An Arthurian Legend, Kristen Ashley, & More

  • Crier’s War

    Crier’s War by Nina Varela
    RECOMMENDED: The Crier’s War by Nina Varela is $1.99! Ellen loved this one and gave it an A-:

    I cannot stress enough how new and exciting this book felt. The premise really delivered both in terms of plot and in terms of how fully its implications were explored. The heroine duo was awesome, the queer love was amazing, the prose had me fully in my feels, and I’m still thinking about some of the deeper questions raised by this book several days later.

    Impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made.
    A love that could birth a revolution.

    After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will.

    Now, Ayla, a human servant rising the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging the death of her family… by killing the Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier, who was Made to be beautiful, to be flawless. And to take over the work of her father.

    Crier had been preparing to do just that—to inherit her father’s rule over the land. But that was before she was betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who seems to have a thousand secrets. That was before she discovered her father isn’t as benevolent as she thought. That was before she met Ayla.

    Set in a richly-imagined fantasy world, Nina Varela’s debut novel is a sweepingly romantic tale of love, loss and revenge, that challenges what it really means to be human.

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  • Queen of the Conquered

    Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender
    Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender is $1.99! I talked about this book on the podcast after attending BEA. If you’re in need of a book where a heroine embraces her grief and rage and seeks revenge, this certainly seems to fit the bill. However, some took issue with how in her quest for revenge, she still repeats the cycle of colonialism. Have you read this one?

    An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression. 

    Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

    When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

    Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

    Queen of the Conquered reckons with the many layers of power and privilege in a lush fantasy world—perfect for readers of V. E. Schwab, Kiersten White, and Marlon James.

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  • The Lost Queen

    The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
    The Lost Queen by Signe Pike is $2.99! This is a retelling of the Arthurian Legend from the point of view of Merlin’s “forgotten” twin sister. I mentioned this one on an earlier Book Beat and many of you seemed pretty excited about it!

    The Mists of Avalon meets the world of Philippa Gregory in the thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.

    I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history…

    In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

    Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.

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  • The Gamble

    The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
    The Gamble by Kristen Ashley is $1.99! This is also the first book in her Colorado Mountain series, which seems to mostly be a contemporary romance with suspense elements. New readers of Ashley had a few minor complaints about getting used to her writing style, but overall people couldn’t get enough of the emotional rollercoaster set in a small, snowy town.

    Love is the greatest gamble of all…

    Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancé who can’t even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina’s cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.

    The owner of the house, Holden “Max” Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max’s past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.

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