I love that Rainbow Fish is still teaching children important life lessons and etiquette! I remember the original story being a favorite when I was a child, and I’m so excited that I can share this book with a new generation. I had forgotten about this little fish for a while, but there are so many new stories that I want to read and share with all the children in my personal and professional life. I highly recommend this series. Especially since almost all the books include iridescent scales throughout! So pretty 🙂
Review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, which did not affect from opinion or review.
A brand new title in the bestselling Rainbow Fish series!
Everyone loses once in a while. But being a good sport when you lose isn’t always easy—not even for Rainbow Fish. A lighthearted look at accepting loss without losing your sparkle!
DREAM MAGIC, A SHADOW MAGIC NOVEL
by Joshua Khan
Disney-Hyperion | On Sale April 11, 2017
Hardcover ISBN: 9781484737620 | $16.99 | $17.99 Can. | 352 pages | Ages 8-12
Ebook ISBN: 9781368002462
Even though I loved Shadow Magic and was intrigued by this cover, my fear of spiders almost stopped me from reading this amazing story. But I’m glad I chanced the nightmares, which I didn’t have thankfully, because this book was just as good as the first one. The crystalline spiders were indeed quite creepy, but they totally fit with the story and I loved that they were so integral to the plot as they added a sense of urgency to the characters. I liked them so much that I drew up some of my own to share 🙂
R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.)
Creative Must (Does something different really well.)
*This review was part of a blog tour when the book first came to America*
Welcome to the last stop on the Rose and the Lost Princess blog tour! I reviewed this book from an ARC through NetGalley and was contacted by the publisher to be a part of the blog tour. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity and would like to reward my followers with a giveaway! The publisher will send a final copy to 1 winner, who will be chosen one week from today (May 25, 2014). I will randomly chose someone from my followers list, so make sure to follow me 🙂
Rose and the Lost Princess starts immediately where Rose left off in the scene where Rose is trying to relax in the drawing room with the other rescued children, just before Mr. Fountain offers to take Rose as an apprentice. She accepts on the condition that she keep her job as housemaid; however, the staff treats her differently (except Bill) and the townsfolk are scared and angry at all magicians for the actions of one.
Holly Webb did a fantastic job at carrying her story fluidly from one book to the next. I enjoyed digging a little deeper into the life and work of Mr. Fountain at the palace while also getting to know a bit more about the royal family, and the princesses in particular. This book was fun to read, but I think that older readers (and adults) would find it more enjoyable if sharing it with a younger reader. Webb knows how to move the story along, and the read will be quick, so make sure you can read it all in one sitting!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: WillowWonderland
Script: Jeff Parker and Christos Gage
Pencils: Brian Ching
Inks: Jason Gorder
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Reviewed from NetGalley ARC
Rating: R Creative Must
Just months after Buffy destroys the seed of magic in order to save the world (again), Willow starts to notice changes all around her. Her friends just think she misses the power she had when magic was around; however, power is not the only thing missing. Rainbows only have two colors, no one can hit a note, suicide rates are rising, and creativity is slowly deteriorating. As she leaves to find a solution, Willow explores new dimensions and herself while confronting her past. Giant worms try to eat her; she’s drugged and kept pliant; a large blue caterpillar gives her magic memory water; the protagonist overcomes the challenges that hamper her on the way to her goal–finding or creating a pipeline of magic that flows back to Earth.
Any Buffyverse fan will enjoy this side-trip that features Willow the witch and her delicate relationship with magic. The artists rendered highly detailed comic-style graphics, which allows the reader to better visualize the fantastical landscapes, which the characters jump between during their quest. Many of the characters play no bigger part than to reaffirm the protagonist’s inner monolog as she tries to find the root of her magic anxieties. Fortunately, Willow didn’t come across as whiny, which is a recurring problem when other authors portray self-doubt and misery. To best understand this iteration of Buffy, the reader needs to have a working knowledge of the seven season television program and the Season 8 comic series. Reading Season 9, Faith & Angel, and even Spike’s side story will give the reader an even deeper appreciation for Willow’s journey to bring magic back to Earth. By the end of this graphic novel, the reader will wonder how many hidden references were included. The many clues about where Season 9 will take the fan base as Joss Whedon’s brain child continues to grow in unpredictable ways are fun to search out.
