This is Book One of a Dark Fantasy series. It contains sexually explicit scenes, graphic content and is intended for mature readers.
At ten years old, Raven was mysteriously willed to be the next ruler of Seolia, a kingdom nestled within the realm of The Four Kingdoms. Orphaned as a baby, she has spent fifteen years ruling over a kingdom she believes she did not earn all while hiding secrets: she possesses dark magic and she thirsts for blood. Now at almost twenty-five years old and with a sudden addiction to stealing life, Raven must fight through her new procured darkness to save her soul, but when a mysterious stranger arrives in her kingdom, she starts experiencing vivid dreams that detail who she truly is. As she slowly starts to unravel her story, what she uncovers at the end of the spool will change the course of her life and her kingdom forever.
Ok so let me start my review by saying for the better part of this year- actually I’m pretty sure it’s been since the end of 2021- I’ve been in the biggest mood for a fantasy romance. I’ve read a few but none of them checked off all my boxes to satisfy that craving. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted but when I started AKOFAF, I immediately knew I had found it.
A world of kingdoms and dark magic, a mysterious (but oh so delicious) stranger, a festival of dreams to start, alliances and secret betrayals within kingdoms, magic that is so unique and intricate it absorbs me wholly, a queendom with a fierce and powerful Queen *but* with a dark secret- like I- I just- to sum it up basically 2% in I let out the biggest sigh of content this year.
Starting and all throughout reading AKOFAF was like the biggest sense of comfort to me. I like to think of fantasy in general as an escape from reality and AKOFAF was that to the utmost highest level in the best way possible. Literally my first note in the book is ‘feels like comfort, a delightful escape from reality’- and that was only 1% in.
The characters- Raven and Zeke to start were just *insert best synonym of my happy place here*- beautiful. Ok. Like beautiful in the sense they were everything I could’ve possibly wanted. Their morals, their intentions, their actions all throughout were SOLID. The side characters- muah chef’s kiss THE BEST. I don’t even know how to explain it aside from saying it felt like the author looked inside my mind, got a sense of exactly what and how I love characters to be and then wrote Raven and Zeke so- I was 100% wholly in love from page one.
And the writing- or specifically writing style- the author has a very direct way of writing that I like to call a ‘telling’ style of writing in stead of ‘showing’. And by that I mean it’s a first POV (with multiple POV chapters) where each character directly states an observation or thought instead of alluding- for ex. ‘Instead of my usual long, ebony hair, icy-blonde locks skimmed my shoulders. “Mm…” I pondered aloud, reaching my fingers out and touching the glass of my mirror on front of me. Frost was typically my most favored form for public outings and the easiest to wield. I looked downright angelic, which was a stark contrast to the demon I’d rather be.” (This is a snippet from the very beginning and spoiler free also peep one of my favorite quotes in the last sentence🔥) this style of writing is very to the point and explanatory which personally isn’t my favorite but I thought it worked perfectly for AKOFAF. Considering the intricacy of the magic and different variations for each character it explains the details of the world so it’s not overbearing and confusing. It worked really well here and made the reading experience all the more better.
Also I just love this and really want to share:
“The Festival of Dreams was started just under one-hundred years ago, when the war ended and kingdoms were recovering from the loss of life. It signified the new beginnings of Seolia and to dream that we would never be subjected to something so devastating again: to dream of a world without malice, without the power hungry royals that caused the war in the first place, and to always stand together for the kingdoms in our realm and for others who felt without a voice.”
To conclude, again- everything I could’ve possibly wanted for a fantasy romance- AKOFAF is it. I 100% recommend, 100% need the sequel ASAP (please 🥺) and 100% I have made AKOFAF the new standard in which I rate romantasy too.
So I realize I haven’t posted a blog post in a while and I thought what better post to start blogging again with than a review of A Daring Pursuit by the incredible Kate Bateman.
The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate, in Kate Bateman’s newest entry in the Ruthless Rivals series, A DARING PURSUIT
Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her—and her family—if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act—the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.
ONE SCANDALOUS BARGAIN
Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs arespectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?
I want to preface my review by saying historical romances in general are my happy place. I quite literally light up with so much joy when reading them. And when they’re an enemies to lovers HR with this level of tension- let’s just say I’ve never been as happy as I was reading A Daring Pursuit.
