January 13, 2020

The King's Questioner: Excerpt & Giveaway

The King's Questioner by Nikki Katz
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 14, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Host: Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |iBooks
Synopsis: From Nikki Katz, the author of The Midnight Dance , comes The King’s Questioner, an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom. Kalen is a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown. But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’s mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom. With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.


A loud knock woke Kalen the next morning.
“You dressed?” Terrack’s voice rang through the door. 
“Does it matter? The door is locked.” 
Kalen stretched and rose from the pallet before walking over to open the door. Terrack blocked the hallway with his bulk, and his mouth moved like a horse’s as he chewed on a piece of bark.
“Actually, I just wondered if you had a girl in there.” 
“Have I ever had a girl in here?”
“There’s a first time for everything,” Terrack smirked. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early 
in the day?”
“I’ll give you one guess.” 
Kalen steeled himself for yet another headache. “Give me a minute.” 
He shut the door and splashed water on his face from the basin. He quickly changed and grabbed a pair of gloves be- fore returning to the hallway. Terrack hadn’t moved. Kalen shut the door, turned the key in the lock, and followed the large man down the hall. 
“Who is it?” Kalen asked.
“Ship captain,” said Terrack. “Arrived yesterday.”
The Antioegen ships Damien mentioned.
Kalen’s worry over his impending headaches disappeared. This would be interesting. Much more interesting than a woman falsely accused of stealing correspondence. 
They wound down the curved staircase into the darkness of the cellar. Rough stone walls caught at the sleeves of his coat, as if clawing him into the depths. The cool air was thick with moisture that gathered at the back of his neck. They reached the cellar floor, and Terrack turned in a different direction than the one leading to Kalen’s normal interrogation room. Kalen’s chest heaved with a silent sigh. This way were the holding cells. 
Kalen despised having to go into the mind of someone shackled by chains. 
They approached the two cells, heavy doors facing each other from across the narrow hallway. The slits in one door allowed flickers of dusty light to dance into the hall. Terrack pushed that one open, and Kalen got his first glimpse of the prisoner. 
The captain was tall, in his mid-thirties perhaps, with sun-weathered skin. Limp, long hair fell into his eyes, one of which was nearly swollen shut. He stood upright, his arms hanging at his sides. His wrists were wrapped in metal cuffs threaded with a heavy chain linked to the wall behind him through a ring just above his head. His breaths came fast and shallow, like he couldn’t fully inhale. Kalen imagined that underneath the captain’s jacket and all those gold buttons were whip marks or bruising . . . or both. 
“Why is he in chains?” 
“The Law’s orders. He put up a good fight when he arrived.” 
The prisoner attempted a laugh but winced as soon as his chest expanded. The sound was more of a wounded cough. Footsteps echoed in from the hall behind them, and the 
King’s Law swept into the room. His black cloak swirled and settled around him, flashes of the green silk interior visible as he threw back his shoulders. 
“Good. You’re here.” Ryndel nodded at Kalen. “I think we’re ready to get started.” 

The Author

Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. With a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She moved on to writing young adult fiction, her favorite genre to read as well. The Midnight Dance is her debut novel.


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January 1, 2020

TTT #99: My Favorite Books of 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I read 95 books in 2019! Here are some of my favorites.

My Favorite Audiobooks


My Favorite Graphic Novels


My Favorite Young Adult Books


My Favorite Books for Adults



Did any of my favorites make your list?

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