blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secret of Dartwood Manor – N.A Triptow*

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Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

The ebook of The Secret of Dartwood Manor is currently ON SALE for $0.99! Don’t miss out on this epic deal, only for the duration of the blog tour! Grab a copy HERE. UK readers – Here.


And here’s a link to Wishing Well Publishing’s shop where you can find witchling and bookish swag The official shop of Wishing Well Publishing – Wishing Well Merch (wishing-well-merch.myshopify.com)

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This is open internationally & it ends on July 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

Author of young adult contemporary fantasy and retellings, from fairy tales to classics, N. A. Triptow graduated from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching with minors in History Teaching, Theatre, and British Studies. She teaches high school English and Film Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Advertising from Purdue University. In her free time, you can find her reading, watching and analyzing movies and television shows, attending the theatre, going on walks or hikes, and playing board or video games with family and friends. She lives in Utah.

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Listen to an audio excerpt of The Secret of Dartwood Manor!

Here’s a link to a playlist of audio excerpts from the book read by the author, N.A. Triptow.

Listen to The Secret of Dartwood Manor’s playlist!

Playlists – N. A. Triptow (natriptow.com)

Q&A with Author N.A. Triptow

  1. If you could interview one of your characters (or have some tea with), who would you pick?

This is difficult for me to answer! I just love all the characters for very different reasons. If I have to choose one though, I would have to say Baden Correia, the Brazilian assistant curator of the Dartwood’s family museum and Mariah’s best friend. He is just so loyal, caring, and brave. My mom was also born in Brazil so it would be so much fun to chat about all things Brazilian, especially the yummy food with him. 

  1. What songs were part of your playlist when writing The Secret of Dartwood Manor?

Music is a huge part of the writing process for me. As soon as I start developing a new book, I always put together a playlist to use while writing it. I actually have the full playlist that I used to write The Secret of Dartwood Manor on my website. It also includes the fabulous theme written specifically for the novel by the brilliant Beckee Davis! Here’s a link to the playlist: https://natriptow.com/playlists/

  1. Tell us your favorite quote and/or scene from your book!

I think one of my favorite scenes is probably between Baden and Mariah when they sneak into the crime scene after the murder. It’s actually one of the audio excerpts read by me that was released on my publisher’s YouTube channel on release day. Here’s a link to the scene if you’d like to listen to it.

  1. How did you come up with the title for your book?

I had a working title that I was using during the writing process, but the final title became clear after the book was finished. I kept jotting down various ideas that didn’t seem quite right and suddenly The Secret of Dartwood Manor came to me, and I knew that was it.

  1. If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

I think it would be fun to see a prequel about the villains’ pasts. It’s always fun to try to understand what motivates a person and what makes them who they are. Knowing that can certainly humanize a villain even if it doesn’t actually make them technically good. It shows that they’re a person whose choices led them down a particular path. Plus, the villains in this story really have some crazy back stories. Whether I’ll eventually write that or not remains to be seen, but it certainly is a compelling idea.

  1. What is your kryptonite as a writer?

My kryptonite is time. There are just not enough hours in the day.

My thoughts: I wasn’t sure about this book at first, I famously don’t get on with Jane Austen and am not a fan so the ‘inspired by’ had me a little worried at first. But this was actually a lot of fun. The three Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah and Melissa return home when their parents are brutally murdered but a lot of things don’t add up so they start to investigate.

Blending magic with the mundane, their quest leads them to discover some things about their family and themselves. I think headstrong Mariah was my favourite of the three, and I definitely felt for her best friend Baden, who’s hopelessly in love with her and she’s oblivious.

It was really interesting and I liked the premise of the villains (no spoilers here) and the way it set up the next book in the series – although it never ends well when decisions are being made for people who aren’t in the room where it happens!

🧙🏻🧙🏿‍♀️🧙🏾Top Five Witchy Movies (as picked by me!) As Mariah and Baden love watching films – here’s a few they could get some info from. 🧙🏼🧙🏻‍♀️🧙🏾

🧙🏻‍♀️Practical Magic – I yield to no one in my love of this gem, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters, who are also witches. I’ve loved this film since I was about 13. The Owens women are cursed, any man that loves them will die. It’s sad and romantic and creepy and amazing. I love their aunts, and the Midnight Margarita party. But also their bond, which saves them. Bonus – it’s based on a book of the same title and the sequel/prequel was published last year.

🧙🏼Hocus Pocus – more sister witches, more curses, more mayhem in this Disney classic. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are the Sandersons, brought back to life by Max entirely by accident in Salem. This is a Halloween must watch.

🧙🏾The Witches – based on Roald Dahl’s creepy book, the original 1990 film still gives me the willies. Creepy and sinister, Angelica Houston (still one of the most gorgeous women ever) becomes utterly terrifying. I don’t want to be turned into a mouse!

🧙🏿‍♀️The Craft – sometimes your witchy sisters are your found family, like in this teen classic (look, I grew up in the 90s, these are pretty much all 90s films and stone cold classics as far as I’m concerned!) has four teenage girls harnessing their powers to get some revenge. We are the weirdos mister!

🧙🏻Kiki’s Delivery Service – I had to include this cute as a button Studio Ghibli delight. Witch Kiki sets off on her adventures with talking cat Jiji (I love him so much) and opens a delivery business, on her broom. This is an adorable and lovely film that I’m always recommending.

Tell me your fave witchy films or books in the comments please!!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Blog Tour: The Wizards – Louis Corsair

TheWizards

Welcome to the tour for The Wizards by Louis Corsair! Read on for details and a chance to win a $50 Amazon e-Gift Card!!!

wizards_full

The Wizards

Publication Date: October 4th, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy

At the end of the original Absolution, the Executor went back in Time and altered Reality, setting in motion a plan that will destroy him, along with all of Creation. It is a titanic crime that does not go unnoticed. There are some who discovered the crime in the Past, and are trying to do something in the Present to prevent an unimaginable Future. And these men and women are, were, will be the Wizards.

The Wizards is more than just a collection of short stories. It is a multigenerational composite novel that delves into the lives of the Wendells, a patchwork family of orphans brought together by Wendell the Great. These too-human men and women struggle with mastering the Power as much as they do with one another and the landscape of Southern California. From the 1940s to the Present, The Wizards goes back and forth across Time to tell its story.

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Excerpt

In the Beginning

Let us imagine a period sometime in the Past. Yes. Many years in the Past, but not so many that I cannot remember it. And let us imagine men and women with… with… well, see, this is a point we could not agree on. The things my siblings and I could do, can still do, they could be called “talents,” like Mozart’s talent. Yet, that implies biology, which hardly influences the extent and potency of our abilities. 

Our Father, a man I will later call Wendell, and Anita, who I came to love as a Mother, called it, “the Power.” I suppose now you are wondering why we can wield such might. 

Indeed, for what purpose are humans born who can wield the Power? Ah, but that mystery is at the heart of our story. We never figured out why. And so, we are the burdened. Regardless of the why, let us consider the who.

Who are these men and women, you ask? Well, during my childhood in El Salvador, we called them los magos del oeste. Ah, but that is an inadequate title for my tale, for it was the silliness of childhood. Here in America, there are many names for these individuals, thanks to mythology and literature. Let us pick one. 

How about wizard? I have always been fond of that title, though it belongs in the realm of fantasy and myth, now inherited by popular culture. The nomenclature is important to me because it was the name that Isis picked for our little gang. She called us the Wizards. Do not worry about Isis now; I will soon introduce her.

In the beginning–that glorious beginning!–there were three of these Wizards. The first was the man who rescued me from the conscript army in El Salvador. I knew him as Wendell, a name that served “both for Christian and surname,” as EB might have said. He was a statuesque African, for it was easy to tell when he spoke that he was from that continent. 

Let us go now to a specific place in the beginning, to the first time I entered Anita’s home in Beverly Hills. Up until then, I had been constantly awake with worry as we traveled through different cities, always looking, looking. And finally worry became wonder as we entered this great metropolis. Drinking up the lights of Los Angeles in great gulps. Drowning in its people. Every sight mesmerized me.

“Now, Quique,” he said to me in broken Spanish when we reached Anita’s door. I had not yet mastered the English language. “I will speak with my colleagues about you. But I am confident we will find you a place.”

