Blog Tour: The Dragons of Nova (Review)

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31686500The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova
Release date: July 11th, 2017
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust – hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything – and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills – and quick-shooting accuracy – makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.

I totally loved The Alchemists of Loom, the first book in the series. Elise Kova is truly a master of writing fantasy. *throws up hands* I’m completely addicted to this series and can’t get enough of it. The Dragons of Nova topped its predecessor by a long shot…it was just so good! It was so perfectly imagined, much darker and more violent, all things that I adore in a fantasy book.

For those of you who haven’t read The Alchemists of Loom (which you should do ASAP), the book takes place in Loom, a world enslaved by a dragon race. The dragons have forced the people of Loom to work in specialized guilds for their benefit. Once in a guild there is no way out. It’s illegal to leave or to not be associated with the guild of your birth. Besides the Dragons (who aren’t actually like the mythical dragons we know and love), Loom is made up of the Fenthri, human-like people, and the Chimera, humans with dragon parts that can wield magic.

The Dragons of Nova primarily takes place on Nova where the reader is dropped into a world of political intrigue, betrayal and treason. The Dragons aren’t happy with their current leader and one house in particular is willing to take enormous risks to challenge the status quo. What I found very entertaining was how the POV of both sides was featured in the book. I found myself conflicted and unsure what would happen next. It definitely kept things exciting and interesting!

The world building was all kinds of amazing. It’s truly what Kova does best! The first book was very steampunk inspired with factories, flying ships, gunpowder and bombs, but Nova is all about the fantasy world. The colourful floating islands, complex religious system, Dragon houses and magic systems were perfectly described. My mind went wild trying to visualize each aspect of the Dragon world. The contrast between Loom and Nova was stark and it perfectly hit home the differences between the two races. Nova was a land of beauty; bright, rich and a abundant. The Dragons used their magic to enslave and exploit the human race on Loom, a dark and depressing world. The book explores prejudice and stereotypes. The characters are constantly judged or judging other due to their race, abilities or social status. Characters such as Florence constantly push back and work hard to prove that they are more than the limitations forced upon them. The Dragons of Nova challenges preconceptions, both of the characters and the reader. There were so many grey areas that I’m still not sure how I feel about certain characters and their actions.

I loved how women were front and centre in this book! Ari, my favourite character from the first novel, continued to be her badass self. She’s such a force of nature, so sure of herself, mentally and physically tough, but also willing to admit when she is wrong or beyond her limits. More is revealed about her past and while I still have tons of questions, I really do appreciate Kova’s slow leak of information. It builds tension and mystery, forcing the reader to continue reading to find out more. A character I wasn’t entirely sure of was Florence, but here she really comes into her own. She’s stepped out of Ari’s spotlight…she’s self confident, willing to take risks and a true leader. I really enjoyed reading the chapters from her perspective.

Unlike its predecessor, this book featured a lot more mature content. So, it’s not really young adult but I wouldn’t label it as new adult either. It’s kind of in-between due to its violent content and sex scenes. The sex scenes don’t dominate the storyline and aren’t explicit but they do mark a change from The Alchemists of Loom which didn’t feature any.

This book was just perfect in every way! I have no complaints, things that I would change. I love it to tiny pieces! I just wish that more people were talking about this series. It’s so underrated and that breaks my heart. The third book in the series, The Rebels of Gold, is scheduled for release at the end of the year. I can’t wait to have it in my hands. I just know this series is going to keep on getting better and better!


About the Author

8306309Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media.

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour: Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare (Guest Post)

Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare
Release date: June 30th, 2017
Publisher: C.M. Estopare
Genres: Adult, fantasy

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To defy gods, she will sacrifice all.

After the death of its duchess, Safrana is in turmoil. Two equally powerful families vie for power, quickly turning the beautiful citadels of Safrana into a hellish warscape. While, on the outside, there is a desperate search for the one true heir to the throne. The one man who could stop an encroaching civil war and force the citadels into peace.

But he is no where to be found. Presumed dead. While a threatening war looms over Safrana, promising to tear it apart.

Thrust into a political world which only buys and sells in blood money, with an impending civil war at hand, Marceline Brandy is called to take charge of a peace effort in a foreign city. But nothing is certain in this world rife with political strife. Everything must be questioned, even a push for peace.

Desperate to complete her mission, Marceline soon finds herself tangled up in the strange political affairs of an arrogant woman with dangerous ties to the long lost heir of the Safranian throne. But there is another, more powerful presence that lurks on the borders of Safrana’s imploding government. A presence that would stop at nothing to see Marceline and her allies fail.

