Review: Coliseum Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #3) by Shami Stovall

Coliseum Arcanist

Today we have Coliseum Arcanist, the third book of the magical fantasy series the Frith Chronicles by Shami Stovall.

I’m a big fan of this series. Imagine my mild panic when I found just a few days ago that the fourth book is already out! That means the third book had been out a while and I missed it! Anyway, I went and grabbed the book so I could read it before I get to the fourth one.

Read on for more. :)

Coliseum-Arcanist-coverColiseum Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #3)

Adventure. Competition. A duel to the death.

While on a journey to the famous city of Thronehold, Volke Savan learns of the Sovereign Dragon Tournament. The massive celebration involves hundreds of arcanists competing for fame and glory, and Volke is determined to win.

Dark forces dwell in the city, however, and rumors of the legendary world serpent spread amongst the shadows. Whoever bonds with a god-like mystical creature will gain magic beyond compare, and the queen’s guards suspect cutthroats will use the chaos of the tournament to hide their plotting.

Unsure of who to trust, Volke investigates the terrible rumors while advancing in the ranks of the tournament. Unfortunately, the true villain may be closer than he realizes…

Continue the Frith Chronicles with the third book, Coliseum Arcanist!

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

Fantastic, exciting and action-packed. Awesome continuation to the series!

This series just keeps getting better and better.

In this book, Volke the Knightmare Arcanist (and our main man really) and the rest of the Frith Guild travel to the great city of Thronehold for some very important business. It turns out that a huge arcanist tournament is also happening while they’re there so some of the apprentices decide to join. The young ‘uns are eager to put their stuff to the test against fellow arcanists. But of course, the tournament is not the only thing happening. They’re in Thronehold for a reason after all and they can’t lose sight of their real mission as dark things are also on the move.

This is a fantastic third book.

Amazing pace, not a single boring page (for me, anyway), so many interesting and unpredictable things happening, but it’s never too much or too chaotic.

The characters are great as well. I mean, not perfect and not everyone’s playing big roles, but all the young Frith Guild arcanists are really growing into their own. Volke is still a pretty admirable and likeable main character and you just can’t help but be on his side.

We also meet new and intriguing folks and encounter some amazing magical creatures. The world building is incredible and the magic system is just really cool. I enjoyed reading about what different arcanists and their eldrin can do. Really fascinating stuff.

The last few pages are a wild ride and, yes, the book kinda ends a bit abruptly, but it’s such a fun read. If you like fantasy, magic stuff, magical creatures, adventure and all that, you might like this series.

Note: I purchased my own copy of this book. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read my review of Knightmare Arcanist (#1) here and of Dread Pirate Arcanist (#2) here.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight: The Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts + giveaway (US only)

TourBanner_EdgeOfAllWorlds

Hello, fellow homebodies! Times are weird and scary, but we’re doing what we can, right? So, let’s have fun on the interwebs a little. How about a book spotlight and a giveaway then? :)

Today we’re featuring The Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts. If you liked the story of John Carter of Mars, you might like this one because it’s set in the same universe. I haven’t read the John Carter series though I did buy a seven-novels-in-one set of the Barsoom series on Kindle because it was on sale. I like the movie though and I have seen it a few times.

Anyway, read on to know more about Carson of Venus, read an excerpt from the book and enter the paperback giveaway (US only). Enjoy! :)

EdgeofAllWorldsCoverAbout The Book

Carson of Venus is back in the first novel of groundbreaking Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe series!

When a mysterious enemy attacks his adopted nation of Korva, Earthman Carson Napier discovers his own arrival on Venus years ago may have unknowingly triggered the strike. The invaders’ trail of death and destruction leads Carson and his beloved princess Duare headlong into battle against a seemingly invincible, primordial race. But that is not Carson’s only challenge, for an uncanny phenomenon has entangled him with two strange individuals from beyond spacetime. Will Carson be able to solve the mysteries of his past and the enigmatic visitors before the entire planet descends into chaos?

Also includes the bonus novelette “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun” by Christopher Paul Carey, introducing Victory Harben, the ERB Universe’s newest heroine:

The very principle of physics behind the Gridley Wave has mysteriously failed, cutting off all communication between the hollow world of Pellucidar and the outer crust, and now inventor Jason Gridley must seek help from his brilliant young protégé, Victory Harben. Together they recover timeworn records from deep in the ruins of a dead Mahar city, hoping to use knowledge of Pellucidar’s former reptilian overlords to jumpstart the Gridley Wave. But when their experiment goes terribly wrong, Jason and Victory suddenly find themselves drawn into the inscrutable machinations of an ancient evil.

