Alamandine's Song Query

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LSimon
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Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » June 30th, 2010, 11:06 pm

Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery Princess; the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

She is also completely oblivious, her aunt has made sure of that. Her life revolves around her city: Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Clueless and powerless, she is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper. Instead, finds herself a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. Everyone is supposed to be looking for the young prince, but after a mistake by one of the faeries that has been trying to manipulate her gives her access to her power a clear memory of the night her father died, Mandi finds a better motivation- finding out who murdered her father, and why.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.

Thank you for your consideration,
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Quill
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Quill » July 1st, 2010, 12:49 am

LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery Princess; the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.
Good start.

Comma instead of semi-colon after "Princess". Also, pretty sure "a princess" shouldn't be capitalized.
She is also completely oblivious, her aunt has made sure of that. Her life revolves around her city: Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.
Comma instead of colon after "city".

Wondering about the logistics/believability of someone oblivious and magic-less and only half-faery being next in line for such a position. Maybe say more about this? And why her and not her brother?
At least, it doesn't until she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Clueless and powerless, she is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper.
Odd to call her a suspect and then immediately say she is not a suspect. Can all this be eliminated?
Instead, finds herself a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. Everyone is supposed to be looking for the young prince,
Okay, here you didn't capitalize prince. Looking for consistency.
but after a mistake by one of the faeries that has been trying to manipulate her
It might sound better as "one of the faeries who has been trying..."
gives her access to her power
Whoa. You didn't say she didn't have access to her power, so this seems like not playing fair. You previously told us powerless and no magic.
a clear memory of the night her father died, Mandi finds a better motivation- finding out who murdered her father, and why.
Good, but this seems way too much for one sentence.

Em-dash, not single dash after "motivation" or, better yet, a simple comma.
ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.

Thank you for your consideration,
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Seems like an interesting story. A few things to clarify but mostly watch the punctuation and sentence structure. In a query every mistake is magnified.

Krista G.
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Krista G. » July 1st, 2010, 1:05 am

LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery Princess; (<--I'm pretty sure this semicolon should just be a comma. And I'm pretty sure "Princess" isn't a proper noun in this case) the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

She is also completely oblivious, her aunt has made sure of that. For a stronger connection between this paragraph and the last, you might change this to something like, "But she has no idea - her aunt has made sure of that." (I'd also change the comma to something that suggests a bigger pause.) Her life revolves around her city: (<--This colon would work better as a comma, methinks) Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- (<--And I'd change this dash to a comma; otherwise, the clause "with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland" doesn't have a subject) it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Intriguing... Clueless and powerless, she is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper. Oh. Instead, (Missing "she" here) finds herself a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. Everyone is supposed to be looking for the young prince, but after a mistake by one of the faeries that has been trying to manipulate her gives her access to her power a clear memory of the night her father died (Well, that clause is a mouthful, and missing a few words, besides. You might try eliminating as many prepositional phrases as possible, or, if nothing else, breaking it up into several sentences.), Mandi finds a better motivation- finding out who murdered her father, and why.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.

Thank you for your consideration,
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I just looked over the other commenter's notes and realized we pointed out a lot of the same stuff. So to echo Quill again, I think the story summary makes sense, but you'll definitely want to clean up all those little grammatical issues - and make sure they aren't problems in your manuscript, too.

Best of luck.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

LSimon
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 1st, 2010, 11:53 am

I think most of the grammatical mistakes are due to a bad case of Franken-query. I've taken the parts and pieces of different queries and tried to make them into one living breathing thing...It walks, but it can't talk and it don't sing.

There's a whole other element that I need to get in there...So I'm going to have to throw a few more bolts of lightning at it and see if I can't get it to work :)

Thanks for your observations so far!

Emily J
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Emily J » July 1st, 2010, 3:51 pm

LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery Princess; the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. agree with others, don't capitalize princess and that should be a comma, not a semi-colon Her younger half brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

She is also completely oblivious, the also feels odd her aunt has made sure of that. Her life revolves around her city: Philadelphia, comma here not colon her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Clueless and powerless, she is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper. eliminated brought to mind killed to me, I would change this, also agree with Quill, why say she is a suspect then immediately say she isn't? feels unnecessary... Instead, Mandi finds herself finds herself is indirect, why not just becomes? a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. Everyone is supposed to be looking for the young prince, are they not? but after a mistake by one of the faeries that has been trying to manipulate her gives her access to her power and this is where the sentence breaks down, rewrite a clear memory of the night her father died, Mandi finds a better motivation- finding out who murdered her father, and why. yeah this sentence is WAY too long and I couldn't follow it

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy i don't believe you should capitalize literary genre titles that mixes adventure, humor serial comma and romance.

Thank you for your consideration,
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You made me laugh with your Franken-query comment. I know just how you feel! (tho mine can perform Putting on the Ritz) One last suggestion, the middle of the query felt pronoun heavy, I would use her name at least one more time to alleviate some of the repetitive "she"s and "her"s.

LSimon
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 1st, 2010, 4:24 pm

Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery princess, the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

But she doesn't know any of that- her aunt has made sure of it. Her life revolves around her city, Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she dragged to Faelyn under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Clueless and powerless, Mandi is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper, but doesn't escape becoming a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. A simple retrieval mission becomes far more interesting when she is given far more than the tool she was sent for. The blocks that have been put on her are removed and she gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father drowned.

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that Faery Politics are dirtier than any even Philth-a-delphia has ever seen. If she wants to know who killed her father, she needs to find who kidnapped her brother and what their plans have to do with her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.


I know this still isn't right, but I also know I need to write 1000 of these things before I get it...so there!

Thank you for your consideration,
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Emily J
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by Emily J » July 1st, 2010, 7:28 pm

LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery princess, the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

But she doesn't know any of that- her aunt has made sure of it. this seems to set the aunt up as the antagonist, but then we never hear about her again Her life revolves around her city, Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance. Clueless and powerless, Mandi is quickly eliminated as a possible kidnapper, i really feel that it is unnecessary to explain that she is ruled out as being a suspect, it is hard to phrase and doesn't add anything to the query, plus leaving it out brings a more immediate and credible threat but doesn't escape becoming a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. A simple retrieval mission this feels a bit vague becomes far more interesting when she is given far more i wouldn't use the phrase "far more" twice in one sentence than the tool she was sent for. what tool? also some people (not me) are against ending sentences with prepositions, it offends the snooty god of grammar The blocks blocks? could this term be more evocative? that have been put on her are removed and she gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father drowned. this makes so much more sense now!

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that Faery Politics i don't think politics needs to be capitalized are dirtier than any even Philth-a-delphia ?? huh? has ever seen. If she wants to know who killed her father, she needs to find who kidnapped her brother and what their plans have to do with her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult Urban Fantasy i could be wrong, but i still dont think you capitalize genre names that mixes adventure, humor and romance.


I know this still isn't right, but I also know I need to write 1000 of these things before I get it...so there!

Thank you for your consideration,
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It's a step in the right direction. All the pieces are there, mostly I think it could be strengthened by rewriting and rephrasing some of the sentences. Also, I'm not sure it helps to mention the aunt and then drop her by the wayside. Perhaps it would be simpler to say "Far off in the land of Philadelphia, Mandi is oblivious to..." yada yada yada. Just a thought but I would suggest leaving the aunt out.

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 1st, 2010, 8:27 pm

Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery princess, the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

But she doesn't know any of that. Her life revolves around her city, Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance and becomes pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. A simple retrieval mission becomes much more interesting when she is given far more than the weapon for which she was sent. The bindings that have been put on her are removed and she gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father drowned.

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that faery politics are dirtier than any even Philadelphia has ever seen. If she wants to know who killed her father, she needs to find who kidnapped her brother and what their plans have to do with her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult urban fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.

LBender
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LBender » July 2nd, 2010, 12:26 pm

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach is a half-faery princess, the next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

But she doesn't know any of that. She doesn't know he's been kidnapped? Or of his existence at all? She doesn't know she's half faery? unclear Her life revolves around her city, Philadelphia, her jewelry store and the gym. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.
Might be better to say 'with no discernable magic'. That way, her magic appearing later is not such a surprise

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance and becomes a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. A simple retrieval mission becomes much more interesting when she is given far more than the weapon for which she was sent. The bindings that have been put on her are removed and she gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father drowned.

Is it the removal of the bindings that is the far more that she is given?

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that faery politics are dirtier than any even Philadelphia has ever seen. If she wants to know who killed her father, she needs to find who kidnapped her brother and what their plans have to do with her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult urban fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.
The story sounds interesting, but I had a few problems with understanding exactly what you're trying to say. Of course, that could be me. Good luck

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by dios4vida » July 2nd, 2010, 1:59 pm

The main thing that stood out to me about your query is that I was totally on board with the half-faerie princess - cool - and I was cruising along until you said her city, Philadelphia. What?! She lives on our earth? I assumed she was in Faerie, and I was jolted out of the feel of the story by trying to remove my image of her from a fantastical world and place her in PA.

I also got a little jumbled with some of the details, but everyone else seems to have pointed out the rest of my issues so I won't repeat what's already been said.

Good luck!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 5th, 2010, 9:11 pm

This is urban fantasy- Not high or epic fantasy. The fun is in the play between the magical and the mundane.

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query** Newest Version Page 2

Post by LSimon » July 12th, 2010, 12:04 am

Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach may be next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him.

But she doesn't know any of that. Her parents are dead, and though she and her full-fae aunt run a magical jewelry store in Philadelphia, she isn't much more than a Tufts-educated checkout girl. She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her.

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn. Under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance Mandi becomes pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. Mandi is asked to fetch a weapon, but gets much more.She gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father was drowned when the binding spells that hold her are removed.

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that faery politics are dirtier than even Philadelphia has seen, and she doesn't know who she can trust. Whoever had her father killed is also responsible for the prince's kidnapping and she needs to find out who is behind both crimes and what they have planned for her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult urban fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.

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FK7
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query** Newest Version Page 2

Post by FK7 » July 12th, 2010, 12:32 am

LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach may be next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him. You started with the MC, that's really good. We don't know what Faelyn is at this point, nor what a seeker is, so it's difficult to care or connect. We do get the catalyst though, which is a plus.

But she doesn't know any of that. Any of what? The kidnapping? Her parents are dead, and though she and her full-fae aunt run a magical jewelry store in Philadelphia, she isn't much more than a Tufts-educated checkout girl.I checked the definition of tuft and I highly doubt it's what you meant, so I assume this is the name the magical folks give to humans (like muggles in Harry Potter???) but it's really not clear and it broke the flow for me She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her. This last sentence is really unclear. You refer to a full-fae aunt at first, then full-faery. Considering you're introducing new vocabulary, stick to just one. Also, what's a messenger and why is having a connection important? We know nothing of how Faelyn works.

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn. Under the pretense she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance Mandi becomes pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. We don't know her age or what she does in life... she could be a teenager from what I know so far, or an adult. Is she too young to understand the political games or it's because it's too alien? Regardless of what it is, it appears to be the main obstacle in the MC's quest so it'd be nice if we could understand it more. As it is now, it's very generic. Mandi is asked to fetch a weapon, but gets much more.She gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father was drowned when the binding spells that hold her are removed. Fetch a weapon for what? Gets much more what? This last sentence is a bit of a mess and is very generic. What is it important or why should we care that she needs to go fetch a weapon and "much more"?

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that faery politics are dirtier than even Philadelphia has seen, and she doesn't know who she can trust. Whoever had her father killed is also responsible for the prince's kidnapping and she needs to find out who is behind both crimes and what they have planned for her. So the half brother is the prince?

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult urban fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.
The premise and structure is there, but I think your query could benefit more with some changes. The main plot is when Mandi is dragged to the magical world of Faelyn and she's tasked to fetch a weapon in exchange for a bargain plea? We don't know what the political games are, the stakes aren't clear either (find the half-brother who turns out to be a prince? It's not clear how's that related to the political games either). Also, if the aunt isn't important, I'd cut her... now you have
-Mandi (half faery)
-Half brother (kidnapped. Did they have the same mother or same father?)
-Dead parents (we only hear about the father, not the mom...)
-Full-fae Aunt (whatever full-fae means)
-Dirty politicians

That's a lot of character for such a short query and considering the link between each is really unclear, it confused me.

It is obvious your premise is well thought-out and well structure in your head, it doesn't translate on the page right now. I do however see the potential! You have a great first sentence and we get to know within five seconds what the setting is, so that's a kick ass start!

Hope this helps!

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Re: Alamandine's Song Query** Newest Version Page 2

Post by katbrauer » July 12th, 2010, 5:14 am

FK7 wrote:
LSimon wrote:Dear Agent,

Alamandine “Mandi” Croach may be next in line for the crown of the Star Court in Faelyn. Her younger half-brother has been kidnapped and even the strongest seekers cannot find him. You started with the MC, that's really good. We don't know what Faelyn is at this point, nor what a seeker is, so it's difficult to care or connect. We do get the catalyst though, which is a plus. I disagree. I think the inclusion of "Fae" in Faelyn implies that this is about faerie. Also, I think it's clear what seekers do... as there's really only one definition of "seeker." My issue is that these two sentences don't really connect for me. Is she next in line because her half-brother was kidnapped? Also, the verbs are weak--they don't pull me in. "Be" and "has been"? Strengthen those up. Finally, I think you should choose a more explanatory adjective than "strongest" to address FK7's issue.

