I Am Gravity by Henry Herz (author) and Mercè López (illustrator) [Review]

I Am Gravity

Today I have the lovely picture book I Am Gravity by author Henry Herz and illustrator Mercè López.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a children’s book or picture book here on the blog. I’m happy to be featuring this one though, especially since it’s basically a science book, too.

I Am GravityI Am Gravity

by Henry Herz (author), Mercè López (illustrator)

What reaches everywhere and never tires? Pulling on feathers and galaxies alike? Holding the mighty Milky Way together? Gravity, of course!

Told in lyrical, riddling first-person narrative, Gravity boasts of its essential role in life as we know it—from the pulling of the ocean’s tides to the vastness of the stars in the sky.

Back matter about the science of gravity and major historical discoveries enhances the book for STEM learning. I Am Gravity is lushly illustrated by Mercè López, the award-winning artist of the acclaimed I Am Smoke.

Purchase links here.

Beautiful text, beautiful illustrations

Off the bat, I Am Gravity is a beautiful book. It’s nicely written and illustrated wonderfully.

I think it was a great decision to write a book about gravity as if it was gravity talking to the readers. Gravity is such a big concept and can be difficult to explain, but this book presents it in a simple, informative and charming way. The book manages to show how gravity, though invisible, is everywhere and in everything–from a butterfly landing or whale diving to mighty galaxies and blackholes. The poetic text is then accompanied by gorgeous illustrations covering the pages from edge to edge.

I think for younger kids, a guided reading would be best, where someone can talk about some of the concepts more. Honestly, I think this is such a good science book to have for young curious learners.

I Am Gravity is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated picture book that can be appreciated by kids and grownups alike.

Note: I received a review e-copy of this book. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

About Henry Herz and Mercè López

Henry Herz wrote the traditionally published picture books: MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES (Pelican, 2015; Best Picture Book at SoCal SCBWI Editor’s Day), WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY (Pelican, 2016), MABEL AND THE QUEEN OF DREAMS (Schiffer, 2016; Finalist, Foreword Indies Best Picture Book), LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016), CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW (Sterling, 2017), GOOD EGG AND BAD APPLE (Schiffer, 2018), HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican, 2018), ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius, 2018), 2 PIRATES + 1 ROBOT (Kane Miller, 2019), I AM SMOKE (Tilbury House, 2021, ALA Children’s Notable Book), and I AM GRAVITY (Tilbury House, 2024).

Henry’s short stories for children and adults will/have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Weird Tales, Pseudopod, Metastellar, Highlights for Children, Ladybug Magazine, and anthologies from Albert Whitman & Co., Blackstone Publishing, Brigid’s Gate Press, Air and Nothingness Press, Baen Books, Titan Books, and elsewhere. He has curated and edited seven anthologies. (from Goodreads)

Mercè López was born in Barcelona, Spain, in the month of April, and that’s why she likes the warm sun of spring so much. In autumn fourteen years ago, she illustrated her first book. Since then, she has created art for more than thirty books. She loves swimming in summer while looking at the fish around her, and she loves reading on rainy winter days. She finds inspiration in travel, friends, music, and Japanese martial arts. (from Goodreads)

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapowski

The Last Wish cover art

This is a late post because The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapowski was my February pick and I finished it that same month. Funny thing: when I got to the last page of the book, I realized that I’ve already read it before.

I started reading it after the first season of the Witcher series came out on Netflix, and it seems I just forgot about the entire thing. In my mind, I only got halfway through the book and put it down. I decided to pick it up again this year and since I couldn’t remember much about it, I started over.

When I was reading it, I kept waiting to get to the part where I stopped before, but then suddenly I was at the end. My memory sucks. LOL.

The Last Wish by Andrzej SapowskiThe Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5)

by Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok (Translator)

Geralt the Witcher—revered and hated—is a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Anyway, it’s a good read. I love all the mythology and the interesting characters, human and otherwise. The stories in this collection are in the first season of the show—not exactly the same, but pretty close. I enjoyed the writing, but wondered at times about the Polish nuances that got lost in the translation. I’ve read a few online discussions that mentioned this, so I’ve been curious. The official English translation is supposed to be good though, so I guess I’m not really missing a lot. I hope.

I don’t know, but TV Geralt seems rougher and grittier than Book Geralt. Maybe it’s just because Henry Cavill plays him that way and so well, too. It also doesn’t help that I saw the series first and it formed the idea of Geralt for me so I was already looking for that in the book. I think the series (Season 1, I mean) and the book are both good though.

So, it was good to re-read this book. I’m not jumping into the next Witcher book just yet, but I hope to read the rest of the books soon.

A Darkness At The Door by Intisar Khanani [Review]

A Darkness At The Door by Intisar Khanani

I read a book! I’m so happy to say that I finally finished A Darkness At The Door by Intisar Khanani.

This is the sequel to The Theft of Sunlight and is part of the Dauntless Path series, which starts with Thorn. Thorn is a standalone and is not a requirement for ADATD, but you’ll need to read Theft to appreciate ADATD.

Warning: a couple of potential spoilers ahead. I say “potential” because they’re not really specific, but they might spoil the overall feel of the ending a little.

A Darkness At The Door coverA Darkness At The Door

I’ve been cursed, betrayed, and sold into slavery – but the truth I carry can’t be allowed to die.

Only Rae knows the extent of the corruption at the heart of the kingdom of Menaiya, from the noble lord who betrayed her, to the Circle of Mages whose wards protect the slavers from discovery. Injured and imprisoned on a slave ship, Rae’s options are quickly running out. When a desperate escape attempt goes terribly wrong, she finds herself indebted to a terrifying Fae sorceress.

Now Rae will not rest until she has rescued her fellow prisoners and freed her land from the darkness that has taken hold. To succeed, she’ll need every ally she can find—including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind. With her debts coming due and time running short, all the truths in the world may not be enough to save her kingdom, or herself.

Add this book on Goodreads. Buy this book: https://books2read.com/adatd

About the Author: Intisar Khanani

Intisar-Khanani-Author-Photo

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to publishing her novels, Intisar worked as a public health consultant on projects relating to infant mortality and minority health, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

Connect with the author: Website | GoodreadsInstagram | Patreon

A fitting conclusion to the duology

Okay, a few disclosures. One, I may be a little biased because I’m a big fan of Intisar Khanani’s work. Two, I went into this book as someone who’s been having a hard time getting back into reading for the last few years. Last year, I read one graphic novel (Neil Gaiman, et al) and two short stories (Intisar Khanani). The year before that I read one full-length book and one novella. That’s how dire my reading has been. In an effort to get me into some kind of reading mood this year, I revisited old favorites–specifically, Intisar Khanani’s Sunbolt Chronicles, a series that I absolutely love. I read the two books in the series before diving into A Darkness At The Door.

So, take all of that as you will. My ‘reader self’ is still out of sorts so writing a review after so long feels a little strange.

Anyway, having said all that, I find that A Darkness At The Door is a great conclusion to the duology and I enjoyed reading it. Well, I like most of it.

Here are some of the things I like:

It has a strong and resilient woman at the center, and the supporting characters are pretty interesting, too (shoutout to Artemis and Lirika!). It’s a gripping story with a lot of action and a little magic thrown in. It has disability representation that’s handled well. It has some pretty dark stuff and mature themes, but I think they’re tackled well, too. Also, [spoiler] villainous folks get their comeuppance and good folks win some.

I think the best thing about the duology is the main character, Rae, who is the heart of it all. She’s strong, but also vulnerable. She’s smart and thinks things through, but she’s not closed off to her emotions. She gets herself into some kind of trouble so many times, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s a big-hearted person who doesn’t let anything stop her from trying to help others.

Some of the things I don’t care for:

I think the pacing isn’t as consistent as Theft and my attention wavered a bit somewhere in the middle of the book. It’s like so many things are happening and also nothing is happening, I don’t know. Things pick up towards the end though so it’s fine. Also, the romance bit, which isn’t bad really. I’m not a big fan of heavy romance mixed in my fantasy and sci-fi reads, so I’m glad that the romance here is kind of light and clean. I would have preferred none of it for this, but that’s just me (haha).

