The epic that we have been following for the last five volumes comes to a triumphant end in the sixth volume of Pushing Madness by D. Hart St. Martin. Book six in the Lisen of Solsta series culminates the agonizing fracture of familial relationships, the travesty of war and the painful ache of loss. Those who have been following the series will wait with baited breath to see what has become of Rinli and Lisen. Those who may be new to the series will still find a fantastical adventure with exquisite world-building and careful character development. This is not a book or series to be taken lightly as the real, raw character portrayals are sure to hit readers close to the heart.
St. Martin has been crafting the saga that is Lisen of Solsta for nearly four decades. It is very clear that she is devoted to her tale and takes care in ensuring that each book is a seamless transition for her returning readers. Nothing feels out of place, readers don’t feel like they have missed pages of content at the beginning of a new book for they all pick up almost precisely where they left off. There is never a lag and all energy from the previous book carries over into the next as it aims for completion.
The beauty of a book by St. Martin is the intense character development and portrayal makes the reader feel engaged and invested in the outcome. The characters and their feelings are so visceral it’s hard not to think of them as actual breathing people. St. Martin carefully shows us the strain in the familial relationship of our protagonist family as the eldest daughter cements herself into the antagonist role. It can be hard to show the fracturing of a family relationship and still keep readers invested into all sides, but St. Martin does that well.
There are no screaming shortcomings for this book and there are no major issues with style or grammar. St. Martin has done the Indie Author title proud by carefully reviewing and editing her work with the help of others. This has allowed her to put out an excellent product that she should be very proud of.
Those who are looking for a fantastical epic that they can really devote their time and energy to should look no further than Pushing Madness by D. Hart St. Martin. This sixth and final installment in the Lisen of Solsta series brings the epic to a satisfying conclusion. This book serves to honor the energy invested by readers who have been following since book one and to entice readers who may be discovering the series with this final book. For a saga that took so many years to cultivate and write, the wait is worth it. The payoff is a carefully crafted story with characters that are easy to identify with and a story line that doesn’t waver or get lost; despite covering so many pages. This series is definitely a keeper and be worth several rereads.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07BVL6SXQ
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The action never stops in Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. This installation in the Lisen of Solsta saga is easy to dive into, even if you haven’t read the previous volumes. The gut wrenching emotion that pours out of this novel is gripping and drives the reader forward: looking for the resolution of such a familial rift. The energy is compelling as the story drives forward. We learn about the divide between Lisen and Korin. We witness as their daughter Rinli undergoes what could be described as an evolution and her determination to change the world they live in shakes both mother and father to the core. This book has clearly been crafted with care and is sure to not disappoint new and returning readers.
St. Martin is a veteran at her craft. The raw emotions that both Korin and Lisen feel at the death of their daughter are so palpable the reader can’t help but feel those emotions running through their own veins as they read. It can be difficult to describe such grief, let alone show how it can consume an individual, but St. Martin does it with grace. As Korin wrestles with emotion that he has never felt before he wonders how others can live after feeling it. It is such a powerful statement that it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt pain at the loss of a loved one. Such descriptive power carries on throughout the book and enhances the story.
It can be hard to come into a series without the backstory of previous volumes. While there may be some slight confusion for new readers, St. Martin explains things in such a way that it’s not overwhelming and readers do not become lost. There is a guide at the back of the book that lays out the main characters and some demographic information on them that can be helpful. It also assists readers that St. Martin writes as if readers have either forgotten or have limited knowledge of previous installments. This is helpful for new readers and doesn’t detract from the amazing story she is trying to tell. This can be a delicate balance to keep, but St. Martin knows exactly what she’s doing and demonstrates her ability to craft an excellent tale.
Any reader who wants to throw themselves into the grip of an epic fantasy-adventure book needs to look no further than Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. While this particular book is the fifth in a series, the carefully crafted world and elaborate world building is more than enough to grab the attention of new and returning readers. The raw human emotion that laces this book as our protagonists manage their grief, their pain and the familial rift that threatens to consume the world as they know it enhances the base storyline. Readers won’t be able to get enough as they consume the delicious story laid out before them.
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0795DRCNJ
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Cynthia Roggeman’s personal memoir details the events throughout her life. She goes into great detail about her relationships, family and health complications. She does this while offering snippets of advice and wisdom that she has learned along the way. The book is often upsetting and full of events – on a number of occasions it seems as everything is happening at once for our author. She shares her life’s journey with the intention of learning from the process of writing and to divulge the positive aspects that result from a lifetime of hardship.
The sections about her family, mainly her father and her Italian grandmother, Nonni, are bittersweet and filled with memories that she describes in the manner of a child – because at the time she did not understand what was going on. Her childhood was filled with both happy and sad memories and she does not seem to resent any of the negative aspects at all. In her family circle, she experiences alcoholism and mental illness – which she regards as a choice.
Throughout her life, she has various serious health issues and is in the hospital a number of times. She suffers quite badly and even has to learn to self-medicate – something which carries a great responsibility, even if it is towards yourself. However, she does not let these problems set her back and each time she recovers and returns to work and normal life – this is not a woman who gives up easily.
The book is separated into short chapters, each beginning with a date. This makes it easier to place the events in the author’s life as they are not in chronological order. At times it can be difficult to remember at what age things occurred for her but she has ordered it according to her own time frame and reference of events – how she feels events in her past relate to each other. This is reflective of a realistic memory because often things do not go through our minds in order and jump around randomly.
She has written the book for it to be a therapeutic process, it seems to be a place for her grief, hope, and wisdom. She has learned to be imaginative and to really remember her past self. She has also learned to be grateful for the things she has, as well as the things she had. She writes that she has had to mourn her losses and accept them, as well as remember the fond memories.
Cynthia’s novel is a work of remembrance, which will make any reader reflect on their own lives and take heed of her writing. The deeply personal writing is both engaging and emotional, however sometimes it can be hard to keep track of the order things that happened. She urges us to be grateful, flexible and open to new things and changes and to be powerful – just like the blue dragonfly.
Pages: 100 | ASIN: B07DNDWFKN
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For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath provides a glimpse of the havoc the Devil can wreak when he comes for the End of Days and in search of a young Office Manager. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this novel?
The very first inspiration was a sort of vision, about 10 years ago. I saw a woman standing in a room surrounded by old wood and stones. She was close to a canopy bed and she was carrying a big, heavy, woolen blanket towards a window. I felt her sorrow, she was sad about somebody, she tremendously missed a person. Ten years after I was sitting in my beautiful sunroom in Northern BC, sipping tea and staring at the dark woods outside, the trees turning red, brown and orange, the crab apples filling the air with their sweet smell. I stared for maybe 5 minutes, after which I felt an extreme urge to write. I took my laptop and hastily started recording the events that would lead to “For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath”. I started writing in September. I had the entire story in my head, but I was busy with my daily activities, so I decided to set up a plan: I had to write at least 3,000 words a day, making up for those days in which I did not have time to write. That year the winter was particularly harsh, I felt I was held captive, and writing was the only escape from the daily -30°C, from the roads covered in ice and snow, from the long hours of darkness. I wrote almost every day, not having to think once about how the story would evolve: the adventures just flew out of me, in a sort of “channeling”. In February my first book was finished, but 6 more were already brewing in my head, including the sequels of this first book. It was only at that point that I decided to walk the next mile, and treat it as a professional work. I contacted the BC Editors Association and was smitten by their reactions to my little story. After contacting the BC Editors Association, I decided to go on a solo trip through British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alberta. Every evening I would check my emails and find those of authorities in the field that loved my work and were looking forward to read the entire story. This incredible experience spurred me to publish the novel.
My upbringing also definitely influenced my story-telling. Both my parents are attached to traditions, religion, legends and magic. My mother made sure that I would not forget about my roots, the Valley, the village “on top of the lake” (Summus Lacus), our religion. My father enhanced everything with magic and mystery.
This book is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, christian, and supernatural as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story was absolutely not planned. I just decided to start writing it without even knowing how it would evolve. I did not prepare an outline, I did not fill my walls with sticky notes, I did not have pages and pages of comments. I do have a little notebook, containing information regarding, for example, how old the characters are, if they are allergic to something, when their birthdays are, when they met each other. Nothing about the story itself. It was as if I was writing events that really happened, and the intention was just to make sure those occurrences could be remembered by future generations. My editor, Janet Southcott from Viridian Earth Contract, called my novel a “New Age fantasy”.
Your book has some fantastical creatures, but what I enjoyed was how your characters worked in harmony with one another. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?
I didn’t necessarily plan to capture any theme related to collaboration and compassion, so it definitely happened naturally. I do like the idea of different beings cooperating and developing these strong emotions and this genuine attachment for one another. In the beginning, the characters happen to come together for a higher cause; they are sort of forced to cooperate. In fact, we sometimes read that Emma doesn’t really appreciate the sternness of Ella, but, like a daughter-mother relationship, she respects the opinions and directions of a more experienced female. If we consider the novel from this point of view, it seems that the characters always approach a new “companion” with reservation, doubts and distrust. Of course, this is also caused by the events happening in the Valley, but don’t we often all react like this during our first meeting with somebody? It’s only after a few shared experiences that we manage to open up to the person in front of us. This is exactly what happens to Emma, Ella, Abela, and all the characters in the book. It is more obvious for Emma, because she is the one recollecting the events, we don’t really know what the other characters think of her, their first impression on her, but we can figure it out by reading about their behaviours and interactions with Emma through her own words. At the same time we can see how the characters evolve within their experiences: their core is the same, but their values change. There are no emotional barriers anymore; there is no time for counterproductive drama. The transition to peasant life also intensifies these values, all of a sudden the reader realizes that without technology and commodities, the characters have to communicate more, they have to cooperate and develop skills they weren’t even aware they had. Also, it is clear that by being the fellowship so diverse, each of the characters bring a different set of assets, which is shared between the members, increasing their knowledge and understanding.
This is book one in a trilogy. Where will book three pick up and when will it be available?
Book #2 and #3 are already in the process of being created, I just need the time to sit down and write them both. Book #2 will start with the main characters leaving the witch’s house and migrating to a more secure place: the gnomes’ kingdom beyond the mountains. The rest of the novel will bring more adventures and many unexpected twists. The common threads will still be the millennial fight between good and evil, love, friendship, occult, strength and hope with the Apocalypse permeating and hanging over everything like Damocles’ sword. Book #3 will incorporate also the final countdown until the last battle between good and evil, the one that will decide on the faith of humanity and Earth.
When the Devil puts his price tag on your head, you know you have to call upon some very special friends to help you stay alive. Welcome to the world of Emma. Thrown from relative obscurity into a time of being hunted, our young protagonist must transition from modern day to peasant life with difficult choices and a need to adapt. Life on the run takes trust and belief in the power of others, on a vastly changing stage. Emma Plant’s first novel throws the reader into a place where reality is no longer three dimensional. Descriptions of fairies, witches, gnomes and demons paint a picture for anyone who may wish a glimpse beyond the veil. Her characters live in the reader’s imagination beyond the final page, with the promise of a sequel, and potential trilogy in the offing. This new-age fantasy story will appeal to young adults through to senior years and is a page-turner from start to finish.
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The Masked Queens Lament finds Althea still trying to expand her empire from the shadows but is forced to come out of hiding to ensure victory. What did you want to accomplish in this last novel that was different from the first two books in the trilogy?
Beyond wrapping up every plotline I had hatched in a manner that I felt the characters deserved, I had a few other things to address. One was to sufficiently show how awful war is even when necessary–a point I’m not sure I drove home thoroughly enough in the previous book of the series. Another was to show human stories from every part of the world that I wanted to focus on, because Alathea’s empire is definitely not a realm of pure evil, and she’s not leading some horde of orcs or goblins. Nor was I going to allow Derek and Chandra to be completely responsible for saving everyone when some people have the opportunity to choose, albeit not easily nor simply, to decide differently. I also enjoyed giving text time to characters who may have been barely used in the previous books or whose motivations had not been adequately explored.
The world building in this novel continues to be superb. What were some sources of inspiration that guided you as you continued to build the world throughout the trilogy?
I’ve done a bit of travel in my life, visiting some of Europe/the UK’s castles and memorably the church structures of Lalibela, Ethiopia, carved directly from the rock with minimal brick and repairs needed after centuries of wear and some seismic activity. I follow aesthetic blogs and also try to learn a bit about the cultures that inspired aesthetics and also first names. The rest is having the map drawn up and trying to define each place in the context of the geography I’ve already given it. I once also got some advice about the realities of having a mountain range rather close to a coastline, as it looks in the southwest of Kensrik. If you’d like to know what I mean, consider the geography of places like Chile or New Zealand. I was inspired to make this mountainous edge of the continent seismically active and mentioned “mountains which belch fire”, the possibility of it raining ash, and the potential sulfurous odor.
When a trilogy comes to an end many readers expect an epic showdown, and you deliver on this point masterfully. How did you envision the final chapters playing out and what changed while writing?
The main challenge was not what the final showdowns would be, because I set most of them up in the previous books and just needed to follow through. A key challenge for me was making sure the last conflict with Derek against enemy forces was not just a repeat of the end of the previous book. In the first draft, it basically was the same, in the shadows of the old Wancyek castle, but once more with feeling! During the second-last revision cycle of The Masked Queen’s Lament, the further I went along in the draft, the more completely I rewrote what was there. By the penultimate chapters I was barely looking at the source material because of how wildly the final draft needed to diverge. Keeping in mind, the whole trilogy was written in first draft before the first book in the series was even finalized. I also needed to propagate every change that needed to come as a result of that. It just had to feel coherent to me, and I’m glad the coherent result worked.
Now that the The Gift-Knight Trilogy is complete, do you intend to expand this world with more books, or are you working on something new?
I have four total prequel manuscripts that don’t focus on Derek or Chandra, or even mention them. I could go and start reworking these, or I could write something completely different. For now, I’m enjoying the lack of commitment that comes from not having already promised what comes next! I’ll decide eventually.
Derek, Master and defender of his people, rides with Chandra toward a friendly city in the aftermath of a victory. They will have no time to celebrate as Derek suddenly finds himself up against a foe he can’t kill with a sword. Having delivered her friend and ally to a healer, Chandra contends with more than just waiting in dread: she will be faced with a part of her personal history that she never knew and the promise of a place to belong after her exile from Kensrik. But can she trust it?
And they will have so little time to regroup. Alathea, masked ruler of an expanding empire, still hungers to recreate the world in her image. Dissatisfied with the delays and failures of her minions, she intends to personally oversee the final victory over her most hated foe, the “witch”, Crown Princess Chandra Kenderley.
Whether they battle enemies from without or within, an ensemble cast faces the fight of their lives on every part of the Continent and its inland sea. No one but Alathea has the full picture of what she’s set in motion, and whether they have any chance of stopping her, nothing will ever be the same.
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Weathering the Wicked is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I definitely had this in mind when writing this series. I began writing this book at the ripe age of 12, believe it or not! I revised this story and started from scratch at 25 years of age, starting with a detailed outline of everything that would happen in the book.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character to write for was June, the main character. This is because June is completely based off of my own life’s journey, experiences, and personality. That may make me sound a bit self-absorbed, but the reason writing this character was my favorite is because it was very therapeutic. As June goes through this journey, and is mentored by Jeremiah, Margaret, and Alexis, they were also mentoring me, even if unintentionally.
I learned a lot about myself while creating June.
The writing in your story is very artful and creative. Was it a conscious effort to create a story in this fashion or is this style of writing reflective of your writing style in general?
Honestly, a little bit of both. It is true that my writing style is more artistic and (almost) poetic by nature. However, I made it a point to really let my artistic writing strength shine in this series; I did this because I knew that the spiritual and fantastical theme in this book would appeal to artistic and creative minds.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
The next book that will be released will be book 2 of this series, The Chronicles of Folklaria. This will be released in December, but I don’t have a specific date yet. Of course, people can always sign up for my mailing list to be alerted with this information.
In book 2, Enduring the Energy, we will get to watch June grow into a true warrior.
I am also working on a book for a 2019 release that will be a new series for young adults called “Corrupted Enchantment Saga”. It will feature familiar fairy tale lands and characters who are fighting a corrupt government system.
How far would you go to rescue someone you love? Would you travel to a magic and spiritually enlightening land that would instantly change the course of your life?
If traveling to another realm wasn’t troublesome enough, befriending a fairy, developing feelings for Ryder, and facing off with a wicked sorcerer was enough to send June’s reality into a hazy mess.
From the ashes of mortal humanity rises a young female savior to take on the wicked forces of Folklaria. With the odds stacked against her, can June conquer her fears and uncertainties to rescue, not only her sister, but an entire land riddled with wicked magic?
River’s Child follows Mavin, an assistant working in a seed vault when things took a turn and he ends up in the far future. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
Most of us have experienced scribbling down a dream before we’re too wide awake to remember. It’s interesting that dreams and seeds both spring to life from the dark. River’s Child is a kind of green seedling. I ran across an article about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The seed vault near the north pole is designed to last ten thousand years. I imagined a distant future when the seeds are rediscovered and their power to rejuvenate the world is unleashed. When Mavin awoke from his long dream, neither of us had any idea of the mysterious new world that awaited.
In the novel males are subservient and females are revered in the new world. I find this both refreshing and entertaining. Was this idea planned or did it develop organically?
The story is humorous but has a serious dimension. I feel as a species we’re still learning how to become human, the cake hasn’t finished baking. Humans transcend category, or I should say, we have the potential to transcend. If a new perspective means giving up our old comfortable view of the world, more often than not, we prefer to stick with the devil we know.
It’s fun to watch how difficult it is for Mavin to be flexible. If a woman found herself in a strange new world, the story wouldn’t work as well, she would simply adjust. It’s not uncommon for men to be wary of women sharing power. For my two cents: if we’re going to survive as a species, the Feminine Perspective needs to be in balance with the masculine viewpoint.
I enjoyed Mavin’s character as well as Simone. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
Mavin and Simone are strangers to one another. As the author, before they say or do anything, I get to know my characters off-camera. I set up surveillance. I observe them in the supermarket line. Do they let the person behind them go ahead if they have only a couple of items? I know whether they use their turn signal or if they smoke while gassing up their SUV. Mavin and Simone are not angels, but more often than not they surprise me with their humanity.
I find a problem with well-written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?
The best part about being an author is getting feedback from fans. Readers have been letting me know that they loved the story, but were upset that it ended too soon. I have a sequel sketched out, so I better get cracking.
Trapped underground in the Svalbard Seed Vault, Mavin Cedarstrom is rescued by a band of strange women dressed in furs. The Peregrine scout Simone Kita was sent to recover seeds from the top of the world and bring them south to the floating gardens of Kashphera. Conjuring myth and magic, this fun, action-packed novel is a delight. River’s Child is a wild ride into an ancient future. Fasten your seat belt as our spirited heroes ride icebergs from the frozen north, battle wild men, and fall in love while they race to prevent world war.
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Evelyn Anderson is a normal teenage girl who thinks her life is boring. She goes to school and lives in an ordinary, suburban neighborhood with her parents. The only excitement in Evelyn’s life comes from practicing martial arts.
Evelyn soon finds herself working at a boating company with her father’s friend, Chuck. It is out in the open ocean where Evelyn discovers that she has a thirst for adventure. Her life suddenly changes when a storm sweeps her into another world. There, she meets a boy named Sam who becomes her comrade. Together, they set out to find Ferjian, a powerful being who wields magical powers, but rumors say that they are evil demons who love to murder and destroy.
What will Evelyn and Sam discover about this world and about the Ferjian they are seeking? Read and find out!
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Presented with a captivating plot line, charming characters, and a world full of fantasies, C. Penticoff blends worlds of reality with a captivating realm of fantastical discoveries in Weathering the Wicked.
Introducing Book One in the series, C. Penticoff demonstrates a clear focus and powerful imagination in her creation of fictional fantasy. With her sister missing and her total existence going up in flames, Jane attempts to find out what is going on, and what has happened to her sister.
Penticoff captives her readers by blending the ideas of magic, wonder and prophecies. Right from the beginning readers are drawn into a fantastical world of discovery in the hopes that June finds her sister, January. Without giving too much away, the story is set in a spiritual land called Folklaria which blends together the good and the evil. The readers then join June on her journey in this magical land in search for her sister. With June’s hopes resting on a complete stranger, can she control her fears and uncertainty to find her sister and restore the peace?
Magic, evil, suspense and mystery… are all words that I would use to describe the themes and narrative of this book. From evil wizards to witch doctors and fairies, C Penticoff really does her best to enter a world full of pure imagination.
What makes this read a truly great one is how the book is presented to the reader. In the table of contents, we see that the book has been broken into lots of small chapters, each with a character’s name. This highlights what the chapter is going to be about, which allows the reader to anticipate what is to come.
Overall, I would rate C. Penticoff’s Weathering the Wicked a 4 out of 5 stars. Whilst I appreciate a strong writing style, creative flair, and original thoughts, I found the concepts a little far-fetched. Of course, this is something you would usually expect from this genre, and would be appealing to a lover of fantasy books.
I applaud Penticoff in her creative writing and articulate use of words; and can honestly say that it offered a compelling read; something that I find often lacks in fantasy books. A triumphant and artistic piece of writing brought to you by C. Penticoff. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who takes an interest in artificial intelligence, compassion, and a longing for discovery and resolution. I look forward to reading Book 2 of this series, Weathering the Wicked.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B075W2KYWK
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The Cursed Girl follows Eva and her faithful friends as they travel across medieval Europe to save the world from the powers of darkness. What served as your inspiration as you were writing this novel?
My inspiration was books and places but mainly the book series “The Mortal Instruments” and the TV series “The Witches of East End.”
Eva is an intriguing character that I enjoyed reading about. How did you create her character and what were some aspects that were important to get right?
To talk about Eva I have to talk about the creation of the book first. I love to read. When I finish a book, I make up a story using the book I have finished. But always in my mind, I never wrote them down until now. The cursed girl was created when I had finished reading “The City of Heavenly Fire.” I was thinking what if Clary was a witch? That’s how Eva was created. In the beginning, Clary and Eva were alike but Eva developed into a fine witch. She was unsure of herself in the beginning but afterward, she developed into a self-confident person who is not afraid to break the rules in order to save the ones she loves. Later in the series, she faces some other trials but I can’t talk about it now, can I?
One of the challenges I faced was that Eva is a witch living in the human world. I had to balance the magic and living in the human world where magic doesn’t exist. I think I succeeded but that’s for the fans to decide.
I liked the world building and the magic embedded within. How did you balance Eva’s healing abilities, magic and world building to make it believable?
Almost every book I have read about witches and magic pictured a world that doesn’t exist or witches who were evil. I wanted something different, something in-between. To tell the truth, my book was created on its own so to speak. I had a partial plan but when I started to write I knew what I had to write before I knew it. It was like magic. It doesn’t make much sense but I suppose every author talks that way.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on the next volume of the cursed girl. I don’t know when will it be available but you will know it through my social media.
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a witch who lived in Spain, in the year 1230. She met a boy named Jonathan who would become her whole world. Everything was normal until she was faced with challenges that will change her life forever.
As a healer, her job is to help people, but there are forces that will try to prevent that. There is a war coming and Eva and her friends must do everything they can to survive.
Can they fight their way against the dark forces that are surrounding them? Her wits and inner strength helped everyone who encircled her to survive but will she be able to survive herself?
Supernatural creatures, royal backstabbing and many more await you in this thrilling novel that will take your breath away.
Posted in Interviews
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