Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Tour and Excerpt: The War Queen by J.M. Robison




New Adult Fantasy Romance
Date Published: October 2016
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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How do you dethrone a heart when its owner has stolen your kingdom?

Altarn is used to tolerating the biases of men. It comes with being the first female to secure the political State Head of Blindvar. But Kaelin, the State Head of Ruidenthall, crosses the line when he proposes a merger of their two states. Altarn has reason to believe this is Kaelin’s attempt to make himself king of both. Believing it’s her responsibility to “dethrone” him, she rides to her last ally to ask for aid.

While on the road, she’s kidnapped and taken to Ruidenthall. She wakes from a drug-induced sleep to hear about a foreign army marching upon Blindvar, and Kaelin capitalizing on her kidnap to make himself king. He threatens her life if she tells anyone, but she will suffer tyranny under a king if she does not.

When the final battle forces her hand, she has but one choice: to save Kaelin’s life or let him die. She never expected to dethrone his heart instead.


Excerpt:

“And what do you think I lack?” she dared ask him, though she feared the answer because her void was empty and he looked sincere enough to fill it.
“Respect,” he said. “Respect is earned. They love you for sure, they trust you for sure…They love you because you smiled at them once, they trust you because their tax money goes right where you say it will, but you have not commanded respect and that is what your nation needs right now.
“Knowing you the short time I have,” he somehow made that statement sound like that time started this morning, “it appears you wield your emotions like a weapon and people have to back away or be stabbed. I don’t think it’s so much a fear of having a female in charge, it’s…having you in charge, and so people make that one and the same.”
The daggered truth stabbed her. She sucked in a sharp breath, which left little room for words to defend herself. His apologetic eyes made it worse, like he was being truthful though she wished he’d said it just to be ugly. She didn’t know how to defend against the truth.
“I fail to see why you care,” she snarled. Her exposed weakness left her more nervous about leading an army, and the bucket of white paint became so obvious now and Japheron’s comment about it laid her entire self open, naked and ready for Kaelin to dress her as he pleased.
“I care,” he said, lifting a finger as if he could shove the understanding into her skull, “because you showed up to a war council in a dress.”
She laughed at the ridiculousness of his concern, but his eyes didn’t change.
“You’ve never had a dress in a war council, so I can see how it would appear odd to you.” He pressed his lips together, and Altarn wished the real concern she saw in his expression wasn’t so earnest. “You’ve never been to a war council, have you?”
“I don’t see how the proceedings are any different than a regular court session where other problems with equal importance are discussed. I have been doing that for a year.”
He exhaled and leaned back, crossing a boot over one knee. “It’s different for Ruids. We discuss war plans every week because of our pirate problem. The mood is different, the light in our eyes is different. It’s life and death we speak of, and that holds a special kind of ceremony we honor in our speech, in our manners, and our dress.”
“Why would my dress not honor this ceremony?”
“It might…except you look like a damn princess. I don’t know about Blindvar, but we killed our princesses long ago. Your people don’t want a princess. They want a war queen. A princess can’t handle the emotional responsibility of sending people off to their deaths, but a war queen can.
“You’d be surprised how willing your soldiers would be to die for you, so long as you did it without crying as they march away. They need to be reassured you’ll hold your ground when they cannot.”
The image he put in her head gave her pause. She wanted to buck his advice— advice he’d earned through years with boots on the ground in a real fight. But he saw through her. She wasn’t trained on how to earn the respect he spoke of, and to ignore advice from someone who did would stunt her growth as a leader, even if that advice came from the man who expected Blindvar as payment for his services.
“I think you could use advice, too, Kaelin.”
He stood, folding his naked arms. The busy lacework tattoo almost made his other arm invisible. “Enlighten me.”
“I suggest when you send a man to stage an assault on me, you don’t send one who breaks so easily. Turns out, he needed saving.”
He unfolded his arms. “That’s off topic.”
“Brilliant, really, staging those two attacks on me. The Lord of Ruidenthall rushing in at the right time and saving the Lady of Blindvar is quite romantic, going so far as to complete the rescue with a kiss.” She watched that familiar twitch in his jaw, the debate dancing behind blue eyes.
He ducked his head, spinning around to leave the room.
Altarn laughed after him, reveling in her small victory of chasing him out of his own garden. If she had nothing else, she had blackmail since he had just admitted his attempts to woo her on their way to Athenya embarrassed him to the core.



About the Author


J.M. Robison is a fantasy historian who chronicles the events which force heroes to reveal their  mistakes, lead rebellions to dethrone tyranny, and unearth ancient secrets to free the oppressed. She's quested over lands with the U.S. Army and now works for the king under the honorable title of Deputy Sheriff. She makes her own shampoo, lotions, laundry soap, face wash, and toothpaste. Some day she'll pack the wagon and roam the mountains in search of dragons.



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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cover Reveal and PreOrder: The Shades of Winter by Morgan Smith

An aging band of sea raiders set out on one last voyage of revenge, and get a whole lot more than they bargained for.

Tam Isliefsdottir wasn’t planning to end her life in a futile attempt for vengeance, but when your brothers- and sisters-in-arms need you, what can you do? Leaving her son and her granddaughter behind and sailing to the shadowy island of Alvandir, she expected to die gloriously for the sake of her country, her king, and her own reputation.

Nothing is as it is supposed to be, however, and it hasn’t been for the last twenty years. Tam and her Kyndred are in for the surprise of their lives.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Book Review: By Gaslight by Steven Price

William Pinkerton, son of the founder of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency, is in London in
1885  hunting for a man his father never managed to find. Edward Shade is a famous thief but virtually undetectable, never having been caught. William has a lead through Shade's one-time lover, Charlotte Reckitt, but Charlotte eludes him by jumping into the Thames River. When her body turns up in multiple pieces in various parts of London, Pinkerton thinks all is lost. Then Adam Foole who wants to find Charlotte's killer contacts him and the two men pair up though neither trusts the other. Foole is as much a thief and conman as Shade ever was.
The main story follows the murder of Charlotte and the subsequent happenings but meanders back and forth in time with vignettes of both Pinkerton and Foole. Much of Pinkerton's story is based on history though the rest is fiction. The author captures the time period well. The action moves from London, South Africa, Chicago, the Wild West, and the Civil War. Edward Shade, the man Pinkerton is chasing, was once a member of his father, Allan Pinkerton's, force in the American Civil War. Both the son William and Edward Shade are greatly impacted by the elder Pinkerton's views toward them and what each of them subsequently thinks of each other.
The author is an acclaimed poet in Canada, and his writing definitely displays a lyric flow of words. This is a long book, over 600 pages, but the writing is brilliant. I did think some of it could have been cut out, but then later I'd find why that piece was needed to make the story whole. It's a complex story, peopled with a diverse cast of characters. Each is fascinating in their own way and add much to the book.
The author made a stylistic choice to use minimal punctuation. Dialog is not set off by quotes, for example. It took me a while to get used to, and I'm not sure I was ever really comfortable with it. It's a conceit that didn't aid reading in my opinion; I can only imagine it had something to do with his style of poetry.
Still, this is a masterwork. In some ways, it reminded me of Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin without the fantastical elements. I'd take a half star off just because of the punctuation choices, but this is a book I'll think about for a long time.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: The Plunge by Jane Thornley

Phoebe McCabe hasn't heard from Noel, her boyfriend, and her brother for a few months and she's are art thieves who steal art and return it to the rightful owners, though Interpol and other assorted gangs don't agree with their methods. So Phoebe and Max, her godfather, decide to find Noel and Tobias with the help of Sir Rupert Fox, Phoebe's knitting companion, and others.
getting worried. The pair
This is such a great series. This book was on my reader this morning and I've just kept reading, anxious to see what happens next. It's an action-packed ride, and now that I've finished, I feel I can finally let my breath out. The story goes from London to Rome to Jamaica. Poor Phoebe has been battered in some of the previous books, and while she takes a share of bumps and bruises here, she's a much stronger woman in a lot of ways. It hasn't been easy for her to have her brother and boyfriend as criminals. She's gone through some hoops to justify their 'Robin Hood' crimes, and it all comes to a head here.
As always, the supplementary characters add a lot to the story. Peaches is a great new addition, and I love the glimpses of Serafina's various abilities. Foxy and his knitting are always welcome. As a knitter myself, I love how Ms. Thornley makes it such an integral part of the story for Phoebe and Foxy. I feared for Phoebe's well-worn knitting bag which is such a part of her character.
I can't wait to see what happens next for Phoebe, Noel, and the rest of the gang. Fingers crossed, but I expect Phoebe will somehow get in more trouble.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Bloom by Nikki Rae



Bloom
The Order Series 1
by Nikki Rae
Genre: Adult Dark Contemporary Romance

Given to The Grimm Order as an infant, Fawn was raised in a world shaped by the rich and powerful. When she was sold at the age of nine to a Suitor, Fawn believed he would protect her from the “Mainworld”, where those who know nothing about the Order live. Living with the cruel man who bought her freedom, she finds just what the Order is about: money, control, and status for the Owner and humiliation and abuse for those they own. 

Unwilling to accept the expectations of being Owned, Fawn goes from golden girl to maid, content to live in the shadows of the Order as long as she isn’t Owned again.

It’s been ten years since she disgraced her former Owner’s name, and now the brooding Frenchman Elliot Lyon wants her. Master Lyon is kind, smart, and unlike any man she’s met. She doesn’t want to admit it to herself, but Fawn is drawn to him despite constantly planning her next escape. 

Even the prettiest flowers have thorns, and Master Lyon is hiding secrets that will uproot everything she thinks she knows about him. 




Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely. 










Valentine's Day Romance Book Blast & Giveaway!


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: Monstrous Little Voices collection

Monstrous Little Voices is a collection of short stories written in a Shakespearean style that utilizes characters from his plays. The stories are written in Acts like his plays and are an elaborate form of fan fiction.
Characters from A Midsummer's Night Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and others are skillfully woven into a series of stories that the final story 'On the Twelfth Night' uses to explain them all.
I especially enjoyed 'Coral Bones' and 'The Course of True Love', but all of the stories are wonderful. Shakespeare fans will enjoy this great collection.

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