Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop
You may have a copy of any book on my fantasy review list. This is an ebook giveaway for INT, but if you live in the US you may choose a paperback instead. Urban fantasy and paranormal romance books from my review list can be chosen too. You can find the full list HERE. Any book that I review that’s fantasy related between now and the end of the contest can also be selected. And you may pick any book in the series as long as I’ve reviewed as least one of the series books.
US residents win a print copy!
Here’s a sample of what you can pick!
You may follow me any way you choose. Twitter, Facebook, Network Blogs, Linky, or email/RSS. All I care is that you come back. :)
Prophecy of the Most Beautiful by Diantha Jones
Book One of the Oracle of Delphie Series
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release March 1st, 2012
She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her.
Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of “Whack Job” in her home town of Adel, Georgia. With the onslaught of prescription medications and therapists threatening to push her over the edge, she wishes for a life far away from the one she has, a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone’s jokes and mockery.
Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true.
After living through an attack from her worst nightmare, she awakens to find herself far from home, surrounded by glorious riches and servants…and a few demigods who enjoy killing things. Upon learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future, and the great Pythia that the gods have been anxiously awaiting to arrive for centuries. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given and to keep her family safe from a demigod Princess that wants her dead, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters, evading divine assassins and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. In the hopes of discovering the Most Beautiful and the truth of her destiny, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.
There are two things that I didn’t like about the book. The romance was way over the top. I was pelted with both sides of the love sick coin with both Chloe and her love interest proclaiming in the narrative upon first sight how much they really wanted the other. If it was written only from Chloe’s POV, then I probably wouldn’t have minded as much. The mythology is borrowed directly from Greek legends, which I love, but I can’t help but compare it to Percy Jackson. The Gods and demigods just weren’t as creatively portrayed as they were in Percy Jackson.
I did like how the fates were introduced, although I wish that their limits and powers were more clearly defined. They surprised me later in the story when certain things happened that I didn’t think were possible.
The plot had some good twists, but the action scenes were very unbelievable When Hades’ offspring invaded Apollo’s home, it made no sense how only a handful of people could completely decimate like they did and without injury. Both are half gods and yet it was a very one-sided fight. The prophecy itself was very well done and I like how it did tie into one of the most-well known myths and yet I didn’t have a clue what it was until Chloe said it. If you’re better at clues and solving mysteries, then you’d probably guess what the prophecy involves.
I think that if you love romance and you love mythology, then this would be a great book for you to read. It reminds me very much of Aimee Carter’s Goddess series, only Prophecy of the Most Beautiful has less whiny characters. It’s a little too lighthearted and “safe” for me to love, but a decent book overall. I’m not sure if I’ll read the next book in the series. It all depends on how many mushy romantic POVs I have to suffer through. This is a book that I think that is a solid four stars in the right reader’s hands…it’s just not for me. (C)
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
(Information borrowed from Goodreads.)
Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook or playing the most ridiculous app games on her iPhone.
I write adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star. Friend/Fan me at www.goodreads.com/A_Star.
Congratulations to Benjamin Epstein for having my favorite answers of the month. So, one lucky US resident will win a paperback copy of his book, Captive of the Orcs. Winner has 48 hours to respond by email with their US mailing address. I can’t be responsible for any item lost in the mail, however I’ll be shipping from Amazon.com so they’re pretty reliable. So, check out his awesome interview and then enter into the giveaway!
If you’re an author and interested in answering questions most reviewers are too scared to ask, then email me at lizzylessard (at) gmail (dot) com. If I think your answers are the best of the batch, then I’ll pay for a giveaway of your book. Even if you don’t win, if you’re willing to host a giveaway, I will post your answers. But you have to be CREATIVE. The questions change every month! Remember, there is NO GENRE RESTRICTION.
10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask Benjamin Epstein
1) Imagine your characters are on Survivor. They have to vote one character out of your book. Who votes for who and why?
Dallet is voted off, no question about it. Everyone hates him anyway. He has no survival skills, so he’s useless around camp. He’s physically weak. And he’s too smart for his own good, which is irritating. Worst of all, he’s a Luminean Exile, and everybody hates the Luminean Exiles. He tries to make an alliance, but he’s voted out unanimously.
The next week, there’s a puzzle challenge. The tribe loses spectacularly. When Jeff Probst asks if they made a mistake voting off Dallet, they all look confused: It didn’t even occur to them.
2) Your main character has committed a crime. What is the crime and how do they do it?
I have two main characters, so…
If it’s Torak, the crime depends on the time of day. If it’s night, he silently slips over the shepherd’s fence, finds the sheep he think will make the best meal, snaps its neck, and hops the fence again, invisible and unseen in the dead of night.
If it’s daylight, he’ll commit armed robbery: the shepherd surrenders his sheep, or he gets skewered by Torak’s spear. His choice. In neither case does Torak feel any guilt over it.
Or maybe someone insults Torak by accident, or makes a crack about Boragh, the god of the Orcs. In this case, Torak either challenges the fool to a duel, or murders them outright. Unless the person is Dallet, in which case he just beats him with a stick for a while.
If Dallet was the one committing the crime, he would wait until he was starving to death, then he would rationalize stealing a loaf of bread from someone’s window sill. When caught (and he would be) he confesses immediately, and begs for the opportunity to work off the crime. He’s sent to the chain gang, wearing a number that says “24601″ and forced to sing music from Les Miserables.
3) You have to fight zombies. What is in your arsenal?
My copy of Max Brook’s book, “The Zombie Survival Guide.” I can swat zombie houseflies with it. As for weapons, I have my cheap sword from the costume store, and a plastic lightsaber.
Frankly, I don’t think I’d last very long. I don’t even have cyanide suicide pills. I’d probably be the snarky guy who says he can beat up zombies with his bare hands, and is the first one in the movie to get killed.
Oh, you mean in real life, not in a movie? I hide under the bed, sobbing over how I didn’t take advantage of the 2nd amendment when I had the chance.
4) Your main characters are stuck on a desert island. What are their initial reactions? Which one has the best chance of getting off the island alive?
Frightened of starvation, Dallet searches the island for Jeff Probst, trying to get food from the Survivor producers. Next, he tries to build a raft to return to civilization. The raft sinks.
Torak, on the other hand, has a marvelous time. He goes fishing, hunting, builds a shelter, and bosses Dallet around. Within a couple weeks, he has the start of what could be a pretty successful Orc village. He sees no reason to escape, except to find more Orcs to move into his village and honor him as their chieftain. And if short on food, he eats Dallet.
5) Write the most ‘rediculous’ death scene possible.
It was late one night. I was working on the sequel to my book. It is a hard task. I am not having a lot of success. I am banging my head against the wall, hoping that there was a way to get my ideas sparked.
And then I had a vision. A terrible phantasm manifested of my old High School English teacher, Mr. Bindner.
“What kind of weak writing do you contaminate the written page with?” he roared through the mists of memory. “I told you many times before not to use passive verbs!”
“Passive verbs?” I whimper. ”What on earth is a passive verb?”
“Is is!” he snarled. ”All the roots of the phrase ‘to be!’ Is, Was, Am, Are, Be, all of those passive verbs are unacceptable…. will not be accepted… you cannot use them! They suck away all life and vitality from your work, and you shall not pass my class if you continue to employ them!”
“Well, forget it buddy!” I yelled back at the emanation. ”I am a published author now! My book is sold for real money on Amazon! I was in your class, but I can no longer be bullied by you! And now you have no power over me. Ha! Let’s change that: You are powerless!”
Laughing maniacally, I resumed my work, shouting each forbidden word in defiance of the wraith of dynamic writing. “It WAS late one night! I AM banging my head against the wall!”
But little did I know the folly of mocking the wizards of lively writing and proper grammer. I should have known when this very question misspelled the word “ridiculous.” The ghost of old Bindner reached through the thin veil separating the physical world from the realm of spirits. My heart froze to ice, and I expired before I could strike the next keystroke. Alas, poor me. I knew me well.
6) Reveal the darkest moment in your life.
At the age of 9, I was in a car wreck that changed life forever. My grandmother was killed. My brother was in a coma, and suffered head injuries that affect him to this day. As for me, I was wide awake in the back seat, conscious of every moment from skid to stop, with each second burned into my memory.
When I returned to school, my classmates showed their sympathy for my family’s tragic event by bullying me without mercy. I escaped into books and fantasy worlds for quite some time. Perhaps to this day.
Years later, I felt an odd identification when Luna Lovegood told Harry Potter than the reasons they were different was that they both witnessed death. She seemed to attract her own share of children’s “compassion” to traumatized classmates. They called her weird.
