Blog Tour: Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer – Melanie Card

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Series: Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer – Book One
Release Date: August 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 306
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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Synopsis
Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

Review

Hello and welcome to the blog tour for the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series, run by the lovely YA Bound Book Tours. This is a three part series, kicked off by Ward Against Death. In this opening book we meet Ward, a young man with powers to bring people back from the dead. From the outset I really liked him, he was an interesting character to follow and the idea of him having these abilities really fascinated me. He’s very honourable, doing the right thing and up for pretty much anything. The other protagonist is Celia Carlyle, who while was not my favourite character had an interesting dynamic with Ward and allowed for some pretty interesting dialogue. She’s a very kick-ass character, and I know plenty of readers will love her.

The story is very well written, and is excellently paced. The reader is never bored, but the world building and explanations of events aren’t rushed through either. I liked the mystery elements, trying to figure out who killed Celia, as well as unravel all the secrets. There are a lot of different characters and laws at play in the story, and although that can sometimes get confusing I enjoyed that aspect because for me it made the story easier to immerse myself in. After I got the hang of the different titles – like Innecroestri, Dominus etc – I flew through the book, enjoying all the different aspects coming together.

The one thing I wasn’t too keen on in Ward Against Death was the romantic elements in the story. While I wasn’t all that fond of Celia, I felt the romance between the two was a bit lacking. Most of the time they act like they hate each other, and at times it was a little frustrating. That however doesn’t get in the way of a really great story with lots of magic and mystery. If you’re looking for a new character to love and a new series to be completely addicted to, Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer is definitely one you should read.

That concludes my stop on the Reluctant Necromancer tour, be sure to stop by for my reviews of books two and three, and check out the other stops on the tour!

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Blog Tour: The Hypnotist – Gordon Snider

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Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: Helm Publishing
Pages: 324
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

San Francisco’s golden age with a dark and exciting twist.

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Synopsis:

In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. But there are darker sides to the city as well. One of these darker places is The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.

Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who hypnotizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels. Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, disappears, Marta realizes she has been taken by the evil man who confronted her. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, one of San Francisco’s most prominent citizens. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them. This is confirmed when Marta discovers Byron having an intimate conversation with Lillie Collins, the daughter of one of the city’s most elite families. Marta is flushed with jealousy.

However, Lillie defies social customs, and her rebellious nature fits naturally with Marta’s. Despite her envy, the two women become close friends. Marta is caught up in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens and brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm. For lurking in the background is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man’s hypnotic embrace? Then the earth moves, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Review:

Welcome to the tour for The Hypnotist, run by the lovely TLC Book Tours. This book intrigued me right from the start, I don’t know if it was the striking cover or the idea of the darker side of 1906 San Francisco, but I knew I had to get my paws on this book, and you definitely should too, because it’s a really interesting and enjoyable read.

The thing that I liked most about The Hypnotist has got to be the setting. The fantastic detail that Gordon puts into the story really makes it come alive. There’s a great variation between the poor and the opulent parts of town and they really were fantastically depicted.

There’s also a great mix of characters featured in the book. Not just the main ones, but the secondary characters too are well written and interesting. I would maybe have liked to see more depth around The Hypnotist himself, but that doesn’t pull away from the overall story.

The one thing I wasn’t too keen on was the romance aspects of the novel. While I enjoy having a little romance in a crime/historical fiction novel, I felt a little too much importance was placed on the romance rather than the crimes going on. This may please other readers, but for me it was just distracting.

This is a really great read, it’s got great characters, a great story and a fantastic setting. It also concludes with a twist I didn’t see coming, which makes it all the more enjoyable. If you’re looking for a well-crafted piece of historical fiction, look no further.

Book Review: Silent Orchids – Morgan Wylie

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Series: The Age of Alandria – Book One
Release Date: 2013
Publisher: American Majestic Entertainment
Pages: 238
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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An ancient evil has been unleashed in this dark and exciting high fantasy.

The realm of Alandria is in great danger. Daegan, one of the elite warrior fairies, has been charged with the responsibility of finding the Sol-lumieth, a mysterious power that will restore hope and safety to the people of Alandria. Though Daegan carries out this mission, he does not trust those he serves, and fears the result this Sol-lumieth will bring.

Kaeleigh is a young girl just turned eighteen, abandoned as a child in Montana. Now as she reaches adulthood she is desperately trying to find out where she belongs. Having know idea who her family is, she embarks on a journey to discover her past, but she might not like what she uncovers.

