Tag Archives: #fantasy

Review: The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter

The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter

Hannibal meets Mistborn in Marina Lostetter’s THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, the dark and stunning first novel in a new trilogy that combines the intricate worldbuilding and rigorous magic system of the best of epic fantasy with a dark and chilling thriller.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power—the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

Published 13 April 2021|  Publisher: Tor Books  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

One of new release books that came highly recommended by author Sam Hawke at her book launch late last year was The Helm of Midnight. I can’t quite remember how she described it but it sounded so good that I just had to read it.

An engaging opening to the novel that draws the reader right into the mystery that was quickly followed by an interaction between sister to reveal just how close they are. I loved this pair of sisters! And that twist at the end was a marvel though I did think the way part of this is written is rather deceiving but that’s neither here nor there as I figured it out before the actual reveal. Unfortunately though this means that we really only get one sister as a fully developed character being Krona Hirvath, mainprotagonist.

In between Krona’s chapters, there are 2 other POVs as mystery traced back to 10 & 2 years previous so there was a bit of back & forth in time setting as well. While I sometimes struggle with too much changes of time setting, I didn’t with this book because it was very easy to note which POV and therefore, which time.

While I found the mystery brilliant and utterly immersive, I struggled a bit with this universe. I think I’m probably only about 80% in my understanding of how it all works or perhaps the point is that it’s not all been revealed yet because there is bigger things at play and so, upcoming sequel.

I cry so easily that I really think I need to rate my books by tears! Yes, I shed some tears at the end of this book but despite my heartache I’m keen to see how Krona will develop in the future plus I loved the fun flirting she had with her informant. The Helm of Midnight is rather dark in content but it is relatively on par with crime novels I read (seeing that a serial killer is involved). It has got some lighter & warm moments as foils to the violent murder scenes.

Thank you Tor Books via Netgalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

The open skies and dense forests of the Pacific Northwest are ideal for growing speculative fiction authors–or, at least, Marina would like to think so. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in Arkansas with her spouse, Alex. In her spare time she enjoys globetrotting, board games, and all things art-related. Her original short fiction has appeared in venues such as LightspeedUncanny, and Shimmer Magazine.  Her debut novel, NOUMENON, and its sequels, NOUMENON INFINITY and NOUMENON ULTRA, are available from Harper Voyager.  Her first fantasy novel, THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, is forthcoming from Tor. In addition, she has written tie-in materials for Star Citizen and the Aliens franchise.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram |  facebook

Review: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

Of Wicked Blood (The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1) by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses. If any of us fail, I’m dead. I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
Wrong.
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster. But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).

Published 2 February 2021|  Publisher: Twig Publishing

My Blurb (2.5 / 5 stars)

I must admit I do like that cover but not sure if I like the description enough to pick this up for a read. The main reason was that I was curious about netgalley app for audiobook and this one was the only ‘Listen Now’ that I found remotely interesting. So I decided to give this audiobook a listen.

There are 2 POVs as noted in the book description, Slate & Cadence. I think it’s also obvious from the description that these 2 are going to butt heads in more than 1 way. Whilst I do like their characters (they are easily likeable), the back and forth in the romance was a little too much for me and then, there is that whiff/hint of a triangle. If you know me, you’d know this little bit would’ve been enough to turn me off. Sorry… this is not a book for me and this is all me. I did however liked the whole mystery & quest for the quatrefoil and there are hints of darker acts at the end of this audiobook. However, I’m not sure if I’m curious enough to follow up with the sequel.

With 2 POVs, there are 2 narrators. Whilst I liked both voices, I found their disparate pacing to be off putting. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks like I do, I think you’d know that you really do need that consistent pacing through one a book or you’d have to readjust your listening each time and that’s what I had to do for each alternate chapters. 

Oh, and that ‘profuse cursing’ warning is to be taken seriously. I would usually listen to my audiobooks in the car while driving my kids places and I really couldn’t with this audiobook; not even for the 5 minutes’ drive to school.

