Categories
Adventure Paranormal Thrillers

My Stop on the *Kept From Cages* Book Blog Tour!!!

Thank you so much, as always, to Storytellers On Tour for having me on their book tour for Kept From Cages by Phil Williams!  Thank you as well to the author for my finished copy, all opinions are my own!

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Quick Facts:

  • Title: Kept From Cages
  • Series: Ikiri, #1
  • Author: Phil Williams
  • Publisher & Release: Rumian Publishing, September 2020
  • Length: 261pg
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for fans of urban paranormal, thrillers, and sass!

Here is the synopsis:

No one returns from Ikiri.

Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.

Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?

On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?

Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries

The plot/story: there is so much going on in this book that the action is literally almost nonstop, from the first page. There are two separate storylines that alternate chapters, one being the gang of musicians and the other is agent Tasker. Both storylines are packed with action and I found myself more drawn to the musicians and the little girl.

Bits and pieces of the overall puzzle are brought into the action slowly, so it took a while to start learning what was going on but I was well entertained in the process! Eventually the two storylines start to connect and it’s an absolute whirlwind when they finally do.

The Setting: deep Southern Louisiana is apparently a really great setting for a paranormal clash between criminal jazz musicians and a mysterious, evil man with a sword. The heck were those demons?? Agent Tasker’s story ends up in Ikiri, a village in the African Congo that the toughest men out there don’t return from. Is it civil war or a front for something darker that is leaving all those villages slaughtered? Williams doesn’t waste too much momentum on setting but I never had any problem picturing the layout, and my favorite setting was definitely the homemade town on stilts. For the biblical flood when it comes, obviously.

Somewhere in between the plot and the characters are the supernatural elements too. Power from…a spirit? An energy? Zombies! Unexplained mass murders. Women in trees and a whole pack of apparently undead assassins…. Omg so much packed in that it almost got confusing at times.

The characters: ah gosh the characters are amazing. The band is a sassy group, especially Leigh Ann. I loved their banter and found family-ness, it seems like most od them have lost quite a bit and then found each other! Zip is a cool character once she comes out of her shell, a literally red-eyed child that may or may not be some kind of devil spawn.

Tasker is an agent that investigates magical energy, and he’s trying to figure out what the heck this giant corporation unleashed in the Congo. Why did a village in Norway look like a rabid mob came through? He finds a sort of partner, a super unstable assassin with an imaginary friend, who if not likeable is at least interesting. Tasker’s team is a motley bunch and it’s interesting watching him unravel the international mysteries surrounding … The Source.

Overall takeaways: Anyway – yes, I am totally on board with this. Each chapter has a little cliffhanger that makes the book REALLY hard to put down. I wondered about an English author trying to write Southern American slang, but he does a really brilliant job with the linguistics, then come to find he writes language texts! I would totally recommend for fans of paranormal anything, and fans of thrillers. Kept From Cages is different but totally worth the read, I’m on board for book 2 when it’s ready!

Guys! If you follow this link you can find the other tour host’s reviews, and I highly encourage you to do to so!

Meet the author!

Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle. He lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.

Here are the author and book links!!

Book Links
• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55115499-kept-from-cages
• Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1913468097
— — —
Author Links!
Website: https://phil-williams.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fantasticphil
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/philwilliamsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ordshawphil/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6579274.Phil_Williams

Categories
Fantasy Horror

Book Tour and Giveaway! A Ritual of Bone by Lee C. Conley

     Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour and Lee C. Conley for having me on this tour for A Ritual of Bone! I can not for the life of me picture a more perfect dark fantasy/horror novel for this time of year and I’m so glad to have read it.  Book two in the series, A Ritual of Flesh, was actually published earlier this month and I’ll tell you right now that I already bought it and can’t wait to start reading.

Anyway, here we go!

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Quick Facts:

  • Title: A Ritual of Bone
  • Series: The Dead Sagas, #1
  • Author: Lee C. Conley 
  • Publisher & Release: Wolves of Valour Publications – June, 2019
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ YES for all my dark fantasy, horror, warrior and Elder Scrolls loving friends

Here is the synopsis:

Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.

The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great Histories.

Now the evil spreads and the dead walk in its wake, terrible creatures roam the night and even the spirits are restless. The Dead Sagas could perhaps be the final chapters of these great records

Many threads entwine to tell this Saga, interweaving the tales of those who played their part in the search for answers and ultimately their fight for survival. Amid plague, invasion and terror, the inexorable rise of the dead sends a kingdom scrabbling to its knees.

     This book is just everything my Spooktober reading list needed to be complete, and so much more.  The country of Arnar is finally at a tentative peace with it’s neighbor, while all hell breaks loose within the kingdom itself.  

     A master scholar from the College brought back and modified a long forgotten ritual that seems to have awoken some old and ancient evil, unleashing plague and sickness and zombies.  YES, picture Skyrim-esque warriors with great axes, swords and shields and bows, discovering and battling the walking dead.  Cold mountain passes, savage cannibalistic tribes in the wilds, ancient stone ruins left over from long extinct peoples.

