(BookR) Mask of Shadows

(Buy your copy by clicking on the Picture above)

**I was provided an advanced readers copy for reviewing purposes**

Pages: 352 pages

Cover: ★★★

Book: ★★★ 3/4

Publishing Date: September 5th 2017

My review:

Sal is hard to pin down, courageous, at times vicious, and one of the last of a small nation decimated to save it’s larger, richer neighbor. Raised by the streets and under the sway of a street thug named Grell, Sal hasn’t had it easy. Sal robs a lady on the road, in an effort to pay his due and comes across a flyer that talks about a competition for the position of Opal, member of an elite group of assassins known as the queens left hand. Sal suddenly has the opportunity for revenge, unfortunately, revenge is often unpredictable and never as sweet as one imagines. This is a good fast paced read with all of the intrigue and poison one would expect from a novel about an elite assassin.

There was only one issue for me, I felt the story went farther than it should have and then ended really abruptly. It would have been better (in my lowly selfish opinion) to finish the book with the Opal being chosen and then pick up the rest in the following book (mostly because I read my favorite character was killed off and two seconds later the book was over) It was a metaphysical punch in the gut. If it had been done at the start of the second book, I could have looked forward to the retribution for his death. Now I have to wait for the release of the sequel, knowing he is dead….majorly bummed over here.

Description:

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

The cover and the title of this book combined with the mystery of the title and the fact that it had been likened to books written by Sarah J. Maas convinced me to pick this book before I ever read the synopsis. Once I did, I admit to a moment of confusion. What was trans fluid? Would it have an effect on my ability to connect with the main character?

Find out more about her at :www.linseymiller.com

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(BookR) Do Not Take Your Dragon To Dinner

Pages: 32

Cover: ★★★★

Book:  4/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

 Description:

For ages 3-7

We know you shouldn’t take your dragon to the library, but what about taking him out to dinner? After all, dragons need to eat too! But with firey breath, flapping wings, and pointy spikes, that might not be a good idea! Rhyming text and diverse characters bring the importance of dinner manners to a new level in this colorful picture book by Julie Gassman.

My review:

I found the vibrant colors and the dinosaur to be the main things that drew my son into this story.

 

About the Author:

After graudating from Art College in the UK, Andy began a career as a graphic designer in the video games industry, when it was very much in it’s infancy. He continued as a graphic designer for fourteen years, until he decided to go back to his illustrative roots and try his hand at being a children’s book illustrator. Since 2002 he has produced work for picturebooks, educational books, advertising, and toy design. He has been a finalist, twice, in the “Language Learner Literature” Awards, and has worked for clients all over the world. He currently lives in a small tourist town on the West coast of Scotland, with his wife and three children.

The youngest in a family of nine children, Julie Gassman grew up in Howard, South Dakota. After college, she traded in small-town life for the world of magazine publishing in New York City. She now lives in southern Minnesota with her husband and their three children.

 

*I was provided a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my review*

(BookR)Strange Alchemy

Pages: 320

Cover: 2/★’s out of 10

Book:  7/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: August 1st, 2017

Publisher:  SwitchPress

Description:

Gwenda Bond’s first book Blackwood has been reimagined and brought back to life with new vision. On Roanoke Island, the legend of the Lost Colony ― and the 114 colonists who vanished without a trace more than four hundred years ago ― still haunts the town. But that’s just a story told for the tourists. When 114 people suddenly disappear from the island in present day, it seems history is repeating itself ― and an unlikely pair of seventeen-year-olds might be the only hope of bringing the missing back. Miranda Blackwood, a member of one of island’s most infamous families, and Grant Rawling, the sherrif’s son, who has demons and secrets of his own, find themselves at the center of the mystery. As the unlikely pair works to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony, they must dodge everyone from the authorities to long-dead alchemists as they race against time to save their family and friends before they too are gone for good.

My Review:

This book is, as you can tell from the description, a re-imagining of the first book in the Blackwood series for Gwenda Bond. I have never read any of the books in the series however, and as such will be reviewing it as a stand alone book.

The description and the fact that it was reviewed favorably by Scott Westerfield were among the major reasons that I decided to review this book. Bundled up with the review and with the enticing description is the the fact that the Author is a resident of Kentucky, the state from which I come, and it was just irresistible.

About the Author:

Gwenda Bond is the author of the young adult novels Girl on a Wire, Blackwood, and The Woken Gods. She has also written for Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and just might have been inspired to get a journalism degree by her childhood love of Lois Lane. She has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie. Visit her online at gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.

