Blog Tour: Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel (Review & Giveaway)

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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.

37638219Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Release date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy

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Keeper of the Bees is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

I just finished reading Black Bird of the Gallows (a book that I thoroughly enjoyed) and was super excited to pick this novel up. Now, Keeper of the Bees is technically a companion novel to Meg Kassel’s debut, but can be read as a standalone. So, if you haven’t read Black Bird of the Gallows (which you really should) don’t worry. You can still completely enjoy everything about this book. 🙂

Before I start my review, I just want to say that originally I turned my nose up at Black Bird of the Gallows. I unfairly dismissed it as being too Twilight sounding and turned down a chance to review it when it was released last year. When I received the blog tour sign-up for Keeper of the Bees I was really excited because of the cover and synopsis. Then I made the connection and decided to give it a chance. I’m just really, really glad that I did. I’ve totally been missing out! Anyway…time for the actual review.

Things I Liked:

  • The book was very easy to read through and I was completely engaged from the first page until the very end. It really didn’t feel like I read 400 pages. I’ve lately been struggling with books longer than 300 pages. Why? I have no idea but I’ve been losing interest midway through and with this story that didn’t happen. I actually read it within a couple of day it was that good!
  • The story is told through multiple points of view. Sometimes this can get a bit confusing because the characters tend to sound too similar. However, I really enjoyed reading the two POVs. Both were totally unique and I never found myself wanting to skip over a certain chapter because it revolved around a particular character.
  • Adding on to the point above, I loved the two main characters! Essie was absolutely wonderful. Throughout the story she suffered from hallucinations and I liked how the author invited the reader into her head during these periods where she wasn’t fully in control. I felt like I really got to know Essie and sympathize with her struggles. Dresden was very interesting to read about because of his “curse”. My heart really hurt for him.
  • I liked the Beauty and the Beast vibes that the story gives off. The lesson or main idea is that we all have our issues or problems, things that we struggle with. We shouldn’t judge others based on what we initially see because underneath there is great beauty. The romance between Essie and Dresden really went up against the odds and I cheered them on the entire time. You can’t help but rally behind them and become invested in their fight to be together and defeat their own personal demons.
  • If you have read Black Bird of the Gallows, then you already know a lot about the harbingers of death. This book immerses the reader into the world of the beekeepers and further adds to the mythology previously introduced. I liked getting to see the other side of things and to further understand how things work in Kassel’s super unique world.

Things I Disliked:

  •  The romance was a bit too insta-love for me. Things moved really fast! I kind of rolled my eyes a few times, but at least there weren’t any love triangles or squares. That would have been too much for me! I prefer slow burning romances that take time to develop.

So, if you were a fan of Black Bird of the Gallows or like paranormal romances than this book is totally for you! It’s very heartwarming, easy to read and very additive. I’m eagerly looking forward to Kassel’s next release.


About the Author

8353652Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before embracing her true passion, writing. She now lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her family, and is busy at work on her next novel. A fan of ’80s cartoons, original Netflix series, daydreaming, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her husband and daughter, hiding her peanut butter cups, or walking her rescue mutt, Luna. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 YA winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest. Her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows, was released in 2017.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway

Click the link to enter an international rafflecopter giveaway. You could win ____________. Good luck! 🙂


The Tour

ih9zuluDon’t forget to check out the rest of today’s stops organized by YA Bound Book Tours.

See the rest of stops on the Keeper of the Bees blog tour here.

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Blog Tour: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting (Review & Giveaway)

JaclynAndtheBeanstalkTourBannerI 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.

39353711Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

Release date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Jaclyn and the Beanstalk, but I was completely taken by surprise. I totally adored this very fun and unique reimagining of Jack and the Beanstalk! Before I start my review, I do want to say that I can’t believe I actually debated signing up for the blog tour. I saw the graphics and the book title and thought it looked interesting. I thought about signing up, then said no but for some reason went back to it at the last minute. I can’t explain why but I’m so glad that I did!

Things That I Liked:

  • The book doesn’t take its time in introducing the reader to the story. Pages upon pages aren’t wasted with information dumping that slow down the story. Instead, the author throws the reader into the action right away. I love when this happens in books because I find it to exhilarating and fun. It also leaves a bit of mystery, a reason to keep on reading to find out more.
  • There’s so much action and adventure in this story that you seriously won’t want to stop reading. I honestly devoured it within a couple of hours. While reading you can’t help but be caught up in the journey, the battles against monsters and demons and the cute romance that develops.
  • Talking about the romance, it wasn’t what the book was mainly about. Jaclyn has a mission and doesn’t waver from it. The romance never took away from her determined personality or dominated what was happening. Instead, it burned in the background and helped push her character development forward. It was seriously well written.
  • I really liked how the author switched things up by changing the gender of the story’s main character. Instead of Jack we have Jaclyn, a character that you can’t help but cheer on. She’s like a firecracker…full of energy, intelligent and willing to take chances. She’s by no means perfect and goes through a multitude of situations that help her learn and grow.
  • The book is a standalone and it was honestly refreshing to have the story wrapped up at the very end. That said, there’s still enough room for the author to continue the story if she wanted. I would totally be up for more adventures with Jaclyn!

