Calling #Horror, #Thriller, and #Paranormal #IndieAuthors for #BadMoonRising

I’ve got a few more slots open for Bad Moon Rising. If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal/supernatural books or know someone who is and would like to participate, send me an email!

Thirty-one authors for thirty-one days in October will be featured right here at Books & Such.  FREE publicity, book sales, new authors to follow, loads of fun, and more books added to the TBR – woo-hoo!

Each post will feature one of your releases, a book description, author bio, social media links, buy links, and a short interview.  If you’d like to include a giveaway or have alternative ideas for your post, I’m always open to suggestions.

This is the seventh year of Bad Moon Rising and spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’d like to be included, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com.

The Haunting of Leigh Harker by Darcy Coates #bookreview #horror #thriller

Sometimes the dead reach back...

Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.

Do you think you’re safe?

You’re wrong.

I’ve read a few Darcy Coates novels, but this one is unlike any of those I’m familiar with. It’s creepy, chilling, and guaranteed to have you leaving lights on all over the house – but the premise is something I haven’t come across in other horror novels. Which is why this review will be brief since I don’t do spoilers.

I’m not the first reviewer to say they almost DNFed the book, but most of those reviewers also encouraged readers to stick with it, and everything would soon make sense. The beginning is slow, filled with the monotonous details of Leigh’s everyday life interspersed with some terrifying moments that didn’t seem to make sense. I couldn’t imagine why the author chose to begin the story this way. Trust me when I say you’ll be rewarded with a jaw-dropping reveal later on. Everything will click.

Something else resides in Leigh’s house with her. The doorknob of a locked closet under the stairs rattles at night when whatever is on the other side tries to get out. It watches while she sleeps – if she ever manages to get any. Then there’s the harrowing encounter with sharp tools in a gardening shed when the door mysteriously slams shut and traps her inside. There’s no shortage of gripping scenes that may have you holding your breath while reading. Coates draws the reader in and makes them feel as if they’re right beside Leigh experiencing every terrifying moment with her.

Surprisingly, the story also contains some bittersweet and heartfelt scenes – and I can’t say that about most horror novels I’ve read. Part of the ending shot out of left field for me, but it comes with an explanation. If you’re looking for a different spin on the haunted house tale, give this novel a chance. Just remember to hang with it a few chapters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started Under the Whispering Door over the weekend. This author’s The House in the Cerulean Sea will forever be a favorite, and I was ecstatic when I received an ARC of his newest release.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

The Bones of Ruin started out with a bang, and I liked the direction it was headed. Things didn’t go so well after that. The pacing was off (and it’s a 500 page book) and it was difficult to keep up with this many characters.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die.

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.

Magic, a menacing forest, missing siblings – sounds pretty promising to me. The reviews have been good for this author’s debut, so I’m hopeful.

When her siblings start to go missing, a girl must confront the dark thing that lives in the forest—and the growing darkness in herself—in this debut YA contemporary fantasy for fans of Wilder Girls.

Derry and her eight siblings live in an isolated house by the lake, separated from the rest of the world by an eerie and menacing forest. Frank, the man who raised them after their families abandoned them, says it’s for their own good. After all, the world isn’t safe for people with magic. And Derry feels safe—most of the time.

Until the night her eldest sister disappears. Jane and Derry swore to each other that they’d never go into the forest, not after their last trip ended in blood, but Derry is sure she saw Jane walk into the trees. When another sibling goes missing and Frank’s true colors start to show, feeling safe is no longer an option. Derry will risk anything to protect the family she has left. Even if that means returning to the forest that has started calling to Derry in her missing siblings’ voices.

As Derry spends more time amidst the trees, her magic grows more powerful . . . and so does the darkness inside her, the viciousness she wants to pretend doesn’t exist. But saving her siblings from the forest and from Frank might mean embracing the darkness. And that just might be the most dangerous thing of all. 

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach #bookreview #mermaids #fantasy #paranormal #TuesdayBookBlog

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

With the author posting an occasional teaser from this book on her blog, I’ve been anticipating it for quite a while. It was absolutely worth the wait.

Having read several other books by this author, I knew it would be a treat to immerse myself in the world of the merrows and kingdoms of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick. Her lavish descriptions always make me feel like I’m experiencing everything right alongside the characters – the salt spray across my face while sailing the high seas, the rolling of the ship as it crosses the Deep, and the graceful beauty of the merrow. In spite of Callum’s attempt to save the life of the Sea Witch’s daughter, she dies. After killing the rest of the crew responsible for her death, the Sea Witch spares his life for his kindness. It’s a bargain he can’t refuse but considering what he’s forced to do, Callum may wish he perished with the crew. My heart went out to him immediately after he’s put in an incredibly difficult position. He has no choice other than to take a human life every time he crosses the Deep and spend his life caught between two warring nations unless he sacrifices royal blood.

The characters are wonderfully flawed and well-drawn. Some I had a love/hate relationship with, not knowing where their loyalties fell until nearly the end. They kept me guessing – which I totally enjoy.

Warring nations, deceit, lies – it’s impossible to trust either nation, but it soon becomes evident Callum has something precious worth saving and fighting for. Don’t assume you’ll accurately predict the path of this plot. Alexa read this to me from my Kindle, and I had to stop and immediately rewind (more than once!) to make sure I’d heard correctly when some astonishing twists spun the story in a different direction.

Exciting battles, long held secrets, treachery, and deadly bargains – this novel engaged me from the first page. The ending was everything I’d hoped for these characters. I can’t go without mentioning the incredibly beautiful cover. Easily five stars!

Birthday Gift, The Exorcist, and #AmWatching

What happened to last week? I had a long to-do list and made progress, but the time sure flew by. And here we are at Monday again.

Son #2’s birthday was a little over a week ago (Friday the 13th). He and Son #1 are complete polar opposites with their interests in most things, but they share a love of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Son #2 even has a tattoo related to the series. Son #1 sent him a totally cool, creative birthday gift. He got the voice actor of Son #2’s favorite character to make a cameo – a personalized celebrity video message. They seem to be pretty trendy right now, and there’s a website that lists the celebrities HERE. It was perfect, and the actor did a fantastic job. It’s a great idea if you’re looking for something different.

I’ve always said the scariest movie ever made was The Exorcist, and I try to watch it at least once per year around Halloween. I’m late to the party on this one, but I just heard last week there’s a continuation, not a remake, of The Exorcist Trilogy, with the first one scheduled for release October 2023. Ellen Burnstyn is reprising her role as Chris MacNeil, the mother to Linda Blair’s Regan. Some fans may not be as enthusiastic about the project, but I’m excited. I just wish it wasn’t two years away.

Hubby was out of town last week, so when he travels I watch the movies he has no interest in (I have no shortage of things to choose from). I finally got around to The Tomorrow War with Chris Pratt on Amazon Prime. It’s a long one at over two hours, but it sure held my interest. Here’s the official description: The world is stunned when a group of time travellers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: thirty years in the future, mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. I’m a sucker for just about any type of time travel story, and I’m a fan of Pratt. The aliens were just a bonus. If you’re a sci-fi fan, give it a try.

Hope you all have a healthy, fabulous week!

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith #bookreview #YA #historical #fantasy

The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined? 

The comparison to The Last Magician is what made me request this book from NetGalley, plus I seem to be on a witch reading binge this summer.

