Extract: Quest For Atlantis by Marisa Noelle #QuestForAtlantis @MarisaNoelle77 @ZooloosBT

Synopsis

MERMAIDS ARE BEING HUNTED…

They are no longer safe in the human world…

When one of her closest mermaid friends is imprisoned in a science lab for investigation, Cordelia insists on taking up the quest to find the lost island of Atlantis, a sanctuary for all the water species. But the island is guarded by the dragon kings, an ancient and formidable race who are determined to keep it for themselves.

Together with her best friends and her boyfriend, Wade, they must travel to distant pockets of the earth to collect the three magical jewels that open the portal to Atlantis.

But no one remembers how the jewels work, instructions are non-existent, and tensions are rife as Wade’s ex-girlfriend, Stephanie, appears on the scene. Plus, Cordelia must learn to harness her own emerging powers and discover if she really is the fire mermaid.

With the support of Wade’s parents, Stephanie is determined to win him back and Cordelia’s heart breaks as she watches the love of her life waver. They must be united in their quest, or the jewels will refuse to reveal themselves.

If they can’t repair their broken relationship and defeat the dragon kings, the mermaids will be captured by the humans and face the threat of extinction.

Buy Links – https://geni.us/cUUaS

Extract

The quarter moon rose into a clear sky and a chill wound around my shoulders. Groups doused their fires and packed their belongings as a beach ranger walked along the sand with a flashlight, reminding people the beach was closing. Bonfire smoke floated in the air, the smell warm and welcoming as it mingled with the salty ocean.

Wade and I pressed ourselves against the rocks, out of view, and waited for the ranger to leave. When the coast was clear, we skirted around the rock face, splashing through the gathering waves, making our way to Pirate Cove. It was an old pirate jail left over from times gone by. A grid of iron bars cemented between rocks prevented access from the beach and we had to scramble through the shallows to find the second opening.  

The hit of the water soothed me immediately, its pull beckoning me further out. But I didn’t have time to turn mermaid now. I resisted the urge to change and followed Wade along the rocks as the waves buffeted us and dragged us in the wrong direction.

Soaked, and armed with nothing more than a flashlight, we reached the entrance to the old pirate cave. Despite my chattering teeth and saturated clothing, a rush of excitement burst in my chest. We’d been waiting so long for this. 

“Here.” I chucked the bundle of key rings in Wade’s direction. One sapphire, two opals. I knew the opals represented Dylan and I, as opal was the birthstone for October. But I’d never learned what the small sapphire represented. Or maybe it had nothing to do with us at all. Just coincidence. 

Wade caught the jewels and stood in the center of the cave. The water level rose, but the rocks protected us from the currents and threatening rip tide. Wade turned in a slow circle, stumbling against the water, scanning the rocks with flashing black eyes. 

“Can you remember where the slots are?” I asked. 

“I think it’s this one.” He approached a rock protruding from the jagged wall, then ran his fingers over it. “A-ha!” 

He pulled the three jewels from their metal chains. Wade selected one of the opals, no bigger than a child’s marble, and slotted it into a small hole. Then the second. Then the elongated sapphire. As soon as he pushed the blue jewel into its hole, all three were simultaneously sucked into the rock, somewhere deep inside. 

“Wade?” I questioned. We’d come too far for this to be a dead end.

“Give it a minute,” he cautioned.

As if his words were a magic spell, the rock vibrated. The top section of the rock slid away, as though attached by a well-oiled hinge, to reveal a hidden chamber within the rock.

Author Bio

Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of science-fiction, fantasy & mental health including The Shadow Keepers, The Unadjusteds Trilogy (The Unadjusteds, The Rise of the Altereds, & The Reckoning), and The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep. 

She is a mentor for the Write Mentor program that helps aspiring MG & YA authors. With dual citizenship, Marisa has lived on both sides of the Atlantic and uses settings in both the USA and UK as inspiration for her novels. 

When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. 

Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children. You can find her on Twitter @MarisaNoelle77 or her website http://www.MarisaNoelle.com

Follow her at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarisaNoelle77/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marisanoelle77/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarisaNoelle77

Goodreads :https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18305427.Marisa_Noelle

Website : www.MarisaNoelle.com

Book Review: The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais #witchesmoonshynemanor @BiancaM_author @Harper360UK @RandomTTours

Synopsis

A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.

