Monday, March 16, 2020

Read an Excerpt from the Upcoming Book Release of Crush the King (Crown of Shards, Book #3) by Jennifer Estep #EpicFantasy @Jennifer_Estep

Book Details:

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (March 17, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062797697
ISBN-13: 978-0062797698

About the Book:

A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.
There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.

Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

Read an Excerpt:

The girl must have had some practice picking her way through crowds, because she slipped through the throngs of people as easily as one of the Black Swan acrobats could tumble across the arena floor.

Several times I lost sight of her, only to push past someone and see her gray hat bobbing along in the distance. I felt like a fisherman trying to reel in a particularly difficult catch. Every time I almost got close enough to latch on to her shoulder, the girl sped up and put three more people between us. She never looked back, but I wasn’t exactly being subtle with all my pushing and shoving, and she must have realized that someone was following her, given the annoyed shouts that sprang up in my wake.

“Evie!” Paloma hissed again from somewhere behind me. “Slow down! You’re going to get your fool self killed!”

She was probably right, but I couldn’t slow down. Not until I knew whether this girl was a Blair. The burning need to know—and the rising hope that I wasn’t the only one left—drove me onward.

The girl broke free of the plaza and darted onto one of the side streets. I glanced back over my shoulder. Paloma was still pushing through the crowd behind me, but Serilda, Cho, and Sullivan were nowhere in sight. Not surprising, given how much farther across the plaza they’d been. Well, my friends would just have to catch up.

I quickly followed the girl, racing around the people ambling along and window-shopping. My boots clattered on the cobblestones, my hood slipped off my head, and my cloak streamed out behind me like a dark blue ribbon, but I hurried on.

I reached the end of the street. Just when I thought I’d lost her completely, I spotted the girl’s gray hat disappearing into an alley. I hurried to the entrance and stopped, peering into the dark corridor.

The alley ran for about fifty feet before opening into another, much smaller plaza, but no carts and merchants were set up here, and no pretty stone fountain bubbled in the center. Instead, cracked wooden boards, broken bottles, busted bricks, and other trash littered this area.

Buildings flanked the plaza, with another alley leading out the far side, and debris was piled in heaps along the walls, as though the people living and working in the rooms above opened their windows and tossed their garbage outside, not caring where it landed below. The stench of sour milk, rotten meat, and other spoiled food almost knocked me down, and I had to pinch the bridge of my nose to hold back a sneeze.

In just a few streets, I had gone from one of the most affluent parts of Svalin to the beginning of the slums. Sadness filled me, the way it always did at the thought that people—my people—lived like this, but I shoved the emotion aside.

I held my position at the alley entrance, looking and listening, but I didn’t see the girl running out the far side, which was clogged with trash, and I didn’t hear any footsteps. She must still be in the plaza somewhere. Maybe she thought I was a threat. Maybe she was hiding until I left. Or maybe this was her home.

I peered at the piles of debris lining the walls, but there was no pattern to them, and I didn’t see any makeshift shacks made of scraps of wood, metal, or stone. Still, as nimbly as the girl had slipped through the crowd, she could easily slither behind a stack of boards or hunker down behind one of the overflowing trash bins.

I glanced back over my shoulder, but I didn’t see Paloma. Despite her dire warning that I was going to get myself killed, I wasn’t a complete reckless idiot, and I realized that this would be the perfect place for assassins to ambush me. But I also couldn’t afford to lose the girl, so I drew my sword and cautiously crept down the alley, peering into the shadows. I also tasted the air again, trying to pick up the scent of the girl’s magic, although all the rotting garbage made it difficult—

Something rustled behind a trash bin. I froze.

A large, fat black rat sauntered out from behind the bin. It paused in the middle of the alley, staring at me with its bright black eyes before scurrying away and disappearing into a pile of trash on the opposite side.

I let out a tense breath and crept forward again. I stopped in the open space in the center of the plaza and slowly turned around in a circle, studying the piles of debris.

The sun had finally set, and the murky gray twilight was quickly being swallowed by the oncoming night. A few lights burned in the surrounding buildings, but they did little to drive back the encroaching darkness. If the girl was hiding here, I couldn’t see her, so I drew in breath after breath, tasting all the scents in the air again. It took me a few seconds to push past the garbage, but I finally got a whiff of hot, caustic magic.

For a moment, I thought it was the girl’s magic, and my heart lifted with fresh hope. Then the scent washed over me again. This magic had much more of an electric sizzle than the girl’s fire power—and it was far too strong to belong to just one person.

As soon as the realization filled my mind, the shadows around me started moving, shifting, and rising, as people slithered out of the piles of trash and climbed to their feet.

One second, I was alone. The next, I was surrounded by ten magiers. Paloma had been right.

It was a trap.

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Listen to a sample of the CRUSH THE KING audiobook narrated by Lauren Fortgang:

Saph's Notes:

I am halfway through Crush the King and it is fantastic. In fact, this entire series is fantastic. I highly recommend the series to everyone who loves epic fantasies with intrigue, romance, double-crosses, and suspense. 

Meet 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. Crush the King, book #3, will be released on March 16. 

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 or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

Twitter: (@Jennifer_Estep)

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