Thursday, 30 July 2015

Book Musings / Read4Review - Magic/Blade ( Notes from an Arena Onlooker ) by J D Camacho

Title : Magic/Blade (Notes from an Arena Onlooker)
Author : J D Camacho
Series : Areniana Book 1
Genre : Fantasy, Action
Source : Free copy from the author through the Read and Review program at The Choosy Bookworm for an honest review

Blurb :

The world of the Arena is a personal one. In the shadow of the crowd, on the sands of battle, each combatant here has something to prove. Here, a wizard wants to show everyone that an orc can become the most celebrated spellcaster in history. Here, a barbarian craves victory so much that he would sacrifice his soul to win. Here, a giant needs success on the grandest of stages to achieve riches beyond his wildest dreams. And here, a dwarf trained by elves may defy them all in his quest to become the greatest Arena fighter of all-time.

These are the scrawls of a scribe who saw every one of their encounters with each other. These are his chronicles. This is their combat. The Arena beckons.




My Musings :

Though this is categorised as a fantasy book, it is quite different from the others.

Let me start at the beginning and put my thoughts to paper. I requested the ebook for review mainly because of the book cover which hints at a confrontation between a human and an other and the book blurb which hints at quite a violent and fight centric story. Though it took a while for me to get into the story, it caught up fast after I understood what was happening. That was kind of my fault because I thought the tale would be about a singular fighter against all. But what it is, is a chronicle of the journey of all fighters who enter into the Arena in a particular time period.

The uniqueness of the book comes in the form of the protagonist, who is a journalist/scribe who writes about all the fights, the important and the non important ones too. Though the story is told in the voice of the scribe, the spotlight is on the fighters and the fights which made history. Sometimes it was a direct account which made me feel as I was in the stands getting involved in the excitement along with the spectators while other times it was a bit in the narration style which didn't have me visualising it right.

The story is well written and the characters are well described with attention to detail. Though it is primarily a book about combat in the Arena, it does venture into the personal lives of the fighters. The before and now versions of them are shown in the book for our understanding. Among them, Rockhammer is the one who caught my fancy and quickly became my favourite.

I might not personally follow the series since this one was totally out of my comfort zone since it was not like the fantasy stories I am familiar with. But I would say this will be a good fit for readers who like to read about gladiator style stories in a fantasy setting.

My one line rating : A different take on gladiator fights in a fantasy setting!

My rating : 3.5/5

My reread factor : 3/5

Floryie

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blog Tour / Book Musings - The Secret Keeper by Angela Carling



Hello! I am hosting the blog tour of The Secret Keeper by Angela Carling today organised by Irresistible Reads Tours Read on to know what I think about the book.

Title : The Secret Keeper
Author : Angela Carling
Series : The Secret Keeper, Book 1
Genre : Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source : Free copy from the author for an honest review

Blurb :

When Seventeen year old Winter Merrill was compelled to make a bargain with the mysterious Secret Keeper, she knew there were rules. The most important one, the next time you have a secret, you will not be able to tell it….even if you try.

What she didn’t know is that her next secret if not told, would destroy her life and the life of Liam, the only boy she ever loved. Can Winter find a way out of the dark bargain that binds her tongue or will her deal with the Secret Keeper bring devastating consequences unimaginable even to her?

My Musings :

I was literally screaming at the protagonist, Winter while I was reading the book. Oh it's not what you are thinking. It was in a good way and my screaming was because I was easily carried away by the situations arising in the tale.

Let me start at the beginning.
When I started the book, I didn't have any expectation since this is a first time author for me. The only thought I had was that the blurb sounded interesting and different. I haven't seen any about Secret Keepers and their ilk. So I was suitably intrigued and the book cover too adds a sense of mystery to the story.

The start was the usual stuff, introducing us to Winter and her life and all the important people and events are easily identified in the first few pages. A seemingly innocent teenage mistake is taken and twisted into a new type of paranormal read by the author and I have to say "Kudos" to that. If it wasn't for Winter's mistake the whole book wouldn't have been. It's the base for Winter meeting the Secret Keeper and the incidents which take place thereafter.

The story starts to get intense after Winter meets the Secret Keeper and it kept me on my toes till the end, making me wonder what would happen next during each scene. I went through the whole gamut of human emotions from guilt to happiness to horror to sorrow through the heroine. Not even Liam with his mature understanding and support at the end garnered that much liking from me as much as Winter did. She is a finely crafted character who easily had me grasped in her feelings and thoughts. No one else stood out much among the side characters except for Mr. Shoop with his devious mind and genial veneer.

The story was steady paced at the start and slowly ramped up to a pitch with the devastating murders and stayed that way till the end. The story was told in Winter's and Liam's POV. I generally love reading both POVs since that helps in knowing what everyone is upto. But it was a bit confusing for me in this book since it wasn't alternating. I had to look at the name every time a chapter started to know whose turn it was. The premise of the book is unique and kept me turning the pages. The book hasn't even started on the character of the Secret Keeper and I am sure there's so much more to know about her and her powers and all the questions associated with it.

The ending was a kind of a cliffhanger and I am sure the next book would make up for it easily. I felt kind of sad for Winter at the end. But then that's the way the book is shaped. So overall, the ending was okay.

If I had a chance to grab the sequel's copy right now, I would. And if you guys like to read different types of paranormal-ish books without the usual entities associated with them, I would recommend this unique tale.

My one line review : A tale of secrets and the mysterious Secret Keeper keeps you glued to the pages.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 3.5/5


Meet the Author : 

Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines.  After years of denial she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic which led her to write her first Young Adult book Unbreakable Love. Since then she’s published three more books, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The Secret Keeper. Shackled won the silver IPGA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay. She always eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing in public bathrooms just for the acoustics.  When she’s not writing YA novels, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order. 

