Bookish Ramblings: November Wrap Up

Today is the final day of November and rather than a traditional Five Things Friday I thought I would do a wrap up for the month.

The most amazing news this month, and I still can’t quite believe it, is that I reached 1k followers on Instagram!  I remember almost  year ago posting that I had reached 100 which seemed huge so this is something quite special.  If you follow me on there, thank you so so much for sharing my bookish world in pictures, if you’re not, I would love it if you wanted to come and join me!

It’s been a great month for crates and other bookish items too, this is down to it being an Illumicrate month and also down to black Friday deals.  I was so happy with this months Fairyloot, their theme was Battles and Galaxies and was a really gorgeous box which featured a Lunar Chronicles item, you can find my full unboxing here.  As I said, it was also the Illumicrate quarter and this was their 3rd year Anniversary box and again you can catch a full unboxing here.  Final bookish box was the Nerd Poured Candle Crate Magical Beasts box, timed to match the release of The Crimes of Grindewald, it contained one of my favourite pins ever – I only got it today though so you’ll need to check back on Sunday for a full unboxing. Other goodies were candles from my favourite candle supplier Bookish Burns, I picked up their brand new design Lunar Gift and Dreamer candles on a black friday deal. Other Black Friday bargains was the Grisha Trilogy for £5, the Red Queen series for £8 and the special edition Throne of Glass for £9 – needless to say I have never been so poor!

My favourite reads this month have been This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada and The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi.  They were very different books. This Mortal Coil was full of dystopian goodness, heart thumping situations and a ton of science and tech.  The Gilded Wolves was a period fantasy, sumptuous, full of mystery and had enough puzzles to leave Lara Croft scratching her head! I’m looking forward to carrying on with the mortal coil series in December with This Cruel Design and also starting the Red Queen books!

Looking ahead I’m on the final stretch of Ni No Kuni 2, I’ve spent 70 hours of my life on that game so far lol and I’m excited as next week we’re finally getting to see The Crimes of Grindewald on a rare day that Mr Playground and I get to ourselves! We celebrate Christmas in this bunker so we’ll be getting our tree up this weekend and I’m hoping for many twinkly IG pics from it.

I’ll be back with a normal 5 things next Friday, but tell me what was your favourite thing this month, great book or anything really!


Unboxing: Illumicate November Clever Ruse box

Today I got my Illumicrate Clever Ruse box and I have to say I’m kind of disappointed. It was their 3rd anniversary box and I was hoping for something a little more special than normal.  It’s all subjective though and I have seen people posting about how much they loved the box so It just goes to show you can’t please everyone – I just wish I had saved the money.

The main item this month was a Mulan inpired scarf, it’s got a gorgeous Asian design around a girl archer riding a horse – it bright and colourful and has a satin feel. The square design though would make it more appropriate as a wall hanging or IG backdrop, than a wearable though, but I suppose it all comes down to how you wear your scarves!  The next out of the box was a Caraval/Night Circus inspired banner – I think this would have most practical benefit as a pin flag.  It’s striped like a big top in gold and black, the bold design though would mean that smaller pins could get a bit lost, but it’s super sparkly and the fabric is good quality so would be great for patches too. One cute and really practical item this month was a drink cosy, thick enough to stop your hands burning and also enough to insulate your drink.  This featured a scene from All the Boys I have loved Before, which I know is a favourite of people who run Illumicrate, just not mine!

Illumicrate have also been working a lot recently with Fable and Black, running their pin club together, which is why I was surprised that the item from them this month was a necklace.  Inspired by the Throne of Glass Series and the stag of Terrasan.  I know that they were planning this before Bloombury announced their pre-order pin incentive for Kingdom of Ash and it looks like they changed it from a pin to a necklace, I would have loved it if it had remained a pin! Final bookish item was a woodmark inspired by Warcross by Marie Lu, it has the quote “every locked door has a key” its a really lovely rainbow design – Warcoss is one of those books that I keep thinking about getting, I’m just thinking of the wonderful IG pics I could do with this 🙂

The Book!  Well we got 2 books this month, the first is a gorgeous hardback edition of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, it has sprayed edges and it came with a signed book plate. I love that I have another Asian inspired book to read, as I love the culture and it’s so lovely to have books in a different setting.  I also think that this is only published in the UK via Illumicrate. We also got a copy of Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, which is an older book and the first of a series – I think this is because Illumicrate weren’t able to get an arc for this month.  Even so I’m really pleased to have got 2 books.

