Monday, 12 October 2020

A Golden Fury Blog Tour - Aesthetic Board

Title: A Golden Fury  
Author: Samantha Cohoe 
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page. 

About the Author

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel. 

Links: Website - Twitter - Instagram

Monday, 7 September 2020

My Journey with the Charley Davidson Series

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.

Or a diagram of some kind.

A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order. 

Charley and I met last November. I had heard a bit about her before we met. People said she was sassy, stubborn and that she was the grim reaper.

I read the whole series in audiobook format and I devoured them like candy. Lorelei King was a phenomenal narrator and made the experience of reading these books that much more enjoyable. 

So you have Charley, part time PI and full time grim reaper and 100% a joy to be around. Her life isn't straight forward. *Insert a teenager saying "You don't understand me!"* I mean, she can see dead people! But as the series progresses, you see that she's not alone and that her full time job is helpful in her part time PI career.

Each chapter starts off with a witty header. Some are t-shirt slogans, there's bumper stickers and the occasional meme. Then we go into the shenanigans that Charley and friends get into. While each book has a similar formula, there is an overall plot happening throughout the series. Characters get added to the overall story as the series progresses.

I am not going to go into every character, but I will say that they all have a special place in my heart. I was sad to see some characters die, but with the premise of the series most of the characters are never truly gone. I am excited to read the novellas that are done with 1001 Dark Nights. So far there are 2 books that focus on a few side characters we've met.

To me it's crazy that these 13 books take place over a less than 5 year span. Time is wild even in books.

So let's talk about Charley being the Grim Reaper. Which is the real reason I grabbed this series in the first place. I am a sucker for books involving celestial beings. In the series, the celestial aspect becomes a bigger part as it progresses until Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave were the big bang happens. As you read the series, you start to learn who the key players are in the books. I knew who to expect to see throughout but I was curious to know what kind of role they played.

Up until book 8, things progressed in a pretty steady matter. We had Charley learning more about herself and Reyes. Character dynamics became more understanding and supportive. But then book 8 happened and I needed to take a break. There is a pretty big plot changing event that occurs that had me worried whether or not things would be the same for Charley. 

After book 8 things progressed faster than the first bit of the series. It didn't feel rushed because you know it's all leading up to something, We have more characters joining the story and the stakes get higher. 

In conclusion, I loved this series. It had its ups and downs, there are lots of plot twists throughout  and you see characters go through some interesting characters arcs. I want to check out more of Darynda's books and I highly recommends books that Lorelei narrate. 


There were so many funny and memorable quotes in this series, here are 10 quotes that will make anyone chuckle.

"In three hundred feet, turn right," Darth Vader said. The Darth Vader. I felt like we were friends now. Like I could tell him anything."

"I was just passing by. Saw the commotion. Figured you were involved."

"If life hands you lemons,keep them. Because, hey, free lemons.-T-Shirt" 

"If it weren’t for physics and law enforcement, I’d be unstoppable." 

"I pointed in the general vicinity of my left ovary, "This is Beam Me Up." Then to my right. "And this is Scotty." Garret chuckled and buried his face in his hands. He asked."

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself. And spiders. ~Bumper sticker~" 

"An integral part of any best friend's job is to immediately clear your computer history if you die." 

"Your existence gives me a headache. Go stand over there."

"It would be a miracle to solve this case. Luckily, I believed in miracles. No, wait, that was testicles. I believed in testicles."

"They were back. The demons in all their glory. And they had a plan. I made plans sometimes, too, but they rarely involved world domination. Hot dogs on a grill, maybe. Tequila."

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The Bone Shard Daughter Blog Tour - Review

Bone Shard Daughter Tour Banner

Bone Shard Daughter book cover

the words Book Info with a feather quill underneath the words
Title: The Bone Shard Daughter 
Series: The Drowning Empire #1 
Author: Andrea Stewart 
Release Date: September 8, 2020 
Publisher: Orbit
Review Copy: From publisher in exchange of honest review
The word synopsis with a feather quill underneath the words

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor's reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.

Lin is the emperor's daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright - and save her people.

