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!

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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.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Giveaway

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. US residents can win a copy of Kiss of the Royal. Good luck!


Blog Tour

header2bsmlDon’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club.

July 4th:

July 5th:

June Wrap Up!

December Wrap Up

SOME THOUGHTS

Summer vacation (and maternity leave) has officially begun! There’s something so wonderful about waking up in the morning without an alarm, drinking coffee outside before the weather becomes unbearably warm and being able to take naps whenever I want. This time feels so special for me. My life is on the verge of changing forever and taking the time to reflect and care for myself has been precious.

As for the blog, I’m so happy that I’ve been able to keep things going. I’ve actually been able to schedule posts until mid-August and should have some more completed soon. That means that a break won’t be necessary when baby is born. I’m also trying to use this free time to comment more on other blogs. It’s something I’ve failed miserably at this past year. Throughout my commenting journey I’ve been able to stumble upon so many small and lovely blogs (perhaps a post in support of them is in order?). On that note, I also want to thank everyone for following and supporting Rattle the Stars. Your likes, tags and comments fill me with so much happiness. Have a fantastic July! ❤


BOOKS HAULED

 


BOOKS READ

The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember | ♥♥♥♥♥
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han | ♥♥♥♥
Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert | ♥♥♥♥♥
Honeybee by Trista Mateer | ♥♥♥♥
The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen | ♥♥♥
Soul Like Thunder by Sophia Elaine Hanson | ♥♥♥♥


July TBR

 


POSTS

Reviews:

My Name is Victoria · Ivy in Bloom

Tags, Blog Tours & Read-a-Thons:

Book Blitz: Dark Water · The ABC Book Challenge “A” · The ABC Book Challenge “C” · The ABC Book Challenge “B” · Book Blitz: Between the Sea and Stars · Book Blitz: Birth of Chaos · Blitz: Dating Rules · 20 Books of Summer 2018 TBR · Most Anticipated Reads: June Edition · Blog Tour: Burning Bright · Time’s 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time · Shelfie By Shelfie Book Tag · Blog Tour: Cinderella’s Inferno · Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018!

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I can’t believe it’s June already….we are halfway through the year! This year is going by so quickly. I’m already out on summer vacation, my baby is due in a few weeks and life is about to change big time! As for reading, this year so far has been a mixed bag of ups and downs. I’ve gone through periods where I love to read and actively make time for it, as well as times where I’m just not feeling anything that I pick up. Here’s hoping that the second half of the year is much more even. There are so many good books that I still want to read!


The Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2018:

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It was very hard to narrow it down to one book because I’ve had some excellent 5-star reads so far this year. I settled on Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collection because it’s something that I’ve gone back to multiple times this year. It’s uplifting, heartbreaking and absolutely beautiful.

Your Favourite Sequel of the Year:

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Kat Ross is the most underrated fantasy writer out there. Her books deserve so much more love! Solis was the perfect follow-up to Nocturne. There was excellent character development, twists and turns…I won’t say anymore but you seriously need to read her books!

A New Release That You Haven’t Read But Really Want To:

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I adored The Bone Witch and its ending floored me. There was no closure whatsoever and I had more questions than I began with. That’s why I cannot for the life of me explain why I haven’t read this sequel yet.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year:

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I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this book. The way The Dark Days Pact ended broke my heart into a million tiny little pieces. This book will probably break it again, but the pain will be more than worth it! Plus, the cover is perfect! ❤

Your Biggest Dissapointment:

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OK…before I start, I do want to say that I enjoyed reading this book. It was adorable and quirky, it wasn’t When Dimple Met Rishi (a book that I LOVED!). I guess I built it up too much in my head before reading? I don’t even know. But it did come across as predictable and a bit of a rehash of things that have been done before. I really need to write my review soon for it.

Biggest Surprise of the Year:

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This middle grade novel took me by surprise. It touches on some very important topics, is heartbreaking, uplifting and left me wanting to stand up and make a change. Since I finished reading it I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends. It has an important and powerful message that simply cannot be ignored.

Favourite New-to-You or Debut Author:

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Why did it take me so long to start this trilogy? Why?!?! It’s super adorable, fluffy and fun. Jenny Han really knows how to write a story that totally invests you in its characters. I’ve already read the sequel and just need to pick up a copy of the third book in the series. It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited about a trilogy!

Your Fictional Crush:

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I’ve been crushing on Darius, a magical daēva, since he was introduced in 2016’s The Midnight Sea. So, when Kat Ross announced that she was continuing the series that featured him I was beyond happy. Every time he appears on the page my heart skips a beat. ❤

New Favourite Character:

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Lara Jean is such a lovable protagonist…cute, quirky and full of flaws, she totally reminded me of what it was like to be a teenager. High school was such a confusing and fun time where everything little thing was blown out of proportion and revolved around friends and boys. I haven’t been this invested in a character in ages. I’m so glad that I finally gave this series a chance!

A Book That Made Your Cry:

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Amanda Lovelace did it again! This collection of poetry was amazingly well written and at times completely broke my heart into a million pieces. I’m always amazed at how much she can say when only using a limited number of words. I can’t properly describe how reading this collection made me feel.

A Book That Made You Happy:

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Jennifer E. Smith has this way of writing simple, emotional and thoughtful romantic contemporaries. I loved every second of this book! It was totally the perfect beach read.

Your Favourite Book-to-Movie Adaptation That You’ve Seen This Year:

I honestly can’t think of a single book-to-movie adaptation that I saw or enjoyed. Hmmm…I usually don’t like them anyway. The book is always better! 🙂

The Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought/Received This Year:

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Don’t purchase a digital version of this book. You need to experience the gorgeous illustrations in all of their glory with a physical version. They really bring the stories to life and make you feel as if the book actually came directly from Ravka.

What Are Some Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year:


This tag is quite old and people do it every year. I’m not going to tag anyone for that reason, but if you do decide to do it, please link back (or add your link below) to me so I can check out your answers. ❤

Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

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I saw this tag on Lia’s blog Lost in a Story and thought I’d do it too. This tag is about all the books that you’ll never read and the reasons why. So, here we go…


The Questions:

1. A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

I won’t be reading anymore of the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I started ToG and initially loved it. The hype was spot on but then after the third book I felt like it was all just too much. I began to hate everything about the books…the characters, the dialogue, the direction the author was taking the story, etc. I only read the first book in the other series by Sarah J. Maas and also feel like it was overhyped.

2. A series you won’t start/won’t be finishing?

A few years ago I read the first book in the Falling Kingdoms series and absolutely hated it. I picked it up after being caught up in the hype surrounding Frozen Tides, the fourth book in the series. The fact that I didn’t like it made me so sad. The plot sounded intriguing and I love fantasy, so what could go wrong? Ugh…nothing in the book worked for: the romance, the multiple POVs, the flow, the dialogue. I think it’s great that so many people enjoy the series but it’s just not for me.

3. A classic that you’re just not interested in?

Oh where do I even start? There are a bunch! Now, don’t get me wrong. I like a few of the books labeled as “classic” such as novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, but others reads in English class kind of turned me off. Life is too short to struggle through reading something just because other people say it’s amazing. I want to read what interests me…period.

4. Any genres you never read?

I’ll pretty much try every genre once because you never know unless you try right? But I know for sure erotica is not for me. Same with horror. I’m such a big baby and my mind runs wild.

5. A book on your shelves you’ll probably never actually read?

There are a few books that were sent to me by the publisher or I won in a book box giveaway that I have no interest in reading anytime soon. It’s either the cover does nothing to excite me or the summary leaves me feeling nothing. I should probably donate them or host a giveaway. One day…


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Book Blitz: Birth of Chaos by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

Birth of Chaos Cover FINAL smBirth of Chaos (Wish Quartet #3) by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh
Release date: June 28th, 2018
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Genres: New-adult, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance

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A WISH FOR DESTRUCTION…
HAS JOSEPHINA UNRAVELING

A new wish is pushing the weary members of the Society to their breaking points. But as Jo’s complex relationship with their leader reveals dangerous truths about who she truly is, and was, her priorities quickly change. Now, she seeks to expose the enemy lurking in their midst, but it may already be too late to thwart an ancient goddess bent on stealing Jo’s power and destroying everything she loves.


Read the Rest of the Series:

Wish Quartet Three Books


About the Authors:

Author-Photo-3-smElise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet.

In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.

Website | GoodreadsTwitter

Lynn-Larsh-Author-Photo-smLynn Larsh considers herself to be a serial hobby-dabbler. She got a bachelors degree in music (which she used for all of four months), studied aerial acrobatics and classical piano for many years, worked briefly as a stunt woman in a Wild West stunt show (it’s a long story), and eventually settled down into the bar tending business in St. Petersberg, FL. When she’s not acting as a purveyor of fine libations, you can find her diving head first into her newest venture as a New Adult author, or simply writing Voltron fan fiction on Archive of Our Own.

Website | Goodreads| Twitter

Book Blitz: Dark Water by J.A. Armitage 

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39343873Dark Water (Reverse Fairytales, #4) by J.A. Armitage 
Release date: June 19th, 2018
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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You think you know the story of The Little Mermaid…

A tragic accident on the eve of her eighteenth birthday leads Princess Erica to a chance encounter with a mysterious man on the beach. When he turns up at her birthday party and whisks her off her feet, she knows she has to find out everything about him, but why won’t he speak and where does he keep disappearing to?

Ari knows he’s crossed a line by mingling with the land humans, but how can he resist the beautiful princess whose life he saved? He must decide whether to stay on land and become like her, or continue to live without her in the depths of the ocean. Trapped in a centuries long battle between his kind and hers, his decision will rock both their kingdoms. With a sea witch that needs repaying and the small matter of Erica’s engagement to someone else, Ari knows the odds are stacked against him.


Teaser:

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About the Author:

JAJ.A. lives in a total fantasy world (because reality is boring right?). When she’s not writing all the crazy fun in her head, she can be found eating cake, designing pretty pictures and hanging upside down from the tallest climbing frame in the local playground while her children look on in embarrassment. She’s travelled the world working as everything from a banana picker in Australia to a Pantomime clown, has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and once gave birth to a surrogate baby for a friend of hers.

Website | GoodreadsTwitter


Giveaway:

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. It’s international and you could win:

  • A mermaid swag pack including prize candle (with ring worth between $15 and $5000) and a signed copy of Dark Water
  • A $20 Amazon giftcard plus an eBook of Dark Water
  • An eBook of Dark Water