Mailbox Monday (15.6.15)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I just realised that I haven’t posted mailbox monday since April. But it’s been quiet in my mailbox which is a good thing… But here’s what I got in the last few weeks:

books15.6.15
Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine (bookmooch)
Odin’s Child by Bruce MacBain (for review)
Visions by Kelley Armstrong (bought)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queenRed Queen (Red Queen 1) by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. (Goodreads)

In Mare Barrow’s world there’s two kinds of people: those who has Red Blood and those who have Silver Blood. Those with Silver blood are “better” people and have magical gifts while those with Red blood do not have any gifts and are more on the poor side. Those Reds who turn 18 and don’t have a job, are sent into army on the war front.

One night Mare meets a stranger who arranges a job for her in the court. There she discovers she has powers while it’s unheard for a Red to have one and Silvers hatch a plan so the world won’t discover the news.

There was huge hype for this some time ago so I was little nervous to start this and I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this. I liked the idea of Silvers and Reds but I just didn’t connect with the characters enough. There wasn’t any chemistry between Mare and Cal, or Mare and Maven. I kinda liked Cal alone but with Mare there was no sparks flying.

I liked the end but otherwise it was little slow and especially in the middle it dragged too much.

And our heroine Mare… The first problem I have is with her name. First thing that comes to mind is a (female) horse. Second thing is brood mare. Can you see a theme here? Every time I read her name I wondered if we would start talking about horses. So distracting…
She’s just so naïve it’s a wonder how she has survived this long. She tells us how good she is reading people and that she’s no one’s fool. Umm yeah… I don’t know how many times I wanted to shake some sense into her.

But as I said I liked the end, which saved the book for me and earned the third star. So it wasn’t all bad.

3/5

Published: Harper Teen (2015)
Format: paperback
Pages: 388
Source: library

Spotlight: Phoenix Rising by Hunter S. Jones

02_Phoenix Rising_CoverPublication Date: May 19, 2015
MadeGlobal Publishing
eBook; ASIN: B00X806742
Genre: Historical Fiction

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The last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life…

Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.

A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Ch‚teau Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.

Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.

Praise for Phoenix Rising

“Compelling, captivating and moving.” Claire Ridgway, The Anne Boleyn Files

“Thought provoking, esoteric and heart wrenching.” – R.J.Askew, blogger, reviewer, author and journalist

Phoenix Rising Available at

Amazon

About the Author03_Hunter S. Jones_Author

Deb Hunter publishes as Hunter S. Jones. Her best-selling novel, “September Ends” won awards for Best Independently Published Novel and Best Romance, based on its unique blending of poetry and prose. Her story “The Fortune Series” received best-selling status on Amazon in the Cultural Heritage and Historical Fiction categories. She has been published by H3O Eco mag, LuxeCrush, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, and is now a freelance contributor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She has recently been accepted into the prestigious Rivendell Writers Colony. Her arts, music and culture blogs on ExpatsPost.com are filled with eclectic stories regarding music, writing, the arts and climate awareness. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. Her undergrad degree is in History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation.

For more information please visit Hunter S. Jones’ website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Phoenix Rising Blog Tour

Tuesday, May 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, May 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Anne Boleyn Files
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, May 21
Review at Book Drunkard

Friday, May 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Saturday, May 23
Spotlight at Curling up by the Fire

Monday, May 25
Review at JulzReads
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 26
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, May 27
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at The Readers Hollow

Thursday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, May 29
Review at The Reading Queen

Saturday, May 30
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Sunday, May 31
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at Unshelfish

04_Phoenix Rising_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

 

The Holy Lance by Andrew Latham

02_The Holy Lance_CoverThe Holy Lance (The English Templars 1) by Andrew Latham

The year is 1191. A daring counterattack against the Saracensí last-ditch effort to relieve the besieged city of Acre has not only saved the Christian host from a fatal defeat; it has also brought the leader of that counterattack, English Templar Michael Fitz Alan, to the attention of King Richard the Lionheart.

In the days that follow, the king charges Fitz Alan with a life-or-death mission ñ to recover the Holy Lance, a long-lost religious relic widely believed to be responsible for the near-miraculous success of the First Crusade.

The ensuing quest leads Fitz Alan and a hand-picked band of Templars on a journey deep into enemy territory, where they battle Saracens, Assassins, hostile Christians and even a traitor within their own ranks as they seek to return the Holy Lance to Christian hands and thereby ensure the success of the crusade.

I have to confess that I though there would be less religious stuff and more historical fiction stuff. I realize that Templars are connected to church but yeah I’m stupid.

King Richard sends Fitz Alan to get Spear of Longinus, it’s believed to have pierced Christ on the cross, because he believes that it will turn the war on his side. But after Saladin hears about this quest he sends men to retrieve it too, so there’s a race against time to get hold of the spear.

The most interesting thing in the book was the protagonist Michael Fitz Alan. He used to be a knight in England but joined the Templars trying to find a life without murder, violence and other base impulses and temptations. There were hints about Fitz Alan’s past association with Richard and I was very curious to know what has happened because it certainly didn’t give good impressions to Fitz Alan about the king.

The book is action packed with lots of battle scenes but I though those were engaging. We get very realistic picture of Templars, Saracens and Crusaders. On all sides there is both good and bad people, genuinely devout and then those who are more political schemers.

While the religious aspect made me skip some parts, prayers and stuff, otherwise the book was gripping and well researched.

3/5

Published: Knox Robinson Publishing (March 24, 2015)
Format: hardcover
Pages: 360
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author03_Andrew Latham_Author

Knox Robinson author Andrew A. Latham is an award-winning professor of International Relations who regularly teaches courses in medieval political thought, international relations, and war. Trained as a Political Scientist, Latham has spent the last decade-and-a-half researching political violence in the Middle Ages. He has written scholarly articles on medieval war, the crusades, jihad, and the political thought of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. His most recent book is a work of non-fiction entitled Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades.

Latham was born in England, raised in Canada and currently lives in the United States. He graduated from York University in Toronto with a BA (Honours) in Political Science, later earned an MA from Queenís University in Kingston and, later yet, a PhD from his alma mater, York.

Latham is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Historical Writersí Association and De Re Militari: The Society For Medieval Military History.

Since 1997 Latham has been a member of the Political Science Department at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he where he lives with his wife Wendy, daughter Bernadette and son Michael.

For more information and updates, please visit Andrew Latham’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Holy Lance Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, May 7
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, May 8
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Sunday, May 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 11
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, May 12
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, May 14
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, May 15
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

04_The Holy Lance_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL copy

 

The Novice by Taran Matharu

SummonerThe Novice (Summoner 1) by Taran Matharu

Fletcher was nothing more than a humble blacksmith’s apprentice, when a chance encounter leads to the discovery that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, he must travel with his demon to the Vocans Academy, where the gifted are trained in the art of summoning.

The academy will put Fletcher through a gauntlet of gruelling lessons, training him as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against the savage orcs. Rubbing shoulders with the children of the most powerful nobles in the land, Fletcher must tread carefully. The power hungry Forsyth twins lurk in the shadows, plotting to further their family’s interests. Then there is Sylva, an elf who will do anything she can to forge an alliance between her people and Hominum, even if it means betraying her friends. Othello is the first ever dwarf at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed by Hominum’s rulers, which provokes tension amongst those he studies alongside.

Fletcher will find himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with nothing but his demon Ignatius to help him. As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands … (publisher)

I was positively surprised with this book. Somehow I was totally unaware that this was YA book and it still tuned out good.

Orphan boy finds out he can summon demons and goes to an academy, school that teaches summoners, there’s a war going on so they need everyone they can get. Nobles, commoners, dwarfs and elves. There is tension between nobles and well, everyone which escalates in a tournament where you can earn positions for the war.

I liked Fletcher and seeing him grow into his powers. He’s very loyal to his friends and isn’t afraid to stand up to bullies, the type you want to have on your side. He gets some hints about his biological parents and I can’t help but wonder if there’s something more to it and why he was abandoned.

One of my favourite part of the book was the demons. They all have different personalities, they are connected to their owners and can sense their emotions.

I can’t wait that they get out from the academy to the real world. We haven’t seen anything from the actual war against the orcs and I’m curious to see how that turns out.

3,5/5

Published: Hodder Children’s Books (May 5, 2015)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley