Tiger Queen – Blog Tour

 

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Synopsis:
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”
In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

Book Information:
By: Annie Sullivan
Publisher: BLINK
Release date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Book Links

GoodReads | Amazon US | Barnes&Noble | Book Depository

 

My Review

Reading the synopsis, I was like ‘all the yes’ a princess who battles her suitors in the arena? I mean it sounds pretty cool on that alone, but this book turned out to be so much more than just battling against suitors.

First of all battling the suitors showed that she was strong enough to lead on her own, to pick her own suitor, if she could beat them all for one year until her birthday is super cool.

Secondly, it wasn’t just about the fights.

This is a desert kingdom that has been through a drought and has strict water restrictions in place. What doesn’t help is the fact that so called Desert Boys are stealing the water from the citizens.

Kateri is determined to stop them, she promised her mother that she would take care of their people, but finding the leader of the Desert Boys is harder than anyone anticipated. In order to prove herself, she’s going to need help in battling her last opponent, but in order to defeat him, she may have to ally against another enemy.

Again, loved the premise of this! This is a awesome twist to ‘The Lady or the Tiger’ in my opinion.

Not only that but as tough as Kateri thinks she is, she has so much to learn and she is humble about it and I love that about her. I also love her misplaced love of her kingdom and people.

There’s a nice rich world built by Sullivan and the creatures in this desert kingdom were so much fun to read about. I would have to say as far as characters go, though I loved Kateri, I think I had the biggest soft spot for some of the Desert Boys.

The ending was supremely satisfying for me and though I wish I would have seen more of the king, to know more about his ambitions and workings, I was happy enough with the way this was. A nice full story, no loose ends and did I mention a warrior princess who is a sheltered cinnamon roll outside the arena?

Anyway, this is definitely four cups of coffee from me and I CANNOT wait to get my hands on my hardcopy preorder.

[Speaking of, if you look on my bookstagram later, you’ll see my awesome preorder swag from Sullivan]

Thank you to the publishers  and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for a chance to read and honestly review this, and not to mention joining in on the tour!

 

Favorite Quotes

_We only survive one day at a time. That's all we can do. That and celebrate our small victories._.png

_I'd always thought of them more as shackles than symbols of love._ (4).png

_I'd always thought of them more as shackles than symbols of love._ (1).png

_I'd always thought of them more as shackles than symbols of love._ (5).png

_I'd always thought of them more as shackles than symbols of love._ (3).png

_I would deal with him personally. I would be the desert's Justice Mighter than Any Tiger_ (1).png

[Reminder: These quotes were taken from my eARC copy and so may not be the same in the final copy!]

 

About the Author

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Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway

Prize: Tiger Queen poster and signed bookplate (USA only)
Starts: 9/4/19 | Ends:  9/13/19
Click Here for Giveaway Link

 

The Rest of the Tour

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[Click on picture to be taken to the tour’s schedule]

 

War of Mist – Blog Tour

War of Mist (2019)

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Synopsis:
War is here.
Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm.
Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all. 
But the search is a treacherous one, one that will push her to the very limits of endurance. 
Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love. But will it be enough?
As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents; families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand.
Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.

BOOK INFORMATION
Title: War of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Publisher: Talem Press
Publication date: 15 July 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

GoodReads Link

 

Excerpt

‘If you want something done right, do it yourself,’ she muttered under her breath. Her fingers toyed with the layered necklace resting against her collarbone, a pretty gift from the infatuated king. She was fond of this piece in particular, adorned with rare jewels from lands long forgotten. It reminded her of something her mother had worn so many years before. A piece she was meant to inherit, before they’d taken her and stripped her of all her rights and belongings. The order of the high priestesses allowed no effects, no personal property, but now … now she had many things to call her own.

Below, the castle maze sprawled across the grounds, and beyond the walls and gatehouse, the whole of Ellest bent to her will. It was all hers. She had taken it easily, as was her destiny. The instinct of the magic in her veins drove her to take and take, but it wasn’t enough. She wanted to add to her kingdom, her collection. The need to do so raged within her, a demand, a drive to fill the gaping hole in her chest.

