Blog Tour: Book Review and Giveaway: Queen & Commander and Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard



Title: Queen & Commander (The Hive Queen Saga, Book 1)
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication Date: March 8, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult


Blurb:

**WINNER 2013 IPPY AWARD -- Silver Medal for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book**

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again… and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

Kayla's Thoughts:

Rhiannon is a Perceiver who is set on choosing her own future. She knows what she wants to be in society, and that is a Queen. Queens are revered, they are highly regarded, and they have opportunities that she would probably not have otherwise. So when she gets the amazing news that she indeed has succeeded in choosing her future, Rhiannon is ecstatic. Her life is officially set. Or is it?

Rhiannon will be confronted by her best friend Gwyn and Gwyn's boyfriend Victor with a plan to keep the two lovebirds together. They will ask her to sacrifice her future for their happiness. Choosing to do this, to go against the system, could possibly put them on a path of no return. They might not ever be able to come back.

Along with Gwyn, Rhiannon, and Victor, this story also focuses on three other characters. Luciano, a hard worker who supports his family and is trying to give his sister the best chance in life she can get; Alan, an inventor of sorts who just wants a Queen who can respect him and the potential of his work; and Gavin, a dreamer and actress' son who wants to leave the Dyfed system. This story is a journey of self-discovery for all of them, and they will have to rely on each other if they want to survive.

I can very honestly say that I have not read a book quite like this one before, and I will probably not read a book quite like it again. It was actually quite phenomenal in the story aspect and the characters were all so different. They all want to respect the Hive, but they each have their own personalities, which at times do clash. They have their own ideals for how Rhiannon herself should act as a Queen, and sometimes I felt for her because most of the pressure was on her. I think they sometimes forgot that she was learning to be a Queen just as they too were learning their own roles. This story also allows us to see a crack in their society. Someone is starting to kidnap Queens, but we do not yet know their intentions or even who they are. What are they trying to start? A war? Well, they could very well succeed. 

Verdict:

This was a wonderful, wonderful read, and I am definitely a fan. This first book was a great start to a saga that I cannot wait to finish.

Links for Book:
Amazon / Goodreads / Barnes and Noble



Title: Hive & Heist (The Hive Queen Saga, Book 2)
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Blurb:

Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor’s medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who’s hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what’s theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives?

Kayla's Thoughts:

The story just gets better every time a new book comes out.

Rhiannon and her Hivemates are really feeling the pressure in this one. Everyone is starting to go their separate ways on this new station. They are starting to act as individuals rather than a whole. But considering what we also find out about this mysterious identity connected to all the missing Queens, and why, in fact, he or she is doing this, their actions might not be all that unusual. The unyielding devotion a Hive has for its Queen could very well be man made, and the fact that Rhiannon and her own Hive are not conventional could very well have saved them without their knowing it.

We are introduced to a few new characters in this, one of which I absolutely adore. A Ranger named Melissa. Now, Melissa only meets the group because she decides to hire Gavin, but she begins to form a connection to them that will most likely save her own life.

While the first book was absolutely amazing, this second book was more so. This part of the story brings so much to the table, and things are starting to come together. With a plot to steal what is theirs, a search for a murderer, and a play which almost gets cancelled, this is my favorite in the saga so far. I cannot wait for what is next.

Verdict:

This book is so worth the read. It is fast-paced and dramatic and just absolutely gorgeous.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She’s attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. (“Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.”) She’s also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.

Links for Author:
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Book Review: Emerald Destiny by Allie Burke

Title: Emerald Destiny (Volume 2, The Enchanters Series)
Author: Allie Burke
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Publisher: BookTrope Editions

Blurb:

What happens when the girl you’ve loved since you were six years old runs away from you, effectively breaking your heart again? Evan is about to find out.

Nineteen-year-old Evan spends his time in the woods of Dare Forest where the trees have personality, as close to Abby as he can be. But love has a cruel master and everyone around him has forbidden he contact her.

Abby’s nights are stressed with her Enchanter life, her dreaded nightmares, and her enduring will to save her brother from his own inner darkness. But when Evan speaks to her for the first time in fourteen years, she finds his voice too painful to bear.

Countless times before them, the union between their opposing families has failed and caused unfathomable destruction. The love in their hearts strives to be together forever, but will their destinies break them apart?

Allie Burke’s second novel in The Enchanters Series breaks through the Paranormal Romance genre to not just entertain her readers but empower and inspire

Kayla's Thoughts:

OH MY GOODNESS!! I am so in love with this series!

This second book in the Enchanters series is set twenty years after the events in Violet Midnight and focuses mainly on the relationship between Evan, Christian's son, and Abby, Jane and Elias' daughter. Their love is so strong, to the point where each has been watching over the other since they the age of six. But secretly, of course, due to their love being kind of forbidden since that age as well.

Christian doesn't want his son to be hurt like he himself was hurt all those years ago by Jane. Every day, he feels a sense of loss, because he just loves her too much. Seeing her with Elias is painful, and he just doesn't want to watch Evan go through that.

Abby is not really forbidden to see Evan, but Elias does not really like her to see him based on who his father is. But you can tell, even from the beginning, that not being with him just kills her, and vice versa.

Along with Abby and Evan's relationship, we get a glimpse into the past. More specifically in Christian and Jane's past: how they met, their relationship that seemed just too good to be true, and then the thing that tore them apart. In this story, the past will connect with the present as Jane and Christian kind of revisit those feelings and that time. Was their separation a mistake? Or was it a lifetime of rejection between their ancestors that decided their fates?

Oh, and we also get to learn a little more about Daniel, Abby's twin brother. And a love that he doesn't have the courage to pursue. But an epiphany just hit me about that love, and I hope to God that Daniel allows himself to pursue this girl in the next book, because it makes total sense for them to be together.

Verdict:

This book had its flaws, but I DO NOT CARE!!! This series makes me all warm and fuzzy when I read it. The characters are all so amazing. Their magic is so beautiful, and I just want more. The way the author writes is practically indescribable. I cannot wait for the last in the series. I am literally jumping up and down in anticipation of reading it.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

An American novelist from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can't find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a "kickass book that defies the genre it's in", Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie's fairytales.

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.

Links for Author:

Blog Tour: Review: Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision




Title: Threats of Sky and Sea (Threats of Sky and  Sea #1)
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father's past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King's army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree's father is thrown in jailalong with the secrets from his last mission as the King's assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King's capricious whims prove her and her father's downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It's a good trade. And she has faith she'll get them both out of the King's grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she's the weapon the King's been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father's life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father's past before the King takes his lifeand uses her to bring a nation to its knees.

Kayla's Thoughts:

So usually I will start my reviews with a kind of blurby section of what the book is about, and then I will basically say what I liked about it and some things I may have changed about the story, if anything. But since the blurb of this book does such a good job of doing that itself, I think I will just go into the like or don't like section of my review.

AND I LOVED THIS!!!

Oh, my, gosh. This story is the perfect example of what I have talked about in many reviews of fantasy novels. That indescribable feeling of regalness about it can never be forgotten once it is experienced. The text of this story just flows flawlessly together. I was practically in awe of Threat of Sky and Sea. It was AMAZING!

And the characters...such strong, well-developed people were they. I could feel their presences beside me as I read, and I definitely felt the mistrust Breena felt as she began her life in court.

Nothing could have been better than reading this.

Verdict:

SO TOTALLY WORTH IT! This book had all the aspects of wondrous fantasy novels that I absolutely adore. I want more...so much more...

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn't find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She lives in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.

Threats of Sky and Sea, a young adult fantasy, is her first novel.


Links for Author:

Book Review: Violet Midnight by Allie Burke

Title: Violet Midnight (Volume 1, The Enchanters Series)
Author: Allie Burke
Publication Date: April 25, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Publisher: BookTrope Editions

Blurb:

Look into the world of the Enchanters, where water has a sense of humour, trees scare people, and love...is destiny.

Beautiful Jane is hovering at the edge of content in her life of solitude in the quiet town of Jasmyn Lake, but when her energy sends her on a journey to meet the man she has been dreaming about for months, she cannot resist.

Meet sexy artist Elias, who moved to Hazel Grove, California, to get away from the rain, his parents, and everything that was taken from him in Hayward, Washington. But he thinks he may be losing his mind when he starts seeing purple glitter in the air, the scent of rosemary is everywhere, and he is hearing a beautiful voice.

But all is not flowers and ease for the newly joined couple. With a woman who prefers night to day and a man with heartache from his past, they must learn how to create their own world with grace and the occasional water feature. Written with humour and intensity, book one of the three part trilogy will leave you yearning for more and daydreaming shades of purple.

Kayla's Thoughts:

This book had two sides to me. On the one hand, it had sort of a childlike innocence as Jane and Elias kind of discovered their love for each other, and on the other hand, that innocence was taken over by suffering as their real worlds collided with their newfound one. Both of them have had their share of heartaches. Elias with someone very close to him, and Jane...well she has had even more than her share, considering what she is.

When we meet Jane, we find that she is not what most would consider "normal". She has abilities that sort of define her. And I think that is what I liked most about her. Her abilities, along with her red hair (I mean, who doesn't like red hair), and her personality made me absolutely adore her as a character. And then when she finds Elias, I could have just died with happiness for her. But I feel so sad when you find out the loss she just so recently experienced, and also the reason behind her sleeping during the day and staying up at night. And to top it all off, a strange man who wants her dead...someone who has abilities as well...I was literally pouting.

And Elias, who may be normal, but still has his own demons. He has to deal with parents who don't seem to love him at all after the death of his twin brother. After finding Jane, he wants to protect her. He would never be able to live if something happened to her. So what do we do...put her life in danger, his too. Why not, it will make their bond even stronger. And it might make his family appreciate him a bit more.

Verdict:

This book was a paranormal fantasy I will never forget. It was indescribably beautiful and heart-wrenching and HAD PURPLE GLITTER!! I can honestly say that I have never read a book where one of the stars was purple glitter. And I absolutely loved it! I'm kind of jumping in my seat right now because I so want to get the others in this series.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

An American novelist from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can't find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a "kickass book that defies the genre it's in", Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie's fairytales.

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.

Links for Author:

Book Tour: Book Review and Giveaway: The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

Title: The Luthier's Apprentice
Author: Mayra Calvani
Publication Date: May 10, 2014
Genre: Teen and Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Blurb:

A Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumoured to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another... When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears...Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her familybefore evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice...


Kayla's Thoughts:

After the sudden disappearance of her violin instructor and mentor from a locked room, Emma, a very talented musician, begins an investigation that will reveal family secrets she never thought existed. Secrets that involve her grandfather's unmatchable talent as a luthier, a strange locked room she is never allowed to go in, and a famous violinist from the 1800s who disappeared over 100 years ago. It will also reveal a magical inheritance that she will have to learn to control.

She will find allies to help her in her quest for answers. One in the form of her best friend, Annika, who is like a sister to her. And the other in the form of yet another of her instructor's students, Corey, a boy who almost rivals her own love of Sherlock Holmes stories and has an enviable memory.But Corey also has his own family secrets that will come to light. Ones that involve his father's death and the disappearance of an old family pet.

A whole other world will be discovered. One led by a very powerful sorceress bent on ridding the world of male violinists and allowing female violinists to reign supreme. Can they stop her in time to save their beloved instructor, and his fellow prisoners in her world, or will their attempts be futile?

I love YA books, sometimes more so than adult books. And, being an adult, I have no embarrassment whatsoever in saying this. Mainly because YA books have a certain quality to them that you just do not see in adult books. Or at least most of the time, anyway. And being the book connoisseur that I am, I am always on the lookout for something fresh and different. And this book is definitely different, but in a very good way.

Disappearing violinists, a pact made years ago, magical singing trees, and a pair of Sherlockians who are definitely after my own heart. What more could you want in a book? Not much, in my opinion.

This book was beautiful. Especially when the world in which the sorceress lives was revealed. Violins are so graceful instruments, and that is definitely how this story felt.

Verdict:

I can honestly say that I was definitely trying to find anything at all to critique about this book. But, much to my very pleasant surprise, I could not find one thing. I absolutely loved it, and was very excited hear that this will only be the beginning for Emma. This book was wonderfully written and had such musicality to it. And not just because it had music in it. It read very easily and I definitely would read it again...and again and again.

And P.S...the cover is absolutely gorgeous!!

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She's had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

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Book Review: Incantation Paradox by Annamaria Bazzi

Title: Incantation Paradox
Author: Annamaria Bazzi
Publication Date: May 30, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published

Blurb:

A car accident cuts Dolores Reynard’s life short, leaving her with a long list of unfulfilled dreams. When she awakens in a strange bed, inside a much younger body, and living with a new family—she can’t worry she might be going insane. How can she be a teenager again?

Jason Richmond understands the danger awaiting his new house guest. Wanting to ease her concerns, he works to earn Dolores’ trust. But attraction flares in the most unexpected way, and he finds himself caught between setting the situation right and following his heart.

An enduring evil threatens not only the blossoming love, but their lives as well. As Dolores and Jason struggle to unravel the truth behind her resurrection, they find themselves tangled in a web of murder, intrigue and magic. Only together can they hope to overcome the incantation paradox holding them captive.

Kayla's Thoughts:

Dolores Reynard has two girls she absolutely loves with all her heart and an ex-husband she could very well live without. Her life is not perfect, but it is hers and she wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world for it. Well, much to her chagrin, she is about to. After a terrible accident, she wakes up to find herself, not dead or terribly injured, but in the body of seventeen-year-old girl named Mona. She must find some allies in this new life of hers that will believe her story and help her answer all the questions going through her mind, or she might have to grow up all over again.

Jason Richmond understands all too well what Dolores is going through. The problem is finding a solution to her predicament. Along with that, he must deal with two forces that could very well bring Dolores' souls' undoing. One force which brought about Mona's supposed end, and which is now trying to hurt Dolores as well, and one which, if it awakens, could put Dolores on the back burner in the body she now inhabits. Hopefully, temporarily.

Throughout all this, Dolores and Jason begin to have feelings for one another. And once a solution is found, IF one is found, to get Dolores back into her own body, they must figure out how to prevent their growing love for another from being forgotten.

Verdict:

While I loved the beginning, and I especially loved the ending, the middle didn't seem to flow as perfectly and could have used a bit more polishing and organizing. But all in all, it was a really, really cool story. It was different and had a wonderfully strange quality about it. A magical quality that made me want to turn every page. I just had to know what was going to happen next. Read it, because it is totally worth it.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country.

Upon returning to the states, she swore she would speak without an accent.

She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.

Annamaria Bazzi spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solutions, and addressing customer problems. During those years she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day to writing.

Links for Author:

Blog Tour: Excerpt: Agony by Kshitij



Title: Agony
Author: Kshitij
Publication Date: March 10, 2014
Genre: Horror
Published by: Partridge India


Book Blurb:


All Set in a small county of Ireland, Agony depicts the struggle of Kewy, a young high school art teacher. Kewy finds herself tormented by a series of haunted dreams, one connected to another. The dreams take her to a godforsaken place, dwell with evil and are surrounded by death, fear and hopelessness. Even when she is awake, she hears strange voices and eerie knockings at her doorsteps. Things buried in her past start communicating with her in the form of nightmares, sickening her soul and making her question her existence.

Kasper is a grocery boy who works at Finke's - a popular shopping store in Louth. He has never seen anyone as mysterious and charming as Kewy. Einin is a catholic teen studying in Kewy's Art History class. She just needed a look at Kewy's face to understand her agonies. Kasper and Einin quickly become comfortable with Kewy and get involved in her problem, not knowing what they are getting into and not having the slightest idea of what waits for them in the dead woods of Kewy's nightmares. But as the three enter into Reinhardt County - the place from Kewy's dreams - they realize it was never about the fear and survival. The truth is earth shattering, but it soon becomes too late to get away from it...


Book Excerpt:

There was silence again. The rain stopped and the wind calmed down. Kewy was lost in memories, sitting on the floor as still as a statue, indifferent and impassive. Einin was looking intently at her. She had not seen Kewy that silent and composed before. Kewy didn’t move or blink. It scared Einin. She couldn’t figure out whether Kewy was alive or dead based on her appearance. She slowly moved near Kewy and touched her. ‘Please speak.’ She tugged Kewy’s shoulders. Kewy looked at Einin. ‘I’m thirsty...


Links for Book:


Author's Bio:


Kate Kshitij lives near New Delhi, India. He loves writing and reading fictions, particularly the ones that envision the dark corners of the human mind. He loves travelling and exploring cultures and people through the medium of reading, travelling and watching. He was born in 1986 in Agra.


Links for Author:

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