Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic asks us to list our “Auto-buy Authors.”

I chose way more than 10 at first! But managed, in the end, to narrow my list down to these 10 below. Honorable Mentions at the end, cause I had to mention them!!

Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher writes my favorite series, The Dresden Files. I struggled to put him on this list though because he also writes another series that I have not read. So is he really auto-buy? …Yes, I had to count him, because I pre-order his books as soon as that button becomes availble. I will read The Dresden Files until the series ends or until I die, whichever comes first haha. Writes Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy.

Diana Gabaldon

I’ve been buying and reading the Outlander series, and its companion series, since I was arguably too young to read it. I love this series, I love Gabaldon’s writing style and plot choices, and I love falling back into this world and letting it mesmerize me again and again. Can’t wait to read the next one in 2020! Writes Adult Historical Fantasy.

Jay Kristoff

I only started reading Jay Kristoff’s body of work this year and I can’t believe what I was missing out on! Anything that says it was written by Jay Kristoff now, or Jay Kristoff & Amie Kauffman for that matter, I know I want read. I read his Illuminae Files series last month and LOVED it so much, and am currently reading his Nevernight series also! WOW. Definitely a writer I love following. Writes YA & Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

Megan Whalen Turner

I questioned whether to put Turner on my list, not because I don’t auto-buy everything she writes, because I do, but because she only puts out a book every few years, all in the same series. So it’s more accurately a series that I auto-buy…but I don’t care, I’ll take any chance to brag about The Queen’s Thief series. The way she writes fantasy is original, psychological, and so clever. I loved the newest installment in this series and look forward to the next. Writes MG/YA Fantasy.

Angie Thomas

Thomas has only written two books but they have both been two of my favorites. THUG (The Hate You Give) and On the Come Up, which I reviewed in June, were both absolutely fantastic. They made me feel so many things and I loved and rooted for all of those characters. Thomas’ voice is so important in our current climate today and I for one will read anything she writes at all. Writes YA Contemporary.

Christina Lauren

I only jumped onto the wildly-popular Christina Lauren train this year, but I already love my seat! I’ve read four of their books now and I absolutely loved them all, even though they were all so different from each other. I love how they are able to build a love story into any situation, and I especially love the care and consideration they give to their characters’ thoughts and emotions before action. These books are great summer reads, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a good one this summer! Check out The Unhoneymooners, which I reviewed this May! Writes Adult Contemporary/Romance.

B.A. Paris

I love these psychological thrillers! I don’t know if I’d nominate these books for an award, but I can say with confidence that every time I pick up a B.A. Paris novel I end up devouring it in as few sittings as my life will let me. I loved The Breakdown, I loved Behind Closed Doors (that ending, right??), and I just started reading Bring Me Back for a book exchange, I’m so excited!! B.A. Paris is always a guaranteed fun night of reading, and I will always appreciate that. Writes Adult Mystery/Thrillers.

Gillian Flynn

My other mystery auto-buy author. My favorite Gillian Flynn novel is Sharp Objects, I loved that book so much. It was dark, brutal, unapologetic, and ugly in all the right ways, which are the things I love about Flynn novels. Even her novellas get me where it hurts! The Grownup is one of my most reread novellas and I still can’t decide what I think really happened in that story. I love Flynn’s way of making the reader have to decide what is good or possible or survivable or what actually happened as a whole, and I love the dark corners that she explores in her writing. Writes Adult Mystery/Thrillers.

Jenny Lawson

I love Jenny Lawson! She might be my oldest auto-buy author, and she’s only written two books, each of them gems. I’ve been following Lawson since she was only a blogger and her blog is still one of my most entertaining, relatable reads every week. Her books are even better. Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened are both hilarious adventures through stories of love, mental illness, giant metal chickens, and living life loudly when surrounded by obstacles. Wholeheartedly recommend. Writes Memoirs.

Brené Brown

These books are my jam. Any time I need help resetting my insecurities or guidance into a better headspace, Brown has my back. She has written so many books that have spoken to me: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next! If you’re not familiar with Brown, you can also catch her TED talk for a little piece of what to expect from her books. Writes Non-Fiction/Self-Help.

Honorable Mentions: So many more!!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Robin Benway, Jay Kristoff & Amie Kauffman, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ruth Ware, Rupi Kaur, Patricia Briggs, Riley Sager.

Who are your auto-buy authors?? Tell me in the comments!

Book Blog Hop

Time to Hop!

One of the things I’ve been trying to do a lot of since starting this blog is check out other awesome book review blogs and get involved in some of the weekly challenges and prompts they use.

Today I’m going to be taking part in the Book Blogger Hop! This is currently active over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and bloggers all over the sphere get involved to answer the prompt, visit some of the other responses, and make new connections!

This week’s prompt comes from Nicki @ Nicki J. Markus/Asta Idonea and they asked:  “What do you like/dislike about self-published works?”

And my answer is: There’s a lot to love. The creativity, the freedom, the odd niches you can find in a genre that you didn’t know were there before, these things are special and much less rare in Indie/Self-pub novels. I really enjoy making sure that there are always a few of these sitting on my shelves and TBR, because where else can you find such diamonds in the rough?

What don’t I like? Not much, really. Sometimes the quality or finish or cover can be a little less put together than a professional publication, but a lot of times that can be deceiving. I tend to err on the positive side until I’ve seen for myself.

What do you think about Indie/Self-pub works?? How often do you read them??

Book Tour, Reviews

Lock Every Door ( + GIVEAWAY )

“No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.”

I had so much fun reading Lock Every Door.

I requested to get on this release tour as soon as I saw it; I’ve been a Riley Sager fan since I read his other two books, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. When my copy of the book arrived, I’d planned to read it over the course of a week, juggling my schedule between a handful of other books. That’s not what happened. I powered through this thing like it was my damn job, I could not put it down! This was the Summer Thriller that I wanted and needed at just the right time.

Lock Every Door is everything that I love in a thriller: creepy, visceral, paranoid, and just “over-the-top” enough.” I was pulled in from chapter one, I had to know! What is with all the rules in this building?? What’s the catch to this dream scenario?? What awful thing is waiting in the wings?? I got everything I wanted and more, in answers, in scares, and in fun.

This might be my favorite out of all of Sagers novels and I don’t think that’s by accident. This book was tight, sharp, and buttoned-up; its obvious that Sager has grown as a writer. Satisfying and addictive, Lock Every Door does a cool thing in creating a countdown on the first page. The use of time to further the visceral urgency in this book was a brilliant choice, causing me to turn moments over in my head, wondering how they might all link together at the end. The slow burn of this novel was part excitement, part dread, and part pure entertainment, and before you know it you can’t turn the pages fast enough.

One of my favorite things about Sager as an author is that, again, he delivers a competent and relatable female protagonist who makes a lot of the same choices we all would. Especially in the situation that she gets into (paid to live in a lavish apartment??), I appreciated the modern social concerns that she, as a single young woman, would feel. What’s the catch? (Oh, and you know there’s a catch.) I also appreciated that Sager took this chance to write a thriller that not only delivers pulse-pounding thrills, but also makes a statement about privilege and grief and social judgement. Really interesting and applicable, all while somehow maintaining a tone somewhere comfortably between The Shining and Scooby-Doo.

Lock Every Door is a wickedly fun adventure of a book and I wish I could read it again without knowing the “secret.” I whole-heartedly enjoyed this classic “locked room” chiller, full of Sager’s signature style. Fans of his, and those who aren’t, would be wise to pick up this addition to his work. I had a blast reading it and I hope that you do too.

“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer.

Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July.

Giveaway!

7 copies of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

CLICK HERE

Follow the Tour!

July 8th

July 9th

July 10th

July 11th

July 12th

WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

I’m halfway through this book and I have to say that I am enjoying it a lot. It hasn’t hooked me the way I was hoping it would, yet, but to be fair, my expectations for this book were HIGH. I love the fresh perspective of tying a characters powers and fate to religion and gods and it gives the whole story a new twist that I think is original and so fun to read. I’ll definitely be updating you all when I finish this one.

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Ha, I started this one kind of on a whim, but I got lucky. I saw it in a new release display at my library and the synopsis sounded utterly creepy and, dare I say it? SCARY. So, of course, I had to bring it home and read it. I’m really loving this one. Again, I’m about halfway through, maybe a little more, and I had to keep my hall light on last night. I know, I’m 12 years old again, I feel it haha. But seriously! The book isn’t “scary” per se, but it definitely holds some scenes that are keeping me up at night with vivid, tangible imagery, and eerie topics that creep into your head when you’re sitting in a waiting room or trying to fall asleep. I hope that the climax of this book lives up to my very high expectations, but we shall see!

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I started this book last week and I’m still reading it! I’ve been having to read in rotation, so I can get everything else I need to read by deadlines read, but I’m also kind of enjoying the way that its forced me to savor every moment of this book. Nevernight is SO DARK and I LOVE IT. Mia is unapologetic and brutally fierce, the story is a complex woven tapestry of a thousand different choices and consequences, and I am thoroughly impressed by this book. I’m already so excited to read the rest of the series.

What I’ve recently finished:

Harry Potter 1-3 by J.K. Rowling

I’m participating in a Harry Potter reread!! I haven’t reread these books in years and I am so. damn. excited. about reading them again now. I flew through the first three in the series, partly because they’re geared younger than the other four and partly because of excitement, but it feels like going home. I read HP for the first time the year that I too turned 11 and the magic of the twists and turns in this series has not been lost. I am falling back in love all over and over again.

I’m also thinking of doing some sort of blog feature as I read the other four! What do you think??

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

I started this book with the intention of reading as much as I could fit in before the deadline because I’m reviewing it for an exciting book tour tomorrow! (There’s also gonna be a GIVEAWAY! Keep on the look-out!) However, I fell head over heels into this book with no hope of getting out. It was driving, compelling, addicting, and I NEEDED to know the secrets inside the Bartholomew. Oh, and I learned them. I finished this book in one day, you couldn’t pry it out of my hands. I can’t wait to more fully review this book and I’m so excited to be participating! Check back here tomorrow for some exciting Lock Every Door stuff!

What I think I’ll read next:

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

I’m really looking forward to this one! I’ve heard the Jasmine Guillory is a hit and I’ve been reading a LOT of fantasy lately, so I think it’ll feel good to take a break with a fun contemporary. This book is about a girl who’s boyfriend (of like- weeks or something ridiculous) proposes to her in on the jumbotron at a baseball game- and the chaos that ensues after. I think it looks fun, fresh, and like a perfect Summer read. Here’s hoping!

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Ahhhh yaaaaay! It’s taken me a while to get through Nevernight, since I’m also trying to continue with my HP read-a-long and books for review, but I am so excited for the next book in the series. And also excited that I discovered these not too long before the third, and final, installment comes out this year. I cannot wait!! This series has hooked me hard.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

So excited for this one! I’ve been enjoying my HP reread like no other, but this book was my favorite in the series for a long time and I suspect that it still will be. I’m really looking forward to diving into it again as an adult and seeing what new things pop out at me, and what holds up and doesn’t. This series is so much fun and I’m having the time of my life reliving the nostalgia and love for these books.

What are you reading this week?? Tell me in the comments!

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic asks us to list our “Top 10 Unique Character Names.”

Well, I chose more than 10, cause I LOVE NAMES!! I usually have a list of names I love from media, but I had to write this list while I was out of town, so these are just off the top of my head! Haha and yes, there are fourteen of them. Some of these are old favorites and some are new discoveries, but I love finding new and unique names within literature. Hope you have as much fun reading as I did making this list!

Arya & Sansa

A Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin

Scout

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hermione

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Mercy, Adam, & Bran

Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs

Niklas

Gemina, The Illuminae Files by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

Sekani

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Kaz, Jesper, & Inej

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Elias

An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

Theo (Theodora)

The Haunting of Hill House (Book & TV Series) by Shirley Jackson

Jamie, Marsali, Phaedre & Jem

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Rhysand (Rhys)

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas

Briar

The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce

What are some of your favorite literary names?? Tell me in the comments!

Book Tour

Stranger Rituals ( + Giveaway!)

Stranger Rituals
Kali Rose Schmidt
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

A fighter with a venomous grudge.
A monster with an immortal curse.
A girl with a terrible gift.

All three out for blood in a land torn apart by harsh gods and holy wars. Each entwined with the other, on their own quests for vengeance, and yet held together by strange links to sinister pasts. As their fates unravel, a dangerous romance blooms, and violent darkness beckons.

At turns both darkly humorous and utterly morbid, STRANGER RITUALS is the startling first novel in Kali Rose Schmidt’s dark new series.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

EXCERPT:

She swallowed, and then moved away, ducking her face from his grasp, hating how he knew her weakness so well. She rose from her knees. The Djavul stared up at her a moment, then gracefully stood to his full height.

“What did they want?” she questioned.

Vojtech smiled. “You have a job to do.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know. That’s guarding you. It’s a thrill a minute.” She gestured toward the ruined soldier beside them.

Vojtech frowned. “I actually thought you were growing bored here. No attacks in three months, only this idiot sneaking around in the desert.” He shrugged. “It seems Olofsson is losing his fear of me.”

“Good.” Scarko’s words mingled with fury. “Let him. It’ll serve our purpose for the second Holy War.” She stalked back to the Warskian soldier’s head, lifted it by the scraggly, blood-drenched hair. “So, what did the gods want?”

Vojtech watched her carefully, hands clasped before him. “You’re to go to the city of Kezda. A boy there is immune, it seems, to Vrakan abilities. You are to kill him.”

Scarko dropped the head with a thud. “What?” she hissed. “Why me? I’m your guard. Send someone else.”

Vojtech smiled. “As much as I enjoy you bossing me around, the gods are not so easily convinced.” He wiped his hands on his black robes and sighed. “This boy is a street fighter,” he wrinkled his nose, “taking on Vrakan defectives from the Warskian army. While he isn’t able to die from the usual Vrakan methods—ice, wind, fire, shadows—I think your magic could kill him. That’s why you.”

Scarko left the head on the stone floor and stalked toward the stairwell, behind the Djavul.

“I’m sure he’d die by sword just fine. Tell the gods I won’t go. A street fighter—the nerve of them…”

She made to pass Vojtech, but he snaked a hand out and gently stroked her dark blonde braid, the color of damp sand. She spun around to face him, fury in her eyes. But it was equally matched in his.

“I am the Djavul of the Order of Saints, Scarko Kadezska. You will not blasphemy our gods here. You know as well as I do that we cannot resist their orders, and we should not. They have guided me thus far.” He took a step toward her, brushed a cold finger against her cheek. “You will do this, and you will return to me.”

She stuck her tongue out at him and turned, clomping up the stairs. She heard him chuckle softly as she pushed open the doors from the dungeon, the Shadows on guard making way for her, black thread entwined in their grey cloaks, same as hers.

“Watch him,” she said unceremoniously.”

Author Bio:

Kali Rose Schmidt is an author, mother, and villain lover. She likes bloody tales of monsters, yoga with the lights off, and anything that goes bump in the night.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

GIVEAWAY!
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Reviews

Four Dead Queens

“Be patient, child. Be calm. Be selfless. Wait for the right moment. Wait for your time. Rule with a steady hand. A steady heart.” 

“Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.”

Four Dead Queens was possibly the biggest surprise for me this year. I wasn’t expecting very much! I have to admit, I thought it would be like a lot of the other popular YA fantasy releases that have come out recently. In some ways it was, but in others it was definitely different, and those threads of originality really made this book fun and special to read.

My favorite thing about this book was the author’s use of time and separate timelines. Every other chapter (give or take) takes place in the present day, with our badass MC Keralie, and then in an unknown space of time with the four Queens of Quedara. I was so drawn in by this! At first I couldn’t tell which timeline had happened first, or if they were happened simultaneously, and then…it was neither! I was completely surprised, and very happily so! This was such a unique format in which to tell the story and I think it served Four Dead Queens so well.

Another thing I didn’t see coming was the twist at the end! Ah, and this is such a pleasure for me! I hesitate to say too much about it, in fear of ruining it for anyone else, but safe to say that I never correctly guessed “whodunnit!” And it was awesome when the big reveal came, it blew me out of the water. I had so much fun trying to guess and even more fun being wrong.

Four Dead Queens had so many interesting things going for it. Its use of technology, while still being a fantasy book, was such an interesting facet to add into the world of Quedara. Its women-forward and well-built political system is interesting without being dry, built into the country’s history without being long-winded. The characters were relatable while also being wildly different from me, and each other! I loved the diversity of person and personality in this book.

Four Dead Queens is a dark, unapologetic, and wild ride of a YA fantasy book, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre. This is Astrid Scholte’s debut novel and I’m impressed! I was surprised and entertained, felt real emotions and never wanted to put the book down until I flipped that last page.

“Let love guide your, heart and everything else will fall into place.”

Book Blog Hop

Time to Hop!

One of the things I’ve been trying to do a lot of since starting this blog is check out other awesome book review blogs and get involved in some of the weekly challenges and prompts they use.

Today I’m going to be taking part in the Book Blogger Hop! This is currently active over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and bloggers all over the sphere get involved to answer the prompt, visit some of the other responses, and make new connections!

This week’s prompt comes from Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews and they asked:  “Do you review all of the books you read?”

And my answer is: Kind of, yeah, but I don’t review them all the same way. I review almost everything on Goodreads now, or I try to. I don’t always write the full review complete with many paragraphs that I post on my blog, but usually something. If a book I’m reading is older though or I don’t love it but no one’s heard of it or if I just don’t have that much to say at all about it, I’ll skip the review.

What I love about reviewing books is sharing the stories and characters that I LOVE. That doesn’t mean I won’t write a bad review, in fact my love for books just means that my bad reviews can be passionate. Still, the moment I think to myself while reading a book “I can’t wait to tell everyone about this” is the moment I know I’ll write up a full review for it.

I’m still new at this so I don’t yet have a specific system for what I will and won’t review, maybe I’ll develop one over time, but for now– I’m content to just review what my heart calls me to, the good and the ugly.

Reviewers, do you write a full review for every book you read? How do you decide?

Tell me in the comments!

Reviews

A Bad Breed ( + Excerpt + Giveaway!)

A Bad Breed 
Kat Ross

(Gaslamp Gothic, #3)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Pricolici.

A creature out of folklore. And nightmare.

January 1889. When a Romanian village suffers a series of brutal attacks, occult investigator Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of the Old Country to hunt the killer – only to vanish without a trace.

The trail leads her mentor Vivienne Cumberland deep into the Carpathians to a remote monastery. As a blizzard rages outside, trapping them all with the pricolici, Vivienne risks sharing the fate of the woman she came to find. But is the culprit truly a werewolf … or something even more dangerous?

A man bent on revenge. And a love that was never meant to be.

Imprisoned in a decaying castle, Anne finds herself ensnared in a web of dark enchantment, at the mercy of a mysterious captor with a beast inside – and a memory as old as the ancient legends.

As the weeks pass, Anne learns his real identity, and slowly uncovers a complex and deeply passionate man. But is she willing to pay the price for falling under his spell?

Note: This darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but can be read as a standalone with no need to start with Book #1, The Daemoniac.

Check out this short excerpt!

          The last rays of the sun were setting fire to the high peaks when he caught her.

          She’d run for miles through the forest, fighting the black tide of the drug he’d slipped into her wine. Whatever it was made her feel as if she floated above her own body, weightless and without a care in the world.

          If not for the bitter cold, she might have sat down in the snow for a spell.

          The hard-eyed, sober part of her, which was not yet gone entirely, knew that would be a very bad idea.

          So she ran, focusing on the tidal rasp of her breath, the metronomic ticking of her heart. After a while, the sounds of pursuit grew fainter. She dared to hope she’d lost him.

          Then she’d twisted her ankle in an animal hole concealed beneath the snow.

          It wasn’t broken, though it hurt like the dickens even through the narcotic fog. At least the pain sharpened her wits.

          I am so bloody stupid, she thought for the hundredth time, leaning against a tree. I never should have….

          Should have what?

          Her eyes lost focus.

          What an intricate, miraculous thing snow was! She’d never noticed it before, each crystal outlined with perfect clarity. Deep cold was like swimming underwater….

          Her fingers tightened to a fist, the nails drawing blood.

          Drunk the wine, that’s what. Bloody stupid of me. Now get a grip.
She studied the woods. Blue shadows gathered beneath the tall pines where the twilight deepened. All was quiet. But she sensed a presence, watching.

          There were wolves in these mountains. She’d seen one that morning at dawn, standing on a rocky tor. It stared at her with yellow eyes, then turned and loped away. She’d felt a sublime grace in its presence.

          She had no fear of wolves.

          Yet her heart hammered in her breast as she limped down the path.

          She wore stout boots and a high-necked wool dress over layers of petticoats and a cloak lined with dark blue silk. The path followed a frozen creek, its edges brittle with ice. Frost lay thick on the ground and the boughs of the trees.

          The light bled away as she reached the edge of the forest. A full moon rose, huge and bright. The nape of her neck prickled a warning.

          She looked back. A silent shape glided through the trees. Not a wolf. Not a man either, though it moved on two legs.

          In the distance, she heard the whistle of a train.

          She scrambled down a steep incline. Her ankle throbbed, but she thought it would hold for a few more minutes.

          A quarter mile off, the mouth of a tunnel led into the mountain. The tracks sat atop an embankment and she could see the glossy black engine chugging toward the tunnel. Light spilled from the windows of the passenger cars. The hood of her cloak fell back as she struggled through knee-high drifts. She tore a glove off with her teeth and freed the long iron blade sheathed at her waist.

          The clatter of the train grew louder as it approached a curve and slowed down. She veered left toward the white expanse of an open field. If she cut across, she might still catch the train before it accelerated into the tunnel. Silhouettes filled the windows and she imagined the people on the train, reading books or sipping coffee, in the warmth and light.

          She risked another glance over her shoulder. Whatever came was cloaked in shadow, but she sensed it speeding down the slope.

          She was halfway across when ice cracked beneath her boots. Not a field but a lake — and not solidly frozen. She flung out a hand, scrabbling madly as she slid into the frigid water.

          She tried to summon her elemental power but it drifted away on a black tide of tranquilizer. The train whistle sounded again and then it was swallowed by the tunnel.

          And the last thing she saw was two golden eyes, bright as the moon, rushing toward her.

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Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I’m reading this with two friends (Heeey Anita and Jennie! @jenniefromthebook) and I’m already hooked! This is my first time reading this one even though the third book in the series is set to come out this year, and I’m really enjoying it. Nevernight is dark, unapologetic, and addicting. Jay Kristoff has definitely earned a spot in the list of authors who’s body of work I consistently enjoy. Excited to continue this one!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

That’s riiiiiight! It’s time for a reread, folks! I haven’t reread these in years, years, and I am so excited to dive back into these childhood favorites!! I’m listening to them this time around and hearing the words of this story unfold before me again is like taking a long, peaceful walk in the neighborhood I grew up in. This July is going to be one great Harry Potter month!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

This one came out today! I received this ARC just two days ago in order to read it for its upcoming Blog Tour! I’ll be participating as a host this year and I’m so excited to tell you all more about this great, thrilling read. This is my second Riley Sager book and I am not disappointed! Keep an eye out for the tour soon and a GIVEAWAY too!!

What I’ve recently finished:

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Oh, my heart! This book hit me right in the feels, over and over and over. It was beautiful. I read this book for bingo in June and I enjoyed it a lot. This YA contemporary deals with really difficult topics and does so with such a delicate hand and poignant style. I’m very impressed by this book, which I had previously never heard of, which I love. If this sounds like your kind of book, then I definitely recommend!

What I think I’ll read next:

Recursion by Blake Crouch

I’m so excited to read this!! Blake Crouch also wrote Dark Matter, which I enjoyed a lot, and his mind is so sharp with this brand of science fiction. The synopsis of this one sounds just as intense and creative as the last one was, something to do with memory and a technology that could allow us to tangibly relive them, and then of course lots of complicated intrigue and moral dilemmas along the way. I’m so psyched.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

I’m also excited about this one, to be honest. I’m reading this for a Book Exchange, but also because I’ve read most of B.A. Paris’ work and I have really enjoyed all of them. I read the synopsis before I bought it, but really only as a formality. Paris consistently writes thrillers that are psychological, moody, and don’t always end how you expect, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most. I look forward to enjoying this one too.

What are you reading this week?? Tell me in the comments!