 

My Review

 

Do you remember the first time you finished a series that just swept you off your feet? For me, there were a couple that comes to mind but not recently. Suddenly though I finished this book and I realized that this was now a favorite trilogy of mine. From the first book, it had me captured. In fact, I hadn’t read any of these until the tour sign up, I read all three in less than a workweek, I could hardly put down the first two and I did put down War of Mist until I’d read it through in one very long sitting. I devoured all three books and could hardly believe that someone could write so descriptively without bogging down the world with words.

Helen has presented a lush world full of varied landscapes, cultures, and a variety of people. There is great diversity in her writing from the characters to the lands and it shows in every sentence.

In fact, to give you an idea to my reaction to this book, I was looking through my notes and the first thing I had written was; ‘Ugh, what is this book doing to me?!’ If that isn’t a sign of greatness, I don’t know what is. There’s also a note that just says ‘*internal sobbing* Beautiful, perfect…’

Not to sound too much like a screeching fangirl but this book was a perfect conclusion to such an emotionally charged trilogy.

Bleak has grown so much from the alcoholic ‘hobo’ in book one to how she ended up. [I would say more, but spoilers!] She showed so much growth in her emotional maturity to her abilities both physically and magically. In fact, I would say I wish I had more of her but considering the balance of characters in War of Mist there was no better way to do it than how Helen did. There’s multiple POVs and I loved them all.

During the whole of all three books, the characters are all amazing and all so well developed by the end, you loved and hated something about each character. Except for Dash, Olena, and Fiore, mostly because they were perfect in each and every single way. Sorry, it’s the truth.

Even the heartbreaking moments in the book were perfect and well called for and I don’t think there’s any other way to end it than how she did. A perfect ending, there were flaws, it had hope and love, and so much more.

Another thing that really struck me is that Helen handles romance perfectly, she doesn’t let it override important plot points that have nothing to do with it, and she creates a perfect balance of it.

Honestly, this review is me trying not to repeat myself on how much I freakin’ loved this book/trilogy and to hold in my pterodactyl screeches.

Bleak was probably my favorite character in the end but there was such a huge variety. A blind princess, a queen who prefers her dogs to people for company [I mean, I feel that way too], a Matriarch torn between love of all sorts and her duty, a long lost sister, and characters both worthy and unworthy of redemption, but all earning an ending befitting them.

The pacing was fantastic, and the imagery the author called forth made it feel like one was watching a movie play out as you took in the words that transported you.

The other two books and this one both received 5 Cups of Coffee from me, this was insanely good from start to finish for me.

**Thank you to Shealea/Caffeine Tours and Helen Scheurer for an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. As part of the tour I have also provided an excerpt -above-, photos, and a creative feature post below.**

 

Photos

[Expect a fancy Bookstagram Post later today]

 

Creative Feature Post: What Ability Would I have? [And Why]

We have seers, mind whisperers, travellers, collectors, and these are just a few of the abilities for those in The Oremere Chronicles.

I have to say, I totally see why Bleak drank to push down her powers, and quite frankly I’d do the same in her case, so I’ll pass on hers.

Being a seer seems too frustrating, so I’ll pass on that too. Sorry to Dash, Swinton, and Eydis.

Henri’s ability is completely amazing, but not quite what I’m looking for. I’d end up just throwing stuff all over the place…I mean not a bad thing for me but maybe for others!

You couldn’t pay me to take on Casimir’s powers haha, and Ines, well, very cool but not for me.

So what does that leave me from our cast of characters…?

I want the Tailor’s powers, I want to be a traveller. I can’t tell you how much fun I would have popping around different places and visiting friends and landmarks without a care in the world!

However, if I could pick any ability and thrust myself into Helen’s world, I would probably take on the power of making things grow.

Hear me out.

Someone comes at you with a stabby thing, you freeze them on the spot by growing ivy to root them in place -like my pun?- or have it wrap around the sword. Effect AND aesthetic. And it would work on most of the continents which is a plus, can’t say I’d be able to thrive much in Eydis’s court!

Brilliant.

I know.

But what about you all? What ability would you want from the book or in general?

 

About the Author

Author (Helen Scheuerer)

Bio:
After writing literary fiction for a number of years, Helen Scheuerer was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy thanks to novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner, and The Queen of the Tearling.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online learning platform for emerging writers. In its first year, Writer’s Edit reached thousands of new authors, and soon became its own small press, with Helen overseeing the production and publication of three creative writing anthologies. It’s now one of the largest writing websites in the world.
Helen now lives by the mountains of New Zealand and writes full time. She has many more books planned for the future.

Author Links

Website/Newsletter | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

Twitter Chat

Invite (War of Mist)

There’s going to be a Twitter Chat on July 20, 9AM EST/9PM PHT #WarOfMist #CBTTC

I’d love to see you all there because I’m most certainly going to be attending!

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Prize: Audiobook copies of War of Mist and Reign of Mist (one winner only, INTL)

Link to Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Rest of the Tour Schedule

Schedule (War of Mist)

Second Skin – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
The moon was being devoured.

Estranged from birth and raised on tales of the great mountain castle of Idrith-Core, where her distant father serves as Lord Commander and confidante of the King, Aledra Jewel-Wing was now going there to court.

As one of the Drakkoni, a race of powerful shape-shifters and conquerors of a wild land, she joins her stepmother at the festival for all peoples. But when in attempting to save a life, Aledra shifts into her Drakkoni Secondskin – her beautiful second soul: a giant flighted lizard with flaming breath – she breaks an ancient oath, and the tremulous peace between the Drakkoni and Esrans is shattered.

Branded a fugitive, hunted by her father, and aided in escape by the master-mancer who raised her, Aledra begins a journey for survival across a war-torn continent.

Book Information:
Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Endeavour Venture (18 July 2019)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Language: English
ASIN: B07SLLJMW4

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

I was really excited to read this. I mean, come on, dragons. Who doesn’t love dragons/fire breathing lizards/fire breathing anything [let’s be real]?

This is also the start of the Bridge of Fire books, so it’s great when you get to start off with a new series.

In this book, Bentley gives us a pretty awesome take on dragons. They’re shapeshifters, their flying fiery forms are called their ‘second skins’ and they have two hearts, essentially they are two souls, their two-legged human-looking forms and their dragon forms. These shapeshifters had to leave their homeland and make a new land home, crossing a land bridge that is now gone, they made it to the lands where human tribes have ruled. These tribes all have their own cultures and leaders and ways of life, but they’re quickly conquered with a peace treaty put in place.

No second-skins will be used not even in a ‘peaceful’ manner in this new land.

This all recalls the invasion of the Americas to me and I loved that she took something like that and gave it a huge fantasy spin, a new land, new world, new people, and all of it steeped in heavy world building.

You all know me, I love world building, this did cause the pacing for Aledra and her story to slump a bit in the middle but I would say that the ending more than made up for it.

That’s another thing, it took me a while to appreciate Aledra after sh leaves the comforts of her people, but, I really enjoyed her as she developed, especially in the last four chapters. I love the choices she makes and how Bentley steers her toward something that allows her room to grow.

Penda was absolutely one of my favorite characters and I can only hope that there’s more of her to come. I mean, I fangirl her, she’s amazing.

Aledra’s father is complex and so layered that it made me happy to get to the parts with him. I really think there’s so much more to him than Aledra sees and I love the complexity of their relationship.

There is love, there is war, there are dragons and tribes, and a girl who wants nothing more than to have the freedom to choose. So pretty much a guaranteed like in my books when I read it.

Jubal is Aledra’s companion during a good chunk of the novel and he was an interesting character but I would say he paled in comparison to Aledra, her Father, and Penda.

Overall a great solid start to an intriguing fantasy series, and you can bet I will be happy to read book two and see where Aledra goes next.

Three cups of coffee!!

Thanks to Anne Cater, Sue Bently, and Endeavour Venture for a chance to read and honestly review this as part of the Random Things Blog Tour!

 

About the Author

Sue Bentley Author Pic

Sue lives in a house surrounded by a wildlife hedge so she can pretend she lives in the countryside. She enjoys reading, walking, cinema, researching her books, and painting and printmaking, when she’s not writing – which isn’t very often!

Author Links

Website Twitter

 

The Rest of the Tour!

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Charity Shop Haul

So…

It’s been a minute with this. To be fair it’s because we go shopping so often for books in charity shops that it would be too repetitive on the blog, so, here we are, and I’ve just gathered up some of my favorite buys recently so that I can share them.

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Most of these were 50P! The Lord of the Rings was 5, but the retail is 35, sooo I didn’t do too shabby! That means my old school LotR movie book with all three is now donated, and I also had an older cover of Maze Runner but now that I have matching covers, well, that’s gone to donation as well! I’ve also been wanting the Magnus Bane Chronicles but I had one on the kindle and it was one they were sold separately so I like this much better, looks like that’s one ebook I don’t have to keep on the Kindle anymore. I know. I have a problem.

