Flash Fiction: Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole

Hey guys! Today I’m excited to share a flash fiction/snippet/beginning of a story/SOMETHING.

Basically, I wrote it for a Twelve Dancing Princesses prompt and wanted to share it.

October is Twelve Dancing Princesses month over at The Fairy Tale Central. (If you don’t follow them, YOU SHOULD, because they’re amazing and all about fairy tales.)

As a part of that, Arielle Bailey, one of the Fairy Godmothers who run the site, has a writing prompt themed after the fairy tale of the month.

This month’s is . . .

And then you pick one of these answers to use . . .

You can join in the prompt and find all the info HERE!

(I cheated a tiny bit because I moved the prompt lines later in the story instead of starting with it, because I wanted to start somewhere else, buuut you know. :P)

I wasn’t NOT going to write something for this — I mean, it’s my favorite fairy tale!

And then I had a dream about writing something for it and took something from that, as well as a title I’d been meaning to use, and a couple of other orphan ideas waiting for a story. (By which I mean that they’ve been quietly insisting they would like a story of their own and I’ve been pretending they don’t exist because I already have TOO MANY.) And there you are!

(I apologize that it ends as it does; I hope to write more someday, when it’s not less than two weeks until NaNo. XD)

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!


Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole

Part 1 (?)

by Deborah O’Carroll

I dismounted from my old motorbike and surveyed the huge mansion silhouetted against the lake. The location being near water was less than ideal, given the rather important selkie shifters I had offended, but this job shouldn’t involve going near the water. I hoped.

I pulled off my sunglasses and hung them on my collar as I stepped into the sunset shadow of the looming mansion and knocked on the huge elegant doors at the top of a stairway I tried not to let impress me.

A man in a suit opened the doors almost at once and looked out. “Good evening, sir. How can I help you?”

Sir, indeed. My battered leather jacket and torn jeans didn’t exactly look like sir material, and the man was three times my age. But I let it slide, just this once.

“I’m here to collect that half-million reward,” I said.

“That would require solving the mystery.”

I smirked. “Oh, I intend to.”

“And where did you hear of this opportunity?”

“Craigslist,” I grunted. He didn’t need to know that an . . . acquaintance of mine had already come trying to solve this and had disappeared.

Satisfied, he nodded and stepped back. “Right this way, sir, and I’ll introduce you to Mr. King.”

“Don’t ‘sir’ me,” I said, and adjusted the handgun tucked into the back of my jeans under my jacket as I stepped through the doorway.

“Of course not, sir.”

I shook my head, following him into the depths of the mansion. Butlers.

My interview with Mr. King was brief—he was bored and impatient, and since I liked to think that people didn’t react that way just because of me, I figured he was getting kind of tired of this whole business after the dozens who had come in search of the reward and gotten nowhere—or if they had, nobody knew where, since they’d all disappeared.

Honestly, you’d think that would be more worrying than a billionaire’s twelve adopted daughters wearing out their ballet slippers every night, but there was no accounting for the rich. He said they couldn’t perform ballet in the daytime if they did it all night, and the stage was missing them.

Whatever he wanted to do with half a million was his business, and I could certainly use it to take care of a few things, on top of tracking down my . . . acquaintance.

So here I was, in a corner of a room full of chattering teenage girls, pretty much the last place I wanted to be. Well. Other than somewhere near water.

At least the invisibility cloak I wore kept them from knowing I was here—helpfully provided by Mr. King to aid in the investigations, with an enchantment on it to return to its proper hook hanging on a wall in his office at sunup every day to prevent unwarranted thefts. Otherwise I’d have suspected the previous investigators of having made off with it—it would explain their disappearances, and one of these was worth a fortune.

As part of the pre-arranged plan, I’d slipped in while the butler brought an evening snack to the teens—well, maybe a few of them were a smidge older, closer to my age; I was terrible with ages—and waited, Mr. King’s weary “good luck” still swirling in my ears. I guess if neither the wards around the house nor the security cameras could figure out where his girls were going or how, and they seemed to be in their room from ten p.m. until morning, that had to get kind of stressful.

The girls were either chatting, reading, engaged on phones or laptops, or doing some kind of crafting. One was practicing ballet steps in the corner opposite to mine.

Absolutely nothing interesting happened until the clock hit midnight.

They all stopped what they were doing and watched the huge wall clock finish chiming, then stood up—all except the one who seemed to be the youngest, who had fallen asleep reading a book.

She woke up and groaned. “Just one night. Can’t we sleep for just one night and forget all this?”

The eldest snorted. “Sounds great. Except for the part where we’d all wake up as ghosts.”

“Come on, you don’t really believe that, do you? Just because they told us—”

“I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that faeries can’t lie,” said another girl.

“And I’m pretty sure that’s just a rumor they spread around to make themselves sound trustworthy. Have you seen how sarcastic some of them are? I’m pretty sure sarcasm is a kind of lie and I doubt they could do it if they had to tell the truth.”

I smirked. That was definitely true.

“Come on, you know why we have to—and you usually love it. If you’re tired, you can just as easily nap there. Let’s go. One more night.”

The other girl got up and they put on their ballet slippers, then lined up, following the first girl.

I tensed, ready.

They walked right into the wall and vanished.

Well.

I quickly slipped after them. The wall let me through, fortunately. On the other side, a dark shadowiness waited. I could feel that we had passed through a barrier and were now somewhere else entirely.

Faeries. This was going to be interesting.

I spied the girls disappearing in a long spiral down a winding staircase with a gleam of light waiting at the bottom.

About to slip after them, I paused. A scratch on the banister at the top caught my eye. A symbol I knew well. He had been here. And the only reason he would have left that mark was if he was in trouble and thought I’d be following and would find it. Of all the entitled—

I growled. What did that idiot get into now?

I pulled my cloak of invisibility tighter around myself and stepped onto the spiral stairs, following the twelve girls toward the source of light—and what sounded like waves.

Which meant water.

I groaned. This was not my day.


To be continued . . . ?


And there you are! I hope you enjoyed it despite ending sooner than we might like it to. XD I do really want to continue writing it sometime. Thank you for reading!

Scars of War by Hazel B. West: Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

It’s here! Today kicks off the blog tour for Scars of War, Hazel B. West’s latest Modern Tales of Na Fianna novel! 🙂 There’s all sorts of fun going on, as well as a giveaway, so be sure to visit the Tour Home post on Hazel’s website, where you can see the schedule, giveaway, and other links!

I’m sharing a review for this awesome book — and there’s giveaway information at the end so don’t miss out. 😀

First Two Books: Free and Discount

You can get Blood Ties (book one) for FREE, for the duration of the tour, on Smashword! Simply go to the book’s page on Smashwords HERE and at checkout enter the following code to download it for free in your preferred format. 🙂 Code: EJ57R

And book two, An Earthly King, will be marked down to 99 cents on Amazon Kindle during the tour as well. 🙂

bloodtiescoverfront copy earthlykingcoverpic2-copy

(Click the covers for my reviews)

Ask Eamon and Killian

Also! There’s a fun thing the author is running on her blog: there’s going to be an Askbox live during the whole tour where you can ask Eamon (High King in the book) and Killian (his Captain of the Guard) questions, so check it out! 😀 (They’re such fun characters. XD)

Book Info And Review

About Scars of War

After the events on Samhain Eve things have calmed down for High King Eamon and his Fianna. The Unseelie Court is under new rule, and Eamon is happily married—and with an heir on the way! But just when it seems like things couldn’t be better, reports of changelings keep coming into BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk). With the risk of children being changed out in their cribs, especially when a royal heir is weeks from being born, Eamon enlists the help of Aeden Mac Cool, Commander of Na Fianna, and Cassandra Whalen, Director of BPAFF, to deal with the threat before it escalates. Riots, Faerie rebels, and road trips with the King of the Unseelie—it’s just a typical day, right?

Purchase Links

Smashwords • Amazon KindlePaperback

About the Author

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

Find the Author Online

Blog • Twitter: @artfulscribblerPinterest • Goodreads

Other Links

Add Scars of War on Goodreads • Blood Ties Book Trailer • Book 1: Blood Ties on AmazonBook 2: An Earthly King on Amazon


Title: Scars of War (Modern Tales of Na Fianna, Book Three)

Author: Hazel B. West

  • Date read: September 7, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mythology/Folklore
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 350 (ebook)
  • Series: Modern Tales of Na Fianna, #3
  • Fave character: Aeden and Oberon
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thank you!). These opinions are entirely my own.

What a rollick of a book! We’ve got a nefarious changeling plot, cute Faerie children, awesome warriors, snark and humor, and of course an epic and amusing road trip. 😀 MY FAVORITE. I had a splendid amount of fun reading this book. 😀 As with any third-book-in-a-series, some things are hard to discuss without spoilers, but I shall do my best to be careful…

I love how each of these books has been so different so far. I mean, they’re all in the same world and have similar stuff going on in a way, with the snarky characters and the fun and the danger and all, but they’re all unique and surprise me! Blood Ties features lots of questing in the Fae Lands, while An Earthly King is primarily centered around Tara Hall. In Scars of War, we get to explore the southern parts of Ireland, which was neat, mixing the modern and old feels and Faeries into the mix. I love it!

There are two main parts to the story: stuff going on at Tara Hall with High King Eamon, and Ciran and his company—not as much with them; I might have liked more, but I suppose this is Cass’s story—and various troubles there on top of getting ready for Eamon’s heir to be born. Which factors into the changeling plot… leading to the second, and main, part of the story: Cass, Director of BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk) is setting out to stop the outbreak of changeling incidents in order to keep the future heir safe. Joining her is Aeden, Commander of the Na Fianna (yay!) and, inviting himself along, Oberon, King of the Unseelie—and these three head out on a road trip of all road trips. Let the fun ensue!

I was so excited when I found out this would be about Cass and Aeden! The first book is all in Ciran’s POV, while the second is a delightful mix of several POVs, so for some reason I guess I wasn’t expecting nearly the whole book to be in Cass’s head? I wasn’t as much of a fan of that since I didn’t need to spend an ENTIRE book with her and might have wanted more Aeden; BUT I do like Cass and once I got used to it, it was fine. What we did get of Aeden was fantastic, even if that didn’t get going as soon as I might have liked. XD He’s awesome and precious. ❤ Both he and Cass are great, and I loved getting more of them and their stories. ^_^ (We got some of Eamon’s POV to see what was going on over there as well.)

AND THEN THERE’S OBERON. I may like Aeden more, but Oberon is absolutely hilarious and one of my favorites. He’s the fabulous King of the Unseelie and he makes sure you know it, and is vain and purposefully rather petty at times, and loves to annoy them and gripe about things, but he has many unexpected hidden talents too, and a heart of gold underneath, even if he doesn’t let on. His dialog is my favorite. XD He’s the annoying third-wheel and it’s glorious. 😀

The changeling plot was fascinating. There’s also mystery-type elements, and danger and peril, and it’s very exciting. The character arcs as they deal with various things were well done too. I guess I’m trying to say that while the fun elements are what stand out to me when I review, there’s plenty of epicness, action, and depth to go with that. 🙂

The roadtrip was one of my favorite things! I mean, you have the no-nonsense Director of BPAFF (essentially like a cool FBI for dealing with magical-creatures or Faerie problems), the Commander of the elite super warriors Na Fianna, and the King of the Unseelie Fae, who is… erm… high-maintenance and snarky. Put them together in a Land Rover and have them driving around Ireland chasing a mystery, running into Faeries, having fights or car chases or peril, bantering, stopping for coffee at gas stations, and all the while Oberon is snarking away, complaining about being hungry, or that his suit is getting ruined, or they have the wrong music on, or not wanting to eat the Meat Stix (a running joke which was awesome), annoying Cass and Aeden so much… XD I JUST LOVE IT. Those three + roadtrip = best. ever. ❤

There also mayyy or may not be a bit of a romance on the side WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVED AND THE CUTENESS KNOWS NO BOUNDS. Ahem. I love it and approve and ship them very much. 😀 Most of the other characters are kind of shipping them too, which makes more hilarity. XD *zips lips* I WILL SAY NO MORE.

There may have been a couple things I wasn’t sure if I liked, and I did see through what the bad characters were planning near the end and thought that the heroes should have SEEN THROUGH IT ALL TOO, buuut then I suppose there might not be a story… *cough* So other than a few minor issues like that and some typos/errors, I overall enjoyed it a ton! 😀

The characters, humorous snarky dialog, and details, totally made this book. The little details though! I LOVED the presence of a Claddagh ring! ❤ The food references were hilarious. XD (I now want to eat Meat Stix and find some Elf Eaties—whatever they are—and go eat a sundae at Dippity Aye. XD The Dippity Aye subplot was HILARIOUS and I will not spoil it. Just read the book. Also, I now want there to be Oberon’s King of the Unseelie Foodie Blog, please. XD) And I just love this WORLD, with all the mix of old/new/Ireland/folklore/Fae things/modern technology. It makes me happy and I want to live there. ❤

Also, please note that the image of Cass, Aedan, and a Faerie king all sitting on the floor in a circle with little Faerie kids IS ADORABLE.

Point of interest: there’s an awesome mini-short-story included at the end which tells the saga of what a few of the characters were doing at one point off screen that I’d wondered at, and it’s fabulous. XD

Overall, it was a fun and exciting adventure, and my only question is WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK? Because I could read these things forever! ^_^ If you haven’t, I highly suggest checking out Blood Ties (and then An Earthly King… and then Scars of War…) because you need these modern Irish warrior books in your life. ❤

Some Favorite Quotes

(I say some; all of them and we’d be here all day. I know most of these are Oberon—sorry, he’s just hilarious, is all. XD)

***

“You have got to be joking,” Oberon complained. “Meat Stix—with an X? How do I know this is even real meat? Never trust products where they purposefully misspell a word.”

***

“Hope you don’t mind more pub grub, your majesty.”

Oberon sighed like a martyr. “At least I will be able to rate and review every pub and inn in the south of Ireland by the time we’re done with this little road trip. I should start my own foodie blog.”

***

“Just do what you Fianna do best,” I added unbuckling as I turned around in the seat to face Oberon and grab my crossbow. “Drive fast.”

“Yes, Director,” Aeden said with a grin.

***

“Oberon, your things are in the barn.”

He looked at me indignantly. “I do have to question the benefits of a peace treaty with your people if all you do is shove me in the back of your car and then house me with the cows.”

***

Imagine the surprise when we came in and I saw Oberon in the kitchen, standing at the stove and making sausage and eggs and pancakes, flipping them happily and whistling to himself as he wore a “Kiss Me I’m Fae” apron that might have been glamoured, or might just be something he carried in his copious bags. It was hard to tell.

***

“Fae magic does cell service no favors.”

Giveaway

Don’t forget that there’s a giveaway! Hazel is giving away a paperback of Scars of War and a BPAFF shamrock necklace! 😀 Rafflecopter hates WordPress, so I shall direct you to Hazel’s post where you can enter! ^_^

What do you think, my Roadlings? Have you read any of these? Does the series intrigue you? Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

Modern Tales of Na Fianna: Book 3 Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! (*Surreptitiously slides briefly out of hiatus to bring you a cover reveal.*)

I’m super excited, because the third book in the series by my author friend Hazel B. West, that began with Blood Ties and An Earthly King (both of which I LOVED), is coming out in just a couple of weeks, and today I get to share the title/cover reveal with you!

I also have a snazzy snippet to share, an epic summary, and a giveaway, so stick around a minute!

And now, I give you . . .

*drumroll*

The covah!

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[EEP, isn’t it cool? 😀 I thiiiink that’s Aedan and Cass and I’M RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED. Also, I want a crossbow now…]

Book Info

Title: Scars of War (Modern Tales of Na Fianna Book Three)

Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, mythology/folklore

Release Date: August 31, 2017 (so soon!)

Synopsis

After the events on Samhain Eve things have calmed down for High King Eamon and his Fianna. The Unseelie Court is under new rule, and Eamon is happily married—and with an heir on the way! But just when it seems like things couldn’t be better, reports of changelings keep coming into BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk). With the risk of children being changed out in their cribs, especially when a royal heir is weeks from being born, Eamon enlists the help of Aeden Mac Cool, Commander of Na Fianna, and Cassandra Whalen, Director of BPAFF, to deal with the threat before it escalates. Riots, Faerie rebels, and road trips with the King of the Unseelie—it’s just a typical day, right?

Add it on Goodreads

[*flailing so hard* I need this book so badly! :O]

Other Links

Author’s BlogAuthor’s Twitter • Goodreads • Blood Ties (Book One) • An Earthly King (Book Two)Blood Ties Book Trailer

Giveaway and Excerpt Info

So! Here’s the deal.

Below, I have an excerpt of the book, but each of the other people who are posting the cover reveal today have a different excerpt, so you can get a whole chapter that way if you read them in order! How cool is that? Think of it as a mini scavenger hunt. XD

If you head on over to Hazel’s blog, she has a list of the participating blogs in the right order, so head on over there! 🙂

As for the giveaway, anyone who comments on any of the blog tour posts will be entered for a giveaway to win ebook copies of Blood Ties and An Earthly King (the first two books).

You can either leave your email address or Twitter handle in your comment, or if you’d rather not, you can go back to Hazel’s blog on the 23rd to see the announcement of the winner!

Also, if you leave comments on multiple blog posts in the tour, each comment is an extra entry.

Good luck!

Excerpt

After dropping off the Fae child with the motherly Mrs. O’Toole, Rory and I made our way back to the Dempseys’ farm.

“This might be more of a case than we thought,” I told him.

“Why do you say that? It seemed to be pretty open and shut to me.”

I shook my head. “I’m almost positive that was a high Sidhe child, Rory. Normal changeling cases involve sickly Fae children or even a stock or fetch—just a glamoured piece of wood or a doll. Rarely do they exchange perfectly healthy children; not without some reason behind it.”

“And what would that reason be?”

“That’s what we need to find out,” I told him obviously. “Do you remember the details of the previous changeling case?”

Rory hummed as he thought to himself. “Um, it wasn’t too far from here, actually, now that I think about it, in Kilkenny, I think. And I don’t think they ever recovered the girl, at least not that I know of. It was still in the pending cases when I filed it.”

“And the others?”

Rory shook his head. “I’ll have to pull them up when we get back to Dublin. Why, do you think they’re all connected?”

“I don’t know, but if they are, we need to find out as quickly as possible in order to get to the bottom of this. It might be a serial kidnapping.”

We got back to the Dempseys’ by late afternoon and I decided we should make a quick exploration of the woods and surrounding area while we still had daylight. Rory and I set off through the shaded trees and looked for any sign we could see of Fae activity.

“I can’t imagine them being too far away,” Rory commented as he batted some low-hanging branches away from his face. “I mean, it’s not like we’re up in the Borderlands where they could escape into the Faelands without a by your leave. This kind of thing doesn’t usually happen down here.”

I shrugged, crouching to inspect something on the ground that turned out to be a root. “With all the political changes in the Faelands, it would only make sense that some of the Fae have decided to make their own way. The Courts have no rule over their people down here so it provides an easy escape for those who don’t want to be tied with the regime changes.”

“I guess,” Rory said. “Still, that doesn’t really explain why they would want to change out so many babies all of a sudden.”

“No, it doesn’t,” I agreed, my brain already working on the problem.

We searched until the sun got too low to see well, and I didn’t think it was a good idea to stay out in the woods with just the two of us without prior knowledge of the area. We trudged back to the house.

“So, what are we going to do? Go back to Dublin?” Rory asked.

“Not yet,” I told him. “It’s been a week since Tomas was taken. I’m worried they might come back for Donnie now.”

“Are you sure?” Rory asked. “Wouldn’t they think it would be too risky?”

“Actually, on the contrary. I think they would be counting on their changeling taking up all the family’s time and leaving the perfect opportunity for mistakes. You saw the house, it was a mess; any warding could easily be lost or misplaced by the changeling himself.”

“So what are we going to do about it?”

“We’re going to stay the night and see if we can catch the Faerie in the act.”

Rory sighed. “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

The Dempseys didn’t seem too convinced my idea was going to work, but they let Rory and I proceed and after they got ready for bed, they took Donnie per my request, to their room, and Rory and I entered the one belonging to the boys. We made sure there was no warding anywhere, but left the place a mess so the Faerie wouldn’t get suspicious.

***

Wrapup

And there you have it! I dunno, guys — Faerie changeling plots, some of my favorite characters, and an epic roadtrip with a Faerie King? CAN YOU SPELL AWESOME? o.o This book sounds like it might become a new favorite of mine! I CAN’T WAIT! 😀

So how about you? Have you read Blood Ties? Do these modern Irish fantasy tales intrigue you? Because they’re REALLY GOOD! 😀 And don’t forget to visit the other posts! 🙂

If you haven’t, and are curious, you can read my reviews for the first two books here:

bloodtiescoverfront copy earthlykingcoverpic2-copy

Thanks for reading! ^_^

Blood Ties Blog Tour & Review

bloodtiestourbanner

Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Blood Ties by Hazel B. West, with a review and other good stuff — and an appropriately Irish post, what with Saint Patrick’s Day coming up this week and all… 😉

Follow the tour (and enter the giveaway for a copy of the book!) HERE. You don’t want to miss this! 🙂

Here’s a bit about the book and author, and then my review*! (Read on to the end of the post for a taste of the book with the excerpt Hazel’s sharing with us!)

*a.k.a. where I squeal about Ireland and warriors and fast cars and epicness and brothers and friendships and Faerie and all of the things

bloodtiescoverfront copy

Title: Blood Ties (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna #1)

Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

Synopsis

In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. Through trial and error, running battles, unexpected friendships, and daring escapes, Ciran and his company come face to face with the Goblin King himself in a final battle that will decide the fate of all involved and of Ireland itself.

The first book in a new series, Blood Ties takes the traditional Irish legends and puts a modern spin on them with a heavy helping of friendship and the love of family.

Find the Book

Createspace Paperback | Amazon Paperback | Kindle | Smashwords | Add it on Goodreads

About the Author

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

You can find her online in these places:

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Writing blog: http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter GoodreadsYoutube | Pinterest

My Review

bloodtiescoverfront copyBlood Ties

by Hazel B. West

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my honest review, and all opinions are my own.

5 stars

This book contains, among other things: awesome characters galore, brothers by blood and by bond, friendship, bickering (oh, the bickering!), quests, Irish warriors with fast cars and swords, a few fairies, a lot of goblins (in black leather, of course), a lot of epic fight scenes, muffins, and knitting; all wrapped up in a modern Ireland with an alternate history, keeping all of the awesomeness of medieval times, and one foot in modern times for all the cool things we have now, like cell phones and laptops and movies and cars.

I really don’t see why anyone would need any reasons beyond that to read it . . . but I shall continue, in any case, since I’ll take any excuse to fangirl over this delightful book. 😉

My two favorite things: the setting and the friendships.

It perfectly blends a modern Irish setting with medieval warrior clans and a dash of Faerie, which may sound like an odd mix, but it WORKS. I was simply in love with this world! Like… aside from the danger, can I just live there, please? I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the setting and how it all fit together. The whole thing came so alive for me! I don’t usually read much modern fiction, but I loved this — so even if you’re not one for a contemporary setting, this one’s still worth giving a try!

Just the idea of these Irish warriors, who are a mix of medieval and modern, descendants of Finn Mac Cool, still working for a High King of Ireland; and being part Fae as the hero and the other Fianna are, they have faster reflexes and more instincts; they’re basically like ninjas, only cooler and faster and Irish. (Our narrator, Ciran, even mentions that it’s been proven that ninjas can’t beat them. XD How cool is that?)

It’s so fun how the characters will one moment be in a motorbike/car chase with some goblins, the next having a sword fight, and the next be hanging out at home at their castle with a brother, eating ice cream and cheese balls and watching a movie late at night . . . and then off on an epic journey across the rolling green hills of Ireland, having to watch out for the tricks of the Fae. I just love it! The mix is a ton of fun.

The characters leapt off the page. They are all awesome and I am very fond of them! *hugs them all* They’re mostly teens (or early twenties) and a fabulous bunch. Their interactions and dialog and how they bounce off each other and fight and make friends is just wonderful. It’s the best.

Our hero Ciran, who is awesome and my favorite; his best friend Tierney (their relationship is the best!); Caitlin, a warrior maiden who is both maiden and warrior and not stuck up about it, and goodnatured, who I loved a ton; Deaglan, lady’s man and archer and always with perfect hair; Riordan the very calm (licensed!) Berserker who knits; and his flashy troublemaker little brother Keevan. Then of course there’s High King Eamon, who is simply fabulous; and his captain of the guard/best friend Killian — the antics of those two together, especially, simply had me in stitches with laughter. But all of them together were so great!

I loved the relationships in this book so much. Family is very strong, but also friendship. The main theme is one of brotherhood — whether they be sword brothers or brothers born. This best-friend buddies kind of story is one of my favorites, and for sheer amount of awesome bro-ness, it’s likely the best I’ve ever read. The love of family, brothers, friends, and what they’d all do for each other, while teasing and fighting a bit… I just LOVED it! ^_^

I’m not the biggest fan of books told in first person, so it’s a high compliment coming from me that I loved how this story was written, and the narrator, Ciran, is my favorite character of all. I just loved his dry witty way of putting things. Seeing the story through his eyes was awesome. I love his determination and how he tried his hardest and learned to be a leader. Just… Ciran! He’s great. 🙂

The book also has a more serious and darker side to it, with some deeper themes and emotions, touching on family, loyalty, betrayal, coming of age — it’s about a group of mostly teenage warriors, after all! The content is clean, although sensitive readers might want to know there’s mention of torture; and of course a bunch of fighting, because that’s a given with this sort of epic adventure. 😉 On that note, I have to make a special mention of the fight sequences — sword fights and otherwise — which were amazingly well written! I could see them all so well. The fight descriptions and the humorous bantering dialog attest to this author’s skill.

I’ll admit that from the way it started out, I expected it to have more emphasis on the modern aspect, like in a city… with roads and things; and on the specific friendship between the hero and his best friend, Tierney. But that relationship, while still present, fell somewhat in the background with the onset of several other (awesome) characters and all of their interactions, and once the story got underway, it was much more a medieval fantasy adventure quest type of thing (though the modern showed its head from time to time). But all of that is right up my alley, so although I expected something a little different, you will definitely not find me complaining. 😉

Do I have any complaints, then? Mainly that I wish it wasn’t over and need the next one!

Overall: I definitely recommend Blood Ties! I loved this book and just want to hug it, and/or go live there, and I’m excitedly awaiting the sequel! (It’s going to be from Eamon’s point of view and I could. not. be. more. excited. EEP! When is that releasing, again??) I can’t wait to return to this world! ❤

Excerpt From Blood Ties

There was a moment when I couldn’t quite believe the fact I was grappling on the brink of a waterfall just like in an overblown action movie, but yet there I was and Keevan wasn’t far behind, still facing off with the same Goblin he had been before, who was pressing him hard. I couldn’t see where Tierney and Caitlin were because I was a bit too busy for that at the moment, but hoped they were not in as precarious a position as I was or worse.

There was a sudden yell and, forgoing all training I had ever had, I looked over with concern to see Keevan slipping off his rock and falling down with the rushing water, the Goblin he had been fighting going with him.

I would have screamed for him, even knowing it wouldn’t have done anything, but I was suddenly slammed in the face by the hilt of my opponent’s sword. I teetered back on the precipice but gained my balance just before I received another strike that knocked the sword out of my wet hand. I kicked out at the Goblin, but he caught my leg and I knew then, with horror, that this was it. He grinned, knowing as well, and I flailed my arms as he pressed me back. The only thing I could do now was take him with me, but I didn’t even get that chance.

Have a nice swim, Finar,” the Goblin said with a jeer, before he let me go and I fell backwards.

It wouldn’t have been terrible, but for the fact that halfway down I slammed into the side of the cliff, smashing up my side, and by the time I hit the freezing water, well, I hardly remembered the impact enough to tell about it.

— Blood Ties by Hazel B. West

Giveaway

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