Blog Tour: Sisters of Shadow and Light

Blog Tour

Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1)

By Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: November 5th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:
From the acclaimed author of DEFY, Sara B. Larson, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT is a timeless and fantastical tale of sisterly love and powerful magic.
“The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes…”
Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world―including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.
On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. Inara inherited their father’s Paladin power; her eyes glow blue and she is able to make plants grow at unbelievable rates, but she has been trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out―leaving Zuhra virtually alone with their emotionally broken human mother.
For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.
Book Links:  photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Character Playlist

 

Zuhra:

Breathe – Fleurie

Lost but won – Hans Zimmer

A New Home – Dustin O’halloran

Pain, Loss, & Love – Rupert Gregson-Williamson

Hell Hath No Fury – Rupert Gregson-Williamson

I think of you all the time – Rachel Portman

I feel alive – Ramin Djawadi

Lion Theme – Dustin O’halloran

 

Inara:

Solaris Rising – Andrew Prahlow

Sisters – Tyler Bates

I wish I had a hundred years – Fernando Velasquez

Mistake of your Life – Rachel Portman

Separation – Ramin Djawadi

Dark Side – Ty Dolla $ign, Future, Kiiara

About The Author
Sara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE) and the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology. Her next YA fantasy, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT, comes out November 5th from Tor Teen. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their four children, and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.
Social Media Links:

Giveaway Info Below!

Prize: Win (1) of (10) copy of SISTERS OF SHADOW & LIGHT by Sara B. Larson

(US/CAN Only)

Starts: 30th November 2019
Ends: 13th November 2019

Click here to enter.

 

 

 

Tour Schedule Here.
Tour Organized By:
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Review: The Fever King

Book Reviews
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a free, honest review. All opinions are my own. ***

 

Fever King Cover.jpg

 

“…there was something about these walls that he didn’t like-walls that closed in on him, that had teeth.”

 

The Fever King Review

By: Rae

 

To start, I will reference the quote above, specifically – “that had teeth” – because I felt this entire book had teeth and was just waiting to devour any shred of acceptance and understanding I had from start to finish. And let me tell you…the ending still bites (pun intended) at me. What was real? Honestly, I have no idea.

From the beginning, Noam was connectable. As a teenager struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world thanks to magical outbreaks and a fallen United States of America, he stuck to his beliefs regardless of the consequences. Did I doubt his mentality at points? Yes. Did I think he was too naïve during bigger moments of information reveal? Yes, of course. Did I continue to root for him? Obviously. Throughout I did some complaining because of his decisions, the roundabout of his thoughts and yet that was the beauty of him – he was real, he made mistakes, he cried, he got angry. He followed his heart – I hope. The fact that his magic ties with technology, leaving him surviving a magic outbreak with the ability of technopathy is an added bonus that seems almost too convenient at times yet fitting too as he struggles to deal with the murkiness of the game he decided to play.

Then there was Dara. I can’t say too much about this character purely because the entire review would become about him. Needless to clarify – though I will – I adored Dara. He is complex, intriguing, and 99.9% of the time maddening in his actions and communications. I was getting gray hairs even as I swooned. When some bigger character reveals for him happened, I was broken and hadn’t seen those reveals coming.

As for Dara and Noam together… well, you’ll have to find out on your own.

Backtracking to the plot and storyline itself. Admittedly I found it tedious and slow – for about 85% of the book. Then BAM everything’s happening and leaving me with the feeling of being punched in the gut. I got boggled down with the politics and political backstory of the creation of Carolinia which goes hand in hand with Noam and his story. Minor characters provided humor or relief from the politics but it all played back to the political endgame.

Two quick comments: First, Lehrer was overall a bigger entity and not fully explained. Secondly, the same could be said for the villain of this story, Sacha.

Therefore the end left me doubting everything I learned. I have no idea what was true and what wasn’t and cannot speculate what could or will happen based on the fact I don’t know what is real.

Based on all the factors above, I’m giving The Fever King 3.5/5 stars and will wait anxiously for what happens next.

 

The Fever King is available now for purchase!

Blog Tour: Smoke and Summons

Author Interview, Blog Tour

Smoke and Summons

(Numina Trilogy #1)

By Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: February 1st 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg
Synopsis:
A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.
A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

Interview

Why play with immortality in Smoke and Summons?
It was one of the seed ideas. I was looking through my brainstorming folder for magic ideas for a new series, and I found one I’d written down about a year before: immortality switch. Immortality has been done over and over again, but what if you could turn it on and off? It was something I itched to write about, so it made the cut!

 

What was the idea that sparked the use of magic and human vessels?
Honestly, I used to play a lot of Final Fantasy. That game uses summons you can bring down to fight for you. I thought, What if they have to take over someone’s body in order to fight? And thus that side of the magic was born.

 

Did Smoke and Summons as a title come before, during, or after the first draft?
After, definitely. The working title was These Ethereal Chains. Which I still really like, but it’s harder to say out loud!

 

Do you have any writing quirks that you’ve noticed or someone pointed out to you?

 Yep. First, I get my usage wrong a lot. I use a word that sounds like the right word, but isn’t. My alpha and beta readers have to point those out to me a lot. The other is that I use a lot of qualifiers that have to be edited out. Someone was almost this or a little bit that. Drives my agent crazy. 

Where do your story ideas come from?

 This is a loaded question. They come from everywhere! The Numina series came from frankensteining a lot of old ideas. But, for example, Followed by Frost came from my scraping off my windshield one winter and thinking, “Wouldn’t it suck if I felt like this all the time?” The Fifth Doll spawned from a magic workshop I was teaching for a conference. I was walking around my house, writing down random things people could make magic systems out of, and I passed my matryoshka dolls. Needless to say, I kept that one for myself.

About the Author

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.

Blog Tour Schedule Here.

 

 

Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished copy of SMOKE AND SUMMONS by Charlie N. Holmberg (US Only)
Start Date: 10th February 2019
End Date: 5th March 2019

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Blog Tour With Fantastic Flying Book Club

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Review: The Antidote

Book Reviews, Misc.
*** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free honest review. All opinions are my own. ***

 

The Antidote cover

 

“I knew there was a catch… There’s always a catch.”

– Shelley Sackier, The Antidote

 

The Antidote Review

By: Rae

 

With snippets into their childhood set the foundation, following a sudden plague that leaves the kingdom of Fireli desolate, three young children are left to pick up the pieces. One is sent away, the other becomes burdened with saving a kingdom, and the third is hidden. 10 years pass, and many secrets are about to be revealed.

The synopsis intrigued me, setting the scene for an exciting story full of magic and secrets. I had expectations and I was anxious to get started. I ended up reading this book in one sitting, trying to keep up and fight this feeling of whiplash at each turn and reveal. As I reflect, I find myself struggling with forced character relationships to detached characters to lackluster motives. The entire thing continues to jumble and taunt me. The biggest issue I had was plot clarity throughout the entire novel, even from the beginning.

I found myself rereading parts to figure out what I missed and still being uneasy that something just didn’t quite click. Each secret reveal left a hole, that when filled created another hole in between lengthy yet not fully explained descriptions and setups. I cannot decide if it was pacing, ongoing drama/action, or both that caused the clarity hiccups. In the end my own inability to translate the story into something I grasped left me feeling cheated and oddly out of tune with everything.

While there was potential, I’m giving a 3/5 rating. It wasn’t a good fit for me but could be for someone else.

Review: Witch Born

Book Reviews, Misc.
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. ***

 

“Fordham was all ash and smoke. It had started raining an hour ago, but the remains of the bonfire still smoldered…” – Nicholas Bowling, Witchborn

Witchborn.jpg 

 

Witch Born Review

By: Rae

 

Let me introduce the beautiful oddity that is Witch Born

 

*** Note: May contain spoilers! ***

 

Meet Alyce, a young teen who has escaped the clutches of the witchhunters. Her mother is dead burned at the stake, leaving the instructions of “Make for Bankside. Find the hangman John Dee. Give him this letter.” Half dead from exposure on her way to London Alyce ends up in a Bedlam asylum after being discovered by one of the governors of the hospital. Weeks have passed and Alyce is desperate to escape and find the hangman. Haunted by the burning and memories of her home, as well as the deed she had done to manage her escape from the witchhunters, Alyce’s opportunity to run comes and she seizes it. Enter Solomon, Mrs. Thompson, a bedraggled Raven, two warring queens, and other odd creatures as Alyce’s story unfolds. Will Alyce find the hangman John Dee? What is this growing power Alyce has? Did witches really in the 16th century exist?

My general consensus upon finishing Witch Born was the overall oddity of the tale. I was mystified by a warring London setting in the 16th century where religion, magic, and creatures ran amuck underneath the ruralness of a city that was falling apart at the seams. Every character had an individual identity that somehow connected not only to the story, but a bit of history too. Could Queen Elizabeth and Bloody Mary Queen of the Scots had been witches? Could John Dee really have performed magic for his experiments. The lines are drawn, no one can fully be trusted, the secrets are many, and… I adored it! Bowling did a wonderful job with the prose of the story and writing descriptions that put me in this past world. I felt the heaviness of the air, the cold, the hunger, and the emotions of the story as I traveled back in time. While it wasn’t ‘spooky’ the darker themes of the supernatural pulled at a play on the mind at points and suggested at heavier issues of humanity and history to deal with.

Rich with setting and characters I am keeping my review of Witch Born shorter to not reveal further key plot moves – *cough* Alyce’s hair color *cough*

 

My Rating: 4/5

 

Check this story out for yourself and enjoy the oddity of 16th century London – who knows what you’ll find!

 

Witch Born is out tomorrow! *cheers*

 

My rating: 4/5

Book Review: Raven’s Cry

Book Reviews
*** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. May contain spoilers.

 

“They’re at the greatest risk… it takes but a nudge to push them over the edge.”

– Dana Fraedrich, Raven’s Cry

raven's cry cover 

Raven’s Cry Review

By: Rae

 

The Raven’s Cry is an ode to a woman cursed by magic and a victim of a greater power told in her narrative that spans centuries. Right from the beginning readers are introduced to Calandra Allen, a noble’s daughter, with the freedom to be an oddity against society standards. The Allen family is charming and quirky, what we see of them through Calandra’s eyes that is. It is her uncle Ducky, not a blood relation but a close family friend, that evidently sends Calandra to her downfall.  At a party she meets traveling mage Nicodemus. He is eccentric himself and not used to the customs of her area. The two strike a friendship that leads to a marriage proposal. Newly married and content with her life, Calandra happens upon a ritual being performed by Nicodemus that changes her life forever. Trapped as Raven during the day and tortured at night, she watches her husband steal bodies and souls to achieve immortality, stuck as an immortal herself. Will she escape? What has become of her world? Only time… will tell.

Let’s start with the set of characters we meet in Raven’s Cry. Aside from Calandra, who I will discuss later, I want to highlight the minor characters that travel through this story. From Ducky to Basira to Thomas and finally Kieran, each had a distinctness to them that separated them as individuals. I adored Ducky. Had a mixed feeling of love and hate with Thomas. As for Kieran, I didn’t get much of him to be totally swayed to his side. His story was too inconclusive. My overall satisfaction of character development can be said for all the support characters throughout. Nicodemous is an entity unto himself, not to be said likely, considered his forte in stealing souls and bodies to inhabit. I found it interesting how he digressed as a character and ultimately unraveled. His story ending was deeply dissatisfying though and I felt a little cheated at how everything went down. Then there was Calandra, for her experience is harrowing from being a quirky bookworm to a rebel spy. I found her narrative confusing at times with how it was worded, the skips in time, and some missing details… but still was able to relate to her. In the end, I just felt sorry for how everything turned out and unsatisfied by her conclusion, open-ended as it was. She never fully grew into the character she seemed aspired to be and that worried me.

The world itself is intriguing but could have been further developed besides the glimpses we see. Now since this was a novella, I understand it’s shortness, yet believe more world building could’ve strengthened the piece. I also didn’t get much of the steampunk vibe, just minor glimpses. The world itself did reflect Calandra, and since she was the narrator and a prisoner for a larger portion of the book, the plot flows with her and left room for reader interpretation and speculation. Thus, the main strength of Raven’s Cry were the characters. They were unique and refreshing and helped ease any lapses in what was going on throughout.

My interest is snared and I will need to read the other Broken Gears novels to see how the world at the end of Raven’s Cry fairs in the new century. Please note though that Raven’s Cry is a standalone.

If you want a faster paced read with quirky, intriguing characters, I recommend Raven’s Cry. The added plus is it’s loose relation to the Swan Lake. I do love a good, dark retelling.

 

My rating: 3.5

 

Visit Dana Fraedrich’s website to learn more about her Broken Gears series.