(Book R) Bite Somebody ELSE

**I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing purposes**

Pages:274

Cover: 5/out of ten ★’s

Book: 8/out of ten ★’s

Publishing Date: June 20th 2017

Publisher: World Weaver Press

My review:

I have to say that I truly enjoyed Bite Somebody Else, the main character Imogene just seemed to come alive in front of my eyes.  Sassy and down for anything, Imogene is thrown out of her depth when she learns her fellow vampire bestie, Celia, has a bun in her oven. Vampires, being dead, have never before been able to conceive.

She is once again thrown for a loop when Dr. Savage- main source for vampire related information and sometime therapist- calls in her hunky ex, Nicholas M.D. and vampire historian, from his home across the pond in London to provide insight into the situation, and he ends up living in her spare bedroom.

 Go buy your own copy for an adventure you shouldn’t miss!

Description:

Imogene helped her newbie vampire friend Celia hook up with an adorable human, but now Celia has dropped an atomic bomb of surprise: she has a possibly blood-sucking baby on the way. Imogene is not pleased, especially when a mysterious, ancient, and annoyingly gorgeous vampire historian shows up to monitor Celia’s unprecedented pregnancy.

Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III is everything Imogene hates: posh, mannerly, and totally uninterested in her. Plus, she thinks he’s hiding something. So what if he smells like a fresh garden and looks like a rich boarding school kid just begging to be debauched? Imogene has self-control. Or something.

As Celia’s pregnancy progresses at a freakishly fast pace, Imogene and Nicholas play an ever-escalating game of will they or won’t they, until his sexy maker shows up on Admiral Key, forcing Nicholas to reveal his true intentions toward Celia’s soon-to-arrive infant.

Bite Somebody Else will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, World Weaver Press, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She spends most days at home in her pajamas as a book nerd and sex-pert for SheKnows.com. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, inspired by her shameless crushon Benedict Cumberbatch. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is also the author of Wolf Among Sheep, Life without Harry, and Forever Dead. Read more at SaraDobieBauer.com or find her on Twitter @SaraDobie.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.

Poetry Month

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In honor of poetry month, I have decided to share my favorite poem:

 

When I compare:

What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(BookR) The Forced Bride Of Alazar

Pages: 224

Cover: 4/★’s out of 10

Book: 6.5/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: May 1, 2017

Publisher: Harlequin Presents

My review:

Johara brings to life the inner turmoil of a lot of women who take part in arranged marriages, or at least the inner turmoil I imagine I would face in a similar situation. She finds herself engaged to the newest (or original?) Sheikh of Alazar when he suddenly regains his memory. It is especially hard for her as she briefly experienced the hope of living life her own way when his brother (the assumed sheikh at the time) married because he found out he had a child he knew nothing about. Hewitt really knows how to build tension between the characters in her story’s and I just can’t get enough of it. I hate reading romances where the man just blows a kiss in the girls direction one time and then she’s his.

This was the perfect follow up to The Secret Heir, I loved that she completely flipped the script and took the second book in a different but similar direction.

Book Description:

Claimed for the sultan’s pleasure! 

Kidnapped decades ago, Azim al Bahjat stuns the Kingdom of Alazar with his sudden return. To secure his position, the ruthless royal must claim the woman who was always intended to be his—even if sheltered yet beguiling Johara Behwar resists…

No matter how secretly thrilling she finds the flashes of heat beneath Azim’s icy exterior, Johara’s every instinct is to run. But Azim will not be denied, and as he shows his virgin bride how intoxicating their wedding night could be, Johara soon finds herself enticed to surrender to the sultan!

About the author:

Kate Hewitt has worked a variety of different jobs, from drama teacher to editorial assistant to youth worker, but writing romance is the best one yet. She also writes women’s fiction and all her stories celebrate the healing and redemptive power of love. Kate lives in a tiny village in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

**I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing purposes**

(Opinion) 6+ Tips for using the Metro in DC

Visiting the capital for the first time and trying to be as eco-friendly as possible? Using the buses and trains to reduce your carbon footprint is a great choice.

Planning ahead is the key to keeping Zen on the metro. I have listed specific tips below to help you navigate your way around:

  • Have hand sanitizer at the ready: People sneeze and cough regularly, and considering the escalator rails and supports posts you will have to use, it’s always good to be prepared.

escalatorWhen using the escalator: Stand on the right, walk on the left (while you may not mind that you’re going to miss that train, for someone else it may mean the difference between making it on time or being late to work

Nothing is worse than trying to figure out where you are supposed to be headed in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle on the platform itself, or worse finding out there are delays or track work along your route at the last moment. To avoid these things happening to you visit the trip planner offered by wmata.com.

  • If you are choosing not to use the trip planner and plan to take the train, use google maps to determine which metro station is the best for your destination. For example: Most tourist’s I have seen always assume that the Smithsonian stop is the best stop for the museums, while this is not always true. As an example I have listed the following museums and the closest train stops:

Air and Space: L’enfant plaza                 Natural History Museum: Archives

Holocaust Museum: Smithsonian

  • When catching a bus: figure out which side of the road you need to be on to catch the bus going in the direction you are headed, you can use the stop id on the sign at the bus stop using wmata.com’s nextbus to see when to expect your bus.
  • Have exact change for the bus: the current fare is $1.75 for one person on the bus. Credit cards or are not accepted, and no change is given.

smartrip

  • When purchasing or reloading a smartrip card at the station (buy yours here), use cash as a LAST RESORT. If the machine takes your physical money, there are forms to fill out and you may or may not get it back. If you use a credit or debit card, any charge that didn’t correctly process onto your card will be removed from your account within 3 business days.

Always try your best not to make it obvious you are a tourist. As much as the metro tries to keep it’s riders safe, there are no guarantee’s. Here are my recommendations on that front:

  • Bring a backpack and keep your camera and museum related things there.
  • Keep your Smartrip handy, not in your wallet.
  • If you must use your phone, use both hands and move toward the center of the car. NEVER stand by the door while using your phone if you are fond of it.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If something or someone doesn’t look right, trust your instinct and move to another car.
  • Try to aim for the train cars in the middle of the train and not the front or the back, in case of a collision.
  • Download a map of the rail system like the one below directly from wmata.com Here.

That’s all that I’ve got for today. You can find even more information on wmata’s Official Riders Guide

metro map

(BookR) The Bone Witch

(Buy your own copy by clicking the picture above)

Pages: 432

Cover: ★★★★

Book:  6/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: March 7th 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

My review:

With a dark slant that reminds me of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, The Bone Witch takes you on a journey through a magical land, with a female heroin who deals in death. (Although she raises the dead for the good of her country, instead of compelling them into the underworld.)

Tea, is a young girl from a small rural village in the country of Odalia. Who is thrust into the spotlight when her favorite brother is killed on a mission for the King by a Deava (an evil magical creature),  and is returned to the family for his funeral causing her to lose control of her power and bring him back to life. Oops. Talk about awkward. 

Character Imagining:

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Tea

(Img Source: http://josefinacs.deviantart.com/art/Geisha-Amaya-284010460)

This draws the attention of the famous Asha Mykaela who takes Tea, and her freshly undead brother to the Willows (Center of society for Asha and Asha in training) as an apprentice to learn her newly discovered and much needed craft. Unfortunately for Tea, she is to become a Dark Asha, who while powerful, are much more likely to be reviled than adored.

I waited for weeks for this to come out after I read the description and I really, really wanted to really, really love it. The thing hurt this book for me was the second narrator that pops up from time to time, causing you to go from past to present without a clear explanation as to why until the very last chapters of the book. Ultimately, I gave this book a rating of 6 out of ten because I have faith that a lot of the things that happened in the plot that kind of seemed off to me (How does Kalen end up dead? Why has Fox completely turned his back on her? ) will be explained in the sequel that is obviously in the works.

Favorite Quote:

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Description:

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

 

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an Asha―one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

About the author:

Rin Chupeco

 Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband.

She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency.

Sign up at her newsletter to receive updates on new books, author events, and giveaways! http://eepurl.com/2VvnP

Now I Rise

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If you are new to the series, you can check out my review for the first book by clicking on the picture to the left.

 

 

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Release date: June 27 2017
Publisher: Random House Children’s

Description:
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

Excerpt:

1.

January 1453

Hell was a party.

At least, Radu was fairly certain that whatever hell there was would certainly resemble this party.

Music drifted like perfume on the air, enough to sweeten but not overwhelm. Groups of musicians were scattered across the island; they could be glimpsed among the hardy green that had survived the winter months. Though the main meal would come later, blue-clad servants floated through the crowds with food-laden trays shaped like lily pads. On either side of the island, the Tunca River flowed leisurely by.

