New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: The Enforcer Enigma G.L. Carriger

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:

The Enforcer Enigma G.L. Carriger
(San Andreas Shifters #3)
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Romance
Expected Publication: August 1, 2020
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Charming urban fantasy from New York Times bestselling comedy author Gail Carriger.

ENFORCER

Judd has wandered from pack to pack his whole life, searching for wolves who will accept him for who he is and who he loves. Now he believes that he’s finally found the right pack and the right man.

NERD

Rejected by his family for being gay and geeky, Colin has never fit in with werewolves, yet now he is one. He doesn’t know how to react when Judd starts courting him. He’s even more lost when a famous singer, the selkie mob, and the feds also start chasing him.

Can Judd protect Colin and still prove his love? Can Colin figure out why enemy shifters are invading his favorite cafe? And what’s with all the gold sparkle? Find out in The Enforcer Enigma.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This paranormal romance contains M/M sexy times, horrible puns regarding country music, and men who wear suits without shirts underneath. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories include blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (or mouth or tongue). 

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Reviews

Review: Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi

Book Review

Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi
(Scarlet Odyssey #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: 47North
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Synopsis
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.

Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.

Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.

On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption. 

What I thought
I was sent a copy of this book from Megan Beatie Communications and 47North for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a character-driven fantasy novel which is my favorite to read, and it’s inspired by another culture so when I was asked if I was interested in reading it I jumped at the chance and I was not disappointed. It is really hard to believe that this is a debut novel. 

This book has multiple perspectives however this story keeps moving in one direction.  I love it when I can follow a story and not have to jump around and keep track of everyone.  

From the first chapter, I was pulled into this world.  This story takes place in an African inspired fantasy world. You follow multiple perspectives throughout the story but the heart of the story focuses on Salo. In Salo’s world, Men become warriors and Women become Mystics.  But Salo doesn’t quite fit into that framework. Through events, Salo becomes a Mystic and in consequence, is sent on a journey for his Queen. 

In this journey, Salo picks up two companions that also do not fit into where society wants to place them, which added to my enjoyment of the story. 

I can’t wait to see all of these perspectives come together in the next book.  

If you enjoy character-driven fantasy novels you really should pick this one up.

Also, If you have read this book and want to talk about it please let me know.  There was so much I wanted to say but I didn’t want to spoil anyone.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book Review

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
by Nancy Campbell Allen
(Steampunk Proper Romance #3)
Fantasy, Steampunk, Retelling
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Synopsis
Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

What I thought
This story is a Steampunk Rapunzel retelling. This is also a proper romance novel. I love Nancy Campbell Allen’s Proper Romance Steampunk Fairy Tale retellings. Even though this is the third part to this series these books can be read as stand-alones.

I really enjoyed watching Hazel and Sam together. Hazel believes her gift is being a Medium however she finds that she is a healer. Since Hazel works for Sam he knew that the balance of power was his so he was so very careful to not cross lines. My absolute favorite character from this book had to be Eugene. When things got tense you could count on him being the balance. He made me laugh so many times.

I guessed Count Petrescu’s big secret shortly after meeting him but there were sometimes when I doubted what I thought I knew. Even knowing what/who he was did not take away from this story for me. I was left guessing what I thought I knew enough times to keep me on my toes.

If you like a good character driven story than this is a great one for you.

My Rating: /5

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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi

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:

Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi
(Scarlet Odyssey #1) 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: 47North
Expected Publication: July 1, 2020
Add to Goodreads

Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.

Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.

Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.

On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption. 

About the Author

Debut author C. T. Rwizi was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Swaziland, finished high school in Costa Rica, and got a BA in government at Dartmouth College in the United States. He currently lives in South Africa with his family, and enjoys playing video games, taking long runs, and spending way too much time lurking on Reddit. He is a self-professed lover of synthwave.

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New Releases

Blog Tour: Queen to Ashes by Mallory McCartney @MalMcCartney @RRBookTours1 #QueentoAshes #BlackDawn #Fantasy #YABooks #RRBookTours

Queen to Ashes by Mallory McCartney
(Black Dawn #2)
Publication Date: April 21st, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
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“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”

Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.

With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.

Sequel to Heir of Lies, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her heritage. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?

