Guest Post with J. Keller Ford, YA Fantasy Author of BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, on “Saying Goodbye to Fallhollow”

Hi guys! Saying goodbye is probably one of the hardest things in the world, isn’t it? It’s extremely hard to let go of the people, places, and things we love. As a senior, I’m letting go of so much this year. Last semester was hard because I had to say goodbye to people who have been in my life for a long time, from my parish priest (who left for the Air Force) to one of my fellow violinists in my orchestra (who left for college). It’s even more heartbreaking to think that I am going to say goodbye to so many things and people who have shaped my life over the past years as a student–from the orchestra I’ve played in for the past six years to the teachers and friends that have changed who I am. It’s funny that when you don’t see them, you don’t miss them because you know you have a chance of seeing them again, but when you are leaving for good, you begin to miss them. J. Keller Ford definitely knows this feeling as she is wrapping up her Chronicles of Fallhollow series with book three, and I’m very blessed to have her on my blog to share her story about her remarkable series.


About the BookBane of the Dragon King

Fallhollow is at war. The sudden deaths of the only two heirs that could have saved it has plunged the entire land into chaos. Despite all the magic thrown at him, the Dragon King still lives. Hope for any sort of victory seems faint until Charlotte discovers a secret that could change the course of history.

Armed with the power to set things right, Charlotte embarks on a perilous journey with the sly and cunning Prince Izmayel Ascatar Venniver IV, Lord of the peaceful Edryd dragons. But her journey of peace is thwarted, and Hirth’s most fearsome enemy plans to use Charlotte to destroy the kingdom and claim the universe as his own.

As Fallhollow and the Kingdom of Hirth descend into a battlefield of bloodshed and death, David, Trog, and the warriors of Hirth march toward war with an impossible plan to bring down the Dragon King, destroy his armies, and return the kingdom to its former glory. All they need is a little faith, a few extraordinary surprises, and a lot of magic of the most unexpected, generous kind.

This book is the final dramatic and magnificent conclusion to the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy.

Bane of the Dragon King is releasing from Month9Books tomorrow!

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J. Keller Ford Guest Post

Saying Goodbye to Fallhollow

When I started this trilogy many, many years ago, I never thought about ending it. My focus was on writing it. I thought developing the worlds, the characters, the plots were the hardest things I could ever do.

I was wrong.

Saying goodbye to a story that has been with me for most of my life is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done with regards to my writing.

I started the first book in the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy when I was very young. Of course it didn’t resemble anything like it does now, but the concept was there. When my father died right before my 12th birthday, I made a promise to him that I would finish the story I began. He used to feed my imagination with stories of bravery and honor and sacrifice. See, my dad was in the Army when he passed away, and served 2 terms in Vietnam. He enlisted with the Navy in WWII and also served in Korea. He saw a lot of war, lost a lot of friends, and though he rarely spoke of the horrors he lived, he always told me stories of heroism and what honor, love and sacrifice looks like. I carried those stories with me all my life and weaved them in the page of the Chronicles of Fallhollow.

In the Shadow of the Dragon KingOne of my main characters, Sir Trogsdill Domnall, was fashioned after my dad. Reading back on my stories, I can’t believe how much of my dad is in him. Trog is private, harsh at times, but compassionate and loving and he conceals a lot of pain both from war and life. I think I will miss Trog the most. It’s strange. While I was writing Trog, I could hear my dad’s voice. It was as if he were with me, leaning over my shoulder, telling me what to write. Of course, Trog has his own personality and voice, but they melded well with my dad’s and I think the two of them would have gotten along great (if there was any way they could have met).  It was cathartic to write Trog because in many ways, I got to visit my dad every day for years. To say goodbye to Trog … well my heart breaks a little. It’s not as bad as saying goodbye to my dad in real life, but it is still sad. But I can always go back and visit them anytime I want because they’re in books now.

My dad aside, it’s very bittersweet to put “The End” on something that has taken up so much of my life for so many years. While I’m ready to venture off to new realms and meet new characters, these tales are such an integral part of me. At first, I found myself writing some of my new characters with Charlotte’s or David’s voice and I had to unhinge them and revamp myself. I had to get my head in a different space. These new tales, while still YA fantasy riddled with dragons and faeries, the world is so different than Fallhollow. The creatures speak differently and there is no war going on, and there is actually a strong romance element in the new Fae Hunter series. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn off the old voices to create new, unique ones, but it is getting easier as I delve into book 2.

Rage of the Dragon KingI’ve learned so much about myself in the process of writing three books. There was a time I didn’t think I’d ever reach the end. There was so much self doubt. So much procrastination. What if they (readers) don’t like the books? What if I can’t find a publisher? What if, what if, what if? It’s enough to make someone give up. But I couldn’t give up. This story had to be told, for me, my dad. Oh, I still suffer from the what if’s and the whys, especially when I see my books hovering in the 100s in their categories on Amazon and other dragon writers have their books in the top numbers spots with lots of reviews. (Yeah, I’m a stat person, though I shouldn’t be). The reviews are few and there are so many times I wonder why I keep writing if no one will ever find my books, much less like them. But writing to me is essential. It’s like breathing. To not write is insane. It’s unthinkable. Yes, I have dreams of being a best-selling author, to hit the NY Times Bestseller List or USA Today Bestseller list. I’m not sure if my inner me will ever be happy if I don’t accomplish those things, but the writer part of me says ‘Who Cares! Write because you love to write!’

So, that’s what I’ll keep doing.

I’m excited about the books I’m writing right now. I am looking into agents and yes, I want to go the traditional route again. I’ve had a wonderful experience with my publisher, Month9Books, but I want to shoot for Random House, Scholastic … you know, the big houses, and I can’t do it without an agent. It’s still all up in the air.

Bane of the Dragon KingIn the meantime, I can pat myself on the back and say “You did it, Jenny! You wrote three published books!” I no more have to wonder if I can do it. I DID do it, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment, and it will drive me whenever I start to worry about the new books I’m writing. I learned during this whole process that there is nothing I can’t accomplish, that getting out of my own way was the most important step to reaching my goal. I learned that dreams can be reached with perseverance and surrounding myself with positive, like-minded people to encourage me and get me out of my dark funks. Saying goodbye to Fallhollow is bittersweet, but I’m a better person for hanging out there for as long as I did. It made me realize just how big the universe is, and how many worlds are out there, ready to be discovered.

I’m ready to explore. I hope you come along with me.


About the AuthorJ. Keller Ford

J. Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and toured the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind, and oozes out in sweeping tails of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters, and traveling. She is a mom of four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, and RAGE OF THE DRAGON KING, are currently available. The third and final book, BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, is due to release November 13, 2018. For more information about her books and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit http://www.j-keller-ford.com

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Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying Goodbye so hard.” — Winnie the Pooh

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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February Reading Re-Cap!

Hi guys! March is going to be a crazy month for me! I just performed last night in my choir’s Evening with the Madrigals, and I sang and/or played the piano to “Hold Me Now” by Johnny Logan, “Home” from Beauty and the Beast: The Musical, and “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera. Next week is Midterms week, along with my DECA State Convention and the SE-YA Book Fest. And that’s only the first two weeks of March, and there’s much more in store for me. At least last month, I was able to finish 10 books somehow!


5 Stars

Cry of the Sea by D. G. Driver

Cry of the Sea

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4 Stars

These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

These Ruthless Deeds

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Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

Greetings from Witness Protection!

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AutoFocus by Lauren Gibaldi

AutoFocus

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Legends of the Lost Causes by Brad McLellan and Louis Sylvester

Legends of the Lost Causes

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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Eyes

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild

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Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook

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3 Stars

These Vengeful Souls by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

These Vengeful Souls

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Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Love Songs & Other Lies

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In Case You Missed This Month’s Posts

Author Interviews

Adrianne Finlay, author of Your One & Only

Mary Weber, author of Reclaiming Shilo Snow

Chelsea Sedoti, author of As You Wish

LILbooKtalks

“Healing through Stories: Two Novels of Uniting Families” with Corabel Shofner and Leslie Hauser

Discussions

The Power of Middle Grade Novels

Reviews

Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay (5 Stars)

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (4 Stars)

Legends of the Lost Causes by Brad McLellan and Louis Sylvester (4 Stars)

The Lairdbalor by Kathleen Kaufman (3 Stars)

Blog Tours and Cover Reveals

Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay (ARC Review)

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Review)

Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel (Cover Reveal and Excerpt)

Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber (Scavenger Hunt and Author Interview)

Misc.

January Reading Re-Cap

Blog Update: Re-Organization of Archives


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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Review: Ashes in the Sky by Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! Tomorrow, I am going to attend the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro, TN, and I am so excited! Because it’s tomorrow, I am posting this review of SE-YA author Jennifer M. Eaton’s Ashes in the Sky, which was really good!

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book for being a part of the Embers in the Sea Blog Tour from the publisher. This will not affect my review.

ashesinthesky-v6-book2-final-v3Goodreads Synopsis: After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she’s offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she’d be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

Rating: 9/10 stars

Overall Thoughts: Ashes in the Sky continues Jess and David’s adventure on the Erescopian ship outside of Earth. I definitely felt as if I was sucked into the books. I read through most of this book in one day since I could not put it down! My eyes were glued to the screen, for the story kept me hooked! The author definitely didn’t let me down in the sequel to Fire in the Woods!

Plot and Action (Strength): The book is so fast-paced that I tore through it with lightning speed! Eaton packed so much action, adventure, thrills, plot twists, and surprises galore that you never know what happens next! I never felt bored with the storyline since Jennifer packed so much action, adventure, and surprises into it! At times, I felt like as if I was watching an action movie! It was that great!

Characters (Strength): I loved Jess’s POV! At times I felt the same emotions she felt and wanted the same things she wanted. You could really feel her angst, her sorrow, and her tension, and this made me feel very sympathetic to her. I wanted what she wanted and became angry when she was angry! I love it when you could feel what the main character is feeling.

Similarities to the First Book (Weakness): My only pet peeve with this book is that it the story arc felt really similar to Fire in the Woods. It was so similar that it really didn’t feel too unique or as if it added something new to the story. As much as I liked reading this book, there could have been more to added to the arc in the entire series. In The Continuum Trilogy by Jennifer Brody, each book, even though they were all fast-paced, had their own touch and feel. The Fire in the Woods books just seem similar to me. The reason why I’m removing a star is that it could have been varied more so it would not have a similar feel like its predecessor, but I did enjoy them both equally.

Concluding Thoughts: Jennifer M. Eaton did a wonderful job continuing Jess and David’s escapades outside of Earth! I am definitely looking forward to ending the trilogy with the newly released Embers in the Sea! I have a great feeling that it’s going to be really good!

Have you read the Fire in the Woods Trilogy? Do you sci-fi books with aliens? What about trilogies? Comment below with your thoughts, and let’s chat soon!

+ J.M.J.

Happy Reading!

~ Kester

Embers in the Sea Blog Tour: Interview with Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! Welcome to the my tour stop for the Embers in the Sea Blog Tour! There are two things special about this book and blog tour stop: 1) This is the last promo post stop! Woo hoo! We’re ending the blog tour off with a bang! 2) I’m planning on meeting Jennifer M. Eaton at the SE-YA Book Fest in Murfreesboro, TN, this March! I can’t wait, and I am so glad that I am part of the blog tour! Hope you enjoy my stop, buy her books, and share this blog tour stop with all your friends! 🙂

embers-in-the-sea

Title: EMBERS IN THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)embers-in-the-sea-ebook-final

Author: JenniferM. Eaton

Pub. Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 300

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.

Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.

The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but some secrets don’t want to be found.

Title: FIRE IN THE WOODS (Fire In The Woods #1) fire-in-the-woods

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Pub. Date: October 28, 2014

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 331

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N | TBD |  iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound

Synopsis: When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally.

But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel. But her father runs their house like an army barracks. and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere.

Ever.

So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David.

That doesn’t mean she won’t do it.

It just means she can’t get caught. Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part.

After all, she can’t really fall for a guy whose not exactly from here. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

FIRE IN THE WOODS is Star-Crossed meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind!

Title: ASHES IN THE SKY (Fire In The Woods #2)ashesinthesky-v6-book2-final-v3

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Pub. Date: March 15, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 331

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound

After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she’s offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she’d be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

About Jennifer: jennifer-m-eaton-promo-protrait

Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her. While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)

During infrequent excursions to her home planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.

Who knows where we’ll end up next?

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jennifer-m-eaton

Hi Kester! Thanks so much for having me today.

1. Congrats that your most recent book Embers in the Sea, the finale to your Fire in the Woods trilogy, just released!embers-in-the-sea-ebook-final

Thanks! Woohoo! I can’t believe the story has grown so much.

In your own words, what is your Fire in the Woods series about?

In general, Fire in the Woods is a fun story about running for your life while stuff blows up, but there are deeper themes, like friendship, honor, tolerance, racial equality, and striving to do what’s right against the odds.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I’ve been making up stories since I was a little kid. (No-not to get out of getting in trouble.) I can’t remember a time when there weren’t little characters running around in my head on silly or extravagant adventures. When I was in high school, I started writing a story down for the first time. I wrote a chapter a night and let my friends read it the next day at school. They loved it, and I was hooked. Writing is sort of like therapy. It is an amazing escape to lose yourself in a world you’ve created.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

My favorite authors are Jennifer L. Armentrout, (YA Spec romance) Jocelyn Adams,(YA/NA Spec Romance) Jess Acardo (Contemporary YA thriller romance) and Suzane Brockman (Adult Navy Seal stories)

I think all of them have had somewhat of an impact on my writing. Armentrout has a way of drawing you into a story and not letting go. Adams writes with a unique voice that really connects you to a character. Acardo writes with fantastic pressure and pacing. Brockman is a master of creating fantastic ensemble casts of characters where you love the secondary characters as much as the main characters. I try to emulate some of what they do when I write. Finding a balance of these elements is a tricky process.

Continue reading “Embers in the Sea Blog Tour: Interview with Jennifer M. Eaton”

The United Continuums, by Jennifer Brody

Hi guys! I have this amazing, wonderful, super awesome book that I finished reading… and I don’t have any words to describe it other than it blew me away! It’s probably the best ever book I’ve read, and I am so glad that I was one of the first ever readers of this book! This book is so amazing because…. I’ll tell you in the review below! 😉

DISCLAIMER: I received a free uncorrected ARC proof from the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.the-united-continuums-cover

Goodreads Summary: In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival Supreme General Vinick and unite his space colony’s military forces, while Seeker takes on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth’s defenses and defend the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra’s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet’s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.

Rating: 12/10 Stars

Oh my goodness! This book is officially my favorite book of all time! I devoured- and I mean I just could not stop reading this book- in 3 days, with 80% in just 2 days! That’s 360 pages in 2 days! I’ve never done that until The Continuum Trilogy. It exceeded my expectations so much! I loved every single minute of reading it! IT’S SUPER AMAZING!!!!!

The author sucked me into the story so much that I cried both internally and externally when I got to certain parts. It felt like an action movie at times that I would forget that I was reading a book. I literally could not put this down! Whenever I had a little time to read this, I always took up the opportunity. I finished nearly 60% in a single day! I rarely do that- and if the book was in print, that would be the equivalent of 270 pages. The author made me step into the shoes of the characters, actually become them, and see their sides of the story, thrusting me so much into the book that I cried and became worried and anxious whenever something bad happens to someone I liked. I truly felt the emotions of each one and became more sympathetic with them, and this made me love each and every one of them even more.

Jennifer packed so much action, adventure, thrill, suspense, and almost every single literary element you can think of in this book and molded it in a perfect way. Everything was thrown at me, and I loved it, like eating an entree that was packed with so much spice and flavor. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and there was so much tension in the air that there was a time that I did not feel it. The cliffhangers and plot twists made me crave to know more, making it harder for me to resist not reading it. I devoured this book, yet I savored every second of it. It truly sticks out from the regular YA dystopian novel, and it definitely beats The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, and The Maze Runner combined!

The strongest element of this story is the plot. Although it has wonderful characters and character development and fascinating world building, the plot is probably the most memorable aspect of it. It’s so unpredictable that you can’t figure out what will happen next! There are so many surprises planted all throughout the book that you will go “What just happened?” at least a few times. The plot never dragged but never went too fast- a really nice pace- and all the ends were tied up. I could not find any holes or loose ends in the story, which led me to no questions, and that is a good thing! The only questions I had were just “What happens next?” questions. It gave me the right amount of storyline for me to be both content yet wanting more at the same time. The ending (no spoilers here) is an “left to the reader’s imagination on what happens next” ending. I want to know more, yet I feel sad that this is the finale to the trilogy. It truly was an amazing adventure to be on.

There is literally nothing wrong I have seen with this book although there were a few isolated spelling errors- but this is an uncorrected proof so I understand. The United Continuums was so good that it is officially my newest favorite book of all time! If I had to re-read a book, I would choose this one! You will not be disappointed with this book. It’s so awesome that I had no words to describe my reaction to the entire story. I was speechless.

Recommendation: 1000% Yes! I will definitely recommend this to anybody! (But you have to read the first two first, so get them!)

What are your favorite dystopian novels? What are you looking for in one? Comment below your thoughts, and we’d love to chat with you! And make sure to check out the giveaways for Marie Silk’s Davenport House and Melanie Ifield’s The Age of Corruption! You won’t be disappointed with them! Hurry now for a chance to win!