Friday, 13 October 2017

Halloween Book Bingo. Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th! 👻 I know this post should have been written last Sunday, but I noticed the date that was on this Friday and nothing better than Friday the 13th to share some spookiness. You can still join Halloween Book Bingo, although you won't be eligible for the giveaway. Or maybe you can if you share your sign up post on the comments section. 
Today I bring you from the dead of night -or from under your bed- the most terrifying book MONSTERS! It's a small list, but if I lived in a world where they were real, I would not be able to sleep.

Sunai, Corsai & Malchai from Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab.

The volcra from Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo.

Every ghost from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Which book monsters scare you the most?

Cover Reveal. The Hummingbird


This week Blaze Publishing has revealed the cover of the third book of Jacob Devlin, The Hummingbird. How precious is it?! It's so pretty and eerie. Since Jacob Devlin wants to see our reaction to this cover through gifs, here is mine (you can visit his website and share yours).

The Hummingbird is expected to be released on September 20th 2018.
"In the aftermath of the great battle that left Wonderland in ruins, Crescenzo DiLegno and his two best friends have reunited with their families in Florindale, but the war wages on in every kingdom. The Order of the Bell is scattered, presumably left to the mercy of Queen Avoria, whose grip on the New World grows tighter every day. Cities have already fallen, the shadows have spread, and a fortress of nightmares has appeared in the heart of New York City.

Determined to take back his home and restore order to the worlds, Crescenzo must rally all the people he's met from his adventures, from the troubled prince to the rebellious Lost Boys, and storm Avoria's castle of illusion. The Carver's war against the wicked Ivory Queen brews to an explosive finale, but dark secrets about her true nature have yet to emerge, and not everybody will be prepared to survive them.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday. The Girl in the Tower

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week on WoW is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. Another beautifully eerie cover. 💖 As usual, I haven't started reading this series yet -although, I do have the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, staring at me on my bookshelf... making me feel guilty because I haven't picked it up yet... and making me feel guilty because I've been thinking about buying another edition cause I'm in love with its cover (I know it' a waste of money but the cover is really pretty). The book will be released on December 5th.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
From Goodreads

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

This is a day that should never be forgotten since many struggle with mental illness - many well-known writers, past and present, have experienced the effects of mental illness. Today I shall not talk about my personal experience, but I want to tell you that you aren't alone. As Sylvia Plath wrote "I am terrified/by this dark things/That sleep in me;/All day I feel its feathery turnings,/its malignity".

Monday, 9 October 2017



The House Cup Reading Challenge is a reading challenge hosted by Lauren of Live Love Read Ya, Alex of Book Daisy Reviews, Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf, and Erica of Escape Under the Cover and it will take place between Sunday 15th October to Sunday 12th November.
"During this challenge, you will progress from a first-year to seventh-year Hogwarts student by completing seven books on your TBR list. In addition to the main challenge, you will have opportunities to earn even more points by participating in the themed bonus challenges and tweeting with the challenge hashtag on Twitter. First, you’ll need to choose your Hogwarts house. During the challenge, you’ll not only be earning points for yourself but for your Hogwarts house as well. At the end of the challenge, each reader should report their points to their house’s Head Girl. "
I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I'm houseless. 🙈 Since the first Harry Potter film was released, I've taken every single Sorting Hat quiz and I always end up in a different Hogwarts house. Since I've ended up twice on Ravenclaw and Gryffindor it seems I've to choose between the two of them. But how can I? 😭 *closes her eyes & eeny, meeny, miny, moe

*drum rolls* GRYFFINDOR!!!!!

