Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34726469Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Release date: April 24th, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

The cover is what initially pulled me in. LOOK AT IT! Dark, mysterious, badass female warrior. How could I not want to read it? I without even reading its description requested it on NetGalley. Once I was approved I started it right away. I was beyond excited but the first chapter worried me. It was a bit slow and I felt disconnected from it. However, I didn’t let it stop me and I’m so happy that I pushed on because it surprised me in so many ways.

The book is heavily inspired and influenced by Viking mythology. From that alone the reader should be prepared for scenes of violence and this book has tons of them! But don’t let that turn you off because it has a fantastic balance between scenes featuring violence and beautifully written passages that deeply explore human emotions and bonds. This is what I think the author did best. I cheered when the book’s protagonist Eelyn went into battle. She was fierce and treated her enemies without mercy. I felt like I was right there swinging an axe alongside her, blood spraying everywhere…it was exhilarating! This types of scenes were placed in between scenes where the author examined Eelyn’s emotional state. She starts out in so much pain, her anger eating away at her. It hurt my heart but the development…it was so well done. It was gradual and not without a few bumps along the way. It felt honest and true to real life.

I loved how this is a standalone novel. So many books now belong to a trilogy or series, which is great, but sometimes that’s bit of a commitment. However, standalones also come with their own pitfalls. They are sometimes rushes and with too convenient endings. This book was well paced and ended in a satisfying way that didn’t feel like the author was just trying to end it. This is most definitely a book that all fantasy lovers need to read! And…..it looks like a companion novel will be released in 2019!!!!! *jumps up and down* I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

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About the Author

16640489Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

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Blog Tour: With Love, Ella by Alexa Randolph

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WLEWith Love, Ella by Alexa Randolph
Release date: December 12th, 2017
Genres: Adult fiction, contemporary

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Ella Chambers is basking in her success as a sought-after New York party planner when she gets her dream job: planning her own wedding to her long-time boyfriend Daniel Collins, a professional football player.

Sadly, amid planning her own nuptials, Ella gets some devastating news that turns her life inside out. Will she and her fiancé finally make it down the aisle, or will tragedy get in the way?


Book Excerpt:

Ella looked around at the surprise location.

“The beach? I didn’t bring a swimsuit.”

Daniel laughed. “Don’t worry babe, you won’t need one. We aren’t going swimming.”

They walked from the car to beach laughing and stealing kisses the whole time. Ella had stopped in her tracks suddenly with Daniel right behind her.

“Oh Daniel, this is beautiful. I can’t believe you did this for me.”

Ella look around to see a beautifully set table with a light pink tablecloth, and pink and white rose petals scattered on the table and on the sand by their table. There were little floating candles on the table. It looked magical. Ella had tears in her eyes. Daniel was always thinking about her and going out of his way for her. She couldn’t believe how lucky she was. She was blown away, but still, In the back of her mind, she was nervous about his reaction to her news.

“You are truly one of a kind, Daniel Collins. This means so much to me,” Ella said through the tears.

Daniel pulled her to him and kissed her before pulling out her seat and pushing her in. He took off the tops of the food containers at their seat and poured the wine.

“This food smells and looks amazing,” Ella said. “Well, it’s your favorite meal from the club.” “Who can resist Scott’s spaghetti and meatballs?” “No one with taste.”

They spent the rest of dinner catching up and enjoying each other’s company. Ella noticed that Daniel was starting to get fidgety and had a nervous energy. She held his hand and smiled at him. He kissed her hand and held them tight.

“Ella, you have always been my best friend and for the past six years, I have been lucky enough to call you the love of my life. We may fight at times, but I know that I could never be without you by my side. Words could never describe how much you mean to me. You are the reason I wake up in the morning and the reason I never want to go to sleep at night. When I think about my future the only thing that I know for sure is how much I need you in it. You are my everything.”

He grabbed a box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. He looked her right in the eyes and said, “Will you do the honor of making me the happiest guy in the world and be my wife?” Ella was shocked. She shouldn’t have been surprised, as this had been a long time coming. But still, she didn’t think it would happen now when her life had just fallen apart. Tears formed in Ella’s eyes.

