Deranged Angels & Cannibal Hearts Release Blitz with USA Today Bestselling Author, Martina McAtee

Title: Deranged Angels & Cannibal Hearts
Author: Martina McAtee     
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Molly Phipps at We Got You Covered Book Design
Publisher: 7 Sisters Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Four months ago, Ember Lonergan made a decision that changed everything. She brought back a life, and it cost her a life in return. Only magic kept the pack from suffering the severe consequences of Ember’s rash decision. She thought the secret would stay buried forever. Josephine ensured them the spell would hold and the Grove would never know what they’d done.
But that was before Silas. Silas changed everything. He believes Ember is the only thing standing between him and the love he’s carried for over a century. He’s determined to take everything she loves away from her starting with her pack, and he has plenty of help. He’s got the original coven, he’s got Quinn, and he has a magic that rivals the gods.
The pack can only beat Silas by standing together, but that’s not as easy as it once was. People are keeping secrets, half the pack is crazy, and two of them are currently dead. Despite all of this, Ember still believes she can fix it, that she can save them all, she just needs more time. But just when she’s convinced she’s finally figured it all out, new players enter the game.
Martina McAtee is a USA Today Bestselling Author and the winner of the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal for her first book, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. She lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughters, her best friend, two attack Chihuahuas, and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse, but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. She wrote her first story when she was five with an orange crayon on a legal pad she stole from her mom’s office. She’s been writing ever since.
Her influences include Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Joss Whedon, L.J. Smith, and even J.K. Rowling. Living in South Florida provides her with plenty of material for the weird worlds she writes about. When she isn’t working, teaching, or writing, she’s reading or watching shows involving reapers, zombies, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures.
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First Life Release Blitz & Giveaway with Rose Garcia

Title: First Life

Author: Rose Garcia
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal
Publication Date: Mar. 15th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Dominique has survived the final attempt on her life only to discover that someone connected to her future will suffer her same fate. Determined to spare this innocent loved one from being hunted for lifetimes, Dominique and her remaining allies travel to first life with a mission to alter destiny. When Dominique and her companions arrive in the past, they are confronted with a reality they didn’t expect, and are shocked by a turn of events that threaten to change everything they know.
A continuation of the Final Life Series that starts where Final Death leaves off, First Life delivers heart-stopping action and gut-wrenching emotional turmoil. Be sure to read Final Life, Final Stand, and Final Death before delving into the unpredictable world of First Life.

Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other-worlds, fantastical creatures, and life and death situations. More recently she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Final Life Series—a Young Adult science fiction/fantasy series about people who have the ability to control the energy in and around them. Rose is known for bringing richly diverse characters to life as she draws from her own cultural experiences. Rose lives in Houston, Texas with her awesome husband and two amazing kids. You can visit Rose at
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Review of Eagle of the Empire by Martin Ferguson

‘As all around me cheer, eager for blood, eager for glory, I realise I have escaped one life of war and bitter struggle for survival and entered another, where the cheers of crowd will decide life or coming death.

The sound of thousands of spectators gasping sounds like soughing reeds. This is the end of my story; this glorious moment. There is no way I can win, whatever I do. Death is the only victory on offer to me today.’

Join the subversive and charming college student, Adam Hunter in his quest to recover his brother and the infamous Roman Relic of The Golden Eagle. 

As Adam undertakes the dangerous adventure to find his missing brother, he unearths the secret organisation, which is part of the British Museum, This top secret, classified group are responsible for undertaking extreme treasure hunting, and relic recovery quests, ensuring history’s most prized, dangerous, and sometimes magical, artefacts are secured safely away for future generations. 

‘Eagle of The Empire’ is the first in this adventure, action series, and sees Adam Hunter discovering not only the secret double life of his brother, Matt, but also of the Centurion, Optio Marcus Aurelius, who formed part of the legendary, infamous legion, The Legio IX Hispana. 

Erased from history, and transformed into the realm of legends, the Legio IX Hispana was fabled to have been involved in an event so miraculous, and to have secured a totem so powerful, that now, the most evil man on the planet will do anything in his power to secure it. 

Dash alongside the Hunter Brothers and the British Museum team as they do everything in their power to stop The Eagle of The Empire falling into the wrong hands.

Myth is becoming reality after being kept secret for so long.

