book tour

Multiverse|Blog Tour

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog tour stop for the book Multiverse by Robert Mercer-Nairne!

Multiverse was published on June 1st by Gritpoul, Inc. You can head over to my Instagram account afictionreality to enter in a giveaway for a copy of Multiverse! After the synopsis you’ll be able to read an excerpt of the book!

Buy: Amazon

Synopsis

Set in the near future, world trade has collapsed and the American economy has entered a depression. The economically dispossessed are drifting into camps that are being set up in city parks across the country. ln Congress the Nationalists, led by Milo Meadows Ill and Moralists, led by President Henry Dukes are increasingly resorting to the black arts as they vie for the power held by the still dominant Rationalists whose belief in scientific management is being challenged on all sides. While Carrie Holden, a budding astrophysicist is being prevented from getting her doctorate by the backlash against science, her friend Jay Chandler is soliciting support from the billionaire Marjory Anhauser in his bid to run for election to the House on the Moralist ticket.

Excerpt from Chapter Four

“Dr. Preston, welcome to the White House. This is a rare pleasure!” 

President Dukes was excited. The Reverend Richard Preston had become a legend who he longed to meet. At over six foot two with a fine angular face and brindle hair, his youthful features and physical intensity were impossible to ignore. The pastor filled his church in Annapolis to bursting and was listened to by millions across the nation on his internet link God this day

“Mr. President, Mrs. Dukes,” their guest acknowledged shaking their hands and presenting his helpmate, “my wife Abigail.” The pastor’s wife, a petite, attractive woman with raven black hair and a strong face, stepped forward to greet the presidential couple. “Let me assure you both,” Richard Preston insisted, “the pleasure is ours.” 

The family dining room had an air of intimacy, but was still smart with rich red velvet curtains, yellow silk on the walls and a white carpet with blue swirls, chosen by Mrs. Dukes. Hanging above the sideboard opposite a marble fireplace and the gilt-framed mirror above it was Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Annunciation, on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, depicting a woman in the presence of God’s messenger. 

When they were seated the President invited his guest to say grace. 

Richard Preston lent forward slightly, his hands clasped under his chin and his eyes fixed on the center of the table in deepest concentration. 

“Almighty God,” he began, “bless this house, these people and this government and let us give thanks for what we are about to eat, knowing that there are a growing number in our great American family who are without. Through Your grace, help us to find a way out of this darkening nightmare and the will to lead our people to a better place. Amen.” 

The President’s “well said” felt small and inappropriate and he wished he hadn’t said it. 

“How was your drive here?” Mary Dukes enquired turning to Abigail. 

“Just under an hour,” she answered. “We encountered no disturbances. But the encampment in front of the White House is upsetting.” 

“It grows every day,” the President told her. “I guess folk want to be near their government, near to me even, in the hope that we will do something.” 

“Soup kitchens have been set up,” Mary explained, “so people are being fed. But winter is approaching and it can only get worse. It’s the children I worry about. We are trying to get a temporary school established.” 

“Mary’s been tireless,” Henry affirmed. “She does things that matter. I sometimes feel that we politicians are just spinning our wheels.” 

“I have a suggestion, Mr. President,” Richard Preston announced, “if you will allow me.” 

“Goddamn it pastor, I surely need suggestions,” the President responded, trying to ignore his wife’s look of disapproval at his turn of phrase, a look that made Abigail smile. “If you’ve got an idea, now is the time and here is the place.” 

“The Food Stamp program is working. You have extended it indefinitely, or at least until this crisis is behind us. That’s good,” he said. “But the government must go further. People are losing their homes at an alarming rate. Women and children are ending up in sports halls, and many of the young men are running loose. As you would expect, criminality is on the rise. 

“Just this week a mob entered our exclusive Epping Forest neighborhood and ran riot. The residents were terrified. The community police were called and two men were shot, but the rest ran off. There were no arrests. There are just too many footloose citizens for our police to cope. By the time the National Guard is called out the disturbance has moved elsewhere.” 

“Yes, I’m getting similar reports from across the country,” the President confirmed. “So what is your proposal pastor?” 

“A home voucher scheme. The downward spiral must be stopped. People have to be kept in their homes.” 

“Are you suggesting that the government underwrite the unemployed’s rent and mortgage payments?” 

“Yes I am.” 

Henry Dukes let out a whistle as his mind grasped the enormity of the idea. 

“I’d never get that through Congress,” he murmured, mostly to himself. 

“Well I think that’s an excellent idea,” Mary Dukes extolled. “People get to stay in their homes; banks and landlords are made whole; money is fed into the economy. It might just get us moving in the right direction again.” 

“But the cost Mary, the cost,” Henry muttered. “It would be frightening.” 

“Isn’t where we are right now frightening, Mr. President,” 

interposed Abigail, in support of the sisterhood and her husband. 

“Administering such a program would be dreadful,” the President calculated, still trying to grasp the full measure of what had been suggested. “This is public money we are talking about. Can you imagine the bureaucrat at the counter working out what claim was genuine and what claim was not? There would have to be rules and the whole thing would get bogged down before it had begun.” 

“Well, I have a proposal there too, Mr. President,” Richard Preston advanced. 

“Oh, alright let’s hear it,” the President wearily invited. 

“I propose that the entire home voucher scheme be administered through the churches.” 

Henry Dukes sat in silence. One novel idea before bedtime was bad enough, but two: that invited extreme indigestion. Even Mary was speechless. It took Abigail to puncture the sound of pins dropping in the family dining room. 

“Rules, Mr. President, can only ever take us so far. Commitment to the right path comes from belief. If the churches were to administer the home voucher scheme” – in Abigail’s mind it had already moved beyond an idea to an actuality – “the church community would know full well who was genuine and who was not.” 

“I can see a rapid uptick in church attendance,” ventured 

the President. 

“That’s as may be,” continued Abigail. “But if we want to rebuild communities, isn’t that exactly what we need?” 

“I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance – Luke 15 verse 7.” The pastor’s words were delivered with a quiet force that arrested even the White House butler as he gathered up the plates from the first course. 

Noticing this, the President turned to him. 

“Well, what is your view, Matthew?” 

“Between a tent on the White House lawn and my own home, Mr. President, I know which I’d prefer.” 

“So there you are, Henry,” applauded Mary. “All you have to do is make it happen!” 

“I’ll have to run this one by Senator Grasser,” ruminated Henry who was beginning to see some advantage in the idea. “If anyone could drive it though the senate, he could. The lower house is a different matter. Those boys and girls are running around like squawking fowl crying ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling’ and I can’t get an iota of sense out of them. Someone needs to send a fox into that coop.” 

“Then their sky would start falling,” remarked Mary. 

And they probably wouldn’t realize until too late,” countered the President acidly. “They need to be frightened into right action and rewarded for taking it: heaven and hell. That’s where you come in, pastor.” 

“When it comes to Heaven and Hell I’ve always been more New Testament than Old, Mr. President: carrots over sticks.” 

“We’re surely creating hell enough right here on Earth,” observed Mary, “without emphasizing another one. What we need is a way out.” 

“Which is why bolstering the role of the churches makes sense,” urged Abigail. “People will come to see that faith in moral behavior is more important than economic advantage or disadvantage.” 

President Dukes made a ‘note to self ’ that Hell was clearly his domain. 

“So pastor,” he said, “do you think you could persuade the other churches to cooperate on such a scheme, if I could get Congress to approve it?” 

Richard Preston might have been a man of God but he also had an acute understanding of Man. 

“It would have to be kept to the traditional denominations,” he answered. “Otherwise we’d have sects springing up everywhere. Factionalism has been religion’s curse.” 

“You are surely not suggesting that the Reformation was a mistake now pastor, are you?” the President asked with just a hint of mischievousness.

“I’ll pass on that.” 

“A most diplomatic answer!” the President conceded. 

“What about those people who are not affiliated with any religion or denomination?” Mary asked. 

“They’ll just have to pick one,” Abigail interposed. “Our purpose here is to rebuild God-centered, moral communities. Form is not the issue.” 

“And those who don’t believe in God?” Mary wondered. 

“Let’s leave them to the physicists,” the President chuckled. 

“There will always be difficult issues, Mr. President,” Richard Preston conceded, “but I can tell you this. Our church will not turn away anyone in need. The parable of the Samaritan is at the heart of everything we do.” 

book tour

Delphi Federation|Blog Tour

Top Ten Tuesday-61

Hello everyone! I have partnered with Smith Publicity for the blog tour for Delphi Federation by Bob Blanton. Delphi Federation is the sixth book in the Delphi in Space Series. Below is some information on the book, the series, the author, and a Q&A with Bob Blanton!53172544._SY475_

LinksDelphi FederationStarship Sakira(book one)

Synopsis of the first book: What would you do if you found a spaceship? Would you call the government, would you pretend you never saw it, or would you keep it a secret? What would you do with it? Use it to gallivant around the galaxy, conquer Earth, get filthy rich, or try to improve life on Earth? Read along and find out how Marc tries to convert Earth into a spacefaring world capable of defending itself and of being united as it meets the other civilizations in the galaxy.
Marc and his crew need to accomplish all this without tipping off the U.S. Government and before the Paraxeans come looking for their spaceship. But they have help, the ship’s AI is on their side and she’s smart. Starship Sakira is the first book in the exciting new adventure series Delphi in Space.

About the seriesOn the continued quest for a harmonized society on Earth and beyond, author Bob Blanton brings attention to the civilians most in need of peace, societal advancements, and equality with the sixth installment of his popular Delphi in Space series, Delphi Federation (April 7, 2020 [Paperback], April 21, 2020 [eBook]). 

The best-selling science fiction series follows two brothers, Marc and Blake McCormack, who unleash new technology that will forever improve our dying environment while making a nice profit to boot. With the arrival of Marc’s daughter Catie, they begin introducing the new technology while fighting off enemies and foreign countries who fear the technology will disrupt their economies. It’s not long before the alien rebels from Paraxea come to claim the technology for themselves, starting a galactic war of the ages that spans the next five books Blanton has planned.

About Delphi FederationIn Delphi Federation, the McCormacks have successfully defeated the Paraxean rebels, but now face an even tougher question: where do they go from here? As they are now responsible for 1.5 million alien lives, they must search for other inventions and advancements in technology that will help them find a good home for the Paraxeans.  All while they continue to disperse technology across the globe. Their plans hit a snag when their clinic in Guatemala gets taken over by a cartel boss.

As moving to space, along with other technological and economical advancements, may not be decades away like we once assumed, Blanton explores the benefits of space habitation through the McCormack family’s epic adventures, leaving any space lover itching to pack their bags. With his forceful yet focused writing style, Delphi Federation also puts a spotlight on various underdeveloped countries and habitats outside our atmosphere, encouraging readers to appreciate what we have in the present and pay attention to a future that’s more reality than space fantasy. When the sky is no longer the limit, the possibilities to create a better world are endless.

About the author: BOB BLANTON began the Delphi in Space Series after retiring to the beach in Mexico with his wife. An avid reader, he began thinking of novel ideas and becoming a writer after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to his writing career, Blanton worked as an engineer and manager in San Diego for over 30 years. He is also the author of The Stone Series trilogy and plans to continue his Delphi in Space Series well beyond his 2020 release, Delphi Federation. Learn more about Blanton on his website and connect with him on Facebook and GoodReads.


Bob Blanton Q&A on

PIONEERING TECHNOLOGY, PEACE, AND BRINGING LIFE TO OTHER PLANETS

Q: What makes Delphi Federation and the Delphi in Space Series different than other science fiction books that take place in space?

Bob Blanton: I focus on fun and adventure while keeping the science as realistic as possible. Generally, I find some scientific basis for my alternate science. These characters have grown throughout the series, but from the beginning I painted them as capable, making the situations as realistic as possible, saying what would be the likely response to a given situation.

Q: The characters in the series live in space, and some scientists and entrepreneurs believe we’re closer than ever to making that a reality. What are your thoughts on having a society in space?

BB: Outer Space is just another piece of real estate.  We’re already learning about manufacturing processes that are best suited to space and microgravity through the ISS2.  The asteroid belt will undoubtedly be an important source for raw materials that are becoming even more scarce on Earth.  Investors are viewing the first forays into space as more adventure, novelty oriented. Eventually we’ll have a manufacturing presence which will require a larger, more permanent presence.

Q: Many science fiction books warn about technological advancements over time, but the series does the opposite. What do you think are some advantages of technology?

BB: Technology is a means to an end.  It doesn’t have a political or emotional component, that comes from people who are trying to avoid the disruption it causes in one’s life.  It’s difficult to predict what will happen as it becomes integrated into our lives. Just imagine the first portable phones, they were huge, but who would leave the house today without their smartphone.  Technology unleashes the human mind to accomplish great and amazing things, unfortunately criminals also have imaginations.

Q: You also highlight different regions in your book that are more vulnerable and may not be able to handle such advancements, such as Ukraine and Guatemala. What is your hope in bringing awareness to these countries and their issues?

BB:  It’s easy to look at underdeveloped countries and write their situations off as their own fault.  That ignores the enormous damage that a colonial economy did and does to countries that are relegated to sources of raw material and cheap labor.  The average people in those countries are doing the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt. When presented with unbiased opportunities, they can step up and make a much better life for themselves.  Unfortunately, the wealthy and powerful in those countries prefer the status quo. Corruption favors them; who would clean their houses if everyone had a high school education

 

 

book review, book tour

Iphigenia Murphy|Book Tour/Review

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Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to participate in the bookstagram & creative blog tour for Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey hosted by MTMC Tours! A novel that explores the sustaining love of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the indelible bond of family, Iphigenia Murphy captures the gritty side of 1992 Queens, the most diverse borough in New York City. Releasing on March 10th, 2020 from Blackstone Publishing! Also, information on the international giveaway will be down below! 

47914500Title: Iphigenia Murphy

Author: Sara Hosey

Pages: 272

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publishing Date: March 10th, 2020

Genres: YA Contemporary

ISBN: 1982618299

Rating:

Links: Blackstone’s Website | Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Synopsis: Running away from home hasn’t solved Iphigenia Murphy’s problems. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll catch up with her. Iffy is desperate to find her long-lost mother, and, so far, in spite of the need to forage for food and shelter and fend off an unending number of creeps, living in Queens’ Forest Park has felt safer than living at home. But as the summer days get shorter, it all threatens to fall apart.

A novel that explores the sustaining love of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the indelible bond of family, Iphigenia Murphy captures the gritty side of 1992 Queens, the most diverse borough in New York City. Just like Iffy, the friends she makes in the park–Angel, a stray dog with the most ridiculous tail; Corinne, a young trans woman who is escaping her own abusive situation; and Anthony, a former foster kid from upstate whose parents are addicts–each seek a place where they feel at home. Whether fate or coincidence has brought them together, within this community of misfits Iffy can finally be herself, but she still has to face the effects of abandonment and abuse–and the possibility that she may be pregnant. During what turns out to be a remarkable journey to find her mother, will Iffy ultimately discover herself?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publishers but all thoughts are my own

Spoiler Free Review

This book , I don’t even really know how to describe it. I don’t think I’ve read a coming of age story that is done quite as well as this one was. There are so many beautiful and touching parts in this book and I loved reading the book.

The book starts out with Iffy running away from home to the park where she believes her mom is. Iffy is such a brave character and its shown different times throughout the book. She is also a teenager still in school so as we get the brave side of her we also get scared parts of her. I loved seeing Iffy grow as a character. In the beginning she is this scared girl who is out in the park alone but as the book continues she transforms into this brave girl who isn’t as scared anymore.

Corinne is such a great character. She meets Iffy after running away from a not so great situation and the two of them just hit it off. Corinne is full of spunk and she just added something great to the story. Her and Iffy look out for each other and throughout the book we see their friendship grow stronger with each thing they face and overcome.

In the beginning of the book we meet Angel who is a stray dog that Iffy comes across and takes care of. I loved Angel and seeing what she gave Iffy in companionship just warmed my heart. Toward the end we meet Anthony and out of all the characters I cared for him the least. I don’t really have any specific reason other than I just didn’t care for him.

This was a moving story and though it is fiction, it can very much happen to someone which is just sort of shocking to me at least. To know that this experience could happen to someone breaks my heart a little. The characters in this book just have my heart and I just wish I could shelter them from the world. Such a good book and I urge everyone to read it.


Book Aesthetics

Below is an aesthetic I made for the book! I enjoyed browsing Pinterest for the images and putting it together.

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Giveaway Info

Head over to my Instagram account where ONE reader will win:

A hardcover copy of IPHIGENIA MURPHY!
(And don’t miss out the rest of the tour stops to get more chances to win!!!)

Tour Schedule:

Februar 17
@thereaderandthechef – Bookstagram + Blog

February 18
@timeladyreads – Bookstagram

February 19
@ernest.bookingway – Bookstagram + Blog

February 20
@lajathereader – Bookstagram 

February 21
@paperfury – Bookstagram + Blog

February 22
@tata.lifepages – Bookstagram

February 23
@paperbacksandpen – Bookstagram + Blog

February 24
@anovelescape – Bookstagram

February 25
@afictionrealityBookstagram + Blog

February 26
@shobizreads – Bookstagram


About the Author

7273735Sara Hosey holds a PhD in American literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an associate professor of English and Women and Gender Studies at Nassau Community College. Her book, Home Is Where the Hurt Is: Media Depictions of Wives and Mothers (McFarland, 2019), looks at representations of the domestic in popular culture. Sara grew up in Queens and now lives in Sea Cliff, New York, with her partner and their children. She is working on a second novel.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram 

 

book tour

The Weaver|Blog Tour

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This photo is taken from my Instagram account afictionreality


Top Ten Tuesday-23

I’ve teamed up with The Parliament House for a tour of The Weaver by Heather Kindt. Continue reading for an excerpt!0

Purchase the book here!

 

Synopsis

They walk among us. Some blend into the masses, another man or woman passing by. Yet, others are more secretive in their ways; hiding in the shadows, the forests, and in the dark folds of the night. They are always searching, always watching, and continuously vigilant, because nothing is more vital to their survival. Their stories, every fabric of their being, are tied into the intricate tapestry. Fear, love, hatred, and passion are the threads and the vivid emotions that bring forth the color and life to the cloth. And in the center, at the very heart of the woven art, is the Weaver.