This was a sentiment that bothered me. I still had family in El Salvador, my mother and sister. At that juncture, I feared for their safety. The civil war was brutal, you see, and casualties were plenty. I let Wendell know this and he gave me that potent smile that could convince you to take his side. 

“They are well.” 

That was all he said regarding their fate, and I believed him at once. He was a man who used words to shape truth. It was a skill I often tried to emulate with poor results. Wendell’s words could take physical shape too when performing magic. The mechanism for this art he took with him, for it was missing from his many lessons. 

Ah, Wendell! That cloud of mystery never left you while I was under your care.

With my heart easier knowing my family was well, I followed him into the house. And there I met his associates. One man. One woman.

The house belonged to the woman, who was White and Wendell’s senior by more than twenty years, or so I heard. But Wendell made up for that gap in height; she hardly reached his chest. This was Anita Sendler, a Jew who had survived the Holocaust. The experience served to strengthen her, though; she was hardly a victim. Anita noticed me first and like a hawk blocked our way in.

I am unsure of what passed between the two. My understanding of English prevented me from keeping up with their debate. What I was sure of, then and now, was that Anita was upset that Wendell had brought me, all willy nilly (as some might say). 

My childish scorn for her amuses me now, as it did the other man in the room. He was a carbon copy of Wendell, for they were brothers. This was Gathii Ra, a title he had given himself. 

Gathii Ra smiled when he saw my frown. He said something to the two and then went up to me. After messing up my hair, a behavior that became a habit with him, he stomped the floor with his heavy foot. 

This created some effect I hardly understood, but could hear. Gathii Ra’s words had become soothing, pleading, asking all of us to use our better judgment. 

¡Mago! ¡Mago!” I cried. Quickly, I ran behind Wendell’s legs. 

And while I hid, too scared to open my eyes, I saw… It was my first memory of the Stream. The glowing Anima of Gathii Ra ventured from his body and approached me. Scared out of my wits, I screamed and covered my face with my arms. But…that did something. I heard the adults gasp. Uncovering my face, I opened my eyes and saw that Gathii Ra and his Anima had been re-joined. I had banished it!

Anita’s hard face pruned and her lips formed a crooked smile, eyeing me differently. Gathii Ra laid a rough hand on Wendell’s shoulder, laughing all the while. It was enough to break the tension and give them a chance to speak. 

And they did. For hours. At the end of that conversation, the three came together in a circle and shook hands. Something had been decided. Something important. 

Anita offered me a simple meal of milk and some cake. The adults, all the while, drank wine and danced to some music, she taking turns with each of the brothers. After an hour of this, she caressed my cheek. And it was a happy time, one of my most cherished memories. The energy in that room, my friend, crackled. 

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About the Author

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Louis Corsair is an eight-year veteran of the United States Army. Currently living in Los Angeles, California, he spends his time reading books, going on walks, writing, and enjoying the occasional visit to the beach–while trying to earn an honest buck. As a Los Angeles writer, he feels the weight of famous Los Angeles novelists, like Raymond Chandler, John Fante, Nina Revoyr, among others.

In 2021, he hopes to finish the Elohim Trilogy and its connected novels, including The Wizards Collide, and Apotheosis: Book Three of the Elohim Trilogy.

Louis Corsair

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Blog Tour: The Empire’s Ruin – Brian Staveley*

The Annurian Empire is disintegrating. The advantages it used for millennia have fallen to ruin. The ranks of the Kettral have been decimated from within, and the kenta gates, granting instantaneous travel across the vast lands of the empire, can no longer be used.

In order to save the empire, one of the surviving Kettral must voyage beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the nesting ground of the giant war hawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con-artist may hold the secret to the kenta gates.

But time is running out. Deep within the southern reaches of the empire and ancient god-like race has begun to stir.

What they discover will change them and the Annurian Empire forever. If they can survive.

Brian Staveley is an American fantasy writer. He has written an epic fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, as well as a prequel novel, Skullsworn, in addition to short fiction.

