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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 12:10:29 +0000
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Holli’s Hellfire
Tish Thawer
(The Women of Purgatory #3)
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Will she choose to stay the Reaper she is, or become the Goddess she was?

Holli’s memories of her life as the Goddess Hel are starting to resurface, and the timing can’t be a coincidence.

Her father’s quest continues to threaten Purgatory, and her decision to embrace her past has the potential to save or destroy it all.

Find out in the exciting conclusion to The Women of Purgatory trilogy.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

2017 – #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2017 – Top 100 Bestselling in Paid Kindle Store (Witches of Blackbrook)
2015 – Best Cover – Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Readers Choice Award – My New Favorite Book Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)

Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.

Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).

Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

You can find Tish on Facebook at

A common FAQ: “How do you pronounce her last name?”

Answer: Think “Bower” or “Thow-er”. It’s Persian!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win

A signed copy of all three books in the series (Raven’s Breaths, Dark Abigail, and Holli’s Hellfire)

Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies.  All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

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Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Series Giveaway} Holli’s Hellfire by Tish Thawer appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:28:42 +0000
{Series Giveaway} Holli’s Hellfire by Tish Thawer

{Review+Giveaway} Lera of Lunos by @AlexLidell

{Review+Giveaway} Lera of Lunos by @AlexLidellLera of Lunos by Alex Lidell
Pages: 260
Published by Danger Bearing Press on January 4, 2019
Series: Power of Five #4
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Reverse Harem
Source: eARC from Author

Two immortal realms on brink of war. One mortal standing in their way.

With the quint squaring off against the king of Slait, Lera is running out of time to tame her feral magic. Worse still, just when the quint must weave together to survive, demons from Tye’s past surface to tear them apart. Demons he fears facing, let alone sharing with Lera.

But when Griorgi makes a move that no one expects, throwing River, Shade, and Coal’s lives into question, the clock runs out. Lera and Tye have no choice but to fight their battles within—or risk losing Lunos and their quint forever.

LERA OF LUNOS is a full-length reverse-harem fantasy novel, the stunning finale to the Amazon-bestselling, KU-All Star POWER OF FIVE series.

Also in this series: Power of Five, Mistake of Magic, Trial of Three
NA ReviewMy Thoughts

Please Note: This is the fourth and final book in the Power of Five series and this series needs to be read in order. 
If you are new to the series, check out my review of Power of Five, my review of Mistake of Magic  and my review of Trial of Three for more information

Lera of Lunos is the fourth and final book in the new adult fantasy romance Power of Five series by Alex Lidell. You all know how much I LOVE this series! It is one of my favorite series of all time. Of all time people!  I feel like this is the type of series that I can read over and over again and love it just the same every time. Even though I have unequivocally loved all three of the other books, I was super nervous to start Lera of Lunos. Not because I didn’t think I wouldn’t love the book, but because I was not ready for the series to end. (I hate reading the last book in series. Am I the only one?)  Finally I pulled on my big girl panties and started reading this book, and of course, once I did, there was no turning back for me. I loved this book. Books one and three were still my favorite in the series, but this series as a whole is so good. So so good.

In case you are new to this series, Power of Five series  is a fae fantasy and it is the story of a group of four elite fae warriors, who have been searching for years for the fifth member that will complete their warrior quint. They are all shock to find it is a human girl named Lera. Lera and her fae are forced to undergo the trials that all quints must face in order to become a warrior unit. We also get to explore more about the magic that binds Lera’s quint together and the uniqueness of their bond. I love unraveling the secrets of this world. In the last book, we got to see a reveal of who the big bad villian was, and we had a very action packed ending. The action continues on in Lera of Lunos, with Lera having to explore more of her weaving abilities.

Another great aspect of this novel is that we finally got to see more to Tye. In the first three novels, Tye was a big jokester. So much so, you might think that is all there is to his character. But you would be so very wrong to think that. We really get to take a look into Tye’s past and learn more about why he is the way he is. And his conection with Lera finally deepens past the easy go lucky feel good guy. Tye has depth, and it was really nice to finally be able to see that. I am still holing firm with Coal as my favorite, but really the whole quint together is pure magic. Each of the guys, as well as Lera, bring something different to the quint as a whole. I love seeing them work together and just seeing them interact together. They do a great job at balancing each other out. And speaking of balance- Lera of Lunos was a great balance of story progression, crazy action, surprises and romance. I wish this book was much, much longer, but I was happy with the way everything turned out. I am still holding out hope for a bonus fifth book about Lera and her guys, but I don’t have any indication from the author that will be happening. (but please do make it happen Alex! Pleassssseeeeeee!!!!)

Fans of new adult fantasy romances do not want to miss this series because it will soon join your favorites shelf. As a reminder, there are multiple love interests in this series, but if you are unsure of how that will play out, just read the book! I promise you will be a convert and you will immediately fall in love with Lera, River, Coal, Tye, and Shade. I cannot get enough of this series! Everyone needs to read it immediately. (It is free on Kindle unlimited, so if you are a KU member, go grab this book this instant! If you are not a kindle unlimited member, still grab book 1- it is free on amazon right now!) One of my favorite reads of 2018 and 2019 and one of my favorite series of all time!


Power of Five series by @AlexLidell is @BookBriefs FAVORITE SERIES OF THE YEAR! See why in her #Review & #Giveaway
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Books in the Power of Five series:

Click on the covers for more information



To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon GC International.

1 winner will receive a POWER OF FIVE Journal, US Only.

1 winner will receive the complete POWER OF FIVE series in eBooks, International.

Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies.  All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

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About Alex Lidell

Alex Lidell is an avid horseback rider, paramedic and ice cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s lifelong love for YA fantasy books. Alex’s debut novel, THE CADET OF TILDOR, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards finalist. Her second book AIR AND ASH releases in May 2017.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Review+Giveaway} Lera of Lunos by @AlexLidell appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Wed, 16 Jan 2019 12:28:11 +0000
{Review+Giveaway} Lera of Lunos by @AlexLidell

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Flygirl by R.D. Kardon

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Flygirl by R.D. KardonFlygirl by R.D. Kardon
Pages: 310
Published by Acorn Publishing LLC Genres: adult, Fiction

It’s 1997. Women stand beside men in combat and fly fighter jets. Pilot Tris Miles is not content with her job as a First Officer for tiny Clear Sky Airlines. She wants to be a Captain—the only way she knows to prove her worth as a pilot and atone for a deadly mistake.

To further her career, Tris accepts a prestigious job with Tetrix, Inc. But her dream of becoming pilot-in-command twists into a nightmare.

As the company’s first woman pilot, she encounters resistance, marginalization and harassment on a daily basis. Fortunately Tris has one thing her co-workers can’t deny—skill.

When Tris finds herself in a crippled airplane thousands of miles from home she must prove she can lead. With her career on the line, can Tris earn the respect she’s been craving? And if this is the end, can she find the strength to forgive herself?