Links to connect or purchase The Secret Keeper


Connect with Angela






To purchase The Secret Keeper






Monday, 27 July 2015

Book Musings - Obsidian Liquor by Scarlett Dawn

Title : Obsidian Liquor
Author : Scarlett Dawn
Series : Lion Security, Book 1
Genre : Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source : Free copy from the author for an honest review

Blurb : 

The Lion Security series fires off with Obsidian Liquor, where no one escapes the Russian mafia's flame...

While a brutal competition of America's heroes is held in the United States, Elizabeth Forter is on a personal mission to destroy the Mayor of New York City. But when she’s caught red-handed by a man who kills for a living, her enmity rapidly turns to fear.

Daniil Kozar isn't a man to trifle with, and Elizabeth is forced to strike a deal with the mafia king. Her every action is watched, and she needs to decide how to handle the gun-toting criminal--and his seductive charm.

Daniil may be the devil her father warned about. Or he may be the sensual awakening Elizabeth never knew she needed. Somewhere, Elizabeth's dad is screaming a prayer...


My Musings : 

I had previously read the author's Forever Evermore series so I was expecting this book to be good. But it was even better than I thought it would be. I am glad I took a chance on her adult series. Because this book totally rocks and I have put it on my favourite list. I can see myself rereading this book often inspite of the mature content.

The beginning of the book was a bit confusing since I was on information overload with the number of characters introduced and also because I felt as if I stepped right into the middle of the book rather than the start. After a while, it started making sense and I was able to follow the story.

The characters all meshed well with the story. They all gave a unique slant to the plot with their interactions and their history with each other. The plot has so many sub plots to keep track of that I was overwhelmed at times. But I was also so intrigued with the dynamics.

But the main plot is that of the heroine, Elizabeth and her attempt to find pay dirt on Cole and Brent. And also the accidental romance between her and the Mafia head, Daniil. The entire book can be summed up in the above two sentences. That's what the book is about.

 It is a very short sexy read. The dialogues between the protagonists sizzle at times with heat and other times with danger. I was so sure Daniil would hurt Elizabeth in certain scenes. But he seems to control himself well while she is always provoking him without thought. The drinking scene is one of my favourites followed closely by the the one on the morning after the momentous event ( you will know it when you read the book *hint hint* ). The chemistry between the heroine and hero is so good that I can feel the sparks between them in their interactions while the humour in the tale had me laughing under my breath throughout the book.

The ending felt kind of abrupt to me and I thought that it might have had few more scenes to end it properly. But at the same time, this had whetted my appetite for the next book which I can't wait to start! So overall, I recommend this book to contemporary romance lovers who like spicy and humorous stories.

My one like review : A short spicy humorous romance tale which will keep you wanting more!

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 5/5

Floryie

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Blogger Meet - Sue from Bedazzled by Books - The Benefits of Reading

Book lovers like myself never need an excuse to curl up with a good book, and we all read for
different reasons – to mellow out, enjoy a good story, while away some time, dream of another
time, another place. But did you know that reading is actually good for you? Here are my thoughts
on some of the benefits of reading I came across on the internet which I now use as an excuse for
spending hours hidden away involved in a book and not doing the housework!

1.Gain A Stronger Analytical Mind

How many times have you read a mystery novel and solved it before the end? As you were reading
the story, you were analysing the clues and taking note of all the little details which allowed you to
determine who the correct suspect was. This ability to analyse also helps you to critique the plot,
storyline, character development, writing quality and discuss the book with others, which can also
come in handy for writing book reviews!

2.Improves Your Concentration

Reading a novel is very different to reading a magazine piece or a newspaper article. Books require
long periods of focus and concentration. When you become fully involved in the book you are
reading, you switch off from the outside world and strengthen your attention span.

3.Improves Your Imagination

Whether you read fantasy novels or science fiction, paranormal, or adventure stories, reading books
increases your understanding of what is possible. Reading written descriptions of different places or
events makes your mind create images in your head, as opposed to watching images in films and
television that someone else has imagined for you.

4.Increases Your Verbal Communication Skills

It has been found that people who read have a wider vocabulary and are able to express themselves
better and are able to get their point across to others more easily than people who don’t read books.
The more you read the more words you consume and the higher the vocabulary you use in your
everyday living.

5.Improves Your Memory

When you read a book you have to remember various characters and their roles in the story, the
events that occur, where they occurred, who was involved, why things were happening, the main plot
and sub plots throughout the book. By reading a book, you are strengthening your short term
memory as every new memory you make strengthens existing ones.

6.Prevents Alzheimer’s

Over the years, research has shown that people who engage in brain activities like reading and doing
puzzles are less likely to have Alzheimer’s.  Scientists say that the brain, like other organs of the body, ages in regards to how it is used. So, just as physical activity strengthens the heart to help prevent heart disease, reading is an intellectual activity which strengthens the brain to help prevent brain disease such as Alzheimer’s.

7.Keeps The Brain Sharp

Studies have shown that a lifetime of reading can keep your brain in good shape when you reach old
age. Researchers found that those people who engaged in mentally stimulating activities like
reading, had a slower mental decline compared to those who didn’t read. And if you didn’t start
reading till later in life, it can still considerably slow down the rate of mental decline as you age. So as we bookworms already knew, it is important to read at any age!

8.Makes You More Empathetic

Studies have shown that losing yourself in a work of fiction increases empathy. When you read a
good book and are swept away by the story or the characters your empathic side gets a strong boost.
Those who don’t read or who do read but don’t get lost emotionally in the story actually become less
empathetic.

9.Helps You Sleep Better

Including some reading time in your wind down routine before going to bed can help you sleep much
better. Anything with bright lights will keep you awake, so read your book under a dim light and your
body will gradually get ready for some shut eye. (But don’t read a real page turner or you’ll be up all
night!)

10.Helps You To Unwind

Research has shown that picking up a good book can help you calm down and de-stress a lot more
quickly than other activities like walking, listening to music, or having a cuppa. The research showed
that participants took a mere six minutes to relax when reading a book. By losing yourself in an
engrossing book you are escaping from the day’s worries and stressors and are able to chill out and
relax.

So there you have it – ten good reasons to keep up your reading habits. And if you ever come across
one of those weird people who hate to read, tell them about the wonderful benefits of reading a
book and maybe, just maybe, you’ll change their mind!

You can find me on the following sites –


A big thank you to Floryie for allowing me the opportunity of writing a guest post on her wonderful
blog. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Blog Tour / Book Musings - When Shadows Fall and The Darkness Comes by Bruce Blake


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I received free copies from the author for the blog tour for honest reviews.


Original Publication Date: January 25, 2015


Blurb 

A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone. 

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind. 

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth. 

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?


Teaser 

Ine’vesi stumbled out of the tunnel into what had once been a picturesque courtyard filled with gardens for prayer and fountains for bathing. Now, instead of a place of beauty, it was a conflagration. The water for washing billowed from the fountains in clouds of white steam, the flowers and trees were ash, all but one of the Pillars of Life had fallen, and the river itself boiled and bubbled in the heat of the inferno.

The priest raised his arm to his face, protecting himself from the blaze as he fell to his knees, the roll of parchment pressed to his chest. His nostrils flared at the stench of his own hair melting, the stink sickening him, but he ignored it, thankful he’d paused in the channel to set the words of his dreams on the paper.

He lowered his arm and held the scroll on his lap, closed his eyes. Flames licked at the sleeves of his robe, crackled in the grass on which he knelt. It singed his flesh, but he’d prepared his entire life to concentrate on the task that needed his attention to the exclusion of everything else, including himself.

Ine’vesi ran his reddening fingers along the surface of the rolled parchment. Its coarse texture instilled hope in him and he brought to mind the solemn, sparse temple in Teva Stavoklis. He imagined each grain in the wood of its posts and beams, every rock and pebble strewn across its dirt floor. Bundles of protection herbs hung on spikes protruding from the walls; greasy smoke snaked up from tallow candles. He breathed deeply and, instead of scenting the blazing gardens, he inhaled the unsavory odor of the burning fat.

The priest opened his eyes and found himself in the temple. He rose to his feet, knees creaking and vague pain crawling across the surface of his flesh, but he ignored it, concentrating on the table set in the middle of the room.

When he took a step toward it, pain shot up his spine. Ine’vesi gritted his teeth and pressed on, covering the distance with a stumbling gait. He reached the table and leaned against its edge, raised his hand to place the scroll upon it. Flames flickered along his sleeve, and he fought the urge to shake his arm in an attempt to extinguish them. They’d not be put out.

With greater effort than expected, he extended his arm and set the roll of parchment down. The flames on his sleeve leaped to his hair and he released his grip on the scroll lest the blaze make its way to the paper. As soon as his fingertips left the surface of the scroll, the humble place of worship disappeared. Fire filled the priest’s vision and the stink of burning flesh replaced the scent of protection herbs and melting tallow.

He stumbled back, his foot teetering on the edge of the boiling river. A bolt of lightning rode a thunderclap down from the sky, striking the base of the last of the nine Pillars of Life: Faith. The column tumbled, and Ine’vesi watched it fall toward him. He raised his flaming hands and, an instant later, the heavy stone crushed him.

On the last day the Small Gods walked the land, fire fell like rain from the sky.

My Musings : 

The premise of the book wasn't the usual fare and that caught my attention. The blurb outlines an interesting story and I got more than what I expected with this book.

The story started off good with the prologue being a mysterious introduction to the main characters who are behind the cause of the tale. Then the way the tale was allowed to unfold scene by scene introducing new characters at every point added complexity. I haven't read, in recent times, a story with so many characters as the ones in this book. Almost every chapter was a parallel line of action to the preceding one. This didn't disturb the flow of the story either. It was smooth sailing and had me turning the pages to know what's up next. It was also steady paced and though it did take a while to sort out the various situations, it added up to a comprehensive and cohesive story. 

The characters were suitably highlighted. I haven't decided if they are well developed or not because my observation has been limited in this book because of their short appearances. The only thing I did figure out was that Teryn was too much of himself and jumps to conclusions based on his likes. Danya comes across as a level headed girl. Other than these two, I can't read others well. But the world building is good. The author has added intricate levels of details to different parts which kept me engrossed through out the book.

The only thing which I felt was detracting from the story was the earthy language used. I so wasn't expecting that, especially in an epic fantasy book. It took me a while to get used to it. 

Overall, I can say that I would read the next book to know more about the characters involved. The second book would decide if I want to follow the series closely.

My one line review : A tale of quest in a battle to come between Gods with interesting characters

My rating : 3.5/5

My reread factor : 3/5


Links



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Original Publication Date: February 16, 2015


Blurb

When shadows fall, the darkness comes... 

A disgraced Goddess Mother wanders blind and alone, praying for her agony to end. When a helpful apostle finds her, could it truly be salvation, or does worse torment lie ahead? 

A sister struggles to understand a prophecy that may not be meant for her while her brother fights for his life. If the firstborn child of the rightful king dies, will it spell the end for everyone? 

Darkness and shadow creep across the land in the form of a fierce clay golem animated by its sculptor's blood. It seeks a mythical creature whose sacrifice portends the return of ancient evil banished from the world long ago. With its return will come the fall of man. 

As the game unfolds, the Small Gods watch from the sky, waiting for their time to come and their chance to rise again. They wait for the fall of shadows, the coming of the darkness. 