Hogwarts Student Questionnaire

Name: Tânia. If my name doesn't sound Anglo-American, it's because it isn't. I'm from Portugal, a small country in Europe that most people think to be part of Spain. Anyway, I can't believe I finally received my Hogwarts letter.
Hogwarts House: After a children's counting rhyme, it seems I'm a Gryffindor for the time being. It may change when another Sorting Hat quiz is created.
Wand Type: Acacia wood with a Dragon heartstring core 12 ¾" and Brittle flexibility.
Pet: Cat 🐱 Can I bring my five cats with me? I promise they will behave... well, the oldest ones will definitely behave, but I'm not so sure about the two younglings.
Favorite Subject: How can I choose a favourite subject? Maybe the eeny, meeny, miny, moe should have sorted me into Ravenclaw... Okay, Defence Against the Dark Arts? But I also really like Care of Magical Creatures! Potions and Herbology also seem very interesting - to learn how to make the polyjouice potion or the uses of mandrake.
Favorite Professor: Hagrid & Remus Lupin. By now you must have figured out my favourite book in the series is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Challenge Events
"To kick off the challenge, we’ll be hosting a Twitter chat starting at 8:00 p.m. EST to give everybody a chance to introduce themselves, talk about the competition, and answer some Harry Potter trivia questions. Be sure to follow along with the #housecupreadingchallenge hashtag. At the end of the challenge, we’ll also be hosting a watch-along of one of the Harry Potter movies (to be decided via Twitter poll). We’ll have more details about this as we get closer to the end of the challenge."

Books I'm Planning to Read:

Main Challenges (20 points)

First Year:
Second Year:
Third Year:
Fourth Year:
Fifth Year:
Sixth Year:
Seventh Year:

Bonus Challenges (10 points)

Gryffindor, a book with an epic hero/heroine:
Hufflepuff, a book that contains a strong friendship:
Ravenclaw, a book that revolves around a mystery:
Slytherin, a book set in a dystopian world:
Astronomy Class, a book set in outer space:
Care of Magical Creatures, a book that features an animal or magical/mythical creature:
Tri-Wizard Tournament, a book that includes a competition:
Occlumency, a book about a character with magical abilities or superpowers:
Death Eater, a book told from the POV of a villain:
Platform 9 3/4, a book that features travel:
Time Turner, a book set in the future or past:
Fantastic Beasts, a spin-off to a beloved series:
Dumbledore’s Army, buddy-read a book with a friend or group:
Friday, 6 October 2017

My Bookish Life. Reviewing ARCs

If you are like me, every time you receive and ARC is time for a happy dance. Of course since I'm an international blogger and my blog isn't very well known, I don't receive physical ARCs and my Netgalley and Edelweiss requests are usually denied. So, that's why when I receive an acceptance e-mail, it's always time for a happy dance.

Anyway, all this leads to one question: how sincere can your review of an ARC be?

When you receive a book from a publisher do you feel the pressure to like it and to write nice things about it although you kept rolling your eyes through the story because you thought the main character was an idiot? I would be lying if I told you I have never felt the pressure to enjoy a book because it was sent to me by the publisher or author -especially since I'm a small blog; I always fear the publisher will never accept my requests again if I say something negative about a certain book. However, after questioning myself and my beliefs, I realized that I rather be sincere than fool someone.

But why am I discussing such a topic today?

I'm discussing it because I had nothing good to point out about a book I recently received, read and reviewed -the review has been sent and I'm hoping my name is not engraved in some sort of reviewers blacklist. To tell the truth, I always try to find the silver lining (it may be the writing or the worldbuilding or the characters) as I understand how difficult is to write a novel and have courage to share with the rest of the world -for that reason everything I've written so far has been hidden in a undisclosed location *just roam through my drawers and you may find something* But, I couldn't find anything good in this book! As a principle, I always read a book until the very last page - I find very unfair when people rate a novel with one star without finishing it -, but the silver lining just wasn't there.

After finishing this book, I visited Goodreads and I saw that many people were giving it four and five stars. But then I noticed all these stars were being given by people who had received a copy in exchange for an honest review. And it made me wonder: did we read the same book? Or am I simply evil? Or are readers simply writing wonderful reviews and giving it al the stars because they received a review copy? In this situation, I decided to go with number three since, as you can see if you visit my Goodreads page, I don't need much to love a book. All I need are good characters, a very well woven world and beautiful writing. That isn't much, right? Okay, maybe that's too much...Well, I don't need much to rate a book with three stars, then. As I said, I always look for the silver lining and that is what I point out in my reviews. Also, I decided to go with number three because a character was firstly introduced with a name and three pages later had another one...and three of the characters pretty much shared the same personality!