My thoughts:

This is not a small book by any means and it is epic in scale. Taking several disparate characters and slowly bringing their plots together, from priests turned pit fighters, a monk who used to be a thief, and a hero who just wants to be left alone to wallow in her guilt. There’s an army coming for the crumbling Annur empire, for the city state of Dombang, for everyone, only no one is entirely sure what this army looks like, where it will come from or when. But there’s likely to be monsters.

I liked Ruc and Bien, priests of the goddess of love, Eira, captured after their temple is destroyed, dragged off to inevitable death. But they’re both fighters in their own ways, resilient and brave. Ruc has already survived a childhood raised by feral gods, out in the Delta, he is determined that he won’t die in the city’s annual blood fest.

I also liked Gwenna, I totally understood her guilt and anger and frustration. The Emperor sends her off to the end of the world as a punishment, and not only does she somehow manage to find the nests of the kettral (huge hawks that were trained to fly soldiers into battle) that might just save the empire, but she ends up doing so much more. When she really doesn’t want to.

Each story unfolds slowly, which there’s plenty of room to do in almost 800 pages, but you need the detail, to really get to know the characters and root for them as they struggle against seemingly impossible odds and put their all into staying alive and seeing things through.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: The Jasmine Throne – Tasha Suri

One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne.
The other is a priestess searching for her family.
Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of powerful magic – but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one of several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to attend Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, as long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides. But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled . . .

My thoughts:

This was so, so good. All of the women in this book are heroes in different ways; Priya, Malini and Bhumika all want to stop the emperor and save their people, but even the servants like Sima or the rebels like Kritika have their roles to play. All of them want to be strong, to survive in a world where they’ve been held back by tradition and rules.

Priya has to remember her past, and use it to find the sacred living waters hidden inside the Hirana, the temple where she was raised, to access her gifts. Malini has to become something more than the emperor’s hated sister, drugged into delirium and abandoned to her fate. They learn to trust one another and together begin to unite all those who oppose Chandra’s cruelty and liberate themselves.

The plot crackles as it carries you along, slowly developing the characters so you find yourself cheering them on, willing them to succeed, to stay alive, to fight. And the bond between them grows, like the plants of the forest. I really enjoyed the author’s previous books and I can’t wait for the next one in this series – as they come into their power and grow stronger, begin the fight back.

**I was sent an arc of this book by the publisher and a finished copy was in my May Illumicrate box, but all opinions are my own.**

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Crimson Countess – Brynn Myers*

When a god and a vampire queen desire you, things can get complicated.

Nola Blair is a free-spirited artist who’s been offered a hefty sum to create a unique piece for a party at Elizabeth Bathory’s ruined castle. It’s an assignment she declined––twice. However, at the behest of her sister and her best friend, she finally gave in, choosing her career over her annoyance with the misogynist ass trying to secure her services.

Erzsebet Bathory has been trapped for centuries and would do anything to escape, including using her own son, Paul, to do her bidding. Soon she’ll be free and take her place among the ferals as their queen.

Andrik Kane had no idea his life would change when he saved Nola from a band of rogue vampires. Charged with the hunting of ferals and their creators, one broken rule and the blood of a beautiful brunette in distress ends up giving him more than he ever bargained for.

One wants her blood, the other wants her to be his. Who will decide Nola’s fate?

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Brynn Myers is a paranormal romance author. After considering writing a hobby for years, she finally turned her passion and talent into a career. She came into the paranormal genre later than most but has always loved fairy-tales and all things magical. Using that love, she creates charmed worlds by writing stories involving passionate, strong willed characters with something to discover.

Brynn lives with her family in Central Florida.

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Grand Prize:
– An autographed copy of The Crimson Countess, TCC swag, and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Runner-Up Prize:
– 10 readers will win a digital copy of The Crimson Countess!

This is open internationally & it ends on June 26th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

EXTRACT

Blood ran like a river through the streets as Reese and Andrik fought the mob of ferals clamoring out of the blind spots in an alley near the harbor.
“If we don’t annihilate them all, the humans will surely get involved, and this situation will soon be even more out of control,” Andrik shouted.
“I know!” Reese replied as she continued to slash through the half a dozen ferals in front of them.
Andrik smiled. This wasn’t the first time he and Reese had fought side by side. He had trained her soon after she was turned, and she fought a lot like him, but still had her own personal flair. Andrik always used to tease her about wanting to play with her prey. She was the only warrior he knew who could stun a feral long enough to not only set up her next move, but to make her victims happy to die by her hand. They were simply caught off guard by her due to her gift. They knew she was a vampire, but she was also something else––something they couldn’t resist.
Reese was over six feet tall, with short, spiky black hair, and a muscular build that was always wrapped in leather; but that wasn’t what halted them, no, it was her light silver eyes, a gift from Manya during her transition that made the ferals stop in their tracks. They wanted, no needed, to take in her appearance. Their mistake. It gave her the chance to kill them quick, but she loved to savor their need to admire her and waited until they snapped out of it before striking the final blow.
As Reese dropped her last feral, Andrik looked around to confirm they’d taken them all out. The area was clear except for a few faint footsteps in the distance which were human. The ferals were gone––for now at least.
“That was a little too easy, don’t you think?” Reese said as she cracked her knuckles.
“They were young and untrained.”
“Yes, but still,” she retorted.
Andrik flicked his dagger and watched as the blood splattered onto the ground. It, along with the dead bodies began to shift and change into the black mist associated with their makers. As the swirls of dust dissipated into the air, Andrik smiled, pleased as usual. The humans would be left none the wiser.
“Do you think the ferals are innocent in this?” Reese, too, flicked her blade to clear the black blood.
“I don’t know. That remains to be seen. Either way, their end will be the same,” Andrik said despondently. “You know as well as I that ferals have no place in this world. They’re dangerous to pure-bloods and to the humans, not to mention an abomination.” As the last feral dissipated, another band came down the opening of the alleyway. “Where do they keep coming from?” Andrik snarled.
Reese started to respond but was forced to fight instead. This group was more savage than the last. Reese and Andrik fought with epic skill, but these ferals managed to get some hits in too. This horde had been trained to fight and battled for their lives. In the end, Andrik and Reese prevailed, but they both were rough around the edges and confused by this new breed.
“We have to figure this shit out and fast,” Reese huffed. “If this keeps up, we’ll need more than the two of us fighting.”
Andrik nodded as he watched this last set of ferals diffuse. “I want to know where they are coming from.”
“Thea will be pissed we weren’t able to bring her a live one to read.”
“It’s not as if we had a choice. These ferals are not what we’re used to. We need a new plan.”

My thoughts: I really liked this take on the myths that surround the real Countess Bathory – the vampirism, the bathing in the blood of young virgins, and giving it all a new spin. It’s well written and nicely paced, gripping and enjoyable. I liked Nola too and felt a bit sorry for her as fate has taken some rather mean twists with her life, and safety, at risk.

🧛‍♂️Taking it back to the classics – the vampire in literature.🧛

Vampires are pretty old, myths about monstrous blood drinkers have been around for centuries, and real people like Erzabet (sometimes anglicised to Elizabeth) Bathory are all part of this. But there are some truly classic literary vampires that you should check out.

🧛The Vampyre – John Polidori – Dr Polidori was a guest at the Swiss chateau where Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born and this slim but still creepy tale was his contribution. Tragically he would die very young and without having written anything else.

🧛‍♀️Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – believed to be the inspiration behind the granddaddy of all vampire stories, this is another slim volume with a creepy side. The titular vampire (who might be modelled on Bathory) preys on a young girl, Laura, but the two find themselves drawn to each other before Laura’s father ends the monster to save his daughter.

🧛Dracula – Bram Stoker – this is the most famous bloodsucker out there and while his many incarnations might colour your perception, this is a seriously weird book. Comprised of diary entries and letters, it chronicles Jonathan Harker’s experiences at Castle Dracula in Transylvania, again inspired by real places and Vlad the Impaler, and those of his wife Mina and her friend Lucy after the Count brings his reign of horror to Whitby.

🧛Interview With a Vampire – Anne Rice – Lestat, Rice’s most famous creation, has seen it and lived (or un-deaded?) it all and here he tells a foolish reporter all about it. The others in the series are good but this is probably the best one.

🧛‍♀️Lost Souls – Poppy Z. Brite – something a bit more modern in this 90s vampire Road trip novel. Molochai, Twig and Zillah are out for blood, literally, when they meet Nothing and Ann, and take them off to New Orleans, with hero Ghost in hot pursuit.