I don’t read a ton of historical fiction, but when I do this seems to be a popular time period for me. After her mother is taken to an insane asylum and her brother is murdered, Frances is on her own in NYC. After she’s attacked by her boss, who somehow winds up dead with her scissors in his neck, Frances learns she possesses magic. She’s taken to Haxahaven Academy, a school for witches disguised as a tuberculosis sanitarium. While she’s thrilled to learn more about her powers and meet more young girls like herself, she’d hoped to do more with her magic. Haxahaven teaches girls how to control their magic – a good thing – but to primarily use it to ease the burden of household chores – not so exciting. Frances isn’t having it, and she wants more. When her brother’s friend Finn reaches out (he’s a dreamwalker), he teaches her more about magic than she’s learned at Haxahaven. After more bodies of young men turn up, Frances is convinced their deaths are connected to her brother’s, and she and Finn find themselves in the midst of a mystery.

While I liked the 1911 setting, it really doesn’t play a large part in this story. Most scenes take place at the school, brotherhood, or in the forest. The magic system is interesting – males and females have different types of powers and abilities with varying degrees of talent. Frances’s popularity level waxed and waned on my scale. She has very little at the beginning of the story, and her situation is dire, but soon after arriving at the school and making new friends she thinks nothing of asking them to take risks for her without considering the consequences for them or herself. Needing to know the identity of the murderer kept me turning the pages, but I’d guessed who was involved pretty early. The last 20% of the book takes an unexpected direction – dark and kinda creepy to say the least – but fans of morally gray characters will probably cheer. Even with the different path, the ending was a whirlwind and felt rushed to me.

This novel has wonderful diversity and representation (especially with Lena and her backstory) and also deals with topics of feminism, racism, and sexual assault (trigger warning). I’m not sure if it’s a standalone, but the ending sure felt like a second book is in the works. It had some highs and lows for me, but if you’re looking for a witchy historical fantasy that leans more on the fantasy than the history, this is a book I’d recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland #bookreview #YA #contemporary #romanticcomedy #TuesdayBookBlog

Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.

Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.

But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.

The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.

But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster. 

Yes, you’re at the right blog. I read a romantic comedy. If you regularly read my reviews, you know this isn’t a typical genre for me. For whatever reason, when the publisher sent me a widget I decided to play outside my usual sandbox and give it a try. After finishing this delightful book, I would have kicked myself if I’d passed it up.

Recent high school graduate Jasmine has dated Paul the pig (my name for him – trust me, it’s well-deserved) for the past four years – they even have plans to move in together when college starts. While the early years might have been happier, Paul now points out skinny burritos on the menu at a restaurant they frequent (and she’s never enjoyed) and suggests she order diet sodas. And now you agree with my nickname for him. After a hurtful incident occured in middle school, Jasmine’s self-esteem plummeted so far that she considers herself lucky to have her pig boyfriend and plans to pursue a career in a profession that’s considered more stable instead of her dream of becoming a chef. Stability and safety have become her mantra.

Enter her ginormous (50+ strong – and that doesn’t count all the cousins), intrusive, well-intentioned family. They reminded me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I adored them all. They want Jasmine to learn her worth, to see herself as they do and realize that she deserves so much more. Naturally the way to do that is to screen teen bachelors until they come up with three worthy candidates to date her. It’s not difficult to figure out what happens when their well-meaning intentions spiral out of control. At least their hearts are in the right place.

From the first page, I adored Jasmine’s voice and laughed out loud so many times at her internal thoughts. Some chapters are first person in her POV, but several chapters are the text conversations between her family concerning the contest – utterly hilarious. This novel has so many important messages for teens and adults alike – pursuing your dreams, living life instead of watching from the sidelines, valuing yourself, and not conforming to someone else’s expectations just to name a few.

From start to finish, The Jasmine Project is a charming, entertaining read – an outstanding debut by this author. I’d be shocked if someone doesn’t snatch this up for a movie. I’d recommend this to fans of romantic comedies and readers like myself who want to step outside their comfort zone. Easily a crossover.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#AmWriting, Author Events, and #BadMoonRising

All you authors out there – does music influence your writing? I was driving home a few days ago, heard a new song on the radio I liked, and the final scene in my WIP played out like a movie in my head. When I asked my characters why they didn’t share this information with me weeks ago, there were looks of confusion and sheepish expressions along with plenty of shoulder shrugging. Guess they just needed inspiration. In case anyone’s wondering, the song was Tell Your Soul by A Killer’s Confession. Yes, my favorite music genre is hard rock, and I was listening to Octane on Sirius Radio. When I got home, over the course of a couple of writing sessions I added about 3K more words to the scene I’d barely started. That may not sound like a lot to some of you (Craig Boyack!) but for me, it’s close to a record. Has this happened to any of you?