They wait for night to descend.


Teaser

Kuneprius attempted slinging each Brother over their saddle, intending to lash them in place and return them to the temple for burial, but they proved too heavy for him. He struggled Brother Fildrian up, the effort leaving him drained and panting, and worried that, if he took the time to do the same for the others, he’d be discovered. So it was the young Kuneprius rode through the gates of Teva Stavoklis with a child in his arms, four horses on leads, and a dead man lashed to a saddle.

Brothers and priests were already gathered in the square, though the leading edge of sunrise had just grazed the horizon. The sky perched on the cusp of the earth was crimson as the blood he’d seen spilled; the Small Gods swam in the ocean of darkness above that, waiting to surrender to the light of day.

Hands took control of Kuneprius’ steed, offered him help out of the saddle. He accepted, his sore and weary backside sliding off the smooth leather. When his feet hit the ground, his knees threatened to buckle, and another hand grabbed him by the elbow, helped him keep his feet. He glanced from one man to the next, realizing he knew each of them, but not recognizing any. A priest with his face hidden by a drooping cowl stepped forward and Kuneprius extended his arms, ready to hand over the child. The priest didn’t take the babe. Instead, he led the apprentice away from the throng of Brothers occupied with unlashing Fildrian from the saddle.

Three priests followed as the man led Kuneprius on a winding journey through the streets, past stone abodes and empty fountains, to a low building with no windows. To those unfamiliar, it appeared more storehouse than place of worship.

They crossed the threshold, as Kuneprius did every morning to pray for the return of the Small Gods, but didn’t stop to kneel on one of the threadbare prayer carpets. The hooded priest led him through the sanctuary room to a wide, stout door at the back, where they paused.

Kuneprius’ head spun and his belly churned, though his body had taken steps to ensure nothing remained inside it during his return. The scent of melting fat hung thick in the sanctuary room, given off by the squat tallow candles flickering and hissing on stands in each corner. For an instant, he thought his stomach might rebel again at their odor, but he forgot his beleaguered gut when the priest raised his hand and rapped on the door.

The baby, who’d been miraculously sleeping, shifted in Kuneprius’ arms, as though sensing the lad’s discomfort. He’d often wondered what lay hidden behind the short, wide door but now, as he stood on the precipice of finding out, he decided he’d prefer not to know. Unfortunately, the choice didn’t belong to him.

“Enter,” a voice within said, and a shiver ran along Kuneprius’ spine.

The priest pushed the portal open. Beyond, the chamber appeared similar to the sanctuary room, except much smaller. Bundles of herbs hung from spikes driven into the beams supporting the ceiling and thin tapers flickered in the corners. A table sat in the center of the room, a roll of yellowed parchment atop it. Beside it knelt Kristeus, the high priest.

In his twelve turns as an apprentice, Kuneprius had never laid eyes on the man or even heard of the door being opened. Seasons of wondering if someone truly lived behind the door had come to an end.

He hesitated in the doorway, gaping and waiting for the priest who’d led him there to enter, but he didn’t. A moment passed, expectation hanging in the air, before one of the other hooded priests behind Kuneprius laid his hand on the lad’s back and ushered him across the threshold.

The door clunked closed and the apprentice turned to find the others had left him alone with the high priest. The baby wriggled in his arms, then settled. Kuneprius gulped.

“This is the babe?”

Kuneprius knew the hooded figure spoke the words, but they seemed to float down to his ears from the ceiling. Before answering, his eyes flickered around the barren room, noting the lack of honey pot or personal items—only herbs, tapers, table, scroll, high priest.

“Y…yes.”

The hood moved minutely, as though the invisible head inside nodded.

“And the others are dead? Killed by the women?”

The words dropped on Kuneprius flat and monotone, except the last: women. It came out twisted and skewed, spat more than spoken. Kuneprius’ throat tightened with the urge to sob, forcing him to nod rather than attempt speaking. A dozen heartbeats passed and he thought the high priest might not have seen the gesture.

“Yes,” he said, his tone quiet.

Kristeus tilted his head back, revealing a chin and mouth, but nothing further. Lips pale to the point of transparency moved, the yellow teeth behind them clicking together twice before he spoke again.

“Bring him to me.”

The High Priest held out his arms, the sleeves of his robe falling away as he extended his hands. Skin as pallid as his lips; nails long, curved, yellowed, and cracked. Kuneprius hesitated. The baby stirred again, squeaked in his sleep.

“Come, boy.”

Kristeus gestured with his fingers and Kuneprius found his feet carrying him the short distance to the middle of the room, despite not having asked them to do so. He passed the baby into the High Priest’s hands and the child’s eyelids fluttered open. Kristeus regarded the babe for a moment, then lay him on the floor and bowed his head, words whispering from within the hood. Kuneprius resisted the urge to fidget.

Time crawled. The apprentice glanced away from the child, saw the herbs hung on the spikes were fresh, the floor swept, the walls free of soot from the tapers’ greasy smoke.

Someone comes in here.

The baby gurgled and the air in the room grew warmer on the lad’s skin. Kuneprius snapped his gaze back to the High Priest and found the man looking at him instead of the baby. He shivered despite the rising temperature.

“You have done well, apprentice. I have seen the coming of this child and you have done what needed to be done to make it so. Henceforth, you are Brother Kuneprius.”

The boy’s eyes widened and a flutter of pride pushed aside the nausea gripping his midsection. Never had an apprentice been named Brother before reaching their fourteenth turn. Eight seasons yet remained before Kuneprius reached that age. He thought it must be expected of him to respond, so he parted his lips to thank the High Priest, but Kristeus raised a hand, stopping him before he spoke.

“You will no longer be part of the liberating expeditions.” He slipped his hands under the baby, his long nails scraping on the wooden floor. “From this time forward, you have a much more important role to fulfill.”

Kristeus picked the babe off the floor, held him up as though examining a ripe melon rather than gazing on a living thing. Kuneprius wondered if the High Priest viewed everything in this manner, but put the thought from his mind. The air in the room prickled against his skin, standing the short hairs on the back of his neck on end. His sight wavered and, for an instant, he saw flames raining from the sky, trees burning, a river boiling. The hallucination disappeared as quickly as it came.

“Henceforth, you will be caretaker to the child,” Kristeus said, raising the baby into the air. “For you have brought to me Vesisdenperos, the sculptor. The one born to ensure the return of the Small Gods.”

The sweat on Kuneprius’ brow went cold.

My Musings :

This is a good continuation to the first book with addition of more characters. Where does the author come up with them?? I am having a bit of a hard time keeping them catalogued in my mind. But it adds an air of mystery to everyone and this kept me glued to the book.

Finally the characters are being explored with their actions and reactions to their situations and this caused me to understand them better. So I can say that they are a bit more developed compared to the previous book. I read this book faster than the other one because of familiarity with most characters and also the fast paced nature of the tale. It has a bit more life and it caught me with the various sub plots. Teryn missed most of the action while Danya comes out of his shadow to show more of her adventurous side. Their story felt like the main link which connects all the other threads of the story. The character I loved best was Thorn with his idiosyncrasies. I was reminded of a chameleon by Thorn. I hope he doesn't turn out to be a "bad" guy.

I was especially engaged by the various orders of the Goddess which gave me the feeling this is another important sub plot same as Teryn and Danya's. Of course, the earthy parts kind of put me off but the story has enough masala to make me keep reading the series.

The writing was good with clear descriptions and free flowing dialogues. It isn't hard to follow the story line inspite of the numerous characters involved. I feel that the two books have only scratched the top of the tale and there is more to come which will keep me engrossed. I am totally looking forward to the next book!

My one line review : A great continuation to a fantasy tale which will keep you turning the pages.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 3/5


Links

Amazon US ~ Createspace ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N

Meet the Author 

Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.

The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.



              







 

Book Blitz / Book Musings - To be Honest by TC Booth


To be Honest banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for To Be Honest. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 21 till 27 July, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours. I received a free copy of the ebook from the author via Lola's Blog Tours for an honest review.

To Be HonestTitle : To Be Honest
Author : TC Booth
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Age category : Young Adult
Release Date : July 21, 2015

Blurb :
A freak accident left Starla Emerson with a deformed hand, low self-esteem, and a need to fade into the background. However, she finds it impossible to be invisible at her new high school where she is pushed front and center by a behind the scenes internet bully.

She joins forces with newfound friends to launch a counter attack in order to expose the cyber bully, aka grizzlygirl2015. Part of the plan involves the school’s bad boy Chase McFall. Star feels more for this golden eyed boy than she should as the plan progresses.

The plan backfires and lands Star in a mountain of trouble. Will she have the courage to be honest about her part in the plan and her true feelings for Chase? Or will she be left heartbroken? Once the truth is out…there’s no turning back.


You can add To Be Honest to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can buy To Be Honest here :
- Amazon


To Be Honest Playlist

Steal My Girl by One Direction
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
Heroes by Alesso and Tove Lo
Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Take a look!

Still fueled from the anger coursing in my veins, I marched up to Maggie. “May 

I borrow your blue lipstick?”

Maggie creased her eyebrows. “Okay.” She reached in her purse and handed 

me a black tube. I twisted it until a blue waxy tip appeared. I smeared a thick coat of 

blue over my lips and puckered. I looked at Rayne. “You challenged me to do this, 

okay?”

Rayne glanced at Maggie. She shrugged. Jake arched an eyebrow.

“Ooo-kay,” Rayne said.

I spun on my heel. My heart thudded loud in my ears as I marched toward the 

group of skateboarders and BMX guys that stood in a circle. I scanned over the faces 

of the circle until I found my target. After I sucked in a breath, I pushed my way past 

the curious faces of the boys, until I was face to face with Chase. The group fell 

silent. Chase tilted his head and quirked his eyebrow. I took another deep breath 

then placed my hands on Chase’s broad shoulders, rose on my tiptoes, and placed a 

blue kiss on his cheek. The boys erupted with laughter and whistles.

“Tell your girlfriend where that came from.” I tapped the blue mark left on his 

cheek. The shock on his face left, replaced with a half-twisted smile. That infuriating 

grin of his was back. I shouldered my way through the boys. Heads turned, tracking 

my movements. My friends gawked at me like I’d grown three heads. I slipped onto 

the seat at the table so my back was to Chase.

“Whoa, Emerson. You just rocked the challenge above all challenges, even 

though you didn’t really get challenged,” Rayne said. “That didn’t make any sense, 

did it?” He lifted one dark eyebrow.

Jake shook his head, still wide-eyed. “Not at all.”

My Musings :

I am a sucker for differently abled protagonists and this book is based on a heroine, Starla who has a deformed hand caused by an accident. Another reason I picked up this book was because I was taking a break from paranormal and fantasy genres and wanted a contemporary read. Am I glad I did! Because this book is not just the usual teen book but much more than that.

The blurb mislead me a bit because it totally talks about Starla's change to a new school. So I was expecting her to be enrolled in the start itself. But the book begins from how great is Starla's life at the present school and about her friends. A couple of chapters flew by me as I got to know Starla, Ally and Jared.

Starla is characterised well in the story. She seems to be adjusted to her new life but then the move brings out all the insecurities especially because of the cyber bully. She shows strength of character and seems to be a well loved girl. And another thing which really made me love her was that she wasn't a whiny person and though she is a teen, she is mature beyond her years. Actually I felt that most of the characters didn't read as teens at all. They were wise beyond their age and showed a level headedness not associated with teenagers. The characters were well developed and kept my interest in their antics. I got to say that the side characters, Ally, Maggie , Rayne and Jake supported Starla and Chase beautifully throughout the book. And finally about Chase, now if I can find a guy like him, I am all set for life! He is one of the few good guys though he has a love for a bit extreme sports. He complements Starla very well.

In addition to the love angle in the tale, the author also works on issues like how teens look at deformities and cyber bullying. They are prevalent more and more in the present society and the author has dealt well with the subjects. This adds a serious mien to the otherwise light read.

So if you guys are a sucker for a beautifully crafted love story with a dash of seriousness in between, this will make a very good weekend reading. I recommend this book to all contemporary YA romance lovers with blindfolded eyes!

My one line review : A clean teen love story with an angle of serious issues for a light weekend read.

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 4/5


About the Author :

TC Booth was born and raised in a small town in Northeast Ohio where she currently teaches. She lives with her husband and four children ranging in ages from 13-23. Her pets include one dog named Sammy, and two cats- Sheldon and Sasha.

TC Booth views books as the best form of entertainment and her escape for life’s stresses. She prefers reading a book over watching a movie, and writing over almost any other way to spend her time.

When not attending her children’s sporting events and running them around, you’ll see her writing on her laptop, iPad, and even jotting ideas down on her phone apps.

She enjoys the escape from the adult universe into the adolescent world. The passion in which young people experience life is contagious and the driving force of her writing.

You can find and contact TC Booth here :

- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Instagram

There is a blitz wide giveaway for the book blitz of To be Honest. These are the prizes you can win :

- Signed e-copies of To Be Honest by TC Booth
- a 10$ amazon gift card

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below :

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Book Blitz / Book Musings - Heir of the Blood King by W.O.Cassity

Heir Of The Blood King banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Heir of the Blood King (Adventures of Adam #1) by W.O. Cassity. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 20 till 24 July, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.
During this blitz Heir of the Blood King will be free on amazon, make sure to grab your copy!

Heir Of The Blood King coverTitle : Heir of the Blood King (Adventures of Adam #1)
Author : W.O. Cassity
Genre : Fantasy/ Action & Adventure/ Sword & Sorcery
Age category : Young Adult
Release Date : April 15, 2015
Pages : 123

Blurb :
No one can escape their destiny in a world controlled by the Fates. Ancient prophecies are the means by which the gods maintain order. Whether pauper or king, each life becomes a pawn in a dangerous game of control, where moving pieces determines the course of all living beings. The Blood King’s sudden death in the night triggers a foreboding prophecy of dark times, as it is foretold that his unknown Heir would awaken to the dark magic of his blood and enslave the Eleven Kingdoms. Soldiers bring destruction to the countryside seeking the Heir Of The Blood King.

Adam escapes the fires of the peaceful village of Riverside in the night when the soldiers laid waste to his adopted home. With his fate uncertain, the unskilled orphan must fight for his freedom against dangerous enemies who give pursuit as he searches for the answers to his past. Adam is also faced with the challenges of survival against the untamed wilderness and its dark denizens as he tries to avoid a destiny he does not want.

“The Heir Of The Blood King will rise, this has been divined.” - Ancient prophecy of the Seering Council.

“Heir Of The Blood King” is the first installment of the ongoing, action-packed, Young Adult fantasy, survival series, Adventures of Adam.


You can find Heir of the Blood King on Goodreads

Heir of the Blood King is free from 20 till 24 July! Grab your copy for free here:
- Amazon

My Musings :

I received a free copy from the author via Lola Blog Tours and this will in no way impact my review. It will be honest and unbiased.

The first thing which caught my attention was the book cover. I will admit that unashamedly and then the blurb pulled me in with the words - destiny, heir and prophecy. I can never resist a book with those elements.

There is no waiting period for the action to start in this book. I was plunged right into the midst of the chaos and was introduced to the 3 protagonists, Adam, Talia and Donadeir and the precarious situations they are in. Then on, the reader follows their journey from their village and their struggles to stay safe.

The story was too short, in my opinion. It felt incomplete though it was intense with the fight sequences. The narration was easy to follow with vivid imagery which allowed me to read it in one sitting. The views from all the 3 main characters added to the complexity with the revelation of their emotions and feelings. This is one story I feel which does well with no supporting characters. The pace of the tale was fast while the world building was good but short as far as it was shown. I am hoping to know more about their world in the next books.

The start does well with immersing us in the plot while the ending feels like a very big cliff hanger because the book is over even before the story is atleast quarter way through. That's the only negative I can point out.

I would heartily recommend this book to fantasy lovers with a penchant for sword and sorcery tales.

My one line review : A great but short start to a good fantasy series with a heir, a prophecy and destiny - all elements which capture the reader.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 4/5


W.O. CassityAbout the Author :

W.O. Cassity has been an avid fan of all things fantasy and science fiction for more than thirty years. His experiences as a table top gamer and games master inspired him to share his imagination with his children. His first novel titled "Heir Of The Blood King" is the first installment of his fantasy adventure series, Adventures of Adam. Will lives with his wife, four children and two dogs.

You can find and contact W.O. Cassity here:

- Blog
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon


There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Heir of the Blood King. These are the prizes you can win:

- two 50$ amazon gift cards (INT)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Book Musings - The Guardians by Lisa Barry

Title : The Guardians
Author : Lisa Barry
Series : Gargoyles Den, Book 1
Genre : Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Source : Free copy from the author for an honest review 

Blurb :

Sloane Jacobs has been on the edge of crazy for a long time now. That happens when you can read everyone’s aura, not what they show on the outside but what they’re really like. Knowing that sharing her curse would get her a one-way ticket to the loony bin, Sloane lives alone and trusts no one.

That changes when she meets Liam McDougall, a Gray One; the only kind that she can’t read. She doesn't know what he is exactly but members of his team are disappearing and they need her skills to help them.

Sloane jumps headlong into their hidden world. Her skills develop with their help only to find that sentient animals, the fae, gargoyles and other creatures of imagination might not be just entertaining stories teaching her in the hardest way that no one is what they seem.


My Musings : 

This one was a fast read on so many levels. I only wish that the book cover was better than this one. It's too bland to fit the story. I have read very few books about Gargoyles and this prompted me to take a look at this story. And I am kind of glad for it. Though it has recognisable elements, the outcome is a bit different, in a good way.

Seeing people based on their auras and knowing their intentions keeps the female protagonist, Sloane paranoid and hesitant to trust people. Sloane is one character who went through a variety of changes in the story, from the timid mouse to developing a backbone. The male protagonist, Liam is so stoic and is the perfect guy for Sloane with his unshakeable dependability. He seems to be on shaky ground only when in the company of Sloane. That was predictable! Each and every supporting character added a variant to the tale with their roles. I believe Nia especially has a tale to tell. I hope the author clears up that mystery in the next book. My favourite was Andy with his resolve to escape and his thirst to know more about himself.

The narration of the story was easy to follow and the descriptions were easy to imagine so as to get a picture of each scene as it played out. The pace was steady throughout the book with spikes in certain scenes with more violence and action. I loved the fact that the author didn't show only Sloane's side of things but also included Liam's and Andy's too. That made the book varied and kept me interested in their lives. And also the paranormal creatures encountered in the tale like Gargoyles and especially Aspies (that's a new one to me!) engrossed me with their traits and personalities. The world building was done in a gradual way and left me with a much clearer view at the climax.

The starting of the book was a bit slow in my opinion but it picked up as soon as Sloane fell in with Liam's group. The ending surprised and confused me. It surprised me with Liam's decision which I didn't see coming while it confused me because of the same decision. I still don't understand why he felt he had to do that. But that adds a tinge of mystery which will follow into the sequel. I am so looking forward to reading the next book now!

Overall, I can recommend this book to paranormal book lovers who like a good story, steady pace and reading more about lesser known paranormal elements.

My one line review : A fast read of Gargoyles and Aspies for the adventurous paranormal readers!

My rating : 3.5/5

My reread factor : 4/5

Floryie 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

(Audio) Book Musings - The Never Hero by T.Ellery Hodges

Title : The Never Hero
Author : T.Ellery Hodges
Series : The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs #1
Genre : New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Source : A free audiobook from the author via JanealFaloras

Blurb : 

At the gates between worlds...
In a war outside of time...
He fights for us.


Reclusive college student Jonathan Tibbs wakes in a pool of blood, not a scratch on him. His life is about to undergo a massive shift. A violent and merciless otherworldly enemy unleashes slaughter in the streets, calling out in a language only he understands.

And it is seeking its challenger.

In order to defeat the threat, Jonathan must become a temporal weapon... while remaining completely anonymous. Unfortunately, harnessing off-world powers has its own special challenges...

The Never Hero is the first installment in The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs -- a mind-bending, genre crossing, action-adventure trilogy.




My Musings : 

This is the first audio book I have ever "read" and well I am not sure if I want to repeat the process or not. I think I like reading better than listening to a book. Maybe for the next one I will be better prepared. I am not able to decide.

But personal preferences aside, the audio quality was good and the story was narrated at a good pace and with good diction so I could understand it perfectly. Remember that I am not an English speaking person and the narration was clear enough for me. It might seem a bit slow to others though I guess.

I went into  the book expecting a perfect hero but what I got was a perfectly portrayed one with personal baggage and issues. Jonathan was well developed in stages with his calm demeanour and his slow realisation that he has to do everything possible in order to survive. He is never heroic in any of the scenes but he rocks as a hero in my opinion. The side characters add a much needed check on the crazy goings on at intervals. Wow, Grant totally irked me with his attitude while Paige made me love her with her vulnerability hidden under a tough exterior. Hayden and Collin added the required nerdy-ness to the story. Leah seems to be a mystery whose character is slightly revealed at the end.

The book is so appropriately named. Jonathan will never be the hero because people forget his heroics. That made me sad because I feel the protagonist has to have some encouragement from the people for risking his life every time. The prologue was mysterious and had me thinking in terms of What, Why, How etc., Then the tale started off slowly and picked up pace with my interest being piqued when Jonathan started to become the "super" hero. The ending has me questioning Leah, Heyer and the other mysterious persons in the book.

In short, I had a good time seeing Jonathan turn his life over to Heyer for mankind's protection.

My one line review : A Hero who is never remembered has a coming of age story for the readers.

My rating : 3.5/5

My reread factor : 3/5

Floryie

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Book Musings / New Release - Regina Shen : Defiance by Lance Erlick

Title : Regina Shen : Defiance
Author : Lance Erlick
Series : Regina Shen, Book 3
Genre : Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source : Free copy from the author in exchange for a review.

Blurb :

Abrupt climate change melted ice caps, flooded coasts, and expanded deserts. Outcast Regina Shen is a fugitive the World Federation believes has DNA that can stop human extinction. Rival Federation agents fight over capturing Regina to gain power amidst turmoil over who will become the new World Premier. Regina has to flee from Virginia through desert and wilderness to Alaska to hunt a treasure big enough to barter for her freedom and that of her sister. Can she find allies and tools to remain free long enough to find something to trade?


My Musings : 

This book held my attention less when compared to the first 2 books in the series while it kind of opened my eyes on valuing what I have right now in my life. At the same time, I loved the interactions among the characters.

The book started off at a point a bit later than where it ended in the second book. It took few pages to get confusion out of the way and to start getting reacquainted with the characters and the situation.