Blurb for Empress of All Seasons

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. 
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

Blurb for Wild Magic

Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

So that was this November’s Illumicrate, the Scarf was probably my favourite of the items but sadly the rest of it fell short for me.  I do feel that sometimes that their quarterly boxes suffer a little from all the time they spend curating their special edition boxes, but as I said at the start – plenty of people have loved this box, so it’s likely that it just wasn’t cup of tea this time round.

Review of Vaxxers by Brea Behn

Seventeen-year-old Ace is running out of time. Any day now, he will become a Flesh Faller. Just another teen fallen in the seventy years since it began. With each generation, hope slips further for humanity. Then Ace’s long lost father returns with a message. He may have found a cure. Ace leaves the safety of his hometown of Lakelan to travel through many dangers. Facing gangs who sell Vaxxers, Flesh Fallers and waiting to turn any day… will he find a cure in time? Will he find a cure at all? Find out, in Vaxxers.

The premise for Behn’s zombies in her novel Vaxxers felt stretched. Choosing this medium for spreading awareness of Chiari Malformation though was quite a surprise. (It certainly made me do my research.) There was a lot of word confusion in the novel as well as grammar errors that really brought the reader out of that world, and for all of these reasons above, it did lose stars. The progress of the story also seemed to be largely driven by testosterone and convenience. For example, the main protagonist, Ace, is close to turning eighteen, and becoming a teenager is the supposed trigger for turning into a zombie at the start of the novel. With this in mind, he notices that he is the only person of his age in a small community (something that has obvious answers provided the backstory that the reader has up to this point) just before the community leader explains that he will be locked up for the night in order to protect everyone. In general, Ace is an angry person, and many of the actions that he takes in the book are motivated by temper, like storming into a neighboring city where he meets a few of the lesser characters in the novel. Things like this happen periodically throughout the book, and again, the convenience of it is a bit disorienting. Outside of that, there is comic relief in the fact that parents name their children after technology from “Before”. Ace is short for Acer, like the computer, and Acer’s brother’s name is Ap, short for Apple. There is a lot of excitement, and the scenarios move quickly. Similar to The Walking Dead, there is just about enough time to get attached to a character before the character is gone again by one literary mechanism or another. By and large, Behn has talent, and the writing is solid even if the story arc could use work. By the end of the book, it was worth the read. I would call it a good snowy weekend project and give it three stars.

Review of The Siren by Jo Michaels (The Hate Apocalypse #4) blog tour

It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.

Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.

It will be the end of the world.

That can’t be allowed.

When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.

Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.

The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.

The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.

The Siren represents book 4 in the Hate Apocalypse series and continues with Markaza’s race against time to bring together the women she has envisioned helping her in battling the big bad festering in Central Park.  Melody, the siren, brings forward another manifestation of a way in which we as humans self destruct. Having suffered for most of my life with body dysmorphia, this episode in the series hit home hard for me. As usual with the books we got a flash forward of a potential future for Melody in The Beguiler, which hangs as a constant fear throughout this book. It also continues well with my comments from The Beguiler where no matter what gravity the reader attaches to each of the women and what they are going through – it’s all equally weighty to the person involved.

Again I felt that well researched and thoughtful prose was hampered by the short format of these books. It’s often a trade off with one major point and in The Siren, this was how quickly Melody agreed to go with Markaza. This time I did feel that this was justified to be able to spend the proper amount of time with her recovery.  A big bugbear of mine is when characters who have been starving, through whatever circumstance, tuck into a slap up meal with great abandon and lick their lips with glee.  No, if your body is starved you need to start slow and The Siren really shows the painful side of recovery from malnutrition. There were so many points where such care was taken to give great attention to detail to the illness that it really brought back a lot of memories – not for the first time, this series has really given me pause.

What stood out for me in this episode is that we start to see the starts of the strain on Markaza and also a hint of her story. Juggling bringing these women together is a big deal against the backdrop of a finite amount of time to achieve what she needs. I did very much enjoy the way the reader is drawn into how Markaza is thinking. When Melody’s ability comes through it gave me a start of understanding how things will unfurl and also a sense of hope. I do worry for Lily though but I get the feeling that until she learns not to hide behind her glamour her true potential will not be met, we’ll see.  It’s not long now until the apocalypse and I can’t wait to see where the series goes next, I get the feeling it’s going to be another thought provoker.

Whilst I give The Siren 4* it’s with a strong feeling that this series in totality will be end up being a 5!

