Book Tour - Children of the God's by @JessicaTherrien + #GIVEAWAY


Children of the God's


Author: Jessica Therrien
Published: October 5th, 2016
Pages: 780
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Folk Tales, Myths


Source:  I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.



Blurb:

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.



About Jessica Therrien:

Jessica Therrien is the author of OPPRESSION and UPRISING , books 1 & 2 in her YA paranormal romance/adventure series, CHILDREN OF THE GODS. OPPRESSION was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012, and UPRISING will be released in May of 2013.

Jessica is a graduate of San Diego State University. She lived in Taiwan for a year where she learned Chinese, but she lives in Chula Vista now, where everyone speaks Spanish instead. 

Jessica is currently writing book three in her CHILDREN OF THE GODS series. icture book.


Blog Tour & Excerpt: Endangered by @DaniHootsAuthor + #GIVEAWAY


Endangered


Series: Daughter of Hades #1
Author: Dani Hoots
Published: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 296
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Urban, Mythology 


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He's afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld's daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely. 

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There's no way that the gods will notice she's there for only a couple of days...right?


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 7

Chrys

 

                The River Styx is really intimidating. Like, seriously.

                I honestly never really realized it until now, being without someone who knew how to guide the boat for me. I had only taken a boat out a couple of times, but never this far, and never with this much risk. Now that I stood there, waiting for the others, I found myself questioning my decision a little bit. Not enough to turn back, but enough to realize that Father was going to be really pissed if he found out I had hijacked a boat and left the Underworld with two of my friends. I guess I knew that already but it was hitting me hard now.

                I had left a note for him, telling him we were going to visit Maka and not to worry, that we would be back in a few days. He knew I needed to let off a little steam and that leaving me alone was the best choice. At least, I hoped.

                I was already wearing my ring and waiting to give A.J. and Huntley theirs. I was almost past the point of no return, making a decision that could get me in the worst of trouble.

                And it felt exhilarating.

                I was surprised that Huntley wasn’t fully on board with this, but more cautious than A.J. and I were. He was only coming because he wanted to make sure I was safe. But if A.J. thought it would be fine, I really doubted it was going to end badly.

                At least I hoped that it wouldn’t.

                A.J. was the cautious one out of the three of us, so if Huntley thought it was fine, it was probably going to be fine. I trusted him, especially after all this time. He cared enough to stay in the Palace for me, so he had to be speaking the truth.

                A.J. and Huntley showed up, checking behind them to make sure there wasn’t anyone following them. I nodded to both of them and handed them the rings. They slipped them on their fingers, and we quickly climbed in the boat to travel around the River Styx into the sky that was Oceanus.

                The boat was like an old gondola that might simply crumble if we were going over actual water.  It was beyond old, probably the same age as the Underworld itself. It creaked and cracked as we stood on it, rocking slightly back and forth. The three of us each grabbed a stick and pushed off the peer of the palace and into the river we went.

                “How does this actually work?” Huntley asked. “I mean, it looks like we are traveling on clouds.”

                “You really going to ask questions of how things work in the Underworld? Not just accept that things work differently here?” A.J. replied. We had barely been gone for a couple of moments and they were already arguing.

                “The rivers here are more like air currents, trapping things that have been lost in the mortal realm,” I explained. “The river we are on now is the River Styx, the River of Hatred. It is but one of five rivers. Most of the dead come to this world via Acheron, the River of Pain. It is where Charon runs his service. The other rivers flow through the Underworld and serve as transportation to places throughout. But without a boat, all of the rivers will curse those who try to escape, so make sure the water doesn’t touch you.”

                Huntley glanced over the water, his eyes wide. I probably should have mentioned that earlier, but it had completely slipped my mind. When you knew something for such a long time, it was hard to remember to tell others who might not know.

                “Don’t worry, you’re fine. But because of this, no god from the other realms can get through Oceanus, which is why Father has hidden me away for so long. That is, except Hermes, he can travel between realms. Why that is, no one really knows. He kinda just appears some days and Father can’t figure out how he’s doing it. As for my mother, well, it’s really rare for anyone to come to the Underworld and be able to go back to Earth. In some legends the hero can, or antagonist, depending on your point of view. The River Styx was their greatest obstacle.”

                “But she sneaks men in here,” Huntley countered.

                I nodded. “Yeah, but they don’t come by themselves. She pays Charon to escort them. He will escort anything as long as he gets paid.”

                “Oh. So which one is the River Styx?” Huntley asked.

                I gestured in front of us. “This one. We will be going around the Underworld seven times and then be dumped into Oceanus.”

                “Seven times? Won’t that take forever?”

                I shrugged. “Space is weird here. Doesn’t take too long actually and the farther we get, the faster it starts to go.”

                “Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Huntley said. “Then where is Oceanus?”

                I nodded up. “You see the blue clouds that covers the entire realm? That’s Oceanus.”

                He looked up at the sky. The molten blue shimmered in the light of the morning. Where the morning light really came from, I still wasn’t sure. This world was weird, I had to agree.

                “Shit. How are we supposed to get through that?” he asked.

                “Hence the boat, moron,” A.J. commented.

                Huntley pointed up. “Yeah, but that doesn’t have a surface that we can travel on.”

                I shook my head. “That’s because we don’t travel on it. We travel through it. Oceanus is like a shell between this world and Earth.”

                “Oh yeah, that’s going to be fun. Do you even know where we are going to end up?”

                I was silent. I actually didn’t. I figured, probably wherever my mother was last, but I couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t like I had a preference. Anywhere was better than here. Finally, I shrugged.

                “We don’t even know where we are going?” Huntley exclaimed. “Chrys, seriously, get some sense in your head. This is a bad idea.”

                He was right, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I should turn back now, I had let my emotions get the better of me. I was turning into my mother.

                And I didn’t want that.



About Dani Hoots:

Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, and is currently in the Your Novel Year Program through Arizona State University.


Book Tour & Review: Daughter of the Sun by @zoekalowriter + #GIVEAWAY


Daughter of the Sun

Author: Zoe Kalo
Publisher: Zoe Kalo
Published: April 1st, 2016
Pages: 330
Audience: YA
Genre: Mythology, Paranormal & Urban

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. 
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. 
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.


My Review:

Daughter of the Sun brings Egyptian mythology to the modern world. If you read my previous reviews, you’d know that I’m a bit of a fan when it comes to modern mythology re-imaginings. So when I had the chance to pick up a book offering me not only that, but also a promise of a mystery – I was SOLD!

“I happen to share DaVinci’s opinion that cats are the masterpieces of nature.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

The story started off interesting. We are introduced to Trinity who is an orphan in London. The circumstances behind Trinity’s abandonment and the whole mystery grandmother to come out of nowhere was extremely interesting, but then the book began to stall for me. It was like that for a while until the mystery really picked back up.

There were some smaller “mysteries” that were a bit obvious to me, but that didn’t negate from the excitement of the story. At times Kalo had be fully engaged in the plot. A plot that was basically this in a nutshell:

“Why couldn’t I shake the feeling that there was something darker at work, that, unknown to me, I was taking part in someone else’s play?” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

Trinity wasn’t a character I connected with. I didn’t really care about her, but I cared for her story. I wanted to know everything. Why she was abandoned? Why were mysterious things happening to her body? What did this all have to do with the Cult of the Cat? WHAT WAS WRITTEN ON THAT PAPYRUS? (as you can tell that didn’t bug me – at all)

Seth and Ara were characters I truly enjoyed. Both had more depth to me and seemed more of an actual character than Trinity. The dynamics between all the characters were spot on and Kalo’s descriptions of a girl who’s completely infatuated were hilariously spot-on:

 “But my eyes were listening to me. They kept straying like naughty, disobedient street urchins.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

I especially liked this simple quote about young love. It really rung true with my own strict upbringing:

“No wonder the nuns had been so admonishing about what could happen between boys and girls. This was powerful stuff.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

If you are a fan of Egyptian mythology, crazy cat ladies, mysteries galore, old family curses, breaking & entering, and an ancient papyrus with a hard-to-translate script – all of this on a mysterious island right off the coast of Istanbul (not Constantinople) – than Daughter of the Sun is the book for you.



About Zoe Kalo:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery… 

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.


Book Tour & Review: Demigods and Monsters by @RayeWagner + #GIVEAWAY


Curse of the Sphinx


Series: Sphinx #2
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: April 25th, 2016
Pages: 273
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 


Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Can Apollo’s curse be broken?

