Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest follows Rathen and his crew as they fight against an ancient and terrible deity. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Bramblewood Forest is the second book in the Rathen Series and continues from the first, but also reads well as a stand-alone story. The inspiration for the series came from when Steve and I played role playing games in the early 80’s. Steve, as my step-father would bring home a variety of board and card games where you had to create background stories. I am not sure many people these days can imagine a life without the internet or well-made computer games, but we had to be creative and use our own imaginations for entertainment.
We also played a lot of Dungeon & Dragons back then where we created entire worlds with a complete cast of characters. I was just a teenager but I learned what went into creating a story. My particular passion homed in on how the characters were influenced by their environments and worlds and how an ordinary inhabitant could strive to be a superhero even without supernatural powers.
The legend of Ghrakus Castle was roughly based on a story Steve created a long time ago. I took the idea, drew more into it, and added that as a background for the characters to interact. Steve and I have endeared a long lasting collaboration on stories and role playing game ideas and hope to keep it going for a while longer.
This is a thrilling book that combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. What was the collaboration like between the two of you while writing this book?
This was the fun part. Steve and I would sit and talk for hours brainstorming new ideas and concepts that we could integrate into the story. We created the magic system in Rathen’s world and explains in detail the strengths and weaknesses. We described things from completely other worlds and even went as far as explaining how the deities came into being. My favorite creation was the ancient being known as “Arg’grimorem” Rathen and his group had to face. Believe me, it isn’t easy coming up with new ideas in the fantasy genre, but I think this creature was unique.
There were so many intriguing characters in this novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is a difficult question. I really got into the heads of all the characters giving me such a strong connection to them. Rathen is always fun to write, but we had such a variety in this book. Magom, who is the character that really stands out in the group, was a challenge since he is an undead being. I had to really think what it would be like to be dead but yet still walking around and interacting with others. But I have to say my favorite character to write for in this book was Caswen, the young cleric from the temple. She had such a fun `coming of age` story and her character arc really made her feel complete. I wanted to continue writing her even after her story had ended.
This is book two in The Rathen Series. Where will book three take readers and when will it be available?
Book three, “The Battle for Korganis”, is still being written. Rathen will enter Bandark’s strange new world and help fight against the forces of the evil deity. It is shaping up to be quite an epic battle. It may be overly optimistic, but I am hoping for a release near the end of 2019.
A man driven by revenge. Another world in peril. A long-forgotten deity determined to destroy all in its path to ultimate power.
Rathen, ex-captain of the late king’s army, pulls together a team to defeat the evil that threatens them all. The Book of Ziz, with its instructions for protective spells against an evil deity has fallen into the nefarious hands of High Priest Litagus, meaning soon untold evil will reign unchecked if Rathen fails.
Consumed by his personal vengeance for the betrayer in the earlier death of his friends, Rathen travels to the ruins of Ghrakus Castle to enlist the aid of the very being who tried to kill Rathen once before. Only the black powers of this ancient evil can ensure their mission to steal the book back, but can those powers be trusted?
To safeguard his group, Rathen also recruits Caswen, an inexperienced young healer determined to make her mark on the world. Together with Bulo, an ex-gladiator and fellow warrior, Thack, a one-armed half-orc, and Bandark, a mysterious mage from another world, the group heads through the menacing Bramblewood Forest to confront Litagus and his followers.
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The Hunt for the Three Roses follows Callie and Kane as they try to leave their old life behind in a world consumed by war. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book one, and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this novel?
This trilogy is all about the upsides and downsides of organized religion. The first book was about how a religion can be a source of guidance and hope in the best of times and a source of uncertainty in the worst. The second book is about how wicked and/or misguided people can make things up that fit within their worldview and pass it off as official religious doctrine. The very identity of the Three Roses (at the risk of giving a spoiler!) is about how different minds and ideologies can fracture a faith for better or worse.
Kane and Callie are intriguing characters with emotional depth. Was there anything from your own life that you put into your characters?
Much of my early life I put into Kane. I tended to be a goody-two-shoes who pointed out people’s bad behavior, especially their profanity. I’ve relaxed that side of me, just as Kane eventually did. Callie is simply someone I’d like to be more, a person who has little problem in speaking her mind and being rambunctious.
This novel, and series, have a rich backstory. Did you create the backstory before writing the novel or did it develop organically while writing?
Some segments in my early books were created organically, but Hunt for the Three Roses was mostly planned ahead. I thought about the plot for months before, often making changes without needing to write anything down. When I started to write, I felt well prepared to go ahead and work without fear of writer’s block.
This is book two in the The Three Roses Trilogy. Where will book three take readers, and when will it be available?
Sean and Callie have settled down, but not for long. They’ll have to be taken well out of their comfort zones so they can discover the truth behind the Three Roses, and just as Callie’s past came to haunt her, so too will Sean’s. Despite the presence of magic, the action scenes in the second book were rather grounded, but in the next one, the action will be rather ethereal. The release date may be sometime in 2020, or possibly 2021.
Change is in the winds in this high-stakes, emotional fantasy adventure!
On the run from the army which he once proudly served, Kane Bailey changes his name to Sean, leaving nearly every shred of his old life behind. His old tutor, Master Cypher, helps guide Sean and gives him a mission that’s more important than Sean realizes: Bring an older, simple-minded man named Jonas to the Royal Palace, where he’ll be safe.
Callie meanwhile is unsure what she wants to do in life. Leading a criminal lifestyle is all that she knows, but it would mean starting from the very bottom. But while her future is up in the air, her dark past rises to haunt her. Rainer the assassin has a score to settle, and he wants to make it as painful and heart-wrenching for Callie as possible.
In this second installment of the Three Roses Trilogy, the hunt is on … and there will be blood.
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I immediately liked Asuf the moment I started reading the book. On their hunting spree with Valhelm, the latter confessed how scared he was to hunt. He mentioned that he had heard stories, unpleasant of course and that something could be lurking around the part of the caverns the two were hunting. Asuf shut his partner down, Saying that whatever Valhelm was on was weakness and unacceptable. I like bold characters in books; Characters like Asuf, who are not frightened by minute issues. Though a little bit aggressive, I admired how Asuf demanded respect. He instilled a little fear in Valhelm when speaking, in that Valhelm felt inferior in his presence.
The book gets to be more interesting as one reads on. I like how the society in Igor Valec’s book held authority in high regard. A subject could not address the king in any manner. They had to use the appropriate title when speaking to those at the throne. One could also tell the mood and tone of the subjects Vis a Vis the king.
King Lortar’s reaction to discovering that there was a heathen cult in the kingdom was priceless. How and where was that? I appreciated Valhelm for informing Lortar about this cult. As they were speaking, one could feel Lortar’s concern in his words. He was worried that Valhelm had gone on his own to do the hunting. I enjoyed the conversation that followed as everyone was given a chance to air their views.
Damnation: A Grimdark Fantasy Political Drama is not your average book. Through the story, the author incorporated themes of leadership, family relations, and infighting among members of the same society, politics, and fantasy. Every chapter built on the story and tension of the last chapter, so as you read you always felt like something was about to happen.
Igor Valec’s character choice was marvelous. Looking at how the characters were distributed across the book, I have to admit that the author took his time to select which traits to give who. Hirr Valhelm remained my favorite character. Other characters I found interesting include Vost Kon Schmitt, Wiktor Kon Oydrich and Lady Eidi Kon Huss and of course King Lortar. I found the kingdom’s way of dealing with criminals and those who went against the king intriguing.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story. The characters in the book are fascinating. The plot is superb and the writing style is amazing. I loved every page of Damnation. The book is action-packed, with suspense, adventure, drama, twists, and turns.
The book is fairly long, at 600+ pages, but this story does not feel overwhelming. I felt that opposite actually, the ending leaves you on a cliffhanger and I wanted more. This leaves the book open for a followup book to start, what could be, a fantasy series with a deep backstory and dynamic characters.
Pages: 644 | ASIN: B07HVHVDDY
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A Monk’s Tail follows a monster hunting fox that must protect his friend from a fiendish warlord. What was your inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
There really was no ‘inspiration’, per se. Writing for me started out (and still is) something I do to center myself after a long or stressful day. I would have a bunch of what-if situations and flesh them out a bit. The characters in the what-if that eventually became A Monk’s Tail really stuck with me, so I rolled with it.
The characters are all anthropomorphic animals that are multilayered characters. What choices went into what character would be which animal?
Basically the decision-making process was, “What animals do I like?” Red Pandas are my favorite so I just went with them for the main character. Although I did want Susi to be more diminutive to showcase her spunky, firecracker personality, so having her be a mouse was a more intentional decision.
I loved the dialogue throughout the story. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their conversations and relationships?
The main theme for my book is “fun”; if you’re entertained, I did my job. So the dialogue is injected with lots of humor that gives each character their own quirks. I also love languages (although I’m not the best at learning them), so I wanted to incorporate different languages and accents to give my world more depth.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’ve got a few irons in the fire, but the most immediate work is a direct sequel to A Monk’s Tail. It’s a love letter to Japan that introduces a lot of folklore, monsters, and historical figures. Anyone who’s interested in the Sengoku period of Japan, yokai, or the culture in general will enjoy this book, which will be available during the second quarter of 2019.
For Bow, a gun-toting, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed firefox monk, life as a monster-hunter is pretty straightforward. Until, that is, he runs afoul of a power-hungry warlord and gets himself imprisoned. There he helps a young maus named Susi escape, but in doing so unleashed nightmarish forces hellbent on capturing his new ward. Now, with the help of a giant bear alchemist and a violent nun, Bow must stay one step ahead of his perusers and certain death. But Susi is harboring a dark secret, one that could spell doom for them all.
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Callie and Kane have escaped from the King Hugo’s realm but have been conscripted into the army. Here they hide, Kane posing as a common mage and Callie is put to work in the maid’s camps. With them is Jonas, one of the three roses that Master Cypher was searching for. While the war effort is continuing Jonas reveals to Callie he can see visions of the future, he tells her he must go save Kane or he will die. She rushes out to find Kane and they escape what turns out to be a massacre of all the mages in the camp. After this they find Master Cypher escaping the area with Jonas and he offers to let Kane and Callie join him on his journey to Lonsaran, the neighboring kingdom. Entering the new land, Kane changes his name to Sean McAlister and presents himself as a commoner / mage. Now Sean and Callie must look to make new lives in this land while keeping an eye on Jonas till he can be safely delivered to the king in Asturia. Along the way Callie’s past comes back to haunt her and they must figure out how to survive.
Jason Hubbard’s The Hunt for the Three Roses while a continuation of the previous novel is still able to stand alone and not confuse a new reader too much. It is a long book and some sections drag out and feel like page filler rather than moving the plot along. Aside from that, the actual story line is engaging and the character development, I feel, is enhanced from previous works by Hubbard. I enjoy the relationship dynamic between the characters. Sean’s caring nature is apparent, and you see him grow from a spoiled, selfish nineteen-year-old, into a mature father figure with Jonas. His relationship with Callie is back and forth as both can’t seem to figure out what they really want in life and what direction they want to go in. Both end up in the service of Count Guyver; and seem to fit well into their new rolls. But Rainer, an assassin from the prior novel, is still alive and determined to torment Callie. Even Rainer’s character development is well done, he is dark and calculating. His personality plays well against Sean’s more innocent and desire to be good personality. Callie falls in the middle always conflicted about if she wants to lead a life of good or descend into the underworld of crime again. This conflict makes her character so interesting and makes you want to keep reading to see how things will develop.
The world in which all this takes place is similar to Medieval times Europe. They have a strong religious belief in the life of Micah and the book of Micah. The principals are not all the different from our Bible and Jesus teachings. The difference is their religion includes magic and mages as part of the world of good. A lot of effort went into building the world Hubbard created and it shows in the details of the manor, the ways of the country men, and the secretes that the characters hold. This novel sets up things well for the next installment of the Three Roses and I look forward to seeing how this story line concludes.
Pages: 404 | ASIN: B07HHX5ZLP
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The reader is promised a whole exiting and action-packed adventure with the interesting characters in the book. I totally loved how the book started. What better way to grip the reader’s interest than to start off with a literary stylistic device? I found the author’s use of a quote at the beginning of the book, which also happens to be a simile, to be very creative of him. “The world is like a house; it can be as comforting or as cold as you make it and everyone who passes through leaves their mark.” reads the simile.
The writer is not shy to express himself as he uses curse words in some parts of the book. This may be too much for young readers, but the story stayed entertaining regardless. The main character, the monk, narrates the story in a phenomenal manner that I would pay to have him narrate his stories to me. I found Bow to be an interesting character. His mind was a little complex and he sometimes did things I did not like, but I still loved him. I can say I had a love-hate relationship with the character. I liked the part where our very interesting monk was captured by the leopard warlord. Not that I enjoy reading misery, but I knew what would follow would be fun to read.
Can we talk about the conversations in the book? I fancied how each character communicated. Leena and Bow’s dialogue when they were introducing themselves to each other was one of my favorite parts. I love how Leena tried to pronounce Bow’s name, and Bow chuckling a little bit as she did that. I pictured how she was saying the name and even tried to practically do it.
Readers of mystery novels will immensely enjoy reading about these adventures in the forest. The feeling when reading about this town is thrilling and I wished the writer could have added a few more chapters. Bow’s escape was also exciting to read. The fear, adventure, suspense and ambiguity of some scenes made the reading exhilarating. Unlike other animal stories which are sometimes monotonous to read because characters are given the same traits, A Monk’s Tail was far from that. The plot starts off in a stirring manner, and the story line keeps getting enthralling as one reads on.
The nun, the alchemist, Talia, the leopards, and every character made the plot worth reading. The author’s way of creating characters was genius, as one could see how each of them played their role. This is a thrilling book bursting at the seams with adventure and carried along by intriguing characters.
Pages: 311 | ASIN: B07D174GS3
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In Breaking Worlds we learn about the divide between Lisen and Korin and we witness their daughter’s determination to change the world. What were some driving ideals behind the characters relationships?
Once Rinli died in Protector of Thristas, I knew what had to happen. The death of a child can either bring the parents closer together or rip them apart. I decided to go the latter route and see if I could help them heal eventually. It was difficult to write because I love these characters, but it was necessary to show how two people so closely bound in life and love could respond so diversely to such a tragedy. Now for Rinli, resurrection was not kind. She’s 16 at the time of her death and harbors strong resentment toward the mother who bartered her life for peace. I asked myself how does the psyche of a person who dies and then lives again survive such a painful ordeal? Jon Snow in Game of Thrones remembers nothing past his murder when he’s revived. Jesus Christ reawakened in his tomb a glorified being, but of course he had godhood going for him. But what does resurrection do to a 16-year-old child with deep emotional wounds? And it became clear to me that the rift between Rinli and her mother was only going to widen despite Lisen’s previous efforts to protect her. Sad and tragic as all this was for these three characters, challenging as the work was for me, it was fun to write. Am I wicked for saying that? I doubt any author would feel differently.
This book has clearly been crafted with care and is full of emotion. What were some themes that were important for you to continue in this book, and what were some new ones you wanted to introduce?
The continuing theme of the consequences of decisions remained paramount in my storytelling. I find tales of redemption the most interesting of all, and there can be no redemption if there is no sin. I love breaking characters into pieces and watching how they reassemble themselves and the relationships they’ve broken in the process. In Breaking Worlds, I wanted to explore what it means to be the helpmate to a person with the potential for greatness. I delved into the parallels between Korin and Madlen in their roles as lovers/supporters for their beloveds, and Madlen’s unquestioning (or barely questioning) devotion to Rinli fascinated me. And beyond all of that were the variations of grief and the effect grief has on us as people. I found it both harder and easier to dig into the pain of grief as I wrote because I had just lost my best friend to cancer. Harder for the immediacy of what I’d just been through, but easier because it was so fresh. What it comes down to is what I say on my Facebook page. “I love combining characters with conflict and crisis and then watching as they suffer the consequences of their choices.”
This is the fifth book in the Lisen of Solsta series. Has the series grown beyond what you had originally imagined or are you still following a clearly defined path?
Well, the series has certainly grown. I never expected to write past Blooded, book 3 in the series. But as I’ve noted before, I grew curious about what would happen when “the bill came due.” In other words, what would happen when Lisen had to hand Rinli over to the Thristans in the desert as their “Mantar’s Child”? Then another question emerged after I finished Protector of Thristas (book 4). What would a world broken by Mantar’s Child look like? That led quite neatly into Breaking Worlds.
What can readers expect in the finale of the Lisen of Solsta series, book 6 Pushing Madness?
Breaking Worlds and Pushing Madness were written together. I didn’t know if I had enough material for two separate books, so I kept pushing forward with certain criteria set up for what length would be too much for one book and where I would split the book into two if that became necessary. In terms of the story, my intent is to clear the table, to answer all the questions–in short, to tie up all the lose threads and hopefully leave the reader satisfied while allowing the ending to be a bit messy. I’m not a fan of endings that are too neat. I prefer to be left, as a reader, with a few things to tidy up for myself, and that’s what I strive for in my endings.
Left with the blood of a tragedy on their hands, Lisen and Korin can no longer face one another. Korin heads east towards the desert, while Lisen remains in Avaret with two children in need of comfort Lisen cannot provide. Never has she felt so alone. As war threatens on the horizon, two deserted people must somehow find their way back to life, to each other. Will Lisen and Korin reunite in time? Will the truth of the dead and the living be revealed?
Return to Garla and Thristas where love may not conquer all, but it can serve as an ally in the fight. Where all that seems well doesn’t necessarily end well. Where loyalty can be bought with a nudge. Where all the magic in the world may still fail you. Where, with Garla and Thristas on the edge of destruction, Book V of Lisen of Solsta’s saga drives the story closer to the inevitable conclusion to Lisen’s story.
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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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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?
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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