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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cover Reveal, Chapter Reveal & Giveaway: Argos by Phillip W Simpson


Today Philip W. Simpson and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for ARGOS! Which releases May 10, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

Here’s a message from the author:

This was a labor of love for me. I have always loved dogs and stories of dog's courage and loyalty. Hearing or reading these never fail to make me cry. Particularly stories of dogs like Grey Friar's bobby and Hachiko. And then there's the story of Argos - probably the most famous and loyal dog of all time. In Homer's Odyssey, there's literally only one page
dedicated to the death of Argos and for me, it was the most moving scene in the whole book.

I had to write this book, not only for myself but for all the dogs I've loved throughout my life. I had no choice in the matter.

I love this cover because it's evocative and moody (much like the cover to my last book, Minotaur). It also begs certain questions: why is a dog in a boat being rowed across a river by a heavily cowled boatman? Those who are familiar with the classics will know the boatman is Charon and the river is the Styx. Therefore the dog is in Hades. But why? A
dog has no place in Hades so what makes Argos so special? I love covers that make the reader ask these types of questions.

 Title: ARGOS
Author: Phillip W. Simpson
Pub. Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD |Goodreads

Loyalty has no limits.

Raised from a pup by Greek hero, Odysseus, Argos has come to learn the true meaning of love and loyalty. But when Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, little does Argos know it will be 20 years before he sees his master again. With Odysseus gone his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, are easy prey for neighboring kings and the Gods themselves.

But Argos was tasked to keep them safe until Odysseus returns and that is a promise he is determined to keep – whatever the cost. Told through his eyes, Argos recounts the story of his life – his pain, his joy, his triumphs and failures; his endurance in the face of hardships almost too great to believe.

Above all else, Argos strives to do what is right – and to remain loyal to his King when all others have given up hope. To live long enough to see his beloved master one more time.

This epic myth of love and loyalty proves that a dog really is man's best friend.



Excerpt




Prologue




So this is what it’s like to die?




I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly isn’t this slow humiliating descent into darkness. My body aches, bruised by the fists and feet of Penelope’s suitors and servants, joints painfully swollen by age.




Flies swarm around me, attracted by the stench of the manure pile beneath me, or perhaps sensing the death that is slowly creeping toward me. If I am honest, they don’t annoy me so much. My vision is cloudy at best, eyes misted over by the onset of time. I can barely see their dark flickering shapes and I haven’t the strength to dislodge them when they land. To try and maintain a little dignity, I make the odd attempt to flick my tail or ears but both the flies and I know my heart isn’t in it.




Two old men walk past, leading an ox and open wagon through the palace gates. I lift my head slightly in an effort to see them better, more out of habit than any great interest. I sniff the air, trying to gauge what is in the wagon. All I can smell is feces. My sense of smell, almost overcome by what lies beneath me, fails, and I silently curse my aging, traitorous senses. If I had to guess, I would say they are farmers, bringing produce for the palace kitchens, probably to feed the greedy, slovenly mouths of the suitors who buzz around Penelope much like the flies above my dying body.




The two old men spare me a glance. Although my eyes are not what they once were, I detect sympathy in their gazes. Perhaps they recognize me for who I am or who I once was. Or perhaps not. Maybe they just see an old dog dying on a steaming pile of manure.




Hours later, two other men pass by, dressed in finery that makes them anything but farm hands. I recognize their faces but I would know them regardless by their swagger. Two of Penelope’s suitors come to steal another man’s wife. I hate them with every ounce of my being. If I were even five years younger, I would launch myself at them and tear their arms and legs off with great bites of my powerful jaws. But I am not five years younger. I am old and incapable of doing anything but glare at them balefully.




Like the two older men earlier, they look in my direction. One of them says something I can’t quite catch to the other and they both laugh. The taller suitor reaches into a pouch at his side and pulls out an object that he throws in my direction. It lands off the manure pile, well out of paw reach. I suspect it is a piece of dried meat.




“Here,” he says, laughing. “Eat this. If you can.”