Things That I Disliked:

  • There were a lot of religious aspects to the book that I just wasn’t used to reading about. I usually avoid books that are highly influenced by religious messages/books because I think that they are too preachy. This book had its moments but overall it didn’t come across as overbearing. Of course, this little complaint is completely personal and some people might not even realize that there are religious elements at play or they may not even care. It’s really up to each individual person and their preferences.

How have I not heard of Mary Ting before? She has a bunch of books listed on Goodreads that I look forward to reading in the near future. I highly recommend this book to fans of fairytale retellings/reimaginings. It was so much fun to read and totally addictive.


About the Author

4388953Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one (Something Great). She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book No Bullies Allowed.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway

Click on the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win $20 Amazon gift card. This is an international giveaway and open to everyone. Good luck! 🙂

Blog Tour: Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer (Review & Giveaway)

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Book cover (Reign of Mist).jpgReign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
Release date: September 13th, 2018
Publisher: Talem Press
Genres: Young adult, fantasy

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The realm’s darkest secret is out.

The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.

On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.

But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.


My Review:

*** Read my review for Heart of Mist, the first book in the series, here.

I’m so happy that I stumbled upon a Twitter post for this book’s blog tour. I hadn’t heard of the series before and it completely blows my mind because I love all things fantasy. And…this series is fantasy done beautifully right!

  • The cover! Just look at how gorgeous and yet simplistic it is. The gold design really pops when placed on top of the purple background. Ahhh…I LOVE IT!
  • Like its predecessor, the story is very female focused. Women take centre stage and hold many different roles. They are leaders, warriors, strong, weak, self-assured, on personal journeys of discovery, etc. I enjoyed how the female characters were not pigeonholed into one stereotype. For instance, to be a strong character women have to be portrayed as a warrior, wielding swords and demonstrating physical strength.
  • I enjoyed reading about Bleak’s journey to fight her demons and become a better version of herself. In the first book she did everything to sabotage her own progress. She was constantly looking for alcohol to feed her addiction and in this book she’s making a conscious effort to fight it. I love it when you can cheer a character on. She’s not perfect and that makes her all the more real.
  • I gained a new appreciation for some of the characters that I didn’t necessarily enjoy in the first book. The story is told through multiple points of view which provide the reader with all sides of the story. Some characters didn’t feel necessary in the first book. However, here every character matters. I won’t give anything away, but there were totally some twists and turns with characters that I didn’t see coming. I had so much fun flipping through the pages and seeing what would happen next.
  • The story was beautifully written. The author writes in a way that really immerses the reader in the world and the story of the characters. I could easily imagine what each character looked like, how they acted and the environment around them. What amazed me was how this was all done without being too wordy or descriptive.

So…this is most definitely a book (and series) that you totally NEED to read. I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what happens next. I’m so addicted to everything about this series: the writing, the magic, the characters…I could go on and on. But don’t just take my word for it. If you haven’t read the first book DO IT NOW! You won’t be able to put it down and will need to read Reign of Mist right away.

** Also, as a side note, you can download six free prequels to Heart of Mist and Reign of Mist on the author’s website.


Join the Twitter Chat:

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About the Author:

Author photo (Helen) coloredHelen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

Helen is now a full-time author living by the beach.

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The Tour:

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Giveaway:

Click the link to enter a rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a $20 Amazon gift voucher, all the Heart of Mist bonus prequels and a high-res printable map. This giveaway is open to everyone. Good luck!

Blog Tour: Mirage by Somaiya Daud (Review)

MirageI 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.

32768520Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Release date: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Young adult, science fiction

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In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

This. Book. Completely. Utterly. Totally. Destroyed me and I loved every single second of it. Mirage is a MUST read and my favourite book so far this year! I first became interested in reading it after it appeared everywhere on Twitter. So many bloggers were raving about it. I loved the cover and synopsis, but to be completely honest was a bit skeptical. I’ve been burnt multiple times by books that have been overly hyped on Twitter. However, this wasn’t the case with Mirage. This book is the real deal and I can’t stop recommending it to people. YOU REALLY NEED TO READ IT!