     The combined setting, atmosphere, and writing style in this book is incredible.  There are four or five distinct storylines being told that start with the evil being unleashed, and then tell of various characters in different parts of the country discovering and dealing with the early consequences.  Each of these storylines is going to converge in the second book and I am so excited.  Back to the atmosphere though – the permeation of evil, unsettled emotions, fear, dread, loss, and chills just are equally potent through each storyline so that each was interesting and my attention never drifted.  Whether the warrior Arnuld, the girl Nym, the Hunter Bjorn, or the apprentice, each story had me rapt between the character’s plight, flight, and loss.  I think the atmosphere is what really tied this book together.

     Of course there is plenty of gore and blood and grief as well… I mean there ARE zombies.  Partially self aware zombies at times.  It really was more than a little horrifying at times but also amazing.

     Even with a few slight editing mishaps, I happily give this book every star imaginable.  As a debut novel I honestly expected a lot worse and had an amazing surprise when I ended up hooked from page one, and rapt until the end. I recommend it fully to all adult fans of the genres!


Equally important are the links to the other blog tour stops and giveaway!! Please find the tour schedule here

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Here is the link to the Tour Wide Giveaway!

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Prize: A Ritual of Bone – Grand Prize: One (1) signed hardcover (international), Runners-Up: Five (5) winners, choice of audiobook codes (US/UK) or ebooks (international)


Lastly I hope that you will check out the author’s links!

Website: http://www.leeconleyauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LongswordLee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeeConleyAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leeconleyauthor/
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/LeeConleyAuthor
Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/ec0e4d5c30e7/leeconleyauthlaningpage
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/sho

Categories
Fantasy

Book Tour Stop and Giveaway! A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

     Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour for having me on the tour for A Wizard’s Forge!  Please check out the links at the bottom for the giveaway and other tour hosts!  While this was published in 2016, we are featuring the book to generate buzz for the upcoming sequel, A Wizard’s Sacrifice, coming on October 6th

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Quick Facts: 

  • Title: A Wizard’s Forge
  • Series: The Woern Saga, #1
  • Author: A.M. Justice
  • Published: Wise Ink Creative Publishing – September 2016
  • Length: 326 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 with caution

Here is the synopsis:

Wizards are forged, not born.

Victoria of Ourtown lived through a nightmare to become the ruthless soldier known as Vic the Blade. Once she wished to explore the world settled by her spacefaring ancestors; now she thinks only of revenge.

Prince Ashel’s carefree days are filled with music, revels, and dreams of a life with Vic. Those hopes die when the thrust of an assassin’s knife drives him to war.

The target of Vic’s and Ashel’s wrath is Lornk Korng, a tyrant whose schemes stretch across a continent and a lifetime.

A mysterious alien race holds the key to a legendary—and lethal—power. Whoever possesses this power will hold the world in their hands. Will they save it, or doom it?

A gripping tale of empowerment and revenge plays out against a breathtaking backdrop of dark fantasy and science fiction.

     I have strong mixed feelings about the book but ended up at a 3 star rating.  Let me talk about the good things and then come back to the bad things, and end on a good note again.

     I liked the plot in general quite a bit.  A girl is captured as a young teen and sent to be essentially a sex slave to a realm lord.  She ends up escaped and in the hands of the Royal family of his enemy country, then in the military, and eventually obviously discovers magical prowess.  Whatever other misgivings I had, the book stayed interesting. 

     The only power that seems to exist in the land is mind speech and Listening, which is frustrating for those who don’t have it and interesting if not complicated for those who do.  Other than this telekinesis, only the wizard(s) have any magical prowess involving air/matter manipulation and the ability is guarded by a strange race of desert people. 

     The characters are a true mixed bag but there were a few highlights, including the manipulative Queen Elekia, Prince Ashel, and quite a few of the soldiers within Vic’s military circle.  

     The world building is pretty well done including religious descriptions that differ but are all based off of the Legend (or reality depending on who you ask) of the space ship Elesendar that originally brought humans to the world.

     And now I branch into my many digressions.  I feel like the space ship had to be real because you can’t just create warp drives and captains logs, but it’s totally irrelevant to the entire story, world, book, etc.  One other sci-fi element exists but the world denizens don’t even have electricity or firearms or anything, it’s very much a world of horses and swords WHERE a random network teleportation device exists.  Ummm…?

     As far as content, Vic’s entire world rotates around her lasting feelings for her captor, who tortured and stripped and humiliated her while constantly assaulting her. Now Vic was only 14 at first so it’s like grooming a child but with torture. But then in the weirdest situations, even while intent on killing him years and years later she kept remembering his fingers doing things to her and getting aroused and there were some pretty graphic descriptions.  Even with that she was just going to hop in bed with his son too.  And she never gets past it, or seems very hard to try to.  I thought this was written by a guy that has never interacted with a female and was a little surprised when I went back and reminded myself who was writing it.

     Additionally, there were so many times where random names and places were thrown in and never mentioned before.  Development between characters was hardly there – one minute they just met, then the book fast forwards and everyone is close friends without anything in between.  This occurred with skills too, Vic became a pretty pro wizard in about ten minutes and then a day or two later was capable of huge feats.  Plot forwarding is a plus but development in general is a hard no in this book.  This is why I didn’t list any of the main characters as favorites, it was impossible to connect to them. There are also a huge number of times where characters jump out of character and their actions make little sense.  

     There is one stylistic thing that kept popping up where chapters or breaks would begin in the middle of action, then we had to backtrack to learn what was going on.  To me this was just confusing and jarring every time because I thought I missed something, then learned to roll with it.  The other thing related to this is that especially with major revelations or with action happening, I think the author was trying to connect dots in the readers head by being vague and cryptic but I frankly just didn’t get it at times and wish the information had been spelled out.  

     Also Woern, as far as I remember, was never mentioned so I’m curious about the name of the series.

     Ok deep breath, let’s pull this back to the positives.

     I read the entire thing without skimming, no matter how frustrating it got.  I saw a LOT of really hard but sensible criticism for this book and I think the author probably took some of it into consideration for the next book, which I at least do want to read at some point.

     Do I recommend this book?  Honestly I have mixed feelings but the plot itself isn’t terrible and I think there are plenty of people who will enjoy it.


     Thank you again to Storytellers On Tour for having me! Here is the schedule so that you guys can see what the others thought of the book:

Tour Schedule: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice


The giveaway:

**GIVEAWAY**
We’re hosting a tour-wide giveaway!
 
Prize: The Woern Saga Book Bundle – Grand Prize: Signed Paperbacks, Runners-Up: Ebooks
Starts: September 30th, 2020 at 12:00am EDT
Ends: October 7th, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
Restrictions: Paperbacks are US Only. Ebooks are international
Direct link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98847/?

Book info and Author links:

• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30813842-a-wizard-s-forge
• Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945769076

Author Links
Website: https://www.amjusticeauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AMJusticeWrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMJusticeauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amjusticeauthor/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6903962.A_M_Justice

Categories
Fantasy

Blog Tour! Review: Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier

0830201150_HDR~2Thank you so much to Storytellers on Tour for letting me join the tour for this wonderful book!  A gorgeous finished copy was provided in exchange for a feature and honest review.

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Tuyo
  • Series: Standalone?
  • Author: Rachel Neumeier
  • Publisher & Release: Indie – May, 2020
  • Length: 410 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes!

Here is the synopsis:

Raised a warrior in the harsh winter country, Ryo inGara has always been willing to die for his family and his tribe. When war erupts against the summer country, the prospect of death in battle seems imminent. But when his warleader leaves Ryo as a sacrifice — a tuyo — to die at the hands of their enemies, he faces a fate he never imagined.

Ryo’s captor, a lord of the summer country, may be an enemy . . . but far worse enemies are moving, with the current war nothing but the opening moves in a hidden game Ryo barely glimpses, a game in which all his people may be merely pawns. Suddenly Ryo finds his convictions overturned and his loyalties uncertain. Should he support the man who holds him prisoner, the only man who may be able to defeat their greater enemy? And even if he does, can he persuade his people to do the same?

This book literally ticked every box I can think of in an epic fantasy.  Strong character arcs, detailed setting and world building, culture, enemies to friends, family bonds, political motivations, military strategy, and even one super snarky stallion.

Ryo is left as a sacrifice and ends up a captive, guest, translator, of the warlord for which he was left.  Ryo experiences a massive amount of culture shock when he is thrown into life with the Lau.  So much of the narrative is Ryo comparing the Lau to his Ugaro people, and it’s just an unbelievable character arc as he learns to judge men by their actions, not their birth.  I loved the grand theme of overcoming cultural differences to fight larger enemies.

Aras, the Lau Warlord, is a great character too.  He, in turn, isn’t familiar with many Ugaro customs, and it’s just a very character driven read as the two men, then two nations, learn about their common enemy and forge a working bond.  The friendship bonds are even better!

The setting and world are closely detailed as well.  From the frozen mountains and forests of the tribes to the summer lands of the Lau, I thought the author did a phenomenal job tying each group’s culture and legends into the climates that so define them.  To quickly touch on the magic: think psychological warfare on steroids, with some light elemental skills as well.

One of my favorite aspects was how she went deep into cultural customs on both sides.  The over politeness and certain rituals of the Ugaro tribes struck me as extremely well thought out, and the Lau had their own norms.  Some of my favorite scenes were the great meetings towards the end, but part of that was how much I just loved Ryo’s family.  Especially his father.  I let out a few “HA”‘s courtesy of the family dialogue 

Family and honor among friends played a huge role too.  Without going into too much more detail, I will just say again in general that the relationships in the book are so intricately started and built upon, until the end result was something really special.

In short: I feel like I’m rambling and not doing the book justice at all.  If you like strong families, culture, overcoming cultural biases, enemies to friends, setting and relationships, and magic throughout…. You need this book.  I definitely plan on checking out the author’s works too.

I hope you’ll check out the other stops on the tour by visiting https://storytellersontour.online/2020/07/30/tour-schedule-tuyo-by-rachel-neumeier/ !  The author information and book links are available there as well!

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