Excerpt and giveaway: True Storm by L. E. Sterling

Mittwoch, 28. März 2018

   Today I'm bringing you a short but very exciting excerpt from L.E. Sterling's upcoming release, True Storm, which is the third and final book in the True Born trilogy and comes out May 1st 2018. Additionally, if you live in the US, check out the giveaway below for a paperback copy of True Born, the first book in this trilogy!

True Storm by L.E. Sterling
Expected Publication: May 1st 2018 by Entangled Teen
Number of pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)

   Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her—but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?
   But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? Can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm??
   As they say in Dominion, can rogue genes ever have a happy ending? (goodreads.com)

   And now, are you ready for the excerpt...? Well, here it is:

   His hands still on my face. “I’m sorry,” I manage to say, trying to control a nervous need to giggle like a hyena. “Are we fighting? Maybe I didn’t notice because it’s all we ever seem to do.”
   A wicked grin lights his features. “That’s not all we seem to do,” he whispers, seconds before he replaces his thumb with his lips.
   It’s a soft kiss at first, tentative. Like someone asking your name. But it lights me up, sending fire shooting through my body, heat curling through my belly. I must sigh because Jared pulls back for just a moment, a question in his eyes and hunger written all over him. Then he claims my lips again, holding my face in his hands as the earth spins away from me.


Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of True Storm by L.E. Sterling today!

About the Author

   L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit YA novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sonntag, 18. März 2018

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Expected Publication: April 24th 2018 by Wednesday Books
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
   Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
   She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. (goodreads.com)

* Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with 
an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion *

   That cover, along with the description and the fact that it's a viking inspired YA Fantasy story? I was immediately hooked, and very happy when I saw that I got approved for an ARC. I've never read a book like this before, one that stepped away from your typical fantasy setting of kings and castles and witches, and instead followed two different clans and their beliefs and mentalities.
   Unfortunately I didn't love this nearly as much as I hoped I would, which isn't to say that I disliked it, which I didn't, but certain parts just fell really flat for me. I enjoyed finding out more about the Aska and the Riki, about what made them different, why they fought each other, about Eelyn and the pain she felt over losing her brother, Iri, the bond between her and her clan and her god, Sigr. It was fascinating, and felt different from the stories I've read before this one.
   The world building was intriguing and lush, filled with little details that made the world feel full and lived in. The different rituals and traditions were interesting to read about, as well as the Scandinavian inspired setting.

   A problem I did have was that basically the first half of the story felt like the plot was just kind of happening around Eelyn and she was just kind of dragged along, angry and crying, wanting to do something but not really doing anything to achieve that. It simply felt very reactive. In the last 40% of the book that did change, at least to a certain extend, but something just didn't click for me about Eelyn and her character for a while. She was interesting, don't get me wrong, but there was just so much crying and anger that didn't really do anything much. Of course you can be a fierce warrior and cry, that's totally fine and normal, everyone has a wide range of emotions, but just the sheer amount of it kind of contradicted what she was trying to be portrayed as.
   Fiske was an interesting character, very stoic and hard, harsh and quiet. I liked the scenes between him and Eelyn, as well as Iri. Finding out about how Iri even ended up with the Riki to begin with, how he survived and what happened across the years, it was nice.
   I also liked some of the secondary characters, but most I really didn't care about or didn't trust because of certain signs, that ultimately didn't lead anywhere which was a bit unfortunate. The romance was subtle enough and felt fine, not really the type of romance I'd scream about and swoon but that's okay. The story wasn't about the romance, it was about the clans and fighting and action.

   Speaking of which, Sky in the Deep was very action packed with a lot of fight scenes and blood and chaos. I will admit that at some point I felt tempted to skim some of them because some of those fight scenes just stretched a little too much for my liking and to hold my attention, but I didn't do it. I still read them.
   The writing style was very nice and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked some of the language that was used in the story, the Scandinavian sounding names and places. It made everything come together nicely.

   All in all I enjoyed Sky in the Deep and I would recommend it, even though it wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. I read most of it in one sitting since it's not that long and a relatively quick read. So if you're interested in some YA fantasy with a viking setting, this might be for you.
I give Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Cover reveal: Echoes

Montag, 12. März 2018

   I'm beyond excited for this day, I can't even begin to describe how much I've been waiting to finally be able to reveal the cover for ECHOES. Eleven months ago I signed with Entangled and now the cover is finally here. 
   The cover is honestly everything I ever hoped for and so much more. It fits the story perfectly, the color scheme and general aesthetic is perfect and it just mirrors the mood of the story wonderfully. The cover designers at Entangled Teen did a brilliant job and I honestly couldn't be happier.
   So, without further ado, here is the cover for ECHOES, my YA Thriller!

Echoes by Alice Reeds
Expected Publication: August 7th 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Paperback)
Genre: YA Thriller
Amazon US / DE / CA 
Book Depository
Barnes and Nobel

   "Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story." —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait
   They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.
   Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.
   Something that won't let them leave alive.
   Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.

   What do you think? Let me know all your thoughts about the cover in the comments below, or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds), because I'm super curious to know if you love the cover just as much as I do. I honestly can't wait for you to read the book in August!

Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Samstag, 10. März 2018

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Published: June 27th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 513 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Guide duology (?)

   Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
   But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
   Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. (goodreads.com)

“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed 
from having words instead of friends.”

   Whenever there is a lot of hype around a book, I'm weary of picking it up. Usually extremely hyped books are either a complete flop for me, or prove to be worth every praise. I was prepared to not really be into this, since historical fiction isn't my thing at all, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself hooked after just half of the first chapter.
   The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is hilarious and filled with twists and turns, adventures, action, and cute moments, as well as some that make you want to shake some sense into Monty, the protagonist and POV character. As we follow Monty, his best friend Percy, and Monty's sister, Felicity, across Europe the story turns more and more intriguing and we get to know the 1700's version of Europe, so different than now yet so much more interesting than I honestly expected when going into this, lots of characters and settings that were fascinating and fun to read about.

   "Just thinking about all that blood." I nearly shudder. "Doesn't it make you a bit squeamish?"
   "Ladies haven't the luxury of being squeamish about blood," she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.

  I picked up the audiobook version of this, since I was sick and my eyes hurt, and it was the best choice I could've made. The narrator, Christian Coulson, did a brilliant job of nailing Monty's personality and giving all the other characters distinct and fitting voices. It made everything even more fun and Monty seemingly even more snarky and sarcastic than he already was.
   Speaking of which, Monty was such a fun character and he went through quite a bit across the story. Finding out more about his relationship with his father, piece by piece, was heartbreaking yet it explained so much about him. His relationship with Percy was amazingly developed and transformed quite a bit from the beginning to the end of the story, and his pining was honestly everything. Definitely one of the cutest romances I've read about in a while, hands down. Felicity was also a brilliant character, and I'm so happy there will be a sequel with her as main character. She was strong and smart in ways I hadn't seen coming at the start of the story. She went and smashed through all social norms for girls at the time, a fierce feminist, and I was so here for it. The secondary characters were very well developed, for the most part, and I would've loved to find out more about some of them, especially the pirates.

“Against the sky, the stars crown him, marking the edges of his 
silhouette like he is a constellation of himself.”

   The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an amazing read, but despite its air of hilariousness, quick wit, sass, and adventure, it also deals with more serious topics such as child abuse, illness, ablism and racism. As much as for Monty it's no big deal that Percy has dark skin, since they grew up together and everything, it was sad to see how other characters looked at, treated, and spoke to Percy, see Monty slowly realize that not everyone thought the way he did and that the lives of non-white people were so very different than the life of privilege he grew up in.
   There was also the fact that Felicity was interested in medicine, wanted to go to school and get a proper eduction, but school for girls didn't really include any of that eduction she craved. I loved reading about how Monty got to know a side of his sister he didn't think she had, realize that she wasn't reading stupid romance novels but actually soaked up anything about science and educational she could get her hands on, hiding it behind the covers of romance novels so she wouldn't be questioned about it.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to go courting trouble, is all.”
“We’re not courting trouble,” I say. “Flirting with it, at most.”

   All in all The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was more than worth all the hype it received and I don't know why it took me so long to finally read it. It was the perfect blend of a brilliant lead trio, an adventurous and intriguing plot, a historical setting, and just a whole lot of fun. I never thought I'd love a historical fiction book just this much, but this one completely blew me away and I couldn't stop listening to it. So good! I definitely recommend it!
I give The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 5 out of 5 stars!