Book Review: All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

Book Review: All We Have Is Now by Lisa SchroederAll We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder
Published by Scholastic on July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars
What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

all we have is now by lisa schroeder blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder. This tour is hosted by CBB Book Promotions and you can visit all the stops here. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway, and also my answer for Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse.

Book Review:

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW asks one important question: what would you do with your last day on earth? What if you knew an asteroid was going to wipe out North America — would you spend your last day with loved ones, righting wrongs, or hiding? Or would you do something else?

Emerson and Vince, two homeless teenagers, don’t want to wait the last few hours until the end. They’re about to take their end into their own hands when they meet Carl, who has spent his time granting wishes to people. Helping them do something they’d always wanted to, but hadn’t for one reason or another. Carl grants Vince’s wish of having money, and asks that the two pay it forward if possible.

Emerson and Vince have been concerned with surviving on the streets for so long that they’ve forgotten how to really live, how to enjoy themselves. But as they grant wishes and help people, their own wounds start to heal. ALL WE HAVE IS NOW is a hopeful story about the end of the world, one that shows how important human connections can be at the end. I like that the book tries to remind the reader that it’s important to live in the moment and enjoy yourself, rather than always looking to the future.

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW also follows Carl, and I liked that while the book is young adult, we also get the perspective of an adult. It was good to see how he felt about events compared to how Emerson and Vince felt. I was a little let down by the ending, which was too open for me, but overall I liked the message and tone of the book. I think it’s hard for a book about the impending end of North America to be uplifting, but the author accomplished it.

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse- There’s just a little over 24 hours until a meteor is scheduled to hit the US. What do you wish for?

Okay, so I wish I could say I’d go out and do something like Emerson and Vince. Or that I’d grant some wish of my own, of things I’ve always wanted to do but never did. But in reality? I’d probably just stay in my house all day. Maybe read some of those books on my TBR pile that I’ve always wanted to read, but haven’t. Or maybe I’d read old favorites, so I’d be assured of enjoying a good book before the end. Or maybe I’d take a nap so I wouldn’t have to count down the hours. Yeah, I’m exciting, aren’t I?

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

all we have is now author lisa schroederLisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing.

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Buy links: Amazon | B&N

– leeanna

Book Review: Moseh’s Staff by A.W. Exley

Book Review: Moseh’s Staff by A.W. ExleyMoseh's Staff by A.W. Exley
Series: Artifact Hunters #4
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on May 18, 2015
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 295
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars
All things must come to an end…

London is in the frozen grip of an unnatural winter and Queen Victoria wants answers. Cara and Nate know who – the Curator. The queen's artifact hunters just don't know what is responsible. Cara is on the trail of an ancient and powerful artifact capable of freezing a city and stirring demons. First she must confront her past and her father's history. Only in learning why her father became a disciple of the Curator can she hope to learn what the old noble seeks and why he is so fascinated by her.

Then tragedy strikes and the bond forged by Nefertiti's Heart is severed. Nate without Cara succumbs to his darkness and he lashes out at those he holds responsible for her loss. Meanwhile, in the shadows, Inspector Fraser waits for his opportunity to pull down the man known as the villainous viscount.

With London entombed in ice and all hope lost, could this be the end…

moseh's staff blog tour

Publisher Curiosity Quills is having a month long review tour to celebrate their May releases. You can check out all the stops. I’m reviewing MOSEH’S STAFF, the last book in A.W. Exley’s Artifact Hunters series. I’ve reviewed all the books in the series: NEFERTITI’S HEART, HATSHEPSUT’S COLLAR, and NERO’S FIDDLE.

Book Review:

MOSEH’S STAFF is the fourth book in A.W. Exley’s Artifact Hunters series. In the past, I’ve described the series as quirky and unique. A good blend of historical fiction, fantasy, romance, adventure, mythology, and steampunk. These descriptions hold true with MOSEH’S STAFF, which is sadly the last book in the series. I’m sad to see the end of Cara and Nate, but I do like how the author finished everything.

As Queen Victoria’s artifact hunters, Nate and Cara must figure out what artifact is causing endless winter and misery in London. It’s April, but the Thames is frozen. London is the only area affected, and Victoria’s not very happy about it. Cara and Nate have a good idea of who is behind events — the Curator — but how to stop him is a different question. How do you stop a man who bleeds water instead of blood?

The hunt becomes even more personal when the Curator reveals his intentions to take Cara as his own, severing the bond of Nefertiti’s Heart that connects her and Nate. I love Cara and Nate together, but it was great to see Nate on his own as well. The author showed more of Nate’s darker side, the no holds barred man he was before Cara’s presence in his life. Nate’s the guy I’d want on my side if someone took me, because he stops at nothing to rescue Cara.

There’s a lot of revelations in MOSEH’S STAFF, tying up loose ends from previous books in the series, such as explaining why Cara and Nate fit so perfectly together, or bringing back the dragon from HATSHEPSUT’S COLLAR. Many of Cara and Nate’s friends show up in MOSEH’S STAFF (minus Loki, sadface), rallying around Nate to help find Cara. And Cara, kick butt woman that she is, isn’t content to sit back and be rescued. She confronts her own demons in MOSEH’S STAFF while trying to figure out which artifact powers the Curator.

All in all, MOSEH’S STAFF is a satisfying conclusion to the Artifact Hunters series, full of what I loved about the previous books: Cara and Nate, twists on mythology, humor in dark moments, and lots of action.

About the author:

author a.w. exley
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita’s life.

She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
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Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

– leeanna

Guest Post: Danielle L. Jensen & Hidden Huntress

danielle l. jensen guest post

hidden huntress by danielle l. jensenLast year, I loved STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen. It was even one of my favorite books of 2014. So you can bet I was eagerly anticipating this year’s sequel, HIDDEN HUNTRESS. I emailed the publisher, Angry Robot, as soon as I knew there was a blog tour and practically begged to be on it :D

I interviewed Danielle last year, and this year I have an amazing guest post! I gave Danielle a few ideas, and to my great joy, she wrote a letter the readers from Anaïs! This letter is epic, you guys. I had a troll-sized grin while reading it.

Danielle has done a few posts already for HIDDEN HUNTRESS, and I recommend you check them out on Angry Robot’s site. HIDDEN HUNTRESS comes out June 2, 2015, and my review will be up next week is posted here. It’s worth the wait, guys :D


A letter from Anaïs, written as she watches over the injured Cécile.

Dearest Readers,

I confess, I was somewhat uncertain of how to address this letter. I am not Tristan or Marc, and I’m certainly not the twins, so if you are reading this believing to find some human-loving spark buried deep within my heart, please set aside those foolish hopes. You are human and I am a troll, and as such, I am superior to you in the way a dragon is a sparrow. You are not dear to me.

I am smiling while I reread my words, as I can see them undoing all the goodwill I’ve built with you over this brief chapter of my life where you were present. As though those few months and occasional meetings were enough for you to presume to know me. To know my story.

So why address your letter dearest, you ask? Why not to the creatures I look down upon or to those I grudgingly tolerate? Why write to us at all? The answer is this: while you are not dear to me, the cause you all profess to champion is more precious to me than my own life.

Surprised, aren’t you? How many of you believed that my every action was driven by my affection for Tristan? Please. Did you never stop to think that half the reason I loved him was because we fought for the same thing, if for different reasons? Tristan fights for the half-bloods and humans because he believes you are our equals. I fight for you because I believe it is the duty of the strong to protect those who are weak. And you have my father to thank for that.

My family is full of black hearts and wicked souls, selfish and grasping, each generation a product of the prior’s cruelty and manipulation. I blame my father because we were subject to his harsh hand, but he was the victim of my grandmother and she my great-grandfather. The instigator of our family’s ways lived and died a thousand years ago, but, oh, how her legacy lives on. And her goal remains the same: to take the crown.

I, like all those before me, was born a tool to use in our quest to achieve that goal. For centuries we cultivated power, drawing in those who cared not for Montigny rule, using them and everything else at our disposal in our game of guerre with the ruling family. We bred for magic, the holder of the Angoulême title never bonding lest a chosen mate fail to deliver progeny of the appropriate caliber of power. My father was a failure in my grandmother’s eyes, but despite disposing of my grandfather and two subsequent husbands, she was never able to deliver a replacement. She never lets my father forget that he holds the title only because there was no one better. Never lets him forget how weak he is. How even if he managed to win the crown, that he hasn’t the mettle to wear it himself.

And how she despaired when my sweet sister was born, for Pénélope had less power than some of the half-bloods who served us, her gifts of kindness, grace, and artistic talent worthless in my grandmother’s eyes. She believed the might of our family was doomed – that we were destined to descend into the teeming pool of lesser trolls, our fight for the crown a distant memory.

But then my power manifested. I’ll not bore you with false humility: my magic changed everything, for I had a spark of power outshone only by the Montigny prince himself. But my father, ever the clever creature, knew it wasn’t enough to wrest the crown from the Montignys by force. His had a much better plan than that. He spun pretty words, saying that our world was too small for so great an enmity as was between our two families; that ours was a common enemy best defeated with a united front. A thousand truths to hide the lie, and a daughter with enough power to be queen sent to befriend the son of his enemy. To be his bait.

But there was a problem with his plan: Pénélope hadn’t just been born weak in magic, she’d been born with a sickness that caused her to bleed ceaselessly from even the smallest of injuries. And though my flesh was not similarly afflicted, the sickness was in my blood, waiting to rear its ugly head in any child born of my body. It was our greatest secret, and my father made us both swear never to reveal it to anyone. To me he whispered simply that Pénélope’s life was destined to be a short one, and that it would be cruel to reveal her affliction. What he whispered to my sister was far worse. He told her she was a scourge on our family name. That she was weak and worthless. That if her secret got out, it wouldn’t ruin just her life, it would ruin mine as well. That it would ruin my chance to be queen. He crushed her spirit and turned her into a coward, rendering her afraid to take a step too fast lest she fall. He would have killed her and removed all chance of our secret being discovered, but our mother threatened to reveal everything to the King if any harm came to her daughter.

My loyalty my father did not doubt, because he believed we wanted the same thing. He believed that I, like him, would do anything – sacrifice anyone – to gain the throne. Not once did he consider that his treatment of Pénélope would turn me against him and into the camp of his enemy. Tristan and Marc brought the twins and me into the fold of their revolution early, but not Pénélope. She could not protect herself from my father, and that made telling her anything a risk we couldn’t afford to take. She’d be safer, we all decided, if we kept her in the dark. So we did. And I, who had been sent to infiltrate the Montignys, was now a spy in my own household. A many-leveled game of guerre that kept me awake at night for fear of being discovered.

When my father told me that he and the King had settled on the terms of the betrothal between Tristan and me, it felt like a dream, for Tristan had held my heart since we were children. But it also seemed like a nightmare, because I knew Tristan would eventually discover Pénélope’s secret and know that I’d withheld the truth from him for my family’s gain. I did not think our friendship would survive such deceit, and I was afraid of what it would be like to be bonded to someone who didn’t trust me. Of what it would do to my sanity if I loved him, but only ever felt his hate. So I said nothing – about my feelings or the betrothal – because in my heart, I knew they would amount to nothing good.

Less than a year after the King and my father settled the terms of our betrothal, which unfortunately included our bringing Roland into our household, my mother went missing on a sluag hunt in the labyrinth. A tragic accident, they said. But I knew the truth: the stakes were too high, my mother too great a risk. And I knew that my sister was next. What I didn’t know was how I could protect her. Any appeals to Tristan or the King to harbor her would be met with questions I could not easily answer and consequences that my selfish heart was unwilling to accept. Instead, I counted down the days until Tristan and I would be old enough to be wed, promising myself that once we were bonded, it wouldn’t matter if my family’s secret got out. That he’d understand and forgive my deception. That once I was a princess, I’d be able to protect my sister. That once I was queen, Tristan and I would reinvent our world and turn Trollus into a place where the weak need not live in fear of those in power.

Which made it all the more painfully ironic that it was Tristan who put an end to my plan. A playful duel at a party. The broken tip of a sword. What were the odds that the one person watching us who couldn’t heal a pinprick without toil was the one nicked by the toxic metal? There was blood everywhere, and the King looked at Pénélope and then at me, and I knew it was over. That I had lost everything. And above all, I knew my father would make my beloved sister pay.