I felt that Regina was not at the top of her game and that caused a lot of friction during my reading. I guess I was expecting more from her since her adventures are always exciting and adrenaline pumping intensive. More than half of the book was spent in, what felt like, fleeing to me and this caused my attention to wander. The pace was off in my opinion with Regina journeying to Alaska to free Colleen. I was literally yelling ( in my thoughts, of course ) at her to wake up and smell the roses aka to know what Demarco has planned. I could explain her ineptitude away with the reason of pure tiredness. But something wasn't feeling right to write everything off on it.

The second half of the tale picked up and had some spice to it with no more monotonous and lethargic wanderings and a few action scenes. I waited a long time for it! And finally the old Regina surfaces to add to the charm of the story with her inventiveness and hard headedness.

 But it was interesting in other contexts like the characters and their interactions and the elaborate insight into Regina's world. The author has expanded more about the world he has created in this book. This made me get immersed in the sights and thoughts of Regina and Ester during their struggles to reach their destination. I felt that the Earth portrayed in the book might as well be one of our futures. But what a lonely world without males!

Among the supporting cast, Kona Bear stood out for me but I was suspicious of her at times. There were a few too many coincidences. The reappearance of Regina's mother was a surprise and she is still a mystery to me. I seriously couldn't understand her actions till date. Two persons surprised me with the changes in them. One was Colleen with her toughness and the other was Ester with her few risky actions. At times, I felt that Ester was too good for Regina but she shows promise.

The ending was a cliff hanger but with less intensive one. Now I can't wait to see where Regina goes next and what she does. Overall, in spite of the slow pace in the first half, I would go with 4 stars especially for the world building and the complexity of the characters.

My one line review : It sates our curiosity and again inflames it with the unsolved riddles in this well written tale.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 3.5/5

Floryie

Book Cover Reveal - Hard Case by Marc Hirsch

Today is the cover reveal for Hard Case by Marc Hirsch. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Hard CaseTitle : Hard Case (Alice White, Investigator #2)
Author :  Marc Hirsch
Genre : Romantic Suspense/ Mystery
Age category : Adult
Release Date : 15 July 2015
Publisher : Books, Authors and Artists

Blurb :
In 1956 New York City, a year after Alice White’s first investigation, she becomes entangled in her Bronx neighbor's troubles. A United States customs inspector at the Port of New York, he has fallen into the grasp of the vicious dockworkers' boss.

As Alice attempts to free him, the power struggle created by the post-World War II wave of Italian immigration into the predominantly Irish run West Side imperils both. Can Alice save him? If she fails both may die.


You can find Hard Case on Goodreads

Want to read and review The Case and/or Hard Case by Marc Hirsch? Sign-up for a review copy here


Marc HirschAbout the Author:

Marc Hirsch was born in New York City in 1945. He attended Boston University School of Medicine, graduating in 1969. After 42 years as a doctor, he retired from hospitalist practice in 2011. He published his first book, The Case, in 2012 and will publish his second book, the sequel titled Hard Case, in 2015. The Case was edited and republished as a second edition in 2014. Plans for his screenplay of The Case are being made.

You can find and contact Marc here :

- Facebook
- Goodreads
- Amazon

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Hard Case. These are the prizes you can win:

- 3 kindle e-copies of The Case (Alice White, Investigator #1) by Marc Hirsch
- 2 kindle e-copies of Hard Case (Alice White, Investigator #2) by Marc Hirsch

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 13 July 2015

Book Cover Reveal - Kenna's Reverie by Claire Granger

Today is the cover reveal for Kenna’s Reverie (Daydreaming #1) by Claire Granger. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Kennas Reverie

Title : Kenna’s Reverie (Daydreaming #1)
Author : Claire Granger
Genre : Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Age category : Adult
Release Date : August 1, 2015

Blurb :
Kenna is a pretty typical single mom. She takes her 5 kids to dance, soccer, and scouts. She just happens to make her living as an erotic book blogger. She has accepted the fact that she will probably always be single, until her dream fantasy man is sitting right in front of her.

Jax likes control. He's never considered love or romance as an option, just as a necessary means to win a woman he's interested in. So when he eyes a beautiful woman at a coffee shop and can't stop thinking about her, he wonders what he has to do to possess her.

This is the hilarious story of two people who in a world of dreams are made for each other, but in reality could not be more incompatible. Will they find a way to make the dreams that live in their fantasies real, or are they destined to live without each other?

Author's Note :
The Daydreaming novella series takes place in the same world as the Faultlines series and while there are many crossover elements, it is not the same story or direct sequel. While readers of that series will enjoy seeing characters in this series, you do not need to read one to read the other because it is not a direct sequel. This series is more erotic in nature, with lots of sexual situations, as well as a rather colorful choice of the English language (read- there's a lot of swearing), so please note that this book is for mature audiences.

You can find Kenna’s Reverie on Goodreads

Whetting your appetite :



Claire GrangerMeet the Author :

Claire grew up in Texas, but her family moved to Virginia in 2001. She now resides in Richmond with her husband, 4 children (2 sets of twins!), and their fur babies.

She blogs over at The Granger Bunch and has her first novel releasing this summer! "When Faults Collide" is a contemporary romance, the first of the "Faultlines" series! She is already working on book two of the series as well as a non fiction and a few other exciting projects!

She is passionate about racial identity and equality issues, foster care, adoption, and non-profits that work to help victims of sexual assault and trafficking.

She is shamelessly addicted to romance, erotica, dark/twisted/taboo, smutty, sexy, anti-hero, flawed hero, controlling, mind blowing books! Basically everything that would make her mother cry. ;)

She loves hearing from her readers- it keeps her going! Thank you so much for all of your continued support!

You can find and contact Claire here :

- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Instagram


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