Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: The Last of the Firedrakes

The Last of the Firedrakes
By: Farah Oomerbhoy
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Pub Date: August 15, 2015
Pages: 488
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Copy received for a blog tour for an honest review.
A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic.

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

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I honestly enjoyed how this book started out. I kind of got a Harry Potter-ish kind of vibe with Aurora being an orphan and left to people who didn't care for her. All of the quick beginning chapters, we lose those people quickly (thank goodness!) and move on to Avalonia...through a magical tapestry!

Once through the portal, we learn that there are different lands. Not just where we live. There are other beings, too. Magical beings! This story mostly discusses mages and the fae. We quickly find out that Aurora is the lost princess to this land, Avalonia. Unfortunately, her method of getting through the tapestry to the land landed her in a prison. In that prison, she met 2 fae. Thankfully, they were a couple of important fae and someone came to their rescue. Aurora was rescued along with the fae, and free for the time, away from the person who wanted her dead.

Once the story really got started, the names of the lands were confusing me. Once I kept seeing them mentioned and "meeting" people from those lands, I began to enjoy the story much more. I think with a physical copy of this book, a reader can flip and look at the beautiful map much easier than I was trying to do on my ereader.

With a medallion around Aurora's neck, we find the history of it and how it got there. It was the only thing she had from her childhood and she never took it off. Which, was a great thing! If she had, she would have discovered her magical abilities. In our human world, that would have been a disaster!

It is decided that she will go to a school for mages to learn how to use her magic. While there, we have some other Harry Potter-ish moments with a kind headmaster, a friend, and then the evil family who are out to aid their uncle in helping Aurora's evil aunt rule all of the lands. However, no one at the school, other than the headmaster and a professor know Aurora's true identity. It's for her safety that no one knows. Also, it's for her safety that no one knows that she possesses two types of magic: mage and fae. It's a combination she inherited from her parents, the kind and queen of Avalonia, who were murdered many years ago.

I loved the friends that Aurora made along the way. Her roommate at school, who helped her and truly liked her. Kalen, one of the fae who enjoyed his adventures and telling stories to Aurora. Then, there's the Black Wolf, AKA Rafe. Boy, oh, boy! Did I love Rafe! I was feeling the frustration right along with Aurora through the story. Haha! Rafe is a wanted man, who helps save fae. He has some interesting secrets that are revealed later in this book. It makes so much sense!

I truly did enjoy reading Farah's debut story and fell in love with her story-telling. I will have a copy of this book on my shelf and I look forward to the next installment. Very much!
I enjoyed Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles immensely! I can't wait for Book 2 and more adventures for Aurora and the crew!
For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai.

Farah's first novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles will be published worldwide August 15th, 2015.

Follow The Tour:
August 14th – Reads All The Books – Review
August 15th – Dizneeee's World of Books – Review / Guest Post
August 15th – Melissa Martin's Reading List – Review / Top 5/10 Post
August 17th – Ya Fiction Queen – Guest Post
August 17th – Christine Abee – Review
August 18th – Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between – Interview
August 18th – EndlessReading – Review
August 19th – Motif by Tanya – Author Interview
August 19th – Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review / Guest Post
August 20th – Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review / Guest Post
August 21st – Book Addict – Guest Post / Author Interview
August 21st – Author of The Not So Public Library – Review / Interview
August 24th – Miranda's Book Blog – Review / Guest Post
August 25th – BookishFever – Review
August 26th – The Reader and the Chef – Review / Top 5 or 10
August 27th – The Power of Three Readers – Promo
August 27th – Ashley Martinez – Review
August 28th – Bookish – Review
August 31st – The Renegade Zombie Reviews – Review / Author Interview
September 1st – Beauty's Library – Review / Guest Post
September 2nd – Pixie Vixen Reviews – Character Interview
September 3rd – Creatyvebooks – Review / Author Interview
September 4th –
September 7th – serenastone – Author Interview
September 8th –
September 9th – Read with Royella – Review
September 10th – Reading with AngelaRenea – Review / Author Interview
September 11th – Atomic Pirate Girl's Book Worm Booty – Review
September 11th – Triple T Tots tweens and teens – Review / Teasers
September 14th – Anything but Vanilla Book Blog – Playlist
September 14th – Rockin' Book Reviews – Review
**Giveaway consists of a Kindle Fire HD 7 and a Firedrake Prize Pack.

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Firedrake Facebook Party:
Don't miss the 2-day Facebook Party to celebrate the release of THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES, featuring several guest authors, lots of prizes and even a few secrets.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1005203076178206/

August 14th and August 15th 10am - 8pm Eastern Time.