“I…uh…I need a minute.” Ella said before slipping her heels off and taking off down the beach.

Daniel couldn’t even think straight. He had no idea what had happened. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. They were supposed to be on their way back to their house to make passionate “we are engaged” sex, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen.

Ella kept running down the beach until she couldn’t anymore. She knew she had to tell him what was wrong, but she hadn’t wanted to ruin the night, but it looked like either way it was ruined. She wanted to say yes, but she still had to come out with her news first. She decided to go back and hope he wouldn’t hate her. She walked back toward the table as slow as possible, trying to think of how to say it. She got back to the table and saw Daniel with his head in his hands.

“Um, Daniel? Can I talk to you for a minute?” Ella asked. Daniel looked up with tears in his eyes.

“Are we breaking up?”

“I hope not, but it depends on if you can handle what I have to say.”


About the Author:

Alexa_Alexa Randolph is a professional events planner, just like her main character, Ella Chambers, in her debut novel, With Love, Ella. “I loved getting to know the characters and seeing their relationships unfold,” Alexa says of her women’s fiction novel. “My heart hurt when theirs did, and I felt like I was a part of their world.” When she’s not planning and overseeing all the little details required to ensure an event is a success, Alexa focuses on her own passion: writing. You can find her typing away at the keyboard, crafting romantic short stories or dreaming up characters and plots. Or you may catch her writing sweet little notes on beautiful cards to her family and friends. Not surprisingly, Alexa also loves to read the types of stories she writes, and is especially fond of John Greene and romance novelist Nicholas Sparks. Alexa is a 2016 graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Communications.

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Giveaway:

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. It is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. One winner will receive a signed copy of With Love, Ella. Good luck!

Blog Tour: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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SSSuitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey
Release date: April 17th, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Historical fiction, romance, young adult

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Two young people must hide their true feelings for each other while figuring out who means them harm in this cheeky Regency romance from the author of Love, Lies and Spiesand Duels & Deception.

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .


Book Excerpt:

The young gentleman hooked her hand and with little fuss tucked it in place as if he took the arm of young ladies every day—which she supposed he did, being as he had been in London for the Season. Oh dear, and now he was walking. Imogene tried to match his pace, saw him look over with a friendly smile and then, suddenly, their gait was in harmony. The awkwardness of their promenade disappeared and Imogene sighed in relief—and then worried that he had heard it.

But if he had, Benjamin Steeple showed no sign, merely led them to the blanket by the moat. Jasper trotted happily in their wake. He assisted Emily as she gracefully reclined beside the basket. 

“Yes, I believe the old castle was built in the Elizabethan era.” Emily returned to the question at hand, glancing toward Imogene for a sign.

Imogene nodded and Emily smiled. “Yes, Elizabethan.” It was a brilliant smile, well executed: spontaneous, friendly and slightly sassy. 

Imogene thought Emily had pulled it off with great aplomb but when she looked to see how it was received, she noted that Mr. Benjamin was not looking in Emily’s direction. He was still studying the ruin. 

With a shake of his head, Mr. Benjamin turned to face them; silence reigned for eons—perhaps a moment or two—and then Emily and Benjamin Steeple began to speak at the same time.

Laughing at their folly, Emily indicated that Mr. Benjamin should go ahead.

“I apologize, again, for disturbing you. I will leave you to your…” he glanced at the basket. “To your al fresco meal.”

“Oh no, Mr. Steeple, don’t go. There is no need.” Emily sounded amused. “It is just a spot of tea… without the tea, to see us through until dinner. We have plenty to spare if you would care to join us.”

Mr. Benjamin’s brow folded for the merest second and then he nodded. “Thank you. So very kind, however, before I do, I might take a wander around this fine building.” He looked over his shoulder almost wistfully.

“Of course.” Imogene surprised Emily by answering before her. Imogene wanted to say more, though—warn him about the decay and less than steady walls. And it would seem that Emily had forgotten about the danger, for her friend silently gestured toward the castle with a bright smile.

Taking full advantage of the offer, Benjamin Steeple swiveled and quickly crossed the old cobbled courtyard to the crumbling great hall.