Seized by a foreign city she is sworn to save, she has few to turn to for help. The list of allies she could count on is cut short by corrupt patriotists hungry for war and livid at the mere notion of foreign driven peace. Months pass as Marceline heads this peace effort, but the fiercer she works the more dire the situation becomes and time is running out.

A war looms, one that promises to destroy Safrana, as mythological creatures rise from ancient graves. The fiends intent on absolute destruction.

Is this an all-out test of Marceline’s strength and will?

Or, are the gods themselves against her?


Author Guest Post: Writing Soundtrack

It’s almost impossible to write without some type of music in the background–I hope I’m not the only one that feels this way! Silence is awesome, but if I’m writing an action scene I need something (without lyrics usually) that gets my blood pumping. Depending on the type of music, I’ll either leave it playing in the background or I’ll just sit back and listen for five minutes while trying to envision the scene (got that idea from James Scott Bell!). I’ve got an entire playlist full of just writing music (and it’s like…over almost 300! Whoa!). Out of that long, long, long playlist my top five are…

1. You’re Immortal by Percival Schuttenbach and Marcin Przybyłowicz

Video games have some of the best soundtracks for writing because the loop over and over without a sudden (concentration-blowing) ending. This raw and guttural piece is perfect when writing horrific and bloody fight scenes where the protagonist might just let it all go and seriously harm someone else. I’ve used this one countless times and I’ve got to say it’s my favorite (it’s from the Witcher DLC Hearts of Stone!).

2. Bitter Cold, Shogun II: Total War Original Soundtrack

When I’m looking for something a little more cold and biting, I turn to this piece. It’s easily loopable (just right click the screen and bam!) and it sounds totally natural when you loop it for hours (so it’s seriously easy to forget!). Bitter Cold creates a somber, mellow, theme. Like the sound in your head while perusing a battlefield caked with carreon crows. It’s perfect for when the protagonist needs to feel a bit down.

3. I Was Lost Without You by Sam Hulick

This one can work double duty. If the protagonist has seriously hurt someone they cared about, or if they are having a tender moment with the romantic interest, this little piano piece can make me feel butterflies or cry. Either one. It’s soft, smooth, and chilling. It’s also one of my absolute favorite piano pieces (it’s also from one of my favorite game trilogies, Mass Effect!).

4. Somnus by Yoko Shimomura

Sometimes when epic battles happen raw and passionate music just isn’t called for. Soft piano pieces can really accentuate the beauty of blood in battle and that is what Somnus (the instrumental version) does for me. The combination of soft piano playing and the harsh hum of the violin is the heartbeat of epic battles involving gods and dragons (at least, that’s what it is to me).

5. The Choice by Gustavo Santaolla

This is an awesome guitar riff for a character teetering on the brink of change (or refusal). Mellow tones merge and evolve onto a higher plane. It’s almost as if Gustavo Santaolla is asking you to look at a sunset that isn’t there. This can be an emotional piece as well if you’ve played the game it’s attached to, The Last of Us.

Blade and Soul’s soundtrack would definitely contain one (if not all) of these. All of these helped me write the series and it’s awesome to go back and listen to them again.

What songs to you use to help you write? Do you use any? Or, maybe you use ambience? I’d love to know!


About the Author

C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of HEARTFELT SOUNDS, a young adult coming of age fantasy about the enthralling power of one young woman’s voice.

KINDRED SOULS is a three part epic and dark fantasy series hitting Amazon and Kindle Unlimited beginning in February 2017. The first book, WINTERSKIN, debuted February 9th, 2017. The second book, BLADE AND SOUL, debuts June 30th, 2017. Be sure to mark your calendars!

When not writing, C.M. Estopare enjoys reading about the fantastical worlds in the minds of others. She also enjoys playing around with her puppy, Duke, and adventuring with her husband.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway

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Blog Tour: Groupie by C.M. Staunch (Guest Post)

Groupie by C.M. Stunich
Release date: March 21st, 2017
Publisher: Sarian Royal
Genres: New adult, romance

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“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.

But can one broken person really put another back together again?

Author Guest Post: Top 10 Bands I Fangirled Over as a Teen

* Click the link to explore music from the artists.

1. From First to Last
2. Escape the Fate
3. Bleeding Through
4. Avenged Sevenfold
5. Alesana
6. Funeral for a Friend
7. From Autumn to Ashes
8. A Static Lullaby
9. Finch
10. A Skylit Drive


About the Author

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

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Giveaway

Click on the link for a Rafflecopter giveaway. Win a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Groupie! The giveaway is international. Good luck!! 🙂

Blog Tour: The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem (Guest Post)

The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem
Release date: April 19th, 2017
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Carpe Noctem Publishing
Formats: Paperback, hardcover, eBook

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All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.

In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.