Summoned by an alarm, five octogenarian witches gather around Ursula when danger is revealed to her in a vision. An angry mob of townsmen is advancing with a wrecking ball, determined to demolish Moonshyne Manor and Distillery. All eyes turn to Queenie—as the witch in charge, it’s her job to reassure them—but she confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments and property taxes. Queenie has been counting on Ruby’s return in two days to fix everything. Ruby is the only one who knows where the treasure is hidden, those valuable artifacts stolen 33 years ago on the night when everything went horribly wrong. Why didn’t clairvoyant Ursula see this coming sooner? Wasn’t Ivy supposed to be working her botanical magic to keep the townsmen in a state of perpetual drugged calm, all while Jezebel quelled revolts through seductive bewitchment?

The mob is only the start of the witches’ troubles. Brad Gedney, a distant cousin of Ivy, is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy that was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. And things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

In a race against time, the women have nine days to save their home and business. The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but fear their aging powers are no match against increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of extra help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.

Funny, tender, and uplifting, THE WITCHES OF MOONSHYNE MANOR explores the formidable power that can be discovered in aging, found family, and unlikely friendships. Marais’ true power is her clever prose that offers as much laughter as insight, delving deeply into feminism, identity, and power dynamics while stirring up intrigue and drama through secrets, lies and sex. Both heartbreaking and heart-mending, it will make you wonder: why were we taught to fear the witches, and not the men who burned them? Above all, it will make you grateful for the amazing women in your life.

My Review

Moonshyne Manor is the home of witches Ursula, Jezebel, Ivy, Tabitha and Queenie who also run a distillery. They each have their own unique gift and although they have different personalities they are bound to each other by sisterhood and love. However, Moonshyne Manor is under threat when a mob turns up threatening to demolish their home and Queenie discloses that they have fallen behind on the mortgage payments. However, they hope that things will sort themselves out when Ruby who has been away for thirty three years returns. But Ruby’s return isn’t what they hoped it would be. The sisters must now save their home with the help of a newcomer and outsider Persephone and revisit the magical heist that went wrong many years ago.

When I first started reading I wasn’t sure about this book but things became clearer as the book progressed. What we know from the beginning is that the Manor is under threat of being demolished because there are mortgage payments outstanding. Persephone, who is much younger than the sisters appears and wants to help them secure their home. This is the first time an outsider has been allowed into the inner circle but there is something about Persephone that is different At the same time Ruby is due to return home. From the beginning there is a lot of mystery surrounding Ruby, where she has been and why she has been gone for so long. The imminent arrival of Ruby also raises mixed feelings with the sisters, some believe she is the answer to all their problems and some are a little uncertain about her return. The reason for Ruby’s absence becomes clear as the story unfolds as it is connected to a heist many years ago when the sisters were trying to recover a magical artefact. The consequences of the heist not only affected Ruby but also the sisters immensely. It’s clear from the outset that the men in the town have had their eye on Moonshyne Manor for many years. Rather than let its inhabitants live in peace their one goal is to get their hands on it and raise it to the ground.

My favourite thing about the book was the characters. The sisters were colourful, different, eccentric, smart and had a combination of characteristics. However, the one thing that bound them together was the idea of family and sisterhood. It’s clear that they are really protective of each other and truly care for each other. They’re not keen on outsiders until Persephone comes along and they realise that there is room in their inner circle for another. When I was reading the storyline I was getting Practical Magic and Witches of Eastwick vibes with a hint of witchy Golden Girls. I loved the snippets from The Moonshyne Manor Grimoire that included spells and recipes.

If you’re a fan of books that include witches, magic, sisterhood and feminism then this is a book you’ll enjoy.

Author Bio

Bianca Marais is the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh (Putnam, 2017 and 2019). She teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies where she was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing in 2021. A believer in the power of storytelling in advancing social justice, Marais runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative to empower young Black women in Africa to write and publish their own stories, and is constantly fundraising to assist grandmothers in Soweto with caring for children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In 2020, Marais started the popular podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, which is aimed at helping emerging writers become published.

