All posts by Arwen

Balthazar’s Bane: Book Blitz

Balthazar’s Bane
by Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #6)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: July 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling
Meet A New Book

Synopsis:

A bungled murder.

A ridiculous quest.
And a hero with extremely dodgy credentials.

Christmas 1889. Count Balthazar Jozsef Habsburg‎-Koháry tries to lead a simple life.

Oh, he enjoys a few hobbies.

Collecting ancient Egyptian artifacts. Hunting necromancers with a wire garrote. Impersonating dead Hungarian nobility. Seducing an endless string of women who never suspect the price of the count’s attentions.

But considering what Balthazar used to be like, these pursuits are harmless. And surely he deserves a reward for assassinating the elusive necromancer John Mortlake in the middle of Cairo’s teeming bazaar. What could be better than a holiday cruise up the Nile with his secretary Lucas Devereaux?

There’s just one thing that might ruin his mood.

If, for example, someone stole the talisman that’s kept him alive for two thousand years.

That would really suck.

Unfortunately for Balthazar, he just killed the wrong necromancer – one with a vengeful daughter and huge debts to some very shady djinn. To get his mojo back, he and Lucas must find a legendary sword and liberate a desert kingdom of magical misfits. For centuries, the people of Al Miraj have sought a valiant champion willing to face the wrath of the arch demon Fulad-zereh!

What they get is Balthazar.

But the gods always did like a good joke.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Hot Take:

If you are new to my blog you might not know just how much I love the books by Kat Ross. (I have read every single one of them except her debut Sci-fi story.) Some of the books… looks lovingly at her signed copy of Inferno… are my new favorite fantasy books. Some are just plain fun like most of the rest of the Gaslamp Gothic series, here’s my review for Dead Ringer. Her other new book this year book A Feast of Phantoms hasn’t yet been reviewed because I think it would break my heart to revisit that world without getting more of it YESTERDAY!

I’m a third of the way through Balthazar’s Bane and well life has been incredibly busy, and full lately. My reading time is very slim right now… but 🤞 my schedule for Aug isn’t as full as July’s was.  I really need to find out how Balthazar’s going to get out of the fix he’s currently gotten himself into.

And have I told you how much I love the Balthazar character? If not go look at my post Mature Characters Matter: Why I Love Balthazar.

GIVEAWAY!
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Tide: Review

Tide
by Lacy Sheridan
Published March 6th 2020
541 pages
Genres: Fantasy Action & Adventure

Book Reviews - Loved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: YA romance (kissing but no sex), Action/adventure, Slavery and Physical abuse.

When the tides roll in, death follows.

That is what eighteen-year-old Hania has been told all her life. For the depths of the sea hide the cruel and magical tidespeople, strange gods and creatures of the water who see human life as nothing more than a game. When they sweep her brother away with them, a new pet for their queen, she knows she has no option but to get him back. And her one hope is Aven, a lonely, imprisoned selkie desperate to return home. So she strikes a deal.

She will return his skin, and his power with it, and in exchange Aven will take her to the Realm of Tides.

But once there Hania finds a world unlike any she imagined. A world of beauty and danger, of magic beyond any the old tales could have prepared her for. The longer she finds herself there the more fear of the undersea realm turns to awe–and an uneasy alliance with Aven turns to something far more thrilling and far more damning. But here deadlier creatures than Aven lurk, eager to kill her, claim her, or break her.

Her brother’s capture is only the beginning of the game. A game of hearts and lives, loyalty and cunning. And to save them all she must be willing to play it and win–or die trying.

Review:

  • I received this book free from the author.

This book was so much fun! I’m so glad the author reached out through my blog and gave me the chance to read her story. It was unlike any other YA book I’ve read. Also can we take a moment and acknowledge the beautiful cover? 😍 Wow.

The world you first enter is rather familiar for YA fantasy readers. Middle ages setting, small village, the market square, the baker’s son, a heroine that loves her home and has a tragic backstory. You even first enter the story with Hania getting an archery lesson. It was easy for me to think, “Ah, I know where this is going….”

I was so, so wrong! Happily so.

Once the story gets rolling it becomes something totally unique.

I’m not even sure how to review it without spoilers. So be forewarned there may be slight spoilers ahead, although I have done my best to minimize them.

The world of Tides is an amazing place full of amazing settings and creatures. I want to go back and reread the descriptions of the forest where they enter the land of Tides. I was engrossed in the action and hungry to know what was going to happen that I didn’t fully take them in.

Hania grew on me, I was afraid of another oh-so-special-chosen-one type heroine or the possibility of that she’d be the girl everyone falls in love with so they will do anything for her. In the end Hania was her own person who gains friends by being frank, but courteous, carefully thinking through situations and sheer will. She stands out from the other humans the Tidespeople meet because of that she is just too determined to quit. 

This book touches on some deep issues of slavery, revenge, loyalty and family.  I was impressed for what at first seemed like a typical YA fantasy and  a debut none the less. On the one hand the story had so much action and adventure but on the other it really resonates.

Bottom Line:

A treat of a read! World building, beautiful settings, strong characters and surprising twists make this a great YA book.

Goodreads / Amazon

Make Your Myth Taker

The story continues see my previous posts here.

Johanna knew that in order to free her people from the hand of the Frank’s that she’d need allies. There was a tournament announced at Ipswich. She had just a fortnight to make it there and that would mean chartering a boat to take the way through IJsseloog. It wouldn’t come cheap though.

Sailors claimed those waters were haunted. Ships sailing near those waters disappeared.

She found a drunken Captain with enough debts to make him desperate enough to attempt the straight.

