Readers' Favorite

July 4, 2015

"Hilarious!!" ~ The Consequence of Revenge by Rachel Van Dyken

The Consequence of Revenge
After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?

The funniest book in the history of ever ~ Sam_Shem

Brilliantly quirky and hysterically funny!!! A must read ~ Jezabell Girl

I laughed so hard I was crying!!! ~ Amy Laplante

Buy The Consequence of Revenge at Amazon

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July 3, 2015

Music in Stories … Stories in Music (@satiswrites)

by Chris

photo credit: Donna Huber
For those of you not deeply invested in the tech industry, you might not have noticed that Tuesday marked the launch of something rather significant in the world of music: Apple Music. Aimed squarely at the likes of Spotify and Pandora, it gives users access to nearly the entire catalogue of music available on iTunes—some 30 million songs.

I’ve been playing with it for a bit, and as I’ve come to love it, it’s made me think a little about the nature of music. I couldn’t help thinking that a lot of songs—and a lot of albums—aim to tell a story of one kind or another. Whether it’s Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer, or Opeth’s masterpiece album Still Life (look it up—seriously), some of the best music in the world serves to tell a story of one kind or another. One particular album, After Forever’s Invisible Circles, was the formative inspiration for my own long-time work-in-progress, A Gothic Symphony. Its tale of a young girl growing up with neglectful and abusive parents spoke to my own depression-laden childhood, and struck such a chord that I had to write my own version of its story.

In this regard, the unfettered access to millions of songs has given me (and millions of others) the opportunity to discover countless more musical tales. One of my favorite albums, now rediscovered, is Iced Earth’s Horror Show, which covers the gamut of horror movie characters, from Dracula to Damien to the Phantom of the Opera. Another musical story, told across multiple albums by Finnish band Sonata Arctica, tells the tale of a young boy abused by his parents (is there a theme to the music I like here?) who ultimately grows up to murder his father and stalk his mother.

Storytelling has been a part of music since the dawn of human history, tales handed down in the form of song through generations. But what about stories themselves? For something that is such an ingrained part of human nature (every culture in the world plays music of some kind), it isn’t often referenced in the stories we tell themselves. (I’m aware this sounds rather meta—songs about stories about songs.) There are references to it in certain tales; Stephen King is fond of prefacing chapters with quotes from his favorite songs, and indeed Tolkien inserts numerous songs throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But what you end up reading are words, not songs; poetry, stripped of all sonority.

Of course, it isn’t easy to portray music in literature. How can the glorious tones and sweeping melodies translate to black and white text on paper? Even my attempts to bring music into the fictional worlds I create seem to fall flat; I can call it beautiful and haunting, harkening to days of old, but it doesn’t truly do justice to what I hear in my head.

One of the best books I’ve ever read that tries to tackle this troublesome dilemma is The Mozart Season, by Virginia Euwer Wolff (not the Virginia Woolf). It’s the story of a precocious adolescent girl and her relationship with classical music, and in particular Mozart’s violin concertos, which she ends up playing for a competition. Along the way she (perhaps unsurprisingly) learns about herself and her family as well, and if I recall she doesn’t end up winning the competition but comes away a wiser and brighter person. In some ways it’s typical YA fiction, but in others it really tries to explain the music to non-musical folk, and takes serious effort to describe the beauty of the songs. I remember one passage describing the passing of notes on a violin as ‘satiny smooth’.

Music is incredibly important to me, having grown up playing piano and very nearly entering the professional music world as a composer (life managed to get in the way) before finding a path as a writer. I still compose sometimes just for fun, and play piano whenever I can. And I listen to endless music through my computer and on my phone. The stories I discover are marvelous, and fill me with jealously and admiration for the people who’ve managed to successfully combine my own two loves: storytelling and music.

What do you think of stories in music, and music in stories?

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July 2, 2015

Picture it: Using Instagram for blog promotion

by Donna Huber

Instagram to boost traffic to my blog or some other sort of promotion. While I like taking pictures, it isn't a natural inclination. But I'm trying to get better about using Instagram for promotion.
It seems every other day I get a post from the social media "gurus"about using

During Armchair BEA, I participated in the Instagram challenges and I also checked out other bloggers feeds to see if I could get some ideas. Let me tell you, some bloggers are very creative, but I did have fun with the #SpinePoetry.

Are you in the same boat as me and needing ideas of what to put on instagram? Here are some possibilities:

  1. Quotes - quotes from your favorite author, quotes from your favorite book or characters. There are quote making apps and sites that allow you to make cool looking quotes to post to Instagram.
  2. Book Hauls - did you pick up a stack of books from your library this week? What about books in the mail? Perhaps you went to a charity sale and got a bag full. Snap a pic and show it off on Instagram.
  3. Teasers - take a picture of the page you are currently reading. Freda has expanded her Friday 56 meme to include instagram. All you have to do is take a quote from page 56 (or 56% on your ereader). I do it the easy way and take a picture of the page. I've also used #TeaserTuesdays a few times. 
  4. Images that promote your current read - I've been doing a little bit of this for my read along. Mostly the cover or a page from that week. But you can get creative. I've taken pictures of fancy olives because they remind me of Maggie from JB Lynn's Neurotic Hitwoman series. What do you see around you that reminds you of characters or books you are reading?
  5. General pictures - give your readers a look at the person behind the blog. And no, I don't necessarily mean take a selfie, perhaps a shelfie. A few selfies though wouldn't hurt, but if you don't want to do that then take pictures of your life. I take pictures of my pets, places I go, something from my day, things that catch my eye, etc.

However, the bigger question really is - Does Instagram drive traffic to my blog?

My answer: I don't know. I don't get a lot of likes and rarely a comment. Using Instagram does have benefits. I share to Twitter and Facebook and those do get a good number of shares and likes. Also I love that I can embed the image in my blog posts, making my posts a bit more interesting. Also there is potential from Pinterest cross promotion. I think it is good for name recognition.

Instagram is something that I'll continue to play with, but more for the fun of it than its ability to drive traffic.

And if you want to follow me:

Are you on Instagram? If want more followers, leave a link in the comments. Also, are you using Instagram for blog promotion? If so, what do you post and is it helping your blog? 

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

July 1, 2015

New Releases: July 2015

Plenty of new book to choose from this month. What is keeping you entertained this summer?

Waiting for a Star to Fall
Dead men may tell no tales, but dead women will…

Seventeen months ago, Autumn Brody came face to face with a killer. The key to her survival: the ghost of one of his victims.

Determined to forget the horrors of boarding school, Autumn has never told the truth about that day. Focused on living a happy, normal life, she seems to have it all now. Great grades, great boyfriend — she’s even landed a publishing deal out of high school.

The one thing missing: ghosts. Or so she insists. The woman lurking near her favourite beach? A sleepy illusion. The feeling that she’s being watched? An understandable PTSD symptom. It’s nothing a trip to New York to see her best friend can’t cure.

But under the big lights of Broadway, things aren’t as they seem, and a chance encounter with a psychic is about to shatter Autumn’s understanding of her brush with death.

Veronica St. Clair is the twisted object of someone’s affections — a passion that turns deadly when it goes unrequited. Someone is determined to pluck theatre’s newest starlet from the sky and send her crashing to the ground. Surrounded by suspects — including one of their closest friends — Autumn must find the stalker to save Veronica’s life.

But is she desperate enough to re-open the door to the dead?

Available July 1
Buy Waiting for a Star to Fall at Amazon

Finding Monkey Moon
Where could Monkey Moon be? A parent and child share a tender moment as they search the park at night for a favorite toy.

Every night at half past seven, Michael and his stuffed monkey go hippity-hop, hippity-hop, up the stairs to bed. But one night when Michael calls out for Monkey Moon, he’s not in any of his favorite places. Dad thinks he must still be at the park, so he and Michael bundle up and head outside, into the dark street, to retrace their steps. As an owl gives a soft hoot, hoot, the two pass silent swings and sleeping ducks, brushing away leaves and looking behind trees, searching the sandbox and peering into the playhouse. Will Michael ever find his beloved toy? With a lyrical narrative and lovely soft art,Finding Monkey Moon transforms a child’s familiar experience into a nighttime adventure.

Available July 1
Buy Finding Monkey Moon at Amazon

Those Girls
Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge.

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Available July 7
Buy Those Girls at Amazon

The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…

Available July 7
Buy Naked at Amazon

The Espionage Effect
When desire sets you free…control is a matter of perception.

I'm Devin Hill.

Darkness taints my soul.

I'm suffocating. Drowning.

The sweet promise of air? Pure illusion.

Tested as a genius at age seven, I hide my emotions, become what they expect...bury my secrets. At nineteen, I trudge toward a predestined path, blinders on, heart safeguarded.

Until I dare to be wild.

Until Alec Marquez crashes into my world.

Until all that follows redefines everything I've ever known.

What happens when you stumble into a world of spies...and discover you belong there?

Available July 14
Buy The Espionage Effect at Amazon

Immortal Stories
From the pages of the Immortal book series, it’s Eve.

“…if your next question is, what could that possibly make me, if I’m not an angel or a god? The answer is the same as what I said before: many have considered me a god, and probably a few have thought of me as an angel. I’m neither, if those positions are defined by any kind of supernormal magical power. True magic of that kind doesn’t exist, but I can do things that may appear magic to someone slightly more tethered to their mortality. I’m a woman, and that’s all. What may make me different from the next woman is that it’s possible I’m the very first one…”

For most of humankind, the woman calling herself Eve has been nothing more than a shock of red hair glimpsed out of the corner of the eye, in a crowd, or from a great distance. She’s been worshipped, feared, and hunted, but perhaps never understood. Now, she’s trying to reconnect with the world, and finding that more challenging than anticipated.

Can the oldest human on Earth rediscover her own humanity? Or will she decide the world isn’t worth it?

Available July 14
Buy Eve at Amazon

The Pilgrim
In his latest historical epic, worldwide bestselling author Davis Bunn takes readers on a journey through an ancient landscape. Travel with Empress Helena from Caesarea to Judea. Abandoned by her husband, in danger because of her faith, but with an implacable will to do what God calls her to, she takes a perilous pilgrimage. Along the way she meets those who would help her (the wizened and wise bishop Macarius;  the rough-edged but kind-hearted sergeant Cratus; the young soldier Anthony, a man who has lost everything, including his faith) and those who would harm her (the menacing and murderous Roman assassin Severus). Miracles seem to follow this humble but determined woman as she wins many over to the faith, and changes lives forever—including her own.

This unforgettable story of the discovery of the True Cross will thrill readers with its adventure, and with its vivid portrait of one of Christian history’s most important women.

Available July 17
Buy The Pilgrim at Amazon

Hollywood Witch Hunter
From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.

Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.

But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.

Together they're ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that's what witch hunters do.

Welcome to Hollywood.

Available July 20
Buy Hollywood Witch Hunter at Amazon

Know of a book coming out this month? List it is in the comments, please.

Covers and descriptions came from Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 30, 2015

Review: The Secret of Montrose Hall by Adam Steel

by Claire Rees

The Secret of Monstrose Hall
First Chapter, First Paragraph
It was a chill October morning and thick fog hung over the moors like a shroud. It had rained for a solid two weeks and the moors were sodden and black with peat. In the distance the towers of The Great Hall protuded above the fog like the grotesque bones of some long extinct dinosaur. It was a cold and miserable looking place. The Great Hall lay below the suffocating fog in a shallow valley surrounded by stunted oak trees. The nearest village of Woolstock was two miles away, but it was a little more than a collection of cottages, a village shop and an inn called 'The Black Sheep'. The Great Hall had been there as long as any of the local villages could remember and some said that parts of it dated back a thousand years.  There were rumours that it was built on an ancient pagan ritual site from some long forgotten druidic age, but they were just rumours and the villagers liked to invent rumours to appease the occasional tourist and to pass the dark winter nights while they supped beer and played darts in the safety of The Black Sheep.

The Review

The Secret of Montrose Hall follows the life of Irish con artist Connor. He leads a deceitful and despicable life and will do anything to get money. He is extremely selfish to the point where even his own parents have washed their hands of him. He finds his next con when he see an ad for a job. The job is to find out if the Montrose family has an heir and if they do then to track down that heir and take them back to Montrose manner with him to meet the family. Connor has no intention of doing this, he plans to take the £2000 upfront payment and disappear but when he finds out that he could possibly make another £20,000 if he is successful he decides to actually work for his money this time. He hates the time he has to spend at the manor house and his employers are really creepy, there is definitely something not quite right about them or the other staff at the house. He is warned by the people of the village that the Montrose family are cursed and dangerous and to leave but the call of the money is too strong for Connor and he carries on. He finds the Montrose Heir in the form of sixteen year old Evelin and takes her back to Montrose hall. Desperate to leave her sad life, of no money and no family she leaves with him without too many questions.

Then Connor truly finds out what horrors await them both he feels bad for taking her there on the first place and they try to escape. A fantastic story I really did not expect the ending. The characters are great and the reader can really get a feel of how despicable and horrid they really are. You will love this book if you like books full of mystery, suspense and creepiness.

Buy The Secret of Montrose Hall at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (344 pages)
published: February 2015
ISBN13: 978-1508855835
genres: suspense, thrillers
read: June 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 29, 2015

Review: Touch by David J. Linden

by Donna Huber

From time to time I like to read a non-fiction book as I like to learn things. Some of you may know that I work in the sciences and that my undergraduate course was biology. So when I was offered Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, I had to say yes. Also, I always had a fascination with those studies of children who receive limited physical contact.

First, I should warn you, I don't think this book is for the casual reader. I almost had to give up when I got to chapter 2 because of the depth of neurobiology discussed. However, Linden drops enough interesting tidbits along the way that kept me going.

What kind of interesting tidbits. you ask?

Did you know koala bears have fingerprints? Or that you can learn to read braille with with your lips, but not your genitalia?

If you can get past from some of the denser science there is some fascination information about how we perceive what we feel. As one who has suffered from neuropath, I found the chapter on pain quite interesting and explained some things. And found some hope that eventually there will be effective treatment.

But like most areas of science, there is still a lot of unknown and and speculation. I also had to remind myself that some of the more "superfluous" findings where not necessarily  the goal of the experiments or what the lab where truly looking for. Knowing how research is funded, my first reaction was "that's how my tax dollars are being spent?" (particularly when I know how tight funding is for disease research). But I also know that sometimes discoveries are made that are interesting but don't appear to have any real, yet they are just a step to a more important discovery.

If you are interested in the biology behind our sense of touch, then Linden's book Touch would provide a more than satisfactory study. It is truly a fascinating and complex subject.

Buy Touch at Amazon

Book info
available formats: ebook, audio, print (261 pages)
published: January 2015 by Viking
ISBN13: 9780670014873
genres: non-fiction, science, neurobiology
source: publisher
read: May/June 2015

A free book was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

June 28, 2015

The Six #ReadAlong & #Giveaway: Chapters 11-24 @KBHoyle_Author

by Donna Huber

A photo posted by Donna (@girl_who_reads) on
I'm now at the part of the story where I can't put the book down. It was like this the first time, though I didn't realize how slow the beginning was until this re-read. Today, we're discussing chapters 11 through 24. If you missed week 1, week 2, or week 3 discussions, just click on the respective links.

Since we have quite a few chapters to get through today, I'm just going to hit the high points (for me) from each chapter. I hope you will share any high moments for you that I left out in the comments.

Chapter 11: Alitheian Meetings

We left off last week with Darcy stumbling into a strange place where there is a leather-clad man and a strange creature that has her wondering if she hit her head or fell asleep.

Like any 13 year old (or really anyone) she tries to run away, but the creature is too quick for her. And she is carried unceremoniously like a sack of potatoes to a gathering people which includes two princes.

When you got to this chapter, did you feel like things were getting good now?

I was already to take off with this story, but I was a new reader to fantasy. The first fantasy novel I ever liked was Harry Potter and I worried that The Six would delve to quickly or too heavily into the fantasy genre, leaving me bewildered.

I mentioned in my review that I was a bit worried when Darcy started rattling off fantasy creatures.

She took them in with a glance and moved her gaze around to the most impossible of all the creatures there: the nymphs. A dryad, a naiad, and an oread, to be exact.
What? I didn't know what any of those where and even now I can't tell you much about which is which. Thankfully there was a bit of followup with descriptions so I relaxed a bit and hoped that I wouldn't get to confused going forward.

How about you? Did you know what these creatures were or were you just venturing into the fantasy genre like me?

While we still don't know exactly what kind of creature he is, we are introduced to Yahto Veli, well Veli at least. What did you think of him?

I'll admit that I kept picturing a creature like those in Avatar (I had seen the moving shortly before reading The Six the first time).

But I did like Veli from the beginning. He seemed to take to Darcy right away too. While everyone else is consumed with who is she, where did she come from, where are her clothes, he is concerned and focused on her. He even asked for a chair when she almost faints.

Chapter 12: The Council at the Pole

And the interrogation begins! I definitely felt sorry for Darcy here. Not only for all the questions, but she had to admit that she was mean to the others and they didn't really want anything to do with her. It was also a good reminder that she is just a 13 year old girl. I think as an adult reader, that I sometimes forget how young the main characters are in middle grades/young adult literature. Hoyle did a great job a bringing in these type of reminders throughout the story.

Again Veli comes to Darcy's rescue and I fell a bit more in love with this character.

Chapter 13: Going Back

So who wants to be in Darcy's position of convincing the others that Alitheia is real?

This is a bit reminiscent of Lucy's emergence from the wardrobe, but at least then she was facing her siblings. Darcy has to face a group of kids who don't like her very much and whom she's known for just a couple of days. I don't know if I would have been able to have done it.

Good thing it was Sam who she would face first. If anyone in the group would give her the benefit of the doubt it would be Sam. And even if Sam didn't believe her, she wouldn't make Darcy feel bad about it or hate her for making it up. I'm glad Darcy saw that too.

"No," Darcy stopped pacing and looked Sam in the eyes again. "I think you're the last person on earth that would laugh at me, and that's why you have to be the first one to know."

I wish Darcy had remembered in a few chapters how Sam reacted to the news and Darcy's response.

What [Darcy]'d done to deserve this girl's trust, she didn't know, but she intended to earn it from now on.

We also get a glimpse of a time paradox in this chapter. At this point though I just hoped it wouldn't be as confusing as figuring out time turners in Harry Potter.

Chapter 14: Convincing the Others

Now comes the really hard part. Did anyone really think Sam wouldn't believe her?

But I'm sure there were a few of us that doubted everyone would be on board. And hadn't this been a middle grades book, it probably would have been drawn out for more than a few minutes.

Then in true gnome fashion, they had a bit of fun with the kids. Were you worried that the gnomes weren't going to "come to life" again? As an adult I knew they had to otherwise this would have been much shorter fantasy novel or it would have been classified under mental illness. I wonder how children that read the stories feel at that moment.

Chapter 15: The Test of the Animals

Now the whole gang is in Alithiea and we get a bit more details.

When the jerkins of the princes' are described it is noted that there are 4 point stars on them. Later when we see the gang get theirs, it is remarked again about the stars. I can't remember the significance of the stars, if there was one, later in the series.

But first they must meet their animals. While there seems high significance placed on this "test", I'm not sure if their role is as great as throughout the series as it seemed here at the beginning. Maybe I'm not remembering correctly.

What do you think?

After an overly formal welcoming (the first time it was cool because I love seeing how other cultures do things, but this time seemed as tedious to me as it did to Darcy), it is declared they are The Six.

Chapter 16: Stuck

I think this might be the first chapter heading that doesn't clearly convey what happens in this chapter.

Now the group gets their jerkins and special items.

I love the scene with Tellius having to get get Darcy's things for her and give her the ring. He clearly knows what the "King's Intended" meant. I also found it funny that Darcy (or the rest of them) didn't fully grasp what the phrase meant. I blamed it on being overwhelmed by all the strangeness.

A lot of time when Rubidius speaks I hear the voice of Dumbledore (or more accurately the actor who played Dumbledore), but when he says this line after reciting the prophecy, I think of Hargrid.

"Yes," he said after a moment, "that should clear up everything."
Speaking of the prophecy, what did you think? 

Outside of the "King's Intended" there wasn't a lot about what they would do. It more described who they are. And I was with Perry. It didn't explain anything really.

Pateros has been mentioned before and I'm sure fans of the Chronicles of Narnia already say the parallels. What were you thinking about this character Pateros?

All the kids seems to have a bit different reactions to being (and staying) in Alithiea. Is there one character's reaction that most resembles how you would be feeling if you were in their place?

I do feel for Amelia. While I never experienced homesickness, I had a friend who couldn't even spend the night with me though she lived next door, because she was plagued with horrible homesickness. BTW, it is Amelia's response that gives up the title for the chapter.

Chapter 17: Escape

What an ominous title for the chapter!

While still disoriented about their abrupt arrival and learning about their role, the gang is swept into a sudden escape plan. Chaos soon ensues.

Readers take off with Darcy as she confidently rides her horse. The confidence is short lived once she realizes she has to swim out to the middle of the lake.

We meet another nark - Viotto Vesa. And I like her too right from the start. I think I would like to have a Nark as a friend.

We learn a bit more about the troubles that Alithiea is in while sitting on the raft with Darcy.

Chapter 18: Rendezvous

Poor Darcy. If she hasn't already had an overwhelmingly confusing day, she awakes to different Narks. It is pretty cool that there's two personalities in one body, I do wonder how their physical body doesn't wear out without rest.

If you were a nark, would want to be the day nark or the night nark?

Interesting tidbit about being cold and yawning. When I wake up from surgery I'm always cold, like teeth chattering cold. and the nurse told me to yawn to stop the shivers and chattering.

I love authors who answer even the little detail questions that readers might have and I was thrilled that Hoyle explained what happened to Darcy's shoes. It would have made me crazy wondering if she hadn't.

Of course, Sam is there waiting for Darcy. And I'm with Darcy on the whole chamber pot, Eew!

Chapter 19: The Lost Cottage

We get a look at what life is going to be for the gang for a little while at least. What if they have to spend their entire time underground? Would you be able to handle it?

Not everyone is thrilled with The Six, well that's not true exactly. And I can understand, they are impatient to reclaim their land and they have 6 clueless teenagers.

What did you think about the lost cottage? I love traveling but I love being home too. It would be the best of both worlds to be able to carry by door with me.

And then there is Eleanor Stevenson.

Chapter 20: History

What do you think of the "look of pity" that Darcy thought she saw on Eleanor's face when she saw the ring?

The kids finally get to ask some of their questions. What would have been the first question you asked?

Fantasy authors have different methods of bringing readers into the world they have created. Some just drop readers into the middle of the universe and let the reader figure out how everything works. Others have the reader following a character who is an outsider or also new to the world. I prefer the latter and I liked how we got an explanation pretty much right up front about the situation Alitheia is in and how it came to be. How do you like to learn about new fantasy worlds?

Chapter 21: Explanation

We see what magic is like in Alitheia with a bit of comical relief - lunch with Rubidius.

We get a good look at Rubidius between this chapter and the last. What do you think of him?

I had trouble deciding if he was just a grumpy old man or if it is because of all the stress and presumably late nights.

We also hear the prophecy a second time. Any new revelations for you?

Darcy definitely had a revelation. At this point are you just along for the ride or are you trying to figure out how being the King's Intended is going to work out?

Chapter 22: Training

We get an explanation of alchemy in this chapter. My basic understanding was, like Darcy, they were trying to turn lead into gold. But I also knew that it was a very early version of chemistry. If you are an adult, and like the alchemy story line, then I recommend reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Alchemy plays a huge role in that trilogy.

You know how earlier I said Rubidius sounded like Hagrid to me? Well in this chapter when he starts explaining the the six's gifts we sounds like Dumbledore in my head.

Which one of the gifts would you want?
(knowing how Tellius turns out, I would want the ring!)

Chapter 23: Musician

Amelia seems to be pretty negative at this point. I don't think I noticed just how long she was like this. Maybe because, though she doesn't fully want to be there and is upset, she is still a team player. Do you think it is easier for her to be a team player because she more connected to the group?

I found it kind of funny that the great hall wasn't the place for a horse, but it was okay for a lion.

What did you think about high animals and low animals?

It looks like Darcy is really warming up to Sam with eating her mushroom soup. But I'm a bit suspicious about Sam's meeting with Rubidius. I can't remember, but I think something important was discussed.

There is very little breaks in the action when the kids are in Alitheia and we see how things just keep moving in this chapter. Amelia is just playing around with her lyre and something big happens. I forgot that she found something so soon. I think I forgot a lot about Amelia through out the series.

Are you finding that you forgot about certain characters?

Chapter 24: The Grumps

As much I don't want to put the book down, this chapter marks where I start getting apprehensive about the rest of the story and kind of want to stop reading. I don't know if I can relive some of the heartache I know is coming.

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the straw mattress.

When they go to the cottage for lessons, all I could think was what a horrible way to spend their summer.

I always wondered if the gang had reached out to Darcy more during this chapter things wouldn't have gone they way the had. But then again they are just kids and they don't really know her. She may been giving off a "don't talk to me" vibes that we don't know about. But I feel badly that they are talking about her.

I wonder what I thought the first time about the wolf. This time around it gives me the NO feeling.

So what were your favorite parts in these chapters?

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