#NewRelease Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell #IndieAuthor

New Book Launch – Eternal Road – The final stop.

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author John Howell to tell us about his new release, Eternal Road!  John is a big supporter of other authors and also keeps us entertained with one of my favorite weekly posts – the adventures of Lucy and Twiggy, a couple of my favorite furry friends.  Over to you, John!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Teri, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you are getting ready for Bad Moon Rising and I appreciate being here with you today. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here is the universal link

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

Though Sam’s revelation has left James reeling, they continue down the road without saying anything. James looks over, and Samantha turns from staring out the window. She smiles and says, “You okay?”

“As long as I’m with you.” He gives her one of those smiles that beg for reassurance.

“Don’t you worry. No way would I leave you alone. Do you know how long I had to wait to come and get you?”

“No. How long?”

“I was seven when I died and then had to wait for another seventeen years.”

“Do the years pass at the same time … ?” James pauses to pick the right word. “Uh, over there?”

“You mean over here. This is the new reality right here and now.”

“But it looks like we’re still in my Olds driving down the road.”

“I know it seems that way. You see, there’s a waiting period for you to get used to your new status.”

“You’ve done this before?”

“I’ve never done this until now. I have to say, though, the instructions for handling such a thing have proven amazingly specific and useful so far.”

“So, does time pass the same?”

“That’s hard to answer. For instance, you prayed for … what? … Around ten years? Did it seem like ten years?”

“No.”

“Then you can feel what it’s like. Time is relative. I didn’t think about how long it took for you to die. It just happened, and I’m here to take care of you.”

“When you died, did it hurt?”

“No, I didn’t feel anything. Like you, I wasn’t aware of what happened. It just happened.”

“Who came to take care of you?”

“Such a blessing. My grandma. She died when I was still a little baby. The first thing I remember is being in her arms. It was wonderful.”

“Do you see her? I mean, over here?”

“I do. It’s funny, though. Gran’s real busy, and we don’t get to see each other as often as I would want. She’s one of the baby handlers.”

“Baby handlers?”

“Hey, look up ahead. There’s a general store. Let’s stop. I have a hankering for a cold drink.”

The trailer

John’s bio

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell
Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

My GRL,
His Revenge
Our Justice
Circumstances of Childhood
The Contract: between heaven and earth

 

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?

At only 5% in, I don’t have a good feel for this one yet.  Something I’ve found kind of prophetic is in this post pandemic world, people have what are called Personal Protection Pods, kind of like a bubble they can activate to shield them from each other.  Maybe we should all buy stock now – we could be rich in the future.

To Health.
To Life.
To the Future.

We are The Key.
‘No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.’

Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…

Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…

After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.

Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.

A camp to train teenage asssassins so they avoid a lifetime behind bars?  I was all over this when I saw it on NetGalley.  Although it absolutely held my interest, the ending seemed really rushed and left a lot of unanswered questions, so I’m thinking there must be a sequel?

Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.

Why did I request this on NetGalley?  All I needed to see was Jonathan Maberry’s name on it.  And just look at that cover!

From New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry comes a standalone supernatural thriller Ink, about a memory thief who feeds on the most precious of dreams.

Tattoo-artist Patty Cakes has her dead daughter’s face tattooed on the back of her hand. Day by day it begins to fade, taking with it all of Patty’s memories of her daughter. All she’s left with is the certain knowledge she has forgotten her lost child. The awareness of that loss is tearing her apart.

Monk Addison is a private investigator whose skin is covered with the tattooed faces of murder victims. He is a predator who hunts for killers, and the ghosts of all of those dead people haunt his life. Some of those faces have begun to fade, too, destroying the very souls of the dead.

All through the town of Pine Deep people are having their most precious memories stolen. The monster seems to target the lonely, the disenfranchised, the people who need memories to anchor them to this world.

Something is out there. Something cruel and evil is feeding on the memories, erasing them from the hearts and minds of people like Patty and Monk and others.

Ink is the story of a few lonely, damaged people hunting for a memory thief. When all you have are memories, there is no greater horror than forgetting.

#BlogTour Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine #bookreview #dystopian #apocalyptic #TuesdayBookBlog

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wylodine and her small group of exiles become a target for its volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.

Obviously, this is an unusual book description – which is one of the reasons I requested it.  The other is that I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains and was curious to see how a story like this would play out in that area.

