Monday, February 19, 2018

Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

Image result for defy bookAge: YA
Pages: 336
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: 25 November 2014

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

The synopsis of this book immediately caught my attention.  I am a sucker for the protagonist hiding their true selves to survive trope.  This book is a perfect example of this! I fell in love with this book from the very beginning.  Larson wrote a beautiful book that has left me eagerly anticipating what will happen in the next in the series.

One one of the most striking aspects of the book was just how eloquent Larson's writing style is.  I would often find myself re-reading passages, not because I was confused, but because of just how beautiful and powerful the passage was.  Larson's truly has a poignant way of writing about a difficult subject matter that is both beautiful and impactful for the reader.

The authors writing style also lent itself to the creation of a beautiful world.  Larson created an amazing and vivid world that the reader could easily visualize.  She really hit the sweet spot when it came to worldbuilding; it never felt lacking nor did it ever feel like the descriptions were overdone, as can be the case with some fantasy novels.

The only negative I had for this novel was the love triangle. I personally am not a fan of love triangles, however, there are cases where they can be executed well, but for me, this was not one of them.  The love triangle felt a little cheesy and forced, and altogether unnecessary to the plot. Moreover, the triangle didn't even feel like a true love triangle.  It was pretty apparent to the reader and to the main character who she would end up with, there was never any internal struggle as to who she would choose, instead, it was more of an unrequited love situation than a true love triangle. For those who either love a slightly cheesy romance or can look past it, this book is amazing.  I personally found that there were so many good things to this novel that the romance was something that didn't really bother me.

Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green

Image result for tales of ancient egypt by roger lancelyn green original publication dateAge: Any 
Pages: 234
Publisher: Puffin Classics Series 
Publication Date: 7 November 2013 (Original Edtion:  1967)

These stories include the great myths - of Amen-Ra, who created all the creatures in the world; of Isis, searching the waters for her dead husband Osiris; of the Bennu Bird and the Book of Thoth. But there are also tales told for pleasure about magic, treasure and adventure - even the first ever Cinderella story.

As someone who loves history, I really enjoy books about mythology, particularly those about ancient Egypt as it has been an obsession of mine since I was little.  In fact, it was because of my love for ancient history that this book was given to me. 

I was surprised with how easy it was to read this book.  I have read many mythology books in the past that are written in such a way that it can often be confusing for the reader.  The writing style of this book was simple enough that even a younger audience could easily comprehend the stories. I also noticed that the variants of the egyptian legends were tame compared to others that could have been chosen, making this a safe option for younger readers. 

Another nice feature of this book is that it is compiled chronologically so that it makes sence to the reader. The book was also seperated into legends about the gods, legends about magic, and legends about adventure  I found these aspectsto be a very helpful features as it made the book feel as if it had some structure to it and wasn't just a mish-mash of myths and legends. 

The only issue I could see is that a reader who doesn't know much about Egyptian history and mythology may become confused with the many different gods and godesses.  My perticular edtion has a glossary and a who's who section, but I felt that it just wasn't detailed enough.  For example Isis is listed only as Nut's fourth Child.  No other information is given about her.  She is so much more than Nut's fourth Child, and while I know a lot about her and the other gods I recognize that other people might not and may need more information. 

 Personally, I think it would have been helpful to have half a page to a page of information about each god and goddess giving some common facts, what they look like, and what they are the god or goddess of.  It would function the exact same as th who's who section, but give the common reader a better understanding of the deities without having to add anything to the text of the actual book.  

In general, this book is a very informative read, and would be perfect for the history buff, perticularly a young history buff, as this is on of relativly few child appropriate mythology books. This being said, while it is tame enough for young readers it is also written well enough that it can be enjoyed by an older audience as well.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Giveaway hop! Enter to Win a choice of book from the Book Depository

Hosted by: Mary at Bookhounds

In the spirit of Valentines Day, I will be giving away a book of the winner's choice from the Book Depository.  International entries welcome! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the other blogs participating.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Image result for silver in the bloodAge Group: YA
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: 19 July 2016

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate... or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

I had seen this book in stores and thought it sounded amazing but I shied away due to all of the mixed reviews I have seen for this book.  After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally bit the bullet and picked it up. I am so glad I did.  This book was a good reminder that sometimes you have to just go with your gut and ignore the reviews.

