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Lightburst: Love Like Gravity by Mike Sheriff

The Disruptions aren’t the only thing troubling 16-year-old Bex. A mysterious melody haunts her thoughts and tugs at her heart. Bizarre blue-violet coronas orbit the heads of her friends and family like miniature galaxies.

Are the anomalies somehow connected to her dead sister? Are they the byproducts of an unravelling world? Are they the signposts of an unravelling mind?

A strange woman holds the answers. For Bex, the answers reveal a connection between life and death that she never dreamed possible.

Love Like Gravity packs a lot of punch into just 71 pages. I’m a big fan of the world Sheriff built in this novella – both his take on a near-future apocalypse and the super interesting spin on science that drives the story.

I’m not sure if there’s more to this tale or if it’s a standalone, but I’ll be hoping for a few more installments. It definitely left me wanting more. Grab it while you can!

The Nitty Gritty

This book is free on Amazon as of September 19, 2017.

Length: 71 pages

Published: November 26, 2016 by the Appended Press

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Prophecy of Light: Trapped by RJ Crayton

Kady always knew the nomadic life she was living was because her aunt was hiding from some dark force, one Auntie described as magic. When Kady awakens in the middle of the night with her house crumbling around her, Auntie hustles her into the night, hides her, and engages in a battle of magic symbols that set the dark sky ablaze.

While Auntie succeeds in hiding Kady, she is captured during the battle. Kady, now realizing her aunts admonitions about the power of words were very real, must choose. She can do as her aunt had always warned her — to run far away if the two were separated. Or she can search for her aunt.

As strange powers emerge, Kady begins to realize there’s magic trapped inside her. Will this new magic help her succeed in retrieving her aunt?

I have to admit, I’m kinda digging this trend of episodic fantasy series. Sometimes it’s nice to get a taster instead of committing to a 500-page tome. Trapped was a very nice taster. It’s classic girl-discovers-powers YA fare – the setting has a cool Middle Eastern vibe and the writing is solid. You can breeze through it in a hour or two, and the next installment is already up for grabs. Give it a shot!

The Nitty Gritty

This book is free on Amazon as of September 19, 2017.

Length: 86 pages

Published: October 17, 2016 by Ericella Press

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Druid Blood by MD Massey

Things are going great for Colin. He’s the star of his high school baseball team, he has a killer motorcycle, and his mom’s career as an artist is finally taking off. Then, a chance encounter with a leprechaun reveals that nothing in his world is as it seems…

Soon, Colin and his friend Jesse are tasked with taking out the evil creature who cast a spell over their town, the ancient Irish vampire known as the Avartagh. Now, they’re being hunted by the unseelie fae, “fairies” who are are deadlier, real-life versions of their fairy tale counterparts.

Thus they must attempt the impossible, and save their town from the evil fae who’ve taken it over. And if Colin and Jesse don’t stop the fae, the Avartagh will destroy everyone and everything they love… and he’ll kill them in the process.

This was a fun little romp stuffed full of Irish myths. The characters are in high school and the book is described as YA, but it felt more middle-grade to me – I would’ve pegged Colin and Jesse at around 12 years old if I hadn’t known better.

But I like middle-grade, and the actual vs. perceived age thing didn’t really affect the story, so no great loss there. Of course, if you’re not into the genre, your mileage may vary. Druid Blood is a prequel for the more adult Junkyard Druid series – if you like the look but not the age group of this novella, maybe try the main series instead.

The Nitty Gritty

This book is free on Amazon as of September 16, 2017.

Length: 114 pages

Published: December 9, 2013 by Modern Digital Publishing

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The Scarab’s Curse by Craig Halloran

Once a respected wizard, Finster is now a drunkard and a con man living anonymously amongst simple, easily manipulated village folk. But his self-serving cunning cannot save him when soldiers of the Magus Supremeus of the High Order burst in to drag the disreputable mage to the dreaded Red Citadel.

Finster’s captor, the new Magus, is none other than Ingrid the Insane, his former acolyte, a young woman of cold heart and ruthless ambition who has already murdered numerous magic-doers in her quest for ultimate power. The only reason Finster still lives is Ingrid’s belief that he knows the whereabouts of the Founders Stone, a magical artifact that could make her invincible.

Rendered powerless by a scarab beetle attached to his back, Finster realizes he is doomed unless he escapes and recovers the Stone before Ingrid does, and he turns to his dungeon cellmate for help. But the hulking, mute, barbarian youth he calls “Moth” is inscrutable and unpredictable. And their ultimate survival—and the survival of an entire kingdom—may require the cowardly wizard to assume a most unfamiliar and uncomfortable role: hero!

Oh, this was fun. Fast-talking, irreverent wizards are the best wizards, first of all. The Scarab’s Curse was non-stop action that had me frantically flipping pages. It might be a touch too gory for some – let’s just say that there’s a lot of blunt-force trauma and swords flying around.

If you don’t mind that, though, I think this is a nice one-sitting read for fans of swords and sorcery. Check it out!

The Nitty Gritty

This book is free on Amazon as of September 15, 2017.

Length: 148 pages

Published: February 18, 2017 by Two-Ten Book Press

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