Wylodine is a wonderful protagonist – strong, determined, scarred, and soft-hearted.  If you find yourself in an apocalyptic-type of event, you could do worse than hooking your wagon to hers.  Mostly shunned by the community because of her family business, then being practically abandoned by her mother, with the exception of one good friend, she’s alone when everything starts to go off the rails in her town.  In order to survive, going it alone isn’t the best option right now, and she soon comes across people she learns to trust and depend on.  Finding your people is a strong theme in this story – like-minded folks who do what they can to form a community and care for each other.  Tragedy can bring out the best in people, but it also draws power-hungry individuals on the wrong side of the morality scale, and Wil and friends run across some of the worst mankind has to offer.

The abrupt ending took me by surprise – I even wondered if pages were missing – so a sequel may be a possibility.

To say I enjoyed such a dark, heart-breaking, grim story sounds odd, but Road Out of Winter is also well-written, compelling, and hopeful – it would be an excellent book club selection.

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

ALISON STINE lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website
Twitter: @AlisonStine
Instagram: @AliStineWrites
Goodreads

#AmWriting, #AmWatching, and #BadMoonRising

Question to the writers out there – do you write out of sequence?  My brain tends to put a story together in a non-linear fashion and several years ago, I thought that was wrong.  Books couldn’t possibly be written that way.  After reading an interview with a successful author who mentioned that was the technique she used, I suddenly felt validated.  A whole new world opened up for me, and I thought maybe I could actually write a book.  I’m working on my fourth novel and just figured out last week which file was my first chapter.  I’ve got somewhere around 30K words for the sequel to Subject A36 spread across sixteen different files.  What’s your process?

After seeing several friends mention it and at the urging of my youngest son, I finally started watching The Umbrella Academy on Netflix (thanks, Tessa!).  I’m absolutely hooked.  Love the characters (I knew in the first ten minutes Klaus was my favorite) and their whole dysfunctional family dynamic, the time travel storyline, the powers they have – I’m already halfway through season one, and season two dropped recently, so I’m excited I have plenty of episodes ahead of me.

Only one spot remains for Bad Moon Rising – tell your horror, thriller, and supernatural author friends to contact me!

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

Only six spots left!

It’s that time again – Bad Moon Rising is coming!  Thirty-one authors for thirty-one days in October.  If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal/supernatural books and would like to be featured, send me an email.  FREE publicity, book sales (hopefully!), new authors to follow, and more books added to the TBR – what’s not to like?

Each post will feature one of your releases, a blurb, 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 sixth 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.

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu #bookreview #YA #contemporaryfantasy

From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death.

Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link’s close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what’s more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest.

As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link’s younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.

Unfolding over a year and told through multiple POVs and a dream journal, We Were Restless Things explores the ways society shapes our reality, how we can learn to love ourselves and others, and the incredible power of our own desires.

The beautiful cover, mention of a drowning on dry land, and the victim contacting his friend from beyond the grave were what drew me to this book.  I’m always intrigued by the supernatural.

It’s not exactly what I expected.  The writing is incredibly lyrical and flows with some beautiful passages and vivid descriptions.  Noemi is quirky, creative, and loyal – all qualities I admire about her – and handles a conversation about asexuality brilliantly.  I’d expected the storyline to lean more heavily on the mystery of Link’s death, the strange texts Noemi receives from someone claiming to be him, and the disappearing lake.  All of that was part of the plot, but another very large portion is made up of the three (four, really) characters in love with Noemi (which seemed a bit excessive) and her feelings about them.  At times, it seemed as if I was reading two different stories.  The POVs primarily rotate between Noemi and Jonah, but the inclusion of Amberlyn’s POV in a few chapters puzzled me since they didn’t add anything to the plot.

Each of these characters experience grief in different ways, and some of their conversations are emotionally heavy and brutally honest.  They’ll make you think.  One character has an especially difficult life that tugs at the heartstrings, and I just wanted to hug him.

With an unusual storyline, poetic writing, and slower pace, there’s much to enjoy about this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to readers looking for an action-packed thriller as it sways more toward contemporary fantasy.

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

 

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

The first book in this series, Scythe, floored me.  Twists and turns I never saw coming, and it was one of my top reads that year.  I bought Thunderhead the day it was released, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read it.

With power struggles, devious plans, and the internal thoughts of the Thunderhead, I found it difficult to put this book down.  Rowan and Citra continue to be strong, intelligent protagonists and each encounters many obstacles – in Rowan’s case, pretty painful obstacles.  As with Scythe, just when I thought I had something figured out – wrong again.  And that ending!  With my mouth hanging open and nearly in a state of shock over the last 15-20% of the book, nothing could have torn me away from it.

This is a series I’d recommend to all fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian readers, YA fans or not.  Since The Toll is already out, I’m just glad I don’t have to wait long before diving back into this world again.

Writing Gods, #TheBatman Trailer, and #BadMoonRising

So, last Monday I’m working on the sequel to Subject A36, boosting the word count.  All of a sudden, my laptop crashes, then starts up again.  I try to open the file, which had around 2K words in it, and nothing.  Says it’s corrupt, and there’s a little red X beside it.  I take a deep, calming breath, tell myself it’s Monday, I’d planned to get in a few hours of writing, and of course something had to go wrong.  What else did I expect?  The writing gods scoffed, much in the same vein as Soup Nazi on Seinfield – No word count for you!  I Google what to do about this problem, read through solution after solution, try several options, but nothing works.  Again – what else did I expect?  I call my computer guru friend, who immediately abandons her couch-buying expedition and comes to my aid.  Although I insisted she didn’t need to drop everything, that’s just the kind of friend she is – how lucky am I?  After arriving and then doing some research of her own, she restored my file, with not one word lost.  Woo-hoo!  Thanks, Susan!

The trailer of The Batman dropped this weekend, and I’m loving this darker version – it can’t release soon enough for me.  Some fans are skeptical about Robert Pattinson as Batman, but I think he can pull it off.  If you’ve only seen him in the Twilight movies, I understand your skepticism.  But I’ve also seen several of his indie movies – don’t underestimate him.  I think you’ll be surprised.

Very few spots remain open for Bad Moon Rising.  If you’re an indie horror, thriller, or supernatural/paranormal author looking for FREE book promotion, click HERE for details.

#NewRelease: HMS Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack #fantasy #pirates

Who here is a fan of root monsters?  Haven’t heard of them?  I have good news for both groups.  First, they’re back.  Second, if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them, now you’ll have two opportunities to get acquainted with this bunch of Minion-like, fun-loving creatures who will root (pun totally intended) their way into your heart!  Voyage of the Lanternfish, the first book in this series, is full of adventure on the high seas, a hint of magic, a touch of romance, and quirky characters – the aforementioned root monsters.  Craig Boyack is here today to tell us how these charismatic little critters sprang forth from his imagination.  Over to you, Craig!

Thanks for lending me your space today, Teri. It’s always nice to have places to promote when we have new books available.

My newest is called HMS Lanternfish. It’s the second book of a planned trilogy, and I’ll include a link for the first one if people want to catch up. I’m going to make this one of those behind the scenes author posts about part of the story.

When I wrote Voyage of the Lanternfish, I had a rescued slave named Mal who turned out to be kind of a witch doctor. I’m one of those authors who plans, but I discover a lot of my story during the drafting phase. When you have a witch doctor, he has to have something useful to do in the story.

This started out with my lead characters running from the law on land, prior to their first act of piracy. They needed someone to watch their camp, so Mal planted some peelings from an old yam in the window box of a wagon they had. These things grew fast, and when they got to camp he harvested them. They were little creatures who could watch the camp that night. I called them the root monsters.

Mal was from a tropical island, so I decided the little buggers would speak in a kind of pidgin English. That way they could receive assignments and carry out their tasks. When I first created them, I thought they might only live one day. With his old yam, Mal could grow new ones whenever the group needed a bit of extra help. It’s a fantasy world and this seemed like a good idea.

The root monsters turned out to be kind of sassy and accomplished their goals in weird ways. I decided they were fun and started using them occasionally as a kind of section break. Rather than a cluster of asterisks, we’d get a little something from their angle before the tale moved on to the next location. By this time, it was kind of obvious they weren’t going to have short lifespans, and they were a bit of comedy relief.

That’s when my mind started dwelling on other uses for them. These guys don’t have a goal, they’re along for the ride and are part of the ship’s crew. It became kind of funny to grow more and more of them until it became a point of concern. Just how many of the little buggers did the captain need? Absurdity seemed to work, so I kept going.

These guys are tiny, like walking talking parsnips if you will. Swarms are scary. Pirate tales need a bit of violence. They became a formidable force, but only as a swarm.

