Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Roar by Cora Carmack Preorder Offer +Giveaway



ATTENTION CARMACK FANS, FANTASY FANS! Roar by Cora Carmack, the first novel in the Stormheart series hits shelves and E-Readers on June 13, 2017. If you pre-order the book now you can receive a beautiful, one-of-a-kind Skyfire pendant and Stormheart Chart in a cloth bag!

Feast your eyes on the loot below! Exclusively for pre-orders only (while supplies last)!





Pre-order your copy of Roar and submit your receipt here to receive a special swag bag. 
*The link will also give you an option of various booksellers to choose from.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Stormheart # 1
Publication: June 17, 2017 by Tor Teen
Hardcover, 384 Pages

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Losing It series.  (Via Goodreads)












Thanks to the awesome folks at Tor, I have one Coloring Map/Poster (double sided) to give away to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment on this post on why you want to read ROAR!

US ONLY.
Ends on 5/2/17.








Thursday, April 20, 2017

Royally Roma by Teri Wilson

Title: Royally Roma
Author: Teri Wilson
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Series:The Royals Vol. 1

Ebook, 251 pages
Publication: March 27, 2017 by Pocket Star

Source: I received a review  copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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In this charming, modern retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.

Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the

Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.

Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.

I’m a sucker for anything related to royalty, whether it be Princes, Princesses or sprawling castles. Which was exactly why I wanted to read Royally Roma, where girl meets boy, a boy who happens to be hiding the fact that he’s the Crown Prince of Lazaretto. All Nico wants in life is to be normal and be rid of his responsibilities, or at least the responsibilities of cleaning up other people’s messes. So when Julia, a tour guide mistaken him as her client, Nico doesn’t correct her on the assumption; and instead he goes on the tour and pretends to be ordinary for a day or two.

I thought the author did an amazing job at capturing the beauty of Rome, I definitely felt like I was there, and hopefully I’d get to see the Coliseum or the Trevi Fountain one day in real life. As for the main characters, they gave me mix feelings. There were times that I found Julia and Nico endearing and other times they drove me nuts. I also didn’t like the whole insta-love lust thing that was going on. It didn’t feel real or genuine. Can anyone truly say that they love someone after 48 hours? I don’t think so. Forgoing the reality of it all, I was able to find the majority of the book enjoyable.

The concept of Royally Roma has been done before, many times over. Which is totally fine as long as you’re not expecting anything new or different. Which I wasn’t. Have you ever seen the movie The Prince and me, Ella Enchanted or The Princess Diaries? If you enjoy those movies, then you’ll certainly like Royally Roma. I happened to adore those movies.(I just realized they're all children movies lol). I found Royally Roma to be in the same vein as those films, except this would be Rated R. Royally Roma was cute, fun, romantic and a quick escape...the perfect brain candy! 




 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga

Title: Bang
Author: Barry Lyga
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: April 18, 2017 by Little Brown BFYR

Source: I received a review copy from Saichek Publicity/Publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|AMAZON|B&N|


A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out. 
  
Contemporaries aren’t usually my thing, let along a novel about gun violence. Gun violence involving children. However, the synopsis had me intrigued and for years now, I’ve been hearing amazing things about Lyga and since I haven’t read any of his work; I thought his new novel would be the perfect introduction. And I am so glad that I read Bang, it was so much better than I expected.

Bang dealt with a lot of serious issues, from gun violence, suicide to prejudice. I was a bit surprised, it was a lot for one book. But Lyga handled it and incorporated them seamlessly into the story. All of these issues could be seen pretty much every day in the news, it’s sad how relevant Bang is. And Lyga isn’t afraid to tackle these topic, instead he masterfully shines a spotlight on them and pushes it to the forefront. We always hear about these type of stories, or at least what’s in the news. But we rarely see the aftermath. How it affects the family. What the person at the center of it all thought, is thinking and how it affected their life. The perception of it all from family members to strangers looking in. A lot of questions one may have are left unanswered. But now, Lyga give readers an in-depth, raw look at a theoretical family. And what we see is that beneath the headlines, there’s feelings of guilt, betrayal, pain, hate, grief, loss and the inability, struggle to move on. That you can never forget or erase it.

I thought Lyga did an excellent job at capturing the realness of it all. It was raw, in your face, truthful, and necessary. As I read Bang, my heart was breaking for Sebastian and the weighted guilt he’s been carrying since he was four. I wish I could reach out to him and tell him it wasn’t his fault, it was never his fault…he was only a toddler! On top of Sebastian’s heavy burden, he was unable to speak about it because it would cause mental and physical pain, and his mom kept changing the subject every time he tried. He was constantly judged and ridiculed by people and his peers…saying he was a sister/baby killer. All of this kept reinforcing Sebastian’s plan to kill himself, because he believed that he didn’t deserve any happiness, that he didn’t deserve to live. I’ve never cried so much. I felt so sad for Sebastian, no one should have to feel like this or go through it alone. Then there’s prejudice which is very much well and alive today. We see the issue of prejudice play out and directed at Sebastian new neighbor and friend Aneesa. Anessa is a smart, funny and sweet girl and she happens to be Muslim. Anessa automatically gets judged because of the color of her skin and for wearing a hijab. People made racist comments online and at school behind her back and yet she never let it bring her down. I loved Anessa and how unapologetic and true she was. She didn’t let anyone’s words make her feel less than herself and she certainly didn’t let them dictate how she lived her life. Anessa rocked!

Everyone should read Bang. The issues brought up are extremely important and perfectly portrayed. The writing was superb, bordering poetic and lyrical (there’s truly something special about Lyga’s writing, can’t put my finger on it though but regardless…I love it!). And lastly, the characters. Although this is a fairly short novel, I immediately connected with everyone; everyone was very well developed and realistic, like people I would know or would be friends with. I highly, highly recommend Bang, it’s definitely one of the must read books of 2017!



Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Third Book of Ore: Blaze of Embers by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

Title: Blaze of Embers
Author: Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz
Genre: Scifi Fantasy
Series: The Books of Ore #3

E-book, 313 Pages
Publication: April 11, 2017 by Disney Hyperion

Source: I received a review copy from Saichek Publicity/Publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|B&N|
Phoebe Plumm and Micah Tanner are no longer the spoiled heiress and naïve servant boy who first stumbled upon the fiercely beautiful world of living metal known as Mehk. They have rallied to aid the mehkans and risked their lives fighting the relentless greed of the Foundry, a corporation that harvests the metal creatures to sell as products back home in Meridian. But the kids' mission to retrieve a mysterious relic ended in devastating tragedy and with Micah as a prisoner of the enemy. Shattered, he can only watch as an unthinkable new power rises in Mehk and international war erupts in Meridian. Trapped between the Foundry and this staggering mehkan threat, Micah has no choice but to work with dangerous humans and mehkans alike, each with their own agenda. As the path of destruction spreads and hope fades, Micah leads his unlikely allies in a desperate race back to Meridian, where the two worlds are about to clash. A terrible reckoning is underway, and this time, everything is at stake.


It’s as if I’ve never left the city of Mehk and Albright, jumping into a Blaze of Embers felt like coming home after a long vacation and everything just felt right and familiar. In the third and final installment of The Books of Ore series, we find Micah as a prisoner of the Foundry being interrogated by Goodwin and his goons until chaos erupts in Albright City during The President’s speech. A missile struck the heart of the city and everything went up in a plume of smoke and flames; igniting a war that’s been brewing since the discovery of Mehk between the humans and machines.

Before I get to the gist of the story, it’s important to remember a crucial character died at the end of book two and this is where I warn those who haven’t read it to stop reading the review! If anyone is reading beyond the explanation point, it’s all on you. So, for those that follow the series knows that Phoebe died by Goodwin’s hand after being betrayed by Mr. Pynch. However, hearing tales of The Shroud, Makina’s home, and where the Mehkans go after death Micah escapes during the explosion and makes the strenuous journey in search of the fabled place. To his amazement, not only was the place real, the inhabitants, Uaxtu were able to bring Phoebe back to life with their magical seed/essence of The Shroud. Together again, Micah and Phoebe set out to save their city and Mehk, the city they’ve come to love.

This is definitely my favorite installment of the series, there was an abundance of action and surprise at every corner. Good guys turned out to be the bad guys. And the people we thought were villains didn’t seem as malevolent when the truth came out. Although this is a Middle Grade novel, I felt that an aspect of the novel was eerily relevant to the world right now. Whether the authors intended it or not, I saw it that way. The action of the few, the Foundry leaders and Ona, as the Makina’s voice and prophet dictated the consequences of the many. The humans in Albright and Meridan, especially who were clueless to the Mehkan’s existent did not want war. The Mehkans didn’t want war, just that their world be left alone. However, The Foundry wanted only what benefited them. Which was War. War, because it was profitable. It didn’t matter who died or got caught in the crossfire. As for the Ona, she was full of hate and wanted revenge on all humans and used Makina as a Slave, a puppet, to rile up the Mehkans to do her bidding under false pretense. Thus the attack on Albright City and it’s citizens. Doesn’t this sound like something happening now? I certainly think so. Many Children novels deal with real, serious issues but I think this is the only second time I’ve read something along these lines (1% vs. 99%, War happens only for profit) in Tween/Teen novels. Which is pretty cool. Fortunately, in books there are happy ending and by finding a commonality between the humans and the Mehkans; they were able to work together to fight the real baddies and bring peace to both of their people.

I loved seeing how everyone’ bond grew over the course of the books. Between Micah and Phoebe, who used to be default employer and employee by their parents. Between the children and the Mehkan. And even between Mehkans who normally wouldn’t associate with one another. Everyone has came a long, long way. My favorite part in the book was the reunion! I’m not ashamed to say that I got teary when Dollop, Mr. Pynch, The Associates and the children reunited. It was such a sweet moment. Their new Mehkan friend and ally Fritz also turned out to be a great addition to the gang!

This final installment was bitter-sweet, while it ended on a happy note…there were a couple of casualties that shocked me. The Books of Ore series was one heck of a Journey from a small house in Meridian to the wilds of the city of Mehk. I thought Blaze of Embers was the perfect and most fitting conclusion to an amazing series. I highly recommend this Middle Grade series, pick it up you won’t be sorry that you did. If you enjoy fantasy, alternative worlds, steampunk, and strong friendship bonds then you’ll enjoy Blaze of Embers!



Monday, April 10, 2017

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Conjuring of Light
Author: V.E Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Shades of Magic # 3

Hardcover, 624 Pages
Publication: February 21, 2017 by Tor Books

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|B&N|

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED...
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
 

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari - begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?


WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace - but never common - thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

I’ve been taking my time finishing A Conjuring of Light. I wanted to savory every page, every word because it’s the final book in the trilogy and of course, I didn’t want it to end. I wasn’t ready for it to end. Schwab has written one of the most captivating and imaginative series I’ve ever read, it’s no wonder that I and everyone else has fallen in love with this series, with the world and the characters. In A Conjuring of Light, Kell, Lila and all of the three Londons and its people face a new, terrifying threat that leaves nothing but death and chaos in its wake. In order to save his Kingdom, Kell and the gang sailed across the ocean to the infamous floating black market in search of the inheritor, a device believe to be myth and their only hopes to defeat Osaron.

I had no idea what to expect when I began A Conjuring of Light. The last book was amazing as it was heartbreaking, it was my favorite of the series. I think like everyone else, I had extremely high expectations, that whatever Schwab had in store had to be better and crazier. Right? Not so much. I thought the book was great don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t love it like I thought I would, or wanted to. Let’s start with what I liked. I liked learning about Holland’s past and what happened in his past that shaped the man we came to see, hate and surprisingly to where we eventually understood and grew to like. Never had I thought that Holland would be likable! I found the scenes with the three Antaris and Alucard the most fun and mesmerizing, they definitely had chemistry and their banter had me smiling and laughing. The fighting sequences towards the end was incredible. I could see it playing like a movie in my mind! Everything was just fluid and flawlessly executed.

The majority of the book as I said was great, however there were some parts that I found confusing, dull and unnecessary…just page fillers. The first thing is King Maresh’s sacrifice. The King and his people knew that Osaron was unstoppable, that both Kell and Holland alone could not fight him and they were the strongest in their respective kingdom. I understood that the King wanted to protect his people, but why couldn’t he just wait a bit till Kell came back with the inheritor? Instead Maxim went out with his steel soldiers and died within five minutes! And it didn’t change or help anything. Secondly, Rhys who is linked to Kell decides to confront Osaron after his father’s death. Yes, grieving makes a person reckless and do asinine things but Rhys was a King now, he couldn’t really afford to pull those stunts and yet he did. So he just made the whole situation worst for himself and Kell. These two scenes were unnecessary in my opinion, and didn’t bring anything to the plot/story. And finally we have the Veskan Prince and Princess’s betrayal. They wanted war and to take Arnes for themselves. They tried and failed, but again I thought that story thread was unnecessary and brought nothing to the story. It changed nothing of the situation. It was resolved as quickly as it began. Although these scenes brought nothing to the story, it also didn’t take anything away nor did it make me like the book any less.

A Conjuring of Light was an enjoyable and for the most part a satisfying read. The second book will always be my favorite and the series as a whole excellent. I highly recommend it without reservation. Schwab is a talented writer and her books pushes the boundaries of literature and is the perfect antidote for real life escapism. The Shades of Magic Series is pure magic, so do yourself a favor and get lost in a book! I look forward to seeing what Schwab conjures up next!



Monday, April 03, 2017

[Blog Tour] Excerpt: Bang by Barry Lyga

Barry Lyga, author of the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers is back again with his latest novel, Bang, a heartbreaking story in which a brother accidentally shot and killed his little sister. Bang hit stores and e-retailers on April 18, 2017. Check out an excerpt and more information below!




PREORDER: AMAZON|B&N
Publication: April 18, 2017 by Little Brown BFYR


Support Barry by pre-ordering a copy of BANG at the following bookstores!

Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ http://www.changinghands.com/book/9780316315500
Books of Wonder, NYC http://www.booksofwondershop.com/bang.aspx
Addendum Books, St Paul http://addendumbooks.blogspot.com
Blue Willow, Houston http://www.bluewillowbookshop.com/barry-lyga-bang-pre-order
BookPeople, Austin http://www.bookpeople.com/book/9780316315500
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur http://littleshopofstories.com



A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.
Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed, as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines. Readers of This is Where It Ends, The Hate List, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appreciate this extraordinary novel.



Read more excerpts from BANG and find out more about Barry Lyga on the blog tour!



Teenreads (3/30)

Novel Novice (3/31)




Mundie Moms (4/27)




“Sorry my dad’s such an asshole,” Evan says a little while later. We’re setting up camp in his bedroom—sleeping bags on the floor, stack of Blu-rays nearby, pizza boxes still warm from the delivery guy. We’ll stay up all night and gorge ourselves, beginning with prosaic chain pizza and working our way up to our combinations of grotesque snacks pilfered from the kitchen.

“It’s forgotten,” I say, and it pretty much is. I’m much more focused on the night to come. I need rituals, traditions like this one. Dr. Kennedy used to tell me that getting through life—especially after “a trauma like yours”—is sort of like swinging through the jungle on vines like Tarzan. (So many kids my age wouldn’t have understood the reference. He would have had to reexplain, most likely with Spider-Man. But my life has consisted of a long series of unbroken strings of time alone in my room, with nothing to do but read, lest I think too much. I’ve been reading Burroughs and Wylie and other classic pulps since I was ten.)