I don’t know how to get into more details without spoiling a few things, so let me just say that A Darkness At The Door is a great ending to the duology. Many things are wrapped up nicely. And there are no [spoiler] major heartbreaks, too, which I appreciate (haha).

Like most good stories, the book ends with new beginnings, so, you know, I think it’s nice and open to potentially more stories in the Dauntless Path world. I know I would be happy to read something that features other characters like Rae’s sisters Niya and Bean or even Lirika.

Life lately: book hoarding, fountain pens, my TBR

Boots by Rob and Mara PH

The other day I came across the fantastic website of writer Catherine Lacey—I can’t remember now but apparently I subscribed to her newsletter some time back for some reason (I think I just added one of her books to my wishlist that time)—and I was suddenly filled with the urgent need to tweak my blog again. Hence, this new-ish look.

For the last few months (or longer) I’ve been trying to make my blog look like one of those cool blogs from the past. You know the ones—old school journal type, dated background, strange spacing, somewhat weird and unwieldy interface, but ultimately cool. I don’t know how to describe it, but I wanted my blog to look like it.

I think it’s all just part of me being nostalgic for what used to be. I miss being able to blog like in the old days when I wasn’t too concerned about my writing. I miss being able to read books and post reviews in a span of a few days. I miss being fit haha. I just miss a lot of things.

Anyway, here be life updates and what not!

The pandemic activated the book dragon in me and my book hoarding tendencies went into overdrive. Oh gosh, I acquired so many books in the last three years. Used books and sale books mostly. I rarely bought anything at its full price, but still. I’ve turned into a book hoarder now and I fear I won’t be able to get back to becoming an actual reader. It is what it is, but seeing the books on my shelf brings me so much joy, so it’s fine (I say to myself). Oh, I haven’t given up on reading. I still think—nay, I believe—that I can get to all my books eventually in this lifetime. Hah. ;)

pocket fountain pens

I got into fountain pens! It started in late 2020. I decided that I wanted to add more creativity into my life and joined an art club. It’s where I discovered fountain pens and got bit by the bug. Now I have almost 20 pens in my collection. That’s a big number for me, so I’ve decided to slow down on the pen buying. I have a couple of pens on my wishlist, but I’m not in a hurry to get them. This year I want to spend more time enjoying my pens instead of wishing for more pens. (Hey, if you’re into fountain pens too, let’s connect on my hobby IG account @livecreativelei.)

I stopped working out and doing yoga. Ah, I’m so annoyed with myself. I didn’t get sick or anything. I just didn’t feel like doing any of it. Oh, I tried a few times to start up again, but couldn’t make it a habit. I could blame the pandemic, but I know I have no real excuse. This is one of my main priorities this year. I want to get back into it. I miss it and miss feeling healthy in body and mind. (It’s such a trip, isn’t it? You want to mind your mental health so you don’t force yourself to do things that you don’t feel like doing. But you also know that doing those things you don’t feel like doing can help your mental health. What are you supposed to do?) Anyway, I’m determined to get fit again this year, just you wait. Hah.

Life updates: trying to read Mistborn

This month’s TBR

I read a grand total of two books in 2022. TWO! Gah. Sad, right? I’m not giving up on trying to get back into reading, so I’m still going to give my priority TBR from last year a try. I had three things that I really wanted to read: The Sandman Volume 1, A Darkness At The Door, and The Bell Jar. I’m adding a fourth one, Mistborn, just for the heck of it. One of these is bound to get me going again, right? Wish me luck!

What’s on your list of goals or on your TBR this year?

Blog Tour [Review]: Academy Arcanist by Shami Stovall ($25 Giveaway)

Academy Arcanist Blog Tour Banner

Hello, friends! Today we have Academy Arcanist by Shami Stovall, one of my favorite authors.

Read on to know more about the book. Don’t forget to enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Enjoy!

Shami Stovall, author of Academy Arcanist

Academy Arcanist by Shami Stovall book coverAcademy Arcanist

Hopes. Dreams. And literal nightmares out to kill a young boy.

Gray Lexly, son of a candlemaker, wants to escape his life of old-world technologies and study at the prestigious Astra Academy, a school for arcanists—those who can wield magic. But Gray has a major problem. Every night, as he sleeps, he’s visited by monsters. When they injure Gray in his dreams, he wakes with the same wounds in real life…

On the night Gray might finally die in his nightmares, he is saved by the kind and mysterious Professor Helmith, a powerful arcanist. She offers to protect Gray and invites him to attend Astra Academy.

Before that can happen, Gray must bond with a mystical creature to become an arcanist himself. Will he bond with a unicorn? A pegasus? A kitsune? Whatever he bonds with will determine his magical abilities, so he must choose wisely.

And when trouble finds Professor Helmith, Gray must become powerful enough to help her and fend off the terrible nightmares, before it’s too late…

Add Academy Arcanist on Goodreads.

About the Author

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Check out my reviews of books by Shami Stovall.

Good story and another interesting cast of characters

I should say that I’m already a big fan of Shami Stovall and her books, especially The Frith Chronicles, her series about arcanists, so I’m already a little biased towards the whole concept of arcanists. I absolutely love this magic concept and it was great to see it again in this setting.

So this was a nice read – great pace, interesting characters, an interesting story and, again, an amazing magic concept. I liked reading about magical creatures I was already familiar with from the Frith series and about some new ones. Also, the characters here are young, so sometimes I couldn’t help feeling like an old fart, annoyed with some of the things they do (hah), but that’s always been my thing with very young characters in books. Anyway, it didn’t distract me from the story, which moved forward well and kept me reading. 

Overall, I enjoyed this. I love the Frith Chronicles, so I’m glad that I didn’t hate this one. I can’t say I like it more than the Frith Chronicles, but I’m interested to see where this series goes.

If you like reading fantasy about magic wielders bonded with intriguing magic creatures, you might like this one. :)

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Excerpt from Academy Arcanist

“I don’t want to sleep,” I said. “The monsters will return. They’ll…”

My father lingered by the door, half inside my bedroom and half in the hall. He turned down the light of my oil lamp, though he didn’t snuff it out. The shadows in the corners of my room grew darker. I dared not stare at them. 

“The monsters aren’t real, boy.” My father offered a gentle smile. “Those were just nightmares. Everyone has them occasionally.”

I sat on the edge of my bed, my posture stiff as I tried to act twice my age. With my throat tight, I lifted my left arm. An injury ran from the crux of my elbow all the way to the edge of my palm, scabbed over and red. It was a straight and shallow cut, but it stung worse than a normal wound. 

“The monsters are real,” I said, defiant. “I told you—they attacked me.”

“Gray, we talked about this,” my father said, sighing.

His shoulders sagged and his eyes were heavy lidded. He looked tired. Probably because he was. Every day, he worked from sunup until sundown, mixing waxes and perfecting wicks. He was our island’s only tallow chandler—a person who made candles with oil, wax, and animal fat. 

My father wore an apron marked with his profession, stained by the hot wax. He rubbed his blistered hands down his sides, no doubt trying to think of what to say. I already knew what he would eventually settle on. 

He would say, “You just fell out of bed.”

“You just fell out of bed,” my father muttered.

And then he would say, “I know your arm hurts, but it was an accident. Just go to sleep.”

“I know your arm hurts.” My father half closed the door as he spoke. “But it was an accident. Just go to sleep.”

All those long hours working meant my father didn’t like dealing with problems. He was rather predictable. His most common advice was to just ignore my problems. “They’ll go away eventually,” he often muttered. “Keep your head down and do your work.”

That was easier for him, I supposed.

And although I knew he cared about me and my brother, I sometimes feared he didn’t listen. The monsters in my dreams? They were real. One had attacked me, and if I hadn’t woken up, it would’ve ripped me apart.

Academy Arcanist Review Tour Giveaway

Shami Stovall will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Academy Arcanist blog tour and comment on the other hosts’ blog posts; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.

Cover Reveal: A Darkness At The Door by Intisar Khanani

A Darkness at the Door header

A Darkness at the Door, the follow-up to Theft of Sunlight is almost here! The book comes out in a few months, but the UK cover is ready to be revealed!

Scroll down to check it out!

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Aaaand here’s the cover. Ta-da! Haha!

A Darkness At The Door cover

A Darkness At The Door

I’ve been cursed, betrayed, and sold into slavery – but the truth I carry can’t be allowed to die.

Only Rae knows the extent of the corruption at the heart of the kingdom of Menaiya, from the noble lord who betrayed her, to the Circle of Mages whose wards protect the slavers from discovery. Injured and imprisoned on a slave ship, Rae’s options are quickly running out. When a desperate escape attempt goes terribly wrong, she finds herself indebted to a terrifying Fae sorceress.

Now Rae will not rest until she has rescued her fellow prisoners and freed her land from the darkness that has taken hold. To succeed, she’ll need every ally she can find—including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind. With her debts coming due and time running short, all the truths in the world may not be enough to save her kingdom, or herself.

Add this book on Goodreads.

Look at that gorgeous cover!

The cover artist is the same artist who did Theft Of Sunlight: Jenny Zemanek.

A Darkness At The Door comes out in a few months! I can’t wait! :)

About the Author: Intisar Khanani

Intisar-Khanani-Author-Photo

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

Connect with the author on her website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Pre-order A Darkness At The Door: https://lnk.to/DarknessAtTheDoor

Check out the Audiobook Kickstarter for A Darkness At The Door: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/booksbyintisar/a-darkness-at-the-door

What do you think about the cover?

Blog Tour [Review]: Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie (eBook/Paperback Giveaway)

Weep Woman Weep Tour

Today we have gothic novella Weep, Woman, Weep by author Maria DeBlassie. I’m not gonna lie. It was the cover that reeled me in. I mean, look at that lovely cover.

Read on to know more about the book. Check out my quick review and enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win an ebook or paperback!

Weep Woman Weep About the book

A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.

The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

Add this book on Goodreads. Get the book on Amazon.

About Dr. Maria DeBlassie

Maria DeBlassie

Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariadeblassie.com.

Connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Buy your copy of Weep, Woman, Weep on Amazon.

Fascinating and deeper than it seems

This was a fascinating story and, for a novella, it was more layered than I expected. The writing is also beautiful and descriptive, so it was easy to read.

I’m only a little bit familiar with the Lla Llorona tale, but it was interesting to see it being used here as more than just a scary story. In fact, this isn’t really a supernatural ghost story, but more like a story about personal ghosts, trauma passed on from generations, surviving and overcoming demons and growing from it all. There are a lot of themes touched on here and some can feel heavy at times, but the story moves well towards a somewhat open and hopeful ending.

Overall, I enjoyed this novella. If you like a story with some gothic elements, a little bit of magical realism, difficult themes that are anything but fantasy, and resilient characters, you might like this one.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read an Excerpt

One time, I was feeling mighty fine and thought I’d try something different. I saw this ad in a magazine where a woman was in an obscenely large bathtub and covered up to the neck in bubbles. This was in a room with a marble floor, and there were candles everywhere, and she had her hair up all nice and a face mask on. Well, I got to thinking a nice long soak after a hard day’s work would be nice.

This was a few months after my run-in with Sherry, and I was trying hard to let myself enjoy things more. It occurred to me after seeing her that her fatal flaw was not believing that her future was right in front of her. Or maybe she was too afraid to take it with both hands. I began to wonder if we didn’t hold back and do half the work for La Llorona with all that we ran from life.

So I bought some bubble bath and made more beeswax candles and set about having myself a spa night. I mean, my bathroom was nowhere near as nice as the one in the picture. My tub was only long enough for me to sit upright and was right next to the toilet, but I made do.

It was lovely. I mean, divine! I could see why fancy women liked this. I put on the radio, and the music was soft and sweet, like the candlelight against the fading day. I was so relaxed, that I was about to fall asleep in that tub.

That was when I felt cold hands grip the soles of my feet and pull me under.

I should have seen it coming. Why willingly linger in a body of water? But I didn’t, and that was how I found myself drowning in bubbles and thrashing around in my tub. It’s also how I learned that evil woman could find me anywhere—and I mean anywhere—so I could never let my guard down.

Her grip was strong. Seemed like the harder I fought, the stronger she got. I was flailing about, my arms searching for anything and everything to hold on to, when I knocked one of those beeswax candles into the tub. To this day, I have no idea why that scared her, but it did. She recoiled something quick at the hiss of the flame when the wax hit water.

I didn’t waste a second—I hoisted myself out of the tub and collapsed on the bathroom floor, choking and sputtering and sopping wet. Took me forever to clean up the mess and cough up all those flower-scented bubbles. My feet were cold and sore for days, with claw marks where her bony fingers hooked into my skin.

Whoever said bubble baths were relaxing was a big fat liar.

Giveaway

Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a copy of the book (ebook for International winner/signed paperback for US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other blog tour stops for more reviews of the book and comment for more chances of winning! Find the tour schedule here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-tour-weep-woman-weep-by-maria.html

Book Blast: The Moscow Affair by Nancy Boyarski ($20 Giveaway)

Today we have mystery thriller The Moscow Affair by author Nancy Boyarski. This is book 6 of the Nicole Graves Mysteries series.

Read more about the book below and check out the intriguing excerpt! And, of course, enter the blog tour giveaway at the end of the post. Enjoy! :)

The Moscow Affair (A Nicole Graves Mystery)

MoscowAffair_BookCover_

“The Moscow Affair is a thoroughly entertaining and unforgettable thriller punctuated by smart dialog, richly crafted scenes, and a topical plot.” –Dave Edlund, USA Today bestselling author of Valiant Savage

In this fast-paced mystery, P.I. Nicole Graves agrees to an unusual, short-term assignment working for MI6 in Russia. It sounds straightforward, even pleasant: a two-week luxury riverboat cruise on the Volga, observing a group of fellow passengers and filing a daily report on their activities. It’s simple enough, except for one caveat: No matter what these people do, she’s to tell her handler at MI6—no one else, especially not the Russian police. When one of the riverboat passengers winds up dead, Nicole realizes this assignment was anything but straightforward.

Soon, Nicole is immersed in a high-stakes game of murder and espionage where trusting a stranger can be as deadly as a bullet.

“Nicole Graves is the best fictional sleuth to come down the pike since Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone.” –Laura Levine, bestselling author of the Jaine Austen Mysteries

The Nicole Graves Mysteries have been compared to the mysteries of Mary Higgins Clark and praised for contributing to the “women-driven mystery field with panache” (Foreword Reviews) as well as for their “hold-onto-the-bar roller coaster” plots (RT Book Reviews).

Add this book on Goodreads. Buy on Amazon or B&N.

About the Author

Nancy Boyarsky is the author of the Nicole Graves Mysteries. Her sixth installment of the series will be released September 2021.

Nancy has been a writer and editor for her entire working career. She coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband, Bill Boyarsky. She has written textbooks on the justice system and contributed to anthologies, including In the Running about women’s political campaigns and The Challenge of California. She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, West magazine, Forbes, McCalls,  Playgirl, Westways, and other publications. She was communications director for political affairs for ARCO.

In addition to writing mysteries, Nancy is producer and director of the “Inside Golden State Politics” podcast.

Nancy can be contacted through her website: nancyboyarsky.com. You can find the other books in the Nicole Graves series at https://www.torchflamebooks.com/nancy-boyarsky.

Read an Excerpt

When Nicole opened the door, Kolkov was even more abrupt than on his previous visit. No greeting, just, “Get dressed. I take you in for questioning.” He talked fast and fairly vibrated with impatience.

“Why can’t we do it here like before?” Nicole said.

“Get dressed!” He shouted, pointing to the bedroom. “I give five minutes.”

Kolkov was waiting at the door and seemed to be in a tremendous hurry. As she approached, he stepped toward her and firmly gripped her by the arm, as if he expected her to try to escape. She pulled back, pointing to the closet. “I have to get my jacket,” she said, pointing to the hall closet. He let go so she could pull out her zippered hoody and put it on. It was going to be cold out, and longed for her warm coat, but it was in the hamper, stained with Chet’s blood. Before she could finish zipping up the hoody, Kolkov took hold of her arm again and was pulling her out the door.

Other passengers stared as Kolkov led Nicole down to the main deck and across the ramp to the ship next to theirs. Surely they could tell she was being taken from the ship involuntarily; perhaps they recognized Kolkov from the day before. But no one stepped forward to ask what was happening. Nicole wondered what they were thinking.