Thank you Twig Publishing via Netgalley for the audio copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram  |  facebook  |  pinterest

 

Blog Tour: Under the Lavender Moon by Christina Mai Fong + Giveaway (INT)

Under A Lavender Moon
Christina Mai Fong
(Nightingale Songs, #1)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: February 11th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Rilla Marseas believes she has a calling to become a healer. Her soul yearns to help people and save lives. Why else would Heaven grant her a singing voice that can heal any ailment? But if the palace discovers her power, she’ll be selected for the annual Showcase, where the most beautiful and magically gifted girls in Seracedar Kingdom compete for the chance to enter the emperor’s harem. That’s the last thing Rilla wants. To avoid such a fate, she hides her power. No matter how the other villagers ridicule her for being worthless and talentless, she suppresses the urge to reveal her powerful voice and prove them wrong. When a palace scout poisons Rilla’s auntie and coerces her into revealing her power, she’s thrown into the competition. The scout threatens to harm her family if she doesn’t win. But Rilla learns there really is no winning. The emperor and empress keep girls with magical powers as pets. In cages. With some help from a handsome, but brooding prince and his mysterious bodyguard, Rilla must outsmart the palace and escape. If she fails, she’ll spend the rest of her life as the royal couple’s puppet, using her voice to grant them eternal youth.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

Magic (YA fantasy) and POC author are the two main reasons I chose to join in this blog tour & to read this book for the purpose of providing a review. The description was quite appealing to me personally and the cover is really quite gorgeous. I thought this would be one I’d easily enjoy.

I was quite fascinated by this universe. It was a lot darker and painful than I thought it would be. The opulence of the background in contrast to the unhappiness & tortuous existence of most of the characters in this novel was intriguing. However, I found characters to be a little bit flat. I found protagonist to be mostly okay; a bit frustrating at times with her choices but that’s my personal opinion – you may agree with her choices. Hints at a love triangle, however, was my biggest beef with this book. If I’d known, I’d probably wouldn’t read it.

Under the Lavender Moon was a pretty enjoyable read as I was truly drawn into this world. I just wish there was more emphasis on the protagonist friendship with another than the romance.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for $20 Amazon gift card (ends Feb-18)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

I was a Bio major, pre-med in college, but I couldn’t stand the sight of blood. I used to write poems and stories in the margins of my science notebooks. Well, after a reality check, I decided to pursue a career in Food Science because I like food, and everyone needs to eat. Meanwhile, I continued to write. My absolute FAVORITE books are YA Fantasy, so it’s no surprise that I chose to write it, too.

Having been raised in Southern California, where there’s a healthy blend of cultures, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t put an Asian American spin in my stories. And having always been the “quiet, shy girl,” who often felt like a wallflower even though I wanted desperately to be the heroine, I’m so glad I now get the opportunity to make the underestimated good girls my heroines. But of course, I’m forcing them out of their comfort zones so they have to embrace their dark side and kick some villainous butt.

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Review: A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier

A Dance With Fate (Warrior Bards #2) by Juliet Marillier

An accident. A forfeit of freedom. A descent into danger.

Liobhan, the young warrior and bard, has lost her brother to the Otherworld. Even more determined to gain a place as an elite fighter, she returns to Swan Island to continue her training. But Liobhan is devastated when her comrade Dau is injured and loses his sight in their final display bout. Blamed by Dau’s family for the accident, she agrees to go to his home, Oakhill, as a bond servant for one year.

But Oakhill is a place of dark secrets. The menacing and enigmatic Crow Folk still threaten both worlds and while Brocc battles them in the Otherworld, Dau must battle his own demon – despair.

When Liobhan and Dau begin to expose the evil at the core of Oakhill, they place themselves in mortal danger. For their enemy wields great power and will stop at nothing to get his way. It will take all the skills of a Swan Island warrior and a touch of the uncanny to give them any hope of survival . . .

Published 28 July 2020 |  Publisher: MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I feel like I’ve waited too long to get back into this world and yet, it was less than a year ago (just!). I re-read The Harp of Kings before I read this just because I wanted my stay in this world to be longer. I loved that Liobhan and Dau grew so much in the first book and was keen to find out where their next journey will take them to.

In The Harp of Kings, we found out that Dau’s childhood was a terribly scary time that nearly drove him to his death. In A Dance With Fate, we see Dau facing his fears and grew to become stronger and wiser but not alone. As always, his loyal friend, Liobhan, is there with him and for him.

A twist of fate saw Dau blinded and his future bleak. And yet that same twist of fate brought Liobhan to be with him to face his blackest fear. Liobhan’s keen sense of justice and deep friendship for Dau cannot see her standing by when she can see Dau will be alone and friendless where he’s going. Yet, at the same time, she would be brought lowest but because who and what she is, there are many who are pulled to her to render aid and support.

I love the deepening friendship between Dau & Liobhan in this book. However, this is Dau’s story more than anything and I loved it even more as he’s developed into such a magnificent man. Brocc is still around and there were a smattering of his POVs in this book. While I find those to be a bit of an annoyance (they broke the main storyline of this book), I do understand that his arc is an overall one for the trilogy and I hope the next book will see him finding what he is looking for.

As always, such a comfort to read Marillier’s and I never wanted to leave. In fact, the book is still sitting on my soon-to-read TBR because I’m contemplating a re-read already. Truly while she does not spare her characters from pain, they grow so beautifully that it’s a comforting to know that whatever it is you’re going through, you’ll be stronger at the end. Her words of wisdom is a balm in this (our) bleak time.

My thanks to MacMillan Australia for having me on this tour and  paperback copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of twenty historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet’s novels and short stories have won many awards. She is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

Find Juliet on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook

Review: The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

Published 21 April 2020 |  Publisher: HarperVoyager |  RRP: AUD32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

A thoroughly enjoyable read! Ashamed to admit it’s my first Mark Lawrence’s and keen to explore more of his works.

The novel opens with the Girl, Yaz, as she and her clan, the Ichta, made their way to a congregation of clans. One which determines a child’s fate: to become an adult of their clan or if deemed weak/broken, thrown into the abyss. Yaz always thought that this is the end of her life, that she’s a weakling and does not deserve her place in her clan. While the judgement turned her life upside down but her brother’s fate, spun her world unrecognisable.

I think in a normal climate, I would not be able to put this book down but in the current climate, I have been finding it hard to read especially digitally. There were parts of the book which were kinda philosophical and I struggled with that – again, I’m blaming it on the current climate because it’s hard to focus these days. Overall though I really love Yaz’s adventure and discovery of the secrets of her cruel dark world and it was so full of twists and turns (totally unexpected) all the way to the last sentence. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers who are looking to disappear into another world for a few hours.

Thanks to HarperVoyager via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  blog  |  facebook  |  tumblr  |  pinterest  |  instagram 

Blog Tour: Defy the Sun by Jessica Fleck + Giveaway (INT)

Defy the Sun
Jessika Fleck
(The Offering Series, #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 10th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

In this electrifying YA dystopian sequel to Beware the Night, Veda is captured and leveraged against her best friend, who fights for the opposing force.

Civil war has come to the island of Bellona. Veda Adeline believes in the Night. She’s joined the underground revolutionaries, led by Dorian Winters, and they’re determined to overthrow the ruling Imperi and find justice for her people.

Nico Denali, Veda’s childhood friend and maybe-something-more, is one of those ruling Imperi, and he’s just been named heir to the most powerful man above ground.

As the war intensifies, Veda and Nico are leveraged against each other: Veda is above as a hostage of the Imperi and Nico is below, taken by the Night. There’s no way Dorian is letting such a valuable hostage go.

The island will burn unless Veda and Nico can come together to rip everything apart. But Nico and Dorian will never trust each other, and Veda’s heart might be the biggest casualty.

Praise for Defy the Sun

“Jessika Fleck’s duology is a lyrical adventure with a twisting vein of romance throughout. I was both enchanted and haunted till the very end!” —Erin Beaty, author of the Traitor’s Trilogy

Beware the Night

“Jessika Fleck delights with a new fantasy novel set in a world where the Sun reigns supreme and the Night is your enemy—literally. Brims with secrets, betrayal, and a genuinely believable love triangle!” —Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of the Forget Tomorrow series

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Defy the Sun picks up pretty much immediately right after Beware the Night so this is definitely one of those series you must read in order and you really do want to have to both books before you dive in because it really feels like 1 big book although one big change in this installment is that we have Nico’s POV as well as Veda’s and it’s just beautiful.

It is now all out war between the Day and Night and both sides are suffering losses they could barely afford. Nico and Veda and some others want this war to end before their whole world burns however as Nico and Veda are in position of power now, the burden mostly falls on them. But as they are separated, how are they to collaborate to end this blasted war?

To be honest, this novel is rather heavy in romance and while I expected that, I had to work hard to not hold against the love triangle issue. You’ll note I whinged about that in the last book, well… it got a bit worse in this book until it got better. Thankfully, Veda’s got a good head on her shoulders and at the end, everything worked well.

Defy the Sun was a riveting read; I was on tenterhook, not only because of the resolution of the love triangle, but also for the resolution of this world’s division. I really couldn’t guess how it could be resolved and , at 85%, had my doubts that it’d be resolved in this book! But the explosive ending totally worked and I’m left with a peaceful heart.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of Defy the Sun (ends Mar-19)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019.

Find author on:  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitter

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Review: Beware the Night by Jessica Fleck

Beware the Night (The Offering Series #1) by Jessika Fleck

When her world divides, pitting light against dark, Veda must join a dangerous revolution to save her grandfather and fight against injustice…even if it costs her the boy she loves.

On the island of Bellona, life is peaceful–as long as the citizens dutifully worship the Sun, which protects them from all harm. Seventeen-year-old Veda knows that keeping the Sun happy will protect her and her grandfather from the Night, the dangerous people who snatch innocent citizens from their beds under the cover of darkness, never to be seen again. As long as Veda follows the rules, she will be safe.

But when Veda’s grandfather is offered up as the next sacrificial offering to keep the Sun’s favor, she starts to see that the safety she’s been promised comes at a dangerous price. Maybe there is more to fear above than there is below.

With a mysterious young man, Dorian, at her side, Veda has to figure out if the scary bedtime stories she grew up hearing are real–or dangerous lies.

Published 12 March 2019 |  Publisher: Swoon Reads |  RRP: AUD$16.99

Buy it at: Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I love Swoon Reads books. Their covers are divine and to date, I’ve been very happy with most of the books I’ve managed to read that they’ve published. I guess, they’re just my kind of people 😉

In this universe, Day and Night are mortal enemies. The Day reigns supreme but yet the Night continues to resist. The people are oppressed and desperation will, sooner than later, sparks a revolution. This is the world that Veda Adelina was born into and in just a few days, she will enter her 17th year. Despite all her wish to fight back, she has no idea who her real enemies are but she’s about to find out.

I really have enjoyed this fascinating world set with the ocean on 1 end and a forested hill on another. It sounds rather like a Roman empire with the wealthy living atop a Hill and a Coliseum where rich & poor congregate to witness Offerings to the Night. The contrast between Day and Night, Light and Dark, Sun and Moon, was done rather well and those who tries to bridge the two will do best to be wary.

Veda reminds me a bit of Katniss as both are orphans (of sort) and both very capable young women. However, I find Veda to be more open and easier to like. She is also angry but she seems to be better at channelling her emotions… mostly. The only thing that I really do Not like is… the love triangle, *sighs* Oh, and this book ends with a cliffhanger! But thank goodness, I’ve got book 2 ready to go 😉

Thanks to Swoon Reads via Xpresso Tours for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019.

Find author on:  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitter

Review: Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

Blood Heir (Blood Heir #1) by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

Published 18 November 2019 |  Publisher: Voyager – GB  |  RRP: AUD$35

Buy it at: Galaxy Bookshop

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This is not my favourite cover for this book… Not sure if I’d pick it up on its own merit BUT I would have picked it up when I note the Chinese name of the author. Reading the blurb, it is within a favourite range of reads for me.

I was kind of aware of the ‘controversy’ surrounding earlier review copies that went out but as I find that Twitter can be a rather toxic experience, I steered away from most of that. The only thing that I remembered was about the naming convention and that was probably because I was in the middle of reading War & Peace so I must say I agree that according to the Russian naming convention, a lady’s last name should end with an ‘a’.

However, at the end of reading this book, I find that even if the novel itself was inspired by a Russian princess or part of her story (ie. the mystery of her being missing), it is something completely different. An inspiration doesn’t mean that the author has to completely refer to the real historical figure and/or events. Even if the name of the protagonist is somewhat similar, it is different. Obviously, the author is totally fascinated with that story and weaved her own fantastic tales according to her imagination.

Blood Heir is far from perfect but it was such a fun read. With interesting characters, curious magic, and fast pacing, I could barely put the book down. I am on the lookout for the next book.

Thanks to Voyager for copy of book in exchange of honest review & Annie @Read3r’z Re-Vu for organising a fun read along 💟

About the author

Amélie (yes, like the movie!) has adored putting pen to paper since she was in kindergarten. Born in Paris and raised in a multicultural community in Beijing, Amélie has a bone-deep love for traveling and immersing herself in new worlds and cultures. She lives in New York City, working as a full-time financial professional by day, and writer at night.

She hopes to empower young readers with messages of acceptance, strength, and courage through her works, and to continue to push the boundaries of young adult literature by exploring new, cross-cultural themes.

Find Amélie on:  goodreads  |   twitter  |  website  |  instagram

Blog Tour: The King’s Questioner -a Review + Giveaway (US only)

The King’s Questioner
Nikki Katz
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

From Nikki Katz, the author of The Midnight Dance , comes The King’s Questioner, an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.

Kalen is a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.

But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’s mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.

With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I’ve always wanted to read The Midnight Dance but you know… too many books, too little time… so I’m aware of Nikki Katz and when the opportunity came to participate in this blog tour, I had little hesitation. The blurb feels like it could be right in my alley even if the cover is somewhat unappealing but I’m one of those who thinks less is more and there was just too many things happening there. Still, I could have enjoyed the story… historical fantasy YA has always been a weakness of mine.

The King’s Questioner has quite interesting premise with a protagonist who can access your mind by a touch – who wants anyone to rummage to your mind?! And a banished princess who can either destroy or save the kingdom. Friends and frenemies formed a circle to unlock this secret in a bid to save the kingdom. Will they survive? And dare I hope for romance along the way? (I can’t help it! I’m a romantic)

This world and its magic were actually exactly what I was looking for. And I truly enjoy the interaction between Kalen, Luna, and Cirrus. I really like their friendship and how they work together. The King’s Questioner was very very easy to read but I felt a little two dimensional. I think it was trying to fit too many things into it that there just wasn’t enough left to develop the world. There wasn’t a twist to jolt me and I’m also left with a number of questions. Overall, interesting world + great friendship + average romance(s) = I like it.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY (US only)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of The King’s Questioner (ends Jan-23)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. With a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She moved on to writing young adult fiction, her favorite genre to read as well. The Midnight Dance is her debut novel.

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Blog Tour: The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier -a Review + GIVEAWAY

The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards #1) by Juliet Marillier

Bard. Warrior. Rebel. 

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. While she and her brother are competing for places in this band, they are asked to go undercover as travelling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission is to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship. If the harp is not played at the upcoming coronation, the heir will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into turmoil. Faced with plotting courtiers, secretive druids, an insightful storyteller and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realises an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the realm. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision – and the consequences may break her heart.

Published 27 August 2019 |  Publisher: MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

All I knew was that it’s a new book by Juliet Marillier. I. Must. Read. It. I didn’t really bother finding out what the book was about so you can just imagine my pleasure to find out when I started reading that it’s set in the same universe as that of Blackthorn & Grimm’s because I really loved that trilogy.

The opening scene was exciting with a fight in the rain and being told from the perspective of Liobhan, it was easy to fall into the story & liking her. When perspective changed (there are 2 others, Brocc & Dau), I wasn’t quite sure whether I was keen on the other 2 povs so it became a bit slow because I was reluctant to read these 2 but impatient to get on onto the next Liobhan’s chapters. I think you all know this struggle with multiple povs. You find a favourite and tend to stick with them. There are some novels that I just can’t get used to multiple povs but this isn’t one of them.

Even as I struggle with uncertainties with multiple characters, the tale itself progresses rather quickly and in the end, it was a rather fast read because I found that I could barely put it down. I enjoyed the dynamics between these 3 characters, Liobhan being the centre piece but I love how close the siblings are (Liobhan & Brocc) and the development of Dau’s character and therefore, his relationship with Liobhan.

The Harp of Kings is really a comfort read for me so I’ve really enjoyed it. Points taken off only because I didn’t feel the pull right from the beginning and one particular incident in the novel that I just didn’t click with. Otherwise, I love this Otherwordly tale.

I adore these Celtic infused stories by Marillier. I love how she combines my love for historical fantasy and mystery so this was a perfect read for me. If you loved Marillier’s recent works, you’ll enjoy this read too. This new series, Warrior Bards, promises to be one full of music, many stories, and intriguing mysteries.

My thanks to MacMillan Australia for having me on this tour and  paperback copy of book in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Macmillan Australia, I’ve got 1 paperback copy of The Harp of Kings to giveaway!

To enter, simple leave a comment with most recent historical fantasy book you have read (or are currently reading) and include a random sentence/short paragraph from it. I will draw the winner on the evening of Monday, 9th September 2019. You may also wish to enter via Insta and/or Twitter and/or Facebook as well as commenting on this post however there is only 1 copy up for grabs.

Please note this giveaway is limited to ANZ residents only.

About the author

Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of twenty historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet’s novels and short stories have won many awards. She is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

Find Juliet on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook