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review 2018-08-06 21:49
Tracing Shadows by Alex Lidell
Tracing Shadows - Alex Lidell

Kali and Trace make a really good team! I enjoyed getting to know Kali on her own and even enjoyed her initial interactions with Trace, who was a bit high and mighty. There was a bit of silly tension between the two as they worked out their always fluctuating relationship but I can forgive them that.

Kali’s young enough to have doubts about her abilities on her first real espionage mission. Still, there were situations that I thought her training would have readied her for, like nudity in the guards change room, etc. So, I did do some small eyerolls. After all, what good is a spy that gives themselves away by blushing over a bit of casual nudity? Kali totally redeemed herself with her knife skills.

Leaf, Kali’s sister who is being held hostage, has her secret skills too – she’s talented with the crystal healing magic, a Whisperer. Alas, this talent can get a person killed. Even though she has such a small role, I liked her character and want to learn more about her.

Crown Prince Wil and his sister Violet are very different from each other. Kali is charged with protecting Wil, so she has to traipse around with him, and also Trace. Meanwhile, Violet is an introverted young lady who has severe doubts of her self-worth. She is also caught up in deep grieving over the recent death of their mother. While I didn’t particularly like her character, she gave us a window into a dangerous and manipulative religious group.

Next to Kali, Trace becomes my favorite character…. yes, it’s a tie between the two of them. While the plot and characters start off simple, we get a little layering later in the tale, with Trace especially. He’s got plenty of secrets and hidden skills. Kali eventually grows a bit after she makes a bad mistake that leaves her injured.

The story never lagged for me. Plenty of action interspersed with spy stuff kept me engaged. The tale does end on a cliff hanger so I hope Book 2 comes out on audiobook very soon. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Hayden Daviau gave a really good performance with this narration. Her male voices are believable and she had distinct voices for all the characters. I especially liked her waspish, peeved voice for Leaf while she tries to attend to Kali’s injuries. She did a great job with the emotional scenes as well. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Alex Lidell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-08-04 19:31
Back at it again
The Figure In the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt) - John Bellairs

I gobbled up The Figure in the Shadows in one sitting. This could lead you to believe that I thoroughly enjoyed it but really it was super short coming in at 160 pages with quite a few of Mercer Mayer's illustrations sprinkled throughout adding to that number. The plot of this installment revolves around an amulet which Lewis acquires and which seems to hold a 'spirit' of some kind which he has awakened and which turns out to be rather malevolent. (If you think this sounds similar to the first book you're not alone.) Once again, he keeps this a secret from his uncle and the witchy neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman, next door. Instead he shares his discovery with his new friend, Rose Rita, who is virtually Lewis's opposite in every conceivable way. I will say that Lewis is a unique character in that he's not brave, overly intelligent (although a voracious reader), good looking, talented (described as quite fat), or particularly good-natured (in fact he's rather whiny and prone to childish fits of anger). He doesn't fit the prescribed parameters of a typical protagonist. He's bullied and anxious about the possibility of even being bullied or 'bawled out' by adults. (I was nervous about the latter through my adolescence as well so in that regard I can relate.) Magic + mystery + misadventure = the plot 5/10

 

Source: Amazon

 

Mercer Mayer's work (Edited as original post credited Edward Gorey.) [Source: Pinterest]

 

 

What's Up Next: One Step at a Time by Sara Y. Aharon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-08-01 12:35
Blog Tour: Shadow's Hand by Noelle Nichols with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Noelle Nichols ’s Shadow's Hand. We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

 

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

I used to believe our morals were absolute. I no longer am certain.

Imposters pose as our Shadow group, spreading panic and killing innocents across the lands. These False Shadows wield a magic in its infancy, a power they call the Skills. There’s great potential to this power, but a menacing undertone taints those who wield it. Their intentions are sinister, without purpose, and their morals, questionable.

