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The Legacy of Androva Series

“Who calls me villain?

― Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Today's post is an updated A to Z about Lokishapeshifting mischief-maker extraordinaire and my favourite fictional character. He's been starring in myths and legends for thousands of years, and he continues to inspire all kinds of twenty-first century stories. Most of the time, he walks a very fine line between right and wrong while having more fun than the rest of the characters put together! You can find the first A to Z hereand thank you very much for visiting my blog ๐Ÿ’•.

And if you're interested in adding a Loki story to your TBR, here's a new book that I can't wait to read...

What If... Loki Was Worthy?by Madeleine Roux

Loki and Valkyrie seek redemption in the first adventure of an epic new multiversal series that reimagines the origins of iconic Marvel heroes.

So many worlds, so little time. Infinite possibilities, creating infinite realities. Long have I watched the trickster god sow chaos. But... what if Loki saved Asgard from Tony Stark's revenge?

is for Awful
"I don't know if you know this, but I've done some terrible, awful things."

is for Burdened
"Burdened with glorious purpose. My life was a waste of time."

is for Complicated
"In the future. Well, it's your future. My present. It's complicated."

is for Differently
"What could we have done differently?"

is for Enjoy
"Simple question, really, but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves as we go along."

is for Friends
"I want my friends back. I don't want to be alone."

is for Glad
"You still glad we're here?"

is for Harder
"It's harder... to stay."

is for Illusion

is for Just
"What other guys?"
"It's just O.B."
"It's just O.B."

is for Kingdom
"This is his kingdom. And he said he keeps us safe, but how can you believe that?"

is for Loki, God of Stories

is for Me
"Mobius, it's me."

is for Not
"Thor's not that tall."

is for Okay
"It's okay. Look, it happens."

is for Pie
"It's really good."
"It is."

is for Quick
"Now, come back. Quick."

is for Rewrite
"I can rewrite the story."

is for Soft
"I mocked him. Said he'd gone soft."

is for Tactical
"Tried to use the Mind Stone on Tony Stark. It didn't work, so I threw him off the building. I mean, let me tell you something. Wasn't tactical."

is for Up to us
"It's up to us to do better than He Who Remains."

is for Villain
"I'm not trying to be a hero, Brad. I'm a villain. Remember?"

is for What I want
"I know what I want. I know what kind of god I need to be... for you. For all of us."

is for X-5
"Come on, X-5. Did you really think you could outrun me?"

is for Yeah
"Of course. Yeah."

is for Zaniac on the run
"Is he running now?"
"He is running."

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were.”
― Carl Sagan

When I finish writing the last book in a series, I have to say goodbye to the imaginary places my characters visited on their adventures. Of course there’s an upside to moving on because I get to discover something new, but I still feel a bit nostalgic about it ☺. After the Legacy of Androva, I wrote a farewell blog post to some of the locations in the series, and I did the same thing for the Light Mage trilogy. Today it’s the turn of Beyond Androva. I hope you enjoy the extracts, and thank you very much for visiting my blog today ๐Ÿ’•.

Xyleander Woods

The city of Vayl is surrounded by woodland, and at first glance, the trees are nothing out of the ordinary. But if you were to follow the path for a mile or so until it becomes narrow and overgrown and much less welcoming, you’d find something very different. These particular trees have distinctive purple leaves and an abundance of living magic. They’re also protected by spells that disorient any passing visitors who might otherwise discover the Dimension Cells concealed within.

The woods appear in all four books. They’re the first thing Serena sees when she arrives in Xytovia. Later in the series, Kellan and Averine are both trapped inside Dimension Cells, and it’s a xyleander tree that offers the first clue to Art’s unique magical abilities. 

Here's an extract from Engraved in Magic when Art and Serena travel back to the xyleander woods from Galen’s island.

***The forest on the other side of the portal was shadowy and cool. And wet. It was raining. Heavy drops penetrated the canopy of purple leaves, several of them falling straight down the back of my neck as if they’d targeted me deliberately. I hunched my shoulders and ducked to one side in search of better shelter.
“Swap the light reflection for water reflection and you’ll be fine,” said Serena.
“The Protection Spell we used yesterday,” she explained. “It’s a Universal Spell. I’ll show you.”
I shook my collar. The water trickled lower, trapped beneath the newly reinstated layers of my Xytovian clothing.
Serena walked under a low branch, then raised her hand and gave it a sharp push. The leaves trembled, releasing a small deluge of water. Although it appeared to land right on top of Serena, she didn’t flinch. Her hair was glistening. There were drops of water all over it. But somehow it wasn’t wet. Giving me a mischievous smile, she shook her head quickly from side to side. 
“Hey!” I protested, jumping back.
“It’s only water,” she said. “You’re not going to melt, are you?”
“Easy for you to say. You’re dry.”
Her smile widened. “I know. It’s magic.”
I laughed. Serena used her force field like an extension of herself. For me it was like a coat I kept taking off and putting back on again.***

