain. While her communication skills and cognitive abilities diminished due to the effects of the inflammation, she was able to share her thoughts and emotions via the written word, a process that gave her great comfort when she otherwise felt possessed.
Captive provides readers with a glimpse of her tormented mind during this dark time of loneliness, loss, and fear.
It’s not every day you get to see directly into someone’s mind. Dyer’s poetry chronicles the evolution of her disease, Autoimmune Basal Ganglia Encephalitis, a type of brain inflammation which presents itself in her mind as OCD and psychosis. How terrifying must it be to be trapped inside your mind as it feeds you lies? To know what’s happening but unable to do anything about it? To reach out for help and have no one believe you?
You need no longer wonder. This book is so raw and personal you can’t help but feel angry and afraid, hopeful and heartbroken. More than a person recounting these things to you, Dyer uses poetry to connect with you deeper. The poems are varied in style and tone, but are so well connected, they have a real thread between them. Reading the collection is an experience, almost like being a part of a performative art piece.
I don’t think it’s extreme of me to say that it’s like holding the piece of someone’s soul, laid bare. An absolute must read.
Excerpt: Looking Through Water
Tear-stained and bleary, the shapes of the world merge and the wrens are flying, too many of them inside my head scratching sand into my brain
and I want to escape it all and swim up, up, up, until my head breaks the surface where the sun is warm and the sky is blue and the birds aren’t out to get me and my mind isn’t broken.
But my eyes are heavy, too heavy. They weigh my mind down, anchors from my skull, and everything is too blurry and I wake in the night because I can’t see and my eyes are inside out.
Still in the spirit of sharing novellas, a new one has hit my radar and I’m excited to share it with you. M.C. Frank has been prolific lately: after her magnificent prequel to Salt for Air, Ice Mermaid, we now have a prequel for Everything I Do, her incredible Robin Hood retelling. And wow, what a prequel!
We are probably going to die today,” said John. “I’m aware,” Robin replied. “But then again, we’re constantly going to die.” “So what you’re saying is,” Alis hissed behind them, “that you’re used to being about to die.” “More or less,” Will Scarlet replied, rare laughter in his voice. “The excitement is gone.”
Meet Robin Hood’s band of outlaws. Their story starts with Christmas, a lost love, a hungry town and a robbery. In this Outlaws novella, Robin Loxley is a tortured young man mourning the loss of his title, his lands and his first love. Tonight, with the help of his close friends, he will get a new name that will live in history, a cat that could care less that Robin happens to be the most brilliant archer in medieval England, and a chance to prove himself by rescuing a lady from a fire. But this is no ordinary lady… And that is no ordinary fire…
Taking place on Christmas (perfect timing!), not too long before the events of Everything I Do, we get the inside scoop on how the little band of Outlaws made a name for themselves. And speaking of names – why is he called ‘Robin Hood’, by the way? This is wonderful insight for those who have already started the Outlaws series, but also makes a great invistation into the series for those who are only just now discovering it. And clocking in at 90 pages, this isn’t a short novella!
Unlike in Everything I Do, the perspective of Hood belongs solely to Robin himself. I felt a tonal shift compared to the novel: much more introspective, like when the author wrote her No Ordinary Star series. Absolutely beautiful. We follow Robin as he tries to find his new place in the world, after escaping the prison with his friends: trying to do what’s right, save the people of Nottingham from a terrible villain, keep them from starving on christmas day… while at the same time, trying to save himself. The trauma of his time in the prisons, starving to death, and the loss of his love. As a result, the author weaves high tension moments with quiet scenes that pack an emotional punch.
It’s definitely a loving introduction to the band of merry men, whether you have read the first book or not. It feels essential to the series, like it could have been in an extended version of Everything I Do. There’s no more loving squad than Alis, Little, Tuck, John, and Robin. If you love Good vs Evil type stories, classics brought back with depth, and of course, a great dose of adventure, then you need this book!