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.


My Review:

You may remember me reviewing a book called Curse of the Sphinx a while ago where I exclaimed: Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!

I had the honor of being able to review the second book in the Sphinx series – Demigods and Monsters and boy, it did not disappoint.

“Hope wasn’t going to be a pawn for the gods. But she wasn’t above asking for a little help either.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Again, we enter Hope’s world – where the stories of Greeks gods are more than just myth. They’re fact. And hope is living in this world as a human who changes into a monster two days a month. This curse – brought upon Hopes ancestors by Apollo – has taken everything from her. Her mother. Her sense of safety. Her ability to choose who she wants to love.

Hope is a wonderful protag. Her though processes and emotional responses to others and the various situations she finds herself in is refreshingly mature, but also appropriate for a 17-year-old.

“If patience was a virtue, Hope was a serious detriment to the moral fiber of society.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Wagner again blew me away with her story-telling and vibrancy in description:

“Desperation made a foolish companion, and he wore his recklessness like a heavy cord, tangling his intuition and instinct into a messy knot.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Her knack for describing emotional conflict is spot on:

“The words fell to the floor, the insincerity bouncing off the ground and pelting Hope from every direction.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Demigod’s and Monsters picks up exactly where Curse left off. Hope has fled back to Seattle with Priska without letting any of her friends know. She’s on a mission this time to break the curse of Apollo and live her life in relative safety – as safe as she can be for a monster.

There were new characters introduced and a good chunk of backstory for them and Athan. These new characters were all amazingly written. As the title suggests, most of the characters were Demigods and Monsters – giving Hope a deeper insight to their world. Through her interactions with these characters she learns that not all Demigods are eager to murder monsters and not all monsters are good or safe.

“Hope looked down his longs legs to his bare feet, and the fire licked at her heart.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

There is a love triangle in this book. I’m usually not a fan because usually the other guy is only thrown in for conflict. I didn’t see Xan as an interloper. Xan’s purpose is to guide Hope through the nuances of conservatory life – taking her under his wing. Even though his feels grew for Hope and her attraction to him changed as well, she never could fully commit. 

Honestly though, the only conflict in love in this story is the fact that Hope is attracted to men who could be/ have been dangerous for her.

If you love mythology brought into the modern world, curses, stalker gods with a nasty temper, FEELINGS, and a girl discovering the world isn’t just black and white – then Demigod’s and Monsters is for you.



About Raye Wagner:

Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading. 
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus. 
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing. 
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.
Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the second book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.


Book Review: On the Verge by @GarenGlazier

Just look at this GORGEOUS cover!

Just look at this GORGEOUS cover!

On the Verge

Author: Garen Glazier
Publisher: Only Child Press
Published: September 16th, 2015
Pages: 224
Audience: NA/ Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Freya is just a student at the University of Washington worried about grades and making her next tuition payment until a gorgeous succubus interrupts her post-exam latte with a proposition: come work for her boss, Seattle’s reclusive heiress and antiquities collector Imogen Beldame. Eagerly agreeing despite a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, Freya finds herself swept up in a deadly quest at the behest of her psychopathic new employer. Beldame has given her until Halloween to collect three magical pigments that hold the key to crafting mesmerizing portraits that can access the Verge, an undiscovered borderland on the edge of human reality, and the powerful beings that call it home. 

Freya’s reluctant journey takes her to a goblin stronghold in the Cascades for the color blue, to the Seattle Underground to request the color red from Baba Yaga, and to the Fremont home of a beautifully gruesome Cambodian ahp, or spirit of the night, for the color yellow. Working together with Rusty, an enigmatically disfigured man intimately connected with the Verge, and a motley crew of mercurial demons and loyal friends, Freya must come up with a plan to stop Beldame and preserve the fragile balance between fantasy and reality that is at its most vulnerable on Halloween.


My Review:

On the Verge is a supernatural adventure filled with macabre thrills and a dark, sensual energy that will leave you turning the page well into the night. How do I know this? Because I lived it.

Prepare yourself for a lot of quotes because if there was any book deserving of a million quotes in its review it’s On the Verge.

“The best art is a spiritual experience that unites us once again with our true selves, and often what we see on the canvas is raw, unsettling, and even disturbing, because it’s true. Art reveals to us the divine and the damned in all of us.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Freya is a senior in art history who drifts between school and sleep without much regard to anything separate of Seattle’s art scene. Enter, Ophidia, a representative for a popular, albeit eccentric art dealer with an offer of a part-time job that although against her instincts, Freya accepts. This job leads Freya to the Verge:

"The Verge is a borderland that surrounds your world. It's an undiscovered frontier on the edge of human reality wherein exist all the creatures and beings of myth and legend. We[...]are the dreams and nightmares, gods and devils of the human imagination." – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

The Verge is an alternative dimension where beings of human imagination and passion are brought to life before they emerge into our world. Every creature known to mankind. Glazier is a genius to create this world with the Verge because there is no limit to what can happen or what creatures from mankind’s legends she could bring to life. Within the world of the Verge, beings can be either bound to physical objects in our realm and they can be sent back to the darkness of the Verge if something vital is taken, making them lose their identity.

“Freya couldn’t help but note the strangeness of the scene, a grown woman in mourning clothes cradling an enchanted little dolly in the middle of a meat-eating plant menagerie.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Glazier's prose is exquisite, sinuous, and poetic. Making the complex, prodigious plot sing with perfection. Within the unique and vast universe Glazier created, she keeps within her own boundaries and laws – both of which are realistic and interesting. There is plenty of external and internal conflict for the protagonist, as well as, a complex centralized conflict – due to demonic alliances and lack thereof - that affects mankind. From start to finish, this plot – it sucks you in to where putting the book down is akin to climbing Mt. Everest. Not many could pull it off.

“For a bookish girl with artistic sensibilities and a naiveté born from spending too much time alone with her daydreams, she actually felt a bit excited about what might be in store for her.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Freya is an amazing heroine for this fantastical world that Glazier created not only because she has a type of dark sophistication mixed with some skepticism, but because she isn’t like most fantasy heroines that fall into the lost hero or the warrior hero. She’s just some art hipster who finds herself in a life threatening situation that leads to a wild journey through Seattle and the Verge. Freya is a very real, grounded character in a world of fantastic beings. She laments her situations:

“Oh, man, I cannot believe I am here to see a witch about bugs,” Freya said. “How is this my life now?” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Her emotions are complex and diverse:

“She woke from these disconcerting visions feeling the excitement of a lover tempted and the mortification of a transgressor caught in the act.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

All these things grounding her character and making her relatable.

“The man was tall and imposing with a lugubriousness that pervaded the atmosphere around him. Freya always envisioned him as a kind of Teutonic angel, full of latent wrath and self-righteous superiority.” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

Other characters, both from the Verge and from our world, fill this book with so much depth. Glazier plays with the notion that nobody – human or creature – is truly evil or good. Both have propensity for either. I don’t want to go into much detail about the characters because I want to leave them as a surprise for you, but I will say that those who fall on the side of evil are wondrously creepy and take a sick pleasure from the results of their actions.

Then there is Rusty, he is not your typical love interest. He’s a meaty, mountain man with a disfigured face – not exactly the muscular man-models seen in almost any novel with a romantic subplot. At the beginning, I was actually expecting for Freya and the sexy-but-moody professor to get together because that is was usually happens. I was pleasantly surprised for Freya and Rusty.

“She had found that the truth was sometimes hard but always real…” – On The Verge, Garen Glazier

My only and I mean ONLY complaint - because this novel is in itself a work of art - is Glazer’s tendencies to overuse her descriptions. I understand that the characters are all intellectuals, the scene is set in the art community of Seattle, and the main character is a deep-thinking hipster. But there’s no need for an excess of words such as “lugubriousness” and “crepuscular” to be thrown into the narrative. It makes the passages seem longer – probably because I had to use the dictionary function on my Kindle often.

Garen Glazer is a mistress of written word and I am so thrilled to have had the pleasure of reading her work. Fans of fantasy and adventure will love this tale of an art student’s incredible journey through an extraordinary world. It’s a story that has been told a million times, but Glaziers refreshingly modern retelling will capture and engage readers from start to finish. Although the book ends solidly, with all major plot lines tied up nicely, due to the complex world and the nature of the Verge itself there is room for a sequel. One I hope to see.