Our library has starting having in-person events again (yes!), and I snagged a couple of tickets to see award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds next month. It’s right around my birthday, so what a treat that will be. And signed copies – my favorite! They’re also hosting an Indie Author Day in November. That will be my first author event since February 2020 – so excited to talk to readers in person again!

Bad Moon Rising is filling up fast – only have nine slots are left. This may be the quickest year yet. If you or someone you know is interested, don’t wait! Email me at tpolen6@gmail.com.

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis #bookreview #YA #urbanfantasy

For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future.

Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?

However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.

But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late. 

Seems like I’ve come across several witchy books lately, and they’re a favorite of mine when it comes to paranormal. Raising the dead can’t come without consequences, so I was anxious to see how Katrell dealt with these dark forces.

Trell is the teenager in her family, but essentially the only responsible adult. She works thirty hours per week, attends high school, buys groceries, pays the bills and rent, and gives money to her unemployed mother and her mom’s deadbeat boyfriend. He physically abuses Trell, works a part time job, and refuses to contribute to the household financially. Every interaction with her mother and boyfriend made me so angry I wanted to reach into the pages and choke them. Trell has been homeless more than once in her life, and if not for her job at a restaurant and the kindness of her best friend’s mother, she’d go hungry much of the time.

For reasons that are never explained, Trell is able to write letters summoning the ghosts of clients’ family members so they can speak to them. Suddenly her power changes, and she’s able to raise the dead and return them to her clients. For a price, of course. I would have liked an explanation for where her powers came from, how she discovered them, why they changed, etc., to better understand her magic. Maybe I missed an explanation, but I wondered why no one discovered the empty graves after the dead rose. Seems like it’s something that would have turned up on the news. Trell’s goal is to make enough money from raising the dead to support her and her mom for a year. After her hours are cut at the restaurant, the pressure is on to earn even more to keep them sheltered and fed. Soon the money is rolling in and Trell begins to lose sight of her goals. She ignores the advice of best friend Will and a concerned school guidance counselor, and her life rapidly spirals out of control.

Although she’s brave and loyal to a fault, Trell is also incredibly frustrating. She’s blind to her mother’s actions, and you’ll want to yell at her many times over her consistently bad decisions and wonder how she’ll ever fix the disasters she’s created.

Between the dead walking around, Trell’s personal struggles, and her determination to better her life, you’ll want her to somehow find a happily ever after, but it’s something that won’t come easily. This novel does a wonderful job of raising awareness of homelessness, poverty, and physical abuse, and the author discusses her own experiences before the story begins. It also stresses the importance of getting help and finding a support system. Some readers may want to heed trigger warnings. Overall, a strong debut novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Battle of the Bands is an anthology featuring some of my favorite YA authors. I couldn’t pass up this one – because I was also in a band in high school. We didn’t enter anything like Battle of the Bands, but it was still a fun time.

Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage.

A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on. 

I finished The Haunting of Leigh Harker over the weekend. I nearly DNFed this book because the first several chapters were going nowhere. I took a look at some other reviews that advised readers to hang on – the payoff was worth it. And it absolutely was. There was a jaw-dropping twist on this haunted house tale that made slogging through the first few chapters entirely worth it.

Sometimes the dead reach back…

Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.

Do you think you’re safe?

I have no explanation for it, but I’ve always loved a Victorian London setting. Maybe I lived during that time period in a previous life or something. Either way, I’m anxious to get to this one. The Tournament of Freaks sounds fabulous.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die.

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.