The pair of them drew an even larger audience as they walked through the four vessels anchored between Queen of the Volga and the dock. Finally, they reached the street, where a boxy black sedan was standing at the curb with a uniformed policeman at the wheel. Kolkov put Nicole in back, not relaxing his hold on her until he was about to close the door. He climbed in the the front seat, and they took off.

Giveaway

Nancy Boyarsky will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other tour stops and leave a comment for more chances of winning! Check out the tour dates here:
https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2021/11/book-blast-moscow-affair-by-nancy.html

Blog Tour [Review]: The Final Decree by Shami Stovall ($25 Giveaway)

The Final Decree_TourBanner

Today we’re featuring The Final Decree by Shami Stovall, one of my favorite fantasy authors.

Read on to know more about the book, and read an excerpt below. Then enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift code!

The Final Decree coverThe Final Decree

The Kingdom of Luka is controlled by the decrees of God-King Eliezer. Break one and become a twisted monster or serve forever, loyal to the crown. From the author of Frith Chronicles and Star Marque Rising, comes a new fantasy epic.



When God-King Eliezer utters a decree, it’s the law of the land, no matter how subtle or outrageous. Those who break the decrees suffer the god-king’s curse—their bodies twist into nightmarish monsters of devastation and hunger, forever a blight upon humanity.



The magic knows when a decree is violated, the moment it happens.



There are no exceptions. No loopholes. No escape.



Artemisia, a mysterious girl on the run from God-King Eliezer’s Holy Guard, is cursed and doesn’t know why. Fortunately, she has yet to change into a fell beast, but that isn’t a comfort. She could transform at any moment, and the resulting monster would destroy everything she cares for.



Desperate and fearful, Artemisia finds herself captured by a group of monster hunters led by Rylion Nasos, a man of superhuman strength and skill. When Artemisia displays magic of her own—magic that threatens God-King Eliezer’s rule—an agreement is made to confront the crown, despite the horrors it could unleash.



Cursed be the man who disobeys the god-king’s direct command.

Add this book on Goodreads. Get this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Quick Review

I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Shami Stovall so far and this book is no exception. The Final Decree is an enjoyable fantasy with interesting characters, great world-building and exciting magic concepts.

I was intrigued from the get-go, especially by Artemis who is introduced to the reader shrouded in mystery. From the start I just wanted to know more about her story and where it would go.

I also really like the magic concepts, they’re unique and exciting — not really a surprise for me because I absolutely love the magic concepts in the author’s other books (The Frith Chronicles, Company of Monsters). There are so many fascinating things in this that I like — the idea of God-Kings and God-Queens, curses, the forsaken, old gods, people blessed with divine magic.

Overall, this book is worth the read. If you’re a fan of the author or of fantasy in general, you’ll probably like this one.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read an Excerpt

Once I reached a patch of iced-over shrubs, I eased myself into the detritus beneath them. I would die here. In nature. Away from everything I had grown to hate. It was how my father had died, after all. I supposed I deserved no better.

Before my wish was granted, the clink of metal returned. I closed my eyes, hoping to feign death, and I listened as the soldier easily followed my furrow through the dirt. He pushed the branches of the bushes aside and stepped close to my body. I couldn’t help but shudder.

He knelt again and turned me onto my back, his now bare hands warm and powerful. I opened my eyes, confused by the gentle way he lifted my head. My vision, blurred with hunger, took in a young man with a hard, neutral expression. Calm brown eyes, dark chestnut hair, red maple leaf scarf—or maybe I was looking at a tree, I couldn’t tell through the delirium—and I relaxed a bit, amused by my own skewed perceptions.

Knowing I would die had removed the stress of trying to live.

The soldier placed the lip of a canteen at my mouth and poured. I gulped down the water—warm water, not hot—and the heat coated my insides with comfort. It was only after a second gulp that I realized it was soup. The fragrant herbs and shreds of meat were like distant memories returning to me after having been long forgotten. I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life.

“Everything will be fine,” the soldier said.

Giveaway

Shami Stovall will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment on the other hosts’ blog posts; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.