Release Day Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Impossible-C.A. Gray

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cooltext1756232230 copyIMPOSSIBLE is the final installment in the Piercing the Veil trilogy.

The Shadow Lord has the Philosopher’s Stone, and therefore an army of invincible penumbra. He also possesses the fragments of Excalibur, the legendary sword prophesied to be the instrument of either his own destruction, or that of the Child of the Prophecy. The sword, he knows, requires blood to be reforged… and he knows exactly whose blood he wants.

Meanwhile, the Watchers are desperate to steal back the fragments of Excalibur and find out how to reforge them before the Shadow Lord does. Isdemus places Peter and Lily in Carlion’s sister cities for safe-keeping until the war begins. But Peter and Lily have an idea that might enable the Watchers to steal back the fragments, in spite of the Shadow Lord’s invincible army. Their plan requires them to travel halfway across the world, to an island largely believed to exist only in Greek mythology. Along the way, however, the Shadow Lord uses a pawn to convince Peter and Lily that they are powerless. Without their gifts of the Ancient Tongue, will either one of them stand a chance?

In this gripping conclusion of the Piercing the Veil trilogy, the Watchers and the Shadow Lord both amass their ranks, the battle begins, and the true identity of the Child of the Prophecy is revealed—to the shock of all.

cooltext1756425189 copyPrologue

Sargon stood on the edge of a precipice. He was somewhere in the Andes mountains, thick fir trees at his back and sheer rock descending to a ravine below. He could not even see the bottom.

In one hand, Sargon held the Philosopher’s Stone. It was blood-red, and cut in a spherical shape. In the other, he held the fragments of a golden sword: Excalibur. He closed his eyes, a blissful smile curling his cruel lips, creasing the jagged scar across Kane’s right cheek.

You’re going to lose, Kane snarled. Peter will destroy you. 

You know that is a lie, Kane, Sargon replied calmly. I have the Philosopher’s Stone, and the fragments of Excalibur. I am invincible.

But you don’t know how to reforge Excalibur. As long as they are fragments, you have no hope of fulfilling the prophecy.

Sargon shook his head, still smiling. Kane was right, of course: he did not know how to reforge the sword. Yet. But he knew how to find out.

In a ringing voice, Sargon cried out, “An sprioc, inis dom do speisialta!”

Instantly the Andes disappeared, and the world became silent and luminous. Kane felt himself locked in a rigid lattice structure of purest, deepest red, the light of the sun bouncing all around and through him.

A thousand flashes of the Stone’s memory bombarded Kane at once: the impossible, dizzying, unimaginable heat from the inside of a volcano; the crushing pressure; the explosive force, propelling him down the edges of a mountain amidst running lava.

Excalibur must be reforged, Sargon told the Stone. How can this be accomplished?

Kane felt, rather than heard, the Stone’s answer. He watched without eyes as men slaughtered one another, their blood running like the lava had done seconds before. It was both a memory and a reply.

Blood, thought Sargon with satisfaction. Of course. It is so simple. Had not the Stone required him to spill his own blood in exchange for his immortality.

The red luminescent world disappeared, and Sargon blinked, again standing on the edge of the precipice. Of course, he thought again. He consulted Kane’s memory of the prophecy with a flash: Both shall fall, but the One who holds the blade that was broken shall emerge victorious. 

In order to reforge Excalibur, someone must die.

There are three candidates, Sargon thought. I have already taken the body of one; only two yet remain. One will serve the blood sacrifice. Then, with Excalibur restored, I shall kill the other.

Sargon felt Kane’s quiet despair. A cruel smile curled his lips once more.

It is a beautiful symmetry, Kane. Is it not? 

 

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Enter for your chance to win a ebook set of the whole Piercing the Veil series. 

Giveaway runs from October 15-21.

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C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD), with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ. She has always been captivated by the power of a good story, fictional or otherwise, which is probably why she loves holistic medicine: a patient’s physical health is invariably intertwined with his or her life story, and she believes that the one can only be understood in context with the other.

She still wants to be everything when she grows up.

She moonlights as a college chemistry teacher (she has a degree in biochemistry, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing), does theater when she gets the chance, sings, plays piano, was once a personal trainer and in coffee shop management. She is blessed with exceptionally supportive family and friends, and thanks God for them every single day!

Happy reading, 

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ARC Review: Impossible-C.A. Gray

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cooltext1756232230 copyIMPOSSIBLE is the final installment in the Piercing the Veil trilogy.

The Shadow Lord has the Philosopher’s Stone, and therefore an army of invincible penumbra. He also possesses the fragments of Excalibur, the legendary sword prophesied to be the instrument of either his own destruction, or that of the Child of the Prophecy. The sword, he knows, requires blood to be reforged… and he knows exactly whose blood he wants. Meanwhile, the Watchers are desperate to steal back the fragments of Excalibur and find out how to reforge them before the Shadow Lord does. Isdemus places Peter and Lily in Carlion’s sister cities for safe-keeping until the war begins. But Peter and Lily have an idea that might enable the Watchers to steal back the fragments, in spite of the Shadow Lord’s invincible army. Their plan requires them to travel halfway across the world, to an island largely believed to exist only in Greek mythology. Along the way, however, the Shadow Lord uses a pawn to convince Peter and Lily that they are powerless. Without their gifts of the Ancient Tongue, will either one of them stand a chance? In this gripping conclusion of the Piercing the Veil trilogy, the Watchers and the Shadow Lord both amass their ranks, the battle begins, and the true identity of the Child of the Prophecy is revealed—to the shock of all. cooltext1756234795 copy

4/5 Stars

Impossible is a breathtaking, stunning conclusion to the Piercing the Veil trilogy. Soaked in suspense, violence, and epic battle scenes, the culmination is chaotic, gritty, and full of hope.

Typically I break reviews down into pros and cons but this time, I’ve decided to break down my thoughts into a play by play series of reactions. In the beginning of this book, the characters are still reeling from the devastating death in the last book, Invincible, and uncertain where to go from here. All everybody knows is that the Shadow Lord has risen, has horrifying weapons, and is en route to world domination at the expense of humanity.

Despite the obvious sorrow, the introduction was a little slow for me and the shifting between different perspectives, because there were so many subplots this time was a bit overwhelming. The story is divided into two missions, one to recruit warriors to fight against the Shadow Lord by forcing the civilians to open their eyes to the impossible, the magic within themselves and the terrifying creatures lurking in their shadows. The other, to reforge Excalibur, find the 3 weapons of the gods mighty enough to stand a chance against the Philosopher’s Stone, and ultimately, to fulfill the prophecy and slay the Shadow Lord.  

Every book in this series is amazingly intricate and it’s so impressive how the author integrates multiple myths and religious beliefs and mixes them with physics. It’s absolutely brilliant and the puzzle pieces fit into a seamless narrative. The plotting is astounding. Wow. If you’re looking for a read that will challenge, inform, and tantalize you, this is it.  The characters, down to the smallest, all play a role in the main thread of the Arthurian legends. Each has his or her part in shifting the balance of good and evil.

There’s something beautifully human about each of these characters despite their elemental magic. They are broken, scared, and lost but they find it within themselves to be brave, to face the darkness head on and put their lives on the line for the fate of the world. Brock has done a complete 180. He’s bold, confident, so sturdy in his beliefs that the pettiness that use to blacken his soul is completely erased. As a spokes person, he is critical in advancing the cause and a powerful leader whose faith can persuade the masses. Once again Eustace is adorably mischievous and courageous. He has utmost faith in Peter and when all hope is lost, it is him who has the light in his heart to change the world. The final reckoning in the Tower was heartbreaking, raw, and poetic. The part about Eustace’s role, the hope of a child moved me. It’s been a long time since something has struck me so emotionally and left such an impact on how I perceive the world. 

Lily was irritating. She’s stubborn and idiotic at times, she refuses to see more than one side, rushes head first into danger and drags Peter along with her and he goes with it just to shut her up. When Lily isn’t grating on your nerves, she’s fiercely loyal, adventurous, smart, and an insane risk taker. She makes the choices that everyone else is too afraid to for fear of failure and though she regrets some of the decisions, she comes out stronger. Lily’s feelings for Peter are more developed this time. She finally realizes how much Peter has become part of her life, he’s everything to her and the desperate way she yearns for him, not a hunger, or lust, but a need for him by her side is very different than many YA books out there now. 

Peter has grown into a man. He still weighs his options but he’s not not encumbered by logic and though he doubts, he has utmost faith in his friends. Peter kind of gets dragged along by Lily but is quick on his feet and uses his powers to filter out the worst options and manipulate fate. Peter views the world in an unconventional way and appreciates life. He’s not as angst-filled or brooding, he’s accepted that sacrifices must be made to destroy evil. Why it took him so long to recognize his feelings though made me want to shake him and scream at him to look at what’s right in front of him.

Kane. Poor, scarred, helpless Kane. It was truly disquieting to listen to Kane as he fought the Shadow Lord. His change of heart showed the scared, sad little boy beneath the cocky, sarcastic exterior. Kane’s words to Peter were so him, full of his edgy, snarky personality but revealing the connection he formed to Peter. 

The Greek mythology was a huge surprise but after Egypt in the previous book, it shouldn’t have been. The trip to the Underworld was dark and twisted and made of AWESOME. The wraiths and the Ferryman. I loved, loved, loved, these confrontations to achieve the weapons.

If you’re a fan of legends, epics, magically complex reads, this is the kind of story that will make your heart grow and fill you will hope as well as startle, mystify, and intoxicate you with the battles, mysteries, and sense of adventure. 

cooltext1756233300 copyunnamedWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD), with a primary care practice in Tucson, Arizona. She has always been captivated by the power of a good story, fictional or otherwise, which is probably why she loves holistic medicine: a patient’s physical health is invariably intertwined with his or her life story, and she believes that the one can only be understood in context with the other. She still wants to be everything when she grows up. She moonlights as a college chemistry teacher (she has a degree in biochemistry, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing), does theater when she gets the chance, sings, plays piano, was once a personal trainer and in coffee shop management. She is blessed with exceptionally supportive family and friends, and thanks God for them every single day!

If you like any of the following you’ll enjoy this:

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Harry-Potter-And-The-Philosophers-OLD

Happy reading, 

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Review: Invincible-C.A. Gray

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***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author

cooltext1544204149 copyPeter Stewart is a dead ringer for the legendary King Arthur, and because of that, everyone in Carlion believes that he is the Child of the Prophecy, destined to destroy the Shadow Lord. But Peter doesn’t want to be a hero; all he wants to be is left alone.

Lily Portman also fits the prophecy. Having spent her entire life as an orphan and a misfit, Lily would love nothing more than to be the Child of the Prophecy, so she envies Peter… but she’s also developing a crush on him. And it seems to her that he couldn’t care less.

Isdemus and the Watchers believe that it is only a matter of time before Peter’s twin brother Kane betrays them all and frees the Shadow Lord. The winner of the war to come depends on who has the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—the only problem is, it has been lost since the days of Arthur.

With the help of a skeptical anthropologist, the Watchers attempt to decode the ancient treasure maps that lead them to the heart of Egypt and the dawn of time. Meanwhile, Lily and Peter discover that Peter holds the real key to the mystery… but will they be too late?

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4/5 Stars

PROS:

  • Like the first book, Intangible, Gray does an impeccable jobs of integrating multiple cultures and belief systems so that they seem a natural component of the Arthurian stories. Everything is interconnected and multilayered. It’s amazing how well everything fits together. 
  • The shifting between Kane/the Shadow Lord’s perspective and Peter’s added a personal dimension to the characters that made it much easier to identify with them and sympathize on a purely emotional level.
  • Kane is such a complex and broken character. In some respects he’s incredibly strong, a fierce warrior with a take charge attitude and tons of bravery. On the other, he’s burdened by a past that haunts him, a raw, heavy feeling of rejection, and the destruction of his dreams of being the child of the prophecy. Seeing Kane trapped and manipulated, unable to control his actions after making a terrible choice was devastating. His character is wonderfully complicated and full of powerful emotions. The Kane of the first book is transformed and warms his way into your heart. While he doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, all that he’s suffered, and really getting a grip on how he makes his decisions grants a psychological understanding previously absent. Kane is helpless but he fights harder than he ever has to do what is right. It’s a massive change in character and his growth is astounding.
  • Eustace is hilarious. He’s like that obnoxious little brother than is always getting in trouble and his mischief is off the charts. At the same time, Eustace is smart and such an asset to the team.
  • I loved the idea of Clarion, the school is so much better than a normal high school and I really appreciated the scenes moving through the human body as a blood cell or flying as a bird (like in the original stories). The detail was amazing. Every toss and turn, the exhilaration and the terror combined into a stupendous rush.
  • When Sargon and Peter meet. The tension could be cut with a knife. The hatred and evil in one being is sinister and vile, his disregard for human life is terrifying. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve world domination. The final battle scene was up in the air. The uncertainty was intense. The clash of elemental magic, the penumbra’s talons and blood lust, and the strain on their bodies even as a team was made of nail-biting anxiety.
  • Although Intangible is a YA book, the sections with the adults were just as interesting and were a story in itself that I would love to read. The relationship between Peter’s dad and the lives of the Watchers, there’s a lot of mystery and unanswered questions. They’re intriguing, unique characters that when looked at individually are as compelling as the whole Watcher group.
  • Lily is quirky but in this book she has a softer, more insecure side that makes her more relatable. The girl is going through a life changing moment and she can’t always be strong. It’s great to read a girl who is unafraid to admit when she’s scared or feeling sad. 
  • The chemistry between Lily and Peter is awkward and ever-changing. It’s at that weird liminal stage, when they’re trying to decide between friendship and something more. 

CONS:

  • The connection between the Arthurian legends, physics, astrology, and symbology were further expanded upon in this sequel but the Egyptian sect of Watchers was added in causing the knowledge gained through the first book to become even more fuzzy and convoluted. The Egyptian beliefs and mythology were not as clearly defined as I would have like and I really just yearned for the characters to spell it out in simpler terms. 
  • Peter is consumed by angst and feeling sorry for himself. He’s reckless and stubborn, not unlike Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix. His selfishness and whiny got a little annoying after a while and made him far less likable than in the 1st book.

For my review of the first book in the series, Intangible, click here –> Intangible Review

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Pleasant reading,

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Review: Intangible-C.A. Gray

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*** I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via C.A. Gray

Intangible (Piercing the Veil, #1)

cooltext1544204149 copyPeter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees… until she meets Peter and his father.

When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s stories… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world.

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5/5 Stars

About 1/3 of the way through this book, my mind was blown. Not only is this book one of the best I’ve read in years but I’m absolutely astounded that more people don’t know about this series. In a world of paranormal, dystopian, and the influx of contemporary in YA, it’s possible that this got lost in the shuffle because there’s no shortage of mythology or fairy tales in current YA. I’ve always loved Arthurian Legends, for as a long as I can remember, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King was one of the only books I reread over and over and that really stuck with me. Then, of course, I moved on to the Mists of Avalon, Meg Cabot’s Avalon High series, and anything else I could get my hands on. I have always felt a sort of kinship with Morgan and  despised Guenevere. I hadn’t realized just how much I yearned for a new series that did these legends justice until I became immersed in this book. If you’re fans of Arthurian Legends in general, Harry Potter, or really an epic storytelling, check this out, you will not be disappointed. 

PROS: 

  • Intangible combines the brains of the pragmatist with the heart of the daydreamer. The juxtaposition of the “real” world of hard facts soaked in physics and proved with the scientific method and the mythical, magical world of Clarion, where Arthurian Legends are a legitimate history and every individual has an elemental power challenges the reader to question what the naked eye can’t see and to believe in something intangible. 
  • The layering in this story is extremely impressive and I can’t help but admire C.A. Gray for the connections made. Everything flows seamlessly together and is interconnected. Between the zodiac, the actual science, the legends, and symbolism, your mind becomes a war zone. Everything fits so well that it’s almost like this mythology becomes a reality and it’s hard to find cracks to refute something so solid. This is some of the most beautifully intricate plotting I’ve seen-think Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, R.A. Salvatore’s Cleric Quintet, Nix’s Abhorsen series, or Diana Wayne Jones’ Chronicles of Chrestomanci
  • The Arthurian Legends are told in a revamped, fresh way while maintaining the overall whimsical and majestic integrity of the original. Not much varies from the earliest texts, some elements are expanded on or enhanced but seem like that could be the missing link or a lost aspect of the original. One or two plot points were different than what I expected but they added complexity and drama to the legends and make a lot of sense in retrospect.
  • Penumbra. These are like shadowy, leech-like creatures that link to the human body and sometimes fuse making the person a puppet to what the creature desires. They’re wicked cool and terrifying at the same time. Each one is unique and reflects the overall personality of the individual. There are gorgeous sirens, beastly ogres, and menacing ravens. It’s awesome, quirky, and a little reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. 
  • Lily’s past is tragic and full of devastating heartache but she is fierce. She’s blunt, honest, a bit weird and sometimes overly emotional but Lily is the best friend anyone can ask for. She’s unafraid to take risks, badass at kendo, and pieces clues together incredibly quickly. 
  • There is one surprise after the other, it’s so calculated yet feels exhilarating with every new twist and turn.
  • All of the secondary characters are vibrant, full of fun little personality traits, and are totally memorable. You’ll definitely have tons of new favorites.
  • Avalon, the connection to the penumbra, the castle in the sky. Everything is enchanting, creative, and full of the epic good vs. evil thirst for a happy ending.
  • Peter is an unlikely hero. He’s nerdy, lonely, and way too smart for his own good. Constantly being bullied and ignored, Peter acts out, crafting ingenious scientific experiments that get him into tons of trouble. Peter is just trying to find his place in the world and as he is swept up into the prophecy and legends, it’s overwhelming. Peter is real, he reacts like any young person would do but he works alongside his fear to fight the darkness and evil that threatens his new world.
  • There’s something vicious yet immensely sad about Kane. He has a dual nature that makes you want to love him as much as you want to punch him in the face. He’s reckless, dangerous, and yeah, envious but he’s also an emotionally wounded young boy. He’s pretty malicious but he’s funny and always up to something.

CONS:

  • Peter’s scientific ramblings were a learning experience for those of us who are not into science or zoned out their physics classes, and while I did learn quite a bit, sometimes it was a little much. Peter’s obsessed and it made him seem frightfully boring at times. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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