Queen of Shifting Sands

Instanolde Chronicles #1

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Book 1 of Instanolde Chronicles
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Pub Date Mar 12 2024 | Archive Date Apr 29 2024

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A crownless queen. A cursed prince. One summer to live.

The stars have aligned in the kingdom of Instanolde, or so Lystra believes as she eagerly awaits her wedding day. Her beloved, the king, is everything her heart desires, but when a brutal attack leaves her betrothed dead and Instanolde on the cusp of collapse, she finds her future in ruins, and the throne beyond her reach. With invasion looming across the desert, Lystra refuses to let grief keep her from defending her kingdom—even if that means forging a marriage alliance with Elerek, the brother of her lost love, a prince shrouded in secrets.

Elerek, now heir to the throne, has spent his life waiting to die. An untouchable curse lurks beneath his skin, and though he aches to see its suffocating hold severed, he’s long given up hope. When his brother’s death drags him from the shadows, Elerek must find the strength to shoulder the crown’s burdens and secure a queen—a wife to protect his kingdom after the curse claims him. With the adoration of the people already in the palm of her hands, Lystra is the ideal candidate. But even if she doesn’t spurn him for his ruinous curse, he’ll need to protect her from its dangers—and his heart as he finds himself steadily drawn to the girl’s unbreakable spirit. With death on the horizon, Elerek must become the king he never planned to be and save Instanolde before his time runs out.

Lystra and Elerek only have one summer to prepare their kingdom for invasion, but more than one threat prowls their desert, and the cost of survival might just destroy them all.

Queen of Shifting Sands is a fantastical romance adventure where duty and endurance grapple amid the sands of chaos. Lovers of intrigue, high stakes, and slow-burn romance will fall in love with this escape into a rich, immersive fantasy world.

A crownless queen. A cursed prince. One summer to live.

The stars have aligned in the kingdom of Instanolde, or so Lystra believes as she eagerly awaits her wedding day. Her beloved, the king, is...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781998195077
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 105 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this ARC publication for an honest review.

I-loved-this-book! This is a new author to me and I already am a true fan. The world building was epic including curses and reptilian creatures trained to race. The emotional depth to the writing and the clever premise captured me immediately. Not to forget the gorgeous cover...

Elerek is the eldest brother who should have been the rightful king from the start. Unfortunately, he was cursed in infancy and the affliction is so devastating. He is also crippled and, in a wheelchair, because no one could attend to his needs to heal him. Anyone he touches is also cursed. Lystra has been raised to become a queen someday...the plan is finally in place as she is set to marry Elerek's brother. Then he is killed and a whole new plan must take place in order to save their people.

The storyline was so fascinating and at times utterly heartbreaking. Our main couple is drawn together by grief and the love of their people that they both are determined to protect. Watching Elerek and Lystra's relationship change and slowly grow into something more was special. The side characters were so well drawn, too. Even Myra who I wasn't rooting for in the romance department, made my heart tug in deep understanding. I had complete empathy for so many...oh, my heart hurt! And bile rose in my throat every time the grandmother was on the page...I hope justice is served!!

My only complaint is that the book ended! I have so many burning questions...AHHHH! When is the next book out?! Sigh. I don't know if I can wait...double sigh.

5 stars

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In Queen of Shifting Sands by Kaitlyn Carter Brown, the narrative unfolds through the captivating lens of two distinct points of view, creating a rich blend of tension and romance that keeps readers hooked from start to finish.

One of the highlights of the book is undoubtedly its choice of trope - the combination of arranged marriage and forbidden love injects a fresh perspective into the narrative, keeping readers guessing until the very end. However, while the tension between the protagonists is palpable, I found myself yearning for more interaction between them.

Visual stunning, the book´s cover is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail that permeates every aspect of the world-building. From intricately crafted settings to nuanced character portrayals, the author demonstrates a keen ability to immerse readers in a richly imagined universe. The characters themselves are multifaceted, their complexities gradually revealed as the story unfolds, allowing readers to witness their growth and development firsthand.

Yet, despite its many strengths, this book leaves some lingering questions unanswered, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. As someone who was thoroughly captivated by the first installment, I cannot wait to delve deeper into the world crafted by the author and explore the unresolved mysteries that linger tantalizingly on the horizon.

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I'm a bit blown away by how enjoyable this was! For once, a book actually lives up to its summary and delivers what it claims to. It truly was a fantasy romance adventure. The romance was great, the characters solid and the central conflict believable and interesting. Very solid novel, I'm excited to read more!

Thank you to NetGalley and Whimsical Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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