Monday, January 29, 2018

Book Blitz with Prism Book Tours: Mistress Grim by Jane Redd

On tour with Prism Book Tours




Mistress Grim
by Jane Redd
Upper YA Gothic Romance
Paperback & ebook, 180 pages
December 30th 2017 by Mirror Press


From USA Today bestselling author Jane Redd, comes MISTRESS GRIM:


The Grim Reaper has been collecting souls of the dead for hundreds of years, but even the Master of Death has to pass on his reign. Unfortunately, his progeny is not quite ready to replace him.


Cora Grim, daughter of the Grim Reaper, is suddenly thrust into her father’s role. Leaving the Underworld on her own to bring back the dead souls, she discovers that the Master of Death neglected to tell her one thing. She can still fall in love.







Excerpt

Chapter One

I have known from the day of my seventh birthday that I was in training as the harbinger of death. For you see, my father is the Grim Reaper.

“Cora,” he told me when I was but a child of seven. “One day, you will rule the Underworld. One day, you will replace me.”

I stared up at him, my giant of a father with his broad shoulders, powerful arms, and elegant fingers with their black nails. He wore his long, dark hair tied back from his angular face so that his black, black eyes seemed like hollow things against his pale face.

How could I replace my father? In any task? He ruled the Underworld as king. He held the lives of all mortals in his grasp. He could take away the breath of the living with a single touch.

He was called Lord of Death, God of the Underworld, Hades, the Grim Reaper . . .

But to me, he was Father.



About the Author


Writing under Jane Redd, Heather B. Moore is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical novels set in ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She attended the Cairo American College in Egypt and the Anglican International School in Jerusalem and received her Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, and romance and women’s fiction under the name Heather B. Moore. It can be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom.





Book Blitz Giveaway


1 winner will receive a copy of SOLSTICE by Jane Redd (ebook or print - print to US only)
Open internationally
Ends February 2nd



Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review for "All the Ways You Saved Me" (Love Unplugged #1) by Jamie Howard


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


All the Ways You Saved Me sank its hooks in and didn't let me go until I had reached the inevitable ending. What I thought was going to be a simple, typical but enjoyable romance turned out to have layers and emotional depths I wasn't expecting. 


I don't always like reading A-type personality POV, because my personality is the opposite, but Bianca's need for control, her need to please her parents struck a chord in me. When her best friend Renee dies, Bianca's perfectly planned life comes crashing down around her and she clings to her memory and the challenge in her friend's last words. Renee was the opposite of Bianca, daring and willing to take chances. Bianca finds Renee's unfinished bucket list and makes the radical decision to alter her life to complete it. 


As Bianca pushes herself far outside her comfort zone, she meets Ian. Again, I can't begin to describe the depths Howard has given these characters. Ian was complicated and gorgeous, a beautiful walking disaster. In true romantic fashion, his broken loneliness speaks to the loss and loneliness Bianca feels and they are drawn like moths to flame. 


As their story unfolds, Ian's past is also revealed in reverse order until we arrive into the present with him. This shift in perspective surprised me and in my opinion, is what truly gave this story its heart. While I wasn't sure what I was looking for when I started reading this book, I have never been more happy to be blown away. Howard's poignant love story touched my heart and made me feel, just like Ian. 


A story about broken people picking up the pieces together, All the Ways You Saved Me will help you learn how to believe in love again.



View all my reviews





Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Grand Finale Blitz for Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman

On tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Boneseeker
by Brynn Chapman

The BONESEEKER CHRONICLES is a four book series, following the life, love and misadventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson’s children. We hope you enjoyed learning about them! If you missed any of the stops you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

BONESEEKER, is book one of the four book series, chronicling the adventures and love story of Arabella Holmes and Henry Watson. . .

All my books plop my characters into real, strange anomalies and events that happened once upon a time. Bella appeared in my imagination fully formed, and Henry wasn't long to follow her. As is his way...

I hope you enjoy reading it, and spending time in their company as much as I do.

— Brynn



5. What do you want readers to take away from reading Boneseeker?

I am a character writer. If you remember my people, find yourself thinking about them, wondering what will happen to them—well that’s the goal. As a copious reader myself, that was always my litmus test of the writer’s worth.




"Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman is compelling and intriguing. The familiarity of Holmes and Watson makes way for the next generation, and Bella & Henry hold their own quite nicely. While some aspects of the plot could have been a little tighter, overall this is an enjoyable read that is perfect for a chilly winter’s night."



Wishful Endings - A Study in Sensory

(Get it—instead of a Study in Scarlet)

Bella has been with me so long now, I honestly can’t recall when the idea formulated. I believe it was while watching Robert Downey Jr.’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. There are a number of scenes in the movie which were “Ah-ha” moments for me…About Holmes’s brilliance, and his inability to play well with others.

I lecture about sensory processing—which in case you have never heard of it, here is a definition...




"For a person who doesn’t typically read mystery books I really enjoyed Brynn Chapman’s Boneseeker. I remember when I was little I read the entire Nancy Drew series but this book is much more complex than those tween novels. . .

Filled with violence, suspense and questions, this books makes a great read. . .

I recommend this novel for mystery and historical fiction lovers aged 16 and up as you not only get to sort through clues but you also get a taste of history in the mix."



YA/NA Book Divas - Excerpt

“Human footprints, preserved in rock, measuring thirty-three inches, with six toes.”

“I must see your notes.”

My eyes open wide, my hand shooting to my hip. “I don’t have notes.”

“Of course you don’t.” He sighs. “Would you write some for me?”

I walk back to the bed and sit. “I suppose.”

“We lesser mortals appreciate notes.



It's All About the Romance - Holmes and Watson, Like Father, like son…and daughter

For the record, I have, to date, read 90 percent of the Sherlock Holmes canon—and his predecessors, Wilkie Collins et al.

The new Sherlock Holmes characters in the recent films, however, ignited a fire in my brain. The following is from my author’s notes in the Book, BONESEEKER...



Colorimetry - Excerpt

“This! This is what I mean, Earnest. She”—he jabs an accusing finger at Arabella—“she is impulsive and arrogant and unnatural. She should not be considered for such an important expedition. A woman is much better suited for curation.”

Father steps forward, staring Stygian full-on despite the fact he’s a head taller. “Sir. You’ve forgotten innovative and cunning and possesses her father’s talent for ciphering and detection. Is this expedition not about bones?”

“Of course.”

“I dare venture no one on this eastern seaboard could match Miss Holmes’s knowledge of bones.”



Rockin' Book Reviews - She Blinded Me with Science


This is a hashtag I often use when discussing BONESEEKER. I am an ardent student of science.

I have dissected cadavers, dug through troughs of arms and legs at University, to ensure your specimen was not missing any muscles so as to miss them on the practical exam. I have witnessed a craniotomy (post mortem), plastic surgeries, among others.

I have toured asylums, and have an ongoing obsession with historical medicine, when did what occur, and how?




I hear a bawdy laugh, and I wrench my eyes away from her earnest gaze, scanning the dance hall. I scan over the myriad of colors and gowns and faces and finally, I see her. My heartbeat bombards my ribcage. My hands are sweating. While they are in Priscilla’s hands.

This is not normal. Not for me, anyway. I am dumbstruck. Arabella is so lovely I can scarcely breathe.

She stands, hesitating at the top of the stairs, undoubtedly searching the crowd for familiar faces.




"It is interesting to read with the children of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Like their fathers, Arabella Holmes and Henry Watson are quite the team. The two sure do find themselves in quite a suspense filled adventure. There are some action-packed scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat, making me want to continue to turn the pages. . .

I can not wait to see what happens next."




"Personally I really enjoyed reading the book, especially the portrayal of how it is to have anxiety and Asperger's and it was a bit refreshing that the love story between Arabella and Henry was downplayed a bit (no offence to YA authors, but sometimes love stories take up too much space in a book)."



SilverWoodSketches - Review & Excerpt

"Bonseeker is so layered and complex but very accessible to old and new fans of historical fiction. An absolute must-read for fans of strong corset-wearing heroines and the requisite danger of the best Holmes mystery."

“For the love of all that’s holy, Henry. That’s almost like being married to Holmes.” He gives a little shudder.

“I daresay you’re one to talk. For years, you chose a life with Holmes over matrimony, so that argument is full of holes. Do as I say, not as I do?”

Father’s face softens, and he lifts a placating hand. “I love Arabella too, you know that. But, be reasonable. She doesn’t fit into polite society.”

“Neither does Holmes and he’s almost legendary now.”

“She is unruly, headstrong, and will never, ever listen.”

“I know. She fascinates me.”





Maria: What type of research did you have to do for this novel?

I do a copious amount of research for every novel. For BONESEEKER, I expanded my library and study of Forensic Anthropology books ( I do have an anthropology minor), and also made a study of historical non-fiction resources on murders and relevant science beliefs, and societies of the time period. The science of phrenology, for instance, was very much alive and en vogue in 1910.



Bookworm Lisa - Review

"This book contains elements that I love... suspense, Nephilim, mystery, and a little romance. I also love that the characters are children of two beloved literary characters, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. . .

If you love Sherlock Holmes, mystery, and a little of the paranormal. You should definitely give this book a try."



And don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...


Boneseeker
(The Boneseeker Chronicles #1)
by Brynn Chapman
Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 213 pages
January 10th 2018 by The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Aspiring scientist Arabella Holmes doesn't fit the role of a 1900s lady. Her father, Sherlock, landed her a position at the Mütter Museum to pursue her dream of becoming a purveyor of abnormal science, or what her father calls a "Boneseeker."

Henry Watson’s two-fold mission at the Mütter Museum is to join their team of forensic anthropologists in unearthing unusual antiquities and to watch over Arabella. If only he could get her to speak to him, instead of hurling knives in his general direction. Assigned to a most secret expedition to investigate a mysterious skeletal hand discovered in upstate New York, Arabella and Henry are soon caught in a scientific debate, and the search for the truth may have deadly consequences for those involved.

Are the bones from a Neanderthal? Or are they living proof of fallen angels known as Nephilim?

Watson and Holmes must put aside their differences, trust their instincts, and rely on one another to survive to uncover the truth.

*This is a new version of a previously published edition


Praise for BONESEEKER:

Winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest

"Creative, meticulously researched, and terrific fun!"  ~Grace Burrowes, NY Times Best Selling Author

"The characters, the setting, the descriptions and the mysteries and relationships all work together seamlessly to create a truly wonderful story that I completely adored." ~Best Books Ever Blog

"The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!" ~Christy's Cozy Corners Blog



About the Author


Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love--not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger's syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society's downtrodden. In fiction, she's a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. Her ancestry tree claims she's a descendant of the House of Stuart.


Other Books by the Author

The Requiem Red



Tour Giveaway


GIVEAWAY #1: To enter to win a BONESEEKER audiobook and the pictured charm necklace ("And though she be but little, she is fierce." - Shakespeare), send a copy of your kindle purchase of BONESEEKER to publicity.brynnchapman@gmail.com. US only.

GIVEAWAY #2: To enter to win a BONESEEKER ebook and a $10 Amazon Gift Card, enter via the Rafflecopter below. Open internationally. Ends January 24th.



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Friday, January 19, 2018

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman: Review & Excerpt

On tour with Prism Book Tours




Boneseeker

(The Boneseeker Chronicles #1)by Brynn Chapman

Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 213 pages
January 10th 2018 by The Wild Rose Press, Inc


Aspiring scientist Arabella Holmes doesn't fit the role of a 1900s lady. Her father, Sherlock, landed her a position at the Mütter Museum to pursue her dream of becoming a purveyor of abnormal science, or what her father calls a "Boneseeker."


Henry Watson’s two-fold mission at the Mütter Museum is to join their team of forensic anthropologists in unearthing unusual antiquities and to watch over Arabella. If only he could get her to speak to him, instead of hurling knives in his general direction. Assigned to a most secret expedition to investigate a mysterious skeletal hand discovered in upstate New York, Arabella and Henry are soon caught in a scientific debate, and the search for the truth may have deadly consequences for those involved.


Are the bones from a Neanderthal? Or are they living proof of fallen angels known as Nephilim?


Watson and Holmes must put aside their differences, trust their instincts, and rely on one another to survive to uncover the truth.


*This is a new version of a previously published edition



Praise for BONESEEKER


Winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest

"Creative, meticulously researched, and terrific fun!"  ~Grace Burrowes, NY Times Best Selling Author

"The characters, the setting, the descriptions and the mysteries and relationships all work together seamlessly to create a truly wonderful story that I completely adored." ~Best Books Ever Blog

"The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!" ~Christy's Cozy Corners Blog





My Review

5 out of 5 stars

Bonseeker was a surprisingly delightful romp through turn-of-the-century Philidelphia. Our guides on this most excellent of sinister adventures was none other than the children of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Arabella and Henry. Both principle characters lead the narrative with equal energy and tenacity despite their circumstances. While romance was a very alluring element to this story, it doesn't overshadow so much as enhance this proposed sequel to Conan-Doyle's prolific works.


Chapman has clearly done her research, not only into the science and views of the time, but dares to take a deeper look into the psychology behind beloved and new characters. Fantastic world building and characterization, coupled with strong storytelling chops from Chapman provide an excellent read.


Bonseeker is so layered and complex but very accessible to old and new fans of historical fiction. An absolute must-read for fans of strong corset-wearing heroines and the requisite danger of the best Holmes mystery.




Excerpt


Henry’s cottage
Henry

I glance out the window at the dimming light, fading to pink streaks on the horizon.

It’s almost dark; we’re almost late for the fund-raising ball.

I stride to my chest of drawers and whip out a tie.

“Father, I thought we agreed I’d meet Priscilla, not pledge my immediate, undying love on first sight.” I rip the black tie off and begin again, eyeing him in the mirror.

One dark eyebrow arches. “Really, Henry? Pray tell, what is not to like? She is utterly gorgeous and well-connected to the museum. She is the perfect prospect.”

“You court her, then.” I wrestle with my tie, roughly slipping the knot up to my neck. I sigh, and spin to face him. “What’re you up to, then? The truth?”

Father’s chest and eyebrows rise simultaneously as he sucks in a breath and then exhales dramatically between his gritted teeth. “You are…”

“Difficult?”

“Yes, but not relevant to this part of the conversation.”

“Brilliant?” I interject.

He half-smiles, as he does when I infuriate him. “Yes, also not relevant. Might I find my own word?”

I turn back to the mirror. “I’m growing old waiting for it.”

“Unsettled. Unfocused. A rogue. Have too many interests—”

“I’m nothing like James, you mean.”

His eyes flare at the mention of my older brother. “I said nothing of the sort, Henry.”

“But you were thinking it.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“And so marrying would cure me of my many shortcomings?” I turn back to him and give my lapels a rough tug to busy my hands. So I don’t poke him in the chest.

“The right woman, yes.”

“And Priscilla is that woman?”

He bends, picking up his hat and cane. “You’ve only just met her, give the girl a bloody chance. Henry—” He stops dead, revelation lighting his features. “You’ve already someone in mind, don’t you?”

I will my hands to stay still.

His gaze immediately snaps down. “Your hands are limp as dead fish. That is as much a giveaway as if they were fidgeting.”

“You are impossible.” I give up and permit my fingers free rein and crack my knuckles.

“Likewise.” Father’s lips purse as he considers. Comprehension and horror dawn as his mouth twitches beneath the mustache. He jams his eyes shut, shaking his head once. “Not Arabella? I thought we were past all that.”

They fly open, waiting.

I shrug, and slide my hands over my already slicked hair. I walk toward the door.

Escape. Flee. Freedom.

“For the love of all that’s holy, Henry. That’s almost like being married to Holmes.” He gives a little shudder.

“I daresay you’re one to talk. For years, you chose a life with Holmes over matrimony, so that argument is full of holes. Do as I say, not as I do?”

Father’s face softens, and he lifts a placating hand. “I love Arabella too, you know that. But, be reasonable. She doesn’t fit into polite society.”

“Neither does Holmes and he’s almost legendary now.”

“She is unruly, headstrong, and will never, ever listen.”

“I know. She fascinates me.”

He thrusts both his hands palm-up into the air, then quickly covers his mouth in a prayer pose.

I capitalize on his frustration to make my escape, walking swiftly to the door. “We are going to be late for the gathering. Don’t want to keep your pet, Priscilla, waiting. Really, Father, Violet might be jealous at your obvious attachment.”

“Love is too young to know what conscience is…”

It’s a game from my childhood, started by my mother. A perpetual contest between James and me—the most Shakespearean quotes meant the most sweets. His stare burns a hole in my back. I whirl, and glare back and grind my teeth. I always won. “Let every eye negotiate for itself, and trust no agent.”

Father’s mouth pops open. I shut the door before he closes it.


About the Author



Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love--not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger's syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society's downtrodden. In fiction, she's a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. Her ancestry tree claims she's a descendant of the House of Stuart.




Other Books by the Author


The Requiem Red


Tour Schedule



Be sure to watch for Promo videos from Brynn’s PR guy—pictured below. Here’s a sample of the insanity on Facebook.




Tour Giveaway



GIVEAWAY #1: To enter to win a BONESEEKER audiobook and the pictured charm necklace ("And though she be but little, she is fierce." - Shakespeare), send a copy of your kindle purchase of BONESEEKER to publicity.brynnchapman@gmail.com. US only.

GIVEAWAY #2: To enter to win a BONESEEKER ebook and a $10 Amazon Gift Card, enter via the Rafflecopter below. Open internationally. Ends January 24th.


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The Soul Weaver by Heidi Catherine Book Review & Tour


The Soulweaver
Heidi Catherine

Publication date: January 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance



She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again.

Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by.

Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew. 

With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own. 

Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world.





My Review

4 of 5 stars


Books like The Soulweaver are rare gems that not only lead you on a deeper journey through love and heartache, but make you ask questions. I've come across maybe one or two other novels that lean on the metaphysical, all of them with elements of romance. The Soulweaver takes our concept of romance and soul mates and turnes it on its head. The emotions I went through as I read each character's journey was at times frustrating. I wasn't sure what to make of the direction Catherine chose to take the mythology behind her version of life after death. Until I came to the final part and conclusion of the story.


Shen's story was moving and heartrending, because of the choices his soul had made before. Like all great stories, the ending proved only the beginning to something more.


If you are expecting an easy, happy romance novel, you may want to try a different book. But if you're willing to be challenged, The Soulweaver will take you on a journey through love in its many hopes and forms. Not for the fainthearted, but a love letter to all the old souls out there.






Author Bio


Heidi’s debut novel, The Soulweaver, won Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award and will be released by Crooked Cat Books on 19 Jan 2018.
Not being able to decide if she prefers living in Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, Heidi shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, remaining thankful she only has one husband.


Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter




GIVEAWAY!




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Friday, January 5, 2018

Favorite Reads & Reviews of 2017

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had fun with friends and family over the holiday! We enjoyed the family and friends side of it, the sudden plunge into below freezing weather? Not so much lol.


Last year my family went through a crazy year of accidents and health issues, but thankfully everyone's happy and healthy now. I learned a lot about writing - namely - don't try to write five books at one time. (obviously) I also came back to the book blogging world. My way of giving back to the community I love best <3


As we dive into 2018 I wanted to share my favorite reads and reviews from this past year. Would love to hear yours in the comments below! 



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's rare for a sequel to surpass its predecessor but Intrinsic was simply fantastic. While I loved the characters and story of Phobic, I connected more with Everly. Also I'm a die hard fan of anything with fantastical libraries, old Russia, the 20's and time travel, which Intrinsic has in spades. Lovely paranormal romance for any age.






The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5)The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Each novella weaves together effortlessly so many elements from the series. A wonderful, fun, devastating prequel to Throne of Glass.








Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laini Taylor never disappoints. Strange the Dreamer is written with dreamy prose and fantastical word pictures. A book to sink your sweet tooth into, sumptuous and seductive. Her prose is perhaps the best in her genre and something to aspire to. Some compare her work to striding the right side of the line of “purple prose." It’s rare in this modern “minimalist” age to get away with writing the way Taylor does. People don’t seem to have the patience for it anymore. Thankfully, Taylor is unafraid to let her prose be both beautiful and inventive in hand. She’s a bit of a modern L.M. Montgomery (Author of Anne of Green Gables + Emily of New Moon). So it’s a breath of fresh air to read Taylor’s work. In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it. As strangely terribly lovely as you'd expect from Laini Taylor. Prepare to devour quickly and readers beware, lest the book swallow your soul into its dreamscape.


An Enchantment of RavensAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So breathtakingly beautiful in prose and form, An Enchantment of Ravens will spirit you away and hold you as captive as the fair ones. A unique faerie tale of the same vein as Robin McKinley, I could not put it down until I had devoured every last delectable word.







Halfway Drowned (Halfway Witchy Book 4)Halfway Drowned by Terry Maggert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Typically, I don't read books out of sequence, but the premise for Halfway Drowned intrigued me. I've always been a fan of Viking myth/lore. Throw in some heavy paranormal elements and a formerly vampire Viking? Count me in.
I loved the relationships between the supernaturally special citizens of the town, in particular the main character and her witchy responsibility to protect them. A lifelong fan of magical realism and fantastical elements in a modern setting, I enjoyed how Maggert wove both past and present myths into a cohesive plot. I had no trouble following the story as the characters were always engaging and kept the adventure and mystery alive. Without having read the previous books, I often sensed I was missing the story behind the story. But this in no way inhibited my enjoyment of Terry Maggert's compelling world.
A perfect cocktail blend of fun for fans of Practical Magic and True Blood.



The Duality of Nature (The Monster of Selkirk #1)The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton really surprised me. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the premise, besides wicked elves and what sounded like a historical Scottish setting. What I found was a kick butt heroine who not only knows how to fight (thanks to her Knighted cousin), but a cast of colorful characters in a very grounded fantastical world. Selkirk is actually an island, largely forested, where the humans have kept elves at bay for hundreds of years. Ever since the elves went feral and lost their ability to speak intelligibly, humans have treated them like animals. They even host frequent clearings, destroying the elves homes and killing without mercy. So is it any wonder the elves might decide to fight back?

Our main heroine, Tallis is somewhat unconventional from a small age. Her eyes are a little too big, her hair a little wild, but everyone seems willing to accept her as their own. Her village is poor but this doesn't stop Tallis from soaking in as much she can through books in the nearby abbey, learning how to fight from her cousin Donovan, and causing mischief whenever she gets the chance. From the beginning we can already see hints of what Tallis may become, but this doesn't detract in any way from each reveal.

It's been a while since I've read a story that takes the time to give you backstory like this. As we grow up with Tallis, we are drawn deeper and deeper into Clayton's imagination until we feel every injustice she witnesses just as keenly. Besides Donovan, Tallis draws a makeshift family of her own through her pick-pocket friend Rosslyn and monk-in-training/inventor, Tomas. Everything is set up for a hero's journey and we know we will see these characters see Tallis through to the inevitable end.

I can't say more without giving away spoilers for the book, but suffice to say, this was a privilege to read. Not only am I anxious to read the sequel, but I would highly recommend this series for fans of Shannara Chronicles and The Wheel of Time Series.


View all my reviews