Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Masked Blog Tour

by J.D. Wright
Genre: Upper YA Paranormal/Superheroes
Release Date: August 15th 2017
Limitless Publishing

Vada’s To-Do List:

- Turn 18 (check!)
- Register super name
- Order supersuit
- Attend superhero indoctrination
- Graduate high school
- Start kicking criminal tail

Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.

Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?

Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.

No one ever said that being a superhero was easy…

About the Author
J.D. Wright is a military wife, mother of four, and author of paranormal and fantasy romance books filled with strong-willed heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and sprinkled with humor and adventure. J.D. creates artistry in many ways, as a baker and cake artist by day and author by night. You can usually find her typing away at the computer or covered in frosting.

Since discovering she has a knack for writing, J.D. has so far written and self-published eight books of the Everealm and Songs of Everealm Series and is now venturing into the world of paranormal with her new superhero-themed series. She is an avid reader and lover of all things romance so she always includes a good love story in her paranormal and fantasy novels.

Author Links:

I loved JD Wright's Everealm series, so I couldn't wait to get started with her new one. I'm not as big a fan of urban/contemporary as I am traditional fantasy, but ... come on, it's JD Wright, so I was pretty sure I was going to love her new series too. It's obvious from page one how much the author loved writing this. No wallowing in misery or making the characters suffer. It's light hearted and so much fun to read, which is one of the things I love so much about her books.

JD Wright's writing has developed since Everealm (no criticism - I loved Everealm), and Masked is very well written. The world building is nicely done, with details about supers and how they fit into society (think The Incredibles!) woven discreetly through the story rather than presented as infodumps. As always, there's plenty of girl power on display from the super-powered ladies too!

I was pleasantly surprised that there was no insta-love between Vada and her high school's resident hot guy, Nick. Even better, there was no actual relationship between them (I get the feeling JD Wright is saving that for book two!) or cases where he rode in on a white horse to save her. The constant bickering between their alter egos, Magestic and Orion, felt a bit forced after a while, and I did have to wonder how this pair didn't work out each others superhero identities given how much times they spent together in and out of costumes. A mask over your eyes just doesn't seem enough to conceal your identity!

The supporting characters were great across the board, with Vada's tech support James standing out. Theirs was a refreshing male-female relationship without a hint of flirting or sexual tensions. You wouldn't believe it from many books/movies/tv shows etc, but this does happen in real life! As well as keeping her safe, James is all about setting Vada up on her missions and making sure her supersuit is as fabulous as it is functional.

One notable exception to the great supporting characters for me though was Vada's best friend Henley. Simple put: Henley is an idiot. Aside from being as dumb as a box of rocks, she's rude to and dismissive of Vada, her supposed best friend, and things don't get much better once she becomes a super. She takes a drug from local dealer Victor without knowing what it is, then does the same thing again later with his father Marticus after he calls her weak with the line; "I'm not weak. I will take your drug." *facepalm* That type of reverse psychology wouldn't work on my six year old niece. Henley's newly-acquired superpower of persuasion works on some and not others as plot requires, but using it to score free purses at the mall seems less than supervillain behaviour. There always seems to be one character in the pack that rubs me up the wrong way, and in this series, it's Henley! The conflict for Vada of having to fight her best friends is deliciously intriguing, but I'd like to have seen more of this. There's so much that could be done with this plot thread in the next book!

Character issue aside though, Masked is a great start to a new series. It sets the groundwork nicely for future books, and wraps up this story nicely while still leaving plenty of places for future stories to go. If Masked reminded me of The Incredibles, I think Masked #2 will be more Monsters University!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Tiger's Watch Blog Tour

The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
by Julia Ember
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

About the author

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger's Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger's Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

Author Q&A

1) What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?

A few people have said that my style is very poetic/lyrical! I’m not sure if I can believe this is true … but it was definitely nice of them to say!

2) Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that impact your writing?

This is an interesting question. At the moment, I feel like I do full-time hours as a writer, while having a full-time job. I’ve had a lot going on in 2017, especially this summer! Between working on the sequel for The Seafarer’s Kiss (my May release), launching The Tiger’s Watch, traveling to the US for the launch of TSK in May … a lot has been happening in a very condensed period of time.

I do have a full-time job working in the book industry. I’m a Sales and Marketing Manager for an Edinburgh based distributor. It’s my job to convince non-traditional sellers to buy books! I work mostly with gift shops and heritage sites like castles.

I am trying to be more balanced with how I write! I’ve learned this year that as long as I work full-time, I probably need to become a one book a year author. And that’s okay! Sometimes learning your own limits and balance takes time.

3) Describe your perfect weekend.

I’m a pretty stereotypical Taurus – I love comfort and food. Luckily, my partner also likes these things so we do try to occasionally go for spa weekends. I live in Scotland, so it’s easy to visit the Highlands. There is nothing I love more than taking a relaxing swim, having a huge meal, then sitting by a fire overlooking the Scottish hills.

4) What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Tearing myself away from social media. No really! I have a terrible Twitter addiction, and if I don’t turn off my wireless, I really struggle to get into the writing headspace. It’s amazing how much more productive I can be if I turn off social media. I do okay with just Facebook, but Twitter is my weakness.

5) Name your four most important food groups.

Sweet Lemony Goodness – seriously, lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon flapjacks … if it’s sweet and has lemons in it, I am all in.

Ketchup – I grew up in the Midwest, if it’s got meat or cheese in it, it need ketchup.

Diet Coke – Not exactly a food, and I am trying REALLY HARD to cut back … but cutting back is going only okay for me and I am addicted.