Review: Mistress Grim by Jane Redd

About the book:

The Grim Reaper has been collecting souls of the dead for hundreds of years, but even the Master of Death has to pass on his reign. Unfortunately, his progeny is not quite ready to replace him.

Cora Grim, daughter of the Grim Reaper, is suddenly thrust into her father’s role. Leaving the Underworld on her own to bring back the dead souls, she discovers that the Master of Death neglected to tell her one thing. She can still fall in love.

Grab your copy exclusively in the Shattered Worlds collection.

Review by Katy Haye:

It was so interesting reading Mistress Grim and A Reaper Made back-to-back. Both use reaper mythology, but Liz Long and Jane Redd have taken utterly different approaches, and ended with dramatically varied stories.

Mistress Grim was a pacey supernatural adventure with a very strong fantasy/medieval feel to it. It also featured a lovely romance as a central pillar to the story. There was danger, huge stakes, and wonderful sacrifices.

If I’m being completely honest, I feel the story lost tension occasionally when events were telegraphed to the reader – if I know the character’s going to be safe ahead of time, then I’m not as invested in the outcome because there’s nothing to really worry about.

However, I did enjoy the gloriously satisfying romantic ending.

Jane Redd is taking over the Shattered Worlds Facebook read-along for the next three days. Join in to chat about the book and for the chance to win book swag!

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Posted in fantasy, fiction, mythology, paranormal, review, Romance, supernatural, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: A Reaper Made by Liz Long

About the book:

Grace had finally gotten used to her new afterlife as a “Made” – a Reaper who used to be human. When Made Reapers and souls begin disappearing, however, Grace and her mentor Tully suspect demons. Grace’s worst fears are confirmed when her living family is threatened.

She’ll have to break every rule in the Reaper book to save them, including using a little magic to become temporarily human. With the help of Tully and her witchy friend Tessa, Grace goes undercover to save the fates of kidnapped souls – only to discover that demons aren’t working alone. Betrayal and distrust runs deep and Grace discovers that sometimes even Reapers are prone to humanity.

Grab your copy – exclusively in Shattered Worlds

Review by Katy Haye:

A Reaper Made is a fabulous, contemporary take on the reaper myth/trope. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting reaper Ally, witch Tessa and Ally’s reaper mentor Tully (and I could definitely stand to spend more time in angel Rhys’s company!). The story was excellent, romping along with lots of twists and turns and some really touching emotional moments. In fact, I enjoyed it so much the revelation of the baddie actually took me by surprise – and that doesn’t happen often!

Highly recommended if you like strong heroines, well-depicted friendships and supernatural themes.

Liz Long has been part of the Shattered Worlds read-along on Facebook. Her days come to an end today, so pop in quickly to find out more about A Reaper Made!

Posted in families, fantasy, fiction, friendship, mythology, paranormal, review, supernatural, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review – A Step into the Dark by Donna Augustine

About the book:

Ollie Wit is the strongest Shadow Walker born in decades but it’s a gift with a steep price.

Walking in the Shadowlands can bring untold powers and spells, and even greater risks. Every step into that other world brings her closer to the monsters that have haunted her since a child, destroyed her family and wreaked havoc all around her.

Kane knows Ollie is the key to getting the spell he needs and he’s the answer to ending her torment. But it’s a bargain that brings her closer to her own destruction. Even if she succeeds, will she be able to walk away from the newfound power that comes with walking in the Shadowlands?

Click to try it for yourself

Review by Katy Haye:

This was recommended by a friend whose opinion I value. And it’s probably just as well. A first chapter that mostly comprises someone sitting around moaning about their life isn’t going to captivate me – even if she can see monsters (and even if she has very good reasons to be aggrieved – yeah, I’m a tough audience).

But thanks to Kelly St Clare I persevered and gave it a chance. It wasn’t long before I got what she meant. Oh my, Ollie was SUCH good fun when she got her sass back!

This was entirely glorious – a fun world, vivid characters, and a fabulous, romping magical plot. The ending was spot on – matters well resolved and then a final twist raising a new matter for the sequel.

