I think my kid got a hold of it last night and dropped it. Not the first time. I “thought” the Kindle touch was child proof, but I appear to be mistaken.
I woke up to my kindle looking like this:
Looks like I’ll be upgrading to the Paperwhite sooner than I imagined.Read More
This post was originally suppose to be published on 5/22/13. My apologies to H.B. Bolton and CBB for the delay. Please check out my review of the first book in the series, THE SERPENT’S RING, which I reviewed last year. Thanks for the amazing guest post from one of my favorite characters from the series, Dunkle the Imp.
Meeting Evan for the first time—from the POV of Dunkle the imp
by H.B. Bolton
Why did Evan return to this place? He should have known better than to visit a closed exhibit, but there he is, sneaking around the professor’s home and peeking under the back porch. The nerve of that impetuous boy; he acts as if he owns the place.
Is the door locked? I am certain it is locked. Better still if I check.
“Oh, my, my, my …” I whisper to myself, scurrying along the roof’s eaves. I climb down a column and rush through a secret door known only to me. Carefully, I inch my way toward the porch door. Until suddenly, I freeze. Evan is peeking through the window! What am I to do?
I race to the professor’s secret lab, entering through the backside of a mahogany cabinet. I wait and wait, but there is no sign of Evan Jones. Thank goodness he did not discover the hidden whereabouts of the Serpent’s Ring. I have kept it well hidden for almost 100 years, and the last thing I need now is for him to find it and cause me trouble.
Dust clouds swirl around the room, and I am trying not to cough. That could mean only one thing. But wait! No, it cannot be. Evan has managed to locate the secret entrance. I knew this day would eventually come. I have prepared for his arrival since before he was born, but this is not a good day for it. Not in the least.
He is studying the drawings on the chalkboard. Surely, that will keep him busy enough. At least until I can figure out a way to remove the Serpent’s Ring and find a new location to hide it. Oh, no, no, no! He has noticed the illustration of the Midgard Serpent. Why is that boy climbing on that desk and messing around with things that do not belong to him? This is outrageous!
Oh my goodness — the table is about to break. What will the professor say? Just then, Evan and many of the professor’s illustrious possessions tumble to the floor. And worse yet, Evan has found the Serpent’s Ring. The Relic has already begun to glow, and soon … well, Evan will never be the same.
“What are you doing in here?” shrills a female voice from the doorway, and I nearly jump out of my skin. “You are going to be in sooo much trouble when Mom and Dad find out. You aren’t supposed to be in here. Didn’t you read the sign that said ‘Restricted Area’?”
Claire? What is she doing here? Lovely — now I have to deal with both of them.
“Claire, the jewels on this ring are starting to glow. Way cool!” Evan places the Serpent’s Ring around his forearm.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Claire says, rushing to Evan, but as soon as she reaches him, the entire room fills with blinding light. Claire is cast against a bookshelf, and she is bombarded by tumbling objects. Thank goodness Evan has enough sense to help her.
There is nothing more I can do here. I suppose it is time for me to inform the other protectors. The first sign of the prophecy has come to light, and now the Relics are in terrible danger.
The Trickster’s Totem (Book #2 The Relics of Mysticus)
Released April 15th, 2013.
Life has returned to normal for fourteen-year-old Evan and his older sister, Claire. That is until Dunkle, a clever but stinky little imp, pays an unexpected visit to their school. He has come to take the siblings back to Sagaas, the mythical realm of the gods. Once again, a Relic from the ancient Mysticus Orb has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Evan and Claire, with their unique mystical abilities, can help find it.
Through the power of the Trickster’s Totem, a coyote trickster has escaped. His laughter echoes throughout the realm, as he spreads mischief and mayhem. He burns an entire crop of popcorn, carves his grinning image into sacred artifacts, and things really get interesting when he shape-shifts into Evan’s friends.
Claire and Evan must capture the Trickster, retrieve the Totem, and be careful not to become sidetracked by robotic Steampunk animals, “sweet” pixie-like Pains, and a problematic mermaid … all while dodging Mothman-like aces. Most surprising, Evan discovers the true reason dragons exist in the Native American Spirit World.
The Serpent’s Ring (Book #1 The Relics of Mysticus series)
Released July 29th, 2012.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
H.B. Bolton scores full marks for her sequel, THE TRICKSTER’S TOTEM, in the Relics of Mysticus series. Claire and Evan are adjusting to life in the normal world (although they still have their powers acquired from their first adventure) when Dunkle the Imp interrupts their school day with grave news: another relic has been stolen. Unlike many MG fantasies, this is not about good verses evil. This concept of gray characters and cause and consequence doesn’t typically exist in books written for this age level, but the underlying morals are cleverly hidden beneath a fast-pace and entertaining quest. It’s refreshing that adults/elders are respected and good role models. Claire and Evan come from a good family and have no problem with authority – unlike Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. It’s a clean read that is appropriate for all age levels.
The interactions between Claire and Evan make them come to life. Evan has self-centered tendencies, where he focuses only on what he wants to achieve and not how his actions will influence the lives of others. Claire is quick to point out her brother’s mistakes and make him seem more of a jerk than he actually is. She wins brownie points from their comrades for being the more mature and better behaved of the two, although she isn’t perfect herself.
I felt that THE TRICKSTER’S TOTEM was far more polished than its predecessor, although I think that THE SERPENT’S RING is a must read for you to understand how the siblings are tied to the magical world. I read the book in full the moment I received it. The book ends with just enough closure to tie up the reason for their return trip and then a teaser for the next adventure for the siblings. If you enjoy MG fantasy or prefer “clean fantasy”, then I recommend that you check out book one and two in the Relics of Mysticus series by H.B. Bolton.
(I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.
Books by H.B. Bolton:
The Serpent’s Ring (Relics of Mysticus, Book One)
Breaking Down (a short story)
Hungry (a short story)
Coming May 1, 2013
The Trickster’s Totem (Relics of Mysticus, Book Two)
You can check out the full tour schedule from CBB book promotions
Apologies for the delay in getting this post live. I didn’t fly back until Friday, May 3rd…and between jet lag and sheer exhaustion, I wasn’t able to drag myself to the computer until now. Thanks to both Reading Addiction Blog Tours and J.K. Hogan for asking me to participate in this tour. J.K. Hogan’s debut novel, FIRE ON THE ISLAND, surprised me with how much I truly enjoyed it. I had nothing but high expectations for the second book and I’m happy to say that it wasn’t a disappointment. Check out the guest post and review of BLOOD IN THE VALLEY.
A Day in the Life – Guest Post by J.K. Hogan
Oh, how things have changed in the last few months. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to ‘live the dream’ which would be endless time to write with no outside obligations like pesky day jobs. During the time I was writing both Fire on the Island and Blood in the Valley, I was a graphic designer by trade. I’ve always been the artsy type, and that was the most practical application for my talents.
These days, I find myself as something I never thought I’d be: a stay at home mom. So my day of writing consists of fighting for time in between the demands of my four-month-old son, Rowan. He gets awfully jealous of the laptop when it gets more time than him.
So my day of writing starts off with coffee—lots and lots of coffee. I do most of my storybuilding in my head, so that happens on car trips (when the kidlet is blissfully sleeping), in the shower, and unfortunately, at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. That is when the ideas come. There’s a lovely little Starbucks about 15 minutes from my farm that has the most amazing drive thru—the only one around. The drive puts the kidlet to sleep, and I get coffee and time to “write”. It’s a win-win!
The physical writing happens sporadically in between bottles and during naps, and often between the time that I go to bed (super early because I have a living alarm clock that never changes!) and the time that I actually fall asleep. Being an insomniac can be both a blessing and a curse!
The moral of the story is that I would be making up stories whether I was publishing books or not, so I squeeze the writing into my life wherever I can!
Blood in the Valley by J.K. Hogan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Released May 2nd, 2013
The daughter of a Las Vegas hustler, Raven Sabatier grew up trusting nothing and no one—she doesn’t
even trust herself to stay in one place for longer than a minute. When her quest to find out the secrets
of her past leads her to the mountains of North Carolina, she’s set on a collision course with the one
man she thought she’d never see again.
In Appalachia consulting on an archeological dig, Anthropologist Dr. Drew Deveraux comes face
to face with the indomitable beauty who broke into his apartment a year ago, tilting his carefully
cultivated world on its axis.
Engaged in a fight with their demons, both imagined and real, the last thing either of them
expected to find was love. Together, they must unravel the mystery of Raven’s past and her connection
with an ancient race of witches, in order to save their future—and all of the souls hanging in the balance.
Please check out my review of the first book in the series (FIRE ON THE ISLAND) HERE, which I gave 5 stars.
I think overall BLOOD IN THE VALLEY suffered from the ‘second book slump’. It was a good book, however it wasn’t nearly as amazing as the first in the series. On every page and scene, I was reminded of why I loved FIRE ON THE ISLAND so much. I adored the chemistry between Isla and Jeremiah, the setting in Scottland, and the unique mythology. The beginning of BLOOD IN THE VALLEY starts out strong, but the meeting between Drew and Raven feels clumsy. Drew, in particular, felt off as a character and his narrative wasn’t enjoyable until the middle of the book. Drew is at such a disadvantage compared to many of the characters that he feels weak and whiny. As the book progressed and it felt like the author became more comfortable in his narrative – then I started to like him as a character.
I liked Raven from the very beginning. I enjoyed reading about how she thrived with such a difficult childhood, becoming almost too comfortable in the life of a con-artist and thief. Her faults are what make her so strong and I really appreciated how real a person she felt when she started to crumble mentally at the first sign of someone genuinely caring for her welfare. Her narrative would have been even more likeable if Drew’s narrative wasn’t as weak. It felt like she had to carry the first part of the book.
There is a third POV, which is Ray. The problem with his narrative is that he is pigeonholed as such an unlikeable guy early on in the book, so when he experiences hardship, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the guy.
The bad guy’s secret isn’t too hard to guess, but her motives are. I wasn’t exactly sure why she was so hell bent on catching and manipulating Raven until the last couple chapters, so there was a bit of mystery throughout the whole book.
The first book, FIRE ON THE ISLAND, definitely outshines BLOOD IN THE VALLEY, however fans of the series and the author won’t be disappointed by this sequel. It continues to explain the Vigalanti mythology and blends together both new characters and old in a romancy paranormal. I’m not a big fan of romances, so I’m happy that the romance/sex scenes never overpowered the plot or felt like fillers. If you haven’t read either book, you won’t get confused reading the second book. The author does a great job of putting the background and story points from the first book when needed and not a second sooner. A good book that would have been more of a favorite if I didn’t have the first book to compare. I will be eagerly continuing this series. B-
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them.
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives on a farm with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading!
J.K. Hogan is a member of The Romance Writers of America.