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Friday, November 23, 2012

Strange Lands: A Different Kind of Holiday Magic

Strange Lands header

 

A different kind of holiday magic awaits you this month in Strange Lands. We have beautiful boxed set editions of our most popular series, hotly anticipated sequels, and new adventures that will please even the biggest troll on your gift list. Scroll down for the perfect holiday picks!

fall's biggest titles

 

The complete Inheritance cycle, available for the first time in a paperback boxed set!

The Inheritance cycle is the unforgettable, worldwide bestselling saga of one boy, one dragon, and a world of adventure. When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he and his dragon, Saphira, are thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .

Buy the boxed set
Buy the deluxe edition of Inheritance



 


fall's biggest titles


The Fallen in Love Boxed set contains all four hardcover editions of Lauren Kate's ridiculously romantic New York Times bestselling series. Fallen angels, demons, and a mortal or two thrown in for good measure . . . get ready to fall.

Download the free chapter sampler
Buy the boxed set





fall's biggest titles

 

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud--and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection--and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city--including herself.


Buy the Book
Watch the Trailer



 

 


fall's biggest titles

 

Readers of Carrie Ryan and Richelle Mead will love this dark revenge fantasy.

At sixteen, Velveteen Monroe was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem. The problem is she landed in the City of the Dead. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven either. Grey, ashen and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do there. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind. Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment he deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal...and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting could actually crack the foundation of her new world, not to mention jeopardize her very soul. A risk she's willing to take--except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Buy the Book




 

 


fall's biggest titles

 

All will be revealed for fans who have breathlessly awaited the sizzling sequel to Juliet Immortal. This time Romeo takes center stage and gets one chance, and one chance only, to redeem himself.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

Buy Romeo Redeemed in hardcover
Buy Juliet Immortal in paperback






 

 

 

 


 

 


fall's biggest titles

Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Unfailing Light, Volume II in The Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.

Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.

Buy The Unfailing Light in hardcover
Buy The Gathering Storm in paperback






 

 

 

 


 

 


 
More Thrillers


Mastiff
by Tamora Pierce

The third book in the Beka Cooper trilogy


Inheritance
by Christopher Paolini

The much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.



Scored
by Lauren McLaughlin

Your score determines everything.



Unleashed
by Written by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Welcome to Wolf Springs -- who do you run with?

   
 
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3.1.7.7. The Ravaging of the Sun - Part 2



Borg the Monster Earth Bear
2nd Reference: http://michobd.deviantart.com

Pillars of fire erupt from the floor, hitting the crocodile squarely on its abdomen. It lets out a deafening roar. Its abdomen is indeed its weak spot after all – uncovered with the crocodile’s ultra-hard crystallite scale. Now! Seeing that the crocodile is weakened and groggy, Robert and Sheena immediately attack it together. Robert reinforces his kiliji blade with fire aura, slides down between the crocodile’s four legs and strikes its abdomen again with Rising Dragon, the fire-reinforced Uppercut Slash. At the same time, Sheena’s flying Dancing Scimitar, also reinforced with fire, hits Jokul on its head, only to be deflected again by its thick hide. Robert is surprised for a moment on hearing a resounding clang, clang when his kiliji and Sheena’s scimitar hit Jokul.
Metal! This monster is a golem!
The giant crocodile is in pain, it stomps forwards, backwards, side-to-side to shake the pain off. Robert quickly moves away so he won’t get trampled by its feet like an unfortunate fellow huntress who tried to hit the abdomen too, but missed and got crushed. A life is taken, again.
As Robert arrives on a safer spot, he shouts to his comrades, ‘Careful! This thing is a golem! It’s made of some kind of alloy; our mediocre weapons can’t cut through it! We must destroy its insides!’
A thought comes into Sheena’s mind. Wait, if it’s a golem, a spirit must be dwelling inside it! It has a mind of its own, not programmed, but magically invoked! Now it’s time for me to do what I do best!
Sheena boldly runs towards the crocodile and swiftly comes in front of the crocodile’s head. Then she somersaults to avoid its jaws, her eyes glows, and she stares into Jokul’s eye, transferring her instruction mentally to it. Attack the dragon. Attack the dragon. Attack the dragon. The giant crocodile pauses, it’s as though in a trance. Apparently it has a soul embedded in it – a gavial’s soul. Gavial is the true name for were-crocodiles. They are thaumaturgy-engineered humans who have crocodile heads, torsos and tails but retain their human hands and feet so they can stand straight.
Totally hypnotized by Sheena, Jokul turns and looks around, and finds Vyr the dragon fighting fiercely with Hernan, Ney, Agustina and many others. The giant crocodile rushes to the red dragon at once, springs up and bites the dragon’s foot while it is flying in mid-air. 

