Here’s a compilation of screen shots of my Apple watch workouts that were recorded while on the treadmill. My goal is to read while walking on the treadmill for at least one 30-minute mile per day.
This was a long book, so it took a while. Note: I got on twice on this past Saturday…
What I #AmReading…
In Pain and Blood by Aldrea Alien
This epic fantasy drama is a reread. Kinda. Sorta.
It’s a second edition, and I’ve previously read the first edition. This second edition has 51 chapters. The first edition had 64 chapters. But the action in the second edition only takes us through the first 27 chapters of the first edition. The rest will follow in the upcoming In Love and Death. The first edition gave us only Dylan’s POV, and the expanded second edition also gives us Tracker’s POV.
You’ll notice that this book is now listed as Book 2 in the “Spellster and the Hound” series, with the first book being Tracking Trouble. Note, it’s not absolutely necessary to read Book 1 first. It wasn’t even released until after the first edition of In Pain and Blood. I’ve bought it, but it’s been languishing in my TBR, and I haven’t read it yet (though I plan to). I understand it’s more of a prequel than required for understanding Book 2?
I loved In Pain and Blood back when I read the first edition years ago, and I love this this new expanded edition. It features Dylan, a “spellster,” who can conjure up all manner of things from the surrounding air and also has healing skills. In this world, spellsters are considered to be dangerous and are segregated in a huge compound where they are raised by “guardians” and all are kept in line by “overseers.”
In the spellster tower they are trained to make the most of their abilities, and many strive to be chosen to go out in the world as a tool of the armed forces in their kingdom’s war against a neighboring kingdom. Sadly, the chosen few are “leashed” with a special unremovable necklace that prevents them from using their abilities without sanction from a superior.
The other MC is Tracker. He is one of the King’s hounds, tasked with tracking down escaped spellsters, etc. These two will meet up after Dylan is chosen to join the army and subsequently runs into some serious trouble.
It’s a truly riveting adventure!
Tricia is Dylan’s guardian, and Sulin (an elf) is Dylan’s roommate at the spellster tower. Tricia was just returning a wayward Dylan to his room where he was supposed to already be. Dylan’s POV:
Even though she wasn’t his friend’s guardian, Tricia wasted no time in turning her sharp eyes towards Sulin. “And just where did you think you were going, young man?”
“I was…” Those dark brown eyes flicked to Dylan’s face. Whatever the man saw in that second, the faint twitch of those angular brows spoke of him swiftly changing his mind. “Just on my way to inform you of how Dylan had not yet returned to his quarters.” There was a squeak to his voice, giving a harsh edge to the man’s usual undulating tone. “But I see that you have found him, so I no longer have a reason to leave this room.” His gaze returned to Dylan as he spoke those last few words. The amenable smile turned glassy, silently threatening a dozen painful deaths.
Dylan has just won the final battle of the brawl to decide the winner. The hound mentioned here is Fetcher, not Tracker. Dylan’s POV:
The hound was at the leashed one’s side. She knelt, checking for vitals despite the steady rise and fall of the woman’s chest. The hound glanced up from her charge. There was a predatory look in her eyes, one that could almost be mistaken for curiosity. “Congratulations on joining the army ranks, spellster.”
Dylan frowned. Perhaps it was Sulin’s doubts or his guardian’s past insistence that he remain within the tower, or even the rolling tone of the woman’s voice, but the hound’s words sounded rather like she was in on a cruel joke that he had somehow become the butt of.
Just a fun little paragraph. Dylan’s POV:
Dylan barely gave a glance to what he’d been given before shovelling heaped spoonfuls into his mouth. His tongue said it was porridge, if a little on the burnt side, his stomach didn’t care enough to comment.
A lovely little description of Tracker from Dylan’s perspective.
Tracker’s gaze fixed on Dylan, leaving him rooted to the spot and unable to do anything but watch the man trot down the steps. The end of the man’s waist-length, russet braid bounced from side to side in a fashion that brought to mind the cup-and-ball toys the children of the tower servants played with. Dylan hadn’t ever seen the attraction in the game—spellster children tended to have other activities to occupy their minds—but it was hypnotic to watch.
Dylan is now under Tracker’s protection, and they’re being waylaid on the road by bandits. Tracker is a badass, and you don’t want to cross him. 😁 Dylan’s POV:
“It doesn’t work that way, you pointy-eared bastard,” they snarled, bouncing a dagger in their hand, the edge glinting with each fall. “You either cough up your valuables or we slit your throat and take them off your corpse.”
A smile stretched the hound’s lips. Dylan was certain that, had the man chosen to direct such an expression at himself, he would be quickly evaluating his options. “Allow me to make a counteroffer,” Tracker replied, drawing his sword. “I will give you this one chance to leave with your lives.”
Dylan’s life in the spellster tower has everything he should want: magical knowledge, safety from the King’s Hounds and frequent clandestine affairs with women. All at the cost of his freedom. So when the chance to leave the tower—even as a leashed weapon for the King’s Army—arises, he seizes it.
When his first scouting mission goes awry, Dylan is left alone in a hostile world with the tower a distant beacon of safety. Only the flirtatious Tracker, an elven man whose very presence awakens Dylan’s long-repressed desire, can help him return to his old life before the crown discovers his unleashed status.
But the risk of being branded a deserter may be the least of his concerns as whispers of an armed presence in the North threatens his home. Dylan must rely on Tracker to protect him even as everything he thought he knew begins to unravel around them.
*This book contains violence, gore and explicit adult themes.* *This second edition shares the main storyline with In Love and Death and has additional content from Tracker’s pov.*
Spreading more book love! Here are more of my…
✓ recent reads ✓ current reads ✓ re-reads ✓ want-to-reads
(all genres included)
About My #Treadmill / #AmReading Posts
I started out with this being a Sunday thing, but sometimes I’d rather not mash multiple books into a single post, so now, you never know when you might see one of these posts.
Rather than give a true “review,” which I’m not entirely comfortable doing as an author myself, I share snippets from books I’ve read and enjoyed, letting the authors’ words speak for themselves.
As you’ve possibly noticed, if you’ve been following along, I highlight snippets for reasons of my own which might veer from what is often seen. Sometimes my highlights have more to do with a paragraph simply impressing the heck out of me for its fabulous writerly technique, other times it has to do with the lovely way it gives subtle insight into the story/characters. Still other times simply because it made me laugh.
Anyway, I sometimes add a little commentary, but not always, which is not in any way, shape, or form, to be taken as unwritten commentary. Most likely it just means I’m short on time and/or context isn’t needed to understand what’s happening, and/or my brain doesn’t feel like putting out the effort in that particular moment.
Also, I’m going to try to spread the book love by tacking on covers of more books at the end of the post that I’ve either recently read, am currently reading, or want to read. Not seeing a full post with snippets for any of these books is not a commentary on anything other than how much time I have available in a day either to read or to create a post about what I’ve read. It might also mean I listened to the audiobook only or that it’s a reread that I’ve featured previously, or it’s not M/M so probably not a good fit for featuring on this blog.