Tagged: masquerade tours

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.



 

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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Cover Reveal: Tome by A. Star

 
Tome
by A. Star
 
Publication Date: Summer 2015
Series: Knights of the Joust #1
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

 

I knew Tome was going to ruin my life the second I laid eyes on him.

It wasn’t the sexy tattoos or his deep black eyes that warned me of danger. It was his secret. The one he never spoke of. The one he never meant for me to find out about. But then we fell in love and I got tangled up in his world of fast cars and underground street racing. And that’s when it happened.He ruined me.

*****
I knew I was going to destroy Jules’ the moment she walked into my life. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how. But I knew it was inevitable.I wanted to love her and so I did. But then my secret caught up with me and exploded in my face. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way and I never could have imagined how bad it would be.

I destroyed her. I destroyed us. I destroyed our love.And now I have nothing.

ADD IT ON GOODREADS

A. Star is a fan of dirty passion. She loves to read it, and she damn sure loves to write it. She is the author of the Mythos: Gods & Lovers series, the Djinn Order series, and the Knights of the Joust series. She is a night-owl and a coffee junkie, and the only sneaker she would be caught dead wearing are Converses.

 
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Starlet’s Man by Carla J. Hanna

Starlet's Man by Carla J. Hanna(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

“If you live courageously, you have scars.” -Beth, Starlet’s Man

From the award-winning author of the Starlet Series, comes Starlet’s Man, a story about a boy becoming a man amidst the mixed-messages in Hollywood culture. Discover why the Starlet Series took Gold and Silver medals in the Readers’ Choice 2014 International Book Award Contest.

Lights, Cameras, and Lies. High school student athlete, Manny Biro, is caught between the boy he should be and the man he wants to become.

Everyone around him accepts the Hollywood life. He doesn’t. Manny wants no part of acting. On the surface, his childhood best friends seem to have it all: money, power, success. Between the lines, they are all confused. Alan is a messed up want-to-be director focused on pushing scenes to their sexy potential. Beth is an athlete driven to escape from a dark past. Janet is Manny’s kid sister caught up in fashion and trends. And Marie is a lonely actress exhausted by the culture that makes everyone’s favorite stories.

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

One of the things I really didn’t like about Manny in the beginning of the first book (this is a prequel) was his self-righteousness.  He criticized everything about Hollywood but proceeded to act like he was a part of that culture by fooling around with different girls and such.  I wasn’t really sold on him being Lia’s love interest at first but he did grow on me as the books went along.  However, in this prequel we get a really good look into his mindset while he was transitioning from boy to man

In the beginning, Manny is a pretty confused young man.  He sort of likes his friend Beth, who he trains with in the mornings.  At the same time, Liana Marie will always hold a special place in his heart even though she seems to be in love with her current costar Evan.  And all of this takes place in a catty environment where publicity is more important than doing what you actually feel like so even if he and Liana finally admitted their feelings for each other, Lia’s bosses would not be happy with her dating a no-name.  This, understandably, puts Manny in a very brooding mindset and leads to some of the stupid decisions I’ve alluded to as well as some of his hypocritical self-righteousness.  Do I particularly like him at this point in his life?  No, but he is an interesting character and it really does make me appreciate how much he’s changed by the second and third books in the series.

My only real complaint about this prequel is that the plot is a little disjointed.  Sometimes it feels like there are random scene changes that I had a hard time keeping up with and it certainly wasn’t because of formatting issues or anything like that.  I think that sometimes Carla Hanna pared down her writing a little too much and should have left in some more descriptions of the different locations and the transitions between locations.  It does make for a fast read but I really would have appreciated a little more description so I wouldn’t have to deal with the occasional confusion.

The plot, however, is pretty good.  It starts out with Manny learning about the kerfuffle over Lia’s last movie and it goes through her filming of Constantine’s Muse and all the screwed up things that come along with it as I saw from her perspective in Starlet’s Web.  Her trials and tribulations are always at the forefront of Manny’s mind but he has his own things to worry about: money, Alan’s gossip blog spreading lies about his love life and his growing willingness to admit to Lia that he really does love her.  It’s by no means a straightforward journey but that’s probably in part why I loved Starlet’s Man so much.  Life isn’t a straightforward plot line and neither is this book.  Manny has his ups and downs but finally comes through as a caring young man who is no longer the messed-up, self-righteous boy we meet in the beginning.  It’s a satsifying journey.