Adair Stratton tugged his button-down jacket tighter around him, trying to block the wind from his lookout post. The vastness of the sky was consuming, a strange energy clinging on the night air. The churning dark clouds cast a purplish hue, bleeding with the softness created from the moon. The stars shone between the pockets, obscuring the scene and making it beautiful. Far below him, the Ruined City lay in its grave, quiet and still, the broken buildings reminding him of splintered bones. The once thriving capital of Kiero—Sarthaven—was nothing more than a whispered memory to him now. His gaze wandered to the edge of the Draken Mountain range, the wildness of the Noctis woods flourishing, the purple hues of the trees pulsing like gems. It had taken years to build his kingdom, shackling Kiero in fear. The people that now lived in the Draken Mountains valued their lives and were loyal to him. Sighing, the darkness in his veins was smothered ever so slightly as he breathed in the crisp air. In this brief and flickering moment of clarity, his mind wandered to the girl who was locked in the cells of his kingdom, waiting for him: Emory Fae, the Princess of Kiero. Popping his collar up, he scowled. Under the blanket of night, he could trace back to the man he used to be when Emory had known him-an echo of his humanity. Thinking of her, he could see the splaying of memories come back to life all around him, of his friends, of the Academy. And it was in these sparse moments of lucidity, he allowed himself to remember, relishing it, pushing back that yearning for destruction, pushing back the voices, trying to lock them away. And like every other night, he lost. The wind howled, making the edges of his coat and pants tug upward, his hair standing on end from the sudden chill. His heart raced as the smooth voices filled his consciousness. “Adair, this kingdom is yours. Make her bow, make her bleed… make her pay for what she has done.” He closed his eyes for a beat, digging his fingernails into his palms. “Why do you wait? You know what you want. What you have always wanted.” Images were thrown at him; so quick and enthralling, they swept his breath away: The inky crown, embedded with roses and thorns, lay delicately on top of Emory’s ebony hair. Memphis Carter, the once commander of the Black Dawn Rebellion, bowed, pleading for his life as Adair smirked above him. His darkness had whisked away any trace of rebellion and Emory was by his side as they watched the world continue to burn until it was only them. Always for them. Adair snarled, then said, “Leave me alone.” Their snickers bounced around him, their whispers tugging at his heart. “Do not falter now, our Mad King. You have come so far, achieved so much. The binds your father tried to keep you in, you broke. The ones the Academy kept you in, you turned to ash.

“We are a team. We know the desires of your soul, how you revel in watching the world shudder in your reign. You have always been more. A reckoning force that no one can stop. Can never stop.” He became still, his muscles taut. Opening his eyes, his gaze fell a thousand miles away, to where the Academy had stood. Where a boy that once wanted to explore the world and not shackle it had lived. He knew both were dead. Ice coursed through his body, spreading through his core faster than he could register. His pulse slowed, the roaring emotions he felt slowing as well. Darkness encased him, pulling him down, down, down: Locking him away, roaring, snarling, and clawing at him. A slow exhale escaped from between his dry lips, and as he stood, every movement was precise, a predatory grace. Flicking his gaze below him once more, instead of the dark beauty that he was met with earlier, the world around him was bleeding. Dark, black blood gushed from the mountainside, thickly caking the field and the Ruined City. Echoes of screams filled the air, and Adair was reminded of his bloodshed, of his control and power. “Do not disappoint us, our King.” The corners of his lips tugged upward as he whispered to the wind, “I won’t.”

Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Reviews

Review: Curiouser and Curiouser by Melanie Karsak

Book Review

Curiouser and Curiouser by Melanie Karsak
(Steampunk Fairy Tales #1)
Fantasy, Steampunk, Retelling
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Synopsis
To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.

Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.

Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar’s mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.

Sometimes love is mad.

See how NY Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak reimagines Lewis Carroll’s classic fairy tale, Alice in Wonderland, with a steampunk twist! Join us at The Mushroom in gaslamp Victorian London.

What I thought
I received a copy of this book from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was sold when I heard that this was a Steampunk version of Alice in Wonderland. I have read other books by this author in her steampunk world and I loved them so when I saw that there was a Alice and Wonderland one I couldn’t sign up fast enough.

I am really picky about my Alice in Wonderland retellings. There are a lot of them and I have found that not a lot of them put a new twist on the story. I really enjoyed this twist on Alice in Wonderland. This whole story takes place in Victorian London and all of your players are there. Following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole has a new twist. One thing that I did appreciate is that you not only get your classic characters but you get to see Alice’s sister and Dinah their cat.

There is enough room for Melanie to expand Alice’s story if she wanted to write another book following her.

This story isn’t very long so I do not want to spoil the story for you. But do know that if you like the world that she has created then you are in for a treat because all of her steampunk books take place in the world.

My Rating: /5

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Masters of Camelot by Steven Cross @stevecrosswords @RRBookTours1 @btwnthelinespub #Fantasy #RRBookTours

Congratulations to author Steven Cross, on the release of his latest novel Masters of Camelot! Read on for book details and an exclusive excerpt!

Masters of Camelot by Steven Cross
Publication Date: May 19th, 2020
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Between the Lines (Liminal Books)
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Lancelot’s true love dies in a battle against an enemy aided by magic. With his kingdom and his love gone, he resigns himself to serving King Arthur, someone who is truly noble. After an innocent infatuation with Queen Guinevere goes wrong, the mysterious Merlin tells him his fate will be found thousands of years in a future where the new Camelot faces destruction from a ruthless king. Only Lancelot possesses the power that can stop him. But is his fate to die there? Is the new Camelot going to face the same destruction as the old Camelot? And how will Lancelot defeat the same magic that killed his one true love, a magic which he has never believed to be real.

