by Lauren Wagner
GENRE: Speculative Fiction
Natalia has embraced the choice of her people. She is honored to have been chosen as their human sacrifice and will surrender her life to the Gods. She awaits the call of her people for that final moment, living a life of solitude until it’s time. But then her death is stolen from her—she is kidnapped by her own guards and forced into an eternal slumber.
Hundreds of years later—now—Natalia is woken in a world that’s completely unfamiliar. The archaeological team was not looking for her. They were looking for Estancia, the lost city of gold, and Natalia agrees to guide them.
While they journey through the treacherous jungles of Argentina, Natalia stumbles upon the alarming truth of her past. Her life’s prophecy must be fulfilled to restore balance to her people, but only she can decide whether that balance is worth her death.
I wake to a set of ocean blue eyes filled with disbelief and a smooth, unyielding face. Shock holds his cheeks tight. His lips purse together.
I am dreaming, I tell myself. One more moment and the dreams will subside. I will take another scale and my dreams will diminish. But until then, I remain in a daze. Confused with magic or maybe poisoned with despair, I feel my body move, but only in acute awareness. My muscles scream at me as my toes curl and my fingers stretch. I have a vague memory of moving my head from side to side. My eyes search for the Keeper, in fear he might stop this intrusion, yet I find only stone in a glorious lizard shape that reaches to the far end of the cave. He, as well as his magic, has gone.
The blue eyes belong to a man. Not yet filled to his height, but no longer built like a boy. Strange clothing falls too loose on his frame. His dirty shirt tucks into ripped pants held by a worn leather belt. Grime covers his pale skin. His hair is short and rumpled at the top of his head.
A man drops from the sky next to him and speaks a language not of my own. I listen for my breath. In or out. But in my shocked silence, I feel my heartbeat.
Lauren Wagner’s Nine Favorite Books Of All Time.
- In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols: This story is about a young girl searching for the daughter she was forced to give up for adoption. Filled with themes of redemption and forgiveness, this book was hard to put down.
- Embrace by Jessica Shervington is the first in a series with exiled angels, a love triangle, and a prevailing female antagonist. I could read this book over and over again.
- The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Mere moments after finishing this book, I got in my car and immediately bought the sequel. I did the same thing when the sequel ended.
- Sara’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: This book left me emotionally distraught for weeks. It was an intense account of the arrests of Jewish families in France during World War II and the story of a young girl who wanted nothing more than to save her little brother.
- The False Prince by Jennifer Neilson: This was such a fun read that had me turning pages faster than my mind could comprehend—filled with secrets and a unique set of twists and turns.
- Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski: The world-building in this unforgettable story inspired me. I liked it so much because it was fresh and proposed a new type of character in a paranormal fantasy.
- Legend by Marie Lu: In this dystopian novel, a criminal and a teenage girl raised amid the government’s military cross paths and became tangled in the expectations of right and wrong. I loved this story from beginning to end.
- Renegades by Marissa Meyer: I loved this book because the antagonist thinks she is the protagonist and ends up being both.
- The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf: This is a story filled with deep family secrets and the tragic disappearance of two young girls. It is a massive reminder that sometimes silence can be deafening.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lauren Wagner’s love for reading started as a young adult after discovering her town’s public library. After carrying out piles of books at a time, and re-reading them over and over again, she discovered her love for writing. She writes fantasy and science fiction as well as post-it notes about her future stories. Awaken is her debut novel.
She grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago where she presently resides with her husband and two children. She currently teaches upper elementary students to love and obsess over written works of art.
Lauren Wagner’s author page: https://cinnabarmoth.com/lauren-wagner/
Lauren Wagner will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.