Blog Tour: Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron

Blog Tour: Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron

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Series:
Kingdom of Souls #1
Release Date: September 3rd 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC of this through Netgalley
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Review

Copy of book cover (67)Kingdom of Souls follows Arrah, the daughter of two incredibly powerful witch doctors. She has a lot to live up to, and things are made worse by the fact that she doesn’t seem to be able to use magic at all. As she returns to the Kingdom she hears that children have been mysteriously vanishing and when she uncovers the reason why she discovers she might have to pay the ultimate price to stop an ancient evil being released.

I’ve really been loving dark, addictive fantasy books so this sounded right up my street. I was hooked straight away and this book ended up being a whole lot darker and grittier than I was expecting. It’s full to the brim with magic, sacrifice, demons and power. It does also contain quite a few trigger warnings, so please bear that in mind before reading.

The story is quite a complex one, there are quite a lot of characters and at times I found myself getting a bit lost with who was who. Our main protagonist Arrah is brilliant though, I really liked her perspective and she undergoes lots of character development as she goes from being a young girl desperate for magic to trying to stop the demon king at any cost.

The world building is also fascinating, the author has steeped the whole world in magic and lore and there’s so much detail surrounding the magic system, the gods and the demons. I really love when stories really built an in depth world and it really felt easy to fall into the world of Kingdom of Souls.

I really enjoyed the story in this one, it was gripping and engaging. I think this book would have been a five stars for me but I just felt the pacing was a little off in the second half of the book, losing its edge a little toward the end. Despite that I still thoroughly enjoyed Kingdom of Souls – it’s a dark, vivid tale of family, magic and sacrifice and it’s definitely worth checking out and I’m so looking forward to book two!
4 stars

Blog Tour: We Are the Dead – Mike Shackle

Blog Tour: We Are the Dead – Mike Shackle

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-08-17T172418.633Release Date: August 8th 2019
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 488
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

The war is over. The enemy won. Now it’s time to fight back.

For generations, the people of Jia – a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals – have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, but their enemy has not been idle. They have rediscovered magic and use it to launch an overwhelming surprise attack. An invasion has begun.

And in moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the warriors are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.

Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands.

A brand new epic fantasy: gritty and modern featuring a unique ensemble of characters who will lead a revolution against their overlords.

Review

Copy of book cover (44)I must admit what drew me to this book was that eye catching cover, but after just a few pages I knew I was going to completely fall in love with this dark and engrossing tale. This brand new fantasy, set in a vivid world full of magic and fighting was everything I wanted and more.

Jia is a fascinating place, one that has been completely torn apart my magic and war. I loved the tense atmosphere, you could feel the fear and misery that surrounded the characters and it added another brilliant layer. The world building was incredibly well done and the setting practically leapt off the page. I found it so easy to get engrossed in the story, it was well plotted and excellently paced.

We Are the Dead is an excellently told story, I really enjoyed Shackle’s writing style and the characters were well developed. The story is told from multiple POVs, giving you the opportunity to see things from different perspectives. Each one was really fascinating and brought something interesting to the story.

It really is a dark tale, and there are plenty of brutal and gory moments throughout the book. I found the story so gripping and at times I struggled to put the book down. We Are the Dead is a brilliant fantasy tale, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Mike Shackle.
5 stars
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Blog Tour: Wanderers – Chuck Wendig

Blog Tour: Wanderers – Chuck Wendig

Release Date: July 11th 2019
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 800
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was sent a copy for this book by Tracy @ Compulsive Readers
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

Review

I have always wanted to read a book by Chuck Wendig and I was so excited when I got an email about The Wanderers. The book is absolutely massive but honestly I think this is the quickest I’ve ever read an 800 page book. It was exciting, intense and everything I wanted and more.

The story follows a young girl who wakes up one morning and discovers her sister, vacant eyed and unresponsive but somehow still walking. She is soon joined by other ‘sleepwalkers’ and the strange disease spreads the cast of characters attempt to work out exactly what’s causing the sleepwalking.

This might be my first Chuck Wendig book, but it is definitely not my last. I got completely hooked on this story, it was fast paced and so addictive. I really liked the writing style and I’m absolutely planning to order Chuck Wendig’s back catalogue.

I really liked the characters in this story – Shana the daughter who has always lived in her sisters shadow, but is still desperate to protect her. She was really fascinating and I found her a really likeable main character. There’s a really vivid and interesting mix of characters and I really enjoyed the disgraced CDC doctor trying to find redemption storyline. I really appreciated that the book was on the longer side, it really gave you the chance to get to know the characters.

If you’re looking for a fresh take on the mysterious disease sweeping the nation story, this is absolutely one to pick up. It’s an exhilarating ride and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Blog Tour: Soul of the Sword – Julie Kagawa

Blog Tour: Soul of the Sword – Julie Kagawa

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Series:
Shadow of the Fox #2
Release Date: June 25th 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Review

41733208Soul of the Sword is the second instalment in Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox series. This quick, action packed adventure was one of my favourites of last year so I was so excited to return to this world. What I got was even more action, even more gripping plot and of course the characters that I love.

The setting for this story is just so beautiful and it really comes to life in Julie Kagawa’s writing. The vibrant world leapt off the page, and I loved every second of being in that world. The plot is very much a journey as the characters continue on their quest and I really enjoyed seeing the different places they ended up. Soul of the Sword is incredibly quick paced, and definitely has that anime-adventure feel to it.

The story is told in alternating POVs between quite a few different characters, and I really liked getting to see things from these different perspectives. Yumeko is absolutely my favourite character, she’s so sweet and lovely and I loved her take on the world. There’s lots of fun banter between the characters, which split up the action nicely too.

This second book is everything you could want. The plot went places I absolutely didn’t expect and the last few chapters had me racing through to find out how it was going to end. I am now absolutely desperate to read book three and I can’t wait to see where Kagawa takes this brilliant story next.
4 stars

Blog Tour: My Secret Lies With You – Faye Bird

Blog Tour: My Secret Lies With You – Faye Bird

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Synopsis
Three close friends. Two unforgettable summers. One girl’s darkest secret.

Alys appeared last summer, and then she vanished without a trace. Cait’s new in town and she needs to know the truth: Who is Alys?
“A tantalizing story of summer, secrets and deep unease” – Sue Wallman, author of Lying About Last Summer.

Guest Post: My Favourite Mysteries

This film, based on Stephen King’s Novella The Body, has a very special place in my heart. Four twelve-year old boys go in search of missing boy Ray Brower. There’s a rumour that he is dead and that his body is lying somewhere outside of town. The boys want to find it. They set off together. They walk and they talk. And as they do they share the biggest and the smallest things of their lives so far in small town Oregon,1959.

Conversations range from survivor guilt over the death of a sibling through to a discussion about who, in a fight between Mighty Mouse and Superman, would win. It’s Superman, by the way. “No way can a cartoon beat up a real guy.” There’s a whole heap of other serious, funny, moving, brilliant, painful conversation in between. The boys encounter danger – a man in a junkyard, leeches in a swamp, and there is the classic moment as they walk along the railway line over a bridge that is a real heart-in-your-mouth-gasp-scream-at-the-screenmoment because by this point in the film you love these boys like they are your brothers or your sons. Well, I did anyway. I still do.

This film was made in 1986 and is definitely one of the main influences that the scriptwriters of Stranger Things the Duffer Brothers, drew on when they created the characters of Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas. In fact if you haven’t watched this film already then do, and look again at episode 4 of Season 1 of Stranger Things. I’m a huge fan of Stranger Things in part because it draws on so many of the iconic movies of my own 80’s childhood. ET, Poltergeist, Alien and Firestarter immediately come to mind, but there are references that reach far wider, small details or scenes that tip their hat to Indiana Jones (literally – see Hopper) and The Breakfast Club (see Steve and Nancy) and even extend to Karate Kid.

But what I particularly love is that I can watch the show with my teenage daughter who is as hooked as I am despite the fact that she sees none of these 80’s throwbacks and references.

Genius Duffer Brothers! I can’t wait for Season 3. And if you ever ask me if I want to sit down and watch Stand By Me again, I’ll say yes. Always yes. It’s a powerful story about friendship and coming of age and it’s brilliance, for me, never wanes.

Massive thank you to Faye for her wonderful guest post and be sure to check out all the other blog stops for more mysteries. Check back tomorrow for a full review of the gripping My Secret Lies With You!

Blog Tour: Nexus – Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

Blog Tour: Nexus – Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

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Series:
The Androma Saga #2
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 544
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive ruthlessly hunted across the Mirabel Galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy through a mind-control toxin and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary.

Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to find a cure. Stranded with her unlikely ally, Dex, on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, their plan to infiltrate a black-market city proves dangerously irresistible.

Back in Arcardius, Nor’s actions have opened Mirabel to invasion. As Andi’s crew fights to regain their freedom, Andi and Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before.

Only by saving their mortal enemy can the crew of the Marauder make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy—unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

Q&A

 1. For those that haven’t read Zenith, can you sum it up in three words?

L: fearless space pirates 🙂

S: Blood. Friendship. SPACE!

2. What is the process like for writing the books – do each of you focus on particular characters or do you collaborate on everything?

L: This was a very collaborative duology, where we both worked together on FaceTime and Google Docs, so we could do a lot of the plotting together, (and laughing a lot), and then kind of alternating throughout each POV as we went.

S: For Zenith we wrote on top of each others writing, so we each worked on every character together. Meanwhile for Nexus, we each took a few characters each and wrote 4-5 chapters from each POV then would switch with each other. Both ways worked for us!

3. How did working on Nexus compare to working on Zenith?

L: ZENITH was done in 6 weeks, whereas NEXUS had over a year of time to work on! Second books are difficult, so we’re grateful for that extended time to get the book to where it needed to be!

S: It felt very different because as an author, you cannot expect all books to be done the same way as the last. It was tricky finding that happy medium. We had less time to write Zenith but Nexus almost felt like a (good) upward battle. We learned a lot…and deleted a lot.

4. What was the inspiration behind the story?

L: we just wanted to write a series about friendship, specifically female friendships that don’t turn sour. Our own friendship helped spark the idea!!

S: Friendship and our love for space. We wanted to create a book where girls could be friends without turning against each other. We also just wanted to have an epic space opera with a diverse cast of characters like they do on Firefly and Star Wars.

5. Now that Nexus is about to be released, what are you working on next?

L: I have an upcoming book (stay tuned on info for that!!) full of outlaw girls and alien horses, dark magic and mayhem.

S: Im working on an urban folklore fantasy novel called Project Red (no the official title). You can follow my progress on it over on its IG page: @Projectredbook 🙂

6. Finally can you recommend us a good book you read recently?

L: I’m really loving Maureen Johnson’s TRULY DEVIOUS series. It’s a great mystery!

S: THE CHOSEN by Taran Matharu! So. Good. Its about a group of kids who suddenly disappear, just to be transported to another world and from there, things get really EPIC. It has lost history, dinosaurs, an *amazing* cast of characters and an ancient, unknown evil who is playing puppeteer.

Massive thank you to Lindsay and Sasha for participating in this Q&A and make sure to check out the other stops on the tour!
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Blog Tour: King of Fools – Amanda Foody Q&A

Blog Tour: King of Fools – Amanda Foody Q&A

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Series:
The Shadow Game #2
Release Date: May 2nd 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 602
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

book cover (44)Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Interview

1. For those that haven’t had the chance to read Ace of Shades yet, what three words would you use to describe it?

Casinos. Magic. Gangsters.

2. Ace of Shades was such a hit with fans, how did it feel writing the second book?

I wrote the first draft of it before Ace of Shades released, so I was really just writing it for me–all the story elements I wanted to explore, all the ways I hoped to see these characters grow. The hardest part was wanting to blab about all the new characters and new things that happen when readers were still experiencing the first book for the first time. I’ve felt more of that pressure in writing the third book. I know there are characters readers really want to see survive or end up together, but whatever happens, I hope it still lives up to their expectations.

3. What was the process like for writing King of Fools – was it different to Ace of Shades?

Very! I originally wrote Ace of Shades in high school, and it was rewritten over and over again throughout a span of five years. King of Fools was drafted in two months. I wrote King of Fools as a more experienced writer, and as a book that was already contracted for publication. There was less time, fewer readers, and set deadlines. Still a deeply rewarding experience, though!

4. What was the inspiration for the magic system in the series?

My initial idea was magic as currency, but I still wanted to create the sort of world where people had powers. Thus the currency had to come from one of those powers–the power that the world valued the most. That was how I created the backstory for this world, the Mizers, the Revolution, everything.

5. The cover designs for all of your books are beautiful, did you have much input into their designs and what was your reaction when you saw them?

I had the most input on the King of Fools cover. I think this was because there were a lot of delays on the manuscript’s editorial process, which meant my design team needed to put together a cover without actually knowing what was in the book, so I got to be the authority. I suggested the color and the stripes, mainly. And I wrote the tagline. Kathleen Oudit at Inkyard made it all come together.

6. Now that King of Fools is about to be released what are you working on next?

The final book in The Shadow Game series, Book 3, which releases Fall 2020. I’m also thinking a lot about what comes after–I have a lot of ideas.

7. Finally could you recommend us a good book you read recently?

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman–a creepy woods aesthetic, lovable and memorable characters… and a book happened to be written by my best friend. 10/10 would recommend.

Thank you so much to Amanda Foody for answering my questions and be sure to check the other stops on the tour!

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