The Weaver uses her skill to bring the cloth to life. It is an inherited talent that few possess. Her ability bridges the narrow gap between imagination and reality—the gap that many people and creatures have wanted to cross on both sides of the paper. How many authors have been asked if they love or fear characters from their books? What if they came to life? Only a Weaver knows the answer to this question.


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

“Race you to the bottom!” Jason punched his subway card into the slot of the turnstile, proclaiming the hundredth race of the day. 

Laney rolled her eyes and conceded, knowing her card was crammed under her notebook and multiple other items at the bottom of her bag. She stepped to the side and crouched by the wall to dig for her card, avoiding the flow of commuters heading home in Boston’s midweek rush. 

“Come on, Turtle!” Jason called from the bottom of the steps. “The train’s here!” 

Laney cringed at the nickname Jason had pinned on her when they were kids. She didn’t want him to look at her as a turtle, or as an eight-year-old girl. Not that she did anything to change his view of her. Her brown hair still hung down her back in a ponytail. 

Jason’s transformation, on the other hand, was dramatic. He let his dark hair grow out from the crew cut his mom subjected him to every summer. When he was the quarterback in high school, his body changed into a man’s before Laney’s eyes, and she wasn’t the only one who noticed. Jason had a magnetic field that attracted any teenage girl with a pulse in a one-mile radius.  

Subway card in hand, Laney merged into the sea of humanity trying to keep her eyes focused on every step until she reached Jason. 

“I’m not playing anymore.” She elbowed him and kept walking to the platform. “Besides, we’ve got three more things to find on this list before we’re supposed to be back at the park. We’re going to lose because you want to do anything besides what you’re supposed to do.” 

“Disobedience is the only way things get done in this world. Didn’t you learn anything on our tour of Boston about tea parties and that Samuel Adams dude?” 

“Yeah.” Laney laughed. “The only thing you know about Samuel Adams is what type of beer he makes.” 

Jason Harrison’s smug attitude drove Laney crazy. Besides going to parties in high school with his football buddies, he followed the rules: class president, valedictorian, and attending church most Sundays. Responsibility didn’t come naturally to Jason — it was forced on him when his dad died from a sudden heart attack. He had to take care of his mom. 

The screech of the wheels on the green line echoed through the tunnel before the subway light shone in the dark abyss. 

Jason took Laney’s hand to pull her back from the thick yellow line delineating the danger zone. “Besides, you’d be mortified accepting your prize in front of all those people. There must be a hundred freshman playing this stupid mixer game and I end up with you. I think I know you better than I know myself.” 

“You don’t know everything about me.” 

The train doors opened, Jason took her hand, and they squeezed in with the commuters, content to hold on to a silver pole. Laney moved against the wall of the train, blocking out the hordes with Jason’s body. Being this close to him should feel natural, like breathing, but she felt her nerves tense. 

She glanced around the car at the other travelers. Some were families heading home after a full day in the city — little ones fast asleep in their mother’s lap or fussing from a case of being overtired. Others were couples ready to have a night out on the town. Then there were the outcasts who rode alone. Some scrolled through their phone, read a newspaper, or had an engaging conversation with themselves. A large man sat in the corner diagonal from Laney. He was big enough to intimidate, but it was something else that made her eyes rest on him. His hair hung past his shoulders entrenched in grease, and he wore period clothing from the 1700s. Was he part of a reenactment? Something nagged at her because he appeared familiar. The man raised his head and looked directly at her, so she quickly set her eyes on her backpack. 

She held it protectively between her legs. Jason didn’t know about her writing. The journal nestled safely in the bag. The story she wrote was near and dear to her heart, and no one, not even Jason, would get a glance inside.

 

 JASON STARED AT LANEY FOR A FEW MOMENTS BEFORE THEIR eyes locked, his usual smart remark trapped momentarily behind his lips. Of course, he knew everything about her — she had an overprotective father, was a bookworm and a master of the Scrabble universe, had legs that could outrun most boys, and a sarcastic wit that saw the truth in most situations. She was the most amazing girl he’d ever known. Laney Holden was the girl he took for granted. The popularity that came with being Derry’s hometown football hero had its privileges: girls, parties, preferential treatment at the Burger Barn — but through those distractions Jason missed something. His best friend grew up, and just looking at her drove him crazy. She was beautiful. Not the high heel, short skirt, plastered on make-up, I’m a! that type of beauty he usually dated, and nothing like Jennifer, his current girlfriend. Laney was striking, and she didn’t even know it. 

“Maybe we need to catch up on the time we missed.” Jason looked down at Laney’s hand in his own. It wasn’t like they never touched growing up, but he suddenly felt on edge. The thought of her rejection overwhelmed him, and he could tell his touch made her uncomfortable. He let go of her hand and brought it up to his mouth to fake a cough. 

Laney picked up her backpack and held it to her, making it impossible for Jason to hold her hand again. Of course, she wouldn’t want to hold his hand. Jennifer followed Jason to Madison and Laney probably thought that made him off-limits. 

She smiled at him before averting her eyes to a small boy in the seat next to her playing with a toy car. That was the thing that was difficult for Jason. The girls he knew were easy to read. He knew what they wanted, and they laid it all out there, but with Laney it was different. Jason knew her better than any other girl he’d ever known, but there were parts of her that were a complete mystery to him. 

The subway pulled into the Park Street station just below the Boston Commons. Laney removed the scavenger hunt list from the back pocket of her jeans to review the last three items. They walked with the masses of people until Laney sat down on a graffiti-covered bench to go over the list once again. 

“You still wear that old thing?” Laney touched a tattered bracelet on Jason’s wrist. 

“I never take it off.” He stretched his sleeve over the bracelet. Laney handpicked the colors based off a chart she found on the Internet when she was twelve. She made his purple and yellow. The purple was a school color, but she told him she entwined yellow because it reflected his personality. 

“I think we should find the Make Way for Ducklings statues and then head to the swan boats.” She put the list into her pocket before readjusting her ponytail and swinging her backpack onto her shoulder. 

Jason told her that it was ridiculous to bring her bag with her when they were planning to eat out in Faneuil Hall. She put on her stubborn pout and ignored him. 

“Race you to the top!” Laney shouted over the next train pulling in, taking a two-stride head start. Jason rolled his eyes and chased after the girl who was so far from a turtle. 

When he reached the stairs, Jason stopped to let Laney have her glory. She was halfway up before she turned around. 

“Give up already, Turtle?” she taunted and flashed that beautiful smile of hers. Jason wanted to race up the stairs and kiss her. 

But before Jason could do anything, a man ascending the stairs to the right of Laney, wearing some type of strange Revolutionary War get-up, grabbed her arm and pulled her bag off her back. She swung around and slugged him in the jaw, just before he pushed her backwards down the concrete stairs. Jason’s heart stopped as her body tumbled into an unconscious heap several feet in front of him. 

 

WHEN LANEY FIRST AWOKE, SHE DIDN’T KNOW WHERE SHE was or why her head felt extremely clouded. A constant beeping sound and hushed whispers filled her ears. She opened her eyes and tried to focus on the source. 

“Delaney!” Her father’s voice made her head hurt, but she was glad to hear it. Adjusting her eyes to the light, she saw both of her parents leaning over her. She shut her eyes again, knowing she was safe and hoping to avoid a conversation. 

“We’re here, Laney.” She felt a soft hand on hers. It was her mother. 

Laney kept her eyes closed, not quite ready to deal with the barrage of questions she knew her parents were dying to ask. And if this were a normal situation with a normal, everyday, garden-variety thief, she’d be more than happy to divulge any information they cared to know about the incident. The problem was that it was so far from normal. 

A knock on the doorframe kept Laney’s eyes shut, afraid of any further intrusion into her spinning mind. 

“Doctor.” Her dad’s hand moved off the bed as he stood up to greet her physician. “She opened her eyes a few minutes ago. Does that mean she’s going to be alright?” 

Laney rolled her eyes beneath the lids. 

“I’m happy to see she’s awake. I told you before that it’s a simple skull fracture. While we take all head injuries very seriously, I assure you that your daughter will be fine.” 

Laney tensed up inside wondering if she was fine, or safe for that matter. Images flashed through her head of her attacker — dark, greasy hair, piercing brown eyes, the penetrating smell of alcohol on his breath, and his hand on her shoulder. If the thief got away with her backpack, then he had her book. If she told the truth, she knew her parents and the doctor would diagnose it as delirium from a head injury. 

When the doctor left the room, she opened her eyes to face her parents. Tim and Shelly Holden owned an antique shop in downtown Derry, New Hampshire. They had closed the business for the day to rush down to Boston. Although she was an only child, it was expensive for them to send her to a private college, but her mom wanted her to have more to look forward to than taking over the family business. 

“Delaney, baby, how are you feeling? Do I need to call the doctor back? He could check your head again, or give you some more pain medication.” Her dad brushed back her bangs like he did when she was young, avoiding the bandage on the left side of her head. The momentary feeling of safety smoothed out the jitters that still ran through her body. 

“No, don’t bother the doctor.” Laney pushed back with her hands to prop her body up on the pillow. 

“Let me help you.” Her mom fluffed the pillow to support her lower back, which ached from a fresh bruise. Sore spots sprouted in other areas of her body making her head fracture feel less severe. 

“Shelly, I told you if she went to a school close to Boston something like this would happen. The city is full of murderers and thieves.” Her dad bent over and kissed her head as he said the last words. “Hardly a place for my princess. I’m sure it’s not too late to transfer to the University of New Hampshire.” 

“FYI, Dad,” Laney spit the words out, “I’m a grown-up! You’re just going to have to get used to it. Besides, I would’ve been fine if it weren’t for . . .” The words stuck to her tongue. She’d already said far too much. 

“If it weren’t for what?” His dark blue eyes pierced through her and for a moment she was afraid he could hear her thoughts. 

“Um . . . if it weren’t for that step I tripped over. You see I was racing Jason, and the step just reached up and tripped me. It gave that guy time to grab my backpack.” 

“We know what happened.” Her dad sighed, leaning back in his chair. “Jason told us the whole story when we arrived at the hospital.” Tim ran his hand through his dark hair. “It’s all his fault, you know.” 

Laney’s dad had never liked Jason. Maybe he did when Jason was young, but once he hit high school he was never good enough for her, despite his academic and athletic achievements. Because Jason’s mom was Shelly’s best friend, Laney’s mom loved him as her own. 

“Oh, Jason’s out in the waiting room, I’m sure he’s worried sick.” Shelly stood up and headed toward the door. 

“Jeez, Shelly. Why do you have to get him?” Her dad’s face was sullen. “It’d do him good to worry about someone else for change.” 

“He saved her life. He ran after that guy and almost stopped him.” Shelly walked out the door, refusing to even entertain an argument with her husband. 

After her mother left the room, Laney’s father reached over to the nightstand and picked up a long chain with a pendant on it. “The nurses took this off when you entered the hospital, so I held on to it.” 

Laney took the sapphire necklace from her father and quickly latched it behind her neck. She wore it like a favorite pair of jeans. The inlaid golden spider sparkled in the light. The necklace never came off, and the realization that she didn’t have it on suddenly made her feel naked and exposed. Her father had found it at an estate sale in Connecticut when she was ten years old. Although he put it in his antique store to be sold, Laney took it out of the case to hold it at least once a day. Her parents gave it to her as a present for her high school graduation and from that point on, it had never left her neck. She closed her eyes again, hoping to avoid any further pressings from him about her attacker. 

Laney heard her father stand up and the bathroom door close before she opened her eyes to stare up at the grid pattern of the ceiling. An ominous feeling reached its tentacles into the depths of her stomach. Before she could explore the feeling further, the door opened and Jason poked his head in through the crack. 

“Where’s your dad?” He slipped his shoulder into the room but kept one foot in the hallway. 

She pointed to the bathroom door feeling a sharp pain along her ribcage as she raised her arm. Laney tried to hide her wince, but Jason was by her side in an instant. 

“I’m so sorry.” He sat on the doctor’s stool next to her bed and rolled close to her. The safety she felt with Jason there allowed her to push all thoughts about her attacker to the back of her mind. The glow of the lamp felt warmer, the hospital sheets were comfier, and the traffic outside on the Boston streets became a melodic symphony. The thing was, it had nothing to do with romance, but a feeling of home and safety that she felt whenever Jason was around. She smiled. 

“Can I get you anything?” He put his hand on hers. 