The words My Thoughts with a feather quill underneath the words
When I first laid my eyes on the cover, I fell in love. Then when I first started the book I fell even more in love with this book. From the start of the story, you're emerged into this East Asian inspired fantasy that consists of multiple islands all run by the emperor and his constructs who enforce the law and control order throughout. But the empire is changing and things must be controlled before it's too late.

Going into this book, I was surprised to discover that its written from 5 points of view, you have:
Lin, the emperor's daughter. 
Jovi, the smuggler whose trying to find his missing wife.
Sand, a woman whose on the island of lost memories, called Maila Isle.
Phalue, a daughter of a governor whose in love with a rebel.
Ranami, Phalue's girlfriend and rebel against the emperor.
All the character introductions in the book had interesting and eye catching starts that it's easy to get attached and intrigued about them. What I didn't notice til the end was that some characters are written in certain tenses, which can be a jarring for some readers. I really commend Andrea in successfully doing this in a book because I can't believe I didn't see that switch sooner. 

When we first meet Lin, she's being quizzed on her past because an illness had caused her to lose memories. Due to the memory lost, the emperor feels she's unfit to rule the empire and that her foster brother, Bayan will become the heir to the empire. Due to the book title, I was expecting Lin to be the main focus of the book; but due to her character arc being more focused on behind the scenes aspects, she is focused on less. However, I feel since the majority of her story in this book is primarily focusing on her fathers secret and the forbidden magic of the bone shards, we will get to see more of her in book 2. Some might think that having a main character having less time in a book might be a bit strange, but because she is a crucial part in the overall story, I didn't feel it was necessary to have all our time focused on her and have to read all her daily nuances throughout. You can feel her determination to prove her father worthy that she can run the empire from the first page. But as you read her chapters, you see herself trying to figure out what has happened and what her fathers motives truly are.

Jovi is a smuggler whose current goal in life is to find out what happened to his wife after she went missing seven years ago. When we first meet Jovi, I was expecting someone whose a bit cocky based on his first interactions. But you quickly realize he as a heart of gold as his journey to find his wife keeps getting interrupted by saving children from the empires control. Shortly after saving the first child, he acquires a talking animal companion named Mephi. I felt his journey could have been compared to Link in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, as he travels on his boat in pursuit of the boat that his wife was last seen on.

There isn't much to say about Sand as she doesn't know who she is or where she is as she's lost her memories. It was difficult to read her chapters at times because Sand and everyone else on this island don't have any memories as to who they are or why they're on Maila Isle. 

Phalue and Ranami are the definition of opposites attract. You have Phalue, whose a daughter of one of the governors on one of the islands. She would like to use her resources from her status to help the people. Then there is Ranami whose a poor commoner whose needs are more focused on helping the people than herself. You can feel the love ooze off the page, but due to their backgrounds, they can been put at odds at how to resolve problems that the islands people are having. Ranami would love to see the emperor be taken down, and she would stop at nothing to ensure it happens. 

The use of bones and constructs made by reanimation made this an interesting magic system to grasp. This is a magic system that makes you question the value of a life of both human and animal, as the bone shards are used people slowly lose themselves. The animal constructs are used from the animals that have died but are now brought back to life to control. These animal constucts are used for control, spying and guarding.

Overall, this book is an epic start to what I feel is going to be an amazing trilogy. The Bone Shard Daughter has a great diverse cast of characters, a magic system, animal companions and secrets to learn throughout; its a great addition to any fantasy lovers library.

About the Author

Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books.

When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn't pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes. 

You can find her on twitter @andreagstewart

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Where Dreams Descend Blog Tour - Review

Title: Where Dreams Descend 
Series: Kingdom of Cards #1 
Author: Janella Angeles
Release Date: August 25, 2020 
Publisher: Wednesday Books 
Review Copy: From publisher in exchange of honest review

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

When a book has comparisons to other stories or pieces of media, I find myself intrigued but I don't take the comparisons too seriously, as each book is its own story. However the comparisons of Where Dreams Descend to Moulin Rouge and The Phantom of the Opera were apparent from page 1. But if you're not familiar with Phantom or Moulin Rouge, I would also compare it to Caraval. 

