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Wardens of Archos Release Week Day 4 – A Small Interview with K.J. Chapman, and a BIG Reveal!

Good morning, friends and Sparrows! Today, I’m over on K.J. Chapman’s blog for a quick interview and a BIG reveal! If you want to know what Book 3 in this trilogy is going to be called, I suggest you head over there 😉

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The image belongs to K.J. Chapman.

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)

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“Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.”

nano-reward-3What I thought:

After I devoured Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom last year I just had to read this trilogy, too <3 So I treated myself and made Shadow and Bone my first read of the year ^-^

I knew that the more powerful Grisha were said to live long lives, and Darklings were the most powerful of them all. But I felt the wrongness of it and I remembered Eva’s words: He’s not natural. None of them are.

I instantly loved Alina. She’s a young woman who gets thrown into a destiny she couldn’t want less, with a power she can’t control and doesn’t want to possess, against odds she can’t hope to survive. I can’t tell if I loved her for her, or because she reminded me of my girl Rachael.

Because I read the duology first I came to Shadow and Bone with a different view point – the places, the people, the events that play such a big, vital part in Shadow and Bone I’d already heard of. Because of this I felt like I was coming back to a world I already loved, despite not having seen these places in the duology. The familiarity was there, and it was wonderful.

“You’re shaking,” he said.

“I’m not used to people trying to kill me.”

“Really? I hardly notice any more.”

Two things stood out above all others for me. One is the Russian mythology that plays a big part in this trilogy. I’ve actually done a bit of digging and love how Bardugo has adepted Russian folklore to fit her world! The world building is excellent, but then I already knew that 😉 The second highlight is Alina, and how she copes with her situation. She’s far away from familiarity when she arrives at the Little Palace, and doesn’t know who she can trust. Her own power is a mystery to her, and I loved seeing how she coped as the story went on.

I also love Genya. End of story <3

If you’re looking for a fantastic fantasy trilogy, or if you loved Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, then I urge you to read Shadow and Bone!

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Have you read Shadow and Bone, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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A-Z Name Prompts – H

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Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s time for another writing prompt, chosen by you! 🙂 This week, the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who voted 🙂 As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to borrow it. If you publish your interpretation please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Hosea

(m.; salvation)

My dear Hosea,

before you set fire to this letter please read it first. Pretending this isn’t happening won’t make it go away. Your father and I didn’t raise you to be an idiot.

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you in person. Your father and I didn’t anticipate things would escalate this soon. I really hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but since my letter has been delivered to you it must mean I’m dead.

We have done everything we could to prepare you for this. I know you won’t feel ready, but you have to be. I hope you can find some reassurance in the knowledge that there isn’t a person alive now who’d embrace what I’m about to tell you and feel up to the task.

We’re not from Earth, Hosea, but we are Earth’s salvation. Go to London. My contact will find you. I know you’ve been preoccupied with New York recently, and there’s a reason for this, but please, don’t go anywhere near America. Go to London, and speak to my contact. She’ll explain everything, I promise.

I’m sorry I can’t explain more in this letter. It’s too dangerous to have all our secrets spelled out on paper, so you can go ahead and burn the letter now.

I wish this could have gone differently. Your mother wished for me to train and lead you in this; I hope she won’t be too cross that I failed before we could save everyone.

Give my love to Lily.

Forever yours,

Aunt Emely

Hosea crumbled the letter into a ball and threw it at the wall. What a load of fucked up rubbish! If he was so important, why had neither his Dad nor Emely ever mentioned it before? The letter had to be her final joke – and one hell of a tasteless one at that!

Hosea rummaged through his drawer until he found his passport. He packed it away together with his wallet in a backpack he threw over one shoulder.

He was eighteen years old, not eight. He was too old to do as his aunty said, final wish or no.

Hosea locked the door to his apartment, and called a taxi to the airport. There was a flight to New York in two hours.

He’d definitely make it.

