Sea of Rust Review

SEA OF RUST

By C. ROBERT CARGILL

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Robot Western
Publisher: Harper Voyager, an imprint of Harper Collins
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 384

 

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—but not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One resister is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

SEA OF RUST is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A powerfully imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a human-like AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

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Praise for Sea of Rust:

Sea of Rust is a forty-megaton cruise missile of a novel – it’ll blow you away and lay waste to your heart. It is the most visceral, relentless, breathtaking work of SF in any medium since Mad Max: Fury Road.”  

— #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill 

“Cargill…effectively takes a grim look at a war-torn future where our nonhuman successors face complex moral dilemmas, exploring what it means to be alive and aware [….]This action-packed adventure raises thought-provoking and philosophical questions.”

   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Innovative worldbuilding, a tight plot, and cinematic action sequences make for an exciting ride through a blasted landscape full of dying robots.”  — Kirkus Reviews

This book is science fiction at it’s finest. Extremely compelling from the very beginning, I was absolutely hooked by the time it was over. Humans gone and the world a victim of it’s past, there is now only the ruling intelligence of collective memories. Individuality from the One World Intelligence is now an act of rebellion.

We know from the start that Brittle is one of these rebels in her own way. As she goes through the sea of rust, we learn more about the history that led to this world. More dominantly, the history of Brittle and what it takes to survive. Despite humans being gone, this does not stop the constant struggle and conflict as other robots struggle to exist and simply have freedom to be. I found it interesting that Brittle identified as a she or that any of the robots followed gender roles. Though I suspect it fit Brittle’s character to adapt to more human characteristics, especially considering their roots and desire to live. Brittle’s memories of the humans she once knew takes part in this identity as well. As once a caregiver, the question of evolution and adaptability is always present. When their own creators are gone and they have an empty space of existence, what can they become?

This book could be as brutal as the summary suggests. Though that didn’t stop the odd humor and unpredictable moments that seemed to fit a chaotic world. It stays true to pure apocalyptic and rough world. Brittle is flawed, powerful, remorseful, and very likable. Cargill does an excellent job with the details into the characters and world building that are so precise and inspiring.

C. Robert Cargill is the author of Dreams and Shadows and Queen of the Dark Things. He has written for “Ain’t it Cool News” for nearly a decade under the pseudonym Massawyrm, served as a staff writer for Film.com and Hollywood.com, and appeared as the animated character Carlyle on spill.com. He is a co-writer of the horror films “Sinister” (2012) and “Sinister 2” (2015), and the new Benedict Cumberbatch superhero movie, “Dr. Strange” (2016). He lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

11/17/17 Promo StoreyBook Reviews
11/18/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
11/19/17 Audio Clip Hall Ways Blog
11/20/17 Author Interview 1 Texan Girl Reads
11/21/17 Review Tangled in Text
11/22/17 Promo Chapter Break Book Blog
11/27/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
11/28/17 Review The Page Unbound
11/29/17 Author Interview 2 Syd Savvy
11/30/17 Review Forgotten Winds

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The Night Realm Review

Rating:

The Night Realm 
By Annette Marie 
(Spell Weaver #1) 
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Book Synopsis
Clio is good at all sorts of things. As a nymph, she’s great at outdoorsy nature stuff. As a nymph living in exile, she’s got the “blending in with humans” thing down pat. As a nymph living in exile because she possesses the rare ability to mimic magic, she’s had to pick up some unique survival skills.

But stealing from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld? Not so much.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she has to do to earn a ticket back home. Conning her way into the night realm may have gone pretty well, but now she’s got a new problem. His name is Lyre and he’s a sinfully alluring incubus, a dangerously skilled spell weaver, and the only thing standing between her and stealing some damn magic.

Maneuvering around him without blowing her cover shouldn’t be that difficult, but chaos has been dogging her every step, monsters hide behind beautiful faces, and Lyre keeps saving her neck even though they’re enemies. Kind of enemies? Either way, her mission is getting complicated fast, and in the Underworld, even one mistake could prove fatal.