What are your favourite vampire stories? Fan of the Gothic? Tell me all in the comments.🦇🦇🧛‍♂️

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fatewreaker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my posts on the first two books The Bookminder and The Kithseeker

The Fatewreaker (book 3 of the Bookminder series)
England, 1680 A. D.
Liara and Nagarath’s enemy has unexpectedly come to their aid, surrendering to the magick-
suppressing forces of the king of France so as to buy time for their escape. But that doesn’t
necessarily mean Anisthe is on their side. Vrsar’s war mage, Liara’s father-in-magick, has never been
a man do to things for others. And he has always has plans within plans.
In fleeing to England with his apprentice, the Wizard Nagarath realizes that Liara’s power is no
longer her own to command. With the shattering of Khariton’s magick mirror in the Palace of Versailles, the young woman has become trapped in an alliance with the ancient and evil mage.
What is more, at eighteen-years-old, her life remains tied to Anisthe’s for another two years per the Laws of Magick. Anisthe, who is now imprisoned for having helped them evade the king’s spellpiercers.
Forced to revisit his own past, Nagarath is finally learning that there are some histories you cannot
outrun. As for Liara, the darkness within her heart is greater than she ever could have imagined. This
after Dvigrad’s orphaned magpie having finally learned to love. For, in the words of Khariton himself, “In magick you can never have friends. Only rivals.”
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My thoughts: finally everything has come to this – a great showdown between the legendary Merlin and the wicked Khariton, who has tricked Liara into allowing him to occupy her body and mind.

But Nagarath will do his best to help her and even the formerly villainous Anisthe wants to prevent her death. But things aren’t as easy as they seem.

There is yet more hopping between countries – this time to England and to the strange realm Merlin has been imprisoned in for centuries. Liara needs to find a solution to the predicament she’s in, and Anisthe’s last words to her as they fled France “find the book” are haunting her.

Liara has grown hugely as the three books have gone along – from petulant orphan brat to great and clever mage, and she’s also had to deal with some affairs of the heart too. Her friend Kresimir makes a reappearance and she and Nagarath have grown closer, but she’s afraid of harm coming to anyone she loves.

Merlin isn’t like he is in more traditional, Arthurian, stories, he’s not very likeable at all. He just wants power and doesn’t seem to care if he harms anyone to get it. Only Nagarath seems to feel any guilt about the people he’s endangered as he tries to help Liara and keep her safe.

An interesting and fast paced ending to this smart trilogy.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Wood Bee Queen – Edward Cox*

Read my thoughts on the Relic Guild Trilogy

Somewhere in England, in a small town called Strange Ground by the Skea, Ebbie Wren is the last librarian and he’s about to lose his job. Estranged from his parents, unable to make connections with anyone except the old homeless lady who lives near the library, Ebbie isn’t quite sure what he’s supposed to do next. His only escape from reality is his deep interest in local folklore, but reality is far stranger than Ebbie can dream.

On the other side of the sky and the sea, the Queen of House Wood Bee has been murdered. Her sister has made the first move in a long game, one which will lead her to greatness, yet risk destruction for the entire Realm. She needs the two magical stones Foresight and Hindsight for her power to be complete, but no one knows where they are. Although the sword recently stolen by Bek Rana, small time thief and not very good at it, might hold a clue to their location . . . and to stopping the chaos. But all Bek wants is to sell the sword and buy herself a better life. She’s not interested in being a hero, and neither is Ebbie.

But someone is forcing their hand and playing for the heart of the Realm. Ebbie and Bek are destined to unite. They must find a way to stop the destruction of House Wood Bee, save the Realm, and just maybe save themselves in the process. All victories come at a price. The Oldungods are rising. And they are watching…

My thoughts: hello, excellent new fantasy novel. This is a very enjoyable book with its Oldungods and scheming queens, Ebbie the librarian and Bek the thief.