What drew me into the story the most was the author's writing style.  She switched viewpoints between the two girls, Dacia and Lou.  Normally, I am not a huge fan of this, but the voices of the two main characters were a great contrast that helped round out the story and move the plot forward.  She also added in letters and diary entries, which I really enjoyed. I found them to be helpful, particularly in the beginning, to learn more about the girls and their personalities, and overall I think that it was a very unique way of telling the story. 

The author also did an amazing job with the setting.  It is set in the late eighteen-hundreds, and it truly felt as if the story was taking place at that time.  I have read so many books that are set in a certain historical period and yet the characters act like they are part of the present (time travel as an exception). This drives me CRAZY, and I was so pleased to find that this was not the case for this book.  I also loved the how well described the setting was.  This is truly one of those books that the reader can immerse themselves in.  The author describes the gowns, buildings, and places so well that it truly feels like the reader is there. 

I was very surprised that I ended up liking both of the main characters.  It is rare for me to like one young adult protagonist let alone both, so I have to give Jessica Day George props for that. I think what I liked about them is that they were so different and yet were complementary; like yin and yang.  Dacia is more wild and reckless whereas Lou is quiet and more mild-mannered, and yet they seem to compliment each other and balance one another out.  A big part of me loved them because I was able to relate my own relationship with my cousin and best friend to Dacia and Lou. 

I was so happy that I ended up loving this book.  I am so glad that I didn't let negative review deter me from reading it.  I do see that this book may not be for everyone.  The historical setting can mean that some modern readers may become annoyed with certain characters for actions they take due to the etiquette and protocols of the time.  Others may not like how tame this book is.  It is definitely a young adult read, but I would say that it could be appropriate for a younger reader as well. I personally don't find this to be a negative, but rather I saw it as a depiction of the time frame it was set in.  But for those who love history and paranormal novels, this is a perfect mix of both. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

I am so excited that THE LEAK OF MADNESS by Alice J. Black is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Alice J. Black, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for 10 eBook copies of THE LEAK OF MADNESS, International, courtesy of Parliament House Publishing and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Title: THE LEAK OF MADNESS (Soul Seekers, #1)
Author: Alice J. Black
Pub. Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: The Parliament House
Pages: ?
Formats: eBook
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kobo

The spirit world has been in touch with Peyton, and it’s more than she can tolerate. Sometimes their messages are loud enough even to pierce beyond the veil of her alcohol-induced stupors.

When she is invited to attend her best friend's brother’s wedding at The Manor House, Peyton is compelled to stare down memories of her life before it was decimated by fire and tragedy. Continuously topping herself up with alcohol to keep the voices at bay, it becomes clearer and clearer that there are forces at work in the old building…shadows darker than Peyton could have ever imagined.

The Leak of Madness is the beginning of a thrilling, fast-paced series of horror novellas overflowing with intrigue, romance, redemption, and most importantly…ghosts.

Will Peyton find the normal life she could have if only she stops drinking or will the forces of evil drive her mad?

Book Trailer:

Exclusive Excerpt:

“What would the lady like?” he asked as he stood behind the bar, waving at the bottles in their optics.
Little did he know how much each of those bottles appealed. Like a kid choosing candy in a store, I was transported back to my first drink, stolen from my dad's cabinet. That one had been whiskey. 

Back then, I took whatever I could get. Now I was old enough—and I might argue wise enough—to choose my own poison.

“Do you know,” I started as I leaned over the bar, looking between the man and the bottles. He really was a good-looking guy. “That you’re giving me reason to give in to temptation.”

His smile widened. “Hey, if I didn't ply you with alcohol, what sort of bar man would I be?”

I grinned as he continued to watch me. This guy still wore the label of lad, and he was cute, but I had a couple of years on him. Still, age wasn’t everything. “See the thing is,” I started again. “My friend doesn't like it when I drink.”

“And is your friend your keeper?” He raised his brow.

“No, but see, that's my point. This has to be a secret.”

“Secret.” He leaned in conspiratorially and I couldn’t help but inhale the deep scent of his aftershave. 

“I like secrets.”

About Alice:
I’m an author in the North East of England where I live with my partner and overly-ferocious cat. I have been writing for as long as I can remember mostly in the dark genres but recently, I have expanded into other genres (such as young adult). My cupboard is stocked with an array of different and funky notebooks (because you can never have too many). My inspiration tends to come from a lot of different places but my first novel and a lot of my ideas come from my rather vivid dreams (which my partner tells me I tell him about as I’m still dreaming!)

Giveaway Details: International
10 winners will receive an eBook of THE LEAK OF MADNESS, International.

Ends on February 13th at Midnight EST!

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The Pledge (The Pledge #1) By Kimberly Derting

Image result for the pledge book
Age Group: YA
Pages: 352
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: 30 October 2012

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

This book was purely an impulse by; I was drawn in by the synopsis for this novel and just decided to buy it.  There was something about the idea of a caste system that revolves around language that I found so intriguing.  I was curious to see how such a society would run and how the different classes would interact if they all spoke different languages. I  think that Kimberly Derting did a decent with world-building, however, I would have liked to have seen even more.  The world itself is so hard to label because it has a blend of past, futuristic, dystopian, and fantasy elements. I thought that this blend made for a unique world that I hadn't seen before.  I personally like this blend of elements, however, that being said, if you want a more believable dystopian read or a mystical fantasy than this book may not be for you.

Besides the world itself, I very much enjoyed the characters. Charlie, the main character, was a hit for me from the beginning, and I only grew to love her more as the time went on.  This was mostly for the love she shows her family, particularly her sister, throughout the book.  I also really enjoyed Max as a character. He was funny, kind, charming, and made for a great love interest. There was also NO love triangle which gives the author points in my book.  The only character I didn't care for-- besides the villain obviously-- was Brooklynn, but even she managed to impress me as I got farther into the book.

While the book itself is a decent size at 352 pages, it definitely did not feel that long. The book is pretty well paced, minus a bit of world building in the beginning that dragged a bit for me, and makes the book feel like an easy read.  It has an interesting plot with many twists and turns, some of which I guessed and others that blew me away.~~ cough cough, Brooklynn, cough cough~~ For those who hate cliffhangers there is a good ending, however, it is a trilogy so that is not the end of the story.  I am kind of left wondering why it is a trilogy at all.  I am excited to read them, but I am also worried that it will just drag out an already finished story.

Today Julie Hall and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive excerpt for DOMINION, book 3 in her Life After series, which releases March 20, 2018! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a Signed copy of Book 1 HUNTRESS, Swag, and a $10 Amazon Gift card!

On to the reveal! 

Title: DOMINION (Life After, #3)
Author: Julie Hall
Pub. Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Julie Hall
Formats: eBook
Pages: ?
Find it:  Goodreads

After defeating the red dragon’s legion of bloodthirsty demons, Audrey can finally settle into the afterlife with the knowledge her family is safe. But her quest for a perfect existence shatters the moment Logan is kidnapped in an attempt to bend her to Satan’s will.

Audrey must now travel to the one place no hunter has ever ventured to save the man she loves . . . Hell.

Savage demons, desiccated corpses, life sucking zombie trees, and a land of death and rot await Audrey and her friends as they battle through the fiery realm.

But Logan’s freedom comes with a price . . . the destruction of Audrey’s happily ever after.

As Satan schemes for dominion over all the realms, Audrey learns that some acts may be beyond redemption.

