Giveaway: “Realm of Ash”

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Book: “Realm of Ash” by Tasha Suri

Publication Info: Orbit, November 2019

Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from the publisher!

Book Description: The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.

Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.

Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.

Previously Reviewed: “Empire of Sand”

Giveaway Details: While “Empire of Sand” didn’t work for me completely, I was still interested enough in this world to be excited when Orbit sent me an ARC of the next book. What makes this one all the more intriguing is that this isn’t a direct sequel, but instead picks up years later following a now grown Arwa as she finds her life taking a sudden, dark turn towards tragedy, estrangement, and isolation. But in these dark places, she begins to also learn of a truth, not only about herself, but of her long-lost sister and the people they both owe half their bloodline to.

As now typical for many of giveaway, I will be posting a full review for this book this coming Friday so I don’t want to spoil my opinions of it too much here. But I will say that I enjoyed this book much more than the first. There are a couple of similarities with regards to pacing that threw me a bit for a loop, but overall I greatly enjoyed the themes of self-acceptance and scholarship, as well as the deep dive into grief and its effects on love and family.

The world itself continued to deliver giving readers an even closer look into this inspired original creation of Suri’s that reads as just familiar enough as to be recognizably drawing from Indian and Middle Eastern influences but also offers enough elements to remain completely fresh and intriguing. Here, the work that was done in the first book, some of which contributed to my pacing concerns there, pays off more fully.

As I said, my review of “Realm of Ash” will go up this Friday, and in anticipation, I’m offering a giveaway for the ARC version of the book starting today. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends December 18.

Enter to win!

Giveaway: “Flamebringer”

40401975Book: “Flamebringer” by Elle Katharine White

Publication Info: Harper Voyager, November 12, 2019

Book Description: Monsters, manners, and magic combine in this exciting final volume in the Heartstone Trilogy—an exhilarating blend of epic fantasy and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—in which a fearless healer and her dragon-riding husband must stop a reawakened evil from destroying their world.

It starts with the inconceivable: Wydrick, sworn enemy of the Daireds, is back from the dead, possessed by a ghast that grants him immortality and inhuman strength. From the isolated northern mountains, Aliza, Alastair, and Akarra chase him into the dangerous Old Wilds, realizing too late that he’s led them into a blizzard. Before he vanishes, Wydrick utters a warning: A terrible, ancient evil has awoken, hungry for blood, and is headed their way.

The danger is closer than they know. The Tekari—sworn enemies of humans—are openly roaming the kingdom and are headed towards the capital, Edonarle. Then unexpected news arrives: riding like a dark dragon on the winds from the south, an ambassador from the Silent King of Els, has left the shores of the distant desert kingdom for the first time in centuries.

Unknown enemy? Or unexpected ally? Plunged into a dangerous world of royal intrigue and ancient grudges, Aliza and Alastair soon realize it will take more than steel and dragonfire to save their kingdom. For the silence of Els hides a secret that could shake House Daired to its foundations, and the time has come to settle accounts.

Silence, it seems, is about to be broken.

Previously Reviewed: “Heartstone” and “Dragonshadow”

Giveaway Details: I’m super excited to read this book! It’s pretty fantastic to see a what started out as a stand-alone fantasy novel turn into such an excellent series. I remember when I first heart about “Heartstone” I was pretty skeptical about the entire concept. I’ve been burned a few too many times on “‘Pride and Prejudice’ but with BLANK!!!” book pitches way too many times. And this one sounded like one of the more bizarre takes? Mr. Darcy rides a…a…dragon?? And Mr. Bingley also rides a magical beast? Something about a giant evil worm? And somehow it’s still “Pride and Prejudice??” Sounded super weird. But never say I’m not happy to be surprised! I loved the heck out of the first book; it was familiar enough to its source material to be recognizable but was in no means beholden to the same story and versions of the characters that came with it

And then there was a second! And here we really got to see the strength of the original world-buiding and= characterization that White had started in the first one. Freed of the trappings of retelling the classic tale, Aliza and Alistair were free to begin adventures of their own as a married couple. All of the wonderful fantasy elements were back and somehow the stakes seemed even higher. In many ways, this book was much darker than its predecessor. But what I appreciated the most about this second book was how it dealt with Aliza’s transition into the Rider way of life, one much more full of danger and uncertainty than her previous life. It also explored a pretty challenging and emotional topic in an incredibly thoughtful manner.

The story did end with some hints about what was to come here in the third story. But so far I’ve been so off-base with expectations of these books that I’m hesitant to even make any guesses as to where the story will ultimately go. I’m excited to find out though!

My review of “Flamebringer” will go up this Friday, and in anticipation, we’re offering a giveaway for the book starting today. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends November 13.

Click here to enter!

Halloween Giveaway!

Happy early Halloween everyone! It’s Kate’s favorite season of the year, so naturally we had to celebrate this time of scares and spooks by hosting a giveaway of two deliciously creepy reads, “The Devils You Know” and “Ghoster.” Kate’s review for the latter, “Ghoster,” comes out tomorrow, so check that out as well. Make sure you have a bucket full of candy (to “give to the kids” naturally) on hand and sink into a cozy chair with all the lights on to read these two!

“The Devils You Know” by M. C. Atwood

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Publication Info: Soho Teen, October 2017

Book Description: Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

“Ghoster” by Jason Arnopp

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Publication Info: Orbit, October 2019

Book Description: Kate Collins has been ghosted.
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognize. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realizes just how little she really knows about the man she loves.

Enter to win!

Giveaway Details: Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and runs through Sunday, October 27, 2019.

 

 

Giveaway: “Fireborne”

36578543Book: “Fireborne” by Rosaria Munda

Publication Info:G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, October 15

Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from BookishFirst

Book Description: Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

Giveaway Details: “Fireborne” is an October release that has been getting a decent amount of buzz in the months leading up to it. I had it on several TBR lists (yes, I categorize those; I’m a librarian, no one should be surprised) and saw it repeatedly highlighted by other readers as a title they were looking forward to.

Dragons are pretty popular right now. But really, when were they not?? I think the bigger standouts for me were the “similar to’s” that have made their way into the marketing. Some of the earlier buzz highlighted that the book was drawing inspiration from Plato’s “The Republic” which was part of my initial interest. What a cool concept! And unique! My last experience with a book drawing on a lesser known inspirational story (“The Lady and the Tiger”) was a bit of a no-go, so we’ll see if this book does a better job of it.

I also recently saw that the new promotional materials are now making comparisons between this and “Red Rising” which really just confirms things for me. I loved the heck out of the entire first trilogy in that series (the next installment of books have so far been a bit more dark than I prefer, but I’m still liking them). Even with this book’s description, I can see the connections to that story. Both seem to deal with the realities of revolution and how the differing sides can each be right and wrong at the same time.

My full review for this book is coming up this Friday, but don’t wait until then to enter to receive your copy! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends October 15.

Click here to enter!

Giveaway: “The Harp of Kings”

43316755._sy475_Book: “The Harp of Kings” by Juliet Marillier

Publication Info: Ace, September 2019

Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from the publisher

Book Description: Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . . 

Giveaway Details: Juliet Marillier is one of my all-time favorite authors, so of course, I was thrilled when I discovered she would be releasing the first in a new series this fall. Even more exciting, it seems that this story will pull together small pieces from many of her previous works, most notably, perhaps, the “Blackthorn and Grim” series. Though it does also seem that the book is mean to be read as a standalone series apart from her others works.

The description only added to my anticipation. Liobhan seems perfectly positioned to make her mark as another incredible leading lady for Marillier. I’m intrigued to find out how her skills as a musician will combine with her desire to be a warrior. Seems and odd mix, but there’s the fun!

Other than her incredible characters and lyrical writing style, Marillier is known for her clever, fantasy mysteries. Many of her stories involve some mystical secrecy that our main characters need to work through. There is also often a romance somewhere to be found, though her last series drew that part out over the entire three books. I’m curious to find out whether there will be one here, as all we have to go on is Liobhan herself and a brother. Will one or both of them have romances to follow?

My full review for this book is coming up this Friday, but don’t wait until then to enter to receive your copy! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends September 10.

Click here to enter!

Giveaway: “Kingdom of Exiles”


42366222Book: “Kingdom of Exiles” by Maxym M. Martineau

Publishing Info: Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2019

Book Description: Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—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 him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

Giveaway Details: I received a copy of this book in the mail for review, and as I was on the look out for another urban fantasy series to pad out that section of my read (RIP “Kate Daniels” series), I was excited to pick it up. The book description also is right up my alley. I’ve played “Assassin’s Creed” and thoroughly enjoyed it. And I’ve watched “Fantastic Beasts” and enjoyed that as well. A marriage of the two sounded quite interesting!

