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Dance with Me

A YA fantasy by Judith Crow

cover of Dance with Me by Judith Crow

Don’t tell anyone, but Kelli spends all her free time listening to folk music. Ok, it’s not what you’d expect from a popular fifteen-year-old, but that’s why she doesn’t want the whole world to know.

When Kelli follows the mysterious Tam Lane, she finds herself in a place where folk songs come to life. As she comes to terms with the world, she makes friends, uses her privilege to help others, and even falls in love.

But Kelli has forgotten the fates which await so many characters in the songs, and she soon finds herself surrounded by heartbreak. Determined to protect the people she has left, can Kelli change a fate which has been sung for centuries?

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They left the inn as the church clock began to chime midday and completed their journey in relative silence. As they neared Arlen Manor, Kelli began to feel a strange sensation of being watched, as though a hundred pairs of eyes were following her wherever she went. Looking carefully, she saw there were sculpted birds in many of the trees: great, black, hideous creatures with round eyes which stared unseeingly and followed her as she passed them by.

“They are crows,” William explained. “Centuries ago, before it was Arlen, the castle which stood here was called Corbie. That’s just another word for crow. According to family legend, when a disaster is about to befall the men of the family, the crows of Corbie Castle can be heard talking to one another.”

Kelli felt a shiver stalk down her spine, and she was grateful when they left the woods and moved up the long driveway to the house, which was a picture of gothic splendour in the late afternoon light. She immediately had the feeling that this was the place she had been meant to find, although she could not explain where the idea came from. Climbing down from the trap, Kelli followed William to the door, and stood behind him as he hammered his fist against it.

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This was an interesting take on a sort of historical but still fictional world. A world built completely on folk songs struck me both as neat and unfortunate. As the description says, folk songs end in a lot of tragedy, so this definitely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It wasn’t all doom and gloom either, though. Lots of emotions and fascinating characters.

While the concept was cool, this didn’t hook me as much as I hoped. I liked Kelly (protagonist), but there were things about her situation I had a tough time believing. She adapted to her new world too quickly for me, and she didn’t seem surprised really. “Oh, no electricity? Okay,” was the vibe I got from pretty much the beginning, and it left me wondering. She also didn’t really miss her family or even seem to care if they noticed she was gone. Granted, her family wasn’t the cuddly type, but still. I loved the relationships she built with the people from folk songs. Again, though, it all felt a bit too fast.

The ending wrapped everything up nicely. It wasn’t necessarily surprising, but it felt right for the story. Overall, I enjoyed this, and it’s definitely worth a read.

About Judith Crow

Judith Crow author image

Judith was born in Orkney, grew up in Lincolnshire and now lives in the far north of Scotland. Her writing is inspired by the experiences of her life so far and she loves picking up on quirks and immortalising them in fiction.

Judith’s new book, Dance With Me, combines her love of folk music and creative writing, and finds her main character in a world where folk songs come to life. Her debut book, The Backwater, was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2019.

When she isn’t writing, Judith is a primary school teacher who enjoys crafting and music, as well as being a generally doting spaniel owner.

Find her online:


$10 Amazon/BN GC
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The Calla\’cara Gambit

A science fiction by Rob Bartlett

cover of The Calla’cara Gambit by Rob Bartlett

I used to be an itinerant Star Ship Captain. Then the Sentient Ships blackmailed me into helping them Emancipate from the Mercantile Empire in return for keeping the intelligence level of my personal AI a secret.

I\’m taking on bankers, lawyers and accountants, oh my! And a couple of serial killers, just to keep it spicy.

I\’ve got a plan, a crew and a deadline. Now I just need precise execution, a little luck and a whole lot of moxy to pull this off!

Note: this book contains adult content and situations.

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By the time Archibald Cox arrived, they were firmly established as fixtures on the party circuit in the star port. They had a well known routine they followed; visiting various vendors during the day to prepare for that night’s round of parties. Massage, spa treatments, lunch; hair, nails, shopping for the next outfit always preceded that night’s round of feigned debauchery.

When Archie took Ilsa, it was done quickly and professionally. She and Nikki were in the middle of lunch. Ilsa went to the ladies room and never came back. Nikki finished her meal, waiting for Ilsa. Eventually, she went to the bathroom herself, looking for her. When she didn’t find her there, Nikki gradually grew more frantic, asking if anyone had seen Ilsa leaving the restaurant. As the negative responses piled up, Nikki became more and more agitated. Around her, the other regular patrons figured that one of Ilsa’s jilted suitors had finally stumbled across the right mix of pharmaceuticals and rendered her finally pliable to their advances.

They were correct, just not in the way they imagined.

After making the rounds and firmly establishing that Ilsa was actually missing and that she, Nikki, was completely distraught at her disappearance, she came back to the office with Otto (who had been dispatched to bring her back based on a call from what passed for the authorities at the star port). She came into the conference room where I had been monitoring them and flopped down into a chair.

“She’s in, my lord,” she reported.

~Buy The Calla\’cara Gambit on Amazon
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About Rob Bartlett

Rob Bartlett author image

Rob has been captivated by science fiction and fantasy since he discovered The Hobbit in 3rd grade. Since then, he\’s been an avid consumer of all genres of fiction (and some non-fiction).
When he\’s not inhaling new stories or writing his own, he studies Jeff Speakman\’s Kenpo 5.0-V2, in which he proudly holds a Black Belt.
Why does he prefer writing science fiction? As Rob says, \”Where else can you land a space ship on the lawn of the White House?\”.

Find him online:
Amazon Author Page


Rob Bartlett will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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