I’m also going through my books once again, it’s time to clear some out now that we’re moving. It’s about time too as I really should be conscious of what books I might never read. I don’t plan on doing a huge cull, just taking into account what I truly never plan on reading, haha, that way someone else has a chance to read it.

It’s time for me to dive back into the neverending TBR. [Sidenote: Why you approve things so last minute NetGalley people? Do you hate me??]

Tell me what deals/books you’ve bought lately!

Mini Review Day


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On April 5th, 1948, Gold met Kennig…

Inspired by the true story of a WWII marine and the love of his life, Christopher M. Struck has crafted a haunting tale of love, devotion, sacrifice…and betrayal.

Daniel Kennig only has one ambition: to be the greatest singer to have ever lived. While headlining at a mid-tier nightclub in Manhattan he meets Cynthia Gold. Smitten with the golden-haired heiress, the young couple begin a romantic rendezvous at the possible expense of his career.

My Review

**Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC copy, my honest review has been given in exchange below.**

This book was a sweet concept but it fell a little flat for me. I think it was actually Kennig who just didn’t seem fleshed out enough for my personal preference but Gold was very intriguing and I did love that Kennig was a male singer and model at one point, something a little different! The book is done in sweet flashbacks and moments in the present. The writing style is easy to read and I really enjoyed reading about their travels and the tour. A nice heartfelt read for those it can appeal to.

To me it just felt on the verge of going deeper but never daring to, and I think that’s what slightly disappointed me. Not to mention the part that seemed ‘flattest’ to me was Gold himself, and I was unsure how to take the advice he gave our Journalist friend who acts as the go between, between present time and the past through the letters he reads.

That is one thing I did enjoy, that it was the Journalist reading letters to reveal the past and Gold himself filling in the necessary blanks when needed.

This does have a bit of a religious undertone just as a warning for those who may not enjoy that, it wasn’t the theme of the book nor was it overriding the plot, just part of the story.

 


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“Vivid, gripping and actually riveting as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.” —The Book Smugglers

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Though the Tsar aims his dragons at his enemies—Jews and Bolsheviks—his entire country is catching fire. Conspiracies suffuse the royal court: bureaucrats jostle one another for power, the mad monk Rasputin schemes for the Tsar’s ear, and the desperate queen takes drastic measures to protect her family.

Revolution is in the air—and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

Discover Russia’s October Revolution, reimagined in flight by the acclaimed mother-and-son writing team of the Locus Award-winning novel, Pay the Piper, and the Seelie Wars series.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**

An interesting take on history and use of metaphors, I did believe though that there was more research needed on the historical and linguistic aspects of the novel. Overall I thought it was creative and intriguing, but of course as a novella there is only so much that can be revealed in such a short time frame. I would say that if you’re interested in Russian revolutionary history and don’t mind a large reach of creative license, then it is worth the quick read.

I do love that the other dragons were red, thought that was quite clever and got a chuckle out of me.

The novel is allegorical and I enjoyed that part, I would have loved to give this a higher rating but I couldn’t knowing that there was quite a bit wrong with the linguistics, and though it is fiction, the note at the back like another review mentioned, forgets to add that one of the daughters of Tsar is entirely fictional in this book and not at all a real person. Most of history reads of the nonfiction variety are Russian Revolution books so I’m a bit of a stickler for this.

The fact that the dragons show the same power just different colors is an important message the authors did deliver pretty well in my opinion. It wasn’t a bad read, just that I hoped for more. I think though that this had some really great ideas and I enjoyed Rasputin’s chapters the most.

 


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A young man struggling to forge his own path… A priestess forced to conceive an heir… A forbidden love…

Captured in a sweep of beings from Earth to aid planet Remeon’s dying society, Jack is plagued by deep ceded deception and mind control from those on the planet who seek to dictate the end of life choices of their citizens.

Sides are chosen as ancient magical powers thought to be long dead align to intervene in the fate of the two young lovers forcing a chain of events in motion that cannot be undone.

Truths will be destroyed. Myths will find life. Whose ultimate power will reign?

