Cover Reveal: Ozma

Cover Reveal

Blurb: 

At Ozma’s birth, the witch, Mombi, abducted and cast a spell on her, turning the infant into a male. Only when Ozma broke the witch’s curse did she discover who she is—the True Queen of Oz. Her freedom is short lived when the Wizard, hungry for her power, imprisons her in a dark, brutal world, cut off from Jack and her magic.

Jack, too, was stolen as a child, forced to toil as Mombi’s slave. When he believed his lover died, Jack loses himself to an array of companions, while plotting his escape from Mombi.

Once Ozma is returned to the Land of Oz by a savior’s magic, she seeks to reunite with Jack while vowing to kill the two fae who ruined their lives. However, neither Jack or Ozma are the same as they once were. They must put their heartache aside to journey across the unforgiving land to stop the Wizard and keep evil from sweeping over the territories.

Book Links:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50713469

Pre-order link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K4QNJ13/

ARC Review: The Brass Queen

Book Reviews

Let me start off by saying that The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatworth is not something I usually read. Steampunk is a relatively unexplored subgenre for me, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect …

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The writing itself is elegant, thorough. Every detail paints an elaborate picture of what is being viewed and the reader can easily see what they are being shown. At times the detail was a little too much and distracting, dragging down the action, but I mostly appreciated the overall picturesque scenes as I got to experience the world through the hero and heroine’s POV.

Tying into the language, and as mentioned a little above, the overall flow of the story dragged for me even with the bouts of action. While reading, I often was waiting for something that I just didn’t quite get. The mix of historical characters and events, the devices, the side characters, usage of humor, all were fabulous, and I was greedy for more details on the artifacts that the Haltwhistle’s housed. It was the main characters, specifically Constance herself, that just didn’t mesh with me.

Constance was supposed to be “The Brass Queen” and yet I didn’t really see that. There is mentionings of her creations, her dealings, and nods to her “second” persona but she didn’t seem to know how to handle a situation and “luck” was mostly on her side so she could prevail. I wanted more from her. Expected more.

Overall I adored the historical aspects, the creations that were birthed, the humor, and the side characters that added to the whimsy feel. I enjoyed the realistic ending and the open-endedness of what the characters themselves will do next.

Rating: 3/5

Looking for a witty and humorous read with a splash of romance, steampunk creations, and historical oddities? Give The Brass Queen a try—releasing this month!

Blog Tour: For Better or Cursed

Blog Tour

For Better or Cursed 

(The Babysitters Coven #2)

by Kate Williams

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: September 15th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Magic Realism, Fiction

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Synopsis:
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed sequel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Esme Pearl’s life used to be all about bumming rides and babysitting. Sure, it wasn’t glamorous, but it was predictable. All that changed when Cassandra Heaven came to town, and they discovered their complicated, and connected, legacy: Esme and Cassandra are Sitters, supernaturally-gifted teens armed with an ever-changing grimoire of Sitter witchcraft to help them protect the innocent and keep evil demons at bay. You know, the typical teenage stuff.

But just as Esme is starting to adjust to–and maybe even like–her new normal, life lobs another glitter bomb her way. The Synod–the Sitterhood’s governing circle–has called a Summit, a once-in-a-generation gathering that promises training, education, and whole lot of ice-breakers.

Esme should be excited–a Summit might mean she can finally get the answers she desperately wants–but she can’t shake a building sense of panic. Especially since Cassandra’s not acting like herself; Esme’s dad is MIA; Pig is out of dog food; Janis is scared to be alone; and there’s a guy who seems too good to be true, again. Worst of all, it soon becomes clear, there’s no one watching the kids. It’s obvious the Summit is a haute mess, but will it be a deadly one, too?

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Instagram

I’m the author of the YA novel The Babysitters Coven.
I also write for magazines, including Cosmopolitan, NYLON, Elle, Women’s Health, Shape, Time Out New York, Monster Children, Russh, Oyster, The Fader, NME, H&M, Smith Journal, Gather Journal, KnitWit, Popular, Style.com and more.


I have ghostwritten New York Times bestsellers, celebrity tell-alls, memoirs, how-tos, and beauty bibles (Shh…. I was never here, and you haven’t seen me.)


And, just ‘cause we’re still talking about me, I’ve also written windows, billboards, emails and captions, captions, captions for brands such as Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, Vans, Calvin Klein, Nike, Lively, BAGGU and more.
I love to write about witches, teenagers, girls behaving badly, palm trees, and other forms of magic. Teenage girl witches behaving badly under the palm trees is my penultimate subject.

Guest Post.

Movies NOT to watch if you’re a babysitter

I got the idea for The Babysitters Coven when I started to think about how many horror movies feature a babysitter as a main character. Taking care of children is never an easy job, but here are five flicks that will make any babysitter reconsider her career path!

  1. Halloween (1978): This classic film is so much about torturing a teenage babysitter that it was originally titled “The Babysitter Murders.” Fortunately, that babysitter is badass Laurie Strode, who survives and goes on to star in many, many sequels.
  2. When A Stranger Calls (1979): An eerie prank caller keeps urging the babysitter to “check the children,” and…spoiler alert…the call is coming from inside the house!!!
  3. Child’s Play (1988): Sometimes it’s not the kids or the parents who are evil. Sometimes it’s the toys.
  4. The House of the Devil (2009): Pro-babysitting tip: when hired to babysit for a new family and you arrive to find out they have no children, just call it a night and head home.
  5. Better Watch Out (2016): A little Christmas movie about the horrors of white male privilege.

Tour Schedule Here.

Giveaway Info:

Prize: Win a physical copy of FOR BETTER OR CURSED by Kate Williams (US Only)

Starts: 23rd November 2020

Ends: 14th December 2020

To enter, click here.

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Lyrics & Curses Release Day Blitz

Blog Blitz

Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.

Auden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.

When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.

*Set in 1985 and full of nostalgia! Perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Pretty in Pink.

To purchase on Amazon, click here.

For more info about the book and author, Candace Robinson, go here.

Blog Tour: Nemesis and the Swan

Blog Tour

Nemesis and the Swan

by Lindsay K. Bandy

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Release Date: October 27th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fiction, France

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Kobo | Google Books


Synopsis:


From her prison cell in revolutionary Paris, nineteen-year-old aristocrat Hélène d’Aubign recalls the events that led her to choose between following in her parents’ unforgivable footsteps or abandoning the man she loves.


Despite her world of privilege, Hélène is inspired early on by the radical ideas of her progressive governess. Though her family tries to intervene, the seeds of revolution have already been planted in Hélène’s heart, as are the seeds of love from an unlikely friendship with a young jeweler’s apprentice. Hélène’s determination to find true love is as revolutionary as her attempt to unravel the truth behind a chilling set of eye-shaped brooches and the concealed murder that tore her family apart.


As violence erupts in Paris, Hélène is forced into hiding with her estranged family, where the tangled secrets of their past become entwined with her own. When she finally returns to the blood-stained streets of Paris, she finds everything-and everyone-very much changed. In a city where alliances shift overnight, no one knows who to trust.


Faced with looming war, the mystery of her family’s past, and the man she loves near death, Hélène will soon will find out if doing one wrong thing will make everything right, or if it will simply push her closer to the guillotine.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Lindsay Bandy writes historical and contemporary young adult fiction as well as poetry. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two daughters, and two cats, and currently serves as the co–regional advisor of the Eastern Pennsylvania region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Guest Post:

On Cake and Privilege

You know the whole “Let them eat cake” thing that Marie Antoinette supposedly said? Well, historians agree: There’s no evidence that those words actually escaped her lips. So how did it become her most famous “quote?” Because the reality of privilege is nothing new!

Image credit: Public domain

As John M. Cunningham explains on Britannica online,

As it happens, folklore scholars have found similar tales in other parts of the world, although the details differ from one version to another. In a tale collected in 16th-century Germany, for instance, a noblewoman wonders why the hungry poor don’t simply eat Krosem (a sweet bread). Essentially, stories of rulers or aristocrats oblivious to their privileges are popular and widespread legends.  

So let’s set the scene for Marie Antoinette: It’s the 1780s. France is in crisis. There isn’t enough grain. Starving Parisians wait in bakery lines for HOURS hoping to bring home a precious loaf for their families, only to be turned away. Prices skyrocket. Taxes increase—but not for the nobility. Children starve and freeze to death in the streets while the occupants of Versailles toss leftovers on the floor for the maids and dogs to clean up. Before the Revolution forced her to pay attention, Marie Antoinette seems to have been oblivious to the plight of her people because she was too busy playing dress-up in her life-sized dollhouse. She was comfortable enough that she didn’t have to pay attention to the suffering of others. So, whether or not she ever said those words, she was, in effect, living them.

Privilege is nothing new, but it’s nothing old, either. We may not have literal entitlement in the form of ducs, marquis, or princesses in modern-day America, but there is no shortage of privilege here. Jamie Beth Cohen, the author of Wasted Pretty and a Jewish friend of mine, recently wrote,

“If you hadn’t heard of the Proud Boys until last night (the first presidential debate), maybe consider how privilege works…it’s not your FAULT you haven’t heard of them, but it MAY be your privilege that you haven’t felt the need to track all groups that may want you dead.”

Acknowledging privilege can come with a certain amount of defensiveness, and the desire to shout: It’s not my fault! But being born into privilege doesn’t automatically equal guilt. The truth is, France’s broken system wasn’t Marie Antoinette’s fault. If we take a step back from the drama of her later years, we see a fourteen-year-old Austrian girl married off to an awkward, gluttonous, and clumsy teenaged French prince. On the journey from Austria to France, she was stripped of her Austrian clothes in a tent and handed over to the French naked and crying. As the fifteenth child of the Empress Maria-Theresa, her education had been neglected. No one asked her if she wanted to leave her homeland to become the future queen of a country already brewing with troubles.  None of those things were her fault, BUT as she came of age and into the role of queen, she had a choice to focus inward or outward. The choice to selfishly ignore her people’s suffering was, indeed, her fault!

When there is a call to change—whether it’s the tocsin of Revolution or the strained last words of George Floyd, the privileged have a decision to make: Are we going to selfishly fight to keep our privileges and delude ourselves that we somehow deserve more than other humans? The monarchy and nobility of the late 1700s refused to acknowledge systemic problems or step out of their literal comfort zones to change them, and it was their ruin.

Today, we’re faced with the same choice, but we have the benefit of learning from the past. In “Story,” screenwriter Robert McKee says authors of historical fiction must “…use the past as a clear glass through which you show us the present,” and I hope that Nemesis and the Swan will do just that. The future has yet to be written. It’s up to us to write it well!

Resources:
The Days of the French Revolution, by Christopher Hibbert. Perennial/HarperCollins. 1980
Britannica online: Did Marie Antoinette Really Say Let Them Eat Cake? By John M. Cunningham
Author Jamie Beth Cohen, http://www.jamiebethcohen.com
Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/marie-antoinette-134629573/
McKee, Robert. STORY: SUBSTANCE, STRUCTURE, STYLE, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF SCREENWRITING. Regan Books, 1997
Image credit: Public domain

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Blog Tour: GOD STORM

Blog Tour

God Storm 

(Shadow Frost #2)

by Coco Ma

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Release Date: October 20th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

Synopsis:

Everything has a price.


In the kingdom of Axaria, a darkness has fallen. After defeating the evil mother who summoned an immortal demon to kill her, newly coronated Queen Asterin Faelenhart should have every reason to celebrate. Her kingdom is safe, forbidden magic eradicated, and her friends are alive. Except Asterin’s triumph has come at a devastating cost – forced to choose between a lifelong friend and true love, she’s lost both. But the shadows in Axaria have begun to stir once again, and no one is more starved for vengeance than Asterin….


Yet it soon becomes clear that the shadows plaguing her kingdom are just the beginning. Another realm coexists with the mortal world – the beautiful, nightmarish Immortal Realm ruled by the wicked God of Shadow, King Eoin. When their paths entwine, Asterin realizes that Eoin possesses exactly what – and who – she seeks most. And the fates of all those that she holds dear – Orion, her missing Guardian; Luna, the friend she could not save; Harry, the demon who saved them all; and Quinlan, her beloved broken prince – ultimately rest in the god’s hands.


But in a world of magic, not everyone is always as they seem. When shocking discoveries threaten everything and everyone Asterin has sworn her life to protect, she won’t be the only person forced to make a choice…a choice that will change the mortal world forever.
And maybe even destroy it.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram 

Coco Ma is a Canadian author and pianist. At the age of fifteen, she wrote the first book of the Shadow Frost Trilogy and hasn’t looked back since. After learning the piano during her childhood, she has performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a precollege diploma in piano performance from the Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, she studies at Yale University.


At this point, she wishes she could mention having a dog or a small dragon, except pets (and happiness, apparently) are tragically prohibited at her dormitories. When she isn’t writing, practicing piano, or wreaking havoc, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

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