Tag Archives: Blog Tour

Blog Tour: ‘Beauty’s Curse’ by C.S. Johnson

Don’t you just love a good fairytale retelling? Today I have this gorgeous book to share with you, along with an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a print copy of this stunner!

Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon a Princess #1)

Publication Date: January 2016

Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Historical Fantasy/ Romance

For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

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Excerpt

Rose and Theo discuss their next move in finding Titania, the queen of the fairies, in hopes she will be able to tell them how to break Rose’s curse.

***

She had never been one to waste her time; after all, she had so little of it left. But whether or not the weather cooperated with her was another matter entirely.

Rose looked up at the bleak sky, feeling the hood of her protective cloak sliding down from her face, exposing her nape at the end of her close-cropped hair. The wind tickled her skin, and rather than finding it charming and pleasant as she might have when she was younger, she found it taunting and terrifying.

Her gaze moved down from the crying skies to the sea, the rough and tumbling creature so keen on hogging every inch it could of the world’s edge.

There was nothing to it, she decided. They would have to enter into the cavern during the rain. According to the map Ethan had found, the entrance to Titania’s realm was not far down the cliff, and while it would be easier if the rain would stop and the tide would recede, Rose knew she could never count on life to make things easier for her if it could.

That was how Theo found her; looking down the edge of the cliffs, standing in the rain, and declaring all the world her enemy. No wonder she had insisted leaving the palace when she’d been thirteen, he thought. Even the grand palace would have demolished itself, had she been unable to fight her own way free of it. She was a warrior through and through.

Theo shook his head and pushed back the cover of his cloak. “I know that look,” he muttered, coming up from behind her. “And the answer is no.”

Rose would have normally grinned at the sight of her best friend following her out of the safety of the camp to talk. But ever since she and her group had finally found the location of the home of a powerful Fairy Queen, time seemed to crush into her a little bit more each day, pushing her into possible tomorrows long before her today’s had finished.

She pursed her lips together. “Come on. I’m the princess, remember? I’m the one in command here, Theo.”

He smiled at her. “You only pull rank when you know I’m right.” Crossing his arms, he added, “It’s only been two days, Rosary. We’ll give it at least one more before we go barreling in.”

He was not fooled by the calm look on her face; there would be a battle in getting her to agree.

He had known Rose–officially Princess Aurora Rosemarie Mohanagan of Rhone–for over ten years, ever since he arrived to work in the royal chapel, and he knew well her charms. It was impossible not to notice them, and knowing her well enough, it was impossible for him to fall for them–which, he knew, she both liked and hated on different occasions. Knowing her expressions just as well, Theo knew this time she hated it.

“Mary can protect us with a weather spell,” she argued.

He had to admit, halfway begrudgingly, he admired her tenacity as she refused to back down. “Mary is still tired from our battle with the Eastern Warlords. We’re all still tired, even you. The rest will be good for us. We have time enough for rest.”

“No, I don’t have time, Theo. My birthday is coming up.” Frustration and fear crept into the pattern of her speech.

“And you can spare a day now, and we’ll make up for it later.”

“What if we don’t?”

“You still have a whole year afterwards, Rosary.” Patience melted away into concern at her words. He knew she was upset and afraid, and there was little he could do about it.

That was why he had come, though, wasn’t it? The thought hit him with a disgruntled air. There were few reasons besides counsel and comfort that would cause one to bring a priest across continents and into battle. He was fortunate to have found a friend in the doomed princess of Rhone.

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For your chance to win a paperback copy of Beauty’s Curse, click on the link below!

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About the Author

Author Pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog Tour Schedule

May 13th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://readsandreels.com

Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com

I Love Books and Stuff (Excerpt) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

Pages and Paw Prints (Review) http://pagesandpawprints.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) http://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com

Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com/

May 14th

I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk

Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Love Books Group (Review) https://lovebooksgroup.com/

May 15th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/

Stacy is Reading (Review) https://stacyisreading.blogspot.com/?m=0

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

May 16th

Reading Nook (Excerpt) https://readingnook84.wordpress.com

An Ocean a Glimmer (Review) http://anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Excerpt) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

Tsarina Press (Excerpt) https://www.tsarinapress.com

May 17th

B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

The Must Reads (Review) http://themustreads.com/

Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

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Blog Tour: ‘Maiden’s Peak’ by Kristy E. Carter

Maiden'sPeak

Welcome to my stop on the Maiden’s Peak blog tour! If you are looking for a good mystery with a hint of the paranormal, you will want to read on! I have an excerpt for you, and a chance to win a copy of the book!

