12 Days of Giveaways – Day 11 For the Young Adult Fantasy Reader

For day 11 of our 12 Days of Giveaways, we’re sticking with a young adult vibe. Today we’re offering up fantasy/adventure novels for teens. This year, I’ve read some really amazing series that were reimagined fairy tales. The Splintered Series by A.G. Howard and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are among my favorite to recommend at the bookstore. Both are filled with incredibly artistic renditions of fantasy worlds, with great attention paid to character development. The heroines of the stories really grow and develop incredible depths that make them absolutely irresistible reads. With that in mind, I hope you’ll give the books below a shot. Giveaway instructions follow the book blurbs.

wadWrecked by Anna Davies – Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control.

But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.

Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

oljOmega by Lizzy Ford – In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.

However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.

One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

vsjVanish by Sophie Jordan – To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Simon and Schuster and Captured Press for our giveaway ARC copies!)

Three lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the three books listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a young adult novel you’ve enjoyed reading.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

Advertisements

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 9: For the Science Fiction/Fantasy Lover

Hello again and welcome to day 9 of the 12 Days of Giveaways! For those of you still playing along, we’re in the home stretch, with only 3 days left to go. Today’s giveaway is for the science fiction / fantasy lover, with two groups of two books each up for grabs. Personally I’ve always found myself to side more with the science fiction half of things, but as I’ve read more I’ve found some great fantasy offerings, such as the Vineart series by Laura Anne Gilman. It’s an easy transition from science fiction to fantasy, just substitute some of the science for mysterious and magical themes and you’re all set. If you’ve yet to get involved with the fantasy genre winning one of the packages below is a great way to get yourself started. Good luck!

Science Fiction / Fantasy Package 1:

Heart of StoneHeart of Stone by Debra Mullins – Darius Montana is a Seer. With his gift of empathy, he can see into the hearts of others, both human and Atlantean. When his family comes into possession of one of the legendary power stones of Atlantis, Darius is sent to find the Stone Singer.

Faith Karaluros is the last Stone Singer. Manipulated all her life for her rare ability, she is widowed after her husband tried to steal her power for the Mendukati, an extremist group that hunts Seers. Faith wants nothing more than to stay out of this war when Darius comes to find her—just in time to rescue her from being kidnapped.

Faith goes with Darius, determined to do the job and be on her way with the money that can set her up where no one can find her again. She didn’t count on the Mendukati sending a hit man after her. Darius swears he can protect her, but when she discovers he is one of the rare Atlanteans whose powers work on their own kind, can she trust him to keep his word, or is she being used again?

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

WarriorWarrior of Fate by Debra Mullins – Warrior Adrian Gray has dedicated his life in service to his people, and has never doubted his calling… until now. Three mystical Atlantean power stones were assumed lost for centuries, but one by one the Seers of Atlantis have tracked them down in a tireless race against the extremist Mendukati. Adrian’s mission? To ensure that the stones are acquired and protected by the right people—his people.

Adrian has always been uncompromising in his dedication to the cause. But the True Seer Tessa Montana proves a sensual distraction in his quest, and he soon finds his discipline wavering. Torn between his sacred duty to the Warriors and his desire for Tessa, will Adrian and his secrets cost them the war?

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

Science Fiction / Fantasy Package 2:

BasiliskVoyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan – Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed—until now. Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.

Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.

(Giveaway copy is a hardcover)

ShardsShards of Heaven by Michael Livingston – The beginning of an epic historical fantasy that rocks the foundations of the ancient world

Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar’s legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods—or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves . . . and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

The Shards of Heaven reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.

(Giveaway copy is a hardcover)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to TOR for our giveaway copies!)

Two lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the two packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a science fiction / fantasy book you love and would recommend to others.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 5: For the Teen Fantasy Lover

We’re already at day 5 of the 12 Days of Giveaways! Today’s offer is for Gillian Philip’s entire Rebel Angels series. I’m a huge fan of teen fantasy/adventure novels. Reading about dystopic worlds (Hunger Games), science fiction fairy tales (The Lunar Chronicles), or even adventures in space (Across the Universe) makes me want to run out of my house and go explore something. As a bookseller it’s so much fun to be able to recommend books from this genre and see teens get excited about the newest adventure that they’re about to read. (And seeing them come back in to the store to buy the next books in the series is pretty stellar too.) With that in mind, I hope the Rebel Angel series will excite you about the genre and become a rabbit hole into the genre for you! Giveaway instructions follow the book blurbs.

fgpFirebrand by Gillian Philip – At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.

Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

bgpBloodstone by Gillian Philip – Bloodstone is the second novel in Gillian Philip’s critically acclaimed Rebel Angels series, debuting in the United States for the first time.

For centuries, Sithe warriors Seth and Conal MacGregor have hunted for the Bloodstone demanded by their Queen. Homesick, and determined to protect their clan, they have also made secret forays across the Veil. One of these illicit crossings has violent consequences that will devastate both their close family, and their entire clan.

In the Otherworld, Jed Cameron, a feral, full-mortal young thief, becomes entangled with the strange and dangerous Finn MacAngus and her shadowy uncles. When he is dragged into the world of the Sithe, it’s nothing he can’t handle until time warps around him, and menacing forces reach out to threaten his infant brother. In the collision of two worlds, war and tragedy are inevitable, especially when treachery comes from the most shocking of quarters….

(Giveaway is a hardcover)


wgpWolfsbane 
by Gillian Philip – 
It’s tough being the foretold savior of your race. Rory MacGregor, kept a virtual prisoner in his own father’s dun and hunted by the Sithe queen, needs a break now and then—and what better fun than tearing the Veil no one else can tear and escaping to the Otherworld?

In that dangerous Otherworld, Hannah Falconer is as trapped by circumstance as the strange wild Sithe boy whose horse nearly kills her. When Rory tricks her into crossing the Veil and entering his world, she’s sure it can’t be any worse than her usual home life.

Meanwhile, Seth MacGregor is fighting to keep his clan safe from the malevolent queen Kate. When an attack comes after years of stalemate, he is shocked to discover who is leading it…and who else is conspiring against him.

Wolfsbane, the third novel in Gillian Philip’s Rebel Angels series is enthralling and suspenseful, with a range of characters appealing to every age.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

igpIcefall by Gillian Philip – Death stalks Seth MacGregor’s clan in their otherworld exile. Kate NicNiven is close to ultimate victory, and she is determined that nothing will keep her from it. Not even the thing that took her soul: the horror that lurks in the sea caves. But Kate still needs Seth’s son Rory, and his power over the Veil. And she’ll go to any lengths to get him. Seth’s own soul is rotting from the wound inflicted by Kate, and survival for his loved ones seems all he can hope for. But might a mortal threat to his brother’s daughter force him to return to his own world to challenge Kate? And will Rory go with him? Because Rory suspects there’s a darkness trapped in the Veil, a darkness that wants to get out. But only one Sithe knows how near it is to getting its way: Seth’s bound lover, the witch Finn. Nobody gets forever. But some are willing to try…

From critically acclaimed author Gillian Philip, Icefall is the final installment in the Rebel Angels series.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copies!)

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win all four books listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a character you’d like to take with you on an adventure.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 6 – Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler

The 12 Days of Giveaways continues today with a fantasy/steampunk giveaway of Ramona Wheeler’s Three Princes. In an interview Wheeler was asked to describe her novel in 140 characters or less. Here’s her answer: “A spy story in an alternate world based on ancient Egypt. The Incans are secretly preparing to go to the Moon. Egypt wants in on the tech.” How cool is that? Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

tprwFrom Goodreads:

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

About the Author:

Ramona Wheeler grew up an Army Brat, shuffling from library to library with every move. She has written extensively on ancient Egypt and comparative mythology and her “Ray and Rokey” stories appeared in Analog magazine from 1998 to 2004. She now resides in Massachusetts. Visit her online at her website.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse #4) by Alex Bledsoe

wotbaabWith Alex Bledsoe’s fifth novel in the Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank, and Saw the Spider, coming out in January, I figured now would be a great time to give away the fourth installment of this series.  Thanks to Tor/Forge, we have a copy available for the winner of this giveaway (see details below!)  Here’s a quick synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel,went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his gold, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew and solve the mystery of the ghost ships.