“Yeah, you can get the hell out of here.” Laney’s dad came storming out of the bathroom on a mission. “And you can take your hands off my daughter!” 

“Dad, stop!” Laney protested trying her best to sit up straight. The anger boiling inside her rivaled her father’s and she wasn’t going to make Jason leave without a fight. “Right now, I actually want you to leave.” 

“And leave you alone with him! I don’t think so. You should know more than anyone else what he’s like.” He moved closer to Jason, and for a moment she thought he might punch him. 

Jason stood up, and Laney reached for his hand not wanting to lose the comfort he brought to her room. “I wasn’t going to stay long. The doctor says you’ll be released tomorrow, so I’ll come see you at school. It’s just that I wanted to bring you this.” 

He bent down and picked her backpack up off the floor. 

Her heart leapt. She’d lost all hope in ever seeing it again. “But how?”

“The man watched you fall down the stairs. He stood there like a statue. Maybe he thought he killed you. So, I took that moment to run up the stairs and grab him. He must’ve felt really bad because he dropped the bag.” Jason unzipped the large pocket revealing the contents inside, the essentials all being there. “Either that or he was afraid that I’d beat the crap out of him.” 

“You don’t know how much this means to me.” Laney beamed, and even though it hurt like hell, she pulled him into a hug. She regretted her actions after seeing her dad’s face turn a strange shade of purple and Jason’s to red. 

Jason backed toward the door and fumbled for the handle. “I’ve got to go. See you tomorrow.” 

 

LATER, AS LANEY LAY IN BED, ALONE IN HER HOSPITAL ROOM, the ominous thoughts and feelings began to grow again. She knew her imagination lost control every now and then, but her THE WEAVER 9 gut told her this was not her imagination. The man on the subway and the thief who stole her backpack were the same man, and he wasn’t a stranger to Laney. She used her words to create a fictional world, a place to escape when the pressures of this world seemed to crash down on her. The book she was writing, her world, was in that backpack, and for some reason Jonas Webb, her antagonist, wanted the book. She’d know him anywhere and he was here to find her.

 

book tour

Hook & Crown|Book Tour

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This photo is taken from my Instagram account afictionreality


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I’ve teamed up with The Parliament House for a tour of Hook & Crown by Nicole Knapp. Hook & Crown is a Peter Pan retelling!

Continue reading for an excerpt and a giveaway!

Synopsis

You’ve heard of Neverland and its inhabitants… Fairies, pirates, mermaids and a boy who didn’t want to grow up. But you can’t always believe the stories.

Elena Hart arrives in London, bound for a new boarding school operated by her estranged uncle. A fresh start is exactly what she needs. But when strange things begin happening, things she can’t explain, she begins to wonder if she has lost her mind.

Until the night a strange girl appears in her room, claiming to be a fairy from Neverland, come to take her to the fantasy world at the request of its ruler.

Skeptical, Elena refuses. But the following night, a young man with strange green eyes appears, and though she tries to resist his charms, something about him draws her in and Elena is whisked away from the world she knows, to a world she always thought was make believe.

But when she arrives in Neverland, it is nothing like the stories and Elena realizes that she must figure out for herself who the true heroes and villains are.


Tour Wide Giveaway

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Prize

– US ONLY Winner – Set of four Hook & Crown inspired candles from Talking Candles and Hook & Crown E-Book.

-International Winner – Hook & Crown E-Book!

Click here to enter the giveaway

Rules:

*no giveaway accounts *must be 18+ or have parents consent *must be able to provide email for e-book


Book Excerpt

High above London, a boy with strange green eyes perches on a throne of deep grey rainclouds, twirling a stunning jeweled dagger in his hands. He scans the ground until a familiar girl walks out of the busy airport. He perks up, the dagger forgotten, and watches her. The gusting wind catches her auburn hair, whipping it around her face. Even from the height of the clouds, he can tell that she is beautiful. But he already knows that, of course. This isn’t the first time he’s laid eyes on her. The girl walks a few steps and suddenly stops, a lost look marring her lovely features. The boy wonders what she is thinking that could make her stop in her tracks. Far below, the girl tips her chin to the sky. The boy ducks, afraid she might spot him. But no, her eyes are closed. The girl shakes her head and presses on through the rain. The boy watches her as she climbs into one of the black cars waiting at the curb. Only when the car pulls out of the lot does the boy turn his green gaze to the sky and rocket up into the stars.


If you’ve enjoyed the excerpt you can click here to purchase the book!

book tour

Wandering In Wonderland|Book Tour

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This photo is taken by me from my Instagram afictionreality.

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I’ve teamed up with The Parliament House for a tour of Wanderling in Wonderland by Aislinn Honeycutt. Wandering in Wonderland is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with LGBTQ+ representation!

Continue reading for a giveaway and an excerpt of the book!

Synopsis

“Lewis Carroll didn’t get it right?”
“No, my dear. I don’t think anyone truly will.”

Far away and down a rabbit hole sits the magical world known as Wonderland. A safe haven for the souls who lived less than ideal lives in the waking world get to experience peace in their afterlife. Jessica is the newest member of this enchanted land, but after eating a cookie that took away her memories of who she was, she doubts herself at every turn.

Jessica participates in The Looking Glass Ceremony to find her new role in the afterlife, but fate has different plans. As the Queen of Hearts takes Jessica under her royal wing, plots of regicide bubble up from the depths of Wonderland. With the help of new and eccentric friends, Jessica might be able to stop the treasonous threats and bring true peace to Wonderland. But only if she heeds the cryptic words of the Caterpillar.

Familiar faces take on new roles in this fantasy retelling with a dark and romantic LGBT twist This isn’t the Wonderland you’ve experienced before, and you definitely don’t want to be late for it.


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Tour Wide Giveaway

Prize:

US ONLY – signed copy of Wandering in Wonderland and an Alice in Wonderland notebook

International – wandering in wonderland e-book

Click here to enter the giveaway

Rules:

*no giveaway accounts *must be 18+ or have parents consent *must be able to provide email for e-book


Excerpt

“I know you cannot forget what Wonderland is, but the days will grow harsh, and it never hurts to have a reminder.
   Wonderland, as I see it, is different than most picture it to be. It’s not as dark, or haunted, or frightening as the movies make it seem. Wonderland is calm and quiet. If I were to give it a color palette, I would mark it down as pastel. Have you ever seen chalk paint? It looks dusty and old, yet somehow lovely and calming. That’s what Wonderland is like.

There are mountains to climb. Some with flowers and some with snow, and there are fields and forests to dance through. When I say it’s quiet, I mean there is nothing but silence. The feeling you get when you’re cold, and on the verge of crying, and there is nothing more you want to do than scream until your head falls on your pillow is the sound of Wonderland.

But, the forests, oh the forests… They are everything you’d want to ask for. You cannot get lost unless you want to, and unlike most forests, you can walk barefoot if you please. The floor is covered in the softest moss, still cool with morning dew, and it protects your feet from harm. The air is warm and humid, making it the perfect weather for dancing. It you’re lost and wish to cry, there are places to hide away. Fairy ponds and cool lakes are scattered among the trees with fresh berries lining the shores. The water never stings your eyes, and you can dive for as long as you want, and the surface will only be an arm’s length away should you need air.

Deep within the trees, you’ll find long abandoned buildings ranging from Victorians to cottages. Some are down to their foundations with ivy and other greens taking over their structures. Trees grow from their hearts, and the ceilings reach down to the floorboards. Others are still in living order with soft beds ready for your weary heads.

You are alone for as long as you want in the forests, and at the lakes, and in the forgotten homes, but if you ever need companionship, the town is never far. Smiling faces and warm arms to fall into at every corner. There are cobblestones, wooden, and brick buildings along both sides of the streets. Alleys and alcoves, churches and spires, bookstores, bakeries, pubs, haberdasheries, dress shops, hat shops, tea shops, and anything else you could ever want line the streets. It you wander through the alleys long enough, you will find a hidden park tucked away in the corner along the brick wall guarding the townspeople from nothing for nothing can hurt you in Wonderland.

The park is simple with a tall tree for climbing or shade, the greenest and softest grass for picnics or late night rendezvous to stare at the stars, and benches for lovers to sit on. There is a long table sitting off to the left side of the park with many chairs of varying styles and sizes, usually sitting unattended. Attached to the tree and the buildings before the park is a string of lit paper lanterns. They have never flickered in all the history of Wonderland.

The rest of the world has more ruins for exploring, with castles made from pearl and crystal. Some have moonstone and opal, and others are made from cold stones without a glow. There are crashing oceans full of beasts thought to be mythical or extinct. There are places deep in the southern woods darker than the northern woods, yet not as dark as the ones in films.

In those woods, there are faeries, fauns, fawns, mermaids, pixies, and whispers where the cold sets in, and one can sleep to forget themselves and their troubles.

The faeries and pixies soothe your mind with dance and song while the mermaids invite you to swim and play in their icy cold waters while they caress your body.

But, they cannot hurt you.

Nothing can hurt you in Wonderland.

Wonderland is where you go to heal, forget, and feel at home again. This is what my Wonderland is. It changes for every soul who goes there, but it shall always be for you.”


If you’ve enjoyed the excerpt you can purchase the book here.

book tour

She’s Powerful Trouble|Book Tour

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This featured picture is taken by me from my Instagram afictionreality

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I’ve teamed up with The Parliament House for a tour of She’s Powerful Trouble by Taylor Hartley. She’s Powerful Trouble is about a girl who was born with an evil power and her struggle to control it so doesn’t expose herself and her whole Coven.

Continue reading for a giveaway and an excerpt of the book!

Synopsis

The Mothers of Mariah Stark’s Coven insist she possesses an evil power. Mariah’s attempts to pull flowers from the Earth or heal injuries result in killing fields of crops and scorching flesh instead. Called away by a prophecy, the young witch learns she must cloak her magic to protect her Sisters and their secret. But despite her best efforts, Mariah fails at maintaining a low profile in Wicker Creek, North Carolina. Now, as Mariah navigates her senior year of high school, vicious town darling Shelley Stallings and her minions seek to reveal Mariah for the witch they believe her to be. Such exposure could ruin the magical world—if Mariah doesn’t destroy it first.

While Finn Shepherd may not have magical powers, he’s on his own path to self-destruction. Struggling to cope with his father’s death, he abandons his passions for swimming and sketching and seeks solace in drugs, pissing away his chances at graphic design school as he lashes out at the people who love him most. His tunnel-vision blinds him—so he never sees Mariah coming.

What follows is a cycle of fated encounters. Mariah’s powers soften as she grows closer to Finn, and she wonders: is he destined to save her from her ravenous inner darkness? And Mariah reminds Finn of who he used to be and the future he might pursue. But as Shelley relentlessly taunts Mariah, the dark side of her magic takes on a mind of its own…threatening anyone in its wake and driving Mariah to a choice that might unleash a force strong enough to shatter both the magical and ordinary worlds…


 

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Tour Wide Giveaway

Prize: E-Book of She’s Powerful Trouble by Taylor Hartley

Click  to enter here

Rules:

*No giveaway accounts *must be 18+ or have parent consent *must be able to provide email for E-book *This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram


Excerpt

PROLOGUE

MASSACHUSETTS, JULY 2003

The two women dance cautiously around the dead.

“The lights.” Mother Mol grabs Dahlia’s arm as they creep further inside the hospital. “She even blew out the lights.”

They inch through the darkness, clinging to each other out of necessity more than fear, moving carefully around the bodies. The light from the full moon filters through the windows, casting long shadows along the walls. A man in a tweed jacket lies flat on his back in front of the double doors, the muscles in his face relaxed so he looks like he’s smiling. In the café nearby, the steam wand from the espresso machine screams. The outline of the barista drapes over the counter, and beneath her, another body lies curled like a sleeping child. Entire families slump against each other in the waiting rooms. The nurse behind the admit desk stares straight up at the ceiling, seeing nothing.

The women expected the usual two corpses. Nothing like this.  

“We should leave, Sister,” Mol says. “The power to do something like this…the girl’s evil.”   

“What about ancient duty and dying breeds?” Dahlia tenses beside her. “If we don’t protect her, who will?”  

“She isn’t like us.” The grip on her arm tightens. “Look around you, child.”
“I’m not a child anymore, Mother Mol,” Dahlia hisses. “But when you found me all those years ago, do you remember what you told me? You said I could fix the evil things I’d done. And this girl, she deserves that same chance, don’t you think?”

That fact is written on Dahlia’s bones. Pushing past Mol, she closes her eyes and lets the magic wake inside her, lets it pulse and spiral through the air, searching.

“Where are you, lady?” The words come out of her mouth and surprise her.

Mother Mol huffs beside her. “Novices.”

“There.”

Dahlia feels the baby’s fear well up inside her own body: how dark everything is, and how lonely. She’s close, on the second floor maybe. The elevator on the far wall doesn’t work; the girl’s short-circuited the entire building. Dahlia cocks her head at Mol, and together they head toward the staircase at the end of the hall. They tiptoe around the nurses and doctors who lie sprawled on the steps.

At the top of the stairs, Dahlia hears it: a loud, enchanting wail. Zigzagging around more corpses, she races toward the sound. She’s not sure what it is, only that she’s desperate to hold that little girl, see her and know that maybe the Coven’s not doomed after all.  

The baby lies in the room at the end of the hall. With the curtains drawn closed, it’s impossible to see anything, so Dahlia flicks her wrist, and the fabric draws apart to let the moonlight in.

The child’s father lies draped over the foot of the bed, hugging his wife’s feet. There’s a look of joy on his ebony face and tears of blood in his eyes.

He never knew he was dying.

The mother’s eyes are closed, neck bent low toward the infant cradled in her arms. Dahlia feels the sob sitting in her chest and lets it go. She thought this part would be easy, she’d heard about it so many times. But this mother wanted so badly to kiss her beautiful daughter, who cries like she has four lungs instead of two, and it doesn’t make sense. Dahlia bends down slowly and touches her lips to the mother’s forehead.

“Rest well,” she says, pressing her forehead against the woman’s. Her skin is cold. “We’ll take care of her.”

She hears Mol moving behind her as she bends her knees and takes the child in her arms.  

“Sister, we cannot take her with us,” Mol says. It’s the first time Dahlia’s ever heard her frightened. “I’ve never seen this kind of carnage before, and I’ve seen terrible things. This isn’t natural. This child is our end. I know it.”

“Why would nature give us something we don’t need?” Dahlia asks, eyes fixed on the girl. Her grey eyes spark in the light. “If we let her die, we violate every law we swear to live by, don’t we? I can’t do that again. I won’t.”

“She could kill us all,” Mol says. “There’s no way to know what she’s capable of…”

Dahlia looks into the girl’s face, and the baby hiccups and turns her face away. Dahlia steadies herself and looks back at Mol just as the sirens start to blare in the distance.

“Unless we take her with us.”

* * *

NORTH CAROLINA, 2019

Mother Mol started telling me the story of my birth when I was like four. I blew out my birthday candles, and then she just hit me with that little nugget of knowledge. She wanted to ensure I knew that I’m the dark, evil force that might just kill us all.

“There’s only ever been one other witch born with a power like yours, and she nearly destroyed the Coven,” she said. “So, you must remain vigilant.”

And that was it, the end of the story.

Then when I was seven, I met that witch face-to-face. I mean, not really, because she’s like super dead, but pretty much. We were in the Gathering Room, just me and Airi and Amana practicing with Mother Calista, trying to levitate books, when I suddenly felt a freaking pipe organ going off inside my chest, and then the entire room evaporated.

This darkness swallowed me, and I was falling, falling through total and complete nothing. Then, I slammed into the ground, and all I could see was a woman, red hair billowing around her like we were underwater or in some kind of fluid dimension or something. Her green eyes flashed, and her grey gown flowed behind her as she walked toward me. As she stooped down and brought her face to mine, her name bloomed in my mind: Eurydice.

And then she spoke, and her voice echoed through my head so loudly my ears rang for actual days. Her words sounded like smoke.

“The Earth shall shroud in shadow. The dead shall rise again. In Wicker Creek, two lovers meet, and the future shall begin.”

She looked at me with this smile on her face, and I felt my magic curdle. I felt it bubble in my veins, like she hadn’t just dropped a stupid nursery rhyme in my lap, but instead, set off a toxin that turned me into a nuclear weapon.

Sister Dahlia and Mother Calista (total space cadet, by the way, but she can definitely see the future), said I’d been “called,” said the whole freaky vision thing meant there was some kind of destiny waiting for me in this Wicker Creek place that could “change our world forever.”  

But Mol wouldn’t let me go, even after Dahlia begged her.

“If a witch doesn’t fulfill her calling, nature makes the world pay for it,” she told her, amber eyes blazing. “Everything around Mariah will start to sour, you know that!”

“If it’s a message from Eurydice, it’s better not to listen,” Mol insisted. “Besides, we don’t even know what kind of beginning she means. It’s far too dangerous.”

Then I walked down for breakfast the next morning and nearly set the house on fire because I short-circuited everything. And later that week when I practiced levitating again, the books swirled around the room like they were caught up in this violent cyclone and whacked Airi straight across the face. Dahlia said it was magic lashing out, the universe ramping up to tip us right over the edge because we refused to listen to it.

Mol finally let me go to Wicker Creek when all the windows in the greenhouse shattered  because I dared to open the freaking door. She made Dahlia come with me as my Keeper, to better train me on how to handle my magical shit…and to ensure I keep it hidden from humans, because there’s never been a good time to be an actual witch in this world.

In ten years, I’ve only lost control once. And if you knew everything about my magic…well, you’d be pretty impressed by that, actually.

Mol reminds me I’m dangerous every year when we go back to the Coven for Solstice Gatherings. She swears if I don’t fight like hell to find the light in my magic, I’ll swallow the world. She says power like mine’s way too unpredictable to stay hidden for long.

“If you can’t control yourself, I will come collect you.” Mol growled that at me in eighth grade…right after everything went down in the woods with Finn and Shelley. “And I will do whatever it takes to make sure you do not threaten this world.”

It’s why I don’t tell her about Eurydice’s voice and the way it creeps into my dreams sometimes. It’s why I don’t tell her about the way my magic tore through him and how I thought he’d die right there, right then, if I didn’t pull him back from the edge I felt him tumbling toward.

She acts like I enjoy being a threat to the living world.

But my whole life, I’ve only ever wanted to be one thing:

Good.


If you’ve enjoyed the excerpt and want to purchase the book, click the link here.