Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spread Some Indie Love Blog Hop



Hey readers! So, this is the second year Debdatta over at bOOk r3vi3ws has hosted the Spread Some Indie Love Blog Hop, and I want to give her a special thanks for doing so. 

This was one of my favorite events to take part in last year because, of course, I love me some indie authors. And I couldn't just pick a single one to feature... I picked three. The more, the merrier right?

These are all fantastic authors I've discovered within the last year. If you'd like to see more authors, check out my post from 2015

Without further ado, here are the three authors...


C.J. Archer - author of The Ministry of Curiosities series 


Elise Kova - author of the Air Awakens series


K.M. Shea - author of the Snow Queen duology


Scavenger Hunt


I decided to do the giveaway a little different this time. I'm going to make you work for it and get to know these authors a little more. Each entry will require you to go to each author's website, Facebook or Twitter to find the information. Just click on the name to start on their websites. And, of course, make sure to follow if you're interested on getting updates for new books.

The winner will be chosen at random and will win their choice of any book by any of the above authors. The giveaway is open internationally to anyone who can receive their prize as an Amazon gift.

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Find even more indie authors on the rest of the hop 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

[Giveaway & Blog Hop] Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop


A special thanks once again to Bookhounds for hosting this giveaway. It just so happens that I'll be doing most of my spring cleaning today. My car is in special need these days. Muddy trips to the dog park has taken it's toll on my interior. But as long as it keeps my Stella happy, I'll clean it as much as I need to. Luckily, more cleaning means there's some books that will be on my giveaway list. These were all previously loved and I hope you guys can find a new favorite among my old. The winner will get to chose from the following five books. 




The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back, and he's coming for Rory next....


Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.


The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan


Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.



Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare


In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.


Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?


As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart. 


Wolfsbane (Nighshade #2) by Andrea Cremer


Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.





Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by Andrea Cremer

Calla has always welcomed war.

But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. In this remarkable final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, international bestselling author Andrea Cremer crafts a dynamic novel with twists and turns that will keep you breathless until its final pages.




Giveaway

Rules: This giveaway is open to the U.S. only. One winner will get their choice of book sent directly to their address through the United States Postal Service. 

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Friday, March 18, 2016

[Review & Giveaway] The Beltane Escape

 

The Beltane Escape

by Ariella Moon


Publish date: February 2, 2016
Genre:Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary


Lady Fenella, ever surrounded by guards, knows only responsibility and duty. She believes Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths, Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, and Fairy was invented to make children behave.

But then Gran brands her, Lord Argonshire kidnaps her, and the Lady of the Lake makes her a pawn. The Highland heiress must betray her newly betrothed and fend for herself when she dives into a wormhole to save her cousin. She lands in a part of Fairy even fairies avoid, and joins forces with Talfryn, a half-Viking/half-Fairy.

Fenella must use her wits to find her cousin, free the Lady of the Lake, and reach the wormhole in Glastonbury by Beltane. Nine days to unshackle herself from a sorceress, prevent a war between rival clans, and decide in which realm—and with which lad—she truly belongs. Oh, and The Most Powerful Wizard stands in her way.




My thoughts


The first thoughts that came to mind after reading The Beltane Escape is that this is a mix of a medieval Scottish fantasy and Alice in Wonderland. We start out with our main character, Fennela, with her Scottish brogue, as her home is quickly invaded by a rival clan and she's hauled off to become the betrothed of the third son of the nasty Lord Argonshire. But not before her Gran brands her with a burning iron rod.  

Before any wedding bells can sound, she follows her younger cousin in a wormhole (or as I see it, the rabbit hole) and winds up in Fairy, where she meets all manner of creatures: a brownie, a Norse man and pixies.  

I really enjoyed Fenella's character. She's determined to do what's right for her clan, even if it means sacrificing her freedom.  She is desperate to save her cousin, Sorley, and she will not be deterred from finding him. However, I do wish her character was a little older. She's only 14 and seems almost a bit too mature for that age. I just prefer my heroines to have a bit more life experience. 

The story line for The Beltane Escape is fast-paced and melds the legends of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake along with all kinds of fairy creatures. The writing is nicely done and I even found myself reading Fanella's parts with a Scottish accent. And there are little to no grammatical problems that caused me to stumble. 

My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more of Edward. He managed to endear himself to me within the few short chapters he made an appearance, and I almost wished he had fallen down the rabbit hole with her. But at least I have the lovely Talfryn to look at. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here
Amazon | Barnes & Noble



About Ariella Moon

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. Her Two Realms Trilogy is a medieval fantasy adventure series with romantic elements. The Teen Wytche Saga is a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances.

Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Ariella lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and an enormous dragon.

Ariella loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.AriellaMoon.com or visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ariellamoon.author


 

 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

[Giveaway & Bloghop] Lucky Leprechaum Giveaway Hop



A special thanks once again to Bookhounds for hosting this giveaway. I may not be Irish, but I do love the enthusiasm that surrounds St. Patrick's Day. While I'm well versed in Greek, Roman and some Egyptian mythology, I can't say I've even really delved into ancient Irish legends. At least, that is until I stumbled upon The Fianna Trilogy by Megan Chance. This series will introduce the infamous Fianna warriors who find themselves in early 19th century New York City centuries after their time. 


The Shadows


Grace Knox has grown up hearing the folktales of her Irish ancestors, especially about the warriors who fought for control of Ireland. In 19th-century New York City, however, these legends are far from Grace's mind. She's much more concerned with how to protect her family from debt collectors, and whether her childhood friend Patrick Devlin will propose. Patrick is a member of the Fenian Brotherhood, a group of young Irish American men intent on fighting for the independence of their homeland, whatever the cost. Patrick and the Brotherhood use ancient magic to summon mythical warriors to join their fight to protect Ireland. One of them, Diarmid, finds himself drawn to Grace, and she to him. When Diarmid discovers that, in their desperation, the Brotherhood has also summoned a rival group of ancient warriors, he warns Patrick that there will be bloodshed. Grace is caught in the middle of two men she loves, and discovers she alone holds the power to save Ireland... but at a dangerous price.


The Web


In Victorian New York, seventeen-year-old Grace Knox is tangled in the web of an ancient prophecy.

The Fianna, legendary Irish warriors, have been magically called from their undying sleep to aid Ireland in its rebellion against Britain. But the Fianna have awakened in New York alongside their bitter enemies, the Fomori. A prophecy demands that a Druid priestess—a veleda—must choose between these two sides. Grace is this veleda.

But being the veleda means she must sacrifice her power—and her life—to her choice. On one side are her fiancĂ©, Patrick Devlin, and the Fomori. On the other are the Fianna—and the warrior Diarmid Ua Duibhne, with whom Grace shares an undeniable connection. Patrick has promised to find a way to save her life. In three months, at the ancient ritual, Diarmid must wield the knife that kills her.

Grace doesn’t know whom to trust. As dark forces converge on the city, she struggles to discover the truth about her power. Can she change her own destiny? Can she escape the shadows of the past and reach for a future she could never have imagined?



The Veil


Great stones crack and split. Storms will tell and the world is changed...

Seventeen-year-old Grace has found the archdruid who can teach her to use her power as the veleda—the priestess prophesied to save Ireland. But nothing is as it should be. The archdruid is a dangerous fairy, and Grace can’t learn the spells, no matter how hard she tries. Something is wrong...but what?

Meanwhile, gentleman Patrick Devlin and warrior Diarmid Ua Duibhne both struggle with their love for Grace, their duty to their warring brotherhoods, and their support of Ireland. And New York City is in chaos with protests, immigrant gangs, and police crackdowns. The only hope for the future is the ancient ritual, just weeks away, in which Diarmid must take the life of the girl he loves.

Secrets, legends, and prophecies collide in an explosive finale that will save the world—or destroy it. 

Giveaway

Rules: This giveaway is open internationally to anyone who is able to receive their prize as an Amazon gift. One lucky winner will win their choice of any book in the series. 

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See the rest of the hop

Friday, March 4, 2016

[Giveaway & Blog Hop] No Strings Attached



As most people my age might be able to relate, any time I hear the words "no strings attached" I can't help but follow it up with the rest of the lyrics of the N'Sync song. Including the dun-dun-dun. But alas, this blog hop and nothing to do with my beloved 90s boy band. 

Instead, we're featuring giveaways with no strings. That means no follows, no tweets, no comments. Just a simple freebie entry. Also, a special thanks to Bookhounds for hosting this giveaway.

I usually like to feature a book or two that I've recently enjoyed, but I find that my sack of goodies is running a little low this time around. So how about you guys share your recommendations for me? I need some new goodies to add to my TBR pile. 


Giveaway

Rules: This giveaway is open internationally to anyone who is able to receive their prize as an Amazon e-gift card. I hope you can find your next favorite on this one!

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See the rest of the hop

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Review & Giveaway] Curse of the Sphinx


Curse of the Sphinx

by Raye Wagner


Publish date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Mythology
Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads summary


How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?

Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.




My thoughts


God, I just love Greek mythology so much. But what I really liked about Curse of the Sphinx is that it takes a look at a lesser known myth, the story of the Sphinx. The Sphinx has the body of a lion, wings of an eagle and the head of a human. In legend, the Sphinx is consider a monster because it would stand outside Thebes and ask a riddle to any travelers in order to pass into the city. Anyone who didn't answer correctly would be eaten. Then, Oedipus came along and answered correctly and it was all downhill from there for the monster. 

In Curse of the Spinx we revisit that legend, but with a twist. What if the Sphinx had a daughter to continue the line? And what if that line was cursed to die if they ever had a complete family with anyone other than the god, Apollo?

The story follows our main character, Hope, as she deals with the sudden death of her mother due to the curse. Hope ends up all alone, hiding from Apollo's minions and the curse. I really felt the depth of Hope's sadness and grief in this part of the book. I cried for her and everything she lost. She became a real person to me as she struggled to move forward with no direction. 

Then came along our love interest, Athan, who is the son of Hermes and a hunter of sorts. He can find anything and anyone. His journey starts when he witnesses Hope's mother's death and is sent to find Hope and bring her back for his father. He shows up at Hope's school and immediately takes an interest in her. He thinks she's a demigod of some sort, but he can't quite figure her out, so he sticks close to her and eventually they fall in love.

Here is where I thought the story could be improved. The romance is very underwhelming. Athan sort of just decided he's in love with Hope and forces his way into her life. She loves him back for really no reason other than he's there. It's not insta-love by any means, but there's really no development to this part of the story either. 

Now, here's the biggest pet peeve I had with this story. I'm the kind of person, in both books and movies, where I need things to make sense. I need logical reasons for things to happen and I need people to have rational reactions. It drives me crazy in movies when people do things that any normal person wouldn't do in their situation. Like, everyone splitting up during a horror movie. It just doesn't make sense. 

Since Athan was there for Hope's mother's death, he knows what she looks like. Repeatedly, we are told that Hope and her mother look exactly alike. They have the same hair and the same eyes. Eyes that aren't even a natural color. So tell me why Athan has no idea who Hope is until she reveals herself later in the book? He's searching for the Sphinx, so logically he's searching for someone who probably looks like the woman who just died. It doesn't make any sense as to why he can't obviously see that she looks exactly like her mother. The only reason it makes sense is because it fits into the story better. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the biggest pet peeves I have. 

Even with that being said, Curse of the Sphinx is definitely worth the read. It mixes well known mythology with the lesser known and adds brand new characters. Beyond the romance, there's also action and mystery in the story. I will definitely be looking out for book two so I can see what happens next. 

** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Get it here
Amazon

Read a preview



 

About Raye Wagner

Raye Wagner grew up in Seattle, the second of eight children, and learned to escape chaos through the pages of fiction. As a youth, she read the likes of David Eddings, Leon Uris, and Jane Austen. Inspired by a fictional character, Raye pursued a career in nursing, thinking to help the world one patient at a time.

One summer afternoon, when her then young children were playing in the pool, a plot dropped into her head, and she started writing. 

She enjoys baking, puzzles, Tae Kwon Do, and the sound of waves lapping at the sand. She lives with her husband and three children in Middle Tennessee.

Origin of the Sphinx, a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, is her first publication. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series.

Author Links
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Giveaways (Yes! That's plural.)

 

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