Bookreview: Firebound #fantasy #FlashbackFriday

This is a special post I do once a month to highlight a book I reviewed some time ago, but never actually featured on my blog. Because this is an author blog and not a book blog, I don’t always feature all the books I read. Like all good and dedicated fans of the written word, I do my part and leave reviews on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and sometimes other places, but don’t always bring attention to what I’m reading, unless you follow me on YouTube… hint, hint, wink wink 😉 In any case, please enjoy this review of a book I read at some point in my life.

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Today’s flashback review is a little special but mostly because today is International Authors Day. I’m featuring a review of a book from an author I really like.

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Goodreads

Title:  Firebound

Series: Spellbringers #2

Author: Tricia Drammeh

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 285

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (violence, sensuality, brief mild sexual content, dark and mature themes, adult situations, suspense)

In book one my heart went out to Bryce who seemed to be misunderstood, but in book 2 I really fell in love with Alisa. She’s the only character with no power of her own, yet she seems to be the strongest of them all. Depending on how you look at it, Alisa is the reason the Alexander family is as mighty as they are. In their society of magic and Spellbringers, their connection to this one human keeps them all from becoming monsters… I may be exaggerating a bit, but in any case, I really adore Alisa.

Rachel, on the other hand, is a character that despite her many many flaws, I can’t hate but don’t exactly love her. I feel for her in many ways, but she seems to be a bit self-destructive. Like all self-destructive people, she also hurts others as a result. The one thing she seems to have going for her is the fact that she is apparently the most powerful being on the planet though she hasn’t realized the extent of her powers. As destructive as she is, I still like her more than Jace.

It’s not that I don’t like Jace. I feel a bit indifferent about this character. I can see that he will continue to grow as the story develops, but for now, he’s a pretty face, decent brother, and good son.

The action of this book is much more involved, which I didn’t think was possible. Alisa and Bryce struggle to be close yet so far apart. After he speaks the claiming words to her, they crave each other but can’t share each other or live together. Alisa is forgetting what an independent person she used to be and Bryce is clinging to her affection so he won’t turn to the dark side. Yeah, whoa!

Rachel has the best of intentions trying to protect her brother but she has to know that going on dream dates with a demon isn’t going to end well. Plus, there’s more than one demon after her. When, Alisa, the only human in the bunch has to risk her life to save Rachel, things heat up in more ways than one. What a perfect end to this installment and a grand enticement for the next.

I think I enjoyed this one just as much as the first. Highly recommended again.

Read my review of Spellbound here.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IntAuthorsDay interview & #giveaway with author Charity Ayres @versweet #fantasy

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Charity Ayres. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down… And since today is International Authors’ Day, I’m also sharing an in depth look at Charity’s book Ice Burns over at “Who is so you?” Be sure to visit my side panel or head over.  But first…

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IAD 2016 Banner
Created & hosted by Debdatta at b00k r3vi3ws

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I’ve been discovering so many new authors lately and have really been loading up my TBR list. I’ll admit that I’ve been reading a lot more than I’ve been reviewing, but I’m working on fixing that. I actually just loaded a bunch of book reviews I should have written ages ago. You can check them out here if you want. As an author, I know how important reviews are and I’m making a point to do better about writing reviews. I just get so swept up in wanting to devour my next read… but hey, that’s just my love of reading.

Before I dive in, I just want to say that I’m offering a $15 USD or less digital or print book(s) giveaway, no erotica, from either Kindle or Book Depository. Check it out below.

For today, I’m interviewing an author I recently discovered at RavenCon. I just finished her book, The Secret in the Wings, see my review here. I’m halfway through Loki Bound, have acquired a copy of Loki Hellbound, and am interviewing her, here today, to learn about her latest release Ice Burns. Enjoy!

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Toi Thomas: Hi there Charity! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

CharityAyresCharity: Hi there, Toi.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Charity Ayres?

Charity: A title? I’m not sure I can make myself fit into a specific title. I’m an author (Loki Bound, Loki: Hell Bound, Secret in the Wings, Ice Burns), veteran, teacher, mom, wife, animal lover, self-proclaimed comedienne, lover of the written word in any form.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Charity: I always wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara as a kid, but I’m completely different. I would say I’m a combination of an Agent of Shield, Rachel Ray, and Garfield.

Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?

Charity: New technology and anything Marvel.

Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Charity: I loved “Gone with the Wind”.  I really think it was because it was the first BIG novel I’ve ever read. I’ve also always loved anything Jack London.

Wikipedia

Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Charity: Mark Twain or Theodore Roosevelt. Both men are absolutely fascinating to me. I would ask about their struggles in the public eye and with depression. I’d also ask what they think about the world as it is today.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?

Charity: “Ice Burns” is classic Fantasy with a Dark Fantasy twist. The story is about Chandra who is a magic-user in a world where magic is banned by any not in the royal family. The problem though, is not having magic, but Chandra’s lack of control and the destiny that has been placed upon her that eventually forces her to make some hard and dangerous decisions including killing others to save herself.

Toi Thomas: So who’s starring in this 2 dimensional script read of Ice Burns?

Charity: Chandra is coming of age and struggling with who she is vice who she’s always been expected to be. She was groomed to be this amazingly powerful magic-user and heir to her mentor’s position but could never control her power. When control begins to come it is paired with this taint that seems to be more powerful than any magic Chandra has ever known. She has to decide who she’s going to be and deal with the consequences of that.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Charity: Excitement and darkness and magic (oh my!). I really think it is a great example of what Fantasy was always meant to be: magic and the struggle to control it and use it well.

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Charity: Sometimes I am very structured in that I make a chronology, but I never know everything about my story until it is done. I try not to look too deep, to be honest. I feel that if my story surprises me, it will also surprise my readers and I like that. I hate picking up a book and knowing the ending three chapters in.

Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Charity: Twain, London, Lackey, Bradbury… I think I really have to say Marion Zimmer Bradley was a huge influence.

Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Charity: Sure.

Toi Thomas: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Charity: The Mummy.  Don’t ask me why but it makes me laugh and I just love it.

Toi Thomas: Let’s play zombie urban survivor. What 3 things do you need to survive a black-out in Central Park the day zombies attack?

Charity: Coffee, my computer, and an ax.

Toi Thomas: Last question of the day; here we go.

Toi Thomas: Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Charity: More books, lots of random conversations with people about books and writing, and more coffee than any one person should consume.

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Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Charity Ayres, check out these great links:

Website: Author Charity Ayres

Facebook: Charity Ayres – Author

Twitter: @versweet

Instagram: charity.ayres

Pre-order link for Ice Burns: Amazon.com | Print and other Online Retailers coming soon. Online release party is August 12 – 16, 2016.

This has been a

interviewpic-toibox

Enter to Win your choice of print or digital book(s) valued at $15 USD or less, no erotica, from Kindle or Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unfortunately, I can’t display the linky list becuase it disables my comments, but PLEASE click HERE and  follow along with this amazing and supportive blog hop. There are more books and authors to discover as well as GIVEAWAYS galore.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Spellbound by @TriciaDrammeh Virtual Book Tour Interview by #thetoiboxofwords via @diversebktours #fantasy #amreading

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Tricia Drammeh. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

Toi Thomas: Hi there Tricia! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

Tricia: Hi Toi. I’m happy to be here and excited to share.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Tricia Drammeh?

Tricia: I’m a wife, mother of four, and author. I live in New Hampshire with my husband, kids, and a lot of crazy animals. I write anything from young adult multicultural fantasy (The Spellbringers Series) to YA paranormal (The Seance) to contemporary (Better than Perfect).

Toi Thomas: Wow. Yes, after looking through your bibliography I feel like I need to play catch up. You books have such acclaim and the sheer volume is inspiring to young-in-the-industry authors like me.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Tricia: I hate to say this, but Bella Swan from Twilight. I really am that clumsy, unfortunately. One of the many criticisms about that series is the way Bella was portrayed. “No one is that clumsy and awkward.” Well, I am.

