Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Book Review: Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

Title: Prince of Air and Darkness
Author: M.A. Grant
Series: The Darkest Court, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 25, 2019

Synopsis: Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control. 

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick. 

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.

Review: Prince of Air and Darkness absolutely hit the spot. It certainly has some Carry On vibes, but clearly stands on its own as a unique piece of work with distinct characters I couldn’t help but fall for, especially dear Roark, whose feelings for Finn made me giddy. I am completely fascinated with the world M.A. Grant has built and cannot wait to return to it in the sequel, where I hope Roark and Phineas will still have a prominent role. They were so fun together and there definitely seems to be more under the surface in terms of their magicks. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this start to a new and exciting series!

An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Blog Tour: Ruins of Stone Hill by F.P. Spirit (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Ruins on a Stone Hill
Author: F.P. Spirit
Series: Heroes of Ravenford, #1
Publication Date: December 2016

Synopsis: Magic is easy.

That’s what Glolindir thought, until he came across his first real monster.

Luckily, he survived, thanks to his new “friends.”

Lloyd, the reckless young warrior with blades of fire.

Seth, the sarcastic halfling who might be an assassin.

Aksel, the genius little gnome whose very touch can heal.

Little did they know that things were about to go from bad to worse.

After one hundred and fifty years of relative peace, dark forces stir around the little town of Ravenford—monsters, black magic, creatures of the night.

The only thing standing between Ravenford and certain destruction is this band of young misfits.

About the Author: F.P. Spirit has always loved fantasy. From the moment he received his very first copy of Lord of the Rings back in high school, he was hooked. Today, somewhere between work and family, F.P. manages to write young adult sword and sorcery fiction. His series, Heroes of Ravenford, chronicles the adventures of a young band of misfits in the dangerous world of Thac. The last book in the series, The Baron’s Heart, is due out this fall.


Excerpt:

Glolindir spotted the monstrous orc at the same time as Seth. The wizard waited till it charged, then lifted his arm and pointed a finger at it. As he did so, mana, the energy that flows in and around all things, gathered within him. He drew the energy inward with concentrated will and focused it with a gesture. All that was needed now was a verbal command to trigger it.

The orc had closed half the gap to the lead wagon when Glo spoke the words that released the spell, “Nullam Telum.” A projectile of arcane energy leapt from his finger and spiraled out toward the charging creature. The purple missile met the beast in midstride and connected with an audible thud.

The monster appeared neither shaken, nor hurt. Instead it merely glanced down at its chest, reached up with its free hand, and touched the smoldering spot.

Glo’s eyes went wide. This huge orc was far tougher than he imagined—he had severely miscalculated. He watched in horror as the creature dropped its hand and turned its feral gaze toward him. An evil grin spread across the monster’s maw, then it charged.

Glo froze in place, unable to move a muscle. He had been so sure of himself. He had studied his spells and creatures and practiced his art tirelessly. Yet none of that had prepared him for this. Here was a real live monster bearing down on him, fully intent on ripping him limb from limb. It swiftly closed the gap between them and would be on him in seconds.

My father was right. He was woefully unprepared to cope with this. At that moment, he wished that he had listened to his father’s advice and stayed in the safety of their elven home.

Aksel climbed out of the wagon just in time to see the creature rushing toward them. “Well, that doesn’t look good.”

“Agreed,” Glo said through barely moving lips.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Book Blitz: False Memory by Meli Raine (Teaser + Giveaway)


Title: False Memory
Author: Meli Raine
Series: False, #1
Publisher: Prosaic Press, Inc.
Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Synopsis: It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

About the Author: Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.


Teaser:


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Blog Tour: Releasing the Dragon by K.L. Bone (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Releasing the Dragon
Author: K.L. Bone
Series: The Flames of Kalleen, #2
Publication Date: October 25, 2018

Synopsis: 7,000 years ago, an Amethystine dragon fell in love with a Kalleen princess, and nearly uncovered an unholy truth. As a consequence, to protect the status quo, the Amethystine were banished from the kingdom, their very existence wiped from the epics of history.

***

Plagued by inescapable nightmares, Amelia wonders if the unknown dragon in her dreams, whose boundless fury destroys all she loves, is a glimpse of an ancient past…or uncertain future?

Despite her fears, the newly crowned Dragon Queen must find the courage to face the kingdom’s darkest secrets. Evil truths that those who prefer the old ways, especially the temple’s powerful leaders, will go to any length to keep in eternal shadow.