Book Review: Daughter Of Darkness by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr #DaughterofDarkness #HouseofShadows @katharinecorr @lizcorr_writes @HotKeyBooksYA @instabooktours

Synopsis

The Underworld awaits . . .

Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts.

So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades. . . The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?

My Review

Deina is a Soul Severer. Her role is to help guide the dying from the mortal world to Hades and the underworld. Essentially helping to bridge the gap between the land of the living and the land of the dead. For every soul that she helps to cross over she becomes one step closer to earning her own soul back. When Orpheus offers the Soul Severers the chance to earn gold and their freedom to whoever can bring his wife Eurydice back from the underworld, Deina knows this is an opportunity she can’t pass up. However, she has competition from her fellow Soul Severers who also want the same. Will Deina succeed in her mission and as her journey unfolds with her fellow Soul Severs what is the real reason behind Orpheus’ task.

So to say that this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year would be a little bit of an understatement. As soon as this book was on my radar I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and get reading. I am a big fan of Greek mythology, Greek retellings and anything that includes the Greek Gods. What initially struck me when I started to read is that this is a YA Greek fantasy novel that I wish had been around when I was younger because there was nothing like this available and the only books that covered Greek mythology were reference books, but nothing with a fictional element.

From the outset I was transported to Deina’s world. The descriptions were rich, detailed and the world building was amazing. I loved the storyline. Essentially we have a main character who is trying to obtain her freedom as well as that of her friend Chryse by undertaking a task. A task which isn’t easy, her safety isn’t guaranteed and could result in her position not changing. One of the main competitors among the other Soul Severers is Theron who Deina has history with but what happened between them isn’t apparent from the beginning but is explained further on in the book. It was hard not to like Deina as a character. She is fierce, strong, determined and knows what she wants which is freedom. At the same time she wants to make sure that Chryse is not left behind showing that she is also a selfless person. I loved the dynamic between Deina and Theron because at the start they appear to be enemies and really get under each other’s skin. However, when they interact there is something else bubbling under the surface that hints that there is more to their relationship than meets the eye.

What I loved about this book is that it’s based around Greek Mythology and we get to see different Greek Gods make an appearance such as Orpheus, Eurydice and Charon. Some of my favourite scenes were when Deina met Hades and when the Soul Severers encountered Cerberus. One of my favourite aspects of the story was that having read many reference books on Greek Mythology the story perfectly portrays how the Gods were known tricksters and in some ways could be quite cruel. They would draw people or other beings into their games and then watch from a distance to see what would happen next. As for that ending wow, just wow. I couldn’t believe the way the book ended and when I read the epilogue my little heart was very sad. I knew this book was going to be a duology so I can’t wait to read the next book.

A book I would highly recommend to anyone who loves Greek fantasy stories that includes adventure and where Greek mythology comes to life with the turn of each page.

Author Bios

Katharine and Elizabeth Corr are sisters originally from Essex, now living in Surrey. When they both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious they should do it together. They can sometimes be found in one of their local coffee shops, arguing over which character to kill off next. Katharine and Elizabeth are authors of the enthralling A Throne of Swans duology and the spell-binding trilogy The Witch’s Kiss.

Book Review: Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah #monstersbornandmade @tanviberwah @ed_pr @SourcebooksFire @CourtInABook

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.

In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers-the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others-if they’re lucky-survive.

When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.

But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When riots break out and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose-her life or her sister’s-before the whole island burns.

My Review

Sixteen year old Koral and her brother Emrik are maristag hunters. Their goal is to capture maristags, breed them, train their off offspring to tolerate land and then sell them to the Landers to compete in the Glory Race. Whilst attempting to catch a maristag Emrik is injured and they are unable to catch the last maristag of the year. Koral realises that they will not have enough money to provide for their family or enough money to pay for her little sister Liria’s medication so Koral decides that she has no other option than to take part in the Glory Race which also brings her face to face with her ex-boyfriend Dorian who she hasn’t spoken to in 2 years when he left her without any explanation. Will Koral win the Glory Race and will be still be able to participate despite others plans to sabotage her?

The synopsis for this book intrigued me from the beginning because it sounded really interesting and had a very Hunger Games feel to it. The storyline was well plotted and easy to follow. It was written in so much detail that at times it felt like I was catching maristag and taking part in the Glory Race with Koral. When I started reading I was transported to Koral’s world which is not a world I would want to live in because it’s all about survival and hierarchy. Where the hierarchy is concerned Koral is quite far at the bottom and the only way for her and her family to survive is for her to catch maristags. I really liked Koral as a character. She is determined but she’s also very capable because she is one of the main people that catch maristag and therefore she is probably the best person to take part in the race and be successful. Whether she is or not you’ll have to read the book to find out. Although Koral is set on winning the Glory Race amid other complications she also has to deal with the fact that one of her opponents is Dorian. It is clear that Koral has conflicting feelings for Dorian which is understandable as she still doesn’t know the reason he left but this becomes clear as the story progresses. Knowing that this was a South Asian inspired fantasy and that the main character and others would look like me made me love this book even more. When I came across the paragraph where one of the characters is described as wearing a sari, this really made me smile.

The book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger so I’m intrigued to see if there will be a second book as I am intrigued to see more of Koral’s journey.

An action packed YA fantasy novel!

Author Bio

Tanvi Berwah is a South Asian writer who grew up wanting to touch the stars and reach back in time. She graduated from the University of Delhi with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Literature of English and lives in India. This is her debut novel.

Book Review: Petra And The Sewer Rats by G.J. Kemp #PetraAndTheSewarRats @TB5Publishing @RandomTTours

Synopsis

‘You saved one girl, Papa,’ Petra said. ‘Just one girl. The rest are living in the alleys. Starving, freezing, no clothes and with no hope whatsoever.’ 

‘I still don’t understand why this is bothering you so much?’ Ernest said.

Petra turned her head and stared out of the window.

A privileged woman who knows little of the real world gets thrown deep into the underbelly of the town of Fairacre. A town ruled by men. 

A story of discovery and determination, Petra and the Sewer Rats is a tale of a young woman who dares disobey the town’s rules to save its unwanted orphans. Will Petra’s father, Ernest, still love her? Will her best friend, Nat, stay by her side? Or will they abandon her when she needs them most?

My Review

This is a novella in the Acre series that centres on the character Petra. We are first introduced to Petra in Juno and the Lady as the leader of the Sewer Rats. This book gives the reader an insight into who Petra really is, her beginnings and how the Sewer Rats were created.

It won’t be a surprise to anyone that has read my previous reviews that this series has become a well-loved fantasy series for me. Ever since I read Juno and the Lady I knew that this was a series that I was going to like and look forward to reading. Like the other books the storyline in this one grabbed my attention from the outset. Although this is a novella it was packed full of so much information and so well constructed that I feel like I know Petra as a character better and now understand what motivated her to create the Sewer Rats. Petra is feisty, determined and fair. After her first encounter with the girls who will later be known as the Sewer Rats she sees how unfairly they are treated and wants to change that despite knowing she lives in a world where men rule. Although Petra is part of the upper hierarchy she is still judged by the fact that she is female which also dictates what she can and cannot do. However, as soon as Petra gets an idea into her head she will do whatever it takes to make it a reality. What I love about this series in particular is that there are main novels and also novellas that centre on different characters that are featured in the main story which also helps the reader to get to know individual characters better.  

If you haven’t read the Acre series then you are truly missing out on a fantastic world!

Author Bio

Finding the love for writing later in life, GJ spends most of his free time going for walks and dreaming of story ideas. He hopes to one day have a small place on the oceanfront where he can walk his dogs on the beach. 

For more information please visit gjkemp.co.uk

Book Review: Girl In The Red Coat by Gemma Owen-Kendall #girlintheredcoat #hyggebooktours @GemOwenKendall @hyggebooktours

Synopsis

What if the girl in the red coat fell in love with the wolf? Girl In The Red Coat is a contemporary retelling of the classic tale Red Riding Hood. Grace was once a quiet teenage girl until when she turns sixteen and moves to a new town to live with her grandparents to start college. This is where Grace’s life changes when she meets Daniel and encounters mysterious appearances from Ben. As well as a complicated love triangle, Grace learns that wolves and witches (spellcasters) do exist.

