Blog Tour & Giveaway: Blamed by Edie Harris

Blurb:
Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgiveable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business. But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.

Blamed releases on Nov. 3! Pre-order now:
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Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Excerpt:
The blood in her mouth tasted like hot pennies.
Flinching as a secondary arterial spray lashed her face, she kept her fingers clenched in her tormenter’s hair, holding his head aloft for the slice of the blade she’d stolen from his toolkit when his back was turned.
That mistake had just cost him his life.
Her stomach lurched, and she shoved the dead man away, wishing he’d deafened her when he boxed her ears on the second—third?—day, so she couldn’t hear the back of his skull hit the concrete floor with a sickening thwack. Her hand shook, the knife threatening to slip from her mangled fingers, but once it fell, she knew she wouldn’t be able to pick it back up, and she couldn’t afford to be weaponless. Injured knuckles white around the slick rubber grip, she staggered back until her shoulders hit the far wall of her prison.
Her torture chamber.
The blood cooling on her face ratcheted her panic up a notch. Every breath was pure agony, broken ribs prodding like iron pokers against her lungs. Every square inch of skin on her back burned like hellfire. Her body was one giant bruise, her mind a tangled mess. Tears spilled down her cheeks, wet and warm—and silent.
She’d not made a sound when she slit her captor’s throat. Her family would be so proud.
The thought made her tears fall faster. A longing for home and the Queen Anne Victorian in which she’d grown up, the same longing she had buried deep for the past year, threatened to bring her to her knees, but no. No. It was just like the knife—if she fell, she’d never get back up, and eventually, someone was going to come looking for the man she had killed.
John. He’d told her his name was John, but surely that was a lie. Monsters never told the truth.
Swallowing her nausea, she stumbled toward John’s crumpled body. The thick pool of blood was unavoidable, though she shuddered when red seeped between her bare toes. Dizziness swamped her when she dropped into a crouch, the hand not holding the blade searching the pockets of John’s cargos for his key card.
Her victory upon locating the card was short-lived when she remembered what came next.
Each time John had “visited” her, it had become harder and harder to stay conscious. Everything in her hurt as she’d never hurt before. The temptation to let her eyes slide shut forever had been so strong, John singing soothingly while he disinfected his tools from their session.
Lullabies. He sang her lullabies. Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top….
She had always remained awake long enough to watch him leave, knowing he’d be back to resume her torture. The key card was merely half the equation when it came to unlocking the door. John’s fingerprint was the other.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock….
Dragging John’s body to the scanner mounted next to the door was not an option, not in her weakened state. Her gaze caught on his limp hand, and a tremor wracked her. There was no choice. Flattening his palm against the bloody floor, she lowered the knife.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall….
She couldn’t help it—she vomited. But when her retching ceased, she gingerly picked up the severed finger and rose from her crouch. She almost didn’t feel the wetness underfoot anymore, which meant blessed numbness had nearly arrived. Key card first, then the bloody print on the scanner’s screen, and she held her breath.
And down will come baby, cradle and—
The near-silent snick of the steel door unlatching shook John’s voice from her head. Freedom. Oh, God, freedom from this hellhole was so close, so amazingly close she was dizzy with it.
Her tears fell harder. Fuck. Why couldn’t she stop crying?
With a soft whirring noise, the door slid open, and a bunker-style hallway cast in eerie greenish light was revealed. She was underground, as suspected. A memory flashed, of John using a medical scalpel to dig the GPS tracker out from behind her ear. There had been nothing clinical or precise in how he’d wielded that blade.
Can’t have them finding you before we’re done here, little girl.
She didn’t bother looking back at his lifeless form as she eased through the door, still clutching his finger and key card. They might still prove useful in helping her escape this prison; John would not.
Adjusting her grip on the knife, she crept down the hall, ignoring the black spots clouding her vision and the vicious pounding of her head. It felt as though her brain were trying to punch its way through her skull, and she simply didn’t have time for that nonsense, because someone was watching her. Her hazy thoughts pictured the camera mounted in the corner of her cell, its little red dot blinking, always blinking. Someone would know what she’d done to John, and she refused to wait for retaliation to find her.
Run now. Collapse later.
The concrete was cold beneath her sticky, blood-soaked feet, with a chill that crept up her ankles, her calves, making her knees knock together. She was so tired. It had been at least a day since John had given her anything to drink, and he’d never provided food. As she slowly made her way down the empty corridor, her senses began to fail her, the muted buzz in her ears blocking out the faint echo of her rasping breaths. Her adrenaline rush from the kill was over.
Perhaps…perhaps she wouldn’t make it out of here, after all.
A loud sob escaped against her will.
The sounds of footsteps, heavy and booted, broke through the encroaching deafness, and then there he stood in front of her, limned in the faint glow of the bunker lights, a tall man with ice for eyes and a nasty-looking gun.
“Beth.”
She blinked at him through her tears, her relief short-lived as a wave of bitterness
sweeping through her battered body as she saw where, precisely, that gun was aimed. Her voice cracked, breaking low and hoarse when she spoke. “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame.”
She hummed the rest.
You give love a bad name.

About Edie Harris:
Edie Harris studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College. She fills her days with writing and editing contract proposals, but her nights belong to the world of romance fiction. Edie lives and works in Chicago and is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

Follow Edie on Social Media:
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Giveaway: Edie is giving away one digital copy of Blamed (formats available: PDF & ePub), ‘I Only Kiss Spies’ t-shirt, ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’ OPI nail polish and one bag of Van Houtte ‘Belgian Chocolate’ ground coffee!
Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
• This giveaway begins October 19 and ends December 22.
• Winner will be contacted via email on Tuesday, December 23.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

GO ENTER HERE:
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Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Please welcome, Sonali Dev to the blog!

Blurb:
Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.
Advance Praise for A Bollywood Affair:

“Sonali Dev is a fresh new voice in romance. A child bride who’s all grown up, a sexy Bollywood director, and deeply-felt emotions that will keep readers turning the pages. A Bollywood Affair has it all.” –Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times Bestseller

“Deeply romantic and emotional, with characters I fell in love with, A Bollywood Affair is simply unputdownable. It’s sexy, it’s dramatic, but most of all, it’s a sweet, hot love story that made me sigh and smile and want to read it all over again as soon as I turned the last page.” -Nalini Singh, New York Times Bestseller

A Bollywood Affair will be released on Oct. 28!
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About Sonali Dev:
Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites.
With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.

Find Sonali on Social Media:
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Twitter
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Rafflecopter Giveaway (Tour Wide Commenter Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and Three Print Copies of A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR):
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Interview:
This is your debut novel. Tell us about your journey to getting “The Call.”
Gosh. It’s such a long story. But the short version is that I pitched my book to my editor in the middle of a publisher spotlight at a conference and ended up with a request. But I really wanted an agent so I continued to submit and be rejected by agent after agent, revising nonstop for two years. Finally when I had run out of agents to submit to and faith that anyone would take my book on I finally sent it off to my editor and got an offer within a week.
And when my editor emailed me to make the offer I refused to open the email because I had heard that you get The Call on the phone and if he had sent me an email that meant it was a rejection. So I waited for my husband to get home from work and made him open the email, sobbing the entire time because I really could not handle another rejection.

How did you celebrate?
I think I was too much in shock for a very long time after The Call to celebrate. I had wanted this so badly for so long that it was like being physically ill for days after it happened. How pathetic is that?

Tell us about Mili and Samir.
Mili is a girl from s tiny village in Northern India who was married when she was a child and then abandoned by her husband whose family moved away to the city. Essentially her life has been a contradiction between being tied in the bonds of marriage and having the freedom to do many of the things other girls in her village would never be allowed to do, like getting an education, because her grandmother is desperate to raise her to be the perfect city wife. And she’s just the kind of girl who uses every opportunity she gets in her restrictive life to get where she wants to go while still respecting the traditions she holds dear.
Samir is a Bollywood filmmaker with a bad boy public image he carefully cultivates while being fiercely devoted to his family in his private life. He’s had a rough start to life and owes all his present success to the sacrifices of his adoptive mother and half brother. This has left him with a giant case of the White Knight Complex and the inability to trust anyone outside of his family.

Families play an important part in this book. Do you come from a large family?
I have only one sibling. So, technically it’s not a large family but I do come from a huge, extremely close-knit extended family. To give you an idea of how things are in my family– a local book store is hosting a book launch for A Bollywood Affair and of course I mentioned this to my family and now there’s some 50 odd family members and friends who are like family travelling into town from all over the country for the event. It’s going to be a madhouse in the best possible sense.

Bollywood film references are mentioned throughout the book. What film(s) do you recommend to readers who have never seen one?
There are several Indian films made for international audiences like Monsoon Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice that I recommend for someone who has never watched one and is unfamiliar with Indian culture.
Then there are ‘full-on’ Bollywood Films like Dil Chahata Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge, Kal Ho Na Ho, Life in A Metro which are some of my favorite films. So those would be a good place to start too.

What scene was the hardest to write in the book? Why?
This was one of those rare books that flowed pretty easily. So all of the scenes came organically as I was telling the story and there really wasn’t a particular scene I struggled with. But I did several revisions of the scene in which Samir and Mili meet because it was so romantic in my head and it had the potential to be too over the top. I had to make sure that romanticism translated just right on the page and that all the drama didn’t come off as contrived.

Plotter or pantser?
Plottster. I usually know my characters and I know the arc of my story. I know who the characters are when they start out and who they are going to be at the end and I know the emotional highs and lows they have to suffer through to get there. But I can’t do scene outlines etc. They give me the shivers.

Release day is coming up! Again, many congrats!! What will you do that day?
Thank you! It’s going to be a day spent online in the blogoshere. I’m doing a few blog posts myself and I’m going to be visiting all the blogs who are hosting A Bollywood Affair and chatting with commenters. And maybe we’ll end it all with a nice dinner with the family. I will be saving the real celebrating for the weekend when my friends and extended family descend upon us.

Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I’m working on the next few books in the Bollywood series. Which isn’t technically a series but more a set of stories in which one of the protagonists works in Bollywood.

Do you have book/author recommendations?
I am one of those fangirl readers. Once I get stuck on an author I cannot stop reading her. I’m currently doing that with Molly O’Keefe. Crazy Thing Called Love is one of my favorite books and now I’m loving her Boys of Bishop series. Also, I will read absolutely anything Nalini Singh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Lisa Kleypas and Sherry Thomas write.

One sentence to tantalize readers to get your book!
I love this line that Samir says to Mili when their relationship starts.
“Mili, we will always be friends. Whatever else we become, we will always be friends. Will you remember that?”

Excerpt:
Mili was in the middle of peeling the wrapper off her last remaining chocolate bar when she heard the knock. She took a quick bite and put the rest of it back in the empty fridge. Her stomach growled in protest. She hadn’t eaten anything all day. There were some noodles from Panda Kong in the fridge but she needed those for dinner.
Who could be knocking on her door? No one, and she meant no one, had ever knocked on that door in the four months that she had lived here. Except that one time those Jesus Christ people had stopped by and tried to give her a Bible. Another forceful knock. Too forceful. The Bible people had been too polite to knock this hard. Something about that knock made her defenses bristle.
It couldn’t possibly be Ridhi’s brother, could it? Ridhi had said they’d send him first.
Another knock.
Oh Lord. Oh Ganesha. Oh Krishna. What now? Ridhi was gone only about half an hour. If Mili let anything slip they would find Ridhi and Ravi before they got away. A complete tragedy-style ending to their love story. Mili could never let that happen. Never. Never.
She tiptoed to the door.
“Hello? Anybody there?” A deep, authoritative man’s voice shouted from the other side. A deep, authoritative Indian man’s voice. She looked through the fuzzy peephole. All she saw was a blurred outline of a large figure. Oh. Lord. She tiptoed backward and tripped over the shoes she’d left in the middle of the floor, and landed on her bum with a thud, knocking over the lone chair that stood in the middle of the room. Oh no, she had probably broken the one piece of living room furniture she owned.
“Hello?” the voice called again, sounding a little confused. He’d heard her. Oh Lord. She hurried to the balcony. No way was she going to be the reason for Ridhi taking on her monosyllabic-slash-near-suicidal avatar again. She leaned over the white spindle railing and saw her new bike on the bike rack just below her. It wasn’t much of a jump. Just about seven feet to the grassy mound below. She jumped.
She landed on her feet and then toppled headlong into her bike, which in turn crashed into the three other bikes next to it. Metal tore through her shirt and jabbed her shoulder. The crash made her ears ring. “Shh,” she hissed at the bike she was lying on and tried to straighten up.

Samir heard a loud crash. He ran to the open stairwell and leaned over the railing. Some sort of crazy creature with the wildest mass of jet-black curls was dusting herself off and trying to grab a fluorescent yellow bike from a jumbled heap. Was she stealing it? In her rush to pry it free she stumbled backward and her eyes met his. Something in the way she looked at him set alarm bells gonging in his head. His eyes swept from her panicked stance to the low-hanging balcony. Had she jumped? Damn it.
“Hey! Wait a minute. Are you Malvika?” he yelled at her.
Her eyes widened to huge saucers, as if he’d accused her of something truly heinous. Was she crazy? She had to be because before he knew what to do next she yanked the bike free, hopped on it, and took off as if he were some sort of gangster chasing her with a gun.
He ran down the stairs, taking almost the entire flight in one leap, and saw her desperately peddling away from him. The rickety piece of shit she was riding wobbled and teetered, looking even more unstable than she did. She turned around and gave him another terrified glance. What was wrong with the woman? Just as she was about to turn away again the bike’s handle jerked at the most awkward angle as if it had a mind of its own and she went hurtling into a tree at the end of the street.
“Holy shit!” He ran to her.
By the time he got to her she was lying on her back, her butt pushed up against the tree trunk, her legs flipped over her head like some sort of contortionist yoga guru and the bike intertwined with her folded body. Through the tangle of hair, limbs, and fluorescent metal he heard a sob and a squeak.
“Hello? Are you all right?” Leaning over, he lifted a long spiral lock off her face. It bounced against his palm, soft as silk.
One huge, almond-shaped eye focused on him.
“Teh thik to ho?” he repeated in Hindi. He had no idea why he’d spoken it or why he had used that rural dialect he now used only with his mother, but it just slipped out.
The tangled-up, upside-down mess of a girl, looking at him from behind her legs, literally brightened. There was just no other way to describe it. Her one exposed eye lit up like a firework in a midnight sky. He pushed more hair off her face, almost desperate to see the rest of that smile.
“You can speak Hindi,” she said, her surprisingly husky voice so filled with delight that sensation sparkled across his skin.
For one moment the almost physical force of her smile and the uninhibited joy in her voice stole his ability to speak.
She squinted those impossibly bright eyes at him. “Sorry, is that the only line you know?”
“What? No, of course not. I know lots of lines.” Wow, that must be the stupidest thing he’d ever said in his life.
She smiled again.
He gave his head a shake and forced his attention on her mangled situation instead of that smile. As carefully as he could he pulled the bike off her. “Can you move?”
She bit down on her lip and tried to push herself up. But instead of her body moving, her face contorted with pain and tears pooled in her eyes.
He dropped down to his knees next to her. “I’m sorry. Here, let me help you.” He ignored the absurd shiver of anticipation that kicked in his gut as he reached for her.

No man had ever touched Mili like that. Ridhi’s ridiculously handsome brother wrapped his arms around her and tried to ease her into a sitting position. Pain shot through her back, her legs, through parts of her body she wasn’t even aware she possessed, and all she could think about was the warm bulges of his arms pressing into her skin. So this was what a man’s touch felt like.
Yuck. She was an awful pervert. You’re a married woman, she reminded herself.
But then he gave her another tug and she forgot her own name. Pain buzzed like a million bees in her head. She tried to be brave but she couldn’t stifle the yelp that escaped her.
“Shh. It’s okay. Let me look at that.” He propped her up against his chest and reached out to inspect her ankle. His face faded and blurred and then came back into focus. His skin was almost European light and his hair was the darkest burnt gold. If he hadn’t spoken Hindi the way he had, she might have mistaken him for a local.
He touched her ankle and she was sure something exploded inside it. She sucked in a breath and her head lolled back onto his chest. A very bad English word she had heard only in films rumbled in his chest beneath her head, which suddenly weighed a ton. Her stomach lurched. She heard a pathetic whimper. It had to be her. He didn’t look like the whimpering type.
“Shh, sweetheart. Try to breathe. There, in, then out.” His breath collected in her ear. His voice had an almost magically soothing vibration to it. He slipped a cell phone out of his pocket. “Is there anyone I can call? We need to get you to a hospital.”
At least that’s what Mili thought he said, because her ears were making funny ringing sounds. She leaned back into his wall-like chest and tried to focus on his face, which started spinning along with the fading and the blurring. “Snow Health Center is around the corner. I can walk.”
“Right,” he said. “Or why don’t you ride your bike?”
She was about to smile, but he made an angry growling sound and scooped her up in his arms. How could a flesh-and-blood body be so hard? Like tightly packed sand, but with life. The buzzing in her ears was a din now and she had to fight to keep her eyes open. He jogged across the parking lot to a very shiny action-film-style car.
“I’m going to put you in the backseat, okay?”
She nodded. As long as he kept talking to her in that soothing voice of his, she didn’t care what else he did. “Your car is yellow,” she said. “Just like my bike.”
He grinned and laid her down on the backseat of the roofless car so slowly, so very gently, she felt like she was made of spun sugar. Her ankle hit the seat and she felt like a sledgehammer on an anvil. She dug her fingers into his arm to keep from screaming. He didn’t pull away. He just kept talking in that magical voice until finally he faded out. The last thing Mili remembered was asking him to put her bike in the rack. No, the last thing she remembered was his smile when she asked him to do it.

Follow Sonali on Tour:
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Blogger Blackout: My First Kindle

In the fall of 2010, Amazon introduced its third generation, the Kindle Keyboard. The price was $189 for the version with wifi & 3G. Previous models of the Kindle ranged from $359-399.
I had only a casual interest in the Kindle previously. It wasn’t because I was obsessed with print books. It was more of sticker shock. $400 for a Kindle and I still had to buy books to put on that Kindle? No thank you.
However, when the K3, aka the Kindle Keyboard, was announced, there was much buzz throughout the Internet. I slowly became entranced by what I heard. I had never shopped at Amazon at that time. Once I heard about their 30 day return policy, I felt that I had nothing to lose.
On September 17, 2010, the magical day arrived. My Kindle was being delivered to me at work. It was love at first sight. I was awed by the size. I was amazed by the charity of the screen. I was astonished that such a little device could hold so many books.
Needless to say that my love affair of the Kindle has not ended. I now read almost exclusively in digital. I own entire backlists of authors that I love, such as Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, and Lisa Kleypas.
Since I didn’t know anyone who owned a Kindle in real life, I went to Amazon Kindle’s Facebook page so that I colts share my love for it. At this page, I have many friends, including Melinda, who blogs with me.
I currently own the first generation Paperwhite. I adore the built-in light. However, my first love will forever be the K3.

~Vi

Blogger Blackout Review: A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran

9759853 I mentioned earlier this week we wouldn’t be reviewing any new releases this week since we are participating in the blogger blackout. But I wanted to post a review of an older romance book that I read this week that I really enjoyed. A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal was published in 2011 by Meredith Duran and I happened to buy it when it was either on a daily deal or a price drop. And I’m so glad I did!

Nell Whitby is a great main character. She is destitute and working in a factory to try to take care of her ill mother. Meanwhile, her stepbrother is taking advantage of her hard working nature and either outright steals from her or tries to convince her to do more than just work in the factory to earn wages. When Nell’s mother, on her dying bed, coughs out that she should go to her real father for help Nell is shocked at the idea as she has no idea of what her mother is talking about.

From there the plot takes off in a huge way. A few weeks later Nell goes to kill her father in desperation and stumbles into Simon instead. Immediately the chemistry, while not romantic right away, is off the charts. There are quite a few things that really work in this book and the two main characters are at the top of the list. Nell was excellent, bringing her incredulity at how the upper class lives with a touch of fun and Simon has an air of nonchalance about him that balances off of Nell in a great way. The dialogue between the two combined with the plot makes this historical romance one I’m glad I didn’t miss out on.

4 Stars

~Melinda

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#HaleNo Reviewing Blackout

blackout
There’s been quite a bit of drama in the book review and blogging world this week and with that we’re choosing to join in the Blogger Blackout because stalking is not okay. Many larger review blogs have chosen to do blackout on reviews of new books and instead either post essays or encourage readers discussions. We’re going to participate in the blackout on new reviews and post reviews on older books. We got this idea from some of the discussion on Twitter between the bloggers. So look for some older book reviews over the next few days.

~Melinda

Book Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

16101026 This is the second book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles and one I literally finished just last night. When I was done at 2 in the morning I was ready to start writing right that second because the last 3 pages brought different threads of the plot together but also left some major aspects hanging. The Cahill witches are three young sisters who are being raised by their father after their mother died. The setting is an alternate New England with The Brotherhood in control and accusing young women of being witches for everything from disobeying their parents to actually being witches and using mind magic. They then whisk the girls away and no one sees them again, most are locked up and the families are too scared to really inquire about them.

The story is told from Cate’s point of view – the oldest of the Cahill sisters. She had been trying her best to protect her sisters, Maura and Tessa, from The Brotherhood as they’ve been hiding their magic from everyone since their mother’s death. But at the end of the first book Cate had to give up her love, Finn and go with the Sisterhood to protect her true sisters from being discovered. The Sisterhood is made up of actual witches but everyone thinks they are Sisters in the faith and support the Brotherhood. I was disappointed in the separation of Finn and Cate at the end of the first book because the romance between the two was really great against the dreary backdrop of the Brotherhood controlled city.

I’m not sure what it is about this second book but I liked this one slightly more than the first. I think the setting being moved from mainly the family home to the Sisterhood in the city made the danger more immediate. Cate’s sister’s and Finn all appear in the city not long after the book opens and with the reuniting the story becomes more complete again. Maura is mainly obsessed with discovering who the Oracle is – the prophesied witch that would change everything while her sisters are more concerned with the welfare of all of the girls in the city. The Brotherhood’s reach is become more and more weighty and controlling with no one to fight it. When they ban all girls from learning how to read Cate and Finn are stunned.

I cannot imagine a life without books. Without Father’s stories of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses, without pirate stories and fairy tales and poems. Without the hope of another way, of freedom and adventure beyond what we have here and now. How dark life would be.

I can’t remember hating another character as much as I hated Maura. Every time she spoke or even appeared on the page I wanted to reach through the book and slap her. The author did an amazing job at creating such a realist dynamic between all three sisters. Just like with the first book, the relationships are what shine through. Seeing Cate interact with Finn and her friends shape and create her and help her evolve throughout. And holy crap – I can’t wait to read the last book!!

5 Stars

~Melinda

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