Blazing #BlogTour: The Sparks by Kyle Prue

Author: Kyle Prue

Narrator: Jon Eric Preston

Length: 9 hours 14 minutes

Publisher: Cartwright Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Feud Trilogy, Book One

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Honor does not bend. A will of iron does not break. Victory lies within the ashes.

The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. The Vapros have the ability to teleport and turn their enemies to ash, the Celerius have super speed and the ability to heal from any wound, the Taurlum have skin like steel and godlike strength. Centuries of petty infighting have turned the families against each other, resulting in a secret war. A powerful emperor now rules over all, as the families have weakened by massive casualties.

Sixteen-year-old Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin, to please his hyper critical father. After failing his first mission, Neil learns that a sinister new force has awakened. This mysterious new power threatens to shatter the established order and threaten the lives of everyone in Altryon – regardless of their family name or allegiance.

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Limited copies of The Sparks audiobook are available for interested reviewers on The Audiobookworm’s Adopt-An-Audiobook page.

Kyle Prue is an award winning author, actor and comedian. Kyle wrote The Sparks: Book 1 of the Feud Trilogy when he was just 16 years old. Kyle has spent the past year on a national book tour visiting over 80 middle and high schools and meeting over 60,000 students. Kyle is now a freshman at the University of Michigan, studying acting and creative writing. He still visits schools and is a keynote speaker for conferences.

Kyle is the founder of Sparking Literacy, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the high school dropout rate by inspiring teens to read, write and follow their dreams. The Sparks has won numerous national awards including Best YA Fiction awards from: The Florida Authors and Publisher’s Association, the Florida Book Festival, New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, and the International London Book Festival. Kyle also won an International Moonbeam Award and IndieFab Award for Best Young Author.

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Jon Eric Preston received his Theatre degree from Florida State University after returning from the London program. He earned top honors narrating in the Dramatic Interpretation category on the Speech and Debate team, and performed professionally in Children’s Theatre companies and did National Tours of A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, and Othello.

As a SAG BookPAL and a father reading to his two boys for more than 12 years, moving into the booth to record audiobooks was a natural and joy filled progression.
He is thrilled to be narrating and giving voice to the characters for Kyle Prue’s Feud Trilogy.

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The Sparks Giveaway

May 14: Dab of Darkness

May 15: The Book Junkie Reads YA

May 16: The Literary Apothecary

May 17: The Desert Bibliophile

May 18: Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

May 19: Read Day and Night

May 20: Reading for the Stars and Moon

May 21: The Pursuit of Bookishness

May 22: The Literary Apothecary

May 23: Making It Happen

May 24: Lilly’s Book World

May 25: Love Great Reads
The Literary Apothecary

May 26: The Bookworm Lodge

May 27: Blogger Nicole

May 28: A New Look On Books

May 29: The Book Addict’s Reviews

May 30: The Literary Apothecary

May 31: Ronelle Antoinette

Jun. 1: Lomeraniel

Jun. 2: Holed Up In A Book

Jun. 3: A Page to Turn

Jun. 4: Spunky-n-Sassy


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Bombastic #BookBlitz: Lady Of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski

Lady of Sherwood
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

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EXCERPT:

Once the guards had disappeared, both of them riding ahead of the team pulling the carriage, Jemma tried to get situated with a wince.

“Are you uncomfortable?” he asked.

“A bit. Just—if you could—” She gave him a small smile as he obligingly slid along the seat to help her arrange herself. He touched her leg. Her head dropped back against the wall of the carriage with a thud and a noise she couldn’t quite keep contained in the back of her throat.

“Better?” he asked, easing back onto his own seat once she’d let her expression loosen.

“Much.” She drew herself up straight and proper. The carriage lurched forward into motion again, a steady clip along the road to Nottingham. “Don’t make a sound, and we won’t have to hurt you.”

“Hurt me?”

“Can’t fully draw from this angle, but it’s still sharp, and it’ll still hurt,” Robin growled, deepening her voice in an effort to disguise it. With her face concealed in the depths of her hood, and the arrowhead pressed into the man’s cheek, Jemma had to bite the inside of her mouth to keep from giggling at the sight.

“Now,” Robin said, balanced against the sway of the carriage. “Where’s your purse?”

He made a sharp movement. Jemma tensed, heart beating faster even as Robin pushed the arrowhead so far into his cheek it looked like he ought to be bleeding.

“Motion. She’ll get it.”

She leaned forward, and then ran her fingers along his waist until she found the purse string. Sitting back, she opened it, whistling under her breath at the amount of coin piled in it. Jemma met Robin’s eyes, nodded, and hid the purse away somewhere on her person.

“Not a word until you get to the gates of Nottingham.” Jemma could hear the smirk in Robin’s voice when she added, “Distance isn’t a problem—if you stop the carriage, someone’s going to have an extra feather in his cap.”

“I will report you to the Sheriff,” he hissed.

“Please do.”

Cheeky, Robin. So cheeky. Jemma opened the carriage door as quietly as possible. The landscape went past at a decent clip. She vaguely remembered something about tucking and rolling from Robin’s early riding lessons on what to do in case she fell off the horse. She swallowed a snort.

“The people of Nottingham thank you for your kindness,” Robin said. “Do come again.”

Jemma took that as her cue, throwing herself from the moving carriage. Arms wrapped around her head, she rolled a few times, scrambled to her feet, and then darted for the cover of the trees further from the road. A muffled curse behind her informed her Robin had made her own exit—and then an arrow skimmed off the tree to Jemma’s right.

She glared over her shoulder.

Robin, her hood off, shrugged. “Accident,” she mouthed as she motioned for her to keep running.

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Author Bio:

Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend…and any five minutes she can find). When she’s not writing or working, she’s scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

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Blazing #BlogTour: Blue’s Prophecy by Emily Ross

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Blue-COVER-Canis HRBlue’s Prophecy
by Emily Ross
Genre: MG/YA Scifi/Fantasy
Release Date: May 15th 2017
TitleTown Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

Two genetically altered dogs, two different fates. One is Robo, a beloved Great Dane, who is tricked out of the embrace of his human family and then is horribly altered by an evil scientist who rebuilds him with robotic parts, weaponizing the dog for money from the military. But that s not all the scientist does the experiments he conducts leave Robo a genius, almost immortal and with powers beyond explanation. But the horror Robo experiences at the scientist’s hands changes him driving him insane with the sole mission to destroy all humans, especially those who have tortured and hurt dogs.

Meanwhile, a scrappy alley husky sits in a shelter, when she with her blue eyes and tough wolf-like features captures the attention of another group of scientists desperate to stop Robo from his path of destruction. This dog, called Blue, could be the chosen one to fight and defeat Robo. She is also genetically enhanced and left with glowing turquoise eyes before being released to face Robo s vicious dog army. Her mission: save human civilization and the packs of dogs she’s grown to love.

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Book Trailer:

The Author opens her first box of books!:

Trailer Teaser:

Article about the Author on AJC: http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/sci-book-about-dogs-launches-cobb-year-old-career-author/sb0mV64hMbdgkehQUQpxtN/

Article about the Author on Vox Communications: http://voxatl.com/teen-novelist-emily-ross-writing-tips/

About the Author

emliy rossEmily Ross, 13, is a fifth generation writer and an owner of three dogs, Balta, Buddy and Zoey. Her prose exceeds her years, with Emily starting work on Blue’s Prophecy, a science fiction/fantasy book for pre-teens and teens, when she was 10. Living in Atlanta, Emily is also an animator and a skilled archer, and relaxes by playing the double bass in her middle school orchestra.

Author Links:

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Blog Tour Schedule –

May 8th

Zerina Blossom’s Books http://www.zerinablossom.com/    Promo Post

Reading for the Stars and Moon     http://readingforthestars.blogspot.com/    Review

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com   Promo Post

May 9th

The Avid Reader    http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com      Review

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium     http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/   Promo Post

Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions      http://crystalschaoticconfessions.blogspot.com/    Promo Post

May 10th

Fearless Creative     https://thefearlesscreative.wordpress.com     Review

The Cover Contessa     http://www.thecovercontessa.com       Promo Post

May 11th

Adventures thru Wonderland    http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/    Review

Books,Dreams,Life   http://booksdreamslife0829.blogspot.com   Promo Post

May 12th

SolaFide Book Club    http://solafidepublishing.net/solafide-self-publishing-and-book-blog/ Promo Post

Diane’s Book Blog     http://dianes-book.blogspot.com/  Promo Post

May 15th

I Read Indie    http://twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

Shh, I am Reading     https://shhiamreading.wordpress.com      Promo Post

May 16th

Two Heartbeats      http://twoheartbeats.org    Promo Post

May 17th

Haddie’s Haven https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com      Review

