Friday, January 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Frozen by Christine Amsden

The Cassie Scot, A ParaNormal Mystery is one of my favorite series. The series technically wrapped up after the fourth book, Stolen Dreams; but the characters aren't ready to close the book just yet. I was ecstatic to hear that the author is continuing the series; with the seventh book (after two spin-off books), Frozen tentatively schedule to release later this year!

I have the pleasure of revealing the cover for the next book in the Cassie Scot Series, so without further ado, I give you FROZEN!

Ebook Release: April 25, 2018
Print Release: June 15, 2018 (tentative)
Audiobook Release: TBA

Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married.

Cassie Scot is called away from her daughter’s first birthday party when a young couple is found frozen to death in their living room. The couple ran a daycare out of their home, making preschoolers the key witnesses and even the prime suspects.

The investigation takes a dangerous turn when a deputy is attacked by a hell hound, a creature nobody has seen in hundreds of years. Then the mist rolls in, bringing with it the cold. Cassie has to think fast to survive, and her actions cause a rift between her and her husband.

No, life doesn’t end after marriage. All hell can break loose at any time.


Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A to Z Bookish Survey

Hi Ya'll! I can't believe we're already half way through January, time is flying by! Over the years I feel as if I'm blogging less and less; life and work has taken a good portion away from my reading. I still read every day but just a few pages here and then, between break and what not. I plan to change that this year. Many people have new year resolutions, and while I don't necessarily believe in "new year" resolutions, I do plan on making changes; and a couple of those changes include writing, posting and reading more.

I normally just stick to book reviews on my blog. Or the occasional blog tours, but today I'm going to be doing something different. My girl, Natalie, tagged me in a fun book survey, so check it out below! (Warning, I'm a slow reader and I haven't read many books lately (BUT that's one of my changes) so my answers may be repetitive!)

And be sure to stop on by Natalie's page, Teen Literati and show her some love!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

I surprisingly have a lot of Go-To, Auto-Buy authors which means I've read pretty much most, if not all, of the books they write but without a doubt it'd be a tie between Seanan McGuire and Ilona Andrews; both Urban Fantasy authors. 

Best Sequel Ever:

Man, this is a tough one. I had to give it some serious thought. But at the top of my head; I'm going to go with A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Currently Reading:


I'm 'reading' two books right now; the first is Renegades and the second one is Magic Rises. I don't read many superhero novels but Renegades sounded interesting enough that I actually wanted to read it. And guess what? It's pretty great so far! And very different. The author said she was inspired by X-Men and I can definitely see that. Good thing I too, am a X-Men fan! Magic Rises is the 6th book in the Kate Daniel series, and I am soooo behind. The final, 10th book comes out this year! That's how behind I am LOL. I'm actually doing audiobooks for a change and this is my second audiobook and I'm loving it. It feel wonderful immersing myself back in Kate's world and I feel as if I've never left. It's always a treat when I read this amazing series. If you haven't read this series yet, you're totally missing out! Get on it ASAP!!! 

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Water or Dr. Pepper (I know soda is soo bad!)

E-reader or Physical Book?

99% of the time it's going to be a physical book. On the rare occassion that I don't want to luge a heavy book around, I'll bust out my e-reader. Or if I don't want to bend my book, lol! 

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

None. Because the guys I read about in books are so much better than little boys in high school! 

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Shadow and Bone. I remember the year this book came out, it was getting major crazy hype. People were going nuts for this book. When a book gets that much attention, I hesitate and tend to not read it. I even remember in 2012, seeing the author with no lines (now her lines are ridiculously long!) promoting her book but never bother to check out the series. Until last year and I'm glad I decided to read it after all these years. The world building is interesting and the story itself, well written. I do plan on reading the rest of the series...eventually.

Hidden Gem Book:

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock. This book is freaking fabulous! The perfect blend of multiple genres with one of the best female and male lead (a father-daughter relationship) I've read in a loooong time! And how awesome is that they're not the normal, leading romantic couple you find in most books. 

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Going to any book-related events. Past highlights are going to Victoria Schwab signings and Yallwest. Seeing Victoria speak in person is a pure treat; hearing her speak about writing, the book industry and just life in general is eye-opening and inspiring. Although we are practically the same in age; she makes me want to strive to better my life and career. Talk about goals! Yallwest was great last year and I hope I get the chance to go this year! Pub houses and authors all in one place, what more can a book lover ask for? Biggest highlIght of Yallwest for me last year was meeting Daniel Jose Older, love his adult/YA books! 

Just Finished:

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped. Despite the glowing 5-stars review, it rubbed me the wrong way. 

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Erotic and Western, I won't even bother with it. Not my cup of tea. 

Longest Book You’ve Read:

A conjuring of Light. I believe it was over 600 pages.

Major book hangover because of:

None that comes to mind.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

I have three bookcases and four wooden crates that I stack on one another to create two mini bookcases. I also have books lying around. I need more space! 

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I haven't had the opportunity to read many books over. I think the only time I read a book more than once is Magic Bites, book one, in the Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews.  

(Ya'll starting to see a pattern here? LOL.)

Preferred Place To Read:

Tucked under my blanket in bed. 

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

"We accept the love we think we deserve." —Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I don't know why but this quote has stayed with me for a long time...but pretty accurate.

None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are.
– Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat

Anit this the truth? I've always been a firm believer of this. 

Reading Regret:

This is probably one of the most beloved series out there. And also my biggest regret. I did not like this book at all. I felt like I wasted my time reading it as the ending was in reality, a no ending. Even after all these years, I can still remember how disappointed and unsatisfied this book left me. 

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I'm on the 4th book in Parasol Protectorate series and 5th and final book in the Shifter series, and the only reason why I haven't finished the books is because I don't want the series to end! I know it's not logical! But that's how I deal. 

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

1. Magic Stikes (Book 3) by Ilona Andrews
2. The Spellman Files By Lisa Lutz...The funniest book I've ever read!
3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Ilona Andrews and Seanan McGuire. If you're new to the UF genre, these authors are a MUST READ. Kick-Ass heroine, amazing world building and complex plot. The Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews have cool mythology and all the shifters your hearts desire and The October Daye Series has the best, darkest and most intricate work of faerie you'll ever see. 

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I just read The City of Brass, which is like Disney's Aladdin for adults! It was amazing and beautifully written. I am already pining for the sequel, The Kingdom of Copper!

Worst Bookish Habit:

As I kind of mentioned before, I will not read the last book in the series because I refuse to have it truly end. As illogical as that sounds, to me, if I don't finish the last book in the series then it's not over. I know! Don't judge me! Also, another bad habit is buying all the books in the series having only read one book in it. Terrible but I can't help myself!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon.

Your latest book purchase:

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews. Yes, Andrews AGAIN! 

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay and Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett. I just had to find out what happened next; only to be stopped short by the most dreadful cliff-hangers ever. Talk about a bombshell revelation for both books! 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I had to say about the series above! I hope this post helped you discover some new reads! 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Title: Burn for Me
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Series: Hidden Legacy

Mass Market Paperback, 382 Pages
Publication: October 28, 2014 by Avon

Source: Personal Library


Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Ilona andrews are hands down my favorite authors, their Kate Daniels series is what jump start my love for Urban Fantasy/Fantasy. Andrews has a few series under their belt and they’ve been a hit or miss for me. But when I heard they were writing a new series, The Hidden Legacy series I was ecstatic. The love for Burn for Me was off the chart and the reviews were mostly five stars. I thought great, this one is going to be a good one. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book like I hoped I would. I think it was too hyped up or my expectations were too high, who knows. If I can described this book with a single word it'd be: underwhelming. 

Let’s start with what I liked about the book, the world-building. When Andrews were in the process of writing the book, they gave a very basic detail of the world building, in which there were magical families and the more powerful they were, the more wealth and status they had. I was intrigued. Throw in the fact that the main heroine was a PI and a human lying detector; I was sold. However, I thought the plot was weak and slightly dull. Nevada is tasked or more like threaten with bringing in a prime magic user and to help her we have Rogan, another prime bad boy. Mixed in between the task at hand was sexual tension between the two characters, nevada going back and forth between loathing and admiring Rogan and that pretty much sums up the book. Nothing complex.

For the most part I like Nevada she’s relatable and someone I can see living in my community or someone I’d be friends with. She’s independent, a business woman and a hard-worker that doesn’t need a man to fulfill or support her. She’s highly capable of taking care of herself and her family, all admirable traits. As for our male protagonist/anti-hero Rogan…he’s an alpha male, no doubt but one that rubbed me the wrong way. I remember reading other reviewers comment about how they loved him and here I’m thinking what’s to love? He’s mean, narcissistic, ignorant and unapologetic. Did everyone forget he kidnapped Nevada? And towards the end of the book he had the audacity to tell Nevada they should sleep together. I was like ew, did he really just say that? Pig. Having finished Burn for Me and seeing Rogan make a conscious effort to be better, I still didn’t like him. As for all the side characters, I thought they all fell flat. The book as a whole felt underdeveloped, like the authors rushed to put this book out. It’s definitely not on the same level as their Kate Daniel series.