Whatever else he had been, Murad–Mehmed’s dead father and Radu’s onetime benefactor–had not been one to skimp on luxury. The harem complex he built on the island had been out of use since his death, but it had not faded in glory. The tiles gleamed. The carved stones of the walls promised luxury and peace. The fountains tinkled in cheery companionship with the surrounding river.

Radu wandered between buildings painted like geometric gardens, pulled along as surely as the course of the river. He knew it was useless, knew that it would not make him feel better. But still he looked.

And there–next to the bathhouse. Radu was drawn to him like a leaf spun on the river current. Mehmed wore his now-constant deep-purple robes and a swirling golden turban. A jeweled chain fastened a cloak around his broad shoulders. Radu tried to remember Mehmed’s full lips parting in a smile, his eyebrows rising in mirth rather than mockery. The two young men, both having finally finished growing, were the same tall, lean height. But lately Radu felt small when Mehmed looked at him.

He would have taken even that today. But Mehmed did not look his direction, immune to the connection Radu could not escape.

“Truly glorious,” Halil Vizier said to Mehmed, his hands on his hips as he looked up at the new bathhouse complex. Three connected buildings, with domed roofs echoing those of mosques, had been added in the past few months. They were the first new construction anticipating Mehmed’s grand palace complex. It would rival anything his father had ever built–anything anyone had ever built. To celebrate this investment in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed had invited everyone who mattered.

Ambassadors from various European countries mingled freely with the Ottoman elite. Mehmed stood apart, but was free with his smiles and sweeping promises of future parties at his palace. Along with his usual attendants, he was joined by Ishak Pasha, one of his most powerful spahi; Kumal Pasha, Radu’s brother-in-law; and, as always, like a bitter taste that could not be swallowed, Halil Vizier.

Radu hated thinking of his old enemy Halil Pasha as Halil Vizier. He hated even more that it had been his own plan to put Halil in a place of trust and power to keep a closer eye on him. Maybe Lada had been right. Maybe they should have killed him. Things would be easier, or at least they would be more pleasant. That should be Radu’s place at Mehmed’s side.

As though sensing Radu’s poisonous envy, Halil Vizier looked at him. His mouth curled in a sneering smile. “Radu the Handsome,” he said. Radu frowned. He had not heard that title since the end of fighting in Albania, when Skanderberg, their foe, had coined it. Mehmed glanced over, then away as soon as their eyes met. Like a butterfly alighting on a flower and finding it lacking.

“Tell me,” Halil said, that nasty smile still on his bearded face. “Is your pretty wife aware this is not a functioning harem yet? I fear she has false hopes about entering it.”

The men around Halil snickered. Kumal frowned, then opened his mouth. Radu shook his head, a minute movement. Kumal looked sadly away. Mehmed did not acknowledge the insult–the implication that Radu’s wife would enter Mehmed’s harem to divorce Radu–but he did nothing to refute it, either.

“My wife is not–”

A gentle hand came down on Radu’s arm. He turned to find Nazira. Nazira, who was not supposed to be here. “His wife is not pleased with anyone else monopolizing his attention.” Beneath her translucent veil, her smile was far brighter than the winter sun. She wore the colors of springtime. Still, Radu felt cold looking at her. What was she doing?

Nazira turned Radu away from the men and led him down a path draped in more silk than most people would ever see in their lives. It was extravagant, excessive, absurd, like everything about this party. A reflection of a sultan too young and foolish to think of anything beyond appearances and his own pleasure.

“What are you doing here?” Radu whispered urgently.

“Come on a boat ride with me.”

“I cannot! I have to–”

“Endure mockery from Halil Vizier? Try to regain the favor of Mehmed? Radu, what has happened?” Nazira pulled him into the shadows of one of the buildings. To onlookers it would appear as though he were stealing a moment with his beautiful wife.

He gritted his teeth, looking at the wall above her head. “I have business.”

“Your business is my business. You do not write us, you never visit. I had to learn from Kumal that you have fallen out with Mehmed. What happened? Did you . . . does he know?” Her dark eyes were heavy with meaning, the weight of it too much for Radu.

“No! Of course not. I– It is much more complicated than that.” He turned away, but she grabbed his wrist.

“Fortunately for you, I am very clever and can understand even the most complicated things. Tell me.”

Radu ran the fingers of his free hand along the edges of his turban, tugging at it. Nazira reached up, taking his fingers in her own. Her sharp eyes softened. “I worry about you.”

“You do not need to worry about me.”

“I do not worry because I need to. I worry because I care about you. I want to see you happy. And I do not think Edirne holds any happiness for you.” She emphasized Edirne, making it clear that it was not the capital she spoke of, but what–or rather, whom–that capital held.

“Nazira,” Radu hissed, “I cannot talk about this right now.”

He almost wished he could. He was desperate to talk to someone, anyone. But no one could help him with that problem. Radu wondered, sometimes, what Lazar could have told him if they had ever talked openly about what it meant for one man to love another. Lazar had been anything but discreet about his openness to something . . . more . . . with Radu. And Radu had rewarded Lazar’s loyalty and friendship with a knife. Now he had no one to talk to, to ask these desperate questions. It was wrong, was it not? For him to love this way?

But when Radu looked at Nazira and Fatima, he did not feel anything other than happiness that they had found each other. Their love was as pure and true as any he had ever observed. Thoughts like this made his mind turn around in circles upon itself, until not even prayer could calm it.

Radu looked down at Nazira’s hands on his. “The palace may not hold my happiness. But I cannot look anywhere else.”

Nazira released him with a sigh. “Will you come back with me? Spend some time at home? Fatima misses you. It might do you good to be away.”

“There is too much to do.”

“Too much dancing? Too many parties?” Her voice teased, but her eyes lacked an accompanying sparkle of sincerity. Her words stung him.

“You know I am more than that.”

“I do. I simply worry you might forget. You do not have to do this to yourself.”

“I am not doing it to myself, or for myself. I– Damn. Damn, damn, damn.” Radu watched as a man in naval uniform–a sturdy cape, a tighter, smaller turban than the ones worn by ordinary soldiers, and a sash of Mehmed’s colors–walked past. He was accompanied by one of Halil Vizier’s trusted friends.

“What?” Nazira followed Radu’s gaze.

“I need to talk to that man. Without anyone else being able to hear. It is the only reason I am here.”

She was suddenly excited. “You do? Is he–” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.

“No! No. I just need to speak with him. In secret.”

Nazira’s smile turned into a thoughtful frown. “Can you be seen together?”

“Yes, but it cannot look like we met on purpose or are discussing anything of importance. I was hoping to find some quiet moment, but there are so many people here. He has not been alone since he came to the capital. Halil Vizier has seen to it.”

“Your party attendance is more complicated than I thought, then.”

Radu gritted his teeth. “Much.”

“Well, you are very fortunate you married so well.” Nazira put a hand on his arm and steered him onto the walkway. “Tell me about him.”

“His name is Suleiman, and he is the newly promoted admiral of the navy.”

Nazira laughed. “This will be easy.”

She danced effortlessly from group to group with a coy smile and a word of greeting for all. Radu was on the fringes of these parties lately, a contrast to when he had been a shining focal point. But with Nazira on his arm, more people were willing to stop for a moment of conversation. He craned his neck for a view of Suleiman. Nazira pinched his arm, hard.

“Patience,” she whispered.

After several more stops to chat with the uncle of her deceased father’s best friend, the cousin of Kumal’s deceased wife, and any number of other people Nazira treated with delight and deference regardless of their place in the Ottoman social hierarchy, they plowed directly into Suleiman. Somehow Nazira had managed to turn and walk so that Radu knocked the man over.

“Oh!” Nazira squeaked, putting her hands over her veiled mouth. “I am so sorry!”

Radu held out a hand to help the man up. They had never met before, but Suleiman’s eyes lingered on the boat-shaped gold pin on Radu’s cloak. “Please forgive me.”

“Of course.” Suleiman bowed. “I am Suleiman Baltoghlu.”

Radu bowed as well. “Radu.”

“Radu . . . ?” Suleiman paused expectantly.

“Simply Radu.” Radu’s smile was tight. Lada had left him behind under the mantle of the Draculesti family. But Radu had rejected his father’s name. He would not take it up again, ever. “This is my wife, Nazira.”

Suleiman took her hand, bowing even deeper. “They make wives prettier in Edirne than they do in Bursa.”

Nazira beamed. “That is because the wind blows too hard in harbor cities. The poor women there have to expend all their energy merely staying upright. There is no time left for being pretty.”

Suleiman laughed, a loud burst of sound that drew attention. But the attention was focused on him and Nazira, not on him and Radu.

“Tell me, what do you do in Bursa?” she asked.

“I am an admiral.”

“Boats! Oh, I adore boats. Look, did you see?” Nazira pointed to the collection of delicate boats bobbing in the river. They were carved in fanciful shapes. One had a prow like the head of a frog, and its oars had webbed feet carved into their ends. Another looked like a war galley, tiny decorative oars sticking out both its sides. “Radu is afraid if we take a boat out, he will not make it back to shore. But surely if we had an admiral with us . . .” Nazira looked up at Suleiman through her thick eyelashes.

