[RELEASE DAY BLITZ] The Copula Chronicles by Venessa Kimball || Excerpt + Giveaway

It’s release day for Venessa Kimball’s The Copula Chronicles! We are super excited about this new urban fantasy scifi. Grab the entire series today, and check out the excerpt, and the awesome giveaway Venessa is hosting!

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The Witch’s List by Andrew Cairns || Excerpt + Q&A

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Title:
The Witch’s List
Author: Andrew Cairns
Series: (The Witch’s List #1)
Pub. Date: June 24th, 2016
Genres: Thriller, Mystery

Goodreads || B&N || Amazon.com/ca

Sandy Beech doesn’t believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death bead, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky’s home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch’s List – a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure… The Witch’s List is the first of a trilogy.

AN EXCERPT: Chapter 1: Witches and Warlocks

      I didn’t use to believe in witches. Not really. Of course, growing up in Scotland, there were always stories of witches and wizards, ghosts and ghouls, monsters and zombies and so on, but as in most ‘civilized’ western countries, such stories were mainly regarded as folklore; on a par with pixies and elves. You didn’t really believe in them, they were just fairy tales. Remember the stories?

There was one, more ‘serious’ book on witches in our secondary school library though. And it freaked us all out a bit. It must have been one of the most browsed texts in there – due to its filthy pictures of witches performing various ceremonies – black masses and the like – naked! In most libraries there are some books with scuddy pictures, classed under erotic literature or art; even in the children’s section there’s always some big kid that’s got his hands on the encyclopaedia and invites you over to show you a picture of the topless, tribal African woman. This one, ‘Witches and Warlocks’, was a non-fiction work, detailing very graphically, and very sexily we all thought, a range of witchcraft and black arts practices. It had somehow found its way into Saint Saviours’ RC (Roman Catholic) school, despite the establishment being as staunchly Catholic in its syllabus and overall culture as it comes. It was in the reference section, on the religious books shelf, and I’m sure none of the teachers knew of its existence, much less its saucy content. The librarian was a rather dozy woman in her thirties, with short blond hair; always had her nose in some novel. I assume it was her that ordered a copy. She must have done it absent-mindedly, not really checking out its profane and pornographic content. Or maybe she was some kind of closest anarchist or rebel. Who knows?

My best friend at the time, Martin Cardosi, always one to lead me into mischief, showed me the book at one point; we must have been in second year, aged thirteen, hormones beginning to rage.

“Here, Sandy, come and check this out.” He shoved the big tome into my hands.

I flipped through it, speechless, mostly just looking at the shocking pictures but taking in some of the vocabulary: black mass, pentagram, hex, coven, sect, orgy…

“I’d like to join one of those devilish sects, just to take part in the orgies,” said Martin, grinning.

“Idiot! You’d probably go to hell.”

After we’d had our fill of the images, Martin put the book back on the shelf and said, “Don’t forget to touch the Bible after, just to be on the safe side.”

We both touched the Bible before leaving.

From then on we secretly consulted the book, at least once a week, hiding behind one of the shelves and ogling at the pictures.

 

Q AND A WITH ANDREW CAIRNS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andrew Cairns is a Scot, living in the suburbs of Paris with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys travelling and notably visited the Ivory Coast in 1999; experiences and stories which he heard out there inspired this book.

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW: Seduce by Jennifer Snyder

*I received an ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in order to participate in the Seduce Blog Tour.

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Title: Seduce
Author: Jennifer Snyder
Series: (Succubus Kiss, #1)
Publication date: February 24th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Goodreads || Amazon || B&N


Synopsis:
Life isn’t so bad for succubus, Kenna Blake. True, she seems to be the only succubus with a conscience and a specific strategy for finding her male meals, but she has a cute new apartment, a budding graphic design business, and the most unique friends she’s ever had.

Her personal love life, however, is non-existent.Until the legendary vampire Randal Vincent sweeps into her life. Even though he isn’t someone she set out to date, at least she can kiss him without killing him. But when you’re dating someone who’s the inspiration for Dracula, there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way…

 Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
      Seduce is very engaging and I definitely enjoyed it a lot more then thought I would. There’s werewolves, vampires, witches, demons, and the likes. While reading it felt so normal for there to be an abundance of supernatural creatures and what they do to survive (such as Randal having to drink blood, and Kenna having to kiss men in order to satisfy her hunger). It was almost as if humans were the weird ones. It was incredibly easy to fall into as well, which made it all the more better.
      I think the characters had a lot to do with that. See, Kenna is a succubus, and her job is to seduce men in order to have her hunger satisfied. Now, instead of being an overly confident, seeking-for-a-guys-attention, pro seductress, she’s actually fairly awkward and shy, and she hates having to seduce men. She thinks of herself as a slut, which I honestly couldn’t understand because the most she ever does is make out with them (because that’s how it works) and hasn’t had sex in a year, or more. That made me really love her, because she wasn’t the typical succubus and she really made it work. She’s also a great character, always there for her friends, kind, caring, and loving.
      Which brings me to Randal. He’s a very old vampire, having been the inspiration for Dracula (I know, he’s really, really old). And yet he isn’t overly cocky and confident. He too is shy (there’s been instances where he’s blushed, and it makes that heart beat) and he takes his time getting to know Kenna. I mean, okay yeah he has his cocky moments, but they’re usually in the form of smiles directed at Kenna in amusement, and he clearly gets the ladies anytime he wants because one, he’s gorgeous, and two, he speaks more formally (which they find sexy?) as he is a lot older than he looks. Randal and Kenna obviously have a connection, but neither of them are rushing it, or declaring their love for one another. To Kenna, it’s simply a crush. Which is another reason why I love it.
      I also love the world, especially the clubs. The clubs are filled with supernatural creatures, some who own the clubs, others who work there, and the rest there for a good time. I love the atmosphere and the fact that Randal and Kenna met in a club. I’ll let you find out how by telling you to read the book. I also love how they have special drinks for them, and that the one Kenna tends to get leaves her in a fog for many, many hours. It was all very intriguing and I loved every minute of this book.
      However, I wasn’t so fond of a few characters. Namely Natalia, someone who Randal recently broke off with. She likes to stalk Kenna secretly, especially when Kenna is with Randal. She did show herself twice though, once at the club and once when Kenna was with Randal. She’s kinda crazy in love with Randal by the looks of it, and would do anything to get her spot back. I don’t like her much because of that, and because she obviously wants to hurt Kenna. She’s just a sour character.
      Overall, I really enjoyed reading Seduce and I definitely recommend this to lovers of paranormal and romance books.
SnyderAUTHOR BIO:
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing new adult and young adult fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.
Author links:

THE TOUR STOPS

August 24th
Alpha Book Club
My Book Filled Life
Gemma reads too much for it to be normal book blog
Creating Serenity
Books Can Take You There

August 25th
Books and Warpaint
Bloggin With M.Brennan
Mythical Books
Tina, The Bookworm
MM Jaye presents

August 26th
Once Untold
Books and Authors
My secret romance
Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions
Paranormal Sisters

August 27th
Rolling with the Moments
Southern Yankee Book Reviews
Book Addict
Fanatical Paranormal Romantical
StuckInBooks

August 28th
Reading Away The Days
Novel Ink
Fishing For Books {Me}
Evermore Books
Gwyn Plummer: Happy Ever After Book Reviews

August 29th
Cat’s Guilty Pleasure
Taking It One Book at a Time
nerdychampagne
Alyssia’s Booktastic Reading Obsession

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~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW/EXCERPT: Scar of the Downers by Scott Keen

*I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours Scar of the Downers Blog Tour. I recieved a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.

**This is also posted on Coffee & All Things Random.

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Title: Scar of the Downers
Author: Scott Keen
Publication date: February 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Branded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.

Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.

Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master’s store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings, and scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master’s house and is sentenced to death.

To survive, Crik and his friends must leave behind their life of slavery to do what no other Downer has ever done before – escape from the city of Ungstah

An Excerpt:

Crik smiled. “I brought something for you.” He pulled out the torn piece of bread and handed it to her.

“Where did you get it?”

“A simple thank you is all I need,” said Crik. She gazed at him, and it felt as if he knew what she was thinking. “I’m careful. I’ve lived this long.”


“I didn’t say anything,” said Tinker. “But since you mentioned it. Thank you. You’re such a nice Downer . . . and that’s saying a lot. Some of them are crueler than their masters.”

Tinker took a bite of the bread and chewed slowly.

“Is it good?” Crik asked.

Tinker nodded. “It’s fresher than the ones Morta serves to her customers. I hope you didn’t go through a lot of trouble getting it.”

Crik thought about it and just said, “Not too much.” Then he picked a crumb out of her dirty, matted hair, which she brushed behind her ear.

“You had something in your hair,” said Crik, slightly embarrassed.

“Just one thing?” said Tinker.

“That I could see in the dark.”


They laughed. They always did when they met. All the grime on their skin, tears in their clothes, and lice in their hair disappeared when they were with each other. Crik didn’t feel like a Downer with Tinker. He felt like a young man; he felt brave, as if he could conquer the city. With her he wasn’t afraid of Kilvar, of the rats, the Ashes, or even the Gaunt King himself. The dangers of the city and the world melted away when they were together.

Getting up, Crik walked to the ledge of the roof and looked eastward into the darkness, past the torches and walls. He searched for the words to say, his gaze burrowing into the wall of night. Crik’s voice was quiet when he spoke.

“I heard something yesterday when I was in Briars and Thickets.”

“You went in there?” Tinker got up and crossed to him.

“That’s not the point.” Crik looked at her. “Some men were talking. I listened to their conversation. They spoke of something . . . something called the Avarah.”

Tinker’s brow furrowed, and her face turned serious. “The Avarah?”

“Yeah. You work in an inn. Have you heard people speak of them? Do you know anything about what they are?”

“I haven’t heard a lot,” said Tinker. “What I have heard isn’t very good. But they’re mainly just in stories. No one believes that they’re real. Why?”

“What were the stories about them like?”


Tinker grew quiet again as if she were deep in thought. “I’ve heard they were some kind of powerful being who used to live here long ago. But for some reason they don’t anymore. I guess the people in Ungstah killed them or something. Why? Why do you ask?”

“One man said they’ve returned.”

“Returned?” Tinker gave a little laugh. “I don’t think they’re even real. He was probably crazy. A lot of strange people come through the city.”

“That’s the thing,” said Crik. “This man is the Captain of the City’s Watch.”

Tinker crossed her arms. “Why do you ask me all these questions?”

“I was hoping that if the Avarah have returned . . . I was hoping they were good.”

“Be careful,” said Tinker, grabbing hold of his hand.

“Careful of what?”


“Hope can be dangerous thing for a Downer.”


“Hope is all I have.”


And now, on to my review!
Format: Ebook
4/5 stars

Scar of the Downers is an interesting new fantasy book. It is full of survival, strength, growth, trust, and the fight for freedom. It involves the Downers being treated like slaves, barely ever being fed and always having to do as their master asks. They are treated so poorly and cruelly, but then they have help and suddenly everything is looking brighter. It’s about friendship and trust and it’s a tale written to make scared characters a little braver, a littler more trusting, and a lot more loving.

What I Like:

  • The World-Building || The world building was well done, in my opinion. I mainly enjoyed the description of the evil lurking within the land and the cursed King, how Ungstah is described as darker than other cities so much so that travelers can feel the change once they’re close enough. It made for a much more scary type of vibe, and really helped the mystery grow where the King and his Guards are involved.
  • The Action || I love action, period, but I especially loved it in this book because of the magical elements. Aniel has this sword, right? And so, it can turn into water and end the lives of the Ash Kings, and it can also turn into fire. How cool is that?!
  • The Characters || Well, most of them. I enjoyed reading about Crik (he’s probably my favourite), Jak (or maybe he is), Tinker, Chaser, Aniel (she’s wicked cool), Talorc, Edem, and Gabril. I wasn’t so much a fan of Kilvar, Bhoor, and the other cruel Downer owners. I know they have to be cruel in order for the story to work as it does and I can understand that, I just don’t like them because if they were real I’d want to punch them in the face so bad. Overall though, the characters were great and I enjoyed the different voices us readers got to hear as we read. The visual we got was much richer because of that.
  • The Writing || It flowed well, and despite the filler-like vibe I felt most of the time, it was still a very enjoyable read because the writing really lured me in.

What I don’t like:

There’s not much; It’s mainly the pace. Throughout most of the book, I felt like it was all  a large filler. Not much seems to happen. I kept reading and all I got was that they were treated poorly (they were always hungry, thirsty, and dirty, always scouring the streets for whatever they could find), they needed to get money so Jak wouldn’t be sold (because their owner has a dept he needs payed but refuses to part with the silver he gained from killing a man, and so they stole from a house down a street), they aren’t that fond of some of the other Downers (Slink especially, since he always seems to sneak on them when they’re walking down the street), the Ash Kings almost killed them multiple times (since they were out on the streets during curfew trying to get food and money), and their owner is a cruel, cruel man. And yet, as you should realize, most of it happens in the same streets over and over again. It worked well with the story, but made the pace more slow and akin to that of a filler chapter.

I also didn’t like how quickly Slink changed. At first he’s this annoying, slightly creepy Downer that Crik and Jak weren’t fond of, as he was always sneaking up on them and even stole food from them once. Then suddenly when Aniel saves him he’s all nice and supportive and gets along with the others real well. I think there should have been more time taken to develop his change. Other than that though, I really enjoyed reading Scar of the Downers.

So, overall, Scar of the Downers was a very enjoyable read, despite the slow/filler-like pacing. I would recommend this to you lovers of action and fantasy.


ScottAUTHOR BIO:
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools.
Author links:

THE TOUR STOPS

June 22nd
Kara the Redhead >> Review
Suzy Turner, YA Author  >> Guest post
Padme’s Library >> Excerpt

June 23rd
Mom With A Kindle >> Interview
Dowie’s Place >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest post

June 24th
ConvergenceBookReviews >> Review
We Do Write >> Interview
Authors You Want to Read >> Excerpt
Just Us Book Blog >> Top 10 List

June 25th
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile >> Guest post
Coffee & All Things Random >> Review [me]
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Excerpt

June 26th
Classy Cat Books >> Review
Brooke Blogs >> Top 10 List
Crazy Beautiful Reviews >> Excerpt
Fandemonium Network >> Interview

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~Sage<3

REVIEW: Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson

 *I received an ebook version of this from XpressoReads in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

Title: Fire of the Sea                                                                                 Author: Lyndsay Johnson
 Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult

Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share – they are both hunted.

Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Mermaids. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.

Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.

But legend and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again.

I don’t read books about mermaids often, mainly because whenever I indulge in one I’m usually left feeling unsatisfied, but also because they tend to follow the line of The Little Mermaid. I’m not saying all do, but from what I’ve read that’s the truth. Fire of the Sea really surprised me though.

I requested this one because I was craving some fantasy (which for the longest time was my favourite genre) and it sounded different enough, right? I hadn’t read about mermaids -since what, 3 years ago?- and so I though I’d give it a try. I honestly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but I’m glad it turned out better then I thought. It is a great mix of mythology, fantasy, romance, and action. There’s mysteries and secrets and deceit, and I loved piecing everything together. Most of the time, my predictions came moments before the events, and not chapters before. It was nice.

The way mythology was entwined to fit the story, to help explain about the existence of mermaids and other sea creatures, was just wonderful. It feels like it could be a real world, a real life! Well, obviously it isn’t, but if it could, if mermaids were to truly exists, this book would be the perfect example. The different species such as the Mermaids and the Selurs and the Nixies and the Selkkie, are all so well written and explained. I enjoyed the information about different Gods, about Gunnar’s lineage, about Aeva’s lineage, and just the story itself. The world building is great and the characters are easy to fall in love with.

Aeva started off scared of any danger, freezing in place in fear, all because her mind was stuck replaying the time when she was eight and Delphine killed her entire family. Aeva was lucky to get away. By then end of the book, she is strong, confident, more knowledgeable and mature, and she can fight if she needs to. I enjoyed watching her grow and shape into a stronger character. Gunnar was trying hard not to accept his true place, trying hard to think all mythical creatures are just that: myths. By then end of the book? He has embraced his lineage and true place, has become more confident and strong, and he also came out more knowledgeable. I enjoyed watching their relationship blossom. It was rather quick, but I understand how the bond works and so I had very little problems with it. Plus, they make an adorable couple. Just saying.

All in all, my thoughts on mermaid books have changed, the writing is great, the characters are great, the plot is great, and I really enjoyed reading Fire of the Sea. I recommend this to lovers of fantasy, romance, mermaids, mythology and maybe even action.

How do you all feel about mermaids?

~Sage d:

REVIEW: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

   Full of strange, odd, brilliant characters and situations, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children instantly grew close to my heart. It is the perfect mix of strange and odd and normal and creepy and everything one should love in a book.

Can I just say one thing though? Okay. My brain is stuck on repeat. Like, all I can think  about is how this book is just:

It’s so… peculiar. [;)] It was so easy to be immersed in the story. Initially, I  would  try to only read a little a day because I ordered the second book and I didn’t  want to  finish it days before my order came in, but then I just kept getting sucked in and it was really hard to put it down and so I stopped reading it for a few days. And then I found out my order is going to be late and so I thought, ‘screw it’ and I picked it up and finished it.

I was intrigued all throughout the book and I adore how the photographs entwined with the story. It’s so weird (in a good way) and not like anything I’ve ever read before. The peculiar children are so odd and it’s like.. I don’t even know. I just finished the book, right, and I can’t form proper thoughts right now. Basically, in a good, brilliantly written way:

And who doesn’t love madness? Especially when it comes in the form of floating, invisible, ball of fire/light producing, supernaturally strong,  peculiar children? And of course, there’s more but you’ll have to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to find out. d:

This is the first book, right, so it’s more of an introductory to the world and the children and some of the issues they need to fix, but even so it’s so well written and structured, and the situations the characters are put through keep you on the edge of your seat. You almost feel as if the character’s emotions are your own, and like you’re with him, watching as it all unfolds. It’s just so unique and strange and brilliant.

I might edit this tomorrow, considering that it’s late and this probably fails to express the actual brilliance this story possesses, and so I’ll leave after I say this: You need to read this book in order to understand how unique and strange it really is. You want a story that you’ll love? One you have the urge to re-read? One that will always stick with you because of how different it is? Then pick up Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and experience it all. It’s brilliant. And if you don’t love it, well, I don’t know what to say to you. I’d say I can guarantee you will love it, but not everyone loves the same book. With that said, I hope you decide to read it and love it as much as I do!

Rating: 5/5 stars.

~Sage