Jokl the Mutant Ice Crocodile
Reference: Atlantica Game Database: Monster List - Huge Crocodile
http://www.atlantica-db.com/monster/sword/huge-crocodile-100

3.1.7.7. The Ravaging of the Sun - Part 1



Vyr the Metal Fire Dragon
Reference: Yu-Gi-Oh! Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
http://yugiohblog.com/2012/06/duelist-pack-joey-wheeler.html/yu-gi-oh-red-eyes-darkness-metal-dragon



The Ravaging of the Sun

Where am I?
I don’t feel a thing. I’m dead, aren’t I?
It’s all dark. Is this a portal to the afterworld?
My body still feels solid. Or is this my soul?
My wounds still hurt… maybe I’m not dead after all.
Or maybe my soul shares the wounds in my body.
I’m just drifting here, don’t know where to go.
Eh? There are lights there.
I’ll let myself float; maybe I’ll swim there… ah. It’s no use.
Just float and enjoy the moment.
There’s no need to rush judgment.

It’s Robert’s thoughts. He just finds himself floating in darkness, in the middle of nowhere. Now he is wondering whether the lights in front of him is the place for the final judgment, or is it heaven. The mystery in his mind gets more confusing as the lights become clearer and clearer, and sparkling like stars.
What… is that… is that… the universe?
Robert goes into the strangest, most amazing room he ever sees in his life. It’s a miniature model of the universe, with all the stars and planets scattering there like floating dust. The largest thing of all in this room is the sun, the Corona. Robert surveys around, there are at least ten planets there, the largest planets in the room that move very-very slowly, rotating the sun. Robert observes them one by one.
Ah, I think this is Terra Eternia.
The planet Earth is named Terra Eternia that means Enia’s world and planet, the most eternal of all the things inside. Robert recalls a few things the Late Old Duke has taught him about Astronomy. The nearest planet to the sun is Trevus (Planet Mercury in our dimension, modern times). And then Planet Marvella (Venus – Andreas Marvellini was named after this planet), Eternia (Earth or Gaea), Aesis (Mars), Geine (Jupiter), Vazar (Saturn), Zebula (Uranus), Caeleth (Neptune), Xegvis (Pluto), and the smallest and farthest planet of the ten, Nixon.
 Robert tries to reach and touch the miniature planet Caeleth, the nearest planet from where he’s falling, but his hand penetrates inside it as it is a holographic illusion. And he keeps going down slowly until he steps on an invisible floor, with the rest of the universe reflected below it. It’s indeed a vast dome, much more spacious than the guardian rooms and slightly larger than the ice chamber and the engine room.
The sun itself is placed exactly in the middle of the Spacedome – as Robert calls it – and it’s a single largest thing in the entire room, abnormally much larger in scale proportion between the planets and the actual sun. Robert feels rather hot in this dome, so he throws a crossbow bolt into it just to find out whether the sun is solid and can emit heat like its real counterpart.
The bolt burns and dissolves into ash as it goes into the mini-sun.
So this sun is real after all. Maybe if I…
Robert’s chain of thoughts is broken by a sudden yell from above.
‘Robert! Oh, Robert, thank Vadis you’re alive!’
Robert looks up. It’s Carolyn! She agreed with me at last! I must admit she’s truly amazing. I’m glad I chose her as my partner from the start. Now she’s more than I expected her to be. But I hope Chris is all right. His potential is developing too; it’s a waste if his life ends in this mission.

Borg the Monster Earth Bear
Reference: Chris Ayers Character Design
http://www.chrisayersdesign.com/gallery_creatures_01.html
Before Robert can go deeper in his thoughts, Carol lands on the floor and instantly flings herself to Robert and embraces him gladly, like a lover sees her beloved whom she thought was dead but in fact is still pretty much alive. Robert is shocked to see Carol’s burst of feelings. He just stands there, don’t know what to do. His face remains serious and emotionless as ever, and Robert doesn’t hug Carol back. His mind flies to his one and only love, Princess Eloise of Lore – his forbidden love.
Suddenly a voice comes from nearby, ‘… We must find Rob and Carol!’
Hearing that voice, Carolyn is zapped and she immediately pushes Robert away. Anger comes into her face, and she slaps Robert on his left cheek.
Robert is confused, saying, ‘What’s that for?’
‘You didn’t push me away when I hugged you! If Iris and Andre saw us…’
‘Listen, Carol…’
‘You pervert! Taking advantage of a girl’s feelings!’
‘Hey, hey, what are you fighting about?’ says Andreas, trying to end their fight.
‘IT’S NOT YOUR BUSINESS!!!!’ Robert and Carolyn snap on Andreas altogether.
Andreas whistles, waving his left hand like a fan in front of his beard, talking to Iris.
‘Whew! They’re cohesive, aren’t they?’
‘Oh, yeah,’ says Iris. ‘That’s what happened when two people are closely connected for a long time. They influence each other!’
‘Something’s going on between these two.’
‘Yup. Better leave them in their own world.’
‘YOU FOOL! HOW DARE YOU MAKE FUN OF PEOPLE IN THIS… THIS… SPACE! NOW GET A GRIP AND FIND A WAY FOR US SO WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS PLACE!’ Now that’s Carol’s REAL angry shouts. Chiel who actually just arrives there is puzzled by its master’s behavior.
Soon afterwards Robert and his friends look above and see lots of people floating down into this room – like snow falling in winter or leaves falling from their trees in autumn. Then they quietly land on the floor, one by one, and almost all of them are amazed by the miniature of universe in this room.
Then we can see the champions of Vadis and Adair, approaching the center of the room one by one. Bragl Dar’gum the Relentless; Kyflynn the Windwalker with his partners Agustina Vyrakova and Desmond Edmundsen; Don Hernan y Parvaez; The elf guides including Orlevant and Ney’varĂ­th, Sheena Mekh’ta with the two rogues Baxter and Ellephar; Prince Alexis Deveraux; and lastly, Nikanomikos Paliades followed by his assistant, Eidos Crydias. Viscount Adler von Bachmann is not around. Maybe he hasn’t jump into the fake sacrificial pit yet. But at least almost all champions are here now, and the miniature sun glows even brighter, emitting more heat throughout the Dome of Universe.
‘Here we are at last,’ says Paliades. ‘The final stage. According to my grandfather, the Kraal’shazar is sealed here. The Great Archmage Azrael led the sealing ritual, assisted by two great Archmages of Light, Carolyn, The Elf Queen of Thyrine and Nikanomikos Theripides, my great-grandfather. Azrael almost drained all his life force performing this ritual, and he died a year after. Carolyn and Theripides then worked together, making additional guardians and traps, combining technology and magic at the highest level. And so, we are yet to meet the final guardian, now we are so close to Kraal’shazar.’
And Paliades is right. About a minute after he said that, the sun glows most fiercely, and suddenly shoots fire to five directions. The lines of fire kill and burn the hunters that stand in their ways, and only a few can barely avoid it, and hit the wall of the Dome of the Universe. There are large things that look like runes, glowing on the sections of the wall which were hit by the fire.
Orlevant shouts, ‘The Five Glyphs of Enia! Vyr, Jokul, Eshmyr, Borg, and Voltar!’  (Fire, water or ice, wind, earth, and lightning). As he says that, the glyphs blink five times, slide upwards and disappear, leaving blank, dark holes like doorways on the wall.
Before the hunters can find out the purpose of this reaction, all of a sudden five gigantic, monstrous beasts come out from the doorways, charging at the hunters and butchering them savagely. Vyr is a red dragon, representing fire. Jokul is an ocean-blue crocodile, representing water. Eshmyr is a green pegasus (winged horse) with two pairs of fairy-like wings, representing wind. Borg is a brown bear, representing earth; and Voltar is a violet phoenix, representing lightning. Each beast has flickers of each element it represents on its body: Vyr is covered with fire, Jokul has crystal-like scales, Eshmyr is covered with a windy green aura around its body, Borg has stone skin like a golem, and Voltar has flickers and sparks of lightning around its body.
Being a shrewd tactician, Hernan immediately splits the hunters and champions into groups according to their elemental mastery by shouting,
‘Don’t panic! Use strategy! Listen to me! Water masters, Agustina, Ney and I attack the dragon! Robert, Carol and Sheena, fire masters, attack the crocodile! Attack anything your element is most effective against! Go, go, go!’
The champions readily understand Hernan’s strategy, take a moment to think, select their targets and attack at once. Vyr and Jokul are handled according to Hernan’s instructions, and they can fight evenly with the monsters with their combined strengths.
Dar’gum, Paliades and Eidos attack Voltar; Alexis and Desmond attack Eshmyr; and Kyflynn, Iris and Orlevant attack Borg. Andreas, on the other hand, stands in a (relatively) safer place with the healers to give assistance whenever possible. It’s not a test, a puzzle or a trap anymore. It’s an all-out fight to the death now.
The beasts are surely tougher opponents than any other guardians they faced until now. Jokul, for instance, slithers around with its bulky body, big jaws, big, sharp teeth but little feet. But its movement is a great deal quicker than normal crocodiles that it creates a Tidal Wave effect along its passing, trampling and devouring the hunters mercilessly. It catches a frogman hunter between its jaws, snaps the victim’s body into two pieces and swallows them whole. Robert, Carolyn and Sheena are having a tough time defending themselves, thinking hard to find a chance to hit the monster without being swallowed by it.
Just then Carolyn readies her Fireblast spell and aims to the crocodile, saying, ‘Rob, Sheena! Move out!’ And as soon as Rob and Sheena are out of the line of fire, Carolyn shoots.
‘Pyroagnios!’
The fire blast finds its target on the crocodile’s back. It damages some of its crystallite scales a bit, but the crocodile is practically unhurt. Robert is in his wit’s end now.
Darn! This croc is tougher than the golems! Even Fireblast only mark a scratch! What must I do now?
Robert turns around. His face suddenly turns more determined.
Aha! Akh’mal is here. I can ask him to cast Fire Wall to inhibit its movement and hurt it if possible, then I and Sheena will hit the croc with the best skills we have!
The bearded, old minotaur shaman and the minotaur champion look at Robert meaningfully, as though they share the same strategy with Robert. Robert looks back at them and nods. Fargothum then moves to Akh’mal’s side, ready with his giant club to guard him. Akh’mal, on the other hand, aims carefully towards Jokul the giant crocodile and shouts,
‘An Vyr’me Prdaj!’

NAVIGATION:  (ref code may08 pg 319 - pg 320 start)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Embrace the Highland Warrior - Anita Clenney

Excerpt - Embrace the Highland Warrior http://amzn.to/ttZNfo


Her throat tightened as she approached the three graves. What did she hope to find? Reconciliation? Closure? To make sense of the lies? A whisper brushed her ear, a fluttering sound, and she tilted her head, listening. Skin prickling, she turned. A statue stood in the corner, an angel watching over the dead? She didn’t remember seeing
it the last

time she was here, but it had been years ago, and her head had been blurred with pain. A soft breeze ruffled her hair and stirred the dying October leaves. Just leaves rustling, not whispers. After the last few weeks, she jumped at every sound.

She studied the names engraved on the larger headstones, then knelt before the tiny one cradled between them. Her finger traced the worn name—Dana Michelle Rodgers—under the angel’s outstretched wing, thinking she should have some sense of recognition.
After all, it was her grave.

Something flashed in her mind, a memory, a dream—fire and pain. Shay shook her head and frowned. Some guardian angel. The clouds shifted, and a shadow crossed the angel’s face, as if he didn’t appreciate her disrespect. She heard the whisper again. It came from near the statue. Was someone hiding there? What if it was him? She squinted, trying to focus, and then watched in horror as the statue turned and looked at her.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Greek Gods Must Be Crazy!


Just tell me, why did the Greek gods do all those weird things in mythology literatures and such?
Why are they all have "problems", unlike their counterparts from Norse (maybe they too), Chinese, Indians etc? They key is one: THEY ARE ALL RELATED!

So, quoting Nixau, here's one thought: The gods must be crazy indeed!

Forgive us if there's any inaccuracy in the hierarchy, it's so you can see the big picture.

Picture made by: M. Marhaenaldi Anom Hierarki

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