Cover Reveal Trailer:

Exclusive Excerpt

We sat on his bed, tucked up against the headboard, Logan sitting with one knee bent and an outstretched leg, and me curled into a ball against his chest, practically cuddled on his lap. 

When my tears were spent, I let out a shaky breath of air.  

“Audrey, I can’t—” Logan’s voice caught on something. His head rested on top of mine. When he continued, his voice dropped an octave, thickened with emotion. “I can’t imagine what you went through down there. I’m so very sorry. I should never have bonded with you.” 

I savored the warm thud of his heartbeat on my cheek for several seconds before what he’d said sunk in. The leakage from my eyes along with a bad case of the feels must have dulled my reactions.

I jerked to a sitting position to stare at him in disbelief—and anger. My face was crusted with the salt of dried tears. There was no doubt I was a hot mess and a half. But that was nothing compared to the mess he’d just spewed.

He reached for me again, but I put a hand up to ward off his movements and curled my upper lip.
Where to even start?

“What I went through? Are you insane?” His gaze jumped around my face as if he couldn’t decide on a safe place to land. “Logan, I actually felt an echo of what you went through. I even experienced some of it in a dream or a weird out of body experience where I was you. What I went through was nothing.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but I slashed a hand through the air to stop him. “Nothing compared to what had been done to you. You were torn to shreds. Literally, in some spots.” 

His face paled. I shouldn’t have gone there and instantly regretted bringing it up—but I couldn’t handle his concern for me when he had been tortured. We’d get to the “should never have bonded with you” comment next.

“You experienced some of . . . of what I went through?” he asked.

Shoot, I gave him another reason to beat himself up. Rookie mistake. “Never mind about that. And what’s this business about regretting bonding with me? Frankly, that’s kind of—hey!”

He grabbed my upper arms and held me still as I tried to push away even farther. His blue eyes flashed, and his face was hard as stone. “If bonding with you caused you to feel even a second of what I endured in that place, then yes, it’s something I deeply regret and would do anything to take back.”

Buried under the caveman response was something sweet, but I wasn’t feeling it. 

“Argh. You . . .” I pointed a finger at his face. “You just . . .”

As I sputtered to find the right words, the corners of Logan’s lips just barely tipped up. I stopped talking when I spotted his involuntary reaction. Of course I’d find a guy who thought it was cute when I got mad. Actually, that was probably pretty lucky considering I did tend to have a short fuse. 
I pressed my lips together and narrowed my eyelids before performing another visual sweep of his body. 

Yep, he looked to be relatively healthy. 

I launched myself at him and grabbed the sides of his face, and then I planted my lips right over his. Just like the first time I’d surprised him with a kiss, he was momentarily stunned. 

I gently but firmly bit down on his full bottom lip in a silent demand for him to get with the program. Then I pulled back a fraction, just far enough that my lips grazed his when I spoke. 

“Less talking, more kissing,” I ordered. 

I’d gone to Hell and back for this guy. I wanted to collect my reward . . . with interest. 

About Julie: 

Julie Hall is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of young adult fantasy fiction. 

Before writing her first novel Julie worked as a film publicist and rubbed elbows with the rich and famous . . . as in she would gently nudge them to let them know their meal had arrived during press interviews.

She now spends most of her "office hours" with her two furry writing buddies, Bear and Coco. Her daughter thinks that mommy's superpower is “sleeping all day,” but that’s because she’s often awake until the wee hours of the morning weaving tales of adventure in worlds of her own creation. When asked in an interview what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’s quoted to have answered, “to never have to grow up.”

She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her four favorite people--her husband, daughter, and two fur babies (because dogs are people too).  

Connect with Julie here, or on social media.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Amazon Author Page | BookBub | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed paperback of HUNTRESS, the first book in the series as well as LIFE AFTER series swag (signed character cards, magnets, bookmarks and stickers) and a $10 Amazon GC, US Only.

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