Archive for February 6th, 2018

Ashael Rising


Ashael Rising

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 those 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 Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.

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Shona Kinsella

Author Bio

Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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The scream filled the small chamber, bouncing off the walls and reverberating through Meegrum’s skull. He nodded to the guard captain, Zekinal, who straightened, pulling the bloody knife free of the prisoner’s knee. At least, he assumed it was a knee.

‘You can bring this to an end,’ Meegrum said, leaning his shoulder against the wall and examining his fingertips. ‘Tell me everything you know of this Vessel.’

‘I don’t know anything,’ the prisoner gasped.

Meegrum grimaced and raised a hand to his head. The translation spell that was required to speak to this thing was driving a spike through his brain, and all for it to sit there and lie to him. He crossed the room and took the knife out of Zekinal’s hand, turning around and slashing the creature’s chest, leaving a shallow wound that bled profusely. The prisoner howled, driving the spike of pain a little further into Meegrum’s head.

‘Tell me.’


Meegrum held the blade against the breathing sac that covered the lower half of the creature’s face. He stared as its eyes widened, its panic obvious even on those bizarre features.

‘Please,’ it begged. ‘Please, no.’

‘Tell me and all of this will be over.’

The creature’s eyes darted from side to side, its breathing sac quickly puffing in and out as it panted. Meegrum pressed the blade a little harder against the sac and the fight went out of the prisoner. Shoulders slumped, it began to talk. Meegrum’s vision went red and his headache was intensified by the odd effect of hearing its grumbling, grating noise with his ears while hearing words that made sense in his head. This time it was worth it, though.

‘It is said that she will rise when the three moons join their brother in the sky on Longest Day. The soul of all will be contained in her.’

‘I hope for your sake that you know something more useful than this,’ Meegrum growled.

‘Agni forgive me… At the moment of her rising she will be vulnerable, and with her, all of KalaDene.’

‘There. Was that so hard?’ Meegrum asked as he shoved the knife forward, piercing the breathing sac. The creature bucked and writhed against its bonds but the chains were strong. In a few short moments, its struggles were over.

‘What did you do to it, sir?’ Zekinal asked.

Meegrum jumped. In the intensity of the moment, he had forgotten that the guard was there. ‘Suffocated it. Dispose of the body.’

Meegrum handed the knife back to Zekinal and without another glance at the creature, he turned and left the room.

He strode into the great hall without knocking. Meegrum could tell there was something wrong as soon as he entered the room; his lord stood staring into the hearth though no flames burned there.

‘What has happened, my lord?’ he asked, hurrying forward.

‘We are to report to the World-Gate in ten days’ time. That little bastard, Cenric, is to wed one of the king’s daughters. All of the first three castes are to attend the celebrations, which will last for a moon’s cycle! By the time we return, winter will have set in and the cattle will have hunkered down for the season.’

Meegrum moved to the table at the far side of the room and poured wine for them both.

‘I have good news at least, my lord. The rock creature finally broke: the Vessel is expected to be a woman. She will have a moment of vulnerability as she comes into her power.’ Meegrum handed a goblet to his lord, and waited for him to start his drink before draining his own.

‘And this will happen on the summer solstice, as the Hive believe?’

‘Yes, my lord.’

‘At least we will have time to find her in Spring. Leave a contingent here under the command of Zekinal. Tell Devorik to get the rest of the warriors ready to move out.’

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I received this information from Rachel’s Random Resources. Be sure to check out her website here.

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Your One and Only


Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay

Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

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Adrianne Finlay 

Author’s Bio

Originally from Ithaca, New York, Adrianne Finlay now lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her husband, the poet J. D. Schraffenberger, and their two young daughters. She received her PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and is an associate professor of English at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa.
She is also an avid soap maker, and sells handmade soap locally to raise money for type 1 diabetes research.

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My Review

5 stars

Three hundred years ago, humans were suffering from the Slow Plague. Just before they went extinct nine scientists created clones of themselves, Homo Factus. Every ten years these same clones create ten clones in each scientist’s image perfecting anything that was a defect. But for some strange reason they decide to create a human from old, original DNA, Jack. Jack has been raised with art and music just like a regular human was before the plague. But now that he is a teenager and being introduced to the rest of the clones it is clear that they hold him in contempt.

Althea-310 was born with a defect and has tried to hide it to keep from being disposed of. When she meets Jake she becomes curious about him. But can they start caring about each other in this world with a hive mined people and an indifference to art? How far will they be able to go when defects are usually disposed of?

This story does start out a little slow but there is so much to this world. I fell into it and had a hard time putting the book down. By trying to fight extinction, humans created clones and those clones have continued to perfect themselves. They have become a hive mind and don’t have any originality or love of the arts. These are considered a weakness that needs to be cleansed. Although this is a romance between Jake and Althea-310, there was so much more to the story.

I loved this book. It has a great story that could be a stand-alone yet could possibly become more. I can’t wait to check out other books by Adrianne Finlay.

I received Your One and Only from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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