Book Links/Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08T48JCHJ

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56705075-girl-in-the-red-coat

My Review

The book starts by giving the reader a glimpse into 1884 and introducing the reader to werewolves Constantine and Magnus. Both Constantine and Magnus are in love with Florence but Florence’s affections lie with Constantine. After a dream that ends in the death of Constantine and Magnus in reality, Florence flees. Fast forward to the present day and we meet 16 year old Grace who is nicknamed Red Riding Hood because of the red coat she wears that was gifted to her by her grandmother. Grace is staying with her grandparents and starting a new school. It’s at this school that she meets Daniel and the mysterious Ben. Grace finds herself drawn to both equally but which one is the right one for her and which one has ulterior motives. Is history about to repeat itself or can Grace stop this from happening.

My first impression of this book was that it was a quick, short and easy read. However, I loved the fact that it was packed full of so much information and backstory. The reader is given important background information as to what happened before and how Florence, Constantine and Magnus are directly linked to Grace, Daniel and Ben. This is one aspect that I truly liked. So although this was a short read the author has done a fantastic job in giving quite a lot of detail and not cutting out important information. This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood but the author has taken that story and reimagined it with a fantasy element. Grace’s character is very interesting because I think we’ve only scratched the surface of her character and who she is. Although this is a retelling, the story is also about Grace learning about her heritage, learning about her lineage but also dealing with all of this and the fact that she is a teenager. For example she finds herself in a love triangle where she feels drawn to Daniel and Ben but at the same time she can’t decide which one she has stronger feelings for. However, this becomes clearer to Grace as the story develops and she quickly realises which one is good for her and which one isn’t.

This is the first time I’ve read this author’s work and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and what is in-store for Grace next.

Author Bio

My name is Gemma Owen-Kendall from a town called Grimsby, I like to say I’m part unicorn and part Harley Quinn. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and have always loved reading. One of my all time favourite authors is Stephenie Meyer who of course wrote The Twilight Saga. I’m a big supporter of local writers within my area, every Tuesday evening I run a writing workshop at a Cleethorpescoffeeshop called The Globe. This is also where majority of my imagination has been created over the past few years.

Twitter Handle: @GemOwenKendall

Instagram Handle: @gemma.authorpage

Facebook Handle: http://www.facebook.com/innocenttimesauthor

Spotlight: Blood and Potions, The Dark Crown Trials #1 by Maya Morrison and S.L.Kingsgate #bloodandpotions @mayamauthor #slkomgsgate @Lovebookstours

Synopsis

An assassin who lives for the hunt. A vampire that loves the chase. A job that went wrong, and a bite that changes everything.

It was supposed to be a simple job. Steal an artifact from a top-secret location, and gain intel about my sister’s killer. Instead, one false move lands me in the hands of the renowned vampire overlord, Quillian Kingsley.

Quillian is cold, callous, and notoriously ruthless with his enemies, especially those he believes wronged him. I was prepared for my death…until he tasted my blood.

After days of interrogation, we come to a mutual understanding, and I agree to his terms by swearing a Blood Oath. I stay in Esneoh to help hunt down his enemies and play the role of his doting wife. And in kind, he will help me find my sister’s killer.

The job should have been easy; however, with every new kill and pursuit, I find myself drawn to the dark, dangerous, and sinfully gorgeous overlord.

There is just one problem – all roads point to him as one of the main suspects. And in this game of power, secrets, and lust, neither of us might come out alive when the truth unveils itself.

*Blood and Potions is a vampire romance that features dark themes. It is therefore recommended for a mature audience

Author Bios

Maya Morrison was raised in London but currently resides in Seoul, South Korea. She writes urban fantasy, paranormal, and dark romance. She spends most of her time drinking coffee and daydreaming about kissing and magic.

S.L. Kingsgate is a new author with a passion for change. She seeks to create diverse kick-ass heroines within the PNR/UF and fantasy sphere.

Book Review: With Fire In Their Blood by Kat Delacorte #WithFireInTheirBlood #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour @katdelacorte @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours @PenguinUKBooks @penguinplatform

Synopsis

When sixteen-year-old Lilly arrives in Castello, she isn’t impressed.
A secluded town in the Italian mountains is not where she saw her last years of high school playing out. 

Divided for generations by a brutal clan-family war, the two halves of Castello are kept from destroying each other by the mysterious General, a leader determined to maintain order and ‘purity’. . . whatever the cost. 

Lilly falls in with the rebellious Liza, brooding Nico and sensitive Christian, and sparks begin to fly. But in a city where love can lead to ruin, Lilly isn’t sure she can trust anyone — not even herself. 

And then she accidentally breaks Castello’s most important rule: when the General’s men come to test your blood, you’d better not be anything more than human… 

Perfect for lovers of Chloe Gong, Renée Ahdieh and V.E. Schwab, With Fire in Their Blood is quality YA storytelling at its best by an exciting new voice in YA fantasy.

My Review

Sixteen year old Lily is less than pleased when her father announces that he has a new engineering job which means that they will be leaving Maine and moving to Italy, in particular Castello. Castello is a secluded town in the Italian Mountains. Lily’s first impression of the town is that it is run down, crumbling and it’s as if she’s stepped back into a different time. However, Castello is steeped in mystery. It was originally a battleground for two warring clan families until they were united by the General against a bigger threat and a common enemy, the Saints. The Saints were children with dark magic in their blood which nearly destroyed Castello until the General arrived. Under the General’s control Castello was split into two with each clan having their own side but who were united in their fight against the Saints. This was the only thing that United them. It’s during Lily’s first day at her new school when she meets Liza, Charlie, Alex and Nico but also arrives on an important day. The General’s men have come to test their blood. When they do what will they find? Who is the mysterious General? Do Saints really exist?

I have been looking forward to reading this book since I first saw it advertised and wow what an adventure. It’s quickly become a new favourite read. It’s one of those books that even when I was tired and my eyes were closing I fought my sleep to read another page. The storyline was amazing, fast paced and I was transported to Castello each time I picked up the book. The world building and historical aspect of Castello was very detailed and that’s one aspect of the story that I truly loved because there was so much detail that I could picture Castello in my head. It’s definitely somewhere I’d want to visit but not necessarily live long term. As a character I liked Lily. She is sassy, independent and asks those questions that I would ask if I had moved to a mysterious town where there are lots of secrets and whose inhabitants appear to blindly follow the General’s rules without question. At times it felt like the people of a Castello had been brainwashed. There were a few twists and turns that I did guess but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. There was also one twist that was truly shocking and caught me off guard.

The book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger so I can’t wait to see what awaits Lily next and visit Castello again.

A book about magic, secrets and betrayal!

Author Bio

Kat Delacorte was eleven years old when her family moved from the United States to a small town in central Italy. She soon began writing stories about her new friends developing superpowers, and she hasn’t looked back since. She graduated with a BA in History from Columbia University, and lives in Venice, Italy.

Book Review: The Gauntlet and the Burning Blade by Ian Green #TheGauntletAndTheBurningBlade @IanTheGreen @AdAstraFiction

Synopsis

In the second instalment of the Rotstorm series, heroine Floré must continue to

Break the chains. Hold your strength. Burn your foes.

Once a warrior of the Stormguard Commandos, Floré wrought horrors in the rotstorm to protect her people. She did her duty and swore to leave the bloodshed behind. But when her daughter, Marta, was kidnapped, Floré was forced to once again raise her gauntlet against the devils of Ferron to bring her home.

Now Marta is dying from the skein-magic she inherited from her father, and the Protectorate is weakened by the absence of the whitestaffs. The mystical order of healers and sages

Floré and her comrades must race to

Floré has taken up her gauntlets and her sword to keep her people safe – but steel alone might not be enough…

My Review

At the end of the first book Floré successfully managed to rescue her daughter Marta but now Marta is dying because the skein-magic that she inherited from her father is slowly eating away at her. Floré sets out on a journey to find a cure for Marta but then another complication is added to her troubles. The orbs are now circling again but the dagger of Varratim, a blade that could kill a god has gone missing. Will Floré save her daughter? What does the missing dagger mean?

After finishing the first book I did wonder what was instore for Floré next and how she would deal with everything that happened. This books picks up after the events of the first book. Floré and Benazir are both commanders. It’s clear that the characters are both physically and mentally recovering from everything that has happened but there is more to come. For Floré and Marta they are both coming to terms with what they’ve been through. For Floré this is the physical toll the battle has taken on her and for Marta it’s the psychological toll of having been in captivity and that her magic is draining her. In addition to this they are both grieving a husband and a father. As a character it’s hard not to admire Floré. She is fierce, a soldier, a mother and protector of all.

