Tag Archive | High Fantasy

The Great Pursuit: Excerpt + Giveaway

 

I am so
excited that THE GREAT PURSUIT by Wendy
Higgins is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Wendy Higgins, be sure to
check out all the details below.

 

 
This blitz
also includes a giveaway for some amazing prizes! So if you’d like a chance to
win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
Title: THE GREAT
PURSUIT (Eurona Duology #2)
Author: Wendy
Higgins
Pub.
Date: 
March 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 512
Formats: Hardcover, eBook,
audiobook
In The Great Pursuit, the
dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy
filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a
princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom. 
One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.
The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized
the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful
Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws
prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.
Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make
peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who
took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who
stole her heart and disappeared.
Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war
against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to
her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are
kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s
best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess
Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war
between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.
 
Grab the
eBook 1 THE GREAT HUNT for just $1.99!

Excerpt


CHAPTER ONEA new beast roamed the kingdom of Lochlanach, killing at will. A second unnatural monster created by the hands of Rozaria Rocato, granddaughter of the most infamous and hated Lashed One of all time. Princess Aerity Lochson’s mind was a blur of piled-up worries as she rushed from High Hall of the castle, away from the frightened commoners and guests who’d come for her betrothal ceremony, and toward the office of her father, King Charles. She turned at the sound of heavy footsteps behind her and found both her childhood friend Lieutenant Harrison Gillfin and her betrothed, Lord Lief Alvi, following. Lord Alvi looked every bit the hero—his broad stature striking, with elk furs about his shoulders and a black kilt to his knees above leather boots. His blue eyes were filled with bright passion and hunger, but those emotions were not for her. They were for the beast. The new hunt.

He had killed the first creature, thereby earning her hand in marriage. The thought twisted Aerity’s stomach with discomfort and turned her mind to the man who’d disappeared weeks before when the beast was killed—the Lashed man who’d taken her heart with him and would likely never return. She clenched her jaw. This was no time to think of Paxton Seabolt or her drowned desires. The kingdom was suffering again—rendering everything she’d sacrificed to have been in vain.

Her eyes shifted from Lord Alvi’s to Harrison’s and found a fierce, protective comfort there. Harrison stood tall, lean, and capable. Never faltering. The thought of her noble friend fighting yet another beast filled her with sharp fear. So many lives had already been lost, including Harrison’s cousin Breckon, who’d been the true love of Aerity’s cousin Wyneth. Half a year was all it had taken to trample the dreams and futures of so many.

Aerity gave the men a nod to follow her. She lifted her long white skirts and moved quickly down the tapestry-lined hallway to her father’s office. Guards and soldiers ran past, shouting orders, fully armed with bows, swords, and lines of throwing daggers strapped across their uniformed tunics.

She opened the door without knocking. No fewer than twenty faces shot toward her. She recognized the burgundy red hair of her mother, along with her aunts and uncles, military elite, and royal advisers. Her father invited them in with a quick flick of his fingers.

When the door closed he asked her, “What is the state of things in High Hall?”

“The people seemed to have calmed for the moment, Father,” Aerity said. “And supper is being served.”

“Your daughter gave a rousing speech,” Lord Alvi pro- claimed in his rumbling voice. “She is to thank for the calm.” Aerity’s face flushed with heat at the unexpected compliment. Then he put a heavy hand on her shoulder and pulled her close. Aerity fought the urge to shrug away. For the sake of the kingdom, she had made a commitment to become his bride, and she would follow through regardless of what her heart wanted, and regardless of the fact that she was certain feelings had grown between Lief and Wyneth.
“Did she?” The king’s eyes softened with pride, and her mother, Queen Leighlane, smiled at Aerity and Lief, no doubt thinking what a lovely couple they were. If she only knew.

Behind them Harrison cleared his throat. “Are we to begin hunting the creature, Your Majesty?”

King Charles nodded, his face lined with anxiety. “Aye. But most of the hunters have dispersed.” Or been killed, Aerity thought with sorrow, remembering the men who’d come from all over Eurona and even a huntress who’d lost her life.

“I can have a message sent to Tiern Seabolt,” Harrison said. “I’m certain he would return with haste.”

Aerity’s abdomen tightened. Tiern was Paxton’s younger brother. He’d nearly been killed by the first beast and had been saved by Paxton’s Lashed magic. It was the very reason Pax had fled the kingdom—using magic was illegal, even to heal. Aerity didn’t want Tiern to hunt again. She didn’t want Paxton’s sacrifice to have been a waste.

“And his older brother?” the king asked.

“Nay.” Harrison paused. “He disappeared after the hunt. We don’t know his whereabouts.”

“Must you call Tiern back?” Aerity asked. When her father’s eyebrows drew together she emended, “He’s . . . so young.”

“He’s the same age as you, Daughter,” the king reminded her. “Seventeen. A man who’s already proven himself in the hunt.” Aerity pressed her lips together and nodded. She could not keep Tiern safe any more than she could force Harrison to stay out of harm’s reach. Their heroic hearts would urge them forward.

“Can we send word to the Zandalee?” Aerity’s uncle Lord Wavecrest asked.

The king shook his head. “I’m afraid not this time. The letter from the Rocato woman stated that her creatures have now been released in all the lands of Eurona. The Zandalee will be needed to fight in their own drylands of Zorfina.”

A fearful silence fell over the room. Each kingdom was on its own with its own beasts to battle now. Lochlanach was a quaint kingdom of fishermen and crop villagers, farmers, that had enjoyed many years of peace. The people had risen together to fight the first beast, but how much more could the king expect from them? It was too much. To imagine this kind of horror inflicted on innocent people all over Eurona sickened Aerity.

“Perhaps another proclamation?” Lord Wavecrest suggested carefully. At this proposal from Aerity’s uncle, the men in the room glanced around at one another, and the hairs rose on the princess’s arms. The queen caught her daughter’s eyes, and they both went still.

The last proclamation had offered Aerity’s hand in marriage to whoever killed the beast. The only thing left to give was the second princess, Aerity’s fifteen-year-old sister, Vixie. Her father stared down at his desk.

“No.” Aerity stepped forward, out of Lord Alvi’s embrace, her body trembling. “You cannot offer Vixie’s hand.”

The king’s hazel eyes, filled with regret, rose to hers. “I have nothing left to give.” With Vixie’s hand would come her dowry of lands. Using Vixie as a prize would surely smother her soul. Aerity wouldn’t stand for it.

“And why should you oppose it?” her uncle Preston asked haughtily. “The first proclamation provided you with a fine match. It can do the same for Vixie.”

Aerity stilled, forcing back the torrent of words that flooded her mind: unfair, poor match, confinement, no joy, no love. She was to endure those things for her kingdom, but the thought of Vixie losing her freedom to choose her future . . . it gutted Aerity. She knew how it appeared to the world—that she’d landed a handsome, noble, brave lord—but the heart didn’t care about appearances. It wanted who it wanted.

“And then what?” Aerity asked. “Who shall we offer for the next beast, and the one after that? Your own Wyneth? Or perhaps six-year-old Merity?”

Lord Wavecrest scowled.

“Enough, Aerity,” Queen Leighlane said quietly. Aerity met her mother’s eyes and felt an understanding there. No one knew better than the two of them how this would crush Vixie’s spirit. These men couldn’t possibly understand.

“Vixie’s nearly sixteen,” Lord Wavecrest pressed. Aerity wanted to claw out his eyes and force him to stop speaking.

“A proclamation offering Vixie’s hand will be my very last resort,” King Charles said, standing taller. “It is my hope that the people will rise of their own free will to protect their families and lands as they did in the last hunt. I will not hinder them with further curfews.”

Lord Wavecrest shook his head and crossed his arms. Aerity breathed a temporary sigh of relief.

“Sire, we should address the other part of the Rocato woman’s letter.” This was from the king’s oldest adviser, Duke Gulfton. This duke had been the closest adviser to Aerity’s grandfather King Leon. His views on the Lashed were legendarily conservative and strict, and he was a proponent of keeping the Lashed lists up to date. All persons with Lashed capabilities and their families were notated in the records and checked regularly for markings.
The stooped man wore a sea-green robe around his shoulders and a perpetual serious frown on his face. He leaned on his cane. “We cannot do as the Rocato woman demands. We cannot burn our records of Lashed Ones in these lands, or give them rein to take over our kingdom.”

A few of the other older men murmured their agreement.

Harrison stepped forward. “What if we made a copy of the list? Then it wouldn’t matter if one was destroyed.”

“I’ve got scribes copying pages as we speak,” the king responded. “But the Rocato woman has called for the records to be burned by sundown. The copy won’t be complete. There are thousands of names.”

Thousands of persons with Lashed blood in Lochlanach. Amazing, Aerity thought. Only a small percentage of those on the list actually had magic, though. Paxton’s family was not on the list. Aerity wondered how many others of magical blood had been able to elude the system.

“How will the madwoman know the difference?” Duke Gulfton asked. “Burn papers to appease her, then kill her and her monsters once and for all. End of story.”

“Here, here!” a few men shouted, as if it were that simple. As if they wouldn’t have done it by now if they could.

The king’s jaw was set. “I have a terrible feeling this woman has eyes and ears everywhere.”

The room quieted and a sense of unease spread as heads turned and everyone eyed the others present. Her father’s council was a small group of family and a mere handful of wise advisers, all landowners, who’d been loyal to the kingdom since her grandfather ruled. She couldn’t imagine this group being compromised.

“With all due respect, gentlemen,” Lord Alvi said to the room, “we will find every beast and even Rocato herself, but we cannot guarantee immediate success. The last hunt took two months.”

“Aye,” Harrison added. “And she’s threatening to kill seven men each week.”

“You’ll have to work faster this time,” Duke Gulfton told them.

The room tensed. During the last hunt they’d had a hundred men. They’d sought the monster nearly ten hours a night and spent the days scouting and preparing. The lands of Lochlanach stretched far and wide. Yet people like Duke Gulfton were expecting a miracle of the sea.

Queen Leighlane cleared her throat. “The fact of the matter is that we’re going to have to at least put on a show of honoring her wishes. We need to buy time as we plan.”

Another elder, Duke Streamson, asked, “What are you proposing, Your Highness? Rocato is demanding that all Lashed be allowed to freely work magic.”

Magic that wasn’t all bad, Aerity thought. Magic that had saved Tiern and could save others. If only she could get them to embrace that.

“I have an idea.” Aerity’s brain whirred as all eyes turned to her. “What if we set up a public area just outside the royal lands and invited Lashed from throughout the kingdom to come, and any Unlashed who wishes to seek their healing can receive it?”

Duke Streamson made a choking sound. “Round up the people of Rocato to turn against us in one place? That’s precisely what she wants!”

Aerity rushed on. “I don’t believe all Lashed are ‘her people.’ The entire area would be heavily guarded so that if any Lashed got out of line, they could be dealt with immediately.” The old dukes scoffed at her.

One of the military advisers stepped forward. “Our numbers are not as large as they once were. Our troop sizes have been modest in the past fifty years. I’ve got to keep men patrolling the seas and borders, and we’ve lost many in the past months. I worry that a large-scale showing of the Lashed will bring crowds.”

The room broke out into fervent debate. Those who were against Aerity’s idea were adamant, passionate in their fears. Those in favor seemed on weak, shaky ground.

“Given permission to put their hands on innocent people, it could be a massacre!”

“What if the Lashed overwhelm our guards?”

“They’ll rise up throughout the lands!”

“. . . commoner revolts . . . war . . .”

Aerity felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Harrison, his light brown eyes showing the never-faltering respect he seemed to hold for her. She gave his hand a quick squeeze of gratitude before he released her. Aerity caught Lord Alvi watching the exchange with curiosity, so she turned her gaze forward again—she would let him think what he wanted.

“Enough!” King Charles’s voice silenced the room. “I will think on it. I must put safety first. I’m not ready to overturn our laws—” Aerity opened her mouth to argue that she wasn’t suggesting a complete overturn, but a one-time, enclosed, secure circumstance. Her father held up a hand to stop her. “This blasted parchment from Rozaria Rocato is bound to have our people in terror. If I take the stability of our rules away, it will cause chaos. Tonight on the lawn we will burn whatever pages my scribes have managed to copy, to keep Rozaria satisfied, but the original lists remain with us. I pray to the sea this works.”

He looked at the hunters. “Lord Alvi. Lieutenant Gillfin. Gather as many hunters as you can and begin hunting this new beast immediately.” They nodded and took their leave. Aerity watched them go, swallowing a dry lump in her throat. The king looked to his military advisers. “I want every soldier on duty, and round-the-clock patrolling of royal lands. I want Rozaria Rocato, dead or alive.” He turned to his top castle guard. “Send messengers to the other four lands to let them know of our new foe and to find out their circumstances.”

Without another word, the king swept from the room with Queen Leighlane and a line of advisers close behind.

Aerity felt the brush of velvet on her arm and peered

down at the old man beside her. It was Duke Gulfton, his eyes glistening. “I mean no disrespect, Princess, only a piece of advice. In times of fear and upheaval, absolute routine and stability in the law are called for. Any slight change can set the people off.”

“As I recall,” Aerity said steadily, “Mrs. Rathbrook healed your ailing heart last year.” Mrs. Rathbrook was the royal healer—the only Lashed allowed to work magic.

He grasped the top of his cane with both hands. “Aye.”

“Should we not allow the people of this land to benefit from magic as you have?”

He looked down at his hands, nodding solemnly. “Not all Lashed are as trustworthy as Mrs. Rathbrook. You saw the Rocato woman face-to-face. You know the evil of which she is capable.”

“I suppose everyone is capable of evil, Duke Gulfton. None of us is immune, Lashed or not. But I choose to believe the best in people until they show me otherwise.”

Duke Streamson, waiting in the doorway, cleared his throat. Duke Gulfton peered up at Aerity and patted her hand. “Once they show you otherwise, it is often too late. As a rule it is not safe to take such chances. Seas help Lochlanach in our time of need.”

As Duke Gulfton shuffled away, Aerity whispered in return. “Seas help us, indeed.”

About
Wendy:

 

Wendy Higgins is the
USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen,
the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish
fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes
full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian
husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.

 
Wendy earned
a bachelor’s in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master’s in
Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University. She is represented by Jill
Corcoran of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.
Giveaway Details:
 
(2) Winners
will receive the grand prizes (The Great Hunt Paperback and The Great Pursuit
hardback from HarperTeen, and signed swag from Wendy Higgins! Plus an ARC of
ROAR by Cora Carmack!), US Only.

 

(5) Winners will receive signed sets of swag – International!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

name-tag2

Have you started this series yet?

Advertisements

Review: The Midnight Star

Title: The Midnight Star

Author: Marie Lu

Date of Publication: October 11th, 2016

the-midngiht

Goodreads Summary:

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My Review:

 

Time has gone by since Adelina has gotten her throne. She has become ruthless especially to those that have betrayed her. She still wants to find her sister who has left her behind and now recedes with the Daggers. Magiano is the one person that she finds joy in. The world is in danger because those with powers were never supposed to have powers, so to save their world Adelina must join up with those who betrayed her and give up what has made her who she is now.

I wasn’t that big of a fan of Marie’s Legend series except for the beautiful ending that taunted me for days. This series, however, has had me on my toes and anxious to know what is going to happen next. I wanted to love Adelina, and then I wanted to hate her, but then I see how everything could have been prevented if Raffaele had given her a real chance to begin with.

Even though I hate these characters at times, I love them so much. Yes even Teren with the wicked things he has done. You can’t help feel for them and understand the way they are because of the factors that the non malfettos put upon them.

This ride was intense! Adelina went through so much with having to try to break herself apart from the whisperers that would whisper horrendous thoughts in her head. I loved the bond between Adelina and her sister Violetta. That bond was everything!!!

Magiano! Oh Magiano is the goodness to Adelina’s badness, and I am entranced by their beautiful bond. There was plenty of action but most of all the emotions consumed me especially when Raffaele performs the test on Magiano and Teren, and you get to read what memories came about.

The ending! That ending was one of the best I have ever read! Perfect conclusion to a series that is different from what is out there!

name-tag2

Have you started this series?

Review: Empire of Storms

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date of Publication: September 6th, 2016

empire

Goodreads Summary:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

My Review:

Okay so this book was everything. EVERYTHING! This series just knows how to get the emotions flowing. Everyone is back in this book except Chaol, and he is absent this book because he is healing after what happened in the last book. I was never a Chaol fan, but I did sort of still miss him.

Aelin – She is everything that I would like to be in the way that she puts everyone first, and you may think she is being reckless along the way, but she is always two steps ahead.

Rowan – Beautiful and lovely Rowan! He is a fighter, and the romance between him and Aelin is healthy and that forever kind of love.

Manon – She is strong and loyal to her thirteen, and the things we learn in this book about Manon were heartbreaking!

Dorian – He is still trying to find himself after everything terrible that had happened from the previous books, but my favorite part was actually the friendship formed between him and Rowan.

Aedion – We learn a very interesting detail from Aedion that was also played out as no big deal in the book which was awesome. Sometimes he just needed to calm down, and he really should be a little nicer to his father.

Lysandra – Love this strong shape shifter and her loyalty to Aelin. Their bond is unbreakable.

Elide – She may not have magical power, but she is strong and smart, and the scenes with her and Lorcan were my favorite! The shirt scene!

Lorcan – My new favorite male character!!! He just needs a lot of love in his life.

There were several scenes where I was like oh yes! The scenes with Manon and her grandmother were absolutely amazing. As I mentioned above the scenes with Lorcan and Elide were my favorite, and I wasn’t sure at first, but after I read the first chapter with them I wanted more.

The action was so good, and the romances were spot on. I know a lot of people have been complaining about the romance scenes which yes they should be for mature audiences, but they aren’t that bad, but I still wouldn’t consider it YA… definitely upper YA.  All these characters are 19 and older, so it is to be expected. Also yes Sarah is doing a lot of pairing up which I normally hate, but the couples that she pairs up are just so darn good!

The ending! The amazing ending! For a whole year I am not going to have one single clue what to do with myself because it is a cliffhanger! On a side note I definitely recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade before this one because the novellas connect with this book!

Name Tag2

Have you started this series yet?

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Midnight Star

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, that discusses upcoming releases that we are super excited about!

Date of Publication: October 11th, 2016

the midnight star

Goodreads Summary:

The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

Name Tag2

What book are you waiting on?

 

Waiting on Wednesday: Crooked Kingdom

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, that discusses upcoming releases that we are super excited about!

Date of Publication: September 27th, 2016

Crooked

Goodreads Summary:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

Name Tag2

What book are you waiting on?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books With A Fantasy Setting

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is Top Ten Books With a Fantasy Setting

I really love a fantasy setting because I can escape from the current world into a new type of world where magic really does exist!

Name Tag2

What type of setting do you guys like?

Waiting on Wednesday: A Shadow Bright and Burning

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, that discusses upcoming releases that we are super excited about!

Date of Publication: September 20th, 2016

a shadow

Goodreads Summary:

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Name Tag1

What book are you waiting on?