But she doesn't know any of that. Any of what? The kidnapping? Again, I think it's clear what you're referring to. Her parents are dead, and though she and her full-fae aunt run a magical jewelry store in Philadelphia, she isn't much more than a Tufts-educated checkout girl.I checked the definition of tuft and I highly doubt it's what you meant, so I assume this is the name the magical folks give to humans (like muggles in Harry Potter???) but it's really not clear and it broke the flow for me Uh... I'm pretty sure you're talking about Tufts University... She knows that she is half-faery, but with no magic and only one messenger as a connection to the faery homeland- it doesn't mean much to her. I find this awkwardly phrased. Work on it.

At least, it doesn't until she is dragged to Faelyn. Under the pretense that she is a suspect in her brother's disappearance, Mandi becomes a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. We don't know her age or what she does in life... she could be a teenager from what I know so far, or an adult. Is she too young to understand the political games or it's because it's too alien? Regardless of what it is, it appears to be the main obstacle in the MC's quest so it'd be nice if we could understand it more. As it is now, it's very generic. Agree. Mandi is asked to fetch a weapon, but gets much more. in doing so She gains access to her powers and to the true memory of the night her father was drowned when the binding spells that hold her are removed. Fetch a weapon for what? Gets much more what? This last sentence is a bit of a mess... Agree.

The more Mandi pokes around, the more obvious it becomes that faery politics are dirtier than anything even Philadelphia has seen, and she doesn't know who she can trust. Whoever had her father killed is also responsible for the prince's kidnapping and she needs to find out who is behind both crimes and what they have planned for her.

ALAMANDINE'S SONG is a 90,000 word adult urban fantasy that mixes adventure, humor and romance.
The premise and structure is there, but I think your query could benefit more with some changes. The main plot is when Mandi is dragged to the magical world of Faelyn and she's tasked to fetch a weapon in exchange for a bargain plea? We don't know what the political games are, the stakes aren't clear either (find the half-brother who turns out to be a prince? It's not clear how's that related to the political games either). Also, if the aunt isn't important, I'd cut her... now you have
-Mandi (half faery)
-Half brother (kidnapped. Did they have the same mother or same father?)
-Dead parents (we only hear about the father, not the mom...)
-Full-fae Aunt (whatever full-fae means)
-Dirty politicians
I agree that you could cut the full-fae aunt from the query. She's not necessary to the story. I also think you need to streamline how you represent the political machinations of the Star Court, because right now it's as muddled as Mandi's head probably is at first. Also, if the weapon is what releases Mandi's dormant magical power, then you need to emphasize that part of the plot, as right now it's buried underneath too much information. HOWEVER, I do like some of the turns-of-phrase you use, as it lends a great voice to the query. Also, Mandi looks like an interesting character to get to know. I think that came across well despite the current weaknesses here. You can make this great, worry not!

:) Kat
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Re: Alamandine's Song Query

Post by LSimon » July 14th, 2010, 8:21 pm

Going a different direction- Lemme know what you think.

To say that Alamandine “Mandi” Croach takes life as it comes would be an understatement. She chose her college because that was where her father taught before he died. Her mother left her a jewelry store, so that is where she works. She accepts the existence of faeries because nothing else explains her aunt's abilities and eccentricities or the gorgeous messenger that literally pops in and out of her life.

All that "going with the flow" starts to dry up when lies start floating to the surface. Her mother isn't dead- she is ruling as Queen of the Star Court. Mandi isn't without magic- she has had her powers blocked. Her father didn't drown- he was murdered. Mandi herself may be in line to be queen.

When faeries start showing up in Philadelphia asking her for favors and messing with her life; Mandi is faced with a decision. Her first thought is to play dumb and weak. To let it be water under the bridge. To pretend all the lies are truth. That would be simpler and far safer, since someone is eliminating possible heirs to the Star Court's throne.

The half-brother she never knew existed has been kidnapped, and all the evidence indicates that her father's murderer is responsible. Getting involved in faery politics is dangerous- putting both her life and heart on the line. She is stepping into the deep-end, and for Mandi, it is sink or swim.

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