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Cover Reveal for Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron Plus Giveaway!

Brooke Banks | 10:30 AM | | | Please comment!
IslandofExilesIsland of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles, #1) by Erica Cameron


To Be Released on February 7th, 2017
In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.


On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.


But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.


To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.


About the Author:


erica


After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.


Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, asexual, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.


Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga. In May 2015, Erica and her co-author Lani Woodland launched the Laguna Tides series with Taken by Chance. Riptide’s new YA imprint Triton Books will release both books in the Assassins series, Discord and Nemesis, in 2016. The Ryogan Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy set to launch through Entangled Teen, will launch in 2017 with Island of Exiles.



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Review & Top Quotes for On Top of the World by David Lamb, Black Contemporary Romance Retelling


On Top of the World

by David Lamb

Genre: Contemporary, Romance,
Age: Adult
Format: Ebook, 214 pgs.
Source: F2R
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Recommendable? Yes
2016 BEST FICTION-Pacific Book Awards. FROM THE FUNNY AND NATURALLY BRILLIANT DAVID LAMB, award-winning playwright of the New York Times celebrated play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, comes a modern spin on Dickens' classic tale that perfectly combines humor and romance in a story re-imagined for our digital, consumerist age.

This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you've come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music's biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites.

Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners. They never imagined being music's most powerful couple, but that's exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit. Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she's created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje's ego explodes and he starts acting a fool.

Now, it's been three years since they ve spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they'll be given a second chance.

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The Good The Bad & The Other
+Loved the writing and the voices =Wasn’t expecting it’d be this close to the original Christmas Carol
+Setup is brilliant -Not a romantic comedy like the blurb on Goodreads states
+Love the social commentary & critique
+Can totally see it being a movie
+Light, easy, and fun read


First Sentence:
The devil doesn’t wear Prada, he wears Sean John and I was the idiot that taught him how to shop.

On Top of the World starts with a prologue from Belle, who immediately grabbed me. Most of my highlights come from her in fact. I love her voice and POV.

However most of the book is told by Scrooje. And in his present state he’s more loathsome and damaging than the original Ebenezer ever was. Again, the voice was perfectly captured and helped keep me reading even when I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near nor associated with the fuckface.

More than that though, I wanted to know how and why he became the monster he is, especially with Belle describing meeting him in college…Seems like a guy I’d go for, which was part AWWWW and part Oh Gods No given how he turned out.


I was honestly skeptical he could be redeemed at first. I wanted him to be, but good lord… I was waiting for the two to meet again after 3 years to get the ball rolling, make him work for it, and that’s when the ghosts showed up.

I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest. Given the romantic comedy mentioned in the blurb, I’d thought it was about them working it out and shenanigans. Instead, we have a Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future leading the way with an epiphany. Afterwards, it’s a 180 turnaround and a happily ever after with a message.

The names and roles the character’s play remain much the same from A Christmas Carol, but not only is it updated to contemporary times, it doesn’t center around Christmas. WHICH I REALLY, REALLY LOVE. I do not like charity only revolving around holidays. As someone who’s been on the receiving side of charity, ya’ll are fake as fuck doing that.

Making it about a black mogul, his journey from the projects to superstardom and the industry is brilliant. It pulls no punches about black exploitation in our white supremacist society. That was plain on the surface. What really got me though was the underlying “he couldn’t have done it without black women.” In fact, besides his friends and one teacher that came later, his foundation was the black women in his life.

They loved him, saved him, made him. And it’s heart wrenching to see him betray them so. At one point, there’s discussion of black women boycotting him and his acts because of his anti-blackness misogyny. He comes home when he realizes how much he owes them and how wrong he’s been. I just wish it was acknowledged in words, instead of being the unseen, unappreciated backbone of the novel.

Our love was stronger than your pride
-Beyoncé, Lemonade

Aside to Ponder: Funny, how he exists with all these well-known acts, like Russell Simmons and Fifty, but I don’t see black women mentioned. Where is Oprah, Queen Latifah, Shonda Rhimes, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé? There’s mention of Michelle alongside Barack Obama, but no one on the contemporary entertainment stage, which is glaring in its absence. Especially Beyoncé, whose music would resonate well with Belle’s struggles. Or is Belle the quietly leaving, ego-protecting version of Beyoncé in this reality? What does that say about Scrooje and his author, given Beyoncé’s black feminist message? Or am I reading too much into it?