This book would make a great addition to any collection. Libraries will be glad to have another strong female character as well as an adventure fantasy that features soul searching and self-confidence. Physical battles amongst mental challenges make this a great read and a worthy addition to the Buffyverse.
Title: A Promise of Fire
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles, #1
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Pubdate: August 2nd, 2016
Today, I’m participating in the Sourcebooks Casablanca blog tour spotlight. In this post you’ll find my review of A Promise of Fire as well as the publisher’s summary, a preview of the first five chapters, and, did I mention?, a GIVEAWAY!! Thanks Sourcebooks for this great opportunity!
I am on a role with finding awesome books with snarky, witty female characters. This time the setting is fantasy with empires and warlords and Greek gods. The setting worked well with the story, and since I prefer to know whether the gods/goddesses being worshiped are real, it was great to see their interaction with the main character, Cat. And it wasn’t over done either, just an appearance here or there to nudge the characters.
The banter between Cat and her romantic interest Griffin was probably my favorite part of this whole book. You could tell they were going to end up together (this is a romance), but it wasn’t insta-love. They fought. They exchanged insults. The relationship unfurled at a more reasonable pace than many of the YA books I’ve read. And I appreciated the care the author went to in order to achieve this without it feeling forced. ❤
Another aspect that the author did a tremendous job with was genre. A Promise of Fire is a fantasy romance, but it also includes elements of mystery and a historical setting. These blended together to create a well-paced tale with plenty of room to grow and explore both the characters and the world. I am waiting impatiently for the sequels.
Here’s the link to a Rafflecopter giveaway, which Sourcebooks is hosting. It’s for 10 copies of the finished book, so scroll down to read the first five chapters, and when you’re hooked (because it didn’t take much for me), go enter the contest. Oh, and tell all your friends about how awesomely amazing this book is 🙂
Sourcebooks Casablanca is thrilled to announce that we are releasing our very first fantasy romance! Coming August 2016 from debut author Amanda Bouchet is the un-put-downable A Promise of Fire, the first in the Kingmaker Chronicles series.
Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.
Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.
About the author:
Award-winning author Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She moved to Paris, France, in 2001. Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.
To celebrate, we’re giving you the first FIVE chapters to read FOR FREE!
Download the first five chapters here.
To get you started, we’ve included the first few pages below.
I pluck at my crimson tunic, tenting the lightweight linen away from my sticky skin. The southern Sintan climate isn’t my worst nightmare, but it sometimes ranks pretty high, right along with the stifling layers of cosmetics masking my face, my leather pants, and my knee-high boots.
Heat and leather and heels don’t mix, but at least looking like a brigand means blending into the circus. Here, discreet only gets you noticed.
Craning my neck for a breath of fresh air, I navigate my way through the beehive of tables already set up for the circus fair. The performers on the center stage are the main attraction. The rest of us surround them, carving out places for ourselves amid the crowd. Tonight, hemmed in on all sides in an amphitheater lit by hundreds of torches and filled to capacity, I feel like a Cyclops is sitting on my chest—suffocated.
Damp curls cling to my neck. I peel them off and tuck them back into my braid, scanning the crowd as I walk. I recognize some of the regulars. Others I don’t know. My eyes trip over a man and get stuck. He’s looking at me, and it’s hard not to look back. He’s striking in a dark, magnetic way, his size, weapons, and bearing all telling me he’s a tribal warlord. His build is strong and masculine, his gait perfectly balanced and fluid. He walks with predatory confidence, unhurried, and yet there’s no mistaking his potential for swift, explosive violence. It’s not latent or hidden, just leashed.
Watchful, alert, he’s aware of everything in his vicinity. Especially me.
Our gazes collide, and something in me freezes. His eyes remind me of Poseidon’s wrath—stormy, gray, intense—the kind of eyes that draw you in, hold you there, and might not let you go.
