#Blogtour #Giveaway: Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe @rararesources @marianlthorpe

Empires Hostage Full Tour Banner

Today I’m offering double feature of promo posts. First up: Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe. The second instalment in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy, which delves into a meticulously wrought world strictly divided across gender lines follows our heroine Lena as she travels north of the wall. It’s engaging, it’s imaginative, and best of all, it can be read as a standalone!

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a giveaway? An INTERNATIONAL giveaway? Check out the rules and enter below.


Hostage ebook coverTitle: Empire’s Hostage

Author: Marian L. Thorpe

Publisher: Arboretum Press

Publication Date: July 16, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Themes: Adventure, War, Relationships, Strategy, Consequences


Synopsis

For fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe. But not everyone there will welcome her. As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.

Purchase Link – https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/70c2d124-98f8-11e9-a22b-0fa7c9705e88


Giveaway

Giveaway to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE –> http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494344/?


About the Author

Empires Hostage Author

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/marianlthorpe

https://www.facebook.com/marianlthorpe/

https://marianlthorpe.com/


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour, and for proving a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Empires Hostage

 

 

#Blogtour #Review: Legacy of Light by C. D. Tavenor @tavenorcd @rararesources

Legacy of Light

Today I have the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Legacy of Light by C. D. Tavenor. Weighing in at just 132 pages, this little baby packs an action packed punch, so don’t let it’s size deceive you. Filled with high stakes drama, unique and interesting peoples, and a load of action, if you’re looking for a gentle entry into a new and exciting fantasy world this might just be the one for you.


MsZ_NnPwTitle: Legacy of Light

Author: C. D. Tavenor

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Themes: Family, War, Survival, Slavery, Oppression

Features: N/A


Synopsis

If only they knew us as more than accursed.

The Holy Empire hates the People of Light. Maripes, arriving in its capital, seeks to save his people from certain destruction. The Inquisition seeks theocratic justice, and it will stop at nothing to rid the world of those it considers evil.

Still, Maripes must try. For if he fails, doom will certainly befall his people. Standing in his way? The High Inquisitor, the Empress, and a million subjects all indoctrinated to believe he is evil incarnate.

Should be an easy task.

Otherwise, his son Mono, a soldier in the legions of their people, will face the fight of his life . . .

Universal Book Link for Legacy of Light


My Review

I’ll be upfront in stating that when I dove into this read I was expecting a punchy little novella that set the foundations for an exciting new fantasy world. And while Tavenor certainly delivered in that regard, I was surprised that this was laid out as three complementary episodes – one for each of our heroes – that cover a heck of a lot of ground when it comes to world building. And the best part? Heroics seem to run in the family! We have a grandfather who tries to negotiate a peace against all odds, a father who leads his people in an epic last stand against an invading force and saves his people, and a daughter who sacrifices herself in order to find the path of Light. The only question is where will this path take Ermo, and will she be able to lead her people home to redemption?

The three generation format works incredibly well, as when it comes to laying the foundations for a new world it offers plenty of entry points that can be expanded on in the future. Through Maripes we’re introduced to the magics of sunsteel and moonstone and the ancient peoples, that came before with the power to forge them, the deep seated feud between the Holy Empire and the People of Light, and an equally generational series of villains. Through Mono we’re given insight into the second wave of wars, the ways of the People of Light, and given some delectable tidbits regarding the flora and fauna of this mystical place. And through Ermo we see how the people have survived (on either side of the chasm) since the last great battle, how the Lord of Light acts through people, and what new obstacles are arising to threat the Empire and People alike. Basically, there’s everything here to build one hell of a world!

My only complaint is that Tavenor offers just a taste for all of these aspects and I want more – more back story on the wars, on the ancients, on the slaves living in the mines, and more about the world as a whole. I know that everyone is all ‘show don’t tell’ these days, but honestly I’m not that picky when it comes to my fantasy world building. I’ll take it almost any way I can get it so long as it flows. And the parts that offered here were more than enough to catch my interest! I’m looking forward to seeing this world and the characters in it explored further as more books are added to the cycle because there are so many interesting places it can go.

Legacy of Light is exciting, action packed, and so very promising! Filled with interesting and diverse characters, imaginative creatures, and legitimate conflict that provokes thought on real-world issues Tavenor offers a veritable feast for the engaged reader. Check it out fantasy lovers, there’s a little something for everyone.


About the Author

gloRIbBQC. D. Tavenor is a science fiction and fantasy author based in Columbus, Ohio and the Director of Editorial Services for Two Doctors Media Collaborative!

He’s excited to tell stories that engage readers beyond a desire for entertainment, whether through philosophical inspiration or social inquiry. And he’s a firm believer in connecting every piece of fiction to reality, whether through their themes or their settings.

When not writing, Tavenor enjoys the more than occasional board game, his favorite being Eclipse.

To stay in touch and receive some great free books, go here: https://mailchi.mp/a6b48c582759/welcome-to-two-doctors-media-collaborative

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/tavenorcd

www.facebook.com/cdtavenor

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/c-d-tavenor


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Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachels Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this tour, and for proving a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

#Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May #YAFiction #YAFantasy

Back before the start of summer I out a call for fantasy recommendations featuring faeries and badass leading ladies, and the lovely Danielle Jensen chucked this baby my way. It may have taken me a few months to get around to reading The Falconer by Elizabeth May, but I’m delighted to say that I absolutely loved it and will most definitely be reading the rest of the series in the months to come. If you like action, imagination, and drama so think you can taste it in your YA Fantasy this is most definitely one for you!


falconerTitle: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction, Steampunk

Themes: Faeries, Survival, Invention, Societal Expectations, Inter-dimensional Wars

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Synopsis

Taken from Goodreads…

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.


My Review

I love discovering new authors, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered that Elizabeth May not only writes fabulous fantasy, but that shine can combine steampunk, faeries, and kick-ass heroines with the skill of a freaking ninja. Now make that heroine a young lady who bucks the expectations of society, add in a detached and ambivalent father, and a problematic romantic arc and I’m skipping household chores to read by the fire. Oh, and I did I mention that The Falconer is set in Edinburgh just streets away from where I used to live? Ding ding ding! You have a new series fan. I mean seriously, I couldn’t help but waxing all nostalgic at the most unexpected moments – it was pure magic.

But the thing that really made this steampunk fantasy stand out for me was May’s exquisite attention to historical detail. I loved how she slipped in that the waltz, which is now viewed as a dance that epitomizes elite society, was originally viewed as lewd and indecorous as partners maintained a body contact that was far too close to be considered proper. Or how houses used to be subject to window tax rather than property tax, ever walked through some historic neighbourhoods and wondered why all those beautiful windows were bricked in? Whelp, no you know why. Or that high society was governed by a close debutant code, that dance cards were more than just a figure of speech, and that the slightest transgression (whether intentional or otherwise) could ruin both reputations and families. Having all of these details so well founded in reality really made the more fantastical elements pop. Flame throwers and orinthocopters? Magical thistles and daemons rising from an inter-dimensional prison buried beneath the city? I AM SOLD.

And if you know me at all, you know that adore scandalously independent female characters. Aeliana fits this mould perfectly with her dangerous activities after dark, her persistent desire to invent anything from weapons to transportation, and her blatant disregard for finding a suitor and settling into married life. The only thing that worried me about her character was that she fell into the trap of being  a bad-ass lady that hated wearing dresses, I feel like it’s been done a lot lately, even if fashion in the 19th century was incredibly restrictive. But, her lack of fashionability is balanced out by an incredibly proper and supportive best friend so I can’t complain too hard. But more than anything I liked that Aeliana is both a balanced and flawed character. She’s capable of saving the world but she still grieves the loss of her mother and has PTSD meltdowns flashing back to her murder, she’s skilled and intelligent beyond all measure and yet she’s still susceptible to the failings of pride and arrogance. She’s witty, intelligent, and hilariously off-key funny, and every now and then you still want to smack her in the mouth. She’s pure gold.

Oh, and the fae aren’t half bad either. Okay, maybe they’re 99% evil and hell-bent on vengeance, but Derrick and Kiaran make for some incredibly compelling allies. And let’s just behest here, if I could have a little pixie living in my close and mending my destroyed clothes for the occasional bowl of honey, I would be so there! Even if that said pixie had more sass than any one person could handle, and could hold grudges like nobodies business. Derrick honestly reminded me of a lush, male, Tinkerbell because I would be all over that. And all over Kiaran too, because snarky dark heroes drowning in secrets are totally my thing. He’s killing his own kind, is training Aeliana to do the same, and has been banished from the faerie realms. Good people, gimme the popcorn and wine.

I won’t go too much into the plot and (serious) non-ending because I’m not a big fan of spoilers but you should know the action is available in abundance, the the drama thickens with the turn of every page, and that every character has layers that when discovered will throw you for a loop. The writing is spell binding, expertly paced with a superb balance between plot and explication, and it will most definitely leave you wanting to dive straight into the next book in the series.

If you’re a fan a spellbinding fantasy, some serious steampunk vibes, and a whole host of irreverent and independent characters then pick up The Falconer – you won’t be disappointed!


I purchased this book as a result of blogger and reader recommendations, all opinions are my own.

#Review: The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi #YAFiction #YAFantasy #NorseMythology

Today I am delighted to be sharing a review for Elizabeth Tammi’s second Norse inspired novel The Weight of a Soul. This daring play on Loki, Hela, and the dawn of Ragnarok is a dark and heady read, but it offers so much to think about. This may not be the read for you if you crave an upbeat adventure with a happily ever after, but if you enjoy tension, drama, and a complex new plays on classical mythologies this might just be the one for you.


43517326Title: The Weight of a Soul

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Publisher: Flux

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction

Themes: Family, Arranged Marriages, Betrayal, Mythology

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4/ 5


Synopsis

Taken from Goodreads…

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?


My Review

I’ll be upfront in stating that this book is not some happy, exciting adventure where the reader walks away feeling joyous and entertained at the end. Instead, it’s the type of book that dives head first into the deep end with some weighty issues such as loss, grief, murder, and healthy dose of mental instability. Tammi doesn’t pull any punches when she goes down the dark and twisty road, with the overall feeling of the novel mimicking the cold and oppressive trappings of Helheim. But with so much YA giving an issues-lite reading and a guaranteed HEA, I honestly didn’t mind the ominous tone.

I appreciated how honest Tammi is with her manipulation of classic Norse stories, claiming that at the heart of these stories is contradiction which leaves room to play. The core elements of Loki as the trickster, Hela as the goddess of death, the Valkyries as warriors, and Odin as the all-father are tactfully maintained while new layers of character and depth are created to suit the story. It is clear from the outset that Lena, Fressa, and everyone in the their village are nothing more than pawns in the gods master plans, and it’s difficult to watch them try and change their fates when there areas many factors beyond their control.

I enjoyed the depth of the bond shared by Lena and Fressa, and the lengths that Lena was willing to go in order to preserve the life and immortal soul of her sister. My only real complaint with their relationship is that a little bit more time could have been spent building Fressa up before her death as there wasn’t around long enough to really get attached to her and feeler loss as a character. Had this happened, it wouldn’t have taken anywhere near as long to get behind Lena’s mad-cap agreement with the goddess of death to retrieve her sister’s soul.

With that being said though, Lena’s grief and denial read as absolutely authentic. We’ve all done some pretty illogical things in the wake of a loved one’s death, it just so happens that Lena’s actions are in keeping with with viking setting and the prevailing beliefs of the time. Her descent into darkness is the kind of gradual that you don’t notice until she’s doing some absolutely horrible things, and all the while you can’t help but pity her and hope that she succeeds.

Amal too is an easy character to like. And maybe it was because Tammi made a point of acknowledging the diversity of Viking trade routes, and the reality of ethnic diversity during these times, but I instantly appreciated his presence in the story. He is calm, respectful, and overly logical about almost everything. His approach is the exact opposite of Lena’s which makes him an interesting ally in her quest and a subtle balance to her overwhelming grief. I really wanted him to fight more against their parent’s desires, but at the same time I understand and appreciate that my desires in this regard are not necessarily the reality of their situation.

Dark and gritty, the slow-burning action will carry you to other worlds and beyond. Lena’s world is magical, mystical, and meticulous wrought with details that you don’t want to miss. Guard you hearts though, because this is an emotionally brutal read that leaves little in the way of warm-fuzzier at the end. But, and I say this with great joy, this has all the makings of an incredible series with so much more left to come.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! But maybe not when you’re looking for a pick-me-up experience…


Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#SeriesReview: The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff #Fantasy #Nevernight #Godsgrave #Darkdawn

Thank you, my lovely book community, for pointing me towards the Nevernight Chronicles by the amazing Jay Kristoff. It is, by far, the BEST fantasy recommendation I have ever received. I was only half-way through Nevernight when I knew without a question that I would be buying Godsgrave and Darkdawn in short order. And it was not much longer after that I was getting quotes from the books tattooed on my arm. Talk about immediate impact. Wowza!

The whole series is imaginative, intense, and utterly gripping. Kristoff’s writing is witty, engaged, and hilariously self-deprecating as the series progresses. If you crave fantasy that is free from the eight-instalment world building slog and is most definitely written for an audience other than teens, then The Nevernight Chronicle is like winning the freaking lottery. I can’t recommend these books highly enough.


Untitled designSeries Title: The Nevernight Chronicle

Author: Jay Kristoff

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Books: Nevernight (2016), Godsgrave (2017), Darkdawn (2019)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Themes: Revenge, Murder, Assassins, Family, Love, Loyalty


My Rating: 5+/ 5


Synopsis

Taken from the publisher’s website:

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Revenge.


My Review

Pardon me while I try to articulate my feelings to towards as series that has legitimately left me speechless and sobbing on so many occasions.

OH. MY. GODS.

So much love.

The whole series is high-impact, meticulously wrought, and utterly irreverent. And it has footnotes. No, seriously, it has lots of them. At first I was all WTF am I doing reading something loaded with footnotes that isn’t an academic monograph, couldn’t Mr. Kristoff just include these little tidbits into the story like any normal human being? But then I came to realize that these asides were 1) hilarious and often the highlight of the page and 2) the most ingenious method I have ever seen for bridging the narrator’s voice between the prologue and epilogue. I ended up loving them, and often found myself skipping ahead to see what delights these sarcastic, self-reflexive, and self-deprecating asides had to offer.

Footnotes aside, the world Mr. Kristoff creates is a beautiful and terrifying blend of realistic details and exceptionally imagined monsters and magic. Each and every element has meaning, purpose, and and comes together into the best damned finale that us mere mortals could ever image. The series takes the reader on a journey of growth, not just as Mia progresses through the Red Church, but also as a person. We see meaningful change in every sustained character that is in line with the events and circumstances taking place. The result is a plot-driven (sex enhanced) extravaganza with well-rounded characters that are dangerously easy to get attached to. I say dangerous because neither working as an assassin or partaking in a supernatural war has a particularly long life span attached. So guard your hearts my friends… and keep the tissues nearby.

Take Mia for example, despite the fact that she is a chain smoking, ever-cussing, master murderess she is one of the most interesting and likeable heroines I have come across in a good long time. She is bitter, vengeful, and terribly flawed but she is also human, real, and plagued by a tenderness that gets her into more trouble than it’s worth. I loved her sass, her unwavering determination, and the extreme loyalty that she shows towards those she’s come to love. And then there’s the absolutely ace set of supporting characters including Tric, Ash, Mercurio, and so many more. Each and every one them is clearly defined with their own story, quirks and personalities. And we can’t forget Aelius, our delightfully dead librarian, who has given me new aspirations in my own career – to live forever, tied by dark magic to the lives of my books and herder ravenous book worms.

Sec and blood and swearing aside though, this series tackles some pretty big issues like hypocrisy, the abuse of power, the lasting impact of colonial empires, slavery, gender fluidity, and the value/ power of libraries and librarians. That last one may not seem like much, but in a world where access to knowledge and information is becoming increasingly controlled, it was refreshing to see a librarian represented as a centre of rebellion and resistance rather than as nothing more than an aged, bespectacled, keeper of books. Mr. Kristoff’s style is such that you can read it face value for an exhilarating experience, or take your time and unpack some seriously deep layers of meaning. They’re the kind of books that you can read over and over again and find something new in them each and every time.

I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in badass heroines to read this series. You won’t regret following Mia on journey from the Godsgrave to the Silent Mountain, and from the fighting pits to Old Ashkahi and back again. Mr. Kristoff’s quirky and irreverent style will draw you in, and the characters will you trapped until the very end (and maybe even for a while after).

Ace tip: Read all three back to back… and then plan for some recovery time afterwards.

Nevernight, Godsgrave, and Darkdawn are my tops reads of 2019, and if you’re up for it, they can be yours too!


I purchased these books as a result of blogger reviews and recommendations. All opinions are my own.