I was thrown when the ghosts popped up. Since it’s billed as a romantic comedy, I was expecting something a bit different than the straight re-telling. Once I was over my initial uh…shock, I got into it again. But there isn’t much time spent between Scrooje and Belle in the present time. So if you’re looking for the traditional romantic comedy like Bridget Jone’s Diary (ugh), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (love), or Two Can Play That Game (favorite) you’ll be disappointed.

It’s more like Love and Hip Hop meets A Christmas Carol.

I did enjoy it but I found myself disappointed since I was expecting something different than an on -the-nose retelling. With the right expectations going in, I’m sure it’ll be better received. It stands out because of its content, writing, and themes but I can’t give 5 or 4 stars because of feeling misled. For me, it’s a good, light, entertaining read earning 3.5 stars.


An ego the size of Texas yet more fragile than an egg yolk

But let a woman have one eyelash out of place, and it’ll be the lead on the evening news.

Greed is more than good – it’s the best of the seven deadly sins since it makes the other six possible.

A miser is a coward whose heart has been swallowed by the fear that if he’s charitable he’ll be broke, disrespected, and abandoned.

He swept you off your feet. Then pull the rug out from under you.

Scrooje was driven by an ego so large it had its own zip code and so fragile it needed intensive care.





About the Author

David Lamb is a native New Yorker, born and raised, bitten with the writing bug since he was in elementary school and had handwriting nobody could decipher. Like Charles Dickens, David grew up a poor boy in the big city who found that the pen really is mightier than the sword. After finishing college David went on to law school at NYU, but all the time writing was still his heart. While working as a lawyer by day, at night he transformed into a writer and eventually wrote and produced the award-winning hit off-Broadway romantic comedy Platanos Y Collard Greens. Being a writer and having the chance make people laugh out loud while challenging them to think about the world around them, and inspire each of us to believe in the power of love and our own ability to overcome life’s challenges is a great gift that David truly enjoys and thanks you for allowing him to share with you in On Top Of The World (Until The Bell Chimes)





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Another Day, Another Dark Read: At The End of Church Street by Gregory L. Hall



At the End of Church Street

Gregory L. Hall
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy/Horror
Release Date: October 2016
Homeless and with nowhere to turn, Rebecca De Rosa finds a family of lost souls just like her—the vampires of Orlando. Reborn, she revels in her new lifestyle of 'no rules'. Love whoever you want. Seek whatever high you wish. Live forever young. Every night's an adventure—hunting down tourists, challenging local police, screaming to the world vampires really do exist! It's Neverland and every dream Rebecca has comes true.

Until the first murder.

Someone else lurks in the shadows. Goths are found beheaded, with wooden stakes pounded into their chests. The hunters have become the hunted. As the bodies pile up, Rebecca and the Family are forced to ask who can you trust when the only person who believes you're an actual vampire is a vampire killer?

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About the Author:
Gregory L Hall has a long history in comedy, theatre and improv. He is a national Telly Award winner and creator of the Baltimore Comedy Fest, which supported Autism Awareness. Many fans know Greg best as the host/producer of the popular live radio show The Funky Werepig.

As a writer his work has appeared over the decade in various publications, anthologies and a short story collection. His novels rarely stick to one genre, ranging from comedy and romance to intense thrillers and horror. His biggest claim to fame is he was once hugged by Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid. We should pause an extra moment to realize how awesome that is.

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Book Tour Grand Finale for Christmas at the Grand Hotel

Brooke Banks | 7:40 AM | | Please comment!
On Tour with Prism Book Tours.


Book Tour Grand Finale for

Christmas at the Grand Hotel
By Amie Denman & May Williams


Thanks for joining us on this sweet holiday romance tour!

If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now...


October 16th: Launch - Note from the Authors



"Welcome to White Pine Island! Just a few miles off the coast of Georgia, this island is accessible only by boat, plane, and your imagination. Many residents call the island home year-round, but day visitors and tourists bring plenty of excitement with them. Like other resort islands, there are quaint shops, cool restaurants, and friendly bars. There are several resorts on the island, but the queen of them all is the elegant Grand Hotel on a bluff with an ocean view."


Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review



"I love the idea of friends first and these two have a rock-solid relationship. New love is exciting and it's fun to experience it along with the characters. I enjoyed the descriptions of celebrating Christmas on this island and the fun times and parties that occur. These two characters are delightful."


Book Lover in Florida - Romance on a Boat by Amie



In one of the scenes from Christmas at the Grand Hotel, Ellen and Pete take a tour around White Pine Island in a vintage Chris Craft wood motorboat. Fully restored and every bit as elegant as the Grand Hotel, the vessel invites guests to the warm waters off the Georgia coast. It’s a hardship, of course, but one of Ellen’s jobs in the family hotelier business is using her boat captain’s license to pilot the Faire Catherine.






Nicole's Book Musings - Excerpt



Ellen & Pete by Amie Denman

It was worse than he thought, the strength of his feelings for her. But a relationship with Ellen Phillips was just one more missed chance in his life. Even as he considered taking a chance and grabbing his future with both hands, he was painfully conscious of what he was leaving behind.


The Silver Dagger Scriptorium - ​At Christmastime by May



The atmosphere of a beautiful hotel during the Christmas season always enchants me. When Amie and I began planning the White Pine Island series, we immediately agreed on Christmas as the setting for the first novellas. Since we both travel whenever the opportunity arises (these books were born on a train ride home from Chicago), we imagined gracious and lovely places infused with holiday décor. Elaborately decorated trees, twinkling lights and glowing candles, the scents of pine and cinnamon, and holiday music in the background soon came to life...


Falling Leaves - Excerpt



Ned & Bethany by May Williams

Ned gulped down a gasp. This sophisticated beauty couldn’t be the girl he remembered. This Bethany had straight, shiny dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, slim hips, and long legs clad in white pants.


Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Christmas Away from Home by Amie



In Christmas at the Grand Hotel, some of the characters are year-round residents of the island and some are there for a special holiday, but all of them have a Christmas they’ll never forget.






underneath the covers - Movies at Christmastime by May



Between the cooking, concerts, and gift giving, the Christmas season is the one time a year that I sit on the couch (under a blanket) to watch a movie. I indulge in popcorn, cookies, and perhaps some mead that my husband brews, all of which explains the pounds I have to shed in January. Still, I wouldn’t trade my couch time for better fitting pants. I snuggle in and enjoy the show.


Wishful Endings - Excerpt



Ellen & Pete by Amie Denman

Ellen grinned, wadded up her shirt and hat and stowed them on the back seat of the golf cart. She noticed a blanket and several bags were already on the seat. “I don’t want other men,” she said. “I chose you to spend the day with.”


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Teatime and Books - Excerpt



Ned & Bethany by May Williams

He pushed off the post, nearing her. “I want to kiss you, Bethany. A kiss and I’ll tell you the story. I promise it’s a good one.”


Her lips tingled at his suggestion. “I’ve never made quite that kind of deal before. I’m intrigued.”

"We hope you’ll love the two novellas in Christmas at the Grand Hotel and return throughout 2017 for Springtime at the Grand Hotel, Summer at the Grand Hotel, and Autumn at the Grand Hotel. We’ll look forward to seeing you!" — Amie Denman & May Williams


Christmas at the Grand Hotel: White Pine Island Novellas #1 and #2Christmas at the Grand Hotel
(White Pine Island Novellas #1 & #2)

by Amie Denman & May Williams
Adult Contemporary Romance, Christmas
ebook, 179 pages
October 1st 2016



Welcome to White Pine Island! Just a few miles off the coast of Georgia, this island is accessible only by boat, plane, and your imagination. Many residents call the island home year-round, but day visitors and tourists bring plenty of excitement with them. Like other resort islands, there are quaint shops, cool restaurants, and friendly bars. There are several resorts on the island, but the queen of them all is the elegant Grand Hotel on a bluff with an ocean view. Owned by the extensive, multi-generational Phillips family, the Grand Hotel offers elegant service, five course dinners, and plenty of romance.



Ned & Bethany by May Williams



Sometimes the heart hits a hole in one…



Bethany Hinkle arrives at White Pine Island’s Grand Hotel for her sister’s wedding and to do a little environmental snooping. She snaps pictures of the hotel’s pristine golf course to ensure its compliance with EPA standards. Soon, she realizes that the course’s manager is as attractive as the course he so carefully protects.



Ned Phillips feels the weight of family expectations squarely on his broad shoulders. The Phillips Family has owned and operated the Grand Hotel for three generations. For now, he manages the hotel’s golf course and makes plans for its future—plans that could be destroyed by Bethany’s spying. He gets close to the lovely environmentalist to watch for her next move until he gets too close to let her go.



Ellen & Pete by Amie Denman



What happens when you fall in love with your best friend just when it’s too late?



All her life, Ellen Phillips has loved working for her family’s Grand Hotel on White Pine Island. Flying the hotel’s airplane and piloting the island ferryboat while knowing someday she will inherit the luxurious resort is a fairy tale existence she has no desire to change. She’s always loved Pete McCormack, too. After all, he’s her best friend, confidante, and playmate. Until she suddenly sees him in a different light just before Christmas.



Pete McCormack has made sacrifices for his family’s golf cart rental business on the island, choosing to stay home and run it instead of pursuing his dream of his own career on the mainland. When his parents announce their plans to sell the business so Pete can leave the island, he has to choose between the future he thought he always wanted and his newfound love for the woman he would be leaving behind.




Amie Denman lives in Ohio with her husband, sons, cats, and dog. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys walking and playing outside. Born with an overdeveloped sense of curiosity, she's been known to chase fire trucks on her bicycle just to see what's going on. Amie believes that everything is fun: especially roller coasters, wedding cake, and falling in love.




May Williams is convinced that she read every book in the public library of her hometown as a kid. Today, her house sags under the weight of books. If she’s not reading or writing, May can be found pursuing her other two passions – sewing and running. May lives happily in a little town on the shores of Lake Erie with her husband, two children, three cats, and one oversized dog.



Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive Under the Boardwalk and Carousel Nights by Amie Denman (US only)
1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Ends October 28th
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Spotlight On: Opaque by Calix Leigh-Reign, Unique YA Sci-Fi by a WOC


I just knew I had to sign up when the opportunity came across for Opaque. I was hoping to review it today, but alas that did not work out. (Good think I didn't make any promises)

Opaque sounds fascinating and I'll be delving into Soon ™. In the meantime, check it out and hopefully, let me know what you think of it!


Opaque

The Scion Saga Book One
Calix Leigh-Reign
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Nnylluc Book Group LLC
Date of Publication: 10/22/2016
Number of pages: 256
Cover Artist: Calix Leigh-Reign and Joshua Jadon
Book Description:
"Her crimson limbal ring glows and I focus my sight as the incandescence dims. I clearly see it for sure this time. There's no denying it. Carly isn't human. She's something more - and if she isn't human, neither am I."

For those craving an untapped Sci-Fi niche - Opaque delivers in this gripping page-turner involving mutated Limbal rings, biokenretic anomalies, mental dysfunction, perplexing Russian ancestry & romance.

Cālix takes us on an adventure that begins when 16 year old misanthropic Adam unknowingly reaches biokenretic puberty, and his supernatural abilities awaken to save him from his murderous intentions. His every thought revolves around the extinction of the human race until mysterious Afro-Russian Carly Wit stumbles into his English class one morning. Adam notices something otherworldly about her immediately but denies the bio-synch taking place inside of him. As he resists their blossoming love, he battles with unnatural thoughts of his mother.

Discovering his origin isn't what he'd thought, he becomes determined to peel back the layers of his lineage and unmasks a multitude of mind-bending secrets along the way.

Buy It: Amazon BN Kobo



CHAPTER ONE: A DARK MIND

The rust scented liquid oozes from my nostrils as I focus my thoughts on the rustic aperture. There’s a tiny ping inside of my throbbing head, as if something has recoiled. My oxygen supply is cut off, and my body convulses violently. I resist the ictal attack but my sight and hearing simultaneously abandon me. I’m trapped inside of an electrical storm. I wait ambivalently for it to pass and I lose track of time. Regaining my ability to swallow, the taste of copper invades my mouth.

The sound of my bedroom window slamming closed startles me. Bolting upright against the headboard, I scan for any movement inside of the eerily silent darkness. Seeing none, I walk over and slide the pane vertically upward. I’m not sure if I had anything to do with the closure. Probably not.

A foreign degree of heat rapidly spreads throughout my limbs, traveling into my chest. I cough. My breath is like steam rising from a teapot just before it begins to boil — but somehow it doesn’t burn me. Groaning, I completely undress and stand naked in front of the window. Bathing in the crisp air, and hoping to cool myself.

It’s too hot for covers so I sprawl out naked on the bed, with my manhood facing the ceiling and my hands underneath the back of my head. Wanting her. Deserving her. Growing angrier by the second. My unembellished room is dark. Lit only by the supermoon. My cell phone illuminates with a text notification. I angrily glance out of the corner of my left eye, but I don’t bother turning my head. It doesn’t matter who it is because I know who it isn’t.

My thoughts begin their inevitable descent. I recognize that my Creator has set me apart. It just seems nonsensical to set one apart only to watch their forceful and painful conformity.

My eyes itch so I close them and converse with my immortal. My every extremity tingles as if I’m being electrocuted, and there’s a very noticeable rumbling inside of my thorax that grows until my breathing catches. The wind howls, as if in response to my anatomical anomalies. The spirit attempts to dissuade my thoughts with partial, believable hope that my torturous suffocation is self-inflicted and completely voluntary. A debate ensues and my immortal departs.

I open my eyes as the itching subsides. My vision is distorted and my eyeballs are warm. I blink rapidly to abate the calefaction until my sight normalizes. The wind fights with the trees and they fight back. The wind — always the victor. I desperately wish the psithurism would drown out the torturous sounds wafting with invasion from their bedroom. The soft moans escaping her throat. What an actress. Their mattress squeaking. Offbeat. Quite naturally. Lame ass animal. He can’t even do that right.

I should be inside of her. I will be soon. But for now, sleep will save lives and ensure a perfect plan. I close my eyes in torturous anger, and the metallic scented sludge regathers to block my sinuses, before dripping down my face — onto my cheeks.



About the Author:


Cālix is the published author of the Russian-mutant, psychological Sci-Fi fantasy novel, Opaque. She's a certified paralegal and has studied creative writing under English teacher, script writer and published author Larry Strauss. Her earliest literary inspirations include Alice Walker, Larry Strauss, VC Andrews and Stephen King. She spent a majority of her childhood in libraries and developed an intense relationship with words. She's a member of YARWA and RWA and is currently serving as a judge for YARWA's 2016 Rosemary Contest. She enjoys prayer, discovering the minds of those who rebel against social programming, listening to music, a great cup of coffee, exquisite ethnic cuisine, spending time with family & friends, attending movie premieres, traveling and the arts. She spends her free time in the gym, fantasizing about story plots and different ways of changing the world.







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My POV: Raven Song by I.A. Ashcroft, NA Dark Apocalyptic Dystopian


I’ve been disillusioned with YA Dystopians lately, though there is such potential. Raven Song came across when I was hoping to find something to scratch this itch. And it delivered.

It’s undeniably sci-fi with hints of mythology to come and a slow-budding romantic suspense type couple.

It’s about a hundred or so years after a catastrophic bombing worldwide. The background is fuzzy but with be clarified later.



Raven Song

Inoki's Game #1
Paperback: 290 pages
Published Date: March 14, 2016
Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing
A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilization is still choking on the ashes.

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

Raven Song is the first of a four book adult-oriented dystopian fantasy series, a story of intrigue, love, violence, and the old spirits in the shadows who wait for us to notice them again. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Charlie Human will enjoy this dark magic-laced tale rooted on the bones of what our world could become.

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Praise:


‘Aware that this is just the first book in the series and I am hooked and will read on, however as a standalone book it would still make a fantastic read.’
~ Mark on Goodreads

‘A good urban fantasy with well-developed characters and a grim and complex setting. I would recommend.’
~ Dannica Zulestin on Goodreads

‘Ashcroft has a brilliant imagination coupled with an eloquent writing style that draws the reader in, makes us feel a wide array of emotions, and holds us captivated to the very end. I anxiously await the next volume in this series.’
~ K. McCaslin on Amazon

‘I usually think endings are the worst part of most books, hard to wrap up into a logical and solid ending, this book did well at it I was satisfied but very much looking forward to the next book.’
~ taruofatlantis on Amazon

‘The narration by Mikael Naramore was good. He was able to capture the voices of the characters well, especially the manic Tony. In general the characters were distinguishable and the voicing gave life to each of them. The production quality was good as well.’
~ Poonam on AudioBook Reviewer.


About the Author:

​I. A. Ashcroft has been writing fiction in many forms for almost twenty years. The author's first book, written at age seven, featured the family cat hunting an evil sorceress alongside dragons and eagles. This preoccupation with the fantastical has not changed in the slightest.

Now, the author dwells in Phoenix, AZ alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. Ashcroft writes almost exclusively in the realm of darker fantasy these days, loving to entertain adults with stories of magic, wonder, despair, violence, and hope, bringing a deep love of mythology into every tale penned. The author also loves diverse and intriguing casts of characters.

When not buried in a book, one might find Ashcroft learning languages, charting road trips, and playing tabletop RPGs with clever and fun people.




PROLOGUE


A boy lay on the broken sidewalk, eyes closed. He was pale and thin, looking not a day over ten years old. His half-clothed body shuddered against the chilly night air. His bony frame scraped against the grime of the street as he curled into himself, trying to keep back the cold. Overhead, the stars hung bright and lonely.

In the alley, almost invisible against the midnight darkness, a man stood tall over the boy. His well-pressed suit was as black as the shadows, as his skin, and as the raven on his shoulder. The way he hovered over the child, he seemed a strange guardian. But his eyes were turned upwards to the sky, away from the boy’s plight, as if it was no real matter. In those black eyes the stars were mirrored, impossible and brilliant. Those eyes stared back into the past, when the celestial lights were loved and revered, when each constellation had a story.

Once upon a time… this was when the world had sung to him, the dream-walker, the song-weaver, the star-stringer.

Once, before humans had forgotten his name.

Now, the starry sky was almost hidden by the glowing blue haze of the Barrier, a shield cast over what was left of the city: proud New York, ruined, rebuilt, defiant.

The stranger kept staring upwards into oblivion, even as the boy let out an unhappy whimper, chills wracking his weak frame. The raven flew from the stranger’s shoulder then, alighting onto the sidewalk, picking past the weeds and rubble. It rejoined its fellows who had settled amicably around the child, oblivious to the fact that ravens were all supposed to be dead. One hundred years ago, poison had leeched into the earth, into the grass, into the grazers, and into the corpses left behind. The blight spared little, its kind no exception. Regardless, this impossible creature affectionately brushed at the boy’s dark hair with its beak.

At the touch, the boy awoke with a start. His wide, uncomprehending eyes took in the world as he struggled to sit up, his head swinging around wildly; past awnings and high rises he had never seen, past scrawled words and graffiti he could not understand. He teetered to his feet, then fell back down again as his knees gave out, sending the birds around him into flight.

He saw no starry eyes in the darkness, no stranger standing nearby. He was halfnaked, shivering, hungry, and alone, his head aching down to his teeth. The nameless boy shook off the dreams he couldn’t remember and wondered where he was.

If there had been any passersby on that cold autumn night, they would have sworn that this boy hadn’t been there a minute ago, and no stranger or ravens had been there at all.





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The Good The Bad & The Other
+This starting Arc is a complete tale with an open ending for continuation that I loved -Took time to get into
+Anna and Jackson were well done, apart and together -No diversity
+Loved finding out about their pasts and what happened to Anna in her time -Supporting cast is typical
+Action-packed
+Interesting worldbuilding with solid dystopian aspects incorporating paranormal/mythology



The prologue sets the weird what-the-fuck-ness that lasts. While I didn’t know what was going on, it was enjoyable and wasn’t nonsensical. It reminds me of The Raven Cycle in this way – you know it’ll come around and make sense eventually. It’s all connected and planned like a web. The flies we’re following just don’t see the whole picture yet.

It is dark with the recurring themes and the content. There’s plenty of violence – nuclear fallout, spontaneous combustion, and fire-fights—and ruthless groups all around. Even the healers don't sit back.



There’s scant time for Jackson to set things up, and he’s rather clueless for the local you’ll find (he wouldn't be a Ravenclaw), then it starts hopping. At the end, it’s been a week and in typical action-adventure fashion, no one can believe it.

It wasn’t always the smoothest. It’s immediately interesting and different, it wasn’t submersive at first. Around 30% or so is where I racing to pick it back up again. The plot was illuminated to show more depth and I was investing in the characters.

I love all the bits and pieces going on and around. I keep thinking about it all and wondering....

I love the ending. The first leg of the journey and level 1 boss is finished, and they’re onto the next intriguing path. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next installment.


If you like dark reads or dystopians, you’ll enjoy Raven Song. I agree about the recs in the blurb for "Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Charlie Human".

While Jackson and Anna are in the New Adult range, there’s no sexual content (for those who care) and has great cross-over appeal for all mature readers. Of course, I was reading Stephen King in middle school so my perspective is hardly the norm, fyi.



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