The weather was pleasant but as they approach the small rocky islands near the center of the straight the ship grew silent and the sailors pensive.

It wasn’t long before  the singing began. At first a low hum, then a sweet melody swept over the deck. “Siren” someone whispered, but it was too late.  The men were now calm, their eyes glassy, each one was now starring to the North, to the rocks.

Johanna began to panic if they steered the ship in that direction the boat would be dashed to pieces.

The Second Adventure

How will Johanna escape the Siren?

  1. The Captain may be a drunk but he wasn’t a fool. He hired a deaf helms man. With a nod the new helms man steps forward and steer the ship on course. He can’t hear the Sirens song nor the pleas of the crewmen. (If so my next post will be a continuation of the 40 Series with 40 Myths, Monsters and Legends.)
  2. A sudden squall sweeps the ship past the rocks and the Siren. (If so my next post will be a review  a review of Feast of Phantoms.)
  3. A mermaid comes along to intervene. (If so my next post will be a review of NeverSea.)
  4. Nothing works! The ship is steered onto the rocks and destroyed and Johanna is the only survivor. (If so my next post will be a tour of my TBR shelves.)

Vote by leaving me a comment or going to my Twitter poll. The adventure will continue soon…

#MakeYourMythTaker Background Story

Johanna Christina Stephalina Gerolf hated Charlemagne. She’d never met him, but she hated him. He had conquered her land and her people. He had subjugated them. Everyone knew the stories of the Romans, how they had come and forced taxes on the people. How they had exerted their control, but the Romans never tried to make them Roman. But Charlemagne exerted his influence over the land turning all the people into “Franks.” East Francia they call her land now.

She was a Queen without a land, without a people, but she would never be without a fight. Her people were farmers, fishers and traders. There were few warriors among them. Johanna’s crown was lost, but the iron in her heart and the sword in her hand would serve her now…

The Knight

My Myth Taker Knight is based partially on history of Holland. You can follow the links in the text above to see the Wikipedia pages for the different subjects.

My Great-Grandparents immigrated from Holland in 1920 when my Great-Grandmother whose name was Johanna Christina Stephalina Van********* was pregnant with my Grandfather.

Count Gerolf is credited with creating the county of Holland in the late 800’s. Charlemagne conquered the whole of Western Europe during his reign 768-814. Unlike the Roman who has previously conquered the area, Charlemagne was interested in more than taxes. His goal was to totally reform Europe, religion, language and education.

My knight Johanna is placed somewhere in the late 850’s it’s the early Middle Ages in Europe. Charlemagne’s empire has collapsed. Vikings raid across Europe. And an ice age has begun.

If course this setting is just a background. My knight may face many dangers both of the real world and the mythological one.

The First Adventure

So what will Johanna face first?

  1. Will it be the Witte Wieven, the spirits of wise women who could either help or hinder her journey? If so my next post will be a continuation of the 40 Series with 40 Myths, Monsters and Legends.
  2. Will it be a Siren, a monster that could lure her off her quest and into dangerous waters? If so my next post will be a review of Tide.
  3. Will it be Phantoms, trouble making spirits who leave chaos and death in their wake? If so my next post will be a review of Feast of Phantoms.
  4. Or it will be an evil Count, trying to court Johanna and force her to be a proper wife/woman and suppress her desire to fight for her people? If so my next post will be a top 10 list of book bloggers I admire.

Vote by leaving me a comment or going to my Twitter poll. The adventure will continue soon…

My Myth Taker TBR

Make Your Myth Taker

In June I’ll be taking the #MakeYourMythTaker Readathon Challenge! Full details are in the video and here on Twitter.

 

The Basics

• No previous participation in Myth-Take needed • Minimum of 4 books, ALL formats & genres allowed • No doubling up • Complete in order – you have free rein over additional reads • Your 3rd prompt is your crossover prompt – see video for info

Will you be part of the …?

W A R R I O R S ⚔

The armies of knights, mercenaries, gladiators, and vikings are not for the faint of heart. Grab your sword, you shield, and your nerve before jumping in with this lot…

R O Y A L  C O U R T 👑

The royal court is home to monarchs, courtiers, jesters…. and even a royal spy or two. They may seem more gentle than their fellows, but best to keep your guard up all the same…

R O G U E S 🗡

The bandits, assassins, exiles, and pirates make up this faction. Up to no good, full of tricks and deceptions, there’s never a dull moment with this bunch…

or

S O R C E R E R S 🧚🏻‍♀️

Goddesses, witches, fairies, and oracles abound within the sorcerers’ camp. A place of magic and whimsy for all who dare enter…

My Myth Taker

I am declaring for KNIGHT #MakeYourMythTaker.

My TBR shall be:

Buried in AngstBook by a favorite author. I loved David’s book Clod Makes A Friend so much and he loved my review of the book so much that we have become real life friend (although we have yet to meet in person.) Angst was a great book too and I’m ready to jump into the next book.

Mortal SightBook with a weapon on the cover. This is the first book I’ve won from an Instagram contest!!! I’m excited to read this book, and yes there is a tiny knife on the cover.

CressContinue a series. Angst could count in this category too, but they specified no double-dipping. Beside it’s about time I get on with the Lunar Chronicles.

Shadow DawnA quest to save. I’ve been hoping to save this book until we could find the rest of the series, but when digging through my TBR this was the one that stood out. Also it gives me an excuse to have to rewatch Willow.

I’m planning posts throughout the month so please check back. And if you have declared for Make Your Myth Taker leave me you link below so I can check it out.