It was a delight to spend time in Ollie’s company and I’m glad there’s more. Give her a chance – you’ll be glad you did!

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Try steampunk short, The Replacement Princess, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England, for free.

Posted in fantasy, fiction, paranormal, review, supernatural, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R King

About the book:

He wanted a warrior queen. He got a revolutionary.

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

Click to start reading

Review by Katy Haye:

This started more strongly than it ended, but even so it was a well written and engaging story well worth a read.

I loved the characters from the first page, and stakes built up all over the place, so I was rooting for Kali and Jaya.

The world-building and mythology were absolutely gorgeous – convincing, detailed and engagingly different.

My problem came with all the creeping around at the palace and Kali and Deven casting each other longing looks every verse end. I just couldn’t credit that the Rajah’s wives wouldn’t be more closely guarded, which made their behaviour foolhardy in the extreme.

And Jaya’s story became a bit of a spare part after being set up so strongly, which was a great shame. I wanted more of her.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Try steampunk short, The Replacement Princess, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England, for free.

Posted in fantasy, fiction, friendship, magic, mythology, review, Romance, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join the Alienation blog hop!

Welcome to the Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR!

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Manoeuvre through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of- a -kind award awaits one lucky traveller.

You are here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck.

Sally Webber’s dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town–on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth.

But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob.

All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself–if she can stay alive that long.

Pre-order your copy now!

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E.Anderson.

Welcome to Da-Duhui

Da-Duhui’s been a place I’ve wanted to explore for quite a long time – both through books and to physically visit, if I could. The idea came to me back in middle school: what if a city existed where class stratification was something physical? The upper class would literally be at the top, while the impoverished lived at the very bottom?

I saw quickly that the idea was not a new one. Many science fiction authors tackled this idea, some even through single buildings rather than cities. But I could not shake the urge to write about this city. I decided to explore it in my first draft of Alienation (2010), letting Sally Webber lead the way through this alien world.

The city is made up of massive blocks and avenues, covering the entire surface of the planet, housing billions of people. The building are so tall, no sunlight will ever reach the bottom. The higher up you live, the more sunlight you actually see. The very affluent, those with mansions at the top of the blocks, such as the Travoshelli (the ruling family of Da-Duhui) and their peers get a full day of sun.

While the government claims to be an election based democracy, with a Mayor running the city-planet, this is not the actual case. You have to own property to allowed to run for office, which, since most of the planet is owned by the very rich who then rent the blocks out, means that only the very upper echelons can be elected. The power has been in the hands of the Travoshelli for a few decades, but it is passed around among their peers without any contempt.  “Mayor” is only a title, after all.

Most of the planet’s population live in a contented middle. All echelons are accessible if you have the money, which means easy class mobility. With thousands of neighborhoods, it’s easy to see how the city is very different from one side of the planet to the next: yet, as a diverse melting pot of alien cultures from other worlds, these differences seem small. Da-Duhui is seen as a vibrant city by the rest of the Alliance, and boasts being the real cultural capital of the system.

It is with the Undercity that we see the main social issues of Da-Duhui. Completely cut off from the rest of the city, it is inhabited by the Downdwellers: a combination both of the Theosians, the original race inhabiting the planet before joining the Alliance, and of people who fell out of their hovercars and survived the fall. The majority of the city either doesn’t know about them, or prefers to not think about them.

The Downdwellers live in complete darkness, but the Theosians are elemental beings, able to create light – and even fire – at will. However, they are a peaceful race, and do not use this ability to reclaim the planet. They prefer to find a peaceful way to reunify: perhaps believing that the Overcity is choosing to ignore them, rather than have completely forgotten their existence.

During Sally’s trip on Da-Duhui, she has to navigate the complicated stratified structure of this world, and get physical upward mobility in order to find Zander and Blayde, and get back home. During her time there, she gets roped into helping the Downdweller cause, joining the mob, and even crashing a semi-royal gala.  While her conscience pushes her to try and solve the issues before her, the problems are much bigger than what one person can solve. Can she do some good in a world she can’t understand?

PIZZA

Follow this exciting blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map.
There’s something new to read see or hear on each of these stops.
Don’t forget to hunt for that special word and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag. This contest is open internationally.

Now hop onto your spacecraft and visit the next blog.

11th October – Karen’s Book Buzz

Posted in Book blitz, fiction, sci-fi, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Review: Curse Breaker by Audrey Grey

About the book:

The mortal kingdoms are falling. An ancient Curse creeps closer. From the shadows, a dark Queen watches, waiting to mobilize her army. And the fate of the realm rests in the hands of one rebellious mortal girl . . .

The Curse ravaging the north seems a faraway menace for seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood, until her best friend, prince Bellamy Boteler, is claimed by the Shade Queen for his magick. Thrust into a horrifying new world where monsters roam, dark magick rules, and the Shade Queen watches all, Haven must partner with the arrogant Archeron Halfbane and his band of renegade immortals to break the Curse and save Bell.

As she descends deeper into the Shade Queen’s shadowy domain, and newfound dark magick stirs in her veins, she struggles with her growing attraction to a Sun Lord whose secrets outnumber her own.

Monster, betrayals, death, and unforeseen love await, but one thing is certain: If Haven doesn’t break the Curse, Bell will perish, and her world will plunge into darkness.
If you love strong heroines like Celaena Sardothien, venture into the dark and magickal world of CURSE BREAKER, the epic fantasy readers are comparing to A Court of Mist and Fury and Falling Kingdoms.

 

Click to grab a copy in the Shattered Worlds collection.

Review by Katy Haye:

I was looking forward to reaching Curse Breaker in the Shattered Worlds collection, and my anticipation was amply rewarded. Audrey Grey has created a fabulous world , full of dark and light magic.

Haven was an excellent heroine, kickass, skilled and ferociously loyal. I loved the relationships between Haven and her friends, old and new. And I simply adored the hints of Beauty and the Beast in Bellamy’s story.

The tale romped along at a great pace, and the writing was effortless to read. I was reminded of Michelle Madow’s Elemental series for plain and simple page-turning ability. I kept wanting to stop and do something else, but then I just HAD to read on to find out what happened to the characters.

And I don’t normally regurgitate phrases, but I thought this was absolutely beautiful: “We all love something beyond reason or comprehension.”  Ah, be still my beating heart!

If you like fantasy, you really should read this (psst, I thought Curse Breaker was way more satisfying than anything written by Sarah J Maas).

Audrey Grey and Curse Breaker feature on the Shattered Worlds Facebook read-along starting today! Hurry along for chat, games and the chance to win booky prizes.

Posted in fantasy, fiction, friendship, magic, review, Romance, supernatural, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Premonition by Leigh Walker

About the book:

When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…

Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it.

The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…

Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run.

Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…

She was made for it.

 

Click to start reading

Review by Katy Haye:

I’m slightly surprised I liked Premonition so much because NOTHING happened. That’s a wild exaggeration, of course, but there were an awful lot of secrets and it didn’t feel like a lot of answers were forthcoming.

So, given my desire for pace and stuff to be thrown at me at a rapid rate, what kept me glued to Premonition? Well, the characters were fabulous. A secret school/class for children gifted in one way or another is a well-worn YA trope, but it was done really well by Leigh Walker. The team mates all had their roles (in the team and in the narrative) but they were all well-fleshed-out individuals, too. I could imagine sitting and sharing a pizza with any one of them. The attraction between hero and heroine was also beautifully depicted. Instant OMG attraction is another YA favourite, but it was done with humour that made it a pleasure to read. And the progression from hormonal attraction to more genuine feelings was well drawn.

Overall, maybe the pace was a little slow and information was fed to the reader a little too sparingly for my liking, but this was a solid hit.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Try steampunk short, The Replacement Princess, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England, for free.

Posted in contemporary, dystopian, families, fiction, review, sci-fi, teen, YA, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments