Cover Reveal: Thicker than Blood


TTB official Bookjacket
Thicker Than Blood
The Magicians series #3
by Lindsey R. Sablowski

Release Date August 2014

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Pitch:

Alaire Sencler is not the man he used to be. He left behind a foul and bloody past to be with the woman he loves, but the memories never allow him to forget what he did.

While the White magicians rise an army, their leader hides his true reasons for going to war. Meanwhile the Dark magicians seek out a new haven, one that might keep them hidden long enough to prepare for the war that is raging on outside their doorstep.

Though Alaire has a unique gift and the woman of his dreams by his side, he has yet to come to terms with Esmour’s death and what the future holds for him. New faces and the revealing of the fifth Dark magicians offers hope, but only the strongest will survive in the final battle.

Whoever said “blood runs thicker than water” never knew what it is like to be a part of the current.

I am so excited to be helping my friend Lindsey with the release of her third book. I remember when Cursed with Power was still up on inkpop–she was always passionate to have readers, and I’m proud she made it this far. She fought to get her book out there, even when things got hard, and I hope I can approach my audience with such persistence.

I hope you will give her series a look, and hope she’ll put out many more books in the future. She is truly very inspiring. Visit her website here!

Teaser:

We followed the noises and passed by more trees until Léal was in our sight. He performed a spell which hit the tree in front of him. Rostland held me back and gestured he would advance first.

Slowly stepping forward, Rostland said, “Léal, you need to stop before you hurt yourself.”

​He turned around and glared, but sweat covered his face and ran past his neck.

​Léal replied, “You knew her for one year; I knew her for five. She kept saying time and time again she was on my side, and I never once believed her until the end.”

​Rostland took another step forward, but Léal raised his hand. I considered moving closer to help if anything spun out of control, but I was confident in Rostland.

​“Do you plan to kill me again? Come now, you’re making a fool out of yourself,” Rostland said in a firm voice.

​Léal whispered a word and cast a spell, causing a ice shard to strike through Rostland’s chest.

Every muscle in my body tensed, but Rostland quickly ripped the icicle out and threw it on the ground.

The icicle broke apart into pieces, and the two men stared at each other.

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision


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They know that fire can burn. But they’ve forgotten how water can scald.

Thus ends Threats of Sky and Sea, a YA Fantasy by Jennifer Ellision–who is an awesome person, I might add, and allowed me to interview her here.

As far as greedy kings go, this novel is home to one with an unusual upper hand. He has Elementals working for him–in particular a Lady Kat, who terrorizes those around her with an affinity for air. In this world, if you’ve a gift with one of the elements, you have unusual power to make it help with your purposes.

And Breena Perdit is about to learn she is one, herself.

Lady Kat may be cruel and power-hungry, but Breena will hurt most from untruths in her own family–secrets that will make her question her own identity.

It seems impossible that she would be an Adept–because she isn’t seventeen yet, making her far too young to have discovered such ability. But she’s captured by the king on that suspicion, taken with her father away from home, and nothing will be the same.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, because the first time I read this novel, I thought the beginning was slow. Looking back, maybe I was just reading too late at night. It really picks up about three chapters in, and you can’t put it down.

Although the plot was intriguing, what I found most memorable were the characters. They’re wonderfully surprising: We learn that Da has been keeping a secret all along, when he seems like the last person to do it. Princess Aleta, who really isn’t as bad as we think in the beginning. My personal favorite was Tregle, the Torcher who seems to have a greater sense of conscience than Lady Katerine would like.

I finished the book and missed the characters immediately.

Also, I really need to say this–Riders (wind Adepts) can send a breeze to catch a conversation. That is both awesome and very creepy, and I think it would be a useful thing to have. Wind power always seemed the least impressive in other stories, but here it’s given new significance. Here I’d like to have wind power.

Finally, the ending nearly made me cry. Not a lot of endings do that since The Book Thief (I’m not sure any book will ever beat that one.) The book was great at playing with emotions, making the characters people you will miss.

I really want the sequel.

You should read Threats of Sky and Sea, and check out the author interview.

4/5 stars.

Interview with Jennifer Ellision


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I’m always interested to learn how other authors see things. It’s a complex art, and though no two stories are the same, sometimes the craft itself has similar characteristics in everyone. I’m so glad Jennifer Ellision let me ask her some questions. You should check out her book here!

Q: Your characters in Threats of Sky and Sea are all distinct from one another. How do you achieve such characterization–and which one of them speaks to you loudest?

A: Hmmm, well the first part is hard to answer. I didn’t consciously decide to create characters that ranged in personality, it just sort of worked out that way. I really just wanted them to be people, you know? Meaning they’d have their flaws, strengths, innate personality quirks… I’m a pantser so I discovered those things as I wrote.

As for which of them speaks to me the loudest, that would be my main character Breena, whose POV Threats of Sky and Sea told from. Although I have a total soft spot for Prince Caden and Princess Aleta.

And, oddly, the antagonist Lady Kat’s voice got pretty loud for me too. So loud that I had to write her her own short story, Sisters of Wind and Flame.

Q: In the book, many characters control elements. Which element would you choose, and why?

A: Oh, if I could choose, I’d be a Water Thrower, hands down. I love the beach, I love the pool, and if I had no other commitments (and if I wouldn’t get sun-burnt in about 20 minutes flat), I would happily spend all day floating in the water!

Q: What do you think classical literature will be 100 years from now? What books from our generation do you think will make it?

A: Ahhh, classic lit. Well, I think the books that already have the labels of classics such as works by Austen, the Brontes, Shakespeare, and Dickens will likely keep their spot in the curriculum.

As for books that I want to make it to future generations, there are SO many books that I hope do. With the massive love and commitment so many people (myself included) I think I’m safe in saying that I think Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will make it to future years.

Elsewise, in the fantasy genre, I hope that The Girl of Fire and Thorn trilogy by Rae Carson and the Graceling Realm books by Kristin Cashore make it.

Others that I hope make it include: Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Chime by Franny Billingsley, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Book Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


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Heroes never really die.

We all make an impact on the world. Even if we don’t make major history books, it doesn’t change this truth: No life is an accident.

You will meet obscure heroes in strange ways, and Revolution is one such tale. Andi Alpers meets an obscure hero by finding her diary, and is swept into her life–into the French Revolution.

 

Andi’s father forces her to accompany him to Paris, hoping to bond a little. Instead of making new father-daughter memories, she spends the trip researching for a paper. If she writes a good report, she can go home early to care for her mother. Her little brother’s death has affected them all; Andi’s mother has been taken by crippling depression, with Andi barely hanging on.

 

Find it on Goodreads.

 

My thoughts don’t dwell so much on plot, but the realistic actions of these characters.

It was refreshing that having a love interest did not shake the main character’s resolve. It didn’t make her want to stay and tour the City of Light. It doesn’t boost her self-esteem either: There’s no magical moment where they make eye contact and she realizes how valuable she is. Her depression seeps through to the very bone, and every other feeling is only on the surface.

 

That being said, all the shifts to diary format made for a sometimes grueling read. It might have done good to space them out a bit; I kept getting confused about who the main character was. That may have been done on purpose, but it still threw me off.

The book is a bit heavy, detailed, something you approach attentively. Don’t get me wrong: It’s an impressive read if you drink it in. Revolution is deep, and I couldn’t recommend it more. I’ve read it twice, and enjoyed it both times!

 

Because it was a bit of a long read, I’ll give it 3 stars. Looking forward to reading more by this author!

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


This series is fascinating. The characters and concepts surprise me every time I visit.

With a writing style that draws me in, I’m off on an adventure to a place with beautiful things–magical creatures, dragons, beautiful courts, and people who hold to promises no matter what.

Don’t make a promise in the land of faery unless you really know what you’re doing. These creatures may be unpredictable and wild, but promises are kept.

This honesty gave them an odd, pleasant quality–I can’t describe it–like, expect them to eat you. Expect them to turn you in to their king or queen with a broad smile. But also, expect them to do what they say they will.

The creatures, characters, places here are wild–but this honest quality gives them something I can respect, compared to other books where they just do what they want.

Meghan Chase is looking for her little brother, Ethan, who’s been replaced with a changeling. Finding him isn’t going to be easy, and on her way to Ethan, she finds herself in new messes and battling new obstacles. Her best friend is a faery, and there’s a talking cat named Grimalkin who doesn’t tire of reminding her that she’s human and he is a cat.

Grim is an interesting character. I liked him most! The talking cat who’s shamelessly more intelligent is a nice change, an original character that someone needed to come up with.

This was my second read of The Iron King. I will never tire of this world and the people we encounter.

It’s definitely one of my favorite Young Adult series, funny and creative and engrossing. Give it a try–meet characters who will stick with you for a very long time.

I can’t wait to get to Book 2–my heart’s still in the Nevernever.

Find The Iron King on Goodreads!

PARIS by Edward Rutherfurd


This book was 800 pages long.

It had been years since I even tried to read something so big. Even better, it covered different periods of time in Paris, following the same families and places. It is fantastic and completely swallowed me up.

My mind is blown–how does one become patient enough to write something like this? How long does the project take, from research to revising? A writer lives in the world they create, so Edward Rutherfurd has definitely spent a long time immersed in Paris.

The most exciting part of the book, in my opinion, was the beginning–where he covers Paris at the time the Eiffel Tower was being constructed.

Gustave Eiffel is a character in this novel, and so bold! He is not loved by everybody, but they all know his name. Everyone knows he’s going to build a tower many consider ugly. Very few believe in it, and there were repeated attempts to bring it down after it was completed. Now it's iconic–irony, right?

There is some adult content you could skim over, and language to make it gritty.

As a whole the book is powerful and I miss it already. If you want a read that'll cover your entire summer, I highly suggest this book. I've really got to find his other work…

Find it on Goodreads!

 

Paper Towns by John Green


Spoiler Alert!

PaperTowns2009_6APurchase Here

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

I started Paper Towns on the plane to Vegas and finished it on the way back.

The book has such an undertone of melancholy to it. Even in humorous scenes, like when Ben is doing something crazy, we can feel that the author has an ache in his heart. Something’s missing in the character’s life and we, the readers, feel it as well: The void Margo left. We don’t care about the other kids having a good prom; we don’t care about anything except solving this mystery because we feel Q’s emptiness if he doesn’t. The main character is so real that we feel his pain.

When Q starts finding clues Margo left behind—or at least, we presume it was her—we go with him on a thrilling, heartbreaking journey. I watched Q crack the codes she left, discovering new leads. He’s in love with this girl and wants to find her, even if he doesn’t find her alive.

It’s not a happy kind of love: It’s a quiet, powerful, broken love. Margo fascinates him because she goes out of the box to live her life in ways he’d be scared to do himself. The first nine chapters made me smile because she has a whole plan to wreak havoc on town, and though he sometimes tries halfheartedly to talk her into sense, Q enjoys every bit of her craziness. He thinks it’s beautiful, and this is what causes him to fall in love—becoming one of the only kids in school obsessively searching when she vanishes.

I loved the book, but towards the end I did not like Margo. Compared to the first chapters detailing the adventure they had, Margo later on seems tired and out of character. Like Q’s other friends, I question if it was worth all the trouble they went through to find her. Perhaps for Q it was, since love is love, but she took the whole thing so calmly–as if she didn’t expect anyone to follow her, an unfair reaction. The ending in general didn’t satisfy me, but as a whole I would read this book again.

Note: If crude language bothers you, there’s quite a bit of it here, but all in character.

It was my first John Green novel, and I see why people enjoy his writing. It isn’t super complex, yet has a depth characteristic to him only. Soon I’ll get around to reading The Fault in our Stars. I’ve avoided that book for long enough!

THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter


*SPOILER WARNING.

So there are a lot of ‘fresh takes’ on Greek myths. I like Cassandra Clare but she wouldn’t be the first author I like to promote a fictional book about Greek mythology that’s just way overrated. I didn’t really expect much when I bought this book, but I was giving it a shot. Hopefully, some good books had been published since I was last an avid reader–and, thank goodness, this time I lucked out. The Goddess Test was an enjoyable read and really helped bring me back into happy reader mindset. I’d been writing for so long that I forgot what a good book was like.

Granted it took me a few weeks to go past the first chapter, though I blame this on the simple fact that I wasn’t that good at being a reader when I picked it up. That, and the prologue was a little hard to grasp; it wasn’t confusing persay but the characters were very difficult to relate to. I couldn’t picture them or what was going on. Maybe it’ll be different when I go back to read it again, but it did take me quite a while to make it past the prologue. Once I actually did I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I liked the main character. She isn’t a crybaby and she isn’t a damsel in distress. She’s just a normal girl pulled into a weird story. I think she might have believed everything a little too fast, but that’s just my opinion, I’m used to writing long and heavily detailed stories after all. Maybe it was longer as a first draft but to get published they made the author speed it up? Anyway, overlooking that she believed a little quickly for my taste, the rest of her was believable–right down to her emotions. Aimee Carter nailed it with this character, I liked her immediately.

Henry is sweet at times but I think it might be the way he speaks, a little bit forced, that made it difficult for me to visualize him. He is a powerful character and I like him, but I think he is ironically the rustiest character in the book, description-wise. There’s just something forced about him, though once again, it might get better when I read it a second time. It’s really no big deal and doesn’t take much from the story.

The romance isn’t too cheesy, nor is it dirty–when they do slip once, I appreciated that the author didn’t make it look like a good thing. No, slipping into the sin of lust was a very bad thing here, and it almost had grave consequences. Also it wasn’t really their faults either, but I won’t get into a deep discussion of what happened. Just know that it isn’t described, you don’t have to worry about your eyes falling out or even having to skip a page. I love the author forever for this and if she lets me down regarding this in the next books…I might burn them… It’s just refreshing to be able to dream without closing your eyes! Aimee Carter, don’t ruin this!

The world building and storyline was amazing. I like how she described locations. Even if I occasionally had trouble picturing a character, I never struggled with a scene. Great detail was put into location! The escapist in me approves. You can bet that I look forward to buying and reading the next books. I hope they live up to this one, it would be difficult but if they do, I have a new favorite author! Definitely give this book a try, it is worth your time!

A Disgruntled Englishman on Biscuit Dunking


Right, ok, I’ve told you how to make the perfect brew, here, so it is only proper that you are taught the correct accompaniment to this magic potion, the dunked biscuit.

Before we begin you are now English, it is a biscuit, not a “cookie”.

Right onto business. Get your cuppa (If you haven’t got one, why did you read this far?). Ok now for the biscuit – the perfect dunking biscuit is the rich tea biscuit (this also happens to be another miracle thing, as with the tea, but that is a lesson for another time) after that it is the chocolate digestive biscuit, luckily they dunk very similarly, so get one or the other.

Now take the biscuit and see if it will fit into your cup, I doubt it will. If I am correct then snap the biscuit in half, actually, just snap the biscuit in half either way, gives you more dunks.

Right, now the really important part. Time to dunk the biscuit. Take the edge of the biscuit (one of the corners where you snapped) between your thumb and forefinger and dunk it into your tea, you should hold it in for about 3 or 5 seconds, then gently pull it out. If you don’t leave it in long enough the biscuit will still be crunchy on the inside, if you leave it in too long it falls into your brew and you have to fish it out with a spoon while shouting “Mum me biscuit’s fallen in me brew” (Peter Kay reference, well done if you spotted it).

Finally place in mouth and enjoy.

Repeat with as many biscuits as wanted, drink the brew and become English.

By appointment of Their Regular Noones,
The Lonely Recluse.

P.S. This is a totally tongue in cheek post, Mariella had no control over me, except to ask that I wrote something. All insult is totally your fault for not having a sense of humour good enough to take it, but if complaints wish to be made, you may make them to me here. I repeat, Mariella is not to blame for my sense of humour, or your lack of one.

Boring Legal Bit:
Their Regular Noones (TRNs) had no real input and infact did not appoint The Lonely Recluse as anything, especially not The Even Lower Biscuit Dunker, in fact TRNs do not exist and there is no such role as The Even Lower Biscuit Dunker.

PARIS, MY SWEET by Amy Thomas


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Complete with a cover that’s pure eye candy (I must admit that the cover is why I first bought it,) this little memoir is vivid. Amy Thomas painted the city and people in it so I could feel a breeze on my face, or smell the Nutella crepe that she described with such enthusiasm.

It also opened my eyes to a truth we often forget: There is such a thing as adventure in the world. Often, you just have to venture far in order to find it–and we like our comfort zones too much. We deny this, and complain later about how our lives are so boring. Stories appear out of nowhere like wisps of smoke (or in this case, the warm steam of perfect hot chocolate,) but you won’t see them unless you’re looking. Give something up, and only then will your heart be light enough to travel.

Amy did, indeed, sacrifice much to go on her adventure to Paris; with all its bubbly cheer, the book tells us she went through nostalgia and loneliness. Missing her family, having very few friends, regret–there’s always going to be that glance over your shoulder, hesitation to close the door behind you. I appreciate the author mentioning these very human emotions, so I could better relate.

Her writing style is conversational and easy to follow, at times resembling a blog post (after all, she is a blogger.) Inserting the words in French here and there gave it just the right dash of color, not so blinding that you could not see, but bold enough that you wanted to look. The cultures and how they differ were painted well, a plus for those of us who have never been there. Certainly, every person’s impression of Paris will be different,. That’s what books are for–to take us there.

There were only a few downsides, and they don’t even really count as such. In the blurbs where Amy recommended restaurants in Paris and New York, I felt a little resentful reading them and knowing I’ll probably never get to visit (the key word here being probably.) Also, the ending was rather abrupt–for some reason, it took me a few seconds to realize I was staring at the last paragraph. Somehow she managed to make the ending not an ending, in a good way–after the initial shock had faded, I realized the last chapter left us on an optimistic high.

I am very pleased with this book, and how she took me with her to Paris, describing her adventure in a very warm and personal manner. It made me excited for life, and hopefully someday I can experience the City of Light as well.