So begins the story of Adam Hunter. Adam’s brother, Matthew, is missing. Adam has always felt inferior to his brother, thanks to his Mother’s taunts and hatred. When a mysterious man comes to Adam’s home with Matthew’s journal, Adam realizes that he has to find his brother.

If you enjoy stories like Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Librarians, Warehouse 13 and Lara Croft, you will love this book! Adam deciphers his brother’s journal and follows his footsteps in search of the Eagle of the Empire (the Roman Empire). Along the way, he encounters hidden tombs, supernatural creatures, booby trapped caverns and ghosts.

Great action, great adventure and a great story! As a bonus, every other chapter is the story of a young Centurion, Marcus Aurelius, who might have been the last keeper of the Eagle. The story of his rise through the ranks of his Legion, then his fall into slavery, is very well-written. The scenes of his fights as a Gladiator were often heartbreaking and his determination in reuniting with his young wife was inspiring.

I enjoyed “meeting” Adam Hunter and his love for his brother. A couple of quotes really stand out: “Why postpone what can be done today?” is one that I plan to remember.

The writer has the ability to make you feel the emotions of the characters, the action of the scenes and the intensity of the hunt. Although this book was tagged as YA, it is a wonderful book and should entertain readers of all ages. I look forward to being able to follow more adventures of the Relic Hunters!

Five Stars!
Eagle of the Empire is currently available through Amazon for just .99!

Review of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

SCARLET BENOIT’S grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .

I’m so happy to be back in the world of the Lunar Chronicles!  Scarlet, is Marissa Meyer’s take on Red Riding Hood, big bad wolf and grandma included.  As with Cinder, Scarlet is a whirlwind of a story, straight into the good stuff and the story blends seamlessly with the continuation of Cinder’s overarching story line. Scarlet is a girl on a mission to rescue her Grandmother with Wolf (the big bad fighter) on her side.  Outside of New Beijing, Scarlet’s story is set in a future France, which seems very undamaged by the wars, it has a very rustic feel, with Scarlet and her Grandmother enjoying a simple farming life. But Grandma, what big secrets you have!  The collision of her grandmothers disappearance and the entrance of Wolf is played to perfection and their journey to Paris is both exciting and full of anxious moments.  Scarlet is a fantastic character and you can completely understand, through the brief glimpses of her father, why she gives up everthing to take the journey to Paris. Whilst she wants to appear worldly, she is also wonderfully niaive at times, very much wearing her heart on her sleeve.  I also loved the nuggets of information about hers and Cinder’s past and how the lines become blurred at times as the secrets and lies unfurl.

The action is frequent with huge set pieces which played out cinematically in my mind as I was reading. It’s quite an emotional one at times too, Kai’s dispair, Cinder’s desperation, Wolf’s inner turmoil and a bit of an insight into Levana left me quite breathless by the end.

My favourite thing at this stage, is how there is still so many secrets to be revealed. With 2 more books in the series to go it’s clear that each of the next characters will have some connection to what happened to Cinder as a child and how we reach present day, in story terms, I can’t wait to pick up Cress and see where the story goes next!

A very excited 5 Stars from me!

Bookish Ramblings: Lamenting the loss of the stand alone

Standalones.  They feel to me like a holy grail in terms of books at the moment.  I feel every book that I currently reach for is either a duology, trilogy or series.  I think the last time I read a standalone was last year when Jo Michaels released Utterances. Even the very stand alone Ready Player One has now had a Ready Player Two in the works, which was announced at the latest trailer release for the film.

My question to any authors reading this is why shy away from stand alone stories? Growing up I think the only series I read was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  My favourite horror writer Shaun Hutson, all the way through to my beloved Jodi Picoult – these were all stories which stood on their own feet.  Then about 10 years ago (maybe a little more) something shifted, either in the books I moved into reading or maybe publishers perhaps wanting to drag out a sure thing – books all started to expand. Games of Thrones, The Hunger Games etc  I have seen this move increase exponentially to a time where I now struggle to find a book to read from start to finish, cover to cover.  Recent fairyloot reads, The Last Namsara and The Hazel Wood – started out as standalones but then evolved, what changed?

It’s true of both traditional and indie published works.  There will be 8 books in theThrone of Glass series by Sarah J Maas when the last book is released later in the year and a book that an indie author approached me to review recently is part of a series of 6!  As a reader and reviewer I feel like I am in a perpetual cycle of starting series after series, with no hope of ever completing them or even remembering what has happened from book to book between releases.  Stories where I have fallen in love with characters and their journeys then never to reach my mind again.  Why not wait until the whole series is released? I hear you say, well it’s the curse of the reviewer.  Yes we are very lucky to be provided with these fabulous books for free and ahead of release but it’s part of our duty to get the reviews out there which in turn helps books 2,3 and beyond reach a wider audience.  Why don’t you just re-read the first book before the next one comes out? again I hear you cry.  Simple answer is time and tbr.  Im one of probably thousands of book bloggers figuratively suffocating under the weight of their tbr piles and also, I’m not a huge re-reader.  I think I can count on one hand the books I will return to again and again.  It’s all a bit of an unhappy mess.

If you’re an author reading this or even another blogger with insight I would love to know your thoughts and feelings about this, surely i’m not alone or maybe you can point me in the direction of some great stand alone fantasy – I think it’s what I need to kick start me out of my current reading slump!

Savior Release Blitz with AJ Eversley

Title: Savior
Author: AJ Eversley
Genre: YA Dystopian Sci-Fi
Editor: Q Books Editing
Cover Designer: Cover Art by Salome Totladze
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Sawyer has been a Watcher. She’s been a Carbon. Now she must become their Savior.
With the inevitable return of Coleman looming, Sawyer knows their army is not enough. On a journey to convince an ally to join their war, Sawyer discovers why the stars have placed the fate of the human race in her hands. And she’s not alone.
Kenzie is the enemy. The obedient soldier who’s just following orders. A pawn in this game. Yet Sawyer can’t stay away. Both drawn to each other in a way neither can explain, can they learn to trust one another, as well as themselves, in order to survive. And soon, Sawyer will learn she must put her faith in others if she wants to live, and trust in the stars to protect her.
Find out who will survive, and if they can save humanity from a future painted black, in the epic conclusion of the Watcher Series.
AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in everyday conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.
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The few conversations Kenzie and I had were nothing more than a personal comfort to me. I spoke to him like I used to, with utter honesty and blind trust. Yet today I was having a hard time even opening the door that led to his cell.
This was different. This wasn’t personal, it was business. And it was necessary. 
I released a long breath, pushed open the door, and walked down the long, cold hallway. I paused at the corner where I usually sat against the cement wall before I took another step and rounded the bend.
He had heard me coming. He was leaning against the wall with his free hand pressed against the cold cement. His head whipped up, and his hand dropped as I came into view. 
I hadn’t seen him since the day he almost killed me. I hadn’t looked into his eyes since I thought it was the last time. They were the same blue I remembered. They still lingered on me with a hint of something familiar before he pushed away from the wall and moved to the back corner of his small cell.
His hair was longer than before and stuck up all over the place like he’d just woken up. Stubble grew on his usually smooth face. He looked older, worn and tired.
His left hand was tucked behind his back, but I could still see it. The thick metal casing that surround his hand into a tight fist was hard to miss, even though he tried to hide it. He couldn’t hurt me, not with his powers anyways, yet I couldn’t help the involuntary shiver that went down my spine.
The rapid beating of my heart and the warmth in my core had me take a step closer to the bars.
“Why are you here?” Kenzie asked. His suspicious gaze told me he knew this wasn’t a usual visit.
“We need some information, and it’s time you start talking.” I shoved my hands into my pockets to keep them from reaching out to him. He was so close.
“I’ve told you before, I can’t tell you anything. Even if I wanted to, I can’t.” He shook his head.
“It’s been weeks. Coleman is a long ways away. Shouldn’t the hold have worn off by now?” I asked. That was how it worked the first time, or at least that’s what Kenzie had told me. Maybe that was a lie too.
His eyes flickered up to me with a cold glare. “He’s made some…upgrades.” His words were like venom on his lips as he spoke. “I can’t tell you where he is. I can’t tell you what he is going to do. All I can tell you is to run. Get the hell away from here as far as you can. Because he will be back, and you cannot beat him; not with the army you’ve got.”
I was shaking my head before he’d even finished. “You know I can’t do that.”
His eyes dropped again. “Yes…I know. You’re a fool. You all are.”
“How many? How many Carbons does he have?” I tried to turn his attention back to giving me some sort of information, anything that could help us.
He let out a menacing chuckle, and the hint of a smile that wasn’t his own spread at the side of his mouth. “Thousands. Hundreds of thousands.”
I tried to not let my shock show. “When will he be back?”
Kenzie shrugged. “Today, tomorrow. There’s no telling when he’ll be back.”
“But you said he was dying. You said he was infected with a virus of some sort. Maybe he’s weak. Maybe—”
“He was dying, and then you gave him the one thing that could save him.” Kenzie’s voice rose as he pushed himself away from the wall and stepped into the middle of the cell. “He’ll be back. And he’ll be stronger. And this time, he won’t stop until every last one of you are dead.”
“Let him try. We’ve won before.” I tried to sound more confident than I felt as I shifted on my feet.
“You think that was his worst?” Kenzie took another step forward as his head tilted to the side with a sneer. “Your mother and I convinced him to only bring a few. We tried to contain the damage as much as we could. Why do you think so many of your men were running in the wrong direction when we arrived? You think your maps just accidentally showed the wrong trajectory?”
My throat bobbed, and I couldn’t look away from his piercing stare. He took another step forward. I was frozen.
“I did what I could to spare you, to spare innocent people from a fate that is still coming. One they can’t just hide from this time.” His free hand gripped onto the bar as he leaned in so close that I felt his breath on my cheek and saw the fire in his eyes. “Our fates have already been written, Sawyer. And I can’t run from it any more than you can. I can’t change who I am, what I am. And you can’t stop him.”
My eyes narrowed. I shook my head. “I don’t believe that. I will win, we will win.” I wrapped my fingers around his, still tightly clinched around the bar.
He flinched as he glanced down at them.
“You can fight this. You’ve done it before, and I believe you can do it again.”
Slowly, his gazed moved up to meet mine, and for a moment it was just Kenzie and I again. No one and nothing else mattered in that moment, just us.
He slowly drew away his hand, but he didn’t move away. He reached through the bar toward me. His calloused hand brushed against my cheek and slid down to cup my chin. He pulled me a little closer. His eyes flickered to my mouth and then back to my eyes again.
His hand slid down my neck, and his thumb gently caressed the soft skin under my chin. Heat rose to my cheeks, and my heart was beating so fast—too fast.
His eyes narrowed. “You put your faith in the wrong people.” And then he squeezed his hand tight around my throat.

Sound of Silence Release Blitz with Ali Winters

Title: Sound of Silence
Author: Ali Winters
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Publication Date: Mar. 12th, 2018
Cover Designer: Covers by Christian
Publisher: Rising Flame Press
One dance, one touch, one kiss… That’s all it took to change the fate of the world.
Aliens land looking for their new home and offering world peace in exchange, there are some who question their motives, but seventeen year old Raylinn Marrow refuses to hide. She jumps at the chance to make first contact.
Jace’el is nothing like she expected. One touch is all it took to turn Raylinn’s world upside down. He captures her heart and draws her into a forbidden love affair. But the secrets and mysteries that surround Jace’el could be their undoing.
As the unspoken cost of peace takes its toll, Raylinn and Jace’el search for the truth that threatens to destroy the world, risking everything for survival and love.
Romeo & Juliet meets Star Crossed and The Walking Dead in this heart pounding, must read YA, dystopian, romance.
Ali Winters is the USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted series, as well as an amazon and international bestselling author. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where she developed her love of nature, animals, and all things green.
For as long as she can remember, she’s been mesmerized by the extraordinary world of books and fantasy. There has never been a time when stories were not begging to be told, either by drawing, photography, or writing.
With encouragement from one of her favorite authors, she jumped in, head first, to pursue the career that had been calling to her since the day she opened her first book.
She has a deep love for coffee, tea, warm blankets, dogs, creating art in any medium she can get her hands on, and family.
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“I saw you —” I paused to swallow the lump that formed in my throat. “I saw you watching me earlier.”
“You were there yesterday.” It wasn’t a question. His voice was soft and mesmerizing. With each word, the space between us seemed to dissolve.
I nodded.
He reached into a pocket and a soft, familiar charm drew my attention to the closed fist he held between us. His long fingers unfurled to reveal a delicate silver chain with a single star charm pooled in his palm. The broken link now fixed. I reached for it, my fingers hovering just above the bracelet.
“You … you found it.” My gaze shot to his. I had thought it had been lost forever, maybe picked up before I’d noticed it was gone.
“I found it after you left.” When I didn’t take it he unclasped it and wrapped it around my outstretched wrist, the pads of his fingers brushing my skin. The familiar weight of the bracelet was comforting.
I didn’t ask how he knew it was mine. Perhaps he had seen me long before I realized he had.
“Thank you.” My voice was barely above a whisper. He leaned in closer … or maybe I’d been the one to close that distance. “What are you doing?” I asked.
There was something about him that, even as he lowered his face and rested his forehead against mine, made the world tilt around me. I closed my eyes and inhaled his warm scent. I felt a pull in my core, as if someone had woven a thread through me and was drawing me to him. My chest pressed against his as his lips brushed against my cheek. My mouth parted, releasing a small gasp. The warmth of his breath sent chills over my body.
“I don’t even know who you are,” I managed to say weakly, hardly recognizing my own voice as the words came out airy.