The story focuses on a teenaged girl named Amani. She begins the story living on a small forgotten about moon with her family. On her eigthteeth birthday she is kidnapped by imperial droids and taken to the residence of the Vathek royal family. Why? Because Amani looks very similar to the heartless and cruel Princess Maram. The royal family are constantly under threat from rebel groups who want to stop the Vathek’s galactic expansion and the obliteration of cultures, religions and unique ways of life that accompanies a take over. So, since Princess Maram fears for her life, she forces Amani to become her body double or face execution.

The main themes of the novel were cultural identity, family and suppression. From the moment Amani was taken by the Vathek she was constantly challenged. They wanted to strip her of her cultural identity, which is what shaped her into the person that was she. They forced her to leave behind everything she knew and become someone else. She had to learn their mannerisms, etiquette and traditions in order to pretend to be Princess Maram. Failure to do so would result in physical and verbal abuse.

The world building in Mirage was very well done. The blending of science fiction (droids, space travel and advanced technology) with Moroccan culture and traditions made it very unique. I appreciated how the author didn’t dump information on the reader. Aspects of the world, its complex cultures, traditions, peoples, etc. was revealed as time went on. It actually made me feel like Amani…I was trying to learn and navigate a world I knew nothing about. The slow reveal of information made me want to read on and on. For some people this may be a turn-off, but I love it when books do this. Also, the way the author writes was so magical. I could perfectly imagine what was described, how a character was feeling, etc.

The romance was a a tiny bit rushed at the beginning. Amani and Princess Maram’s fiancé, Idris, kind of fell for each other to quickly and easily. However, I can completely forgive it because their relationship was so fascinating and dangerous. Let me just say that I totally adored Idris. Besides being a character that you can’t help but fall in love with, my heart hurt for him and his backstory. It was like he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders and the pain of thousands of people. Him and Amani had so much in common and I couldn’t help but route for them as I read through the story. They are now one of my favourite book couples!

This is seriously one of the best releases of 2018! I’m so happy that I received an early copy, but also so sad because now I’ll have to wait even longer for the sequel. I WANT MORE! Anyway, I can’t recommend this wonderful book enough. GO GET YOUR COPY RIGHT NOW!! I can guarantee you’ll be just as addicted as I was. ❤


About the Author

15179415Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut.

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Giveaway

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a finished copy of Mirage. This giveaway is only open to US residents. Good luck!


The Tour

Check out the other posts from today by clicking on the blog links below. Also, thank you to Aimee, Always for organizing the tour!

Blog Tour: Stricken by C.K. Kelly Martin (Spotlight & Giveaway)

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StrickenStricken by C.K. Kelly Martin

Release date: November 4th, 2017
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books
Genre: Young adult, thriller

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Naomi doesn’t expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

About the Author

C.K. Kelly MartinLong before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major—not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. (Hons) in film studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always believed I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually, and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that fiction about young people felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I’m an aunt to twenty-one nieces and nephews, and a great-aunt to two great-nephews. I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can while working on novels about young people.

My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and sci-fi thriller Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an eBook in June 2012. My most recent contemporary YA books, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing and Delicate, were published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and 2015.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Click the link to enter an international rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a signed copy of Stricken. Good luck! 🙂


The Tour

Chapter-by-Chapter-blog-tour-buttonDon’t forget to check out the rest of the tour organized by Chapter by Chapter.

See the rest of stops on the Stricken blog tour here.

Blog Tour: Monstrum by Kat Ross (Review & Giveaway)

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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.

MonstrumMonstrum by Kat Ross

Release date: June 15th, 2018
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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In the third volume of the Fourth Talisman series, the hunt is on for the three daevas whose powers saved the world once before….

On the wave-tossed White Sea, realm of smashers and sea monsters, a ship is carrying Nazafareen and Darius to the Isles of the Marakai, where the wise woman Sakhet-ra-katme has guarded the secret of the talismans for centuries. But another is searching too, a man born in the brutal prison of the Kiln, who plans to use the talismans to free the Vatras and their mad king. Between them stands a young Marakai girl, ignorant of her own powers. From the moonlit treasure vaults of the Isles to the emperor’s lavish palace in Tjanjin, Nazafareen and Darius face their deadliest and most cunning foe yet.

In the mountain fastness of Val Moraine, the Pythia’s minions are on the scent of another talisman, this one from the Danai clan. Trapped behind a thick wall of ice, everyone’s going slightly mad—the perfect cauldron of suspicion and betrayal for Thena, who sees a chance to redeem her failure and bring the talisman back to Delphi. Then she’ll be free to indulge her twisted obsession with Darius—and make him pay.

And in Samarqand, Javid is drawn into the treacherous currents of a royal succession. When the old king dies and his son takes the throne, the depths of the prince’s depravity become clear. A journey north reveals the source of the spell dust he’s addicted to—and leaves Javid with an impossible choice.

