ARC Review – Air and Ash by Alex Lidell


After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails.

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.

AIR AND ASH is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series.  

Price: $3.99  Pre-order: $0.99


From the moment I finished the prequel novella (go read this book right now for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited. That is an order, not a request), I needed to get my hands on this book. I was stuck in a major reading rut and this and my reread of the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas are the only books I’ve been able to read with ease for the past few months! Lidell has a writing style that I very much enjoy, and she weaves a fun and heart pounding tale in this first installment of the Tides series. I imagine my appreciation of her characters and writing stems from our common admiration of Tamora Pierce.

Nile is not your typical princess and I loved her character. She was well balanced and flawed. Incredibly realistic. The other characters too, were lovable or loathable (respective to what they were intended to be), but all felt natural and not exaggerated.

The world building is so subtle yet feels so thorough and not overbearing. Over all I was incredibly impressed with the level of detail in the scenes at sea, which account for most of the book’s setting. The romance is a slow burn and feels entirely realistic.

This book lost a star for me because the ending was a bit lackluster for me. But it does set up for book two very well, so I can’t complain too much. I cannot wait to get my hands on that one when it eventually releases, to rejoin Nile on her quest!

If you’re looking for a sea-faring fantasy read, with an amazing line up of characters, pick this one up!

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While you’re at it, click the image above to enter this fantastic SJM GIVEAWAY!

Alex Lidell

Alex Lidell is the Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books. Alex is represented by Leigh Feldman of Leigh Feldman Literary. She lives in Washington, DC.

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ARC Review – Last Stand

Last Stand
Author: Rachel E. Carter
Series: The Black Mage, Book 4
Genres: fantasy, paranormal, romance, young adult
ISBN: 9781946155030

Synopsis:He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.

She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.

Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.

Witness the epic conclusion of The Black Mage series, and see just how far one girl will go to save her kingdom and the boy she loves—even when that boy has become the enemy.

I am not usually one for conclusions, but this is hands down, one of my favorite final installments to a series! The pure raw emotion in this book is so well executed, and Ryiah has come so far as a main character. In addition, the prose in this (and the earlier books, but especially this one), is so beautiful. I found myself highlighting lines and paragraphs just simply because, as a writer myself, I love beautiful and descriptive writing.

In First Year, we meet a young Ryiah who is trying to find herself as she is challenged in a competitive magic school. She’s awkward, makes rash decisions, and is learning and growing as a person.

By the time we get to Last Stand, the old Ryiah is gone. She’s grown up. She’s experienced some terrible things, and I think that most of us can relate to this “newer” Ryiah. When you’re young and just beginning to embark on a journey with a goal in mind, that goal is the most important thing in the world.

But things don’t always work out as planned. And sometimes reaching your goal doesn’t mean that you’re happy. I think Ryiah learned this throughout The Black Mage Series, and I’m glad she did. It makes her real and relateable to readers.

Last Stand is chock full of emotional battles, tons of magic scenes, a vivid world at war, amazingly well developed characters, and just enough steamy romance to keep me content.

So if you’re looking for a series with an amazing magic system, lovable and loathable characters, and tons of action and adventure – The Black Mage series is for you, and Last Stand is as epic a conclusion as they come. THERE HAD BETTER BE A SPIN OFF SERIES SOME DAY.

Last Stand is available for preorder from the following retailers: 
Buy from Amazon
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About the Author

Rachel E. Carter is a YA & NA author who hoards coffee and books. She has a weakness for villains and Mr. Darcy love interests. Her first series is the bestselling YA fantasy, The Black Mage, and she has plenty more books to come.

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Official Site:
Instagram: @rachelcarterauthor

ARC Review – The Alchemists of Loom

Title: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)

Publication Date: January 10th, 2017

Publisher: Keymaster Press

Author: Elise Kova

Genre(s): Adult (YA Crossover), High-Fantasy, Steampunk

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.


In spring of 2016, while I was still blogging for, I was approached by one of my favorite authors, Elise Kova, to beta read a new book of hers – The Alchemists of Loom. I agreed with much excitement, even though she described the book as being quite different from her previous Air Awakens series. Genres don’t matter when the author is a complete wordsmith and master world builder like Elise.

And let me tell you. It’s different. It’s different from anything I have ever read. Hands down. The genre is some sort of mashup of steampunk and fantasy, with a world created by Kova that is completely original, and, in my own words: “…is like none you have read before.” (I was also super excited to blurb the back for Elise). Second best thing to publishing my own book (who knows when that will happen), is having my name plastered on the back of someone else’s book. Amirite?

Loom is a world that is dingy, drab, and dark. It is a world that left me more than slightly terrified at times. It’s a colorless and oppressive underworld where the people of Loom live their day to day lives.

But not Arianna. No, nothing about our main character is structured. Ari is a badass, plain and simple. She is relentless, clever, excessively confident, and extremely protective of her young friend, Florence. Ari is a hired thief who happens to come across a Dragon named Cevareh (more on them in a bit), who grants her a boon – he needs her to navigate the world of Loom and bring him to the Alchemists Guild. In turn, he will grant her anything she desires.

Cevareh as a character, is just as different from Ari as his world of Nova is to her world of Loom. Nova, the home of the Dragons is a sort of sky-world that is a completely vibrant contrast to the colorless world below. He’s friendly and kind, while Ari is grumpy and distrustful – and even annoying at times, though his main motivation is helping his sister to usurp the Dragon King from his throne back on Nova. And when I say “Dragons”, these aren’t like the typical fire-breathing winged lizards. These are essentially super-powered humans with skin that comes in wide variation of colors and hues.

