Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Hatchet Hollow by Amanda McKinney + Excerpt + Giveaway


Hatchet Hollow by Amanda McKinney
Self published in America on the 24th April 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £2.15 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Hatchet Hollow to your Goodreads

After an afternoon of mind-numbingly boring surveillance in the woods, Private Investigator Raven Cane goes for a twilight jog to clear her head, only to discover a gruesome murder in the town’s most notorious cave, Hatchet Hollow. Minutes later, the impossibly handsome Lieutenant Zander Stone arrives at the scene to take over, but Raven has a hard time letting the case go. Why did the killer cut off the victim’s fingers? More importantly, who would do such a thing?

After a failed attempt at tracking down the elusive Marden Balik, aka, the legendary witch of the Great Shadow Mountains, Zander dives headfirst into Devil’s Den’s most recent murder, only to uncover twists and turns at every step—including a secret book of curses that may, or may not, exist. As the list of suspects grows, Zander does his best to keep Raven at arm’s length. But Raven is persistent, nosing her way into his case, making it increasingly difficult to keep his concentration on the task at hand, and off of her sultry body.

And when another woman is found brutally murdered, Zander worries that Raven has gotten too close to the investigation… close enough to put her directly in the killer’s sights.




Excerpt

A BLACK CROW swooped down from a decaying pine tree beside her, it’s cringing caw piercing the silence of the woods. She shuddered and zipped up her windbreaker.
Abby never liked crows, or birds for that matter. Not since her parents brought her back a rare, extremely expensive—their words, not hers—parrot from Honduras when she was twelve years old. It was one of the many vacations they’d taken without her—needing a break, they’d say—and leaving her with her nanny, Fran, whose hair always looked, ironically, like a bird’s nest, and whose breath could stop a clock. The same nanny who’d tattled on her for leaving a window open, allowing the precious parrot to fly away.
Her father didn’t speak to her for a week, and her mother, only when he wasn’t looking.
But that was a long time ago. That was then, and this was now. She was a woman now, freshly turned twenty-one with her whole life ahead of her. She didn’t need her parents or the shallow gifts they’d showered her with, replacing their inability to show affection. She didn’t need them anymore, just like they didn’t need her. That’s how they always made her feel, anyway.
A cool gust of wind carrying the sour scent of moldy earth swept past her. She glanced up at the cloud-covered sky. Another dreary day. Another stupid, dull day in this small, suffocating, godforsaken town—just like the day before.
But not anymore.
She could make her own decisions now, out from under their financial thumb. Go her own way in life.
And she was.
And her parents would kill her for it.
She stepped onto the jogging trail that snaked through the woods and stumbled on a rock. She looked down at her new black running shoes laced tightly over black ankle socks. Black leggings and a black T-shirt.
Black.
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
She’d always been fascinated with the mystical, creepy folktales that were whispered through the Great Shadow Mountains. Spirits, ghosts… witches. Hundreds of stories told during dark nights with no electricity, bonfires with too many drinks, Halloween, or just about any scenario shrouded in darkness. The stories were told with glances over the shoulder and hushed voices laced with fear, and if you listened carefully enough, respect. Respect for the evil forces that could snatch you up in the middle of the night, turn you into a lizard, or worse, curse you and everyone you loved.
Witches who could raise the dead from the earth.
Witches who could take your life.
Respect, power. Those were the two things she was promised when she’d been approached about “turning over a new leaf”. Taking control of her own life—and others if needed. Yes, she would be a part of something now, of something big, she was told.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes.
Was she apprehensive? Absolutely. But what they’d promised her had been too great to ignore. She’d been a fool to walk away.
Right?
She smoothed her black windbreaker.
Black really wasn’t her color, but they had been wearing it—head-to-toe—so she figured she’d better get used to it. There would be so much to learn, they’d explained, and embracing black was a good start, she guessed.
But dammit, it really washed her out. Her pale complexion and light blonde hair—a gift from her mother—looked even more lifeless against the unforgiving color.
Maybe she would take baby steps into the change.
Yes, baby steps.
Maybe it would be okay if she wore her red silk blouse and white Louboutin six-inch heels on her date next week.
Butterflies tickled her stomach.
A date!
She couldn’t believe it. Yes, she had been asked out by a good-looking, accomplished man, nonetheless. It was completely out of left field… and only hours after she’d officially committed to “turning over a new leaf.” Coincidence?
Yes, things were going to change for her. Things were going to go her way, for the first freaking time in her life.
She was going to be powerful, respected. Feared.
With an extra pep in her step, she rounded a corner in the trail and spotted her new jogging partner anxiously waiting ahead.
“Hey.”
“Hey, there. You ready?”
She snorted. “As ready as I can be, I guess.”
“First mile’s always the hardest. I’ll take it easy on you. Might want to stick those keys in your pocket, though. Uneven terrain.”
“Oh, okay. Yeah.” She nodded, looked down, and as she unzipped her pocket—
WHACK!
Her head snapped back as a fist slammed into her jaw.
Pain rocketed through her skull. Bright lights flashed in her eyes. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth as she stumbled backward. The world spun around her, sending a wave of nausea through her body as she tried to process what was happening.
What the hell?
She opened her eyes to fuzziness and tried to focus on the movement in front of her. But before she could come to, the next brutal force knocked her out cold.


Meet the Author

Award-winning author of sexy murder mysteries, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning whodunits peppered with steamy romance. Amanda is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.

Author links:
Website ~ FacebookGoodreads



And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 3rd May, the prize is a signed copy of Hatchet Hollow and a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Amanda McKinney / Crime fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Dimension Drift by Christina Bauer + Excerpt + Giveaway


Dimension Drift by Christina Bauer
Published in America by Monster House Books today, the 24th April 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £2.84 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Dimension Drift to your Goodreads

Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge.

On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire, except my work manipulates space-time. The good news is that these gigs pay really well; the bad news is that the government likes to kill people like me. Whatever. I’m not worried; hiding from their detection systems is easy for me.

Then I screw up one of my illegal projects. Badly.

In fact, things go so sideways that my house slips into two-dimensional space-time. The shift only lasts for a few seconds, but that’s long enough to set off a dozen government alarms. If those goons track me down, Mom and I are as good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.

Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience…Or at least, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an ‘evil Mafioso kingpin’ kind of way. Most importantly, the Scythe is a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the man has his price. In this case, the Scythe wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien…and he says he’ll do anything to help me.

This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.


Excerpt

Chapter One

Nothing like waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to find your mother standing over your bed holding a thermos, moldy picture frame, and plastic bust of Albert Einstein.
That wakes me up, fast.
This whole thing is a shocker because for the last year, Mom’s been doing nothing but staring out the window, hoping my older sister, Luci, will come home. Such a disaster. Back in 2611, Luci ran off with her high school beau, Josiah, saying they wanted to start a new life somewhere that wasn’t Western New Massachusetts. For the record, I don’t blame my sister for leaving. Mom isn’t exactly the poster girl for stable parenting. And Josiah is a nice enough guy. You know, in the way that vanilla is a nice enough flavor.
That said, Luci only left us a quick note on the kitchen table the day she took off. Since then, my sister hasn’t sent us any word. Mind you, this is the same Luci who couldn’t go six hours without talking to Mom. Now, twelve months go by without so much as a peep? That’s not Luci.
Long story short, Mom and I are both pretty worried.
We just show it in different ways.
Mom holds up the bust of Einstein and stares at me wild-eyed. She doesn’t say anything, but that’s pretty typical. After Luci left, my mother’s routine has been pretty predictable.
Bed to window.
Window to bed.
No talking.
A little eating.
Not much sleep.
But now, Mom’s out of her chair with a vengeance. Plus, she’s even wearing one of her old lab coats from her researcher days. The frayed insignia of “United Americas” is still visible on her pocket protector. We’re not even supposed to know the name of the United Americas anymore, let alone save themed clothing. My high school teaches us that the only government that’s ever existed are the sickos in power today: the Righteous Command and Ultimate Authority. Mostly, we call them the Authority.
So what’s Mom doing in her old lab coat? Tons of scenarios skitter through my head. Most of them end with Mom getting trucked off to a mediprison. The Authority strives for purity in all things. Any signs of what they call mental weakness, and the Authority declares you an enemy of the state, and you disappear.
At this moment, the words total panic pretty much sum up my life. “What’s wrong, Mom? It’s four a.m.”

Meet the Author

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!

Author links:
Website ~ Twitter ~ FacebookGoodreads ~ LinkedIn ~ Instagram ~ Blog



And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 30th April, the prize is an ebook of Dimension Drift plus swag and cute jewellery.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Christina Bauer / Dystopian fiction / Books from America

Monday, 23 April 2018

Guest Review: Journey To The Center Of The Dream by Ted Prokash


Journey To The Center Of The Dream by Ted Prokash
Self published in America in November 2016.

Guest Review by Tony Nesca:
I'm delighted to introduce Canadian author Tony Nesca, half the team behind Screaming Skull Press, whose review today is the 30th Literary Flits Guest Review! I've got Tony's epic poem Last Stop To Saskatoon to read - watch out for that review here very soon.

Tony Nesca was born in Torino, Italy in 1965 and moved to Canada at the age of three. He was raised in Winnipeg but relocated back to Italy several times until finally settling in Winnipeg in 1980. He taught himself how to play guitar and formed an original rock band playing the local bars for several years. At the age of twenty-seven he traded his guitar for a Commodore 64 and started writing seriously. He has published six chapbooks of stories and poems, five novels, two books of poetry and has been an active contributor to the underground lit scene for ten years, being published in innumerable magazines both online and in print. He currently resides in Winnipeg and shares a house with his wife, his teenage nephew and his mother.

Tony's rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.75 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.73 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £2.28 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

"It's kinda like the 21st Century version of ON THE ROAD, except it's something one would read for entertainment purposes, not out of a fear of shirking drab literary obligations." - Reverend Norb, Wisconsin punk rock legend. 

Journey to the Center of the Dream follows four brave Midwestern rubes on a dogged march through America’s dyspeptic underbelly, via the twisted bowels of her underground rock n’ roll scene. A sublime first-person odyssey. An epic poem of our New Dumb Age. Journey is an exploration of the America not pimped by the Department of Tourism or the Chamber of Commerce, a search for all that remains worthy in the hearts of men. 

Angst, drugs and rock n' roll. Get in the Minivan.

Tony says: This is Ted Prokash's third book and it is, in this reviewer's opinion, his best work yet - now that is saying a lot considering that his first two offerings, A Fool For Lesser Things and The Brothers Connolly were excellent novels, reminiscent of books that appeared in that glory-filled, ultra-creative time that was the 1920's. Journey to the Center of the Dream is more visceral, more streamlined, a work that comes from the guts loaded with rock and roll electricity. all sinew and bravado.

The story is about Marlow, Leo, Dante, and Dessy, four alternative, quasi-punk rock and rollers (a bit older than usual) with a band called Black Darkness, that embark on a cross-country bar-tour of the United States. A journey of drugs, booze, and music follows punctuated with keen observations on the loss of art and culture and anything with a reward of more than just the immediate. What is great about this book is that we are not being offered the rarefied life of elite rock stars snorting cocaine off of naked bodies and demolishing 5 star hotels, we are seeing a tour of seedy bars and dark basement gigs, with most gigs poorly attended and poorly promoted, but all present into the music and the scene with guts and glory, and with the band kicking the jams, man, kicking it hard and loud. This is rock and roll. This is pure and real. The prose flits and grooves and moves and snarls its way through the whole book like a wolverine on the prowl and it surrounds the reader with movement and style and down and dirty intelligence.

This reviewer gives Journey to the Center of the Dream an enthusiastic 5 stars out of 5. A fantastic read!


Thank you Tony!

Do you have a book review that you would like to share on Literary Flits? Details of how to do so are Here. I look forward to hearing from you!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Ted Prokash / Contemporary fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
First published by Hamish Hamilton in 2017.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £5.39 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.76 (PB)
Waterstones : from : £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £3.58 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing - to fall in love - in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.

Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind - when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.

I wish I could have loved Exit West as much as the reviewers quoted on the book do, but unfortunately I ended up just a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong. This is still an above average novel and a very good four star read, but I felt it could and should have gripped me that bit more. It should have been a five star and, for me at least, it wasn't.

On the positive side, I did appreciate the tense early scenes in maybe-Syria as Nadia and Saeed's city slowly and then rapidly succumbs to civil war. A line about a flat's boulevard view making it sought after in peacetime, but an obvious target in wartime felt particularly poignant in this week of Teresa May deciding more British bombs is a humane answer. Exit West briefly reminded me of The Cellist Of Sarajevo as streets become impassable, water and electricity supplies fail, and simply standing near a window is to put one's life at risk. In this hostile environment, Nadia and Saeed fall in love. Their relationship is completely believable and I did like these characters, but somehow I always felt detached from them. I am not sure if perhaps I was too often told rather than shown, but I always felt like their story was being recounted to me rather than my being fully immersed in it.

This feeling of detachment became stronger as the book progressed. The dark dystopia of the London scenes grabbed my attention and I did like the idea of the doorways. Fantastical obviously, but a vivid illustration of how migrants are often perceived. There is a sense of menace about the darkness of these journeys and in the way the people taking them just appear, one after another after another. As Nadia and Saeed approched their first doorway, I understood how desperate people would have to be to take such a risk.

Perhaps also a problem with Exit West is that it is a short book, especially short considering the amount of story it has to tell. I wanted more depth and to connect more, particularly with Saeed who, at times, I am not sure I fully understood. Reading back over this review I realise it does have quite a negative vibe which is harsh. I did enjoy reading Exit West and would happily pick up another Hamid novel. I think my expectations were just pitched too high.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Mohsin Hamid / Contemporary fiction / Books from Pakistan

Saturday, 21 April 2018

On The Cold Coasts by Vilborg Davidsdottir


On The Cold Coasts by Vilborg Davidsdottir
First published in Icelandic as Galdur by Forlagid in Iceland in 2000. English language translation by Alda Sigmundsdottir published by AmazonCrossing in 2012.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £5.74 (audio CD)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : from : £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When a fleet of one hundred English ships is caught in a horrible storm off the cold coasts of fifteenth-century Iceland, twenty-five ships are lost. For Ragna, the daughter of a respected family and betrothed to Thorkell, her relationship with one of the seamen washed ashore results in pregnancy. Now barren due to a traumatic childbirth and stigmatized as a fallen woman, she is left with no prospects for marriage when the betrothal is ultimately canceled.

A decade later, Ragna becomes a housekeeper to the new English bishop in North Iceland, where passionate and ambitious Thorkell is a priest and steward. They embark on a fervent but doomed love affair as priests cannot marry and Ragna will not be a concubine. Little does Ragna know but her host, the bishop, is instigating the conflict between the English and Nordic settlers to his own gain, with a devastating impact on his housekeeper. As sweeping as it is intimate, On the Cold Coasts is a powerful, enduring story of love and personal sacrifice.

I'm going to start by saying On The Cold Coasts is an ok story. For the £1 I spent on the Amazon ebook, it was quite good value, but there were several things that niggled and prevented a higher rating and more enthusiastic response.

Firstly, the synopsis gave me to understand that the book would follow the life of Ragna, a woman in fifteenth century Iceland. This is kind of true, but I felt the majority of the scenes actually focused on Men Doing Important Things while Ragna was relegated to the sidelines or even off into the kitchen. Her torrid romance with Thorkell left me pretty cold too. He occasionally notices she exists and they sleep together, which apparently is enough for her to consider him the love of her life. I know social standards were different back then, but this woman is excelling in a responsible job while raising a son singlehandedly. I just didn't buy that, romantically, she would allow herself to be so ignorantly treated!

Iceland itself is well described and I got a good sense of the religious struggles of the time. Various branches of the Church all believe Iceland's trading profits should be theirs and the English (of course!) Bishop is one of the most sly. Overall though, I think On The Cold Coasts just wasn't rich enough a historical novel for me. I do like to be swept up in lots of period detail and this story was more action-focused. So, yes, an ok read, but it's no Burial Rites!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Vilborg Davidsdottir / Historical fiction / Books from Iceland

Friday, 20 April 2018

The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking


The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking
First published by the UK by Penguin in September 2016.

How I got this book:
Won in a giveaway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £5.29 (HB)
Wordery : from £8.23 (HB)
Waterstones : from : £7.99 (HB)
Amazon : from £0.52 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge.

'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...'

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

I managed to overstretch myself with book reviews this month and rather than facing the problem head on by steadily working through everything that's rapidly becoming overdue, I briefly chose the Head In Sand approach by picking up The Little Book Of Hygge instead. It wasn't even on my reading list! Won while we were travelling, my sister forwarded it onto me today. Appropriately it turns out that maintaining connections with friends and family is part of Hygge and probably the aspect I am worst at. Reclining on my vintage chaise longue (complete with its hand crocheted blanket made by Moi!) in order to read a book is strongly Hyggeligt. So is drinking frequent cups of tea and eating cake (baking my own cake is extra Hyggeligt!). Stressing about unwritten book reviews is not at all encouraged. I think I have finally found the lifestyle label that actually suits how I love to live!

My difficulty in reviewing The Little Book Of Hygge is in separating my enthusiasm for the lifestyle from my thoughts on the book itself. Certain aspects such as the overall idea, the inspirational photographs, the inclusion of recipes and crafts, and Wiking's gentle humour were definite positives for me. I also liked the sort-of science which identified similar concepts across Europe and the thoughts on the history of hygge. What didn't work so well for me was the repetition of ideas. Self help books are meant to be motivational and I accept that repetition is a strong part of reinforcing new habits, but by about two-thirds of the way through I started to feel that there were rather more pages available than material to fill them!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Meik Wiking / Self help books / Books from Denmark

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Sons Of Gods by Arthur J Gonzalez + Excerpt + Giveaway


Sons Of Gods by Arthur J Gonzalez
Published in America by Fahrenheit Publishing in January 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Sons Of Gods to your Goodreads

Long ago, the wrath of the three God brothers marked the onset of the Great War. The other Gods watched in horror, until they, too, were forced to take sides. Their beloved Mt Olympus collapsed, ruin was brought to all Divine, and the Age of Darkness gripped the world in its clutches. But a group of Gods was wise, and before their impending deaths, they had crafted a pact, committing to one day rebuilding the Territories – the Heavens, Seas, and the Underworld. It would usher in the world they protected and honored out from its darkness. And from it would rise the new Greats: the Sons of Gods.

Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; never did he anticipate it would one day translate to wielding dormant powers. It is during a journey to fulfill a promise to his dying sister, that he is plunged into a dark and magical world, and where great responsibility is bestowed upon him.

Is he worthy of assuming the throne of the Territories? Can shattering steel and splitting fire change his mind?

Excerpt

“Cal,” he said softly. “Trust me.”
Caleseus glared into Cienzo’s eyes. There was a small glimmer of something he had never seen before in them. The trip had surprised everyone, even Caleseus, a creature that had survived a world of extinct enchantment. But even this reality was incredibly untouchable for anyone’s imagination to conjure. Something grand was happening, Caleseus could feel it too.
“I did not see what your eyes did,” Caleseus continued. “But I promised Kayana to look after you. For me to do so, I must trust you. You have my word.”
Cienzo gave a nod. Caleseus nodded back, a slight bend in his step. And in that small moment, a world of understanding had been exchanged between the two. Cienzo sensed it at his core. Cal no longer accompanied him for the sake of Kayana. He might say so, but his earlier hesitation had been replaced, swapped by the belief that something great waited to expose itself. The world was changing, and together, they would encounter it.
“Now that that’s settled,” Zendaya said, gesturing for Cienzo to climb aboard Phobos. “Can we get on?”
Cienzo climbed Phobos’s back, grappling the jutting skin of the beast to pull himself upward. He flopped onto the velvet-cushioned seats. His heart raced as he strapped himself in. I’m about to take flight. His fingers trembled. What would it feel like? Never had he thought it a possibility to travel by air and not by land.
What else had he missed out on? The possibilities seemed inestimable.
Zendaya took her place beside him. She did not waste time strapping herself in. A sign of adeptness. Cienzo moved the same way around metal and fire. “Ready?” she asked.
He blew out a breath. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Our adventure begins.” She leaned forward and petted Phobos’s neck. The creature let out a moaning growl. “Let us fly,” she said. “Our time is now.”
Phobos’s wings launched outward like giant sails on a ship; so vast and dominating they veiled the view of the mammoth, frosted willow. She flapped lightly until they hovered just slightly in the air; the braided chain of the metal hung from her neck as it tugged on the cabin that held the centaur and the nymph. Then Phobos clenched her razor talons around the outcropped handle of the cabin’s domed roof and whisked them into the air as one would a pail of water.
Phobos plunged skyward toward the glittering moon. The beating, cold wind of flight tickled at Cienzo’s skin. A new sensation for his senses to query, for wind was an absent thing in Thilos. The pillow clouds broke away against the angles of his face; the collisions turning them to dust in the night.
He looked down as they soared over the crown of Thilos. The sinkhole swirled less furiously, the giant net sparkling against the moonlight like its own constellation.
The flames of firelight from the rescued houseboats flickered below them. The higher they ascended, the more a sense of freedom swelled in his chest. It was a feeling of invincibility, of infiniteness. He felt an air of the God that Zendaya claimed him to be.
Everything at this altitude was peaceful. Pain, he thought, was a disease of the land. He thought of Isla then and how much she would have enjoyed this adventure. In the sky, the moon offered tranquility, a melody to soothe away worry. Out in the deep distance, the Forcaian Mountains skewed the steamrolled horizon. Stars continued their tango around its peaks.
The Sea of Air blanketed the borders of Thilos and foaming waves fed the coastlines. From here, even the dangerous ocean seemed harmless and docile, as it was once made to be.
Zendaya eyed Cienzo as he inhaled the skies. His hair wildly slapped at the clouds. He felt her stare and turned his face. I probably look like a child. Eyes opening to a world that is only just unraveling around me. A deep longing shifted within him and his mind scrambled for peace.
“You think too much,” she said, the wind pummeling at her words. Her eyes remained unwavering. “The Skies will forever be yours to marvel over. For now, you should rest. Soon we will arrive.”

Meet the Author

Arthur J. Gonzalez is a Young Adult author of the Photo Traveler series. Originally born in Miami, FL, you can now find him living on the West side in Los Angeles. If he’s not drinking coffee or playing with his adorable Schnoodle, Sookie, then he’s probably enjoying a nap. Also, he forgets the lyrics to nearly every song.

Author links:
Website ~ Twitter ~ FacebookGoodreads



And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 26th April, the prize is a $25 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Arthur J Gonzalez / Fantasy fiction / Books from America