NOW AVAILABLE!

Protect the Prince[16171]

 

PROTECT THE PRINCE, Crown of Shards #2, July 2

 

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

 

 

Synopsis

 

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighbouring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

 

PROTECT THE PRINCE EXCERPT

I stared up at the queen’s throne sitting on top of the dais. The chair was crafted of jagged pieces of tearstone that had been dug out of Seven Spire and fitted together centuries ago. The throne gleamed with a soft, muted light, shifting from starry gray to midnight-blue and back again, just like the columns did. The changing colors represented the Summer and Winter lines of the Blair royal family, as well as the everlasting strength of the Bellonan people.

I had seen the throne many, many times before, but now that it was mine, I found it far more intimidating, especially since the top featured the same crown-of-shards crest that adorned my tunic, bracelet, sword, and dagger. I had never paid any attention to that symbol before the royal massacre, but now, it was everywhere I went. Sometimes, I thought I would have been far happier if I had never seen it at all. I certainly would have been much safer.

Summer queens are fine and fair, with pretty ribbons and flowers in their hair. Winter queens are cold and hard, with frosted crowns made of icy shards.

The words to the old Bellonan fairy-tale rhyme echoed in my mind, as though all the queens who had come before were whispering them to me over and over again. I listened to the phantom voices a moment longer, then exhaled, slowly climbed up the dais steps, turned around, and sat down on the throne.

That was the signal everyone had been waiting for, and all the lords, ladies, senators, guilders, and others strode forward, stopping a few feet away from the bottom of the dais. They split into their usual cliques and began gossiping, while servants handed out sweet cakes, fresh fruits and cheeses, and glasses of blackberry sangria.

I looked up at the second-floor balcony. More nobles milled around there, eating, drinking, talking, and watching me, although they were all poorer and thus far less important than the ones on the first floor.

I started to drop my gaze when I noticed a man sitting by himself in the top corner of the balcony. He was wearing a long gray coat over a black tunic, and his dark brown hair gleamed under the lights, although a bit of stubble darkened his strong jaw. His handsome features were as blank as mine were, and I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, although his blue eyes burned into mine with fierce intensity.

My nostrils flared. Even though he was as far away from me as possible, I could still pick out his scent—cold, clean vanilla with just a hint of spice—above all the others in the room. I drew in another breath, letting his scent sink deep down into my lungs, and trying to ignore the hot spark of desire it ignited inside me.

Lucas Sullivan was the magier enforcer of the Black Swan troupe, a bastard prince of Andvari, and my . . . Well, I didn’t know exactly what he was to me. Much more than a friend, but not a lover, despite my pointed advances on that front. But I cared about him more than I wanted to think about, especially now, when I was facing another battle inside my own palace.

So I dropped my gaze from his and studied the nobles again. Even though I had been queen for about three months, ever since I had killed Vasilia, the crown princess and my treacherous cousin, this was my first formal court session. Practically every noble from across the kingdom had journeyed here to discuss business and other matters, and it was important that things went well. I doubted they would, though. The nobles weren’t going to like some of the things I had to say.

While the nobles chattered and downed their food and drinks, I discreetly drew in a breath, letting the air roll in over my tongue and tasting all the scents in it. The people’s floral perfumes and spicy colognes. The fruity tang of the sangria. The pungent aroma of the blue cheeses that the servants were slicing on the buffet tables along the walls.

I opened my mouth to start the session when one final scent assaulted my senses—hot, jalapeño rage so strong that it made my nose burn with its sudden, sharp intensity.

Most people scoffed at my mutt magic, but my enhanced sense of smell was quite useful in one regard—it let me sense people’s emotions, and very often their intentions. Garlic guilt, ashy heartbreak, minty regret. I could tell what someone was feeling—and often what they were plotting—just by tasting the scents that swirled around them.

I’d had years to hone my mutt magic, so I knew that jalapeño rage meant only one thing.

Someone here wanted to kill me.

 

review banner

 

This was such an amazing read!
I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could!
This book was an incredible story of lies, treachery, deceit, and hidden agendas.
There were so many twists and turns and unexpected circumstances and secrets that were wonderfully executed and beautifully revealed.

I loved the development of Evie and Sullivan’s complicated characters and how much of their past seemed to affect their present decisions.

Loved the tension between Evie and Sullivan and the nice twist at the end.
They perfectly complimented one another.
Great writing!
Great story!
Great characters!

I look forward to reading more books in this series!

 

Buy Links

EBOOK

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2qK9002

Barnes & Noble NOOK: https://tinyurl.com/y9ym5g24

Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/yd4xuebj

Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/y7qt7d9x

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/ybbknvm5

AUDIOBOOK

Amazon.com digital audiobook: https://amzn.to/2XaPIPD

Amazon MP3 CD: https://amzn.to/2IBjU2v

Audible: http://tinyurl.com/yym22vl2

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y4yjl6yt

Libro: http://tinyurl.com/y27kre92

PRINT BOOK

Amazon print: https://amzn.to/2PJGlTP

Barnes & Noble print: https://tinyurl.com/y9kutjzu

Books-A-Million: https://tinyurl.com/yarpyycf

IndieBound: https://tinyurl.com/y7def75u

 

About the Author

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Protect the Prince, book #2, will be released on July 2.

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

Follow Jennifer

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Blog: http://www.jenniferestep.com/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep  (@Jennifer_Estep)

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-estep

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2QeDW4j

**BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND EXCERPT**

**BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND EXCERPT**

KILL THE QUEEN (CROWN OF SHARDS, #1)  by Jennifer Estep

kill-the-queen-blog-tour-banner-1

 

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. 

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, will be released on Oct. 2.

The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.  

kill-the-queen-cover-1

 

SYNOPSIS

The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of combat, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

ADD TO GOODREADS

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37671985-kill-the-queen

 

my-review

“5 – I DANCE TO A DIFFERENT BEAT – STARS!”

Just – WOW!

If I could have given this book a higher than 5-star rating, I most certainly would have.

This book was an incredible story of lies, treachery, deceit, and hidden agendas.
There were so many twists and turns and unexpected circumstances and secrets that were wonderfully executed and beautifully revealed at the end.

teaser-2

 

This story had an amazing ensemble of characters who played their roles perfectly and flawlessly right till the bitter end.

It was all about the long game, and if there was anything Evie learned from living in the shadow of the castle for fifteen years, it was that she learned how to execute her long game exquisitely.

Evie was an amazing character to read about and she developed beautifully through the story.

I loved how she found her voice, courage, and strength to stand up and be the person… the leader she was meant to be and finally say “no more”.

Great story and an amazing start to a new series!

EXCERPT

Two hours later, I poured the last of the cranberry-apple filling into the final pie crust, then reached for the orange flakes.

“Whether you’re a cook master or not, the secret is not to overdo the orange,” Isobel instructed, the same way she had on the previous pies. “Most people shake the flakes on like they’re common salt. But too much orange, and that’s all you’ll taste. So go around the pie once, gently tapping on the jar three times with your index finger. That’s the perfect amount.”

I did as she said, watching the tiny, delicate granules melt into the fruit filling like perfumed snowflakes. Then I drew in a deep breath, letting the air roll in over my tongue and tasting all the scents in it. The buttery crust, the sugary fruit, the hint of orange that curled through it all. Delicious aromas that would bubble up and become even more pronounced, fragrant, and intense as this pie and the others baked.

Despite my own condescending view of my mutt magic, my enhanced sense of smell was one of the reasons why I had always gravitated toward Isobel and the kitchen. All the sweet scents here made the bitter reality of my life a little easier to bear.

“Perfect! That’s my girl.” Isobel beamed at me, and I smiled back at her.

She arranged a few strips of crust on top of the filling, creating a pretty lattice pattern, then slid the pie into the oven. Isobel had taken pity and had helped me make the pie crusts, although she had insisted on my preparing the cranberry-apple filling, orange flakes and all, claiming that it was the most important part.

I often helped Isobel, as I enjoyed spending time with her, and the kitchen was a welcome refuge from other, less-friendly sections of the palace. She had slowly turned me into a decent cook, despite my not being a master. But after making so many pies in a row, I had all the ingredients, measurements, and motions memorized, and I felt like I could craft them in my sleep now. Just as I could bow, curtsy, dance, and make polite, inane chitchat in several languages. And those were just some of the many trivial skills that I’d learned as the unofficial royal stand-in.

While Queen Cordelia and the rest of my Blair cousins were dealing with ambassadors and the like, I was attending all the functions they could not, due to their oh-so-important and exceedingly busy schedules.

Breakfast recitals, charity luncheons, afternoon teas. I went to all those and more every week, both here at the palace and out in the city. Most of the time, it wasn’t so bad. Usually, all I had to do was smile, nod, and shake hands, along with thanking people for their time, admiring their music, artwork, or goods, and giving short and exceptionally vague speeches about how disappointed Queen Cordelia was that she couldn’t attend herself. At the very least, I almost always got a free meal out of the proceedings.

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://goo.gl/9id9LX

Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/iaQ3Rc

Books-a-Million: https://goo.gl/udDZUa

iBooks: https://goo.gl/9xnMg3

Google Play: https://goo.gl/nQquEg

 

GIVEAWAY

Win a $25 Amazon gift card! Contest runs Sept. 17 until October 7.

Rafflecopter code is below

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c04214/?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-pic

 

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Blog: http://www.jenniferestep.com/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep  (@Jennifer_Estep)

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/

 

 

<i>”I voluntarily read an ARC of this book.”</i>