Adrenaline surges through me, ratcheting up my pulse. My heart thumping, I blink and take in the rest of him. Intelligent brow. Strong jaw. Wide mouth. Hawkish nose. Black hair brushes a corded neck atop broad shoulders that have no doubt been swinging a sword since before he could walk. Body toned to perfection, skin darkened by a lifetime in the sun, he’s battle-chiseled and hard, the type of man who can cleave an enemy in two with little effort and even less consequence to his conscience.
He keeps staring at me, and a shiver prickles my spine. Is this man my enemy?
There’s no reason to think so, but I didn’t stay alive this long without the help of a healthy dose of paranoia.
Wary, I sit at my table, keeping an eye on him as he weaves a bold path through an array of potions, trinkets, and charms. He’s flanked by four similar men. Their coloring varies, but they all have the same sure look about them, although they pale in comparison to the warlord in both authority and allure. The man with the gray eyes is a born leader, and only an idiot would mistake him for anything else.
He stares for so long that I start to wonder if he can somehow bore through my layers of face paint and unmask me, but I’ve never seen him before, and he can’t possibly know the person underneath. I’m from the north of Fisa, where magic is might. He’s from the south of Sinta, where muscle and cunning decide who lives or dies. Our paths would never have crossed in the past, and warlords don’t usually frequent the circus.
I look away, hoping he’ll do the same. There are plenty of reasons a man stares at a woman. An exotic face and generous figure attract as much attention as a good mystery, if not more, and the warlord’s intense scrutiny feels more appreciative than alarming.
Ignoring the flush now creeping into my cheeks, I smooth the wrinkles from the coarse wool blanket covering my table and arrange my paraphernalia like usual. My glittering, gold-lettered sign advertises Cat the Magnificent—Soothsayer Extraordinaire, even though flashes of the future only come here and there, usually in dreams. Luckily, it only takes a few questions for truths to reveal themselves like flowers opening for the sun. I read people’s body language and glean who they are, what they want, and maybe even what they’re capable of. It’s about knowledge and illusion. I get a copper for it, which is more than a fair deal for me. I won’t peddle futures. I have an idea of my own, and that’s more than enough.
My leg starts a nervous bounce. Prophecies can be interpreted loosely, right?
The audience gasps, and I turn to see what’s happening on the stage. Vasili is throwing knives at his wife. She’s strapped to the flat side of a vertical, rotating wheel, and he’s blindfolded. He’s never hit her, but my heart still comes to a complete standstill every time they perform. Tonight is no exception, and I hold my breath, both riveted and terrified, until he runs out of knives.
The crowd is too caught up in the circus to take advantage of the fair, so I get up again and head to the performers’ gate to watch the end of the show and put some distance between the warlord and me. He’s still looking when he shouldn’t be.
The air coming through the gate is fresher, bringing with it the sound of Cerberus’s chuffing breaths and the scent of sweaty dog. He’s Hades’s pet, so I doubt the heat bothers him. I toss him a wave, and two of his three upper lips curl in a snarl of acknowledgment. One of these days, I’ll get all three, although in eight years I never have. I think his middle head just doesn’t like me.
Finished with his performance, Vasili unstraps his wife while Aetos launches himself onto the stage with a triple flip and lands in a fighter’s crouch that shakes the platform. The solid wood creaks under his colossal weight, and the rapt crowd murmurs in awe. Aetos straightens, pounds his chest, tears the horse pelt off his giant back, and catches fire. His roar shakes the amphitheater. No one can roar like Aetos. I’ve seen him perform hundreds of times, and I still get chills.
Seven and a half feet tall, muscle-bound, and tattooed blue from head to toe with Tarvan tribal swirls, he moves his hands in an impossibly fast dance, weaving fire until he’s encased in a sphere of living flame. He bursts through the crackling barrier with another roar. The explosion blasts the hair away from my face and dries out the inside of my nose. I’m forty feet away but feel like I’m in the furnaces of the Underworld. Fanning myself is useless. I’ll never get used to the southern heat, and with Aetos performing, it’s even worse.
The Sintan Hoi Polloi can barely contain themselves. It’s like doing tricks for children—everything enchants. For them, the circus is a whirlwind of power and impossible magical delights. Everywhere from the hard-packed dirt floor surrounding the fair tables and stage to the high, far reaches of the circular stone seating, people jump up and down, hooting and stomping their feet.
My feet tap along with the crowd’s, my eyes following Aetos around the stage. What a relief to be back in Sinta, even with all the dust and heat. I do whatever I can to stay on the west side of Thalyria. Our recent sojourn in the middle realm of Tarva made my lungs tight and my fingers itch for a knife. I’d probably start jumping at shadows if the circus ever went all the way east to Fisa. Just the thought of my home realm makes my sweat turn cold.
Sinta. Tarva. Fisa. West to east. Here to… Nothing I’m going to think about.
The audience whoops in approval of Aetos’s fiery moves. Hoi Polloi in the amphitheater are ecstatic—and not only with the show. They’ve been celebrating ever since a warlord from the tribal south hacked his way north to Castle Sinta to put his own sister on the throne. You’d think Dionysus had dumped a three-month supply of wine over the entire realm. Temples are overflowing with Sintans offering prayers of gratitude, their holy men overcome with gifts to help clothe and feed the poor. Statues of Athena, who is apparently well loved by the conquering warlord, have been spontaneously erected in towns and villages from here to the Ice Plains in Sinta’s north. Happiness and generosity abound, and I don’t even want to think about how many sheep have been slaughtered for celebratory feasts.
For the first time ever, the magicless majority is in charge, and Hoi Polloi are literally dancing in the streets—but only when they’re not throwing themselves in abject loyalty at the feet of the new royal family. Or so I’ve heard. I haven’t actually seen the new royals, but news spreads fast when there’s something to say. After the warlord and his southern army secured the Sintan throne last spring, his family took weeks just to move north. Not because they’re slow, but because of the sheer number of adoring people in their way.
It’s no secret the northern-born Magoi royals here in Sinta were despots, just like everywhere else in Thalyria. Hoi Polloi know they’re better off with one of their own in charge.
But royals without magic? My cynical snort is lost in the boisterousness of the crowd. It’ll never last.
Want more? Download the first FIVE chapters here.
Click here to learn more about A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet.
Reviewed from an uncorrected digital proof provided through the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication: June 21, 2016
Have you ever wondered what a lion does all day? Or how other animals react to a lion’s presence? The Lion provides the answers to these questions and more as you read the latest installment of the Love series. Although reading isn’t the word I would use to describe this experience. Visual devouring works much better 🙂 There are no words in this graphic novel, but they aren’t necessary for the narrative. The story is told through cells arranged in such a way that the lion seems to move across the page.
I loved how realistic the art was drawn, but there’s plenty of expression shown on the faces of each animal. I was reminded of Disney’s Lion King as we follow a male lion on his journey through life with all its confrontations and ups and downs. But, we also see how lions behave in the wild. There are some really great conversations to be had in the classroom. Or, this can be given to anyone interested in animals or learns better through visual storytelling.
Although I enjoyed the first two in this series (Fox and Tiger) more than this volume, I appreciate the stories being told here. Not just the main animal, but taking a peak at those little animals who may be affected by the actions of the title character. Those were actually my favorite part of this volume. I liked seeing their depictions and their view of what was happening around them. Of course, it helps that they were so cute, except that scorpion…
I look forward to seeing what’s next for this series!
The third volume in the lavishly illustrated series of wildlife graphic novels, each following a single central animal through an adventurous day in their natural environment. Each tale depicts genuine natural behavior through the dramatic lens of Disney-esque storytelling, like a nature documentary in illustration.
Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, this volume focuses on a solitary Lion as it wanders the plains of Africa, handling the daily hunt, and vicious rivalry, without a Pride of its own. The circle of Life takes center stage in a world where predator and prey trade places on a regular basis, and Family is something worth fighting — and dying — for. This exciting tale, written by Frederic Brremaud, is told without narration or dialogue, conveyed entirely through the beautiful illustrations of Federico Bertolucci.
A beautiful, powerful tale of survival in the animal kingdom that explores the all-too-identifiable, universal concepts of Life, Courage, Aging, and ultimately Love.
Advance copy provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.