THE FIRST UNIVERSE OF ITS KIND

A century before the term “crossover” became a buzzword in popular culture, Edgar Rice Burroughs created the first expansive, fully cohesive literary universe. Coexisting in this vast cosmos was a pantheon of immortal heroes and heroines–Tarzan of the Apes, Jane Clayton, John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Carson Napier, and David Innes being only the best known among them. In Burroughs’ 80-plus novels, their epic adventures transported them to the strange and exotic worlds of Barsoom, Amtor, Pellucidar, Caspak, and Va-nah, as well as the lost civilizations of Earth and even realms beyond the farthest star. Now the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe expands in an all-new series of canonical novels written by today’s talented authors!

About the Author

MattBetts_Author pic

Matt Betts worked for years in radio as an on-air personality, anchor and reporter. His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His work includes the steampunk novel, Odd Men Out, urban fantasy crime novel Indelible Ink, and his recent cryptid/horror novel White Anvil: Sasquatch Onslaught. His current release Carson of Venus: The Edge of all Worlds continues a series begun by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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

Get the book: ERB | AMAZON

Read an Excerpt

Fire and ash blackened his armored bands, but he advanced without the appearance of concern. The black smoke rippled off him as he stepped from the fiery mess. Each step of his large feet seemed to hasten the floor cracks that still moved in our direction.

“Stop!” I shouted. “This is a grand fight we have going on here, but if you advance any farther, you’ll shatter this floor and hurl us both to our deaths.” He continued forward as if he hadn’t heard me, one heavy step after another. I looked to the broad strip of white rock that encircled the room, hoping it would be sturdier than the glasslike material that composed the floor.

At that moment, the whole building seemed to shake. There came a tremendous cracking sound, and the section of the flooring upon which I stood lurched down several feet with a sickening screech. I flung myself to one side and grabbed a thick section of the clear floor, holding on with one hand as I watched the great chunk of glass upon which I had just been standing twist and turn on the way to the ground far below.

Fingers bleeding, I clutched the sharp edges in order to keep myself from following the broken section down. The sounds of combat around me fell away until I heard nothing but my own breathing, ragged and desperate, fearing the slightest breeze would cause my fragile handhold to break free.

Copyright © Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. All rights reserved. All logos, characters, names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks or registered trademarks of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Used by permission.

Giveaway

Enter to win a physical copy of the paperback of Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds. Available for the continental US.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other tour stops: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2020/04/book-blast-edge-of-all-worlds-by-matt.html

Review: A Company of Monsters by Shami Stovall (plus a $25 Giveaway!)

TourBanner_A Company of Monsters

Woot! First post of the new year! And first book review, too!

Today, I’m excited to feature A Company of Monsters by author Shami Stovall. It’s the sequel to The Ethereal Squadron, which I read (and enjoyed!) last year.

Read more about the book below, check out my review, read an excerpt from the book and enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card!

Cover_A Company of MonstersA Company of Monsters  (Ethereal Squadron #2)

The year is 1917, and the Russian Empire is on verge of collapse.



Florence Cavell—codename Geist—takes her special forces team of sorcerers into allied territory in an effort to hunt down spies and keep the Russian royals alive. If the Russian Empire falls, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians will turn their full attention to France and Britain. That can’t be allowed to happen.


Unfortunately for Geist, the enemy has sent the Eyes of the Kaiser, specialists who hunt and destroy sorcerers. And they came prepared to eliminate not only the Russian royalty, but the Ethereal Squadron as well.


Praise for Ethereal Squadron:

“In tense, precise prose that skillfully conveys detailed descriptions, Stovall delivers this engrossing story of fantasy adventure with utmost precision. The Ethereal Squadron’s riveting fantasy world will fuel readers’ imaginations and leave them crave for the next book in the sequel.”
- The Prairies Book Review

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

Exciting and action-packed sequel, terrifying and great magic concepts, interesting characters

This book was just as awesome as the first and I really enjoyed reading it.

A Company of Monsters continues the story of Geist and her unit of sorcerer operatives. This time the team heads to Russia with a mission: to get some magic houses or families of sorcerers to safety before the enemy gets to them first and kills them for their powers.

This was a great continuation to the series. Definitely more action-packed than the first book. It focused more on only a few characters, but that was fine. It was still chock-full of interesting plots and twists.

I can’t say much about the historical context of the setting because I don’t know much about it, but the way the author took that part of history and used it here was really well done. The author set it up so well that you can really see how challenging it was for the team to go about their mission. And those challenges made for exciting bits in the story.

Geist as the main character has grown a lot since the first book. She still has doubts and sometimes questions herself, but she has become a good leader and her team really respect her as their commander. The book doesn’t dwell too much on each team member but you can see that they all have grown in some way and have their roles in the group.

My favorite character in this book though is one of the “villains,” who was also in book one. He’s such a complex character and you kind of feel for him even though he’s not exactly one of the good guys. I’m really curious about where Stovall’s taking his story.

As always, I loved all the magic stuff – the magic system, the plotlines, even the terrifying concepts. Very fascinating stuff.

I can’t wait to read more about Geist and her team and about where their story’s going.

If you like historical fiction and stories about magic, you might enjoy this book (and this series!).

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 my review of the first book, The Ethereal Squadron, here.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Read an Excerpt

Blick turned to Geist with a coy smile. “The grand duchess wants to see you alone? You’re a real charmer.”

She shook her head. “Now isn’t the time for games.”

“I bet the duchess asks you for a dance.”

“For both our sakes, I hope she doesn’t,” Geist quipped.

Battery turned to her, his brows knitted together. “Wait, you don’t know how to dance?”

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and stared. The collective silence bothered Geist more than the question. Of course she knew how to dance! It had been one of the many lessons taught to her by tutors from all around the world. That wasn’t the problem.

“I’m sure the grand duchess will want a man to dance with her,” Geist drawled. “I was taught the steps for a woman. You can see how this will go poorly.”

“Oh,” Battery muttered. “I hadn’t thought of that.” He tapped his chin for a moment before smiling. Then he stood and held out his hand. “Well, it should be a simple task to teach you the opposite steps. I can help.”

Tempted by his offer, Geist got to her feet, though her whole body felt cold and distant. She didn’t want to risk exposing herself for some recognition from the tsar. She just wanted to complete the operation and leave.

Battery kept his hand out, but Vergess pushed it aside. He stepped in front of Geist and held out his hands.

“I’ll do it,” he stated.

Of the two options, Geist preferred Vergess’s instruction. Then again, she didn’t want to learn how to dance in front of her squad. Stumbling around like a drunkard wasn’t high on her list of team bonding.

Geist hesitantly placed her hands on top of Vergess’s. He turned them around. “You hold the woman’s hands,” he said. “You control what’s going on.” Then he nudged her, as if urging her to start the dance.

The others got out of their seats, moved the furniture to the edge of the room, and then leaned against the wall. They watched with amused half-smiles—even Defiant, who squinted the entire time. It was enough to twist Geist’s stomach into knots.

Please, God. What have I done to deserve this?

She started with a few slow steps. Vergess urged Geist to go faster, even though they had no music to work with.

Which meant everything happened in painful silence.

While Geist enjoyed her close proximity to Vergess—especially since no one could complain—she couldn’t enjoy a second of the event. She stutter-stepped around, hesitated for a few seconds, and pulled Vergess along by the hands, knowing full well she looked like a childish amateur. I’m such a fool, she thought, unable to look Vergess in the eye for fear of ridicule and mockery. Why am I even doing this?

For the past few years, she had trained, killed, and fought in a bloody war, yet the thought of playing the man in a ballroom dance was the thing that crippled her confidence. She had no idea what she was supposed to do, and half the time she continued to slip back into the role of the woman, secretly hoping Vergess would just take over so she could be done with the “lesson.”

“Relax,” Vergess whispered.

So damn easy to say.

And it didn’t make things better that the others were muttering amongst themselves.

Then Blick snorted. “You’re terrible.”

Geist ripped her hands away from Vergess and turned away. “Yes. I agree. We should stop this.”

“What?” Blick said. “We don’t want to risk offending the tsar and his family, remember?”

Victory wheeled on his younger brother, a scowl that could wilt plants. Blick chortled, in no way intimidated.

“You should practice,” Vergess said. “Just try again.”

“Why don’t you try explaining what she’s doing wrong?” Dreamer interjected.

“She can learn by doing.”

“A proper teacher uses every tool to teach a student.”

“Yes, well, perhaps explaining the dance isn’t my forte,” Vergess barked. “Why don’t you tell her?”

Dreamer shook his head. “I don’t know how to dance. That wasn’t a skill taught to eunuchs.”

“Then perhaps you shouldn’t offer advice on matters you know nothing of.”

The odd argument got the others tense. Vergess and Dreamer stared for a long moment,
but after exhaling, both men turned away. Vergess returned his attention to Geist and held out his hand, ready to practice again.

“Why don’t I try?” Victory said.

He walked around his chair, one arm still in a sling, but he held himself like only a gentleman could. Then he offered his good hand and smiled.

With his aristocratic upbringing, Geist figured Victory would know best. She exhaled and took his hand. The look Vergess gave her when she passed—it was fleeting—was like he wanted to object, but couldn’t.

“You don’t need to worry about the grand duchess discovering your secret,” Victory said. “She won’t have her hands all over you. That’s improper.” He motioned to his hip. “You place your hand here. She will place a hand on your shoulder. And while you may come together in the dance, I doubt she will notice anything through the layers of formal clothing.”

“Th-thanks,” Geist muttered. The simple explanation did put her at ease.

Victory continued, “The key to leading a dance is to control everything from your torso—the core momentum coming from your center of gravity. The woman may be holding one of your hands, but she’ll feel the way you shift from your torso first.”

When Victory swayed side to side, Geist felt the movement. It dawned on her then, like someone pulling back the curtains to reveal the truth. Dancing did come from the torso. Why had she been trying to pull Vergess by the hands? It seemed so foolish now.

“You try,” Victory said.

Although she still felt ridiculous, Geist attempted to lead Victory around the room. To her surprise, he began humming. Although she had never considered his voice soothing or lyrical, the pleasant melody he provided for their faux dance reminded her of a quiet evening in London she once shared with her mother and younger brother, Dietrich. It made it easy to keep pace and focus on the footwork. Much easier than silence.

The others whispered among themselves, but Geist didn’t feel as ridiculous as before. At least I’m actually dancing.

Halfway around the room, Geist stared up at Victory, closer than she had ever been with him before. He had a slight scar over his right eye—one that altered the way his eyebrow grew and affected his eyelashes. He had gotten the scar when they fought the German U-boat. A decision Geist had made. During the fight, a piece of glass had dug its way into his face, and Cross didn’t get a chance to heal Victory until weeks later.

Then Geist glanced down at Victory’s arm resting in the sling.

That was my fault, too.

Victory paused his humming to say, “And if the lady makes a misstep, you apologize.”

“Really?” Geist asked as she returned her attention to him.

“Of course. As the gentleman, and the lead, you take responsibility for all mistakes. Always.”

Shaken by Victory’s words, and the scars on his body—all due to her mistakes—Geist continued to keep his gaze. It took her a moment, even while they danced, to whisper, “I’m sorry, Victory.”

She didn’t say anything else, but the look Victory offered in reply told her everything. He knew what she meant.

Instead of saying something cutting or hurtful, he gave her smile. “A gracious lady will always accept the apology. Everyone makes mistakes.”

Giveaway

Shami Stovall will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Enter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/10/review-tour-company-of-monsters-by.html.

Review: Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #2) by Shami Stovall (plus a Giveaway!)

TourBanner_Dread Pirate Arcanist

Whoa! Today we have Dread Pirate Arcanist by fantasy and sci-fi author Shami Stovall. It’s the sequel to Knightmare Arcanist, which I reviewed (and enjoyed!) a few months ago. I can’t believe it’s here and I feel so lucky to be part of this review tour.

Read more about the book, check out my review and enter the tour giveaway for a chance to win a gift card to your favorite bookstore!

Dread Pirate Arcanist_coverDread Pirate Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Continue the Frith Chronicles with the second book, Dread Pirate Arcanist!

While protecting the newborn griffins on the Isle of Landin, Volke Savan and his adopted sister, Illia, run afoul of the Dread Pirate Calisto, the same cutthroat who carved out Illia’s right eye. As a master manticore arcanist, Calisto’s strength and brutality are unrivaled, so when Illia suggests they bring him to justice, Volke wonders if they’ll have what it takes to fight the corsairs on the high seas.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Praise for the Frith Chronicles!

“Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series, and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review

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

Great storyline, fantastic world-building and character development; An exciting and action-packed sequel!

Dread Pirate Arcanist starts off months after the events of the first book. Volke, Illia and their fellow apprentice arcanists travel to the Isle of Landin. The Frith Guild have been tasked to provide protection during the island’s griffin bonding ceremony. What is supposedly an easy assignment, however, becomes something more when they run into serious trouble involving pirates! And not just any pirate, but the Dread Pirate Calisto who happens to be the same pirate who made Illia an orphan and cut out her eye when she was a young child. Naturally, Illia feels strongly about this guy and wants him to pay for what he did. Unfortunately, Calisto also happens to be an extremely powerful and strong master arcanist, and bringing him down will take so much more than all their powers and skills combined.

Wow, this was fun! I finished this book in a day. Like the first book, this is such an easy read. The writing is smooth and very descriptive, and the setting and situations are imaginative. The story is so creative and fantastic, and flows at a great pace. It’s never boring, each page is as interesting and exciting as the next.

In this book, we find out more about the wonderful magical world that our characters exist in and we find out more about the magic system. We are introduced to the concept of magical trinkets and we meet new magical creatures, both beautiful and terrible ones. It’s all very fascinating and fantastic really (I love it!). Also, most of the action occurs in the high seas (because pirates, duh!) so that itself is pretty fun and exciting.

We also learn more about our characters. We find out a little bit more about their past and where they come from, so we understand their motivations even more.

Volke is still as great as a protagonist can be – flawed and vulnerable, full of self-doubt, but with an unrivaled sense of honor and inner strength.

Illia shows some fire in this one, as well as some incredible recklessness, which annoyed the hell out of me, but she also learns and grows from the experience.

We also find out more about Master Zelfree and how he works and it shows us why he is a real master arcanist. He’s actually one of the most interesting characters in the group and he’s right up there with Volke as my favorites in the series, maybe even topping that list.

The rest of the characters – Zax, Atty, Hexa, Adelgis and their eldrins (the mystical creatures they’re bonded with) – are also developed more in this book and it’ll be interesting to find out even more about them in succeeding installments of this series (please let there be more! Lol!). They, including Master Zelfree, of course, have all really come together nicely as a team.

Like I said above, this book is an exciting and action-packed sequel with a great story and amazing characters. Needless to say, I really enjoyed reading it. If you like reading about fantasy, adventure, great and fearsome villains, mystical creatures, pirates (magical pirates!), friendship, family, honor and magic, then you’re going to love 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 my review of The Knightmare Arcanist (book one) here.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

Today the griffins of West Landin would choose who to bond with. The city officials gathered before the dawn, prepping for the evening celebrations. I watched from afar on a rocky cliff that overlooked half the isle, the pre-morning winds disheveling my inky black hair. I had never visited the Isle of Landin before now, but I had heard amazing tales of their fearsome griffins since I was old enough to remember stories.

My pulse quickened with anticipation. For fifteen years, I had imaged bonding with a mystical creature and becoming an arcanist. Eight months ago it had become a reality, but it hadn’t yet sunk into my heart and gut. Giddiness twisted my insides with each new breath.

While the citizens of West Landin would have to prove themselves to the griffins in a Trial of Worth, I had already been tested and found worthy.

I turned to the shadows next to me, well aware that my mystical creature—my eldrin—lurked in the darkness.

“Luthair,” I said. “Do you know much about griffins?”

“They are stubborn beasts,” he replied from the void of my shadow, his voice more sinister than his true demeanor. “And griffin arcanists are strong, courageous, and skilled at combat.”

“Amazing.”

As a knightmare, Luthair lived within the darkness, merging with it like salt in water. He didn’t need to materialize to speak, and he could slink along next to me without anyone knowing. While some would consider that creepy or unsettling, I enjoyed his presence and trusted him in all things.

I returned my attention to the sprawling city. Unlike the Isle of Ruma, where I grew up, West Landin housed thousands of people, had a massive port, and had constructed a seaside fortress to deter pirates. Their cobblestone roads, twice as wide as home, snaked beyond the city limits to a valley filled with sheep, goats, and horses.

When the sun rose, the oranges and reds of dawn cascaded over the island, washing it in a familiar glow. The Isle of Ruma had wonderful dawns, just like this one. The nostalgia overwhelmed me for a moment, so powerful it almost hurt.

I missed my adoptive father, Gravekeeper William.

Giveaway

The author will be giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card! Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other tour stops for more chances of winning: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/10/review-tour-dread-pirate-arcanist-by.html

Review: Hanami (#1) and Hazakura (#2) by V.C. Buckley (plus a $10 Giveaway!)

Hanami by VC Buckley Review Tour

Today we’re featuring Hanami and Hazakura (the sequel!) by author V.C. Buckley! This is a series in a genre that I don’t usually review, but lately I’ve been trying to be more open to contemporary fiction (you know, young adult, new adult, etc.) so I jumped at the chance to join this blog tour. I’m also pretty psyched because the author is from Manila! Gotta support my fellow Filipina, you know. :)

Read more about the books below and check out my review. Then enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N. Yay!

Hanami by VC BuckleyHanami by V.C. Buckley

“I am no princess… I am Yakuza,”

SAKURA SHINTANI is the heir to the Dragon Clan—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the annoying brats of Oniyuri Academy?

She must try to master her demons while trying not to hurt anyone. But having the face of an angel puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.

Add this book on Goodreads. Get this book on Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Kobo.

An easy read, interesting characters, fun and exciting story

Holy cow, I finished this book in less than a day! The prose is descriptive and flows easily, the characters intriguing and the story exciting, so this book was such an easy read.

I like the main character, Sakura. She’s definitely a strong heroine, but also imperfect and has a vulnerability that is reasonable and even relatable. Her love interest, Jin, is also interesting in his own way, but it’s Sakura who really captures your attention. I like how their love story evolves throughout the book.

The plot twists are great. I just think that the reveals or resolutions to some of the crucial points in the story are too easy or simplified. Like some are a little bit glossed over, then sort of explained later on. Maybe I just wanted more intrigue and action. They are some pretty interesting twists though and I truly enjoyed them.

Lastly, I love all the Asian elements in this – the setting, the culture and traditions, the sport (kendo), the food. Made me hungry, tbh. Haha.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this one and couldn’t wait to get to the next book (review below!).

Hazakura VC BuckleyHazakura (Hanami #2) by V.C. Buckley

Can love last for a mafia princess?

find out in this riveting sequel to HANAMI…

KENJIN KIYOHARA, the son of Asia’s most powerful tycoon has finally won the heart of SAKURA SHINTANI, the heir to Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But their new love is threatened as Sakura’s trigger-happy oppositions see Kenjin as her ultimate weakness, making her rethink the decision to be with him. But Kenjin is determined to stay by her side, even if it might cost him his life.

Add on Goodreads. Get this book on Amazon.

Another easy read, with interesting plot twists, still a fun and exciting story

This was as easy to read as the first book. The writing is also descriptive and flows easily. The characters are even more (or have grown more) interesting than in the first book. However, though the story is still as exciting as the first one, for some reason, it felt slower. I’m not sure why, maybe it was just my mood while reading it.

Anyway, Sakura is still a badass. And Jin is well, still Jin. He’s a little unreasonably (in my opinion) jealous in this one though so I didn’t like him as much, but he redeems himself so it’s fine.

The plot twists are also great, but, like in the first book, I think the reveals and resolutions are way too easy and convenient. There’s a tad bit more action though, so that was fun.

Overall, I still enjoyed reading this one and I’m still interested to read more about Sakura’s story.

Note: I received review copies of these books as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

About the Author

VC Buckley authorV.C. Buckley was born in an isolated government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she was discovered by an agent and jetted off all over the world. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

Connect with the author: WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreadsBookbub

Watch the Book Trailer

Read an Excerpt from Hanami

Jin rolled his eyes, settling his gaze back on the girl. He wasn’t surprised with their reaction.

The new girl was hot, but so what? It took more than a pretty face to get his attention. He wasn’t that easy to impress, and he was certain she’d be throwing herself at him anyway. Just like everybody else. He was sure this girl wasn’t any different from the love-crazed hyenas that stalked him.

Jin pushed back his shoulders, seeing her start towards him with her eyes still trailing on the ground.

Already? Jin thought, suppressing a laugh. He crossed his arms, waiting for her to get closer, and sure enough she stopped right in front of him. She was even prettier up close. Asian but with a hint of Caucasian mixed in.

“What?” he asked, smirking. He already knew what she might say: whether he was Kenjin Kiyohara, the sole heir to Kiyohara Industries? The questions were all the same. He thought she would have at least waited until class was over like the rest of them.

“Move your feet. You’re blocking my way,” the girl said in a sharp tone. She shifted her gaze up at him like a threatening knife. Her topaz-colored eyes darkened, sending icy tremors down his back. He felt as if he’d been hit by a curse as his mind turned blank.

When she finally looked away, Jin was able to regain his senses. He tucked his legs out of her way, and she passed, leaving goosebumps in her wake. His eyes followed her, waiting to see if she’d look back, but she never did. Jin’s hands were trembling. His thoughts became jumbled while he struggled not to look anymore.

What was that? What just happened? This was a first for him. He couldn’t contain himself. His presence had no impact whatsoever. Instead she looked like she wanted to kill him!

Jin took a deep breath, replaying the moment in his head. Who was this girl? She sure got his attention, all right—and it left him in pieces. He fought the urge to look back again.

This girl…Jin thought. There was something about her. He couldn’t shake off the feeling. She seemed dangerous.

Giveaway

V.C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the tour and comment on the tour stops for more chances of winning: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/08/review-tour-hanami-by-vc-buckley.html

Spotlight: Weathernose by Maram Taibah

Weathernose_banner

I don’t do a lot of bookish spotlights these days unless it’s for a blog tour, but today we’re featuring a fun adventure fantasy novella, Weathernose by author Maram Taibah.

Read more about the book below and check out where you can get your own copy of this fun and light-hearted story!

weathernose_coverWeathernose, Maram Taibah

Kids are just too damn smart these days.

In the Cerulean Universe, the world is only just awakening to scientific discovery and invention. There’s no room for an old-fashioned weatherman like Tart Morning. And now, thanks to a ground-breaking invention called “the weathernose” – a machine that calculates weather predictions, Tart’s career is on the line. His only choice is to destroy the weathernose, but the machine’s smug little inventress, Cypress Korkul, is far too clever for him.

In his scrambling efforts to keep up with the times, Tart finds himself willing to go to ever more dastardly lengths. How far is he willing to go to get his job and his old life back? What will he find out about Cypress – and himself – along the way?

Add this book Goodreads. Get it on Amazon.

Early reviews

“What a cute, witty and fun novella! I finished it in one sitting!”

“It was laugh out loud humor, lighthearted, and very colorful. It reminded me of my childhood and how seriously clueless adults are and that we are all human and that kindness matters.”

“Easy read, all of a sudden you stop reading the lines, and you become part of the story. Perhaps a bird flying over and seeing all that is written. A beautiful and light-hearted read for adults as well as children.”

About the Author

Maram Taibah is a fantasy writer, born in Montreal, Canada. She was raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which, at times, was the most unimaginative place. This pushed her to escape into books at a very early age and from there into the craft of storytelling.

