Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Six of Crows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Summary (by Goodreads)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

I'm really looking forward to this one. I really enjoyed the Grisha Series.  The first time I tried to read it, I wasn't in the right frame of mind and put it down for a couple years until just before Book#3 was released.  I would wholly recommend that series to new readers of Leah Bardugo before reading this one.  I hate it when summer ends but I have to say, I love all of the NEW books for the fall!!
- Christinabean

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Published: Sept 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pages: 648
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

I think this was the best book I have read all year.  No seriously.  Have you read the Throne of Glass series?  If you haven't, stop whatever you are reading, start with Book #1 and then read about Celaena Sardothian.  This woman is absolutely amazing and unstoppable. And just when you think someone is stopping her momentum, something happens to give her one little sliver of hope to save her kingdom.  This series was NOTHING like I was imagining.  There are so many stories playing into the main character's life that it is hard to keep track of. Once I started reading Book #4, I considered re-reading Book #3 just as a refresher because I had a hard time remember what had happened.  

One of the things that I REALLY enjoyed in this series is how Sarah J Maas managed to break down Celaena's identity and re-build her as Aelin.  They are two different characters fused into one unique and incredibly strong woman.  As Aelin she takes responsibility for the people.  For her court. As Celaena she is angry and has trouble controlling her emotions to do anything but slaughter anyone who comes in her path.  Queen of Shadows exemplifies how Aelin's priorities have changed.  How much stronger and in control she is of herself. She is self-assured and exhibits leadership.  Another aspect of this novel that turned me upside down is how her relationship with Lyssandra changes.  Yes, that's right. I said Lyssandra.

Other characters play a key role in this edition as well.  Rowan and Aedion, Chaol and Dorian.  They are all major players in what goes down in Queen of Shadows.  Rowan....sigh...why can't we all have a handsome fae prince around? I love her private conversations with Rowan.  Ms. Mass does a great job of building up the tension between the two of these characters.  They become strongly attached and nearly animalistic towards one another.  I used to cheer for Chaol but now I can barely remember his name.  Yup.  He never had a chance once Rowan stepped into the picture.  

A couple notes I made while I was reading...perhaps you will also feel this way as you read

Chapter 44 - WHY???!!!!!!

Chapter 47 - Holy heck!  This just got incredibly interesting.  She is absolutely brilliant!!  

From this point on, I actually stopped taking notes because I didn't want to stop reading.  I was pretty much non-stop until the end of the novel.  So it is hard to get into the story without giving anything away but if you have read Books #1-3, you NEED to read this one.  It is PACKED from the get go with action and adventure.  There will be death and dying and lots of gruesomeness.  Plus witches.  The witches are discussed throughout the book and I have a feeling they will play a major part in Books #5 and 6.  Have tissue ready, a comfortable chair, plenty of good reading light and perhaps a small snack.  Oh, and turn off your phone because you aren't going want to get up for ANYTHING once you start reading this book.  It was STUNNING.  Absolutely, positively STUNNING.  Well done Ms. Maas.  Throne of Glass just bumped up a couple spots on my Top Ten best YA series of all time.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received

This week I got: 

Summary (by Goodreads)

Simon and Clary reunite as they witness a Parabatai ceremony…and discuss their own plans to be bonded. One of ten adventures in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

Simon and Clary act as witnesses to the parabatai ceremony of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn…and discuss their own parabatai plans in this precursor to The Dark Artifices.

This is the 8th book in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy set.  I love how Simon's mind is slowly unwound and he begins to mold himself into the hero we all know he is from the Mortal Instruments series.  Can't wait!!
- Christinabean

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dreamland by Robert L Anderson

Published: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Copy: Edelweiss
Summary: Goodreads

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

A quick review:

'Dreamland' is another book I'm feeling a little conflicted about.  In general I enjoyed the story, and it certainly is a little different.  However, as the story progressed, things started to fall apart a little for me. I couldn't make up my mind if the story was supposed to be horror or fantasy, and I was never completely in tune with the characters.  I may have been expecting too much from it, but in the end I was  disappointed.  

I'm realizing that I get a bit frustrated with novels where parents don't tell kids things 'for their own good' or to 'keep them safe'.  How can they possibly be safe if kids don't know what they are facing  In 'Dreamland', Dea's mother has set a very few rules and then tells her nothing else, nothing at all, so she's left to flounder in the dark - literally and metaphorically.  How frustrating is that?  It's no wonder she breaks the rules.

I did finish 'Dreamland', but now that it's over I'm not sure why I bothered.  I'm certain that there are many readers out there who will love this one, but not me.  I'm curious to know what others thought of it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Follow Friday

Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –
If you could have any job, what would you do? – Suggested by Peace Love Books.
I know...I know...many of you will be saying something related to books.  If I could have any job though, I would want to test out all-inclusive resorts.  In fact, I think I could be quite objective telling you EXACTLY what I think of the service as I order a mojito and apps while working poolside, testing the cushiness of the loungechairs and the directionality of my umbrella....
- Christinabean (aka...Queen of run on sentences and made up words)

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Published: April 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 340
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads

The blockbuster film Inception meets Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy in this dark paranormal thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike. This supernatural young adult novel is perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noël, Richelle Mead, and Kimberly Derting.

Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn't do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern day Oracles are told to fight their visions––to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate's death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.


So I loved Aprilynne Pike's Wings series.  She has a great writing style and I was able to identify with ALL of her characters.  If you enjoy the writings of Kimberly Derting and Kelley Armstrong, you would enjoy Aprilynne Pike as well.  I have to be honest though, Sleep No More has been lower on my reading TBR list because of the cover.  I hate to say that but it is true.....I REALLY don't like the cover and it didn't motivate me to want to pick up the book so it has been sitting in my pile for the past year.  Sorry Ms. Pike  :(

So here are my thoughts on the novel....there were a lot of abstract ideas in this novel that I found it hard to wrap my head around.  Although I had compassion for Charlotte and her situation, I found that she really flipped back and forth between trusting her aunt and trusting a stranger who seemed to have a few answers.  It bothered me that she didn't discuss her premonitions and how frequent they were with her aunt.  Instead, by seeking information on her own, she was blind to who she could really rely on and underestimated how important her powers were to other people.

The concept of an oracle was interesting to me and how someone else was able to "enter her mind" was as well.  I don't think I have read a novel with this idea and I would like to see more with this kind of special ability.  We see plenty of vampires, demon hunters and zombies but I haven't seen Oracles before this.  YA needs a new hero.  :)

Sleep of Death is book #2 of this series and I don't think I will continue with it. While it was entertaining for a while, I'm afraid the concept did not hold my interest long enough to want to continue with the Charlotte's character on her journey into discovering her Oracle powers.  The ending of this novel didn't feel satisfying to me and I just didn't feel invested in the plot.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Sky Key

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Summary (by Goodreads)

The sequel to the New York Times bestseller and international multimedia phenomenon, Endgame: The Calling.

Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win.

Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything.

Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame.

London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win.

Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next. And the nine remaining Players will stop at nothing to get it.

OK, I have to admit that I got pretty into Book #1.  The story totally captivated me.  And then as I learned more about the gimmicky way James Frey turned the book into a game, it intrigued me more.  Now I REALLY want to read Book #2 and I have been waiting for its release date.  Well people, it's coming.  October 6th I hear. 
- Christinabean

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fantastic Fairy Tales - Ash and Bramble by Sarah Phineas

Published: September 15th, 2015
Copy: Edelweiss
Summary: Goodreads

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight

This is Cinderella like you've never read it before.  A fairy tale retelling that has a very dark under-story and the happily ever after ending is in serious doubt - at least it is for some of the characters.