His companion joins in the laughter and they disappear through the palace gates knowing full well that I will not be able to reach the tasty morsel. I wouldn’t eat it in any case. I would much rather starve to death than receive salvation from the likes of them.




Directly overhead, the sun beats mercilessly down. Waves of heat wash over me and warms the manure pile even more. The pile of droppings from mules and oxen are a mixed blessing. For the last two nights, my bed of filth has kept me warm and soothed my aching joints. During the day, however, things are altogether different. The heat is stifling, unbearable, and even I, well accustomed to the most repulsive of scents, am sickened.




My tongue lolls slackly from my open mouth. It is almost too much effort to pant but I know that if I do not, I will die from the relentless heat. I am no longer hungry but would give almost anything for a bowl of cool water with which to quench my thirst. Perhaps even a tub that I could plunge my whole body into—something I would never have done as a young pup. All my life, I have avoided baths, but now I am driven almost crazy by the thought of indulging in something I once hated.




A bath would have an additional benefit. The fleas and ticks that infest my body would probably decide that my scrawny carcass isn’t worth the effort and depart for more luxurious quarters. I would not miss them. The flies I can tolerate, but the incessant biting of these degenerate little creatures is almost more than I can bear. If I had the strength, I would obliterate them with mighty paw strokes.




When I was younger, Penelope or Telemachus would sometimes gently comb them from my body while I lay before the fire in the great hall of Odysseus. Just the thought of such times sends a pleasurable tremor coursing through my body.




I daydream about what they would do if they knew I was lying here, dying and surrounded by filth and decay. Penelope would gather my head into her soft hands and gently kiss my forehead. Telemachus, my human brother, would hug me and rub salves into my open wounds. Together, they would ease my pain and comfort me like they have many times throughout my life.




But those times are long gone. Penelope is locked in her rooms in the palace of Ithaca, besieged by unwelcome suitors. Telemachus left the island months ago to seek out his father, my master, the great hero Odysseus. It is probably a futile quest. Odysseus has been gone for twenty years and, if the words of the palace staff are to be believed, long dead. But neither I nor Telemachus believe it, cannot bring ourselves to believe it. I have heard from the gods themselves that he lives, and whilst they like to play with the lives of mortals, I want to believe them. A man like Odysseus does not simply just die. He is destined for more than death.




It is he that keeps my soul harnessed to my body. The loyalty toward my master and a forlorn hope that he will return to me before I am claimed by death. All of my contemporaries have been in the grave for years already. Not me. It is this loyalty and hope that has kept me going for twenty years.




What I would give to see him one last time.




Chapter One




I awake only to discover that I have died. I am surrounded by gloomy silence. The landscape is devoid of features—or color for that matter. Mist washes over me, tendrils swirling together to form almost recognizable shapes and figures. I can hear whispered voices but from which direction they come, I’m not sure.




I know where I am of course. Hades. The Underworld. The halls of the dead. It makes sense that I am here and yet it does not. The last thing I remembered was lying dying on the manure pile outside the palace gates. Clearly, my body had given up its futile quest for life and so here I am.




But that doesn’t ring true. As far as I know, the Underworld is the place where the souls of the dead dwell. The human dead. The souls of other creatures do not find their rest here. Dogs certainly aren’t allowed in—at least I had never heard of any dogs being granted the privilege. I had heard the stories of the heroes who had ventured into the Underworld before their time: Aeneas, Cupid and Psyche, Heracles, Pirithous and Theseus. Not one of them mentioned encountering any dogs.




Perhaps I am going to be the first. But why single me out for this singular honor, if honor is indeed what it is? I have done nothing special. Like most dogs, I have devoted myself and my life to my master. I don’t believe that is so unusual.




A thought occurs to me: maybe I’m not in the Underworld after all. Perhaps I’m dreaming. As dreams go, it’s pretty bland. I console myself in the knowledge that it is still better than reality, where I have to face endless torment from fleas and ticks.




I choose a direction at random and start walking. I have no destination in mind and no goal. It is simply something to do. Padding along comfortably, it is then that I notice something unusual about my body. When I had last seen my own scrawny flesh, it looked nothing like this. My fur is healthy and clean. Clean! My muscles feel strong, nothing like the wasted bag of old bones I had been moments before. I am young again! What joy!




I take some time to experience the true thrill of youth, to leap and bound, and spring lightly. It is a heady sensation. The gods only know how long I do this for. It’s hard to keep track of time in this place but I don’t care—I’m too busy enjoying myself. After some time however, I gradually become aware that someone or something is watching me. Unbidden, my hackles and the fur on the back of my neck rise. A growl rumbles deep in my chest and emerges through barred teeth.




The mist clears and a boat materializes before me, bobbing calmly on a river as black as night. A figure stands on the boat, shrouded in a black cowl, taller than any human. He carries a long pole which he uses to halt his progress against the swift current.




A long finger emerges from the black sleeves and beckons toward me. I don’t move. I can’t move, frozen as I am in fear. I know who this is and I dare not approach.




The figure cocks his head at me as if considering. Then he whistles. It is the same two-tone whistle used by countless dog owners. Against my will, my traitorous tail wags and I take first one hesitant step forward and then another. Before I know it, I am standing on the shore next to the boat and the boatman.




“Pay your fare,” demands a sepulchral voice drifting out of the black cowl. A hand emerges again from the sleeve. This time I get a good look at it. It is twice as large as any human’s, but with six fingers. The flesh enclosing the bones appears to be rotting.




I don’t bother trying to respond. It’s not like I can speak and tell him I have no fare. I believe it is customary to pay a coin to cross the river Acheron—because this of course is what it is. One of the legendary rivers of the Underworld, it marks the boundary of Hades. The only way in or out is across the river and the only way to cross the river is in the boat controlled by Charon, the boatman.




To gain passage, relatives of the recently deceased have to place a coin in the mouths of the dead. I have seen this done many times before, but I have no coin myself. Just to be sure, I open my mouth to check. Sure enough, I feel nothing on my tongue.




Charon cocks his head again. He seems to be listening to something, but even I, with my magnificent hearing, can detect nothing.




“Very well,” he says, seeming to talk to himself. He indicates that I am to enter the boat and obediently, I do exactly that, even though every part of my body screams at me to flee. I have always struggled to resist going for a ride in any form of moving vehicle, be it chariot, cart or boat.




Charon says nothing as he poles us slowly across the river. The Acheron flows into another river, which I assume is the Styx. Unable to resist the impulse, I sit perched in the bow, my tongue wagging, sniffing the warm breeze. I detect nothing I recognize.




Eventually, we reach the far shore. I don’t have to be told to get out. I leap out as soon as I am able which is just as well because no sooner have I done so, Charon turns the boat and heads back the way he had come.




There is a darker line of shadow on the horizon before me, and with no better prospects, I make for it. As I get closer, I recognize it for what it is. A huge inky black gate made of some material I am not familiar with. Two huge doors are set within but it is not these objects that command my attention.




Sitting calmly before the doors is a creature the likes of which I have never seen before. It is a massive dog. It isn’t just size that marks it as unusual. This dog has three heads, a serpent’s tail, and a mane of snakes that weave angrily in and out of the coarse black hair that covers the rest of the creature. Each huge paw is tipped with long claws that bear no resemblance to my own. These claws look like they could shred tree trunks.




I know immediately who it is. Cerberus. The great guardian of the gates of Hell. It is his job to ensure that none of the denizens of this place ever leave.




One of the heads swivels in my direction. I meet the gaze of those blood red eyes with rising panic.




“Be calm, Argos,” says Cerberus in a voice like smoke and thunder. “You have nothing to fear from me.”




“Your appearance certainly belies that,” I say in my head. When I was younger, I had tried to speak but quickly realized that I didn’t possess the clever tongue or vocal apparatus possessed by humans. My habit then had been to reply to rhetorical questions in my own mind. You can imagine my surprise when Cerberus gives every appearance of not only hearing me, but understanding me, too.




The central head of the huge Hellhound nods. “I realize that I appear quite fearsome, but it is mostly for show. Those who dwell here must stay. I could hardly stop them if I had the appearance and abilities of say, a common dog.”




I swear to the gods that the speaking head seems to be smiling slightly. That’s if dogs can smile. I confess I have tried to smile many times, but all I have succeeded in doing is lolling my tongue.




“I don’t think I’d risk a confrontation with you,” I say.




“Really, Argos? I have heard tales of your bravery. I think there are many things you would risk. Especially for your master.” I notice that only one head speaks while the two heads flanking the central one move constantly, their baleful eyes seeking out any who would dare escape.




“You know of my master Odysseus then?” I ask.




The central head nods. “Of course. Odysseus is beloved of the gods—especially by the gray-eyed Goddess Athena. I have even heard my own master, Hades, speak highly of him. His deeds are legendary.”




“They are?” I ask, silently cursing myself for doubting this fact. Of course his deeds are legendary. The actions of my master could not be anything else. I just hadn’t heard of any of them. “So my master lives then?”




“It is not for me to say, Argos. I am sorry. Come closer. Do not be afraid.”




Tentatively, I do as Cerberus asks and trot toward him, stopping a few spear lengths away. My sense of perspective immediately changes and I sit down on my haunches in order to take in the enormity of it. The gate is taller than any structure I have ever seen. As for Cerberus, he towers over me, larger than any creature I have ever encountered. Larger even than a rhinoceros. A visitor to Ithaca once told Odysseus about a mythical creature called an elephant that he had seen in his travels. From his description, Cerberus must be at least equal in size.




As nervous as I am, curiosity gets the better of me. “Can I at least hear about these legendary deeds then?” I ask, wagging my tail hopefully.




“Perhaps another time,” says Cerberus. Eddies of smoke are slowly rising from his speaking mouth. “I have brought you here for another reason.”




“Other than the fact that I’m dead?” I ask.




“Are you?” counters Cerberus.




“Why else would I be here then?” I retort. A niggling doubt is starting to form. Maybe this is a dream after all.




“Let me ask you something, Argos. I have served my master, Hades, for millennia and will continue to do so for all of existence. Why do I do that?”




“For loyalty,” I say immediately. “For love.”




This time, Cerberus nods all three heads. “Indeed. I love my master. He is everything to me and he has repaid my loyalty countless times. I would do anything for him.”




“As would I for my master,” I say.




“And that is why you are here, Argos. You are an exceptional dog. You may not think so but I have watched you and I know. Your loyalty and your love for your master is exceptional. It compares even to my o



wn.”

“So why am I here?” I ask, slightly confused.




“Because, I want to hear your story. I want to hear it told in your own words, to experience it from your perspective. I want to hear about everything you and Odysseus experienced together and what made your bond so strong. I want to know why you have waited twenty years for him. In short, I want to hear the story of your life.”




“Why?” I ask.




“Because,” says Cerberus, “I want to know that I’m not the only one. That I’m not the only one whose loyalty exceeds all expectation and belief.”




“And why should I do this for you?” I venture.




“You might be surprised if I told you,” says Cerberus.




The words send a shiver running down my spine.



Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Month9books, Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.

He received his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and both his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Creative Writing from the University of Auckland. Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the
army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia. His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012. When not writing, he works as a school teacher.

Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife Rose, their son, Jack, and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys. www.phillipwsimpson.com




1 winner will receive an eGalley of ARGOS. International.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Deviations by Anma Natsu


Deviations
Anma Natsu
Publication date: February 14th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

“We’re just deviants, that’s all. You, me, Taka. We’re deliciously, wonderfully deviant.”
Scarred

Seventeen-year-old Miho has spent years struggling to deal with the aftermath of a tragic accident. Between the nightmares, PTSD, depression, and her parents’ abandonment, the burden of being the sole survivor has her near her breaking point. The darkness whispers to her, promises of release from the pain, from being a burden, if she is willing to give up.

Battered

While the girls love classmate Shinji’s blond hair and blue eyes, to his father it’s all the proof he needs that his wife was unfaithful. Unwanted and unloved, Shinji is used to his mother’s hatred, his brother’s indifference, and his father’s violence. Male or female, he doesn’t care; his regular string of sexual partners helps him temporarily forget that he will soon have to leave the only person he loves, if he can survive that long.

Controlled

As the first-born son, Shinji’s best friend Taka has known from birth that his future was not his own. He’ll go to the right schools, get the right grades, take over the family business, and produce a perfect heir with a perfect wife, just as his father dictates. Taka’s wants and desires are irrelevant; he can’t change his fate nor escape it, any more than he can protect the only person who keeps him sane.

Attracted

Drawn to one another like moths to a flame, the three find themselves torn between what society deems acceptable and a happiness they never dreamed existed.
**On sale for $2.99 until April 1st only!**
Are you a reviewer?

You can request a review copy of Deviations here!
EXCERPT:
It’s funny how I never noticed till now. Miho, I mean. I’d talked to her a few times in the library, though only to exchange the usual greetings and perform book transactions. But we hadn’t really talked, not until Taka approached her. Then watching her, I realized she was like me. Her eyes had that same deadness to them. Did her preference for long clothes make it easier to cover bruises, like I had to? Was she always alone because it was easier—easier to hide the shame and the pain if you had no one around?
Now that I’d acknowledged it, I was hyperaware of it, looking for more clues. When she checked me out at the library, I thought I spotted a white scar on her wrist. I wanted to ask her, ask her about all of it, but that would have been crass. You never talk about that sort of thing in public, and not with strangers. We were still strangers, after all, even if we had the darkness in common.
After leaving the library, I’d taken the books to our hideout before heading back into town. I never took the books I got home out of fear something might happen to them. It was one thing when they were my own books, but letting my dad destroy other people’s property, much less community property, would be pretty crappy. So I kept them safe where only Taka and I could find them.
I was heading home when I spotted her walking across the river from me. I don’t think she saw me before that pack of girls surrounded her. It was clear they’d been lying in wait. I leaned on the rail and watched them with an odd sense of pride in Miho for not crying. She was used to it, like I was. People like us, we learn how to endure. Crying, appearing weak, it only gets them going worse, feeding on whatever it is inside them that makes them have to hurt others.
Miho only broke when they stole the scarf we’d picked out for her. That bothered me a little. Though I knew it was better not to interfere, I moved towards the bridge to cross to the other side.
I was halfway across when the scarf hit the river and Miho was left there to watch it float away. Only she didn’t. She dived into the water without hesitation. I ran, scared she would drown. All those heavy clothes could easily pull her under, but when I reached the bank I realized she was swimming. Her arms breached the water at her side before slicing back into the water above her head like a professional. The only difference was her legs stuck straight out behind her instead of kicking. Smart girl.
Then she was back at the bank and lying on top of me, both of us panting even though she’d done all the work. Her body was thin, but soft and warm. Her chest was small, a B cup at best, but more likely an A. Still, they felt nice. She felt nice.


Author Bio:
Anma Natsu is a Texas-based writer of stories that explore love in its various forms, including how it can be both good and bad parts of our lives, sometimes at the same time. Her not quite conventional stories span a range of genres but rarely follow the standard fare.
When she isn't writing, writing, voraciously reading manga and light novels, playing too many video games, and hosting her own podcast, Anma works as a web developer and steals all the free time she can to snuggle with her sweetie and her pets.
You can find her online at AnmaNatsu.com. She's also active on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.
Find out about Anma's upcoming works and get exclusive content by signing up for her mailing list at http://anmanatsu.com/subscribe

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Excerpt Tour & Giveaway: Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious #1) by Sara Wolf

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Don’t miss today’s Excerpt Tour for Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1) by Sara Wolf, which releases on Tuesday, April 5, 2016!

“That’s n-not what I meant—” Kayla starts.

“And you seem exactly like the type of girl to stay with friends she hates. They probably hate you, too. It must be easy, hiding it behind all that booze and all those name brands.”

Kayla’s tears overflow onto her cheeks. Jack sighs.

“You’re so spineless you collapse into tears the second anyone says the truth?”

My heart’s thumping in my chest. My fists squeeze so tight I can’t feel my fingers. His cruelty leaves a bitter taste in my mouth—it’s a lot like someone I used to know.

Someone who ruined my life forever.

I shove aside the red-faced boy who tries to hit on me again and launch myself through the crowd. Kayla isn’t my friend. No one here is. But she’s been four seconds of nice to me—true nice, not Avery’s sugary poison of inviting-me-to-this-weird-test-party nice. And four seconds is more than I ever thought I’d get. It’s the most I’ve had in a long time. Jack’s lip quirks up in a sneer. Say it. Say one more thing, pretty boy. I dare you to.

“You’re pathetic,” he says.

That’s the first time I punch Jack Hunter’s face.

And as my knuckles connect with his stupid high cheekbones and he staggers back with a furious blizzard brewing in his icy eyes, I somehow get the feeling it won’t be the last.
LOVE ME NEVER 500x700 (1)

About Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1):

Previously published as Lovely Vicious, this fully revised and updated edition is full of romance, intrigue, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.

The game board: East Summit High.

The reward: Something neither of them expected.

Want to read more? Pre-order Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1) now:

add-to-goodreads


Amazon | B&N |iBooks | Kobo |Amazon.co.uk |Amazon.ca|Entangled Publishing



Other Books in the Lovely Vicious Series:

FORGET ME ALWAYS 500x700
Previously published as Savage Delight, this fully revised and updated edition is full of hilarity, drama, and heartbreak.

Forget Me Always coming November 1, 2016, but stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!
add-to-goodreads

Forget Me Always (Lovely Vicious, #2)

Available for Pre-order:

Amazon |B&N |iBooks |Kobo |Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

REMEMBER ME FOREVER 500x700
Previously published as Brutal Previous, this fully revised and updated edition is full of emotion, healing, and love.

Remember Me Forever coming May 2, 2017, but stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!
add-to-goodreads

Remember Me Forever (Lovely Vicious, #3)

About the Author:

Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Blog Tour & Review: Siren's Song (The Storm Siren Trilogy #3) by Mary Weber


Siren's Song (The Storm Siren Trilogy #3)
by Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Fiction, Paranormal
Rate: 4

Synopsis

Nym and Draewulf prepare to face off in a battle destined to destroy more lives than it saves.

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?

Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all.


I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I just loved this! It was exactly the ending that I was hoping for in this amazing series. There is just so much to love about this book!

What I liked
The closing of this story comes together nicely. Most loose ends are tied up (with the exception of one thing mentioned below) and the story flows quite nicely. 

I love the relationships that Nym has with some of the other characters. Her relationship with Rasha is heartwarming. Her relationship with Kel makes me giggle. I just love that little turd. Her relationship with Myles is endearing. I love how he gets redemption from her at the end. My heart swelled. 

I loved Nym's sacrifice. It was so touching and I was on the edge of my seat with the end scenes. Nym shows who she truly is, and I am glad that in the end things worked out the way that they did.

The ending was so satisfying. Some books leave you hanging wondering what in the stars happens to your beloved characters. This ending was in between, and really quite perfect. While we don't get a glimpse into the future with the characters, there is enough there to make you feel comfort in your chest. You can rest easy knowing that your favorite characters are going to be all right. It is really bittersweet. I loved it.

What I didn't like
The source of power is still not thoroughly explained in this one either. Since the source of power wasn't really explained in Storm Siren or Siren's Fury, I thought that things would be laid out in Siren's Song. There really isn't an explanation at all. There are vague mentionings about the Valley and then she sings and things happen, but the source of it is still up in the air. I wish that the siren aspect would have been explored more. Other than her song, there isn't really much about it. My nerdy brain is itching for more information! Gah! I think that this is the only thing that I truly dislike about the series. Everything else is solid. 

Would I Recommend It
Yes. This is by far the best book of the series! There is action, redemption, sacrifice, friendship, love, strength - just so much to love about this book! 



Title: Storm Siren
Series: The Storm Siren Trilogy #1
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis
“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

My Review
This was such an awesome read! I was so engrossed in this story. It is told so enthusiastically and it really resonated with me. 

What I liked
These characters are so great. They are all well balanced. They each have their own agendas, strengths, and weaknesses, which I loved discovering. I really loved getting to know them all. I also loved that there were so many diverse characters. 

The story is very compelling. A fantastic fantasy read with an original plot. I loved how much uniqueness resonated in the story as I was reading it. 

There are quite a few twists and turns in the book, which made the story that much more interesting. I always love a story that leaves me guessing and trying to figure out the workings, and Storm Siren does not disappoint in that respect. So many surprises in the story that you don't see coming. It was excellent!

I really like how it touches upon self harm as a coping mechanism. In the story the main character, Nymia, can't control her power and people die as a result. It haunts her, and her journey through grief and shame really shows as the story goes on. It's really nice to have a character with real problems and real flaws, where most fantasies gloss over the main characters and make them look invincible and flawless. I also like that her issues have to do with self harm, since it is an issue that I've not seen in a young adult fantasy before. 

What I didn't like
I had a hard time following how exactly the people came to have their certain powers, and what exactly they were. It seemed like each country had people with powers specific to their country only. It was a little hard to follow. It didn't take away from the story, but it was still in the back of my mind while reading.

SPOILER AHEAD. Okay, I have to admit that I was devasted at what happened to Colin. He was such a darling character and I loved him so much. Although what he did was noble, I didn't want his time in the story to end. 

Would I Recommend It

Yes. This book was such a joy to read. It tells a wholly original story and is so compelling! I couldn't stop reading!



Title: Siren's Fury
Series: The Storm Siren Trilogy #2
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 02, 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis
"I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it's no use. The curse I've spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists."

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

My Review
Wow, this was such an incredible sequel! It was fast paced packed with so much action! I couldn't get enough of it. I breezed right on through it in a day.

What I liked
I loved how to story starts coming together in this follow up. There are so many elements to the story, and they are all intertwined together to make the plot incredible. It is full of suspense and twists that take you totally by surprise. I devoured this book because it was just so compelling.

I liked how the relationships between the characters blossomed in this book. Nymia, the main character, grows closer to Rasha and Myles. Her relationship with Rasha is that of a genuine friendship, while her relationship with Myles is quite volatile since she can't really trust him. I am curious to see how things end for him. He seems like such a tortured soul. I would love for him to be redeemed in the series. 

I really loved finding out more about the plot. I really love where this series is going. The plot is so very unique, and its originality really shows in the writing. There are so many more things that come to light in Siren's Fury. The plot keeps building up, so that when you finish this book you will be wanting to read Siren's Song immediately. I know that I did! The book is fast paced, full of action, and enough twists to keep you glued to the book.

I liked the introduction of new characters in this. I can't wait to read more about them in the next book.

What I didn't like
I am still fairly confused about where the powers originate from. It just seems unclear to me. I reread passages to try and decipher it, but if it was there it completely eluded me. It seems like each country in this fictional fantasy realm has those that have powers, but the powers are specific to the country of origin. I would have liked a little more clarification in this. It didn't pull anything from the story negatively, but it was on my mind as I was reading. 

SPOILER IN THIS PARAGRAPH. I was also a little confused as to what her power was after she went to the witch for help. She seemed to be able to suck the energy from others and kind of feed off of it. It seemed unclear. I would have liked a little more explanation. 

Would I Recommend It
Yes, you need to read this sequel! If you enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend it. If you haven't read the first book yet, please do! This series is full of suspense and intrigue. I can't wait to read the last book!






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Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. Her debut YA fantasy novel, STORM SIREN and SIREN'S FURY are available now in bookstores and online, and SIREN'S SONG will be out March 2016 from TN HarperCollins.
 

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