Science Fiction and Fantasy Instafreebie Giveaway

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True Calling is part of an awesome promotion with lots of science fiction and fantasy books that are all free on instafreebie. This is a great way to find some new books to read! You can check out the books that are part of this promotion here or click on the banner.

Release Day: A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

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Happy release day to A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe! This book will be discounted to 0.99$ for a limited time to celebrate the release day. So make sure to grab your copy now!

A Mortal SongTitle: A Mortal Song
Author: Megan Crewe
Series: standalone
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

“Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song is engrossing from the first chapter. The world of the kami is beautifully fantastic and delicately drawn, and the switched-at-birth scenario made me instantly feel for both of these resilient, brave girls. A Mortal Song has lots of magic, lots of heart, and lots to love.” -Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns

Megan CreweAbout the Author:
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she’s spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.

Megan’s first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her second, THE WAY WE FALL, was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Reading Association Young Adults’ Choices List. Her Fallen World trilogy (THE WAY WE FALL, THE LIVES WE LOST, THE WORLDS WE MAKE) is now complete and she has a new trilogy forthcoming in October 2014, beginning with EARTH & SKY. Her books have been published in translation in several countries around the world. She has also published short stories in magazines such as On Spec and Brutarian Quarterly.

Links:

Review: The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins

The Great HuntTitle: The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: Eurona Duology #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Young Adult Paranormal Romance/ Fairytale Retelling
Links:

Blurb:
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought the storyline and world building were interesting and intriguing. Aerity (love that name) was a great protagonist. Pax was your typical sulky, snarly bad-boy with hidden secrets and depths. I love the angst and the emotional conflict from the tangled romantic relationships and I’m so looking forward to seeing how that all pans out in the next book. I did find it a little slow in parts and it took a while to get going but the last third was superb – edge of the seat action and suspense. All in all, a great read.

Review: Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3) by Jennifer Estep

Bright Blaze of MagicTitle: Bright Blaze of Magic
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

My Review:
Enthralling, engrossing read that had me riveted from page one.

I am almost embarrassed to admit that this is my first Jennifer Estep book. It sure as hell won’t be the last. When I got approved for this on Netgalley I fully intended on reading the first two books in the series, but I just didn’t have time. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story but major kudos to the author for skillfully blending reminders of what had happened previously, along with detailed explanations of the setting and plot which ensured I seamlessly picked up on the story. That said, I really want to read them now! I want to see how Devon and Lila’s relationship developed from their first encounter.

I adore the world building. Wow, so imaginative and creative, and totally immersive. So many different magical creatures. I also loved the sword-fighting battles and duel to the death.

I loved Lila and Devon, and indeed Felix and Deah too. Lila was a fantastic heroine. Gutsy, brave, very kick-ass, but she had a strong moral and emotional compass too. Well-rounded characterization overall. Devon was swoon-worthy in the extreme. I loved how he let Lila lead, and let her protect him. He was secure enough in his masculinity to allow her take center stage. It was so refreshing.

The romance was a little light for me, but that’s just personal preference. I love the romance arc to occupy a bigger chunk of the plot.

The story surrounding the family conflict was well written and there were plenty of action scenes and life-threatening moments that propelled the plot forward.

The writing was superb, pacing consistent for the most part (were a few scenes I felt dragged and/or were overly detailed that I skimmed) and the worldbuilding was complex but solidly developed.

All in all, this was a fantastic read, and I look forward to checking out more of this author’s work in the future.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review will appear on my blog in due course.

Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of ShadowsTitle: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

My Review:
This was a superb read, and hands-down the best of the series so far.

The plot was incredible; full of suspenseful twists and turns, and an imaginatively created fantasy world that I loved. The pacing was spot on, and even though it’s a big book, I never felt that any part dragged. The writing was great, as usual.

At this stage, the characters all seem so real to me, so much so that I feel quite intensely about them. There are minor inconsistencies with some of the characters, and there were plenty of times when a few of them really grated on my nerves, but that’s a side effect of being so invested in them and their stories. Honestly not a bad thing.

Aelin has really come into her own, and she was amazing in this book. Sharp, shrewd, brave, snarky, and cunning are all words that spring to mind. I adored her and Rowan in this book, and they are so perfect together. And Rowan is just perfect book boyfriend material. (Swooning.)

I disliked Chaol for most of this book, and I hated the fact that he was pinning so much blame on Aelin when he was the one who sent her away in the first place! He vented a lot of his own self-frustration in her direction which was massively unfair. Thankfully, he took his head out of his ass by the end of the book and redeemed himself.

I actually enjoyed Manon’s POV this time around, and the witchy sub-plot added depth and an additional layer which was lacking in Heir of Fire. I figured Elide was going to reappear though it’s still unclear what value she offers, or what role she will play.

Dorian. Poor Dorian. He has really been through the wringer. I hope he has what it takes to see this thing through, and that he’s not too damaged. I’m still intrigued to see how him and Aelin as a magical unit fit into the overall picture.

Aelin’s dark side still wriggles beneath the surface and I’m wondering if she is strong enough to fight it off in future books. There is definitely potential for her to turn to the dark side, and wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events.

All in all, this was fantastic. I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and FuryTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: fantasy/ fairytale retelling/ romance
Links:

Blurb:
The stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Review:
Wow. Just wow. Sheer Genius. Loved every minute of every page. I cannot believe I have to wait a YEAR to read the next one. Feel like dying because I need it NOW!

This was – hands down – the best read of 2016 so far for me. I seriously ADORE Sarah’s writing and the amazing worlds and characters she creates. The second installment in this series was even better than the first. It hooked me from the first word to the last word and I could’ve cried when I finished it. Even though it’s a decent length, I was greedy for more. More Feyre. And definitely more Rhys. OMG. Love Rhys so much. I liked him in the last book, even though he seemed cruel it was obvious he was trying to protect her. In this book, we find out why and how and I seriously wanted to project myself into this book and jump his bones. I thought I would spontaneously combust if they didn’t get it on and it took until 78% for them to share their true feelings and commit to a relationship; boy was it worth the wait. (Still fanning myself!)

This had everything I adore in a read and I just cannot get enough of this series or this author.

Amazing. Go read this series now!

A word of caution – this is New Adult and not suitable for young teens.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and RosesTitle: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ fairytale retelling/ Romance
Links:

Blurb:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this USA Today and #2 New York Times bestselling first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down, and features a teaser for the next book!

My Review:
Wow. What a fantastic read. Though it was a little slow at the start, I soon became completely immersed in this elaborate, addictive world that Sarah created. Loved Feyre and she is everything you could ask for in a lead character. Tamlin – swoon. Rhysand – bad boy swoon. Loved the romance. Great dialogue and lots of witty banter. Adored all the fantastical elements and the world-building was superb.
The second half of this book was explosive and so gripping – it was difficult to sit it down. One of the things I love most about this author is the fact that she writes books that are a decent length, so we get more story for our money which is awesome. I picked this up for 99p which was superb value. I’ve already ordered the next book and can’t wait until May to see where she takes the story next.

Review: Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Sanctuary BayTitle: Sanctuary Bay
Author: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Series: standalone
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Will Sarah Merson’s shiny new prep school change her life forever or bring it to a dark and sinister end?

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

My Review:
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars

I was so looking forward to reading this book as the blurb and cover are gorgeous, and I discovered that this book was written by the author of the Roswell series (which I loved when I was younger.)

Now that I’ve read it, I’m kinda struggling to sort my thoughts out. It was good, it was creative and imaginative, and I definitely became invested in the story, but there were things that I didn’t like as well which is why my rating isn’t higher.

Initially, I found it very difficult to connect with this story , and I actually put it down to read another book, unsure if I would come back to it. I did, and once I got beyond the 30 percent mark, I began to enjoy it. Now, it was extremely weird and confusing at times, and I didn’t like the cult aspect or the wolf-howling scenes (total cheese-fest.)

The second half of this book is a total rollercoaster read – so much is crammed in there that I had to stop and take stock a few times, but it was fast-paced and thrilling and full of mystery and suspense. Awesome.

Our MC, Sarah, was very weak at the start and quite insipid. By the end of the book I had warmed to her but her development wasn’t really logical or explicable. Ethan Steere was my favorite character and I felt the only one who had true depth. Now, when you realize what’s actually going on it explains some of the other characters strange behaviour and stiff dialogue, so I can forgive that as it works with the plot. Believable.

The revelations about what was really going on in Sanctuary Bay were fantastic, if a little underdeveloped at times. I thought the world building and writing were good.

The ending felt very rushed to me. It had a conclusion, and an epilogue, but to me there is another story in this and a few loose threads that weren’t developed. If a second book is released I would read it to see what happens next for Sarah and Ethan.

I’d like to thank St. Martins Press and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's bladeTitle: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My Review:
This was a fantastic read, and it definitely adds a lot to the series. I actually wish I’d read these novellas before book 1 as I think I’d have enjoyed reading that more going into it with a full understanding of the backstory.