It did not take long. I walked in on him smothering her in the parlor of our home while my grandmother sat idly in the next room. It was nothing to stop him – my power had surpassed his years prior – and for a brief moment, I considered killing him. In one fell swoop saving my sister, killing the enemy of my friend and leader, and ridding Trollus of one of its worst. But he was and is my father, and some small amount of foolish loyalty to blood stayed my hand. Except leaving things as they were would only have left my sister in danger. Threatening him would do little good. Revenge might be sweet, but it does not bring back the dead, and it would destroy his faith in my loyalty to our family, rendering me ineffective as a spy – a role that was so much more important now that he and his followers were bent on pulling Tristan from his position as heir and putting Roland in his place. So I did the only thing I could do – I made her useful. I told him that Marc was the only one who knew all of Tristan’s secrets, and there wasn’t a soul in Trollus who didn’t know Marc was in love with my sister. But I was the only one who knew she was in love with him.

I think in that moment she hated me. And that I deserved it. But it was the only way I could think to save her, avoid killing my father, and retain my ability to spy on his plans. Little did I know that my actions would drive her harder towards the choice that eventually killed her. Maybe she did it purely for love – it’s certainly a sweet thought. But I think it was because she believed there was no place in Trollus for someone like her – that her murder was inevitable. So she chose to spend the last few months of her life happy and to die on her own terms. And I cannot help but wonder if she’d been privy to our plans, if she’d had hope for a future where she did not need to live in fear, that she’d have chosen differently. That she’d still be alive today.

Much time has passed, but there are days where I feel little has changed. That all our efforts have been for naught. And perhaps they have been, for even as I write this, Cécile lies before me on her deathbed. Roland may have struck the blow, but she is the victim of our failure to protect her. A victim of our failure to make Trollus a place where she wouldn’t need protection. There is no love lost between the two of us, but despite being such a fragile creature, she is brave. It is one thing to be brave when one is the dragon, quite another to be brave when one is the sparrow, and I cannot help but respect that.

If she dies, I do not think Tristan will survive it. And thought of losing him makes me want to rend myself to pieces. But more than that, if she dies, the King wins. My father wins. Every troll in this cursed city who believes power gives them a right to hurt those who are weak wins. It’s because I refuse to accept defeat that I’ll do what it takes to help Tristan free Cécile from Trollus. Or I’ll die trying.

Anaïs


About the author:

author danielle l. jensenDanielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.
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– leeanna

Book Review: Pirate’s Alley by Suzanne Johnson

Book Review: Pirate’s Alley by Suzanne JohnsonPirate's Alley by Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #4
Published by Tor on April 21, 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads
4 Stars
Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal.

Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband, Quince Randolph, is growing more powerful, and her best friend, Eugenie, has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back. And that's before the French pirate, Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest "death," returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ's assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won't be that easy.

pirate's alley blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for PIRATE’S ALLEY by Suzanne Johnson. The tour is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours and you can visit all the stops here. I’ve reviewed two other books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series: #1: ROYAL STREET and #3: ELYSIAN FIELDS. After my review of PIRATE’S ALLEY, there’s a tour-wide giveaway.

Book Review:

You know how some urban fantasy series start to drag? Well, Sentinels of New Orleans is NOT one of those series. PIRATE’S ALLEY is the fourth book in the series, and I think the author is getting better and better with each installment. Last year, I would have said book three, ELYSIAN FIELDS, was my favorite, but now I think it’s PIRATE’S ALLEY.

PIRATE’S ALLEY picks up a couple of weeks after ELYSIAN FIELDS. There’s enough recap that I wasn’t totally lost, given it’s been a while since I was last in DJ’s world. But I would have preferred a little more, since PIRATE’S ALLEY is much more politically oriented than previous books, and it took me a bit to remember who was who, and why this or that alliance was important.

When I started this series, it irked me when DJ was too rash or continually charged into danger. I love character growth, and boy has DJ grown. In PIRATE’S ALLEY, she shows off that growth: she thinks a lot more than she used to before jumping into a potentially dangerous situation. She thinks about her romantic relationship with Alex, her bonding with Rand, her friendship with Jean Lafitte, and her friendship with Eugenie. All of these different relationships get page time, and they’re all important in their own way.

That’s good, because I think PIRATE’S ALLEY is setting the scene for some serious preternatural action. There’s a lot of political maneuvering in this book as the Interspecies Council tries to find its footing, which isn’t easy, considering practically every prete group is trying to stab another in the back. DJ needs to think first rather than act first, because it’s time for her to consider who deserves her loyalty. But don’t worry, she’s still the same snarky, devoted, talented DJ that she’s always been. And she still charges into danger sometimes.

Usually I can take or leave romance, but I so appreciated that DJ really thinks about her relationship with Alex, and realizes that they needed to talk, not just solve their problems with sex. Even if they didn’t get the chance because of one crisis after another, they still tried to talk. I also appreciated that DJ doesn’t forget about the normal humans just because she’s a wizard, and up to her knees in elves, fae, and the historical undead. Plus she talks with Jean Lafitte about their friendship and what it means. Jean Lafitte is in a lot of this book, which had me happy since he’s one of my favorite characters in the series.

If you’ve liked the other books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, I’m pretty sure you’ll like PIRATE’S ALLEY. If you haven’t started this series yet, definitely check it out if you like cool magic systems and different takes on the usual supernatural creatures.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author suzanne johnsonSuzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.
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– leeanna

Blog Tour: Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella

helen of sparta tour banner

Welcome to my stop on the tour for HELEN OF SPARTA by Amalia Carosella. The tour is hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and you can visit all the stops here. This is a neat historical fiction book, where Helen gets to tell her story in her own words.

helen of sparta by amalia carosellaInfo:
Title: Helen of Sparta
Author: Amalia Carosella
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical fiction
Page Count: 416

Summary:

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Giveaway:

Helen of Sparta

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter here and here.
Buy links: Amazon | B&N

– leeanna

Book Review: Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle

Book Review: Dark Alchemy by Laura BickleDark Alchemy by Laura Bickle
Published by Harper Voyager Impulse on March 24, 2105
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 316
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour, Edelweiss
Goodreads
4 Stars
Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming looking for clues to her father's disappearance years before. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the town's dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up - desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can't scientifically explain - her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town's most powerful interests. Petra's father wasn't the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn't understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or die next.

dark alchemy blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for DARK ALCHEMY by Laura Bickle. I’ve been looking forward to this book since last November, so I was excited to get on the tour for it. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway.

The tour is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours and you can visit all the stops here.

Book Review:

I’m a big Laura Bickle fan, and when I saw she had a new book coming out, I couldn’t wait to read it. DARK ALCHEMY is a fun to read but creepy adventure in a modern day Wild West setting, complete with what I consider the author’s trademarks: a strong woman in the lead and a memorable animal companion.

In DARK ALCHEMY, geologist Petra takes refuge in tiny Temperance, trying to heal from a tragedy in her past. She’s also trying to find her father, who disappeared years ago. But on her first night, a coyote digs up a mysterious golden compass. Then Petra discovers a calcified body in Yellowstone, and things get even weirder.

DARK ALCHEMY is one of those books that’s hard to explain. I never knew what was going to happen next, or how the book would end, and that’s something I enjoy. In particular, I liked how the author went at exploring alchemy in a dark way — yup, this book is well-named. I’m also guessing that the author drew on the Hanged Man tarot card for inspiration, which I found refreshing — something new and spooky rather than a tired supernatural creature.

I liked how Petra was such a strong character. Most of Temperance is ruled by a corrupt landowner, but Petra doesn’t let that stop her from seeking justice where it’s needed. She’s helped by Sig the coyote, who is a cross between a spirit guide and a guard coyote. I adored Sig; Laura Bickle always writes great animal characters. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at the thought of a coyote in a flea collar? And who wouldn’t love that same coyote when he attacks the bad guys?

DARK ALCHEMY is a standalone (I think), but it does have a bit of an open ending. I’d like a sequel, because I enjoyed my time in Temperance, and I’d like to see more of Petra’s story.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:
laura bickleLaura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).

Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.
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– leeanna

Blog Tour: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

forbidden blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the tour for FORBIDDEN by Kimberley Griffiths Little. The tour is hosted by I Am A Reader Book Blasts and Blog Tours and you can visit the rest of the stops here.

forbidden by kimberley griffiths littleInfo:
Title: Forbidden
Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Forbidden #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, YA
Page Count: 397

Summary:

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Praise:

*STARRED* Review, ALA BOOKLIST

“. . . At its core, this is a romance, with all the push and pull that goes along with impossible love, and Little elevates the story by creating a perilous landscape, both outward and inward, as Jayden must deal with the hardship of desert life as well as her own desires.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“This is a fast-paced, entertaining choice which will appeal to fans of historical fiction and romance.”

“Lush, lyrical, romantic. Forbidden transports readers into a vividly imagined place and time.”
–Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author

“The harsh beauty of the deserts of ancient Mesopotamia come to life in Forbidden, with beautiful descriptions that will make you crave water and check for sand in your clothes. Your heart will break as you root for Jayden to triumph over the many struggles that threaten to tear her world apart, and the ending will leave you thirsting for more!”
–Sara B. Larson, author of Defy

Excerpt:

forbidden by kimbereley griffiths little

The night was starkly beautiful under a canopy of jeweled stars. I savored my moments of freedom, which were marred by the realization that it was dripping away day by day.

The sizzle of coffee beans roasting in the skillet floated across the still air. Cups clinked on a tray as my father passed them around the circle. The aroma of roasted brew spiced with cardamom seeped into the night.

As I tried to slip past, Horeb’s eyes caught mine. Firelight flickered over his face, outlining his jaw and wind-tangled black hair. He was devastatingly handsome just as all the girls said, but his lips curled into a smile that sent shudders down my spine.

Horeb’s glance lingered on my body, settling not on my face, but lower, as if he was undressing me right there on the dirt path.

His eyes locking onto mine, Horeb rose from the circle of men. I jerked around, breaking off his stare. Walking faster, I turned the corner of the tent just as his arm reached out to stop me.

“So, little cousin,” Horeb said. “Have you been enjoying the betrothal ceremony? Tell me, are the women telling stories of marital relations?”

My breath caught like a thorn in my throat. The women’s ceremonies were not discussed with any male—only inside the privacy of a marriage bed.

“You shouldn’t be saying these things to me,” I said.

Running his fingers down my arm, Horeb continued to study me. “There are many things I’d like to say to you, Jayden. Do to you.”

There used to be a time when my throat pounded every time Horeb turned my direction. A time when he was growing into those big, dark eyes and that hard, muscular body. Moments when I wanted to touch his thick, black hair, or run my finger along his jaw to discover what a boy’s skin felt like with a newly growing beard. But now that I was sixteen, and he twenty, his stares made me uneasy. My heart still pounded, but not from love. And I wasn’t sure what it was or what to call it.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author kimberley griffiths littleAward-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.
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Buy links: Amazon | B&N

– leeanna

Book Review: Nero’s Fiddle (Artifact Hunters #3) by A.W. Exley

Book Review: Nero’s Fiddle (Artifact Hunters #3) by A.W. ExleyNero's Fiddle by A.W. Exley
Series: Artifact Hunters #3
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on October 9, 2014
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 254
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars
One... death by spontaneous human combustion is a rare act of God

Two... is surely a freakish coincidence

Three... well, that’s starting to look deliberate.

Cara has a new role as Queen Victoria’s artifact hunter, she’s adapting to married life and living in a country manor that more closely resembles a mausoleum.

In London, Inspector Fraser investigates a series of strange deaths by divine fire - except he doesn't believe in coincidences. Despite himself, he enlists Cara's help to identify what artifact could cause such a hideous death while his desire to bring her husband to justice burns unabated.

Someone's intent on making sure a decades old secret stays hidden and Cara must figure out who is responsible before this case consumes her family and rocks the entire realm to its foundations.

nero's fiddle blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for NERO’S FIDDLE by A.W. Exley. This is the third book in her Artifact Hunters series, a series I’ve really enjoyed. So I’m excited to be on the tour. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway. The tour is hosted by CBB Book Promotions, and you can visit all the stops here.

Book Review:

NERO’S FIDDLE is the third book in A.W. Exley’s Artifact Hunters series. In the past, I’ve described this series as quirky and unique, and that holds true with the newest installment. These books are a great blend of steampunk, action, romance, historical fiction, and mythology.

If you’re new to this series, I’d recommend you go back and start with book one, NEFERTITI’S HEART. Otherwise, you won’t know who the characters are and what they’ve gone through. NERO’S FIDDLE doesn’t give much recap of previous events. Since it’s been a while since I read the other books, I was a bit lost at the start, but after a couple of chapters I was good.

In their new role as Queen Victoria’s artifact hunters, Cara and Nate must track down an object suspected for several fiery deaths. NERO’S FIDDLE has a bit less action than previous books in the series, but there’s a lot of mystery and character development. I had absolutely no idea how this book would wrap up, and I always enjoy when an author can keep me guessing.

When I reviewed NEFERTITI’S HEART, I made note of Cara’s grandmother, Nan, and Nan’s friend, Nessy. They were freaking hilarious and stole every scene they were in, and in NERO’S FIDDLE, they play a big role. I was happy to learn more about them, as well as Cara’s grandfather. Gideon is only in flashbacks, but dang. What a guy!

I read NERO’S FIDDLE from start to finish, enjoyed every page, and now I’m looking forward to MOSEH’S STAFF, the fourth and last book in the Artifact Hunters series.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author a.w. exley
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita’s life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
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– leeanna

Book Review: Henge (Le Fay #1) by Realm Lovejoy

Book Review: Henge (Le Fay #1) by Realm LovejoyHenge by Realm Lovejoy
Series: Le Fay #1
Published by Self-Published on November 11, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads
4 Stars
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.

--

"Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series."--Kirkus Reviews

henge blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the tour for HENGE by Realm Lovejoy. The tour is hosted by CBB Book Promotions and you can visit the full schedule here. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway.

Book Review:

HENGE kicks off a new series featuring Morgan le Fay, set in modern-day Camelot. Morgana le Fay is my favorite in Arthurian legends, so I’m always interested in seeing different takes on her character.

In Realm Lovejoy’s version of Camelot, cellphones and magic exist side-by-side. The ability to use magic isn’t guaranteed, and even if you can manipulate air, water, or fire, chances are you won’t be anything more than a performer. Unless, that is, you are chosen to become one of the upcoming king’s Rounds. The best Round will be selected as the king’s magic advisor, and the rest will be employed by Camelot as Knights or Relic Keepers. Political acumen is just as important as good magic skills.

Morgan’s dream is to become the king’s Maven. She wants magic users to have more rights, not less. And she’ll do anything to pursue that dream, including sneaking out from under her father’s watchful eye, or diving headfirst into the dangers of Camelot.

HENGE is quite interesting. I really liked the world the author created, the intriguing mix of magic and modern technology, old legends and new political tangles. There’s a lot of familiar names, including Merlin, Mordred, Guinevere, and Lancelot, but they’re not all straight from the old legends — they all have their own personalities. I wanted to learn more about each of them, as well as Morgan’s mother, Morgause.

Morgan herself was the most interesting character for me, since I was curious to see how the author would develop and grow her. Morgan’s a bit impulsive and tends to jump to conclusions, but she also wants to get rid of the injustices magic users face. I believed her reactions to everything that happened, and the last line of HENGE? I’m not going to spoil it, but yeah. I can’t wait to read more about Morgan!

Giveaway:

signed paperback of Henge + swag (US)
4 paperbacks of Henge (US)
6 ebooks (INT)
1 ebook + $20 Gift Card (INT)
Giveaway Ends November 28th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author realm lovejoyRealm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at www.realmlovejoy.com.
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Buy link: Amazon

– leeanna

Blog Tour: The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

the last changeling blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE LAST CHANGELING by Chelsea Pitcher. The tour is hosted by Itching For Books and you can visit all the stops here.

the last changeling by chelsea pitcherInfo:
Title: The Last Changeling
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Release Date: November 8, 2014
Publisher: Flux
Series: Faerie Revolutions #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: 360

Summary:

A Kingdom at War . . .

Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”

A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .

To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.

Excerpt:

ELORA:

I was seventeen when death crossed my path. Before that, I’d only dreamt of twisted limbs and blood as bright as poppies. But late one night, death offered me an opportunity. She whispered dirty secrets in my ear and pulled back my eyelids with curling hands.

There,” she said, and pointed.

I did not recognize her voice then. I did not know who was leading me into the darkness.

I followed.

Down below, a girl traveled the highway alone. She carried a hefty knapsack—the staple of the runaway. Her hair was red like mine and we might’ve been sisters, if not for the obvious difference.

She was a mortal.


I picked the excerpt from the very first page, because I think it sets the tone for the rest of the book rather well.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author chelsea pitcherChelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.
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– leeanna