Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Coloring Book

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine where we show what we are waiting for on Wednesday.



My WOW Pick this week is:
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Adult Coloring Book


Dark Horse Books
January 17, 2017

Book Summary:

Enter the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the chosen one who wields the skill to fight vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. Created by the multi-talented Joss Whedon and beloved the world over, your favorite characters and moments from the Buffy television series are all represented in this engrossing adult coloring book. Containing forty-five intricately-detailed original illustrations ready for you can add your own colors to Buffy and the good guys as well as all the big bad guys!

All artwork is original and created explicitly for this official Buffyadult coloring book.

Includes art from such Buffy regulars as Karl Moline, Rebekah Isaacs, Georges Jeanty, Yishan Li, Steve Morris, Newsha Ghasemi, and others!

Reason I'm Waiting;

Those who know me really well, know that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I truly love it and so need this coloring book. As a BTVS fan, this coloring book is a must have for me. I will be waiting patiently for this coloring book...






Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review: Her Majesty's Necromancer by C.J. Archer (Ministry of Curiousities #2)


Title: Her Majesty’s Necromancer
Author: C.J. Archer
Series: The Ministry of Curiousities
Genre: Steampunk, Young Adult, New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Pub Date: August 24, 2015
Pages: 240
My Copy: Bought From Amazon

Book Summary:

When bodies go missing from the cemetery, Lincoln and the Ministry of Curiosities investigate. But not Charlie. As a housemaid at Lichfield Towers, she doesn't get involved in Ministry business.

Instead, she conducts investigations of her own. She searches for details about her real mother, and makes inquiries into Lincoln's background. What she learns has the power to destroy the fragile trust they've built, or bring them closer together.

As secrets are revealed, and investigations don't go as planned, Charlie finds her necromancy sucking her into a whirlpool filled with betrayal, lies and danger. 

Book Review:

A terrific second installment in this wonderfully complex world. I totally love how Charlotte, Lincoln and the rest of the characters grow in ways that you would never expect. We also learn a lot more about what motivates certain people and their pasts.

I like how this book picks from the first book. We have a mystery of why the men who were taking a dead body out of the cemetery. Now there are two reasons according to Lincoln why they would be doing this, one is for medical research or they want to use the body for nefarious purposes. So of course Lincoln decides to investigate what Charlie has claimed to have seen.

This book was interesting as there are some things that happen, that you can’t predict happening. I like how Charlie and Lincoln are investigating who her mother was or is. Nothing shows up, even Charlie starts to get curious about things. We also learn that the body snatching mystery is part of something bigger as Charlie is becoming more comfortable in using her abilities with Lincoln’s help to control the dead. I also like how we learn a lot about how everybody has different goals and their pasts affect the present.

I like how everybody has a different view point of Lincoln’s love life or prospects of marriage. Even Lady Harcourt thinks she should have some say in who he marries. This was an interesting thing that happened as a certain young lady with her mother is interested in him. Charlie’s view point of this is that she don’t like this duo at all and thinks that Fitzroy would be smarter than to subject himself to do it. Yet he is a very cordial and conversational to them. Then we learn something about Harcourt’s ruthlessness.

We learn that Fitzroy’s childhood and learning from his tutors was not nice at all. There is a secret that Charlie wants to know, as well as does Lady Harcourt. Yet Charlie tries to be obedient, but she investigates Lincoln’s past and triggers something more than she expected to find. Also Lincoln tells her not to ask questions about his tutor. You can tell it’s a sore subject for him. 
Things happen in a way you can’t expect for the revelations that the tutor did and what caused this to happen.

Also we learn that the person who hired the grave robbers decides to kidnap Charlie. Yet Charlie has been taking self defense classes with Lincoln which helps her quite a lot. I like how things change through out the book. They manage to defeat the person who wants to use Charlie for nefarious purposes, but other things happen as well in this book because of curiosity. Curiosity is not always a good thing.

When Lady Harcourt comes and asks Charlie to resurrect the spirit of the old tutor, when Charlie refuses to do it, because she is very loyal to Lincoln, doesn’t want to do it. Harcourt blackmails her. This leads to some painful things being revealed by the dead tutor. Yet later on we get more detail on what lead to the death of this tutor and it’s not what you would expect. You get a deeper understanding of who Fitzroy is after hearing about what lead up to the death of this tutor and someone else as well, that we didn’t know about. Of course this leads to some awkwardness as well. I love how Charlie, Seth, Gus, Cook, Fitzroy are becoming almost like a family in their own bizarre way. 