About the Author:

Alex Bledsoe is the author of three previous Eddie LaCrosse novels, The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, and Dark Jenny.  Bledsoe is also a contributor to Tor.com.  Connect with him on his website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Friday, January 3, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Winner Announced in the Watcher of the Dark Giveaway!

wotdjnOne person has been chosen the winner in the Watcher of the Dark giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Abinash who left a comment on November 14th

Please contact me with your mailing address by Thursday, November 28, 2013 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Watcher of the Dark (Jeremiah Hunt #3) by Joseph Nassise

wotdjnAs the resident fantasy, horror, and sci-fi lover here at Reflections, I have a special post for you today.  Thanks to Tor/Forge I have a copy of Joseph Nassise’s latest Jeremiah Hunt novel, Watcher of the Dark, to give away! Check out the book description below, as well as instructions on how you can win a copy!

New Orleans was nearly the death of Jeremiah Hunt, between a too-close brush with the FBI and a chilling, soul-searing journey through the realm of the dead that culminated with a do-or-die confrontation with Death himself.

Hunt survived, but found no peace. When he performs an arcane ritual to reclaim the soul of the magically gifted, beautiful woman who once saved him, he must flee the law once again, to the temporary sanctuary of Los Angeles, city of angels.

In L.A., Hunt must contend with Carlos Fuentes, who sees in the blind exorcist a means to obtain the mystical key that opens the gates of Hell. Fuentes knows Hunt’s weakness is his loyalty – to the woman he loves and to another supernaturally gifted friend—and threatens to torture them in order to get Hunt to help complete his dreadful quest.

Hunt has learned a lot since his life was irrevocably hijacked by faith months ago. But when enigmatic Preacher calls in his marker for helping Hunt in New Orleans, Hunt knows that all his newfound experience and ability will go for naught unless he can keep both the Preacher and Fuentes at bay long enough for him to somehow find a way to free his friends from mortal peril.

In Watcher of the Dark, take a trip to the dark underbelly of the City of Angels to experience an engrossing mix of fantasy, thriller, and horror.  This book is sure to leave you sleeping with the lights on.

About the Author:

Joseph Nassise is the author of the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles and of Eyes to See and King of the Dead, two previous novels about Jeremiah Hunt.  Nassise has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association and the International Horror Guild Award.  He lives in Arizona with his wife and family.  For more information, please visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nassise!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, November 21, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Charlie’s Review of Carniepunk, an Anthology

cpAs I have stated time and time again, I am a HUGE fan of the fantasy genre, so when I was asked to read Carniepunk, I welcomed it with open arms. It seemed like a pretty awesome anthology that numerous authors in the genre had put together.

From Goodreads: 

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals.

The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed,Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.

The fact that this is an anthology will either be a big turn on or a big turn off for readers. I found it to be a great opportunity to get a good mix of not only the genre, but to be exposed to many different authors. Some of the authors I’m sure you have read/heard of, while others are completely new. I felt like many of the stories were geared towards attracting readers to check out the author’s existing books, as most of them are tied in to their signature series. The positive thing about this is that if you like a story, you can go pick up their other works. However, the negative thing is that some of the short stories depended too much on the reader being familiar with the series it drew upon and failed to stand on its own. While this can be a downside to readers who have never been exposed to that author’s work before, the flip side is the opportunity to appeal in acquiring new readers. While I definitely enjoyed the book I don’t believe it’s for everyone. The problem I have here is that while you get to enjoy numerous short stories instead of one novel, I’m not sure the flow of it necessarily works. It makes me think was this written solely as a tool of marketing, perhaps.

While I don’t want to give away all the stories by going in-depth I’ll just let you know which was my favorite. For some reason Freak House by Kelly Meding really stuck with me. She isn’t even one of the featured authors, so I found that refreshing to really discover someone new and not just play into the fact that the names on the cover must have written the best stories. Freak House really was a fun little story, and if I’m not mistaken it is one of the few to stand on its own. The basics revolved around supernaturals being captured and displayed in a carnival freak show. It has a great lead character, excellent pacing, and I really felt that it could grow into something more! This story was right up my alley, and I really hope I get to revisit that world again in a standalone novel!

All in all, Carniepunk has its ups and downs. I definitely didn’t love all the stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed enough of them to make the experience enjoyable. I honestly haven’t read many anthologies like this, but I feel like this one was pretty good in the grand scheme of things. I particularly liked the carnival theme, as I think it was very creative! I could totally see this being developed into a miniseries for the screen, with the potential to grow. I would totally recommend this to anyone who either likes the genre, wants a quick fix, or feels like the authors seems interesting. However, as I stated earlier, just keep in mind that this isn’t a true novel.

