ARC, blog tour, contemporary, Erotica, fantasy, ya

⛱️ June TBR ⛱️

I could not bring myself to set up a tbr this month. I mean, I kind of have one? I have 21 books I want to read. I mean, I know I’ve been reading 12 a month, so that’s a little over half, but dang. I just can’t decide! Too many good things!

First let’s take a look at this month’s Words & Whimsy Reading Challenge!

I am so excited to be on the Autumn Court! We had a twist this month – it’s actually Seelie vs Unseelie! Unseelie FTW! Now, let’s get into these books I can’t wait to read.

There you have it. My super huge tbr. What do you think? Do we share any of the same books? What is your first book for June? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m starting with Seven Endless Forests!

Until next time…

adult, book meme, book tag, contemporary, Memoir, Romance

Down the TBR Part 19!

Sheeeeeesh have I been in a funk this week! Zero motivation to do anything blog related. However, I have finished 5 books this week! You’ve seen reviews for We Didn’t Ask For This, Girls with Razor Hearts, and Ghosted in LA. This week be on the look out for reviews for Crave and Open Fire!

This will probably be a short one. Like I said, just in a blah mood. I also just started Red Hood by Elana K Arnold and Deny Me by Karen Cole and I can’t wait to dive further into them! I’m reading Red Hood for a book discussion over at Words & Whimsy!

We are starting the TBR at 1811. Let’s see where we end!

✔ What I Kept ✔

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
I know I am going to sob while reading this, but it sounds so good and heartbreaking. Plus, I love memoirs.

✘ What I Deleted ✘

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
I just can’t with kids dying – even if they are teenagers.

The Prodigal by Beverly Lewis
Number 4 in an Amish series…

Picture Perfect by Fern Michaels
This was listed as romantic suspense, so I thought I’d be here for it. However, the reviews were awful so I think I’ll pass.

Irresistible by Susan Mallery
Number 2 in a series and also serious chick lit.

Vendetta by Fern Michaels
Number 2 in a series about a group of women who get revenge on those who have wronged them. I mean, normally I’d be up for trying, but something about it is just off-putting to me.

Dream of Me by Fern Michaels
A book of two contemporary adult romances. Just not my style.

Kentucky Sunrise by Fern Michaels
Book 3 in a series. I’m just not interested in reading about a romance based around the Kentucky Derby.

The Sacrifice by Beverly Lewis
Book 3 in another Amish series.

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
I know I’ve read this. And I’m not deleting it because it’s Twilight. I’m removing it because I have fond memories of this series and want them to stay that way. I’m afraid of a reread.

Wow, this one ended up being pretty good! I deleted 9/10, bringing my TBR to 1802! So close!

What do you think of my selections? Did I make a mistake? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

ARC, contemporary, Four Star Book, review, Romance, ya

💔 Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak ARC Review 💔

💔 Title: Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak
💔 Author: Adi Alsaid
💔 Publisher: Inkyard Press
💔 Publish Date: April 30, 2019
💔 Book Form: E-ARC
💔Pages: 384
💔Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
💔 Dates Read: Mar 3 – Mar 7
💔Rating: 💔💔💔💔

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The summer after senior year is not going as eighteen-year-old Lu Charles expected: after her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her, Lu can’t write a single word, despite the fact that her college scholarship is tied to her columnist job at hip online magazine Misnomer. Then, she meets Cal.

Cal’s ever-practical girlfriend Iris is looking ahead to her first year of college, and her plans do not include a long-distance boyfriend. When Lu learns that Cal and Iris have planned to end their relationship at the end of the summer, she becomes fascinated and decides to chronicle the last months the couple will spend together.

The closer she gets to the couple, the more she likes them, and the more she wants to write about them. The summer unfurls, and Lu discovers what it really means to be in love. On the page, or off it. The book is touching exploration of love and how it shapes us both during a relationship and after it has ended.

– Goodreads

This is the first book by Adi Alsaid, but I know it will not be my last. I was instantly pulled into Lu’s story and couldn’t wait to see what happened.