The cover leaves a little something to be desired, in my opinion. But alas, that seems to be the state of must urban fantasy covers I run across. The “Kate Daniels” series, again, for example had these really terrible floating lion heads in the background. So here we have a…floating tiger head. Why? Why does these covers seem like good ideas? I mean, I guess because so many of this genre look similar, readers who are browsing will pretty quickly identify this book as urban fantasy. But there has to be a better through-line to choose than cheesy, neon colored big cats. Ah well, never judge a book by its cover!

My review for this book will be up this coming Friday. So in anticipation, I’m offering a giveaway for a paperback copy of this book. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends August 13.

Giveaway: “Age of Legend”

22819354Book Description:With “Age of Myth,” “Age of Swords,” and “Age of War,” fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone’s plan to use the stalemate to seek peace is destroyed by an unexpected betrayal that threatens to hand victory to the Fhrey and leaves a dear friend in peril. Her only hope lies in the legend of a witch, a forgotten song, and a simple garden door.

Giveaway Details: I’ve been loving this series so far. It’s always great to find a new fantasy series to follow along. This series in particular has stood out due to Sullivan’s incredible work with a large ensemble cast of characters. Through the first three books, we’ve followed a handful of different characters and early work in the first book or two has paid off as characters have risen and fallen in important to each book’s unique plot.

This is technically a prequel series to Sullivan’s other works, but I haven’t read them and it doesn’t seem to be hindering my enjoyment. I’m sure for longtime fans, there are references I’m missing, but it stands well on its own.

It also stands out particularly well for its large cast of interesting female characters. Epic fantasy has come a long way since “Lord of the Rings” which, while lovely and amazing, has very few women characters and really only one notable (but awesome!) moment for any of them. Here, however, there are several including a powerful mystic, an inventor, and even the supreme leader of the human clans is a woman.

So yes, I’ve enjoyed the books so far. But this was the first one I really had to wait for and it was a trial indeed. Luckily for me, I received an ARC of this book in the mail a few months early and was able to dive in then. My full review will come out this Friday, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the love and host a giveaway for this copy! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends July 9, 2019.

Enter here!

Giveaway: “Kingsbane”

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Book Description: Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

Giveaway Details: I read and reviewed the first book in this popular fantasy duology last spring. But while I had middling feelings about it all, I was intrigued enough to pick up the second book. My full review is coming up later this week, so to build up the anticipation I’m offering a giveaway of an ARC version of this book. While I don’t want to spoil my own review, I will say that I enjoyed this one more than the first. And, beyond that, I know that the series is generally wildly popular, so don’t miss your chance at a free copy!

Enter here!

Spring Giveaway: “Heroine” by Mindy McGinnis

40536342Book: “Heroine” by Mindy McGinnis

Publishing Info: Katherine Tegan Books, March 2019

Book Description: An Amazon Best Book of the Month! A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope. 

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

Giveaway Details/Mini Review: I read “Heroine” after purchasing it on a whim while on a book store run, and it blew me away. It didn’t quite make the cut for a review on this site for various reasons, but I can tell you that it’s good. It’s dark. It’s raw and difficult and a gut punch. But it’s also an honest look at the opioid epidemic in our country, and how it can affect just about anyone. I was emotionally wrung out after I read it, but I thought that it was a very important, if not heartbreaking, read. And on top of that, it’s absolutely riveting. Mindy McGinnis is a strong and gritty voice in YA fiction, and her stories will suck you in. So because of that, I wanted to give one of you a chance to see for yourself, so I’m running a giveaway of a hardcover, mostly brand new copy of it.

This Giveaway is open to U.S. Entrants only, and will run until April 29th. Good luck and happy reading!

Enter the Giveaway HERE

February Fantasy Giveaway: “Crown of Feathers” & “Four Dead Queens”

There are a lot of great new fantasy titles coming out this spring, and in celebration of a new year’s worth of reading about magical beasts and royal plottings, we’re giving away two ARCs of titles that came out this February! Check out the details and enter to win below!

“Crown of Feathers” by Nicki Pau Preto

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I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

 

“Four Dead Queens” by Astrid Scholte

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Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Enter to win!

Giveaway Details: Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and runs through Sunday, February 24, 2019.