Magic Breaks is the seventh book in the Kate Daniels series by #1 New York Times bestselling author(s) Ilona Andrews (Ilona Andrews is not a single person but a married couple). Right now, a total of 10 books in the series is planned, and there is currently another related novel about Kate’s best friend Andrea (Gunmetal Magic) as well as a variety of novellas and short stories. Magic Breaks is the first of these books to be released in hardcover, and it includes a character list, a section from the journal of Barabas, and a short story about Julie titled “Magic Tests.”

The Kate Daniels series should be read in order. The previous six books in the series are as follows:

  1. Magic Bites (Review)
  2. Magic Burns (Review)
  3. Magic Strikes (Review)
  4. Magic Bleeds (Review)
  5. Magic Slays (Review)
  6. Magic Rises (Review)

This review will contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.

As Christmas nears, Kate and Curran are planning to spend a couple of weeks alone, but first Curran must leave for a few days on some Pack business. Coincidentally, his timing means that Kate will have to deal with the Conclave, one of the regularly scheduled meetings between the Pack and the People in which they discuss various issues and attempt to keep the peace. Curran reassures Kate that this meeting will go quickly and smoothly: there have been no major problems involving both communities lately and no one will be eager to create trouble with the holidays approaching.

At first, Curran’s prediction seems correct. Everyone at the Conclave is bored as one of the People insists on making a huge deal out of a minor matter—but their boredom ends when an unexpected visitor arrives with the freshly-killed corpse of Mulradin, one of the current co-leaders of the People. The body was obviously mauled by a shapeshifter, and tensions rise when it is suggested a Pack member must be responsible for this murder. Kate is given until noon the next day to learn the killer’s identity and bring him or her before the People or they will declare war against the Pack while many of their strongest are away—and a comment about this chaos being “his will” alerts her to the possibility that she may soon be confronting Roland.

I consider Kate Daniels to be the epitome of an excellent series. It’s my favorite urban fantasy, and the authors have done an amazing job building the story arc and bringing their characters to life in a memorable way. Kate’s character growth is well done, and I love how her past has such a deep impact on her present. She also has an amusing narrative voice that comes across as being more natural than a lot of snarky first person narratives I’ve read, and the dialogue with the other characters is rather entertaining. While Kate is the most interesting of the characters, the secondary characters are also vividly drawn and lifelike.

Fantastic characters are not the only reason to read this series, though. Even though action scenes normally bore me, I find myself riveted by the ones in these books since they are exciting and powerfully emotional, often important to the characters for more than just their survival. The story arc and the gradual revelation of Kate’s parentage and history are well-paced and fascinating, and many of the most intense moments in these books have involved Kate’s tie to Roland in some way—even though he had never actually appeared in any of the books before this one. Ilona Andrews has not kept the fact that Roland makes an appearance in this installment a secret, and knowing this, I was particularly excited about this volume. I’m sad to admit I was a little disappointed in it. While I did ultimately enjoy it, I thought it fell short when compared to most of the other books in the series, and it certainly didn’t hold my interest nearly as well as Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds, or Magic Rises.

One reason I didn’t love Magic Breaks as much as I’d expected was that it was unevenly paced. The first couple of chapters were slow, but then there was an exciting scene with an interesting revelation. I expected that it would pick up from that point forward, but then it was dull for awhile as Kate and company wandered around searching for someone with information. There was a lot of discussion during this meandering that I found lackluster. Although more action happened eventually, these were not the riveting, emotionally charged scenes I remember from other volumes in the series. In one case, I think that’s because Kate was a spectator instead of a participant in the action, and I also felt that a recurring problem with this book was obstacles for the main character being removed too easily. For instance, Kate had to make a choice, but she was suddenly saved from the consequences of her choice at the last minute. There were minor consequences in that it had an affect on how others viewed her, but she still didn’t have to own it. This was not the only time that there was a problem that was resolved very quickly and conveniently.

I also thought the characterization and dialogue did not meet the standard set by the rest of the series. It seemed as though a lot of the character developments were handled through lifeless conversations in which the character revealed information through a long description of their backstory or feelings. Kate’s thoughts also consisted of a lot of heavy-handed telling that did not seem very natural, and there was not much subtlety. In addition to being clunky at times, the dialogue was not as quotable as it normally is. There were a few good lines, but there were none that demanded I go back and read it again.

That’s not to say there are no phenomenal scenes. The last 50 pages of the book are spectacular, although I did think that part of the book was too quickly paced since a lot happens in a short span. The issues I had with the book were not with Roland nor anyone associated with him since these were the better parts of the book (even if I did think some scenes lacked the tension that is normally present in books in this series). However, I did have one major issue with believability that is not a situation I can discuss without major spoilers.

I enjoyed Magic Breaks since it does have a great ending and some compelling scenes, but… I didn’t love Magic Breaks. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it is the weakest book in the entire series. There were certainly some interesting developments, but it had problems with the pacing of the storyline, characterization, and dialogue, plus I now have trouble believing how parts of the story unfolded. Most of all, it lacked the emotional intensity that usually has me rereading scenes in these books, and it’s not that memorable to me despite having major events. However, I would encourage fans of the series to read it anyway—I’m still glad I read it even if it’s not one of my favorite books in the series and most people seem to have loved this book a lot more than I did.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt from Magic Breaks

Other Reviews:

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (often unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Before I get to this week’s books, a quick review update: I should have a review of Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews up this week. I was hoping to have it up last week, but I didn’t quite finish it before the week was over. Next up after that will probably be Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (which I very much enjoyed).

Now, on to the books!

Summer Moon by Jan DeLima

Summer Moon (Celtic Wolves #2) by Jan DeLima

Summer Moon will be released on September 30 (mass market paperback, ebook). This follows the first Celtic Wolves book, Celtic Moon, but focuses on Rosa and Luc instead of Sophie and Dylan. The publisher’s website has a link to an excerpt from Celtic Moon along with an essay by the author about her debut novel and the road to its publication.

I enjoyed reading both Celtic Moon and Summer Moon, and I particularly like the heroines in each. It’s been particularly interesting to read each of these since Jan is a friend of mine, and I’ve heard a bit about both books before reading them!


She won’t be ruled again……

Rosa Alban has been obedient her entire life. But when her alpha husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to flee the oppressive Guardians—the rulers of the secret shapeshifter world. Her flight instantly brands her as a pack traitor, and she has no choice but to seek protection from a neighboring tribe by marrying one of their sons.

Known as the Beast of Merin, Luc Black loyally plays the part of unwanted son and devoted brother. He realizes marrying Rosa will strengthen his tribe’s territory, but he has no intention of loving ever again. Still, he’s unprepared for the intense physical need the wild she-wolf awakens in him.

When the Guardians hone in on Rosa, Luc must fight to protect his new bride. And as war descends, the unlikely allies discover their destinies are irrevocably entwined……

The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

This debut science fiction novel will be released on August 12 (hardcover, ebook). The first two chapters from The Ultra Thin Man can be read on


In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences. Crowell’s and Brindos’s investigation plunges them neck-deep into a conspiracy much more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.

The two detectives soon find themselves separated, chasing opposite leads: Brindos has to hunt down the massive Helk alien Terl Plenko, shadow leader of the terrorist Movement of Worlds. Crowell, meanwhile, runs into something far more sinister—an elaborate frame job that puts our heroes on the hook for treason.

Crowell and Brindos are forced to fight through the intrigue to discover the depths of an interstellar conspiracy. And to answer the all-important question: Who, and what, is the Ultra Thin Man?

Frostborn by Lou Anders

Frostborn (Throne & Bones #1) by Lou Anders

This middle grade fantasy will be released on August 5 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).


Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (often unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought a few finished copies. I’m very curious about the first one listed below, which sounds amazing!

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five is available now in hardcover and ebook. You can read the first five chapters on

This novel is set in the same world as Max Gladstone’s debut, Three Parts Dead, and there is one other novel that takes place in this setting, Two Serpents Rise.


The third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead.

On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner Inside the Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner & Inside the Maze Runner: The Guide to the Glade

With the upcoming release of the movie The Maze Runner on September 19, movie tie-in editions of the book are being released on August 5 (hardcover, trade paperback). A movie companion book containing over 100 color photos from the film with a little information on places and characters, Inside the Maze Runner: The Guide to the Glade, is also being released on that date (trade paperback).

There are two more books in The Maze Runner trilogy, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, and a prequel, The Kill Order.

A sample chapter from The Maze Runner is available on the publisher’s website.


Perfect for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games, this special movie tie-in edition of the New York Times bestseller The Maze Runner features an eight-page full-color insert with photos from the film. The Maze Runner movie, featuring the star of MTV’s Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien, as Thomas; Kaya Scodelario as Teresa; Aml Ameen as Alby; Will Poulter as Gally; and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, hits theaters September 19, 2014! And look for James Dashner’s newest novel, The Eye of Minds, book one in the Mortality Doctrine series.

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Stolen Songbird, a young adult fantasy, is Danielle L. Jensen’s debut and the first book in The Malediction Trilogy. The next book, Hidden Huntress, was scheduled for release in March 2015, but since its publisher was recently discontinued that date may no longer apply—although the author has stated that the sequel will be published one way or another. This is a great relief since Stolen Songbird is a wonderful story, and it would be terrible not to be able to read the rest of the series!

On her seventeenth birthday, Cécile is preparing to leave her father’s farm behind to join her mother Genevieve, a famous singer, in the city. A few years ago, Genevieve made a rare visit to the village and requested that Cécile sing for her. After discovering her daughter also had talent, Genevieve decided to provide singing lessons from tutors of her choice until Cécile turned seventeen. At that point, she would accompany her mother to begin her own career as a singer, and Genevieve promised her, “When you stand on stage and sing, the whole world will love you” (pp. 10).

Unfortunately, their plans are not meant to be and Cécile is captured by Luc, a man from her village, on the way to her going away party. He brings her under the mountain, claiming that he has discovered the lost city of Trollus. The trolls want Cécile and offered to pay him her weight in gold in return for delivering her to them. Before they reach their destination, Cécile and Luc are nearly eaten by one of the giant slug-like creatures that live in the tunnels, but their survival is small comfort to Cécile, who has heard tales of humans eaten by trolls.

It turns out the trolls do not intend to dine on Cécile but rather wed her to their prince, Tristan. Five hundred years ago, a witch broke the mountain and cast a spell preventing the trolls from leaving, and it had been foretold that this union would break the curse they have endured for centuries. Cécile is brought to the troll prince, an exquisitely handsome man who reminds her of Prince Charming—until he opens his mouth and shatters any illusion of resemblance to this romantic figure. The two are bonded under the full moon, and as a result, Cécile can feel Tristan’s emotions and vice versa. Cécile is puzzled to sense relief from Tristan when the curse is not broken after their marriage, and the more time she spends in Trollus the more she wonders what he is hiding—and how she might be able to help the people of Trollus who are treated unfairly by those who believe themselves to be superior.

Stolen Songbird is an engaging book that is difficult to put down since it is entertaining and well-paced. I did think it was too quickly paced at the beginning since there is not much time spent on background or characterization before Cécile’s kidnapping. While I appreciated that there was no meandering at the start and that the book quickly got to the point, I am the type of reader who enjoys some details about the setting and characters and I was wondering how much I would like the book at first since non-stop action does not tend to work for me. Fortunately, once Cécile got to the troll kingdom it contained more of the elements I like: some background on the fairy-tale-like history of the kingdom of Trollus, some mystery about characters and their motivations, and some insight into the world as Cécile discovers the magic and culture of Trollus.

This is a book I consider to be fairly predictable and full of tropes, but it is also one I consider to be an example of familiar elements done well. Of course, there is a romance between Cécile and Tristan, and their emotional connection through the bond adds some tension since they know enough to have a general idea of what the other is feeling but do not know why. While both characters are narrators, Cécile narrates most events in the story and she’s an open book from the beginning. Tristan is more mysterious, and his motivations and true feelings remain murky to Cécile after the reader has gotten a handle on his character, which is fun. I loved Tristan from the moment he was introduced with his properly spoken but amusing conversational style, and I did love how their romance unfolded without seeming too sudden. Their conversations and chemistry kept this part of the story engaging even if many of the situations that drove them toward or away from each other seemed typical and orchestrated at times.

The most unusual aspect of this book was the trolls, who are different from the norm. Some of them are unique in appearance while others are similar to humans but usually with an unearthly beauty (I did find it quite convenient that Cécile’s new husband was one of the unbelievably handsome ones). They also have magic and a power structure based on these abilities, especially since this strength is important to keeping their kingdom from collapsing under the weight of the rock; those who have weak magic, such as the ones who have a significant amount of human blood, are not treated very well. The pieces that are revealed about their origins and the witch’s curse gives the story a fairy tale flavor, and I’m interested in finding out more about the mythology in subsequent books.

Many of the characters did not have a lot of depth, but despite that, I was pleasantly surprised by some of them. In particular, there was one character who could be seen as Cécile’s rival yet she did not seem villainous or despicable. In fact, I found her quite a sympathetic and admirable character by the end. Cécile herself isn’t particularly three dimensional, but she is likable due to her determination and resilience. If she saw an opportunity to make her situation better, she’d take advantage of it, and I loved her strong will and refusal to give up. Her own journey of self-discovery is another predictable element of the story since chapter one hints at her own nature, but this is another case of tropes utilized in a fashion that makes them riveting rather than dull. The most intriguing character is Tristan due to his aforementioned mysterious nature and delightful conversational style. He and Cécile are opposites since she tends to seize the moment and he tends to plan in advance, and it’s a delight to read about the two of them together.

There are some aspects of this story that some may find difficult to read about, such as Cécile being kidnapped and forced to not only marry but bond with someone against her will. The unsavory parts of the book are portrayed accordingly, and I didn’t feel like Tristan and Cécile’s bonding was romanticized even if their marriage did lead to a love story.

Other than the troll mythology, Stolen Songbird is not a book that is terribly unique but it is one that shows why familiar elements are often used in a story: when utilized well with the right combination of characters and storytelling, they can add suspense and excitement to the journey. Despite often knowing what would happen or feeling like certain parts followed a familiar pattern, it was a truly enjoyable book that kept me riveted and made me wish there was more once I was done with it.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Read an Excerpt from Stolen Songbird

Read “The Songbird’s Overture” (a short story set 4 years before the novel)

Other Reviews:

Today I have one copy of The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory to give away! This fantasy novel, the first in a new series, will be released on August 5. More information on the book is below, including a link to an excerpt—and, of course, you can fill out the form at the end to enter the giveaway!

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory

About The House of the Four Winds:

This summer, Tor Books is pleased to publish the first of brand new series from bestselling coauthors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, The House of the Four Winds. The team that produced the USA Today bestseller, To Light a Candle, and the New York Times bestsellers When Darkness Falls and The Phoenix Transformed, now bring romance to the fore with their tale of the twelve princesses of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard who must find their own fortunes.

Princess Clarice disguises herself as Clarence and sets sail for the New World – but her skills with the rapier and dagger are soon put to use when the crew rebels against the cruel captain and she sides with Dominick, the handsome navigator. Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret House of the Four Winds, but they find trouble when they encounter the sorceress Shamal. She claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

A charming, swashbuckling adventure, The House of the Four Winds is full of high seas adventure and buoyant magic. This is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers that you won’t want to miss.

Read an Excerpt

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have one copy of The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory to give away! This giveaway is open to North American residents.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “Four Winds Giveaway.” One entry per person and one winner will be randomly selected. North American residents are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Friday, August 1. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the book).

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Good luck!

Update: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (often unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought some ARCs/review copies, but there’s an event I want to mention before discussing the books.

Last year, Rinn from Rinn Reads hosted Sci-Fi Month, which was dedicated to celebrating all things science fiction. I participated in it and had a lot of fun (especially since it got me to pick up some science fiction books I’d been meaning to read for awhile, including Karin Lowachee’s Warchild, a new favorite of mine). Rinn recently announced that she is hosting it again this November with Kelley, Asti, and Leanne from Oh, the Books! Anyone can participate; check out Rinn’s announcement for more details. I’m already thinking about which science fiction books I should read this year…

On to the books!

The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope

The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubín

This graphic novel, a companion to Battling Boy, will be released on September 30 (hardcover/paperback). An excerpt from The Rise of Aurora West can be viewed on


The extraordinary world introduced in Paul Pope’s Battling Boy is rife with monsters and short on heroes… but in this action-driven extension of the Battling Boy universe, we see it through a new pair of eyes: Aurora West, daughter of Arcopolis’s last great hero, Haggard West. A prequel to Battling Boy, The Rise of Aurora West follows the young hero as she seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother’s death, and to find her place in a world overrun with supernatural monsters and all-too-human corruption. With a taut, fast-paced script from Paul Pope and JT Petty and gorgeous, kinetic art from David Rubin, The Rise of Aurora West (the first of two volumes) is a tour de force in comics storytelling.

A Plunder of Souls by D. B. Jackson

A Plunder of Souls (Thieftaker Chronicles #3) by D. B. Jackson

This historical fantasy novel became available earlier this month (hardcover/ebook/audiobook). An excerpt from A Plunder of Souls is available on

The previous books in this series are as follows:

  1. Thieftaker (Excerpt)
  2. Thieves’ Quarry

Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villans and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.

A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille’s minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how?

When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster’s terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin in A Plunder of Souls, the third, stand-alone novel in Jackson’s acclaimed Thieftaker series.

Revenant by Kat Richardson

Revenant (Greywalker #9) by Kat Richardson

This urban fantasy novel will be released on August 5 (hardcover/ebook). The author’s website has an excerpt from Revenant.

The previous books in the Greywalker series are as follows:

  1. Greywalker (Excerpt)
  2. Poltergeist
  3. Underground
  4. Vanished
  5. Labyrinth
  6. Downpour
  7. Seawitch
  8. Possession

Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she died—for two minutes. Now Harper is a Greywalker, treading the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And these abilities are landing her all sorts of “strange” cases….

Turmoil, sickness, and destruction are sweeping through Europe—and its effects are being felt all the way across the world in Seattle. Harper Blaine and her lover, Quinton, suspect that Quinton’s father, James Purlis—and his terrifying Ghost Division—are involved.

Following a dark trail of grotesque crimes and black magic across the Old World, the pair slowly draws closer to their quarry. But finding and dismantling the Ghost Division won’t be enough to stop the horror that Purlis has unwittingly set in motion.

An ancient and forgotten cult has allied with Quinton’s mad father. And their goals are far more nightmarish than Harper and Quinton—or even Purlis—could ever imagine.

The pursuit leads to Portugal, where the desecrated tomb of a sleeping king and a temple built of bones recall Harper’s very first paranormal case and hold clues to the cult’s true intentions. Harper and Quinton will need all the help they can get to avert a necromantic cataclysm that could lay waste to Europe and drag the rest of the world to the brink of war.

Shadows by E. C. Blake

Shadows (Masks of Aygrima #2) by E. C. Blake

This fantasy book, the sequel to Masks, will be released on August 5 (hardcover/ebook). The first two chapters from Shadows are available on the author’s website, as well as the prologue and chapter one from Masks.


In Masks, Mara Holdfast’s life changed forever. As the daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, she had a clearly defined future: a quiet, ordered life in the capital, making Masks with her father and doing work important to the ruling Autarch. But when her Mask, specially made by her own father, cracked and fell to pieces during her Masking ceremony, Mara was exiled from everything she once knew. Soon, she becomes part of an underground rebellion, rejecting the unjust rules of a Masked society and uncovering a horrifying plot of mind control over the entire population of the empire.

In a moment of crisis, Mara finds herself possessed of a volatile magical power that neither she nor any of her allies can truly control. In Shadow, Mara faces terrifying new challenges and dangers as she struggles to understand her unprecedented ability to use all types of magic—and to tear magic from the living bodies of those around her. With the arrival of Chell, a young man from across the sea, the world beyond the borders of the Autarchy of Aygrima begins to make itself felt. Then an act of brutality tips Mara dangerously close to madness…and in the midst of a desperate and bloody battle, she discovers just how horrifying her power can be…

The Gloomy Ghost by David Lubar

The Gloomy Ghost (A Monsterrific Tale #5) by David Lubar

A new hardcover edition of this children’s book was recently released, and it is also available as an ebook. The six books in this series are as follows:

  1. Hyde and Shriek
  2. The Vanishing Vampire
  3. The Unwilling Witch
  4. The Wavering Werewolf
  5. The Gloomy Ghost
  6. The Bully Bug (available September 2, 2014)

Acclaimed author David Lubar’s Monsterrific Tales return to life with this new edition of The Gloomy Ghost that is sure to appeal to fans of his Weenies short story collections.

There’s something strange going on at Washington Irving Elementary School. Kids are turning into monsters—literally!

First it was Sebastian, then Angie. Now it’s little brother Rory’s turn to be “monsterized!” One minute he’s a normal kid hanging out in his backyard. The next, he finds himself walking through stuff: the back porch, walls, even people! What’s a ghostly kid to do?

Rory decides to find some other spirits and ask them how to get “un-ghosted.” So he heads up to the local haunted house to give it a try. What Rory doesn’t know is that if he doesn’t get the answer soon, he’ll only have a ghost of a chance of ever being a kid again…