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Review
I was incredibly impressed with The Night Realm. This book is dark, mature, mysterious, and had me reading as fast as I could. It’s definitely one of those books that you immediately crave more. Clio is a kindhearted nymph that just wants to return home. Only thinking the best of people (or Overworlders), she learns the bitter reality that everyone has secrets and agendas of their own. She is essentially exiled by her half-brother, told it is for her safety and carries out dangerous missions in hopes to return home. Despite being half royal and with no real training or responsibility to protect the kingdoms’ people, she doesn’t hesitate to protect them. She immediately agrees to a mission that is more dangerous than she knows but still doesn’t hesitate. I honestly loved her character so much and her entire growth in the book was so empowering. She’s someone that has never thought she could be important or powerful but doesn’t hesitate to fight for ones she cares for. Her instinct is kindness and despite the dangers and cruelty she faces, her kindness never goes away.
I originally thought I’d have issues liking Lyre. He seemed to be like the usual perfectly chiseled love interest that saves the day and can get a bit stale. However, despite the chiseled-ness not going away, Lyre is incredibly complex. Sometimes, he doesn’t save the day, sometimes the opposite. They do save each other in different ways though. Both inspiring change in one another, they make decisions on their own to grow. It was all very refreshing and their interactions together were sometimes comical to say the least.
The world building was amazing. I loved the intricate details and the general descriptions as well that allows the reader to create a fantastic vision on their own. It was the perfect balance in my opinion. The potential to explore the opposite of The Night Realm is even more intriguing. Overall, the pace is quite good. Sometimes the story could drift a bit as Clio is attempting to steal a powerful spell but it quickly became an exciting and twisting action packed adventure. With it’s share of tragedy and dark tones, don’t miss your chance to read this book and the ones to follow. I look forward to them!
About the Author
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
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Gate Of Air: Review and Giveaway

Gate of Air 
By Resa Nelson 
(Dragon Gods, #1) 
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Book Synopsis

 

burning woman,illustration digital painting

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.

The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.

Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.

But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.

Especially when the one being punished is a woman.
 
 
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Review

 

Another great book with dragons that drew me in. This is a fast paced tale that will easily tempt you to finish reading in a day. Nelson has a unique style of writing and humor that was really enjoyable and easy to read. I liked the chemistry between the characters and overall concept the story followed. It was interesting delving into the culture of the Far East with all sorts of magic thrown in!

 

Frayka is tasked with an important mission but still wishes to be herself and can be brash at times. As her and Njall travel to the Far East, she is faced with learning a new culture different from her own. The flow is Gate of Air was easy to follow and I could easily appreciate the details Nelson created in her book. I read this as the first book of the series but didn’t have any issue following along in this thrilling world. The ending will leave you on the edge of your seat and surely wanting more!

 

About the Author

 

Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon’s Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.

Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .

Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Across the Darkling Sea: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

Across the Darkling Sea
K. Ferrin
Publication date: November 12th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 3/5

Book Summary:

Across the Darkling Sea is the first book in the new serial fantasy series Magicfall, by K. Ferrin!

Magic is forbidden in Brielle, but that never stopped Evelyn. Until Now. Because Evelyn has discovered she is magic, and now she is running for her life.

Her only hope is on an island cloaked in shadow, an island of dark magic and even darker beasts. An island warlocks call home.

Evelyn’s friends have turned against her, her own mother tried to kill her, and the place she calls home has banished her. Hidden away in the belly of a riverboat, a stowaway, her journey begins.

Across the Darkling Sea is book one in a serial series. Each book is roughly 50,000 words or about 150 pages. To emphasize, this is a serial series, meaning it’s one story that stretches across multiple books.

 

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My Review:

Across the Darkling Sea is a charming and captivating tale about a girl named Ling whom finds out that she is a changeling, finds the “her” she thought she was in a deep sleep, and decides to find her maker and be unmade so that the girl, Evelyn, can wake up from her sleep. Beautiful premise and it instantly wove a place in my heart as Ling set out on her daring quest. Ling is everything you want in a classic heroine, driven, brave, and sincere.

As for other characters go, I simply loved Dreskin, but he wasn’t in it enough! He’s a certain ship member that decides to help Ling on her journey. He’s mysterious and I found myself eagerly wanting to know more about it. Perhaps we will find out in book 2!

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of with this book is that it does sort of just end. But it’s the kind of ending that makes you ready and excited for book 2!

If you like magic and fairies and ships and fantasy then this book is definitely for you!

Author Bio:

K. Ferrin spends her days surrounded by engineers, technology, and humming

machinery, but her evenings are steeped in magic, myth, and adventure. She writes fantasy, loves gardening, and eats way too much pie. She lives at the foot of the Colorado Rockies with her husband and two pooches.

Her novels include the stand alone YA fantasy novel Magicless, as well as Across the Darkling Sea, and A Dying Land, the first two books of a series. You can find her online at www.kferrin.com.

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Finding You: Review

Rating:

Finding You 
By Lydia Albano 
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

 

Book Synopsis

 

Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.

Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.

Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.

 

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Review

Finding You isn’t for the faint of heart. This book follows the tragic but inspiring tale of Isla. Isla is a young girl in love that lives with her father and spends her days reading for the next adventure. Her longtime friend and love interest, Tam, dreams of the both of them exploring the world. One day, however, she’s stunned to hear Tam has enlisted in the army and is leaving very soon. This sets off the heartbreaking and tense events of her kidnapping.

Isla is more than just a girl in love though. She’s smart and braver than she knows. Trapped with other girls like her, she holds a strength in her that inspires the rest to survive and escape their prison. Isla, at times, doubts her decisions and wants desperately to be rescued but will suddenly and fearlessly fight to be free and protect others. She’s inherently good. Even feeling bad about stealing food or other girls taking her place, Isla makes heartbreaking decisions that she knows will change her forever. Her connection to Tam and the locket he gives her, gives her strength to retain who she is. Isla’s journey and unending strength was powerful to read. Lydia Albano brought such life and sometimes grittiness to her scenes. The light and the dark seemed to fly off the page and I never wanted to put this down until I knew Isla was safe. It was more than just Isla’s story though.

The underlying story is about a girl that is forced into a horrible injustice. When she overcomes this and grows in the process, she still chooses to keep going. Isla and her friends won’t stop until ones like them are free.

Future readers note: I would caution that it does have some graphic and sensitive topics but nothing too harrowing. This can cause some issues for people with trigger words. It doesn’t depict these issues in an unjust manner and I do recommend this book.

 

 

About the Author

 

Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, will be released in September, 2017, with SwoonReads/Macmillan.

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Joined: Review

Rating:

Joined

By Mara Gan

Genre: YA/NA Sci-fi Romance

Release Date: September 12th 2017

Inkspell Publishing

Book Summary

Duty and prophecy get in the way of everything.

All I ever wanted to do was read my books, play my sports, and help people. Life and prophecy had other things in mind.

Helping people is what I do; as an empath and semi-frequent telepath, I can easily sense and understand people’s needs and emotions. Sometimes even before they do. Being able to read everyone’s thoughts and feelings all the time can drive me crazy with anxiety, but that moment when I can finally make someone’s life better makes everything worth it.

Unfortunately, I’m also the next in line to rule the galaxy, I’m the only diplomat most planets will listen to, assassins try to kill me on an annoyingly regular basis, and a much-vaunted Prophecy has decreed that I’m going to die. Oh, and someone blew up my home planet.

Kind of a lot to deal with, right?

Too bad I just got another problem: a big, irritating, overbearing bodyguard with serious anger management issues.

And I think I’m falling for him.

Review

I really enjoyed the premise and creative blocks that went into Joined. I haven’t read a lot of books that involved telepaths and empaths and was instantly drawn in when I read the summary. There was plenty action that pushed this story forward. Especially since it is longer than average and could sometimes get a bit jumbled at points. While it followed some of the more typical YA novel movements, I found the characters to be engaging and likable. I’m interested to see more growth to Meda’s personality and how she will face challenges in the future.

There are quite a bit of lovable traits in Joined. I love sci-fi and mythology and found it really cool when one played into the other. The romance was there but not over-bearing. I thought it was a bit funny as well when Meda interacted with her ‘bodyguard’. Meda is a future ruler from a world that no longer exists. Her frustrations with her abilities and her situation come out and make her actions very real and head-slapping at times. She is very endearing though and has many admirable qualities that are in a chosen one trope.

 

I would say this book all depends on the reader. I can easily see some reading this in a day to reading it in a few weeks. Either way, it’s an enjoyable first installment that has a promising future.