I really loved the premise of this book. Alandria felt like a Middle Earth setting, with fairies and other creatures thrown into the mix. The idea of a mysterious power that would save the dying realm intrigued me, and definitely kept me wanting to know more. I preferred the Daegan elements of the story more than Kaeleigh’s, but it was interesting to see how they weaved together. The abandoned at childhood with an unknown past felt a little predictable, but it was still executed well.

The first half of the book felt a little slow, but it definitely picked up in the middle chapters. Kaeleigh’s character is a really interesting one. Everyone pins so many ideals on her and she is not what everyone expects her to be. I also really liked her two best friends, Finn and Chel. The three made for an interesting dynamic and I enjoyed their musketeer like adventure.

The story features a wide array of creatures, not just elves and fairies but shifters and many others in between. I felt that it was a bit of a unique take on the high fantasy story, as it can get a little played out, but there was plenty of action and lots of interesting dialogue. Sometimes the writing style felt a little rigid, but it didn’t detract from the story too much.

Wylie has definitely paid attention to all the little things in this novel, and as a reader that is always something I appreciate. From maps to glossaries, the world is very easy to immerse yourself in, and that detail just makes it that much more realistic. If you’re a fan of high fantasy, this is definitely a series to watch out for.

Book Review: Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness and Faith

24814110Release Date: May 10th 2015
Publisher: Gobreau Press Ltd
Pages: 140
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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A scrappy young girl with a typewriter, tells all about life in the 1970s.

Sandy Drue is ten years old. When she finds a typewriter in her father’s office she begins churning out pages and pages about her life and what it means to be a young girl in America at this time. Filled with scattered stories and adventures, the novel takes us through the turmoil’s of America – the Watergate Scandal, economic fragility to name but a few – as well as the turmoil’s of growing up.

This is a really interesting novel, and is pretty much completely different from anything I have ever read before. The book is almost like a series of short stories, except they all focus on one little girl and her life. As the title suggests there are stories about racing, about dares and danger as well as family, politics, education and pretty much everything in between.

I found this a really enjoyable read, it really showcases what it is to grow up in 1970s America, I imagine if you were born in that time period, this book would be extra special to you. Although I was born twenty odd years later, I still see a lot of similarities to my upbringing, and that definitely brought a smile to my face. One thing about Mailbox is that it is full of emotion, one story might make you laugh out loud, while the next will bring you to tears.

This is not the sort of book that I read often. Predominantly my interests lie in the fantasy genre, but it was nice just to read a book about real life, and characters that are extraordinary, but not because they have magical powers or abilities.The book is incredibly well written, and it’s so interesting to see the subtle little conversations that ultimately shape Sandy into the adult she is.

As a character I absolutely loved Sandy, she always questions things, she’s inquisitive and intelligent, and she makes the same blunders we all do growing up. It was a pleasure to be inside her head and see things from her perspective. Mailbox is a very powerful read, and one that I think stays with you even after you’ve finished reading it. If you’re looking for a break from the swords and magic, Mailbox might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Blog Tour: Dream of Me – Quinn Loftis

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Series: Dream Maker – Book One
Release Date: February 28th 2015
Publisher: Smashwords
Pages: 319.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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Meet the sandman, but not as you know him…

““Dream of me, Princess,” Dair whispered into her ear. 
“Then weave me a dream, Sandman,” she said softly. “And we can dream together.” 
As her eyes grew heavy, she heard Dair’s voice telling her to sleep, to open her mind to him and let him in. I’m all yours, she thought as sleep finally claimed her.”

Brudair is the sandman, every night he does his job with precision and ease. Though humanity has heard of him, is job is not merely to provide children with good dreams. He influences all kinds of people, weaving subtle suggestions into the dreams of people with important roles in the world. All these jobs are meted out to him by the creator. His latest assignment is to influence the dreams of a young graduate named Serenity, but Brudair struggles for the first time in centuries, beautiful and loved by many, Brudair struggles to influence her dreams. Serenity has thought of nothing but leaving the small town she has lived in all her life, but her dreams are telling her to stay. Will she go with her gut or will the dreams she keeps having win out? Then there are the feelings Dair has started to have, can he really walk away from this beautiful girl once his assignment is finished?

Welcome to the Dream of Me blog tour, run by the lovely YA Bound Book Tours. This was a really interesting little story! I’ve always found the story of the sandman pretty intriguing, and this was a very unique spin on it. A complete flip from the likes of Neil Gaiman. I loved the idea of the sandman influencing adults, working for God. Dair was such a fascinating character, his longing to have people around him, to be able to have relationships and talk to people after spending centuries in the shadows. I liked Serenity less, she was still an interesting character, but I felt Dair was a bit more fleshed out and realistic.

The book is a Christian one, and there are lots of biblical references, I know that won’t be for everyone but I found it added an interesting dimension to the story. The story is well put together and flows nicely. It also ticks along at a good pace. There’s lots of exciting dialogue and it a really enjoyable story to read. There are a bunch of secondary characters that also tie in well and make for a pretty varied ensemble. If you’re a fan of mythology or the sandman tale then this is definitely one for you!

There are plenty of romantic and emotional parts of the story to tug on your heart strings. It’s a great read and I’m looking forward to the next in the story to see how the relationship develops. This was my first Quinn Loftis book, but I hear many great things about her Grey Wolves series which you can check out here! Thank you for stopping by and make sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour!

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Book Review: Orlando – Virginia Woolf

18839Release Date: October 2010
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 273.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon. 

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‘The longest and most charming love letter in literature.’

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is the well known story an English Nobleman who works for the Queen in Elizabethan times. He has his heart broken by a Russian princess, and so he decides to leave the country. He becomes an ambassador for England in the city of Constantinople. During a fight in Constantinople, Orlando falls into a deep sleep, awakening days later as a woman. The novel then returns to England, where Orlando must take her place as an English woman in 19th century society.

I’m not entirely sure this book was for me. The more I reflect on reading it, the more I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed it. I have only read one other book by Virginia Woolf and that was Mrs Dalloway, and that too gives me that same sense of “what did I just read?” I guess my feelings are partly due to Woolf’s stream of consciousness style. It’s very quick and I sometimes felt lost, like I was reading pages and pages and wasn’t entirely sure what the point was. I put this book down so many times and it took me a good while to finish it.

That being said, I still think Orlando is a pretty interesting work, and I much prefer it to Mrs Dalloway. Orlando has a lot to say about women and the way women are treated. The story is written as a love letter to Vita Sackville-West, a woman Virginia Woolf had an affair with. It shows the passion of the Elizabethan age as well as both resenting and craving the idea of love.

It is written in a very experimental style, it has a biographical feel to it, and I liked the elements in which the narrator stepped in to say a few words. It was full of wit and humour, as well as telling a very tender love story. It has very beautiful writing and imagery, but I still found it a very strange book to read.

There is also a rather interesting film adaptation with Tilda Swinton, and I have to say it does a pretty great job of converting the book to the screen. While this book may not have been entirely for me, I think it’s a really important piece of literature. It discusses a lot about writing and why people choose to write, and overall is an immensely influential piece of writing.

Looking for something similar? Try: Wise Children or The Longest Journey.

Book Review: Delilah Dusticle – A. J. York


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Delilah Dusticle – Book One
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: June 1st 2014
Pages: 96.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon. 

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Can Delilah Dusticle come and clean my house please?

Delilah is a maid in the service of the Fenchurch-Whittingtons. She is a whizz at cleaning dust, and Mrs Fenchurch-Whittington is the envy of all the women at the Ladies Club for having such a fantastic maid. Delilah is given offers from various people for other jobs, with better wages and the chance to travel the world. But Delilah continues to remain in the service of the Fenchurch-Whittingtons, as she harbours romantic notions towards Charlie Fenchurch-Whittington, the son of her employer. However when Charlie returns home from a trip with a fiancee, Delilah’s heart is broken and she is no longer a whizz at eradicating dust. Forced to leave the household and take up employment in a graveyard, Delilah is constantly surrounded by dust. But can an unexpected friendship change Delilah’s life forever?

I absolutely adore Delilah Dusticle. This is the second book by A.J York that I’ve read, and I love it even more than Eliza Bluebell. It’s a great little fantasy story that is perfect for children, but is also really enjoyable for adults. It’s fun, it’s easy to read and it will definitely have you smiling by the time you finish the last page!

The story is set in wartime London, and I feel like that adds a sense of mystery and dynamic to the plot. It’s a very unique, quirky little story that I think I would absolutely have adored as a child! This is another book that I would definitely love to read to my children. It’s a very colourful and exciting plot, and it really is a delight to read. I love the fantastical elements of the story. A..J. York takes something as simple as a maid eradicating dust, and turns it into a fantastic super power. It is a wonderfully executed little story.

I also loved the characters! Gosh where to start? Delilah is great, I really wanted her to find happiness and get back to the way her life used to be. I also wanted her to find love, someone to be herself with. I loved Abigail, the sweet lovely lady that Delilah finds friendship with. The book has a lot to say about love and friendship, and I think they are themes and life lessons that can be understood and enjoyed at any age, no matter if you’re five or fifty.

Looking for something similar? Try: The Sword of Demelza or The Orchard of Hope.