Princess turns pirate in new book

USA Today bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory begin a new series of adventurous princesses in “The House of the Four Winds.”

The small kingdom of Swansgaard has finally gotten a male heir to the throne. This means the 12 princesses of the land must go out and make their own fortune, for royal dowries would bankrupt the kingdom. But these princesses have been taught, not only about courtly matters, but also about self-suffiency and can’t wait to go out and make their own ways in the world. The eldest, Clarice, is the first to go, and her natural path as an expert swordswoman, seems to be as a teacher of the blade. But she wants some real world experience first, and donning the disguise as Clarence, she makes plans to travel to the New World for adventure. On the way, however, she soon learns that the captain of the vessel she is on is blackhearted and a vile cheat. When she befriends the rest of the crew, including the handsome Dominick, she soon finds herself casting her lot with them and turning mutinous.

The new crew soon learn they weren’t on the way to the New World at all, but the captain was sailing them toward a pirate island! Soon the crew are in the grasp of the pirates, and the only way out may be by doing a job for a tempestuous sorceress, one who has her sights set on Dominick. But only known as Clarence, can Clarice ever stand a chance of winning his heart?

This is a great blend of fantasy, romance and swashbuckling action adventure. Clarice isn’t a princess to sit around and wait to be rescued and is ready to do a little rescuing on her own. I’ll eagerly await to see what new princess will venture out of Swansgaard and into adventure!

“The House of the Four Winds” is published by Tor. It is $25.99 and 300 pages long.

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong returns to her new series, Cainsville in “Visions.”

Olivia Taylor-Jones is still reeling from the hit her life took. She has recently discovered her birth parents were notorious serial killers who may or may not have been guilty of all of their crimes. Olivia’s adoptive mother has turned her back on her and Olivia’s political-hopeful fiance has broken ties with her. With the help of her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia has made a new life for herself in the strange little town of Cainsville, and has proven her parents innocent of at least one set of crimes. And Olivia has discovered that she has some strange talents that may have drawn her to the odd town. Now Olivia believes she is being threatened when she sees a dead woman in her car. At first believing its a vision, she soon learns the body was a woman with local ties. As she and Gabriel begin to investigate, her former fiance, James, comes back wanting to rekindle things, and a hot biker, Ricky, fans the flames of romance with her. As Olivia gets closer to the killer, she discovers links to not only the town “elders,” but also Gabriel, Ricky and herself.

A mystery-romance with some strong paranormal aspect, this is a bit of a slow burn story that picks up the pace at the end. Fans of Armstrong’s other series will enjoy this, and the mystery that surrounds Olivia.

“Visions” is published by Dutton. It is $26.95 and 448 pages long.

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Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com