I’ll be honest, prior to ADP I hadn’t read anything by Kate Bateman, not for lack of wanting but a case of ‘too many books, too little time’. But that all changes now. I loved ADP so much I’m making amends and am currently prioritizing many of the author’s previous series.
I think it was love at first sight for me, I mean it literally started off with the first sentence, “Lady Carys Davies dressed to meet her blackmailer in the same way she dressed for every other social occasion: scandalously.”
And then I read the second, “Her clothes were both her armor and her weapons, and although outright murder—however justified—was out of the question, there was still a slim hope that her outfit would induce a fatal apoplexy in her tormentor, Christopher Howe.”
I really want to add in the third and fourth sentences but instead I’m going to highly recommend you reader check it out for yourself because… 🤌🏻🙌🏻
Carys and Tristan’s whole dynamic and narrative was fantastic. I loved them from beginning to end. I loved their banter, their chemistry (literally leaps off the page 🥵), but most of all the piiiining. When I say I want that pining tension in the books I read, this is what I mean. It was incredibly well done, so much so I was too hooked to set ADP down and practically devoured it in a matter of hours.
I also just loved the whole dynamic of the characters and storyline in general- the feuding families, enemies to lovers kind of thing here is my favorite depiction of it and I genuinely can’t recommend it to enough!
I am eagerly looking forward to so much more of this series ♥️
A Daring Pursuit is the second book in the Ruthless Rivals series but can definitely be read as a stand-alone!
I received an early review copy in exchange for an honest review. A huge thanks to St.Martins Press and SMP Romance for the gifted copy!
If you are not familiar with the Immortals After Dark series, allow me to introduce you to the series that has consumed me completely for the last couple of months.
The Immortals After Dark is a paranormal/fantasy romance series that follows all sorts of creatures part of a world called the Lore (lykae, valkyrie, vampires, witches, demons, etc etc etc) on the verge of a war called The Accession (not to mention an Apocalypse- good vs. evil all the best stuff of course) that occurs every 500 years. The first book, A Hunger Like No Other is essentially the start, or close to the start, of The Accession.
Each book follows a different couple and their journey while also following an interconnected timeline leading to the Accession- all that with an ever knowing, slightly insane Valkyrie soothsayer keen on playing matchmaker, banter that will leave you in stitches, tension that scalds, fierce bad ass heroines that take shit from no one, males that get even swoonier (is that a word? We’ll make it one) and the most elaborate, creative world building I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
Full Synopsis from Goodreads
Every creature or being that was thought to be mythical . . . isn’t.
They all secretly exist alongside humans and enjoy the gift of immortality. There are hundreds of different kinds: from Vampires to Lykae, from Furies to Shifters, from the Fey to Valkyries.
These immortals call their world The Lore.
You may have had a brush with one of Lorekind already. The eccentric billionaire with hypnotic charisma—and an aversion to sunlight. The ethereal waif of impossible beauty—whose fingernails look more like claws. The Highlander with a seventeenth-century Scottish accent and animal magnetism—who can never be penciled in on the night of the full moon.
They walk among us, but they war among themselves. Each faction has its strengths, weaknesses, and age old prejudices against the others. Every five hundred years, the Accession, a battle for supremacy, rages. That time is now . . .
Was it worth the wait?
My journey with the IAD series began in September when an amazing friend of mine decided to host a readalong of the entire series (thank youuu Andrea) and it has been a hell of a wild, marvelous ride.
Just when I thought each new installment couldn’t possibly top the one before, each book kept surpassing all my initial wonderment.
But based off the fact that I was only acquainted with IAD in September (I obviously didn’t have to wait long for the release of the latest installment Munro), can I (as opposed to others who have waited years) really attest to if it was worth the wait? ABSOLUTELY. 100% worth the wait. 100% brought Kresley’s compelling storytelling and invigorating characters back better than ever. And 100% blew my mind to the utmost peak.
Like see this:
“What you want from me is forbidden.”
“But there’s temptation in the forbidden, no?” Golden eyes gone molten, he said, “Let me show you how wicked we can be together.”
“His intensity was like rain on a bloom, seeping into every inch of her, all of her secret places.”
To conclude, READ THIS SERIES AND BE IN AWE WITH ME. Marvel at the epicness. Swoon at the swooniness. Melt at the spiciness. Just- read it please.
Also for this vibe:
As a side note, each book can definitely be read as a stand-alone as every one comes with a glossary of the characters/world/different species at the beginning of the book BUT I highly recommend reading from the beginning to get the full experience. And with that here’s the synopsis for Munro:
A human monster huntress. An immortal werewolf. Could any passion be more forbidden?
The next stand-alone installment in the electrifying Immortals After Dark series by #1 New York Times best-selling author Kresley Cole. Venture deeper into the Lore, fierce realm of the immortals—if you dare. . . .
TORMENTED IN UNIMAGINABLE WAYS
Coming off torture at the hands of his warlock captors, Munro MacRieve never expected to find his mate, or to lose her just as abruptly. Driven to desperation, the ruthless warrior uses his enemies’ own powers to reunite with her—in the distant past.
STOLEN FROM HER TIME
When a crazed werewolf crashes her wedding, Kereny “Ren” Codrina does what any cunning huntress would do: shecaptures him. Yet she finds herself softening toward the wounded beast—until he turns the tables and forces her into an incomprehensible future.
CAN A HUMAN AND AN IMMORTAL UNITE IN ORDER TO SURVIVE?
As danger mounts, Munro will do anything to make her undying, even sell his soul to an evil sorceress. But first he must convince his fiery mate that she belongs with him. If seduction means her survival, Munro will use every weapon in his arsenal to possess her—forever.
Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Game Maker series, and five award-winning historical romances. Her books have been published in 23 countries and consistently appear on the bestseller lists in the U.S. and abroad.
A master’s grad and former athlete, Kresley has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.
She lives in Florida with her family and too many pets.
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.
The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world–one thought long depleted.
This year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, the seven champions are thrust into worldwide spotlight, granting each of them new information, new means to win, and most importantly: a choice – accept their fate or rewrite their story.
But this is a story that must be penned in blood.
Fun fact about me: when I struggle to write a review about a certain book, it usually means that book was so good that I don’t even know where to begin… and I’ve been sitting on my review of All of Us Villains for weeeeeeks.
I’ll start by saying THIS BOOK…. Is the very epitome of all that I love. It had all the elements of a fantasy novel that I adore: the greyest of morally grey characters all with their own compelling stories and reasons for wanting to win a competition to the death. enemies to lovers, ‘we’re all villains not hero’s’ type of thing, unexpected betrayals, heartache, magic that hurts, ‘only one bed’, and so much more but MOST IMPORTANTLY Alistair Lowe *random sounds of my heart aching and skipping some beats*
I originally thought this was going to be high fantasy but it reads more like an urban fantasy with an interesting, complex magic system that entails high magick, curses that bite back if done wrong, and significant landmarks/relics. It honestly blows my mind how intricate it all is.
All of Us Villains is very much hunger games-esque in terms of competitors having to kill each other (there might be a few in love with each other) until only one remains standing, competitors have the opportunity to win over sponsors (but in this case they’re winning over curses and spells), that overwhelming, consuming feeling of your nerves getting frayed and you’re literally anxiously hanging on to the edge of your seat, and a really foreboding sense of it’s not going to end well.
I also absolutely LOVED the dynamics between the characters. It was just… everything I could’ve wanted. I’m not going into specifics because I don’t want to spoil anything but seriously just read it, it’s fantastic.
And with the way this ended, guaranteed you’re going to be just like me miserably aching for the sequel 😭
Thank you to TorTeen for the early copy in exchange for an honest review!
Perfect for readers of The Hazel Wood and The Night Circus, this lush and layered story about magic and the captivating power of dreams is delivered with acclaimed author Rebecca Ross’s signature exquisite style.
A curse plagues the realm of Azenor—during each new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians, who serve as territory wardens, stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians challenge her, she is unwittingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she secretly gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets begin to rise. Clementine must unite with her rival to fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again- Rebecca Ross is QUEEN of the fantasy world, her world building is not only one of the best I’ve seen in aspects of introducing it in the story in a way that builds intrigue and fascination but her fantasy tales are also some of the most creative and unique that I’ve ever read about.
