Nils: The Tree of Life by Jérôme Hamon
Publication: February 11th, 2020
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Source: Review copy from NetGalley – Thank You
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A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause.
Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them.
From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation.
This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power…
Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city.
Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…
As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague.
He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise…
Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement.
More sinister than that, however, is the fact that they’ve used the Ethernum as a means of near-eternal longevity, having wiped out all competitors to their power and resource long ago. And now, they believe they have unlocked the secrets for using the Ethernum to revive the dead…
And for the goddesses, that is a step too far. They intervene, but in the process find one of themselves surprisingly captured by the Cyan royalty… and then killed.
The remaining two goddesses are torn by this affront. One vows to wipe mankind off the planet for good, while the other goes to help Nils save the Life Tree.
High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.
After an extremely detailed synopsis like that I’m not sure what’s left to say. The only part of the story the synopsis doesn’t delve into is the ending and the outcome of Nil’s journey – and I’m not going to spoil that, so I’ll talk about how the story made me feel.
The darker cover art with the wolves and tree in the background drew me in when I saw it in the Diamonds email catalog. It made me want to know more and head to Netgalley so I could read the graphic novel.
The dark and rather ominous art keeps up for a large part of the story. I found the art to be deeply emotive. The story, although on some other world in some other time, really captures the way the wealthy and the greedy are striping this world bare for their own gain, with no care as to the irreversible damage they are doing.
The highlight of the story for me was the forest dwelling tribe ruled by women of color, who were living in harmony with nature – I wish they could have had a larger part in saving the day. But Nil’s goes off trying to try save nature and put right what the damage the ruling old white asshats of CYAN have brought upon the world. All this hit home for me living in a country which is run by a bunch a useless greedy men, who refuse to seek guidance from the traditional owners of the land even as it all burns to the ground around them – that’s Strailya for ya mate! Maybe I’m putting too much of my own feelings into this read. But as I read this book, my state of NSW, and most of the east coast, was burning to the ground.
I wasn’t keen on the books ending. It didn’t give me the closure and hope I was needing/hoping for, but again maybe I’m putting too much of my own feelings into it.
I’m not sure what else I can say. This was a read I’ve struggled for over a week, closer to two, to write a review for. The art was beautiful though and I think would be best appreciated in printed form rather than an eComic.
Today I gave a little guest post and Promo for you from Author Jamie Deacon. I read and reviewed Jamie’s novella Defensive Play from her Boys on the Brink series at the start of 2019 and loved it! Now I’ll hand the post over.
Thank you so much for allowing me to stop by today to share a little about my new Boys on the Brink short story, available FREE AND EXCLUSIVE to everyone who signs up to my newsletter! Off Course is a sweet YA LGBT+ romance centred on Jason and Taz, rivals on their county cross country team, and can be downloaded by subscribing here.
I hope you have as much fun reading my story as I had writing it, and I look forward to welcoming you to my quarterly newsletter, where I share reading recommendations, updates on my writing, and anything else I think might be of interest to my readers, including the occasional cute dog photo!
Available free and exclusive to newsletter subscribers.
He should never have gone running that afternoon—not with the roads so treacherous, and certainly not without checking his phone was charged. Then again, if there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Jason Connor is famous for, besides being the star of his cross country team, it’s his impulsiveness. So, when an injured ankle leaves him stranded in the woods with no means of calling for aid, it isn’t the first time a rash decision has led him into trouble.
As dusk approaches, Jason believes his situation can’t get any worse…until rescue arrives in the form of Tarek Bahrani—beautiful, infuriating, and the very last person Jason would choose to find him sprawled in the mud. The two have been enemies since clashing at the Brookshire County Championships, but while Taz is a constant reminder of Jason’s biggest mistake, he might just be the only one who can help him put things right.
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My head snaps up and I strain my ears to listen. Footsteps. Not the hurried, uneven footsteps of someone fleeing a pursuer, but the measured pace of a serious jogger. My heart high-jumps into my throat, then drops in an ungainly tumble to my stomach. God, not him. Please let it be anyone else but him.
Even as the prayer forms in my mind, I know it’s hopeless. I grind my teeth, frustrated at my own impotence, and watch for the figure to come into view. There’s only one person around here dedicated enough to be out running with the clouds about to burst, and it also happens to be the last person in the world I’d choose to find me on my backside in the mud.
Catching sight of me, he slows to a halt a few paces away. He brushes the dark curls off his sweaty forehead and raises an eyebrow. “Jason Connor. Fancy meeting you here.”
I glare up at him, summoning all the venom I can muster whilst in a crumpled heap on the ground. Christ, of all the residents of Oakmere who might have stumbled across me, why did it have to be him? Tarek Bloody Bahrani. Beautiful, infuriating Taz. My nemesis. The one boy who has seen me at my worst.
Born in 1982, Jamie Deacon lives close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and is a full-time author of young adult fiction featuring characters across the gender and sexuality spectrums. When not writing, Jamie loves to read, play board games, and solve cryptic crosswords.
Jamie’s debut novel, Caught Inside, was published by Beaten Track in 2016 to much acclaim, including two Rainbow Awards. It was also nominated for a Lambda Literary (Lammy) Award, a Bisexual Book Award, and a Next Generation Indie Book Award.
If you’re interested in reading my review of Jamie’s novella Defensive Play that I mentioned before, click HERE.
It was a warm and fuzzy five star read for me.
Ghost Revelations (Ghost Dud #1) by Aspen Black
Genre: Reverse Harem, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Publication: October 25, 2019
Print Length: 181 pages
Source: Review copy via Silver Dagger Tours
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I was always told growing up in my family, surrounded by magic, that I was a dud. I had no power except the ability to talk to ghosts. It never bothered me because I enjoyed my job as a bartender at my Uncle’s bar that caters to the supernatural community. I spend my nights working and getting to flirt with my crush.
Then one night, my life turned upside down. Someone was murdered right around the corner and suddenly a hot wizard detective with a perfect bubble butt from MEPA, The Magical Entity Protection Agency, swooped in and asked for my help with the victims’ ghosts. Working with the detective soon leads to a race to stop a killer who is bent on exposing the supernatural community to humans with more deaths.
Join Victoria on her journey as she works to stop an evil being with the help from her crush Akira the werewolf, Lucian the wizard, and her ex-boyfriend Shax.
This is a reverse harem medium to fast burn book or a why choose novel.
F/M/M/M. This does include M/M heavy elements.
**WARNING** Sex, sex and more sex! BUUUUUT the non sex stuff was damn good too!
Ghost Revelations it is an Erotic Paranormal Reverse Harem book, so I knew I was in for sex, but this one also boasted a lot of story around it. I think even if you skipped over the graphically depicted sex scenes there would still be enough of the find-the-killer who-done-it action and drama to keep you entertained.
The POV Victoria is easily likable. She grew up in the paranormal world feeling rather powerless and like a failure to her extremely powerful and magical family. Okay, take out the paranormal and that’s totally relate-able.
The sex in the story mainly focuses around a Polyamorous Trio of two males and one female, Victoria. I found that I really enjoyed the chemistry the trio had in and out of the bedroom. The two males’ personalities bounced off each other really well and they both cared for and believed in Victoria, giving her confidence and the push she needed to realise she was powerful and special, regardless of what she grew up hearing her mother say.
Obviously, Victoria gets to use her powers to help catch the baddie, she gets to kick some butt and they get the killer. But I’m not going to go into that in detail – no spoilers here.
Maybe skip this one if you aren’t into graphic depictions of sex. But if your game, give it ago. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
About the Author: Aspen Black is often described as kooky by her friends. She writes the stories that have floated continuously in her imagination since she was a child. She’s a lemonade addict that really shouldn’t be allowed near lemons.
Being an introvert, she spends most of her time writing and reading her favorite books.
Please join her on her facebook and twitter feeds for up to date information on current and in-progress books.
She is a lover of all animals, having a small zoo at home.
