Spotlight: Beguiled, by Cyla Panin

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Beguiled
by Cyla Panin
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: August 23, 2022

A dark and enthralling story about a young woman who makes a deal with a spirit to try and gain her independence—and the twisted price she has to pay for it

Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. She dreams of opening her own shop, but when her father died in debtor’s prison, she had to support herself by taking whatever clients she could get. In order to buy her supplies she goes into debt of her own, and when her loom breaks, Ella realizes she needs more help than a repairperson can give her. She, like everyone, has heard about the old washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe who will grant any one wish—for a price.

But Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she’s creating beautiful pieces she could have never imagined before. All she has to do is feed the loom a drop of blood each time she weaves—a small price to pay for such magnificent silks. And when she brings two bolts to a rich client, she meets a mysterious young man named Callum and bargains for an invitation to his exclusive party. At that party, he’s so mesmerized by her talent, he offers Ella a place to live and patronage for her art. It seems like Ella’s fortune is finally turning for the better . . . until she begins to notice the loom taking more from her than she offered.

As she becomes entangled in the lives of the city’s rich, swept into Callum’s allure, and trapped by the Bean-Nighe’s magic, Ella must figure out a way to secure her future while she still has a future at all.

Content Warning: mild self-harm, gaslighting and emotional abuse

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About the Author:
Cyla Panin is an MG, YA and Adult Author who prefers to look at the world through a dusting of magic.

After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla can be found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TV shows with her husband, and, of course, reading.

Her YA debut, STALKING SHADOWS will be out with Amulet, Abrams Fall 2021. She is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV, and Film Agency.

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Spotlight & Opening Lines: Violet Made of Thorns, by Gina Chen

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Violet Made of Thorns

Violet Made of Thorns
(Violet Made of Thorns Duology #1)
by Gina Chen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Publishing Date: July 26, 2022

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

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Opening Lines:

Today, Prince Cyrus returns to the capital with a bride, or else.

From the Seer’s Tower, the tallest point in the Sun Capital, I can see a train of purple banners fluttering amid the fields outside the city–the royal caravan making the steep approach to the south gates. Cordoned-off crowds pack the streets, waiting to welcome their prince home. Six months have passed since Cyrus departed to tour the continent, since he set out to “seek from the land and its generous people all the wisdom” that he could not learn in a palace.


About the Author:

Gina Chen tells stories about fantastic worlds featuring heroines, antiheroines, and the kind of cleverness that brings trouble in its wake. A self-taught artist with a degree in computer science, she generates creative nonsense in all forms of media and always has a project stewing. Violet Made of Thorns is her debut fantasy novel. For more info, visit actualgina.com and follow @actualgina on Twitter and Instagram.

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