I’m at a loss for words…this book was honestly that AMAZING! I’ve adored everything that Kat Ross has released so far, but Monstrum is something truly special. It didn’t feel like the third book in a series and it certainly didn’t act as a bridge or set-up for a grand finale. Even with a fourth book already proposed, this novel did not hold back. It was action packed, fun to read and all consuming.

I don’t want to write too much about the plot here because I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything. Basically, the story revolves around three magical talismans, which in the wrong hands, could lead to world destruction. Like in the previous book, Solis, the adventure picks up right where it left off. That’s one of the things that always stand-out to me with Ross’ books. She wastes no time in setting things up. If you’re reading the third book in the series, then you don’t need a massive recap. You know what’s going on and if you don’t completely remember, she drops hints here and there. Instead, the focus is on driving the story forward. The pacing is relentless and I really enjoy that because it really immerses the reader into the world and situation of the characters. Ross really upped the stakes this time and the characters are forced to make tons of difficult decisions. My heart was beating non-stop the entire time!

While the world building and magic is amazingly well written, what has always made the author’s books standout for me are the characters. I feel like Nazafareen and Darius are old friends of mine. This is the sixth book to feature their relationship and I love them to pieces! While I’ve read about these two for quite sometime now, Ross never lets them stand still. They are always developing and changing. Nazafareen has always been my favourite character…she’s impulsive, inquisitive and strong willed. Her storyline has been by far the most interesting and I would love for her to have even more page time than she already does. That said, I do appreciate how Ross is slowly making me feel for the “evil” characters. The villains are “bad” and do things that are morally questionable, but she slowly strips away their layers and reveals why they do or believe certain things. It makes it so difficult for the reader to takes sides, and this makes for a complex and interesting reading experience.

Finally, FINALLY…a lot of my unanswered questions were finally addressed in this book. Of course I have even more now, but I was fascinated by the magical people called the Avas Vatras. They were mentioned in the previous book, but not much was revealed. Here we learn more about them and they are honestly much more frightening than I thought! Basically, this book is fantastic and one that you don’t want to miss out on. If you haven’t started the series yet do so now!!! I can’t wait for the fourth book in the series. Right now, there isn’t any information up on Goodreads and the wait is already making me suffer. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK ASAP PLEASE!


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.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. The give away is open internationally and you could win ebook copies of Nocturne and Solis, as well as a The Fourth Element boxed set. Good luck!

Blog Tour: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga (Author Guest Post & Giveaway)

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32173635Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

Release date: July 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young adult, romance, fantasy

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In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.


Author’s Guest Post: Which character should have a spin-off book and why?

If anyone has ever created a character as a plot device, or as a way to get the protagonist from one scene to the next, then you’ll understand how Ivy’s page, Bromley was born. At first, that’s really all he was–her page. He delivered her messages, helped her train, provided a way to hint at Ivy’s backstory, etc. But somehow, through the course of writing the first draft, he transformed into this sweet, impossibly brave kid, whose role was actually critical to Ivy’s character development. I grew to love him so much that he’s the one character for which I would consider writing a whole other novel.

Brom was assigned to Ivy when he was very young, mere days after his parents were killed. In the book, Ivy even tells a story of how Brom had gotten sick one night not long after he was assigned to her, so she stayed up nursing him back to health. Because of that, he sees Ivy as more of a mother or an older sister. His allegiance is not to the Royals, but to her, and her alone. Brom and Ivy are like family and their powerful bond became surprisingly important towards the end. But it’s still ultimately Ivy’s story so I didn’t get a chance to grow Brom or expand on his backstory as much as I would’ve liked.

Before I dive into my thoughts on how a spin-off for Brom might go, let me explain the inspiration for his character. When I was a kid, I simply adored the Warner Brothers’ cartoon movie, The Swan Princess. The prince in the movie has a friend named Bromley (nicknamed Brom) who is a bit of a goofball–you know, the comedic relief that you often see in kids’ movies. But at the end of the movie, without spoiling anything, Bromley kind of…saves the day. My Brom’s actions in the book actually mirror the actions of the Swan Princess Brom. (It would amazing if anyone notices it and points it out to me.)

The biggest difference between the two is my Brom is younger, and extremely capable. He’s a good fighter, with a ginormous heart, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to go much deeper than that. You see some of his insecurities arise but I couldn’t explore them that well. When my editor and I decided that this book would be a standalone, the only thing I really regretted was not having the chance to really show what happens between the last chapter and the epilogue. If I were to write a spin-off it would be following Bromley during this brief period and allowing him to really grow as a character and as a young man.

And who knows, someday Brom could get his own novella. Even if it doesn’t end up happening, he will always have a special place in my heart as Ivy’s brave little bro.


About the Author

15853318Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

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