My Review

Thank you so much the publisher for letting me read this for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Garrett has some really interesting ideas, and I love that the time period for our hero was in the time of the building of the Hoover Dam. I felt her writing was strongest during the historical side, and though I loved the ideas she had, I think there maybe too many. A lot of times it felt like a whole jumble of ideas on spin cycle and you weren’t sure which one was supposed to be the main one or which was important at all. I think though that there’s a lot of promise in Garrett’s writing style and the story had some very tender moments which I appreciated. The style of the sci-fi writing was pretty ‘classic’ and it reminded me a little of ‘Dune’ in style and ideas but there wasn’t the same strength behind it. The ending was done well and it left it open ended enough that you hope she writes another but if she doesn’t, you’re still left hoping haha.

Unfortunately the love didn’t feel tangible to me between the two characters romantically and that was a struggle to read through. It was insta-love and it was badly done insta-love, I could not find it in me to believe they had a relationship at all and it went amazingly fast in terms of pacing. Maybe it’s because I’m a slow mover but I was slightly panicked for them! Also they were like 16 year olds deciding to have a child together while practicing magic and one is human and one is not. It’s just a lot to take in.

Slightly disappointed the alien’s only difference physically was that she had silver hair.

The friendship between Harry and Jack also feels very fabricated though the friendship between Jack and Sam is very genuine and the best part of the story, hands down.

The things i did like were Garrett’s time period choice, the basic premise, I mean it’s classic, alien abduction, I loved it, and the fact that she went with old school sci-fi. The problems with old school sci-fi though are pretty deep, and Garrett’s seemed to be slightly tinged with one its problems, sexism.

 


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Assassin’s Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this gripping, epic fantasy romance trilogy.
My heart wasn’t part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.
Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.
In a game of trust and half-lies, only one thing can be certain: traps capture more than beasts and ensnared hearts are impossible to untangle.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my HONEST opinion.**

This book was such an unexpected joy to read. Though labeled as sci-fi it did remind me more of steampunk fantasy, and you’ll hear no complaints out of me because that’s the aspect I loved best! Honestly, the beasts were so interesting and I love the way Martineau describes them, she’s got a talent for descriptive writing without overwhelming with details. Leena is a great character and the whole cast is except and somewhat diverse in LGBTQ rep which was really nice. It’s not often we get a bisexual male main character like Noc, another great character that is a delighted balance to Leena. The side characters are fleshed out well and I might have enjoyed them more than even Leena and Noc! And don’t get me started on the plot, it was great and I cannot wait to see what happens in book 2.

It is a slow burn romance and never loses sight of the plot and really it made it such a great read for me, the pacing was wonderful both in action and romance and the world is lush and creative. Martineau has impressed me and I wish I would have read this sooner! If you like romance of the slow burning variety and fantasy, join me  in loving this book lol. Please.

My only qualms was that it as slightly predictable but that’s also why I enjoyed it if that makes sense, there’s no major twists or surprises but the joy was in the journey and the beasts.

The beasts were also really nicely hashed out, I actually had a really strong urge to go play Pokemon Go after reading this. Going to different locations to capture beasts….I mean…can you blame me? I didn’t get as much an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ vibe though, and that’s okay, I was just happy enough there were assassins!

Also, the Charmers have the coolest place ever, I want to go visit…and battle like a trainer. Half Jk.

Again. Now to just wait for book 2. Bah, humbug.

 

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Forrest Gump meets Woody Allen in this endearing story about a sea turtle seeking to be reunited with the love of his life.

When Akela is separated from his migrant soulmate, Kalea, he will do anything to be reunited with her. Journey with this charming and neurotic sea turtle as he crosses paths with celebrities, politicians, and other moments in history with unbreakable determination to be reunited with his love.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

If you love introspective fiction and/or sea turtles, this will definitely be something you’ll want to pick up.

That’s it. That’s my review. (jk jk)

On amore serious not, this is a great novel and it’s all about Akela’s journey to find those he thinks are part of his purpose, in the beginning it’s his mother, later on it’s his mate, and along the way he meets a variety of people and animals who help/hinder him on his journey. He learns there is more to life than being afraid of the open water and that in order to get what you want, there will work and possibly sacrifice along the way. Most importantly though was Akela’s realization of who he was along this journey, what was important to him and what he discovered about himself at the end. I would say the ending really was lovely and the book did make my heart break a little at times but I also smiled and laughed as Uytdewilligen incorporates famous people with Akela who becomes a bit infamous to the humans, he spends time as being accused as part of grand Soviet schemes all the way to becoming the poster child for ocean pollution but I won’t give away more than that, you’ll have to read it to see how Akela ends up in these situations.

Seriously, Akela meets presidents, that’s right, plural. The book played out like a movie in my mind, Uytdewilligen did a great job being descriptive and keeping the pacing pretty decent. There were a couple of slumps but I felt that overall the drive of the story was never lost and sometimes I just wanted to shake Akela and say ‘get to it, your woman is out there!’ The cast of characters Akela encounters in the way of animals are all brilliant, and I enjoyed them so much more than the fascinating human encounters.

Overall I found this to be a very thoughtful read, it causes a lot of self reflection if you enjoy it and I certainly fell in love with Akela himself. The ending was beautiful and absolutely perfect for this book.

 


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The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalvers’ isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a notorious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

I’m dystopia trash with absolutely no regrets about it. Saying that, I really felt this was a four cups of coffee read. Tate does a great job to blend in fantasy with sci-fi/dystopia.

Their town is the only one left as their leader tells them. Everything else has died, they are the only ones lucky enough to take part in having protection from the leader and getting the water he provides. However he is one that likes to keep his distance anyone who wants to see him has to go through the Labyrinth. And it doesn’t enjoy visitors.

The Labyrinth rests on territory that is still infused with magic and not even the residents of Zadie’s town who all have amazing skills, except for Zadie and the others known as ‘Blanks,’ stand a chance. But more than that, in the labyrinth lives Dex, the monster that everyone knows of, he kidnaps people into the labyrinth and when they come back, they’re never the same.

So why does Zadie as a blank venture forth? Her best friend (and secret crush, as stated) is missing and she dares to brave the maze to get him back and help her family because something isn’t quite right, the Skilled aren’t acting normal and communication to their leader has been cut off.

Tate gives us a story where the one without the skills is rare, and weak. There’s no doubt that Zadie knows she’s no match for a person with skills, whether it’s just one skill or more. But this is kind of a nice approach, she’s not special in the sense that she’s overpowered, but in that she isn’t. So her strength will have to come from somewhere else and it will have to show up along the way or she’ll never survive the maze.

The maze itself was so incredibly fun to read about, a bit of Hunger Games meets Alice in Wonderland for how it works and the rest of the world is just as intriguing. All the information that Tate gives us is used well and I have to say I sincerely hope there’s another book for this, if not, the ending does satisfy enough, but holy cow the possibilities for what could happen next are endless!

I love Dex, you all can take him from my cold dead fingers.

 

There we have it, my mini reviews for the day!

 

 

Finer Things Review

**Thank you to Sandstone Press for sending me a copy of this book, below is my honest review in exchange for receiving the book.**

 

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GoodReads:

London: 1963.

The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia needs to atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to convince herself she really is an artist. Elsewhere in London, the Krays are on the rise and a gang war is in the offing. 

Tess’s relationship with her gay best friend grows unexpectedly complicated, and Delia falls for a man she’s been paid to betray.

Book Information:
Publication Date: 
27/06/2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 288
Category: Fiction
ISBN: 9781912240685

 

My Review

This was such a creative premise for a novel. I always love a good historical fiction but this grabbed me from the moment I glanced at the cover. But finding out it was basically a 1960s Female centered version with hints of ‘Ocean’s 11’? Oh I was all in. Disclaimer: This is way better than Ocean’s 11, and I refuse to talk about any movies from that after Ocean’s 12. They don’t exist in my world.

[Funnily enough my husband asked if the model on the cover was Joan from ‘Mad Men’ and considering that was focused on the 60s I would say they really nailed it with this cover.]

Wharton absolutely brings his A game to his debut novel, his writing is completely engaging and when I think of this book the first thing that comes to mind for me is ‘beautiful.’

The characters had so much intrigue to them, and the fact that he kept true to the time period of the 60s without taking away from the integrity of the characters just impressed me.

There was a whimsical air to Delia and I have to say she was my favorite, for being someone so utterly raw and from her roots she was like a changeling with a hint of the old ways in her superstitions.