Standing steadfast by her side, Amelia's Captain Gwain, and newfound love Conner, strive to assist her. In their quest to forge a new kingdom, one free from oppression of those not blessed with a dragon form, Amelia delves deeper into the temple’s corruption and uncovers the horrors wrought upon her kingdom’s children in the name of control and power. A necessary task, for a better future, but her revelations could spark a civil war between the temples’ devoted followers and those sworn to the royal dragon bloodline.

About the Author: K.L. Bone is the author of the bestselling Black Rose Guard dark fantasy series. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone science fiction novel, The Indoctrination. Bone has a master’s degree in modern literary cultures and is working toward her PhD.. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Dublin. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites and Game of Thrones filming locations.


Excerpt:


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Blitz: Toxic by Lydia Kang (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: Toxic
Author: Lydia Kang
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Synopsis: Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned―one girl has been left behind.

Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.

When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive―unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.

About the Author: Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.


Excerpt:

My heart is beating so fast I can barely stay standing. I have clawed my robe until it has holes in the edges.

It has been six hours now. I am absolutely forbidden to leave my room, a room that does not exist in the consciousness of any crew member except my mother, hidden as it is in the most unused part of Cyclo’s body, the northeast quadrant, alpha ring.

For the last two hours, I’ve raised my hand countless times, poised a few inches from the door, before dropping it. Even touching the door is strictly forbidden. But I can’t wait here for much longer. Where is Mother? Where could she be? I’d even read the last entry in her diary, looking to see if anything was off, but there was nothing but our last discussion on why hedgehogs are not related to sea urchins. My eyes are full of tears, and I’ve already cried several times out of sheer panic.

I keep my voice steady and say, “Cyclo. Please open the door.”

Cyclo, not bothering to speak because the message is too urgent, blanches with white that moves in waves over the door.

Forbidden.

“Cyclo. Please open the door,” I say again, this time my voice cracking. I’ll only just peep my head outside, just a little look. I won’t step a foot out there. I know people will be walking the hallways. But if no one is there…maybe I can make my way to her lab and see why she’s delayed. I know exactly where it is. I’ve spent much of my life studying Cyclo’s every detail—the story of her birth, the way she harvests starlight energy, the layout of the ship down to every single storage vacuole and crew member unit.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blog Tour: The Dragon Tamer by Ava Richardson (Excerpt)


Title: The Dragon Tamer
Author: Ava Richardson
Series: Alveria Dragon Academy, #1
Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Synopsis: In Alveria, humans and dragons have existed side by side for centuries, but old tensions have grown and the kingdom is now divided between human nobles and the dragons that fear for the survival of their species. For the humans who serve the dragons, the future looks bleak: human Tamers outnumber the dragons and no viable eggs have been laid in over two decades.

For seventeen-year-old Kaelan Younger, growing up at the bottom of Alverian society has been hard, made even harder by the fact that she is loyal to the crown and has a habit of opening her mouth when she shouldn’t. But when her mother, dying of a mysterious disease, reveals the secret of her father’s identity, Kaelan is thrust into a world she was never prepared for – the opportunity to train at a prestigious school for those who share a dragon’s bloodline. The Alveria Akademy is a proving ground for humans and dragons alike, and could give Kaelan the chance to change her life forever. 

Faced with a new life, and the gradual realization that she is meant for something more, Kaelan must reconcile not only her past, but also the course of her future. When her responsibilities as a Tamer collide with her feelings for Lasaro, Prince of Alveria and a powerful dragon shifter, it will take a strength she has never known to prepare her for the coming danger, and the fate of the dragons she has been sworn to serve.

About the Author: Ava Richardson writes epic page-turning Young Adult Fantasy books. She creates lovable characters and drops them into intricate worlds that are barely contained within your eReader. Her current work is the ‘Return of the Darkening Series’, which features Seb, Thea and their shared dragon, Kalax.She grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction books handed down from her two big brothers – and despite being dog-eared and missing pages, she loved escaping into the magical worlds that those authors created. Her favorites were the ones about dragons; where they’d swoop, dive and soar through the skies of these enchanted lands.


Excerpt:

Kaelan’s hands trembled as she tore herbs ruthlessly from the ground of their little garden. She knocked a scrawny hen out of the way, ignoring the peck she received in retaliation and yanked a witch’s weed seedling up from its spot. The rich, earthy scent of it filled her nostrils as dirt clumps scattered outward from its curling white roots. What else did she need? She tried to recall the details of her mother’s teachings, focusing on the correct herbs for a healing tea, for waking a patient who slept too deeply.

"Redroot!" her grandmother shouted from inside the house. Kaelan scrambled over to the little flowering vines and yanked off three buds—her healer’s instinct, weak as it was, at least told her that was the right amount—and then carried everything inside to Haldis. The old woman took the plants but paused before turning away. "She will be well," she said gently. "It was only a faint. Your news was disturbing. She’ll wake soon."

Sagging with relief, Kaelan moved to her mother’s side and lifted her, placing her gently back into her bed. She tugged the threadbare blanket up to just under her chin, the way Ardis had always done for Kaelan when she’d been small.

Tears stung her eyes again. Her mother was okay, Haldis had said, but the truth lingered unspoken...for now. Ardis had caught a wasting illness from a villager she’d been trying to heal last year and nothing that Kaelan or Haldis could do would help. Her mother would wake from this faint, but one day soon, she wouldn’t.

Kaelan had seen how the stages of this illness went for the villagers. First, they’d waste away, getting to the point where they were hardly even able to stay upright for long. After a year or sometimes two of that, they would fall into a coma. About eight weeks later—if you could still get enough food into them to keep them alive that long—it was all over. Which was why, every time her mother had fallen asleep lately, Kaelan had lived in fear that this would be the day she wouldn’t wake. And at the same time, secretly, shamefully, she knew that at least then they would know how much time she had left. The waiting, the terrible uncertainty at this point in the illness... it was grueling for them all.

"What do you mean, my news was disturbing?" Kaelan asked, turning to her grandmother. Talking more about what had happened in the market was suddenly preferable to dwelling on the thin frame tucked under the covers.

But Haldis only tightened her lips as she retrieved a mortar and pestle from the cupboard. "This tea will help, but it won’t heal heal her," she reminded Kaelan instead.

"I know that," Kaelan snapped back.

"The energy of a dragon is the only thing that might heal her now," shewent on.

Kaelan gritted her teeth. She knew that, too. They’d all known it, but it was a pointless thing to say because, fascinated by the dragon-blooded nobles as Kaelan might be, she still understood that not a one of them would bother with healing a poor peasant woman. "Much good knowing it does," she muttered tightly.

But then she thought of the roar, and the skull, and the look on her mother’s face before she’d fainted. Something within her tightened and curled in on itself in fear. Suddenly, she didn’t want to talk about dragons at all.
______________________________________

-Kristen ♥

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blog Tour: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Art of Hero Worship
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: NineStar Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2018

Synopsis: Saving the one who once saved me.

College junior Liam Norcross is a hero. He willingly, even eagerly, risks his life to save a stranger as a murderous, deranged shooter moves methodically through the darkened theater on the Batcheldor College campus, randomly killing innocent men, women, and children.

The stranger he saves is college freshman Jason Tripp. Jase loses everything in the shooting: his girlfriend, who dies on the floor beside him, and his grip on emotional security. He struggles to regain a sense of safety in the world, finally leaving college to seek refuge in his hometown.

An inexplicable bond forms between the two men in the chaos and horror of the theater, and Liam fights to bring Jase back to the world he ran away from. When Jase returns to school, they’re drawn together as soulmates, and soon Liam and Jase fall into a turbulent romantic relationship. However, the rocky path to love cannot be smoothed until Jase rescues his hero in return by delving into his shady past and solving the mystery of Liam’s compulsion to be everybody’s savior.

About the Author: Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son off to Syracuse. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject. Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing alternate places to stash her stories. Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.


Excerpt:

Just like that, I’m in the cottage again...and I’m humiliated. I want to cry, but I’m determined to stop the tears that have welled up in my eyes from spilling down my cheeks. “I’m sorry...this has happened to me at home but it’s never happened when I’m out.”

“It’s all right...I think you had a flashback. No worries at all. I’m just glad I could be here for you.”

I turn toward him and hug him tight. “We were about to...to do something...weren’t we?” The dreamy romantic energy between us is lost, but I’m willing to try to retrieve it.

“If you don’t mind, I think I’ll just hold you for a while.”

Without letting go, I say, “Holding me is just what I think we both need and...and it looks as if you saved me...again.”

“It is my life’s greatest goal.” He says it with a smile and a wink, but I can tell he’s not joking.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥
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