Category: Blog Tours

Cover Reveal: The Carnelian Destiny by Cheryl Koevoet

The Carnelian Destiny by Cheryl Koevoet

On the eve of the royal wedding, a mysterious missive arrives at the castle, threatening to cast a shadow over Darian and Marisa’s joyful celebration. And as they prepare to embark on the honeymoon trip of a lifetime, dark forces of the Apollyon Order are mustering in the east; calling upon an ancient, evil beast with the power to destroy the stronghold of Crocetta. In danger of losing everything, Marisa and Darian must enlist the help of the Crimson Knights from all over the Carnelian world to defend their kingdom. But this time, it might not be enough.

    Goodreads

Cover design by Najla Qamber of Najla Qamber DesignsYou can also find her on Facebook.

About Cheryl Koevoet

I was born in a suburb of Portland, Oregon where I grew up and lived during my elementary and high school years. After that, I traveled a thousand miles to a sunnier south to study graphic design/communications at Biola University in La Mirada, California. After a couple of years, I returned to the Pacific Northwest to continue my studies at Portland State University.

 

While vacationing with my family in 1989, I met a young Dutch officer on board a cruise ship, and we were married three years later. I sailed with my husband around the world to more than 55 countries, seeing the world and enjoying the multi-culture experience. In 1994, we settled in The Netherlands to raise our four children outside the city of peace and justice, The Hague.

 

First published in 2013, The Carnelian Legacy was my debut novel and its sequel, The Carnelian Tyranny was released in 2014. The third book in the series, The Carnelian Destiny, is scheduled for a Spring/Summer 2016 release. My next project, Broken Bloom, is  about a young woman living in The Netherlands in 1634 during the notorious tulipmania phenomenon.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and catching up with family and friends via social media.

Facebook Fan Page      Facebook Author Page     Series Website     Author Website     Twitter    Pinterest

The Carnelian Legacy Audiobook

Get the first book, The Carnelian Legacy on audiobook for a special low introductory price!  Just click on the picture above.

Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

Medicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the women you hear a lot about is Catherine de Médici.  She’s the subject of numerous historical fiction novels and has a reputation among the general public for being a wicked, manipulative queen.  While the consensus among historians is somewhat different, there is no doubt she was a ruthless, oddly pragmatic woman.  But what was her daughter, Marguerite de Valois like?  Sophie Perinot gives us a look into the ilfe of another incredible woman who has been largely ignored by history.

Our poor Margot starts out fairly innocent but is changed by court life when her mother finally summons her to live at court as her lady in waiting.  In the beginning, she tries to be the perfect princess: she supports her brothers fully, doesn’t seek power for herself and lives chastely despite the fact that the court was largely not.  Then, everything changes when she’s fifteen and falls in love for the first time with Henri, Duc de Guise.  Before then, she was resigned to being a marriage pawn for her mother and brothers.  After falling in love, Margot really comes into her own.  She demands to be let in on the political discussions that her mother participates in but bars her from.  She gains power through her broher Henri, Duc d’Anjou (known mostly as Anjou to avoid confusion).  But of course nothing goes according to plan for poor Margot as the people around her have plans and schemes of their own.

While the beginning of this novel is somewhat confusing because of all the names thrown at the reader, you can actually get your footing pretty quickly.  There are three characters with the first name of Henri in this novel but they’re mostly known by their titles and their personalities are so unique anyway that you won’t confuse the three of them.  One of the hallmarks of Médicis Daughter is Sophie Perinot’s descriptive writing style that brings the court and the characters to life.  She can be beautifully descriptive but also knows when to pare down her writing for the sake of pacing.  And she captures both the beauty in the novel (the young love, the nicer family moments) and the ugliness as well (the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the awful treatment of her by her own family).

Sophie Perinot, as she says in her historical note, stays quite close to historical fact but cut out some characters because they weren’t central to the narrative and changed a few minor events.  For example, Margot was never left alone with the Queen of Navarre on her deathbed.  It makes for a better and less confusing story so I can’t really blame her for that.  After all, three Henris is more than enough to try to keep straight, no matter how familiar you are with the period.  As someone who is relatively new to the period, I was certainly grateful for a few characters being cut as there is a relatively large cast of secondary characters.

All in all, I was very impressed with Médicis Daughter.  It does everything historical fiction should do: shines light on the lives of real historical figures/time periods, is well written and is reasonably paced.  Sophie Perinot doesn’t write a fast-paced novel by any stretch of the imagination as most of it is character-driven but you can slowly feel the tension building toward the end as the massacre comes closer and closer.  You aren’t entirely sure what is going to happen and how Margot is going to react, which makes it all the better.  If you’re looking for an intersting novel on a largely ignored historical figure, Médicis Daughter daughter is a really great book to pick up.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Promo: Dragon Thief by Marc Secchia

Most especially, he was not planning for any treasure to steal him.
To Be Published: December 12, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
From Marc Secchia, bestselling author of five rip-roaring dragon fantasy adventures, comes a tale of dragons and treasure, and a pilfering rascal who has his eye set on rewriting history – only, the treasure has other ideas. And fate? That will sweep him away to a destiny far more precious than he ever dreamed.

Kal was not a thief. He certainly did not intend to steal any dragon’s treasure.

He was an adventurer. Avid art collector. Incurable wealth adjuster and risk-taker. Kal had legendary expertise in the security arrangements of palaces and noble houses the world over. He hankered for remote, craggy mountaintops and the dragon hoards he might find hidden beneath them. Besides, what harm was there in looking? Dragon gold was so very … shiny.

Most especially, he was not planning for any treasure to steal him.

That was a little awkward, to say the least.

 Amazon

Book Blast: Dragonlove by Marc Secchia

For love that is tested in the crucible of fate must burn, or die…
 
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Dragonfriend #2

When a woman loves a Dragon, that love will change the world.

Six years have passed since Hualiama and Grandion defied the Island-World’s most sacred law. They burned the heavens together as Rider and Dragon. For his crime, Grandion the Tourmaline Dragon suffered exile and imprisonment. The Dragons forced Hualiama to forget her past.

Now, the suns must set upon the age of the Ancient Dragons. Amaryllion Fireborn, last of his kind, bequeaths Hualiama an astonishing legacy. She is the Dragonfriend. Raised by Dragons. Burned by Dragon fire. Oath-bound to a Dragon. Crossing the Island-World in search of her Dragonlove, she will forge an indelible mark upon history.

As war between Dragons and Humans engulfs the Islands, Hualiama must unravel the secrets of her tragic past in order to confront an evil that threatens the very existence of the Dragonkind. For love that is tested in the crucible of fate must burn, or die.

Marc is a South African-born author who lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, 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.


When he’s not writing about Africa 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.



 

Summer Queen by Amber Argyle

Summer Queen by Amber Argyle(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Nelay never wanted to be queen.

Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.

But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that drew me to Summer Queen in the beginning was the idea that this was finally some different fantasy.  In the beginning of the blurb it sounded pretty typical but then things quickly got good so I decided to sign up for the tour.  And in the end I’m glad I did because Summer Queen is anything but typical.

We start off meeting our main character Nelay preparing to seduce a king.  Not because she’s particularly interested in him or seduction in general but because she wants to distract him while she makes her move to escape.  The king, Zatal, is not marrying her because she’s sooo beautiful or the usual tropes but rather because the High Priestess of the fire goddess has told him he must marry an acolyte of the goddess in order to save his crumbling kingdom that used to be an enormous empire.  Naturally, Nelay was chosen because she’s a high ranking priestess who is quickly looking like she’s going to challenge Suka, the old High Priestess for her job.  But Nelay really doesn’t want anything to do with this man (who is in love with his thoroughly unsuitable mistress, not her); she wants to find her family.  So she hires the smuggler Rycus and escapes.

Nelay is a very resourceful character.  Not only is her butt-kicking awesome but in general Nelay is very analytical and thinks things through before doing them.  She can sometimes be impulsive but at least she can also come up with plans while she’s doing the impulsive thing.  It’s really nice to have a strategic thinker as a main character, despite her flaws like arrogance and the occasional bouts of selfishness.  All of her more strong emotions are tempered quite nicely by Rycus, who is very easy going and thoroughly attractive.  In the beginning Nelay and Rycus aren’t exactly buddy-buddy but through all of their adventures in the desert, in the various towns under enemy occupation and in the last standing city in the Idaran empire they start to realize that maybe they’d make more than just a good fighting team.

The plot of Summer Queen is actually quite fast for a high fantasy novel but Amber Argyle never sacrifices background information for plot.  She maintains a nice steady pace with frequent bursts of pure action but at the same time readers get a pretty clear picture of the history of her fantasy world.  And the history we learn through Nelay’s eyes isn’t necessarily the real history as we find out later when other characters come clean.  Let’s just say that assuming things in Indara aren’t all that they appear to be.  This rings especially true throughout the final battle as Nelay takes on more responsibility than she ever thought possible and learns that sometimes you have to sacrifice a little of yourself to save your people and even then it might not be enough.

Basically, if you’re looking for some well written and diverse fantasy, I’d recommend Summer Queen.  It’s a great departure from a lot of typical fantasy tropes and Amber Argyle has clearly done her world-building.  Technically speaking it’s not the first book in a series but apparently all of the books in this series can be read separately with complete understanding, just like I did.  This is the first book of Argyle’s that I’ve read but it was so good I know it won’t be my last.  Just go try it out!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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AmberAmber Argyle is the number-one bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. Her books have been nominated for and won awards in addition to being translated into French and Indonesian.

Amber graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people.

To learn more about Amber, visit her blog at amberargyle.blogspot.com

You can find Amber on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

summerqueen(1)

The Tour Hosts

Week One

6/15/2015- Curling Up With A Good Book– Review

6/16/2015- The Mad Reviewer– Review

6/17/2015- Arkham Reviews– Review

6/18/2015- In Love With Handmade– Review

6/19/2015- In Libris Veritas– Review

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive the eBook bundle of The Faerie Queen Series. International!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjMwOA==/?

The IX by Andrew P. Weston

The IX by Andrew P. Weston(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum:
Fight or die.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that Roman historians and various scholars debate is what happened to the Ninth Legion.  One day they were flushing out rebellious tribes in Caledonia and the next they’ve vanished into thin air.  Logic would point to their disappearance being caused by a total massacre of the legion and yet no bones have been found.  So what happened to them?  Well, Andrew P. Weston attempts his own little explanation for their disappearance as well as other mysterious warrior disappearances throughout the history of warfare.

While Marcus from the Ninth Legion is one of the characters and the book is called The IX, he’s not the main character.  Instead, Weston chose to follow around 3 distinct voices.  Their stories start when they were all ambushed and things get really interesting when they think they’ve been killed in action only to wake up and be told by extremely tall people that they now have to save an entire ancient civilization.  That really threw me for a loop because the stark ultimatum they find, ‘fight or die’, made me think that we’d be in for a gladiator show.  And that’s really the opposite of what happens.  Marcus and the others, including some of the tribesmen that killed him and his compatriots have to work together to protect the remnants of an ancient civilization from the mysterious Horde.  I can’t go into too much detail or I’ll spoil all of your fun, but needless to say that the Horde is not what it seems.

One of the greatest strengths of Weston’s writing is how much he thought out his world.  He has created an amazing scientific world where science and history combine to great effect.  The only real problem with this world is how we see it.  We see it through the eyes of various peoples, including the people that brought Marcus and the others there but at the same time much of the language is very technical.  You see, in order to fully appreciate Weston’s world I think you have to be a fan of hardcore science fiction.  That’s fine, but I’m generally not a fan of that so I found a lot of the technical explanations either confusing or boring.  But at the same time I think even fans of hardcore science fiction would get bored by some of the monologue explanations for how this or that works.  If Weston had cut down a little on the explanations I also think the narrative would have flowed better.  It was okay as it was, but it still could have been improved.

Overall, The IX is something I’d recommend to hardcore science fiction lovers who happen to know a little history.  Even if you don’t know a little Roman history, you’ll still appreciate and enjoy all of the effort Weston put into creating his world.  Because of that, although this book is quite long by most standards, it will quickly be a page-turner you don’t want to put down.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Lifemaker by Dean F. Wilson

Lifemaker by Dean F. Wilson(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Regime is on the hunt, forcing the Resistance to take refuge aboard the Lifemaker, an advanced submarine that houses a special cargo: a handful of women who are can give birth to human children.

To evade the Regime’s own submersibles, all parties must work together, but tensions are high, and not everyone on board is looking out for the greater good.

As they descend into the deeps, they quickly learn that not all monsters work for the Regime.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Lifemaker is the sequel to Hopebreaker, a steampunk novel featuring a smuggler named Jacob as he navigates a world essentially controlled by demons.  I had given the first book 4 stars in March and was eagerly awaiting this second installment.  So when I saw the blog tour for it, I signed up immediately.  Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with Wilson’s second book in the Great Iron War series.  Not because the characters had truly gone downhill or because he world-building suddenly tanked, but rather because of the plot.

Despite all of the good things that do happen in Lifemaker, I was a little disappointed in the plot.  It was predictable in comparison to the first book and not more than a little boring around the halfway point of the book.  There are characters interacting, sure, but there’s not really all that much for interpersonal conflict.  And until the end there’s really not all that much for action either.  It was essentially just Jacob and Whistler having a sweet sort of father-adoptive son bonding time and occasionally being interrupted by Taberah.  Oh, and playing cards with Rommond.  Compared to the sheer action of Hopebreaker, this second book was a bit of a letdown.  It does set things up nicely for the third book but at the same time I did have a little trouble getting through it.

Jacob is still a decent enough character although I’m still having problems relating to him on an emotional level.  It’s much better than my struggle to relate at all with him in the first book but it’s definitely still there.  He’s not a bad character and he’s more of an ambiguous figure than a bad or good person but I found that because he wasn’t really doing anything that I got bored.  Essentially he skulks around the ship and bonds with Whistler, occasionally running into members of the crew.  I liked that he’s finally attempting to woo Taberah back to him and is trying to mentally prepare himself for fatherhood, though.  In that respect, Jacob has certainly improved.

The world-building was still good here in Lifemaker.  It didn’t expand all that much, but we learned some fascinating things about Rommond’s background, Taberah’s past and the history of demons taking over.  The submarine everyone is staying in doesn’t exactly make it easy to expand on a whole world but Jacob’s exploring does lead him to some interesting new discoveries.  Was I absolutely as blown away in this book as I was in the first one at the world-building?  Not really, but it was still very solid and despite the somewhat boring tone of the book you can feel Dean F. Wilson’s enthusiasm for the world he’s created shine through.

So overall, Lifemaker was not a bad book, but it was definitely not as good as its predecessor, Hopebreaker.  The plot got a little boring and I definitely predicted the ending but it was not a book that I actively disliked.  I even enjoyed some parts of it.  Really, the main problem is that it suffers from Book 2 Syndrome: its trying to set everything up for the super exciting third book.  Still, if you loved Hopebreaker, you’re going to want to read this book.  The little cliffhanger for Skyshaker will ensure that and there’s still many things to enjoy about Lifemaker.  It’s just that an exciting plot isn’t one of them.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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