1st novella – The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: Really enjoyed this story. Man, Celaena is so arrogant and full of herself. I think Rolfe is right in his assessment, and I suspect he may be the one to betray her. She seems to have made a formidable enemy. Loved Sam, and he was definitely the more mature, voice of reason. Can’t wait to see their romance develop. 5 stars.

2nd novella – The Assassin and the Healer. Loved it. Celaena has a good heart. Girl Power. 5 stars.

3rd novella – The Assassin and the Desert. My favourite read so far. Celaena has a good sense of right wrong. She should have kissed Ilias though! 5 stars

4th novella – The Assassin and the Underworld. Now we are getting to the good stuff. Arobynn is a slippery snake. Love Sam, and so happy they are finally free and together, but it’s bittersweet knowing what’s around the corner. 5 stars

5th novella – The Assassin and the Empire. Absolutely heart-breaking. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. Poor Sam. Poor Celaena. I hope she gets her revenge on Farran and Arobynn. I knew he wouldn’t be happy that she picked Sam. Totally rotten to the core. Hate him.

Overall, I absolutely loved these prequel novellas, and they have hooked me on this series more so than Book 1 did. I definitely feel like I have a greater understanding of what makes Celaena tick now, and it will be easier to relate to her as the series progresses. Dying to finish it now.

Blog Tour: The Head of Medusa (Elementals #3) by Michelle Madow

Medusa_TourBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Head of Medusa (Elementals #3) by Michelle Madow. Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals 3: The Head of Medusa is the latest installment in Michelle Madow’s exciting Elementals series. Follow Nicole and her fellow Elementals as they journey to the end of the world, unsure of who to trust, and facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? And if they don’t, will the ones who do be able to find the strength to continue?

I’ll review the book today and there are some teasers, an excerpt and a tour wide giveaway!

MichelleMadow_TheHeadofMedusa_HRTitle: The Head of Medusa
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: Elementals #3
Genres: Fantasy/ mythology
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Links:

The adventure began in the first book in the series, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows. Visit www.michellemadow.com to get the first Elementals book for FREE!

The Elementals series is available on Kindle Unlimited, so subscribers can read it for free.

Blurb:
The epic story of witches, gods, and monsters that USA Today called a “must read” continues in the third book of the Elementals series!

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake — the fire Elemental — is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him — the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.

Medusa_PQ1

My Review:
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

The third installment in the Elementals series sees our gang setting out on another adventure, this time to Antartica to claim a sword they need to claim the Head of Medusa. This is all in an effort to stop the Titans from opening the portal from Kerberos and unleashing their special brand of hell on Earth.

Their adventures take them to movie star Flynn in LA where things really start to hit the fan!

The last third of this book was engrossing and that ending was awesome, even if I did predict who the traitor was and guessed that something was going to happen to X (no spoilers here!) from a reference made at the start of the book. The earlier twist involving one of the elementals came out of nowhere and it was a good surprise, but to be honest, I’m not overly connected to that character and I’m not hugely concerned over what happens to Y.

I loved that we had more romance in this one as I’ve felt it was lacking in the first two books. Nicole and Blake are so sweet together and I adored all the romantic moments and seeing their relationship develop. Blake is totally swoon-worthy. I did feel that the plot took a bit of a backseat in this one and not a hell of a lot happens until the fast-paced last portion.

Another thing I really like about this series is the greek mythology and how creatively Michelle has woven the mythology into the plot.

All in all, this was a decent continuation of the series. While I think this is a good series, I can’t say I’m blown away by it, but I’m definitely invested enough to want to continue. Particularly after that spectacular ending!

Thanks to the author and Barclay PR for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Excerpt:
“What we’re about to do is scary. Terrifying, even. But we’ve been through things that were just as challenging. We slayed our first monster together in that cave, we escaped the Land of the Lotus Eaters when everyone there was trying to kill us, we blew up one of Scylla’s heads, we slayed the hydra, and we stole the Golden Sword of Athena from a goddess’s ice palace. No matter what challenges we face, we’ve always come out on top. Tonight won’t be any different. We’re the Elementals. We train together, we fight together, and we win together. And don’t any of you ever forget it.”

Medusa_PQ3

About the Author:
Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!

She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

Visit her website, www.michellemadow.com, to get books of Michelle’s for FREE!

Links:

Giveaway:
Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Elementals 3: The Head of Medusa Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Elementals 1: The Prophecy of Shadows! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway