Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cast in Blood (Morgan Blackstone) by Michelle Rabe @michrabe


The Assassin’s voice boomed through the closed double doors to the study for the fifth time since he’d entered the room with Morgan’s Blood Sons, almost five hours before.  Marcus cringed as the doors were flung open, and Nicholas strode out, rage radiating from every inch of his six–foot, four–inch frame. Storm–gray eyes landed on Marcus, narrowed to slits, and he stalked past, commanding him to follow with an imperious wave of his right hand. Not wanting to piss the Assassin off more, Marcus bit back a snide comment, and followed him up the sweeping staircase to the mansion’s upper floors.

“Damn it all to hell, Old Man!” Nicholas roared as he began pacing the landing at the top of the stairs. He wanted Marcus to throw himself against his temper to take the edge off.

Ye Gods, Marcus thought, we’ve done this more times than I’d care to count in the centuries we’ve known one another, but this is different. Well, something other than the fact that we’ve barely spoken a civil word to one another in almost two hundred years.

“I take it the boys couldn’t add anything to what we already knew. In spite of the almost five hour interrogation?” Marcus asked, fighting to rein in his own temper, leaning against the banister at the top of the stairs.

“Five hours?” Nicholas stopped moving. He turned to Marcus, meeting his eyes. The other vampire nodded.  “It was really that long?”

“Yes. What’s next, Assassin?” Marcus asked, letting some of the frustration he felt give his voice a hard edge. The last thing they needed right now was for Nicholas to go soft.

“We can’t do anything before the sun sets,” he said, after giving Marcus a long, appraising look.

He’s assessed my well–being and decided I’m not fit for the field. I’ve seen that look too many times before and know better than to argue with him, Marcus thought, trying to work out a logical counter argument.

“I haven’t slept.” Nicholas sighed. “You look like death warmed over and those two are rattled.” He nodded toward the room where he’d left the younger vampires.

“Fine.” Marcus nodded. “I took the liberty of having my staff get us some SUVs. If Morgan’s alive, she’s going to need fresh blood. We’re going to need the extra room.” Marcus was almost certain that he didn’t have to mention that, but the desperate look in Nicholas’s eyes led him to believe that there was no such thing as being too careful in this situation.

“She has to be alive, Marcus.”

“We’ll find her.” Marcus answered, feeling like an ass for lying. We both know that the odds suck. This could be nothing more than trying to find her body. Gods, whoever did this is going to pay.

“I have a very bad feeling about this,” the Assassin muttered, looking through Marcus. Nicholas’s mind was turning over what he knew, making connections and searching for others.

“How so?” Marcus asked, prompting Nicholas to think aloud, knowing it helped him make connections he otherwise missed, and it gave Marcus the opportunity to make a few as well.

“The security footage Danny sent over from the club’s parking lot shows Morgan and her attackers, but never their faces.”

“The club has cameras outside?”

“Apparently one of the human staff had some trouble right after the club opened. Morgan had them installed after that.”

“They could have scoped out the cameras. Not too difficult when you know what to look for,” Marcus muttered, his brows drawn together. “Why didn’t anyone see her being attacked, if it was caught on camera? Why are we just learning about this now? Just because she somehow jacked my mind and knocked me flat on my ever–loving ass.” Marcus’s words sped up as he continued, agitation given voice.

“The footage is stored on massive hard drives but not reviewed unless an incident is reported. Since no one reported her disappearance…” Nicholas’s voice trailed off.

“I have a feeling Morgan will be revising that policy when she returns.”

“If she returns.”

Michelle Rabe

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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://paperbackvamp.tumblr.com/

Author Interview – Fiona Ingram @FionaRobyn

How important are villains in a story? Villains are sometimes the best part of the story. Besides, a hero can only be heroic if there’s a villain to offset his bravery. Villains and their evil machinations make life interesting. Someone has to stop them or foil their nefarious plans. I like all the villains in my books, those written as well as those planned. Villains are usually clever and wily. They rely on their brains, not brute force.

Their motives and desires are actually often as grand as heroic ambitions, just really on the side of bad, not good. Villains are also self-absorbed but they can see the bigger picture. A clever villain knows when to retire from the battlefield. After all, ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.’ Villains keep the plot going. A multifaceted villain, such as a baddie who loves his mother, or volunteers at an animal shelter, is a villain with interesting angles. No one wants a thug: they want Machiavelli because he’s more intriguing.

Do you have to travel much concerning your books? I am such a globetrotter that I think my adventure series has just given me lots of excuses to pack and explore! I began travelling from an early age and I found the contact with other cultures shaped my vision of life and matured me.

I began to see life differently, and to appreciate how other people live, think, and feel about life. When the idea for the series grew, I just knew setting the various adventures in unusual countries would appeal to young readers. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was inspired by my trip to Egypt. The next book was sparked by my trip to Britain; and hopefully I will complete the research for the third book by going on a trip to the jungles of Mexico.

Can we expect more books from you in the future? Absolutely. I am whizzing along. When I began researching the ‘mythology’ behind The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, I discovered such a deep and wonderful world of legends and ancient teachings that the book began to grow almost a ‘super identity.’ This back history became so compelling that I knew it couldn’t end with the first book.

The end of the first story then became the beginning of another. Writing the second book (The Search for the Stone of Excalibur) was quicker because Dark Ages Britain (the time when the historical Arthur lived) is not as complex or as well documented as Ancient Egypt. The themes are different, but the medieval world of ancient manuscripts and monasteries is as fascinating. Secret associations, poisons and cures … murder most foul … lots of good stuff.

I don’t get bored with the characters at all because their responses to each new story and situation bring out different aspects of them. Each book has such a strong theme, and a powerful message that goes beyond the mere story. For example: Book One emphasized the value of cultural heritage; Book Two (The Search for the Stone of Excalibur) will highlight the value of recorded history and the (often dangerous) power of knowledge; Book Three (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) will uncover pressing environmental issues in the Mexican jungles, and so on. Each country I have chosen also has a unique aspect that enables me to give more to the reader without consciously hammering home a message.

Do you have any advice for writers? Yes, lots. I have written two good articles (on Getting Published and Self-Marketing) which are on my author site (www.FionaIngram.com) under Media Room. They cover just about everything you need to know. But here are four must-do steps.

Finish your manuscript. Have it professionally edited and prepared before sending it to an agent/publisher.

Start researching your marketing strategies from day one (while still writing). Just because you’ve written a book doesn’t mean to say people will automatically rush out and buy it. Subscribe to newsletters and e-zines because there is a wealth of information about the book trade, many ‘how to’ tips and articles, and lists of book competitions.

If you want to go the traditional route and look for an agent/publisher then use tools of the trade like the Writers & Artists Yearbook or plenty of online sites. You can also get tips on how to put together a killer book proposal or agent query letter.

Never give up and don’t take rejection/criticism personally. (This is the hardest part.) Create a mantra or self-belief statement and constantly repeat it. Your belief in your project will ensure it comes to fruition.

What are some of the best tools available for writers, especially ones just starting out? I could wax lyrical for a very long time on this subject because there is just so much around now for writers. The long trudge of knocking on agents’ doors and receiving rejection letters might be a thing of the past for writers who have a good product and want to launch a book themselves.

I found an excellent post by Suw Charman-Anderson (who writes for Forbes Magazine) on Author Services. In her first article she explores what author services companies can provide. In her second article she explores choosing who to work with. Both articles cover all bases. Then a site I highly recommend is Joel Friedlander’s site The Book Designer. Joel offers a huge variety of advice, articles, and practical tips. Lastly, I just reviewed an excellent book by Hank Quense called Managing Your Self-Publishing Project that gives a step-by-step planning program to creating and launching a book. I wish I’d known all this when I first started out on my publishing road.


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Genre – Juvenile Fiction

Rating – G

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Bangkok Transit by Best-Selling Author Eva Fejos @fejoseva #excerpt #women #contemporary

‘Lian was remarkably thin; she wore flip-flops, jeans, and a lightweight tank top. Her shiny black hair swept her shoulders. She stood out from the locals mostly because of her height, her white skin and light blue eyes. Otherwise, she would have blended right in. Thais became confused when they saw her. Her almond-shaped eyes, small, full lips, and exotic features clearly indicated that she was one of them, and even her build might have been overlooked, but her blue irises were real and not a trick of the light or the tint of contact lenses. The most bewildering of all was that when spoken to in Thai, she answered, with slight embarrassment, in English. Lian was indeed Thai, but she did not speak her native country’s language.
She had arrived on New Year’s Eve and been in Bangkok for days, her embarrassment only mounting. She had wanted to travel here so desperately! And now she didn’t know how to continue. She missed New York, which seemed so organized and perfect compared to Bangkok, and she missed her parents. At the same time, she knew, not only with her mind, but deep down inside, that she had arrived home.
For twenty years, she lived in the knowledge that she had been born in New York. She knew, of course, that she had been adopted. Her parents had never hidden this fact from her. They had told her how she had been very small, only a few weeks old, when they had brought her home; they also told her that her mother had been Thai and her father had not, but the couple did not wish to keep her, for whatever reason. Lian accepted these facts and the existence of her “biological parents” did not mean anything special to her. As far as she was concerned, her mother was Susan and her father was Robert, she had grown up in New York, and she had nearly never been taunted by her schoolmates because of her descent. Sure, Lian’s heritage was mixed, but she had inherited the best traits from each of her parents. Her distinctly-shaped eyes and thick, jet black hair were what revealed her Asian ancestry.
She learned the truth on her twentieth birthday. It wasn’t meant to be a birthday surprise; her adoptive parents had only waited with the confession so she would be “mature” enough to understand.
“We brought you to New York from Bangkok when you were only a few weeks old,” explained her mother above the remains of the celebratory dinner. Candles flickered on the table. Her father searched Lian’s face worriedly; her mother didn’t dare meet her gaze, keeping her eyes fixed on the flame of the candle. “We thought you should know. I don’t think it matters much to you. After all, it doesn’t change anything. We never wanted to lie to you, but we also didn’t want to confuse you. You were born in Bangkok and put up for adoption. We don’t know the names of your mother or father, because the agency that referred you to us either didn’t know, or withheld the information. But to tell you the truth, we didn’t want to know too much about them. You were the one we wanted, and we were so excited to have you come into our lives,” said her mother, forcing back her tears, while Lian felt all the air disappear from the room.
Since then, she had thought it over a thousand times: what had changed? Was everything a muddle in her heart and mind because of a well-meaning lie, this withheld truth? From then on, not a day had passed when she didn’t think about the city where she had been born, the city she had never taken interest in before, the city where, perhaps, her biological mother lived, the city she was now linked to. She hung on the Internet for endless hours at night, reading everything she found on Bangkok, feeling this mysterious, distant city beckoning her.
Finally, she knew: she had to go. She took time off from university, borrowed some money from her parents, and told them her plan.
They didn’t understand. Or perhaps they understood all too well.
They bid her farewell without a word, weeping quietly at the airport, as if saying goodbye forever.
“A few weeks or months and I’ll be back. Don’t cry!” Lian had said, holding their hands.
Suddenly she felt Susan and Robert becoming helpless little children. Her parents. They were the people she considered her parents, but they needed to understand that she had to go, alone, to see where she had come from. Parting was hard, because she sensed that something new would begin in her life.
Now, she stood here on Sukhumvit Road, stepping back to let a boy leading a curious baby elephant pass, and didn’t know if she had made the right choice by coming to this strange, yet somehow very familiar and homey metropolis. She missed New York and missed her parents, yet she felt her heart open and something in this chaotic, noisy street drawing her in.’

Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?
Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands,” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
Try it for yourself, and let Eva Fejos whisk you off on one of her whirlwind journeys... that might lead deep into your own heart.
About Eva Fejos, the author of Bangkok Transit
- Eva Fejos is a Hungarian writer and journalist.
- has had 13 best-selling novels published in Hungary so far.
- Bangkok Transit is her first best-seller, published in 2008.
- has won several awards as a journalist, and thanks to one of her articles, the legislation pertaining to human egg donation was modified, allowing couples in need to acquire donor eggs more easily.  
- spends her winters in Bangkok.
- likes novels that have several storylines running parallel.
- visited all the places she’s written about. 
- spent a few days at an elephant orphanage in Thailand; and has investigated the process of how Thai children are put up for adoption while visiting several orphanages. 
- founded her own publishing company in Hungary last year, where she not only publishes her own books, but foreign books too, hand-picked by her. 
- Her books published in Hungary thus far are:
Till Death Do Us Part (Holtodiglan) | Bangkok Transit | Hotel Bali | Chicks (Csajok) | Strawberries for Breakfast (Eper reggelire) | The Mexican (A mexikói) | Cuba Libre | Dalma | Hello, London | Christmas in New York (Karácsony New Yorkban) | Caribbean Summer (Karibi nyár) | Bangkok, I Love You (Szeretlek, Bangkok) | Starting Now – the new edition of Till Death Do Us Part (Most kezdődik) | Vacation in Naples – the English version will be published in summer, 2014 (Nápolyi vakáció)
To be published in spring of 2014: I Waited One Hundred Nights (Száz éjjel vártam)
Bangkok Transit (English version): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HDIT4UY
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Genre - Women's Fiction, Contemporary
Rating – PG-13
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fool for Love by Merry Farmer @MerryFarmer20

Chapter Four

The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name.  Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts.  The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past.  It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.

Seven days to a new world.  It was an exact description of everything her life had become.  It was every bit as daunting.

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her.  It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life.  It was another thing entirely to go through with it.

She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house.  This time it wasn’t morning sickness.  That was long past.  At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries.  Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less.  The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.

She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior.  Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful.  Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was.  Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded.  Like her father.  Like Nick.  She was a fool to agree to this.  She pivoted and marched away from the ship.

No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made.  She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers.  This was right.


“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”

The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries.  She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.

“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.

“Yeah.  I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”

Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched.  “Oh.  Oh dear.  Well I suppose….”

She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver.  As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over.  All that worrying for nothing.

She squared her shoulders to face her fate.  “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”

Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown.  “Regardless?”

“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained.  “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….”  She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.

Eric’s lips twitched.  The morning sunlight caught in his eyes.  “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”

Amelia blinked.  “You what?”

“I told them we’re newlyweds.  I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over.  Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again.  Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom.  They sold me a ticket for that.”  He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’.  “Sorry.”

Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him.  He wasn’t abandoning her.  He had gone out of his way to help her.  Her heart squeezed as it never had before.  She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his.  She was rescued after all.

“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan.  You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.”  She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.

“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.


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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Website http://merryfarmer.net

Najeev Raj Nadarajah and all things "Dream Caster" @NRNadarajah #Fantasy #MustRead

  • 1.     What gave you the idea for Dream Caster?
My idea for Dream Caster was spawned by a bad dream. Rather cliché, right? But it’s the truth.
A single funneled cloud swooped down upon the CN Tower. People stood and watched, confused. Was it a tornado? No one knew for sure. And then the funnel touched down. Thunder without sound rippled through the world, toppling buildings and upturning large plates of land. There was chaos everywhere. Screams of horror. Then utter blackness. That is all I will tell you of that dream.
A week later, I began working at the University of Toronto and was struck by a series of déjà-vu. With that, Dream Caster began to write itself.
  1. How long did it take you to write Dream Caster?
It all started with a challenge. A challenge that produced results that was so unthinkable that at the time, I did exactly that. I refused to think about it.
It’d taken me three months to plan out the four books and figure out all the necessary background work. Three months in which my fingers slaved for long hours, fueled by excitement for what I felt could someday become a series that would find its way into peoples’ hearts.
And then I ran into the inevitable. I hit a mental block.
A month went by and then two. Until one day, my cousin decided to drop by and pay me a visit at Robarts Library where I work. Somewhere between her unwrapping the wax paper from her sub and me draining my coffee, the conversation had found its way to the series I’d been working on, or should have been working on.
At that point, she challenged me. I’d been handed a deadline: July 3rd, 2012. I had four months to write, read, edit, reread, reedit and complete a 90,000 word novel.
Perhaps she knew my weakness, perhaps she didn’t. But the fact was she had presented to me a test that I simply could not back down from.
The challenge was accepted and that very same day I wrote my first chapter.
So how long did it take me to write the manuscript for Dream Caster?
Let’s just say that I don’t lose so easily ;)
  1. How and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and as far back as my memory goes, I’ve always wanted to write. However, if I was to choose one event, one book, one writer, or one awakening that set me on the right path, it would have to be during my first year of middle school.
I was eleven-years-old when I first came across a book called ‘Hatchet’. It was a survival story about a boy who gets lost in the wilderness following a plane wreck in northern Canada. I’ve always had a love for nature, for animals, and the wilderness itself. So as a result, the story drew me in at once and plunged me into a world which I thought could not possibly exist in something small enough to rest within the palms of my hands.  Having ploughed through Hatchet, I began a year in which I consumed novel after novel until I’d read nearly a dozen of Gary Paulsen’s works. And then one summer day, I picked up a pen and a notepad, and began writing. I began writing about a boy and his dog that survive the Canadian wilderness through bitter cold, utter starvation, and overcome insurmountable odds. Alas, that story did not make it past its first few pages. It was an awful start, but a start nonetheless. Besides, what more could one expect from an eleven-year-old?
A year later, while browsing through a rack filled with books, my fingers stumbled upon a tattered old spine. Overcome with curiosity, I plucked it off the shelf and read the title: The Hobbit… and that's how it began.
  1. When did you begin writing?
My love for Middle Earth grew and grew until I was positively sure that I wouldn’t rest until I too had become an author. I was nineteen-years-old when I first put pen to paper—figuratively speaking, of course, and began writing an epic fantasy novel that took up nearly five years of my time. In the end, that book was buried away and hasn’t seen the light of day since. It was not until a couple of years after that I was struck with an idea that soon blossomed into, what is now, the Dream Cycle. And here we are now, with two of the four books completed, and the third one currently being written.
  1. Did you use any real life experiences (besides the dreams themselves) within the series?
I didn’t use any real life experiences, but at the same time, I used a ton of real life elements. What I mean by that is I wanted to keep my personal experiences out of the story. Mainly because I live in a world that’s entirely different to that of Weaver’s, so there is no way that I, or anyone else for that matter, will ever be able to truly relate to his experiences. However, I did use the city of Toronto, as well as the downtown University of Toronto campus, along with a few other choice locations that I’m fond of and am familiar with as the backdrop for the story. Perhaps, in a sense, I did use some of my experiences, but not to a great degree. I also touch upon our current world in certain places, mostly to open my readers’ eyes to the world about them.
  1. Is there a message in the book Dream Caster that you want readers to understand? 
There was one underlying message I wanted my readers to grasp, and it’s that we’re taking our world for granted. We’re taking everything around us for granted.
  1. How would you describe your writing style?
Until reviews for Dream Caster began trickling in, I always believed that I didn’t have much of a style. Then people began to point out how much they enjoyed the vividness of my imagery and the unique writing style I brought to the genre. There, however, were a few who didn’t quite like my style of dialogue, seeing as I chose to have my characters speak in a slightly archaic, fantasy-esque style of English. Then again, there were those who absolutely loved the style as well. You can’t please everyone, right?
  1. Is there any advice you can give to debut authors trying to market their first book.
The hardest part about being a new author is gaining exposure. Whether you’re self published or published through a large publishing house, it can take anywhere from a few weeks, upwards of months (and sometimes, never) to do this. This is why, in order to be successful, one must a) practise patience, because success doesn’t always come overnight; b) be persistent. Set goals and stick to achieving them, and c) be prepared to relentlessly pursue their goal for as long as it takes.
Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city. In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Convinced it’s just an anomaly, Weaver ignores it. That is until he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into existence and wage war on the world. The peaceful life Weaver hoped for begins to unravel as waves of chaos begin to break loose about him. In a race against time, Weaver must learn to accept his role as a dream caster and master his new power, before his new home is destroyed and humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
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