This book is a whirlwind adventure as we join Kallia on her journey to make a name for herself in the world out of Jack's shadow. I love any story that has a strong female heroine and this book fits the bill. She doesn't take any crap from anyone and is willing to do whatever she can to show shes worthy of the title. While you don't get to learn much about Kallia at first, you can tell she's determined and wanting to get out of her shell that Jack has her in. I will say that it takes some time to get to know her and guys in the book, because their character growth is focused around all their motives so it's hard say how they are as a person. 

One might say that Jack is the broody bad boy in this story, or the phantom himself. He wants Kallia to himself and his show. He sits in the background and observes everything that goes on around him until he feels its his time to shine. From the first page, he gave me an eerie feeling. Jack is definitely the type of guy who would use someone to his advantage and then dispose of when the first opportunity arises. I was not a fan of him, and I applaud Janella being able to write such a dark character that I for once wasn't rooting for.

Oh Demarco, now here's a someone whose soft but has a hard exterior shell. His past experiences of magic have made him scared to use it, and as you read this book his past opens up more. You learn that there is some trauma that haunts him, but you also get to know his real reason for judging this competition. I don't want to reveal too much about him because he's the kind of guy that you grow to love as you read this book and you can feel the romance between Kallia and him slowly grow and I loved how slow paced that was. 

I found this book really easy to get through. The writing is smooth and made time slip by as I was reading this wonderful story. I found myself getting lost in the characters and the setting, but always thinking in the back of my mind I was also on edge as I wasn't sure what types of twists and turns were going to happen throughout. 

This was a great debut story that I think will attract many readers. Whether you're a sucker for circuses, mysteries or like the comparison titles; this book has lots to offer. I am looking forward to finishing up this duology.

About the Author

JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she's lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she's most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.

Links: Twitter - Instagram

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Wicked Saints Blog Tour - Interview

Title: Assured Destruction Series: Assured Destruction #1 Author: Michael F. Stewart Release Date: March 22, 2013 Publisher: Non Sequitur Press Review Copy: From publisher in exchange of honest review
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” - Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

Wicked Saints is a lush, brutal, compelling fantasy that is dark, deep, and bloody—absolutely riveting! With a boy who is both man and monster, mysterious saints with uncertain motives, and a girl filled with holy magic who is just beginning to understand the full reaches of her power, this gothic jewel of a story will sink its visceral iron claws into you, never letting go until you’ve turned the last page. And truthfully, not even then -the explosive ending will haunt you for days! ” - Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy 

How did the story come to you?
I was playing Skyrim. It was not particularly dramatic. It’s not even a facetious story I was literally playing Skyrim and thought ‘huh, neat, I should write a book.’ It of course ended up being a much longer labor of love, but it came from humble beginnings.

Having been a fan of this book for a while now I am curious to know, what songs would associate with Serefin, Nadya and Malachiasz? Also as a concerned reader, I am worried about Malachiasz and how dirty he is all the time! Make him clean!
HE BATHES I SWEAR. But this is a fun one! A lot of Wicked Saints was inspired by metal music (black metal and doom metal especially), but hilariously, the songs I deeply associate with the characters aren’t metal (except for Serefin’s, in this case).

Serefin has never had a lot of music that my brain would associate with him, except for one song: 
Justice for Saint Mary by Diablo Swing Orchestra.

For Nadya, Той, хто рятує імена by Vivienne Mort, a Russian artist.

And Malachiasz is Burn Out by Black Lab.

Like any fantasy novel, research is an important aspect of writing the genre. What areas of research were the most challenging, easiest, entertaining and mundane?
I’m an academic at heart, research is my favorite part of the process. There are a very particular set of challenges when you’re researching a culture that has a language you’re not fluent in, so I was limited to only English resources and I had to be careful in finding resources that weren’t too Western in lens. I found reading rote history texts tedious, so while I did, I tended to focus more on folklore and fairytales from the particular countries instead. Especially because I’m writing fantasy, the atmosphere needs to be right but I’m not sweating any tiny details!  

About the Author

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Links: Website - Twitter - Instagram - Tumblr 

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