Alchemist’s Workshop

An alchemist is a cotidian who combines magic with other materials to create complicated spells. In post-war Xytovia, cotidians and magicians have to live apart to prevent the spread of mage-sickness, which means alchemy is against the law. But villains never allow a simple thing like the law to get in their way! Of course, not every alchemist is bad, and not every magician is good, and my characters have to figure out who’s who before it’s too late.

Here's an extract from Lost in Magic when Kellan is remembering a childhood visit to his mother’s workshop.

***It was said that if the price was right, alchemy could figure out a solution no matter how insurmountable the challenge. The ultimate proof of this had been demonstrated by the recent creation of a trade in life itself. At the age of eight, however, I did not give much thought to my future mortality.
“Kellan, I see you there,” said my mother, her voice warm and affectionate. “People are always going to think you’re up to no good if you stay in the shadows.”
“Maybe I am up to no good,” I said, stepping into the light. 
“Are you?” She gave the molten silver mixture she was brewing a careful stir. “Make yourself useful and count to twenty.”
I counted under my breath while she fetched a tray from the top shelf and placed it next to the steaming pan. “Twenty,” I said, raising my voice as I reached the end.
“Thank you,” said my mother. After tucking a loose strand of black hair behind her ear, she stirred again, then grasped the handle of the pan.
“Well, are you up to no good?” she added, glancing over her shoulder with a teasing grin.
“I haven’t decided,” I said solemnly.
She laughed. “Is that so? Then I will be on my guard.”***


On the world of Xytovia, there are three principal territories and an unspecified number of outer territories—‘outer’ because their citizens chose to live outside of the pact when the war finally ended. The smallest of these is Phidiom, a rocky island in the middle of the ocean. In Matched in Magic, it plays a small but important role in distracting Art’s grandfather long enough for Art and Serena to escape, and it really comes into its own in Bound in Magic, the series conclusion!

Here's an extract from Bound in Magic when Averine and Kellan are imagining a future together outside of their respective prisons. The singing reference is from their very inventive game of Truth or Dare ☺.

***“And once we’re both free, where shall we go?” he said.
“Somewhere without the Five Tenets.”
“What do you think about Phidiom?” I asked.
“Phidiom?” said Kellan, raising his eyebrows. “The territory on a rock at the end of the world?”
“I know it’s far,” I said. “But there’s at least one mage-glass. We wouldn’t have to cross the ocean in a boat or anything.”
Kellan nodded. “I like the idea of starting over in a place where no one knows us.”
“There’s another reason,” I said. “Phidiom made alchemy a protected profession when it refused to sign the pact. It was the only territory that did. I’ve always wanted to visit. My mother promised we’d go together as a celebration trip when the war ended.”
“To Phidiom?” he said. His mouth twitched. “Wouldn’t that be more like a punishment?”
“Very funny. It used to be a tourist attraction, especially for aspiring alchemists. Most of Xytovia’s crystals come from the caves above the capital city.”
“Right,” said Kellan. “I forgot about the caves. I never saw the point of learning about crystals.”
“You and every other magician.”
“I know a lot more about crystals than you do about projecting spells,” he protested.
“You don’t. You never read any of the textbooks I showed you.”
“Maybe not. But I had one of them sung to me, and let’s just say it was memorable.” 
I narrowed my eyes, and he laughed.***

“Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief, but brevity makes sweetness, doesn't it?”
― Stephen King

I love reading YA books, but I especially love reading YA fantasy/romantasy. And the thing about stories involving magic is the world-building
—there’s a lot of it. Often far too much to fit into one book. That means I read a lot more series than I do standalones.

I’m definitely a fan of the series format, both as a reader and a writer. But I’m also a fan of mixing up my reading choices because I discovered some of my favourite books that way. And so I got to thinking about standalone YA fantasy books. When I made my 
New Year reading choices a few months ago, I included Revelle, by Lyssa Mia Smith, and I really enjoyed it ☺. I decided to search for more standalones to add to my TBR. Today’s blog post contains my top five, and I can’t wait to read them! I hope you enjoy my choices, and thank you very much for visiting my blog today ๐Ÿ’•.

Dreams Lie Beneath, by Rebecca Ross

Do not trust your eyes alone…

The realm of Azenor has spent years plagued by a curse. Every new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians—who serve as territory wardens—stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians arrive to challenge her, she is unknowingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets—as well as romance—begin to rise.
To fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn, Clementine must unite with her rival. But will their efforts be enough to save Azenor from the nightmares that lurk around every corner?

Seven magicians had kept detailed dream recordings before Papa had come to Hereswith, and I had always hoped to become the ninth magician, after my father retired. But I felt the weight of those inked dreams of people now dead and buried. I felt them as if I had embraced a millstone. 
I met Papa’s gaze, and he saw my shock. I hadn’t realized it until now. The weight he carried as the town’s magician. And suddenly… I didn’t know if I was strong enough to bear it. 
“Come here, daughter,” he whispered.
I crossed the room, the book heavy in my arms, and sat on the edge of his bed. I could feel the feverish heat rolling off him in waves, and it made me worry. 
“I’ve taught you all that I know,” he said. “You’ll do just fine recording this dream, so long as you stick to the rules and pre-determined spells.” He paused to study me with squinted eyes. “You know, it’s not a bad thing to be fearful every now and then. The fear reminds you of limits, of what lines you should not cross. Of the doors you shouldn’t open.”

Where the Dark Stands Still, by A. B. Poranek

A cursed forest. A twisted bargain. A love eternal.

Raised in a small village near the spirit-wood, Liska Radost knows that Magic is monstrous, and its practitioners, monsters.
After Liska unleashes her own powers with devastating consequences, she is caught by the demon warden of the wood - the Leszy - who offers her a bargain: one year of servitude in exchange for a wish.
Whisked away to his crumbling manor, Liska makes an unsettling discovery: she is not the first person to strike this bargain and all of her predecessors have mysteriously vanished. If Liska wants to survive the year and return home, she must unravel her host's spool of secrets and face the ghosts of his past.
Those who enter the wood do not always return…

“Yes, I am he,” said the demon. He is tall and lean in stature, holding himself with the elegance of an aristocrat. “As for you, I will only ask once more. What is your name?”
“Kasia,” Liska says quickly.
The demon goes still, and so does the wood around him, as if every bracken and bough is straining to listen to their conversation. Then he murmurs, “I can hear the skips in your heartbeat, little liar. Try again.”
Liska’s throat constricts with shock. She swallows, then speaks once more, chastened now. “L-Liska.” That is all she will give him. Her surname is hers to keep. 
He chuckles warmly. “Liska, Liseczka … oj, lisku. You’re not a very clever fox, are you?”

A Face Like Glass, by Frances Hardinge

Child, thief, madman, spy, which speaks the truth and which one lies?

In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show joy, despair or fear – at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell's emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…

In the fleeting second before the door closed between them, Neverfell glimpsed something that made her heart stumble in its pace. Madame Appeline was watching her with a Face she had never seen before. It was unlike anything from the many Facesmith catalogues Neverfell had treasured over the years, nor was it smooth and beautiful like the other Faces Madame Appeline had worn during her visit. It contained a smile, but one with a world of weariness behind the brightness, and sadness behind the kindness. There was something a little haggard around the eyes as well, that spoke of sleeplessness, patience and pain.
Next instant the image was gone, and Neverfell was left staring at the door as it clicked to. Her mind was crazed with colour and jumbled thoughts. It took her a moment or two before she remembered that she should be throwing all the bolts.
That extraordinary Face had sent a throb through her very soul, like a breeze shivering the string of a harp, and she could not account for it.

The Forbidden Wish, by Jessica Khoury

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.
But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

He stands still for a moment, watching me. He has tied the lamp to his belt, and his hand strokes it absently. It’s an affectation common to Lampholders, and he’s picked it up already.
“How old are you?” he asks.
A cool wind flows between the dunes, pulling my hair across my face and ruffling his patched cloak.
“Three thousand and one thousand more.”
“Great gods,” he says softly. “But you look no older than me.”
“Looks are deceiving.” I don’t tell him that the face I wear is stolen, its possessor five hundred years dead. Of course, I have a face of my own, one slightly younger than yours. I was seventeen the day I was first put into the lamp, when I ceased aging and became the timeless slave I am now. I have little desire to wear that face anymore. It is the one that betrayed you to your death, Habiba. The face of a monster.

The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Tourist season starts tomorrow. And with it comes an influx of outsiders and the beginning of an eerie and deadly tradition that has plagued Sparrow since 1823—ever since the three Swan sisters were drowned in our harbor. Tonight’s party is the start of a season that will bring more than just tourist dollars—it will bring folklore and speculation and doubt about the town’s history. But always, every year without fail or falter, it also brings death.
It starts as a low croon that rolls in with the tide, a sound so faint it might just be the wind blowing through the clapboard shutters, through the portholes of docked fishing boats, and into narrow cracks along sagging doorways. But after the first night, the harmony of voices becomes undeniable. An enchanting hymn sailing over the water’s surface, cool and soft and alluring. The Swan sisters have awakened.

“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”
― G.K. Chesterton

One of the things I love about writing fantasy is the world-building. When the world is entirely of your own making, you don’t have to worry about limits or conditions. Of course, entirely is a relative concept because it’s impossible not to be influenced by personal life experience and the reality you see every day. But that’s half the fun of it—finding a reference point from the real world before letting your imagination take over.

Today’s blog post is about the world-building for Xytovia, the setting for the Beyond Androva series. At first, I thought Beyond Androva was going to be a duology because Serena’s and Art’s character development wrapped up so neatly at the end of Engraved in Magic. Although I wanted to explore Kellan’s backstory, I didn’t feel like it was strong enough to stand alone (sorry, Kellan ☺). 

That’s where Averine came in. She would be the link between Kellan’s past and his future, but more than that, she allowed me to explore what it was like to be a cotidian and an alchemist instead of a magician. And the world-building all started with a poem—two characters trapped in different Dimension Cells dreaming of something they didn’t think they could ever have.

After the poem came the props! I happened to be visiting a small town on the south coast of England famous for its fossils, and I discovered a shop selling all kinds of beautiful crystals. As soon as I saw them, I thought they looked magical and exactly like the kind of ingredients a Xytovian alchemist would probably use. Soon after that, I started writing Lost in Magic to continue the series. 

Which fictional worlds are your favourites? In the past few months, my imagination and I have visited Elfhame, the Magnificent North, and Charmant, and I loved all of them! Thank you very much for visiting my blog today ๐Ÿ’•.

Dimension Cell Dreaming

Every night he falls asleep
A promise he has sworn to keep
The line between dimensions blurs
No regrets, his heart is hers

Every day he wakes the same
Memories erased again
Knowing not how great the cost 
Two prisoners, one love, divided, lost

Every time she sees him leave
She doesn’t know what to believe
She tells herself it isn’t real
Pretend, deflect, play games, conceal

They cannot ever be together
For one day he will leave forever
A maze of magic and mixed-up feelings
No future in Dimension Cell dreaming
― Alex C. Vick

“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.”
― W.H. Auden

Fairy tales have been around for a very long time—long before literary documents were even a thing. That they survived for thousands of years until finally being written down is evidence of their enduring appeal.

The very first fairy tale, The Smith and the Devil, can apparently be traced back all the way to the Bronze Age. It’s about a metalsmith who sells his soul to an evil being in exchange for a supernatural power of some kind. The story ends happily for the metalsmith when he uses his new power to cheat the evil being and keep his soul. 

Which brings me onto the subject of today’s blog post—YA fairy tale retellings. After previous posts on Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel, this time it’s the turn of Rumpelstiltskin. I chose Rumpelstiltskin because just like The Smith and the Devil, it involves a high-stakes contract for magical gain, and I love the idea that the first fairy tale might have inspired other stories ☺. 

Rumpelstiltskin begins with a boastful miller telling anyone who will listen that his daughter can spin straw into gold. This extraordinary claim catches the interest of the king. The king locks the daughter in a roomful of straw and gives her an ultimatum. She has until morning to spin the straw into gold. If she fails, she’ll be executed.

Cue the arrival of Rumpelstiltskin. Spinning straw into gold turns out to be his thing, and the daughter gives him her ring in exchange for his help. The next night, she gives him her necklace. The night after that, there’s a twist. The king promises to marry her if she successfully creates a third roomful of gold. Unfortunately, she’s all out of jewelry, so Rumpelstiltskin suggests he take her firstborn child instead. The daughter accepts the deal. Given that the alternative is certain death, what else can she do? 

Time passes. She marries the king, and they have a child. Unfortunately for the new queen, Rumpelstiltskin returns to collect what he’s owed. She begs him to reconsider, offering him money instead, but he refuses. After all, he doesn’t need money. He can make his own gold whenever he likes.

Eventually, he agrees to let her out of the deal if she can guess his name, and he gives her three days. She tries her best, but none of her many guesses are correct. Her time is almost up when, in desperation, she searches the woods for clues about his identity and chances upon Rumpelstiltskin’s cottage. He’s outside, dancing around a fire and singing a gleeful song about taking the queen’s baby. This song isn’t as upsetting for the queen as you might think because Rumpelstiltskin reveals his name in the lyrics!

