Friday, February 8, 2019

Tour & Guest Post: The Cassie Tam Files

The Cassie Tam Files Book 1
by Matt Doyle
Genre: SciFi, Crime Noir, Clean Lesfic

Synopsis: When PI Cassie Tam is hired to investigate the death of a local virtual reality junkie, she thinks it will be easy money. In New Hopeland, VR junkies die every day, and the local PD already declared it an accidental overdose on synthetic stimulants. But the more she digs, the more that things don’t add up.

To make things even more complicated, her client, the deceased’s sister Lori, is a Tech Shifter – someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal – and Cassie has always been wary of that community. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with her ex.
Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

The Fox, The Dog and The King
The Cassie Tam Files Book 2

Synopsis: When PI Cassie Tam and her girlfriend Lori try to make up for their recent busy schedules with a night out at the theatre to watch the Tech Shift performer Kitsune, the last thing they expected was for Cassie to get a job offer. But some people are never off the clock, and by the end of the evening, Cassie has been drawn into a mundane but highly paid missing pet case. Unfortunately, in New Hopeland City, even something as simple as little lost dog can lead you down some dark paths.

Until now, Cassie wasn’t aware that there even was a rabbit hole, let alone how far down it goes.

The Cassie Tam Files Book 3

Synopsis: New Hopeland City may be the birthplace of Tech Shifter gear, but it isn’t the only place that likes to blend technology with folklore. Now, a new nightmare is stalking the streets…
When PI Cassie Tam is attacked on the way home one night, she expects the police to get involved. What she doesn’t expect is to be forced into acting as bait to lure out a lunatic in a tech-suit that’s literally out for blood. But past actions have consequences, and doing so may be the only way she can get a clean slate from the city’s law makers.
If only that didn’t mean having to face down a wannabe vampire.

Is Silence Golden?
Writers tend to fall broadly into two categories: those that need silence to write, and those that prefer to have some background noise. Me personally, I fall into the ‘needs noise’ category. See, I’ve tried to write in silence, but it just doesn’t work. Why? Because I’m easily distracted.
That probably sounds a little odd, right? I’m easily distracted, yet I need an auditory distraction to write. Here’s the thing though. My mind is naturally very busy. Whether I’m writing, cooking, cleaning, or pretty much anything else, it tends to wander. It’s like I can’t help but look for distractions no matter what I’m doing. So, when I tried writing in silence, I found that I’d manage a few lines, then start looking around the room and listening out for things going on outside. Then I’d get back to it, and after a few more lines, I’d start thinking about something completely unrelated. It was absolutely maddening.
Then I discovered how useful music was for me. With music playing in the background, my mind has a pre-made distraction running to focus on. With that in place, the worse that happens is that I end up acknowledging that music is playing and just carry on. That I can pick playlists of songs that fit with the feel of the scene that I’m writing is a great help too as it gets me into the right mood for the action on the page.
Now, this rarely works if the music is playing on the TV. Sometimes, if it’s a live performance that’s fairly stripped down, it won’t matter. If it’s a big show or a music video though, I get drawn to the visuals. As such, I tend to play the music in the background on the laptop, as the only visuals in front of me is then the slowly growing pile of words in front of me.

So there we go. I get distracted far too easily, so need to set up a singular distraction to distract me from getting distracted by other distractions, or I can’t write. Nothing like keeping it simple, eh?

Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams, a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories, blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Series: Slayer #1
Publication Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads 

Synopsis: Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review

Perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Athena (Nina) and Artemis are twin sisters that grew up in the Watcher Academy after their father was killed while protecting Buffy. Right before all magic was destroyed on Earth, Nina risked her life to protect her twin sister and activated her Slayer powers, becoming the last Slayer on Earth. Nina is a healer and is viewed as the weaker of the twins since her mother pushed her to be a medic rather than train to fight to protect future slayers. Now that Nina is a Slayer, her odds have turned. With incredible new strength and senses, her friends and family now have to see Nina in a different way, where she becomes their leader and takes on vampires and demons to protect the academy and the rest of the world safe from evil forces.