Some readers praise ARCs so much that they don't give the author the opportunity to improve her/his writing. And wordbuiling. And characters. A debut novel always will have some flaws and if they aren't pointed out those same flaws will be found in the later books the author publishes. Just take a look at Leigh Bardugo's first book, Shadow and Bone. I read Six of Crows before Shadow and Bone. It did take me sometime to go through the pages of Shadow and Bone because the writing was not as fluid as in Six of Crows. Because of real reviews, Leigh Bardugo's writing evolved a lot since she published her debut novel and today everyone loves her and her novels because they have the three most needed ingredients: amazing characters, eerie worlds and flawless writing.

If authors want to grow, they must accept the negative criticism in the same way they accept the positive. I rather speak the truth, to tell how a book really made me feel (but without bashing) than look at it through tinted rose-tinted spectacles just so that I can keep receiving ARCs or e-ARCs. A review should be fair for both the writer and the readers who will be picking up the book next. It's not right to deceive anyone to please a publisher in hope someday they will send you a physical ARC and you can brag about it. Or throw that secret party you have been planning since the day you discovered publishers send ARCs to readers.

So, how sincere are your reviews?
Thursday, 5 October 2017

Short-Reviews 3. The Snow Angel & Princesses of the Night

Title: The Snow Angel
Publisher: Zephir [Thank you Netgalley for the review copy]
Published: October 5th 2017
207 pages

"Lauren St John's stunning Christmas classic is about forgotten children, the power of nature to heal us and a girl who will climb mountains in search for a place to call home.

Growing up in vibrant, crowded Nairobi, Makena has only one dream: to climb Mount Kenya like her hero, her mountain guide father. But when her beautiful world is shattered, she finds that in the city's dark places there are a thousand ways to fall, each more deadly than any crevasse. In a world of strangers, does she dare trust Snow, whose ballet dreams are haunted by a past she's still running from? And is the sparkling fox friend or foe?

After a fresh start in the Scottish Highlands turns bad, Makena flees to the mountains. But will they betray her or be the making of her?

"Hope was everywhere. It found its way up through the dirt and desperation like a wildflower struggling through a crack in an inner-city pavement."

After the tragic death of her parents, Makena’s world is shattered. Her dreams vanish in thin air and every day becomes a struggle to survive to the Kenyan slumps. The Snow Angel follows Makena’s journey that takes her from Africa to the Scottish Highlands, guided by a mysterious silver sparkling fox, looking for a new place to call home.

There are moments you want to hug Makena –for someone so young she goes through so much. Not only does she loses her parents, but faces the harsh reality of being an orphan in the slums and having no adult to rely on and ask for help. Her pain is so heartbreaking (especially when she learns that blood is not thicker than water). What makes Makena’s journey sadder is that thousands of children go through the same in real life and many people aren’t aware of it. However, it warmed my heart when Makena found a friend in Snow, an albino girl with dreams of becoming a ballerina who would always find happiness in the smaller things.

What I loved the most about this book was the beautiful writing style. The writing made the story seem so enticing and eerie –it reminded me of those magical old folktales. Moreover, the settings were so well crafted that they seemed vivid –from the hot Kenya to the snowy Scotland.

Lauren St. John makes the reader ponder on very tough themes, such as Ebola (a disease that kills thousands), children being kidnapped to work on factories, orphans on the slums that must scavenger the trash for food and so on.

The Snow Angel, a middle grade novel that should be read by all, conveys a very powerful message: you may find yourself in the darkest of the places, but never lose hope.

Title: Princesses of the Night
Publisher: CHBB  [Thank you Xpresso Books Tours for the review copy] 
Published: September 22nd 2017 [reprint]

"Tanya is a hardworking college student but her whole world is turned upside down when she meets a mysterious man on Halloween. All that she thought was fiction is now her reality. A night life filled with fangs and blood—and an evil vampire that wants her dead.

She and her friends are the chosen ones, destined long ago, to save this world from destruction. That’s not easy when your enemy is your sire’s son.

It’s always sad to see a book with an intriguing premise to fall short because of its writing and characters. I really wanted to love this novel since the narrator and I share the same name, but it was not my cup of tea. The story line was very slow and repetitive.

Princesses of the Night suffers from lack of revision and the characters are very flat –there was no character grow. All five girls –Tanya, Dannika, Makinzee, Serienna and Regina- seemed to share the same personality. For example, if one character got obsessed for not having her powers another character would react alike just one chapter later. And, every single one of the five girls loved Mark and the only reason they were sad to leave their old lifes was him. I mean, Serienna was studying to be a doctor and not once did she think about losing her life dream after being turned into a vampire. Also, Tanya kept flickering her opinion. She was full of contractions (one moment she would tell herself she wouldn’t call Lazirith (the vampire who turned her and her friends) “dad” and the next moment she does it).

At the end, they were too many characters to focus on and too little pages to develop them properly. It was really difficult to create a connection with any of the girls.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh with the writing since I did receive an e-ARC. However, I noticed the book was being republished and maybe this copy should not have seemed as unfinished as it did.
Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday. Whichwood

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week on WoW is Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. Have I read Furthermore? No, not yet (sadly, as it's said: so many books, so little time). But the idea of a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead piqued my interest -it reminds of Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire and she is one of my favourite characters. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this cover? 💓 The book will be released on November 14th.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.
From Goodreads

Monday, 2 October 2017

Monthly Recap. September 2017

Before anything else, the usual rant: where has time gone? Three more months and 2017 ends? How is that possible? Does anyone have a time turner? Because I still have a lot to do and read before the year ends and I'm short on time.

So, what happened during the month of September? I finally chose a theme for my masters degree (I'd like to share it with you because I chose something that has a lot to do with my blog, but I can only do it in November since it's when my uni publishes the thesis that are being written online). I revamped the headers -what do you think of this cute kitten on a book stack? The Halloween Book Bingo I created has begun (there is still time for you to sign up and win a prize) and I even created a Pokémon Halloween book tag. It was a busy month -especially here on the blog since I'm trying to make up for all the months that I've been away.

Ps. Although this was my last month as a Minibackdrops rep, you can still use "mbsecret" for 15% off on your order. If you have a #bookstagram account or love taking photos, Desirae has the most beautiful backdrops.  

I still have a lot of catching up to do, but this month I read six books. I could have read more, but I've been so sleepy. Every day, I just want to lay down on my bed and close my eyes. I just don't have the energy to read a few more pages.
  • Empress of a Thousand Skies, Rhoda Belleza
  • The Bone Witch, Rin Chupeco
  • The Surrendered, Case Maynard
  • The Underground, Case Maynard
  • The Snow Angel, Lauren St. John
  • Princesses of the Night, Teresa Fuentez and Tich Brewster
      My favourite reading of the month was The Bone Witch. I loved this magical world with Asian inspiration. I can't wait for its sequel, The Heart Forger. You can read my review of The Surrendered and The Underground here on the blog.   

      I did buy a few books this month, but I don't think I went crazy. I only paid for four of them and one was a ebook for less than five euros. Most books I received this month were sent to me so that I could read/review and participate on blog tours.

      From my Instagram account
      • The Unicorn, Iris Murdoch
      • Stalking Jack the Ripper, Kerri Maniscalco
      • End of Days, Susan Ee
      • The Last of the Firedrakes, Farah Oomerhbhoy
      • Princesses of the Night, Teresa Fuentez and Tich Brewster; Chosen, R.S. Broadhead; The Rise of the Dawnstar, Farah Oomerhbhoy [thank you Xpress Book Tours]
      • The Snow Angel, Lauren St. John; The Canary Club, Sherry D. Ficklin [thank you Netgalley]
      Which books did you buy this month?

      Random & Randomness, as the name indicates, is about random bookish stuff. Inspired by a few blogs, I decided to create this little space where I share some bookish love. Probably a lot more happened this month, but I can't remember. 🙈
      • Leigh Bardugo announces a new book series. I still haven't finished the Shadow & Bone trilogy, but anything Bardugo writes is automatically added to my wishlist. Also, I'm just so happy that the Grishaverse is still being developed.
      • Juliet Marillier announces a new trilogy. This was the announcement that I've been waiting for since Den of Wolves was released last year. I mean, I've not even read the book yet because I didn't know when Juliet was going to release her new series. How can I stay without my Juliet Marillier dose?
      • Kingdom Hearts Funkos! I need Sora. And, I need Kairi. Oh, and I need the Shadow Heartless. Okay, I need every single one of these Funkos. I don't know how I will get my hands on the exclusive ones, but I need to get them all. Also, the Crash Bandicoot Funkos have also been announced. So many funkos, so little money. 🙈
      Sunday, 1 October 2017

      Halloween Book Bingo. Pokémon Halloween Book Tag

      Have you already joined Halloween Book Bingo? If you have not joined it yet, you can still do it. Just create a sign up post and share it here. You've until next Saturday to do sign up and be eligible for the giveaway

      As I wrote in the bingo announcement, every Sunday I'd be sharing some fun Halloween inspired posts. For today, I created a fun book tag: Pokémon Halloween Book Tag with dark and ghost type Pokémon. Everyone is welcome to join this book tag - don't forget to tag your friends. You can share your answers on the comments section.
      Disclaimer: Pokémon belongs to Nintendo, please don't sue me. This tag was inspired by Pokémon Go Book Tag created by @ReadatMidnight. Aentee gave me her authorization to create this tag.

      A urban myth that always sparked my interest is the one of Bloody Mary. I've tried to say her name three times in front of a mirror, but at the third time I always give up. Better safe than sorry, right? So, of course I'm choosing Say Her Name by James Dawson. While I was reading it last year, I found myself thinking I was hearing the drip-drop coming from my own bathroom. Of course, then I realized that I was really hearing it because I forgot to turn off the water after my cats drank from the sink.

      Have you seen the cover of Asleep by Krystal Wade? The cover is so creepy and yet eerie. For me, the cover is simply gorgeous. Maybe I'll finally read this dark retelling this Halloween.

      I'm going to say this book is a hidden gem because no one seems to be talking about the release of the third book -and it comes out next Tuesday! Probably it's because the covers are constantly changing... The Diviners by Libba Bray is a hidden gem. It has an amazing set of diverse characters (although, I did find myself rolling my eyes at Evie many times), vicious ghosts, a museum full of creepy objects and spooking settings.  

      Is there any character more devious than Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo? Kaz is the perfect anti-hero. His cunning mind never stops plotting and he's always a step ahead everyone else. Although, he always comes across heartless, when you discover how he became the Dirtyhands, you can't stop yourself from loving him. No matter how devious and vicious Kaz is, I'll love him.

      I know, this urban fantasy series is not very Halloween-ish -but it does have werewolves, vampires, ghosts, shape-shifters and faeries. Can you guess which one it is? Yes, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. I've no problems if this series never comes to an end because this world brought back my love for reading. Please Briggs, give me as many book as you can.

      DO NOT FORGET TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS WITH ME! Leave the link on the comments section. Thank you.
      Friday, 29 September 2017

      Blog Tour. Touch of Ice

      Welcome to Touch of Ice Book Blitz hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. This is my first ever blog tour. I had never joined one, but I fell for the cover and summary of Touch of Ice, written by Aleah Raynes and Mandy Caruso. I just had to grab the opportunity of helping promoting. I'm excited to share with you today a short excerpt of this magical novel set in a world of dragons, fae, and many other mythical creatures. Also, there is a giveaway at the end of the post. Do not forget to participate.

      Title: Touch of Ice
      Author: Aleah Raynes & Mandy Caruso
      Publisher: Opal Moon Press
      Published: September 26th 2017

      "Escaping is only the first challenge she faces.
      Fifteen-year-old Ayla Vaskell is the youngest daughter of the deceased king of Crio and no less determined to reclaim the kingdom from her evil uncle. He killed her parents, claimed the throne, and threw Ayla and her three sisters in a slave camp for children. With their powers bound, hope for a future is lost. Until Dain demands her attention and reveals that he and his friends were sent to aid the princesses in putting an end to the mad king’s reign.
      After breaking out of the camp and fleeing to an inn outside the kingdom of ice fae and water dragons for shelter, Ayla is giving a journal that belonged to her father. The former king had left the girls clues to help along a journey they aren’t sure they are ready for. When she is also given the first relic—a frozen dragon’s tear—she’s drawn to it and knows what she must do.
      With Dain, his friends, and her sisters at her side, Ayla is more focused than ever to complete her mission to set the realm back in balance. If she fails, the realm, and the four kingdoms within it, would be lost forever."