On the third night, the queen makes a show of continuing to guess incorrectly before finally using Rumpelstiltskin’s name. Enraged at losing his prize, he stamps his foot, pushing it so far into the ground that he tears himself in half when he tries to pull it out. And so the end of the story is also the end of Rumpelstiltskin.

When I started researching Rumpelstiltskin retellings, I was really looking forward to finding out how the original fairy tale had been used as inspiration. Unlike some other fairy tales, Rumpelstiltskin isn’t heavy on the romance, and several of the characters are presented in an unlikeable way. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation. In the end, it was a challenge to keep to only five books! I hope you find my choices interesting, and thank you very much for visiting my blog today ๐Ÿ’•.

Gold Spun, by Brandie June

If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies.

When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire.
Desperate for help, Nor summons the faerie’s aid, launching a complicated dance as she must navigate between her growing feelings for both the prince and faerie boy and who she herself wishes to become.

“But aren’t the most dangerous creatures the beautiful ones?”
“They usually are.” He looked like he wanted to say more but decided against it.
“This won’t come off.” The thread was so thin, I couldn’t understand why I was unable to yank it off my wrist. I bit it, but it held fast.
“Ah, gold you have, but can never spend.” He smiled and winked. “Elenora Molnรกr, you should know that all faerie magic comes at a price. Consider yourself lucky that the trick I played on you was so small.”

My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison

Be careful what you wish for—at least when your fairy godmother is in training.

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father never has enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. That trip to prison was really not her best moment.
Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's all-too-teenage fairy godmother. Chrissy is still training, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if mistakenly bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. That fairy tale is so much creepier when it’s happening to you.
Tansy will need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control.

Mortals are always going on about how important family is to them. They even believe it’s true. When Tansy Miller was seven, her father used to tell her he wouldn’t trade her for a mountain of gold. Of course, she should have been suspicious of this claim, since it was hard to prove. Very few gold-mountain owners are interested in bartering for little girls. But still, Tansy believed him.

The Crimson Thread, by Suzanne Weyn

"Once upon a Time" is timeless.

The year is 1880, and Bertie, having just arrived in New York with her family, is grateful to be given work as a seamstress in the home of textile tycoon J. P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie's father boasts that Bertie will save the business, that she is so skillful she can "practically spin straw into gold."
Amazingly, in the course of one night, Bertie creates exquisite evening gowns -- with the help of Ray Stalls, a man from her tenement who uses an old spinning wheel to create dresses that are woven with crimson thread and look as though they are spun with real gold. Indebted to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. When Ray asks for her firstborn child, Bertie agrees, never dreaming that he is serious…

He grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her close. “Then give me my payment now. Kiss me, and that will prove to you how much you love me.”
She yanked away. “No! I will pay you anything else, but you can’t make me feel what I do not feel! What else shall I pay you to make things square between us? Name your price, but it will not be me!”
He laughed bitterly, scornfully. “I don’t know. Why don’t I take your firstborn child?”

Small Favors, by Erin A. Craig

In Amity Falls, nothing is more dangerous than a wish come true.

Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life in isolated Amity Falls, surrounded by an impenetrable forest, has a predictable sameness. Her days are filled with tending to her family's beehives, chasing after her sisters, and dreaming of bigger things while her twin, Samuel, is free to roam as he wishes.
Early town settlers fought off monstrous creatures in the woods, and whispers that the creatures still exist keep the Downings and their neighbors from venturing too far. When some townsfolk go missing on a trip to fetch supplies, a heavy unease settles over the Falls.
Strange activities begin to plague the town, and as the seasons change, it's clear that something is terribly wrong. The creatures are real, and they're offering to fulfill the residents' deepest desires, however grand, for just a small favor. These seemingly trifling demands, however, hide sinister intentions. Soon Ellerie finds herself in a race against time to stop Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves from going up in flames.

“But it would be nice to be able to call you something—anything, really,” I persisted. The seconds ticked by unfilled. “You’re truly not going to tell me?”
“No,” he laughed. “I’m really not. There’s a power in names, don’t you think? Once your name is given away, you can’t help but be pulled along by those who have it.”

Gilded, by Marissa Meyer

Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller's daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.
Or so everyone believes.
When one of Serilda's outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn't meant to be part of the bargain.
Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.

The golden spokes radiating across her gaze made most people uncomfortable. She had sometimes wondered if the god chose to mark her irises because you’re not supposed to be able to look someone in the eye when you’re lying to them. But Serilda had never had any trouble holding someone’s gaze, whether she was lying or not. It was everyone else in this town who struggled to hold hers. 
Except the children.

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