Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis #bookreview #YA #fantasy

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her. 

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. 

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.

Alchemy and necromancy – that’s what initially drew me to this book.  Also the beautiful cover.  A protagonist with all the best intentions finds herself walking the fine line separating light from darkness – it’s an intriguing hook.

Nedra’s transformation from a dedicated student determined to find a cure for the plague to a desperate alchemist who turns to necromancy is fascinating, and done to perfection.  So many times I wanted to yell at her to consider the consequences of her actions – but if she did, I guess there wouldn’t have been much of a story.  It’s difficult to like her character by the end of the book, but an excellent portrayal at what grief can do to a person.

Grey is a sweet love interest – and it’s a case of insta-love, but his character doesn’t add much to the story.  He attempts to be a moral compass for Nedra, but she’s an obstinate girl.

There are a couple of twists toward the end – one I’d figured out, and the other a bit of a surprise.  The beginning is more of a slow burn, explaining world-building and magic, but the pace picks up toward the middle.  I’ll be interested to see where this series goes in the second book.  This book is scheduled for publication September 25th, 2018.

Thanks to Penguin First to Read and the publisher for the ARC.

Headed To #PennedCon2018!

I’m leaving tomorrow for Penned Con in St. Louis, MO – both of which are new to me.  Another writer friend recommended the conference, so I’m hopeful, and it’s just a bonus that it’s in St. Louis, which is only slightly over a four hour drive for me.  An audiobook has been downloaded (can check one more off my TBR!)  – I’ve discovered listening to one significantly reduces my road rage and makes for a much more pleasant drive in a sea of idiots who seem magnetically drawn to my car.

To the right is some of the swag I packed.  Some of the giveaways other attendees are bringing look pretty awesome, and I’m hoping to get some ideas.  Mine includes the basic bookmarks, Gemini Connection wristbands, and stickers.  Magnet bookcovers, a couple of notepads, and a few tote bags are all freebies from Shutterfly.  I always enjoy walking around and checking out the other tables (some are really elaborate) and meeting new authors.

So if I’m late getting back to comments or visiting blogs, cut me a little slack while I’m hopefully selling tons of books and making new friends.  Have a great weekend!

 

 

The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2) by Lisa Maxwell #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #fantasy #historicalfiction

In this spellbinding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Last Magician, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic.

Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

The first book in this series was easily a 5 star read for me.  At nearly 500 pages, I almost didn’t request it because of the length – but it didn’t feel that long when reading it.  At 700 pages, I didn’t hesitate to request The Devil’s Thief  because of how engrossing the first book was, but this novel felt like a chore at times, and the series still isn’t complete.  With the third book (I’m assuming it will be the last?), the series will be considerably even longer than Stephen King’s uncut version of The Stand.

The dual timeline is compelling, and not at all confusing.  I liked seeing how events in the past influence the present, and the changes in some of the characters over that time period.  I gasped at a couple of surprising twists, and the world-building remains top notch.  Characterization is also strong, and I enjoyed spending time with these characters again.

However – Esta and Harte are disappointing.  The majority of their story focuses on the romantic drama/tension between them, and does nothing to advance the plot.  Viola and Jianyu have the more interesting plot developments by far, and Julian is a nice addition to the lineup.  There’s also a good amount of repetition, but this was an ARC, and final editing may take care of that and lower the word count.

Although this book underwhelmed me and didn’t move as quickly as the first, I’m curious to see where the next book goes, and I want to know the fate of these characters.  The Devil’s Thief is scheduled for publication October 9th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

#BookTrailer Reveal: Dead Steam by Bryce Raffle #horror #steampunk @rrbooktours1

DeadSteam

I am so happy to share this really cool book with you and reveal its amazing trailer! If you like the cover, wait to you see this! There is also a chance to win a digital copy of Dead Steam, so make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

DeadSteam_Ebook.jpgDead Steam: A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural

Expected Publication Date: October 1st, 2018

Genre: Anthology/ Dreadpunk/ Dark Steampunk/ Horror

Reader beware: to open this tome is to invite dread into your heart. Every page you turn will bring you closer to something wicked. And when the dead begin to rise from the steaming pits of hell, only then will you discover that it is already too late. Your life is forfeit.

Featuring an introduction by Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Eterna Files and Strangely Beautiful saga, DeadSteam plays host to the scintillating writing of David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Jen Ponce (The Bazaar, Demon’s Cradle), Wendy Nikel (The Continuum), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Jonah Buck (Carrion Safari), and more…

With seventeen chilling tales of Dreadpunk, Gaslamp, and Dark Steampunk, DeadSteam will leave you tearing at the pages, desperate for more. For within these pages, the dead rise from their graves to haunt the London Underground, witches whisper their incantations to the wind, a sisterhood of bitten necks hunts fog-drenched alleyways lit only by gaslight, and only one thing is certain: that dread will follow you until you turn that final page.

And that sinking feeling in the pit of your chest? That fear that something is following you, watching you, hunting you? It is not for nothing. Look over your shoulder, dear reader. Watch behind you. Listen to the whispers in the darkness.

But know this…it is all inevitable.

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Excerpt

Burke Street Station

The city was frost and fog. Icy crystals formed on the windows of the train station. Breath drifted up in a hazy clouds like puffs of cigarette smoke as Theodore tried to warm his hands, blowing hot breath onto his stiff, cold fingers and rubbing his hands together vigorously. When that failed, he thrust them back into his coat pockets, cursing under his breath. His threadbare coat offered little warmth. Drafts of wind found their way through the broken stitching and the tears in his sleeves like rats scrambling through the cracks in the station walls. A discarded page of newsprint, caught in the rushing wind, tumbled and turned in the air and landed, crumpled and torn, at Theodore’s feet.

He stooped over, picked it up, and glanced at the engraving of a wanted man. Even without a skill for reading, he knew what name was printed beneath the picture of masked man on the page. Anthony Tidkins.

Wanted, he read. That was one word Theodore recognized. Crimes was another, and then, finally…murder.

Rubbish. The newspapers always tried to make villains out of the radical thinkers of the world. The Resurrectionists, who named their organization after the sack-em-up men who provided the anatomists with subjects for their scientific endeavors, were scientists. They had provided the world with aether, revolutionizing air travel. They had brought Prince Charles back from the brink of death. They had devised the engines for the London Underground. Anthony Tidkins himself promised to cure death. Yet the newspaper men still called for his blood. Theodore balled up the page and shoved it in his pocket.

He pulled out his trick coin as he approached the gate. The station master was asleep at his booth, a little dribble of spit running down his chin. Typical. Thoedore stuck his coin in the machine, waited for the gate to open, and then, with a light tug on the fishing line threaded through a little hole in the tip of the coin, it popped back out. Easy. He was in before anybody noticed what he had done. He pocketed the coin and started down the hallway.

Tap-tap, clack, tap-tap, clack, his shoes beat a rhythm on the stone steps. The sole of his left shoe was beginning to wear, and the heel of his shoe tapped against the heel of his foot as he walked. He puffed on his hands again, and peeked over his shoulder. No one was after him. He had done this trick a thousand times before. So why did he feel like there was someone watching him?

Clack, tap-tap, clack. Again, he glanced over his shoulder. The odd double-rhythm of his broken shoe was suddenly unnerving in the deserted station. Where were all the other passengers? Nice folks avoided this place like the plague, especially after midnight. The oil lamps that lit Burke Street Station were so routinely out of oil that he could hardly find his own feet in front of him, but still, Theodore expected to see other passengers. But where were the other vagrants? They should be sleeping in the dark corners of the hallway under blankets made of rags. And the boys from the blacking factory should be heading home from their long shifts, fingers stained black with powders and oil. But there was no one. Only the rats skittering through rat tunnels to keep him company.

Tap-tap, clack, tap-tap, clack.

Another set of footsteps began to follow his own, beating out a different rhythm. A steady tap, tap, tap, tap. He paused to listen, and nothing but silence greeted him. He glanced over his shoulder. Nobody there.

He continued onward, and again, a second set of footsteps started up behind him. He paused to listen. This time, they didn’t stop.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

Whoever it was, they were getting closer. Closer and closer, louder and louder, tapping out a steady rhythm as they approached down the long, dark hallway. He could almost make out the solitary figure in the gloomy, hazy light, but then the fog grew thicker, and whatever he thought he’d seen was gone. The footsteps kept on getting louder, though, and closer. He turned and ran down the hallway.

A long flight of steps delved deeper into the darkness of Burke Street Station, down, down toward the platform. The train was already rumbling, announcing its approach. It vibrated through Theodore’s toes to the tip of his spine, rattling his bones.

He grabbed the railing all but flew down the staircase. The rumble of the train grew louder and clearer.

“Shit,” Theodore cursed. Taking the steps two at a time, he hurtled down the steps and didn’t stop when he reached the bottom.

Nails on a blackboard. The tines of silverware scraping against a ceramic plate. The screaming madmen at Newgate Asylum. The anguished cry of a mother weeping over her stillborn babe. Theodore had heard these sounds all, but not one compared to the shrill screech of an automatic train rolling into Burke Street. Iron wheels grinding against iron tracks. Hot metal sending up sparks, belching out steam as black as sin. The carriages rattling and clanging against one another. The hiss of hot coal burning in the engines. The shriek of brakes as the train ground to a halt. If it went on long enough, it would surely drive a man mad. Theodore covered his ears with his hands, pressing them against his head to muffle out the deafening noise, and waited for the thundering train to come to a halt.

When it did, he realized it must have drowned out the sound of the steadily approaching footsteps he’d heard in the hallway, because he could hear them again, and they were closer. So close he half expected to feel someone’s hot breath on his neck. He whirled around, but there was no one there. Silence greeted him like an old friend. His heart hammered against his chest.

“There’s no one there,” he muttered to himself. But he didn’t sound convinced.

A smell lingered in the air, as if something foul had passed through. The smell was familiar enough, the breath of a man with rotting teeth. It was a foul, cloying stench. He spun around again, and this time found himself face to face with the man to whom those dreaded footsteps belonged.

Only he wasn’t a man. Not really.

About the Author

Bryce Raffle.png

Bryce Raffle writes steampunk, horror, and fantasy. He was the lead writer for Ironclad Games’ multiplayer online game Sins of A Dark Age and is the founder of Grimmer & Grimmer Books. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk, Denizens of Steam and Den of Antiquity. His short story, The Complications of Avery Vane, was awarded Best Steampunk Short in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll in 2016. He lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, where he works in the film industry.

Bryce Raffle| Facebook | Instagram| Goodreads | Twitter

Bryce is giving away a digital copy of Dead Steam to one lucky winner. The giveaway will run from Sept. 17th to Sept. 20th so make sure you enter!

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Interview with Author Teri Polen!

I’m over at Janice Spina’s blog talking about my writing process and other stuff not writing-related. Come over for a visit and check out Janice’s books – she’s got something for all ages!

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TERI POLEN!

Teri Polen

Teri Polen

Please help me welcome author Teri Polen to Jemsbooks.blog Segment of Interview and Author. 

Hi Teri, it’s so nice to have you here today. Please feel free to begin. The spotlight is on you!

Please tell us about yourself.

I’m a young adult writer of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  My first book,Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was released in December 2016, and my second, The Gemini Connection, a YA sci-fi/thriller was published in June 2018.

jjspina: I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy but have never read all three in one book. Sounds intriguing!

What is your target audience for your book?

As a YA writer, my target audience is readers from age 12-years-old and up.  YA books aren’t only for teens–a large percentage of YA readers are over the age of eighteen.  One of the book clubs I’m in, Pardon My Youth…

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WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3) by Vic James and I’m happy to says it’s living up to its predecessors.

Magically gifted aristocrats rule–and commoners are doomed to serve. But a rebellion threatens the old order. The dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage and Tarnished City concludes.

In a world where the lower classes must endure ten years of forced service to unfairly advantaged, magically powered rulers, a teenage boy dreams of rebellion, his older sister yearns for love and knowledge, and a dangerous young aristocrat seeks to remake the world with his dark gifts. In Bright Ruin, the final book in the trilogy set in modern-day England, our heroes will lead a revolution that will transform–or destroy–the world.

I recently finished The Cube (Guardian of the Present #1) by Melissa Faye.  I’m attracted to time travel books like moths to a bug zapper.  Which may send their consciousness to another realm, leaving the shell of their bodies on Earth.  You never know.

In the future, time travelers are a reality. In the present, time travelers are a real pain. 

June Moore is a normal teenager by day and a vigilante hero by night. 

She guards our present day from time travelers from the future. Law enforcement can’t keep up with their futuristic abilities. 

But June has an edge. 

Her smarts and strength help her fight off these visitors before they can take advantage of our world. She sends those time travelers back where they belong…whether they like it or not. 

Now it’s the night before her freshman year of college, and June finds herself face-to-face with a traveler. His motives are unclear, and he’s holding a strange cube. 

She has to know what’s inside. 

An extra second of hesitation allows the man to escape. June’s left alone. With the box. And with regrets…She should have sent the guy straight home. 

If June doesn’t capture the time traveler soon he could really mess up the future for everyone. Who knows what kind of trouble he may cause? And if the cube opens…it might cause even more trouble. Something that would hit closer to home. 

To save the future of those close to her, June must hunt the escaped traveler down.

…Before she runs out of time.

The Cube is Book 1 of Guardian of the Present, an eight book series of novellas that will appeal to fans of tough female leads, Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Looper. 

Next, I’ll read Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky.  The originality of the blurb immediately caught my attention – a girl at an Ice Age dig?  Yessss!  And the cover is perfect.  Have high hopes for this one!

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

 

Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim #bookreview #steampunk #YA #TuesdayBookBlog

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time. 

I think I’m a steampunk fan – I’ve read several steampunk books and enjoyed all of them, and I adored the Victorian London setting in this novel.

The whole premise of clocks controlling time tantalized me, and I connected with Danny almost immediately.  I know clocks and cogs aren’t for everyone, but the fact that Danny could ‘feel’ time and diagnose a clock’s problem fascinated me.  His relationship with Colton was very sweet, although a bit on the ‘insta-love’ side, but I chose to overlook that.

Timekeeper had been in my TBR for a while, and when the theme for one of my book clubs was an LGBT novel, I immediately thought of this one.  A perfect selection, and one I’d recommend.