Maiden’s Peak

Expected Publication Date: May 7th, 2019

Genre: Murder Mystery/ Paranormal

Publisher: Between the Lines Publishing

Victor Shelton ran from his family’s legacy of prophetic dreams at seventeen but finds at twenty-eight that he is unable to run from the nightmares that plague him. Haunted by images of his own death each night he follows the fleeting memory of the town limit’s sign in his nightmare to a quaint Colorado town.

Beckoned to a forbidding mountain peak with a past riddled by ghost stories and legends, Victor must figure out who is friend or foe. Can he unravel the secrets of the enigmatic citizens of Carver’s Corner and solve his own murder before it happens?

Perhaps the answers are in the siren song of whatever is calling him to the caves under Maiden’s Peak. The song in the darkness urges him on, but whether it is to his death or to his salvation, Victor can’t say. All he knows is that once before he had not heeded the call of his dreams and someone had died. He can’t let that happen again.

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Excerpt

A solitary scrap of paper was swept from the cold pavement by the updraft. The gust of wind lifted my hair and ghosted a frigid breath across my neck, causing the hairs there to stand on end. I’d come to this small town chasing a dream, but not the kind that beckons a person to great things. No, the dream that had brought me here is the kind that leaves you huddled in a corner, quietly sobbing.

Two months had passed since the nightmares began, and I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since. Even as I thought about it, flashes of the nightmare came to the front of my mind, and I quickly veered my thoughts away to keep the images at bay.

Somehow, I thought coming here to Carver’s Corner would make it better. This place was featured in the nightly horror show that my dreams had become. Being here didn’t make the dream come into clarity or logically fall into place. I had never been to this town and probably would not have missed its presence in my life if I hadn’t been beckoned here by the insistent dreams.

My grandmother insisted that we had some cunning folk in our family tree. Cunning folk, in case you’ve been blessed with ignorance, is another name for wise men and women who heal and help others through both natural and magical means.

That might not seem so bad, but at seventeen, I rebelled with every fiber of my being. I wanted so much to be like everyone else. I tried so hard to pretend that I wasn’t plagued most nights by dreams that were seemingly not my own.

Sometimes the dreams came true; sometimes they merely taunted me. The embarrassment of misinterpreting a dream was something one truly had to experience before you could appreciate it. The looks on people’s faces when they had deemed you unbalanced was something you never got used to. The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back came at a party in my junior year of high school. For weeks, I had dreamed of a fire at that party. It was the only reason—other than my then-crush, of course—that I had gone. As it turned out, I’d read the signs wrong, and the dream was more my anxiety than anything else. Needless to say, Betsy Stevens didn’t appreciate me ruining her party by screaming about a fire that never came to be.

A couple weeks after the incident, I left and went to live with my dad, who was on the East Coast—far away from talks of cunning folk and prophetic dreams. The move had worked in many ways. My dreams even stopped for a time, but as with all good things, it did not last.

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About the Author

Kristy E Carter

Kristy has been making up her own stories for entertainment for most of her life. Eleven years back she decided that perhaps others would want to walk through the worlds she has created. With over 10+ books in both urban fantasy and cozy mystery, Kristy has allowed readers to venture into realms where magic lives and murder mingles with humor. She currently lives with her family in the Southeastern United States where she helps other authors when she is not writing her own novels as a freelance writer and editor with eleven years of experience. With many projects in the works, there are sure to be more worlds for courageous adventurers to delve into.

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For your chance to win a digital copy of Maiden’s Peak by Kristy E. Carter, click the link below!

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Maiden'sPeak

Blog Tour Schedule

May 6th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) www.readsandreels.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) www.themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Gwendalyn’s Books (Excerpt) www.gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com

Pages and Paw Prints (Excerpt) www.pagesandpawprints.com

Yearwoon La Novela (Excerpt) www.yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

May 7th

B is for Book Review (Review) www.bforbookreview.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) www.thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com

I Love Books and Stuff (Excerpt) www.ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

May 8th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Excerpt) www.dashfan81.blogspot.com

Just 4 My Books (Excerpt) www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Reading Nook (Excerpt) www.readingnook84.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) www.breakevenbooks.com

May 9th

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt) www.thecozypages.wordpress.com

Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com

Book Addict Rambles (Excerpt) www.bookaddictrambles.wordpress.com

May 10th

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) www.jbronderbookreviews.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Excerpt) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

 

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Blog Tour: ‘Slumbering’ by C.S. Johnson

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Welcome to the Slumbering blog tour! Here we have another gorgeous book, this time the first installment in a wonderful YA series, called The Starlight Chronicles by C.S. Johnson. Read on for exclusive content and a chance to win a print copy of the book!