Toi Thomas: Yeah, whenever someone mentions Twilight, there’s either a sigh of regret or a yelp  of cheer, but every character is relatable to someone in some way, otherwise they wouldn’t have been written. All fiction stems from reality.

Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?

Tricia: I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I know it’s a YA series and I’m not quite a young adult anymore (haha), but I am in love with that series and am anxiously waiting for my Hogwarts letter.

Toi Thomas: Don’t you know YA is the new black- or something like that. I don’t think there are any age requirements on fiction anymore. Sure somethings may not be appropriate for certain readers, but as I said before, everything is relatable on some level. People read what they like, and as long as they are reading, I’m happy.

Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Tricia: As a pre-teen I read and re-read The Outsiders. Actually, I did that with all the S.E. Hinton books, but The Outsiders was my favorite.

Toi Thomas: Yeah, for me that book was a bit tough because of the time I read it. Being from the 80s and getting caught up in the hype of the movie, I don’t think I ever really gave it full attention. But it is a truly great story.

Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Tricia: J.K. Rowling. I absolutely idolize her. She’s a genius.

Toi Thomas: Yes, she is probably one of the best writer success stories you’ll ever here- so inspiring.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?

Tricia: Spellbound is the first book in the Spellbringers series. It’s a multicultural fantasy series for young adults that is based in a small Georgia town.

Toi Thomas: Something about books and stories set in small towns- you just know it’s going to be good. I must admit the cultural diversity of the book caught me off guard, not in a bad way, though. None of the characters were superimposed stereotypes, and I liked that. (See my review here.)

Toi Thomas: So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of Spellbound?

Tricia: My main characters are Rachel and Alisa, two high school girls who have known each other all their lives, but have never been friends. Alisa is shy and shunned by her peers, while Rachel is one of the most popular girls in school. Even though Rachel seems to have an easy life, she feels isolated and different from everyone around her. When Jace and his family move to town, both girls are plunged headfirst into a world they never knew existed.

Toi Thomas: That’s a pretty good premise. If I hadn’t read the book I would assume that at some point, themes of friendship and love triangles might clash because of the two girls and the mention of Jace. I won’t give anything away, but the way it all plays out is refreshing and not at all typical.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Tricia: Spellbound combines magic, danger, and romance. It also features a multicultural cast of characters where diversity is the norm.

Toi Thomas: Yes, I like the fact that your story has a diverse cast but doesn’t go out of the way to say “hey look at the races mixing and getting along together.” It’s very natural and encouraging.

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Tricia: When I began writing, it was nose to the grindstone. I completed my first book in less than three months. Oh, how times have changed. I bounce back and forth between two or three different projects. There is no sense of organization. I write in the middle of the living room with the dog sitting next to me. I’ve got Law & Order SVU blaring on the TV and constant noise and interruptions. And coffee. So much coffee.

Toi Thomas: In this day and age, I don’t see how people stick to such organized writing regimes. I admit that I plan and make every effort to be organized, but life happens. You gotta write when you can.

Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Tricia: There are so many, but I would have to say it’s a tossup between Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King.

Toi Thomas: Those influences make perfect sense considering that material you write. After having read your work. I think they would be proud to count you amongst them, for I’m sure your work has and will influence someone else along with these guys.

Toi Thomas: Thank you so much Tricia for spending time with me today.

Tricia: Thanks for having me Toi. It was fun.

Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Tricia Drammeh, check out these great links:

Website: TRICIA DRAMMEH.com

Facebook: Author Tricia Drammeh

Twitter: @TriciaDrammeh

Amazon Author Central: Tricia Drammeh

Purchase links for Spellbound & other Drammeh books:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

This has been a

interviewpic-toibox

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Spellbound

Spellbound (Spellbringers #1) by Tricia Drammeh

I give this book a 5.

This is one of those books that sat on my TBR list for so long, not because I wasn’t interested, but because I had a feeling once I started I wouldn’t want to stop, and I was right. I’m so glad the summer afforded me the opportunity to read this book without the constant interruptions I’m used to.

Spellbound tells the story of two girls who seem to live in completely different worlds, though they reside in the same town and go to the same school. The thing that draws these to ladies together is the pleasantly invading presence of the Alexander family. One of the girls could be “the one” this magical family has been looking for while the other will alter and change their lives in ways they hadn’t expected from a mere human.

Before I go into the why I loved this book, and I totally did, I just want to say that this author is amazing. I’d read her blog a bit before, but never really followed her writing; what a mistake. Her attention to detail and her respect for the diversity of her characters empowers me to be bolder in my own writing. She’s now one of my favorite authors and I’ll probably start stalking her a bit…Now back to the book.

Obviously from my last statement, you can surmise that the characters of this book are well-developed and likable. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that YA is a struggle for me in general because of all the teen antics. This book was no different, but for some reason, I grew to like these characters and quickly got over there teen drama, especially when they started to face real physical and life-altering threats.

I like the way the setting aids the story. It takes place in a small town, but the world travels of the Alexander family plays a role in their daily lives. It’s sometimes easy to think that whatever is happening in the story will only affect their little town, but when characters star “popping up” out of the blue from around the world, it really puts matters into a global perspective.

I don’t usually go into too much detail about specific characters in my reviews, but I knew from the start I’d like Bryce, even if he didn’t start out in the best light and wasn’t around much. The descriptions of all the pretty people in this book had me shaking my head and remembering a few good times from high school when I dated basketball players. Ah, youth.

Then there’s the magical element of the story that goes beyond the surface. In this story, magic isn’t a separate entity that affects the character’s world; it’s part of their culture. There is a gray matter that I have been unable to clarify in the use of magic within this story, but I’m hoping the next two books (which I’ve already purchased) will straighten it all up. There are clear good guys and bad guys in the first story, but there’s foreshadowing that implies some characters and events will be more about picking sides than being right and wrong. Plus the ancestors of those with magic all seem to come from the same “people” but are dark and some are light…I can wait to read more.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and or Fantasy and even a few who don’t. Anyone who appreciates cultural diversity in fiction will also appreciate this book, even if they’re not big into fantasy.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest opinion, which has in no way affected the rating of this piece.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Veiled Empire by @NR_Garrison Virtual Book Tour by @pumpupyourbook & Harper Voyager Impulse via #fantasy

Title: Veiled Empire
Author: Nathan Garrison
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Kindle/Paperback

The Empire is Shrouded, not only by the barrier that covers the land, but by the lies and oppression of the mierothi regime. Magic is the privilege of the elite, and the people of this shadowed country have forgotten what it means to hope under their rule.

But there are some who would resist, with plans put into motion millennia before. For returned to the Empire is a valynkar, servant of the god of light, and with him come the strength and cunning that could tip the scales to end the Emperor’s reign. He has gathered a group of heroes ready to ignite the flame of rebellion and fight against the dark power that has ruled for nearly two thousand years. A power that has champions of its own.

Nathan Garrison’s Veiled Empire throws a mythical land into chaos, with races long thought forgotten, and magics only just discovered. Steel and sorcery clash as brave souls vie for freedom and control in this astonishing debut novel.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Meet the Author

I have two great boys and an awesome wife who is way more supportive of my writing efforts than I deserve. I love playing guitar (the louder the better), cooking (the more bacon-y the better), playing board/video/card games with friends and family, and reveling in unadulterated geekery.

Born in 1983, I’ve been writing stories since my dad bought our first family computer. I grew up on tales of the fantastic. From Narnia and Middle-Earth to a galaxy far, far away, I’ve always harbored a love for things only imagination can conjure up. I count it among the greatest joys of my life to be able to share the stories within me.

Connect with Nathan here: Website | Twitter | Facebook

PumpUp

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords