Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Interview with Sabrina Benulis, author of The Books of Raziel


Please welcome Sabrina Benulis to The Qwillery. Angelus is published today by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sabrina a Happy Publication Day!







TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Angelus (Books of Raziel 3), is published on February 9th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Archon (2011) to Angelus? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sabrina Benulis:  Hello, and thank you again for taking the time to interview me! It's hard for me to believe it's been a few years since I wrote Archon. Of course, in answer to your question, my writing style has evolved. But it's mainly a matter of perspective now. I've learned a few tricks and methods from being observant about other books I read, but on the whole, I'm just much less demanding of myself now. I'm a perfectionist, and it's taken me a while to relax when it comes to whatever mistakes I might make. I think that is the most challenging thing about writing, actually. We can be too critical of ourselves, and fearful of readers, and it can paralyze us as writers. The most important thing you can do as a writer is to tell your story as best you can. In the end, nothing else matters half as much, because if fear stifles you, you'll never share the world you've created with anyone.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Archon came out that you know now?

SB:  So much has changed in the publishing industry since Archon first arrived on shelves, that it's mind-boggling. When I sold Archon, e-books were just starting to become popular, and very few authors started their careers by self-publishing anything digitally. It's hard to believe that was only back in 2010. Most of us still had to travel the long and challenging route of finding an agent, and then hopefully a publisher, and more often than not, a book wouldn't sell. I was lucky enough to sell Archon and its sequels relatively quickly all things considered. To be honest, there is incredible opportunity nowadays. In fact, it would be fair to say that a writer's career never has to be over anymore, because the options to publish your work are now more accessible than ever. You still can't match the marketing and publicity powerhouse of a traditional publisher, but it's still amazing to know that so many paths to reach your dreams exist. So if there is one thing I wish I knew back then, it would be that despite setbacks, persistence truly pays off even more than you're initially led to believe.



TQTell us something about Angelus that is not found in the book description.

SB:  Angelus is a book that takes risks in how the story ends. I wanted an epic and original conclusion to a story that was, in all honesty, probably too big for only three novels. But I'm really happy with it, and I'm hoping readers will be too. A lot of people didn't understand where I was going with the story that began in Archon, but trust me when I say, it all truly comes together at the end.



TQWhich character in the Books of Raziel trilogy has surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

SB:  Unlike most authors I know, I had the most surprises and problems with my main character, Angela Mathers. You will understand why once you read the end of Angelus, and you will probably commiserate with me, but I mean that in a good way. Angela turned out to be an incredible character with an amazing past and future. But she constantly evolved and was difficult to pin down. Whereas most authors tends to reflect themselves in their main character, Angela has few personal traits in common with me, which was both refreshing and a true challenge, because I was always getting to know her just like the reader. But overall, writing her character was a truly enriching and rewarding experience from beginning to end. I really felt like I was on a journey with her.



TQAngelus is described as "a gothic supernatural tale". In your opinion, what makes a story "gothic"?

SB:  A story being 'gothic' is really all about the atmosphere. It's the world you create and how you convey it. The gothic has a lot to do with the contrast between light and darkness, characters that have strong passions that are ironically difficult to define as good or evil, and underlying currents of otherworldliness and dread. You might not get scared when you read a gothic novel, but you will probably feel uneasy, and definitely absorbed in a world that's familiar but frightening at the same time. In the gothic, there is a beauty to the darkness that draws you in and refuses to let go.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Angelus.

SB:  There is one line in Angelus, spoken by a very important character named Sophia, that basically sums up the entirety of the story. "A mother does anything and everything for her children--until they are beyond all possible help." Angela's story begins and eventually ends there. It is the central point around which the entire trilogy pivots. And I'm sure any of you Moms out there will agree with that quote one hundred percent. The world of Angelus is ultimately our world, and though it's characters might be angels, demons, or other supernatural creatures, they still live by the same fundamental truths as you and me.



TQWhat does is feel like to end the Books of Raziel trilogy?

SB:  It's a surreal feeling to have finally concluded the trilogy. I've inhabited Angela's world and known the characters for a long, long time. And I'm including years before the first novel Archon was even published. So much has changed since then and I've learned and grown so much more as a writer (because writers are always learning and growing like any artist), that it's incredible to think I am now moving on to new worlds, stories, and people who inhabit them. I will miss Angela and her world, but I'm also ready to move on. That's just life.



TQWhat's next?

SB:  It's hard for me to steer too far from fantasy fiction. Every time I write, something supernatural or fantastical always seems to creep in, no matter what I do. Maybe it's in my blood. Archon, Covenant, and Angelus were books that focused on Western mythology and religious elements like angels and demons. I find myself now moving on to mythologies from other cultures. I've really been wanting to write a great fantasy based in Asian mythology. Then again, I also have a great idea for a dark urban fantasy, and even a dystopian novel.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

SB:  Thank you again for interviewing me, and for the opportunity to share my thoughts on writing and a little bit about Angelus. I'm so excited for people to read it, and I'm grateful you could help me spread the news to readers out there!





Angelus
The Books of Raziel 3
Harper Voyager, February 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

The heart-pounding conclusion to the Books of Raziel trilogy, a gothic supernatural tale about a girl who discovers that she holds the keys to both Heaven and Hell—and that angels, demons, and all the creatures in between who will stop at nothing to possess her and control the power she holds.

The war begun by three powerful angel siblings—Raziel, Lucifel, and Israfel—has divided the kingdoms of both Heaven and Hell, and the destruction is spilling over into the human world.

The last hope for a crumbling world is the Archon—the human Angela Mathers who has the power to control the supernatural universe. Angela alone can successfully oppose Lucifel and open Raziel’s Book, to use its power for good. But to do so would mean murdering her best friend, a sacrifice Angela refuses to contemplate.

Angela sits on the throne of Hell, fulfilling a prophecy of ruin. But ruin does not always mean destruction—sometimes it means revolution. Time is running out for both Angela and the universe, and former enemies are eager to see her fail. As she enters the Angelus duel for the crown of Heaven, she can only pray that she’ll see her friends again.





Previously

Archon
The Books of Raziel 1
Harper Voyager, November 6, 2012
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, December 27, 2011

Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heaven’s warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to adore. Archon is new wave urban fantasy, a tale of the supernatural that brilliantly blends passion, obsession, horror, and suspense in a way that will appeal to dark fantasy fans and paranormal romance readers equally. Sabrina Benulis’s angels are creepy, sexy, and totally awesome—and, like Anne Rice’s amoral, ambiguous, and addicting vampires, they will seduce and terrify you at the same time.




Covenant
The Books of Raziel 2
Harper Voyager, April 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

The haunting gothic tale started in Archon continues-a mesmerizing work of the paranormal in which a young woman discovers that she is caught in a labyrinth of intrigue where angels, demons, and all the creatures between Heaven and Hell will stop at nothing to possess her.

A year ago, Angela Mathers, a talented artist with a tortured soul, enrolled at the Westwood Academy and encountered the angels who haunted her dreams. Then she discovered the dark truth … she is the Archon, a being of supreme power who will determine the fate of the universe. But with such power comes great danger, and for every force seeking to aid Angela there is another burning to stop her. After a scheming demon kidnaps the Book of Raziel, Angela must find her way through a nightmarish game and enter the Door to Hell to rescue her only friend before it is too late.

The perilous fate of both Heaven and Hell rests on her success.





About Sabrina

Photo by Sharon J. Naples
Sabrina Benulis graduated with a masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She currently resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband and a spoiled cockatiel.








Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook


Twitter @SabrinaBenulis




Review: Led Astray: The Best of Kelly Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong


Led Astray: The Best of Kelly Armstrong
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Publisher:  Tachyon Publication, September 15, 215
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
List Price:  $16.96 (print); $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781616962029 (print); 9781616962036 (eBook)

With her signature twists and turns, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld, Cainsville, Darkest Powers, Age of Legends) always gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies. She is equally exciting when traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even feudal Japan.

Here is the first time that urban fantasy, young adult, mystery, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from the Otherworld and beyond. From humorous to heart-stopping, and including two original tales, Led Astray showcases Armstrong at her versatile best.



Doreen’s Thoughts

Kelly Armstrong has created several worlds, including her latest Cainsville, her Otherworld, and her Young Adult fantasies. Years ago, she started to post short stories on her website for her most avid readers, and occasionally, she gathers them together and binds them up with other new stories for publication. Here she has put together 23 stories that were published in various unrelated anthologies, combining them for the first time.

Most of the stories center around characters and series that she has set in the Otherworld, one with shapeshifters, vampires, witches, and part-demons. With these, we find out more about various side characters that appear in her major novels. There are three different stories about Zoe, a vampire who appeared once early on in “Stolen.” Several focus on how the Pack acquired various new members, such as Nick, while others center around Clay and Elena’s twins. All of them allow readers to understand more fully the world that Armstrong has created.

Armstrong’s latest series is Cainsville, set in a mysterious city outside Chicago filled with elves who watch over their part-elven offspring, especially those unaware of their own mystical nature. Here Armstrong again offers stories that more fully develop side characters from Cainsville. More important, the stories more fully establish the magic that exists in Cainsville and outline some of the reasoning behind why certain characters act certain ways. “Gabriel’s Gargoyles” tells about the childhood of one of Cainsville’s main characters.

Lastly, Armstrong offers some eerie standalone stories, unrelated to anything else she has written. These are mostly horror stories, ones that make you think late at night about whether your doors are locked. “Suffer the Children” is probably the best of the bunch, set in a bucolic village visited by a mysterious visitor who offers to bring back the dead.

Overall, this anthology really shows the breadth of Armstrong’s writing abilities. Each of her worlds are distinct and separate from one another. Cainsville stories have a different “voice” than stories set in the Otherworld. Her horror stories have a different, more eerie vibe to them than any of the others. Overall, this would be a terrific introduction to Armstrong, but it is absolutely essential to someone who wants to have everything related to a particular series.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Interview with Clifford Beal and Review of The Guns of Ivrea


Please welcome Clifford Beal to The Qwillery. The Guns of Ivrea will be published on February 9th by Solaris Books.




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. How has your writing process changed (or not) from when your first novel, Gideon's Angel, was published until now?

Clifford:  I have to say, the biggest difference compared to writing Gideon’s is that now I’m writing under contract with real deadlines and not “on-spec” as before. That really focusses the mind and can be scary but actually it’s a great way to avoid procrastination since you have to look at your daily or weekly writing quota like it’s a real job and not a hobby.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Gideon's Angel came out that you know now?

Clifford:  Probably has to be the vagaries of book marketing. I think many new fiction authors, including myself, have a completely unreal attitude to what constitutes success. Very few writers—in any genre—hit it big first time out. It takes determination and persistence as well as good writing to build a career as a successful writer.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Clifford:  Certainly with my current WIP it has to be in handling plot resolution with a large cast of characters. You create these people, send them off into the world like a fretting parent, and then try and give them a fulfilling life on the page. But situations spawn new situations and questions beg questions. Corralling all that between the middle and end of the book is a real challenge.



TQDescribe The Guns of Ivrea in 140 characters or less.

Clifford:  A pirate turned admiral, a jaded mercenary, a monk on the run, and an inquisitive mermaid find common cause as their kingdom slowly drifts towards war



TQTell us something about The Guns of Ivrea that is not found in the book description.

Clifford:  Look out for Lucinda della Rovera, a canoness of the faith. She’s lethal.



TQWhat appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Clifford:  Fantasy allows you to explore the human condition by putting people in fantastical situations, It’s the ultimate “what if?”



TQYour bio at the publisher's site states that you "trained in 16th -17th century rapier combat." You've also written a non-fiction book - Quelch's Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England. Have your experiences with rapier combat and the writing of Quelch's Gold influenced The Guns of Ivrea?

Clifford:  Not so much Quelch’s Gold, which was about a real-life 18th century pirate, but definitely the rapier work and medieval broadsword fighting I’ve done on and off for over 35 years. Learning the art of the sword was invaluable for describing the flow of a duel or a battle. There’s no substitute for donning full armour and experiencing the chaos of the field and I think it’s given me a real edge (ha!) in crafting fight scenes. Not so much because of the mechanics (which many readers find boring) but because you can describe the feelings of the combatants in that situation. Have you ever looked through the visor of a 15th century helm? Gives you a whole new perspective on the world.



TQWhat kinds of research have you done for The Guns of Ivrea?

Clifford:  Although its secondary world fantasy, it has a definite renaissance-era feel to it. So lots of research on costume, customs, mythology, and warfare of the age.



TQIn The Guns of Ivrea who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Clifford:  That’s a difficult one. Probably the easiest character to write was Captain Strykar, my mercenary of the Company of the Black Rose. No nonsense, been around a while, has seen it all, and driven mainly by money (but still has a sense of fair play). More difficult was my wayward monk, Brother Acquel. Trying to find out what makes him tick took rather a long time and some fair amount of head-scratching.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Guns of Ivrea?

Clifford:  Oh definitely, but not in an overt way. There are issues of race, the treatment of “indigenous” peoples, and even drug addiction. Not preachy, but attentive readers will see parallels to our own history.



TQWhich question about The Guns of Ivrea do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

CliffordDoes the addition of gunpowder in an epic fantasy ruin the “swords and magic” elements?

Absolutely not. Sure, guns have to be integrated skilfully into a magical world but they don’t have to be a scene stealer or even work properly. Early firearms and cannon killed their wielders almost as frequently as their intended targets. In Valdur, cannon are very rudimentary—until the Ivreans find a better way!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Guns of Ivrea.

Clifford:  “Magister,” she replied, as if talking to a boy. “It is Lavinia who sees things from afar. I, on the other hand, compel people to do things.”



TQWhat's next?

Clifford:  I’m into the home stretch now on the sequel, The Witch of Torinia, which Solaris Books will bring out early next year. After that, who knows? I’ve got some ideas for a few more things with a fantastical flavour. And there’s always the possibility for another voyage to Valdur if the omens are auspicious.



TQThank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.

Clifford:  Thanks, it was great to be back!





The Guns of Ivrea
Tales of Valdur 1
Solaris, February 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Acquel Galenus, former thief and now monk, uncovers a terrible secret under the Great Temple at Livorna, one that could shake the faith to its core. A secret that could get him killed. A secret that could enable an older, more sinister form of worship to be reborn.
 
Pirate princeling Nicolo Danamis, mercenary to the King and captain of the largest fleet in Valdur, has made one deal too many, and enemies are now closing in to destroy him.

Citala, fair-haired and grey-skinned, the daughter of the chieftain of the Merfolk, finds herself implacably drawn to the affairs of men. She puts events in motion that will end her people's years of isolation but that could imperil their very existence.

Their fates intertwine as they journey across the land, through duchies and free cities riven by political intrigue, religious fervour, and ancient hatreds. Alliances are being forged anew and after decades of wary peace, war is on the wind once again...



Qwill's Thoughts

The Guns of Ivrea is the first novel in the Tales of Valdur by Clifford Beal. It is set on and around the island nation of Valdur. The novel follows Brother Acquel, Nicolo Danamis, Citala, and more as their lives intersect and they try to stay alive, right wrongs and achieve their goals.

Each of these characters is vibrant with a rich story of his/her own. Danamis and Acquel evolve over the course of the novel as they face hardship after hardship and difficult decisions. They come to understand themselves better. They show strength of character that they perhaps thought they didn't have. Citala is brave, intelligent and takes huge chances on behalf of herself and the Mer. She is a marvelous character and has the fate of her civilization riding on her shoulders. Over the course of the novel you get to know Danamis, Acquel, and Citala well.

There are plenty of well-developed secondary characters as well - Captain Julianus Strykar, Lady Lucinda della Rovera, Magister Lucius Kodoris, and Timandra Pandarus. They are each pivotal to the story and their interactions with the main characters often spur along the story whether they take an active role or are merely soundboards.

The world of Valdur is really exceptionally done. Beal has fleshed out religion and myth, society, and the political system as the backdrop for the events of the novel. There is much intrigue, behind the back dealings, betrayal, revenge, and also true heroism and selflessness. Beal excels at placing you in the action and you really see and feel Valdur come to life. There are fantastic and exciting sword fights and ship battles.There are wonderful moments of camaraderie and friendship.

Beal brings The Guns of Ivrea to a deeply satisfying conclusion but has left plenty for the subsequent novel as things have been set in motion in Valdur that will need to play out further. This is a beautifully written novel. Set aside enough time to read The Guns of Ivrea straight through. You are not going to want to leave Valdur until the tale is done.





About Clifford

Clifford Beal is a former journalist and the author of Gideon’s Angel and Raven's Banquet by Solaris Books. Following a swashbuckling past where he trained in 16th -17th century rapier combat, he now leads a more sedentary life but daydreams of returning to fighting trim. When not imbibing endless mugs of tea and writing, he can usually be found imbibing endless mugs of tea and reading. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, he lives in Surrey, England with a fiery redhead of a wife and a crazed Boston terrier.





Follow Clifford on Twitter, and for more information visit the official Clifford Beal website.


The View From Monday - February 8, 2016


Happy Monday! Another snowy day here and a great day to stay off the roads if possible. This is a very full week for Debuts and former Debut Challenge Authors!

There are 6 debuts this week:

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase;

Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau;

Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey;

Chosen Soldiers by R.H. Scott;

Square Wave by Mark de Silva;

and

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine.


And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Guns of Ivrea (Tales of Valdur 1) by Clifford Beal;

Angelus (The Books of Raziel 3) by Sabrina Benulis;

Morning Star (The Red Rising Trilogy 3) by Pierce Brown;

Emissary (Seven Eyes 2) by Betsy Dornbusch is out in Trade Paperback;

Into The Fire (Detainee 2) by Peter Liney is out in Mass Market Paperback;

The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag;

Morte by Roert Repino is out in Trade Paperback;

Dragon Hunters (The Chronicles of the Exile 2) by Marc Turner;

The Devil's Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworthis out in Trade Paperback;

and

The Complete Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.






February 7, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Boyfriend from Hell (ri) Avery Corman H/Sup/Th/Occ



February 8, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Wolf's Ascension (e) Lauren Dane PNR - Cherchez Wolf Pack 1



February 9, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Homefront Jay Allan SF - Portal Wars 3
The Life of Elves Muriel Barbery LF
The Tale of Tales Giambattista Basile FairyT/FolkT/LandM/F
The Guns of Ivrea Clifford Beal F - Tales of Valdur 1
Angelus Sabrina Benulis F/P - The Books of Raziel 3
Morning Star Pierce Brown SF - The Red Rising Trilogy 3
Fathoms Jack Cady F - Collection
Black Rabbit Hall (D - US) Eve Chase GO
Every Anxious Wave (D) Mo Daviau C/TT
Mastering the Beast Tina Donahue PNR - Taming the Beast 3
Emissary (h2tp) Betsy Dornbusch F - Seven Eyes 2
Sudden Death Álvaro Enrigue LF/AH
Righteous Fury (h2tp) Markus Heitz F - The Legends of Alfar 1
Beacon 23 Hugh Howey SF
Into The Fire (h2mm) Peter Liney SF - Detainee 2
Get in Trouble: Stories (h2tp) Kelly Link F - Collection
Ways to Disappear (D) Idra Novey LF/MR
Arcadia Iain Pears LF/SF
Murder (h2tp) Sarah Pinborough H - Dr. Thomas Bond 2
The Witches of Cambridge Menna van Praag R/Magic
A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction (h2tp) Terry Pratchett F - Collection
The Damned (h2tp) Andrew Pyper LF/H
A Song for No Man's Land Andy Remic HistF
Morte (h2tp) Robert Repino F
Lords of the Dead: The Return of Nagash / The Fall of Altdorf Josh Reynolds
Chris Wraight
SF - Warhammer: The End Times 1
Chosen Soldiers (D)(e) R. H. Scott SF/Dys/Th
Square Wave (D) Mark de Silva LF/Dys
Flesh Tearers Andy Smillie SF - Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Battles
Dragon Hunters Marc Turner F - The Chronicles of the Exile 2
The Devil's Detective (h2tp) Simon Kurt Unsworth H/Occ/Sup
What the Waves Know (D) Tamara Valentine Hist
The Complete Double Dead Chuck Wendig UF - Double Dead
The Lost Time Accidents John Wray LF/TT



February 10, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Breaking Water: A Tor.Com Original (e) Indrapramit Das F
"Double Blind" (e) Max Gladstone F - The Witch Who Came in From the Cold - Episode 3



February 11, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Bloody Quarrel Duncan Lay F - The Arbakester Trilogy 2
Captive: A Graced Novella (e) Amanda Pillar PA/R
Dark Child Adina West UF - Bloodsworn Omnibus



February 12, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Operation Honshu Wolf (e) Addison Gunn SF/AP/PA -Extinction Biome: Invasion 1



D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
C - Contemporary
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LandM - Legends and Mythology
LF - Literary Fiction
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Sup - Supernatural
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - February 7, 2016




Welcome to February. While some people find January the toughest month of the year I definitely get the February blues. As I write this it is grey, overcast, windy, and cold outside (although this is England so that could be any day in any month). Lucky for you (and for me) I read a couple of great books that I get to tell you all about.


US Cover - Ace
First up is Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs which is the 9th in the Mercy Thompson series. In this instalment tensions are running high between the werewolves, the humans and the fae. After saving her city from a rampaging troll Mercy discovers a way a key to help slow down the escalating tensions with the fae - a human child who was kidnapped by the fae centuries ago. Mercy and her mate Adam decide to protect the child regardless what the cost, and the cost turns out to be pretty high. This isn't your average human child as the young boy is fire-touched and could turn their very lives into a pile of ash. Is this boy worth being excised from The Pack? You need to read it to find out.

UK Cover - Orbit
I have been thinking since about book 6 that Briggs needed to start to wrap this series up as I was getting a tad bored with Mercy getting beaten up every instalment (or worse). The last book she nearly dies after being almost barbecued by a volcano god. But guess what readers?  She barely gets a scratch in Fire Touched! What a relief. This book still had action but more importantly character development. There were actually repercussions from Mercy's actions but this time they weren't physical. All in all a great read. I have also included both covers.  Which one do you prefer?  One is a bit more graphic novel than the other and I don't think Mercy ever wears a denim crop top!


Book 2 for me was Tanya Huff's Sing the Four Quarters. This book was first published 22 years ago and re-released in digital format last year. I love Tanya Huff and I really enjoyed this first instalment of the Quarters series.

Annice is a bard, not just any bard as she can sing all four quarters. What does this mean?  She can sing to the all four of the kigh (aka elementals)  -wind, water, earth, and fire. When Annice comes back from a Walk no one is more surprised than she that she is pregnant. Normally, this wouldn't be considered treason, but Annice was forbidden to have children by her brother, the new king, when she left the royal family to be trained as a bard. What makes it worse is that the father of her child is found to have committed treason and Annice is determined to clear his name.

If you like high fantasy, amusing characters and a nice mystery then I urge you to try this book. I am not sure however, I will continue with the series as subsequent books are about completely different characters. I liked Annice and the other bards so not sure I want to read about completely other characters, especially when I have a few books on my TBR to get through. Who knows, I may just grab book 2, Fifth Quarter, and try it out.


That is it for me this week. Nice and short, just like February! Enjoy whatever you have on the go and I look forward to sharing with you what I hope are some more great reads.




Fire Touched
Mercy Thompson 9
Ace, March 8, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

*Library Journal




Sing the Four Quarters
Quarters 1
JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
eBook, August 4, 2015
Trade Paperback (Amazon), January 21, 2016

The Bards of Shkoder hold the country together. They bring the news of the sea to the mountains, news of the mountains to the plains. They give their people, from peasant to king, a song in common.

Annice is a rare talent, able to Sing all four quarters, but her brother, the newly enthroned King Theron, sees her request to study at the Bardic Hall as a betrayal. But Annice renounces her royal blood and swears to remain childless so as not to jeopardize the line of succession.

Ten years later, she’s on the run from the Royal Guards with the Duc of Ohrid, the father of her unborn child, both of them guilty of treason – one of them unjustly accused. To save the Duc’s life, they’ll have to cross the country, manage to keep from strangling each other, and defeat an enemy too damaged for even a Bard’s song to reach.