VBB Weekly – 08.31.2015

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This week was a slow-reading week for me (life sadly got in the way), but I’m halfway through reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (out in October) and I am LOVING it!!!!

This is a rich YA fantasy rife with suspense and I know you guys will love it… especially if you’ve read her best-selling Grisha trilogy! I just love the beauty of the storytelling, the exoticism of the land and it’s intriguing characters! Stay tuned for my review mid September!

 

Have a great week and happy reading! ♥

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Release Recap

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Releasing This Week

Throttled by Elizabeth Lee (Available Now)

ThrottledReid Travers knows how to win. Becoming Motocross royalty was always the plan, and he was willing to make sacrifices along the way to reach his goal. Sacrifices he thought he could live with until he returned to the small town where he grew up and learned to ride, and, more importantly, where he fell in love.

When fate sends Nora Bennett back into his life, he takes one look at her and realizes that he made a huge mistake breaking up with her five years ago. Now, he’ll do whatever it takes to win her back. As Reid sets out to earn her forgiveness and convince her that the guy she’s dating is not the one for her, Nora finds herself torn between what her head is telling her and what her heart wants.

It’s a race he never expected to be in, for a girl he can’t stand to lose again.

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Thick Love by Eden Butler (Available Now)

He doesn’t ask their names.

He doesn’t deserve to know them.

Ransom Riley Hale’s friends think his life is charmed: first string as a freshman on a championship-winning college football team. A father with two Super Bowl rings. A mother with platinum albums and multiple Grammies under her belt. But that brilliant shine on the surface hides the darkness beneath; it’s all Ransom has ever known.

Despite the shadows he walked in, once there was a blinding light fracturing the darkness. It brought the promise of hope and happiness. He’d been careless, filled with pride and stupidity and lost that light. Ripped it from the world.

Now, the shadows are dimming again. Aly King surges into his life threatening to pull him from the darkness. She is everything Ransom can never be again. Her light feels too warm, promises him that there is more waiting for him beyond the shadows.

But the shadows are relentless, resurfacing when he thinks he is safe, and Ransom knows he must keep Aly from them too before he pulls her down into the darkness with him.

Second in a series.

Reading Order: Thin Love | Thick Love

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Hold On (The ‘Burg) by Kristen Ashley (Sep 01)Read my review
VBB Top Recommendation

Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.

In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.

Reading Order: For You $1.99 | At Peace $1.99 | Golden Trail $1.99 | Games of the Heart $1.99 | The Promise $1.99 Hold On

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J. Maas (Sep 01) Read my review
VBB Top Recommendation

Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Reading Order: The Assassin’s Blade (prequel) | Throne of Glass  99¢ | Crown of Midnight $2.99 | Heir of Fire $7.01 | Queen of Shadows

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Queen Song (Red Queen novella) by Victoria Aveyard (Sep 01)
VBB Series Recommendation

In this 55-page prequel novella set in the Red Queen world, Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Reading Order: Red Queen (Review) | Queen Song

 

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Firewalker (Worldwalker) by Josephine Angelini (Sep 01)

I’m a Witch and Witches burn. 

Lily is back in her own universe, and she’s ready to relax with Rowan. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape, and must hide her magic for the safety of the world, but compared to fighting the monstrous Woven and leading armies in the alternate Salem, life is looking good.

You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified. 

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she’ll have to find a way to make her come back.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

Second book in a YA series.

Reading Order: Trial by FireFirewalker

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All of Me by Kelly Moran (Sep 01)

For ten months, bestselling novelist Alec Winston hasn’t been able to type a single word, and he’s coming dangerously close to breaching his publishing contract. An invitation from his brother to spend the summer in Wilmington Beach might be just the thing to blast through his writer’s block. Yet Alec discovers more than a spark of inspiration on the sunny sands. He meets an amber-eyed muse who makes him think about much more than books . . .

Faith Armstrong has finally gathered the courage to leave her past behind and accepted a job as a private tutor, hoping for a fresh start on the North Carolina coast. This is the home she’s always longed for—not just a place, but a state of mind. She’s felt invisible her whole life, so the host of new friends and the attention of a sexy author have her head spinning.

But Alec has a secret that could prove this isn’t the life Faith dreamed of after all . . .

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Under My Skin (#3, Stark International) by J.Kenner (Sep 01)

Jackson Steele and Sylvia Brooks are back in the powerful finale of a provocative, sizzling-hot new erotic trilogy set in the world of J. Kenner’s beloved Stark novels: Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me.

He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, and the one man I can’t bear to lose. 
 
Jackson Steele is my light in this world. Charismatic, bold, and always in control, he knows what he wants and how to get it—and absolutely nothing stands in his way. His hold on me is magnetic, his claim on me complete, his kiss my ultimate escape.

We both harbor dark secrets that could tear our lives apart. Though we’ve tried to bury our pasts, there are certain people who won’t let us forget. But the closer danger comes, the brighter the fire between us burns—our ecstasy consuming and soothing us both.

There’s no telling what lies ahead, but I know that Jackson never gives in without a fight. I’d do anything he wants to keep him safe, give him anything he needs. And now that we’re in deep, nothing can make me run.

Reading Order: Say My Name | On My KneesUnder My Skin

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Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler (Sep 01)

Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (continuing Stieg Larsson’s series) (Sep 01)

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return

She is the girl with the dragon tattoo—a genius hacker and uncompromising misfit. He is a crusading journalist whose championing of the truth often brings him to the brink of prosecution.

Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it . . .

The duo who captivated millions of readers in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest join forces again in this adrenaline-charged, uniquely of-the-moment thriller.

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A Whole New World by Liz Braswell (Sep 01)

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney’s Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

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Fated To Be Yours by Jodie Larson (Sep 01)

Hearts are fragile, and mine’s been shattered before…

I have always thought of love in the abstract, never something to come true. My past has shown me time after time that those who are supposed to love you will only lead you to disappointment. Destiny, fate, chance…those are things that I have never believed in.

Until him.

A chance encounter with a distinct pair of blue eyes and a heart-melting smile challenges my knowledge of life and love.

Because there’s something about this stranger that has me believing in the possibility of more…

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Sep 01)

If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you’ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. This innovative and heartfelt debut novel unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

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The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore (Sep 01)

The sixth and penultimate book in the New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series! For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. John is on the front lines of the fight in New York City. And just as the odds seem stacked against him, his best friend, Sam, a human, inexplicably develops a Legacy—and Sam isn’t the only one.

While the pair try to track down Five and Nine amid the chaos, they encounter another teen who can wield abilities that were once only meant for the Garde. Whether she is a friend or a foe, however, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Six, Marina, and Adam are trapped in Mexico. They fought their way into the Sanctuary and were able to awaken the power hidden within, but their preceding battle has left them without any way to reach the others. The Mogs are returning in full force, and it will take a miracle to escape.

The Garde are stretched thin, fighting this war on many fronts. The only chance they have is to take out the Mogadorian leader once and for all—but his fate is now irrevocably tied with Ella’s. They can’t destroy one without the other. But if the Garde can’t find another way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Loric: annihilation.

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith (Sep 01)

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this new irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

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Undercover by Danielle Steel (Sep 01)

Marshall Everett has traveled a twisting, perilous road from the jungles of South America to the streets of Paris. As an undercover DEA agent, Marshall penetrated a powerful cartel and became the trusted right-hand man of a ruthless drug lord. The price he paid was devastating, costing him everything—and everyone—he loved. Back in the U.S., on temporary assignment to the Secret Service, on the presidential detail, Marshall performs an act of heroism that changes his course forever.

Ariana Gregory has her whole future ahead of her, with an exciting life in Manhattan and a coveted job at an online fashion magazine. But when her father, recently widowed, is appointed U.S. ambassador to Argentina, she reluctantly agrees to accompany him to Buenos Aires. Then an unthinkable act of violence shatters her world.

Nearly a year later, Ariana arrives in Paris, on a fragile road to recovery. There, as she strives to bury painful memories forever, she crosses paths with Marshall Everett. But dangerous forces watch her every move, and Ariana and Marshall will once more have to fight for their survival.

In this breathtaking and psychologically penetrating novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Danielle Steel explores the consequences of trauma and the perseverance of the human spirit. In Marshall and Ariana she has created two unforgettable characters confronting extraordinary challenges—who no longer need to face them alone.

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Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (Sep 01)

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

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Deal Breakers by Laura Lee (Sep 01)

DEAL BREAKERSHow were they supposed to know that one night would change everything?

Devyn has life all mapped out. She just needs to accomplish one more thing before graduating college and becoming a full-fledged adult—lose her virginity. And who better to assist her than her best friend, Riley?

Riley is the self-proclaimed king of fling. His college years have been filled with meaningless hookups until the one night that ruined him for all other women. The one night he spends with his best friend, Devyn. Right before he screws it all up.

Balls to the wall, baby!

Now five years later, Riley is determined to atone for his mistakes and prove that he can be the man that Devyn deserves. Little does he know that Devyn’s been keeping a secret from him all these years. A big secret. Now he has to figure out how to win back the only girl he’s ever loved while navigating the pitfalls of her unexpected revelation.

Deal Breakers is filled with lots of laughs, a sexy romance, and an overflowing swear jar.

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Archangels’ Enigma by Nalini Singh (Sep 01)

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of dark passion and immortal power – and to one of the most seductive and impenetrable heroes ever to stalk the Guild Hunter landscape…

“Oh, Naasir. So weird, so bloodthirsty, so unique and wonderful…I have fallen for him…” – Fiction Vixen

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required – those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature – at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

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The Sparrow’s Sisters by Ellen Herrick (Sep 01)

With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

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The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen) by Jodi Meadows (Sep 01)

Skyvale faces problems worse than anyone realizes. Secrets are building. Enemies are everywhere. Told from the perspective of Tobiah, the crown prince with a dangerous secret, and set two years before the heart-racing action of The Orphan Queen, this 100-page digital novella brings to life one of Jodi Meadows’s most beloved characters.

Tobiah Pierce is ready to break free of his princely role—he’s sick of the bodyguards that always trail him and is uncertain about the new girl at court, Meredith Corcoran, who his parents keep pushing toward him. When Tobiah’s beloved tutor seems to be embroiled in a dangerous situation deep within the city, Tobiah jumps on the opportunity to throw off the royal restrictions and chase after him. But what happens in the narrow alleys and shadowy corners proves he doesn’t know anything about the people he cares about—or the city he must one day rule.

The Glowing Knight is the second of four prequel novellas that offer existing fans a deeper insight into a favorite character and the complex city of Skyvale, while new readers will find a stunning introduction to this rich world and the heart-pounding fantasy of the Orphan Queen series.

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Review + Giveaway: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J. Maas

My Thoughts

Queen of Shadows is Maas’ most exciting and evocative
Throne of Glass book yet.

6stars

Synopsis

Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

My Review

As first seen on USA Today HEA blog

With Queen of Shadows, Sarah J. Maas delivers the best, most exciting installment yet in the much-loved Throne of Glass series. Each page teems with fierce intensity, romantic tension, and propulsive suspense as power, magic and evil surge in this high-stakes saga. Reading 645 pages has never been so fun, so thrilling, and so entirely satisfying with Maas’ vivid world, multidimensional characters and intricate plotting making the book impossible to put down.

Aelin Galathynius has finally embraced her destiny. Now, she fights to free those she loves from the brutal clutches of the evil King of Adarlan. She fights to light up the shadows that for ten years have enslaved her people. And she fights to reclaim her throne as Queen of Terrasen.

“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”

And once again, our lethal and fiery heroine does not disappoint. As we’ve come to expect, her cunning mind and physical prowess dominate, but her growing maturity is evidenced throughout in her thoughts, decisions and as she faces the ghosts of her past.

Back at Rifthold, however, retribution and scheming go hand in hand, as she pays a visit to her old master, the ruthless King of the Assassins, Arobynn Hamel. In order to save Prince Dorian from grasp of his deviant father, she must outwit the man who taught her everything. In addition, evil forces amass while swords clash and shadows dance menacingly in the streets around her.

“She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows…”

Meanwhile, in Morath, Wing Leader Manon tries to uncover the nefarious plans of Duke Perrington while intensifying dissention unsettles the mighty cavalry of witches—the feared Thirteen. Plot points begin to converge and twine excitingly, the more we near to the story’s emotional conclusion.

We of course see a lot of the powerful Fae prince Rowan, as well as the tortured and capable Chaol, who continues to struggle with his ever-shifting reality. Throughout the course of the novel, however, there is significant and satisfying character growth. Aelin’s romantic entanglements indeed straighten out, as her feelings for both Rowan and Chaol become clear. Maas handles this delicate situation expertly and I believe that both Team Chaol and Team Rowan readers will delight at the turn of events by the story’s end.

“You make me want to live… Not survive; not exist. Live.”

Queen of Shadows was also perhaps the most evocative book to date in the series, with poignant moments between characters (old and new), as Maas explores the fragile and complicated bonds between friends, lovers, allies and enemies. More than anything, this latest release is intensely addictive and mesmeric, with lots of surprises that will leave readers hungry for more. Lucky for us, two more books await before Aelin Ashryver Galathynius’ epic adventure comes to an end.

“Let’s go rattle the stars.”

 

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Reading Order

The Assassin’s Blade can be read after Throne of Glass.

 

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Exclusive Interview with Eleanor Herman (Legacy of Kings)

ELEANOR HERMAN INTERVIEW BANNER

Legacy of Kings, the first full-length novel in the Blood of Gods and Royals series by author Eleanor Herman is receiving lots of buzz, and rightly so. This book, which is a magical mix of history and fantasy, was highly anticipated and then promptly devoured by readers like me. And this week, we received exciting news that Warner Bros Television is working to develop the book into a television program… read the news here!!!

I’m honored and so very excited to share with you an exclusive 5-question interview with Eleanor. I loved her answers! She’s insightful and so very funny! Plus… get the opportunity to cast your vote via the IF list on who you’d like to see play these characters on the small screen!

ReviewAmazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

Synopsis

Legacy of KingsImagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

Interview

First off, there’s been much discussion on why you chose to write a YA fantasy novel, as you are already a renowned historical novelist (see answer here), but I want to discuss Alexander specifically. Have you always been interested in him as a persona in history? What inspired you to choose him as the central figure for your series Blood of Gods and Royals?

I’ve always been fascinated by Alexander. He was incredibly inspirational in his own time, and still is. Julius Caesar, three hundred years after Alexander, studied his life and his battles and tried to do in western Europe what Alexander did in the East. Alexander’s battle strategies are still taught at West Point and military academies around the world. On a cultural level, he was the first person to open up the flow of trade and ideas between East and West in a major way.

Kings were a dime a dozen in the ancient world. Most of them stayed put in their own little territories. I’ve often asked myself, What made Alexander so special? So far-sighted? So successful? He was so unusual that many people—including Alexander himself—believed his father wasn’t Philip of Macedon at all but a god, Zeus, perhaps.

Who was this godlike visionary at sixteen? It’s a fascinating question. Mix in my knowledge of history, some magic, several brave and determined characters, their conflicts, revenge, ambition, love, and hate. Stir. Bake at 340 BC for 411 pages. Voila! Legacy of Kings.

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How long did it take you to write the story and what was the process like? Lots of research? Travel? Was it slow going or faster than usual since the fantasy/fiction element allowed your creativity and imagination to take flight? 

It took me about a year to write Legacy of Kings, whereas it always took me two years to write non-fiction, one year of research and another of writing. I already had a thorough knowledge of the ancient Greco-Roman world and had traveled extensively visiting ancient ruins and temples so I could start writing Legacy immediately and research various topics along the way. At first there were a lot of google interruptions to the writing—what were ancient Greek shields made of? How did they get the horsehair crests to stand up so straight on their helmets? Did they eat peaches? How long did it take to sail from Macedon to Halicarnassus? What would the ship have looked like? I read books on ancient witchcraft to get the incantations historically accurate, and on ancient warfare to write the epic battle scene at the end.

So the process was much faster than non-fiction. The creative fantasy element is a great deal of fun. But when you can do pretty much anything, what do you pick? The possibilities are endless and can make your head spin. Luckily I have the greatest editors who gave me amazing guidance.

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[Pictures courtesy of Eleanor Herman]

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One of the elements I found interesting was how you explored the various sides of our protagonists… both dark and light characteristics. Some characters made bad decisions with good intentions, some made them to escape their fate, and others, like Queen Olympias, seemed wholly heinous until we learned more about her past. The lines are certainly blurred when making judgments on good and evil. Was that intentional? What can you tell us about this?

Call me a moral relativist and I will see it as a compliment. I think life is far more complex than throwing people into a basket labeled Good or Evil. We as humans all have enormous potential for both, and a lot of factors influence which we choose on any given day. Who among us hasn’t made a bad decision with the best intentions? (I’m thinking here of my first marriage!) What heinous people like Queen Olympias don’t have horrible things in their past?

One thing I love about multiple-POV novels is they allow you to get into the minds of the dark characters and learn to sympathize with them. We can certainly judge whether actions are good or bad, but the people who commit them? That’s more difficult.

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On Monday, we received big news that Legacy of Kings was optioned by Warner Bros Television, for the development of a TV show (read news here). What an exciting project as they work to bring the novel to life! What excites you the most about the project? Is it also a little bit nerve racking?

I am so excited about the TV series! No, it’s not nerve-wracking because I believe the producers know what they’re doing and will do it well. I will, however, need to make sure the series is as historically accurate as possible—Hellions aside. If they use candles instead of oil lamps, I will have to kill myself.

My poor husband hates watching historical movies with me because I give a running commentary on what is correct and what isn’t: Going into battle without a helmet? Puh-lease! And they didn’t have stirrups until the eighth century! But oh, those cups are so authentic-looking! Old people didn’t have blazing white perfect teeth until the 20th century! And women didn’t have their hair hanging down their backs in the 1890s unless they were wearing a nightgown. And no one went outside without a hat or bonnet. And 18th century men didn’t leave the house in their shirts and vests; they would have worn a jacket in 100 degrees, and… ”Shut up, Eleanor.”

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Empire of Dust is the next book in the series. Have you already started writing it? Can you give us a tiny sneak peek at what we can expect?

I’m finishing up my first draft! This book is going much more quickly than Legacy because I know the characters so well now. In Legacy I struggled at first to figure out who they were. So, let’s see what I can tell you without spoilers. Alex discovers there’s a traitor in his close circle but doesn’t know who. Kat and Heph go on a dangerous journey to procure military assistance for Macedon. Olympias starts to get her come-uppance. Zofia’s journey to the Eastern Mountains to find the Spirit Eaters and change her fate meets with shocking twists and turns. Jacob learns the astonishing truth about the origins and purpose of the Aesarian Lords. Cynane will do anything to wield real power.

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Dream Cast

Click the image below to cast your vote on which actors should play the protagonists on television. We want to hear from you and see who you imagine!

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Reading Order

Voice of Gods is a FREE prequel novella.
You DO NOT have to read before Legacy of Kings. It can be read after.

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Review: Sustained (#2, The Legal Briefs) by Emma Chase

Review: Loving the Chase (#1, Heart of the Storm) by Sharla Lovelace

My Thoughts

A sweet and enjoyable second chance romance
with an exciting storm chasing backdrop.

4stars

Synopsis

Charming, adventurous Zach Chase has always craved the spotlight, and now he’s on the hunt for publicity for his family’s storm-chasing business. So when a reality TV network approaches him with the idea for a show profiling their work, he can’t resist. But the last person he expects to walk into the meeting is the former love of his life.

Production assistant Maddi Hayes was once engaged to Zach—until she was almost killed by a tornado he was out chasing. She walked away from her fiancé and their future together, convinced she’d always come second to his dangerous career.

Dreading the show and anxious over working so closely with Zach, Maddi also knows this project could mean big things for her career. If only Zach weren’t still so infuriating…and so infuriatingly sexy. Can they finally let go of their stormy past? Or will the passion still raging between them win in the end?

My Review

Ever since reading one of my top second chance romances ever, Don’t Let Go, I’ve been following Sharla Lovelace’s releases. I love that her stories always imbue so much heart and emotion. This latest is no different. The first in a continuing series, Loving the Chase, is the story about two people who loved each other deeply, but whose future was shattered when Zach’s passion for storm chasing split them apart.

“When he put a ring on her finger later, he thought it was forever. She was all he ever wanted, and he lost her. To a storm.”

I love the backdrop of storm chasing as it added a unique and exciting element as their story unwound. For Zach Chase and his family, storm chasing was in their blood… a passion passed down from their father. It was a rush, an undeniable thrill and the type of work that defined him.

“The buzz, the rush, the physical pull of such a magnificent monster when it’s so close it’s looking at you. Taunting you. Breathing on you.”

So when a TV network woos the Chase family for a reality TV show, the last person Zach expects to see in a meeting is Maddi Hayes, the love of his life and his former fiancé. It had been seven years since she had walked away and never looked back.

It’s clear that both Maddi and Zach are rattled, their feelings anything but forgotten. Every time they’re together, the air is charged with unsaid words and a barely bridled desire. When Maddi is tasked to head up production, she’s thrust back into the arms of the Chases—people she loved dearly and considered her family. The past comes barreling down on them all, and with her job on the line, the last thing she needs is complications.

But Zach and Maddi must figure things out if seven years did nothing to quell their feelings.

“Loving him again felt out of this world. It felt right, it felt real, it felt connected and synchronized in a way she had never felt with any other man.”

Even as they both begin to soften, relenting to their emotions, the question remains… Is love enough to give them a happy future? Or would the past repeat itself when Zach chooses his passion for storm chasing over the woman who loves him?

Overall, I loved the premise and the family dynamic of the Chases. I loved the way Maddi and Zach met again and how you could really feel their connection. They faced some very real issues and I wasn’t sure they figured it all out by the end, but I hoped their future would see some different choices and attitudes from them both. This is a book I quickly read in one day and readers who love second chance romances will devour it easily.

This is the first book in a series, each featuring a different Chase family member. It can be read as a standalone.

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