Title & Series: A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Author: Jessica Cluess
Release date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
Read an EXCERPT
Henrietta can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.
Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
NOTE: This review is based on a finished copy of the book received from Blogging for Books. A kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.
A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING is an instantly captivating, utterly enchanting, lightning-fast and unputdownable read. It is filled with delightful, interesting and creepy characters, exciting and deadly battles, dark and light sorcery, secrets, deception and betrayal. It introduces a main character who is strong, determined, loyal and kind-hearted, with amazing abilities, and with dangerous secrets to protect. And it promises to keep readers riveted with incredible writing, intriguing world-building, thrilling magic, a touch of romance, and the anticipation of what is still to come.
In a world where magic is outlawed, having the ability to create fire is dangerous and not being able to keep it hidden could mean death. But with an ability that is hard to control when angry or upset, Henrietta Howel knows she won’t be able to keep her secret for long. Not when everything the headmaster does causes her hands to burst into flames.
And when her secret is revealed at last, she thought she’d be taken to London to be imprisoned or executed. She never imagined that it would be to train with other sorcerers, that she was a sorcerer, that she could be the prophesied one. Or that she could be something else.
With the Ancients wreaking havoc and getting closer than ever before to defeating the sorcerers and with even more more to lose, Henrietta will have to find a way to master her ability, learn to harness all sorcerer powers, and keep all of her secrets from coming to light. A near insurmountable feat at best, but with threats from within and without, her attempt to succeed may just be futile.
Jessica Cluess spun a tale that will make readers fall in love with her characters, their abilities, their world. She created the perfect blend of action, suspense and spellbinding magic. She delivered frightening and gruesome enemies, charming and mysterious sorcerers, along with moments of humor, horror and adorableness, making A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING an absolute must read.
Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.
Title & Series: DAY ZERO (The Arcana Chronicles #3.5)
Author: Kresley Cole
Release date: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Valkyrie Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Arcana means secrets, and these Arcana Chronicles short stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole are filled with them. Experience firsthand the beginning of the end and behold the apocalypse through the eyes of characters you only thought you knew.
Ashes to ashes . . .
Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game–like Death, Jack, and Fortune–must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams.
We all fall down.
Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .
Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
If the wait for the next installment in Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles has been killing you, DAY ZERO is guaranteed to help ease the pain. With Arcana Rising’s release still two weeks away, this companion novel will bring you back into the world, give you heretofore unseen peeks at the characters you adore, detest, or are intrigued by, introduce you to characters you haven’t yet gotten the chance to know, and tease of things still to come in this deadly game they’re playing.
DAY ZERO is not a “take it or leave it” tease of a story. It offers real insight into the game and its players. It expands the world. It’s substantive enough to make you feel invested in the characters’ outcomes. It is every bit as riveting as the full-length novels. And it leaves you just as eager for more.
If you have not yet read the other novels in this series it is not recommended that you read this book, as it does contain major spoilers that are better discovered in context.
If you’re not typically a fan of companion novels, set any hesitation you may have aside. You should definitely read this book. It’s awesome and amazing. It’s not some random plot outside of the main storyline with characters you may or may not be interested in. It involves the main characters, at a pivotal point in the story. It introduces other key characters who either have or will play a major role. And it teases the start to the next book in the series.
Plus, as is always to be expected from Kresley Cole, there is fantastic writing that will make you want to immediately restart the series from the beginning with the information you now know. It will also make you wish you could read even more from the points of view of the characters whose Day Zero experiences she shared.
Whether you’re hoping the game will end without a victor, or you have chosen who you think you want to win, reading DAY ZERO might just change your mind. So, if you are invested in the outcome of the series and its characters, discovering what this novel reveals is an absolute must.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
Title & Series: ARCANA RISING (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
Author: Kresley Cole
Release date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: Valkyrie Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole.
When the battle is done . . .
The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.
And all hope is lost . . .
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.
Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?
If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of ONE PARIS SUMMER by Denise Grover Swank, scroll down to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy. It’s a sweet and romantic and delightful and super quick summer read and one that should definitely make your summer TBR piles!
Read on for more information about the book and author and don’t forget to enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Title: ONE PARIS SUMMER
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Release date: June 7, 2016
Formats: Paperback, audio, eBook
Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.
Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.
Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
Must be 13 or older to enter. There will be ONE winner. Prizing courtesy of, and sent by, the publicity agency. Giveaway is US/Canada.
Enter in the Rafflecopter…
Welcome to the fifth stop on THE SLEEPING PRINCE Blog Tour. If you haven’t yet discovered this series by Author Melinda Salisbury you are seriously missing out. The books are dark and captivating, combining fairytale and folklore into something truly wonderful and magical and memorable.
The introductions tease the promise of the awesomeness to come and the endings just tease. If you don’t believe me, simply check out the first of the author’s favorite quotes and passages. And if you want to be teased a bit more, read numbers two through five.
While THE SLEEPING PRINCE is the second book in this series, you don’t have to read book one to fall in love. Of course if you want to be in the know while reading, and be more familiar with the world and a few of its players, you should definitely dive into THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER first.
This is not just a series with amazing covers. The stories are quite fantastic. And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of this second book in the series scroll down and enter in the Rafflecopter.
If you’d like to know more about the books and the author, some information is below. You can also visit the other stops on the tour for a few reviews, interviews and guest posts.
THE SLEEPING PRINCE comes out on May 31st, so now’s the perfect time to add it to your TBR pile and to pre-order your copy!
Title & Series: THE SLEEPING PRINCE (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Release date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
The opening few paragraphs are some of my favourite work I’ve ever written. They set the tone for the whole book:
The night guard on the East Gate reached to scratch the sudden sharp itch at his throat. As his legs gave way beneath him and he crumpled, he saw his fingers, slick with blood, black in the dim glow from the lamp that lit the gate. He was dead before he hit the ground.
The golem stepped over his body.
The second guard turned, lips parted to scream, or swear, or beg, his sword rising to meet the creature, but too late. A silver flash through the air and the guard collapsed, his blood mingling with that of his colleague.
The lumpen, blank space where the golem’s face ought to be was tilted towards the sky, as though sniffing or listening. It passed through the gate, its misshapen head knocking the lamp, sending it swinging, casting nightmarish shadows over the thick stone wall of the East Gate. As the oil spilled and smoked, and the flame guttered, the golem stepped a trail of bloody footsteps through the gate and into the slumbering royal town of Lortune, dragging a club as long as itself in one hand, a large double-headed axe in the other.
Moments later a second golem followed, an axe and club of its own clutched in its twisted hands. Its weapons had yet to be christened.
The two creatures moved forward, slowly but steadily, their gait rocking and lilting, the motion more reminiscent of ships on the ocean than anything that moved on land.
The Sleeping Prince followed them.
As for the rest, presented without comment or context are my favourite non-spoilery lines from the book:
“Mysterious boys are not as enjoyable in reality as they are in stories.”
“How do I tell her?” he said. “How do I tell her he’s gone?”
My eyes narrow. I don’t believe him, and my left eyebrow creeps up to let him know it.
“You wouldn’t understand my reasons,” he roars, his face turning purple. “You don’t understand anything, you stupid girl. I was kind to you. I looked out for you. I would have taken care of you. But no. I’m not good enough for you. Little miss high and mighty from Tremayne.” His head tilts as he examines me and my jaw tightens in anger. “Look at you,” he continues. “You’re not even that pretty.”
“If you lay a hand on me—”
“Ha!” He cuts me off with a bark of laughter. “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. Not now. Not now I know you’re soiled goods.”
“Needs more salt.” He smiles.
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @AHintofMystery, though be warned, she tweets often.
Title & Series: THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1)
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Release date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook
A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy.
Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.
As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?
There is a tour-wide giveaway for…
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
5.23.16 | Dark Faerie Tales – Interview
5.24.16 | Addicted Readers – Spotlight
5.25.16 | Two Chicks on Books – Interview
5.26.16 | Once Upon a Twilight – Review
5.27.16 | Fiktshun – Guest Post
5.30.16 | My Friends Are Fiction – Review
5.31.16 | Adventures of a Book Junkie – Guest Post
6.1.16 | The Broke and the Bookish – Review
6.2.16 | Fiction Fare – Interview
6.3.16 | Mundie Moms – Review
If you’re in the Los Angeles area this weekend, be sure to stop by Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon to attend Author Tobie Easton‘s Book Launch Party for EMERGE.
Details about the event, author and book follow below.
When: Sunday, May 22nd @ 3PM
Where: Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101
Title: EMERGE (Mer Chronicles #1)
Author: Tobie Easton
Release date: April 19, 2016 (HC release date July 8th)
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Formats: Paperback, hardcover, eBook
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia’s entire community at risk.
So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right? That is, until Lia finds out she isn’t the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with him, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.
Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens (so she’s lucky enough to spend her days gabbing about books).
She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Tobie loves chocolate chip cookies and Oxford commas. Tobie is a member of SCBWI and YARWA, the Young Adult chapter of RWA.