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For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

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Progress Update & FictFBFeb17 Days 1-3

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It’s been a while since I’ve last done a proper progress update, so I figured it’s about time I update you on how things are going! 🙂

Darkened Light is still resting. I’ll start the edit as soon as Wardens of Archos is with my beta readers – which, you may remember, I thought would happen some time this month. Due to the heavy amount of editing Wardens of Archos needs (it’s never a good sign when you write the first draft and keep thinking ‘It’s fine, I’ll fix it in the edit’) I’ve had to push that date back, but still hope to have a beta version ready for you in late March/early April 🙂 It’s a bit later than I wanted it to be, but I don’t want to rush things. If my edit takes longer, it takes longer. No pressure.

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But what’s taking so long? Well, I’m rewriting a lot of chapters from a different POV. I’ve added another POV altogether, so now you’ll get chapters from Rachael, Cale, Kiana, Kaida, Reeve, and Arnost Lis 😉 Rachael continues to take most of them, but I’d like to think that the others add a lot of additional value, too.

Essentially, there’s a lot of development going on across all areas. Hopefully this means that my next edit (printed out, red pen in hand (and my familiar nibbling on said pen, if my last paper edit taught me anything)) will be a lot smoother, but I don’t want to jinx it 😛

I don’t know why I’ve gotten it stuck in my head that I need to release Book 2 around the same time as Book 1 last year, but I’m trying not to stress over it. It’s not realistic to get it done before May 23rd and I’m reminding myself that that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot since Rise of the Sparrows and all that is flowing into Wardens of Archos, so it only makes sense that it takes longer.

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~ #FictFBFeb17 ~

The talented Faith and my sister in spirit – who blogs over at aliasfaithrivens (visit her blog if you haven’t already!) – has created her own Twitter and Instagram tag called Fictional Flashback February, and it’s a wonderful way for our characters to introduce themselves to you! This month I’m focusing on Doran and Naavah Ora from Darkened Light. They are two very different characters and I’m really excited to show them off! <3

Here are the first three days of the tag:

Day 1 Introduce your character

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Day 2 First

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Day 3Fire

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If you’re a writer at any stage in your WIP, I urge you to join us on Twitter, or Instagram, or both! It really is a wonderful tag <3 More next week!


All gifs from giphy.com

For all previous updates on my books’ progress, click me!

For all of my musings, click me.

For Cookie Break’s front page, take a look here.

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Celebrating The Launch of Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella

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You might remember Shona Kinsella from when she stopped by for an interview last year July (and I applaud you if you do!). Back then she talked about her WIP Ashael Rising – and now it’s time to celebrate the release of the very same!

So what do I have for you today? Why, I’ve got a mini-interview, I’ve got the cover and the blurb for you, and a few of my favourite lines! And of course all important links, so you can follow Shona all over social media and buy her book baby ^-^

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What inspired Ashael Rising?

A dream! I don’t remember all the details now but I had a dream around 9 years ago about warrior fairies that were at war with evil magicians. None of that made it into the book but the final image of the dream, flying over a desolate land where almost everything was dead, stuck with me all these years. That image formed the seed that became Ashael Rising.

Can you summarise your entire plot in one, brief sentence?

An apprentice medicine-woman must find out the truth of who she is in order to defend her people from soul-sucking invaders.

Who is your favourite character, and why?

I know I’m probably meant to say Ashael but in truth, it’s probably Bhearra. She’s funny and wise and steady. I would like to be like her.

What do you hope your readers will take away from Ashael Rising?

A desire to read the next book ;). More seriously, I hope that readers enjoy the book and fall in love with the characters the way that I did. And maybe think about life in a Cam…

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

I’m currently working on an anthology of stories by Unbound authors where the stories all centre around a library in one way or another. I’ll be contributing to and editing the book.

I’m also finishing up a novella called The Longest Night that I started in November. It’s about a tribe who live in the arctic of their world and the plight they face when the sun does not rise after mid-winter.

As soon as I’m finished with that I’ll be starting on the sequel to Ashael Rising.

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Blurb

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

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Ashael Rising features two prominent POVs – Ashael, the heroine, and Iwan, a slave forced to spy on her people for his Master who craves world domination. Naturally. Ashael’s people are trusting and peace-loving, and so when Iwan comes to them and asks to stay with them for a while, they happily host the young stranger. Only, there are three problems: Iwan’s master is spying on him, Iwan begins to feel at home in the friendly village, and he falls in love with Ashael. Meanwhile, a mysterious power is beginning to stir in Ashael – and it’s this power Iwan’s master wants to destroy, before it destroys him.

There was something about the young man who had arrived a few days ago. He was full of secrets but also pain. She sensed a good man at his core, in the space beyond pretence.

Ashael Rising is out in three days on FEBRUARY 6TH! Mark it in your calenders and add it to Goodreads 😀

Until then, you can also catch up with Shona on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.

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A Chat with Daley Downing

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Did January flash by for anyone else? I mean it can’t be February, that’s preposterous oO

Since it is already February despite my protests, it’s time for another author interview! I don’t have that many left by now, so savour them while they last 😉

My guest today is Daley Downing. Daley is a self-published author from upstate New York. She’s also a stay at home mother, dance teacher, and an autism awareness advocate – so, to summarise, she’s Super Woman. Daley currently spends most of her time with her family and the cat. Other than writing, she loves ballet, reading, history, and music.

Hi Daley, and welcome to Cookie Break! Congratulations on publishing the first novel in your series The Order of the Twelve Tribes!

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Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉

The first book in my contemporary fantasy series is about 3 different families that are all connected to the same secret organization that protects the world from things that go bump in the night – or, basically, monsters. The families each have a different role, and their own internal challenges. In this first instalment, I’m introducing the organization as well as the individuals in the families. It’s a case of “getting to know you” both on a “big picture” scale and in a more intimate way.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?

I’ll go with quotes.

“She’ll be fine. We need to get out of here. My wings are about to pop.”

Did he just say wings?

“Aren’t you going to change before we leave for the church?”

“Nah, God won’t care that I showed up in khakis.”

Do you remember what sparked the idea for this novel?

There were a few things. One, I used to watch (way too much) “Supernatural” (an American TV show), and I had such respect and awe for what the main characters went through, to save the world from evil all the time, and I thought, “There should be some underground government agency or something that helps these guys!” So, that was a definite spark in my imagination. Just what would that agency do? How would they defeat the monsters? How might they behave towards the rest of the (unsuspecting) world?

Two, after I read “The Mortal Instruments” (by Cassandra Clare), I was really interested in some of her unusual ideas about angels and demons and approaching how to write about such an ancient topic in a new way.

Three, when I read the “Warriors” series (by Erin Hunter),  I was really impressed by how well thought out the structure of that world was – everything from the hierarchy of the Clans to the Warrior codes and the obvious history the author had developed behind the world-building.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on the further instalments of this series.

What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?

Yes, I’ve always been drawn to fantasy. I’m not completely sure why, but I think a lot of it has to do with the possibility of magic and the chance for anything to happen.

Who/what is your writing inspiration?

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman have played a huge part in how I think of developing characters, how to reveal plot points, and world building. And Douglas Adams for creative ways to provide necessary background/information (hopefully) without overwhelming the reader.

What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?

Throw a fit. (Am I allowed to admit that?) Not quite. Generally I go away from the work for a while, and re-read a book that previously inspired me, or focus on a different type of writing – for example, I went on a short story binge several months ago when I was really stuck on novelization.

Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?

My favourite part is probably the creation – there’s something really exciting and invigorating about seeing that first draft appear on paper after only existing in your head. I dread writer’s block. It is just BAD.

What is your number one distraction?