Tess was complex and I think I would have wanted to see more of her but I was happy enough with how Wharton introduces her to us. She’s young, in London and trying to figure out who she is. Her story is also one that really resonates with the times. There was such a love of art and to see her blossom in her concepts of it was really great and her journey with Jimmy was one that I really appreciated at the end for all its difficulties and the heart aching truth of it all.

David Wharton gave a truly brilliant debut novel and I loved it, keep an eye out for this book and his future works. If you like a more ‘modern’ historical fiction or just a good fiction novel in general, I hope you’ll give this book a try.

 

About the Author

“David Wharton grew up in Northumberland and lives in Leicester, where he has worked in education for many years. He now divides his time between writing fiction and training English teachers. Finer Things is his first novel.”

 

The Disappeared Blog Tour

 

 

The Disappeared Cover
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Blurb:
Winner of a Northern Writers’ Award Longlisted in the Bath Novel Award
What if reading the wrong book could get you arrested?
In a decaying city controlled by the First General and his army, expressing the wrong opinion can have terrible consequences. Clara Winter knows this better than anyone. When she was a child, her father was taken by the Authorisation Bureau for the crime of teaching banned books to his students. She is still haunted by his disappearance.
Now Clara teaches at the same university, determined to rebel against the regime that cost her family so much – and her weapons are the banned books her father left behind. But she has started something dangerous, something that brings her to the attention of the Authorisation Bureau and its most feared interrogator, Major Jackson. The same man who arrested Clara’s father.
With her rights stripped away, in a country where democracy has been replaced with something more sinister, will she be the next one to disappear?

Book Information
Publishing Date: 2 MAY 2019
PRICE: £10.99
ISBN: 978-1-78965-027-3
ALTERNATIVE EDITION: 978-1-78965-028-0
FORMAT: Paperback and ebook
PUBLISHER: Unbound Digital GENRE: Speculative fiction, dystopian fiction

 

My Review

 

First off, I think we should all know by now that I’m super huge fan of Dystopia (note my many gushing times I’ve listed The Hunger Games under a fave book list in my posts as reference). Secondly, this was just a really great standard dystopia, it combines elements from the great classics and Lord [man I sound super religious] gives us a really enjoyable and engaging dystopia read for us in this day and age. She’s not afraid to count Brexit and other events that are currently happening as part of the world she’s weaving, this is no throw back to 1984 though the inspiration from it is clear and in fact the people of this society, if they’re old enough, remember reading it. This is one more case of how change can sneak up on a Dystopian society to create the sort of thing we think unimaginable when we read about it.

Much like Fahrenheit 451 reading the wrong books can get you into a world of trouble. After trouble with violence, and political terrorism, modern day U.K. decides to close itself off after a time, there is a new regime, and a new government dubbed the ‘Junta’ and Amy Lord isn’t afraid to take inspiration from the Russian Revolution when you read about what this new government has done.

Clara was traumatized by the abrupt end of her Father in her life as he’s taken away one night for reading the wrong books, the real twist will be who she ends up growing up with as a ‘Father figure’ and I won’t spoil it for you but I did enjoy that. Not only that but we get more than just Clara’s POV we get the main antagonist’s POV as well, well main antagonist to Clara, the Major. The book divides into parts, switching times and POVs but never getting too muddled and all of it builds up to clearly tell the story of Clara in the now. Any ‘backtracking’/looking into the past is for the benefit of the reader and I loved getting the backstory honestly.

This was not a story with particularly new elements to Dystopia but it is the first one I have personally read in a while that wasn’t specifically YA oriented. That being said, this could easily be read by a huge age range, including YA. I flew through this book in a day, I was so engrossed and I think that Lord really just has this groove, she gives you details and she gives you such an element of reality. I think that she’s yet another author I’ll be keeping my eye out for.

If you want a bit of a classic dystopia with a modern day feel and style, I would strongly recommend The Disappeared by Amy Lord, it was a treat to be part of this tour! Thanks to Anne, Amy Lord, and the publisher for the copy and being part of the tour!!

 

About the Author

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Amy Lord is a writer, blogger and digital marketer from north-east England. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015 for The Disappeared and was also longlisted in the inaugural Bath Novel Award. An earlier manuscript saw her shortlisted for Route Publishing’s Next Great Novelist Award. Amy is currently working on a new novel, which was developed as part of a year-long mentoring scheme with Writers’ Block NE.

 

Rest of the Tour Schedule

The Disappeared BT Poster