In the beginning, and throughout the whole book, really, I wanted this weird relationship with Lu and the couple she eavesdropped on – Cal and Iris. I wanted Lu and Iris to become bffs. They seemed to instantly click and they jsut had a nice flow to their friendship. However, Lu met Cal before she met Iris. He sat beside her on a bench where they talked in fake French accents and helped French tourists find their way. They seemed to have instant chemistry and I really wanted Cal to be the one to mend Lu’s heart.

For a while, this weird situation seemed to work. Lu started hanging out with Cal and Iris together, then separate. When she and Cal were together, it seemed like a romantic connection. When Lu and Iris were together, they seemed like they had been friends forever.
Lu had a best friend before all this went down – Pete. He might have been my favorite. He was asexual and Lu described him as her wise old uncle, which he thought was pretty fitting. He was funny and smart and gave the best advice.

Lu was eavesdropping on Cal and Iris because she writes a love column. Since her boyfriend broke up with her, she had writer’s block. She was listening to what she thought was their breakup for inspiration. This is really the central plot of the book – Lu working through her heartbreak so she can write again. Besides, her whole future lies in this column. She has to keep it to get her scholarship to go to NYU for journalism.

Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak was such a quick, fun read. It made me laugh out loud at times. It also took me back to my past days of high school romance when a break up was totally the end of the world.

I would recommend this book if you like YA romance contemporaries – but the ending will surprise you! I want to say more thoughts about the ending, but I’m scared it’s spoilery so I will refrain.

Have you read Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, contemporary, dystopian, fantasy, Romance

Down the TBR Part 12!

Another week of trimming the TBR! This meme is hosted by Zezee with Books. Here’s the rules:

The rules for Down the TBR Hole:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, today we are starting at 1940. I just added the 7 arcs I got approved for this week. Oops. On first glance, there are definitely some I might consider keeping. There’s actually some fantasy and maybe some YA in here!

Three Fates by Nora Roberts

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Three people try to find a stolen statue. Eh.
  • Keep or Delete: Delete

Captivated and Entranced by Nora Roberts

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Two love stories. One about a screenplay writer and a witch. The second about a detective and a PI. Ok I’m into it.
  • Keep or Delete: Keep.

Three Brides, No Groom by Debbie Macomber

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Chick lit about three women at their 15-year reunion.
  • Keep or Delete: Delete

The Fair Folk by Marvin Kaye

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Book of short stories about Fey. I like it.
  • Keep or Delete: Keep!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Government experiments. Kidnapped kids. I don’t think it’s for me.
  • Keep or Delete: Delete

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: My husband was excited to see this on the list. One of the few books he’s read and he loved it. About rogues and assassins.
  • Keep or Delete: Keep. I’ll give it a chance even though it’s epic fantasy, which usually isn’t my deal.

A Dance of Blades by David Dalglish

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Book 2 of A Dance of Cloaks. I’ll leave it in case I like the first.
  • Keep or Delete: Keep

The High Druid of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: I mean, this sounds good. High fantasy kind of scares me – it’s usually too involved and too many people to keep up with. But I’ll give this one a try.
  • Keep or Delete: Keep

Madman by Tracy Groot

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: The synopsis confuses me, so I’m going to say this is a no go.
  • Keep or Delete: Delete

The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

  • Date Added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: The MC takes a slave to sacrifice to the fire god to then get inhuman powers. I am going to pass.
  • Keep or Delete: Delete

We are ending at 1935. I kept 5 and deleted 5, so not too terribly bad. I actually deleted the YA, which surprised me. I also kept more of the high fantasy than I thought I would. They just sound SO GOOD.

What do you think? Did I make any wrong decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, contemporary, Romance

Down the TBR Part 11!

Last week we made it through 100 books! I’m so excited to start the next 100 and dwindle down my TBR as much as possible. Lord knows I have a ton of current books to add!

First thoughts. Uhm. There are 7 Christmas books. What the hell?! Like, why? And the other three are Nora Roberts. So there’s not going to be a lot of diversity, unfortunately. This may be my second week in a row of deleting all 10! We’re staring at 1942. Let’s see where we end.

A Creed County Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Christmas love story set in 1910 in the Montana wilderness. This is a book for my mom.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

The Christmas Brides by Linda Lael Miller

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: This has A Creed County Christmas plus another story. 2-in-1.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Adult romance. Not sparking my interest.
  • Keep or delete: Delete.

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Three Amish Christmas novellas.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

Lakeshore Chrsitmas by Susan Wiggs

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: A ‘prim’ librarian and troubled child star fall in love while putting on a Christmas Pageant.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

Love Finds You on Christmas Morning by Debby Mayne and Trish Perry

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Two stories about two ladies who get proposed to in the same house on Christmas 85 years apart.
  • Keep or delete: Delete.

The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: An Angel finds a poor candlemaker and he needs to decide who in town needs a Christmas Miracle.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Two couples pushed together during a snow storm to find the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Cop starts a new life in Alaska only to find there’s a murderer on the loose!
  • Keep or delete: Keep!

The MacKade Brothers: Rafe and Jared by Nora Roberts

  • Date added: June 27, 2015
  • Thoughts: Two love stories about two brothers. A bad boy and a lawyer.
  • Keep or delete: Delete

We are ending at 1933! I kept the one book about a murderer. I do love me some murder.

I’m again confused by all the Christmas books. I mean, I have kept one or two for this holiday season’s tbr, but none of these struck my fancy.

I’ll see yall again next week as we get through another 10!

Have you read any of these? Did I make the wrong decision? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, ARC, mystery, thriller

First Impression Friday!

Another week and another first impression. This week I am tacking a thriller arc:

“June Moody, a thirty-something English professor, just wants to get away from her recent breakup and reunite with girlfriends over summer break. Her old friend and longtime nemesis, Sadie MacTavish, a mega-successful author, invites June and her college friends to a baby shower at her sprawling estate in the San Juan Islands. June is less than thrilled to spend time with Sadie–and her husband, June’s former crush–but agrees to go.

The party gets off to a shaky start when old grudges resurface, but when they wake the next morning, they find something worse: Sadie is missing, the house is in shambles, and bloodstains mar the staircase. None of them has any memory of the night before; they wonder if they were drugged. Everyone’s a suspect. Since June had a secret rendezvous with Sadie’s husband, she has plenty of reason to suspect herself. Apparently, so do the cops.

A Celtic knot of suspense and surprise, this brooding, atmospheric novel will keep you guessing as each twist reveals a new possibility. It will remind you of friendships hidden in the depths of your own past, and make you wonder how well you really know the people you’ve loved the longest.”

So I read the first chapter of this book. Again, it had a great first line. I’m hitting the jackpot with these lately!

“Like most clusterfucks these days, it starts with a group text.”

I mean, I laughed out loud. It was great. You then see June talking to her best friend about this girl’s weekend with her old college friends. You can tell she doesn’t want to go, but won’t really get into why. I am already intrigued about what happened and why she has distanced herself from three of her four closest friends. There’s not really much in the first chapter except the text and phone call.

I feel like this will be maybe a three star book? I think it will be good, but as you can see, the first chapter is really just a phone call and didn’t give me a lot to go on. I think the ending will probably surprise me, I won’t figure out the bad guy. But I hope I like it!

Have you read this yet? What are your thoughts?

Until next time…

ARC, fantasy, Five Star Book, review, Romance, ya

The Shadows Between Us ARC Review!

Thank you to Netgalley and Feiwel and Friends for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

– Goodreads

Tricia hinted at this novel back in 2019 when Words & Whimsy had the pleasure of chatting with her. I knew then and there I needed it. I was so excited to get this ARC. I was even more excited when I read the first line:

“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.
And they never will.”

Omg, guys. That first line, for me, ranks up there with the first line for Nevernight. I was instantly pulled in and wanted to put everything on hold to read this book, Work, sleep, cleaning. I didn’t want any of it. I just had to know about Alessandra’s journey. I read every moment I could. In the elevator, walking to my office, while on hold making appointments. I could not put this novel down.

Alessandra’s goal in simple. Make the king fall in love with her, like so many men have done. Marry the king. Kill the king and take the country as her own. Simple, right? It was, at first. Until these nasty things called feelings got involved.

I loved seeing how Alessandra and Kallias’ story and relationship progressed. I love an enemies to lovers story and this delivered! There were even sexy bits! There was also a tiny bit of a love triange.

Alessandra is not a character you root for. Quite honestly, she’s pretty evil. But you are shown enough vulnerability and kindness to make you fall for her. She even comments on her kindness and how it is out of character. She really reminds me of my dnd character which is part of the reason I think I love her so much. She firmly believes she is the best, smartest person in the room and no one can make her think differently. She’ll also kill you without a second thought.

“I try for a humble tone, but since I’ve no idea what that sounds like, I’m not so sure I manage it.”

Kallias is not so nice, himself. He sees women paraded in front of him day in and day out so he can choose one he likes to marry and have an heir. The only girl he is interested in is the one who will pay him no mind. Make fun of him, even! Who does that to a king?

Their relationship progressed in the best way. First Kallias sees her only as a friend, a confidant. But slowly he sees how cunning and ruthless Alessandra is. He then realizes she is meant to be his queen and he will do anything to have her.

There were small issues throughout the book that Kallias and Alessandra solved together. The ending was so surprising to me! I didn’t see the twist coming and I loved it!

I am so glad I was fortunate enough to be able to read an ARC of this book. I loved it so much. If you want in on the fun you can preorder here:

| Amazon| Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million |

Also checkout the preorder incentive here if you ordered a hardback copy!

Are you planning on picking up The Shadows Between Us? If you do I want to know your thoughts!

Until next time…

adult, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, Sci-Fi, ya

January 2020 Book Haul!

Happy Thursday guys! This year I started using a couple reading tracker spreadsheets to track my books read. I also started using a Book Blogging spreadsheet. It has a tab dedicated to book hauls. I made a point to log every book I bought, and whew. I did not realize what a habit I had!

So in January alone, I bought 27 books for a total of $134.74. I did not realize I spent that much! And those are just books for ME! We also bought our DM the Critical Role graphic novel and I bought my kid some books.

I mostly bought ebooks. I only bought two physical and 6 audios. So lets jump in to what I bought!

EBOOKS

  1. When I Was You by Minka Kent
  2. Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman
  3. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  4. The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros
  5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  6. The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
  7. You Too? by Janet Gurtler *preorder*
  8. The Sisterhood by AJ Grainger
  9. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller *preorder*
  10. The Time of my Life by Cecelia Ahern
  11. By Your Side by Kasie West
  12. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
  13. Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith *preorder*
  14. Pride by Ibi Zoboi
  15. Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
  16. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  17. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
  18. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  19. When Stars are Bright by Amber R. Duell

So for ebooks – three were preorders, and I got preorder incentives for Don’t Read the Comments and The Shadows Between Us! Thirteen were on sale for $2.99 or less. I bought 5 full price. I’ve also already read three of the ones I bought – Center of the Universe, Don’t Read the Comments, and The Wives.

AUDIOBOOKS

  1. Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen
  2. Evil Has a Name by Jim Clemente
  3. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
  4. Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright
  5. Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents
  6. The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Three of these I got with audible credits and the other three I got from the past daily deals sale! I’ve already finished Chase Darkness With Me and Evil has a name. I’m currently listening to Human Errors. I have found this month that I really love non-fic audios – especially true crime!

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

These two I bought last weekend at Books-A-Million. I don’t really read physicals, but I want to get back into them! I have already read Language of Thorns, but I’ve been wanting my own copy! The artwork on the sides of the stories is amazing. I got Grave Mercy because I’ve been into female assassins lately and I’m always looking for inspo for my dnd character!

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? What are your January hauls looking like? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, contemporary, Erotica, Four Star Book, Romance

Idol Thoughts Review

  • Title: Idol Thoughts
  • Author: J. S. Lee
  • Publisher: Axellia Publishing
  • Publish Date: Dec 3, 2018
  • Pages: 256
  • Book Form: E-Book
  • Genre: Romance
  • Dates Read: Jan 23 – Jan 27
  • Rating: ★★★★

I was supposed to manage them. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with them.

Six months ago, I discovered I was the illegitimate heir to one of the K-Pop industry’s biggest entertainment companies. I didn’t want anything to do with the empire I had the chance to inherit.

Then I discovered how my jerk of a half-brother was currently running things. I might not want the job, but I damn well deserve it just as much as him. All I need to do is prove my worth by managing a failing boy band, H3RO, back to stardom.

Easy, right?

Tae, Dante, Minhyuk, Nate, Kyun, and Jun are as talented as they are good looking. Abandoned by their company, they’ve lost faith in everything and themselves. It’s down to me to save their careers – and their dreams – by delivering a number one single.

And yet, somehow, the bigger miracle will be not falling in love with all of them…

– Goodreads

Idol Thoughts was originally recommended to my friend, Hannah. She is a huge K-Pop fan. However, when I saw this book in Words & Whimsy, I knew I had to give it a try. I’ve been in about a two week slump. Nothing was grabbing my attention. My usual slump busters are smutty books, and this is a reverse harem, so I was like, ok let’s try. I’m so glad I did.

Now, a K-Pop fan I am not. Not that I dislike it, I just don’t listen to it. I know one song by BTS. There were a lot of words used in the book that I wasn’t sure of the meaning, but I felt there was enough context that it didn’t take anything away.

Holly, the MC, finds out that her dad is a manager of a huge K-Pop empire. He wants her to come to Korea and join the family business. Her half-brother is none to thrilled and gives her a task to save a group’s career. She thinks it will be impossible, but she pulls out all the stops once she meets the band. And fools around. With all of them.

I’m all for the reverse harem. It’s one of my favorite smut genres. But I was never sure if all the guys knew what was going on or if she was sneaking around. I just wanted everyone to know and be ok with it, honestly. The sex scenes were nicely written, as well as the growth of feelings between Holly and all the members of H3R0.

Idol Thoughts was the first of a trilogy, and I will for sure be reading the next two. I have to see how things turn out with the members of H3R0 and Holly’s brother!

Do you have any other reverse harem recs? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

adult, blog tour, fantasy

Cast in Wisdom Blog Tour!

Hello again, everyone! I’m here for the Cast in Wisdom Blog Tour stop! I’ve been very fortunate to participate in Harlequin’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy and Thriller blog tours and I have so much fun every time!

Today I’m sharing with you a little bit about Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara as well as an excerpt!

“In the aftermath of the events in the High Halls, there are loose ends. One of those loose ends is the fieflord, Candallar. In an attempt to understand his involvement—with the Barrani, with the High Court, and with the much hated Arcanum—Kaylin has been sent to the fiefs.

She has mixed feelings about this. There’s nothing mixed about her feelings when she discovers a very unusual building in the border zone between two fiefs, and far more questions are raised than are answered. Her attempt to get answers leads her back to the Imperial Palace and its resident Dragon librarian, the Arkon.

Things that were lost in the dim past were not, perhaps, destroyed or obliterated—and what remains appears to be in the hands of a fieflord and his allies—allies who would like to destroy Kaylin’s friends, the Emperor, and possibly the Barrani High Court itself. This is bad.

What’s worse: The librarian who hates to leave his library has a very strong interest in the things that might, just might, have been preserved, and—he is leaving his library to do in person research, no matter what Kaylin, the Hawks, or the Emperor think.

He is not the only one. Other people are gathering in the border zone; people who believe knowledge is power. But power is also power, and it might be too late for the Empire’s most dedicated Historian—and Kaylin and her friends, who’ve been tasked with his safety.”

Michelle Sagara is an author, bookseller, and lover of literature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels and lives with her husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs. Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is sometimes paid for her opinions about what she’s read by the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many bookshelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

“You are such a coward,” Bellusdeo said when they’d reached the relative safety of the street. The roads in and around Helen were sparsely populated at the busiest of times, which this wasn’t. They would soon join roads that were crowded at the slowest of times, but Kaylin was dressed for the office. The Hawk emblazoned on her tabard encouraged people to make space. 

Had Bellusdeo hit the streets in her Draconic form, she’d have cleared far more of it—but some of that space would be created by panic, and panic could cause both accidents and the type of traffic congestion that caused the Swords to investigate. Also, it was illegal. 

“It’s not cowardice,” Kaylin replied, scanning the windows of the buildings above ground level. 

“What would you call it?” 

“Wisdom.” 

“Oh, please.”

“There’s no point in arguing with them now. Sedarias thinks it’ll be months before this ridiculous command performance occurs. We have months to attempt to talk her out of—” 

“Out of expressing any appreciation or gratitude?” 

Ugh. “You know they’re grateful. This isn’t about gratitude. It’s about rubbing that gratitude in the faces of the Barrani who attempted to brand you a—an army. An attacking army.” 

“I believe the term you want is Flight.” Bellusdeo’s eyes were orange. 

Hope squawked at the Dragon. Kaylin didn’t understand what he was saying. Bellusdeo did, but her eyes didn’t get any lighter. 

“You know as well as I do,” Kaylin said, emboldened by Hope’s entry into the discussion, “that this is not the time to visit the High Halls. I’m not sure the Emperor has ever been a guest there.” 

“We visited the Halls—more or less—when they came under attack, and the Barrani needed our help.” 

“From the outside. No one invited the Dragon Court in.” 

The chorus of Barrani voices that sometimes offered entirely unasked for opinions on the inside of her head maintained their silence for half a beat. The first person to break that silence was the fieflord. His words were tinged with amusement. 

You cannot expect that the cohort would suddenly cease to cause any difficulty, surely? 

I’m almost certain that the cohort understands why inviting a Dragon—any Dragon—to attend the High Halls would be a disaster. 

For the Dragons? 

For everyone. 

I believe some of the more conservative High Lords might be surprisingly supportive of such an invitation. 

Of course they would. It would be their best shot at killing Bellusdeo. If Bellusdeo died, there would be no new Dragons. No hatchlings. 

There’s no way the Emperor would give her permission to attend. 

Nightshade concurred. In his position, I would not. But I would be prepared, should I refuse to grant that permission, for all-out war. My brother has grown inordinately fond of her; living with you has made him reckless. 

He’s not— 

He has known Bellusdeo for even less time than you. He is willing to trust her in a fashion no one older would. And do not cite the Consort, please. 

Kaylin hadn’t intended to. The Consort seems to like her. 

Kaylin, the Consort “likes” me. But she does not trust me. 

She does. 

“Stop making that face, or it will freeze that way.” Kaylin reddened. 

I understand that you are attempting to avoid the Emperor’s ire. I consider this wise on your part. It is not, however, the ire of the Emperor that will be your most significant problem; he will do nothing to harm Bellusdeo. 

I know that. 

It is the ire of the High Lords. Sedarias is, I believe, genuinely grateful for Bellusdeo’s intervention. She does wish to honor her. But gratitude can be expressed privately—and in most cases, it is. Only rulers feel obliged to make that expression public because the public expression elevates those to whom one feels gratitude. It makes clear to witnesses that the aid tendered—in whatever fashion—is important and significant. The Emperor has codified such significance in public ceremonies and public titles, has he not? 

Kaylin shrugged. 

For Sedarias, however, genuine gratitude is not an impediment to political displays. She can be genuinely grateful and simultaneously, extremely political. She wishes to highlight Bellusdeo’s aid and import to Mellarionne. Why do you think this is? 

Kaylin thought about this. After a long pause, she said, She wants to thumb her nose at the rest of the High Lords, many of whom weren’t helpful at all? 

Nightshade’s silence was one of encouragement. 

Bellusdeo’s a Dragon. So…her presence means that even Dragons—with whom you’ve had a war or two— 

Three. 

Fine, a war or three, were more helpful, or at least more of a genuine ally, than any of the Barrani. 

Yes. I believe that is some part of Sedarias’s intent. That’s not going to help Mellarionne any. 

Perhaps, perhaps not. She will do so as An’Mellarionne. It would be considered a very bold move—but there are those who would assume that Sedarias is confident in her own power, and they would hesitate to challenge her. 

“If you are speaking about me,” Bellusdeo said, her voice almost a whisper of sound, “I must insist that you include me.” 

Hope squawked. 

“Well, yes, that could cause some difficulty,” the Dragon replied. “But I dislike Kaylin’s worry. She is mortal.” Squawk. “The marks of the Chosen don’t matter. She’s mortal. I may be a displaced person in these lands; I may no longer have a home or lands of my own. But I am a Dragon.” 

“I’m not exactly worried about you,” Kaylin said. When one golden brow rose in response, she added, “Not about you specifically. But—there’s no way for Dragon and High Halls to combine that isn’t political. Explosively political. On your own, you can survive more than any of the rest of the cohort—or me. But you won’t be on your own. The cohort won’t abandon you.” 

It was the Dragon’s turn to snort. 

Kaylin reconsidered her words and chose better ones. “Most of the cohort wouldn’t abandon you. Annarion wouldn’t. Mandoran wouldn’t. I don’t believe Allaron would either, from what I’ve seen. And you know what the cohort is like. The minute one of them enters combat to save you, they’re all going to rush in. It doesn’t matter if they’re there for your sake or their friends’; they’ll be there. But this is political, and anything political is far above my pay grade.” 

“You don’t seem to find this insulting.” 

“I consider it one of the biggest advantages of my rank. Which is the lowest rank I could be given and still be called a Hawk.” 

“One of? What’s another one?” 

“I’m not in command. I don’t need to make decisions that might cost the lives of other Hawks. No matter what happens in an action, large or small, I won’t have their deaths on my hands.” 

“But you don’t like being a private.” 

“Well, I could be a corporal, and it would still be mostly true. And the pay is higher.” 

“It’s not much higher,” a familiar voice said. It was Mandoran’s. Of course it was. Kaylin didn’t miss a step. 

“I don’t suggest you try to enter the Halls of Law looking like that.” 

“Like what?” 

“Like thin air.” 

“Oh. That.” Mandoran caused other people some consternation as he materialized to the side of Kaylin that Bellusdeo wasn’t occupying. To be fair, most of the street didn’t notice; people always had their own problems and their own schedules. “I was going to follow Teela into the office, but Teela’s not heading there directly.” 

“So you followed us?” 

“Not most of the way, no. I decided to head straight here to wait, but I caught up because you’re doing the Hawk-walk.” He glanced at Bellusdeo. “For what it’s worth, I think insisting on your presence on the inside of the High Halls is suicidal.” 

“Oh?” The Dragon’s voice was cool. “For who?” 

Mandoran grinned. “Mostly Kaylin.” 

Kaylin watched as flecks of gold appeared in Bellusdeo’s eyes. Mandoran had, once again, managed to set Bellusdeo at ease. Kaylin wondered if that was why he’d chosen to speak when he had. He never treated the Dragon with respect; had the Emperor been present for most of their spats, she wasn’t certain Mandoran wouldn’t be a pile of bleeding ash. Well, ash, because ash didn’t bleed, but still. 

“You left the rest of the cohort behind?” Kaylin asked. 

“We had a vote, and Helen decided it was safest to send me.” 

“She was the tie-breaker?” 

“Ah, no. She didn’t consider the first choice viable. But— we can all see what I see anyway, so unless there’s an attack, having more than one person here is superfluous. If Teela had been coming directly to the office, someone would have followed Teela.” 

“Not you?” Bellusdeo asked. 

“I had to live with Tain for a few years. Compressed into a few weeks, I might add. He’s stuffy and remarkably straightforward. Also, he hates fun.” 

“He hates mess,” Kaylin said, as they approached the stairs that led into the Halls of Law. 

“Define mess. No, wait, don’t. The problem with Tain—at least for me—is that Teela might actually kill us if we’re indirectly responsible for his death. He’s not like the rest of us; we can’t speak to him without shouting, and even if we can, he doesn’t listen half the time. So…it’s a lot less safe to tail Tain.” 

“I imagine it’s safer to tail Tain than it is to tail Kaylin if you’re worried about Teela’s reaction,” Bellusdeo said, frowning slightly. 

“You need a better imagination.”

Excerpted from Cast In Wisdom by Michelle Sagara, Copyright © 2020 by Michelle Sagara. Published by MIRA Books.

Omg! That excerpt makes me want to dive right into this series! It sounds so good! I’m very interested in the Dragon forms.

If Cast in Wisdom sounds great to you, you can pick it up here:


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My next blog tour stop will be on February 4 with an excerpt from The Unwilling! I can’t wait!

Until next time…