      Buy on Amazon

      EXCERPT - Ayla
          "Footsteps stopped just inside of the ballroom. And there she was. Corinne, Mary’s mom and our nursemaid. The scowl on her face made me look away. We were in trouble. But Corinne’s form of punishment was to make us clean up our mess, then some other task that involved cleaning.
           And we had to do it without using our magic.
           “Look at her wings!” Corinne stormed across the vast ballroom.
           I glanced over my shoulder but couldn’t see much. The weight said enough. My wings were coated in the slime my sisters threw on me. A giggle escaped. I couldn’t help it. This was payback for what I did to them last week. It took them days to get all the honey and feathers off theirs.
           “I don’t understand you girls.” Corinne gripped my upper arm and tugged me to stand. When she started toward the bathroom at the back of the room, Baxter, our father’s soldier in arms, burst into the room.
           His features were darker than I’d ever seen them. His brows bunched and his eyes were dark, commanding. My heart pounded. Something was wrong.
           Corinne stopped and stared at him. I could tell by the way her face paled that she, too, knew something happened. Or was about to.
           Baxter advanced to us, motioning for my sisters and Mary to gather around Corinne and me. He was in full battle gear with his helmet under his arm. Cold fear sliced my insides. We were being invaded. Most children didn’t know the severity of being invaded. We, however, had been trained for such an event.
           The day our mother banished her brothers from the kingdom for threatening her and our father’s lives, a seer told them our uncles would seek their revenge. So, we were trained. Trained to fight and run.
           Baxter knelt on one knee and took Luna’s hand. With his head bowed, he said, “Take your sisters to the boat like we talked about. No matter what happens, you must survive. All of you.”
           I glanced from Luna to Baxter in confusion. They’d planned this? “What about Mom and Dad?”
           I couldn’t hold back the panic any longer. I used my magic to clean off the slim, dissolving it into dust that settled to the floor.
           “We’ll will be right behind you.” Baxter stood and pushed us, Corinne included, toward the back of the ballroom. “Now go.”
           Corinne gripped my hand and pulled me behind her. I met each of my sisters’ scared gazes. This was no drill. My bottom lip trembled and my eyes watered.
            Just as we reached the secret passage to the stairs that descended to the caverns and river underneath the castle, soldiers in uniforms I didn’t recognize charged inside the ballroom. Baxter drew his sword and sounded an alarm.
            The clanking of swords faded as Corinne led us deeper underground. I shook all over, and my ice magic became uncontrollable.
           From the corner of my eyes, I noted Pyria was having the same problem with her fire magic. Her hand glowed in red and orange hues. “We should be fighting with them. Protecting our home!”
           She stopped and glanced back as if deciding to go join the battle.
           Luna blocked Pyria’s way up the stairs. “You must resist the pull. Your emotions…all our emotions are taking over our powers. We can’t let that happen. If the castle falls into Iveos’s hands, it is up to us to take it back.”
           That was part of the plan I never understood. How were a group of kids supposed to reclaim a kingdom from a madman?"

      About the Authors
      Aleah Raynes loves paranormal, fantasy, mystery, suspense, reverse harem, and anything else that hooks her from the first page. She writes new adult and young adult fiction and romance in the genres she loves to read.
      She is co-authoring the Vaskell Empire series with Mandy Caruso. Book one, Touched of Ice releases September 2017. And her debut solo novel, Visions of Pain (Capissian Order, book 1) - a clean new adult reverse harem – releases in October 2017.
      Sign up for Aleah’s mailing list:
      Check out her website:

      Find her on social media: 
      Twitter: @AleahRaynes 

      Mandy Caruso, alter-ego of TL Reeve, came to be after a long conversation with her daughter. A lover of all types of story, she enjoys anything with a quality plot and awesome characters. When she isn't writing, you can find her hanging out with her daughter or reading a good book. 
      You can contact her at:

      Follow her on social media:
      Twitter: @authMandy_carus