7) One of your favorite authors agrees to go on a date. Who is it and how do you woe him/her?
As tempted as I would be to meet Ayn Rand and pick her brain, at the end of the day I would pick J.K. Rowling, but only if I could bring my wife. She’s a huge Harry Potter fan, and would have a wonderful time. Best of all, she wouldn’t kill me at the end of the night for dating other writers.
8) Pick a popular book with an ending you didn’t like. What’s the new ending?
The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, of course. How about Huck slaps Tom Sawyer silly for making it so unnecessarily difficult to rescue Jim? Pull out Tom Sawyer’s share of the treasure they found in the last book, buy Jim from Miss Watson, and set him free! Or was that too simple for Tom Sawyer? Or Mark Twain?
9) You are a misunderstood monster (like Shrek). Briefly write about what your life is like.
I’d be a dragon who lives inside a cave, and sleeps on a mattress stuffed with cheap, imitation silver coins. I’d keep two gold candlesticks, and a cracked quartz bracelet as my only valuables. When that annoying knight show up to kill me and steal my treasure, I tell him that all my money is tied up in investments. What use is keeping my gold out of circulation, where I cannot accumulate interest? There’s scarcely a king, duke, or prince in the land who I don’t have an investment account with. Usually that’s enough for them to leave me alone. Except when their loan grows too large for them to manage, and they send knights to my cave to murder me.
Oh, the knight wants to know, why did I burn down that nearby farming village, which killed a community of harmless peasants? Well, it wasn’t really my idea. But the sad truth is, I lost 95% of my net worth when the housing market crashed. My finances became so strained I actually had to get a job. So the evil wizard hired me on a mercenary contract to burn down one of the local principalities. He wanted to instill terror to advance his conquest, and he needed a few hundred bodies for his zombie army. As for me, I saw it not just as a profitable contract, but also as a way to plunge the property values so I could buy some more real estate cheap. I’m sure the price will go up once the peasants rebuild. And there is a state of war between the King and the Evil Wizard anyhow. Since I was working as a mercenary, I cannot be held liable for the deaths of enemy combatants. Yes, the peasants were combatants! They were withholding resources that the Evil Wizard needed for his army! Namely, their own bodies…
So why does this knight want to murder me so badly? I’m just trying to make a living here! He’s trespassing in my cave anyway. I should call the king’s guard myself.
10) Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.
Not watching television. You know how many times someone describes in intimate detail their favorite scene from “Seinfeld” or some modestly famous competitor from American Idol? And when I say I don’t watch TV, they look at me like I’m an alien from another planet?
And the same goes for sports! Why should I be made to feel like an ignoramus if I don’t know who’s playing in the Superbowl, or I wonder when the New York Giants moved away from San Francisco?
Not to mention popular movies! Do I have to feel small if I was the last person to see the Blair Witch Project, or Titanic, or Kill Bill? I had things to do that weekend!
Or music! So what if I just got around to listening to 99 red balloons last week?
Sometimes it feels like the only people who don’t make fun of my cultural ignorance is the Amish. Until they told me that my horse and buggy was just so last century.
Safety question – What character in your book do you wish you could switch places with?
It seems I got all ten, but I’ll answer this one anyway as an encore.
I choose to switch places with the elven merchant, Artaen Stardreamer. Now you might ask: why would I elect to switch places with such a minor character? The answer is… he doesn’t have to go through the nine levels of hell that the other characters must deal with. One thing is certain about Captive of the Orcs: I did not write this book out of envy for any of my characters. They have a tough journey.
Captive of the Orcs by Benjamin Epstein
Publisher: Center One Publishing
Released November 13th, 2012
Dallet departed on a long journey, leaving behind his family, home, and his love. He planned to travel to the City of Brass Gates, and enter the priesthood of the Divine, the deity of the Luminean Exiles.
Torak was a young Orc, raised to pursue honor and victory. His tribe captured a trading caravan, and Torak enslaves a fleeing Luminean Exile.
Human and Orc, slave and master, bound by fate, must now adventure across the face of Codytha. One seeks revenge, the other freedom. And each is an enigma to his companion.
On this tour stop, I have a review and giveaway for Red Madrassa. You can check out the full tour schedule for more reviews, interviews, excepts, and guest posts featuring Terah Edun. Thank you I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for organizing this tour.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Self published
Released November 8th, 2012
A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny…
The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it’s almost impossible to attend.
When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.
She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.
Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.
Do they all belong at the new school they call home?
Red Madrassa is a high fantasy book in a world so explicitly rich with detail that it is worthy of fan-fiction copy-cats. I think the book’s only fault comes from the sheer amount of POV characters. There are five and this means that much of the novel is spent introducing and detailing what each of these five characters are doing. Sometimes the POV switches come very rapidly, and I feel more tied to the story and atmosphere than any one character. Because of this, the pacing is slow and this feels more like an introduction to the series than a stand-alone book.
I can’t honestly tell you which character is my favorite. I think I spent most of the time reading, yearning for a chance to dive into the world and live in the magic academy myself. I’m a huge fan of high fantasy books, but most of them are geared towards adults, so this suited my YA taste buds. Plus, it was high fantasy with LGBT characters!
Terah Edun crafts a fantastic, original world of magic. I couldn’t help but want more. I could of easily read a novel by her twice its size and I think that it could of benefited from the added length, especially considering how many main characters there were. As is, it felt rushed and anti-climatic after the huge buildup from the rest of the novel. Red Madrassa is definitely a must read novel, but I think that you should wait until the sequel before purchasing…and then buy both! Alone, this first book is too much like an appetizer to satisfy any lover of high fantasy.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and now lives in South Sudan. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.
She prefers tales of adventure, magic, fellowship and courtship – in other words high fantasy. But she’s not adverse to the occasional contemporary fantasy coming her way. Sometimes you’ll see cloaks, daggers, independent and strong girls, independent and strong guys, sweet and soft spoken girls, sweet and soft spoken guys, markets, cute guys, sparkly magic and irritatingly know-it-all boys. The book she’s currently working on is SWORN TO RAISE, the first in the Courtlight series.
Outside of writing, she’s a international development professional with a penchant for Starbucks.Read More
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Released July 3rd, 2012
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.
Originally, I fell in love with this book because of its gorgeous orange cover. Then, I read the blurb and I was super excited to read a re-telling of Peter Pan from the point of view of one of my favorite Disney characters, Tinkerbell. It turns out that Tinkerbell was the reason for much of my frustration over this beautiful story. I started this book in July, but annoyed by Tinkerbell’s disinterest in the main characters early on in the book, I stopped reading 38 pages into the story.
A couple of days ago, I took the book back off my shelf and gave it a second chance. It turns out that Tinkerbell was a fantastic choice for a narrator. She could give input on a multitude of characters, since she was so small and mostly ignored. Since she wasn’t able to speak, she couldn’t spoil the fun “surprises” the the readers knew awaited the other characters.
Tiger Lily has a unique personality that may be hard to connect to. She’s quiet, boyish, and rebellious. She doesn’t know how to express her feelings to anyone, including the dashing Peter Pan. I really empathized with Tiger Lily and I was sad to say goodbye to her when the book was finished. I truly wished that more characters acted like her – a shy tomboy – because I know quite a few in real life.
Peter Pan reminded me slightly of Lestat in Anne Rice’s vampire series. He did what he wanted to do without caring about the consequences. He didn’t understand why Tiger Lily made choices with her head and not her heart.
The contrast between these two characters made some very tension filled scenes. It was heartbreaking to witness their interactions. As a reader, I knew what should be said and what should happen, but it never unfolded that way.
One thing that did shock me was how late in the story Wendy showed up. I almost thought that her parts would be rushed, but somehow the author was able to establish and develop Wendy just as much as the other characters.
The pirates do make an appearance, as does the ticking crocodile but they’re rather minor characters. I like the reasoning behind Hook’s jealousy towards Peter Pan, as well as the ‘aging curse’ which explains why some characters grow old and others do not in the land of Neverland.
So, even though this almost ended up being a DNF, I have to rate this book 5 stars. I’m so happy that I gave this book a second chance. I loved the characters and the story and it’s a book that I will definitely be re-reading.
(I purchased this book from my local bookstore.)
(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads)
I write books about vaguely magical peach orchards, resorts in the afterlife, enigmatic island princesses beloved by Tinkerbell, and…civics! I was an awkward and strange child who kept lots of secrets. Now I live with a sweet Basenji dog named Peanut who loves to eat shoes, and a sweet husband who is good at all the things I’m bad at, like being organized and thinking things through. I’ve loved writing and reading about mythical and strange things since I can remember.Read More