Each time you start to lose momentum, Dr. Kennedy would say, you look ahead to the next vine. And you jump for it, Sebastian. You don’t think about it; you don’t worry about it. You jump and you trust that you have the strength and the momentum to grasp that next vine.

Every time I leap, I think this is the time my reach exceeds my grasp, this is the time my fingers will close on nothing but empty air, and I will plummet into the green and the death of the jungle.

I’m wrong every time.

So far. Anytime you swing with the apes, the plunge is only a finger’s-length away.

“What ancient mess are you inflicting on me first?” Evan asks. We tossed a coin to decide who picks the first movie to watch.

“Tron.”

He grins. “Excellent! Olivia Wilde. Oh, man.”

“No, not the sequel. I mean the original. From 1982.”

I might as well have told him I’m playing a recording of an old kinescope from the turn of the last century. His jaw drops.

“Are you kidding me? That’s pre-CGI.”

“Exactly. Everything you see, someone actually did. A human being was there and was filmed. How cool is that?” With a groan, he throws his hands up in the air, surrendering to my hopelessness.

“I can’t believe I’m gonna waste two hours of my life on something that barely even qualifies as a movie. It’s more like a slideshow with motion in it.”

“You’ve never seen it.”

“I bet I’m right.” 

Waggling the Blu-ray case in the air, I grin at him. “It’s not two hours. It’s only ninety-six minutes.”

“Oh, well, that’s all right then. I can’t believe I’m gonna let you put that diseased shit in my player. It’s gonna infect it with the digital equivalent of herpes.”

While we wait for the un-fast-forward-able commercials to finish, Evan asks, “What are you going to do while I’m gone this summer?”

“Oh, didn’t you know? When you’re out of Brookdale, the whole town packs up and goes into storage.” 

“Stop it.”

“No, seriously. Everything just shuts down and we all go into our charging closets to receive software upgrades so that we’re ready when you come back.”

“You’re such a smart-ass.” He lazily triggers the remote when the menu comes up and groans with mock horror. “Jesus, even the Disney logo looks ancient!” I throw a pillow at him.

By morning, we’re reduced to monosyllables, grunting, eyes lidded, stomachs churning and gurgling with unholy concoctions conjured from the deepest recesses of our minds and Evan’s fridge. We’ve watched nearly sixteen hours of movies, half of them from the last two years, the other half dating most recently from 1995. The sun has risen, and we’re bleary-eyed and incoherent even in the confines of our own skulls.

By tradition, we have to stay awake until eight o’clock, when Evan’s family has its big Sunday breakfast, imported from the 1950s and updated for modern times, Mr. Danforth at the head of the table with an iPad instead of a newspaper, Richard Jr. snarkily tossing mals mots from his side of the table.

Mrs. Danforth wouldn’t risk her coiffure or her silk or her chemically enhanced complexion or her reputation by essaying something as prosaic as cooking, so the Danforths have a cook named Angus who comes in on weekends and for special occasions to use the million-dollar kitchen.

We eat and then it’s time for me to go, my head buzzing and muzzy and all out of sorts. As I pass over the frontdoor threshold, it lands on me that I won’t see Evan again this summer, and I suddenly feel like a small child whose mother was right there a minute ago but has now disappeared. I want to hug him, to cling to him, and I’m not sure why; I manage, instead, to give him a grin and a clap on the shoulder. I tell him to have fun learning how to rule the world, and he tells me he will. 

In the car with Mom, it hits me anew: a summer without Evan.

I know what that means. What it will mean, this change in the status quo. During the school year, I always had school to distract me. Over the summers, I always had Evan.

Now, for the first time in a long time, I’ll be alone with myself and with the voice from far back in my brain.

I thought I might be sad, leaving Evan this last time, knowing I’ll never see him again. But instead, I’m happy. Happy that I’m leaving him with good memories. At least I accomplished that much.

And now I don’t know quite what to expect.

Or maybe I do. And that’s both the problem and the solution.

Excerpted from BANG © Copyright 2017 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

Connect with Barry! WEBSITE|TWITTER|FACEBOOK|TUMBLR

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women by Kevin James Breaux

Title: The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women
Author: Kevin James Breaux
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Series: The Blood, Sun and Moon #1

Kindle Edition, 409 Pages
Publication: January 9, 2017 

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|B&N|


Astrid the White isn't an average princess. She has always stayed by the side of her father, King Kol, and learned warfare and weaponry from the best Vikings in the land. When she awakens in the city of Birka and hears the sounds of war, she rushes proudly into the fray. She is more than capable of taking down any enemy wishing to disturb the peace.

This enemy, however, isn't what she expected. Before Astrid even gets outside the walls, a golden light knocks her out.

She comes to in the snow, in full battle armor. Astrid first suspects that this is a challenge from her father--or even the gods themselves. By acting correctly, she can gain the favor of Odin, the Allfather.

Astrid wants to complete the test, but it becomes more and more difficult as she explores this new part of the world and encounters both monsters and monstrous men. As creatures from the darkest legends reveal themselves, Astrid will discover that her journey isn't about acting correctly or passing Odin's test. It's about pure survival. Before she can even think about finding Birka, she will have to defend herself against the demons of this new world.


I’m not an expert on Norse Mythology or Vikings but I definitely like reading about it and anything related to the two. Breaux has written various types of fantasy from High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and now Historical Fantasy. And I must say I am digging Breaux’s jump into Historical Fantasy. In The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women Breaux introduces readers to Astrid, a warrior princess who is brave as she is impulsive, always running head first into battle and danger. Within the opening chapter Astrid’s home is invaded and somewhere amongst the chaos Astrid ends up far, far away from Birka, her home. With her family missing, her memories wiped and lost, Astrid reluctantly accepts help from Warren, a farmer and ex-soldier. With Warren by her side, Astrid starts to uncover what happened that fateful night, who she really was and that there may be more to life besides pillaging and war.

The book started with a bang. I immediately felt the urgency as Astrid and her sister Yrsa tried to gather the family as intruders encroach on their land. But Astrid is never one to run away from a fight and it is there that things took a turn for the worst. Astrid woke up alone and far from home in a strange land called Gromstad. But then the story dramatically slowed down as Breaux sets up the world and the characters through Astrid’s interaction with the people of Gromstad and multiple flashback scenes. I was a little bit confused in the middle of the book, since there was a lot going on but things weren’t being explained right away. It wasn’t till I got towards the end of the book that everything started to make sense…we find out the truth about Astrid and her family and her true purpose for waking up in the location that she did.

I like how brave and strong Astrid was, no doubt a fierce heroine. But at times It was hard to relate to her. She was raised a certain way and even she herself said her brothers saw her more as a guy than a girl. She’s not used to asking for help or for things she needs…she usually just took whatever she needed. But one thing I could relate to is the strong bond and love she had for her family and how she would do anything for them. I liked that about her. And though the book is mainly focus on Astrid, I still felt that there was something that kept me from truly connecting with her. What? I’m not sure. I can’t exactly pinpoint it. I also didn’t think the secondary characters were as developed as Astrid. I thought the characters could’ve had more background/history to make them more realistic and memorable but I honestly forgot them as soon as they came and went. The only other character that came close to being as interesting as Astrid was probably her sister, Yrsa…but even then she didn’t have much page time.

Overall, The Lifeblood of Ill-Fated Women is a good start to a brand new series. I enjoyed Breaux’s spin on Norse Mythology and the general concept of the novel. I haven’t read many Norse or Viking novels, so I highly recommend this book for those looking for a fresh and unique read! It was a nice change of scenery in my usual paranormal reads.