Wednesday, June 1, 2016

★★★ Review & Giveaway For Curse of the Gargoyles (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, #2) By Rebecca Chastain ★★★

Curse of the Gargoyles 
(Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, #2)
By  Chastain
Published January 12th 2016 
By Mind Your Muse Books

This book is a very unique story. If you have not read book
 one I could go get it first. But you can start with this one and
 not be lost. This is a new twist on the world of magic and 
gargoyles. I feel in love with Mika’s story in book one and still
 am with this book. She is a qurky young woman and I love 
her constant companion Oliver. I think he loves her like a 
mom. Well she did save his life in book one. In this book she 
is called to help the squad of the city’s elite Federal Pentagon
 Defense warriors. She takes of running. As it can only mean 
a gargoyle must need her help. But the events that happen 
after she arrives will have you riveted till the bitter end. And if 
you are anything like me have tears in your eyes for what the
 crazy woman did to the poor gargoyle. Now this story seems
 to hint at future relationships forming and I have to say I 
have been secretly hoping Mika would end up with Marcus to
 become a couple. I cannot wait till the next book to see if it happens.
Now before I ruin this for you I will leave off here.  I hope you
 enjoy this book as much as I did. If you do like this book, 
please consider leaving a review. The Authors really like it 
when you do; they value your opinions too.

Mika was trying to save a gargoyle, not doom the world...

Mika Stillwater isn’t known for her skills with combat magic. 
As a gargoyle healer, she spends her days mending broken
 appendages and curing illnesses in the living-quartz bodies
 of Terra Haven’s gargoyles. But when a squad of the city’s 
elite Federal Pentagon Defense warriors requests her 
assistance in freeing a gargoyle ensnared in a vicious 
invention, Mika jumps into the fray.
No one could have predicted that her involvement would 
ignite a chain reaction set to destroy the city, the world,
 and magic itself.

Brimming with epic magic and loveable gargoyles, Curse 
of the Gargoyles is the second story in the mesmerizing
 Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy. Fantasy fans young 
and old will delight in this highly original world and exciting,
 action-packed adventure.

“How’s Oliver doing, Mika?” Kylie asked.
I jerked and glanced up from the journal open across my lap. We sat outside at a bustling café, soaking in the afternoon sun, and while I’d started out focused on double-checking my notes about my latest patient, a prasiolite and onyx gargoyle who had ingested moldy quartz loam, I’d long since stopped seeing the words. Instead, I’d been idly spinning a pentagram of the five elements above the pages, tuning them to perfect harmony with Oliver.
“Should I get another coffee?” Kylie asked, indicating her empty cup.
“Let me check.” We’d been here a little over an hour. It was probably long enough.
I nudged the pentagram into flight, lifting it above the heads of people in the busy city pentagon before zeroing in on Oliver. The half-grown gargoyle crouched two buildings over and three stories up on his favorite perch on the peak of the library’s marble facade, craning his long neck to peer over the edge to watch people come and go. Several government buildings and a few restaurants, including the café, ringed the pentagon, but Oliver preferred the magic of library users. I’d chosen the table where Kylie and I sat partially because it afforded me a view of Oliver at all times, but mostly because it was an outdoor seat close enough for me to reach him with my magic.
The pentagram kissed Oliver’s side and dipped into his body. In the past five months, I’d perfected the elemental blend of my gargoyle companion: carnelian quartz earth, with a strong band of fire and smaller portions of wood, water, and air. I tried to be discreet and not disturb him, but he lifted his head to find me even as my magic told me he was feeling balanced and healthy.
“He’s better now,” I told Kylie. “Between an hour or two a week here and a couple hours at the market, he’s stabilizing.”
I let the weave dissolve and shut the journal. It’d been a gift from Kylie, and she’d had Mika Stillwater, Gargoyle Healer embossed in gold on the leather cover. After all these months, I still got the same nervous thrill at seeing my name and title together. Most of the time I still considered myself a midlevel earth elemental with a specialty in quartz—a specialty that happened to make me uniquely suited to work with the living quartz bodies of gargoyles. I loved my new career as a healer, but I kept expecting someone more powerful and knowledgeable to come along and replace me.
Standing, I hefted my bag filled with twenty-five pounds of seed crystals that I’d purchased earlier and wedged the journal on top before tightening the drawstring. Kylie deftly wove a basket out of air and levitated the cumbersome bag to knee height. I admired her skill. I could have created the same elemental lift, but I would have needed a boost of extra magic from Oliver to help me. I grabbed the over-the-shoulder straps and used them like a leash to keep the bag close to us as Kylie collected her research books and we exited the café.
“Do you think Oliver will stay behind this time?” Kylie asked.
“I doubt it.” He might if I encouraged him to. I ignored the thought. “He’s not like other gargoyles. He likes to wander.”
“I think he just likes to be near you,” Kylie said.
“Which is the problem.” Gargoyles had a symbiotic relationship with humans. They could enhance our magic, making them coveted additions to any building or home. In turn, while they bolstered a person’s magic, they also fed off it. Despite being made of stone, gargoyles required a balance of the elemental energies to be healthy. I suspected it was why most gravitated toward busy public buildings and the households of full-spectrum pentacle potentials, or FSPPs, where the inhabitants all possessed powerful control over all five elements. Living with me, Oliver consumed mostly earth, and it threw his system out of whack, making him lethargic and potentially stunting his growth. As soon as I’d realized the problem, we’d started making frequent trips to public places where he could supplement his diet.
“It’s not a problem,” Kylie said. “You’ve figured out how to keep him healthy, and when he’s with you, he’s happy. Besides, look at it from his perspective. He’s assisting Terra Haven’s one and only gargoyle healer. I bet the other gargoyles are jealous.”
“Ugh. That makes me sound disgustingly self-important.”
Oliver released a trill loud enough to turn every head in the busy pentagon, and the sound lifted my heart. He launched from the roof, startling a flock of pigeons when he unfurled enormous stone eagle’s wings from his sinuous Chinese dragon body. Oliver was a glossy orange red of almost pure carnelian, from his square muzzle and stone beard to the feathery rock tufts at the tip of his long tail. With the sun shining through his rock feathers, he looked like he was suspended on wings of fire as he dove toward us. The graceful roll of his long body through the air made it easy to forget he weighed over a hundred pounds—until he landed too hard and his stone feet clapped against the cobblestones loud enough to echo through the surrounding buildings.
“Where are we going now?” Oliver asked. His voice had deepened as he’d grown, but it still carried the undercurrent of chimes and in no way sounded like it came from a stone throat.
Here was the moment to encourage Oliver to stay. With the variety of elementals who frequented the library, it would be a good, healthy home for him. But the words stacked up in my throat, and I swallowed them.
Oliver and his four siblings had been my first gargoyle healer case, and after I’d saved them, they’d stuck around to roost on the Victorian where Kylie and I both rented rooms. However, over the last few months, the other four had begun to explore various rooftops around the city, looking for more permanent homes. I kept waiting for Oliver to follow suit, all while hoping he’d stick around a little longer. Life without him was going to be lonely.
“To the gallery and then home. Unless you have somewhere else to go, Kylie,” I said. I’d been pointedly avoiding looking at Kylie so she wouldn’t see my guilt, but I glanced her way when she didn’t respond.
Kylie had stopped a few feet behind us, eyes riveted on a whirl of tangled air hurtling through a gap in the buildings and heading straight toward her. Though it moved fast enough to blur, I recognized her signature elemental twist on the bubble of captured sound: One of Kylie’s rumor scouts had found something.
She pulled her white-blond hair aside as the air cupped her ear, feeding the message privately to her. Her blue eyes lit up and a flush brightened her pale cheeks.
“Well?” I asked. “What’s the story?” If anything put that glow on my journalist friend’s face, it was the possibility of a front-page piece of news.
“I don’t know. Maybe nothing. I’ve got to go.”
The weave dropped from beneath my bag and it crashed to the cobblestones, jerking my shoulder with it.
“Oh, sorry. Here.” Kylie thrust her books into my arms. “I’ll send word if I’ll be done by dinner. Bye!” She spun and sprinted toward the nearest alley, shoulder-length hair streaming behind her as she disappeared around the corner.
“Okay, then. It’s just you and me, Oliver.” I crouched to add Kylie’s books to my bag. This wasn’t the first time Kylie had literally raced away, chasing a story. If it panned out, I’d find out about it tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, I had errands to finish and work of my own. “Unless you want to stay,” I forced myself to say.
“I want to see what sold,” he said.
The tightness in my chest eased as I shared a smile with the little gargoyle.
I swung one strap of the bag over my shoulder and rested the awkward, poky bulk against my left hip, leaning to the right to compensate. After two steps, I switched sides with Oliver. His long body and four stubby legs gave him a bunching, loping gate, and his back kept bumping the bottom of the bag. Perhaps little wasn’t the right term for him anymore. He was almost three feet long and half as tall with his wings closed. When he’d first come to live with me, he’d been small enough to hold. If I didn’t stunt him and he kept growing at a normal rate, he’d reach over six feet long.
“Want to make any predictions?” I asked.
“The gargoyle pendants will be sold out, of course,” he said. “Especially the ones of me.”
“That goes without saying.” My lifelong dream of becoming Terra Haven’s preeminent quartz artisan had veered off course when I’d discovered I could heal gargoyles. Now, I wouldn’t change a thing, but I still enjoyed working with inert quartz, and since being a gargoyle healer provided sporadic income, I made jewelry and sold the items through a local gallery to supplement my earnings.
“Maybe the wind current earrings, too,” Oliver said, eyeing the earrings I wore. I wriggled my head to set the earrings in motion, and the gargoyle’s bright eyes tracked the movement.
Like all my pieces, the earrings were made out of quartz. These were carnelian—at Oliver’s request—and I’d reshaped the sturdy rock to slender, twisting ribbons so light the breeze fluttered them against my neck. Maintaining the structural integrity of the quartz while stretching it so thin took a level of skill that had taken me almost a decade to master. I owed my abilities as a gargoyle healer to those years of dedication, too. I’d worn my hair up so the sun could shine through the slivers of orange rock and catch people’s eyes. Since I was the only person in the city escorted everywhere by a gargoyle, I tended to attract attention, and I wasn’t above trading on the free advertising.
Oliver wriggled the ruff of rock fur behind his ears, as if he were trying to mimic the movement of my earrings. Laughing at his antics, I completely missed seeing the bundle of elemental energy barreling toward me. The outer air layer hit me like a pillow upside the head, then bounced back and expanded into an oval sheet of fire held together with traces of air and water. Heat radiated from it, and I retreated a step when the golden and red flames reshaped into the perfect likeness of a man’s face. He scowled, his bright eyes blazing straight into mine.
“Mika Stillwater,” he snapped. “Your services are required on an urgent matter. Come at once.”
Seeing the fiery face move was disconcerting enough; hearing the burning mouth bark my name chased a thrill of alarm down my spine. I clutched the handle of my bag tighter and shifted another step back. The disembodied flaming head followed.
I’d seen long-distance projections sent with such precision before, but only as invitations to special events. Given the tension in the man’s face, he wasn’t summoning me to a social gathering.
I opened my mouth to respond, but he looked to the side at something only he could see, then back at me. This time his gaze rested beyond my shoulder, and I realized it was a captured message, not a projection. I also realized I knew him.
“Your specialty is needed,” he growled. The sphere collapsed into an arrow of pure flame. It darted away from me, then spun and pointed left down a side street. It held that position, quivering in place.
“Wasn’t that—”
“Full-spectrum guard Velasquez,” I said, finishing Oliver’s question. The most powerful fire elemental I’d ever met, I added silently. You didn’t make it into the ranks of the Federal Pentagon Defense, the country’s most elite law enforcement organization, unless you were an FSPP or nearly so. I’d had the good fortune to meet the local FPD full-five squad when I’d rescued Oliver and his siblings, but I hadn’t expected to encounter the specialized team again, let alone receive a personal summons from the burly fire elemental.
Velasquez’s words sank past my surprise. The only reason he would need me was if a gargoyle was in trouble.
“We need to hurry,” I said, yanking my backpack’s straps securely over both arms.
“Someone needs us!” Oliver shouted gleefully.
The moment I lurched into motion, the flaming arrow moved. As if attached to me by a stiff tether, it kept exactly the same distance between us even as I picked up my pace to a run. Oliver loped like an enormous inchworm ahead of me, his back arching and straightening with each stride, and he unfurled his wings for short glides to increase his speed.
Watching his increasingly long leaps, I was struck by a feeling of déjà vu. It’d been a race through the streets after a baby gargoyle that had altered the course of my life. Until that moment, I’d been a rather typical earth elemental, with a stable job and a life spent mostly behind a worktable. These days, I did a lot more rushing about, usually racing toward injured gargoyles, and I didn’t think I’d ever get used to this nauseating jolt of adrenaline.
Between Oliver’s stone feet pounding on the cobblestones, my heavy steps, and the clatter of seed crystals knocking together in my bag, we made enough racket to sound like a rampaging minotaur. People scurried out of our way and gawked from the edges of the road. Several waved and pointed, calling out encouragement. A few actually knew my name.
Our guiding arrow took us through downtown, winding along the least crowded roads. We pounded down wide sidewalks and through narrow alleys, and every time the arrow darted out of sight, I prayed it had stopped just around the corner so I could rest. My lungs and legs burned, and the heavy sack pummeled bruises into my lower back.
I zigzagged past a tavern and a haberdashery, before the narrow street opened into Focal Park. Or it should have. I stumbled to a halt. A massive blue-green ward twice as tall as the nearest building cordoned off the mile-long public park. As far as I could see up and down the street, emergency personnel held focal points of the shimmering ward at regular intervals. I braced my hands on my knees, sucking in oxygen. I’d never seen a ward that huge. It looked like it was designed to keep out an invading army.
And Velasquez’s fiery arrow pointed straight at it.
* * *
A crowd of people loitered outside the park’s earth entrance, where guards blockaded the pathway to a tunnel hidden behind the ward. Most of the people must have been herded from the park, judging by the number of blankets, picnic baskets, and various sports equipment they held. Questions rumbled through the displaced citizens, but I didn’t hear any answers.
Together Oliver and I wormed through the crowd, and as people noticed Oliver, they cleared a path.
“Is there a sick gargoyle in the park?” someone shouted.
“I’ve heard gargoyles go berserk. Is that what happened?” another person asked.
I shook my head at the absurd question, but I couldn’t take my eyes from the towering ward. What was Velasquez involving me in?
A woman burst through the crowd and grabbed my arm, and I yelped before recognizing Kylie.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing to the burning arrow hovering just this side of the ward. It’d received some nervous looks from the crowd and a few from the guards, too.
“Don’t scare me like that,” I said. “It’s a summons from Velasquez.” Kylie knew who the fire elemental was without me needing to remind her. She’d been there when the full-five squad had carted away the man who’d kidnapped Oliver and his siblings. Since then, she’d followed the squad more than once for a story. In fact . . . “Was your rumor scout about the captain?”
Flushing, Kylie crossed her arms defensively. “Yes.”
My stomach sank. Kylie had a standing rumor scout patrolling for mention of Captain Grant Monaghan, the air elemental in charge of Velasquez’s squad. If the captain was here, the whole squad probably was, which meant the danger level of whatever I was rushing toward was far greater than a sick gargoyle. The ward more than confirmed it.
“What did he say?” Kylie asked.
“He needs me.”
Kylie’s eyebrows shot upward. “That’s what Mr. Gruffy-Pants himself said?”
“Basically.” My footsteps had slowed while I talked, and Oliver butted my palm with a soft whine. The same urgency hummed in my veins, but I couldn’t have Kylie following us into danger.
“Wait here,” I told Kylie. “I’ll tell you everything later. It’ll be an exclusive.” I winked, then spun toward the tunnel entrance.
“Really? You thought that’d work?” Kylie fell into step on the other side of Oliver. “The people have a right to know what’s going on in there, and if Grant is in there, I need to make sure he—ah, that the squad—is okay and . . . acting in the best interest of the citizens. A government that keeps secrets from the people is a corrupt government.”
Her slipup was more telling than her ongoing protests about democracy and the balancing power of the press.
“Fine,” I hissed as we approached the guards posted at the park entrance. The burning arrow hadn’t moved from where it pressed an inch away from the ward, crushing my meager hope that Velasquez stood on this side of the ward.
“The park is closed,” a tall woman in uniform said.
“I see that,” I said, and Kylie snorted, then turned the sound into a cough. The guard scowled at us both. “I was summoned by FPD Fire Elemental Velasquez.” I pointed to the arrow. “I’m a gargoyle healer, and he said I’m needed.” I added a point toward Oliver, in case she’d missed the presence of the excited stone dragon who pranced between Kylie and me.
“And I’m her assistant,” Kylie said. I wanted to protest, but I knew how much her career meant to her, and there was obviously a story on the other side of this magical curtain. Plus I was beginning to suspect her crush on Captain Monaghan might have developed into something more, so I kept my mouth shut and tried not to fidget.
The guard looped a bubble of air around the burning arrow and yanked it to us. She probed the elemental strands, and the message unfurled again. Velasquez’s hard expression glared at the guard this time as he called me to his side without a single please or an ounce of deference in his tone.
When the message reverted to an arrow of flame, the guard released it and gestured for her companions to let us pass. Oliver trundled ahead with Kylie close beside him, but my footsteps lagged. As long as I remained on this side of the ward, I was safe.
But a gargoyle wasn’t.
I hurried to catch up with Kylie and Oliver.

Buy Curse of the Gargoyles today to keep reading!

Amazon (everywhere else):


~*~*~ Rebecca Chastain ~*~*~

Rebecca Chastain is the international bestselling fantasy 
MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven 
four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in 
a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming
 up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and 
entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years 
old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful 
husband and two bossy cats.  
TINY GLITCHES is her latest novel.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review! Will a romance bloom between Mika and Marcus? We'll find out in Secret of the Gargoyles. :)