“Emily,” Imogene whispered, “warn him—about the hazards.”

With a jerk of realization, Emily called, “Stop, Mr. Steeple, please. The floor is weak in the center and the wall rickety. Best go round the other way. Yes, there is a path that goes around the back…” Emily snorted a laugh and dropped her voice. “Well, I guess he found it.” Benjamin Steeple had disappeared around the corner of the south tower with a casual wave, Jasper scurrying after him. “Methinks the gentleman likes your… ruins.”


About the Author:

CindyWhenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Suitors and Sabotage is her third novel.

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Giveaway:

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. It is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Suitors and Sabotage. Good luck!

 

Blogging Update…

December Wrap UpHello everyone! I’ve been pretty absent lately and haven’t been posting here or on social media. Life has been pretty hectic lately and I’ve sadly not had time to post. Between work, family commitments and pregnancy I’ve been exhausted and under the weather. It breaks my heart that there just hasn’t been time to post here. I started this blog over 2 years ago and have worked very hard to ensure that I posted often. I’ve met so many wonderful people through blogging…it’s been a wonderful experience!

Basically, I’m going to be taking another extended break. I may post every so often as a read and have time but I do plan on returning to blogging in a few months once things calm down a bit. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love and support!

I will still be posting about books on Twitter and Goodreads, so feel free to follow me there.

Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

21421609Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Release date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Format: Hardcover

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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

Assassin’s Heart was a book that I was so excited to read. I love the whole assassin aesthetic/concept, which could be due to my love of Skyrim and the Assassin’s Guild, but I digress. The concept really intrigued me and while I enjoyed reading the book it ended up being just alright. Not amazing as I thought it would be, but fun and easy to read.

The book is about Lea, a clipper (or assassin), who belongs to an ancient world of assassin families who murder in the name of religion. Things are very competitive and dangerous, especially for Lea who belong to the Saldana family. Her family is the most prominent group of assassin’s until they are murdered at the start of the book. As the only survivor of the slaughter, Lea takes it upon herself to avenge her loved ones. This puts her on a direct path with her family’s long-time enemies the Da Vias.

While the story featured a lot of overused YA tropes such as the angst kick-ass female MC and themes of heartbreak and betrayal, the story was quite interesting. The world created by the author had a lot of potential, especially its pantheon of gods and goddesses. People from Lea’s city of Lovero worship a goddess called Safraella, who promises her followers rebirth and a peaceful death. Basically, the clippers are empowered by her to take lives in for those people to become new again. Throughout the story Lea travels around a lot in search of help and answers and each place really stood out as new and unique. The story seems to be inspired by Italy or at least that’s what it reminded me of. I just wish that more of the world was slowly revealed and not told to the reader. There was an awful amount of info dumping at the start of the book which made it kind of slow. However, after the first few chapters things really picked up and I just wanted to keep on reading and reading.

The plot was also not very original and often times very convenient, but sometimes that’s ok. I kind of figured out from the first chapter that it wasn’t going to add anything new to the genre. So, I just decided to read on and take it for what it was. And I ended up having a lot of fun with it. Some of dialogue is a bit silly but for the most part I forgot about it because something exciting had happened. I guess you just need to go into the book knowing this is what it is and let the fantasy world allow you to escape your current reality. And that’s why I really loved fantasy books…they transport you to somewhere faraway for a tiny bit and help you avoid whatever is stressing you in your life. That’s what Assassin’s Heart did for me and I’m so happy I picked it up when I did for that reason.

At first I didn’t like Lea…she was too much of a know-it-all, arrogant and stuck up. But she’s one of those characters that grow on you. I just wish that the author would have written her as the kick-ass assassin that she was supposed to be. She made too many errors that seemed a bit off for someone who had been training since a small child. Like, people are not perfect, but if that’s all that she was meant to do since birth, I would expect a lot more from her. Les was a lot of fun! He’s a wannabe clipper and so adorable and awkward. Ahhh….I just loved him.