TRIS LOST ALL visibility as the airplane pierced a thick slab of fog. She slid her focus from the miasma outside the cockpit window to the flight instruments in front of her. They were her eyesight now. She trusted them. They told the truth.
She scanned the gauges and smiled. Tris heard their silent language; woman and machine entwined in the exceptional conversation of flight.
“Clear Sky Two-Five-One, cleared for the approach,” the Columbus, Ohio approach controller announced over a scratchy connection. Tris nodded to Captain Danny Terry, sitting two feet away in the left seat. His jaw clenched as he worked the radios on their last flight of the day.
“Gear down,” Tris commanded.
The landing gear groaned and clicked as they lowered into position. Locked on final approach, the turboprop glided toward the runway, a concrete slab somewhere below them. Its twin engines spun in sync on the airplane’s wings. Tris monitored every bump and twitch of the plane. She answered each with a tap of the controls.
Tris nudged the yoke to bank the airplane left, the plastic coated steering column cool beneath her hands. She thought of all the ways pilots measure movement: degrees of heading, feet of altitude, ticks of the clock. Always counting up, down, until the next critical moment. As Clear Sky 251 slid toward the ground, Tris counted down.
Then she saw the flash. Just for a second, an amber warning light flickered.
“Danny, check the gauges. We had a caution.”
“Five hundred,” the airplane’s synthesized altitude alert announced. Tris checked the altimeter. So close to the ground and they still had zero visibility through the late-summer glare.
“I don’t know,” Danny said as he scanned the gauges. “Wait. It’s the oil pressure on number one. The needle’s going crazy. It could be nothing, just a blip.”
Or the number one engine could be about to fail.
“Ok.” She’d need full power on both engines to climb if they couldn’t land—and she might not have it.
“Nothing in sight.” Danny squirmed
forward in his seat to catch the first glimpse of runway lights. His breath grew more labored with every foot of altitude they lost. He wouldn’t see the runway until the very last second, if at all—right when Tris would decide to land the plane or thrust it back up into the soup.
“Roger.” Tris stayed focused and in control. As seconds passed, the plane slid lower, lower, in a stable descent. The only sounds were the whir of spinning dials, the click of needles, the white noise of flight. Tris eyed the altimeter, her hands soft but firm on the power levers.
Danny’s hand twitched behind hers; a backup. He strained to see the runway. Decision time loomed a few feet away.
The caution light blinked again. Tris had to keep her eyes on the navigation gauges. The closer the airplane got to the ground, the more sensitive those indicators became. If she strayed off course, even a little, she’d lose all guidance and have to climb, or else there was no telling where they’d hit the ground.
She felt Danny’s hands move closer to the controls, protecting them in case she faltered.
She didn’t. Tris saw the runway, dead ahead.
“I’ve got it,” Danny said quickly as he keyed the mike. “Columbus Tower, Clear Sky Two-Five-One, runway in sight.”
“Roger, Clear Sky Two-Five-One, Runway Two-Four, cleared to land, wind two-five-zero at three knots.”
“Landing,” Tris said. She looked outside, blinked to focus, and kept the plane moving straight along the runway centerline, edging toward the earth. The altimeter registered field elevation just as the plane’s rear wheels softly touched the ground.


To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win

Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies.  All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

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About R.D. Kardon

Robin “R.D.” Kardon had a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets.

“Flygirl,” a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Excerpt+Giveaway} Flygirl by R.D. Kardon appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Mon, 14 Jan 2019 14:34:14 +0000
{Excerpt+Giveaway} Flygirl by R.D. Kardon

{Review+Guest Post Giveaway} Analiese Rising by @BrendaDrake @EntangledTeen

{Review+Guest Post Giveaway} Analiese Rising by @BrendaDrake @EntangledTeenAnaliese Rising by Brenda Drake
Pages: 350
on January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy & Magic, mythology
Source: eARC from Publisher

Half-Blood meets Antigoddess in a thrilling, romantic new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Drake.

When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.


Brenda Drake has stopped by today to share with us her top 10 favorite gods and goddesses! Then be sure to check out my review of Analiese Rising as well as enter the awesome giveaway down below!

There are several gods in Analiese Rising. Listing my top ten favorite gods and goddesses from the mythologies from around the world was difficult. There are so many that would make number one for me. So I decided to list them in the order of my favorites in the book, and here they are.

  1. Sidapa comes from Philipine mythology. He’s the god of death. In the novel, he doesn’t have his power anymore. He’s in love with the Bulan and sees him only during the full moon when the other god can come down to earth.

  1. Oyá is from African She’s an Orisha of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death, and rebirth. She’s a kick butt goddess, and she makes a grand entrance into the story.

  1. Lugh comes from the Irish mythology. He’s a trickster god. There’s hardly nothing he can’t do. He has so many powers and magical items. I decided to explore his more trickster side which was tons of fun to create.

  1. Thor aka Bjorn—do I need to tell you about him? Okay, I will anyway. He’s the hammer-wielding Norse god who can control lightning and thunder. In my novel, he goes by one of his many aliases, Bjorn.

  1. Inanna, the ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, war, and political power, keeps Ares on his toes. She’s a strong goddess and doesn’t let others walk over her.

  1. Horus is a sky god in ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s associated with the falcon.

  1. Ares is the Greek god of war. He’s arrogant and an instigator.

  1. Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of protection, used to be worshipped as a lion form before becoming a cat.

  1. Pazuzu is the Babylonian demon god. He’s the demon that possessed the little girl in The Omen. I have to say it creeped me out writing him.

  1. Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, doorways and passages, endings, and time. In the novel, he protects the entrance into a creepy catacomb that Analiese and Marek must enter to search for a clue left behind by Marek’s grandfather.

There we have it, ten of my favorite gods and goddesses from Analiese Rising. Who are your favorites from the mythologies around the world?

YA ReviewMy Thoughts

Analiese Rising is a young adult fantasy romance by Brenda Drake. I love Brenda’s Library Jumper series hardcore, so I was super excited to see a new novel come out from her. Analiese Rising is a standalone novel, but I can easily see a sequel, spin off or companion novel come from this world and these characters, and I really hope we do get to see more into this world. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of mythology, and the awesome thing about Analiese Rising is that this book does not only incorporate one  area of mythology, but instead pulls in gods and goddesses from all types and aspects of myth from many different cultures, which was really cool.

I loved that this book set us off on an instant adventure with our main character, Analiese, who finds out that she is a descendant of a god of death. She runs into a stranger that hands her a mysterious list of names. And one of the names is her own. He then tells her that she is in trouble and that she needs to find his grandson and deliver a package to him. I love instant adventure/quest type stories because they immediately draw you in and hook you, which is exactly what happened to me with Analiese Rising. I was gripped from pretty much the first page, which is a big deal. No slow build here. On her journey to figure out why she is sent to deliver a bag to a stranger’s grandson, Analiese uncovers a whole new world of magic and mythology. Along the way she meets Merek (the grandson) and their adventure was filled with so much fun. It had Percy Jackson and Meg Cabot’s Abandon series vibes, but on a more diverse mythological scale.

Analiese learns more about her powers and about who she is throughout the story as well, which was pretty cool. She is  a Riser, which means she has the power to raise the dead. I loved learning about her powers, and seeing her uncover some other secrets about Risers and the Gods. Though there were a few cringe worthy moments with the characters, and although the ending felt a bit rushed to me (which is part of why I am hoping for another book in this world!) I really enjoyed the adventure and the romance. Merek is awesome! I think a ton of characters will love him instantly. Analiese Rising is a really fun romantic fantasy. Perfect for fans of mythology.


To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win

Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies.  All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Brenda Drake

Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Review+Guest Post Giveaway} Analiese Rising by @BrendaDrake @EntangledTeen appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Mon, 14 Jan 2019 02:12:02 +0000
{Review+Guest Post Giveaway} Analiese Rising by @BrendaDrake @EntangledTeen

{Review+Giveaway} The Fallback by Mariah Dietz

{Review+Giveaway} The Fallback by Mariah DietzThe Fallback by Mariah Dietz
Pages: 465
on January 10, 2019
Genres: New Adult, contemporary, Romance
Source: eARC from Author

Breaking up is hard to do.

It's even harder when you're not expecting it.

Brooke Jensen is a planner. Not only in her personal life but also professionally as one of the most sought after event planners in Chicago.

But, when the ideal life she built for herself, complete with handsome, long-term boyfriend and perfect apartment crumbles, she realizes there are some things you just can’t plan for.

While trying to start anew from her best friend's guest room and discovering the best doughnuts in the city, an idea sparks to life when she meets Levi. He's intriguing, funny, and shockingly good-looking, and what had been a few stray thoughts becomes a new passion for Brooke, a blog detailing learning how to be single. The project introduces Brooke to new people and experiences, and keeps returning her back to Levi.

But, Brooke learns kismet may have been wrong when she learns Levi is the last person she should be interested in.

Falling for the wrong guy once has Brooke hesitant to start a new relationship, but Levi is quickly proving that The Fallback might be even better.

NA ReviewMy Thoughts

The Fallback is a new adult contemporary romance by Mariah Dietz. I know it is early in 2019, but I can already tell this book is going to be a favorite of the year. It just had everything I was looking for in a book. I read it one day because I just could. not. put. it. down. And this book clocks in on 465 pages, so it isn’t what I would call short. It just came out this week, and you all need to run, not walk to grab a copy. If you like romantic comedy types reads that are a pinch of The Devil Wears Prada and dash of The Wedding Planner, I absolutely loved The Fallback. I fell in love with the characters, and their romance was super sweet. This novel was a lot of fun.

