Review: Of the Clouds by Selina J. Eckert

Book Review

Of the Clouds
by Selina J. Eckert
(Seasons of Magic: Fireflies & Faeries, #1)
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What would you do to be free?

Shaman-in-training Quri only knows her master’s hut…until the neighboring prince arrives, showing her what life could be. But her master has other plans for Quri, and she will stop at nothing to keep her young apprentice from leaving her, including locking her in an old tomb. Now, Quri must defy her master to learn the magic she needs to free herself or lose her chance for the prince, her own happiness, and the life she wants. Can Quri find the strength she needs to save herself and the prince, or will the shaman keep her locked up forever?

This sweet and exciting retelling of Rapunzel will have you asking what you would do for your freedom.

Trigger warning: some abusive situations between the shaman and apprentice, but with a happy, hopeful ending.

What I thought

I was kindly given a copy of this book by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This novella is a YA fantasy retelling of Rapunzel. The story was told well and felt whole even though it was a novella (70 pages). I like the atmosphere of the story and I believe it may even incorporate some South American Lore.

I enjoyed how the character Quri just didn’t sit around and expect someone to just save her.  She proved to be a stronger person than she thought she was. One thing that I really liked was even though the prince wanted to save her he acknowledged that she just needed help not saved. He acknowledged that she was not weak.

I know that this was a retelling but I found it to be very similar to a story I read years ago.  The elements that should have made this story unique are what I remembered.  Reading the story was like having Deja Vu in many cases.

My Rating: /53.5 starsFollow me on other platforms:
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Review: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Book Review

heart of iron
Heart of Iron
by Bec McMaster
London Steampunk #2
Steampunk, Paranormal, Fantasy
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In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts…

What I thought

I didn’t think I was going to be able to like this book more than the first one but I was very wrong. The way this series works is they are all companion novels, so you follow different main characters with each book. So technically you can read them in any order; however, you meet the main characters in the previous book and I liked the background you get.  This book takes place three years after the first book ends, and we follow Lena, Honoria’s sister, from book one and Will Carver Blades man.

Lena has gone back to join the Echelon blue bloods, because she felt like she didn’t belong in Whitechapel. Will being werewulfern is afraid he is going to hurt her. The romance in this second book runs hotter and is forbidden, which apparently I really liked.  I did not want to put this book down. I carried it everywhere I went until I was finished

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Capturing the Devil
by Kerri Maniscalco
Historical, Young Adult, Mystery

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

Expected publication: September 10, 2019

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Wrap Up

July 2019 Wrap-up

Good Morning Everyone,

In July I was able to finish XX books.

Books Read: 11
Books DNF’d: 2
Total Pages Read: 1,602
Total Audio Hours: 52:55

Now to break that down  a little more

Backlist Books: 4
Added to my TBR in 2019: 6
Borrowed: 1

2019 Goals (only this months numbers)
Finish or catch up on 3 Series: 1
10 Books I want to read in 2019: 1
Read 3 Tomes0
Read more backlist books: No

Year-end 2019 Goals
Finish or catch up on 3 Series: 4/3
10 Books I want to read in 20194/10
Read 3 Tomes3/3 
Read more backlist books: 30/66 (45%)

Fools’ Gold by Philippa Gregory | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Game of Bezique by Elle Beaumont | 3 Stars | Add to Goodreads

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Prudence by Gail Carriger | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Every Love by Jann Doe | 4 Stars | Add to Goodreads

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa | 4.5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Clockwork Image by L.G. Rollins | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads

How was your reading month?

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Review Throwback: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Book Review

Air AwakensAir Awakens by Elise Kova
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A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

What I thought
Air Awakens is the first book in an adult fantasy series.  In this world, Sorcerers can have affinities to the 4 types of elemental magic.  Vhalla a library apprentice lives a quiet life until the sorcerer prince takes notice of her.

In the beginning, Vhalla is naive and that leads her to trust a little too easily but that is remedied when Aldrik helps her awaken. Yep, he pushes her off of the roof and feels quite justified by doing so because it proved him right about her powers. Can one be redeemed by such a move? Maybe.

I loved this book!  Once I started reading it I was pulled in.  I can not remember the last time I stayed up until 2am to finish a book knowing I had to work the next morning. Heck, I don’t do that when I don’t have to work. I can’t just pick one thing that I liked about this book because I loved it all the world, the characters, the political intrigue.  I can not wait to pick up the second book.

There is one description that I loved and no this is not about the prince 😉

“He seems about as pleasant as a rabid weasel in a bag of vipers”

My Rating: /55 Stars

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via Review: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

New Releases

Blog Tour: Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing by C.S. Johnson


Welcome to the blog tour for Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing. This cheeky and handy writing guide is by C.S. Johnson, and if you read through to the end, you can try to win a copy of your very own!