Author Guest Post: Cover Inspiration

I’m so glad that Jacquie asked about the cover for The Waterfall Traveler because the design process was so exciting. I loved that the characters I had spent so much time with for the past three years were going to be given more “life” by being featured in an incredible illustration.

I had the opportunity to work with two talented individuals during the design process: illustrator Lindsay Nery and designer Vic Sanchez. Since I also have a design background, I had strong vision of how I wanted the cover to look. Both Lindsay and Vic did a tremendous job visualizing my ideas, and the final piece exceeded all of my expectations.

When I first began working with Lindsay, I mentioned that I wanted the cover to capture the intensity, emotion, and fast pace of the story. Throughout the novel, characters Ri and Bryce face terrifying dangers, brutal elements, and internal struggles. They develop a strong friendship that deepens into much more as the story progresses. As the stakes continue to rise, Ri and Bryce risk their lives for each other and their friends. So above all, I wanted the artwork to show the connection between those two characters.

Though it was a daunting task, Lindsay returned to our next meeting with various sketches. One drew my attention immediately. It featured Ri and Bryce, gripping each others’ hands as Ri tumbles from a waterfall. I loved all the movement, the characters’ expressions, and the intensity. Since the story is filled with action-packed scenes, it made perfect sense that the artwork should convey the same tension and urgency. The final illustration, with its vivid colors and movement, truly represents the tone of the novel. I couldn’t be happier with it.

Once the illustration was completed, Vic tackled the typography and layout. Like the illustration, the typography captures that same sense of movement. I love how the “R” in “Waterfall” dips down like flowing water. The treatment is somewhat whimsical, but also very elegant.

I really hope that readers enjoy the cover as much as I do. Bookmarks featuring the artwork will be available on my website, sjlem.com, this summer.


About the Author:

S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.

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Giveaway

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a print copy of The Waterfall Traveler! Good luck! 🙂

Blog Tour: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (Q&A + Giveaway)

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32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Release date: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Duet/Interlude Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Indiebound

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. I’ll be posting my review of this fantastic book very soon (I gave it 5 hearts because it’s so, so good), but until then check out this fun Q&A with Julia and enter to win some prizes! 🙂


Author Q&A

Hi everyone! I’m Julia Ember and I’m really excited to be on the blog today as part of the Virtual Book Tour for my new release, The Seafarer’s Kiss.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is my second novel. It is a bisexual, Norse retelling of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The main character, Ersel, longs to escape her harsh arctic sea world where she is expected to choose a mate and bear children. When she meets, Ragna, a Viking shield maiden stranded on the ice-shelf near her home, she learns of another way of life. But when her former best friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: abandon Ragna or face justice at the hands of their tyrannical king. Ersel decides to make her own rules instead, and makes a deal with Loki.

1. Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?
I’m a concept buyer! I like vast, interesting, unusual concepts that make me perk up and wonder about the book. Give me African mythology in space, rogue narwhal communities – if it’s weird and speculative fiction, I’m probably all over it! I buy a lot of books through Twitter recommendations. The format of Twitter is perfect for people who buy off concept, because the 140-char limit forces people to distil a book down to its basic parts.

Beyond that, I usually read 5-10 pages before I commit to buying. I like fast-paced reads, and will usually pass on anything that has a slow opening.

2. What does ‘romance’ mean to you?
Romance to me is always going to represent the genre. Before I gave up academia, I was medievalist studying literature. When I hear the word ‘romance’ I think of writers like Chaucer, early pioneers of the genre, or of poets like John Donne. I’ve only very recently started to read modern romance. I used to be an almost exclusively sci-fi/fantasy reader. Even now that I’m writing some contemporary romance, my first thought when I hear the word is STILL that historical one. With time, I think the word will probably start to take on more modern connotations!

3. What are your current projects?
At the moment, I have a totally unwieldly number of WIPs! My agent and I are getting ready to go on submission with two projects. The first is a contemporary f/f novella about two gamers who fall in love before realising they’re bitter enemies online. The other is a YA Space Opera that is crazy genre mashup of sci-fi, fantasy and historical fiction, with dragons.

4. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
The second draft is the hardest for me! I write the first very quickly and its usually very short, just a collection of scenes. In the second draft, I have to go back and connect all the dots.

5. Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
I’ve visited 66 different countries! My parents travelled with us a lot when I was a kid, and that wanderlust has stayed in my blood. There are still so many places that I haven’t gone, and I’m looking forward to organising more trips.


About the Author

julia2-e1455421316346-300x300Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was published by Harmony Ink Press.

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Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. Five people will win multi-format eBook editions of  The Seafarer’s Kiss and the grand prize winner will receive a $25 IP web store certificate. Good luck!


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