Author Links: Facebook * Facebook Readers Group * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Giveaway: Google Home Mini, $10 Amazon, $5 Amazon – 1 winner each!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
The Cursed Key (The Cursed Key Trilogy #1) by Miranda Brock & Rebecca Hamilton
Published by: Evershade Publishing
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Another team beat free-spirited archaeologist Olivia Perez to the dig of a lifetime, and now she’s left with the choice to wait for scraps or brave a dangerous, dusty tomb in hopes of finding other priceless artifacts. Her reward? A mysterious key she has no idea is cursed. Soon, Olivia realizes she’s brought home more than just an ancient rarity.
Malevolent visions begin to plague her. Unnerved by what they reveal, she casts away the key…unknowingly placing it into the waiting hands of a dark mage bent on destruction. Only when a shifter agent from the Paranormal Intelligence and Tracking Organization arrives searching for the key does Olivia realize what a huge mistake she’s made.
Forced to team up with the ill-tempered shifter, her journey to reclaim the cursed key leads down a twisting path of dark histories, dangerous magic, and deadly obstacles. But Olivia’s efforts to take back the ancient relic before the dark mage can destroy the lives of humans, shifters, witches, and fae alike are thwarted by her own dark past…and a price steeper than what she’s willing to pay.
With a synopsis like that how could I not sign up for this tour! I read the opening sentence “I had come to a dangerous place, eagerly and with abandon fully latched to my soul.” And I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
We meet the POV character, Archaeologist Olivia Perez, as she arrives at her next big dig site. Olivia came across as an adventurous and intelligent woman. Although we are never told her age, to me she felt like late twenties to early thirties in age – Mature and confident in herself, but still a ways off from middle age.
Olivia gets more than she bargained for when an artifact she retrieves unlocks dormant magic inside her and fills her mind with horrific and déjà-vu-feeling visions. Cue the appearance of a Jaguar Shifter named Kael and she knows she’s made a terrible mistake removing the artifact from its resting place.
The story has beautiful settings with lush descriptions. It takes us from the jungles of the Amazon to the hills of Scotland and more.
This book is listed as a romance, but the romance was minimal and didn’t overshadow the action and adventure. The Cursed Key was action packed, fast passed and one of the cleanest paranormal romances I’ve ever read (and I mean that as a positive). But I expect the romance to grow in the next book of the trilogy and become a bigger part of the overall story.
All in all, The Cursed Key is a great first book. I found it exciting and entertaining and am looking forward to seeing where the next book will take Olivia and Kael.
New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Harlequin, Baste Lübbe, and Evershade. A book addict, registered bone marrow donor, and indian food enthusiast, she often takes to fictional worlds to see what perilous situations her characters will find themselves in next.
Represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, Rebecca has been published internationally, in three languages: English, German, and Hungarian.
From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them. (Although, if you happen to see a dragon flying around, do tell her.) Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods, playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered. Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.
The man yanked Harley up from her seat, still keeping the gun on her, and pulled her across the hall, kicking open the door where Caelum was being held.
He was being held still by two men, while the one woman held a silver blade to his throat. The third man had a gun pulled on him from the corner of the room. His wrists were bright red, as was the area of his neck where the blade touched. The silver was burning him. They had figured out he was a shapeshifter.
“What are you waiting for? Kill him!” the man holding her commanded.
Everything after seemed to happen in slow motion. The woman dug the tip of the blade into his throat and moved it downward, obviously to stab his heart and kill him. Caelum gasped and closed his eyes, absolutely helpless. He looked ready to swoon from the pain.
Harley’s body began to tingle from head to toe as her magic blossomed within her, hot and angry and ready to strike as though it was a living thing.
The man holding her let go abruptly, as her magic burnt him, eyes wide as he stared at her.
She paid him no mind, however. Her eyes, and her heart, were on Caelum.
“No!” she cried, and at her word, as though it was a command, her magic seemed to break free, uncontrolled and harsh. The cuffs holding her snapped apart and fell to the ground with multiple clinks while her green magic flew out, attacking every single human in the room. As if it were a wave, it dispersed, knocking all six humans into the walls. Now not held up by anyone, Caelum fell in a heap to the ground, blood slowly dripping from his wounds.
No longer shaking and filled with brimming magic, Harley rushed forward, not checking on a single human. She kicked the knife out of the way and felt for a pulse on Caelum. It was there, they hadn’t reached his heart yet when her magic had stopped them.
“Caelum,” she whispered, feeling her hand tremble as she held her palm over his wounds. “Plaga reparo,” she cast over and over, until he was no longer leaking blood. Without saying a word, her magic went out on its own once more and shattered the handcuffs so that he was no longer burning. Gingerly, she took his hands in hers and healed the round burn marks on his wrists.
People clattered behind her and she leapt up, ready to defend them both if need be. But to her surprise, she saw Director Mancini and three other agents from the PID. Judging by the Dark energy, two of those agents were vampires.
“What happened here?” Mancini asked, looking around.
“We found the hunters’ lair,” Harley replied. “I will fill you in later; Caelum needs help. He fainted as they were trying to stab him with a silver blade.”
Mancini went down by Caelum and said, “I believe he’s simply unconscious now, but we will take him back to the PID and get a Medic to look at him. Are you all right?”
“Yes, sir,” Harley said.
“How the Hell did you knock them all out?” one of the other agents asked, nudging one of the hunters with her boot.
“I–” She wasn’t sure what to say. To admit that she didn’t have full control of her magic to the paranormal police was a bad idea.
“Never mind. Are they all alive?” Mancini asked.
“Not this one.” The other vampire agent pointed to the woman who had held the knife to Caelum’s throat. “Her skull’s been shattered.”
Where has this year gone!! I read a lot of good books this year, partook in lots of book tours, both as a participant and helping run them with the #AusYABloggers. But I also had a lot of moments where I just wanted to give up on this review blog gig. My reading goals for next year, in an attempt to make my way out of this funk and save myself from burn out, is to read less review copies and focus on the books that I’ve purchased over the years because I wanted to read them and then never got the time to.
I accomplished some of the things I had intended to in 2019, but there were three major things I never got to. 1) Lose weight. I’m currently on prescribed pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds and anti-depressants, all as a way to try and help me live with my Arthritis. I would like to get down to as low of a weight as is healthy for my height-age ratio, to try and help ease the strain on my joints. But lets be real, I’ve been trying to lose weight my entire life. So don’t hold your breath for me. 2) Creating a back catalog of my reviews. Currently if you go into the review catalog of this blog I only have this years listed – argh so many old reviews to go through. 3) I never got around to re-editing and submitting a manuscript I had been working on in previous years. So those are my first priority (after my kids and the Camp Quality FunX4) for me in 2020. I will be helping to run (and take part in) two reading challenges, which I believe will help me accomplish my reading goals for next year.
Reading Challenge One: If you are after a easy, fun, social and super chill reading challenge for next year, then take a look at the #AusYABloggers 2020 Reading Challenge There are prizes up for grabs and you only have to read a book a month, that fits that months theme to qualify.
The themes are:
January – New Beginnings
February – Fun in the sun
March – Lost and Found
April – Spookalicious
May – After Dark
June – Coming Out
July – Indigenous Voices
August – Tropes-ahoy
September – Awesome Anthologies
October – Mental Health
November – Glorious Graphics
December – Happy Holidays
Find out more HERE
Reading Challenge Two: If you want to slash your TBR and are an Instagram user then #TBRtrim20 could be for you. This one also has prizes up for grabs and you can totally do both challenges at the same time, I will be! Even doing both you are only committing yourself to reading a minimum of three books a month – obviously you can read MORE if you are able/want to.
I’m really not sure how to wrap this post up – I hope you all have a fantastic festive season and happy new year. I’ve still got one or two more reviews to put up before the 31st. This isn’t suppose to be goodbye from me for the year (hehehe we’ll see). I’m just doing this post now, in case I get too busy with the silly season to do it later.
XOXO Sarah 🙂