Title: BUTTERFLY WALTZ
Author: Jane Tesh
Publisher: Silver Leaf Books
Purchase at Amazon
When he helps his friend Jake Brenner, a tabloid writer on the hunt for a big supernatural story, Des Fairweather is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue. Despite his skepticism of the validity of the stories Jake is seeking, Des reluctantly accompanies Jake on his latest adventure—all with the promise that Jake can help Des secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs.
When Jake’s search takes the two out to the country to investigate an unusual phenomenon at the Snowden estate, Des encounters a startlingly beautiful young woman who claims to be magical. That young woman is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways. But when Kalida is discovered, her people will stop at no end to get her to return to their world. Will Des be able to cast aside his fears in order to save Kalida….before it’s too late?
A mesmerizing tale that blends music, mystery and magic, Butterfly Waltzcharms with its enchanting storyline and compelling characters. Resplendent with adventure, intrigue, and the allure of the supernatural,Butterfly Waltz is delightful.
The music was clearer. It had been the faintest whisper, the tune barely discernible. The theme grew familiar, a soft, beckoning tune, a waltz of lilting melancholy.
Kalida woke, smiling. Traces of the dream music hung about the dark room, brightly colored ribbons of sound. For several moments, she savored the melody, but her smile faded with the music. She would have to decide soon.
She folded back the rose-colored sheets, removed her bedclothes, and slipped into her gown. Her long black hair glittered as she ran her comb down its length. Faint sunlight picked its way delicately through the forest and bathed the small room in pearly light. Another beautiful day waited outside.
Kalida took an apple from the blue glass bowl on her small table and sat down on the little bench outside the doorway of her home. She gazed at the silent wood. Small birds flickered from tree to tree. A few butterflies danced above the wildflowers that grew in the grove. Bright colors, sunshine, butterflies—these things were alien to her nature, but she had grown to love them. Alone with time to think, she had decided her people, the people of the Caverns, had been wrong about so many things it was impossible to count them.
The Caverns. To think of them was to be back within the dark hallways of cold stone, the only sound the rustling of her gown on the smooth floor, while all around, silver eyes and ruby eyes cast secretive glances full of malice as they studied the rules, the dark etiquette that bound all to the Legion. Conquer and destroy. That was the only way. How many worlds had she seen blown to ashes, how many beings had she heard crying out in despair?
She had been part of the destruction. She had flown with her people, but always reluctantly, as if there were something else just beyond her reach, something different. She could trace her discontent to the Leader’s celebration, the night she first heard music.
As a small child, she had watched in awe as the veterans of the Legion received honors at victory celebrations. The leader she first remembered was a dark-eyed man as rough and sharp as a stalactite, who called the young ones up for a better look. With their transforming skill, members of the Legion re-enacted the battle. Young Kalida, thrilled by the sights and sounds, longed to be a part of it all. Everyone clapped until sparks flew from their hands. But one celebration night had been different.
That night, a great whispering filled the tunnels. Kalida heard a man say, “Some new entertainment. The Lady has brought an Andrean man to the celebration. We’ll have some fun.”
The Lady was the title of their Leader, a harsh, demanding woman who rarely held celebrations. Kalida followed the others to the Hall. The Andrean man stood in the center. He didn’t seem worried or afraid. He wore tattered clothes and boots. An odd-looking instrument was slung over his back.
“They say his brother joined the Legion.”
“How would The Lady allow that?”
“What is that thing on his back?”
“Is he going to sing?”
“Sing?” Kalida said. “What do you mean?”
Her companion grimaced. “You’ll see.”
Kalida stared at the man. “But isn’t The Lady mounting a massive campaign against the Three Worlds, Trieal, Andrea, and Fey East? What’s this Andrean man doing here?”
“I told you. You’ll see.”
At last, The Lady appeared, accompanied by her latest creation, a creature in the shape of an eerily beautiful child. She sat down in her stone chair with the child beside her and introduced the man. “This is Raven. Don’t stare, child. He’s here to sing for you. He is always welcome.”
“But isn’t he an enemy?” the child asked.
“Under usual conditions, yes, but his brother enjoyed a brilliant if rather brief career with us, and therefore we admit Raven to our social gathering out of pity, shall we say?”
The man looked at her without expression. “My brother’s choice to join you shamed my family, but his music will live long after you are gone.”
The Lady gave a short laugh. “Very good. Sing now. I want my people to hear what you call music. It will give them another reason to eradicate your race.”
“Whatever you wish.”
Kalida listened, fascinated, as the melody pierced the darkness of the Hall. The members of the Legion groaned and cursed at the sound. Her companion gave her a curious glance, so she winced, as if the sound hurt her ears as well, but it didn’t. It intrigued her. It made pictures in her mind of things she had never imagined.
“Love will find me,” the man sang. “Love green and golden. I’ll not turn from you, nor change all the while. Safe in the magic of your smile.”
She wanted to hear more.
But there was no more music from the Andrean man. After the celebration, he was taken away. She never saw him again, which made her moody, not an unusual emotion among the Cavern-born, so no one suspected she had changed. Over the years, she saw Leaders come and go, but never wanted to be one. Her acquaintances were puzzled by her lack of ambition, but Kalida hid her growing unease. She could not forget the alien man or his song. Quite unexpectedly, she found a way out.
In one wild moment of rebellion, she fled the Caverns to Andrea, hoping to find the man. She flew to the woods near Traditional City, planning to take animal form to avoid detection. In the woods, she fell through a blaze of light, fell to this world.
That first morning, when the golden sun touched the lush green grass, she couldn’t keep her eyes off the color. What was it? Light she knew, and shadow, but this deep rich hue that colored the grass and the moss and the leaves intrigued her. She knew red and black and white, silver and gray, colors of the Caverns. Yellow and gold were rare, but she had golden eyes, or so everyone said. This alien shade, though, calm and deeply satisfying, she had seen only once, on the tattered clothing of the man who played music so many years before.
She could sit in the grass for hours, reveling in new colors, even the rich browns of the earth and trees. Everything spoke of life and growth and energy. Exploring beyond the new forest, she discovered a large white house and watched the people who lived there. She learned the names of colors from Mister Snowden as he taught his children in the garden. She learned that the world was called Earth, and there was no magic here.
For a while, she didn’t need magic, just sunlight and birdsong and new colors. Then disturbing dreams began, dreams of night flying, her hair streaming behind in the cold wind as she swooped down on cities like a bird of prey, touching the tallest towers and watching them burst into flame. She would wake, trembling with fear and desire. She thought her people would be unable to track her to this world, yet she saw misshapen shadows in the trees and heard harsh sounds haunting the night. Had her people found her?
She thought of the bottle in the back of her cabinet and a shiver went through her. No, don’t back down now, she told herself. But how much longer can you live like this, lonely, friendless, purposeless? She shivered again. She knew exactly how much longer.
She couldn’t eat. She spent the day sitting in the doorway. Light shone through the little bottles of potions on the window ledge: pale lavender, rich violet, amber, blue, and red. The day itself was green and gold, so unlike the days of her childhood, which had been filled with fierce red light and the cold dark silence of the Caverns.
I am not like that now, she thought, as the sunlight faded and the colors died. Night was the time she liked best, but this night, the darkness closed in around her.
Do I really want to do this? Why put it off? Drink the potion and be done with it. The music was a dream, nothing more. Drink the potion. Who knows what other worlds lie beyond death?
* * *
“Tomorrow?” Desmond Fairweather stared at his friend Jake Banner in astonishment. “I can’t go anywhere tomorrow.”
Jake beamed, undaunted, hands outspread as if he’d caught a record-sized fish. “This is it, Des, the big story. Actual reports of talking flowers. You know you can’t pass this up. I know you can’t, and I’m staying here till you agree.”
A grand piano dominated Des’s sparsely furnished apartment room. Jake perched on the piano bench, slicked back his hair, and gave the impression of settling in for the day. His neon green shirt and pink tie created a jarring combination that made Des’s eyes ache as he glared at his friend. His last student, Melissa, a giggly seventeen-year-old, had just left, after a thorough and determined massacre of her Scarlatti lesson, and he was still waiting for his head to clear. With an impatient gesture, he pushed his dark hair out of his eyes.
“Not another of your harebrained stories for the Galaxy.” He moved a stack of sheet music out of the way before Jake’s elbow toppled it over. “It’ll be a fake like all the others.”
“A fake?” Jake’s blue eyes widened. “None of the others were fake.”
“I’m not going to argue with you,” Des said, “and I’m certainly not going to go chase talking flowers.”
“Aw, come on. It’ll be fun.”
“Fun for you, you mean.”
“The owner happens to be a beautiful young lady,” Jake said in his most wheedling tone.
Des motioned wildly to the crumpled balls of paper littering the floor around the piano. “Do you see all this? I’m trying to compose. I’ve told you I don’t want to travel all over the country tracking down old magic. I don’t believe in old magic. I don’t believe in new magic. I don’t believe in magic of any sort.”
Jake kept his grin. He twiddled a few piano keys and fiddled with the metronome.
Des snatched it out of his hands. “Will you go away?”
Jake leaned back against the piano as if he found it the most comfortable spot in town. “How’s the cash flow at Chez Fairweather? Paid this month’s rent yet?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Talked to Sylvia yesterday. She says she’ll recommend you for that symphony thing.” He glanced up, eyes crinkling with amusement.
Des found it hard to speak. “Are you talking about symphony auditions?”
“She can do that?”
“Just call her up.”
Des took a deep breath to steady himself. Jake’s reliability was questionable, but his sister Sylvia had important connections with Parkland’s music community. “Did she get on the Arts Council Board?”
Jake swung around on the bench. “Get on? Pal, she’s the new president. She’ll be happy to set things up for you, chum. That is, when we get back from our little day trip.”
“To the land of talking flowers.”
Des gave Jake a narrow-eyed glare. “Damn it, Jake, that’s blackmail.”
Jake shrugged. “Hey, you do me a favor, I do you a favor.”
“I won’t do it.”
“Okay. I guess you like living in such splendor.” He played a loud version of “Chopsticks.” “This thing needs a tune-up.”
Des closed the piano, sorry he missed Jake’s fingers. “I’ll just call Sylvia and ask for her help.”
“Uh-uh, doesn’t work that way. This is a package deal. You help me get a story, and Sylvia will smooth the way for you, get you a good time slot or whatever. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. You want as many things going in your favor as possible, right?”
Des sighed. Dealing with Jake always gave him a headache. “If I go watch you make a fool of yourself, will you leave me alone?”
“Of course. Won’t take a minute. We ride out, hear the flowers, record them. I get definite proof of magic, old Basil down at the Galaxy is happy, I’m happy, and you get your audition and leave this lovely roach condo you call home.”
Des slumped in his one chair and regarded his friend, wondering how Jake managed to be so damned cheerful all the time. He was right, though. The apartment was dismal: a tiny grubby kitchen, an even smaller bathroom, and this room, full of piano. Giving piano lessons wasn’t the most lucrative of careers, but he had made the decision to move out, to try his luck. A successful audition with the prestigious city symphony could be the break he was looking for. What he wasn’t looking for was talking flowers. “I still don’t see why I have to go.”
“Why, pal, you’re the best,” Jake said. “Critters just flock to you. Haven’t you noticed? You have a definite affinity with the Other World.”
“I do not.”
“Must be those big soulful green eyes.”
Des heaved himself out of the chair and gathered the papers off the floor. “Will you get out of here? I have work to do. Real work.”
Jake reached the door. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning at six.”
“Six? Why so early?”
“I wanna be there when the dew dries.”
Des made a lunge, but Jake eluded him, laughing, and was out the door and gone. Muttering under his breath about unwanted guests, Des bent to pick up more papers and caught sight of his reflection in the one small window. Soulful green eyes, indeed. Did Jake think he’d fall for that line? Yes, his eyes were green, his hair dark and unruly, and his expression serious, just like his father’s, in fact, so much like his father’s he was afraid he might meet the same tragic fate. Now there was a story Jake could appreciate, a story full of magic.
What if—no, he dared not try. He had made his decision. He had given up the family home and the family fortune, so he had given up the family curse, as well. He prayed he had.
Wouldn’t a little magic make things easier, though? A better place to live, a better job, even that symphony position?
He shuddered and tried to suppress the memories. Make things easier. Isn’t that what his father wanted? Look what happened to him.
No, don’t look.
Ever thought a dream might pass you by?
Nineteen-year old CeCe Mackenzie is determined to make her dreams come true. She heads for Nashville with not much more to her name than a guitar, a Walker Hound named Hank Junior and an old car she'd inherited from her grandma called Gertrude. But when Gertrude ends up on the side of I-40 in flames, Nashville has never seemed farther away. Help arrives in the form of two Georgia football players headed for the Nashville dream as well. When Holden Ashford and Thomas Franklin stop to offer CeCe and Hank Junior a ride, fate may just give a nod to serendipity and meant to be. Because while CeCe is chasing after her dream, she might find love as well.
New Adult Romance where "the characters are so alive you can almost hear them next to you."
The author introduces you to college-aged Cece, who is bound and determined to make a career for herself in country music. When her car essentially explodes on the side of the road, she's stranded and winds up trailing along with Holden and Thomas who also happen to be on their way to Nashville to make a go of becoming country music stars. Holden, nursing a wound from a not quite ex-girlfriend he left behind is gruff toward Cece, but soon we see the attraction between them build even as they resist it.
I loved this book. I flew through it in one day. It seemed a little short, so I'm guessing it's closer to novella length, especially since there are around 9 installments. The characters were believable and the dialogue and writing so strong. I found myself smiling and laughing at parts and when the book ended I was SO bummed!! I absolutely loved it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, NA, or even YA fans. The only downside to this book at all is simply the fact that there are so many installments and so to read them all you have to shell out $20+. For those on a budget this might be a problem. Normally, I would spend the money, but right now my home is undergoing major renovations so there is no dough to buy the series. :(
**Hint Hint - Inglath Cooper, if you're reading this and looking for reviews on the rest of the series, you can contact me! I'm available. ;) paigerion AT gmail DOT com
So, I had the pleasure of reading and the chance to read and review this trilogy and let me just say, it's PHENOMENAL! Although we're focusing on the release of the final book (above) STEAM, I had yet to read any of the books in the series, so I'm going to give a review of all three books below, trying to keep it as brief, sweet, and to the point as possible, and then my overall feelings on the books.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
The first book in the series, Crane, takes us in to the world of Sleepy Hollow, where Ireland Crane is the latest resident in town and discovers the town to be anything but sleepy. In this first book, we get to follow the journey of the original legend with Ichabod Crane (in the past) while delving in to the story of Ireland Crane in the present, who discovers that the tatoo she got before moving to the Hollow is actually a marking that dubs her the new Hessian -- or Horseman. the reader gets to continually enjoy Ichabod's story, while watching Ireland discover her monster identity and learn to cope with it via the help Rip Van Winkle who is resurrected for his long slumber. And, of course, Ireland is introduced to Noah in this story. A hunky prominent figure in the town who finds himself enraptured with her despite his better judgement.
In book two, Raven, we again get to journey through the story of other notorious American Legends, except this time we journey with Edgar Allen Poe and Lenore his true love. This book brings another character, Ridely, into the mix and Ireland's life when she goes on a mission with Rip and Noah to discover the meaning behind her tattoo. In this installment, we learn of Poe's past curse--his ability to resurrect the dead, and not in a good way. When he uses his curse to resurrect his love after tragedy, he discovers she is more danger than good and puts her to rest. Lo and behold, Ridely is cursed with this same gift and must bring the demon Lenore back to life before putting her to final rest again with the help of Ireland.
And finally, in the third book, we are brought HG Wells., who will do anything to get back his long lost wife. In the meantime, Ireland seems to be stuck as the Hessian, no longer to switch in and out of identity and her true love, Noah must battle the Horseman within her to claim back the woman he loves. This installment involves the Salem with trials and so much more!
These books are all absolutely wonderful. They were a joy to read and so very different from anything I've read out there. They were reminiscent in ways of the Sleepy Hollow show that aired a year or two ago, except these books are far better! Each one is a thrill ride, with you rooting for Ireland and Noah (and maybe even Ridley and Rip, too). I loved how with each installment came a past story with prominent figures from American Literature, each with their own tragic love story. We got to know them intimately, while following Ireland and the gang while they battled darkness. We often saw the past love stories mirrored in present day with Ireland.
In short, these books are awesome! They are the perfect blend of paranormal and thriller, with a bit of literary feel woven into the stories. I highly recommend this series to a multitude of readers. They are fan-freaking-tastic and make me want to read more of Stacey Rourke!
5 stars to all 3! Oh, and they are PERFECT for this time of year with Halloween looming just around the corner!
Time passes, sins forgotten.
The bodies of the victims long since rotten.
Trapped within the essence of the Headless Horseman by the guilt of slaughtering her best friend, Ireland Crane follows the father of science fiction, HG Wells, in search of freedom from the curse that binds her. Instead, she discovers even he has a hidden agenda. A dark, relentless passion to be reunited with the woman he loves has driven him to manipulate time and a murderous Horseman.
Yet heed my warning, as the Raven flies,
The Hessian will come … and you will die.
All that prevents Ireland from abandoning Wells’ twisted pursuit, or introducing him to her sword, are the undead witches haunting her. Begging for freedom from a vile succubus, the ghoulish coven leads Ireland and her crew on a journey through Salem’s sordid past. There, they learn there is more to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s history than a scarlet letter, and the secret they’ve uncovered seeks to destroy them all.
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Adapted for Film. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
Visit her at rourkewrites.weebly.com
Facebook at www.facebook.com/staceyrourkeauthor
or on Twitter or instagram at Rourkewrites
Other Books by Stacey Rourke:
The Gryphon Series:
The Legends Saga:
Adapted for Film
Sometimes engagement rings can get lost and then found. Sometimes people can too. All it takes is a heavy-duty dose of karma and the magic of Manhattan to make it all come together.
Leah is a financially destitute new age hippy. James is a wealthy surgeon with a trust fund. She’s awkward, he’s poised. She’s completely crazy, he’s way too sane. People might say they have nothing in common, but they’d be wrong. They both live in Manhattan, they both have no idea how to change a baby diaper, and they’re both lost … until they find one another.
MY REVIEW: I thought this book was cute. More chick-lit than romance though. Overall, it was a decent read. My biggest complaint is that it started slow and there was a lot in the beginning that was cheesy and made me want to roll my eyes. Other than that, as long as you're not expecting a major romance, this is an okay read.
Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.
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It's cover reveal time!
Booktrope Publishing brings you the latest in Historical Christian Fiction...
THE ONE WHO SEES ME
Teenage slave girl Faruâs life has been turned upside down when she discovers sheâs been traded to a new master, forcing her to leave all sheâs ever known. Upon her arrival, Faru meets a friend, Cailean, who helps her adjust to life in the strange location. Life settles into a new pattern, and romance blossoms between the young friends. But as soon as they plan to get married, another proposal comes about â one that cannot be ignored. Being a slave means not always marrying who you love.
On a daring journey to heal her heart, Faru encounters the Existing One. Will she trust Him and do His bidding even if what He requests is so hard?
Follow Faruâs tale in author Kandi J Wyattâs retelling of a Biblical story found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, showing that when things donât make sense, God will guide the way.
Author Bio & Social Media Links for The One Who Sees Me
Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a âlight stand with feet.â To learn more, visit kandijwyatt.wordpress.com.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J.-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
My REVIEWS of Books 1 & 2
This series starts with Rhidauna, which is fast paced. Ghyll and his group venture throughout the empire and readers are introduced to many characters. The second book in the series Zihaen is much the same in that it has a fast paced start and very similar pacing. The author creates wonderful settings and a great group of main characters that we meet throughout. What I thought was cool about the setting was how the author combined mythological Gods and ancient history with fantasy and the supernatural throughout Gyll's journeys to find his identity--and his destiny. The main characters all play sub-roles within the adventures and add to the story dynamic quite nicely. The characters all have an eclectic array of "talents" that serve the storyline well as the quest progresses.
I think readers interested in mythology and fantasy will enjoy these novels. At times the plot seemed to move almost too quickly, but for impatient readers that don't like a lot of fluff and detail, these books are great.
4 of 5 stars
The night before his Coming-of-Age, Ghyll and his two friends escape their castle on a clandestine boar hunt that will forever change their lives. The hunt proves a disaster, and with one of them badly wounded, they return just in time to see their island castle destroyed by macabre warriors from a dragon boat, and by flocks of fire-breathing birds. Ghyll's eighteenth birthday turns into a nightmare as they flee into the night.
Now begins an epic journey to find out who is trying to kill them – and most importantly, why?
Fortunately, they can count on the help of new friends, including a sometimes overly enthusiastic fire mage, an inexperienced paladin and a young beastmistress who is also a ferocious mountain lioness. It soon becomes clear that not one but several sorcerers want to kill them. Are those blackrobes really followers of a terrible, long-forgotten organization?
And whose cold hand reaches across the boundaries of space and time to crush weakened Rhidauna?
How did his parents and brothers die? Where their deaths really accidents, or were they killed? These questions young Ghyll Hardingraud must answer before he can ascend Rhidauna's throne.
Ghyll’s search for the truth leads him and his Companions on a journey back to the past as he slowly unravels a dark conspiracy.
Once crowned, the young King Ghyll still has to finish the mission his dead uncle imposed on him. The journey takes him and his trusted friends through inhospitable lands and dangerous swamps to the endless steppes of Zihaen, looking for the Voice from the West. He discovers he isn't the only one. His vindictive enemy pursues him, aided by undead forces.
Paul's Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch-Belgian border.
He has been a soldier, a salesman, a scoutmaster and from 1995 till his school closed in 2012 a teacher of Dutch as a Second Language and Integration to refugees from all over the globe.
Being unemployed and economically overage, yet still some years away from retirement, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures. His books are both published in the Netherlands, and internationally.
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