So, while not a perfect book, Assassin’s Heart was a lot of fun to read. A perfect escape from the real world. I flew through the pages and will totally read the next book in the series, Thief’s Cunning.

Cover Reveal & Book Info for Circle of Ashes!

circle-of-ashes-cover-final-smCircle of Ashes by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh
Release date: April 9th, 2018
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Genre: New adult, urban fantasy, romance

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EVERY WISH HAS A COST BUT WILL THE SOCIETY BE WILLING TO PAY IT?

Once a hacker-for-hire living in the shadows, Josephina “Jo” Espinosa is the newest member of a magical Society. Their mandate? To grant the wishes of mortals. A simple enough task until Jo is faced with an impossible wish – and her inability to grant it might spell disaster for her entire team, if not the Society itself.

Jo is used to high-pressure situations, but after a string of disasters, the last thing she needs is stakes of this magnitude. Especially given that neither she nor the Society know quite what the consequences of failing to grant a wish might be.

The only person with answers is the Society’s aloof and cryptic leader, Snow. Yet while Jo is enigmatically drawn to the man, all their clandestine encounters leave her with only more questions about the true nature of the Society, her magic, and her own history.

Time is running out for the Society, and an executioner will rise from among them to exact the price of failure.


Read-A-Long:

Elise and Lynn are hosting a read-a-long for book one on Facebook. There will have tons of giveaways, discussion questions, exclusive content, and more! Click here for more information.

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Giveaway:

Click to enter a giveaway. You could win a signed paperback copy of Society of Wishes. Good luck!

Blog Tour: Solis by Kat Ross

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I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

36693273Solis by Kat Ross

Release date: February 19th, 2017
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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It’s been a thousand years since the Avas Vatras tried to burn the world to ashes. A thousand years since they were imprisoned in the brutal wasteland called the Kiln. But revenge is a dish best served cold—even, apparently, by the children of fire.

In Delphi, Nazafareen joins forces with the followers of Dionysius to rescue her friends from the Oracle’s dungeons and seek out the three talismans whose extraordinary powers stopped the Vatras before. With her own breaking magic growing stronger by the day, she must walk a razor’s edge to control her volatile temper. And if the Vatras find the talismans first, their last hope will die.

In the frozen wastes of the Valkirin range, Victor strikes an uneasy bargain with bitter enemies to keep his tenuous grip on the Maiden Keep. The other holdfasts are coming for him. But it’s a traitor within Val Moraine’s walls that may prove to be his downfall.

While Nocturne was more of a set-up book, establishing the world, key characters, the mysterious Vastras, Solis is totally full throttle ahead. Reading it was exhilarating and beyond fun. It’s one of the things I love most about Kat Ross’ books…they are always fast-paced. Not a single page is wasted in moving the characters and story along. It was seriously difficult to put down!

Without giving too much away about the first book (which if you haven’t read you really should), the story in Solis picks up where the previous book left off. There’s no waiting for the story to start or a long rehashing of what had come before. No, the story jumps right into it. The story largely revolves around the three talismans, which in the wrong hands, could lead to world destruction. I really liked how Ross wrote the Avas Vatras. These people just aren’t messing around! They are brutal and full of long built-up feelings of hate and revenge. I’m really looking forward to seeing just how far she’ll take these characters.

The characters continue to be my favourite part of this series. There are a lot of different points of view and usually, that would bother me, but not here! Ross does a fantastic job of balancing page time and creating transitions that feel organic and natural. Each character has a clear voice and unique personality. So, you without a doubt know which character the chapter focuses on. It’s also great because it really gives the reader a complete view of the story. And finally…..some more page time for my two favourite characters Nazafareen and Darius! Oh, my poor little heart!

Book three is going to be truly amazing. Solis pushed the storyline ahead, answered questions but threw even more at the reader. There are still so many mysteries that need to be unravelled! However, when I check Goodreads there isn’t any information about what comes next. Ahhhh…how am I going to handle this? I was so spoiled being able to read the first two books one after another. I guess I’ll just have to keep checking and perhaps start a re-read of the Fourth Element series?


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios.

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Giveaway

Click to enter an international Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a paperback copy of Nocturne. Good luck!