Blending fairy tales and mythology with completely new characters and stories, magic dripping from the Skea, this is a highly original and very enjoyable fantasy novel from an author who always delivers an excellent story.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Kithseeker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my post on book one in this series – The Bookminder

The Kithseeker (book 2 of the Bookminder series)
France, 1680 A.D.
Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate—bereft of all magick—but
even this has failed to guarantee Liara’s safety. The death of the war mage would seal Liara’s own fate, and so the wizard and his bookminder must keep him in their sites and yet as far away from themselves as possible.
With nothing but a storybook and a hunch, Anisthe has set off on a journey across Europe, aided by
his half-fey manservant, in search of a legendary mirror that contains the most powerful magick ever known. Although the stuff of fairytales, the merest possibility of its truth embarks Nagarath and Liara on a race to discover the mirror before it falls into the hands of Nagarath’s lifelong foe. Both know should he lay claim to that power, Liara would be at the mercy of her father-in-magick and his
lust for power, and not even Nagarath could save her.
Thus, the pair find themselves at the court of the Sun King, a world hostile to magick users, hopelessly surrounded by agents whose sole purpose is destroy them. Uncertain whom is friend or foe, with Anisthe nipping at their heels, they must unearth the mirror before its evil is released, or worse, lays claim to Liara’s magick as well and brings doom upon them all.

Amazon UK
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My thoughts: Liara and Nagarath are in hot pursuit of their enemy, the mage Anisthe across Europe, mostly by ship – cue sea sickness and storms. They meet a variety of people in their travels, some friendly and some less so, always wary of the risk of engaging with the soldiers of Rome hunting magick users. They need to beat Anisthe to a legendary magickal item – the mirror Snow White’s evil stepmother used, if it exists.

Along the way Liara does a lot of growing up and starts to learn how to use her powers to do more than a perimeter alarm. The character development is good and feels realistic, she’s not suddenly a hundred times more grown up and sensible, she still makes mistakes and struggles to trust people. It makes her all the more interesting.

We also learn more about Nagarath and why he and Anisthe parted company as young mages in training. This explains a lot of her concerns about Liara and why he feels they need to chase after his former friend.

This was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on book three.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Bookminder – M.K. Wiseman*

The Bookminder (book 1 of the Bookminder series)
Istria, 1679 A.D.
Sired by magick and violence, sixteen-year-old Liara is found guilty of witchcraft and banished from
her tiny village by the very priest who raised, then betrayed her. However, a mysterious mage steps forward to assume custody of her: Nagarath, the Wizard of Parentino, whose secret spellwork has long protected both Liara and Dvigrad from the ravages of war.
Despite Liara’s best hopes, Nagarath refuses to apprentice her to his craft but tasks her instead with the restoration of his neglected library. Liara gleans magickal knowledge on the sly, but her stolen spells renew an evil wizard’s interest in the people of the Limska Draga valley.
Only by tapping Liara’s inherent magick and joining it with his own can Nagarath protect Parentino from suffering a horrible fate. However, her discovery of his secrets destroys their fragile trust and ignites the darker tendencies of her gift. Now, he must rescue her from the influence of his mortal enemy before their powerful new alliance destroys them all.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of
storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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My thoughts: this new YA fantasy series starts strong and as the book pages turn the characters become more interesting and the plot starts to become very interesting and sets up the rest of the series.

I liked Liara, she reminded me of so many teenage girls, frustrated with their lives, annoyed at the adults around them who don’t tell them the things they believe they need to know. She’s headstrong and slow to trust, but because of her past she’s hurt and vulnerable.

I’m looking forward to sharing the next two books with you over the coming weeks!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Spotlight: The Fire God – Michelle Sims

thefiregodtour

Welcome to the book tour for The Fire God Tour by Michele Sims. Read on for more details about this genre-blurring romance! There’s also a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

The Fire God Tour

Publication Date: May 29th, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Magical Realism

Miles Moore is obsessed with fire. He can’t help it—it’s in his genes. He’s also the famous performer Ari, an international hip-hop sensation. There are some negatives that come with fame—death threats and life on the road among them—but there’s also a lot of good: fast cars, fast women, international travel, and more money than he can handle. When Bella Wahlberg joins his team as the chief of marketing, she seems like the antithesis of what he’s looking for, so much so that Miles dubs her Belsa the Ice Queen. It would be unprofessional for them to get together, but more than that, she’s unavailable—and deathly afraid of fire. But as they prepare for The Fire God Tour, Miles can tell something is changing. Is he ready to commit himself to one woman? Can fire and ice come together?