Since this is a prequel you can absolutely read it before you read the main series but as a matter of personal preference I’d recommend reading Starlet’s Web first because I just like Liana more as a character.  Manny is interesting enough and grew to be a better person, but being introduced to his self-righteous younger self so soon could turn you off a wonderful series.  But if you like reading the prequels first, go ahead!  This is a good book.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Cover Reveal: Sarai’s Fortune by Abigail Owen

Sarai’s Fortune
by Abigail Owen
Designed by: Debbie Taylor (The Wild Rose Press)Genre: Paranormal RomanceSeries: Shadowcat Nation, #2

Release Date: May 13, 2015

 

Zac Montclair’s first priority is to protect his people. With the escalating war between factions of shifters over land and resources, he has agreed to an alliance between his polar bears and the Shadowcat Nation of cougar shifters. But the treaty comes with a condition…he must accept one of their Seers into his Timik and put her under his personal protection.

Sarai Bouchard doesn’t need her supernatural gift to know that Kyle Carstairs’s obsession with controlling her ability will eventually result in her misery and demise. Her power is essential to her people’s survival, so when Kyle goes rogue, she’s sent to Zac Montclair to keep her safe. However, her visions reveal that while staying will lead to their becoming lovers, it also leads to his death. Leaving Zac will result in her own.
If Sarai can’t find a way to change the future, she will be forced to choose…save her lover or save herself.Watch the Trailer…

 

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

 

Spotlight: Bad For Me by Codi Gary

Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step … and take his hand.

Series: Rock Canyon #5
Publication Date: April 6, 2015 by Avon Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

 
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~Excerpt~

“Looks like you could use a hand.”

“Son of a bitch!” Surprised, Callie spun around from her kneeling position so fast that she fell over, landing in the softening muck with a splat. She’d been too busy cursing the shredded tire and the pouring rain to hear Everett behind her until he spoke.

Callie shook her mud-covered hands and was sure she heard a snort of laughter from Everett over the pouring rain and Ratchet’s muffled barking inside the Jeep.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that sneaking up on someone is rude?” Callie glared up at Everett, who was holding his hands down to her. Even though he wasn’t smiling, she’d have to be blind not to catch the amused gleam in his eyes.

Jackass.

Ignoring his offer of assistance, she climbed to her feet, but her bruised pride earned her even more mud as her jeans were soaked through. She tried to wipe off the muck, but it just smeared.

“They have, which is why I didn’t sneak; I walked. I saw you huddled over and figured I could help.”

“Thanks, but I’ve got this,” she said.

Thunder erupted over their heads, and Callie felt like the sky was laughing at her too.

“You sure? You’re shivering like crazy, and I can have this changed in under four minutes. I’ll have you know I hold the Silverton family record for fastest tire change.” Lightning lit up the sky, highlighting his cheeky grin. “And I’ve been told more than once that I’m good with my hands.”

She didn’t want to smile at his gentle teasing, but she was cold and miserable, and he was offering her a way out.

“I was just going to call triple A for a tow—”

“It will be faster if I just change it; believe me. Here.” Everett reached around her and opened the door to the Jeep. “Hop in, and I’ll grab the spare from the back.”

Callie’s face burned with embarrassment. “It’s not there.”

“What?”

“I meant to buy another one, but these suckers aren’t cheap and I just . . . I never got around to it.” She leaned her head against the door, laughing humorlessly. “Pretty stupid, huh?”

“Well, yeah, but there’s no use in me lecturing you when you already know.”

Callie glanced at him sharply. “Thanks a lot, Dad.”

“Come on; I’ll take you to Jose’s Tires, and we’ll get you a new one.”

“I told you; I can’t afford it right now—”

“I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”

“Um, no. I don’t like being in anyone’s debt.” She squirmed under his thoughtful gaze and added, “Thank you, but I must decline.”

“Well, I must insist. You can’t just sit here on the side of the road until payday, and triple A will ding you for using one of your get-out-of-trouble calls.” Another crack of thunder shook the sky. “Look, I get it. You don’t know me from Adam, but I can get you over to Jose’s and get you a line of emergency credit. That way, you won’t owe me anything, and I don’t have to stand out in the rain. Sound fair?”

Her insides churned, and she cursed. If she’d just gotten a new spare when she’d bought her last set, she wouldn’t be sitting in the rain at the mercy of a large former marine.

Who you can’t seem to get out of your head.