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The Last Queen by Odette C Bell

Try to imagine this. Try to imagine that you’re the last of a dying, powerful breed. Try to imagine that you can’t live alone. You have to marry a modern-day king, or you’ll die.

That’s me – the Last Queen. As my life falls apart, I’m forced into a world of dark magic, death, power, and arrogant kings who will do anything to acquire me.

In this violent game, I will need to align myself to live. But, instead, I will choose to fight….

The Last Queen is the lovechild of two things: urban fantasy… and chess. A strange mixture, but it works surprisingly well. I had a couple of small quibbles with it – the main character’s internal monologue can be a little repetitive, for instance – but I really enjoyed the fresh concept and the action-packed ride.

I wish the book had built to a more satisfying resolution, but considering this is the first novella in a serial fantasy (is that what we’re calling these episodic stories?), it’s understandable. The second and third installments are already out, so you won’t have to wait long for more.

Odette C Bell is nothing if not prolific – by my count she has sixteen series openers available for free at the time of this posting. If you liked The Last Queen, check the rest out as well.

The Nitty Gritty

This book is free on Amazon as of September 20, 2017.

Length: 142 pages

Published: June 18, 2017

Author’s Website

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

Author’s Website

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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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