This specific world of dreams and magicians is intricately lush and complex. Clementine’s world is one I am desperately in love with. Fusing mystery, magic, and court intrigue unlike any other I’ve seen was only the beginning of this captivating story. Add to that an agonizing, tension filled slow burn enemies to lovers, phenomenal engaging writing, and a story within a story that had me at a chokehold- I introduce you to the one of the best fantasies of the year.
If you’re like me and the dream world is your happy place, then look no further than Dreams Lie Beneath where dreams are a rarity and nightmares come to life to be defeated.
My only complaint is that this is a stand-alone and I’d love to read more from this world, it’s one that I severely don’t want to let go of!
A huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early audio version to listen to.
A huge thanks to FierceReads for having me a part of the blog tour for Marissa Meyer’s latest release Gilded.
Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller’s daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.
Or so everyone believes.
When one of Serilda’s outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn’t meant to be part of the bargain.
Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.
“Sometimes superstitions are all that we have been given by the gods in order to make sense of our world. Superstitions … and stories.”
So here’s the thing regarding my feelings about Marissa Meyer: I love her. When it comes to storytelling she can do no wrong. When it comes to fairytale retellings she excels. When it comes to writing and voice she weaves and enchants. And Gilded was no exception.
I went into it without reading the synopsis, because honestly it’s Marissa, she’s an all time fave and I really don’t need a preview of what’s to come as I know it’s going to be epic. And epic ‘twas was.
If you’re as obsessed with dark fairytales as I am then this is the one for you. With vivid descriptions of imagery that’s lush and atmospheric and a character with a knack for vibrant and rich storytelling- I was already in love.
Then we met the Erlking, with all that he entails, and Gild and slowly started the becoming of what is now my favorite Marissa Meyer book to date.
If it wasn’t the intoxicating atmosphere of the novel, then it was surely the charismatic and alluring characters, but if it wasn’t them, then it was the absolutely witty and hysterical dialogue that had me cackling- and if it wasn’t that then it was surely the bewitching storytelling.
All this to say, I absolutely adore Gilded and hope everyone is just as obsessed with it as I am. I will leave you with two of my favorite snippets of dialogue (spoiler free) and some book aesthetics to hopefully convince you to read Gilded sooner than later.
“So. The Erlking brought a mortal to the castle and locked her up. A bunch of straw, a spinning wheel. Easy enough to guess what he wants.” “Indeed. He wants some straw baskets for storing all the yarn that’s going to be spun on this wheel. I think he means to take up knitting.” “He does need a hobby,” said the boy. “One can only go around kidnapping people and butchering magical creatures for so many centuries before it gets tiresome.”
Arriving at some internal decision, the boy gave a firm nod. “Right then.” He reached for her again. This time, when he took hold of Serilda’s arms, it was determined and quick as he forcefully shifted her body two steps to the side. She squeaked, in danger of losing her balance when he released her. “What—”“I told you,” he interrupted. “You’re in my way. Please and thank you.” “That isn’t how those words work.”
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
I have sat on my review of Iron Widow for an entire month now and I still don’t think I have the words to describe the epicness that is Iron Widow.
It is the feminist book, not a but THE and is my standout book of 2021 (and I know I’ve said that a lot about other books this year but this is it- this is the one).
Zetian is who I want to be when I grow up (I say this at 25 but still). There are so few characters that truly inspire me, I might fall in love with many and have my favorites but very few of them give me courage to stand up, grind my fears to dust and kick the patriarchy where the light don’t shine but Zetian is one of them.
What I especially loved bout reading from Zetian’s POV was her thought process unfold- whatever awaited her or whatever obstacle she had to handle she would be hesitant but then kind of break down the situation and question, why- why should she be afraid, why would this limit her? Why does she have to be the one afraid- and to me that was the the most inspiring. We all have our doubts and holdbacks but it’s a matter of how you go about handling them that counts and Zetian is the perfect example of that.
And this world, it just kept getting more and more elaborate. There were bits of information scattered about that just kept building and building and while initially I was just fascinated by Xiran’s creativity, it wasn’t until the end that I saw the full scope of her planning and creativity. I’m still kind of mind blown… and anxious as hell. I’m literally in tatters awaiting the sequel with that cliffhanger.
I did read early reviews for Iron Widow (they were all raving with compliments) and while I took them into account I wasn’t fully sold on how iconic it would be until I saw the author’s TikToks. Now that I’ve finally read it, I can happily say it delivered on every single level of epicness that was promised.
To conclude, this isn’t a matter of should you read Iron Widow but WHEN? And I recommend now because everyone needs this book in their life.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the earc in exchange for an honest review.
USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde returns to the Royal Houses series with House of Shadows: the story of Kerrigan Argon, a half-Fae, half-human as she seeks her place in an unforgiving world filled with magic, mayhem, and romance. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and V.E. Schwab.
Kerrigan Argon, a half-human, half-Fae, has joined the Dragon Society against almost everyone’s wishes.
A year of training is required with her dragon.
First she must travel with the dark Fae prince, Fordham Ollivier, back to his home in the House of Shadows. Nothing but slavery and death has ever awaited a half-Fae in their halls.
But something is wrong within their wicked world. A thousand year old spell is weakening. Cracks forming in the foundation. And Kerrigan may just be their ruin or their salvation.
K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of the Avoiding Series, Wrights, and more than thirty other novels.
She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team.
She loves reading fantasy novels, binge-watching Supernatural, traveling, and dancing in her spare time.
She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super-adorable puppies.
Join her newsletter for exclusive content, free books, and giveaways every month.
While I really enjoyed House of Dragons, I absolutely loved House of Shadows. We delve more into Kerrigan’s past here, get to see the faces behind the daunting House of Shadows, get more world building, more dragons, and more badass, unflinching Kerrigan 👏🏻👏🏻 not to mention that romance 😏🥵 DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT ENDING all I have to say is House of Curses better come quickly before I lose my sanity 😭
When I was informed that Absolution by Rachelle Storm is a thrilling fantasy romance (HELLO where are all my romantasy lovers at??) that is a lover letter to YA fandoms everywhere (Absolution blends together the forbidden romance of Twilight, the hidden magic and secret guardians of City of Glass, and the non-stop action of The Fifth Wave– UM YES PLEASE MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD ALL IN ONE SENTENCE!!)- say no more, just give me the book please!
And if you’re still not convinced, here’s the full synopsis:
Perfect for fans of I am Number Four and Gone, Rachelle Storm’s debut, Absolution [979-8528023656; $18.99; July 2021], weaves together an unforgettable plot of forbidden desire and sworn duty as three immortal brothers struggle to protect themselves—and all of humanity—from a corrupt world.
Chris Harris’s destiny was bestowed on him before birth, just as it was on his two brothers, John and Randy. Not human but the physical embodiment of elemental water, earth, and fire, they’ve been burdened with protecting Earth and freeing the world from the Ultimate Evil. However, unlike their elemental forms, their human selves have desires of their own.
After being hidden away in the remote town of Anderson, North Dakota, Chris and his two brothers hoped that their problems would end, but they’ve only just begun. Now their individual destinies are intertwined with the unpredictable McNamara sisters—Joanie, Victoria, and Stacie—and the Ultimate Evil is drawing ever nearer.
Forced to choose love or duty, regardless of their decisions, nothing will ever be the same for the Harris brothers.
The first in a four-book series, Absolution blends together the forbidden romance of Twilight, the hidden magic and secret guardians of City of Glass, and the non-stop action of The Fifth Wave. Absolution is a whirlwind of adventure for Chris and his brothers as they explore a world more vast, and more dangerous, than any of which they’d dreamed. But now, the nightmare comes.
“Alright, I played along, so what do you need to tell me?” Chris took in a deep breath to still his nerves. He wrapped his arms securely around her waist and gazed into her eyes.
“I know how I behaved earlier was more than inappropriate. I promise never to treat you that way again. The truth is that I left with them because I did not want my brother to cause a scene. Randy is not the most open-minded person to new ideas. My love for you is not supposed to exist. It is a forbidden emotion in his eyes and I needed to get him away so I could explain to him and Dominic what was happening.”
“I don’t understand what you mean by forbidden. Chris, you are an adult and it confuses me how much power Dominic has over you. Are you in some sort of cult or something?” He could not help but laugh at the question.
“A cult, really, tesoro,” he chuckled and she huffed.
“Well, what else am I supposed to think? This guy you never really see can waltz into your life and dictate your every move. You grew up extremely sheltered and were deprived of a lot of experiences many people get to have. The way you talk and act shows me that you definitely did not go to public school and you have all these secrets that seem to keep you separated from the rest of the world. Sorry, but it kind of screams cult.” Chris was about to argue, but he slowly nodded as he remembered all he read about cults and religious leaders throughout history who claimed to be prophets and chosen ones.
“Hmm, I suppose I can see how it would look from your perspective,” he conceded.
“Yep, pretty culty,” she assured.
“My brothers and I are not in a cult. I understand why you have such a negative impression of Dominic, but it is not like that. It does not matter anymore, though, because he no longer is in charge of my actions. You are right. I am an adult and can take care of myself. It just took us both some time to realize that.”
“Because he is your cult leader,” she asked as a teasing smile crept onto her lips and he shook his head in amusement.
“No, because he is my Guardian,” he confessed and Joanie shrugged.
“I know he is your father, but…”
“No, he is a Guardian. They are a Brotherhood sworn to protect the three saviors of the world,” he confessed and she giggled as she shook her head.
“Saviors, what are you talking about?” He looked down and took in a deep breath as he braced himself for her reaction.
“Joanie, I am different and I do not mean in the way that you are different from other humans. I mean that I am not human,” he revealed and she took a step back from him as she eyed him cautiously.
“Why are you talking like this? I just want to know why you were acting like a jerk earlier and instead you tell me lies about not being human?”
“I would not lie to you. I refuse to lie anymore. I will show you,” he said as he held out his hand and her eyes widened when a blue light appeared in his hand. The light glowed from the edges of his hand and flowed through his fingertips like some sort of energy she had never seen.
“I am an Element,” he confessed. A sphere of water appeared and swirled around his palm. Her jaw dropped and she was stunned speechless as he continued.
“My brothers and I are immortals. We each can create and manipulate a natural element. I can create water, John creates earth, and Randy creates fire. We were born to save the world and create Absolution. We are destined to save humans from evil and corruption,” he explained, but the beautiful hazel irises he loved were now full of fear. She stepped away from him.
“What are you,” she asked as tears filled her eyes. He tried to take her hand in his, but she jerked away from him.
Rachelle Storm has been a fandom geek since its earliest beginnings and never stopped. A Black scholar holding a doctoral degree in Writing Studies, she researches rhetoric, music, and popular culture. In truth, Rachelle never isn’t writing or sharing her knowledge with her fans. However, on the off-chance she isn’t working or experimenting with paper and ink, you can find her at music festivals and independent bookstores. Absolution is her debut novel. The second book in the series, Absolution: Revelations, will be published July 2022. Find her online at rachellestorm.com or connect with her on social media (Instagram; TikTok; Twitter; and Facebook). Join the Absolution fandom on Facebook or Goodreads.
“A contemporary, modern fantasy-romance, the story is traditionally romantic and yet feminist, mainstream and diverse, with multiracial characters looking to break through the glass ceiling to shatter the expectations of what love interests and heroes in the genre can embody,” Storm says. “The book is a love letter to the YA fandoms of the past who embraced and welcomed me as a young adult.”
Wanting to write multiracial, diverse main characters she wished would have been available when she was a young reader, Storm’s story shares her message that what we are taught to believe and told we are in the world are not the only things that define us as people.
Absolution is available now at Amazon.com. The second book in the series, Absolution: Revelations, will be published July 2022.
About Pacific Court
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Today I’m excited to participate in the Bookstagram & Creative Tour for I’m With the Banned by Marlene Perez hosted by MTMC Tours. I’m With the Banned is the second installment in the Afterlife trilogy, a snarky, hilarious take on the vampire romance novel written by the bestselling author of the Dead Is series and it is published by Entangled Teen!
Title: I’m With the Banned Series: Afterlife #2
Author: Marlene Perez Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021 Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
But on the bright (if not sunny) side of the debacle, I’ve got a super-hot new boyfriend. And he just might be the perfect guy.
Well, if the perfect guy ghosts you for a month and then comes back to school with a new look, a pack of friends, and a secret. But we have bigger problems.
The Drainers are back. They’re singing a different song, but have they really changed?
Even worse, werewolves’ hearts are being ripped from their bodies—which is putting the people I love in danger. I need to figure out who is behind the murders before there’s an all-out vampire-werewolf war.
No one is going to mess with my friends, even the ones who like to get wild and howl at the moon.
Sometimes, all a girl can do is grab her tiara and start kicking some supernatural ass…
I’m With The Banned, the second installment in the Afterlife series did not disappoint at all. I loved The Afterlife of the Party and loved this one even more. Marlene’s writing is so fluid and absorbing that both the first and second are easily some of the most bingeable books I’ve read. The plot is gripping and the characters are just as alluring.
I found I loved this amazing cast of characters even more in this installment. Tansy is just as amazing as she was before (probably even more so) and such a fantastic friend. We even got to see Rose and Thorn more and I’m a tad bit obsessed with them. I wasn’t a fan of Skylar and Vaughn here but I’m hoping they’ll redeem themselves in the third book.
I highly highly recommend this series if you’re in the mood for a fun, hilarious, gripping young adult book with paranormal characters AND even an entertaining old ladies witch book club. I can’t wait for the third installment of this captivating series.
I was getting better at taming the monster inside me, at least in public, but my gangs would descend involuntarily when I got angry or upset. I had high hopes that today would be fang free. I might even go as far as to say it was going to be a great day. I would see Vaughn, who was finally back from Texas. I hummed as I waited for him at the lockers. We hadn’t talked much while he was gone, but I knew he had been busy training. And a vampire queen constantly checking in on her boyfriend while he’s off learning how to be a vampire hunter? That would be as clingy as Saran Wrap. The warning bell rang, but Vaughn still didn’t show up. My good mood deflated faster than a popped birthday balloon. “What’s wrong?” Skyler asked, slamming her locker door shut. I didn’t want to sound like I’d been just hanging around waiting for my boyfriend, even though I clearly had been.
“I miss sunshine and the water and spending the whole day at the beach,” I said as we started walking to class. “We live in California. Beach time is practically the law.”
“You miss Vaughn, huh?” my best friend asked. “It feels like he’s been gone forever,” I said. No use trying to hide my worry now. “And it’s not like him to skip the first day.”
“He probably just overslept or something,” she said.
“Maybe,” I replied, but I wasn’t convinced.
“You should take the opportunity to remind Vaughn what he missed,” she replied. She wiggled her brows as we took our seats in the classroom.
“What’s with the eyebrows?” “Just remind him what he left behind when he went to Texas.”
I flinched at the reminder that he had left me behind. I knew she wasn’t trying to hurt me, but the comment stung.
“How exactly am I supposed to do that?” Again with the eyebrows. “Skyler,” I chided. So much had happened between Vaughn and me. We’d spent the summer chasing a vampire rock band—and it wasn’t to get their autographs—but somewhere during all the chaos, Vaughn and I had gone from friends to a couple.
Vaughn Sheridan was my boyfriend. The thought still brought a smile to my face.
“Senior year is looking up,” I said.
Class started before Skyler could respond to me, but Ms. Ferrell’s lecture on nineteenth-century poets was quickly interrupted when the classroom door opened. Principal Townsend stepped inside and cleared her throat.
“Sorry to disturb you, but we have two new students joining us today, Rose and Thorn…Assassin.” She paused. “Unusual last name.”
Someone in the back row choked on a laugh.
What the hell? Skyler mouthed to me.
My sentiments exactly. What were two vampire hunters doing at my high school?
Rose and Thorn were identical twins who, at first glance, looked nothing alike. Rose’s hair was pink, and Thorn’s was black. The blue highlights were new, though. Rose wore floral dresses and looked like woodland creatures would do her laundry, while Thorn preferred leggings and leather jackets and looked like she’d hunt and eat those woodland creatures for breakfast. Rose’s weapon of choice was poison, and Thorn’s was her pointy dagger.
I eyed her up and down as she strode across the room; I had no doubt the blade was concealed on her somewhere.
When Ms. Ferrell turned her back to us to write something on the board, Thorn glared at the guy at the desk in front of me until he got out of his seat, then took his place. He shot her a look that was part confused, part annoyed, before finding an empty desk in the back of the room.
“You are not enrolled here,” I hissed at her.
“My queen, I hate to contradict you, but yes, we are,” Rose whispered. She was sitting right behind me.
Queen. Whenever someone used that word to describe me, my body felt as though I’d guzzled about a thousand cups of coffee.
I wasn’t 100 percent certain whether the sisters were my friend or foe. They’d been helpful this summer, but I could never be too sure where their loyalties were.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“In English Literature?” Rose sounded confused.
“Why are you at my school?”
“We go where you go,” Thorn said. “Until further notice.”
“For your protection.”
Great. So now I had two bodyguards I hadn’t asked for.
I waited until Ms. Ferrell had turned her attention to the other side of the room before whispering, “You can’t kill anybody. Not unless you absolutely have to.”
Thorn frowned but nodded that she understood.
They didn’t work for me. They worked for the Paranormal Activities Committee, aka PAC. The PAC ruled over the supernatural world, or what Granny and her coven called the hidden world. They had oversight in every supernatural realm, including mine.
Why had the twins been ordered to stick so closely to me? Did they know something I didn’t? It wasn’t a reassuring thought, since I knew their entire job was exterminating vampires.
“We’re not only here to protect you,” Thorn said.
“We’re also going to train you.”
“Survival,” she said.
I was embarrassed by the relief I felt, but if I was really in danger, whether it was because someone wanted to hurt me or because this was standard for any queen, I couldn’t think of anyone better to help than the twins.
Ms. Ferrell ordered us to form into groups of four and work on a project about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Rose, Thorn, Skyler, and I went to a back corner of the room and pushed our desks together. With the class allowed to talk now, it would lessen the chance of being overheard. I had more questions.
“How was vampire hunting in Texas?” I asked in a low voice. They’d been there with Vaughn over the summer. Maybe they knew why he wasn’t here today.
“Unexpected,” Rose said.
“Unexpected how?” I asked. When a frown crossed her face, I sat up straighter.
“We had to leave a week early,” Rose said. “I did not even get to have any barbecue while we were there.”
“Why did you have to leave?”
“To report to PAC headquarters,” she replied.
“Did Vaughn go with you?”
“No,” Rose said. “Haven’t you talked to him?”
I shook my head. “He isn’t back yet.”
“He did leave Texas when we did, though…” Thorn said. She and Rose exchanged a glance, which did absolutely nothing to calm me down.
Then Thorn clamped her lips shut and pretended to be fascinated by what Ms. Ferrell was writing on the blackboard. Unlike the twins, I needed to pass this class, so I actually paid attention to what the teacher was writing.
“Who can tell me who wrote this?” Ms. Ferrell asked.
I raised my hand. It was a quote from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Having a librarian for a grandmother came in handy.
Where was Vaughn? And where had he been while Rose and Thorn went to PAC headquarters? My stomach felt like it was full of shards of glass. I told myself I was overreacting, but I slid my phone out anyway. I kept one eye on Ms. Ferrell while I texted Vaughn. Where are you?
He didn’t reply. I waited a few minutes…and still nothing.
When I realized Ms. Ferrell was looking my way, I pocketed my phone and pretended to be writing something down, but my mind raced. Why wasn’t he answering my texts?
“Where did Vaughn go when you guys left?” Skyler asked.
Rose shrugged. “He said he was going to head home.”
I frowned. What if something had happened to him?
Thorn gave me a long look. “Now that we’re back, we’ll begin your physical conditioning.” She started going over a long and tiresome-sounding workout regimen.
I exchanged a look with my best friend. My idea of exercise was a long walk on the beach. Thorn’s was an hour of burpees followed by a fifty-mile run.
Senior year was not looking so up anymore.
INTL Blog Tour Giveaway
Enter the Rafflecopter below to win kindle copies of The Afterlife of the Party & I’m With the Banned by Marlene Perez! Ends on October 16th, 2021. Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter & contacted via email by MTMC.
Marlene Perez is the author of paranormal and urban fantasy books, including the best-selling DEAD IS series for teens. The first book in the series, DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK, was named an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers as well as an ALA Popular Paperback. DEAD IS JUST A RUMOR was on VOYA’s 2011 Best Science Fiction, Horror, & Fantasy List.
Her novels have been featured in Girl’s Life, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan. The AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY, a teen vampire novel, will be released September 22, 2020.
She grew up in Story City, Iowa and is the youngest of twelve children. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband and children.