I am Kilo, a Shadow of Vaiyene, and I vow to put an end to these False Shadows. My friends have been killed. My homeland, threatened. These imposters know our weakness, and they seek to exploit who we are. I fear before the end, I may forsake the very creed I’ve lived my life by. Despite this, I must persist and find a way to return peace to the lands. I will become the strength our people need.

---

My parents were brave and honorable. I am neither of these.

This is no longer the world my parents knew. Peace is threatened in Vaiyene and across the lands. The False Shadows have attacked, and despite our Phantoms reassurance, I am not naïve enough to believe we are safe.

I am Shenrae, one of the next generation of Shadows. My comrades doubt me, as I often doubt myself, but I have no other choice than to fight. The Phantoms cannot protect us for long. Soon, I will have to find my place, and my strength, or I will lose everything I have left.

Shadow’s Hand is the first book in a heroic epic fantasy, inspired by Japan’s samurai and their warrior code Bushido. It’s a story about the makings of a hero and the hero’s sacrifice. If you like characters with strong morals, fast-paced epic storytelling and exploring magic’s morality, you’ll love The Shadow's Creed Saga. Pick up a copy today and join Kilo and Shenrae on their heart-twisting journey to restore peace.

Buy Link

Amazon

Excerpt from Chapter 15, Sponsored, Shenrae POV

I dropped to my knees at the base the Reikon Tree, my mind unclear. Snow meandered around the great tree’s branches, falling in light mounds around me. Snowflakes covered the fur cloak that lay across my shoulders, but I did not bother to brush them aside. Is this the right decision? My parent’s swords rested in the ground where Syrane and I had placed them after purifying the blades in the high alpine lakes. The snow made their final resting place seem peaceful. Beautiful even. We came here often as children. Syrane, my parents and me. My mother told us about the Shadows of old and their will to protect us, and about how they sacrificed themselves to protect others so that we may live peacefully. My father told us tales of their own journey and the people they had helped along the way. I listened to their stories, gaining a sense of wonder that my parents stood for something greater. There was a deep purpose to their lives—even in death their spirits continued to watch over Vaiyene. I did not know how to describe it, but being under the Reikon tree brought me peace, like the Shadow’s calm and will made the earth light with their protection. From a young age, the Shadows were my idols. Now, on the cusp of deciding what path I would take, I remained unsure. Would I really be able to become a Shadow? I leaned forward and brushed the snow off my parents’ swords, letting my fingertips trail over the metal hilt. Would I be able to uphold their names? I rocked back onto my knees and looked up through the twisted branches, at the overcast sky, pulling down the scarf from around my nose, and letting the snowflakes melt on my skin. I blew out a cloud of breath. I used to read through the Shadow’s Creed, pretending I was a Shadow alongside Syrane. We recited the creed together, created fake missions and established mock villages in various locations around Vaiyene. I smiled at the memory. I almost forgot. Back then I had been so sure. Now I hesitated. Why? What bothered me the most was not knowing what to do. Indecisiveness. Was I making the right choice asking to become a Shadow? Would I disappoint my parents because I was no good? These thoughts—and countless more—swirled in my head since Kilo’s exile. If he were still in Vaiyene, my thoughts on the Shadows would have remained untouched. Idolized even. But the Phantom’s actions made no sense. Turning their back on the threat that loomed. It’s not Shadow-like. And if even the Phantom’s were afraid, what made me think I could do better? I pushed myself onto my feet, the blood tingling as it recirculated through my legs, cutting off my thoughts before they ran away too far. One decision at a time. My mother always patted my head as she said the words. Syrane and I were on our own. We had decided to become Shadows to stay together and to find our place in the world. It seemed as good a choice as any. I had no natural talents. I did not create, nor could I build with my hands. Even the way to grow wheat was beyond my understanding. But I know how to be a Shadow. Our parents raised us by the Shadow’s Creed, instilled our belief in it. While my understanding of the creed was through their eyes, one of the principles demanded a person stay true to one’s self and be loyal to those you loved. Becoming a Shadow alongside my brother would be the first step in upholding the teachings passed down to me. I ran my hands through my hair, digging my fingers into the side. I just wish I knew it was the right decision.

 

 

Hello, I'm Noelle. A writer, a creator and most of all a dreamer.

We have the opportunities, both as writers and readers, to experience people who are better than ourselves. Flawed still, but people who go against all odds, perhaps too great for us in real life to aspire to. They speak grander, fight against magical forces and live in a place where imagination and dreams can thrive. This is why I write Fantasy. Within my characters I find the strength and hope for a better tomorrow, one that can be more fantastical and beyond reality. It's these characters that I wish to write, and these journeys I want to take my reader's on.

I've been writing my trilogy, The Shadows Creed Saga, for the past five years. The original idea came to me back in high school where I had the support of many of my English teachers to continue writing the book. However, I realized that in order to write a good book, I needed to have experienced life more. I needed to lose someone close. I needed to have my heartbroken. I needed to know what it was like to really love someone, and what it means to be loved. So, I put my book away and came back to it eight years later. I feel that I can instill my life experiences into my characters now and really understand them.

I now feel I have the discipline, experience and imagination needed to bring the books to publication. For now, this is my records to publication and my writing process. My only wish is to write books that take people on a journey, and feel that perhaps they have a friend and someone to aspire to within the pages.

Links

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/01/blog-tour-shadows-hand-by-noelle-nichols-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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text 2018-07-30 18:36
Time to vote: next Big Library Read
Death by Dinosaur - Jacqueline Guest
Away Running - David Wright,Luc Bouchard
Lumberjanes - Noelle Stevenson,Shannon Watters,Grace Ellis
Down by Law - Ni-Ni Simone
Mask of Shadows - Linsey Miller
before I let go - Marieke Nijkamp
King Geordi the Great - Gene Gant
The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste
IA: Initiate - John Darryl Winston,Valerie Winston,Video Explainers,Deon Mixon Jr.,Jones Heraux,Bobbi-Lee Hunt

Please do reblog to spread the word.  If unfamiliar with the Big Library Read, it's a global book discussion with the chosen book 100% freely available in ebook form via overdrive (no waiting, no quantity limit).  This time the theme is Young Adult; not all nominees pictured.

 

Source: biglibraryread.com
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review 2018-07-05 15:02
Claimed in Shadows - Lara Adrian

Aric Chase is kind of like royalty in the Order as son to Stirling “Harvard” Chase and Tavia. He has worked his way up the ranks and wants nothing more than to run his own team. On his way back from England, he is ordered to take a detour in Montreal in order to aid in an operation only a Daywalker, like him, can do. He is teamed up with Order rookie Kaya who is also dedicated to earning her spot in the Order. They butt heads at first and she doesn’t think much of him. He is a rich charmer that comes across as not having to work too hard for anything in his life, while she grew up poor on the streets and had a rough life until she fell in with the Order. While on their mission, things don’t go as planned and she thinks she has ruined all chance for her to earn a spot on a team. Aric is definitely drawn to her but he isn’t looking for any sort of entanglements, especially not a Breedmate, so he tries to keep his distance but the spirit and drive he sees in Kaya appeals to the same traits he has to accomplish his goals. They work together to try and stop Opus Nostrum and their war against the Breed, but with every lead they discover, someone beats them to it and kills the suspect violently. As more leads die it becomes apparent that they have a mole and Aric can’t help but see that Kaya isn’t being honest with him and is growing more and more distant. It isn’t until it is almost too late to stop the attack that she comes clean about her secrets. It was enjoyable and entertaining. Action packed and passionate. I feel really sorry about his best friend Rafe so I really hope his book is next and whomever he ends up with will definitely have a battle to earn his trust after what happened to him in this book. So good. Want more.

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