Brooke is an event planner at a very well respected Chicago firm. The book starts off on a very personal level with Brooke. I felt like we really got to know her even before Levi ever entered the scene, which I really appreciated. But once Levi did enter the story, I was hooked. There was no looking back for me. Though the book certainly had predictable moments, it totally delivered on everything it promised; great characters and a great romance. I loved watching Levi and Brooke, especially once she learned of his connection to her boss. I can so easily see this story translate to a rom com movie. I also loved Brooke’s blog. That was a great side story line for the book, and an awesome way to get an insight into Brooke figuring out who she was as a single woman. It led to some excellent character growth and development.

If you like cute romantic comedies with a wonderfully sweet connection and slow burn romance, the Fallback is a must read for you. I know it is going to be a big contender for best books of 2019 and Levi is totally topping the chart of favorite book boyfriends. This is the first book I have read by Mariah Dietz, but it certainly won’t be the last. I can’t wait to read more of her work.


About Mariah Dietz

Mariah Dietz lives with her husband and three sons, who are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent most of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Review+Giveaway} The Fallback by Mariah Dietz appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Sat, 12 Jan 2019 13:00:18 +0000
{Review+Giveaway} The Fallback by Mariah Dietz

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Killer Lies by Zia Westfield

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Killer Lies by Zia WestfieldKiller Lies by Zia Westfield
Published by Black Velvet Seductions Publishing Company on December 21, 2018
Genres: adult

Kelsey Tremayne’s life unraveled in the summer of her 16th year when she and a friend were abducted. She came out of the experience alive, but without memories of her abduction and her friend was never found. Rumors that she’d killed her friend in jealousy, and that she was mentally unstable, started and eventually her parents moved her away from Carville. Now, she’s back in Carville to settle her aunt’s estate. However, someone is watching her, playing with her mind. Could it even escalate to murder?One man is willing to stand by her, protect her, and breach the barriers that have guarded her heart for so long.Sam Carmichael stays focused on the job and keeps his personal interactions limited. The emotional instability of his wife and her subsequent suicide have made him leery of getting deeply involved with anyone. Even so, someone is targeting Kelsey Tremayne and the roots go back twelve years to an abduction that was never solved. As Sam is drawn deeper into the case, he can’t help admiring Kelsey’s strength and compassion and he vows to do everything he can to find the truth and bring her kidnapper to justice.Can two people hurt by their pasts survive a criminal’s web to find a future together?

Sam Carmichael switched his high beams on and eased off the pedal as he drove the narrow mountain road. Fat raindrops splattered the windshield of the SUV in a steady torrent that even the windshield wipers working double time couldn’t keep up with.
The Tremayne mansion drive should be another half a mile up the road. He’d be glad to get there. The mountainside wasn’t known for landslides, but the amount of rain that had been coming down steadily had been causing a number of accidents throughout Carville. Best-case scenario, he’d see the crazy cat lady and get back into town before anything bad happened.
Thunder cracked overhead, followed by a flash of light that lit up the road, revealing towering trees on both sides. He also caught sight of the gate that signaled the Tremayne estate.
He made the turn and pulled up beside the box attached to the wall. He lowered his window, pushed the button and waited for a response.
He’d been out here years ago when he’d been riding patrol. A woman dressed in shawls and surrounded by dozens of cats, or so it had seemed, had answered the door. She’d insisted that he find the person who was trying to steal her cats.
Setting aside his private thoughts, he’d checked the house and the grounds, but had found no signs of anyone having been there.
He’d chalked it up to experience and had forgotten about it until tonight, when the desk Sergeant had roped him into coming to check out a report of a possible burglary before going home.
“Lucky me,” he said into the darkness.
“Excuse me?” The voice crackled across the intercom.
Sam leaned out, ignoring the rain that pelted him, and spoke loudly.
“Detective Sam Carmichael, Carville PD. I’m here about the burglary.” He pulled his head back in and waited for the gate to open. Instead, the intercom crackled to life once more.
“Would you show me your badge, Detective?”
Sam reminded himself that he had become a detective to serve the public, even on foul nights when man and beast knew better than to be outside. He fished his badge out of his pocket and thrust it out towards the camera. How the hell the person on the other side expected to see anything with the rain coming down like it was, he didn’t know.
The gate suddenly creaked and slowly began opening.
“You’re welcome,” Sam muttered.
While he waited for the opening to be large enough for him to drive through, he gave himself a stern talking to. Crazy cat lady or not, he would do his job and be professional. Some days were the pits and today ranked as one of them, but he wouldn’t let it interfere with his job.
He drove up the long drive, noting the overgrown lawn and the creepy vibe given off by the ivy crawling up every inch of the turreted mansion, the branches overhanging the drive, and the coldness that seemed to emanate from the dark exterior. Before he left tonight he would make a point to the person who called the stationhouse to add lights to dispel the gloom.
He pulled the SUV as close to the front porch as he could, but he was still soaked by the time he reached the top step.
He pushed the bell next to the door and prepared to meet the crazy cat lady.
The door opened, and Sam stared dumbfounded. The woman before him was dressed in shawls and a long dark grey skirt, and had one cat in her arms while another curled up on a straight back chair that butted up against the wall.
But she was years younger—younger than him, he’d guess—and punch-in-the-gut beautiful.
None of it made sense and he said the first words that popped into his mind.
“What happened to the other crazy cat lady?”
Kelsey Tremayne winced at the question. When she’d opened the door, she hadn’t been sure what to expect. The security system needed a major upgrade. She had barely been able to hear the detective identify himself, and the rain and poor camera quality had made it impossible to see his badge clearly.
Though she’d debated the risk in letting him approach, she had decided to chance it. She gripped the pepper spray she held in her hand which was concealed by the shawls. It hadn’t been easy to call the police given her history with them, in fact, her stomach still felt queasy over the decision, but she needed the incidents on record.
Crazy cat lady, indeed.
“Please come in, Detective.” She stepped back and petted Sabina, the white Persian mix that had sought comfort in her arms when the thunder had started.
The detective entered, dripping water on the wood floor, and surveyed her from head to foot. He was tall, over six feet, if she had to guess, with a rangy build, brown close-cropped hair, and a stubborn jaw.
Kelsey could imagine what he saw. A not-very-tall, not-very-short, brown-haired, brown-eyed female with more cats than friends. Okay, he wouldn’t be able to guess the last, but it wouldn’t take long for him to stumble onto the truth.
Then again maybe he already knew it. After all, he’d asked about the other cat lady.
“If you’d follow me,” she said, and turned to head down the hall to the one habitable room.
For whatever reason, her aunt hadn’t put her mark on the library. Perhaps it had remained a tribute to her aunt’s father, Kelsey’s grandfather. Whatever the reason, Kelsey was grateful for the comfortable furniture and the working fireplace. The heater had shown itself to be temperamental and the fire burning in the fireplace was the only source of heat she had. In a few weeks, when winter dumped snow on the ground, she’d be in trouble if she didn’t get someone to fix it. Lately, she never seemed to warm up, as if the cold lived and breathed inside her, spreading its tentacles throughout her body.
She shivered, mentally relegated the broken heater to the long list of repairs she had written, and focused on the detective.
“Would you like to have a seat, Detective? Can I get you anything to drink?” She knew she’d said the wrong thing from the way his eyes widened.
“Kelsey. Kelsey Tremayne. Ma’am makes me sound old.” She moved a little closer to the fire, wanting the heat to dispel the chill that had taken up permanent residence in her bones.
The detective splayed his hands on his hips and watched her.
“Ms. Tremayne, you called the station and reported a burglary.”
Kelsey wet her lips and wished he’d asked for a drink. Her mouth felt dry and her throat parched.
He wouldn’t believe her. She could tell from his stance and from the way his gaze swept over the room. He had made up his mind about her. Maybe he’d even heard the rumors about her.
He’d obviously heard the ones about her aunt or why would he have called her the “crazy cat lady”?
Suddenly the room seemed to shrink. Her pulse rate increased and sweat broke out on her brow. A panic attack was imminent if she didn’t do something to head it off.
That would be all he would need to see to confirm that she was as crazy as her aunt. She couldn’t let him.
“I’m sorry, detective, for wasting your time. You should go. I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Please chalk it up to the horrible weather.” She tried to smile, but her lips seemed to tremble instead. She couldn’t even look him in the eye; her gaze slid away. She marched purposely to the door, hoping he would follow.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
She tried to remember everything her therapist had told her. Her control, though, was slipping. Footsteps sounded behind her and she knew a moment of relief. He would go.
Once he was gone, she could fall apart.
She juggled Sabina in order to grab the doorknob and pull the heavy front door open. Thunder boomed overhead and lightning lit up the sky. Sabina yowled and leaped from Kelsey’s arms, scratching them in her descent. Kelsey tripped on her floor-length skirt and fell backward.
Arms caught her and pain exploded in her head. “Let go!” She kicked and scratched and fought, determined to fight her way free.
One minute she was trapped and the next she was thrust into a hard-backed chair. Detective Carmichael stood a few feet away, looking at her as if she were indeed crazy. She wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.
If only she were a cat-like Sabina, who’d scampered to the top of a stack of boxes further down the hallway and was observing them from her perch.
“Please go,” Kelsey whispered, her voice raw.
Silence pressed in on her, despite the sounds of the storm made louder by the open front door. She’d asked him to leave. Why didn’t he leave?
He walked over to the door and closed it. He blew out a breath and rubbed the top of his head.
“Look, you called about a burglary. Why don’t we focus on that?”
She shook her head. “I was mistaken.” She twisted her fingers in the shawl’s fringe. “You can go.” Maybe if she repeated it enough he’d get the hint.
He bent down and picked up the pepper spray that must have fallen out of her hand when she’d tripped. He put it on the table in the entry, next to her chair. He looked puzzled.
She waited for the barrage of questions. Memories of another interrogation intruded into her mind and once more her control began to crumble. She got to her feet, strode purposely to the front door and pulled it open.
“I’ve asked you to leave. I told you it was a mistake. Please go or I’ll have to call the station to register a complaint.” She wouldn’t, of course. Her days of dealing with the police were at an end. She’d thought she could handle talking to them, after all of her therapist’s encouragement to see beyond her own nightmarish experience. But, again, images and voices crowded into her mind, threatening to push out here and now if she didn’t hang on.
“All right. I’ll go,” he said.
He spoke evenly, and she focused on the words, not wanting to look into his eyes and see pity there.
She expected him to step past her and out onto the porch so she could shut the door. But he paused directly in front of her, facing her, though all she saw was his dark blue shirt tucked into a pair of jeans. She forced her head up to meet his gaze, her hands tightening the shawl’s material around her.
His eyes were gray, turbulent, like the storm outside. Something inside her wanted to shy away from the way he seemed to be stripping away the layers she’d successfully piled on to protect herself. But she made herself withstand the scrutiny.
He shook his head. “You know, none of this makes sense. This,” he waved his hand around to encompass the hallway, “doesn’t make sense. Mostly, though, you don’t make sense.” He reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a business card and held it out to her.
She wet her lips, aware of his gaze suddenly focused on her mouth. She felt the heat rushing to her cheeks.
“If I take the card, will you leave?” Her voice sounded husky to her own ears and she wanted to kick herself. The last person she needed to be attracted to was a police detective.
“Just take the card,” he said.
She reached out to pluck it from his fingers, but he held on to it.
“First, get some light and better security. Second, I don’t know why you called the police, or what’s going on, but if you change your mind or need assistance, my cell phone is on here. I’ll pick up day or night.” With those final words, he released his grip on the card and walked out, closing the door behind him with a snap.
A cat meowed, and she felt the animal rub against her legs. Pulling her gaze away from the door, she reached down and picked Sabina up. She was still holding the card in her hand as she carried the cat to the library where warmth lay. She should throw it away, yet she couldn’t quite rid herself of the image of those gray eyes and that penetrating stare. He’d called her a crazy cat lady, but when he’d zoomed in on her lips, he’d seemed attracted.
Of course, it might all be in her imagination, but that didn’t matter. If she concentrated on how he’d been captivated by her lips, she wouldn’t have to think about who had been in the house and whether they would be back.


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Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Excerpt+Giveaway} Killer Lies by Zia Westfield appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Thu, 10 Jan 2019 14:30:01 +0000
{Excerpt+Giveaway} Killer Lies by Zia Westfield

{Review+Giveaway} Match Me if you Can by @Tiana_Smith

{Review+Giveaway} Match Me if you Can by @Tiana_SmithMatch Me If You Can by Tiana Smith
Pages: 288
Published by Swoon Reads on January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, Romance
Source: eARC from Publisher

Mia's best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn's matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.

Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn't count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince - the guy she knows is right for her - and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn't find out that Mia's been matchmaking behind her back.

Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?

YA ReviewMy Thoughts

Match Me if you Can  is a standalone young adult contemporary romance by Tiana Smith. In fact, Match me if you Can is Tiana’s debut novel, which blew me away. I loved this book. It was super cute, and even though it was pretty predictable and the characters could be a bit immature, it was a great time from start to finish for me. Match Me if you Can is a new twist on the matchmakers trope that I always seem to enjoy. Match Me if you Can is also a retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here, our main character is not the matchmaker, but rather her best friend is a well respected match maker at her high school. Our main character, Mia hijaccks her friend Robyn’s match making email to set herself up with her crush.

I loved all of the characters in this book. I thought they were age appropriate and all well developed. Mia, Robyn, Logan and Vince all really captured my heart.  But Logan most of all. Let me set the stage for you. Mia likes Vince, the popular soccer player. Vince saw how well match making worked for his best friend, so he writes in to Robyn and requests to be matched. Mia jumps on Robyn’s email and matches herself with Vince. Insert Logan who has had a crush on Mia for forever, a looming prom (complete with promposals galore!) and you have a wayy too cute young adult high school rom com that I simply could not put down.

I loved how up front Logan was with Mia the whole time. She was an idiot for not being #TeamLogan from the start, but Vince was also a nice guy and Mia was a teenager with hearts in her eyes, so I get it…kinda. I was just so smitten with sweet Logan that Vince never did it for me. But watching the comedy of errors play out was fun nonetheless. I loved seeing Mia figure out which guy was the right guy. If you are a fan of really sweet and cute high school based romantic comedies, I think Match me if you can is a must read. I loved it! I am already lining up for Tiana Smith’s next book, Not Up for Debate, which is being pitched as a young adult you’ve got mail. Heck yes!! I need that book in my life right now. Tiana Smith- you have a new fan in me. 🙂


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About Tiana Smith

Tiana Smith is a copywriter turned novelist who grew up in the Wild West of Montana. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her ninja boy, reading, or binging the Disney Channel. She’d love to be fluent in sign language, but for now she gets by with awkward hand gestures and even more awkward French. She has double degrees in Honors and English from Westminster College but wants to go back to school to be a lion tamer.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Review+Giveaway} Match Me if you Can by @Tiana_Smith appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Mon, 07 Jan 2019 13:28:27 +0000
{Review+Giveaway} Match Me if you Can by @Tiana_Smith