I loved Pin/Pen and her strong, no-nonsense attitude.  She assesses a situation, does what she can to improve or fix it - even if at times that means doing nothing - and never gives up.  Even when things are at their darkest, Pen still has fight in her even when things go drastically wrong and I admired that.  I felt the same way about Shoe.  After being seriously punished he is still willing to do what's right and risk more punishment.

Something I enjoyed about Ash and Bramble were the non-stereotypical Godmother, stepmother and stepsisters.  We are so conditioned to know who is good and who is bad, that it is rather refreshing to have everything turned on its head. This was a fairly quick read, with some surprising twists and lots of interesting characters.  A sure fire hit for Cinderella lovers.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received

This week I got: 

Summary (by Goodreads)

Ethan, aka "Scam," has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn't just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn't consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts - like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him - his former group of friends, the self-named "zeros" who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam's latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action. 

A great big thank you goes out to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me this ARC.  Now that I have finished Book #4 of the Throne of Glass series, I am ready to tackle more of my TBR list.  I love fall new releases. :)
- Christinabean

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood, #2)

Published: February, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

What would you do to save someone you love? What about risking...everything?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't stop—and in Salt & Stone, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and the twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you've relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were 122 Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left...and only one can win.

Victoria Scott's stunning thriller will leave readers' hearts racing!


Wow. What a great follow-up to Fire and Flood. This story just never gives up. Think a mish-mash of Survivor, The Amazing Race and the nasty behind the scenes finagling of Maze Runner, Divergent and The Testing and you might begin to get an inkling of what this one is like.  Characters are dropping like flies. I loved it.

This series is incredibly fast paced.  The characters are supremely diverse and interesting, some good, some bad, some awful.   They get on your nerves and then redeem themselves in surprising ways. Nasty, nasty things happen all the time, and just occasionally there is a ray of sunshine.  Just enough to let you smile and keep reading.  The romance is rocky and sweet.  And the pacing Never. Lets. Up.

Buckle up your seat belt for a wild ride, but make sure you read Fire and Flood first.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Uncaged by John Sandford and Michele Cook

Uncaged (The Singular Menace, #1)

Published: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

A New York Times bestseller!

John Sandford (bestelling author of the Lucas Davenport "Prey" novels) and Michele Cook debut a high-octane thriller series about a ruthless corporation, unspeakable experiments, and a fight to expose the truth.

Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin.

Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.

When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.

What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother.


I was perusing the shelves at work the other day and found a copy of  'Outrage', which is in fact the sequel to 'Uncaged".  It sounded pretty good but of course I had to read 'Uncaged' first and set out to put a hold on it.  Was it worth the wait? Absolutely.

'Uncaged' was a fast paced thriller that catches you in unexpected places.  There's a lot going on and the pacing was really quite relentless.  Not many places to catch a breath.  Mr Sandford has taken all of the elements of his adult thrillers and just added some YA protagonists and the result is really quite marvelous.

Several characters stood out for me, but specifically Twist.  He is really quite an enigma, with strong rules and ideas and a  hidden heart of gold.  He's very uncompromising, but at the same time, breaks all the rules.  I would love to know more about him.  Shay was capable and believable and I loved the fact that although there are several male characters, there is no romance.  It just goes to prove that you don't need romance in YA to get a good story.  It's always fun, but it's not always necessary. 

With the subject matter of the book I can see some people getting rather upset - there are some nasty things done to animals - and that may put you off a bit, but it's worth getting past that hurdle, because the story is just that good.  I'm off now to read 'Outrage'.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Follow Friday

Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –
Help us give our Feature Interview Questions a fresh look! What questions do you think we should ask our weekly features?
Ahhh....suggestion time.
  1. You are going on vacation with no electronics but you can pack 3 books. Which books would you pack?
  2. Have you ever been to BEA and if so, what tips would you give your readers to make it the most enjoyable trip EVER?
  3. What do you do when your bookshelves get too crowded? Do you weed or buy more bookshelves?
  4. Do you lend your books to friends and family?
  5. If you could be any book character for Halloween, who would it be?
- Christinabean

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Summer Marked by Rebekah L Purdy

Published: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 304
Copy: From Publisher
Summary: Goodreads

The sequel to the chilling Winter People returns to the world of Faerie, and is a romantic and enchanting follow-up.

Salome left humankind behind to be with her boyfriend, Gareth, in the Kingdom of Summer. But now forces of darkness are rising. Her happily-ever-after is coming apart, and the Kingdom is on the brink of war. 

Newly-single Kadie Byers is on her way home for Thanksgiving, imagining a visit filled with hot chocolate, a hot guy for a little rebound action, and some girl time with her bestie, Salome. Except she receives a message from Salome with two important words: PLEASE HURRY.

When Kadie rushes to help Salome, she’s ripped from the human world and pulled into the kingdoms of Faerie, where she's shocked to learn that Salome's monsters are real, and that she's now at the mercy of one extremely vengeful Winter Queen... 

Now both Salome and Kadie must find a way to survive the deadly chaos...or lose themselves to Winter's deadly, icy grasp

My thoughts:

I have to say that I am very conflicted about 'The Summer Marked".  I enjoyed 'The Winter People', although I can't find my review of it, and I was looking forward to the continuation of Salome's story.  And I must be honest, I loved the story.  I also liked the characters, several of them quite a lot in fact - Etienne being an example -  but what I really didn't like was the 'voice' of the characters, or their language if you prefer. It was a bit like nails on a chalkboard after a while.  I just couldn't picture centuries old fae saying things like 'Wow, that's cool', ' Thanks a lot', 'yeah' or 'listen'. I almost gave up at one point and dnf'd, but I decided that the plot deserved my perseverance.

Now after much introspection I have come to realize that this is a purely personal thing.  I am not, nor have been for many years, a young adult, and this is very definitely a young adult book.  I am also certain that no young adults reading this book will have any problem whatsoever with the language, but unfortunately for me, it really took the shine off an excellent story.  I found myself re-writing dialogue in my head as I was reading it.  I'm not sure what that say's about me exactly!

So, the story... great story.  Lots going on, and for the most part the pace kept up - just a couple of slower sections, but they didn't last too long.  It was nice to see Kadie's adventures, which were decidedly gruesome, and it was interesting to see how terribly she was manipulated by Griselle.  I'm really interested to see what happens there in the final part of the trilogy.  We are finding out more and more about Salome and her mysterious background and powers and things are getting very complex where she is concerned.  I loved her interactions with Darach, not to mention Gareth and Nevin and the situation is becoming increasing fraught. 

There is a lot going on, and 'The Summer Marked' very nicely set everything up for a final showdown with Winter.  In a nutshell, I enjoyed 'The Summer Marked' and I will definitely read the sequel, but ........

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blog Tour - Entrusted by Allegra Gray

To protect her country’s future, she’ll have to commit treason…
ENTRUSTED by Allegra Gray is a stunning historical Young Adult masterpiece of suspense, hope, and determination. This story follows orphaned Audrey as she’s tasked with keeping ancient relics safe from tyrannical hands and their unholy deeds. With the help of a charming adventurer, Tobias, Aubrey must do all she can to protect the relics she’s been entrusted to guard…even if it costs her life.
Join the Entrusted Blog Tour September 7th to 18th! One grand prize winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Enter HERE or through the form below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit any or all of the following blogs for your chance to win!
Displaying AllegraGray_Entrusted2500.jpgTitle: Entrusted
Author: Allegra Gray
Series: Relic Guardians
Genre: Historical Young Adult
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Silverthorne Entertainment
Print Length: 85K
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-0692486146
Digital ASIN: B011MSIKQ4

Orphan Audrey Thorndale longs for the peaceful life of a convent, but with a younger brother to care for and England's religious houses falling one by one to Henry VIII's Reformation, she'll have to find another way to serve God and country. The Abbot of Glastonbury, aware of Audrey's dilemma and loathe to see the great treasures of his abbey looted and destroyed, suggests a plan that could save Audrey, the relics, and even the future of Britain...but if she agrees to it, she'll have to commit treason.
Second son and sometime adventurer, Tobias Seybourne has never left an opportunity unexplored. He’s won the favor of the king, and is aiming for knighthood, when Abbot Whiting offers him the chance of a lifetime—partner with Audrey, and protect England’s greatest legend. Most importantly? Do it without ever giving the king a reason to suspect more devious purposes simmer beneath Tobias’s charming façade.
With help from the abbot, Audrey and Tobias set in motion a plan to ensure that when the abbey walls crumble, one particular treasure will be safely hidden elsewhere.  
But as the abbot points out, the king’s minions keep close account of their plunder, and the contents of Glastonbury’s repository are well documented.  
With the king’s men bearing down fast, someone must take the fall…

“You are worried that Glastonbury is in peril, and the treasures it holds will end up in the king’s coffers.”

“Yes—and no.” He eyes me. “It’s more complicated than that. You must not repeat anything you are hearing right now.”

“No, Father Abbot. Never.” If there is one thing I am, it is loyal.

“When I combine what I know—what I, myself have seen and heard—with what the monks who have already lost their homes tell me, I see a future in which certain relics of Glastonbury never make it to the king’s coffers, but are destroyed instead.” He shakes his head sadly. “The idea that the holy relics would go into the king’s hands was disturbing enough, but to destroy them? Sacrilege.

“Again, I must emphasize the importance of not repeating this conversation—to anyone. Not even Sam. The Treason Act is too loosely interpreted these days to take chances.”

I gulp, cursing myself for giving in to curiosity. Now it is my hands that tremble. I should tell him to stop, that I don’t want to hear any more, but my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I should never have asked what was troubling him. And yet, I have the sense we have set on an irrevocable course, and I must see it through.

Finally, I pry my tongue loose. “I appreciate your honesty, Father Abbot.”

“Should Glastonbury fall, the treasures that can be measured in gold and silver will most certainly find a new home—whether it be the royal treasury or a pilferer’s stash. It is the others that trouble me.”

He rubs his temples, as though even thinking hurts. I begin moving about the room again, straightening things, dusting surfaces…the little, normal, everyday movements that I know, somehow, provide the backdrop of comfort that Abbot Whiting needs right now.

“You remember those visitors from Walsingham? They informed me that the shrine there, the shrine to the Virgin, which the king himself has visited, has been destroyed. The statue of the Virgin removed, the shrine itself despoiled, and the buildings looted. The same happened at Roche Abbey this summer.”

Finally, it sinks in, and I know exactly which of Glastonbury’s relics—one with no value in gold, but still of immeasurable worth—is troubling him so.

I stop dusting. My tongue, now loosened, does not have the sense to stop.

“If Glastonbury falls, what will become of King Arthur?”

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About Allegra Gray:
Allegra Gray grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds—that is, when she wasn’t focused on more practical things like, say, learning calculus. Perhaps all those stories inspired a spirit of adventure, because at the age of seventeen she embarked on a career journey that has (so far) included serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, grad school at Virginia Tech, teaching English, and managing defense contracts in the Middle East. The best thing about this breadth of experience? When she tried her hand at writing novels like the ones she’d always loved, she recognized at once that she’d found a true passion. Her forthcoming series, The Relic Guardians, is genre-bending mainstream/historical suspense, inspired by her long-held desire to unveil things obscured by the mists of time. Allegra is also the author of four historical romances, including the “Daring Damsels” trilogy of Nothing But Scandal, Nothing But Deception, and Nothing But Trouble.

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