Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Daughter of the Sun by Zoe Kalo - Book Tour + Giveaway


Daughter of the Sun 
Cult of the Cat Book 1 
by Zoe Kalo 
Genre: YA Contemporary Mythological Fantasy


EGYPTOLOGY. MAGIC. MYSTERY. AND CATS, LOTS OF CATS...

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.

But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.

Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny. 



Chapter 3

I trudged behind Sister Eveline down the hall to Mother Superior’s office while listening to her sermon about my “disobedient, argumentative and hot-head nature.” Words like “bad seed,” “born trouble-maker,” “repentance,” “prayer” and “confession” entered one ear and went out the other. Sister Eveline had a talent for making me feel evil.
I rolled my eyes, but deep down I wondered if she was right.
I sometimes had the fantasy that one day I would buy the convent and change all the rules. Bully nuns would be severely punished, meat would be served daily, there would be dancing lessons, girls would go to bed however late they wanted.
Rain pelted against the windows and the sky had turned a dark shade of slate. I rubbed my arms to get rid of the goosebumps. While arguing outside, a drizzle had started and my hair and clothes were slightly wet. Not that it worried me. I never got sick.
Sister Eveline’s face was still flushed with anger. Beth had staggered backward and hit the floor from the impact of my blow. The string tangled around Beth's leg and the cat scrambled all over her, hissing and yowling. She then dashed off, trailing the string, and leapt over the gate.
I had expected Beth to jump to her feet and strike back, but her hand flew to her cheek and, for an instant, her eyes widened with genuine fear—or so it seemed, unless she had put on an act to make herself the victim and me the villain. Surely I hadn’t punched her that hard. Before Sister Eveline had the chance to examine her cheek or ask questions, Beth sprang to her feet and dashed off with her friends.
Now, walking to Mother Superior’s office, I couldn’t help inspecting my fist. My knuckles looked flawless. I stroked them with my other hand.
I mouthed a silent curse. It was utterly unfair that I was the only one being taken to Mother Superior’s office when in fact it had all been Beth’s fault.
Finally we arrived at the office and Sister Eveline knocked.
The words “Come in” came from inside and Sister Eveline opened the door and, stepping in, respectfully said, “Sorry for the delay, Mother Superior. Unfortunately, we had a situation on the playground.” She stressed the word ‘situation’ while shooting me a reproving look. “Step inside, Trinity.”
I obeyed, biting my lip. But before I could control myself, I rushed to Mother’s Superior’s desk and the words started to spill from my mouth like waters from a broken dam.
“This is absolutely unfair,” I protested. “You see, there’s this cat, this beautiful calico cat—or it could be a tortoiseshell cat, I’m not quite sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s homeless—and Beth was torturing it. Haven’t you taught me to be just and morally correct and do the right thing? Well, if defending a defenseless animal—an innocent creature of God—from a bully isn’t morally correct, I don’t know what is. So yes, I confess it, I punched her. And I’d do it again. Go ahead, punish me. It doesn’t pay to be good—”
Clearing her throat, Mother Superior waved off the words and pointed to someone in the room I hadn’t seen.
I turned around. Lightning struck, momentarily dimming the lamps. For a second or two, the room lay in shadows and I couldn’t make out the stranger’s features. A shiver raised the hairs on my arms.
Malevolence.
Then the lights flickered back to life and the cloud of malice vanished.
Sitting in a chair was a woman I had never seen before. Sixty-something, maybe. Dressed in a fine, expensive-looking suit. Her black hair was gathered in a severe bun. An exotic, Egyptian-looking gold necklace adorned her throat and a crimson jewel gleamed on the middle finger of her right hand, matching the lipstick on her lips. But what struck me the most were her eyes, keen, deep, penetrating eyes, expertly rimmed with charcoal. They reminded me of a bird of prey’s as they studied me with the most profound curiosity—though I wouldn’t have been able to fully read what lay behind her charismatic gaze.
And then it dawned on me. Of course. The black limousine.
Flustered, Sister Eveline gave a respectful nod to the woman before turning to Mother Superior. “I apologize for Trinity’s behavior,” she said, shaking her head. “This girl needs some serious—”
“That will be all, Sister Eveline,” interrupted Mother Superior, crossing her hands on her desk. “I’ll handle it from here. You may leave us now.”
Sister Eveline bowed slightly and left the room, closing the door behind her.
I started to have a nagging feeling that I was here for another reason. “Mother Superior…Um, am I here for punching Beth?”
“No.” She gestured me to another chair. “Sit down, Trinity.”
Now I was even more intrigued. Mother Superior hadn’t invited me to sit in one of her chairs in years, not since I had caught a mouse and hidden it under Beth’s pillow when I was ten years old. And of course, there was that time I got caught dancing ‘lecherously’—Sister Eveline’s words—in the chapel.
I sat down. The woman was still observing me with acute interest. I squirmed in my seat.
“This is Dr. Bithiah Nassri, Trinity,” Mother Superior said. “She’s come from very far to make your acquaintance.”
I frowned, looking questioningly at them. “Hello…” I said to the woman.
“Hello, Trinity,” Dr. Nassri said. Her voice was throaty and she had an accent I couldn’t place.
There was a brief silence. Mother Superior seemed to hesitate. It was a well-known fact that she liked to drink water when perturbed. There had always been a glass of water on her desk, though I had never seen her drinking it. Now the glass was empty.
I stared at her expectantly, my pulse quickening.
“There’s no proper way to say this that won’t alarm you, Trinity. So I’ll be clear and I’ll be brief,” Mother Superior began. “There’s been an… unexpected development, for lack of a better term.” She paused. I waited. She continued, “It appears you have a living relative—a grandmother by the name of Margaret Walford. Dr. Nassri is here on her behalf. You’re to pack your things immediately and join her as soon as possible.”
It felt as if someone had wrenched my heart out of my chest. I couldn’t breathe.
“I know this must be a shock—”
I rose to my feet so abruptly and with such force that I knocked the chair on its side in the process. “What?
Mother Superior recoiled, startled. “Trinity, please…”
My hands went to the sides of my head and I shut my eyes. A grandmother? A grandmother?
I opened my eyes. A million questions rushed through my mind, but I was so upset I couldn’t articulate them. “So where has she been all these years? Why didn’t she show up before? I’m supposed to leave now? Right now? This precise second?”
“Sit down and let me explain,” Mother Superior said, not unkindly.
“Perhaps it’s better if you allow me to do that,” Dr. Nassri said.
I turned to her sharply.
“Your reaction is perfectly understandable, Trinity.” She shifted in the chair, moving slightly forward and leaning her elbows on the armrests. “I would be just as distressed if I were in your position, but believe me, Margaret didn’t know about your existence until only a few days ago.” Perfect English, in spite of the accent.
I swallowed. “How is that possible?”
Dr. Nassri sighed. “Over the years she hired various private detectives to try to find you. None of them were successful… until now. Believe me, she—we—were as shocked as you are. I immediately made arrangements to come for you. Your grandmother wants nothing more than to have you by her side as soon as possible.”
“If she’s so eager to see me, why didn’t she come herself?” I was having a hard time believing this wasn’t a nightmare. My heart, my soul was filled with a dizzying sensation of unreality.
I had a family.
A grandmother. Margaret Walford.
All my life, I’d always felt this painful longing, this burning conviction that I belonged… To someone. To something. To anything.
“She wanted to,” Dr. Nassri said. “Very much. Unfortunately, she’s ill, so she sent me.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I’ve known Margaret for many years. I’m her assistant. I’m also her friend.”
I frowned. “Assistant? Aren’t you a doctor?”
“Not a medical doctor.” Dr. Nassri’s expression subtly changed. She leaned back against the chair and crossed her legs. I got the feeling she was choosing her words before speaking. “Let’s just say your grandmother is a powerful, wealthy woman.”
I’m sure my eyes widened. Not because I was impressed, but because this only added to the sensation of unreality. So not only did I have a grandmother, but she was rich?
I waited, expecting to hear more, but obviously the woman didn’t want to talk.
As if reading my thoughts, she said, “You must have many questions, and that’s perfectly natural. But Margaret has insisted on telling you everything herself when you meet.”
“Where is she?”
“Presently, on an island in the Sea of Marmara, off the coast of Istanbul, where she always spends her summers.”
Then… the inevitable question. She had to know it was coming. “What about my parents?”
“I really think—”
“Are they dead?”
Time stood still for a fraction of a second before she nodded briefly.
I turned to Mother Superior. All this time she had watched us in silence. She nodded, too. I wasn’t sure what to feel. I’d never known my parents and you can’t love or miss what you’ve never had, especially if you’re surrounded by other orphans. But some part of me, some very deep part of me had thought they were alive. Why else would I have had such a strong sense of belonging all these years? It didn’t make sense.
Dr. Nassri glanced at her watch and turned to the window. She frowned and her red lips closed in a firm line at the pouring rain. “We have a long trip ahead of us, Mother Superior,” she said.
Mother Superior looked at me, and her eyes swept over my face with unease. Did she expect me to burst into tears?
“Yes, of course,” she said, rising to her feet. She took a deep breath and her mouth curved in a weak smile. “Well, Trinity, this is certainly good news! You should consider yourself fortunate. In all the years I’ve been here, few girls have been able to reunite with their close relatives. You better head to your dormitory right away and get ready. I’m sure you’re anxious to meet your grandmother. I’ll instruct Sister Eveline to bring you a small suitcase.”
“What for? It’s not as if I have anything to pack,” I said, appalled at the quick way this nun, this nun who had known me since I was a week old baby, wanted to get rid of me.
“When you’re done, please come here again,” Mother Superior said, ignoring my rude remark, and something in her deliberate tone made me frown. “I’d like a few private words with you before you leave.” She turned to Dr. Nassri. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to assemble the girls for a proper farewell dinner. It isn’t fitting to have Trinity leave so abruptly without saying goodbye to her friends.”
Dr. Nassri had formed her hands into a steeple. The tips of her fingers tapped each other lightly and the red gem on her finger caught the light and shimmered. “But of course,” she said, observing me with what seemed like thoughtful contemplation.
“If you wish,” I said to Mother Superior, turning to the door.
“And Trinity—” Mother Superior.
I stopped and looked at her.
“Please put the chair the way it was.”

I obeyed and left the room without another glance at either of them, trying to control the terrible knot tightening at the base of my throat, choking me.

Storyteller at heart... 

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic. 

Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. 

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web. 






An ancient Egyptian themed gift related to the book (I need to decide which, as I have several possibilities) 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!




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