With that said, I’m still debating if I should continue the series or not. The thing with loving an author is that you’d think everything they write you’ll love, that it’d be great. I went out and bought all three books in the series based solely on it being written by them. I should have read Burn for Me first. All in all, Burn for Me was an okay read. I honestly don’t remember half of what happened in the story or the characters, even Nevada failed to make a lasting impression; which is never a good thing. I may or may not continue, but for sure, I won’t be rushing to start the sequel, White Hot.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

[Blog Tour] Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Blood and Sand Blog Tour! For today's stop, I have a an exclusive excerpt of Chapter One. Don't forget to check out the other tour stops and enter the giveaway below.

In stores and wherever books are sold January 16, 2018
Hardcover|Ebook| 320 Pages
Published by Tor Teen


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic—and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire—an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor.

Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end—and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

Chapter 1

They called them slaves.

In the shadow of the Coliseum, through the paved streets of
Rome, armed guards dragged them by the neck. Rusted iron
shackles cut at their wrists and ankles. Each labored breath was
fouled by the bitter stench of the city. Old and new blood darkened
the rope that bound them together. Clumps of hair, torn
fingernails, and other bits were trapped in the heavy, twisted
strands. It was a rope that had been used many times before.

A crowd of dusty citizenry parted to let them pass, urged
along by the guards and watchmen flanking the slaves on their
walk to the auction block.

Twenty-one women in total, and they all averted their eyes,
trembled with terror. All but one.

At the very end of the line, a slight figure lifted her head and
stared around her, her gaze steady, penetrating. The dirt and
mud that streaked her face wasn’t enough to hide her disgust.

She knew what was going to happen to her and the others. She
knew the warped rules by which the Romans played. Patricians
and plebeians. Masters and slaves. They all filled their roles
without exception. It didn’t matter who she was sold to, just that
she would be sold. She would be bought, and she would be paid
for, and she would be a slave.

She tried to summon calming pictures of her home—the
salty air that drummed against the walls of her father’s tent, the
alternating calm and fury of the Aegean, the stormy gray of
her mother’s eyes. But the pictures quickly turned to images of
carnage and violence.

She’d been a warrior once, and free. Now she was the only
one left, the last Thracian the world would never know. She
wondered if history would remember the genocide of the Maedi,
the annihilation of her people.
Doubtful, she thought. History only serves the winner.
Roma victrix.

She knew she didn’t have the luxury of denial—not if she
was going to survive. So when the bloodstained rope pulled her
forward with a sharp jerk, she focused instead on her training
and her discipline and managed to remain steady.

“Keep moving,” the guard behind her grumbled.

Gripping her rope with bleeding fingers, she spat into the
sand and walked on.


C. V. Wyk was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She has lived in five states in the continental US (and hopes to add a few international locales to that list). Prone to wanderlust and getting lost, Wyk likes to explore local hiking trails, mountain ranges, dark caves where nefarious mythical creatures undoubtedly reside, and libraries. She currently lives in Maryland with a precocious mini poodle and a demanding guinea pig. 

In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.


Tor Teen has provided 3 Hardcovers to be sent to 3 winners in the US or Canada. You must be 12 years or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule (weekdays Jan 8 – Jan 26)
Jan 9 – Novel Knight
Jan 10 – The Book Nut
Jan 12 – Rabid Reads
Jan 16 – Powder and Page
Jan 17 – Arctic Books
Jan 19 – Itching for Books
Jan 23 – Chasing Faerytales
Jan 26 – Gizmo’s Reviews

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The City of Brass
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy # 1

Hardcover, 533 Pages
Publication: November 14, 2017 by Harper Voyager 

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

The City of Brass is a Middle Eastern Fantasy that I didn’t know I was looking for. This book was beyond amazing. The characters are extremely complex, the world-building rich, vibrant and multifaceted and the writing impeccable. A wondrous book to start out the new year, not bad if I say so myself.

The book is narrated from two different point-of-views; Nahri a con-artist living in Cairo and Ali, a Daeva (Djinn) prince of Daevabad whom are both young adults (18-20s). Nahri never really believed in magic, sure she has heard tales of evil Djinns but they were just that, tales. Even with healing abilities and her knowledge of most, if not all languages still made her a skeptic of all things magic. However, one night while trying to exorcise a demon from a child; Nahri sang in a foreign tongue even she wasn’t aware of and woke ifrit demons and a long forgotten warrior. From there Nahri is thrown head first into the world of Daevabad, caught between the different tribes of Djinns, elemental creatures hunting her, and a dangerous game of politics as everyone is trying to make her their pawn.