3 out of 5 Stars

Carniepunk by Various
Gallery Books (2013)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN: 9781476714158

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Mist (Midgard Series #1) by Susan Krinard

mskThanks to Tor Books I have a copy of the first book in Susan Krinard’s new New Adult/Fantasy Midgard Series, Mist , to give away!  Book one should excite fans of mythology, magic, and paranormal romances.  Some info on the book:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard launches her first urban fantasy series

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

About the Author

SUSAN KRINARD is the author of twenty-seven fantasy and paranormal romance novels and eleven novellas. Krinard grew up in the San Francisco bay area. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband Serge Mailloux, two cats, and three dogs.  Learn more about Susan at her website.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor Books for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of Mist by Susan Krinard!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Wednesday, August 7, 2013.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, August 8, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Sam’s Review of The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

trtmihWhen I first started reading The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison, I have to admit that I was pretty excited. The cover art was lovely and the summary on the back was enough to get me started.  The story sounded right up my ally.

The plot from Goodreads:

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she’s impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father’s court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power–or the magic–to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

The fantasy genre has long been a favorite for readers – magic, romance, princesses, ancient prophecies, etc.  It might start to feel like it’s all be done before, but thankfully this story is different. Harrison has gone to great detail and effort to create a world that is new and never seen before.  There are two types of magic here. One is Anger and Death, given to men: taweyr. The other is Nature and Beauty reserved for women: neweyr.   In order for there to be a happy kingdom there must be a balance of both magics.

The two main characters Ailsbet and Issa are just delightful in this carefully crafted story. It is clear from the onset that Ailsbet, the musically gifted princess of Rurik, would be a great leader. She is passionate and kind, clever and careful. Yet, because she is a woman with no magic she is unable to rule. As the story goes on a secret is revealed about Ailsbet’s magic, one that even she wasn’t expecting. This secret has the power to threaten not only her chances at the throne but also her life. I found myself really drawn to her as she struggled with her new identity. In many ways she was already trapped by her title as princess, one without magic. But once she truly comes into herself she has to make some choices that have implications beyond herself.

Issa is a princess from the other island. The journey from Ailbet’s castle to Issa’s takes a long and dangerous month. In her kingdom, Issa has been in charge of the feminine magic in her lands since the passing of her mother. She would like the opportunity to lead in her own kingdom, but it doesn’t seem possible for her. Ailsbet’s father has more power and thus more control. When Kellin, a handsome messenger, arrives with a proposal of marriage from Ailsbet’s kid brother, Issa knows what she must do, for everyone’s sake.

Much of the plot is driven by what the ladies have to do for political advancement. As a reader I liked seeing the girls struggle with the decisions they had to make because it really grounded them. Ailsbet’s father, the terrible King Haikor of Rurik, is obsessed with his power and magic and often taxes men a portion of their magic, which he sucks from them in quite a grotesque way. Ailsbet’s mother, Queen Aske, has been asked for years to suppress her own magic so that the magic of men would be stronger still. This leaves Anger and Death to run rampant in Rurik. With these two as parents, Ailsbet takes on quite a bit of responsibility for her brother, Edik, often putting his needs and political strategy ahead of her own. She knows that a marriage with Issa will unite the two kingdoms but she struggles with whether this would be good or simply an invitation for her father to increase his power and realm at the expense of Issa’s people. Issa has to grapple with just the same problem with an added layer, she has fallen in love with a Duke of Rurik. Should she choose love? Can she? It’s this question that both women really have to consider. Who’s happiness is more important and at what cost?

What I really loved is the balance between the seriousness of the prophecy and decisions both ladies have to make and the sweetness of the romance mixed in. Issa’s love story unfolds slowly at first, then all at once. This was one of my favorite parts of the story, and I’m not really a romance girl! I never felt overwhelmed by it or that that piece of the puzzle overshadowed any other part. I admit that it initially worried me based on the cover! That girl looks like a damsel in distress if I’ve ever seen one!

Really, my only complaint was that the language was a bit much at first. Harrison invents many words to describe her magical world and if you’re not paying close attention you might miss a meaning and become totally lost. As I kept reading I got more and more used to the strangeness of the language and found that eventually (after two or three chapters) I slipped easily into the zone.

I realized just a few pages from the end that I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to these characters yet. It’s always a good sign when that happens! All in all it’s a solid, girly, summer read!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison
EgmontUSA (2013)
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN: 9781606843659

Special thanks to EgmontUSA for my review copy!