Hello, bookworms! it’s been a while since my last post, hasn’t it? Things have been busy in my neck of the woods, though I never want to stop posting reviews. So I hope you’ll all forgive me, and stick with me as I bring you through some fun, short reads for you today. That’s right, I’m going to talk about novellas!
Why novellas? Well, it seems, by some twist of fate, that many authors I adore have written something short and fun and released them this very week. So why not celebrate them all?
“Darius.” It came out choking from his chapped lips, and his head jerked as he tried to look up into her face. “What now?” “‘S my name. Darius. Thank you.” Of all the humans drowning around her, she had to be stuck with the one who bothered to mind his manners as he was dying. She bit back a laugh. “Well, good to know. Stay alive, Darius.” “Death feels so warm,” he whispered, those brown eyes hooded as they looked into hers. “Didn’t know there were mermaids in heaven. Ice mermaids…So beautiful. Jewels for eyes, pearls for hair.” Behind them, the great ship that had the words “Titanic” painted on its bow was cracking as it tilted into the freezing waters of the ocean.
Lorelei gave a frustrated sigh and tightened her hold on him.
Ice Mermaid is a Salt for Air novella about a mermaid who witnesses the sinking of the Titanic. It’s not necessary to read it before Salt for Air in order to understand the series, but it definitely adds to it.
M.C. Frank has done it again: and somehow, this time, in short-form brilliance.
When a passing mermaid witnesses firsthand the sinking of the Titanic, even she is moved by the immense loss of human life. What do you do in the face of such a catastrophe but latch on to one person, try to save just one – no matter the personal cost.
I loved this look into the Mermaid side of Salt for Air. In the first book of the series, we have a human perspective: in this prequel, we follow a character who is later quite important in SFA, a mermaid. We get to understand the upcoming war which plays a key part in the plot for SFA, but is in the background of this short.
The author’s signature style comes into play, beautiful, lyrical, and contemplative all at once. The importance of love and mortality in our own human nature is brought to the forefront, and makes for an excellent little philosophical quandry, if you’re into that. And if you’re not? It’s just a sweet, romantic moment.
This novella works great as a prequel since it doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the series to truly enjoy it. As a matter of fact, it makes for a perfect hook into the series: if you read this novella, beware, you’re going to want to read Salt for Air right away, so plan your reading time accordingly!
Vampires, aliens, gore, and pyramid schemes await!
In a haphazard grab at eternal life for the short-lived May, Xan gets reeled in by a killer pyramid scheme. Will either of them survive? No. The answer to that is no, they won’t.
You’re about to enter a side of the Audacity you haven’t seen before. A dark side. Ghastly, gruesome, dreadful, and at times even spooky. We’re here to peek our heads through a tiny rip in the fabric of space and time and peer into an alternate reality wherein horrible horrors await our wholesome heroes and the only explanations are unexplainable. If you’re squeamish, turn back now! Rest assured dear readers, none of what follows is canon.
Now, I haven’t read this novella yet! All I know is I probably need to save it for Halloween itself, to really get the mood right. Sometimes you gotta plan these things just right to get the most out of it. I just adore Laura Loup’s writing (such obvious love for Douglas Adams!) that I know I’m going to love it, and you are too! Also, #Gayliens.
It has been eight years since Emma last saw Oscar, the love of her life. Eight years since their messy breakup. She never wanted to see him again and relive that pain, but then she finds his photo album among her boxes of college things.
Oscar never met his parents. They died the day he was born, and the only connection he has to them is through the photo album his grandmother gave him. A photo album he thought he’d never see again.
When Emma returns the photo album to him, Oscar discovers it’s not just the album that’s been missing from his life for the last eight years. But can Emma ever forgive him for what he did?
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG is a prequel short story to Elin Annalise’s upcoming novel WHAT WE HAVE, the first book in the Rose Haven series.
While I haven’t read this one yet, it’s come to me recommended by awesome friends who tell me it’s a super sweet romance! Elin Annalise is a debut romance author who is releasing this prequel before the release of the first Rose Haven novel, adding some excitement for the upcoming book. I’ve been told it’s the perfect book to go with a cup of tea, one that will really make you smile.
Paris, 1793. Things go terribly wrong while trying to help Marie Antoinette, an old friend of Zander’s, escape the guillotine. Sally suddenly finds herself without a body and lost rolling through the streets of Paris, in need of a neck and a stiff drink.
Vienna, 1769. Zander’s undercover investigation into the disappearances of the Holfburg Palace staff takes a dramatic turn when the young archduchess starts stalking him. Armed with only some salad dressing and elaborate dance moves, he must solve the mystery before time runs out – all while helping the future queen of France deal with a teenage crush.
This short and spooky adventure takes place some undetermined time after the events of Starbound, but has no bearing on the next books in the series.
I’m a bit biased on this one… because it’s MY novella! Yup, this Starstruck short had a surprise release Saturday, and I’m hoping everyone is really going to love it. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s just for my wonderful funs, for being so, well, wonderful.
It’ll be free until Halloween, then available for kindle. Who knows, maybe I’ll make us a paperback someday!
Adrienne Young has done it again! I can’t get enough of her Viking fantasy novels. They’re wonderful and enthralling and have the most badass women in fiction, ever.
For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.
For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.
Fair warning, this book can be quite brutal. The author makes it very clear that absolutely anyone can die at any time. So many of your favorite characters will not make it until the end. That is just the brutality of war. One clan has learned to grow past it, to no longer want it – and another, with a power-hungry leader, want to take the opportunity to rule. After the events of Sky In the Deep, the newly merged tribes know war is the last thing they want – but they know how to fight.
Halvard, the cute little brother from book one, has done a serious glow up. Ten years later and he’s tagged to be the next chief of the clan, a boy raised in peace to despise war. The book follows his growth as he learns to accept his new role and lead his people through a time no one wants for anyone. It is a heavy burden and he must learn not to shoulder it alone.
But the Girl the Sea Gave Back is Tova, the other protagonist of this book, and she’s a mystery even to herself. An outcast in the Svell clan for being a Kyrr, she also has the ability to read runes and see the future. But what she can’t she is her own beginnings. This mismatch of identity and basically abuse at the hands of the people who sheltered her drives her growth in this novel. But Tova’s personal story almost takes a step back as we explore the greater story of immident war. The question that arises then is: what role does fate play in our lives? Is everything set in (rune) stone? Is war inevitable or inadmissible?
I absolutely loved how we returned to the world of Eelyn and Fiske but saw a completely different side of it. Old favorites return and we see how the end of their war has changed them. How people grow during times of peace. How a peaceful people prepares for a war they do not want. How, on the other side, power corrupts.
It’s even stronger than Sky in the Deep. I loved it so much!
It’s a bittersweet moment when a series you love ends. You’re excited for the grand finale, but at the same time, you’ve grown so close to the characters that you can’t imagine a world without them. Thankfully, Sword and Pen is an epic conclusion to one of my favorite series, and I’m so happy that it ended so wonderfully. I would have read it faster, but I just didn’t want it to end!
Needless to say, spoilers for the first four books here on out.
With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.
The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.
We pick up immediately where we left off at the end of book four: the Archivist is on the run, and our little rebel family has taken over the great library. Now comes the toughest part: securing their victory. Saving the library from those who would rather destroy it then see it grow.
Unlike the previous books, here we switch POV’s constantly. Jess is no longer the center of the tale: the entire team (talk about #squadgoals) gets their chance at the spotlight, and it makes the book so fast-paced it left me breathless. The archivist is fighting to regain control, the enemies are literally at the library gates, spies and traitors fill the ranks of even the most elite: it’s a non-stop roller coaster.
I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Suffice to say I was thrilled to go an adventure with Jess and the crew one last time. I’m definitely going to miss this wonderful little family, and the world that Caine has created. It’s so hard to believe it’s over, but it was a wonderful send off.
Expected publication: September 9th by Berkley Books
And now, without further ado, an excerpt straight from Sword and Pen!
Brendan was dead, and Jess’s world
was broken. He’d never known a moment without his twin existing somewhere, a
distant warmth on the horizon, but now … now he shivered, alone, with his dead
brother held close against his chest.
So much silence in the world now.
still warm, Jess
thought, and he was, Brendan’s skin still felt alive, inhabited, but there was
nothing inside him. No heartbeat. No presence.
He was dimly aware that things were
happening around him, that the bloody sands of the arena were full of people
running, fighting, screaming, shouting. He didn’t care. Not now.
Let the world burn.
A shadow fell over him, and Jess
looked up. It was Anubis, a giant automaton god gleaming with gold. The
jackal’s black head blotted out the sun. It felt like the end of the world.
And then Anubis thrust his spear
forward, and it plunged into Jess’s chest. It held him there, pinned, and
suddenly Brendan’s body was gone, and Jess was alone and skewered on the spear
… but it didn’t hurt. He felt weightless.
Anubis leaned closer and said, Wake up.
When he opened his eyes, he was
lying in darkness on a soft mattress, covered by a blanket that smelled of
spice and roses. Out the window to his left, the moon floated in a boat of
clouds. Jess’s heart felt heavy and strange in his chest.
He could still feel the sticky
blood on his hands, even though he knew they were clean. He’d washed Brendan’s
blood away. No, he hadn’t. Thomas had
brought a bowl of water and rinsed the gore away; he hadn’t done anything for
himself. Hadn’t been able to. His friends had helped him here, into a strange
house and a strange bed. He knew he should be grateful for that, but right now
all he felt was empty, and deeply wrong. This was a world he didn’t know, one
in which he was the only surviving Brightwell son. Half a twin.
He’d have taken large bets that
Brendan would have been the one to survive everything, and come through
stronger. And his brother would have bet even more on it. The world seemed so quiet
Then you’ll just have to be louder, you moping idiot. He could almost hear his brother saying that with his usual cocky smirk. God knows you always acted like you wished you’d been an only child.
Before I let you go, here’s your chance to win both your own copy of Sword and Pen AND an opportunity to maybe bring home the entire series!
Hello dear readers! While some of you know, but others who are newer may not, is that I don’t just review books: I write them, too. And my fifth novel comes out on Tuesday! Today is my stop on the Starbound blog tour, and I’m going to share with you part of the first chapter from Zander’s point of view (a big change from the other four books in the Starstruck Saga). But first, a little about the book!
Spoilers for the first four books if you haven’t yet read them!
Home is where the heart is. Or maybe the pizza.
There’s no better feeling than being back home after a long week exploring the galaxy, though being abandoned by one’s friends and left to fend off a glitching evil robot spoils it. All that’s left is to settle back into life, preparing Marcy’s wedding and job hunting. If only mysterious midnight SWAT teams and crop-circle crafting-sessions weren’t constantly getting in Sally’s way.
When an old foe returns, and Sally is the only person on the planet to recognize it, it’s up to her, her sullen ex, and an overly-excitable FBI agent to save the planet. But first they have to get the president safely out of his favorite sushi bar without starting the war of the worlds.
It’s hard maintaining a long-distance relationship when your crush is light years away and thinks you died of old age, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet. Sally must save the planet, the universe, and herself – though maybe she’ll take a nap first.
I’m so excited to share with you this new book. So much happens, so many reveals and twists, that I was actually terrified of showing my publisher! But the outpouring of love and great reviews shows us that we made the right decision. Sally’s going to blow you all away!
And Zander will too: part of the book is from his perspective. Which I can promise you is not what you would expect…
Interplanetary Sibling Rivalry, Now in Technicolor
them. You hate them. They love you, support you, and then, just sometimes, they
just they twist you up in knots and stab you repeatedly with every trick they
know, not limited to those in the book. And sometimes that knife is quite
literal. It’s the cost of having family. Of having someone who will stick by you
for no reason other than she shares some genes with you.
someone who will destroy you for no farshing
point: Just when I was feeling happy, ready to have a nice cup of tea and, I
don’t know, enjoy the feeling of being clean for the first time in days, my
sister disintegrated me. Well, technically, she teleported me to who knew
where, just when I was going to ask about the flower-scented soap in the
bathroom and if it was okay that I had finished the bottle. In that case, good
thing Blayde got me out of there because things could have deteriorated fast.
jumping me again to some other place so I couldn’t get back? That was stone cold.
A jerk move if I had ever seen one, and boy, had I seen jerk moves.
second my cells started stitching
themselves back together, they were ripped apart once again, and I was sent
reeling back blindly through the vast emptiness of the universe. I couldn’t see
where I was going, I couldn’t see where I had come from, and I couldn’t see
anything at all since my eyes technically did not exist.
at times like these I seriously
considered buying myself a spaceship. Nothing fancy. Just something with a good
faster-than-light engine or a warp drive, a place to keep my stuff and make my
travels through the universe more scenic. And maybe, just maybe, having my own
keys would stop Blayde from farshing kidnapping
then again, parking’s terrible. And I hear the gas prices are worse than ever.
I was back in one piece, the ground firm beneath my feet once more. Instinct
kicked in before I had gathered my wits about me, automatically making sure all
my limbs were still attached to my body, counting off the arms and the legs,
fingers and toes, even as they spread into a pounce.
roar rang in my ears as I flew through the air, arms outstretched and hands
ready to go for her jugular. My fingers were wrapped around her neck before the
neurons had fired from my brain. Fury burned through my veins like a poison,
corrosive acid in my blood.
sidestepped easily, letting me crumple on the ground beside her. I felt the
heat as my face slammed into the metal floor, my nose snapping from the
did not return the attack. Flipping myself over, I brought a leg spinning under
her. I used my own momentum to jump to my feet, dropping my center of gravity
and swinging around to lash out with a right hook. She caught it square in the
jaw, a tooth flying off in the air and lodging itself in a nearby wall. She
scowled, blood pouring out of her lip, but I could already see the white enamel
growing back to fill in the gap in her mouth. A bruise blossomed and wilted on
to hit her again, but her arm flew out to grab mine, holding it easily in
midair. I struggled to break loose from her grip, but her fingers were clasped
firmly around my wrist, and I could barely move it. Effortlessly, she gave it a
twist, ripping my arm from the socket and effectively reducing the number of
punching elements by half.
nothing, cocking an eyebrow, as if waiting for me to start. So, I did.
the veesh do you think you’re
doing?” I shouted as I struggled to break free from the titanium grip. She
blinked then wasn’t there, and suddenly I was face down on the ground, hands
pinned behind my back, a knee on the back of my head.
she snapped, anger dripping from her lips. “Look at you, you’ve grown
She had underestimated
me. In seconds, I had thrown her off my back and pinned her down, my elbow
pressing on her windpipe. My useless arm
dangled by my side, but I hardly felt
it. She only smirked, unperturbed by the decrease in air flowing to her lungs.
not weak,” I snapped back. “You’ve grown paranoid. Look at you!”
held up our end of the deal,” she hissed. “We were free to go.
Nothing left for us to do on that dull excuse of a planet.”
you jumped us twice!” I pressed down harder, but she only rolled
her eyes. She motioned as if to say there was no way she could reply if she had no
air. I hopped on my feet, watching her get back up gingerly. I tried to cross
my arms but failed with the dangler.
thought you might jump right back,” she replied with a shrug, oblivious to
what I meant. I shook my head. I mean, screw her; that’s the part I was furious
about in the first place.
if I wasn’t ready to leave yet?” I snapped. “She was making us
“Can you even hear the words spilling out of your mouth?” she asked, leaning back against a shelf casually. “Oh, tea, yes, let’s all sit around and drink tea with the Earthling. When would you be ready to leave? Huh? A day? A month? Next year?” “I—” I sputtered. But I couldn’t reply. There was nothing I could say.
I hope you’re excited to read more! And remember, every preorder entitles you to a special gift. Working with Jessica from Paperly & Co, she has created these stunning character bookmarks which I can’t wait to put in your hands. Sally, Zander, and Blayde come to life and will happily keep your page in Starbound or any other book of your choosing!I hope you’re excited to read more!