The story in this book has definitely levelled up as has the world building. There were more characters introduced in this book but the way they were weaved into the story it felt like there’d been there from the first book. The battle and fight scenes were on an epic scale and were gory and detailed to the point where I could picture being at the battle with Floré. The way the scenes were written reminded me of the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Flore’s battle cry at the end of Blood and Teeth pretty much summed up how Floré and the characters were feeling and is one of my favourite lines in this book. As for that plot twist it was shocking and very clever.

An enjoyable read and a brilliant addition to The Rotstorm series. I cannot wait to see how this series ends!

Author Bio

Ian Green is a writer from Northern Scotland with a PhD in epigenetics. His
fiction has been widely broadcast and performed, including winning the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition and winning the Futurebook Future Fiction prize. His short fiction has been published by Londnr, Almond Press, OpenPen, Meanjin, Transportation Press, The Pigeonhole, No Alibi Press, Minor Lits, and more. @ianthegreen http://www.ianthegreen.com

Book Review: Longshadow by Olivia Atwater #Longshadow @OliviaAtwater2 @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Synopsis

Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians – but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.

The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved – but while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believe that she is capable of doing so.

Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail to unravel the mystery. But while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well pose an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.

My Review

This book centres on Abigail who features in the first and second book in this series. 18 year old Abigail is the adopted daughter of Dora and Eric Wilder and is keen to learn magic and become a magician. When the young ladies of London start to mysteriously die, Abigail’s father starts to investigate and is of the opinion that a dark faerie called Lord Longshadow is behind the mysterious deaths but is unable to find a solution to this problem. As such Abigail takes it upon herself to investigate and stop Lord Longshadow from taking any more innocent girls. It’s during her search for Lord Longshadow that she meets Mercy, a self-taught magician and they team up. Will Abigail and Mercy find Lord Longshadow?

This is the third and final book in the Regency Faerie series and again his was another book I really enjoyed reading. What I liked about this series is that the characters from the other books make reappearances and there is like a thread that weaves all of the series together so not only are we introduced to new characters were also reunited with old characters. One aspect of this book that I really liked was the fact that Abigail spends a lot of time going between the non-magical world and faerie so we get a bit more of a glimpse into what the world of faerie is really like. Abigail is definitely a determined character. She is adamant that she wants to learn magic and that she will succeed. She essentially meets her match when she meets Mercy. I I really loved the interaction between Abigail and Mercy. There was definitely a spark between the two of them as soon as they met but it took both of them a little while to understand what that connection was. Initially Abigail sees Mercy as a friend and ally but as the story progresses she starts to question how she truly feels for Mercy, realising that she sees Mercy as something more than a friend, as a love interest but doesn’t know how to express her feelings because it’s all very new to her. It was so sweet to see Abigail and Mercy’s romance blossom and develop. Abigail and Mercy’s investigation was intriguing to follow and at times I felt like I was investigating with them. When the truth was revealed that was a plot twist I could never have anticipated.

I have never read a book by this author and having read the books in this series back-to-back I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every book. The storylines were perfect, well-structured and transported me to a new world. The world building, in particular the land of faerie and the character development was brilliant. After a long day at work I looked forward to picking up this series and being transported to a magical faerie regency era. One element that I truly loved was that at the end of each book the author wrote an afterward and it was interesting to see what their thought process was when they were writing, how the storylines were created and what had inspired each story. This made me connect with the books even more.

A series that has become a firm favourite and that I would highly highly recommend to anyone who loves the Regency era, fairies/faeries, fantasy with a dash of romance!

Author Bio

Olivia Atwater writes whimsical historical fantasy with a hint of satire. She lives in Montreal, Quebec with her fantastic, prose-inspiring husband and her two cats. When she told her second-grade history teacher that she wanted to work with history someday, she is fairly certain this isn’t what either party had in mind. She has been, at various times, a historical re-enactor, a professional witch at a metaphysical supply store, a web developer, and a vending machine repairperson.