Children. For sure, children. I have two kids that evidently enjoy exploding their world on a regular basis. So that makes it hard to get writing done some days.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Definitely a plotter! I don’t necessarily follow outlines or write down a bunch of notes, but there has to be intense planning going on. I might try a number of approaches to reach the same outcome, but it’s never just an impulsive decision.

Often I’ll spend several weeks to months developing an important plot point, as well as character backgrounds, and things that I need to know before the reader does. Once I have those set in stone in my mind, it generally changes very little on the page.

Tea or coffee?

Tea is my favorite and foremost hot beverage. I sometimes have coffee more for caffeine purposes than for enjoyment.

What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?

Writing is a different process for everyone. Yeah, there are rules – in terms of linguistics, and great guidelines — for example, on how to plot and reveal certain character traits, in ways that make sense to the reader. But there doesn’t have a hardcore method that every writer must stick to. It depends on what your story is meant to be – and only you can determine that.

Editing also depends on finding a method that you think will produce the best results for what you’re trying to achieve with your book. Some authors really appreciate other people trying to figure out solutions to issues they’re having. Other authors really aren’t sure about that. (That’s me.)

Self-publishing is also a journey. Since I tried for over a year to come up with the funds to “traditionally” self-publish (through Amazon.com or something similar), and still couldn’t get there, I figured that literally doing it all myself – the printing, the promotion, the selling – would have to suffice to get started. At least it gets my work out there, being read, rather than still sitting in my house.

Not that my ultimate plan would work for everyone. But I got really tired of waiting. The fact is, I honestly don’t care if I never hit the bestsellers’ list in the New York Times. I just feel the need to write, to tell these stories, and to share them with others. And I didn’t want to keep waiting for the “perfect” time.

What’s your favourite quote on writing?

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”

– Neil Gaiman

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”

– Terry Pratchett

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

– Douglas Adams

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

To know what the voice of your story is, and to stay true to it.

Where else can we connect with you?

Right now, I have my blog, The Invisible Moth, and I’m available via email with questions about buying novels. (Please everyone subscribe to me and order stuff from me! Ahem. Moment of shameless begging is passing…)

Thanks so much for having me, Sarina!

***

Thank you for stopping by, Daley! The Order of The Twelve Tribes will be released later this Spring. In the meantime, you can connect with Daley on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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For all other interviews, take a look here.

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

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BIG News! (Need an Editor? Contact Me!)

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If you follow me on social media, you might have seen mentions of big news earlier this week. I’ve hinted at it several times (not always with subtlety) but I can now say that, in roughly three months from now, I’ll be able to officially call myself an editor!

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I’m currently taking an online course on proofreading and copy editing, and am also looking at setting up my own business. I’m also thinking about the discounts I might offer – If you beta read for me, there’ll be a discount for you! 😉

I’ll figure out some of the details like pricing over the next few weeks. If you think you’ll need an editor in roughly three months time, get in touch and we can work something out! ^-^

(*sigh* Sarina Langer – Freelance Editor and Author! Now there’s something I’m not going to get tired of saying!)

I’ll keep you updated when everything is set up and official. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to message me either here or on my various social media accounts (look to the right panel for links) if you’d like more information 🙂


All gifs from giphy.com

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

For Cookie Break’s front page, take a look here.

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Birthday Promo With Goodkindles Now LIVE!

The promotion with  Free and Bargain ebooks | Book promotion site for authors is now LIVE! If you want to make this author’s birthday, share the hell out of it ^-^

I’ve pinned it to the top of my Facebook page and Twitter, so you can find it without a problem.

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“Growing up homeless and orphaned in a town that hates her, Rachael must assassinate the king of Rifarne to become queen to a people who once wanted her dead.

Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, who possesses the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person who can stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the king to take his throne may well be the only way to do just that.”

Praise for Rise of the Sparrows:

“Fantasy, action, magic, and abilities- this book has it all.” Goodreads review May 22nd 2016

“I absolutely loved this book. Creating a new and fantastical world is no easy task and this author does it with ease. The prologue was dark and sinister and immediately I needed to know so much more.” Goodreads review January 19th 2017

“It’s no mean feat to create an alternative world that is believable, but the author does this without the usual bogging down of too much detail. Rifarne seems like a real country, with all the politics and problems that can contain.” Goodreads review January 9th 2017

“It’s a story that sucks you in from the very start and doesn’t let go until the final page. It’s action packed and entertaining while at the same time heartfelt and thought provoking. Not to mention, it makes you feel ALL of the feels.” Goodreads review May 31st 2016

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Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.”

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What I thought:

This book was magic, go read it.

My, that was much easier than expected! 😀

*ahem* *tries again*

The Night Circus is, above all else, about a competition between two young people who had no say in whether they wanted to compete. The game begins in a way every kid ever has dreamed off – when they are children, Celia and Marco begin to learn how to use magic, real magic, and use it to create, to heal, and do accomplish miracles. Neither of them realises what the competition is meant to achieve, only that they have to play it, that they can’t leave, and that it’s over when it’s over. Clear instructions aren’t given, and so they join Le Cirque des Rêves – Celia as the Illusionist, and Marco working from behind the scenes – without really knowing what’s expected of them besides victory.

“I tried to explain as much as I could,” Poppet says. “I think I made an analogy about cake.”

“Well, that must have worked,” Widget says. “Who doesn’t like a good cake analogy?”

(chosen because cake, and because I’m also struggling to explain)

The various tents that make up the circus are seemingly made of magic – with the only exceptions being Celia’s and Marco’s tents, which are actually made of magic. Everything is part of the game, and Celia and Marco are the only people aware of it. The game unfolds slowly and gets more intricate, more wonderful, more dangerous, with every bit that’s revealed. It was so intriguing to see how everything falls into place, especially once the pieces had begun to crumble.

One of my favourite aspects are the different sections. At the beginning of each new part, you get a brief but detailed insight written in second person. That way, Morgenstern takes you through her circus, not as a reader but as a visitor, and it’s a magical experience.

“But what’s the use in seeing the future if I can’t do anything to stop it?”

“You cannot stop things,” Celia says. “You can only be prepared for them to happen.”

I hope I’ll have the time at some point to read this again. There’s so much going on that I don’t think it’s possible to notice everything the first time around. I might even take notes next time! Word of advice? Pay attention to the dates and locations at the beginning of every new chapter, and savour every glance into the individual tents.

Also, do yourself a favour and read this.

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Have you read The Night Circus, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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A-Z Name Prompts – G

monday-promptspiration

Today’s prompt is going to have to be a very quick one due to time reasons (I’ll explain everything on Friday…It’s very exciting/terrifying!).

Thank you as always to everyone who voted for today’s prompt! The winner is…

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to use it. If you do and publish it, please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Garner

(m.; gathers grain)

“What do you say in your defence?”

I didn’t look up. I’d really fucked up this time. What could I say? The failure of our colony was my doing. No amount of ignorance, no matter how much hope I’d felt at my find, would change that.

“Speak up, Garner!”

I forced myself to do as Jackson, our leader, said, but it was hard to make eye contact with the five council members before me. Their faces were red, covered in pustules, and gaunt – my doing. All of it. Even my Jenna had died because of my mistakes. Our youngest was too weak to move.

“I have nothing to say in my defence.”

We were the first human colony on this planet. It was a small colony, only one hundred people strong, but that made my job all the more important – to scout our surroundings for edible fruits, nuts, and any seeds I could find. The seeds I had brought back a month ago had scanned as save. Why had everyone fallen ill? They had been supposed to save us, not destroy us.

Jackson sighed. “I’m sorry, Garner. You know the sentence. You are to be hanged at dawn.”

I knew I was missing something, but I hadn’t figured it out since the first people had fallen ill, and my mistake had become obvious. I had eighteen hours before dawn; eighteen hours to figure out what had gone wrong. Could I figure it out from behind bars? I had to try.

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For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

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