Some of King Ban’s foot soldiers lumbered toward the enemy, but then the iron beasts came back to life. They flew over Ban’s foot soldiers. Noises, like the banging of hundreds of rocks on metal all at once rang out. Something, yellow bursts of fire, came from the beasts. Lancelot watched as the foot soldiers fell where they stood. He saw dozens of holes in their armor and blood seeping out of them.

The beasts then moved over the archers and hovered over them. Lancelot’s heart lurched. Most of their archers were women who wanted to serve in Ban’s army, but whom his father did not want to be foot soldiers. These women warriors possessed another kind of finesse. Many of them fired their arrows at the beasts, but they did nothing but bounce away or break.

Then a blue swath of light appeared from the beast and bathed about half the remaining archers in an ethereal glow. The light beamed almost blindingly bright and then disappeared completely – the archers gone with it.

The enemy at the walls shrieked with ear-splitting force. When Lancelot turned toward their noise, he saw the charge. In another few seconds, they were on top of them. Ban’s men met them. Blade clanged against blade.

One attacker struck at Lancelot, who blocked the blow with his shield and drove his blade into the man’s chest. When the enemy’s blood poured out, Lancelot’s stomach heaved, but he had no time to vomit—another opponent was already on top of him. He moved so fast and was so strong that Lancelot could not avoid him. The enemy knocked him to the ground and had his sword raised ready to deal the killing blow. Lancelot tried to cover himself with his shield, but he didn’t think he would – the soldier’s hand went to his neck where an arrow pierced it. Blood spurted and then he fell. Lancelot felt his weight crashing down on him, knocking the air out of him. He looked to one side and saw one of Ban’s archers, a woman with long, flowing blonde hair – Eve – one of Anna’s friends with her bow.

He started to yell out her name, but then the blue light swallowed her, and she disappeared.

Lancelot pushed her victim off, staggered to his feet in time to raise his sword just as the second attacker lunged at him. It pierced his enemy’s throat.

“Lancelot!”

He froze at the sound of the high-pitched scream and looked left and right to see the invaders overwhelming King Ban’s army. Lancelot ducked as someone swung at his head, and he thrust his shield up, its edge catching the attacker’s neck. The attacker gagged as he clutched at his throat and crumpled.

“Lancelot!”

Lancelot recognized the voice. He looked down and saw his beloved Anna lying on the ground near him. An invader towered over her.

Lancelot launched his sword through the air like a spear and hit the man just as he was bringing down his own sword. Lancelot ran to Anna. Her eyes fluttered and she smiled at him. “I knew you’d come.” The armor she wore was now red and blood pooled under her. “You can change things, Lancelot.” Her body relaxed and lay still.

He grabbed her wrist and searched for a pulse. He leaned over her and tried to feel the faintest breath that would show him that she was just hurt. Even as tears poured from him, his anger built.

“Why didn’t you listen? Why do you always have to be where you don’t need to be—”

Suddenly, someone grabbed him by his hair and jerked him backwards.

Robert Collier, an American self-help author, once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” For over 30 years of teaching and over 40 years of writing, this adage describes Steve Cross.

He is a semi-retired educator who teaches writing part-time at Three Rivers Community College. While in college, he began writing, and once he started, he didn’t quit. In his younger days, he had some writing successes: several plays published by Brooklyn Publishers, articles in various magazines and websites, and some educational materials. However, these weren’t enough to convince him that writing was something he needed to pursue anymore. When he turned 60 and had almost given writing up altogether, he gave it one more chance.

Every October, the Ozark Creative Writers sponsor a writing conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As a test of his talent, Cross entered several of the contests that made up part of the conference. If he did okay, he would continue writing. If not, well, it had been a fun ride, but it was time to get off. When he placed in three of the contests, he decided that maybe his idea of quitting was premature. From there, things clicked. He had one young adult contemporary novel accepted for publication and two fantasy novels accepted. He also saw another dream which had eluded him for years come to life. He sold one screenplay outright and optioned another. Then he became a freelance editor for a publisher.

Cross finds himself busier than ever with his writing. But writing is not his only passion. He and his wife Jean work very hard in spoiling their two grandchildren, much to the dismay of their daughter Megan and son-in-law Sean. Cross also follows the St. Louis Cardinals and enjoys reading, listening to music, and writing. Still, he finds time to relax by sitting out on his deck with his loyal dog Bella on his lap and listening to the birds singing.

Masters of Camelot resulted from a lifelong love of all things Arthurian, which was reinforced by a trip to the UK, and a simple question, “What if?” He believes the principles of Camelot can still flourish in today’s world.

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