Maram is not only a fiction writer but also a screenwriter and filmmaker. In 2014 she made her first short film Munkeer and in 2016, Don’t Go Too Far, both of which were screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner.

Maram currently lives in Kingston, Ontario. She loves coffee, long walks, and karaoke nights.

Connect with her on her Website, on Facebook and Instagram.

You can get your copy of Weathernose on Amazon.

Cover Reveal: Thorn by Intisar Khanani (plus a $25 Giveaway!)

Thorn_Cover_reveal

Today we’re celebrating the new cover of Thorn, a fairy tale retelling by one of my favorite fantasy authors, Intisar Khanani! Yayyy.

Intisar Khanani self-published Thorn back in 2012 and I even had the chance to review it. I loved it and I have been a fan of Intisar’s work since then. The novel is being re-released under HarperTeen and I’m excited for everyone else to discover this book.

Check out the new cover below! Then read an excerpt and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Thorn-inspired prize pack and a $25 gift card (for one US winner) or a $25 gift card (for one non-US winner). Enjoy!

About the Book

Thorn_Intisar KhananiTitle: Thorn
Series: A standalone in the “Dauntless Path” world
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Price: US $18.99 (Hardcover), US $9.99 (e-book)

Synopsis:

A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

Advance Praise for Thorn

“Thorn is a lovely atmospheric fairytale fantasy about a girl and her found family. I loved it!” – Gail Carriger, New York Times-bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series

“Intisar Khanani is in my top five favorite authors writing today. A stunningly talented storyteller whose lyrical writing just blows my socks off every time I read her.” – Grace Draven, USA Today bestselling author Eidolon

Book Links

Universal Book Link (All Stores): http://books2read.com/thorn

The following links will direct readers directly to their “local” store for their territory:

About the Author

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: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

“Princess Alyrra,” the king says. I rise and lift my eyes to his. He studies me as if I were a prize goat, his gaze sliding over me before returning to my face, as cold and calculating as a butcher.

“We have heard tell of you before.”

“My lord?” My voice is steady and calm, as I’ve learned to make it when I’m only half frightened. For all my prayers, there’s no sign of softer traits in the man before me.

“It is said you are honest. An unusual trait, it would seem.”

Dread curls tight in my belly. I force some semblance of a smile to my lips. There is no other answer I can give that my family will not despise me for. My brother has gone rigid, his hands pressed flat against his thighs.

“You are most kind,” my mother says, stepping forward.

The king watches me a moment longer, leaving my mother waiting. Just when I thought I might finally escape my history, how my family sees me, I find I am mistaken. There is no better future to hope for now. The king has come for me, knowing full well I am nothing to my family.

Giveaway

In celebration of the cover reveal, the author will be giving away a THORN-inspired prize pack including a great snowy owl enamel pin, a gorgeous “quill” style calligraphy pen set, a hand-painted watercolor feather on a page from Thorn, and a “fairy dust” candle. The prize pack plus a $25 Gift Card will be awarded to one US winner. She is also offering a $25 Gift Card to one non-US winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall (and a $25 Giveaway!)

TourBanner Knightmare Arcanist

Ohai! I’m here again with my review of Knightmare Arcanist by author Shami Stovall. It’s my second book by the author and this one’s a young adult fantasy. Not gonna lie, even though this is YA (I’m not usually a fan), I jumped at the chance to join this blog tour because I really enjoyed the last book of hers that I read (see my review).

The story of Knightmare Arcanist centers on a young outcast fighting for his dream of becoming more than what the world thinks he is. It doesn’t sound too different from most YA fantasies, right? But, hey, this was pretty fun and I enjoyed it!

Read more about the book below, check out my review, and check out the interesting excerpt. And of course, enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win goodies. Yayyy..

Cover_Knightmare ArcanistAbout the Book

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

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

Good story, interesting characters, cool magic concept, promising start to a series

This book was fun and I enjoyed it.

Volke, apprentice to the gravekeeper, belongs to the lowest of the lows in his island and is doomed to remain so for the rest of his life. He longs to rise above that and become an arcanist, a wielder of magic like his idol, master Gregory Ruma, but to become one he has to bond with a mythical creature. He ends up bonding with a knightmare, a rare creature of shadows. But there is something wicked happening to magic everywhere and the knightmare’s suspicions point to the great Ruma. To protect all that he holds dear and to protect magic itself, Volke has to not only master his new powers, but also find out the truth about Gregory Ruma before it’s too late.

I was in a pretty okay mood when I started this book and I finished it in a day. The book is an easy read, well-paced. I didn’t get bored at all. There’s a lot of action and good scenes with different characters. The plot is also interesting and well drawn out. It’s a great start to a series that still felt like a complete story.

The characters are interesting and well developed. Each character is distinct and complex in his or her own way. Even the non-human characters. I like their interactions because you can see how different and “real” they are. I actually like all of the teens in this book and that’s a good thing for me because I have a tendency to get annoyed with young characters.

I also like the magic concept. It’s unique and refreshing. I like the idea that magical creatures can choose the person they can grow in magic with. And that they develop a trust and dependence as both the creature and their chosen person grow stronger, more powerful – or even the opposite – together. It’s pretty cool.

The book is basically about young folks coming into their own and into their magic and doing great things. I would love to read the next in the series.

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.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

I outlined a fresh grave for the cemetery as bells rang from the isle’s tower, signifying the start of the celebrations. The soil reeked of ammonia and rot, but the crisp morning breeze washed the scent away, dispersing it over the ocean. I removed my shirt, allowing the wind to cool me while I worked.

Every ten years, the people on the Isle of Ruma gathered to watch the fledgling phoenixes bond with a few chosen mortals. Lamplighters did their duty despite the glorious sunshine, each lamp’s fire representing the flames of phoenixes. Merchants cleared their horses and carts from the main road in anticipation of the crowds.

This was my second Day of Phoenixes. A decade ago, on my fifth birthday, I missed the bonding ceremony to attend my father’s trial. He was convicted of murder, but because he hadn’t been born on the island, he was taken to the mainland for final judgement. That was the last time I saw him.

Although the last Day of Phoenixes had been inauspicious, I intended to change that. Once I had finished digging a shallow grave, I would make my way into town.

I slammed the shovel’s head into the dirt and scooped deep. The cemetery sat near the edge of the island, far from those gathering to observe the hopeful students trying to win the favor of the phoenixes.

Tradition stated that anyone who handled sewage, waste, and dead bodies wasn’t allowed to attend the bonding ceremony, which was just my luck. After my father was sent away, I could’ve been given to any profession for apprenticeship. I could’ve gone to the carpenter and learned the craft of woodworking, or I could’ve gone to the silversmith and learned the art of fine metal work, but misfortune hounded me like a shadow. I was given to the gravekeeper, slated to dig corpse-holes until the end of time, forever exiled from the festivities.

I still intended to go. Even if it meant ignoring the traditions of the isle—something unheard of on our tiny spit of land—no one could stop me from proving myself to a phoenix. No one.

Giveaway

The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Enter away using the Rafflecopter below!

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.

Spotlight: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall (plus a $25 Giveaway)

Hullo! Today we’re having a book blast for Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall. It’s out now and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Yay!

I joined this book blast because I read one of the author’s books, The Ethereal Squadron, not long ago and I really enjoyed it. I’m also posting a review of Knightmare Arcanist next week, so watch out for that.

In the meantime, read more about the book, check out a cool excerpt and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 GC!

Cover_Knightmare ArcanistAbout the Book

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

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

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

A flash of rain pelted the entire city, but only for a few seconds, as though the heavens coughed and forgot to cover their mouth. The man secured his pack shut, protecting his vegetables.

“Oh, this again,” he said.

“Does this happen often?”

“Storms happen frequently enough,” he replied. “This ain’t no storm, though. It’s those flashy arcanists. They like makin’ a show. Just you wait. You’ll see somethin’ good yet.”

Making a show?

I headed toward the docks. Despite the creeping chill, I moved with energy and purpose. Crowds of people clogged the roadways, making travel by foot damn near impossible, even for an arcanist. Frustrated, I jumped onto the wheels of a nearby carriage and used the extra height to pull myself onto the roof of a building. The A-frame roof made for a steep trek, but the tiles were easy to grip, even when wet.

Once on top, I turned my attention to the nearest pier.

A tremendous flash of lightning lit the sky. Thunder chased after, strong enough to rattle the windows and pierce straight to my bone. Luthair shifted through the shadows as another round lit the sky. I knew some arcanists could control the weather, but I had never seen a demonstration so showy before.

A flurry of snow soon followed, but like the rain, it lasted only a few seconds. People lifted their hands in the air, trying to catch the snowflakes as they approached the earth. Most evaporated before anyone could hold them, but I managed to catch a few on my tongue.

The ocean waters beyond the docks swirled into whirlpools. Two cyclones of saltwater rose upward, forming pillars of ocean as thick as forty oak trees, each stretching straight to the sky.

Rapt by the show of magic, I almost didn’t notice the massive leviathan snaking through the ocean. Its shiny scales glistened with each new flash of lightning. The serpent-like body must’ve been as long as ten galley ships and as thick as a three-mast sailing ship. Although the mystical creature never lifted his head out of the water, I already knew who he was.

Decimus—Gregory Ruma’s legendary leviathan.

Giveaway

The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other book blast stops and comment on the blogs for more chances of winning. The tour stops can be found here.