Ali is the younger and second of two princes. He is training to be Qaid, the head of Djinn Royal Guard and to be his brother’s protector. Ali is a well-educated, passionate, kind hearted prince and one of the best swordsman Daevabad has seen since it’s last ruler, Zaydi was alive 1400 years ago. He would be the perfect son and prince if it wasn’t for his secret, or not so secret views of the Shafit people, those of mixed blood of Djinn and Humans. Ali believes the Shafit should have equals rights as the other tribes, but his father and the nobleman think otherwise.Being known as a Shafit sympathizer has damming consequences but Ali had a bigger secret that could condemn him to death if his father ever found out.

I’ve always found tales of Djinn fascinating but it wasn’t as prominent as other supernatural beings and it’s almost nonexistent on the literary front not counting the famous Arabian Nights Tales. Not only did Chakraborty put Djinn on the map but she also put Middle Eastern Fantasy at the forefront; bringing something fresh, new and unique to the Fantasy genre. After reading The City of Brass and being so enamored by the world and characters Chakraborty created, I did some research on Djinn mythology. I saw the basis of Djinn mythology and where she incorporated it into the story but she took the idea and completely made it her own; heavily expanding it to create a world that felt so realistic that one can’t resist the urge to go to Daevabad. I’m pretty sure anyone who has already read The City of Brass, wished Dara was real. Yes, please!

I absolutely loved The City of Brass! It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel because Chakraborty writes like a seasoned author. If you want to be swept away on a magic carpet and go on an unforgettable adventure; then you’ll want to read this book! The City of Brass will captivate you from the first page and have you begging for the sequel when you turn the last page. The City of Brass is wholly originally but it also reminded me of Disney’s Aladdin…but for adults! There’s a thief, a prince, a djinn and a magic carpet…need I say more? If you haven’t checked out this first in a new series then you need to hightail to the nearest bookstore, online retailer or library A.S.A.P. This is a book you don’t want to miss!

Monday, January 01, 2018

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Title: When I Cast your Shadow
Author: Sarah Porter
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 384 Pages
Publication: September 12, 2017 by Tor Teen

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead…

Ruby. Haunted by her dead brother, unable to let him go, Ruby must figure out whether his nightly appearances in her dreams are the answer to her prayers—or a nightmare come true…

Everett. He’s always been jealous of his dashing older brother. Now Everett must do everything he can to save his twin sister Ruby from Dashiell’s clutches.

Dashiell. Charming, handsome, and manipulative, Dash has run afoul of some very powerful forces in the Land of the Dead. His only bargaining chips are Ruby and Everett. At stake is the very survival of the Bohnacker family, bodies and souls…

I’m all about dark, twisted, macabre stories. Adding in family is just an extra bonus as Porter seamlessly incorporated both of these concepts in When I Cast Your Shadow. When I Cast Your Shadow follows the Bohnacker family, specifically twins, Everett and Ruby who are still grieving the death of their older brother, Dashiell. It’s been two months since Dashiell OD but the twins felt as if Dashiell was still around. And they weren’t wrong. Dashiell’s ghost is still lingering among the living and running away from another ghost; but the only way to accomplish that is by possessing his little sister, Ruby.

I was really stoked when I first heard the synopsis for this novel. I am all for books about ghosts, demons and family;it sounded right up my alley. I really like the concept of the novel and how Porter used dreamscape and possession. She took it to a whole new level. Especially when Dashiell or another spirit was in the driver seat. Talk about creepy! Then there were the characters. I had a problem connecting with the characters. They were pretty flawed, to the point where it pulled me away from the story; which isn’t good. I mean I appreciate flawed characters but they were too flawed, even by my standards. Ruby and Everett’s actions and choices were just plain ol’ bad and silly. They rationalize their action out of love; and I can see it from their side but most of the time it was down right disturbing and ill-advised. The Bohnacker family life is at times touching but also questionable. Everett will do anything for Ruby even if it cost him his sanity or life. And Ruby loved/loves Dashiell unconditional, but her love for her brother felt skewed and it was more like worship. If that makes sense. Their relationship felt toxic and extremely unhealthy.

When I Cast your Shadow started out promising, even enjoyable but that was short-lived as I got deeper into the story. I couldn’t get over what the characters did (or did not do). It also didn’t help matters that there were four different narrations; it was too much, too ambitious? I think having one narrator would’ve worked more in favor of the novel. In any story, It’s really important that I feel connected to the characters because if one is not connected to the characters then you become uninterested in the story and outcome; which is what happened here. Although I wasn’t a fan of the characters it wasn’t a complete lost. As I said, I enjoyed the concept and thought the writing was well done. That said, I’d round this book to a solid three stars. I really wished I loved this book and though that wasn’t the case….other readers may feel differently. I suggest checking an out a sample or except before reading.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

[Blog Tour] Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer Excerpt

Can't you hear it, Tali?