I'm a huge fan of Kiersten White, so even though I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I sincerely enjoyed the story, the world and the plot, but unfortunately there were some characters and the relationships they had with Nina that I didn't quite enjoy.

Nina goes through an incredible self discovery and gains confidence throughout this book. She goes from the shy and weak girl who believes that she's the least favourite twin, to a strong woman that follows her instincts and isn't afraid to do what is right. I loved Nina as the main character, and I absolutely loved her character building. As for the rest of Nina's family, I'm not exactly happy with them. Artemis is very selfish and choses to take her anger out on Nina multiple times throughout the story. There were moments where the twins were fighting and Nina realizes that she's also to blame for the things she did wrong and choses to apologize, all while Artemis continues to be grumpy and blame Nina for everything that happens, while continuously doubting her even though her newfound senses have proven to be right. I would have been okay with this if the sisters left off on a good note and learned how to work together by the end of the book, but sadly I was a bit disappointed. Nina's mother is a whole different story, but I wont be expanding on why I dislike her story due to spoilers. The rest of Nina's friend group I actually quite enjoyed. They were diverse and different and I found all of them quite entertaining.

The plot was very well written. There was action at the beginning of the book and it continued throughout the story to keep the reader well entertained and wanting to read more. While it was a tad predictable, there were moments where I was pleasantly surprised and not expecting them at all. The book was engaging and story was entertaining, the only thing I would add is a little bit more surprises.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and will definitely keep reading in the series. I'm excited to see what happens next to Nina.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tour & Giveaway: The Incarn Saga

Issaura's Claws
The Incarn Saga Book 1
by Katharine E. Wibell
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: According to legend, when the world was young, the goddess Issaura appeared among men. Those who treated her with kindness received the gift of the gods—the ability to transform into an animal form. This was a great honor but one that separated this race from other humans. Before Issaura departed the mortal realm, she promised to return if her people were ever at the point of destruction.

Now a threat is rising from a land across the mists of the ocean, a threat that will push this race to the brink of extinction. Responding to the call to war, seventeen-year-old Lluava heads off to find her destiny, one that will carve her name in history.” 

The Kingdom of Elysia consists of two races: the dominant race of humans and the native race of Theriomorphs who can shift into animal form. Although law dictates equal treatment, they neither like nor trust each other. Now brutal and ruthless Raiders are approaching; there is only one chance to defeat them. An army must be raised and trained. An army where each human will be paired with a Theriomorph partner. An army that must fight as one to defeat their common enemy.

Women are not warriors. However, Lluava is not like other women – human or Theriomorph. Her animal form is a magnificent beast whose power and fury she must learn to control. Although Lluava endures intense physical training and strives to overcome the doubts of the male recruits, she faces an unexpected adversary in the commanding general who seeks to break both her spirit and her body.

At the paring ceremony, Lluava is humbled when presented with a unique and ancient weapon. Yet she becomes distraught and angry when her human partner is revealed. If they fail to trust each other, the consequences will be devastating. Death and destruction are on the horizon and time is running out.

The Incarn Saga is a young adult fantasy series inspired by ancient myths, filled with fast-paced action and adventure, and enriched by an understanding of animal behavior that defines the shape-shifting Theriomorphs.

Ullr's Fangs
The Incarn Saga Book 2

Synopsis: "According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.

Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?"

Crocotta's Hackles
The Incarn Saga Book 3

Synopsis: According to legend, when the world was young, Crocotta, Queen of the Gods, discovered her mate’s faithlessness. She vowed to prevent future threats to all matrimonial pacts henceforward, but for her it was too late. The child born from the illicit coupling was a warrior goddess—one whom Crocotta would seek to destroy throughout eternity.

Now that the Raiders’ elite army is threatening the kingdom of Elysia’s northern borders, seventeen-year-old Lluava must leave the familiarity and safety of her native land to venture into the wilderness. Her mission is to discover others like her who will come to Elysia’s aid; her hope is to unravel the secrets behind what it means to be Incarn. But what she finds could destroy everything.”

Lluava’s story continues in Crocotta’s Hackles, the third book in The Incarn Saga's award-winning new-adult series.

Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell moved to New Orleans with her dog, Alli, to kick start her career as an artist and a writer. Her first literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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