Alchemists of Loom Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be a stop on the Alchemists of Loom blog tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! I loved Elise Kova’s previous Air Awakens series and couldn’t wait to read her new Loom saga. I’ve got my review to share with you, as well as a tour wide giveaway, and a link to the author’s pre-order bonus.

The Alchemists of Loom
Elise Kova
(Loom Saga #1)
Publication date: January 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. There are dragons, action, a fantastic new world, and some intrigue. It’s a fantastic steampunk fantasy.  I found the beginning to be a bit slow, but that’s often the case for me when reading a new world and trying to figure out how it fits together.

I really enjoyed the world building. It’s done in an organic way….instead of having it all laid out and explained, you learn about parts of the world as you encounter them. This can be more challenging for some readers, but I really like this approach. I generally prefer when books like this start with the characters as young children and you get your world building through that and seeing how they grew up. In the case of Loom, we’re thrown into the middle of the story of a “middle aged” (although only 22 years old) character. I appreciate that this is the story that is being told, but I love the world building aspect of fantasy books and I always wish there was more! There’s lots of world building in Loom…it just takes a bit longer to see all the pieces.

The story itself has lots of action, and bloodshed! It’s definitely gritty. This is not the story of an innocent forced to join a resistance or fight for their life. This is the story of someone who has long been on the wrong side of the law and is working to fight against the oppression of their current system.

The characters are humanoid, but not human and I did find myself put off every time they were referred to as people.

Once you get past the first part of the book it really picks up speed and I found myself deeply enthralled (riveted, even…ha ha ha). The five guilds were interesting to learn about as was the dragon culture. Ari, the main character, identifies as bisexual (although it’s hard to say when they aren’t human!) and I was happy to see the representation. She has an assistant, Florence, who is delightful. I found their relationship difficult to understand…it seemed to be somewhere between lovers/sisters/mentoring. Florence has rejected the Guild she was born into and Ari took her under her wing.

One of the messages in the book is the importance of recognizing what people are good at, not just slotting them into something because of how they were born. The hate between the dragons of Nova and the citizens of Loom is likely well justified. But we learn that there’s resistance brewing on both sides and  learning to work together and trust each other is the only way there will be change.

And finally – I am thankful I’ll never have to go into the tunnels under Ter 4 *shudder*

Overall this was a 4/5 star read for me. The slowness at the beginning and the confusion over Ari and Flor’s relationship were my biggest issues. I’d definitely recommend it and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in The Dragons of Nova!

 

Author Bio:

Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Pre-Order Swag

Preorder The Alchemists of Loom by January 9th, 2017, to receive a special envelope of swag unlocked in the Guild Games from the Dragon Queen herself.

The more preorders The Alchemists of Loom gets overall, the more swag your envelope will contain. So be sure to encourage your friends to preorder The Alchemists of Loom as well!

Find out all the details here: http://elisekova.com/pre-order/

GIVEAWAY!

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
  • 1 Signed Hardcover of the Alchemists of Loom
  • 3 Hardcover Preorders of The Alchemists of Loom (Available through TBD)
  • 5 Swag Packs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the tour here!

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Review – Lock & Mori

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Title: Lock & Mori
Author: Heather Petty
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: September 15, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Retelling

Find it: Goodreads / Amazon / Kobo

My rating: 4/5

Summary:

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

My Thoughts:

I loved this Sherlock inspired story. It’s told from the point of view of Mori…Miss James Moriarty. I loved seeing a female Moriarty.  Mori has had a really hard past 6 months. Her mother passed away, her father has changed, and not for the better. She spends a lot of time caring for her younger brothers and appears to have withdrawn from a lot of her social life.

She and Sherlock team up to solve the mystery of a man murdered in the local park. And in doing so tumble into something bigger and much closer to home for Mori. Sherlock has a lot of the typical tendencies we see…deducing things based on the evidence he sees, poor social skills, etc. It’s a fun portrayal of him as a modern day teenager. Knowing that cannon Moriarty is Sherlock’s nemesis it felt a bit off at first as they become friends. But it’s cool to see them working together. And we’re left with glimpses of where that friendship may start to unravel leading to an eventual falling out. Mori has some darkness in her and I’m hoping that Sherlock will be able to temper that for her in future installments. For me it reads as pre-psychotic Moriarty. Whether we’ll get there is hard to say (I’m on the fence…there’s a lot of fun in a female Moriarty).

I had some issues.  It was hard to get past the very obvious names without any more of a reference to it than “it’s a family name”. It feels like the Sherlock Holmes books aren’t part of this modern day universe. Which is okay, but it was glaring for a little bit. The characters do talk in a way that’s not normal for teenagers, but I’m willing to write that off to living in London and the quirkiness of canon Sherlock. The same for two teens deciding they’d be better at solving a murder than the police. That’s right up canon Sherlock’s alley…he’d totally decide the police were bumbling idiots and he could do better.  And I read it as Mori thought more that the police were covering something up and she needed a distraction from her real life. And they’re teens…so you get a lot of teen angst which I’m hoping fades as the series continues. If you can’t get over those points, you’ll struggle with the book. And I think you need to accept that this is an early version of Moriarty before anything has happened to cause her to be Sherlock’s nemesis.   The mystery wasn’t as deep or puzzling as I might have wanted from a mystery book, but I still really enjoyed the book.

This is a great twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes…and it’s only a few more months until the next one comes out!

Review – Poppy Mayberry, The Monday

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Title: Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
Author: Jennie K. Brown
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: September 13, 2016
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Find it: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

My rating: 4/5

Summary:
What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.

My Thoughts:
This was an enjoyable middle grade read.  In the town of Nova, those born on particular weekdays have a special power. As a Monday, Poppy has the power of telekinesis, only she hasn’t quite mastered control of it yet so things don’t always move in the way she intends. She ends up a the Power Academy for summer school with her nemesis and a couple of new friends. They need to work together to solve a mystery so they can go home early.

I really liked a lot about the story.  There was not a lot of world building to explain the powers and where they came from, but we got some answers and some hints that there’s more to the story. World building is one of the things I love about sci-fi and fantasy books so I’m always disappointed when there isn’t more, but it really wasn’t necessary for the story. The whole powers thing was really cool, and the mystery associated with the Power Academy was definitely engaging.  There’s clearly more going on there than we learn about and I think that leaves it open for the story to continue nicely as a series. As a book for middle graders I found that the writing had a good level of complexity and vocabulary. There were some “big words” or at least less common ones and the sentences weren’t all simple sentences. After reading a couple of YA books recently where I felt that they weren’t complex enough for their intended age group Poppy was a nice change. It will challenge some younger readers, but not so much that they can’t figure it out and keep going.

I did have a couple of issues with the book.  The first is just a personal pet peeve. Poppy brings her dog along with her to the Power Academy. There are lots of mentions of her interacting with her dog, but none of her feeding it, walking it or taking it out to toilet. Dogs are a big responsibility and by not building that responsibility into the story it gives kids who don’t have pets an unrealistic view of what it’s like. Dog ownership is not all dressing your dog up in cute outfits and petting it. My other issue has to do with how the adults (and some kids) are perceived in the story.  The kids have nicknamed their principal, Mr. Wible, Woble-Wible because he has an unsteady gait, Poppy refers to one of the Academy heads as “Nostril-Man”, and makes comments about Mrs. Larriby’s weight.  While I understand the motive behind these and I get that kids do this (we all do to some extent!) I felt there could have been a better way of physically describing the characters without the mocking tone. Readers can be impacted by what they read and how they see favorite characters react. I appreciate the need for real and flawed characters but I also think it’s important to be careful about what messages are being sent with respect to judging people based on physical appearance.

Overall, it was a good read and I’m looking forward to the sequel and seeing more of the mysterious town of Nova. And while you’re waiting for the sequel you can head over to the author’s website and discover your week day power!

Discover your week day power

**The publisher provided a free copy of the book in return for an honest review**

 

Flashback Friday – Anne of Green Gables

 

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My well loved copy, from PEI

 

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: Lucy M. Montgomery
Release Date: 1908
Find it: Amazon | Indigo | Goodreads
My rating: 5/5

Summary:
Everyone’s favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

My thoughts:

This is one of my all-time favourite reads. It’s the one book that I own multiple copies of, and even have in French. I love the descriptive passages and the adventures Anne has. I first attempted reading it when  I was about 8 and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s not a fast-paced book and it’s not an easy read. I tried again as a pre-teen and fell in love with it. Anne gets herself into trouble a lot, and she has a very over active imagination (which is the cause of much of her trouble), but at her heart she is caring and kind. She sees the positive in almost everything. It’s important to remember that she’s only a young girl at the start of the book. She’s not 17 or 18 and on the verge of adulthood. She’s 11 and she’s had a tough life so far. You get to see her character grow and mature throughout the book as she ages.  The secondary characters in this are great as well. You’ll love to hate Mrs. Rachel Lynde and you’ll just love quiet, steady Mathew. This has the original (well probably not, but it was the first I read), hate-to-love, slow burn relationship between Anne and Gilbert

I know there are complaints about this book being boring and not having enough action. Or that it’s got too many words. I think it’s important to remember that this was first published in 1908. Way before Young Adult was a genre and in a time when books were typically written more in this style. Books such as this contributed greatly to the vocabulary I have today. And sinking into the lovely, descriptive text is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. You’ll likely have to work a bit harder to read it, and there aren’t any battle scenes as it’s all based in the quiet village of Avonlea, in Prince Edward Island. But if you can immerse yourself in the world you’ll find it’s a place you want to stay.

Review – How 4 Feet of Plywood Saved the Grand Canyon

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Title: How 4 Feet of Plywood Saved the Grand Canyon, 8 Little Known Inspiring True Stories from American History
Author: Jerry Borrowman
Find it: Amazon | Nook| Goodreads
My rating: 3/5

Summary:History turns on small points. From the world’s most catastrophic game of chicken to the nail-biting success story at the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, discover fascinating events you’ve probably never heard of. In this compilation of eight true stories from the forgotten pages of history, learn about disasters caused by human error as well as calamities avoided by quick and clever thinking–the lawsuit that launched Abraham Lincoln’s political career, the collapse of the Teton Dam, the invention that revolutionized the world of sound, and more. This book is truly love at first sight for lovers of history.

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Flashback Friday – The Wedding

Flashback Friday is my blog feature where I review an older book that’s been published for some time.  I’ve got lots of great books sitting on my bookshelf that I read years ago.  Books that hooked me on a genre or ones I like to revisit.  It seems like new books get all the blog love these days so this is my chance to highlight some old favourites. Julie Garwood is one of my favourite authors.  She writes both historical and contemporary romance and her historical romances were among the first I ever read.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Under-rated Books

The lovely folks at Broke and Bookish host a weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

Since my reviews on Goodreads aren’t completely up to date this is me doing the best I can!  I sorted my reviews in order from highest to lowest and then went through and picked the ones that had less than 2000 ratings in the order they appeared.

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Review – Water’s Wrath

Waters Wrath

Title: Water’s Wrath
Series: Air Awakens #4
Author: Elise Kova
Release Date: April 2016
Find it: Amazon | Kobo| Goodreads
My rating: 3/5

Summary:
The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.

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Flashback Friday – Kiss of the Highlander

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Title: Kiss of the Highlander
Series: Highlander #4
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Release Date: September 2001
Find it: Amazon | Indigo | Goodreads
My rating: 4/5

Summary:

A laird trapped between centuries…

Enchanted by a powerful spell, Highland laird Drustan MacKeltar slumbered for nearly five centuries hidden deep in a cave, until an unlikely savior awakened him. The enticing lass who dressed and spoke like no woman he’d ever known was from his distant future, where crumbled ruins were all that remained of his vanished world. Drustan knew he had to return to his own century if he was to save his people from a terrible fate. And he needed the bewitching woman by his side….

A woman changed forever in his arms…

Gwen Cassidy had come to Scotland to shake up her humdrum life and, just maybe, meet a man. How could she have known that a tumble down a Highland ravine would send her plunging into an underground cavern — to land atop the most devastatingly seductive man she’d ever seen? Or that once he’d kissed her, he wouldn’t let her go?

Bound to Drustan by a passion stronger than time, Gwen is swept back to sixteenth-century Scotland, where a treacherous enemy plots against them … and where a warrior with the power to change history will defy time itself for the woman he loves….

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Blog Tour – Burn (and Giveaway)

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I’m so excited to bring you my stop on Tundra Books Burn blog tour! Tundra provided me with a copy of Burn and I’m sharing my review of it below. I loved this whole series and I’ve got an exclusive chance for you to win your own set of the books.

Burn is the last in Paula Weston‘s Rephaim  series.  We finally get answers to all of our questions.

**Note: This is book 4 in a series, spoilers for books 1-3 are below. If you haven’t read these yet I’m going to suggest you go back and read my review of Shadows and just trust me that you want to read the rest of the books 🙂 **

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