Book Feature: The Embers of Light by Tammy Farrell

The Embers of Light by Tammy Farrell

 

Since it’s only Wednesday, that means I either feature a cool book deserving of your attention, or I post a review of a cool book deserving of your attention. 😉

Today, it’s a book feature. And I want to wish a happy release day to author Tammy Farrell! The second installment in her historical fantasy series, The Dia Chronicles, is now available. This series has been on my radar for a while, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Both books are currently in my TBR list, so I’ll be sure to post reviews of them once I’m done. But for now, check out the blurb for Book 2: The Embers of Light.

The descendants of the ancient gods think they’ve found peace, but the time has come when new magic and ancient powers will collide . . .

Stripped of his Dia powers and left to rot, Malcolm is a prisoner of Valenia—a sentence he finds worse than death. His thoughts of revenge are the only thing keeping him sane, but when he finally manages to escape, Malcolm discovers that living as a mortal is more dangerous than he ever imagined. After stealing from the wrong man, Malcolm becomes a captive once more, only this time his punishment is one that he won’t soon forget. His only hope of survival is Seren, an enigmatic young girl with golden eyes and a malevolence to match his own.

When he’s led to Mara and Corbin, the two responsible for his fall from grace, their new faction of Dia is in chaos, infiltrated by an ancient power thought to have been banished forever. This only fuels Malcolm’s ruthless ambitions, but he soon realizes that he too is under attack, a pawn in a centuries old game of power and greed. As new battle lines are drawn, Malcolm finds himself in uncharted waters, forced to choose between helping those he’s vowed to destroy or give in to his lingering desire to settle the score.

Debts will be paid, lives will be lost, and no Dia will ever be the same.

Who doesn’t love a good anti-hero and revenge-driven plot? I think it sounds amazing, if only because I tend to fall for the villains more often than the heroes. But maybe that’s just me. 😉

Be sure to add The Embers of Light, along with Book 1: The Darkness of Light to your reading list, and help Tammy celebrate her release. She’ll be joining us on Friday with a guest post about the challenges of writing historical fiction, so be sure to stop by and say hello.

About the Author:

TammTammy Farrelly Farrell grew up in Orangeville, Ontario Canada where she discovered her love of writing, and all things related to Edgar Allan Poe. She now lives with her husband and six fur babies in Greenville, South Carolina, where she attempts to learn French when she isn’t busy writing.

Learn more about The Dia Chronicles and Tammy Farrell’s other works at: www.TammyFarrell.com

And connect with her online: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Book Feature: Fifteen by Jen Estes

Fifteen by Jen Estes

 

This week has been nothing short of hectic. Between work field-trips, frustrating encounters with mundane things, and a bout of dizziness that never seems to end, I failed at reading. But that doesn’t mean I can’t showcase another fantastic book you should all go check out. As part of the blog tour, I’m happy to bring your attention to yet another interesting, original offering from Curiosity Quills Press.

Similar to the last book I featured, this YA read contains a unique twist on the concept of time travel (I’m sensing a theme in my reading choices this year), and promises to be a multi-layered web of intrigue, criss-crossing timelines, and mystery. The part I have read is quite enjoyable, and I look forward to being able to share my full thoughts on it in the near future. But in the meantime, here’s the blurb:

Legend has it if you die in your dreams, you die in real life. Fifteen-year-old Ashling Campbell knows that’s not true because when she closes her eyes each night, she doesn’t dream about public nudity or Prom dates. Instead, she’s catapulted to the front row of her future self’s execution — fifteen years from now– where monsters have taken control of her hometown and she, or rather, her 30-year-old counterpart, is their public enemy number one.

For three months and counting, it’s been the same dream . . . until an encounter with an antique dreamcatcher. Ash falls asleep to discover she’s no longer a mere spectator in these dreams – now she’s astral-projecting into the body of her future self. Each night, she goes on the run with a ragtag group of rebels – who have no idea she’s really a high school sophomore and not their noble warrior. She has to make it through each night so that she can wake up and find a way to change the future. For every action she does in the present day, she falls asleep to discover it had an equal impact fifteen years later. It’s up to her to manage her two worlds and make sure she’s still got a place in both.

Intriguing, right? I’m a complete sucker for this kind of narrative (probably, at least in part, due to my own WIP). If you are as well, then this book should be right up your alley. Go add it to your TBR pile! 😉

About the Author:

Jen EstesBorn and raised in the Midwest, Jen had to choose between staring at corn or reading books. Corn husks just didn’t have the appeal of the Baby-Sitters Club, and so a bookworm was born. Reading later turned into writing and in 2011, Jen published her first novel with Camel Press. After releasing four books in the mystery genre, Jen finally gave in to the literary demands of her inner teenager with her YA debut, FIFTEEN (The Dreamwalker Diaries).

Jen is an active member of the National Writers Union. As an author, she has been featured in Penthouse Magazine, the State Journal-Register, Mystery Scene Magazine, and more. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys sci-fi in all its mediums, attempting yoga, using her passport, watching baseball, and reading a good book. She lives in Illinois with her husband Nathan under the tyranny of their three cats: Wrigley, Ivy and Captain Moo. To balance the feline:human ratio, they are expecting their first child this spring.

Find Jen Estes Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Feature: UnHappenings by Edward Aubry

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Today, I’m kicking off the new content for the year with a book feature. I’ll provide a review once I’m done reading it, but I’m so excited about it that I had to share. Plus, I’m part of the blog tour, so it was kind of required. 😉

Isn’t that cover amazing, though? That alone would have captured my interest, so kudos to the cover designer for that gorgeous image.

Since there is a review pending, I’ll save most of my thoughts for now. But I will say that this book has one of the coolest premises I’ve come across. I’m a complete sucker for these kinds of tangled narrative webs, and this one’s both unique and brilliant. It instantly caught my eye and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. But, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the blurb so you can see for yourself:

When Nigel Walden is fourteen, the UNHAPPENINGS begin. His first girlfriend disappears the day after their first kiss with no indication she ever existed. This retroactive change is the first of many only he seems to notice.

Several years later, when Nigel is visited by two people from his future, he hopes they can explain why the past keeps rewriting itself around him. But the enigmatic young guide shares very little, and the haggard, incoherent, elderly version of himself is even less reliable. His search for answers takes him fifty-two years forward in time, where he finds himself stranded and alone.

And then he meets Helen.

Brilliant, hilarious and beautiful, she captivates him. But Nigel’s relationships always unhappen, and if they get close it could be fatal for her. Worse, according to the young guide, just by entering Helen’s life, Nigel has already set into motion events that will have catastrophic consequences. In his efforts to reverse this, and to find a way to remain with Helen, he discovers the disturbing truth about the unhappenings, and the role he and his future self have played all along.

Equal parts time-travel adventure and tragic love story, Unhappenings is a tale of gravely bad choices, and Nigel’s struggle not to become what he sees in the preview of his worst self.

Does that not sound awesome? You know you want to check it out.

I’ll admit that part of what first attracted me to the story was a vague similarity to my own work, Unmoving. But thankfully, that’s all the similarity is — vague. Aubry has created a story unlike anything I’ve read to date, with a feeling that is much more reminiscent of film. And for that, I applaud him.

UnHappenings officially releases on Jan 8th, but it is available for pre-order. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads list, and I’ll keep you posted on my final recommendation. Though, at this point, it’s certainly looking to be glowing.

About the Author:

Edward Aubry

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”

He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

Find Edward Aubry Online:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Feature: Night of Pan by Gail Strickland

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As you read this, I’ll be on my way to attend the Pubcamp Writer’s Conference in Seattle, WA. Which means, finally (FINALLY) you can expect to see some more posts about the craft of writing, and not just about my book recommendations. But before that happens (and because it’s awfully hard to write while also driving), I have another such recommendation for you, courtesy of the blog tour mentioned above. So let’s jump right into, shall we?

Night of Pan

by Gail Strickland

 

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?

Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.

And the gods have plans for this girl.

When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.

Her destiny may be to save Greece…
…but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?

I’ve always had a soft spot for books based in mythology, and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint on that front. The story starts with fifteen-year-old Thaleia’s wedding day. A strong, independent heroine, though, she has other plans for her future, plans that don’t involve marrying a man she’s been betrothed to since age five. She escapes and starts to flee, but is stopped by Pan and a prophecy — the Persian army is on its way to Delphi, and she’s the only one who can save her people.

This is an interesting coming-of-age story about how the Oracle of Delphi comes to be. Strickland has clearly done a ton of research into the culture of the region, from the well-known pantheon of gods, to the day-to-day customs and warfare practices of the time. And from that standpoint, it’s phenomenally written. But I did find myself struggling with some of the other aspects. Namely, that the character development felt shallow. I would expect a coming-of-age story to be largely character-driven, but this fell flat on that for me, reading instead like more of a plot-driven action-adventure. I didn’t connect with Thaleia emotionally (nor with any of the supporting cast), and often struggled with her voice. She seemed to be both too mature and too young for fifteen, and some of the modern turns of phrase were jarring against the historical backdrop. While I do feel that she’s a good role model for young girls, she almost borders on a cliche’ed example of the “strong, independent woman” stereotype. I would have liked to see her be a littler more fully developed and multi-faceted as a character.

That said, I do think the prose itself is beautifully written. Lyrical and smooth, Strickland’s style is effortless, and I could appreciate her voice as an author (not to be confused with Thaleia’s voice, as mentioned above.) The additional material included in the book makes this a well-rounded choice for younger readers interested in mythology. It is a YA, and I think it targets it’s market effectively. However, unlike some YA, it doesn’t translate quite as well outside of that target readership. I would definitely recommend it for the 12 + age range it’s intended for, though. And I will probably finish the trilogy, if only to see more of the richly developed, detailed world.

**Disclosure Statement: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

About the Author:

Gail Strickland — classicist, poet and musician — was recognized by The Baltimore Review & Writers’ Digest and published by the Oxford University Journal New Satyrica. While studying the classics in college, Gail translated much of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Always passionate about music and bringing the richness of Homer’s language and culture to today’s youth, Gail mentored young poets and novelists and introduced thousands of youngsters to piano and Greek mythology.

Gail was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in northern California. She raised her children, read French philosophers in French and played in an eclectic country band called the Prairie Dogs whose claim to fame was being the only band to play Candlestick Park between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Her first book, NIGHT OF PAN … a mythic journey of a young Oracle in ancient Greece, was published by Curiosity Quills Press November 7, 2014. NIGHT OF PAN is book one of THE ORACLE OF DELPHI TRILOGY.

Gail Strickland Author Photo

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Spotlight: Review of Broken Forest by Eliza Tilton

 

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It’s a little late to call this a Book Review Wednesday post, so instead, I’m going to call it a special feature. I was invited to be a part of the blog tour for an intriguing YA fantasy novel, and since I’d been on the lookout for something in just that vein lately, how could I pass it up? (Evidence of said invitation in that lovely banner above. 😉 )

So, without too much preamble, I give you my review for:

Broken Forest by Eliza TiltonMy Rating: 4/5 Stars

Hopeless he’ll never be more than the boy who didn’t save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest.

With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

His shapeshifter brethren feed off the auras of humans, and Jeslyn’s golden hue is exactly what Lucino needs to increase his power. The longer it takes Avikar to reach her, the more entranced she becomes with Lucino’s world, and the harder it will be for Avikar to set her free.

He failed his family once. He won’t fail again.

Broken Forest was a fast-paced, highly enjoyable read. Contrary to what the blurb implies, it’s actually told in alternating, first-person POVs from the three main characters — Avikar, Jeslyn, and Lucino. Avikar is presented as the dominant character, though, as his storyline drives the overall plot. Haunted by a past failure that cost his family a son and brother, he’s a flawed hero, but a hero all the same. When his sister is captured by the lord of a supposedly mythical land, Avikar takes it upon himself to rescue her. Together with his friend Derrick, Avikar travels to the long-lost Daath, facing great evil in order to save Jeslyn from it’s shape-shifting, slightly psychopathic overlord.

The writing is eloquent and the characters fairly well developed, but I think what I enjoyed most was the world. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Maggie Steifvater’s Books of Faerie series. Not necessarily because of the content, but because of the overall feel and lyrical prose. It’s listed as a fantasy, but it should be noted there is a slight Science Fiction aspect to the creatures that was both surprising and unique. I was honestly expecting the Fey, but Tilton took the story in a direction that was much more original.

My only complaint, and the reason this has earned 4 instead of 5 stars, is that Avikar and Jeslyn sounded very similar. Lucino was fascinating and Tilton captured his indifferent, cold assessment of the world perfectly. But the siblings were fairly indistinguishable, making it hard to remember whose POV I was reading without the aid of the chapter headers. I would have preferred a little more differentiation in the voices, but otherwise, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a new voice in YA fantasy, and I will most definitely be looking to pick up the rest of the series. 🙂

About the Author:

Eliza Tilton

 Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Twitter / Tumblr / Website / Pinterest / Facebook / Instagram

BUY LINKS:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / KOBO


**Disclosure Statement: I received a copy from the blog tour company in exchange for an honest review. **