Crazy Eight: Butter Side Down...

Ah Christmas. The time of year when evergreen trees catch fire, electric bills are through the roof and everyone eats too much and gain a thousand pounds. My favorite! But all of that has nothing to do with this adventure of an ill-fated breakfast.

In the cool morning air, we gathered our presents and piled into the car. Now this wasn't any ordinary SUV, I might add, but one of great value. Something I had been wishing to drive for years. You see, my poor Suzuki had a mishap up on the mountain a few weeks ago, leaving my husband, mom, youngest son, two small nephews and aunt from Florida stranded in the snow. The alternator died, draining the battery in the frigid cold, but that is a story for another day. The car we are going to talk about is a borrowed Porsche Cayenne with an interior the color of diarrhea and mental issues to numerous to count, but it had heated leather seats, so it was fine. We all piled into the Porsche and away we went to our Christmas breakfast with my side of the family.

Christmas carols were blasting from the speakers and I was merrily annoying the whole family with my own rendition of Mariah Cary's All I want for Christmas, when my middle son spoke up. "Mom, I'm done with my toast."

I glanced into the back seat to see a half eaten piece of bread that I wouldn't even consider toast smeared with a fairly good helping of Nutella outstretched in the hand of my six year old.

Quickly, I rolled down the back window and instructed him to throw the rest out into the cool morning air.

"You wan't me to throw my toast out the window?" Asked my six year old.

"Yes... toss it out the window quickly and roll it back up. It's getting cold in here." We were currently traveling at freeway speeds and the temperature was dropping to match the cold thirty-two degrees it was outside. "Just throw it."

My son shrugged and smiled like the wild child that he was and chucked the bread with all his might... Right into the wind. The force of the draft caught the toast, carrying it back into the window, depositing it Nutella-side-down on the window sill.

"OMG, kid. This isn't our car." I flipped around in my seat the best I could while staying buckled, and flicked the toast out the window. To my horror, there was a blob of dark chocolate colored smear on the diarrhea interior. "Don't touch it. I'll clean it up when we get to your aunts house."

Like all good mothers, I believe that my children will listen to me when I tell them to do something. Yeah, no. My oldest chimes in. "Mom, Ronan's licking the car."

I turn around again to see one of the most disturbing things I saw all Christmas. My six year old was attempting to clean up all the Nutella with his tongue, making the mess worse. "I told you not to touch it."

My six year old grinned. "I'm not touching it. I'm licking it."

And that is how we learned that toast always lands butter side down... Especially on Christmas...

#Review - Wanted by Betsy Schow

Title: Wanted
By: Betsy Schow
Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale 
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Summary from Goodreads: In the sequel to Spelled, can Robin Hood's daughter, Rexi, stop the Wicked Witch from finding Excalibur?

Fairy-Tale Survival Rule No. 52:
No matter how difficult the obstacles or all-powerful the evil villain, one can rest assured that the hero of the story never dies. The sidekicks though...they should be worried.

Rexi Hood is proud to be an outlaw. After all, she's the daughter of the infamous Robin Hood. But sidekick? Accomplice? Sorry, that wasn't in her story description. Yeah, she and Princess Dorthea of Emerald have been inseparable since they teamed up to fight the wickedest witch. But if Rexi doesn't figure out how to break the curse that binds them, forget being overshadowed by the spirited princess, Rexi's going to become a Forgotten, wiped from the pages of Story and reduced to a puddle of ink.
Not happening. No way in Spell.
Rexi's plan? Steal the sword Excalibur and use its magic to write her own tale. But Gwenevere has opened a new Academy of Villains in Camelot and danger lurks behind every plot twist. And you know how it goes in Story: keep your friends close and your enemies closer...

Review: Whimsical and alluring. Betsy Schow has created a world full of adventure. As we follow Rexi Hood on her journey to find herself, we meet many wonderful story book characters. I loved Robin Hood, Keto, and of course Dumbo.

Now down to the nitty-gritty. I kind of got lost in the story line for the first half of the book. There were so many different scenes that I couldn't keep them straight. The second half of the book though started to focus more on the adventure and I was sucked into the book right away. I loved Rexi's character. She was snarky and smart, definitely someone to get behind. I got the feeling that she got a crappy lot in life and she was struggling to make it better, poor thing.

If you like fairy tale retellings, you will love this quirky book by Betsy Schow. I gave it 3 stars, only because I was a little lost at first, but that could have been just me.

#Review - Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

Title: Fly by Night
By: Frances Hardinge
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Release Date: May 1st, 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Summary from Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasn't got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is her pet goose, Saracen, who'll bite anything that crosses his path. But she does have one small, rare thing: the ability to read. She doesn't know it yet, but in a world where books are dangerous things, this gift will change her life.

Enter Eponymous Clent, a smooth-talking con man who seems to love words nearly as much as Mosca herself. Soon Mosca and Clent are living a life of deceit and danger -- discovering secret societies, following shady characters onto floating coffeehouses, and entangling themselves with crazed dukes and double-crossing racketeers. It would be exactly the kind of tale Mosca has always longed to take part in, until she learns that her one true love -- words -- may be the death of her.

Review: To tell the truth, I wasn't expecting how this story went, but it was a good surprise. We follow Mosca Mye as she tries to escape her dreary life by hooking up with Eponymous Clent. Clent tries to ditch Mosca at every turn, but the girl is resourceful and learns a secret bout Clent that makes her valuable. With this information, Mosca falls in with several dangerous groups, all who want to take out the other. And just when you think you know who is right and who is wrong, Ms. Hardinge throws you a curve.

I was sucked into this old English world where no one can be trusted and everyone has a secret. Serasin the Goose has to be my favorite character, but Mosca came in a close second. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good adventure or mystery. Four stars for Frances Hardinge.

#WeeklyMenu Week 177

Merry Christmas Everyone! We had a wonderful weekend full of family and friends. Christmas Eve spent with the in-laws and Christmas day spent with my family and our own small family fun. There was so much food. Oh, yummy food.

Enjoy this weeks menu and have a wonderful New Year!







- Tuna Sandwiches

Crazy Eight: The King of Havarti

It was brought to my attention a while ago that I have the best stories and I should put all of them in a book so others can enjoy my tales of craziness. While, I don't have time to sit down and write a book, I thought I would compile some of these stories here for your amusement and maybe one day turn them into a book. Please enjoy this first installment of Crazy Eight.

I really don't know what I was thinking. I mean, going to the store on Christmas Eve-eve is never a good idea, but in my hazy, head cold medicated mind it seemed like a great thing to do. Slip in, get some cold medicine, slip out. Half hour tops, right? WRONG.

My first mistake was entering the parking lot. The store has a large lot where oogles of cars can rest while their stressed out owners wander the isles trying to find that one bag of barely they seem to need, but wont actually use until who knows when, (I actually needed that barley for soup, but someone bought the whole store out. Thanks a lot.) We, and when I say we, I mean my sick out of his mind husband who had just scarfed down a fish taco and wasn't sure if it was going to stay down or not, parked the car behind the Bi-Mart several leagues away. If any of you reading this know that parking lot, you will know that no one ever parks there, but we parked and hiked in.

It took us several pain staking minutes to weave our way through the parking lot where we were almost run over by a snobby woman in her over-sized SUV that couldn't even see over the dashboard, and backed into by a man who wasn't even looking over his shoulder to see if anyone was behind him.

After almost dying several times in a matter of minutes, my husband and I B-lined for the fancy cheese display (My favorite place in the world) to search out the list of complicated side items my mother-in-law requested. We took on this task as a treasure hunt, hoping that we wouldn't have to ask google too many times what something was...

We circled the cheese display like animals on the hunt, looking for that special cheese for Christmas dinner. The area was crowded since it was right next to the deli where people seemed to be picking up loads of deli roast beef. People need the strangest things for Christmas dinner.

"What did my mom want again?" Asked my husband as he picked up a small packet of cheese labeled Picante Provolone.

I consulted my phone. "She wanted something called Havarti."

You would think being a cheese lover, I would know every kind of cheese in the world, but I don't... Ask me about Cheddar or Swiss and I'll tell you all about them, but anything beyond that is beyond me.

"What the heck is Havarti?" The look on my husband's face I'm sure matched mine as one of perplexity and confusion.

I shrugged.

"Did someone say, Havarti?" A man with large, thick rimmed glasses and his polo shirt tucked into his high water khaki pants glanced over his shoulder awkwardly. The smile on his face was quite stalker-esk.

My husband smiled at him. "Um... Yes... I'm looking for Havarti."

"Well, sir. Would you like to try a sample of the Dill Havarti? Its on sale right now for only $5.99, but we also carry the regular Havarti that is still just as good." The man hands us both a small speck of pale cheese on a toothpick.

Now, I'm not much of a dill fan, but I was afraid that the store employee might offer me another kind of cheese that I didn't want to eat, so I smiled and stuffed the Havarti in my mouth. To my surprise, it wasn't bad. It had a creamy texture and the dill wasn't overpowering.

"Now..." Started Mr. High Waters. "I have some other options if you like the Havarti..."

"Nope. The Havarti is great." I gave my husband a look that I hoped would be translated into grab the cheese and lets get out of here.

An hour and a half later, my husband and I were out the door with cold medicine, regular Havarti cheese and drinks for Christmas. What should have been a quick trip into the store, turned into an epic saga in the land of the Havarti King. Here's to all the cheese connoisseurs out there. Cheers!

The Silver Key by Elena Schauwecker #Playlist and #Giveaway

The Silver Key
by Elena Schauwecker
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: December 6th 2016

I'm so glad to have Elena Schauwecker, author of The Silver Key on the blog today. She has put together an awesome playlist of songs that inspire her. Check it out and don't forget to scroll to the very end of the post for the giveaway.

Summary from Goodreads:

“If those bad guys—Meladyne—if they have this Key, they will . . .?”
“Unlock the greatest power in all the universe and enslave every man, woman, and child on this planet, destroying the earth and all life as you know it; there will be nowhere to go but Meladyne. Then they’ll leave the Sunolians, the spirits, and all the magical creatures here to die.”
Alyssa pulled the Key out of her pocket and held it up. “Unless I protect this little thing?”
Alyssa McCaw is a normal fourteen-year-old girl, perfectly happy with her life. But when one little key falls into her hands, her whole world is turned upside down. She suddenly finds herself whisked into a world full of the one thing she never would’ve thought possible: magic. At first, it appears to be a beautiful thing. But as Alyssa and her sister soon discover, magic, like all things, has a dark side. When her best friend Hazel is taken captive by a land of dark magic, it is up to Alyssa and her friends to rescue both Hazel and the world.
A classic tale of light versus dark, this book will pull you into a universe of love, betrayal, and, most of all, magic.

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Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel #Playlist and #Giveaway

Heir of Thunder
by Karissa Laurel
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: September 26th 2016
Evolved Publishing

I have the honor of introducing you to the amazing Karissa Laurel, author of Heir of Thunder. She has been gracious enough to share the music that inspired her while she was writing and forming her new release. Check it out, and make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for an awesome giveaway...

Viva La Vida; Coldplay. 
(This song has to be on the list because it was the original source of inspiration: What happens to a princess when her father dies and her kingdom suddenly ripped away?)

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listened as the crowd would sing
Now the old king is dead long live the king

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Wake Up; Arcade Fire
(This song sounds like it was written specifically for Evie, the young daughter of a god who wields lightning. She’s got to learn to grow up fast, if she’s going to survive, but it’ll be dangerous and full of hardship.)

If the children don't grow up,
Our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We're just a million little god's causin' rain storms turnin' every good thing to rust.
I guess we'll just have to adjust.

With my lightnin' bolts a glowin'
I can see where I am goin' to be
When the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

Thunderstruck; AC/DC.
(Doesn’t need much explanation. This is the song playing in the background when Evie’s kicking butt with her powers.)

I was caught
In the middle of a railroad track (thunder) 
I looked round
And I knew there was no turning back (thunder)
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do (thunder)
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you (thunder)

Sound of the drums
Beatin' in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
You've been...

Run for your Life: The Fray
(Evie spends most of the book running for her life from the people trying to use her, enslave her, or take her powers)

But this house is on fire
We need to go
Oh, you don't have to go it alone, go it alone
Run for your life my love,
Run and don't give up
With all that you are,
All that you want
I will be close behind
Run for your life

Learning to Fly; Pink Floyd
(The song is playing in the background during Evie’s first ride on a Fantazike airship)

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

It’s a Kind of Magic; Queen
(It’s hard to say when this song would be playing without spoilers, but Heir of Thunder is chock full of Magic).

One dream one soul one prize one goal
One golden glance of what should be
It's a kind of magic
One shaft of light that shows the way
No mortal man can win this day
It's a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
It's a kind of magic
The waiting seems eternity
The day will dawn of sanity
Is this a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
There can be only one
This rage that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be done
This flame that burns inside of me
I'm here in secret harmonies
It's a kind of magic

Look at you; Screaming Trees 
(This is Gideon’s song when he thinks of Evie, especially at the end of the book.)

When I look at you I've got a second chance
Really need to have you now
One by one they fall it always breaks me down
The quiet
Cuts me through
The candle burnt
The knife has turned
The pain withers
Alive I know deep inside
When I look at you I've got a second chance
Really need to take it now

Broken, Beat & Scarred; Metallica
(This is just Evie’s theme song in general. She survives a lot of hardships and hurt, and it makes her a stronger, wiser person.)

Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming
Show your scars
Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
Show your scars
Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarred
But we die hard

The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath
What don't kill you make you more strong

Summary from Goodreads:

The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne, unprepared to rule Inselgrau in his place. Weeks before Evie’s ascension to the throne, revolutionaries attack and destroy her home. She conceals her identity and escapes under the protection of her father’s young horse master, Gideon Faust. Together they flee Inselgrau and set sail for the Continent, but they’re separated when a brutal storm washes Evie overboard.

In her efforts to reunite with her protector and reach allies on the Continent, Evie befriends a band of nomads who roam the world in airships fueled by lightning. She also confronts a cabal of dark Magicians plotting to use her powers to create a new divine being, and she clashes with an ancient family who insists her birthright belongs to them.

If she’s to prevail and defeat her enemies, Evie must claim her heritage, embrace her dominion over the sky, and define what it means to be Heir of Thunder.

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Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you'll find her on the slopes.

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#WeeklyMenu Week 176

What a crazy week! We had snow on Wednesday that still hasn't melted. It shut down the whole metro area. People were stuck in traffic for five to six hours, just to get home that night. Fortunately for me, I live close to work and it only took my about fifteen minutes. You could say I was one of the lucky ones.

The kids had school of Thursday and Friday so we are now officially on winter break. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them for the next two weeks.

Because of the snow Saturday, I wasn't able to get the boys to my in-laws, so I decided to take them to work with me. They lasted the whole four hours we were open. I was extremely thrilled and proud of them for hanging on so long.

We took and adventure on Sunday to purchase a new dryer. Our 11 year old one finally gave up the ghost and wouldn't turn on any longer. The new one, you can actually pair with your phone, not that I have figured out how to do that yet. I probably wouldn't even use that feature, but that's still so cool.

Enjoy this weeks menu and stay warm out there!







- Tuna Sandwiches

Seasons Within by Lele Iturrioz #BlogTour and #Giveaway

Book & Author Details:

Seasons Within
by Lele Iturrioz
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.
G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.
It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you.

Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.
I’m the author of the YA fantasy  series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing,  planning on  writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.
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The Elf by Max Dune #BlogTour and #Giveaway

Book & Author Details:

The Elf
by Max Dune
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult


This Christmas…it’s war.  Grab your weapon and join the fight in this modern Santa Claus retelling with a dark twist. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar will be riveted by The Elf‘s action, humor and romance!
Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting. One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.


Max Dune is a Southern writer who spent most his childhood watching TV, devouring comic books and weaving magical worlds in his head. In his mid-twenties, he decided to follow his true passion. He has since created a number of short stories, novels, screenplays and TV pilots. To be alerted to future books and giveaways, please sign up for his newsletter at

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#Review - Hero High by Mina Chara @authorminachara

Hero High: Figure in the Flames
by Mina Chara
Genre: YA Mystery Romance/Superheroes
Release Date: October 1st 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Reality TV meets Superhero High School in this intriguing story about friendship, fame, and what it means to be a hero.

In Icon City superheroes save the day every day on the quarter hour. Led by Captain Fantastic, scores of superhero celebrities do their best to train the next generation. Seventeen year old Friday Fitzsimmons and Jake her childhood friend are their latest starstruck recruits. When Doctor Dangerous returns from the dead and the Figure in Flames decimates the city, Captain Fantastic is betrayed by one of his own.

Torn between Jake, Ashley and her feelings for Doctor Dangerous, Friday must decide if her childhood friend is worth fighting for, and if the worlds most famous super-villain is worth saving, all while learning how to be a hero.

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Review: Its not everyday that you read a book that has a unique story. Mina Chara has brought us this interesting world full of super heroes and super villains, where they are thrust in front of the camera in Hero High, a super hero school and TV show.

I've never read a book that takes this approach to a story. Its like reading a reality show, but you also get an in depth mystery that keeps you wondering what's next for our unlikely super heroes. If you want to read something new and unique, check out Hero High. You will love it! I give this four out of five stars...

Advance Praise:
- I think this book will appeal greatly to fans of the Selection. - the dressmaker D'fwan reminded me of America's maids … The whole TV reality show aspect also reminded me of Hunger Game as well as The Selection.

- I Really Loved The Book
I am so looking forward to book two. I love the world you’ve created and I want to explore it more. I thoroughly enjoyed Friday and her story.

- I Really, Really Enjoyed This Book!
The way that Ashley and Friday’s relationship progressed was amazing. Too often, in books the two main love interests relationships progress way too quickly and it was refreshing to see Ashley and Friday’s relationship develop gradually instead of it being super rushed.

- I Would Give This Book a Full 5/5 Stars!
Like there was just so much to this book and none of the characters are like what you originally predicted. Every chapter keeps adding to the story and making it more and more complex, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat in suspense.

About the Author
Hi! I’m Mina Chara, I’m a student, an artist, a daughter, sister and companion to my two furry friends, Gimli and Gwynne. This blog is here because I’ve just written a book called Hero High: Figure In The Flames.

This is My Story:
Being dyslexic isn’t so much of a problem, the hard part is not letting it dictate what I like, and what I can do. For years I was scared of reading, but then I discovered YA fiction, real books with main characters I could relate to because most of them were girls.

When someone criticizes my writing, I feel like crying, because I feel like that I’m back in English class getting yelled at again, just wanting to go home, but I’m not a kid anymore, I’m an adult, and as an adult, I wrote a book, and you can too.

Author Links:
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#Review - Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

Title: Maresi
By: Maria Turtschaninoff
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books

Summary from Goodreads:
Only women and girls are allowed in the Red Abbey, a haven from abuse and oppression. Maresi, a thirteen-year-old novice there, arrived in the hunger winter and now lives a happy life in the Abbey, protected by the Mother and reveling in the vast library in the House of Knowledge, her favorite place. Into this idyllic existence comes Jai, a girl with a dark past. She has escaped her home after witnessing the killing of her beloved sister. Soon the dangers of the outside world follow Jai into the sacred space of the Abbey, and Maresi can no longer hide in books and words but must become one who acts. 

Review: It has been a long time since I've been really excited to read a book. Most the time I pick them up and push myself to get through them, but that wasn't the case with Maresi. I felt a real connection with the characters and the world building was incredible. This has to be one of my favorite reads this year and I was glad that I picked it up. I would recommend this read to anyone who likes powerful fantasy stories about women who overcome overwhelming odds to save the ones they love. 

Five stars for Maresi

Pocket Full of Tinder by Jill Archer #BlogBlitz and #Giveaway

Book & Author Details:

Pocket Full of Tinder
by Jill Archer
(Noon Onyx #4)
Publication date: December 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Science Fiction

Noon Onyx is back! In this long-awaited fourth installment, Jill Archer returns readers to the dangerous world of Halja, where demons, angels, and humans coexist in an uneasy state of d├ętente.
Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx feels like she’s done it all – mastered fiery magic, become an adept fighter, learned the law, killed countless demons, and survived having her heart broken by both love and an arrow, but now she’ll face her greatest challenge yet…
Far to the north lies an outpost famous for its unrest – Rockthorn Gorge. The town’s patron has specifically requested Noon’s help. Her assignment? Help the neophyte demon lord build his fiefdom and keep what’s his. The problem? Lord Aristos – Noon’s new employer – is her erstwhile lover, Ari Carmine, the aforementioned heart breaker. And the number one thing he wants is her.
When Rockthorn Gorge’s viaduct is destroyed by Displodo, an enigmatic bomber, killing a dozen settlers and wounding scores more, Noonsets off early to aid in the search and rescue. Ari is listed among the missing and the suspects are legion. But Noon’s search is just the beginning. Her journey forces Noon to confront not only those she loves, but also enemies hell-bent on destroying them.


This Year
Fourth Semester

The claw-and-ball had been chewed clean off. It lay on a patch of sunny parquet floor, just to the right of an antique, aubergine wool rug now covered with the splintered remnants of an eleventh-century pedestal table and one very large, ghastly looking, somewhat repentant barghest.

Nova’s head rested on her front paws as her gaze shifted warily from me to Miss Bister, Megiddo’s dormater, or house mother. 

“Megiddo’s lobby is not a kennel, Miss Onyx. That”—she motioned dismissively toward Nova—“beast can no longer be housed here.” 

I opened my mouth to respond, but Miss Bister continued speaking, her tone rising only infinitesimally, her back as stiff as Luck’s lance must have been and her expression just as hard. She pointed toward the previously priceless, three-footed piece of furniture that was now a worthless, two-footed pile of kindling.

“No amount of money – or magic – can fix that, Nouiomo. It’s beyond repair. I warned you. I made an exception to my ‘no pets’ rule because you never cause trouble. You never forget your key; you promptly pick up your deliveries; you change your own light bulbs; you double-bag your trash. You leave nothing behind in the bathroom; you don’t monopolize the washing machines; you are exceedingly polite to the lift operator; you don’t sing in the shower.”

I suppressed a sigh. After a year and a half of painstaking effort, harrowing experiences, and endless hours of education, my worth had just been measured by the fact that I could change a light bulb. I’d mastered fiery magic, become an adept fighter, learned the law, killed countless demons (one regrettably, the others much less so), freed myriad immortals from an accursed, tortured bondage, and survived having my heart nearly destroyed by both love and an arrow, yet none of that meant bupkis next to the fact that I double-bagged my trash. And yet…

I couldn’t really argue with Miss Bister either. Everything she’d said was true. And who was I to tell her what she should deem important? I respected that she valued domestic order and antiques. I did too, if not nearly as much as I valued the thing that now threatened our continued access to such. I glared at Nova, who swept one paw over her eyes as if she could hide from me and the evidence of what she’d done.

Barghests are giant hellhounds. They’re bigger than bears, fiercer than rabid raccoons, and uglier than naked mole rats. Their teeth are the size of railroad spikes, their claws as sharp as a sickle, their breath as foul as sewage gas. But they are also affectionate, brave, and loyal. What barghests lack in magic, they make up for in devotion. And even though I was plenty mad at Nova for chewing up Miss Bister’s table, I also knew it wasn’t Nova’s fault.

It was mine – for thinking the lobby of a demon law school dormitory would be a good place to keep her.

“Miss Bister, please,” I said. “I’m truly sorry. I know I can’t replace that exact table. But if you would just allow me to—”

“No,” Miss Bister said simply. “Either the beast goes… or you do.”

I stared at the small, frail, magicless woman in front of me, trying desperately to think of some way to fix this problem. Wasn’t there something I could do, or say, or offer her that would make amends and convince her not to kick us out?

But all I could think of was how useless some of the things were that our society valued most. As Miss Bister had pointed out, neither magic nor money would help. If I was going to repair the table, I’d need to find another way. Which would take time. And that meant I’d need to find somewhere else for us to sleep tonight. Because if the beast was going… I was too.

“Yes, Miss Bister,” I said. “I understand.” 

She narrowed her eyes, slightly suspicious of my now-gracious defeat since I’d just spent the last half-hour trying to persuade her to accept various forms of reparation. But then she nodded, handed me a couple of paper bin bags, and left.

I slid one bag inside the other and stooped down to pick up the slobbery remains of Nova’s mangled chew toy. When I finished, she came over to me and nudged my arm with her head. She let out a woofy whine. 

Was she sorry? She darn well better be! 

I gave her a scratch behind the ears.

“Now that you’ve sharpened your teeth on my former dormater’s furniture, are you ready to eat some real food for breakfast?”


Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels about a postgrad magic user and her off-campus adventures. The series includes DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and the upcoming POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

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Obsidian Sky by Amy Braun #CoverReveal


Obsidian Sky
by Amy Braun
(Dark Sky #3)
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

The final struggle against the Hellions has arrived. A trapped engineer and a desperate marauder scramble to fight an enemy with unspeakable power on its side. Time is running out, and one world will be destroyed…
After sacrificing herself to save the lives of her friends and family, Claire Abernathy struggles to outwit her Hellion captors. They torment and terrify her into working on a weapon with the sole purpose of obliterating the world, friends, and love she has struggled to save. If Claire has any chance of saving those she loves, she must delve deeper into the Hellion world, and witness nightmares she could never imagine.
In Westraven, Sawyer Kendric is desperate to find the woman he loves. To do so, he must finally embrace his family’s atrocious past and heal the wounds it has caused. He will be forced to make new allies, uncover secrets that change all he knows, and find the courage to lead a ragtag crew into the darkest, deadliest battle of their lives.
Claire and Sawyer fight to save their broken world in the final installment of the epic DARK SKY trilogy.

Purchase previous books in the series:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for "author voice, world-building and general bad-assery," and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.