NBTM & #Giveaway: The Undine's Tear (Rise of the Grigori #1) by Talena Winters


@Archaeolibrary, @Bethb19861, @GoddessFish, @talenawinters,

#YoungAdult, #Epic, #Historical, #Fantasy,

She's destined to save the world . . . if she doesn't destroy it first.


Calandra’s destiny is also her doom. As the most powerful healer since the woman who sank Atlantis, she’s been raised to restore the Heartstone that protects her island from humans . . . before she goes Mad like her mother and all the powerful undine healers before her. When she learns she needs both male and female magic to succeed, she becomes desperate—there hasn't been an undine male born for over three thousand years. Instead, she's being pressured to use the siren mind-bond to enslave her childhood friend, the one man she's sworn to risk a death sentence to free.


When Calandra discovers a cryptic message that shows her exiled mother was not only sane but pregnant with a boy, she questions everything she’s been taught to believe. But revealing the horrifying truth of the bonds could tear her island apart—and concealing it could unleash the Earth’s oldest, most destructive enemy. With insanity looming, can Calandra find her brother and save the Heartstone, the man she loves, her people, and the world . . . before she loses control and destroys them all?


The Undine's Tear is the first book in the mind-blowing young adult epic historical fantasy series Rise of the Grigori. Packed with complex characters, lush world-building, gritty action, and impossible odds, this intricately woven tale presents mermaids like you’ve never seen them before. Join Calandra in a search for redemption that will threaten the very fabric of the universe. Dive into the adventure today!

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“You are wondering how to gain control of your powers,” Damon said without preamble.


Calandra thought about ignoring him or denying it, but what was the point? This was nothing more than a dream, and the slippery logic of dreams fuzzed her will to keep her more rebellious thoughts to herself.


“You know, I shouldn’t even be talking to you. An Unredeemed male. I could get in big trouble.”


The corners of his mouth curved under his trim goatee.


“And who will report you?” He indicated the blackness around them. “Certainly not I. I exist only in your mind.”


She crossed her arms and cocked her head, studying him. “Have you ever been Redeemed?”


His expression became stony. “Redemption is for humans.”


“Redemption is for men. To make them safe. It just happens that the only men are human.”


Thinking of Osaze’s dread, she wondered again at the morality of it. Uncrossing her arms, she shifted her gaze from Damon’s face to his bronze chest.


“And one of them is my friend.”


“All humans should be controlled,” he replied nonchalantly, drawing nearer. “They have not the patience nor discipline to control themselves. And I am not human, yet I am male.”


She looked up at him, eyes narrowed. “I can see that. What are you? I’ve never seen an undine with golden eyes.”


He smiled knowingly. “Not human. But I could be your friend.”


That same feeling of security and warmth from their first encounter enveloped her, as though he were projecting it from himself intentionally. She frowned, wanting to accept it and shake off her heavy heart, but not daring to trust him yet.


“What do you want from me?”


“I want to help you.”


Damon came near enough to touch her but didn’t, pausing before her with his arms to the sides in a placating gesture.


She wrapped her arms around herself and glared into the blackness beyond him. “Yeah, well, you can’t. Not unless you can tell me how to control powers that could sink an island and heal the Heartstone without going Mad.”


“Little lark,” he said, amusement dripping from his voice like honey from a spoon, “that is exactly what I intend to do.”

5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!


Calandra is a powerful merfolk healer who is related to royalty, she just doesn't know how powerful she is. Zale is an attraction at a travelling show what could the two possibly have in common?

This is the first book in the rise of the Grigori series and oh my goodness what a book. I was completely captivated by it from the first page! I found myself struggling at one stage not because it's been badly written it hasn't, but I felt like I was missing out on bits of information and it was only because I was that taken with everything going on in the story I was speed reading to find out what was happening next. I was so gripped by the book that I ended up burning my dinner at one stage. There is so much love and tenderness in this tale it's warming to have it happen between 2 of the characters.


The plot is not on I would expect but I truly and thoroughly enjoyed it and I will be reading the next one in the series. I need to know what happens and how everything is going to be resolved.

Kudos to Talena. Please read I think you will enjoy the adventure


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Top 5 Places to Visit on Sirenia


When you finally book that vacation to your favourite fantasy spot, it helps to have an insider’s guide to find all the hidden-jewel beaches, the best local restaurants, and the must-see spectacular scenery. Who better to show you around than a local? For decades, Nicandra kor’Nyx has operated an underwater selvedge business out of Haven, the centre of trade and the arts on Sirenia’s northeast shore. While she prefers to spend more time with a tail underwater than with legs on land, she’s seen most places there are to see on the island. Here are the top five must-see spots, in Nicandra’s own words.


(Though be warned—if you ever meet her, she is quite adamant about being called Nick. And don’t even think of addressing her as kyria.)


Sireniapolis

Some of the best places to hike are right around the capital, Sireniapolis, on the south shore, and all up the Paradise Valley. In fact, just climbing up to the Opal Palace is a bit of a hike, and that’s on paved streets with the canal right beside it and everything. But you get back into those black spires behind the city streets and there are some really pretty views. Not my thing, but some people like it. That’s where you’ll find the Light River Aqueduct that feeds water into the canal along the Street of Pearls. If you’re lucky, you might even see the royal family out swimming in the canal while you’re there.


The city itself is pretty incredible, of course. You’ve got the Temple of Atargatis, the Court of the Redeemed, and the Opal Palace itself. And if you ever get a chance to go to the Human Quarter, there’s this amazing little restaurant in an inn called the Mermaid’s Curse. Named by the owner, some woman from England. She’s got a sense of humour, that one. But what a great joint. Best snapper you’ve ever eaten, I swear.


But if you want to see the Heartstone, forget it. Only royalty and stone healers ever get to see the Light of Atargatis. But there are some pretty paintings of it you can pick up at the market. If you’re lucky, you might find a datastone capture of the image, but those are rare.


Fire Lake

Most tourists eventually head to Fire Lake, the tourist town around the caldera in the centre of the island. It’s a steep day’s journey, so rent a horse and carriage if you can. But the lake and the scenery make the journey worthwhile. Rent a villa for yourself or the family, do morning ablutions at the Shrine of Atargatis, and enjoy nighttime swims beneath the stars. History buffs can take tours of the mine where the only revolution in undine history was staged almost twenty years ago. Don’t worry, the douloiwho work there are all contained, and there have been no incidents of any Unredeemed men since. You’ll be perfectly safe.


Haven

As you head north, you’re bound to hit Haven eventually. Other than Sireniapolis, this is Sirenia’s only city. While the capital is full to the gills with healers and sirens, thanks to the Royal Academy in the palace, Haven is an artisan’s dream. Most of the girls who didn’t have quite enough talent with the elements to make it at the Academy end up in a guild of some kind in Haven. A lot of stone healers set up business there, too. You could spend an entire day just in the market, looking at all the sculptures, textiles, and interesting crystal datastones. My sister, Nelly, has an antiques shop at the corner of the Weaver’s Square. She sells a lot of my selvedge. You should check it out. While you’re there, stop at the seafood restaurant next door. Clams don’t get fresher than that unless you dig them out of the sand yourself.


Trinity

This little village on the northwest shore is the island’s best-kept secret. Definitely the friendliest place on Sirenia, you’ll be welcomed like a long-lost sister. It’s also the most musical place on the island, thanks to the music school there. Students don’t study sirensong like at the Royal Academy, but listening to the Trinity Choir’s rendition of the Hymn to Atargatis is a transcendent experience. The best part is, of course, the food. Go to Calliope’s Cloister—their signature tuna fricassé is worth its own column. The owner’s grandmother got the recipe from a human woman she partnered with. Won’t tell a soul how she makes it.


While you’re there, take an underwater tour of the caves along the shore on the west side. Supposedly they’re full of fire opals like the one the Heartstone is made of, but I think that’s a guppy’s tale. Haven’t found anything more exciting than selenite myself, but that doesn’t stop tourists from trying. Everyone wants to be the one to solve the Heartstone problem—as if you could just replace it. No, that’s a stone healer problem. I’ve heard the young princess is showing some promising talent in this area. Maybe she’ll be the one who finally gets it working again.


Atlantis

Technically, this isn’t on Sirenia, but it’s still well within the barrier—only an hour or so north of Haven by submersible. You probably don’t want to go into the Sunken City itself—rumour is, it’s haunted. However, the trip out there is worth the ride. You’ll see plenty of underwater wildlife and get to relax away from the stresses of daily life. And even from afar, the architecture of Atlantis is a sight to behold. Bring your friends and make it a girls’ day, but leave the douloi on shore—a lot of humans get seasick, unless they were sailors when they were Harvested. No one wants to spend two hours in a submersible with sick on the carpet.


And don’t worry about a barrier breech by a human ship. With the additional siren pods the queen has posted lately, hardly any ever get through, and those that do are processed immediately. Again, you’re perfectly safe.

But if you find a fire opal anywhere, be sure to get a message to the queen. Desperate times, desperate measures, and all that.

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Talena Winters is addicted to stories, tea, chocolate, yarn, and silver linings. She writes page-turning fiction for teens and adults in multiple genres, coaches other writers, has written several award-winning songs, and designs knitting patterns under her label My Secret Wish. Master of the ironic GIF response. She currently resides on an acreage in the Peace Country of northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, three surviving boys, two dogs, and an assortment of farm cats. She would love to be a mermaid when she grows up.


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