Can't you hear the waves singing?

Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea. It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods' history--and her own--the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.


The fever latched tight onto her mother, and wouldn’t let go.

One week. Two. She slept poorly; she woke frantically. Captain Oblaine’s opium supply dwindled—it was the only thing that made her easy again.
At the beginning of the third week, Talia got his permission to bring her mother to his private quarters, a small chamber adjoining the great cabin.
There, at least, she could sit in bed and look out the windows to the sea. Oblaine’s willingness to do so would have surprised Talia,
 if not for the marked pity in his eyes when he looked at them.

He felt sorry for the woman driven mad by her banishment.

He felt sorry for the girl clinging desperately to the idea that her mother would soon be perfectly well again.
His pity made Talia angry, but she accepted it anyway.
Her mother was lucid, sometimes. She would wake in a quiet confusion,
scoot up against her pillows and take Talia’s hands in hers. 
She’d say she was sorry for bringing this upon them, but they would build a new life together in Ryn, take care of each other.
She would smile at Talia, and then her eyes would slide over to the windows, a wild panic seizing her.

“I need to watch the sea! I need to protect the ship! 
If I’m not watching she will come—she will break us—she will drag our souls into the depths and there will be no rest—”

“Hush, Mama,” Talia whispered into her ear, trying to soothe her even through her own fear. “All is well. There isn’t any danger. Don’t worry.”

But her mother wept and wouldn’t listen. Sometimes she wrested her way out of bed, stumbling through the Captain’s quarters and out onto the deck toward the rail, toward the sea. Once, she made it all the way, and Talia was terrified she meant to throw herself overboard. 

But she didn’t, just stared into the water and crumpled to her knees. “She’s so angry,” she sobbed. “So angry.”

Hanid and Captain Oblaine both appeared at Talia’s elbow, and helped half carry her mother back to bed.

Her mother’s wrist didn’t heal. She was forever knocking it on something in her ravings, and Oblaine could do nothing but continue to bandage it, continue to knot a sling around her neck.

It was easiest when her mother slept. Those were the only times Talia left her, to wander listlessly about the deck, or climb up into the riggings and tuck herself against the main mast. She clung to the ropes and cried, shuddering in the icy wind. She ached with homesickness, and worry for her mother ate her from the inside. She couldn’t fix her mother, couldn’t help her. She couldn’t do anything, and she hated it.

One night, when her mother had been ill an entire month, Talia left her sleeping quietly in the captain’s cabin and shimmied up the riggings to the crow’s nest, her favorite spot. She wrapped herself in the blanket she’d brought and stared out at the stars as they burned white and cold in the vast sky. They seemed close enough
to touch, as if she could step from the mast and pluck one like an orange from the heavens.

The moon rose, round and silver, from out of the sea, and her mind jumped back to the night of her arrest, where moonlight had flooded into the ballroom. For a moment, she let herself long for the life Eda had stolen from her.

Hanid was right: this was outside of her control. She could no more crown herself Empress of Enduena, or shake the shadows from her mother’s mind, 
than she could take a star from the sky. But that didn’t mean she was helpless, either.

Her mother would get better, when they landed in Ryn—Talia just needed to get her away from the sea. And they didn’t have to stay with Eda’s wretched baron, they could scrape out a living of their own. Talia would find work somewhere, make enough money to give her mother all the comforts she deserved. They didn’t need a grand life in Eddenahr to be happy.

The moon blurred a little before her eyes. My mother is still here, she told herself fiercely. That hasn’t changed.

She sensed movement below her and peered down to see a lantern bobbing on the deck. “Your mother is asking for you, Miss Dahl-Saida!” came Hanid’s voice.

She blinked the tears away and scrambled down in a hurry.

About the Author

Joanna Ruth Meyer is a writer of Young Adult fantasy. She lives with her dear husband and son in Arizona, where it never rains (or at least not often enough for her!). When she's not writing, she can be found teaching piano lessons, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading thick books, and dreaming of winter.

Connect with Joanna

Visit the other stops on the Tour!

December 20: YA Books Central

December 21: Fantasy Book Critic 

December 22: Brittany’s Book Rambles 

December 27: SFFWorld

December 29: SciFiChick

January 2: The Cover Contessa

January 11: Fantasy Book Cafe
January 18: YA Interrobang