 

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About the Author

A Pacific Northwesterner by birth and disposition, Mara has lived in Washington DC, Oregon, Japan, and most recently the beautiful Pacific Grove, California, before returning to her roots in Seattle.

By day she teaches history to unsuspecting teenagers, and by night she writes books and travels to far-flung places. She loves to be with animals, read, play sports, and drink more London Fogs than is likely good for her.

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Death Made Me Review

Rating:

My rating: 4/5

Book Synopsis:

Some people live each day as if it were their last, embracing every possibility. What if today was your last day? Have you lived enough? Barry never took chances. Today he tried. Katherine was out of his league: beautiful, kind, well-travelled. What would she ever see in him? Successful in his line of work, but sadly lacking in every other aspect of life. On his last day, he got his wish to be with Katherine. Only, fate bestowed a bittersweet irony upon him, forcing him to watch as she was mistreated by the one person he hated the most. Unbeknown to them both, Barry would leave a mark on Katherine’s life that would impact generations of her family yet to come.

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My Review:

Death Made Me is a haunting tale about a man named Barry that dies and for reasons beyond his understanding, is a ghost that follows Katherine, the love of his life, around. As a ghost he’s able to ponder things and recognize things that perhaps he hadn’t realized when he was alive. Things that he would have done differently. As he follows Katherine around, we learn many things about her, including her kind heart and good natured soul. Katherine’s story, seen through the eyes of Barry, is tragic to read. And poor Barry, who wishes he could do whatever he could to rid Katherine of the man that plagues her life. But Katherine’s life takes unexpected turns and sheds light in the distance.

Barry’s story is not the only story in Death Made Me. We also are introduced to Emily. I will tell you very little of Emily because her story is so intricately tied in to Katherine’s and Barry’s story that I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. But Emily’s story is definitely worth nothing. Her is where the tale takes on a supernatural like quality in that we are introduced to psychics. Which I personal feel was a lovely spin on the overall progression of the story.

Death Made Me is very well crafted. There’s tragedy, heartbreak, love, and wonder. It’s such a poetic and thoughtful story. A wonderful tale of self discovery. It makes you take a moment to study your inner self and the difference you might make. It also reminds you that life sure is precious.

Be sure to check it out!

About the Author:

I’m a Mum to two beautiful children that keep me very busy. When I’m not knee deep in laundry and housework I love to either read or write.

My favourite genre is crime fiction, specifically anything with serial killers or something clever with a twist.

I’ve just published my first book Death Made Me which is quite a mix of genres it’s a paranormal/romance/suspense thriller! I intend to keep on writing and just hope that people will enjoy my books.

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Greatshadow: Review

Author: James Maxey

Narrator: Jake Urry

Length: 13 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: James Maxey⎮2017

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Dragon Apocalypse, Book One

Release date: May 29, 2017

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim.


The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

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There is a reason I review a lot of dragon related books. Fantasy novels like this one bring such excitement and the drive to write as well. Growing up watching movies and shows with dragons, with effects getting better and better, has always been a favorite of mine. Thankfully, there are so many books out there with different ideas and concepts around one of the coolest mythical creatures to date. Greatshadow does not disappoint.

This book has great characters to root for; especially the female lead, Infidel, who happens to be invincible. Urry did a great job of distinguishing each character and bringing out the intensity of the action packed scenes. I usually wouldn’t be so bias but I would definitely recommend this as an audiobook rather than just reading. Listening to Greatshadow was suspenseful and memorable and had me on the edge of my seat at times. I enjoyed following a story with an older group of main characters as well. There’s a large mix of characters with different abilities and origins in this jam-packed novel. Despite that, it wasn’t hard to focus on the main story. All great books have a balance of lovable and dislikable character as well and Greatshadow had the whole package. While they all have their own reasons, their quest to kill Greatshadow means the end for some and great lessons for others. All told through the ghost of Stagger, we follow this classic misfit/suicide squad and honestly enjoy the ride.

With all the crazy mix of races and fantasy, I would love to see this adapted into a comic or movie. It was written for a nerd to be honest. Maxey really brought to life a funny, action-filled, and surprising tale.

James Maxey

James Maxey’s mother warned him if he read too many comic books, they would warp his mind. She was right. Now an adult who can’t stop daydreaming, James is unsuited for decent work and ekes out a pittance writing down demented fantasies about masked women, fiery dragons, and monkeys. Oh god, so many monkeys.

​In an effort to figure out how Superman could fly, James read a lot of science, books by Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould and Stephen Hawking. Turns out, Superman probably wasn’t based on any factual information. Who would have guessed? Realizing it was possible to write science fiction without being constrained by the actual rules of science proved liberating for James, and led to the psuedo-science fiction of the Bitterwood series, superhero novels like Nobody Gets the Girl, and the steam-punk visions of Bad Wizard.

​In 2015, James was honored as the Piedmont Laureate by the United Arts Councils representing Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County. This is almost certainly a sign of the ongoing cultural decay gripping the nation.

​James lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his lovely and patient wife Cheryl and too many cats.

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Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.

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The Tiger’s Watch: Review

Rating:

The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)

by Julia Ember

Publication Date:  August 22, 2017

Publisher:  Harmony Ink Press

Book Summary

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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Review

The Tiger’s Watch immediately intrigued me when I read the summary. I was not disappointed. Julia Ember has an incredibly mature way of writing which I absolutely love. It’s very easy to see that she’s been writing since childhood with how each character and animal in this book immediately flies off the page.

Tashi is a gender binary character, someone I had never read before and it was interesting to see how this played into the story. First and foremost was the desire to never hide their identity again and also how this was acknowledged by the characters in the book. Putting this type of representation in such a gritty and bleak war-bound scenery with magic was almost overwhelming. You immediately hit the ground running as Tashi runs for their life.

The life of the inhabitors was so fascinating as well. The way they could see through their bonded animals eyes and depend on each other immediately made me want to know more. Especially Tashi and Katala’s bond throughout the years. Inhabitors essentially grow up with their bonded animal and live two lives. It was such an amazing concept placed in a complicated world. I knew immediately after finishing that I would be reading some of Ember’s other books.

If my praise before this hasn’t sold you…this is a fast-paced, action filled, open-minded, magic filled story with exotic animals that you can explore through their eyes. I definitely recommend this book and other interesting tales from Ember as well.

About the Author

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organized by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

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Aranya: Review

Author: Marc Secchia
Narrator: Siromi Arserio
Length: 14 hours 33 minutes
Publisher: Marc Secchia⎮2015
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1
Release date: April 05, 2015


Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

 


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I was blown away by the magnitude of this story. Shiromi Arseio narrates an incredible and larger than life tale. I did have a bit of issues when I first started listening but soon got used to the terms and names as more were introduced. I liked Arseio’s accent as well. It definitely fit the genre and she did a great job of putting energy and inflection into every scene. Of course, every time I listen to someone read with an accent in an audiobook, I also tend to dream with that accent, so that was interesting.

Aranya starts out very different from the other princesses, with a fire in her and dreams of a dragon, she sometimes struggles in her position. After being betrayed and sentenced to death, she is tied up and thrown off a cliff and manages to survive by shapeshifting into a dragon. I absolutely love the concept of this book. Books with dragons are always amazing to read but I really enjoyed reading about the dragon herself and the rider she meets. She soon continues to gain newfound powers that she works to control. The battles that occur were crazy and amazing as well. At times, this fast paced novel almost left me behind and I did have to go back a few times to listen again.

Secchia wrote a very strong female-driven book which was really cool. While we have male characters in the book, it centers into the life of dragons, dragon shifting, and dragon riders. So pretty much exactly what I wanted to read when I first signed up to review this book.

I’d definitely recommend getting this audiobook and encourage everyone to enter the super generous giveaway!

Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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Shiromi Arserio

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

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  1. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (and so many more)
  2. The Neverending Story ( for the bit with the luck dragon)
  3. How to Train your Dragon (with the matchless Toothless)
  4. Smaug in The Hobbit
  5. Dragonheart – flawed, I know, but I loved it
  6. Eragon – I felt the movie didn’t do this tale justice
  7. Dealing with Dragons (Patricia Wrede)
  8. Mercedes Lackey (Dragon Jousters)
  9. Firebolt by Adreienne Woods
  10. Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H.L.Burke) – a unique concept

$50 Amazon Gift Card
Runs Aug. 9th-16th⎮Open internationally

Aranya Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card