“I am at your service.” Suleiman followed them to the dock, helping Nazira into a boat carved like a heron. A head on a slender neck pointed their way forward, and silk wings extended on either side. The tail was a canopy arching overhead to protect passengers from the sun, though it was not quite warm enough to be necessary.

“This is lovely!” Nazira sighed happily, leaning over to trail one hand in the water. Radu was not quite so pleased–he hated boats–but he shared a secret smile with Nazira. She had done his job for him.

Suleiman took the oars. Radu sat gingerly in the back of the small boat.

“I am going to chatter very brightly, waving my hands a lot,” Nazira said as they pulled away from the shore, and away from any prying ears. “In fact, I am going to talk the whole time, and you two will be unable to get a word in edgewise.”

She continued her one-sided conversation–a silent one. Her head bobbed up and down, she laughed, and her hands punctuated imaginary sentences. Any onlookers would see her entertaining Suleiman while Radu tried his best to keep his stomach.

“How soon can you build the new galleys?” Radu muttered, clutching the sides of the boat.

Suleiman shrugged like he was trying to loosen up his shoulders for rowing. “We can build ships as fast as he can fund them.”

“No one can know how many ships we really have.”

“We will build a few galleys in Bursa for show, so it looks like I am doing something. The rest will be built in secret, in a private shipyard along the Dardanelles. But I still need men. We can have all the ships in the world, but without trained sailors, they will be as much use as the boat we are in now.”

“How can we train that many men in secret?” Someone would notice if they conscripted men for a navy. A few new boats could be attributed to a foolish whim of an immature sultan. An armada, complete with the men to sail it, was another thing entirely.

“Give me the funds to hire Greek sailors, and I will give him the finest navy in the world,” Suleiman said.

“It will be done.” Radu leaned over the side, barely avoiding heaving.

Suleiman laughed at some new pantomime of Nazira’s. “Whatever you do, keep this one around. She is truly a treasure.”

This time Nazira’s laugh was real. “I am.”

Radu did not have to feign relief when Suleiman finished their loop around the island and pulled them back to the dock. He stumbled onto it, grateful for the solid wood beneath his feet.

“Your husband has a weak stomach,” Suleiman said as he helped Nazira out of the boat.

“Yes. It is a good thing he is so handsome.” Nazira patted Radu’s cheek, then waved prettily at Suleiman. “Our navy is in most capable hands!”

Suleiman laughed wryly. “My little bird boats will be the terror of the seas!” He bowed theatrically, then strode away.

“Thank you,” Radu said, letting Nazira take him back through the party, then into a secluded corner. They sat on a bench with their backs to the bathhouse wall. “That was brilliant.”

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Excerpted from Now I Rise by Kiersten White. Copyright © 2017 by Kiersten White. Excerpted by permission of Random House Children’s. All right reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author:

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken, Now I Rise, the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, The Chaos of Stars, Illusions of Fate, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales. Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, California. Visit her at http://www.kierstenwhite.com.

(CoverReveal) Bite Somebody ELSE

AVAILABLE JUNE 20th, 2017~PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Imogene helped her newbie vampire friend Celia hook up with an adorable human, but now Celia has dropped an atomic bomb of surprise: she has a possibly blood-sucking baby on the way. Imogene is not pleased, especially when a mysterious, ancient, and annoyingly gorgeous vampire historian shows up to monitor Celia’s unprecedented pregnancy.

Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III is everything Imogene hates: posh, mannerly, and totally uninterested in her. Plus, she thinks he’s hiding something. So what if he smells like a fresh garden and looks like a rich boarding school kid just begging to be debauched? Imogene has self-control. Or something.

As Celia’s pregnancy progresses at a freakishly fast pace, Imogene and Nicholas play an ever-escalating game of will they or won’t they, until his sexy maker shows up on Admiral Key, forcing Nicholas to reveal his true intentions toward Celia’s soon-to-arrive infant.

Bite Somebody Else will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, World Weaver Press, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She spends most days at home in her pajamas as a book nerd and sex-pert for SheKnows.com. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, inspired by her shameless crushon Benedict Cumberbatch. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is also the author of Wolf Among Sheep, Life without Harry, and Forever Dead. Read more at SaraDobieBauer.com or find her on Twitter @SaraDobie.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.