{Excerpt+Giveaway} To Dream Is To Die by Sarah Lampkin

{Excerpt+Giveaway} To Dream Is To Die by Sarah LampkinTo Dream Is To Die by Sarah Lampkin
Pages: 296
Published by The Parliament House on January 8, 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It's something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret's out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED three years ago and afterwards… life was never the same. In school I had been a social butterfly; now I was a social outcast. A few people still made an effort to talk to me, but most stayed away. They knew better; they knew something had changed the day I died. Everyone could feel it—and it frightened them. I couldn’t blame them. It scared me too.
The day I died was the day I stopped dreaming. Everything seemed to bother me before: social dramas, dating, my sister stealing my books, but it didn’t matter as much anymore. The day I died was the day I started to live with the dead.
I like to think I was a modern-day zombie with some vampire qualities. During the day, I was your typical human girl: average height, average looks, chestnut hair, and brown eyes. The girl next door on every street. Average, yet seeping with sarcasm. A personality trait my mother did not enjoy. Then at night, I would sleep and wake to find myself somewhere else—on the spiritual plane, or the Fade, whatever it was called – walking amongst the dead. And just like the living, the spirits ignored me as well. An oddity to be feared and pushed aside on any plane of existence. I guess people are all the same, no matter what plane of existence, no matter the time, and no matter the day.
And today was the “first day of the rest of my life,” the day I move into college. Yes, I sensed the irony. It might have even been the fresh start I was hoping for, as long as my sarcasm didn’t rear its ugly head. Chances were slim. If I were lucky, my roommate wouldn’t be crazy, or notice just how nuts I was.
“Brenna, give me a couple more boxes,” my dad grunted, swiping a hand through his short graying hair. “Why does this building have to have so many damn stairs?”
“It’s not like I chose to live on the fourth floor of the dorm—and we could have taken the elevator, you know…” I blew my shaggy side-swept bangs out of my eyes as I hoisted a heavy box onto my shoulder; I should have taken mom up on that haircut….
“And wait for 30 minutes each trip? No thank you. Your mother is going to be enough of a basket case as it is. Helen! The door, please?” he yelled.
My mom quickly opened the door revealing a room—my room—already crammed with junk. Luckily for us, my roommate hadn’t arrived yet, so stuffing the room with boxes wasn’t that big of a deal. Since that was the last of everything in the car, I began the long process of unpacking and staked out the bed on the right-hand side of the room. First come, first serve, right?
A little over an hour later – with my parents’ help – all of my clothes were put away and my TV was hooked up. When Dad let out a telltale sigh, I knew he was ready to leave.
“Mom, you and dad head on home, I can finish all of this.” I told them.
A flicker of worry crossed her face. “It’s your first time living away from home. Are you sure you’re going to be all right?”
“I’ll be fine, Mom, besides, you’re only two hours away,” I reassured her.
Dad came up beside her and nodded. “She’ll do great. I’m sure Nephesburg College will suit her just fine. It’s a small school —what could happen in this sleepy little town?”
“Famous last words, hon.” Mom flashed me a smile and rolled her eyes in an attempt to hide the emotions so plainly written across her face.
Dad shook his head and pulled out a small wad of bills. “Just so you’ll have some spare cash—don’t spend it all on booze.”
I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to remind Dad that he knew me better than that, but before I could, a short and very tan girl walked in.
“Are you Brenna?” She asked as she pulled her sunglasses off.
“Yeah, I guess you’re Erica?” I understood right away we wouldn’t be spending that much time together. She was dressed in what one might call conspicuously top label clothing and had that “California air” about her. The black, tightly curled hair and spray-tanned skin sealed the deal. She smacked her glossy pink lips together and surveyed the room with excitement in her baby blue eyes.
“Oh my God, how exciting is this? I’ve finally met my roommate and I finally get to move out of my house! Yes! Yes, I am Erica Belmont!” She bounced up and down at the end of her proclamation. My dad’s eyebrows climbed further into his hairline than I thought was possible.
As if on cue, a tall blonde woman walked in behind her. “Erica, you are far too loud. I could hear you all the way down the hall.” Erica just rolled her eyes and bounced out of the room. While my mother chatted with the woman—who introduced herself as Erica’s mother—my dad and I exchanged looks. His eyes, wide with exasperation, spoke more volumes than the textbooks piled up beside the bed. This year was going to be interesting.
After a few minutes of eavesdropping on their conversation, I learned that Erica was, unsurprisingly, easily excitable and, as I had already guessed, originally from California. She’d already met a lot of people on campus and knew where to go to hang out with some other kids, which excited my mom. I knew she wanted me to meet new people so that college wouldn’t be a high school repeat. Chances were low.
Suddenly everyone was gone, leaving us—the two new college students—alone to get to know each other. It seemed as though Erica wanted me to know everything about her, and not the other way around. I just pretended to listen while I finished unpacking. I was pretty sure I saw her breathe only six times during her entire thirty-minute information regurgitation. I learned that when her dad and grandfather died years ago in an accident, she and her mother inherited a ton of money that allowed them to move to a larger home in California and live what Erica called a comfortable life, which probably involved Ferraris and trips to Europe every once in a while. Big surprise there. Apparently, she wanted freedom from all of that – her mom always caught her when she snuck out to the clubs back home – and here in Virginia is where she thought she could find that. She went out to clubs all the time, but she wanted to party without having to worry about getting caught. At least she had her priorities straight. I think I heard Patrick Henry rolling in his grave.
While Erica had barely made a dent in her unpacking, I had gotten everything out and completely set up. My bed was made, clothes put away, desk set up, and the TV was all ready for watching with my PlayStation 3 attached. I turned the TV on low as to not seem rude to Erica, but I was tired of her chattering. I considered the possibility that she was actually a robot, programmed to keep talking until the nearest person smashed her to bits with a baseball bat. Testing my theory seemed a service to both science and mankind as a whole. But that was my cynicism talking.
“Brenna! Did you hear me? I asked if you could help me and unpack a little bit!” Erica yelled, interrupting my thoughts of a Nobel Prize, finally aware that I was ignoring her by now. Damn, and I was doing so well.
“Yeah, sure.”
“Thanks. Anyway, where are you from? Is your family rich? I saw your dad hand you some money.” She asked while carefully reapplying her lip-gloss. In a swift motion, I used the scissors to rip the packing tape on the box closest to me.
“I’m from Richmond—it’s about two hours away. We aren’t rich, but we are well off, I guess. I mean, I haven’t heard anything about money problems…” Glancing into the box revealed too many thongs in colors that should not have existed in the visible spectrum. I quickly shoved the box in Erica’s direction.
She looked genuinely disappointed. “Oh, well that’s cool, I guess.” She didn’t seem to know what else to say, which was fine with me. Sadly, the blessed silence didn’t last long. A calamitous assault at the door was followed by a frenzy of loud and energetic girls filling the room.
“How was the trip?”
A bleach blonde girl with a nose stud squealed as she gave Erica a hug. “Want to go to dinner in the dining hall? It’ll be our first college meal!”
Erica didn’t hesitate to accept. “I’ll go with you guys, sure! It was a boring flight! My God, I didn’t even get a window seat. I’m so glad I’m finally here.” As she was rushing out she stopped and looked back at me. “Brenna, did you want to come?”
Although the idea of being social was probably a good one, I knew being social with them would only bring out my sarcastic bitchiness. I was pretty sure that wasn’t the best way to get to know my roommate. “No, I need to finish some things up here. Thanks though.”
I really had nothing to do, and Erica knew that well. Her blue eyes hardened a touch as she closed the door behind her. Finally, the room was quiet and I was alone.
I surfed through the local channels before finally giving up and deciding to go for a walk instead. Grabbing my iPhone, I locked the door and headed out of the tall brick dorm building. Even though it was already beginning to darken, there were still some freshmen moving around. I recognized a few from my summer orientation group. As I suspected, they steered clear of me. During orientation, I had tried to be pleasant, tried hard to be nice to a lot of them, attempting to at least make one friend. But something about me made them politely smile and nod before walking away. I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair before continuing my trek around campus.
Leaving home was supposed to be exciting. A fresh start and all that crap—I was a freshman! I should have been excited and optimistic and completely naive. But I wasn’t—I had seen too much in the last three years to pretend to be excited about change. Change meant adjusting, it meant not fitting in with a new crowd just like the old. It didn’t matter. Soon night would come and I could ignore everything again.
By the time night finally descended, my feet had already taken me around half of the campus. As I walked, a small copse of trees caught my attention. It was only a short distance from my dorm building, so I decided to explore a little before darkness overcame all, leaving nothing but the Fade. Because of the accident—what it did, and what it meant— things were… different. If anyone paid attention to me, they would have noticed some kind of odd behavior: reading a post-it note in a pitch-black room, catching a falling cup, holding a hot pan a little longer than normally possible; the sorts of everyday wonders that would normally be dismissed as cheap parlor tricks. If only it were that.
Being lost among the trees, away from all the people, I wanted to feel relaxed; at ease. But there was something off about these woods. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end, sensing something I couldn’t see. I walked farther into the woods, attempting to find the source of the sensation. Within earshot, a group of kids laughed as they smoked whatever it was that they had. I moved on, paying them no mind. If they noticed me as well, they chose to ignore it. A silent deal.
As I made my way from the group, through fallen timber and mossy ground, I found a tree standing amidst the green that seemed too large for such a small wooded area. I sat down against it and found I could barely see the heart of the campus from here. I curled up against the base of the gnarly old oak and sighed. To be here and away from home was a strange transition to make. Although many people were attached to their family and home, it was a little different for me. I now lived with a stranger—a damn annoying stranger—and I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do at night anymore. I tried applying for a single room, but I had to have a medical reason to be by myself. My condition would have been difficult to describe, let alone prove. I doubt a doctor would have written the note: “Becomes ghost at night, will haunt dorm room. Might scare off other humans.”
I crouched and examined the small clearing for a while. What had pulled me into the area was still unclear to me. But when I stood up, I finally felt it—there was a reason I had come to this part of the woods, and it was now very clear. What I sensed wasn’t something I could look at in my current state. I’d have to return to investigate without my body.
Despite the urge to fall asleep right there in the woods, I began to make my way back to the dorm building. The group that had been smoking earlier was gone, leaving the campus practically abandoned. It was oddly quiet and I liked it—though I suspected this was a rare peace.
When I returned, I stopped at the door. Putting my ear up against it, I tried to make out if Erica was back. As soon as I was sure I didn’t hear anything, I went inside and looked at what she had done. At some point she had returned, but only to change her clothes. Boxes and suitcases were thrown all over the dorm room, with pieces of clothing hanging out from everything. Some of her clothes were even resting on my bed.
After I managed to navigate the minefield of Erica’s boxes and threw her clothing back to her side of the room, I jumped onto my bed. As soon as I rolled over to find the TV remote, a knock sounded on the door.
“Erica, you in there?” The masculine voice made me roll my eyes. Erica had only been here one day and she already had a boy to mess around with. This was going to be a long year.
I carefully jumped from my bed and made my way across the room to open the door a crack. “She’s not here.” I said briskly, hoping that would be enough to make him leave.
A man with shaggy black hair and hazel eyes stood at the door, I had to glace up to see his startled expression. “Oh, do you know where she is?”
“Nope. When I got back, she wasn’t here.” Please just leave.
“Do you mind if I wait a little bit to see if she shows up?”
I could tell he was stalling for time. This was a problem that was not going away.
“Why don’t you just call her?” I snarled. I knew I was being harsh, but for some reason his presence made me uncomfortable and annoyed.
He shrugged, “I don’t have her number… She hasn’t given it to me yet. Come on, I’ll stay on her side and you won’t notice that I’m here. I’ll only stay for thirty minutes and if she doesn’t show up by then, I’ll leave.” He grinned in what I was sure he considered a charming manner, revealing a row of perfectly white teeth. His disheveled hair flopped into his eyes, which he quickly flicked to the side as he waited for my response.
“Fine, whatever. Do what you want.” I opened the door wider and stalked back to my bed. I noticed he shut the door before going to sit on Erica’s computer chair. That made me uncomfortable.
“So, who are you?” He playfully glanced at me while swiveling the chair back and forth as I attempted to go back to watching TV.
He didn’t need to know anything. I knew I was being rude, but I didn’t care. He could get laid on his own time. It was pointless to just sit in the room like a lost puppy. I crossed my arms and tried to focus my attention back onto the television.
“Where are you from, Brenna?”
“That you don’t need to know. You can stay here and wait for Erica, but I’m going to watch TV and you should too.” Rude, and definitely not the best way to make friends like my mother was hoping I would, but he had invaded my space, though it was partially my fault for letting him wait for her. Probably not the smartest thing to do.
“You sure don’t play nice, do you? I’m just trying to make conversation.” He snapped in annoyance as he shifted in his chair to face me.
“I don’t want to make conversation, I’m tired and I just want to watch TV.” I flicked the volume up a few more bars to prove my point.
All he did was grunt back, but he finally turned his attention to the TV set. I didn’t look at him until it was time for him to leave. Erica never showed up, which was no surprise to me. When I looked over at him for the first time, he locked eyes with me for a moment and nodded before getting up to leave. After the door slammed shut behind him, I grabbed my pajamas and shower gear before making my way into the hall bathroom.
After a lukewarm shower, I walked back into the room to find Erica passed out on my bed. Of course. Where else? Looking over at the clock on my desk, I noticed it was already midnight, and she reeked of alcohol and smoke. She sure as hell wouldn’t be sleeping on my bed smelling like that. I went through her boxes to find some sheets and a comforter. Feeling rushed, I made her bed, and threw a few more blankets on it just to get them off the floor.
“Erica, come on. Time to move to your own bed before you puke all over mine,” I poked her until she started to move.
She mumbled something I couldn’t make out and rolled over. Obviously, she was going to be difficult about it. Good thing I was strong and she was only 5’3”. I lifted her up with a bit of a struggle and heaved her onto my shoulder. As carefully as I could, I shuffled over to Erica’s side of the room and laid her onto her bed, nearly hitting the wall as she flopped down. She lifted her head and the look on her face was that of surprise. Slight recollection seemed to hit her when she realized she was in her own bed. Mumbling something, Erica shifted farther into the bed on her own, and pulled the sheets over her head.
I grabbed a trashcan and put it near her head. “If you feel sick, throw up in here. It’s right beside your bed. I’m going to sleep.” I thought she tried to say thanks, but I couldn’t hear anything besides more muffled grunts.
It was no surprise that she had already gone partying, according to pop culture, kids who first moved to college would start to party almost immediately. At least, that’s what I heard. Actually, all levels of college students tended to start right away. It reminded me of my early high school days when I enjoyed partying as well. The memories left a poor taste in my mouth.
Lying down, I settled my body for the usual routine, the same thing I had undergone every night for the last three years. Slowly, I drifted to sleep, and then my eyes opened to stare down at my sleeping body. I felt no pain. I felt nothing. My clothes were no longer there and I stood, watching my chest rise and fall, naked.
Ever since that accident years ago, this had taken the place of sleep. My body rested while my spirit left to live in the Fade. It was cool…at first, but now it was just annoying. At least I had learned how to make some sort of clothing mentally so I didn’t have to wander around the spiritual plane as naked as the day I was born. Unfortunately, the only things I could materialize were jeans and a crop top. I still needed to practice.
I looked over and saw that Erica had thrown up a little bit. Thankfully, she aimed well, it must have been when I was falling asleep. I didn’t exactly have a lot of awareness in the moment between worlds—I was still working on that part. Even though everything seemed to be exactly the same, it really wasn’t. On the spiritual plane, the world was brighter, and louder. All of my senses were heightened, and the room looked as though a light had been turned on.
I had seen my fair share of spirits, but most didn’t like me very much. When they figured out I was actually alive, they became angry and didn’t find it fair. Some of the nastier ones perceived my presence as a kind of trespassing. They’d attempt to become my personal poltergeist, but they always got bored of it eventually. It became an easy arrangement. Just like with the living; if you ignore me, I’ll ignore you and we can all live peacefully. Even the spirits that lived in my house back in Richmond wouldn’t talk to me, though I had been trying for a while.
Thankfully, while outside of my body, I couldn’t smell anything on the physical plane. That was the one sense that seemed to dull. Which meant I couldn’t smell Erica’s vomit. So, before Erica decided to wake up again, I left.
I explored the dorm building for a while, curious as to what the other students were doing. Some were partying, but they kept the music low—probably paranoid security would discover all the underage drinking—others were already asleep, reading, or playing video games. Most were socializing; not many seemed to seek solitude like I did.
Finally, I floated from the building to make my way back to the woods. Coming to the clearing, I descended, and approached the large tree from earlier. Looking at it in this form, I could clearly see what had attracted me here.
From what I could tell, there were three planes of existence: The mortal plane–where all living things lived–and the Fade where spirits dwelled, among other things. But the third was something I had never seen. I only knew it existed from the doors. Found mostly on trees, there were doorways to another plane of existence I had no access to. They contained beings that I only saw when I was a spirit. I called them “fairies” and “demons” because I couldn’t think of a better description. Names based off appearances, I know, but I didn’t know the actual names for what they were.
Although they were undetectable by anyone on the mortal plane, there were legends about them throughout history. From those, and my own experience, I understood the doors operated on a sort of cycle. They would only open during certain nights, allowing them free reign of the Fade. But once the night was over, they would return to their realm. When it was a full moon, the demons came through the doorways. Though not the prettiest things to look at, the demons tended to enjoy messing with humans. Not necessarily hurting anyone, but just hovering around them, causing mood shifts occasionally. They would move items around, trip people up, follow them, and on occasion throw acorns at people and animals. That was their favorite mischievous activity. The demons were basically small, disfigured pranksters.
There have been many studies on humanity and the effects of the full moon that make them go crazy or believe they are a werewolf or some other such nonsense. It had nothing to do with the full moon, just with the demons being allowed to escape. When the night of the full moon ended, they returned to their domain, leaving behind whatever mess they had created.
During the time of first and third quarter, and new moon, the fairies were given leave to roam from their own doorways. I hated them. Unlike the demons, their energy was hostile. A few times I had seen them torture any spirit they came across, or even whisper into the ears of humans, causing them to react violently. It wasn’t often that I would run across a fairy, but I preferred it that way. Though beautiful, they were little shits.
There was no doubt about this tree. It was a demon gateway. The door appeared old, as if it had been there for centuries with the worn wood and small cracks. Because the doorways were on trees, I had found a few at home, but whenever I traveled to populated areas, they became harder to find. Once I had discovered a doorway in the wood frame of a friend’s home. Fairy doors, however, were much more difficult to locate. To this day, I hadn’t seen one. I had only seen the beautiful little monsters flying around.
The last full moon was a week ago, meaning the door was closed as expected. My theory was that the doorways were somehow connected, but again, I hadn’t seen a fairy door to be sure. If I were right, there should have been one somewhere nearby.
But this door was different—there were small characters etched around its entirety. Something I had never seen before. The closer I got to the doorway, the stranger things became. Incoherent voices entered my head. It sounded as if they were trying to scream, but didn’t have the strength. I had never heard these voices before. They wept desperately with disjointed words and screams. I moved closer and raised my hand to touch a particularly interesting marking when a clear voice stopped me cold.
“I wouldn’t do that, honey.”
Whirling around, an older woman stood behind me. Judging from her clothing, I figured she had been dead for a while. She looked kindly down at me through ethereal spectacles as she absently smoothed the folds of her long skirt.
“Why not? It’s only a doorway…” I said, raising my chin, causing my hair to fall and frame my face. I was sure my eyes were snapping with defiance – I didn’t take kindly to being told what to do, especially on the spiritual plane. This was supposed to be the one place I didn’t have to listen to anyone telling me what to do.
She shook her head, causing her ridiculously out of fashion hat to shift a little. “You are correct, my dear girl, but this one is different from its brothers that you have previously encountered. Watchers and Dreamers have been busy distorting these doorways. Arrogant fools.” She gestured with one elegantly gloved hand towards the script I had attempted to touch moments before.
“I thought humans knew nothing about the Fade doors —and what the hell is a Watcher? Or a Dreamer?” I uncrossed my arms, curious now. These so-called Watchers or Dreamers could present great danger to me if I were discovered. Yet another complication to my situation. Great.
The laugh she let out sent shivers up my spine. “Oh, you are quite the spunky one, aren’t you? If you’re going to abandon your body so carelessly, you should learn more about the world you wander through. Do not assume your limited scope of experience gives you all the answers you seek. Your lot is quite the arrogant bunch these days.” Despite her harsh tone, a smile crinkled the corners of her lips.
“How do you know I’m not dead?”
“So you do prove capable of asking smart questions. Look at my body’s faint white glow—do you see it? This means I have died of old age, nice and neatly in my bed. A clean death, and an expected one. You have no such glow, which means you haven’t yet died—at least not permanently. Only a few know what these auras are for, or can see them right away. You aren’t the first to come around these woods and possess that ability. Dreamers are usually cut from the same cloth. But you are different from your predecessor, though, in what way, I’m not sure.”
“What predecessor? What…What are you talking about? What is going on?” She was dancing around my questions, choosing not to answer them. It was beginning to piss me off.
Instead, she merely walked backwards and gradually vanished from my sight, smiling all the while. She raised one gloved hand in a wave before she was gone.
“Well, that was rude. Would it really have been that hard to answer my damn questions?” I murmured to myself. This was what happened every time I spoke with a spirit. They would talk for barely a minute before walking away. I could never keep their interest for longer than that.
Returning to the door, I was curious to see what these symbols—these seals—were and how they worked. They were new to me even after more than three years in the Fade. Perhaps it was only a certain kind of human that could see them. If that were true, I should have come across something about these seals in my research, but I couldn’t recall anything like them in any of it. My eyes drifted back to the symbol I had nearly touched before. Whatever the reason, this seal gave me a rotten feeling in my gut. If those demons couldn’t get out, and hadn’t been able to get out for a while, I assumed they were pissed off about being cooped up for so long. I know I would be.
Looking up, the moon had moved pretty far in the sky, so I decided it was time to head back. Life would have been much easier if I were able to go wherever I wanted like the other spirits did. Since I was still connected to my body, I could only go a certain distance before feeling its pull.
It looked like I wasn’t the only one who had wanted to return to the woods on this particular night. A different group of students had gathered together at the front of the woods, probably to smoke pot, barely hidden from any passing campus security. One of them turned, and walked through me, and I jolted in surprise. Sometimes it was interesting to phase through anything on the mortal plane, but crossing through humans was always more trouble than it was worth. Headaches aside, you received an uncomfortable rush, a splash of their emotions, and that was even more jarring than being a half-ghost.
I followed the stranger, who was in a chipper mood, and there were a few more guys with a couple of girls in tow as well. Some were still smoking while others were just laughing in the midst of their conversation. None of them seemed to notice or feel a change in the air, which meant my body was waking up, and my spirit was fading away. The old spirit had called me a Dreamer. There was something more to what she was saying, but I still wasn’t sure what it was.
As I felt myself being taken back, something stirred deep inside me. Something—or someone—was watching me. Thinking it was the same elder woman from before, my gaze searched the woods behind and the students in front of me. Sitting next to a few of the others, he was there. The guy who had barged into my room to wait for Erica. He was staring right at me and he was smiling.


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About Sarah Lampkin

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah moved to Northern Virginia to work in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t work, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

Although she currently lives in Northern Virginia, Sarah frequently travels back home to Richmond to visit family, friends, and her godchildren. During the winter months, she is in Richmond more frequently to spend time in the woods hunting and contemplating the meaning of life. She doesn’t always succeed in both endeavors, but the music of nature is worth it for peace of mind.

In her free time, she likes to play RPG video games, and rock climbing. To make sure she can make the most out of her day, she wakes up at 4am every morning to work on her fitness, so in the evening she has time to continue writing. Her passion for writing has been around since high school where she wrote her first short story. It continued as she worked towards her bachelor’s degree, and that is where the Dead Dreamer series began. Although only self- published via online, Sarah’s dream is to write for a living and continue to create fictional worlds where her mind can reside.

Her work mainly focuses on Celtic themes, mixed with elements from the spiritual world. And her characters always have a flair of attitude and sarcasm because writing damsels in distress is something she just can’t do.


Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Excerpt+Giveaway} To Dream Is To Die by Sarah Lampkin appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Fri, 04 Jan 2019 16:21:56 +0000
{Excerpt+Giveaway} To Dream Is To Die by Sarah Lampkin

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Shrouded Kingdom by Rachel Medhurst

{Excerpt+Giveaway} Shrouded Kingdom by Rachel MedhurstShrouded Kingdom by Rachel Medhurst
Pages: 163
Published by Amazon Digital Services on December 28, 2018
Series: The Lost Queen of Althea #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic

Once a human. Now a fae princess, destined to be queen.

Layanna Fairling has never belonged to her village, and yet, when it’s threatened by a tyrant who wants her dead, she knows she has to protect it.

Three mysterious strangers who claim Layanna is a changeling and future ruler of the Seelie Court arrive to aid her. They also claim that the only way of saving her village is by overthrowing the Unseelie tyrant who inherited the throne from his evil father when he slayed her real parents, the Fae King and Queen of Althea.

The tyrant's greed and violence threaten to tear apart the kingdom she never knew existed, leaving Layanna with a simple choice. Overthrow the handsome and powerful tyrant, or lose everyone and everything she loves.

