Sometimes I feel
I don't belong
And being here
Just feels so wrong.
From deep inside 
A quiet moan.
And all I want 
Is to go home. 

I get nervous.
I don't know why,
And all I seem
to do is cry. 
It's dark and wet
And hard and old.
And all I do
Is what I'm told.

The world is there.
It's big and bright.
But all I see 
Is empty night.
Nightmares and fear
And evil queens
Are all I have
In place of dreams. 

But someday soon,
I don't know when,
This misery
Will find an end. 
Can someone please
Help me relieve
The endless fray
Of being me?

Review: Violya by Rosalyn Kelly

A gifted warrior consumed by revenge. An unstoppable enemy rampaging ever closer. A ravaged country in desperate need of a ruler. 

After a brutal and bloody invasion, a once powerful matriarchal nation is in chaos. Only the shy warrior Violya can pick up the pieces and save her broken country. But an old threat – for one thousand years suppressed – has awoken. Now unleashed, it’s hell-bent on destruction. To protect her people, Violya must cast aside her desire for vengeance, master her rare magic and find the courage to rule – and fast. 

Time is running out as a prophecy is coming true. A formidable enemy is closing in to crush them all. Can Violya unite friend and foe to face the looming catastrophe before it’s too late? 

She’s out for blood, but first she must master her own…

5 of 5 stars!

This is book two, the follow up to Melokai. I very much enjoyed the world Melokai introduced us to, and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel. This book did not disappoint. 

Where the first book spent more time introducing us to the world and the cultures, this one picks up where it left off and focuses much more on characters. Most of the point of view characters from book one continue here, with the exception of course of any who did not survive book one. No spoilers. 

The character development is more evenly distributed in this book, and we get to see more from cultures that were briefly shown in book one. There are cave people who are nearing extinction and their culture has devolved into mostly solely about mating in hopes of having more female offspring. We delve into their cave society in this book and learn more about their struggles. 

We also find out more about the special wolf Sarrya, the first female wolf who is able to stand on two legs. She is also gifted with some magical abilities and has become an influential force.

The biggest transformation comes from the title character, Violya, who takes over leadership of the Peqkya nation and makes major changes. Many of the different cultures are making major changes, the wolves, the camel people, even the human kingdom is filled with uprising and revolution. All have themes of restoring balance, fairness, equality, and the uproar such major reform can bring. 

This is a dark book and the villains do horrendous things, but the protagonists mostly are self-aware people who want to bring about change and make their societies better for everyone. In that way, this book has much more hope in it than book one. 

Alliances are built, broken, and reformed as the cultures regroup and prepare to face a new enemy that is set to be the main conflict of book three. 

I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to the next. This is a unique series. I've never read anything like it, and so far it's only getting better.

You can find it here on Amazon or here on Goodreads.

Review: Chains of Blood by M.L. Spencer

He thought he was born Rylan Marshall…until he found out he wasn’t. He was born the son of a demon. Does that mean he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps? 

Rylan was attacked, his young son murdered, his baby daughter taken. But his assailant left him with two gifts: the gift of magic…and an oath to darkness. Rylan blamed himself, even though he knew it wasn’t his fault. 

The life he knew was over. And war is coming. A new enemy, stronger and more fearsome than any other, appears out of the night. Will Rylan use his newfound power to make a stand? Will he learn its use in time to make a difference? Or will his oath to darkness guide him to the enemy?

5 of 5 stars!

A strong tale and a great start to this new series from M.L. Spencer, who has become one of my favorite authors. I think my enjoyment was enhanced by having read the author's previous series, but it's not entirely necessary if you haven't read that and want to start here. In this new series, The Chaos Cycle, we move forward in time to follow a generation after The Rhenwars Saga. I don't want to mention anything that would spoil that series, but there is a welcoming blend of new and familiar characters to root the reader in Spencer's world and facilitate its expanding horizons.

A new war is coming, and those who clashed against each other in the Rhen find themselves becoming allies now. The invading army has inexplicable powers and seemingly unlimited resources. Grown children of sworn enemies must learn to work together and defend their homeland or succumb to this new threat.

Rylan Marshall has an intense inner struggle. When he finds out his real father is someone he always perceived as a horrible traitor, his desire to know who he is and where he came from is at odds with his sense of honor and his understanding of good and evil. While condemning his father for choices he made, Rylan himself is forced into tough choices he's unsure how to justify.

The invading army has a hive mind, and it gives them the ability to compound magical potential among their mages. This makes them horrifically powerful, and hungry to take in more mages. Mages are kidnapped, then mysteriously flipped to battle against their former allies. It's the greatest tool the enemies have and our protagonists struggle through the whole book in search of how to combat this capability. All magic wielders are targeted, which is a terrible threat to the growing order of the Lyceum.

The author expands the world and increases the stakes. Everything is bigger here, the lands, the cities, the size of the armies. The magic is more powerful and the history goes deeper, all with Spencer's signature heart-wrenching heroics.

You can find it here on Amazon or here on Goodreads.