Ari’s boon with Cevareh, leads them on a dangerous adventure across Loom to seek out The Alchemists Guild.

This is a multiple POV book, and my favorite character POV to read by far was Leona – a Dragon who is guard to the Dragon King. Leona is militaristically fierce and fearless. She will do anything anything for her king who she reveres as almost a deity. Her relationship with the King is complex, and terribly sad at times. Even though Leona is cold and cruel, I still felt bad for her.

This book is classified as adult fantasy, but I think that young readers could enjoy it too. If you’re looking for something completely original in the fantasy genre – this is it.





square headshot 1Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

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New release: A Bond of Venom and Magic


An action packed fantasy adventure with phenomenal world building.

“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, tonight or any night, queen or no queen.”

Summary (from

“The Wraith Lord is hunting; his prize, the key to unleashing darkness and Chaos upon the eight Kingdoms.
For Diamond Gillon the war raging in the south seems a remote danger until her home is brutally attacked. Having lost everything she holds dear, Diamond is catapulted into a terrifying new world in which legendary beasts arise, magic is condemned and half blood fae, like her, have no rights. Despite her growing feelings for her saviour, Commander Hugo Casimir, he remains a paradox – not only is he a heartless killer, he is owned by the cruel immortal fae queen; a queen who will murder her own people for magic.

As Diamond’s circumstances become ever more perilous she is drawn deeper into Hugo’s world and discovers the lengths to which he will go to save what he holds dear. Will Hugo become her friend, her protector, or – an enemy not worthy of her trust?

A Bond of Venom and Magic is a tale of two people bound by magic and secrets, but trapped in the complexities of love and betrayal. It is the beginning of an epic journey, one that will test Diamond’s resolve and determination to battle an evil that threatens not only her world but that of Eternity, the land of The Goddess and the Guardians.”

I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Karen Tomlinson’s A Bond of Venom and Magic, which released October 14th, 2016.

Lately I have not had much luck with indie books, but you can tell that Karen Tomlinson has put in the work to make A Bond of Venom and Magic one of the most well-polished indie novels I have read since Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series. Tomlinson is a true wordsmith, and has created an enthralling world that I was sucked into from the first chapter.

The characters in ABOVAM are great as well. Diamond (while occasionally frustrating as hell… but for a good reason), was completely refreshing as a main character.

She’s not confident.

She’s not snarky and witty.

She’s a young, terrified halfblood fae with a gentle heart, who is prone to panic attacks, and has been ripped from the quiet life she has always known. As much as I like swagger and snark in my MC’s, it was refreshing to read something different for a change. Diamond is a character that is relatable on many levels, and her character development was a treat to follow through ABOVAM.

Hugo, however, really frustrated me. And I understand why he had to make the decisions he made, but gods above, I really want to just smack him. I wish Diamond could just say “So long sucker!” And high tail it out of Valentia and away from the crazy fae Queen! But she can’t ( for reasons) so I will leave that be for now.

The world of Avalonia that Tomlinson has created is amazing. Her world building is so vibrant and there are so many layers of it that I was just completely in love. I am a sucker for good world building, and I’m about ready to just pack my bags and start exploring – though to be honest the seekers and dragons/guardians sound bit terrifying. So maybe I’ll just stay home.

This book is incredibly fast paced, and one of my only complaints is that it was at times too fast paced for me. There was so much action that I occasionally found myself just wishing that things could settle down for just a moment for Diamond and her friends. I think perhaps slowing it down a bit could have allowed me to get to know some characters better, like Tom and Jack. I really wanted to get to know Jack better *winks*.

To wrap this up, if you like high fantasy novels, action packed adventure, and bomb-ass world building, then be sure to pick up A Bond of Venom and Magic. 

About the Author:

Karen Tomlinson is the author of The Goddess and the Guardians series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic was released October 14th  2016.

Karen has always been an avid reader. Her taste in books is eclectic but she likes nothing better than an exciting fantasy, set in a new and magical world. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer. In addition to writing, and reading whenever she can, Karen likes to keep active. She has been training at Shotokan karate since thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in The Goddess and the Guardians series.


Welcome citizens of the Realm!


Hello, Meg here!

I wanted to get started with an introduction, and I would love if you would introduce yourselves too in the comments!

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. I was that kid who loved mandatory reading time in school, and my parents even had to ground me from reading – since I hardly watched television, they really were low on options. In 3rd grade, my teacher introduced me to the world of Harry Potter, and that was the catalyst that began my love for reading fantasy novels!

In my middle school years I struggled through The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy – love ’em, but they are absolutely, positively not easy reading.

It was in middle school that I also discovered one of my favorite authors of all time, Tamora Pierce where I went on epic adventures with Alanna of Trebond.

These days, when I’m not rereading my favorites, I am (im)patiently waiting for the latest Sarah J Maas book (A Court of Mist and Fury has climbed to one of my top fantasy books of all time), or wishing that I was in the world of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

I’m currently craving steampunk novels, so if you have any good suggestions in that genre, please leave your recs below!

I’m also an aspiring author, and am currently (slowly) working on a project that I’ve been posting to Wattpad. If you’re interested (it includes moody mages and snarky heroine), here is the link for your reading pleasure!


Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Feel free to tell me a little bit about yourself in the comments below!!

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