Review of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.”

I’m feeling a little underwhelmed if I’m honest, I have never read a Holly Black book before and with the hype surrounding this I fully felt I would be blown away, I was left with a gentle simmer.   I have to say I really didn’t enjoy the characters and I’m finding it hard to think of one that was particularly likeable.  Jude and her sister Tarryn are now living as wards of the man who brutally murdered their parents when they were very young, yet they seem to embrace him and throughout it doesn’t appear to be any thirst for revenge against him that fuels her, instead it seems to be focused on the torment and bullying she receives from the “cruel” prince Carden and getting back at him and his posse.  I say “cruel” because it’s actually quite ambiguous, there are plenty of princes who are truly cruel in this story, more so than Carden who is just a by product of his experiences. I certainly wouldn’t agree with the blurb that he is the “wickedest of the Kings sons.”  All the male characters are written without much in the way of redeeming features and most of the girls are scheming.  Sadly, I didn’t really care about Jude and I found the situations she found herself in slowly more and more ludicrous almost as if it was ultimately forgotten that she was human playing fae.

However, after the first 8 chapters the story moves from High School drama to something more fantasy based, Jude finds herself tasked with an unusual role which she hopes will find her favour within the court (Tarryn gets reduced to wanting to be a good little wife to a high lord – urgh) and ultimately secure her a role in which she will win respect.  Jude must learn to become tough, to learn secrets and to ultimately become a pawn in a much larger game for power.  Despite my reservations Holly Black worked some magic on me that led me to not want to put the book down, there were twists and turns, truths and lies, and a plot that left me reeling, if not a little confused sometimes.  It’s a book that feels like it is trying to be many things, there is one scene that feels particularly Game of Thrones esq, but it does for the most part mange to keep it’s own identity.

I have struggled to write this review and I did hover between 2 and 3 stars for a long time, I have decided on 3 as for about 2/3 I did actually enjoy the underlying story, if not the characters themselves. I found it richly woven with plenty to keep me thinking ahead and an intriguing back story.  There are a number of games in play and lots of clues of being dotted around, unfortunately Jude is too caught up to put the pieces together properly which isn’t surprising as even I was struggling to keep up with all the things going on!  Despite myself, I will probably read book 2 as for some reason that I can’t entirely fathom I really want to know what happens next, perhaps it’s a glamour from the pages themselves…….


The Blood King Pre Order Blitz with USA Today Bestselling Author, Liz Long

Title: The Blood King (Book 1 of the Brighton Duology)
Author: Liz Long
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Cover Designer: Molly Phipps of We Got You Covered Book Design
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
In the kingdom of Brighton, a President-turned-King offers poor teens the chance to join KEY, the King’s Education for Youth. Seventeen-year-old Reina Torres jumps at the chance to be of service to her country, wanting to learn more about Brighton’s history and future through the Media industry.
The King himself takes an interest in Reina, offering private interviews; he soon commands her to marry his cruel son. Reina, however, cannot ignore her growing feelings for Iris, a fellow KEY student, despite knowing the laws. Reina discovers refusal means punishment much worse than death, and why King Magnus hasn’t aged in decades, thanks to his KEY program.
Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as “X-Men meets the circus.” Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website:

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My grandmother once told me our country used to be a democracy. Years ago, when she was a little girl, a man became president. He loved the power so much he kept it, killed his opponents and dared others to come forward. Those who did lost, and with it, our free will.

The man declared himself a King, vowing to take care of the people who best served him. And he did keep his word–those who were loyal to him stayed in their own places of power, content to take orders from a megalomaniac. There were parties and festivals, food and drink and no expense spared.

The King remained on his throne of gold, the years turning into a decade, then two and three and four. Eventually, the people in his new kingdom grew complacent, adapting to their circumstances. They couldn’t flee because these were their homes, they said, and fighting was out of the question. Families stayed together this way, they said, and they’d surely be rewarded for their loyalty. Many people in the kingdom died waiting.

Eventually people accepted things the way they were, forgot how life used to be. And so the King continued on ruling, content to keep his power over the country. He went to war with other countries who dared threaten us, subduing them thanks to his plans and weapons. Attacks decimated over half of our own country, leaving much of what was once green and fruitful now barren and brown.

He won, thanks to the money he pumped into his military. It was the best in the world, and it only took three years for everyone else in the world to realize it. Over half of the human population, on the entire earth, blown to smithereens. He rebuilt the kingdom on top of our old ruins, promising a glorious new era. Other countries would bow to us and fear his name. He was the King of our country, not the world, but he might as well have been. The smaller battles that broke out across the years never amounted to anything. No one could truly spar with him because they knew he’d bomb their entire civilizations off the map.

It was a folk tale, this story of King Magnus Brighton. Stories our grandparents made up to get through their days, to scare the younger generation into behaving. I knew better, could read the papers and listen to the media. They only had positive things to say about how our King had saved us all, and continued to fight for our prosperity. People had jobs and homes, food on their table, so why would we possibly complain about being able to live our lives?

My own father fought for King Magnus, gave his life to protect his country in the last war. 
When rebels attacked Brighton a little over a decade ago, my father volunteered, rather than be drafted. I remember the morning he left, the proud look on his face as he kissed my mother and me goodbye. He’d known exactly what he was walking into and still he’d kept a brave face. I hadn’t realized it at five years old, but at seventeen, I knew he’d been willing to die for his country that had given him so much.

As soon as my mother received notice of my father’s death, she packed our things and we went all the way to the other side of what was left of the country. Mama said she couldn’t bear to be so close to the heart of the kingdom, but I knew there was something more. I had no idea what, of course, but I had been too devastated at the loss of my father to question it then and now it just seemed like a waste of time. Things were the way they were, and no amount of questioning or wondering would bring my dad back. I missed him everyday, as much as the day he’d left, but he was never coming back.

My mother was the rule follower, hated it when I bent them by breaking curfew or grumbled about the overbearing soldiers. I couldn’t stand her smothering. The King probably couldn’t even be bothered to reach us way out here, but she didn’t want to take any chances.

I don’t know why she bothered. Everyone out here was too busy working to worry about breaking the rules. It’s not like anyone had any real technology, anyways. We had the newspapers and TV, but no one had those fancy phones city people flaunted in those strange commercials we saw on a staticky TV. The wars had taken technology out in most of the rest of the world, leaving King Magnus once again ahead of the curve in luxury. In our tiny part of the world, most of us felt lucky to have what little we did, and dared not ask for anything more.

Review of Snow by Mikayla Elliot

“Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind, and discovering a past she cannot escape.”

Snow paid great respects to classic vampirism with the vampires remaining as monsters similar to the ones present in the Anne Rice novels – sensuous but staying well within the realm of horror. There were graphic scenes of bloodlust paired with centuries of romantic tension. The imagery was rich and engaged all of the senses, and the fluid movement between not only various points-of-view but also between several timelines was impressive.
The most refreshing aspect of this book is that as the twists and turns of the story are divulged, the reader must reflect in order to connect the dots. The plot is far from being spelled out step-by-step and instead encourages the reader to puzzle together the world that is being revealed throughout the pages. This is a kind of storytelling that is becoming too sparingly used in the field of young adult novels. The story speaks with a much different tone than what is usual for the genre, and that did require some acclimation. Mikayla Elliot gracefully dodged any awkwardness of this tone by setting the book within an eloquent old world which made her strong female lead all the more enticing.
I was cautious about this book at first. Writing a world of vampires is tricky, and reading all of the different opinions on vampires can be exhausting. Elliot worked the angle with a seasoned hand, and the amazing twist at the end definitely set the plot up to be an excellent beginning to a series I look forward to continuing. This is what vampires should be – Five stars!

Snow is currently available through Amazon and is free with Kindle Unlimited