Event Hosted by:







Goodreads Book Giveaway



The Last of the Firedrakes 

by Farah Oomerbhoy




The Last of the Firedrakes



by Farah Oomerbhoy




Giveaway ends August 15, 2015.




See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.






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Review: Rome in Love

Rome in Love
By Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: August 4, 2015
Copy received from publisher for an honest review. 

Goodreads Summary
From the author of LAKE COMO comes the story of a young actress who lands the lead in a film that is shooting in Rome, bringing about difficult life choices, new friendships, and a chance at love.

When Amelia Tate is cast to play the Audrey Hepburn role in a remake of Roman Holiday, she feels as if all her dreams have come true. She has a handsome boyfriend, is portraying her idol in a major motion picture, and gets to live in beautiful Rome for the next two months.

Once there, she befriends a young woman named Sophie with whom she begins to explore the city. Together, they discover all the amazing riches that Rome has to offer. But when Amelia’s boyfriend breaks up with her over her acting career, her perfect world begins to crumble.

While moping in her hotel suite, Amelia discovers a stack of letters written by Audrey Hepburn that start to put her own life into perspective. Then, she meets Philip, a handsome journalist who is under the impression that she is a hotel maid, and it appears as if things are finally looking up. The problem is she can never find the right time to tell Philip her true identity. Not to mention that Philip has a few secrets of his own. Can Amelia finally have both the career and love that she’s always wanted, or will she be forced to choose again?

With her sensory descriptions of the beautiful sites, decadent food, and high fashion of Rome, Hughes draws readers into this fast-paced and superbly written novel. Rome in Love will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.
  
 
Amelia is a rising Hollywood starlet. She's is in Rome to film a remake of one of the best movies of all time: Roman Holiday.

At the beginning of the story, we meet Amelia. She snuck out of a party in a maid's outfit from the hotel where she is a guest. While out and roaming the streets, she discovers that she's quite tipsy from the party and has no purse or money with her. She meets Philip, a man who saved her from the rain, and shares a taxi with her.

The next morning, we meet a mysterious girl. She gets injured and Amelia goes along with her to the doctor to make sure she's okay.

After meeting these two people, Amelia's world becomes topsy-turvy! She finds a true friend in the mysterious Sophie and finds romance with Philip, the reporter who pretends to not know who Amelia is and why she's in Rome.

One day, while in her suite at the hotel, Amelia discovers letters taped to the inside of a desk. When she begins to read them, she realizes they're letters written by Audrey Hepburn! Through the letters, we find many parallels between Amelia and Audrey Hepburn. They were both beautiful ladies who were engaged to somewhat pushy and bossy men. Each of them ended their relationships while in Rome, while filming. Both women found strength and freedom.

Rome is magical! I need to go to Rome! 

I absolutely love stories that are so detailed with the setting that I feel as if I'm IN the story. While reading Rome in Love, I could picture myself sitting at a cafe near a beautiful fountain, enjoying a plate full of pasta with a glass of wine.

I also love stories with happy endings. I especially love when it's a happy ending because the women in the story do what they want to do -- without regret.

The question posed in the summary, "Can Amelia and Sophie finally have both the life and love they've always wanted -- or will they be forced to choose?" will definitely be at the forefront of your mind as you enjoy the ride through this lovely story to find out their fates.
If you enjoy stories about strong-willed women finding love while in romantic, foreign cities, this book will be a great read for you!
If you've read Love, Lucy by April Lindner, you will definitely love Rome in Love!

Review: Thrones and Bones: Nightborn

Nightborn (Thrones & Bones #2)
By Lou Anders
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Crown
Published: July 14, 2015
Copy received from publisher for an honest review. 

Goodreads Summary
From the author of Frostborn comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull.

Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.

Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.

Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?

The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit ThronesandBones.com for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!
This review has spoilers in it from book 1 if you have not read it. I want you to be aware!
Ahhh, back to the complicated lives of Karn and Thianna! I love it!

From Book 1, Frostborn, we met our duo. We had a backstabbing uncle who tried to kill Karn so he could inherit the family farm. He was taken care of by Helltoppr and Karn and his family were okay in the end.

We had Thianna, who is a half giant/half human who had women tracking her after she blew a horn that was her mother's.

Because of that horn, Karn and Thianna were running for their lives and ran into a dragon, Orm. The dragon and other creatures of the same type, we found out, were controlled with the horn. The goal of the women who were hunting Thianna in the first book was to get the horn so they could still control the creatures. The creatures, however, wanted the horn destroyed. That was done!

Come to Book 2, Nightborn, we found out there's a second horn. Yowzas! The dragon, Orm, sent Thianna on a quest to find and destroy the horn. Karn was also recruited after Thianna went missing.

As Karn went on his long journey to find his friend, he found more riddles and a new "friend." The new friend, Desstra, was a dark elf that we met in the beginning of Nightborn (hence the title). She had disguised herself as a wood elf to fit into the city they were in. He thought she was a friend trying to help him find Thianna, but she was part of a group of dark elves trying to find the second horn.

Thianna and Karn were eventually reunited. She had been held captive by the group of dark elves. The pair were together, but left by the dark elves to be killed. Of course, they escaped! They're an awesome duo!

All through their quest to find the horn, they met more people and challenging situations. Their friendship was the top priority. Karn looked for Thianna and didn't hesitate because she was his friend.

This book ended with the pair having a third person with them...Desstra! She didn't believe that she had to kill, hurt, or trick people like the other dark elves. She decided to stay with Karn and Thianna. And, they let her stay with them.

The adventures and events (chariot fighting, y'all!!!) were amazingly described and I could see the images clearly in my head. This book was definitely a movie for my brain. Lou Anders is a great fantasy storyteller!

I am still thoroughly enjoying this series and I cannot wait for the next book! Again, if you enjoy middle grade, fantasy, adventure, or friendship, this is a book and series for you.
Karn and Thianna are sticking with the 4 Mickeys from me! Their adventures and the story were great!

Review: Thrones & Bones: Frostborn

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1)
By Lou Anders
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Crown
Published: August 5, 2014
Copy received from publisher for an honest review. 

Goodreads Summary
Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.
 
It has been a while since I've read and reviewed a book. I am glad this opportunity presented itself because I honestly enjoyed Frostborn. The story definitely took me back a few years to when I used to play an online RPG. My heart smiled and my memories came rushing back. 

In Frostborn, Lou Anders created a fictional world with a bit of mythology and fantasy figures. Think Lord of the Rings, but for a younger crowd.

Our story begins with a typical boy who has no desire to take over his family's farm. He would much rather be a kid and play his favorite game, Thrones and Bones. Each year, Karn's family travels to meet and trade with the frost giants. This year, Karn meets Thianna, a half-giant (half human, half giant). Since they're the only 2 "kids", they decide to hang out.

While they're playing and talking, they develop kind of a friendship. I loved that Thianna took pride and was happy each time Karn called her big or tall. Since she was a half-giant, she wasn't near as tall as the giants and was often made fun of by some of the younger giants.

When we get to the mystery involving a spirit and Karn's [evil] uncle, something bad happens. Karn is then on the run!

When the giants get back to their home, there is a group of women hunting for Thianna. She, also, is then on the run!

The two of them, fortunately, end up together while they're running and hiding.

Once together, the two manage to get into trouble and run into creatures that no one wants to run into. However, since they were together, they were able to survive. If not together, they wouldn't have made it individually. Thianna had some frost magic and brute force, whereas Karn had brains and thinking skills.

I really enjoyed that the two of them really relied on one another. They built a fantastic friendship, even though they were running for their lives. I was turning pages so quickly because I was so worried (and excited) as to what was going to come at them next. Karn and Thianna formed an everlasting and strong connection.

If you are a fan of middle grade, RPGs, fantasy, LotR, or even The Lion King, you will enjoy Frostborn! Yes, The Lion King! There were so many parallels that it made my little Disney heart pitter-patter!

 
Frostborn gets a solid 4 Mickeys from me. It was an adventurous and entertaining read.
Praise for Thrones and Bones: Frostborn:
“Future fans of Tolkien and George R. R. Martin can happily cut their serial-fantasy teeth on this first book of an eventual series.” —Kirkus Reviews 
“A fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable tale.” —Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Abhorsen trilogy
“A powerful, fast-paced tale. . . . The setting is rich, the characters well-defined, and the danger ever-paramount.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“An excellent choice for readers new to the genre. The themes of staying true to oneself, teamwork, and individuality will resonate with readers.” —School Library Journal
“The most delightful fantasy I have read in ages. . . . Put me on the waiting list for book 2!” —Amy Plum, international bestselling author of the Die For Me series

Spelled: Spotlight (w/ Giveaway!)

Spelled
By Betsy Schow
Sourcebooks Fire
June 2, 2015

Advance Praise for Spelled
“A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” --Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” --J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

“A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, "Spelled" is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

Book Info:
Talk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.


Betsy Schow:
Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.


Excerpt from Spelled:
Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.

Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.

Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”

The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.

I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”

“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.

In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”

Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.

I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.

Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.

After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.

Until he opened his mouth again.

“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”

Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.

And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.

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