Booklove     http://readdayandnight.blogspot.com Review

May 18th

Booker T’s Farm: Books & Nails & Puppy Dog Tales    http://bookertsfarm.blogspot.com/    Review

Lukten av trykksverte    http://luktenavtrykksverte.blogspot.no/      Review

YA Book Divas    http://www.yabookdivas.com Promo Post

May 19th

CBY Book Club   http://cbybookclub.blogspot.com/    Promo Post

Loves Great Reads     https://lovesgreatreadsblog.wordpress.com/    Promo Post

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Ravenous #Review: Magic-Born Dragon by K.N Lee

Magic-Born Dragon (Dragon Born Trilogy #2)Title: Magic-Born Dragon

Series: Dragon Born

Series Number: #2

Author: K.N Lee

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: ??

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Format: Ebook

Pages: 121

Rating: 5

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work and chose to write a review.

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Blurb From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author, K.N. Lee presents the highly anticipated sequel to the #1 bestselling novel, Half-Blood Dragon!

The prophecies have been told. Now, Rowen must find a way to prevent a fate worse than death.

Now, a fugitive, half-blood dragon and sorceress, Rowen must avoid capture from the Dragons while navigating the human realm she’s always dreamed of exploring.

Armed with only her powers of persuasion, the ability to prophesize, and a magic treasure map, Rowen befriends an unlikely guide and seeks out the legendary Red Dragon. If she can obtain the Red Dragon’s power of time travel, she can clear her name and resurrect the prince she once loved.

But, time is not on Rowen’s side. A vengeful pirate hunts her and will stop at nothing to take back his stolen map.

New worlds will be discovered, secrets will be revealed, and a man from Rowen’s past might make her question her journey. 

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My Review:

Um, NO!!! You can’t end it there!!!! OMG, that was awesome!!! And yea, there’s a cliffhanger, and it’s a doozy. But so worth it!! I can’t wait to read the next one. So much is happening yet we still have no idea where this is going. Ok, there’s maybe some idea where it could go but it’s more of just a hint. And it’s all just speculation, there are so many different things at play. I adore books like this! There are hints, a few things come to light but it’s so unpredictable that you don’t want to miss even one word. All I gotta say is “next book… GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!!”

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Author Bio:

K.N. Lee is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. When she is not writing twisted tales, fantasy novels, and dark poetry, she does a great deal of traveling and promotes other authors. Wannabe rockstar, foreign language enthusiast, and anime geek, K.N. Lee also enjoys helping others reach their writing and publishing goals. She is a winner of the Elevate Lifestyle Top 30 Under 30 “Future Leaders of Charlotte” award for her success as a writer, business owner, and for community service.

She is signed with Captive Quill Press and Patchwork Press.

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Ravenous #Review: Half-Blood Dragon by K.N. Lee

Half-Blood Dragon (Dragon Born Trilogy #1)Title: Half-Blood Dragon

Series: Dragon Born

Series Number: #1

Author: K.N Lee

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: Patchwork Press

Publication Date: January 14, 2017

Format: Ebook

Pages: 201

Rating: 5

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Blurb From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author, K.N. Lee presents Half-Blood Dragon, the first epic fantasy adventure in the Dragon Born Trilogy.

*Revised & lengthened with a bonus chapter!*

Pirates, dragons, mermaids. Embark on a coming of age journey that will leave you breathless.

A lady-in-waiting’s job is to follow orders. For Rowen, it is to execute her stepfather’s plan to elevate the family’s station by an advantageous marriage to the crown prince. Intrigue and seduction fill Rowen’s days, but the prophecies that haunt her dreams at night warn her that death awaits.

The taunts of her sleepless nights are realized when she is framed and sentenced to death for the prince’s murder.

For a human, there’s nowhere to run and no one to turn to in a kingdom where power is tightly held by full-blooded dragon shifters.

It will take a stranger from the shadows to save Rowen from execution and reveal a truth full of terrifying potential. It is time for Rowen to find the courage to accept her fate, awaken her gift, and set the world on fire.

Change is coming. So is a new prophecy that threatens the fate of the entire world.

