Ultimate Blog Tour: Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes, by M.R. Noble

This time, I have the opportunity to kick off a Blog Tour organized by The Write Reads! The book in the spotlight is Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes. And the book follows …surprise surprise… Karolina Dalca!

Karolina Dalca is a 17-year-old half-vampire, forced to flee her home in Canada after she gets blamed for the murder of her mother. A murder she witnessed. Looking for answers from her deceased father’s family, Karolina goes to Russia with Andre, a vampire sent by her father’s family to retrieve her, and her childhood friend Roman. Will she find what she’s looking for?

The story itself gripped me and it was incredibly hard to put the book down. I finished 3/4 of the book in 1 day and I have no regrets. My boyfriend had to work anyway, so fortunately it wasn’t the end of the world for him ;). Karolina had the tendency to make rash and unwise decisions, so the book was never boring as her behaviour made the story action-packed and fast-paced.

What stands out in this book, is that it’s the second book I’ve read where the love triangle doesn’t bother me. There is some romance, but it doesn’t play a major role. There is no “Oh no! 2 amazing guys like me! This is the end of the world, who should I chooooose?!?!!?!?!?!” and that’s something I admire! I do feel like romance will play a bigger role in the sequel, but I don’t mind because I trust it will be well-executed by the author.

However, I struggled a bit with the writing style. It felt a little rushed and I would have loved more world-building and more elaborate descriptions of the environment and characters. It was something I had to get used to when I started Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes. I had to find a reading spot without any major distractions, because that was the only way I could follow the book.

Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes is a contemporary fantasy with a lot of potential, but it needs a bit grooming. The story itself is incredibly interesting, with a unique setting and a different kind of vampires than we’re used to, so it could definitely be a 4 or 4.5 star read with a few changes!

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Blindsided by an attack that destroys her home and blamed for murder, Karolina Dalca, a half-vampire, escapes, only to plunge into the magical societies from which she was sheltered.

Betrayed by those around her, she abandons her dreams of becoming an investigator and flees, trusting only herself. Her police internship would never prove more useful. Hoofing it through the wilderness, she makes it to her university dorm, disheveled but delightfully deflowered.

Enter a full vampire: one wielding dark magic and a ride out of Canada. A fugitive from the law, Karo complies with his demands to escape, unsure whether his requests are bewitched. She vows to clear her name and avenge her mother’s death, but Karo’s family secrets aren’t so easily left behind.

Buy Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes here!

Ultimate Blog Tour: Bad Habits, by Flynn Meaney

It’s time for another Blog Tour organized by The Write Reads! I had so much fun reading this book!

Bad Habits follows the proud feminist Alex, who feels completely trapped at her Catholic boarding school and is doing everything she can to finally. get. out. Unfortunately, her father has good connections at the school so Alex keeps getting pardoned. BUT Alex comes up with a perfect way to finally get expelled: a production of The Vagina Monologues.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. I’ve been reading many, many fantasy books the past few weeks, so I was glad to find out that that this book was a good refresher. The first chapter even made me laugh out loud! I had high expectations after that chapter!

As I was reading Bad Habits, my feelings about the book changed almost every chapter. Alex did some things that I definitely supported, but she made so many comments that did not fit feminists. I struggled with that for a big part in the book, and that made it harder for me to connect with her. However, Alex comes to a realization that being a feminist isn’t just about being casual about sex and the female body, but that the woman is free in her choices and that the society doesn’t have any expectations about what she does with her body. THAT character growth is what I looked for in this book. And Alex Flynn succeeded.

Bad Habits is written very well. The writing style fits YA, but the story and character development can definitely appeal to an older audience! I genuinely believe that this book will be a hit, but who am I. 😉 The book discusses important matters in a casual and fun way, and is a great conversation starter. I hope that many people will read this book and realize that what they do with their body, is their own choice. I highly recommend this book to people who are patient with character growth and also enjoy the journey towards it.

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Hilarious, bold, sparky and surprising, this is the funniest feminist book you’ll read all year.

Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.

Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .

Buy Bad Habits here!

Ultimate Blog Tour: White Trash Warlock

I FINALLY have time to actively start blogging again! And what better way is there to start again other than a Blog Tour?! That’s right, A Blog Tour is the best way to get back into blogging. The Featured book this time is White Trash Warlock, by David R. Slayton!

I’m going to start with the most frequently used introductory sentence in the history of reviewing and say: White Trash Warlock is an urban fantasy novel that follows Adam Lee Binder. Adam is able to see the Spirit World, a different realm. Unfortunately, Adam being different was reason enough for his brother Bobby to send him to a mental institution.

Years later, Adam is living in a trailer park with his aunt. After not having spoken to Bobby for years, Adam receives a text from him saying that Bobby needs his help with his wife. Bobby’s wife has been going crazy and he needs Adam to see what’s wrong with her and fix her. Adam caves and goes to Bobby, but when Adam finally arrives, he sees that the problem is much bigger than he first realized…

First of all, Adam is a well-written, complex character and I just want to hug him. Everything he feels and does is reasonable and so very human. He doesn’t have a ‘I’m the hero and I have to save the whole world on my own!’ vibe so many other protagonists have and I love it.

I’m not going to start about Bobby because he did not grow on me at all, not even during his POV’s. Can I just pretend he doesn’t exist? Is that possible?

AND OH MY GOD VIC YOU’RE AMAZING AND I COULD READ A WHOLE BOOK ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LIFE. Okay now that that’s out of the way, I can calmly say that I loved the romance in this book. I usually hate hate HATE insta love but this was very well written in my opinion.

The world had so many awesome fantasy aspects that it was never boring. I even laughed out loud at some points. The pace was quick and comfortable

Even though there were many things I like, especially the fact that I have strong feelings about almost every character in this book (both good and bad), there was one thing that bothered me. The book was a little confusing at some points. I’m not sure if it was me or the writing style, but I feel like some things happened quite randomly. That made the story harder to follow and caused that I wasn’t completely sucked into the book. Unfortunately that’s one of the most important things for me when rating a book.

White Trash Warlock is a witty, pleasantly-paced urban fantasy. Even though the randomness made it hard to follow at some points, the book was never boring! You should definitely read this book if you enjoy an awesome protagonist!

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.

It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings … including his first love.

Get White Trash Warlock here!

Ultimate Blog Tour: Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari Peters is a 13-year-old girl that has never quite fit in with other kids due to her background. When her older brother Quinton goes missing, Amari feels like she has lost her only friend. A few months after his disappearance, Amari finds a briefcase meant for her eyes only. The briefcase contains a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, and instructions for her interview. If Amari manages to pass all tests, she will be promoted to a Junior Agent and have the chance to find out what happened to her brother, who apparently was a celebrity at the Bureau. Will she manage?

The book is excellent for both kids and adults. Amari is a strong character and could be a great example for other kids. She’s incredibly resilient and loyal to her friends and family. The friendships Amari builds are based on trust and understanding for each other. Elsie is Amari’s roommate and becomes a loyal friend. More importantly, she’s a weredragon! Dylan van Helsing is a legacy kid and an unexpected friend, who shares a secret with Amari.

The story is set in our world, but filled with other creatures. Regular people don’t know of their existence, even though the creatures live among them. The Bureau of Supernatural Affairs deals with, well, supernatural affairs. The Bureau contains several departments, for example the Department of Supernatural Investigations, the Department of Creature control and many, many more.

Of course, a contemporary fantasy isn’t that unique. However, the way the fantasy world works in Amari and the Night Brothers is. For example, the yetis are incredibly rich because they own a popular ice-cooling company. I don’t know how anyone can think of something like that but I love those tiny details.

The book is plot-driven and quick-paced. I flew through it! It was hard to put down because of all the twists that occurred. I’ll be honest, people can see the twists miles away (even though I didn’t expect quite a few!), but despite seeing the twists coming, I enjoyed them!

Amari and the Night Brothers is an excellent read for both middle grade and young adult readers. I highly recommend it. The story is filled with action and feels incredibly real as you get sucked into the story. I personally can’t wait for the sequel. The release of Amari and the Night Brothers is a great way to start off 2021!

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Get Amari and the Night Brothers here!

Review: Subversive, by Colleen Cowley

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This did not affect my review.

So I actually wrote my review for the sequel, Radical, before I started writing this one because I completely forgot it! Mistakes have been made, but fortunately they can be fixed! It’s been a while since I read Subversive though, but my opinion of the book and the series as a whole stayed the same. 😉

In a world where women barely have any rights at all, and wizards control the country in a highly unfair way, Beatrix Harper is a subtle force to be reckoned with in the small town Ellicott Mills. While working in a shop to pay for her sister’s tuition, Beatrix encounters wizard Peter Blackwell who returned home after many years away. And Beatrix’ well known stance against wizards and magic did not prevent Peter from forcing her to become his assistant. What were is intentions and how will this end?

This magical world is one of the most unique worlds I have ever seen. It reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale, with present-day technology but a government that’s way behind on people’s rights. The magic system is believable as well, with wizards requiring fuel to use magic. I can’t actually really place this book in a genre! It’s more of an alternative world that definitely could have been real if the magic system existed in our world.

The book consists out of 2 POV’s: Beatrix’ and Peter’s. This made the dynamics between the two so much more interesting! Both their POV’s were crucial to the plot and gave more insight in the characters and their motives.

One of the things I love the most in this book is that THE CHARACTERS DISCUSS THINGS. Instead of the usual fade to black technique that is used when characters make plans, we finally see the discussions and their outcomes! I’m guessing not everybody is a fan of that, so be warned because the book might come across much slower if you don’t like those parts.

And then we come to the romance… I’M NOT OVER THIS. Okay this is all I’ll be saying to avoid spoilers: the romance is unlike any other I’ve read and so is the tension between them. The way you interpret what I said is up to you 😉

I highly recommend starting this series. Subversive is an incredible fantasy book with a strong, feminist protagonist. The dynamics are complex and better executed than I’ve seen in many bestselling books.