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 – 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**

 

Review – Air Awakens (and Giveaway!)

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It’s Week 1 of the Crystal Tour and I’ve got a review of Air Awakens (Book 1) and an exclusive giveaway for you. I really like this series and am eagerly awaiting the fifth and final book, Crystal Crowned, on July 12th.

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Title: Air Awakens
Author: Elise Kova
Find it: Amazon | Indigo | Goodreads
My rating: 4/5

Summary:
A Library Apprentice, a Sorcerer Prince, and an Unbreakable Magic Bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Continue reading

The Crystal Tour

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I’ve got mixed emotions about this one. I’m happy to bring you my stops on the Crystal Tour…but I’m sad that we’re coming to the end of a great series!

The Air Awakens series, by Elise Kova, is a fantasy series that follows 17 year old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl as she unwittingly saves the kingdoms Prince and is pulled into the world of sorcerers and magic.

I love the Air Awakens series, and the fifth and final book, Crystal Crowned, is coming out on July 12th.  In the lead up to its release there’s a blog tour where people will be sharing their reviews of the first four books, an amazing raffle and a few other treats.

You can join me on the next four Mondays as I share my reviews of the books so far;

June 13Air Awakens
June 20Fire Falling
June 27Earth’s End
July 4Water’s Wrath


Affinity Quiz

There are four affinities in the Air Awakens world – Water, Fire, Earth and Wind.

Take a minute to do this Buzzfeed quiz and see which affinity you have and what characters you are most like. I’m a Waterrunner.

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“The ability to command the smallest amount of moisture makes Waterrunners practical sorcerers with a variety of applications such as illusions and the creation of ice weaponry. Like your element, you’re adaptable and can ebb and flow with the tides of any situation. People may mistake your flexibility for being fickle, but once you set your mind to something you will accomplish any task. You embody unassuming strength.”

 

You can find the full descriptions for each of the affinities by following these links:

Groundbreaker
Firebearer
Waterrunner
Windwalker

Other Events In the Tour

Facebook Release Party – July 12, 7:00-10:00pm EST

Come join the party and celebrate (mourn) the release of Crystal Crowned!  The more folks who RSVP, the more amazing prizes that will be unlocked.  Just click on the link below and say you’ll be there!!

URL: https://www.facebook.com/events/496464397206520/
About: Join Elise Kova and friends, Michelle Madow, Susan Dennard, Rachel E. Carter, Leia Stone, C.M. Lucas, Laura Thalassa, and Danielle L. Jensen for the Crystal Crowned release party on Facebook! It will be an evening of fun, games, discussion, giveaways, and more!

Goodreads Fan Club Discussion/AMA – July 30, 7:00-9:00pm EST

URL: https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/991545-post-crystal-crowned-discussion-with-elise-kova
About: Join author Elise Kova for two hours of discussion on the conclusion of the Air Awakens series. Bring all your questions!

Raffle
This is the biggest raffle yet for the Air Awakens series. There are multiple prizes that people can win:

Grand Prize – Complete set of first edition Air Awakens hardcovers signed by Elise Kova (Author), Monica Wanat (Editor), and Merilliza Chan (Cover Artist), plus a swag pack
First Runner Up – Complete set of Air Awakens paperbacks plus a swag pack
Second/Third Runner Up – Complete set of signed Air Awakens ebooks
4 Air Awakens complete bookmark sets

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I hope you’ll join me on this blog tour. I’ve got some special giveaways planned for the tour and I’m looking forward to sharing this great series with you. If you haven’t read it yet, the ebook of Air Awakens (Book 1) is on sale now for $0.99 at all major retailers. Pick up a copy and let me know what you think!