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My Review:

Wow, this was so much fun to read! We know as much as Rowen, which isn’t much. I love stories like this!! It’s so unpredictable which keeps me glued to the pages, hoping for just one more hint as to what’s going to happen. Even after reading the last word there are so many questions that I can’t wait to get the answers to. There seem to be so many agendas and who knows all the players involved, or who’s agenda is going to play out. Plus, dragons, how can you not want to read this?

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Author Bio:

K.N. Lee is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. When she is not writing twisted tales, fantasy novels, and dark poetry, she does a great deal of traveling and promotes other authors. Wannabe rockstar, foreign language enthusiast, and anime geek, K.N. Lee also enjoys helping others reach their writing and publishing goals. She is a winner of the Elevate Lifestyle Top 30 Under 30 “Future Leaders of Charlotte” award for her success as a writer, business owner, and for community service.

She is signed with Captive Quill Press and Patchwork Press.

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Clever #CoverReveal: Ever After by Aya Ling

Ever After
Aya Ling
(Unfinished Fairy Tale Series, #3)
Publication date: May 20th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Kat has survived. She returns to Athelia as herself, Katherine Wilson. Edward, elated at learning she is alive, vows to bring her back to the palace. The obstacles, however, seem impossible to overcome. Marriage between a royal and a commoner is not recognized, not to mention that he is already legally bound to Katriona Bradshaw, who will do anything to keep her position as princess.

And there’s even more to worry about. Due to an uncommonly harsh winter, the people of Athelia have been suffering from inflated food prices, and are getting irritated at supporting the small, elite group of aristocrats. An uprising in a neighboring country only adds fuel to the fire.

Can Kat and Edward finally get a happily-ever-after?

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Author Bio:

Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit ayaling.com

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Clever #CoverReveal: Prophecy of Solstice’s End by Diantha Jones

Prophecy of Solstice’s End

Oracle of Delphi #3

By Diantha Jones 

BLURB: 

Summer Solstice is here. Let the games begin.

Nothing but lies (some of them her own) and deceit have brought Chloe to Olympus for the Solstice Olympic Games. As the Oracle and the special guest of the King of Myth, Chloe becomes immersed in a life of unfathomable luxury, taunting history, and overwhelming excitement. Though scheming and untrustworthy, the gods remain on their best behavior as the tension and anticipation builds around the outcome of the Quest of the Twelve Labors, the deadliest competition of the Games. All seems well on the celestial front…until athletes start turning up dead and a philosopher missing for months returns with a most terrifying story…

But that’s not all.

As Strafford confronts his troubled past and more is learned about the Great Unknown Prophecy, Chloe grows close to another, setting off a chain of events that will bring her face-to-face with a truth that will rock both of her worlds to their core.

And it’ll all happen before Solstice’s end…

Book Links:
Amazon  | B&N | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She’s the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads (A. Star) | Amazon | Pinterest | DJ’s Book Corner

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Blazing #BlogTour: The Runes Of Issalia Series by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

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The Buried Symbol Cover ImageThe Buried Symbol (The Runes of Issalia #1)
by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: May 5th 2016
Black Rose Writing

Summary:

Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten…

Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to an existence below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire’s ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire’s future leaders are trained.

As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.

Brock’s compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, becoming a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.

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EXCERPT:

A noise woke Brock, who sat up to find his clothes still damp. He rubbed the crust from his eyes and blinked to shake the cobwebs from his brain.

Recognizing his surroundings, he remembered the cave they had found to escape the rain. Early morning light emanated from the entrance, shedding light on Tipper, who lay asleep beside him. In the dim light, Brock noticed something near Tipper.

He leaned close to get a better look, finding bones he hadn’t noticed in the dark of night. Near the bones, rows of four parallel lines marked the surface of the rock. His chest constricted as he realized that something lived here, something large.

A howl echoed in the forest outside the cave.

Brock urgently shook Tipper.

“What? What’s happening?” Tipper blurted, sitting up in confusion.

“Shh.” Brock whispered. “Be quiet. There’s something out there.”

Tipper rubbed his eyes. “Huh? What are you talking about?”

A shadow eclipsed the light at the mouth of the cave. As Brock turned toward the entrance, his breath caught in his throat.

Against the light of the morning sky, the silhouette of a massive four-legged creature blocked the opening. Whatever it was, they were in its home and it was angry.

A low growl sounded, its ferocity rumbling in the small cave. The boys backed away, and Brock stumbled when he collided with a boulder near the rear of the cave. He scrambled to his feet as his mind raced. The beast blocked the only exit. Like the banshee attack at Glowridge Pass, they were trapped in a hopeless situation with no way out. His mind drifted back to that event and he reacted.

Brock scooped a bone from the cave floor and began scraping a symbol on the boulder: the same rune he had drawn on Hank.

The creature stepped forward, and Brock noticed the beast’s eyes, glowing an angry red. The smell of wet animal filled the cave, mixing with the smell of fear from Brock and Tipper.

Spurred by desperation, Brock closed his eyes and began pushing with his will. He felt the same force as last time, just beyond himself. Pushing harder, he latched onto it and his body grew flush with hot energy. A storm raged within, threatening to destroy him. He opened his eyes and poured the energy into the rune. It glowed bright red, pulsing as the boulder began to shake.

Brock backed from the advancing creature into the rear of the cave, against Tipper’s cowering form.

The boulder suddenly burst. Bits of rock pelted him, cutting hands held up to protect his face from the beast. The creature leapt back from the blast, dozens of small shards hitting its face and body. It growled in rage. Brock lowered his throbbing hand to see what had happened.

The boulder moved toward the beast. The round headless body of the rock advanced on four legs made of stone, emitting crunching and grinding sounds with each movement.

The hairy beast attacked, swinging vicious swipes with its huge paws. Sharp claws scraped the hard surface of the living boulder and bounced off harmlessly. The beast backed away, but the boulder continued to advance.

The beast attacked again, with little result as the boulder relentlessly forced it backwards. Suddenly, animal was outside, its red eyes squinting in the pale light of pre-dawn. It made one last swipe and then bolted.

The boulder turned the corner to give chase, one leg stepping over the edge, and it disappeared. The rumbling and crunching sound of a small rockslide followed as it tumbled away.

The cave became silent.

“What in the blazes? Brock, what did you do?” Tipper shouted. “What was that thing? What’s happening?”

“I don’t know!” Brock yelled back. He was breathing heavily, trying to calm himself. “I don’t know, Tipper. I had to do something, and it just came to me. I don’t know what it is.”

“It’s like what happened with Hank. You did it again with that big rock,” Tipper said.

“Yeah. I know,” Brock replied. “I wish I knew what it was, but I don’t.”

Brock grabbed his pack and headed toward the entrance. “Let’s get out of here before that thing comes back.”

Stepping outside the cave, he looked down. The rock-thing lay at the bottom of the outcropping, its legs broken off with the pieces still twitching. A shiver went down Brock’s spine.

“That’s creepy,” Tipper said.

Nodding, Brock began to climb down as the first rays of morning sun streaked across the valley.

The Emblem Throne Cover ImageThe Emblem Throne (The Runes of Issalia #2)

Release Date: October 6th 2016

Summary:

Journey on a magical quest to save the world…

As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.

Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.

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EXCERPT:

Cameron emerged from the changing room, unsure of what to expect. The past month had been that way, ever since his first interlude with Tegan. She was beautiful yet bold. Passionate and unpredictable. His stomach twisted in anxiety of what she might do next, yet his heart raced at the mere thought of her.

He stopped in the middle of the arena floor, dimly lit by the late-day sun coming through the glass panels in the ceiling high above. He glanced toward the stands, nodding to Brock and Ashland. Tegan had asked him to be sure to have a healer present. He had found two. The three of them were alone within the building until the door from the girl’s changing room opened.

With her hair tied back, Tegan had her sparring helmet under one arm and wooden sparring swords in the other. Cameron’s heart began to pound as he watched her long lithe legs stride confidently across the open floor. Rather than wearing the traditional sparring vest and trousers, she wore short brown leather shorts and a matching leather vest, leaving her flat mid-drift exposed. He thought she looked stunning.

She stopped just a few feet from him, flashing a devious smile. “Are you ready for this?”

Cam somehow pulled his focus from her body and mustered a response. “I don’t even know what this is.”

Tegan pulled her helmet down over her head. “This is about redemption, Cammy.” She showed a naughty smile, biting her lip. “I’ve had my way with you a number of times now, but not in the arena. Not for real. Losing to you in the championship last year still irks me. It’s time for a rematch.”

“You want to fight me here and now because of what happened last year?” he asked.

She smiled again, holding her short swords up. “Yes.”

Cam stared at her as he searched for a way out of her bizarre plan. Deciding she wouldn’t take no for an answer, he released a sigh and slid his helmet over his head.

“Okay. Let’s do this, then,” he raised his wooden longsword.

She attacked, spinning with her leading sword high and the following sword low. He slapped the high one away with his shield and blocked the other with his sword. Countering with a stab at her mid-section, he only found air as she dodged to the side.

Now caught in the flow of the fight, Cam forgot that he was fighting the girl of his dreams. Swinging, blocking, dodging, and countering all came naturally in a rapid rhythm. Back and forth, they exchanged blow after blow with neither gaining an advantage. Tegan’s speed and agility made her a difficult target. Her ferocious fighting style required Cam to react rapidly with little opportunity to attack.

As the minutes wore on, Cam could feel the hot wetness of sweat building under the metal helmet. He remained poised, concentrating on the duel as he waited for her to make a mistake.

After blocking a swift series of strikes from Tegan, Cam swung his wooden sword low, trying to catch her off-guard or knock her off-balance. She jumped and flipped backward over the sword as it swept beneath her. When she landed, she thrust hard at his exposed side. Cam had anticipated the move, having seen her use it before. Her swords slashed in vain as he spun away with his shield arm outstretched. The shield clanged off her helmet with a glancing blow, causing her to stumble. In a moment of concern, Cam let his guard down and took a step toward her. She dipped low and slammed her sword under his shield arm and into his ribs. He felt them crack as air shot from his lungs and a grunt escaped his lips. Pulling his shield arm in tight to protect his wound, he stepped backward.

Smiling, Tegan lowered her swords. “Got you.”

He nodded. “Yeah. I think I broke some ribs.”

Cam turned to find Brock and Ashland descending the stairs from the stands. He walked across the floor to meet them.

“That was a pretty spectacular duel,” Brock said as he drew close.

“Yeah. It could have gone either way,” Ashland said. “I think you may have some broken ribs, Cam.”

Cam nodded, holding his side tenderly.

“What about you, Tegan?” Brock asked. “That shield hit to the helmet made quite a racket.”

Tegan yanked her helmet off, her wet red hair sticking to her face. “Just a bit of a headache.”

Ashland stepped close to Cam, putting her hand on his bare arm. A moment later, Cam’s body shook with a chill, and he gasped for air. Thankfully, the deep breaths no longer hurt.

“Thanks for the healing.” Cam said as she stepped away.

Brock held out an apple. “Sorry, but it’s all I’ve got on short notice.”

Cam grabbed it and took a big bite.

“Thank you two for coming to watch,” Tegan said. “Thanks for healing him, too. We’re done here now, so you can leave.”

Brock shrugged. “It was no problem. We’ll see you guys later.”

Grabbing Ashland’s hand as she waved goodbye, Brock led her toward the stairs. Cam continued to nibble at the apple, now half gone.

Tegan turned toward him, her eyes scanning him from head to toe. “Nice fight, Cammy. Thanks for agreeing to do it and for putting effort into it.”

He shrugged, continuing to eat.

“Well, I’m going to take a bath. I stink.” Tegan turned to walk away.

Cam finished off his apple as he stared at her backside strolling toward the changing room. The door to the arena sounded, echoing in the large space as Brock and Ashland departed, leaving Cam and Tegan alone. She stopped and turned back toward him.

“Aren’t you coming? Bathing alone is quite boring.” She spun and continued toward the baths.

Cam considered her words briefly before he followed along. He never knew what this amazing girl was going to do next.

An Empire in Runes CoverAn Empire in Runes (The Runes of Issalia #3)
Release Date: April 27th 2017

Summary:

A Long Forgotten Magic That Might Save the World…Or Destroy It

Led by a boy named Brock, a small team of teens urgently assembles a force to confront an army of monsters, one that ravages and destroys anyone or anything in its path.

In a race against time, Brock attempts to train a group of recruits to wield the powerful magic known as Chaos, a magic that he himself is still learning to master. All the while, they must remain vigilant against a secret organization within the Ministry that will do anything to prevent the return of Chaos.

As foretold by an ancient prophecy, the human army must face and defeat their ancient enemy on the Tantarri Plains. For if they fail, all will be lost.

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EXCERPT:

“Good. You’ve got it,” Brock said, feeling genuinely excited.

Salina beamed with pride as she held the brightly glowing stone up in triumph. The other students held hands before their faces to block the bright light from their vision.

“I knew you guys could do this.” Brock said, encouraging them.

“You just need to keep at it. Feeding off raw emotion to grab ahold of Chaos the first time is the tough part. After that, it gets easier each time you do it.”

Salina laughed as she lowered the rock, not looking directly at it.

“I knew I could feel Chaos before, but I just couldn’t seem to get to it. When you had me reliving the fear I felt when they kidnapped me from the Academy, everything changed. I was suddenly able to reach it and draw it in. It felt like I ate a thunderstorm that might tear me apart. It was frightening, yet exhilarating.”

Brock smiled as he shared her excitement. “That sounds right. I shudder to think of what would happen if you continued to hold it in. I don’t think our bodies are made to hold that kind of energy for long.”

Jerome stood. “I want to try again. If she can do it, I know I can do it.”

Salina raised an eyebrow. “Do you think you’re better than me, Jerome?”

Jerome stepped closer, thrusting his chest out as he glared down at Salina. Brock jumped between them.

“Stop!” Brock shouted. “We’re not going to start fighting each other. The Horde is out there, killing innocent men and women. You can’t imagine how frightening they are. We need to band together to stop them, not fight each other over our own stupid pride.”

Despite Jerome being a head taller than Brock, he backed away. Brock could see fear in his eyes. He turned to see Salina step back. Looking to the side, he saw Wraith standing with her ears flat and her teeth showing a menacing grin. Despite the tension of the previous moment, Brock chuckled.

“Relax.” He said to the dog. “I’m fine.”

A rumble from the direction of the wall caught his attention. He turned to find Parker driving a two-horse wagon through the gate. The wagon turned toward the mess hall and slowed as Parker pulled on the reins. With Puri leading Parker’s horse, she and Cam rode in on horseback, following the dust tail left by the wagon. Brock addressed the small group of former Academy students.

“We’ve made some progress today. However, I think now is a good time to stop. Practice drawing the Light rune on your own, memorizing every line. We’ll meet here again tomorrow after breakfast.”

They nodded and thanked him as they dispersed. He stepped away, heading toward the wagon as it circled behind the mess hall. After a dozen steps, Wraith caught up to Brock before slowing to shadow him. When he neared the horses, he held his hand up for her to stay back from them.

“Where’s the driver?” Brock shouted to Parker as the wagon came to a stop.

Parker dropped the reins and jumped down with his bow in hand. The bangs of his dark hair were fluttering in the west wind, dancing against the Orderrune marking his forehead. Standing a half-head taller than Brock, Parker’s eyes met Brock’s gaze.

“It didn’t go as well as it did with the last driver,” Parker said as he met Brock. “I suspected problems just by watching this man’s demeanor. I tried the same casual approach you took last time, but his response to my first question was a crossbow bolt.”

Brock’s brows raised in concern. “You’re okay though?” Parker nodded. “Yes. I saw it coming and ducked. The bolt went over me and then he fired one that sailed between Puri and Cam before he turned the wagon and tried to outrun us.”

“Bad idea.” Brock said.

Parker lifted his bow. “Yeah. I put an arrow through his throat and he tumbled off the wagon. Puri caught the team and slowed the wagon while I checked on the man.”

Glancing around, Parker stepped closer and whispered, “He was marked with ink at his back hairline. It was in the shape of a hand.”

The Hand again. Brock was afraid of that. He suspected they might have an extensive network, stretching far beyond the walls of this compound. He would need to remain mindful of that and treat outsiders with caution until he was confident they were not compromised. An inspection of the previous wagon driver thankfully yielded nothing suspicious. This time, they weren’t so lucky.

“Grab some people and get the wagon unloaded.” Brock said to Parker.

“Cam, Puri,” Brock shouted. “Can you two make sure these horses get food and water? We’ll need this wagon for more supply runs.”

“Sure, Brock.” Cam replied, stepping beside one of the horses to unhook it from the wagon as Puri approached the other.

As they worked, Brock walked away. He waved his hand and Wraith followed. The dark specter of the future was looming on his mind. The confrontation with The Horde was coming fast; he could feel it. He had put it off as long as he could, but it was time to put things in motion.

 

Amazon Buy Links: The Buried Symbol | The Emblem Throne | An Empire in Runes

About the Author

jeffrey l. kohanekJeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota, where comic books sparked his young imagination and inspired fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics, featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.

Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all. His first book series, The Runes of Issalia, began in May 2016 and will conclude in Spring 2017.

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