There are two developments that I found myself liking in this book, the surprising interaction between Fitzroy and Charlie right at the end, which is sure to complicate things even more for Charlie and Lady Harcourt’s stepson has gone missing and she is very worried. I find myself enjoying this series more and more with each book.

Rating:

Four Hearts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Brunch: Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton


Title: Repressed
Author: Elisabeth Naughton
Series: Deadly Secrets #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pub Date: July 26, 2016
Pages: 318 
My Copy: Courtesy of NetGalley and Montlake Romance

Book Summary:

Hidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden. This time no one will be safe. 

Book Review:

A totally interesting and complex book of what happens when the past and present collide in a really very interesting and complex story of relationships. Samantha and Ethan are totally two people who’s past are at the very heart of this story and how they had to change their lives because of a tragedy. These two have to overcome a lot of their issues and learn the truth of what really happened one night.

What I like about this book is that we start with something tragic happening to a young boy’s death. The way it was presented was a good introduction to this story and we fast forward to the presented where our heroine Samantha Parker is always having the same nightmare, not realizing that they are repressed memories. We move to the present where someone is playing pranks on her or giving her warnings. Samantha gets the feeling that the latest warnings near her mothers house, is not a prank but a warning. She feels like someone is targeting her. According to Samantha, their has been other weird stuff. 

We get to meet a bunch of characters who are very important to this story as well. They all are part of the community of Hidden Falls. These people are all connected as we learn that the past is very much part of these people lives. There is a secret that everybody shares even if one of them has repressed it. I thought that Will, Margarget, Kenny, Jeff all made a very interesting combination of characters. Also Ethan shares a past with them, but he hasn’t been back here for quite a while. He comes back to this town because he is trying to help a young kid named Thomas Adler out.
Things happen through out the book. We learn that Ethan and Thomas have a lot of things in common because of their circumstances of what happened when they were young. We learn that someone is trying to give warnings and scare Samantha. Samantha knows something and the group is divided, meaning Will and the others are about what to do with her. Margaret seems like she is the ring leader of course. Margaret tells Kenny not to bother Samantha. She will take care of Samantha. He is making things worse. Samantha knows what happened that night even if she doesn’t remember. Margaret is a very mean and devious woman, she thinks she can control things. 

Ethan and Samantha really do have a great chemistry. I like how the relationship goes through its ups and downs. They do talk about things but not really about their pasts. They don’t realize as they are both pursuing this relationship that their pasts are really linked in a way they can’t expect. They talk about their parents and his adopted parents and his adopted siblings. They have a lot of chemistry and it sparkles in a way that you can’t expect. Both Ethan and Samantha changed their names, so neither of them know their connection to one another.

Thomas Adler is also interesting as his storyline comes in direct contact with things that have happened in the past. Margaret knows who Thomas Adler biological mother. There is a skull that is found on Samantha’s property and Samantha remembers a teacher that went missing a few years ago. We learn so many things about this woman Sandra Hollis. Sandra Hollis was quite a piece of work. She did some really questionable moral things. We also learn that Thomas Adler is her son. So we learn this woman was murdered in that cabin and Samantha saw it, but only told her brother about it. Kenny, Jeff, Will were the ones that did it along with Jenkins, the neighborhood Newspaper reporter. We learn that Margaret is the one who blackmailed Jeff into marrying her. Things quickly escalate in a way that you never expect. I like the crazy twists and turns this book takes. Plus people try to save Samantha and don’t always end up doing so. We learn that some people are murdering one another in the group to take care of what they perceive to be a problem.

I really enjoyed the way this book took on some surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming. Yet they were enjoyable nail-biting and shocking at times. Yet the past can never be forgotten. It has to be faced and nothing can be repressed forever. I was hoping for a happy ending and as the book concluded, everybody gets what they deserve and Samantha and Ethan both get their happy ending.

Rating:


4.5 Hearts

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stacking The Shelves, Bought Borrowed and Bagged, and Coloring Book Updates

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Bought, Borrowed and Bagged is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe Blog

Note: This week was so busy at work, I really didn't get much time to get a lot of reading done.

NetGalley/Edelweiss



Print Books



Come Home to Color Coloring Book Update


Game of Thrones Coloring Book Update

Mermaids, Fairies and Other Girls of Whimsy Coloring Book Update


Mindfulness Coloring Book Update

Real Art Therapists of New York Coloring Book

Romantic Country Coloring Book Update


The Time Garden Coloring Book Update:












Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wicked Trilogy #2)

Title: Torn
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Wicked Saga #2
Genre: New Adult Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Self-Published 
Pub Date: July 19, 2016
Pages: 299
My Copy: E-Book That I bought

Book Summary:

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. 

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. 

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? 

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself. 

Book Review:

Absolutely loved this book. This book was like a wonderful mix of emotions, actions, surprises and lots of twists and turns that made me want even more of these characters and world. Ivy finds herself in a very weird place at the beginning of this book.

We were left with a big cliffhanger at the end of Wicked. We learn that Ivy Morgan is the halfling and has a major problem now. She has to do something, but instead tries to live her life and begins to wonder what her life is going to be like once the order finds out the truth about her and Ren does as well. She doesn’t like having a secret, especially one as this. If the prince gets his hands on her, Ivy will be forced or so she thinks to have a baby that will bring forth the end of things.

Also not to mention we learn there are things that we didn’t know about certain characters. We learn a lot more than I think and even Ivy and Ren ever wanted to know about Tink. There is some background about the Prince, Val that wasn’t in the first book and certainly explains a lot of things about why the Prince came through and how he felt like he had to cross the barrier because the world that the Fae come from is dying. Plus he has assimilated to this world very quickly. I totally found the fact that he is trying hard to win Ivy to his side is downright scary. He tells her that this world is there only hope if the faewant to live. Tink is not the size we first thought he was. He is actually much bigger and has a lot more abilities than we ever thought possible as he turns big and kills the knight that was sent to kill Ren. I thought the reveal and the way Think handled the knight was just interesting and awesome.

Ivy also has so many twists and turns coming towards her. As she and Val really get into a big time fight and things end up badly for Val. Not to mention the prince captures Ren. We also learn that there is a community of fae, that doesn’t feed on humans. So Ivy and Ren are trying to locate this so called community. Ren, gets captured of course, and things get bad and when things turn bad, they really get bad. I think one of the things that I really found intense was how bad Ren and Ivy each suffer in their own ways by the prince and his minions.

Ivy makes a deal with the prince to free Ren. We also learn that the prince is not a very patient man and his name is Drake (very original). He likes this world and all the amenities it offers. Ivy tells him that humans will fight back. We also learn that halflings can feed on human beings and he forces Ivy to feed unwillingly from human beings. She doesn’t like it. He really wants Ivy to understand and become his willingly, so that she will give birth to the supposed apocalypse baby as Ivy has called the yet unborn child. We learn from another character who helps Ivy escape with Ren and from other people/fae’s that sometimes halflings can become addicted to feeding from humans. It’s a horrible thing that Ivy was forced to do. 

I also like that Ivy and Ren reunited and make up. Plus they learn that this community wants to stop the Fae prince and needs help to make sure he doesn’t succeed. This is going to be the story going forward into the third book. I thought that there were a lot of developments in this book with the prince, Ivy and Ren’s relationship being put through a test. Also the fact that Ivy’s life and having to deal with more things than she ever thought possible. I really enjoyed this second book in this installment.

Rating:


Four Hearts

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Stacking The Shelves, Bought and Borrowed, Coloring Book Updates



Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Bought, Borrowed and Bagged is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe Blog


Note: This Week was more interesting as I had the Holiday, Jury Duty and Work. Even though Jury Duty was for one day. I had an interesting time at Jury Duty. It wasn't as groan worthy as I thought it would be



NetGalley/Edelweiss Books








E-Books Bought 



Print Books Bought


Adult Coloring Treasury Book Vol 1 Update:


Big Adult Coloring Book Update:


Come Home to Color Coloring Book Update:


Mindfulness Coloring Book Update:






The Time Garden Coloring Book Update:


Wildlife of New York Coloring Book Update:
















Friday, September 16, 2016

Month 9 Books Friday Reveal: Immortal by Nicole Conway (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)


Today Nicole Conway and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for IMMORTAL, the final book in the Dragonrider Chronicles which releases November 8, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!



A quick note from the author:

This book marks the end of the first Dragonrider series, and I couldn't imagine a better cover to go with it. It's a darker but beautiful reflection of the first book's cover, just as the war has changed Jaevid from an innocent boy to a man chosen by destiny and driven to do what is necessary to save his loved ones. To be honest, I had mixed feelings as I put the final touches on this book. I'm filled with hope for the next series, confidence that my readers will enjoy it as much as they have the first one, but also sadness to see this one come to a close. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend, knowing you'll see them again someday.



Title: IMMORTAL (Dragonriders Chronicles#4)
Author: Nicole Conway
Pub. Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Goodreads


Destiny has called.

With Jaevid Broadfeather forever lost to the depths of Luntharda, Felix Farrow struggles to stand on his own. He begins a violent downward spiral which causes him to abandon his post as a dragonrider, hiding in the halls of his family estate. His one hope for redemption lies within the heart of someone from his past—and the very last person he ever wanted to see again.

And now the time has finally come.

Hovrid, who has ruled Maldobar as a tyrannical imposter, is preparing to make a decisive assault against Luntharda that will destroy what remains of the elven race. Only Jaevid, Felix, and their trusted friends are able to stand in his way. They have only one chance to end the war, and only one hope to absolve the curse that threatens to destroy their world. The stage is set. The plan is in motion.

What began as one boy’s adventure will now end in blood.



PART ONE
FELIX
ONE

I lost Jaevid and Mavrik in the fray almost immediately. 
In front of me, my riding partner, Lieutenant Darion Prax, was leaning into his dragon’s speed as we made our final approach. Behind me, a dozen more riders were following us in. Below me, the city of Barrowton boiled with the fury of battle. Our lines of infantry were broken, but trying to reform. The gray elves fought like savages, wielding spears, bows, and scimitars. Some of them rode on the backs of jungle monsters, others were zipping around us through the sky on creatures called shrikes. Our natural enemies.
Prax gave me a few brisk hand signals, instructing me to move into place and get ready. I twisted my saddle handles slightly, applying a bit of pressure under the saddle. With a few heavy beats of her wings, my dragon caught up with him and flew right underneath him. Nova was a big girl, bigger than most male dragons twice her age. But what she lacked in speed she made up for in other ways—something the gray elves were about to figure out first hand. 
We dropped down lower. Arrows sailed past my helmet. One bounced off my breastplate and gave me a scare. I leaned down closer to Nova’s body for shelter from the hail of fire coming from below. Unlike most of the other dragons, gray elf arrows couldn’t pierce her thick hide. 
I checked Prax out of the corner of my eye. He was giving me one finger and a closed fist. First target. Time to hit hard. I clenched my teeth and twisted the saddle handles, giving Nova the signal. 
Prax and I dove as one, our dragons spiraling in unison towards the ground. We pulled out of the dive flying side-by-side, barely a hundred feet off the ground behind the enemy lines. I squeezed Nova’s sides with my boot heels, and I felt her take in a deep breath.  
Together, our dragons showered the ground with a storm of their burning venom. 
Gray elf warriors screamed. They fired at us with everything they had. But our rain of fire didn’t end until Nova had to stop for another breath. 
We broke skyward and began preparing to make another coordinated pass. 
But the second time wouldn’t be so easy. The trail of flames and burning corpses we’d left behind had gotten the attention of a few warriors on shrikes. I spotted four of them heading straight for us. 
I gave Prax the news—we had company.
He quickly replied with a plan. 
I was slower, so I was bound to be their first target. But that was fine; I was ready.
When his volley of arrows failed, the first gray elf rider had his shrike attack us outright. The bizarre creature was like a furious mirage of mirrored glass scales. It wrapped around Nova’s neck and started clawing at her eyes. Nova roared and slung her head back and forth. The shrike’s rider was twisting in his saddle, drawing another arrow that was aimed right at me. 
“Better make that shot count,” I yelled and drew my sword.
Suddenly, Prax blurred past us. 
There was a crunching sound and a shrike’s yelp of pain as his dragon got a tasty mouthful of the monster. I saw the gray elf rider fall from the saddle and begin to plummet toward the ground. A very small part of me felt bad for him. The rest of me still remembered he’d just tried to kill me.
Another shrike hit Nova. Then another. One was wrapped around her head again while the other hit much closer to the saddle—closer to me—right at the base of her tail. I twisted the one saddle handle I was still hanging onto and Nova pitched into a violent roll. She spun, getting faster and faster. 
The shrike on her head lost his grip. He flew backwards, bouncing along her body and whooshing past me. One well aimed thrust of my sword made sure he wouldn’t be coming back around for a second try. 
 The last shrike and rider were a problem, though. She was trying to cut my saddle straps. Clever. Effective, too, if she managed it. 
But I wasn’t about to give her that chance. 
I sheathed my sword and twisted the handles again, hanging on for dear life. Nova snapped her wings in tight against her body and dropped from the sky like a giant, scaly stone. The further we fell, the faster we went. The wind howled past my helmet. The ground was getting closer and closer.  
I bit back a curse and looked back. It was working. The shrike was losing his grip, sliding further away from me down Nova’s tail.
I squeezed my heels against her ribs. 
Nova spat a burst of flame directly in front of us, and I hunkered down against her as she wrapped her wings around herself. Everything went dark. I could smell the acrid venom in the air. It made my eyes sting. I could feel the heat of the flames as I panted for breath. 
Dragon venom is funny stuff. It’s sticky like sap and highly acidic. It’ll burn through just about anything—except a dragon’s own hide.  
Nova flew through her own burst of flames, shielding me with her wings. When we came out the other side, she flared her wings wide and caught the air like a kite. Below us, a shrike-shaped fireball crashed into the ground.  
 Prax appeared next to us, giving me hand signals again. You okay?
I gave him a thumb’s up. 
Good. Time for another pass.


*****


The battle was over. 
The shouting voices and clashing blades had gone quiet. Now, there was only the crackling of the flames still smoldering in what was left of Barrowton. It was a wasteland – barely more than a charred crater littered with the bodies of the fallen. 
Yet another ugly scar on Maldobar’s landscape.
We’d only just gotten back to the citadel at Northwatch—our little slice of paradise where the forces assigned to protecting the northern border were housed. Group after group of dragons and their riders continued to land on the platform and file into the tower. One hundred proud warriors had left to retake the city only a few days before. Less than forty of us returned.
Still, I was only looking for one.
“Where is he? Does anyone see him?!” I shouted at the top of my lungs and shoved my way through the other dragonriders. I called his name over and over, hoping to spot him or his blue dragon making their way down the corridor ahead of me. They must have fallen behind. 
I searched every bloodied, war-beaten face that came walking in from the rain. Before I knew it, I was standing back at the open gateway that led out onto the platform. 
Jaevid Broadfeather was nowhere to be found.
Someone grabbed my shoulder. A bolt of hope shot through me as I spun around, hoping to see him standing there. 
It wasn’t him. 
It was my riding partner, Lieutenant Prax, standing over me like a giant in blood-spattered battle armor. He was much older than I was and a far more seasoned rider. That’s why the look on his face absolutely terrified me.
“No one saw him or Jace depart with us.”
I was instantly sick. I couldn’t accept that. Jaevid wouldn’t just roll over and die—not this easily. We’d made it this far, gone through all of our dragonrider training together from beginning to end – so I knew he could fight. Sure, I’d teased him plenty about sucking at hand-to-hand combat, but I’d never met anyone faster or better with a blade. He was half gray elf, for crying out loud. Granted, he hid it well, but I knew he had that elven killer instinct buried down deep in his soul. I’d seen it surface once or twice before when someone pushed him too far.
I had to believe he was here somewhere. I just hadn’t found him yet. 
I turned around with every intention of standing out on the platform in the driving rain until I saw him land. Boy, was he in for it. That little jerk should have known better than to pull a stunt like this after our first battle, the one time I hadn’t been standing right next to him while we did something ridiculously dangerous to make sure he didn’t get killed. 
Prax grabbed my arm to stop me. There was no shaking off his grip. “We can’t go out there. They want the platform clear for the riders still landing. We’ll have to wait in the stable.” 
I stole another glance out of the gateway. The skies were choked with rumbling black storm clouds and the rain was falling hard enough to obscure the city below. Every couple of minutes, the ominous, dark shape of a dragon appeared through the gloom, wings spread wide and legs outstretched to stick the landing. As they landed, infantrymen rushed out to help the riders dismount and escort them inside. Some of them had to be carried because of their injuries. Their cries of pain were drowned out by the sound of the thunder. 
“Come on.” Prax shook me a little to break my trance. “You need to look after your lady. Then I’ll wait with you back at his stall.”
I didn’t like it. I wanted to be standing right here when Jae finally dared to show his face after making me stress out like this. But Prax was right. My dragon, Nova, was still dressed in her saddle and I needed to get her settled in before I did anything else.
The work was distracting. It kept me from staring at the gateway every single second while I unbuckled her saddle strap-by-strap and checked her over for injuries. Thankfully, she was unharmed. Her scales really were as strong as iron plates. And judging by a few nicks and scrapes I found around her chest and neck, that trait had saved her life more than once.
Once she was fed and nestled into a bed of hay for the night, I closed the door to her stall and immediately made a break for the platform. I had every intention of waiting there again. I didn’t make it there, though.
Everyone was waiting on me. The other surviving riders in Emerald Flight had gathered outside Nova’s stall. 
“They still haven’t come back yet?” I looked at Prax, expecting an answer.
He didn’t have to give a verbal one. Once again, his expression said it all. Jaevid and his senior partner, Lieutenant Jace Rordin, still hadn’t returned. 
So we waited. 
Sitting outside Jaevid’s empty dragon stall, we watched the rest of our dragonrider brothers tending to their mounts like I had. It wasn’t looking good. The elves had made an impressive stand at Barrowton and our ranks had taken a beating. Less than half of us had returned and many of those were wounded or grounded because their mount had been injured. The riders landing now were barely able to limp in out of the rain. Some of them even had to be carried. 
I watched one rider who had to be dragged off the platform by the infantrymen. He was shouting like a madman, still crazed from battle. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying or why he was so upset until a big group of soldiers rushed past us to help restrain him. Then I heard why.
His dragon had managed to carry him back safely to the tower, but the creature had died on the platform shortly after. 
The rider’s grief-stricken screams mingled with the constant rush of the rain. It was a sound I’d never forget.
I couldn’t watch anymore after that. I leaned against the stall door with my eyes closed, trying not to think about or imagine anything. Then, infantrymen rolled the iron grate down over the passage that led out onto the platform. It made an awful clanging sound. 
That was it. The last of us who survived the battle had landed.   
It was over. We all knew it, and yet none of us wanted to be the first to get up and leave. 
It didn’t feel real. I didn’t want to believe it was. There had to be some kind of mistake. He was going to pull off another miracle, come wandering in with that weird, self-conscious smile on his face and start apologizing—he had to. It wasn’t supposed to end this way. 
“Jace was set on going head- to- head with that gray elf princess again.” Someone finally spoke up and broke the heavy silence. “He must’ve dragged Jaevid into it, too. Poor kid wouldn’t stand a chance in a skirmish like that.”
I pushed away from the door and started walking away. I didn’t want to hear this. I didn’t care how he died. He was gone. The how didn’t matter. 
I thought I managed to get away without any of them following me. But I should’ve known better than to think Prax would let me go. I heard his heavy footsteps and the clinking of his armor as he fell in right behind me.
He waited until we were well away from the others, standing just inside the stairwell that spanned the full height of the fifty-story tower, to catch me by the shoulder. “I’m sorry, boy.” 
“Sorry won’t bring my best friend back from the dead. Sorry never did anyone any good. It’s a waste of everyone’s time,” I snapped. 
He let me go. I could see sympathy in his eyes as he stared down at me. It pissed me off. For a few seconds, neither of us said a word. Then he shook his head. “We’ve all lost someone today, Felix. Every last one of us. So go do whatever you have to do. Work it out. Then clean up your armor and get ready again. You and I are some of the few who are still battle-ready.” 
I already felt like a total failure for letting my best friend down. I’d let him die alone in battle. And now I felt worse knowing I’d offended Prax, although there wasn’t a lot I wanted to do about it right now. All I knew was that my insides hurt. I couldn’t think beyond the rage that was burning in my body like hellfire. I could practically taste the flames crackling over my tongue. I needed a way to let it out. 


****


Three days. That’s how long it took Prax to resurface and try talking to me again. 
I knew he’d be coming. I was already on borrowed time. At any given moment, orders could come down and I’d be sent back to the battlefront somewhere to kill more elves in the name of peace and justice. A bunch of crap, really. Neither existed in my world. 
My knuckles were bleeding through the strips of bandages I’d wrapped them in. It probably had something to do with me facing off with a sparring bag every day at dawn, pounding at it with all my strength until I was too weak to stand. I didn’t stop to eat and sleeping was totally out of the question so I didn’t even bother trying. 
Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. I was asking myself a lot of hard questions while whaling against the sand-filled training bag, and most of those questions I no longer had an answer for.
Why was I here? Punch. What was this all for? Punch. Could I even justify not being at my estate now? Punch. 
“Felix.” Prax’s voice interrupted the rhythm of my internal interrogation. 
I stopped and let my arms drop. They were so numb I couldn’t even feel my fingers anymore. I turned around, wiping away the sweat that was dripping into my eyes. 
I expected to see Prax there, giving me one of those cautious, sympathetic gazes. But I hadn’t expected to see the guy next to him. I didn’t know him. Rather, I’d never laid eyes on him before. But I knew right away who he must be. 
Jae had never been all that chatty when it came to his family. I could sympathize. My own family life hadn’t been great, but it didn’t hold a candle to what I suspected Jae had put up with. 
When we’d first met, he looked like a pulverized, half-starved puppy. Some of the other guys training with us liked to pick on him because he was one heck of an easy target—but they weren’t the cause of all those bruises. Some of those marks had been older. Much older. He’d gotten them long before he’d darkened the door of the dragonrider academy. So I went out of my way to ask Sile about them. Needless to say, the answer had been unsavory.
My father had never beaten me, even when I probably deserved it. He didn’t have the strength or the audacity. He popped me across the cheek a few times for mouthing off, sure, but that was more embarrassing than anything else. 
Jae, though? He probably weighed eighty pounds soaking wet when we first met. And that father of his had been beating him mercilessly for years, according to Sile. 
Now I was looking at the one person who should have stuck up for the little guy whenever his dad decided to use him like a doormat. I knew this had to be his older brother. The family resemblance was strong, even if this guy wasn’t a half elf like Jae. Same piercing eyes. Same strong jawline. 
“Roland, I presume?” I glanced him up and down. He was taller than me, unsurprisingly. Chalk that up to yet another Broadfeather family trait. “You look like hell.”
It wasn’t an insult. He really did look awful. His right arm was sealed in a plaster cast all the way up to his shoulder and he had bloody bandages wrapped around a wound on his head. He was obviously one of the lucky infantrymen who made it back to the citadel from Barrowton—the uniform tipped me off. Except for the stubble on his chin, he looked so much like Jae it would make anyone stop and take a second look. Granted, this guy had a lot more muscle to throw around, but he had the same piercing eyes, squared jaw, and high cheekbones. 
“I don’t believe we’ve met.” He was looking at me cautiously. I suspected being in the dragonrider quarters was making him uneasy. Infantrymen weren’t supposed to be up here.  
“We haven’t,” I replied. I left it at that, hoping Prax would take the hint that I wasn’t really up for a heart-to-heart discussion with this guy. 
I walked past them to a corner of the sparring room where I’d stashed a few of my things, including a towel to wipe myself off with. I could hear them both following me. 
“Colonel Bragg has issued his official statement. Medics swept the battlefield at Barrowton looking for any remaining survivors and taking record of the dead,” Prax spoke up. 
I stopped. All the little prickly hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “And?”
“They never found his body—or Jace’s for that matter. But his dragon was sighted in the area with an empty saddle,” he answered quietly. “Some of the other riders report having seen them engaging the gray elf princess in aerial combat. They saw her shoot Jace’s mount down. Jaevid was right on his tail, so . . . we can only assume . . .”
“—That he’s dead. Yep. Thanks. Figured that much out on my own, you know, when he didn’t come back.” I scowled at them both, hoping it would be enough to stop this conversation from going any further. 
It wasn’t. 
Prax turned his attention to the silent infantryman standing next to him. “We cleaned out their room. There wasn’t much left behind, but Jae’s brother here insisted you should have it.” 
 That’s when I noticed Roland was holding something. It was a mostly empty burlap sack. He held it out to me with a tense expression. “They tell me you two were close.”
I didn’t want to take it. Just the thought of seeing what was in there made me start to feel nauseated all over again. “Shouldn’t this be given to his family?” 
“That’s why I’m giving it to you.” Roland fixed his gaze right on me. “I know how you must feel about me. And you’re right to despise me. I can only imagine the things Jaevid told you about me let alone the rest of our family. I won’t deny any of it. But I never laid a hand on him. Not even once.”
I snatched the bag away from him. “Some might argue that joining in and just standing by and watching it happen are basically the same thing.” 
Roland hesitated. Slowly, his eyes moved down until he was staring at the floor. “We were both trapped in that house, both suffering at the hands of the same man. Jaevid never knew how many beatings I took for him, how many nights I would sleep by my bedroom door so I’d hear if Ulric went outside after him. My every waking thought was about how I could get out of there. But I couldn’t just run away and leave Jaevid there alone. I would have never done that to him. So I waited until Ulric came back from Blybrig and told us he’d been adopted by the dragonriders. Then I left.” 
An uncomfortable silence settled over us. I’m sure Prax was learning a lot more about the Broadfeather family than he ever cared to. After a few seconds I cleared my throat, crammed the bag of Jae’s belongings under the rest of my gear, and nodded. “Actually, he didn’t talk about his family life much.”
“I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me,” Roland sighed. “I just thought, since you were closest with him, you ought to have what was left of his things. He’d probably want it that way. And considering the circumstances, I wanted to thank you in person.”
“Thank me?”
“Yes. I’m not trying to be condescending. But I am grateful that you were willing to step in and befriend him. Someone of your social standing—”
I stopped him right there. “That never had anything to do with it. It wasn’t charity.”
He nodded. “I understand. I’m just saying that there aren’t many others who would be willing to jeopardize their reputation. You’re a better man than most. And I want you to know I appreciate that.”
“Ah.” This was beginning to make me really uncomfortable. I began picking up my stuff and planning a quick exit. 
“I also wanted to ask if there was anyone else we should inform,” Roland added, as I slung my bag of gear over my shoulder. “Did he ever mention having a lover?” 
Once again, my body locked up involuntarily. I hadn’t even thought about her. Did she know? Who was I kidding . . .  of course she didn’t know. I cursed under my breath and flashed Prax a telling glance. Someone was going to have to tell Beckah Derrick what had happened. 
“I’m willing to do it,” Roland offered. I guess he could read my expressions well enough to tell what I was thinking. 
I clenched my teeth. “No. I’ll do it. She should hear it from me. I’m the one she’ll blame.”
The trouble was, I didn’t know how I was going to find her. Beckah lurked on the edge of every battlefield, haunting our blind spots like some kind of avenging angel. To my knowledge, she’d been keeping her distance from the riders otherwise, which was smart since she was playing a dangerous game. Being the only female dragonrider wasn’t something to be proud of. It might earn her the hangman’s noose or the business end of a sword if anyone found out her real identity. 
If anyone could actually catch her, that is. Being paired up with a king drake, the biggest and baddest of all the dragons in Maldobar, put her at a big advantage over the rest of us. 
I had my work cut out for me. As soon as I managed to shake off the pity brigade, I headed straight for my room and started thinking of ways to get in contact with her. I didn’t know where she was hiding out between battles, though. Jae might have known, but if they had a secret lovey-dovey rendezvous spot, he’d never spoken a word about it to me. That sneaky devil. 
I decided to look for clues when I got back to my room. I dumped out the burlap sack of his belongings onto my bed and began to look through them. There wasn’t much. It was mostly spare uniform pieces and a few bundles of letters tied together with twine. I hesitated to go through those because that kind of stuff was probably pretty personal. What right did I have to go digging around in his private life?
Then again, what did it matter now? And one of those letters might contain a clue about how to get in touch with Beckah. 
Hesitantly, I untied one of the bundles and opened up a few of the letters. None of them were helpful, really, and going through them gave me an eerie feeling. It just felt wrong. 
Finally, I came to one that looked like it hadn’t been opened in a while. The address scribbled across the front said it was from Saltmarsh, a town down on the southern coast. I’d never been there, never had a reason to. It was a port city, home to mostly fisherman and hired hands looking for shifts on the merchant ships that came and went from the harbor. 
Seeing that address struck a chord in my memory. Jae had mentioned to me before that Beckah and the rest of her family lived there. He’d visited them before the start of our avian year. When I opened up the letter, I found only one line scribbled inside. There wasn’t a signature, either. Just two initials: 
— B. D. 
They had to be Beckah’s. 
I knew she wouldn’t be there. It was a long flight between Saltmarsh and Northwatch, too long for her to be going back and forth every time there was a battle. Heck, I couldn’t even be sure her family still lived at that address, either. Sile struck me as kind of a shady character, like he had something to hide. He might just pick up and leave without saying anything. But this was the best lead I had. I was going to have to start there and hope for the best. 
I lit a candle and took out a few sheets of fresh paper. I wrote three letters. The first one was to Sile Derrick, letting him know what happened and where he could find me. The second one was to my commanding officer, Colonel Bragg, who was in charge of all the dragonriders here at the citadel.
And the last one . . . was to my mom.  


About Nicole: (Insert Author Photo)
Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s
career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time
occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive the complete series (in eBook format) of the DRAGONRIDERS CHRONICLES including an eGalley of IMMORTAL. International.


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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Snared by Jennifer Estep

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine where we show what we are waiting for on Wednesday.

My WOW Pick this week is:


Publisher: Pocket Books-Division of Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: January 2017


Book Summary:

f you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

Reason I'm Waiting:

I love this series. Have been reading this series since the beginning of it. I totally love Gin and her friends. Plus at this point I'm totally committed to this series.