Slumbering Cover

 


Slumbering

Publication Date: December 2014

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/ Satire

Sixteen-year-old Hamilton Dinger leads a charmed life. He’s got the grades for the top of the class, the abilities of a star athlete and Tetris player, and the charisma to get away with anything. Everything seems to be going along perfectly, including his plans to ask out Gwen Kessler, as he enters into tenth grade at Apollo Central High School. Everything, that is, until a meteor crashes into the city, releasing the Seven Deadly Sinisters and their leader, Orpheus, from their celestial prison, and awakening Hamilton’s longtime dormant supernatural abilities. Suddenly Hamilton finds reluctantly allied with his self-declared mentor, Elysian, a changeling dragon, and Starry Knight, a beautiful but dangerous warrior, as they seek to protect the souls of Apollo City from the Sinisters and their evil intentions. Can Hamilton overcome his ignorance and narrow-mindedness to see what is truly real? Can he give up his self-proclaimed entitlement to happiness in order to follow the call of a duty he doesn’t want? More importantly, will he willingly sacrifice all he has to find out the truth?

 

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Excerpt

Maia, the Sinister of Sloth, and Orpheus, are attacking Hamilton’s school, and Starry Knight makes her first official appearance.

“Maia, you have done well up to this point,” a new voice called out from the sky. “Why do I have to come to your rescue now?”

I didn’t have to look up to know who it was now. Everyone and his brother had shown up. Why not Orpheus too?

“Orpheus!” Maia cried out. Her fro-like hair whipped around as she turned her attention to the newcomer.

Hovering in the sky just above the school was a dirty-looking man wearing a black cloak-like outfit. The long robes mostly disguised a wrinkly, repulsive body, but didn’t do anything to contain the smell. The rotten-eggs aftershave wasn’t going to get him a girlfriend any more than the comic-con outfit.

“Yes. Yes, it’s me,” Orpheus replied, confirming my suspicions. “What seems to be the problem?”

“It’s—”

“A what? A block in your brain?” he asked as he floated over to her.

I smirked, briefly forgetting the imperative nature of the situation. He might smell bad, look horrible and not be a nice guy, but I liked his insults.

“No—look!”

Everyone looked back toward the angelic warrior. I didn’t blame Orpheus for getting angry a second later.

“What?” Maia gasped. “She’s gone?! I swear, Orpheus, there was a person standing up there a moment ago!”

“You’re not supposed to be afraid of people—you’re supposed to attack them.” Orpheus sighed.

I suppose people will wonder why Gwen and I didn’t just run away. You have to understand that this was not something you get to see every day. After years of reality TV shows, you should know by now the power a dysfunctional family has over its audience.

So it was only when Orpheus looked down at us that we snapped back to normal fear mode.

“Let’s just hurry up and get these two, and be done for now. You know we need their Soulfire.”

Soulfire? Okay, so reality TV had just turned into science fiction. Or maybe fantasy?

“Psst! Dinger!” I looked over and saw Mikey beckoning me from behind some brick columns. I almost rolled my eyes; Mikey wasn’t seriously stupid enough to think a brick wall could fend off these evil magician-electrician people, was he?

But better to be behind a wall than out in the open. I grabbed Gwen by the wrist and pulled her along behind me as I ran for cover.

I flinched as Orpheus suddenly appeared directly in front of me. “Augh!” I screeched to a halt, falling over; Gwen followed in suit.

“Hammy!” Gwen cried out as she landed hard on her right side. There was a snapping noise, and horror sneaked into me as I saw Gwen’s hand bent back on her arm. I felt sick.

And Orpheus wasted no time.

He grabbed me by the wrist. A strong stinging sensation flew up my arm, my teeth clenched in severe, excruciating pain, and I struggled not to scream (loudly). I trembled as Orpheus laughed. It was the same cold laugh I remembered from my dreams.

Why do my dreams only come true when it means certain death? No, it’s never for true love or winning the championship title.

I went back to being concerned for my life as another sizzle of power crept through my body, setting my nerve endings on fire. “Stop it!”

“You’ve been enough trouble!” Orpheus cried out, laughing. “I’ll burn your body and suck out your soul, and then we’ll see how much trouble you cause!”

Orpheus and I were too caught up in his moment of glory and my moment of life-altering agony to see the arrow. It sliced through the air and dug into his left eye, squirting what looked like a stream of runny black acid all over his front. The force of impact and injury rattled him enough to let me go.

“Augh! Ouch!” Orpheus cursed loudly. He clenched his teeth as he jerked the arrow out a moment later; the eye popped out along with it, nearly making me vomit on the spot. And while the flood of pain stopped drowning my body, I was still physically reeling from the forceful shadow of his power.

“You see? I told you!” Maia called out. “She just moved!”

Orpheus looked over with his remaining eye to see the warrior with the violet eyes staring down at him. I followed his gaze as I fell to my knees, trying to recover.

She narrowed her gaze. “Let him go!” she called out. Her voice was strong. I was just about to ask her for her name when she added, “Your battle is with me, not these children.”

Children?! Children?! Anger blistered through me as I squirmed, trying to get out of the ugly weirdo’s grip. My earlier pain was nothing compared to the rage fueling me now!

The Starlight Chronicles

The Starlight Chronicles

About the Author

Author-CS-Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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For your chance to win a print copy of Slumbering by C.S. Johnson, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour Schedule

April 15th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk

Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

April 16th

I Smell Sheep (Cover Love Feature) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Review) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

I Love Books and Stuff (Excerpt) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

Reading Nook (Excerpt) https://readingnook84.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Excerpt) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

April 17th

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

#Bookish (Excerpt) http://erindeckerblog.wordpress.com

Yearwood La Novella (Excerpt) http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

April 18th

J Bronder Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

The Bibliophagist (Review) http://thebibliophagist.blog/

B is for Book Review (Excerpt) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

April 19th

Breakeven Books (Interview) https://breakevenbooks.com

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com

Stacy is Reading (Review) https://stacyisreading.blogspot.com/?m=0

 

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Blog Tour: ‘Staking Cinderella’ by Kate Morgan

StalkingCinderella (1)

Welcome to my stop on the Staking Cinderella blog tour! Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you, and a chance to win one of two digital copies of this very vampy book!

StakingCinderellaCover

 

Staking Cinderella

Expected Publication Date: April 18th, 2019

Genre: Horror/ Vampire Romance

 

Gavin’s got a serious problem. A “praise Jee-sus” rich bitch caught him fanging—and banging—his Halloween date. Now she’s playing Holy Vampire Killer, and it’s ticking him off.

Since then, Gavin’s found someone better to occupy his mind and heart. Isolde—in bed, on the couch, in the shower. She has a thing for Disney princesses, but he’s willing to overlook it. Women like her only come around once or twice in five hundred years. He knows.

Then the Jesus-freak kidnaps Isolde to bait a deathtrap for Gavin. Abandoning Isolde is unthinkable, but rescuing her could mean death for both of them.

Excerpt

StakingCinderellaCover

A quintessential cowboy parked his truck in the packed community college main lot. The complete Scooby-Doo Gang walked past on his left, the Bob’s Burgers cast on his right.

He knew he should’ve eaten before coming to this Halloween party. Never go grocery shopping hungry. He was old enough to know better.

A sexy nun and a sexier nurse followed the Scooby Gang. So much exposed neck. He closed his eyes and marshaled his forces. Half an hour to accomplish his objective and he could escape home and feed.

Gavin Donne, historian, costume designer and drama instructor, exited and locked his truck. At the gym entrance he took a deep breath of night air and choked on cigarette smoke. “Fancy-boy actor’s lungs can’t take it.” Male laughter. “Don’t be an ass, Cal.” A pudgy girl patted Gavin’s back. “You okay, Mr. Donne?”

Gavin spat into the barberry bushes lining the sidewalk. “Yes, thank you, Stella. I see your brother is still trying to prove his manhood.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Alice Loweecey - Kate Morgan

Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Kate Morgan celebrates the day she jumped the wall with as much enthusiasm as her birthday. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she takes a break from inspiring nightmares, she writes ex-nun PI mysteries under her real name, Alice Loweecey.

In her spare time she can be found growing vegetables in her garden and water lilies in her koi pond.

Alice Loweecey | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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For your chance to win a digital copy of Staking Cinderella, click the link below!

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StalkingCinderella (1)

Mini Tour Schedule

April 15th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) https://readsandreels.com/

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

Reading Nook (Excerpt) https://readingnook84.wordpress.com

April 16th

B is for Book Review (Excerpt) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Little Tinklabee (Review) https://littletinkablee.com

April 17th

I Love Books and Stuff Blog (Excerpt) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

April 18th

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

 

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Blog Tour: ‘Prince of Secrets and Shadows’ by C.S. Johnson

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Welcome to the blog tour for the highly anticipated follow up novel in The Order of the Crystal Daggers series, Prince of Secrets and Shadows! Please read on for an exclusive excerpt, purchase details, and of course, a fab giveaway to enter!

But wait, there’s more! Today I am also revealing the stunning cover for book #3, Heart of Hope and Fear with a little teaser!

2 Prince of Secrets and Shadows final front cover.jpgPrince of Secrets and Shadows

Publication Date: December 4th, 2018

Genre: YA/ Historical Fiction/ Adventure/ Romance

“How do I know you’re telling me the truth?” The last thing I wanted to do was hurt him, but if I did not find a way to break free of him, I would risk doing even more harm.

Ferdy met my gaze with his. “I promise you this, Ella, that as of now, I will never lie to you again.” He leaned forward and kissed me again, and I stood there, letting him, desperately debating whether I could trust him or not. His promise burned through me, his words scorched into my being. It was so tempting to believe him, more tempting than anything else I had ever faced in all my life.

Freedom was only freedom if I could trust it to be true.

PRAGUE, 1870

After joining the Order of the Crystal Daggers, led by her dauntless grandmother, Lady Penelope, Eleanora Svobodová set out to save her kingdom from oncoming devastation.

And she failed.

Following the attack on Prague Castle, Eleanora is determined to redeem herself. She sets out to win Karl’s trust while distancing herself from Ferdy, whose secrets and lies have done nothing to stop her from falling in love with him. As she struggles to let him go, questions about the mission and her mother’s past cause a rift between Amir and Lady Penelope and add to the growing discord between Eleanora and her brother.

But when a cunning provocateur arrives in Prague, Eleanora discovers there is an even more deadly game afoot, one that reaches into Amir’s past and threatens Lady Penelope’s future. Now, the members of the Order must work together if they are to uncover the true enemy hiding in Bohemia.

Can they work together despite their divisions? Or will their division lead to even more destruction?

With spies, secrets, and suspense, Prince of Secrets and Shadows is the second book in The Order of the Crystal Daggers, a spy adventure series from C. S. Johnson.

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Excerpt

2-prince-of-secrets-and-shadows-final-front-cover-e1552480694169.jpg

“I told you the truth about your grandmother’s past, including some of the secrets she carries,” Harshad said. “But you are still not any more inclined to trust her with your secrets, are you?”

I blushed at his perception and shook my head. “No.”

He nodded. “I thought as much. Trust is a process, especially in a fallen world.”

Perhaps for once, I understood why Harshad wanted me to remain silent while he talked. Everything he said was intentional, designed to tantalize the mind. I was suddenly appalled when I realized how much I had likely missed in our sessions before.

I hoped I would be able to make up for it, after our mission was over.

When he did speak again, it seemed as though ages had passed. “You really are so much like Dezda. I wanted to see for myself how different you are, and that required time.” His voice was much more of a whisper, and I knew he was taking a risk, and letting me know one of his secrets. “I know you are different enough that I can freely admit that I came to regret training Dezda. I did not want to make the same mistake with you.”

“This is not a mistake,” I said, but I felt my resolve weaken. I remembered how Ferdy told me that the Order of the Crystal Daggers was full of assassins, and I had nothing to say in return. He was likely right. I did not know if I was comfortable having the talent to kill someone.

Harshad seemed to agree with my unspoken concerns. “Fighting is contrary to your nature.”

“Being stubborn and contrary is not.” A wry grin appeared on my face, and I was suddenly determined to change the subject. “Besides, Lady Penelope says that Society can only exist when people do things that are unacceptable to save it.”

“That does not mean you must be such a person.”

“I do not agree,” I said. “I am free to see the truth of such a calling, even if it is uncomfortable.”

“This is not what you want.”

I did not know how to respond; Harshad was right. I had my doubts about the Order, about working with people who, as Lady POW said, would fail me.

But I was at the castle when Karl and Lord Maximillian’s attack commenced. If I had done nothing at all, if I had backed away from Lady Penelope’s offer, if I had jumped at the chance to travel abroad and find a husband, or if I had taken enough of her money to start up Liberté with Ben, I would not have been able to save Ferdy.

And he was worth it. Protecting Ferdy was worth it.

Now Available

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Fireworks

Here is the unbelievably gorgeous cover for book #3 in the series, called Heart of Hope and Fear! I also have a little teaser for you below!

3 Heart of Hope and Fear front cover

“What about the Order?” I hesitated to ask, knowing Amir had painful memories of his own. “I wanted to be free before. Lady Penelope pointed out that this is the opposite of what I wanted. I can’t help but feel she is right.”

“Wanting to be free is not a sin in itself,” Amir told me softly. “Only when that is everything and held to the highest priority is it so. We are loyal to the truth, Eleanora, but the truth is complicated, and freedom can be painful.”

PRAGUE, 1871

In the battle between the past and the present, one girl must stand and fight for the future.

Following Lord Maximillian’s escape and Karl’s disappearance, Eleanora Svobodová and the other members of the Order of the Crystal Daggers have plenty to keep them preoccupied. Just as the Emperor calls for a tripartite council to determine the sovereignty of Bohemia, war breaks out in France, and Lady Penelope prepares the Order to come face to face with their true foe at last.

But then Eleanora discovers the startling truth about her mother’s last mission in Prague.

Can she rescue the prince, save the Emperor, and still protect her friends and family?

Ferdy’s mother narrowed her eyes at me. “I am relieved to hear that you have made such a study of both my sons of late, Lady Eleanora. I confess, I was surprised to hear of your engagement to Karl through the papers.”

“I regret to inform you, Your Highness, that Karl made the arrangements with the papers. I did not agree to an engagement.” I did not need a mirror to know my face had flushed over in red.

“Well, that’s not entirely true,” Ferdy interjected. “Ella has agreed to marry me.”

“What?” Lady Penelope, Empress Maria Anna, and Amir all turned to look at me. The heat in my cheeks exponentially increased.

“I love her, and she loves me,” Ferdy continued, clearly indifferent to how uncomfortable he was making me. It was scandalous that he would love me at all, but the way in which he presented his claim on my heart was more than inappropriate—especially given that we had to find his brother, who was, in the eyes of Society, the one who was rightfully engaged to me. “We would like to speak with the archbishop while we are here.”

“Today?” The empress gaped at him.

“Yes.” Ferdy stepped down from before the throne to stand beside me. He took my hand in his and brought it to his lips.

“Ferdinand … ” Empress Maria Anna looked from Ferdy to me, and then back at her son. She seemed aghast at the idea, and I did not know what to do to calm her fears—if I could do such a thing at all. My own stomach was turning and twisting into knots.

“I have fallen deeply under her spell, Mother, and I would hate to fall even further into scandal and temptation,” Ferdy continued, watching his mother carefully. “It would be such a stain on our family’s virtuous history.”

The former empress blushed as she looked at me, and I was too shocked to assure her Ferdy and I were not engaged in an affair; even if I had, I worried Ferdy would divulge more of our stolen moments together, just vague enough to let everyone assume the worst.

I only felt some measure of relief when Amir gave me a small smile. From where he stood behind Lady Penelope, I could see the somberness as well as the sincerity of his approval.

Suddenly, I did not want to know what Lady Penelope was thinking; I deliberately kept my face turned away from hers.

“It was only a few days ago that my life was endangered as I made my way back to Silesia,” Ferdy said, so smoothly I did not even call him on his lie. “Life is so fragile, Mother, and I have been waiting for Ella for so long.”

He looked back up at his mother, resolved and proud, but still pleading for her approval.

Ferdy had told me once before that I was the one who was more determined between us, but as his fingers curled into mine, in a manner that was both so seductive and yet so innocent, I wondered if he had been lying.

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Author-CS-Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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