Author Links:










Buy Links:

The Fury:

The Visionary:

The Beguiler:

The Siren:

Bookish Ramblings: Reviews – when did kindness turn into distrust?

Every now and then I’ll get a real crisis of blog confidence.  It’s usually a small thing that will set it off (Isn’t anxiety great) and this time it was another blogger posting on Twitter.  I’m coming to loath Twitter I have to say. The issue that has me all stressed is to do with reviews.  I have a love hate relationship with my reviews, they way I review has evolved over time and sometimes I read them back and think “wow that was a great review” but most of the time I think they’re a rambling mess.  I don’t feel that my writing is intelligent enough

But that’s just a usual worry, the actual point of this post is to do with my review policy. You’ll know that my policy is to only review and share the books I and the review team love. Because of the time I have spent supporting Indie authors, I know how much low reviews hurt which is why I chose to only post 3 start reviews and above. My policy is to give direct, constructive feedback to the author if they ask for it, rather than putting it on a public forum. I have been criticised for this in the past by others saying my reviews lack integrity because I don’t offer balance, but it’s been a while since this has reared it’s head.

The post I saw yesterday was about not trusting bloggers (like myself) who don’t post low reviews. How can they trust what I say about a good book if they can’t balance that against what I find bad in books? They want to know why they shouldn’t read a book as equally as to why they should, and it gives the impression that I just love everything I read.  To a degree I do love most of what I read, I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I know to be selective in what I sign up for, it’s rare for me to need to post a low review.  This year there have only been 3 books that I and other team members have felt warranted a low review, out of around 100 reviews that’s not bad. One of those was a horror, which wasn’t advertised as such – I know I dislike horror in books so that was just unfortunate.

Following on from that I would like to do a little research if I may. What do you want to see in reviews? Are you on board with my policy? Do you feel that you can’t trust the reviews on this blog because they aren’t balanced between low and high reviews? Let me know in the comments what you think – but please play nicely 🙂

Review of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

So I’m going to get the elephant in the room out of the way first and then it’s done and we can move on. Yes, this book is very similar to Six of Crows. To be honest it was that that kind of drew me to this book in the first place, and whilst there a number of direct comparisons, when I read Six of Crows for the first time all I thought about was Ocean’s 11.  A group of misfits banding together, plotting to steal an item is not a unique concept so please accept that fact and enjoy the book for what it is, you’ll be seriously missing out if not.

The characters are all strong, each with their own skillset and emotional baggage. There is so much potential back story for each of them which would be perfect to explore further in future books in the series, but we’re given just enough about each in this book to keep our interest piqued. Laila is certainly a character I would love to delve further into, especially when we learn her history! Her ability to transform from daytime baker to nightime darling of the burlesque is fabulous.  The enigmatic Severin, denied a birthright, slowly simmers until the perfect opportunity arrives to take back what is his.  He is the architect of the piece, and darkly complex. Zofia is wonderful, and as a sufferer of anxiety myself I totally identified with her and the quirks of her behaviour, her ability to force herself to adapt even when the introvert in her tries to drag her back down. I loved the beauty of the friendship she has with Laila, this story has a number of powerful moments but one that stands out most for me is when Laila set out 3 dresses for Zofia to choose from each with it’s own trait to help her with whatever anxiety she was feeling.  Hypnos provides the much needed comedy relief at times when the story becomes too heavy and he really did remind me a bit of Magnus Bane!

The concept of the power of forging was great and covered pretty much all the bases when it came to the fantastical world and what they were able to achieve. Imaginative devices and wonderful potions and poisons, really gave me a feeling of steampunk. Exciting scrapes and tangles, bringing to mind thoughts of raiders of the lost arc and similar tomb raider style puzzles to be solved. The Gilded Wolves is an amazing race against time, I found myself holding my breath a number of times as each part of the plan (and sometimes the unplanned) unfurled – there is a ton going on and if you get distracted you’ll miss something important, such is the volume of information. This is a story with a pace that rarely lets up and will have you devouring the pages with it’s exciting set pieces. One of my favourite parts of this book is actually the small pockets of flash back where Severin recounts the families he stayed with during his childhood, giving each “father” a corresponding deadly sin – this is a poignant change of pace and also a valuable insight as to how he became shaped to be the man he has become.

