Book Blitz: Talisman Of El Trilogy

 

Talisman Of El
T.O.E. Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Al Stone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Centrinian

Book Description:
WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?

One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human … 7 billion.
Others … unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He’s afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn’t know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.

On Sale for $0.99 for a limited time on Amazon!

Buy Links:
Amazon US ¦ UK ¦ Kobo ¦ iBooks ¦ Google Play ¦ B&N

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13419125-talisman-of-el

 

Blackout
T.O.E. Trilogy, Book 2

Book Description:
What was shall no longer be. What was not shall now become.

Despite having the protection of the talisman and the Legion, a reforming force of warrior angels and elementals, guarding his every move, things are not looking good for Charlie Blake. Tasked with the responsibility of saving mankind, finding the four diamonds to restore the talisman is all he can think of, but when his prophetic visions start to invade his reality and he suddenly can’t distinguish the dream world from the real world, the pending extinction of mankind becomes the least of his problems. Everyone assumes Charlie’s dormant powers are activating, until he starts showing symptoms of a deadly disease.

With his nemesis, Gaddis, threatening the lives of his loved ones, he faces a race against time to locate the Stone of Raphael, the air diamond, before an imminent pandemic destroys civilization. As he ventures into dangerous lands once again, he unearths shocking revelations about his past life that forces him to question his allegiance. With no one to turn to for answers, he can’t help but wonder if his purpose is truly to save mankind.

On Sale for $3.99 for a limited time on Amazon!

Buy Links:
Amazon US ¦ UK ¦ Kobo ¦ iBooks ¦ Google Play ¦ B&N

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13419125-talisman-of-el

 

Ground Zero
T.O.E. Trilogy, Book 3

Book Description:
It happens every 26,000 years.

Only a few ever survive.

This time …

No one will.

That is unless Charlie Blake can locate all four diamonds to restore the Talisman of El and receive his calling from the remaining three elements before the Annus Magnus strikes. With both Arcadia and the mortal world in a state of unrest, his life quickly spirals out of control as it seems everyone has put a bounty on his head. Maybe even his closest allies.

Not knowing who to trust, Charlie starts to dig up the past. When new revelations arise, he begins to question whether the Legion of Light really is what it claims to be and whether he’s been fighting for the wrong side all along. The line between good and evil is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be, especially when it appears Charlie’s destiny could very well be to destroy everything he loves.

Hero or villain? Charlie isn’t so sure anymore.

On Sale for $4.99 for a limited time on Amazon!

Buy Links:
Amazon US ¦ UK ¦ Kobo ¦ iBooks ¦ Google Play ¦ B&N

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13419125-talisman-of-el

 

About the Author
Al Stone is the author of the YA fantasy trilogy T.O.E. After graduating with a BA in Film & Television, Al had worked in the television industry for a short period before a disabling injury caused her to turn her hand to storytelling. Talisman Of El is her debut novel. The sequels Blackout and Ground Zero are currently available for sale.

When she isn’t writing, she enjoys going to the movies, listening to music and travelling. At present, she lives in England, United Kingdom with her family.

 

Author Links:
Website ¦ Twitter ¦ Blog ¦ Facebook (Author) ¦ Facebook (Trilogy) ¦ Goodreads ¦ Pinterest ¦ Amazon Author Page

 

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The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan, Robbie Daymond

The Dark ProphecyThe Dark Prophecy

by Rick Riordan, Robbie Daymond
Series: Trials of Apollo, #2

Undabridged Audiobook, 12 hrs, and 31 min.
Listening Library, 2017

Read: October 5 – 11, 2017


I’m not sure how to give a plot synopsis here — basically, it’s the continuation of the Trials of Apollo. He has another task to accomplish — another of the new emperors to take down before the third one, in the next book. It’s the same ol’ set up that has served Riordan so well — and will continue to do so for years to come.

Basically, Apollo/Lester has to go and find another Oracle. To do so, really, he has to face a lot of people that he’s hurt/disappointed over the millennia. He learns a lot about himself, matures a bit. That part was good — and the whole thing was entertaining. But it felt stale. I liked The Hidden Oracle a lot and was excited to see where this series went. Now, I’m not so sure. I’ll finish the series, but with greatly diminished expectations.

Not that it got into details, but there was a lot more intimated/flat-out said Apollo’s sexual history than I’m comfortable with for a MG book. The previous books in the Percy-verse suggested sexual orientation and activity, there was some romance, but this went much further than any of those. Honestly, it went a step too far. If this wasn’t a part of the Percy-verse, or was clearly marketed toward older readers, it wouldn’t have been that bad and I wouldn’t have said anything about it. But that’s not the case here.

As far as the audiobook goes, it was rough. Robbie Daymond was very aware that he was reading amusing material and he read it like each line was a punchline. It was the vocal equivalent of mugging for the camera, if you will. Now, there were a couple of serious and poignant moments, and Daymond pulled those off well, but otherwise it was tough to listen to.

I didn’t like the narration, and didn’t think the story/writing was as crisp as the first book in the series. But it was still entertaining enough. This isn’t the one to start reading Riordan. But it’ll do for his older readers.

—–

3 Stars

A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell

A Long Day in LychfordA Long Day in Lychford

by Paul Cornell
Series: Witches of Lychford, #3

Kindle Edition, 128 pg.
Tor.com, 2017

Read: October 10, 2017


Lychford’s apprentice witch (not that anyone knows that), and owner of Witches, a magic shop (not that many take it seriously), Autumn has had a bad day. So bad, that a police officer has dropped by the next morning to interrupt an impending hangover with questions about it. She had a fight with her teacher and employee that left both fuming and ready to consider ending the relationships, and then she went to a bar not-really-looking for a fight, but ready for it when it showed up.

But when you’re one of three women responsible for protecting the borders between our world and the rest, and you’re pretty magic-capable, your bad days can have pretty catastrophic consequences. Without getting into the details, she messes up the borders, the protections — the magic that keeps all the things and people and whatevers out of our world that we’re not equipped to deal with (in any sense).

Meanwhile, Judith is dealing with the aftermath of the fight with Autumn in her own way. Which boils down to being crankier than usual, and then dealing with the fallout from Autumn’s error. Judith is primarily concerned with problems that the other two aren’t aware of and have little do to with magic. There were a line or two that I think were supposed to be spooky or creepy in her POV sections that really were just sad (my guess is that Cornell wrote them to work on both levels, but they really only served as the latter for me).

Lizzie got put on the backburner for the most part in this book — not that she’s absent, but she doesn’t have that much to do. Which is fine — she can’t be the center of each entry in this series, but I’d have preferred to have seen a bit more from her. I enjoyed the references to Lizzie’s Fitbit, it was nice to have just the hint of lightness in this otherwise grim story. Actually, the other thing that came close to fun in this book also came from Lizzie’s POV. She’s not the typical source for that, and it’s nice to see that she’s capable of it.

I wish these were longer — I know it’s supposed to be a series of novellas, but this one in particular makes me want for more — more development, more plot, more character interaction. I don’t think I noticed it as much in the previous installments, so maybe it’s something about this one. Still, this is a good story and time spent in Lychford is always rewarding.

In the end, this served primarily to set the stage for Witches of Lychford #4 — and maybe more. Yes, the story was interesting, and it was good to have this look at Autumn, and the whole Brexit tie-in was interesting, but this just didn’t work for me quite the way the others did. I have high hopes for the next, it’s not like I’m done with this or anything, I just wanted more.

—–

3 Stars

Happy Father’s Day!

I tried to take a photo of my actual book, but my photography skills were at their typical levels, so I had to opt for images I found online.

I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea (for reasons I understand, but can’t fathom), but when Greg Dean introduced me to Patrick Rothfuss and his work 10 years ago, it reminded me just how much I could still love Fantasy literature (or just anything I hadn’t been reading for years). I’m an unabashed fan still.

So my kids scored themselves some major brownie points this past Father’s Day when they went in and pre-ordered me an autographed copy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Name of the Wind. It showed up yesterday, and is gorgeous. That stunning cover is just the beginning — the full-page illustrations are wonderful, the bonus content looks great, the maps are very impressive. And all of it just reminds me how much I liked the book the three times that I’ve read it, and that it’s been 6 years or so since I last did so.

It’s taking all I have just to not call in sick for the next couple of days to re-immerse myself in this book.

At the same time, I just don’t know if I can touch this volume again. Or let anyone else, for that matter, without cotton gloves or something. I just don’t want to mess this up.

Just wanted to take a moment and publicly thank my kiddos for a great gift, and stress to anyone on the fence about picking this up that they really should (second printing is under way).

COVER REVEAL: A Star-Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake

How is this a cover reveal? Readers who pay far too close attention will recall that this book made my Top 10 of 2016. Well, Drake has repackaged it and re-released it last week as Part One of a trilogy. I love this cover, if I had an office, I’d have a print of it hanging next to some of Chris McGrath’s work. Anyway, here it is (new blurb for the book below, too).

Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there’s ever been.

She commands the might of the constellations… though her magic is as unpredictable as the die rolls that decide its fate. But star-reckoners are humanity’s first defense against divs, so if Ashtadukht is to fulfill her duty, she must use every trick at her disposal—risks be damned.

An excuse. A lie she tells herself. All that remains of a life she should have had. She travels the empire to hunt down the div that brought her world to ruin. The longer her pursuit, the more her memories threaten to consume her. The darker her obsession becomes.

Every spell is a catastrophe waiting to happen, every div a tale of its own, every tale a thread in her tapestry of vengeance. This is the story of her path… a warning to those who would follow in her footsteps.

Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there’s ever been. Hers is no hero’s journey.

• • •

A tale of loss and misadventure in a fantasy setting inspired by the history and culture of 6th-century Sasanian Iran.

Want more information? Here’s my original post about the book; the Q & A I did with the author, Darrel Drake; Marian L. Thorpe’s review; and one on Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews, too (both of those mentioned things I wish I did). Also, it should be noted that the book is mentioned on Reddit r/Fantasy 2017 Underread/Underrated Novel list.

Or just go buy the book, already.

The Blackwood Saga Books on Sale September 15-22

So yesterday I blogged about the 2nd book in The Blackwood Saga, The Spirit Mage. To commemorate the release, Layton Green is selling the first two volumes in the series for $2.99 each. If you’ve been thinking of trying the series (and you should), it’s a good time to try.

If you want to see what I said about the two, you can look here: The Brothers Three and The Spirit Mage.

The Spirit Mage by Layton Green

The Spirit MageThe Spirit Mage

by Layton Green
Series: The Blackwood Saga, #2

eARC, 386 pg.
Cloaked Traveler Press, 2017

Read: September 9 – 12, 2017


Picking up so soon after the end of The Brothers Three that it might as well just be the next chapter, The Spirit Mage continues the story of The Blackwood brothers and their companions (most of them, anyway).

There are essentially four storylines at work in these pages. There’s one focusing on the villains here — the wizards running the campaign against the rebels, the Romani, the “common born” who aren’t content to stay that way — and a spirit creature invoked to find the sword that Will’s been carrying.

Speaking of Will, he and Caleb find themselves — and Caleb’s ex, Yasmina — in the necromancer’s castle. Will and Caleb are set on returning to New Victoria to try to find a way home. Meanwhile, they have to convince Yasmina that this very strange dream is real. Soon after they set out, they are captured by slavers and are headed towards mines that no one has ever escaped from.

Meanwhile, their brother Val was escorted back to Urfe where things got immediately interesting — just in case the reader might be tempted to think that his story was going to be a repeat of The Brothers Three, Green establishes right off that such will not be the case. Anyway, the only way that Val can determine to find his brothers is to actually figure out how to use the magic he’s been trying to master. So he enrolls in the Abbey — a wizarding training college. He befriends a few wizards, gets involved in some pretty serious extra-curricular activities.

Mala disappeared during their party’s assault on the castle with a majitsu — her story is easily the least predictable, and hardest to summarize without spoiling. It’s not as interesting on the whole (primarily because we’re used to focusing on the brothers), but man, when it gets weird, it gets weird.

The Brothers Three was your basic Portal Fantasy — a little different, because most of those feature much younger characters (or at least most that I’ve read). This book was more of your typical fantasy novel — wizard in training, heroes on a quest that goes awry. It’s that the central characters don’t belong in the world. I didn’t like Val as much has his brothers last time out, but I really enjoyed his story (as stupid as he frequently was). Will and Caleb I enjoyed as much as before — maybe more. I thought Yasmina was a great addition to the series, and the way she fits into the world was a big plus.

Mala’s story didn’t end the way I thought it would, but really it had to end the way it did. The same could be said for Val’s, actually. Will and Caleb’s ended like I expected (phew! I’m one for three). Thankfully, they were all brought to satisfying points — in one case, as satisfying as a cliffhanger can be. At this point I’m pretty sure I know how things will end up, but I have no clue how Green will pull it off. I can’t wait to see, though.

It’s hard to think of this as a separate book than The Brothers Three, really. By the time book 3 comes out, I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell you the difference between the two (okay, that’s not totally true — but it seems like it). Which makes it a little difficult to evaluate differently than its predecessor. Basically, if you liked the first book in the series, you’ll like this one. If not, well, this won’t change your mind. If you haven’t read The Brothers Three, you really should.

It’s honestly a little frustrating to me that I can’t think of much to say about this — but it’s so consistent with the last book that I’m going to sum things up in this post the same way I did with the other book: The Spirit Mageis well-written, skillfully structured, and well-paced — there are some nice turns of phrase throughout the novel, too. Green is the real thing, giving the readers a good story, great characters, an interesting world (or pair of them), in a well-written package. After these two books, I think I can say that this is going to turn out to be one of my favorite fantasy series in a while.

Disclaimer: I was provided with this copy for an honest review by the author.

—–

4 Stars