EACH BOOK IN THIS SAGA IS A STANDALONE STORY!

Excerpt

Bella powered down her computer in time to see her phone buzzing with a message: the limo driver was minutes away. After locking the front door just as the driver pulled up, she waited while he parked and got out of the car to open the door.

“Thank you.” She got in and sighed, feeling torn that she had to work on her day off instead of enjoying a long hike; yet also wanting to be seen as a team player. Resolved that even though she’d agreed to do this favor for Darien, she would accomplish it as quickly as possible and get away to enjoy nature with Corey.

Traffic was light and the car arrived at the estate quicker than she expected. The butler, Mr. Curtis, dressed in a black suit with a starched white shirt, dark tie, and spit-shined black shoes, greeted her at the door. She sensed he disapproved of her casual attire as he looked her over, jutting out his chin, giving her a loud sniff.

“Good morning, Bella. Darien left instructions to take you to Miles’s bedroom to get the papers.”

She hesitated a bit but followed him as he walked up the stairs to the space regarded as off limits.

“This is quite unusual, since Mr. Moore rarely allows employees other than Parker, Darien, or myself in his personal space, but I was assured it would be okay for you to go into his private suite of rooms to search for the contracts in question.”

She was also uncomfortable being in Miles’s private space, but Darien had been frantic when he’d called. He knew NeNe would be angry if all the documents weren’t there for her review even if she was on a conference call with them and not there in person. He assured her Miles wouldn’t be at the house and he would handle any fallout if he discovered she had been in his bedroom without his permission.

“He had a date last night and planned to stay at his penthouse in the city,” Darien had assured her on the phone before she’d agreed to do him the favor.

Bella and Mr. Curtis were at the top of the stairs when she began wondering if changing her plans with Corey was such a good idea. She liked the hardware store entrepreneur and was glad things were working out between them. He seemed okay with her work obligations in general, but she shrugged at the gnawing idea that Corey might not be okay with anything out of the ordinary at AriMusic, especially if it involved close collaborations with its CEO.

Mr. Curtis opened the door to the bedroom, and she took in the view of the massive mahogany bed, with etches of rams carved into the posts. Tastefully decorated, the room had touches of black and bold red accents. There was a very masculine feel to the room.

Looking around, she discovered his desk with papers on top of it. What piqued her curiosity was the old-style lamp filled with oil next to an ornate candle on his desk.  She began looking for the papers Darien had asked her to find and didn’t notice the bathroom door opening or the presence of someone else in the room.

“What the—” The loud verbal bomb startled her, causing her to spin around and throw the papers in the air.

Miles abruptly cut off the f-bomb and stood still, a few feet away from her, while she froze as she viewed his nude body. She knew he had a great one, but she’d never imagined she would meet Adonis in this lifetime. His beautiful pecs, six-pack abs, and his.. oh my, made her gasp. His thick muscular legs had her face feeling hot and her heart racing.

“Why are you here, Bella?” He initially made no effort to cover himself.

The papers scattered across the floor, blown by the air currents from the ceiling fan whirling above. “Darien asked for a favor, and he said you wouldn’t be at home. He needed these papers for a meeting later today,” she stammered and tried but couldn’t hide her tremulous voice or the shaking of her hands as she tried to gather the papers.

 Breaking her stare, embarrassed by the impropriety of their meeting, she knelt to pick up the papers scattered throughout the room.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Michele Sims is the “author-ego” of Deanna McNeil and creator of the Moore Family Saga. She loves writing hot love stories and women’s fiction with multigenerational characters. She is the recipient of the 2019 RSJ Debut Author Award, the 2018 RSJ Aspiring Author Award, and first runner up in the Introvert Press Poetry Contest for February 2018.  She is a member of  LRWA, in Charleston, SC, and the NK Tribe called Success.

She lives in South Carolina with her husband who has been her soulmate and greatest cheerleader. She is the proud mother of two adult sons and the auntie to many loved ones. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to remember the importance of exercise, travelling, listening to different genres of music, and observing the wonders of life on this marvelous planet. She is currently working on several collaboration projects.

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