Book Feature: Elemental Outcast

I didn’t know the paranormal world existed. Until I became part of it.

TITLE: Elemental Outcast
SERIES: Paranormal Outcast Series
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy with action and adventure and PNR twined throughout

RELEASE DATE: 01.12.21
GIVEAWAY ENDS: 01.18.21
STEAM LEVEL: Clean
TRIGGER WARNINGS: None

BLURB:

All I wanted for my seventeenth birthday was a fun night out. But when a knife-wielding psychopath attacks my best friend, of course I try to stop him—and wind up getting myself killed. 

Or so I thought.

Next thing I know, I’m waking up to a glaring stranger with piercing red eyes. Jasper is an honest-to-goodness vampire straight out of the movies. He’s inhumanly beautiful, exceptionally strong…and he totally hates my guts.

Seems my near-death experience got me ensnared in a witch’s curse with twelve other paranormals known as the Outcasts. Supposedly, an ancient prophecy says the thirteenth Outcast will be the one to break the curse. That means me. Lucky number thirteen.

As I train to control a dangerous magic I didn’t know I possessed, the more I learn about the Outcasts, Jasper’s attitude, and my connection to the prophecy. And they’re all far more complicated than I thought. 

To make matters worse, another dangerous paranormal knows about the prophecy—and my connection to it. The closer I get to fulfilling my destiny, the more desperate they are to make sure that when I die again, it’s permanent.

Elemental Outcast is the first book in a young adult urban fantasy action adventure series, filled with vampires, shifters, witches, and more. If you like your books with a healthy dose of pulse-pounding fights, snark, sinister magic, and a slow-burn romance between people who can’t stand falling for each other, then the Elemental Outcasts series is for you!

COMPARABLE AUTHORS:

-Julie Hall, Cassandra Clare, Kimberly Loth, Chandelle LaVaun, A.L. Knorr, Rick Riordan

Pre-order link: https://geni.us/ElementalOutcast

Thank you to Book of Matches Media for hosting this tour!

Review: Daughter of Darkness

I spent the first couple of chapters of Daughter of Darkness confused about what was going on, but I’m glad I pushed through and kept reading.

Two parallel storylines – the past wit Kianna and the present with Kenna – and the thread that ties them together is Devon.

Devon is a warrior, called on by the gods to fix a mistake he made , but has no memory of the mistake and has no guidance from the gods on what his mission is.

I really enjoyed this story, flipping back and forth between the past and present, and, since the reader, similar to Devon, doesn’t know what his mission is, is figuring it out as the book progresses. 

There is a sexy sexy scene in this book, which makes me question whether this should be classified as YA (it is listed as “Upper YA/NA Contemporary Fantasy Romance”). Maybe I’m just being a prude? Maybe it’s because the 18 year old is sleeping with an immortal who’s hundred of years older than her (talk about an age gap!)?

I will say, I figured out Devon’s mission before he did in the book, which made the last couple of chapters before the next set of action drag a little bit for me. But, even regardless of that, I enjoyed Daughter of Darkness.

Thank you to Book of Matches Media and Juliana Haygert for the gifted copy of this book!

TAGLINE: 

She is destined to kill a demon.
He is sent to protect her.
One of them is about to fail …

BLURB:

He spent centuries in the dark …
 
After 300 years spent in the underworld as a punishment, warrior Devon is called on by the gods for a chance to fix his mistake–and to win his redemption. But there’s a catch: the gods won’t tell him details about his mission. He’s supposed to suffer while trying to figure out what he did wrong in the past, and fix it in the present.
 
All Kenna ever wanted was to be the owner of her own life and destiny. But for now all she can do is run away from the evil wanting to claim her powers.
 
 … until she came …
 
When Devon becomes unintentionally entangled in his new neighbor’s life, he can’t help but feel he’s closer to his purpose. Every moment he spends with Kenna makes him confused, and every time he touches her, glimpses of the past, of his failed mission, come back to haunt him.
 
… and showed him the light.
 
Darkness is closing in, and with Kenna’s help, Devon needs to put the pieces of the puzzle together before he fails his mission again and evil consumes the world.
 
Only this time, he’s sure he won’t be the only one damned.

Book Review: Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy

I enjoy a good fairy tale retelling, and Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy was a fun romp through the fairy tale realm.

Filomena is your typical middle school girl, who loves to read and is kind of an introvert. She’s a huge fan of the Never After series of books, but when she goes to the bookstore on publication day of the thirteenth and final book of the series, she finds out the book isn’t being published.

As she leaves the bookstore to head home, she notices she’s being followed – by the main characters from the Never After books!

Jack the Giant Stalker and Alistair Bartholomew Barnaby are trying to save Never After from the ogre queen – and Filomena has some connection to saving the fairy tale realm!

I loved all of the connections between fairy tale characters – like Jack Stalker and Jill (from Jack and Jill) are cousins. And the twisted fairy tales, the “real” tales as these characters call them, definitely make the reader look at the fairy tales as we’ve known them in a different way.

I read this so fast, the story was such a fun read and the writing was so fast paced. I could absolutely see this story being turned into a movie or TV show. Every time I put this book down, my thoughts were still with this crew, wanting to know what happened next in Never After, to Jack, Alistair and Filomena. 

While this is a middle-grade book, it definitely held my attention and I enjoyed this fantasy story.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and author Melissa de la Cruz for this gifted copy!

Giveaway Details

Enter to win one (1) finished copy of Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz! Open USA only. There will be 1 winner.

Giveaway starts: Monday, November 30, 2020

Giveaway ends: Monday, December 8, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. CST

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d14/? 

Synposis: 

Real life and fairy tales collide in Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy, book one in the new middle-grade Never After series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants series, Melissa de la Cruz.

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent—he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.

Author Bio:

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times-and Publishers Weekly-internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including the Alex & Eliza trilogy and Disney’s Descendants novels.

Author Links:

Home

https://www.instagram.com/authormelissadelacruz/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21911.Melissa_de_la_Cruz#

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44280835-never-after?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=x7O1szxehq&rank=1

Book Purchase link:https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250311214

Review: Songs of Autumn

I’ve been reading more YA Fantasy recently – I think it’s because I want some escape from 2020 and there’s nothing like escaping into a completely fantastical world and carried along on a magical journey.

They description of Songs of Autumn caught my attention immediately:

“What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die? ​Liz does.”

First – wow. So many bucket list items I’d want to check off the list. Second, tell me more!

Liz is the “Red Princess” who the prophecies told would save her kingdom from endless winter by being a blood sacrifice. However, on the day of the ceremony, Liz and her friend Tia escape the palace and run into the forest, heading for the mountains and hopefully far enough away from Liz’s husband/murderer as possible before winter hits.

I came into this book expecting my heart broken, but not as much as this book hurt my heart.

I loved Liz and Tia – their relationship so sweet. In fact, I fell in love with the entire journeying party Liz and Tia fall in with while traveling over the mountain passes.

The growing romantic relationship between with Matioch Steele and Liz is also incredibly romantic – with plenty of heat and tension. (But still very PG-13 for YA readers!)

I absolutely couldn’t put this book down and loved every minute of it. But the cliffhanger at the end. Ugh! I cannot wait until book two is released – because I need to know what happens NOW!

Thank you to Turn the Page tours for including me on this and to Lauren Sevier for providing me with this free copy in exchanging for my honest opinion.⁠

Book Description: 

What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die?

​Liz does.

​Magick in the Kingdom of Aegis has almost run out. When that happens, the seasons will stop changing, the tides will cease to turn, and the sun will no longer be able to rise and set. The only way to save the lives of her people is if Liz agrees to be a blood sacrifice in a brutal ceremony that will take her life.

​The problem is, Liz isn’t ready to go.

​With the help of a mischievous wanna-be soldier, Matioch Steele, Liz dares to take her fate into her own hands. Defying a blood-thirsty sorcerer, her desperate flight teaches her how to truly live while Mat finds out what’s worth dying for. Each other.

​Love, Death, Magick, and Mystery come together to weave one girl’s epic tale of self-discovery.

​Her song will echo within us all.

Author Bio:

Lauren Sevier lives a simple life in small town Walker, Louisiana with her family and two mischievous dogs. She’s a proud firefighter wife and mother to her miracle son, born through IVF after an eight-year battle with infertility. She works full-time for a non-profit hospital in Cardiology caring for the elderly and low-income families all over the state of Louisiana in satellite and outreach clinics. Writing and being in the service of helping others are her two passions in life.

She started writing song lyrics and poems on the front porch swing of her family home nestled amidst a 200-year-old pecan tree orchard that was once part of a Civil War plantation. She’s inspired the most by Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and JK Rowling. Her background in Theatre introduced her to classic British literature, playwrights, and poets from a very young age. This helped her to understand story concepts, dramatization, and character development the way Shakespeare once did, as an actor.

Now her biggest inspiration for writing is her son who, like all children, learns by example. Lauren is determined to set a specific example for him; to live simply, work hard, and to never stop chasing her dreams. Because, one day, you just might catch them.

Author Links:

https://www.laurensevier.com/

https://www.twitter.com/laurensevier/

https://www.instagram.com/laurensevier/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUeZHxk_ovbB93BIVeInF1A

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win one (1) digital copy of Songs of Autumn by Lauren Sevier! Open USA and international.

Giveaway starts: Sunday, November 15, 200

Giveaway ends: Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. CDT

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d7/

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49204479-songs-of-autumn?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Hi1KhKlNke&rank=1 

Book Purchase links:

Review: Crisanta Knight: Inherent Fate

I truly enjoyed reading “Crisanta Knight: Inherent Fate.” 

I jumped into this series on this book – and  never felt lost or like I was missing part of the plot because I jumped into to series on book three.

While I wish there had been a little bit more action in the book, I appreciate that this is book, and this series, is an epic adventure quest and the story isn’t just about the action.

I loved the overarching story that focuses on finding who you are inside – finding your inner strength. (I may or may not have been humming Reflection from Mulan while reading parts of this.)

While this book focuses on Crisa and Daniel for the majority of the book, they do meet back up with their friends in the last quarter. And I really enjoyed the dynamic of the whole team together.

That said, I honestly want to go back and read books one and two because the dynamic shift between Crisanta and Daniel throughout this book is heartwarming. But, I would love to go back and see the beginning of that relationship.

Possibly my favorite part of the book, which really said a lot to me about Crisa as a person, was a very small scene when she and Daniel are in Germany. As they are getting ready to leave, she activates her Hole Tracker and leaves a cryptic note in one of Yunru’s books which will lead her to Alderon. I  hope to see Yunru again in a future Crisanta Knight book!

After reading this, if I was ever confused about the terms “antagonist” and “protagonist” I definitely have them figured out now! I truly loved that the group’s quest was to find the Author (although 100% expected the Author’s name to be Geanna! Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t!)

I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in Crisanta’s adventure. Thank you to author Geanna Culbertson for providing me with this  free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Page Street YA for hosting this tour!

I LOVED this The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice! The story was so immersive and I enjoyed the gender swap retelling of Pinocchio. 

Set in an old world German-style town, I felt like I could walk right in and become part of this town. The town, the shops, the maker’s, even the local pub felt so real. 

And the makers – I loved them all, especially Nan who felt like the big sister to everyone. Taking care of them all, but also a little sassy.

As Pirouette works for the Margrave and she enlists the help of the makers, I fell in love with each of them all over again. Their friendships are so beautiful and honest and the way the come to each other’s aid is heartwarming.

The use of forbidden magic in the town was used well. The tension between Pirouette’s existence and what brought her to life was palpable. And use of magic and its consequences throughout the book helped to thread the tension throughout the story.

I found myself reading through this story quickly; Lisa DeSelm’s writing is engaging and easy to read. I loved that the elements of the Pinoccio story came through, but DeSelm made the story her own.

BLURB

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasingly urgent deadlines, the puppetmaster’s health suffers and Pirouette, his daughter and protégé, is left to build in his stead. But there is something far more twisted brewing at Wolfspire—the Margrave’s son wants Pirouette to create an assassin. And he wants her to give it life.

With Tavia teetering on the brink of war and her father dying in the dungeons, Pirouette has no choice but to accept. Racing against the rise of the next blue moon—the magic that will bring her creations to life—she can’t help but wonder, is she making a masterpiece…or a monster?

Review: Where Dreams Descend

What can I say about Where Dreams Descend? This book! I went back and forth between disliking the story and not being able to put it down. 

Kallia, a powerful magician and showgirl, is one of the magicians – and the only female magician – who are facing off in an elimination-style game show of magical feats. As the competition heats up, the stakes get higher for the magicians, as an unknown danger is striking them down.

The descriptions in the book were lush, beautiful, the world building thorough and rich. However, the descriptive language is also what hurt this book sometimes, in my opinion. Sometimes the   slow moving, long-windedness of scenes made me zone out while reading.

However, once there was action happening, I found myself sucked into the pages and the world around me stopped. I’d be pulled out of my reading and have to shake myself out of the world of Glorian and Spectaculore. 

WARNING! SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!

While this is described as a Phantom of the Opera retelling with more magic, I had a little bit of a difficult time seeing the connections. I do see, however, Jack as the Phantom of the Opera, who is trapped in Hellfire House. He is watching over and  protecting Kallia. However, Phantom is more of a father figure to Christine that Jack is to Kallia.

I also wanted to know more about the different Houses in Glorian – or at least, have it repeated one more time. Especially as the ending starts shedding more light about each of the characters. 

While this book definitely left me snoozing pretty often, it also wrapped up, leaving me with more questions than answers. Like, who really is Jack? Is Demarco something more than he claims to be? And where is Eva? Did Kallia save Glorian? I NEED TO KNOW! This is a duology, so hopefully Angeles can wrap up all of the loose ends in the next book.

This is definitely a book where I wish I had a physical copy, so I could reference previous pages and annotate important bits to go back to. It’s not as easy to flip through the ebook trying to find a specific passage later on, especially if I didn’t highlight it or note it in the first place, not realizing it was going to be important 300 pages later. 🤪

That said, the story itself was dark, yet fun, with no major twists or turns that allowed the reader to just sit back and enjoy the magical world and the story unfolding. This was a lovely debut from Janella Angeles.

I was provided a free advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.