There were minor issues with the storyline, minutes after warning Enrique not to taken in by Hypnos’ tricks I found Severin’s blind faith in what he witnessed jarring, I accept that was the pivotal point of moving the story forward but I think it could been captured without such a continuity issue. The beginning chapters really had an infodump feel, I found that I initially struggled to get to grips with The Order, The Houses, Forging and getting to know the characters and setting, the writing does fall into a natural rhythm with it though and it does become quickly familiar. I don’t feel that these points overall impacted my enjoyment of the book in totality though.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Gilded Wolves and despite the small issues I still give this 5 Stars, with thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.

The Gilded Wolves will be available on the 15th January 2019

Bookish Ramblings: Five things Friday

As it’s Friday it’s time for my weekly round up with a Five things Friday (original prompt from Kimberly Faye Reads)

New to my Queue

New to my queue this week is the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, I managed to pick up the first 3 books in the series as a box set for just £8 in The Works – I’ve been looking for this offer for ages and randomly found a single set when I was working away from my usual places this week.  It’s not as good as the £5 that the Book People were offering the set for for Black Friday but that was never in stock! Whilst the series has had mixed reviews, friends who I know have similar tastes to me have loved it, so I’m hopeful I will too.

Favourite Book(s) of the week

Last night I finished reading The Guilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, this is a book that is not due for release until January and I’m incredibly grateful to Netgalley for selecting me to receive a review copy.  Whilst the inevitable comparisons will be made to Six of Crows (after all it’s what drew me to the book in the first place) if you can put the similarities aside and enjoy the book for what it is, you’ll really enjoy it. Heists are pretty much one of my favourite plots and I loved that the historical element went hand in hand with the advancements almost giving it a steampunk feel at times. I’m going to hopefully get my full review up over the weekend.

When I wasn’t reading

I’ve been back to formatting this week with another wonderful repeat client, we’ve been working really hard for weeks to get things just right so I’m excited to see how things turn out. I’ve been working away for part of this week and on Monday I was in London, so I of course had to stop off at Europe’s biggest bookshop, Waterstones in Piccadilly – it’s such a beautiful building and their Science Fiction and Fanstasy sections were fabulous!

Pic of the week

It was thanksgiving yesterday in the US and whilst being a Brit I don’t celebrate, it doesn’t stop me for feeling thankful for things!  Looking up at my shelf yesterday I realised that I had so many books from authors I have been able to meet in person or spend a lot of time corresponding with. I am blessed to be involved with so many authors writing processes from Alpha and Beta reading, arc reviewing, helping with promotions and most importantly just being there to listen and help where I can.  I must never underestimate was a positive impact being part of their worlds has had on my life and look forward to many more years of the same.

Looking ahead

I’m hoping to pick up some bookish goodies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’ve also got just one book left on my November tbr which is City of Lost Souls (book 5 in the Shadowhunters series) and I may even be able to squeeze in one extra!  I’m planning ahead with my blog posts and this week i’m hoping to start compiling my top 10 reads of the year and I’m also going to make a start plotting out my most anticipated reads of 2019, given that 2 of the books on this years list didn’t quite make it to publication on time, I’ve got a good place to start!


Unboxing: Fairyloot November Battles and Galaxies box

Woop Woop got to love the feeling of being in the first batch of Fairyloot to dispatch! This month I was especially happy as November is their sci-fi themed Battles and Galaxies box. From the moment they announced a sci-fi theme featuring a Lunar Chronicles inspired item, I knew this would be a box that I would love.  It was a brave decision by fairyloot to step away from high fantasy and I know it wasn’t a hugely popular decision with some but it was absolutely perfect for me!  Also please forgive how dark the pics have come out, I wanted to get my unboxing posted but the light is terrible! 

The first item I came to was a Galaxy bath bomb by Little Heart Gifts, it’s smells lovely with a starburst scent and the swirly pink, blue and green galaxy design is gorgeous! Next is an item by Fairyloot, which is character and galaxy designed passport cover, the silver design stands out wonderfully on the black cover and whilst I am currently without a passport I can’t wait to use this when I want to pretend that i’m still in the EU after Brexit and imagine that it’s a burgundy not blue passport underneath…. Just in time for Christmas though is the next item which is a wonderful wooden tree ornament with one of best paraphrased Shakespeare quotes “it is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves” The simple wooden decoration designed by Catarina’s Book Designs is just perfect for our tree when it goes up next weekend!

The Lunar Chronicles inspired item came in a lovely little box just to keep the suspense up a little longer, a set of 4 coasters designed by Miss Phi was inside, I love coasters (I never use the pretty one’s but looking around my living room I realise I have loads for decoration!) and there is one for each of the books, Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter and apparently they make a lovely design when lined up together – I say apparently because of all the items to have an error in the box it had to be the one I was looking forward to the most!  I have 2 Winters and no Cress, I got onto Fairyloot about it and their customer service got back to me in less than an hour to say that I would be getting a replacement, i’m absolutely gutted though that it will take up to 3 weeks to arrive. It wouldn’t be a Fairyloot box without one random item that you never knew you needed until you had it and Galaxy themed straws which was another By Fairyloot design.  Thankfully these metallic straws are reusable and both have quotes of “Shine Bright” and “Reach for the Stars” The nice touch about this set is that the pouch come with a special wire brush cleaner the right size for them – the middle aged parent side of me approves greatly of this! We got a cute Iron on patch with the box based on the Red Rising series, I have book one on my kindle and I can’t wait to get to it as it’s on my December tbr! The quote is “I am the reaper and death is my shadow” and the design is by KDP Letters, I’m sure it will all become clear when I read it next month!  The final item this month is a tote bag inspired by The Illuminae Files, this is a series which has been high on my list of books to buy for a while, I may treat myself for my birthday soon! The quote is “Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness” which just makes me want to read the book even more! It’s designed by my favourite Evie Bookish, the fabric feels like it might be a little waterproof too which will be a bonus!

Onto the book, and it was pretty much the worst kept secret that this months book is Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.  I’ve yet to read a book by him but I gather he’s pretty popular! Getting this book wasn’t without issue, Fairyloot had a bit of a minefield when it came to getting this book both for Europe and the US and there was a bit of a trade off, the UK got sprayed edges and the US got a signed bookplate.  Whilst I would always prefer a signature in this instance I’m willing to let that go because in my view the UK cover is far superior to the US one.  This Fairyloot exclusive version comes with yellow sprayed edges and it’s a huge book too! Here’s the blurb:

Spensa’s world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity’s only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what’s left of the human race.Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s – a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa’s chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made tSohat a possibility. They’ve doubled their fleet, making Spensa’s world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .

So that was this month’s fantastic box!  I’m feeling like fairyloot have really be listening to their subscribers and the standard of the boxes over the last couple of months has been outstanding, next months theme is Dragons, but i’m sorry to tell you all that it’s sold out already!

Ooh I almost missed this – we got a link to a free download to an ebook! The book is Atlas Fallen by Jessica Pierce; i’m off to download my copy!


Saving Thomas Pre-Order Blitz with USA Today Bestselling Author, Cameo Renae

Title: Saving Thomas
Author: Cameo Renae
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Stefanie Saw
Publication Date: November 30th, 2018

When Thomas is sent on an assignment and goes missing, his friends start to worry. Then, things take a terrifying turn when a package arrives on Alaine’s front porch. Inside, is a piece of a severed, bloody wing, along with a note. The Fallen want Eden—a newly transformed Nephilim with a powerful gift—in exchange for Thomas. They have three days to hand her over or next time, they’ll receive something much worse.
Now, it’s a race against time to find out where they are keeping Thomas, and figure out a way to keep Eden safe.

Buy Links:


USA Today Bestselling author, Cameo Renae, was born in San Francisco, raised in Maui, Hawaii, and now resides with her husband and children in Alaska.
She’s a daydreamer, caffeine and peppermint addict, who loves to laugh, and loves to read to escape reality.
One of her greatest joys is creating fantasy worlds filled with adventure and romance and sharing it with others. It is the love of her family and amazing support of her fans that keeps her going.
One day she hopes to find her own magic wardrobe and ride away on her magical unicorn. Until then…she’ll keep writing!
Happy Reading! Xoxo
Author Links:
Buy Links:

The Siren Release Blitz with Jo Michaels

Title: The Siren
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: November 19th, 2018
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.
Buy Links:
The Visionary:

 Jo Michaels is…

Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Chapter One ~ Running from Me
Melody walked through her parents’ house feeling tiny and insignificant. Grand halls, famous paintings, and statues towering over her always made her feel less important. Stopping to examine a withered tulip, she thought how like the flower she was. It seemed it was passed over when the maid did the watering, and Melody was sure no one had noticed. Just like no one noticed her disappearing body. They were both hungry, but the flower seemed to show it much more gracefully.
She passed her fingers over the petals and reveled in how soft they were. What a beautiful thing left here in a corner to die because somebody decided it needed to be put on display, and it can’t speak up to make demands for what it needs. It made her breath catch in her throat as the burn of tears rose behind her eyelids.
Crushing the flower in her hand, she jerked it off the stem, threw it on the floor, turned, and walked back toward the practice room.
Once she closed and locked the door behind her, she fell back and slid to the floor, allowing her tears freedom as she pulled the letter out of her pocket once again and opened it.
On the day she’d gotten the note, she’d just given a concert in downtown Atlanta and was on top of the world. Since that day, she’d read the cruel words scribbled haphazardly on the page no less than two hundred times. It was worn, and the creases were deep, but she couldn’t bring herself to throw it away. She read:
From the 1st time I saw u on TV I new u were nothing special. U have a gr8 voice but a lot of ppl do. Ur fat an ugly an no1 wants to see u. Y dont u go sing on the radio n not make us have 2 look at u? If not y not do something w/urself? Work out or give up a meal 4 needy kids. Ur a spoiled BRAT. Every1 nos. Ur mom n dad look like snobs. Grow up lose w8 or get lost. Either way get off my TV. I hate u. Fatty!
It wasn’t signed, and she’d never shown it to anyone. But she watched what she put in her mouth from that day forward and had taken to running three miles every day. When her mom commented that Melody was looking good with all the weight she was losing, it solidified her resolve, and she swore never to be large again. Over one hundred pounds down, she still felt fat when she looked in the mirror and compared herself to the poster of supermodel Lily Conyers, hanging on the wall by the bed. Those last few inches needed to go, and Melody was bound and determined to make it happen.
As she sat there, reading the hateful words repeatedly, she dried her tears with her hand and stiffened her spine. She knew her eyes were glinting with the malice in her heart as she rose from the floor and stuffed the letter back into the pocket of her baggy jeans.
A shiver ran down her spine, and she hugged herself to ward off the chill. Unable to get warm recently, she’d taken to wearing a sweatshirt everywhere she went. She rubbed the thick hair that had begun to grow on her arms. Ugh! Why can’t Mom and Dad save some money and turn down the air?
Flipping on the CD player, she hit play before taking her position on the stage her mother had demanded be built in the room. Allowing the music to swell, Melody opened her mouth and sang. A trickle of pinpricks began at her toes and inched their way over her skin as she orated the lyrics. Her head fell back, and her eyes slid closed.
After Markaza chugged two more cups of coffee, she got up and headed for the bathroom to shower and get ready to hunt down her quarry.
An hour later, she stepped out of her room with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. She got in the elevator, pressed the button for the main floor, and passed out.
It was dark; Bronya, Lily, and Shelia were walking down the streets of New York, laughing and carrying large cups of coffee in their hands. From an alley, a man leapt into their path and pointed a gun at Lily’s head.
“Give me your purses!” he shouted.
Bronya laughed, and Shelia flicked her hand in the air.
At once, the man started to weep.
Lily’s body emitted yellow light, and the gunman dropped his weapon, running like the hounds of Hell were on his heels.
From Markaza’s vantage point, above the scene and to the right, she could see flashes from a number of cameras. Her friends seemed to be unaware their photos were being taken.
Markaza gagged as she took in a gulp of air and was overwhelmed with noxious smells. Waking up to sour breath is bad enough without the added stench of body odor. Above her, the over-eager manager hovered, looking worried and barking orders into his cellphone.
“Wait a moment, she’s awake.” Putting his hand over the mouthpiece, he asked, “Are you okay?”
She nodded while holding her breath and gave him a small push backward as she got up off the elevator floor.
“Yeah, she’s fine. Thanks anyway.” He flipped his phone shut and stared at her.
Giving him a smile and thanks for his concern while trying not to breathe in any more of his stench, she bolted for the front door of the Ritz. Once she was outside in the open air, she checked the time and was pleased to find she’d only been out for a couple of minutes. She unlocked her phone and dialed Bronya’s number.
No answer.
Trying again, Markaza dialed Shelia. One ring. Two rings.
Shelia sounded chipper when she picked up.
Markaza smiled. “Hey, you. How’s it going up there in the Big Apple?”
“It’s okay here. How’s it going down there in Hotlanta? Did you find our girl yet?”
“Yes. But I haven’t made contact. I’ll call you with an update as soon as I make some kind of progress. I need to ask you for a favor.” Markaza chewed her lip.
“Sure! Anything for you. What is it you need?” Shelia’s voice dropped low.
“Make sure you guys don’t go anywhere until I get back there, okay? At least, not after dark. Please, don’t ask me why; just trust me.”