“Come and sit down. The sooner we talk, the sooner you can decide what you want to do.”
She was right, of course. Although my brain was fuzzy from too much information, too fast, I still understood that something had changed. Life had changed.
Straightening my back, I took confident steps over to the fire and sat on a small log opposite them. The flames between us instantly warmed my chilled skin.
“There’s no smoke,” I muttered, looking up to the clear blue sky high above the trees.
Throwing another log onto the fire before he sat, Larnika chuckled to himself. Trenton rubbed his nose as he watched me, his eyes studying my face intently. The intensity of his stare made me draw my cloak tighter around me.
“It’s magic,” Sarsia said, “I’m a witch.”
Shooting to a stand, I backtracked away from the fire. No, witchcraft wasn’t real. Although, if I truly believed that, my heart wouldn’t be rushing like a galloping horse. Nor would I be retreating.
“You must have seen me perform magic when you watched our little battle with Jordeek.” Sarsia glanced at the other two.
So, she had known that I was there, hiding in the shrubbery. Was it all an act? Some sort of trick?
“Princess-” Trenton started.
“Don’t call me that.” When the chill of the air almost froze my cheeks, I went back to the fire and sat.
They might be rogues or thieves. Wait, they were thieves. “You stole from the bookshop.”
My accusation went over their heads as they shrugged. Trenton sat forward, rubbing his hands in front of the flames. “We don’t have much time, we had to get your attention.”
“So, if you’re a witch…” I looked pointedly at Sarsia. “…What are you?” My gaze went to the others.
Trenton ducked his head, but Larnika looked me right in the eye. “I’m Fae. Part of the Seelie Court.”
Seelie Court? What was that? And Fae? They’d mentioned that I was Fae, but I had no idea what that was.
“I’m a fairy,” Trenton muttered, his eyes cast to the leaf covered ground.
“A fairy? You can’t be, you’re too big.” The lore of fairies had been well known across the land, but usually they were depicted as tiny creatures. Not that I’d ever believed that the lore was true. They were just stories told to amuse children.
“Only in your realm. I have the power to change my size at will, although it takes a lot of magic, so I need to get home.” He finally looked into my face. Was he ashamed of being a fairy? No, he couldn’t be a fairy.
“Why are you telling me these stories? Everyone knows there’s no such thing as fairies and witches. I don’t even know what a fae person is.” Holding my hands out to the fire, I avoided eye contact with them.
For some reason, these strange people had decided to trick me out into the woods. What did they want from me? Maybe other people would jump out soon and do something unthinkable.
Without saying anything, Trenton stood up and stepped around the fire. Going further into the clearing, he held his arms out to the side and then promptly disappeared.
“What…!?” Frozen still, I stared at the spot he used to be.
A tiny bright light suddenly surged up from the ground. Coming closer, it flew near to my face. My breath was rapid now, my chest tight as I stared at the tiny man that hovered in front of me. Surely, that… it couldn’t be.
“That’s Trenton’s true size, although he has grown fond of being bigger, so even in Althea, you’ll often seen him as a man rather than a fairy.”
The light buzz of his wings were audible to my ears. His clothes had shrunk with him. Ah, that had been why he didn’t wear breeches. His legs were able to move freely in just his hose.
“I…” Had no words.
“It’s a shock, we understand. You’ve seen my magic and now Trenton’s.”
Fairy Trenton disappeared from in front of my face, reappearing as a full sized man in the clearing again. I couldn’t quite get my brain to form words in my mouth. What had I just seen?
Larnika stared at Sarsia as Trenton came back to his seat. His smile was broad as he wiggled his eyebrows at me.
“See, you thought I was small in this form, but I’m not.” It was almost as if he was proud of being a short human looking man. What a peculiar bunch of people.
Sarsia cleared her throat. “Larnika cannot show you his abilities. He was stripped of them.”
Her blunt explanation that wasn’t really an explanation made me swallow. The information was a little too much, I wasn’t sure if I could handle anymore.
“When I went against Jordeek, the current Seelie Court king, he took my magic away, forcing me to leave my family.”
The flash of pain that crossed his face made my chest squeeze. If I had to leave my parents, my village, I would probably die. Well, maybe not die, but it would seriously hurt me.
“So,” I breathed, blinking slowly. “Say that this is all true, why do you keep saying that I’m a changeling?”

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About Rachel Medhurst

Rachel Medhurst grew up in Surrey, England. She writes to prove that no matter where you come from, you can be anything you want to be. Your past may shape you, but it doesn’t define you. When Rachel isn’t writing, she can be found reading and walking in nature.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Excerpt+Giveaway} Shrouded Kingdom by Rachel Medhurst appeared first on Book Briefs.

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Mon, 31 Dec 2018 12:28:31 +0000
{Excerpt+Giveaway} Shrouded Kingdom by Rachel Medhurst

{Review+Giveaway} Court of Memories by Dyan Chick

{Review+Giveaway} Court of Memories by Dyan ChickCourt of Memories by Dyan Chick
Pages: 202
Published by Illaria Publishing on December 24, 2018
Series: Forbidden Queen #2
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Author

Magic comes with a price. If Cassia wants a happily ever after in the Fae realm, she’ll have to join a brutal fight for a crown she doesn’t even want.

Cassia is so close to the life she always wanted. A changeling who was always out of place in the human world, she is on her way to finding love, magic, and happiness with four Fae princes. The monster threat against her life has been contained. For now. But they are attracted to her power and her untrained magic, and it’s a race against time before they break through again.

And the monsters aren’t the only ones trying to kill Cassia. The Queen’s Trial is approaching, and her power makes her a target and a threat to the other noble houses vying to be queen.

With her enemies piling up and only Four Fae Princes on her side she’s running out of options. There's only one rule in Queen's Trial: Survive.

NA ReviewMy Thoughts

Court of Memories is the second book in the forbidden queen series by author Dyan Chick. The forbidden queen series is a fae based fantasy romance series, and it does pick up right where the first book ends off. So you do need to read this series in order. I read the first book just a few months ago, and it did take me a minute to gain my bearings back into this world again. (because 2018 has been the year of fae romances for me. I just can’t get enough of them!) I will also say, that the forbidden queen series is a reverse harem romance, so there are multiple love interests in this book. If that is something that bugs you or is not up your alley, then this might not be  the series for you. But I also have to say, I have really been enjoying reverse harem books this year. The power of five series is one of my favorite series of all time, and they are not all about sex. (at least not the series I have been reading. There are some like that, I’m sure.) Court of Memories was way better than the first book in the series, Court of Secrets. I feel like we not only got to know the characters better, but we also had a lot of plot progression in this book. Things are getting really, really interesting in this series.

In Court of Memories, we are still on a journey with Cassia and four fae princes- each from one of the different courts, Dane from Summer, Tristan from Winter, Cormac from Autumn and Ethan from Spring court. Cassia was a changeling that was left in the human realm, and now that she is back in the fae realm she is like a magnet to all kinds of beasties because of her untapped, untrained magic. I love getting to know each of the princes the best, and learning more and more about their secrets. There are also lots of cool fae court politics and secrets galore as they all progress on their journey to speak to the Queen.

Court of Memories set us up for a fantastic book 3. I will say, that I did see some of the surprises coming, but the book was still so much fun. And there were a few things with the winter prince that surprised me, and some powers that I can’t wait to learn more about. I’m not sure how many books there will be in this series, but I am guessing 3 or 4. Court of Memories left me totally ready for the next book. I think we are going to get more answers and there will certainly be a lot more action and intrigue in the books to come. I have a special spot in my heart for all of the princes, but Cormac and Tristan are currently my favorites. But who knows, as I get to know each of the princes more, my favorite may very well change. If you are a fan of fae romances, the Forbidden Queen series is a fun one. Each of the books are quick read that you can easily finish in one day. The first book was only ok in my opinion, but the second book was much better! Bring on book 3! I have a feeling I am going to like that one best of all!


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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

12/24/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

12/24/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

12/26/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

12/26/2018- Burgandy Ice– Excerpt

12/27/2018- BookHounds– Excerpt

12/27/2018- Good Choice Reading– Spotlight

12/28/2018- Texan Holly Reads– Excerpt

12/28/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Spotlight

Week Two:

12/31/2018- Books a Plenty Book Reviews– Review

12/31/2018- Bookbriefs– Excerpt

1/1/2019- Sweet Things– Excerpt

1/1/2019- Jaime’s World– Excerpt

1/2/2019- To Be Read– Review

1/3/2019- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt

1/3/2019- Parajunkee– Excerpt

1/4/2019- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

About Dyan Chick

My story is probably similar to a lot of other writers out there. As a kid, I was creative, imaginative, and loved to write. I’d write scripts for plays and make my sisters act them out. I got excited about the writing prompts for standardized tests in elementary school. I started writing my first (unfinished) novel in 5th grade. Then started another one in middle school. For a long time, I was a closet writer. I didn’t tell anybody that I had a hard drive full of abandoned stories. After years of not finishing anything, I finally took the plunge and started taking writing, and myself as a writer, seriously. My first novel, Heir of Illaria, published January 23, 2017. Book 2 is right around the corner. It’s gone from closet hobby to full on addiction. Thankfully, I have a wonderfully supportive husband who doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about my characters as if they’re real.

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Michelle @ Book Briefs

The post {Review+Giveaway} Court of Memories by Dyan Chick appeared first on Book Briefs.

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{Review+Giveaway} Court of Memories by Dyan Chick
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