They became keepers of a verbal history of the crew’s adventures. This is almost tribalistic, but they tend to relate their stories through their own filters. What readers got from the adventure isn’t necessarily how the monsters relate the tale somewhere down the line.

Readers from the first book got eased into their pidgin English, to the point they could speak root monster by the end. That was kind of a fun thing to pull off as an author.

What I never saw coming was how beloved these guys became to my readers. I was even asked for a stand-alone root monster story a couple of times. I declined, because I think they’re better in small doses. It’s the old leave them wanting more concept.

In my mind they were a means to an end. They could sneak into places and steal things under the cover of night, run small errands, even sound a tiny horn to protect the crew. My readers loved them. If you followed the first tour, and now on this tour, you’ll see a lot of comments about the root monsters. They’ve almost overshadowed the main characters.

Do I care whether my readers enjoy the monsters the most?… Not one bit. If readers enjoy the tales, that’s all I care. Enjoy whatever parts you like.

I’m here to tell you the story has some solid main characters. I’ve always gone with more stoic main characters, then used supporting characters for any light hearted moments. The stories are fun adventures in a fantasy world, but that world also includes root monsters. It just wouldn’t be the same story without them.

Part of the challenge is to find ways to exceed whatever they’ve done up to this point. Their appeal is their absurdity and sassiness. They’re along for the ride in HMS Lanternfish, and even staged a rave party aboard the ship one night. You’ll have to read the new book to find out about that part.

I’m already thinking about how to wrap this trilogy up, and have a good storyboard in production. Oddly enough, the denouement for the root monsters was one of the first parts to come to me. I guess they stuck with me, too.

If you’re up for adventure on the high seas, with root monsters included, check out the Lanternfish books. The newest one is the middle of the trilogy and is priced at 99¢ for the time being. Since this is a trilogy, you’re going to want to read book one first, but grab book two before the price goes up.

I’ll leave Teri with a cover and blurb, along with those all-important purchase links. I’m also including a poster of Lisa Burton, my personal assistant, posing with the root monsters to give you a visual. (Lisa’s the big one.)

Blurb: The Lanternfish crew completed their original mission, but got exposed to a more global problem. An entire continent is at war, headed up by a head-strong young king with dreams of power, and pushed from behind by a mysterious religious order known as the Fulminites.

Rather than let their country fall under the iron boot of conquest, James and his crew set sail once more to see what kind of muscle Lanternfish can lend to the war effort. Acting precariously under an unofficial charter as a privateer, even his allies aren’t always his friends.

HMS Lanternfish explores new worlds on its way to war, and drifts considerably off course. It features an international crew of characters, and for fans of the first book, the root monsters are back, too. Tall ships, a few con games, martial arts, and everything you loved about the original book is all returning.

Hoist the colors and wheel out the guns. Lanternfish is taking to the high seas once more.

HMS Lanternfish: 99¢ for a limited time.

Voyage of the Lanternfish: Book one of the trilogy.

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

BlogMy NovelsTwitterGoodreads | FacebookPinterestBookBub

 

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles #bookreview #blogtour #fantasy

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed. 

Magical competitions, mysterious disappearances, lies, secrets, and a gorgeous cover – how could you not want to read this?  The strong Phantom of the Opera vibes just made it that much more irresistible.

Such an atmospheric novel – a cold, enigmatic city whose residents hide secrets of its past, long-neglected, decaying buildings within it, and a dark forest at its gates.  Powerful magicians exist in this world where some magic isn’t completely understood.  Let’s just say I’ll never look at mirrors in quite the same way again.

Kallia, Jack, and Demarco are wonderfully flawed and scarred in various ways, and I’m so glad the author gave each of their POVs.  Kallia is a snarky, impulsive character who excels when the odds are against her, all while covering up the fear inside.  Demarco is a tough shell to crack initially, but his backstory is tragic.  Manipulative Jack still remains the biggest mystery, and I’m so anxious to learn more about him in the sequel.  I have to give a shout out to Aaros for his wit and undying loyalty to Kallia.  He’s undoubtedly one of the best supporting characters I’ve come across.

Imagery and creativity of the illusions are outstanding – a screenplay of this book would be a visual feast.  I could have done without some of the romantic drama (I’m in the minority on that aspect, I know), but this ends with a glorious cliffhanger.  The next book can’t come soon enough.

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