Good Writing

Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing
by C.S. Johnson
Publication Date: March 31, 2019
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Writing Guide

What makes a book sexy?

I’m not talking about erotica, per say, but what is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through?

While there are individual exceptions, the most objective difference between a good story and a downright terrible one is simple—it all comes down to the writing.

It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and bad writing is just bad.

Good writing is more than just good writing.
Good writing is sexy.

If you’re a fiction writer looking to improve your writing skills, this is the perfect, provocative read to encourage you to get down to business and write your story.

Inside Good Writing is Like Good Sex, you will find:

  • A titillating perspective on the writing process
  • The secret to why your story is special, and how you can make it sexier
  • Tips on romancing your readers
  • How to write irresistible characters
  • Basic writing and story concepts with advanced insights

… and all in a non-gratuitous fashion with a lot of innuendos.

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*          *          *          *
Good Writing is Like Good Sex
Intellectual Foreplay

What makes a book sexy?

I’m not talking about erotica. What is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through? Sometimes you can see this in movies, too—what is the difference between a movie you can get excited about watching over and over again and a movie that’s more “meh,” or that you put in those “ironically bad” or “watch with friends while high/drinking/avoiding work” categories to make it bearable?

While there are often extenuating circumstances or exceptional conditions regarding each book or individual film, the most objective difference between a really great story and downright terrible story is simple.

It comes down to the writing.

It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and it’s worth every moment of our second-by-second break down of our all-encompassing contempt.

Bad writing is just bad.

Good writing, on the other hand, taunts you, intrigues you, and calls to you; it pulls at your heart and slips inside your soul. It seduces your mind, letting its words grow into your vernacular, giving rise to new, previously unknown daydreams and desires.

Good writing is sexy.

And because of this, there are several parallels between writing and sex that can enhance the enjoyment of the other, but that is more dependent on you than me. This is good news for us who enjoy a good story and enjoy—or hope to enjoy one day after you get married—good sex.

Sex and writing are both intimate acts of creation, acts which begin inside of us and extend outward to others. While one might begin on the physical level, and the other might begin in the mind, sex and writing both end up reflecting the essence of who we are and hint at the fullness and totality of our lives. These are purposeful acts, acts that have a distinct goal in mind—producing a form of pleasure—and just like good sex, the path to producing good writing actually starts long before you start.

In my historical fiction novel, Kingdom of Ash and Soot, one of my characters — Lady Penelope, a spymaster for Queen Victoria — has a scene where she is telling Eleanora, my main character, why it is important for her to learn about sex and how to use it to her advantage as a spy. I enjoy this scene because Lady Penelope is very blunt and outspoken, despite the Victorian era’s modesty and Eleanora’s own obvious discomfort. And while the whole scene is meant to juxtapose their characters while also commencing Eleanora’s hero-transformation, what Lady Penelope says is very true:

“Any simpleton can look at a painting or sculpture and know that it is art. But only a true and trained master knows how to create such a splendid pleasure.”

Michelangelo didn’t come into the world ready to paint the Sistine Chapel, Tolstoy didn’t write War and Peace just after puberty, and Beethoven didn’t just bang his head against the keyboard to write his Moonlight Sonata. Learning begins before doing, even if testing sometimes requires doing before learning.

Click the link below for your chance to win a print copy of the book (U.S. Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio


C. S. Johnson
is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog Tour

August 5th
Reads & Reels (Spotlight)
Breakeven Books (Spotlight)
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight)
Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

August 6th
Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Spotlight)
My 3 Dot Life (Review)
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Review)

August 7th
Button Tapper Press (Spotlight)
The Faerie Review (Review)

August 8th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)
I’m Into Books (Spotlight)
Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight)

August 9th
Sophril Reads (Spotlight)
Jessica Belmont (Review)

Blog Tour Organized By:


R&R Book Tours

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Review: The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

Book Review

The Near Witch
The Near Witch
by V.E. Schwab
Fantasy, Paranormal
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The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

All-new deluxe edition of an out-of-print gem, containing in-universe short story “The Ash-Born Boy” and a never-before-seen introduction from V.E. Schwab.

What I thought
This was my first V.E/Victoria Schwab book and I really enjoyed it.  The story takes place in the village of Near, which is surrounded by moors. This kind of setting gets me every time. When I decided to pick this book up and read I thought I would read a little of this one before bed every night and it turned into being the only thing I wanted to read and I had it read very quickly.

This story really shows the negative side of small towns/villages and how they can completely scorn outsiders. This story also covers loss/grief and how it affects people in different ways.  You see how Lexi handles it verses how her mom is able to handle it. You also see it in Cole. I loved the slow burn romance and the relationships throughout the whole book. There was only one character in the book that I did not like.

I really loved how the story was written so I can not wait to pick up another one of her books.  I currently have A Darker Shade of Magic on my self and I foresee it getting picked up sooner rather than later.

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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