Saturday, 17 February 2018

Fire and Ice by Michele Barrow-Belisle - Review

Fire and Ice
Faerie Song Saga Book 1
By:  Michele Barrow-Belisle
Publish Date:  November 24, 2013
Published By:  Clean Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, YA/Adult, Occult, Fantasy
Pages:  467 Kindle Edition
Source:  Author

Adventure wasn’t something Lorelei Alundra was interested in. Gifted with two other-worldly talents for singing and healing, she’s always shied away from her gifts and the spotlight, preferring quiet anonymity over attention and fame. But when she meets the enigmatic Adrius, with his dark and dangerous mystique and eyes that could see into her soul, her uneventful life becomes irrevocably altered.

Adrius turns up in every one of her classes and knows more about her than any newcomer should, including the condition of her mother who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying and thrilling world where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries.... are nothing like Tinkerbell. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites; one Lorelei can’t help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with

Now she’s trapped, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother’s life. Nothing is what it seems. Not her family. Not the Fey. Not even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between desire and danger. Despite her better judgment, she can’t say away from him.

As secrets unravel and unsettling truths are revealed, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother’s life. One mistake could put the fate of his world, and her soul in jeopardy.

But hey, no pressure… right.
I’m thrilled to be reviewing Michele Barrow-Belisle’s first in series of her Faerie Song trilogy, Fire and Ice, as I’m a big fan of fantasy books in different genres and have been wanting to read her series so welcome to my blog and read on!

Our protagonist, Lorelei, is a student and behind the scenes empathic healer and wannabe singer in little Drearyton Cove. She’s got quirky/nervous habits of coping with big stress (singing before a live audience) but is something of a philosopher about life in that she notices small details about peoples’ behaviour so we get a bit of inner monologue with sass that gets us into her mind right away.

Author Michele Barrow-Belisle effortlessly brings intriguing, magical elven prince Adrius into Lorelei’s every-day world, and then smoothly transitions all of us to Adrius’ world, Mythlandria in a great, seamless change-over scene.

The amazing appeal of this novel is how the world of Mythlandria, the elven world, is painted. The writer treats us with exotic and fantastic descriptions of her faery world that will fire your imagination and bring you to a very delicious other place. Some descriptions of the elven and their world make me think of Asian anime fantasy/romances mixed in with Disney-esque touches (the author does borrow from established fantasy movies/books). At the same time Mythlandria is incredibly dangerous and Lorelei treads fearlessly into dangers untold.

But, Lorelei is waaay impulsive in the actions she takes when confronted with new situations. She makes snap decisions about important things that lead her into real trouble. I want to be on her side but at the same time am saying, girl, you should have thought about that a bit more, being in a strange, magical land and all! No amount of sass is going to save you from that kind of disaster. This should be a fast learn for a sassy heroine but isn’t with Lorelei. That said, Lorelei’s impulsive choices lead her into fantastic and terrifying new places and situations.

I loved the elven cast of characters. Adrius is beguiling and secretive both at once and we see he is quite torn and conflicted by unknown truths that involve Lorelei he cannot divulge. Michele Barrow-Belisle plays this out well through to the end. Zanthiel, a shadow/demonic fae Lorelei knows she has connections with but before only through dreams, is a great bad-boy foil to Adrius that I found myself so interested in and even rooting for … weird, neat. It’s a good writer that makes you want both the apparent good guy and shadow fae for the heroine. And there are several other interesting supporting characters to fill things out.

The author uses a lot of mythology as the basis for her characters including murderous redcap goblins (goblins that soak their caps in the blood of victims). Lorelei, in German folklore, in one of several variations is a young woman who sits upon a high rock over the Rhine River luring shipmen with her enchanting voice and songs to their death (this theme isn’t played out here but Lorelei being a singer makes one think maybe in next in series …). Originally published in 2013, Fire and Ice is based on the ‘chosen one’ trope so this scenario has been around the block a bit now but the heroine’s modern, sassy stance, fast paced action and visual lushness of the novel kept me from minding much.

The ending is a great segue into the second book in the series without a painful cliff hanger and left me wanting to know more about very interesting Zanthiel, and the truth about Lorelei’s father and fae lineage.

Finally, personally I don’t like the technical thing of 13 lines per page (despite adjusting font and page size to get more lines per page on my Kindle) as it means ‘turning’ pages more frequently, but maybe that’s just me.

Overall, the visual landscape and fascinating characters in Michele Barrow-Belisle’s fantasy world Mythlandria are enthralling and I can see why Faerie Song has been optioned for a film adaptation (Khando Entertainment). I recommend the series to everyone who loves YA/NA fantasy. I can’t wait to see Mythlandria on screen. 4.3 stars!  Grab your copy at Amazon !

My thanks to the author for a reading copy in exchange for an unbiased review. You will find Michele on the internet at the links below:

Monday, 29 January 2018

True Storm by L.E. Sterling - Cover Reveal!

True Storm, by L.E. Sterling
Sci-Fi Fantasy
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Publishing Date:  May 1, 2018

Book Blurb:

Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her―but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?

But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? Can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm??

As they say in Dominion, can rogue genes ever have a happy ending?


I'm thrilled to participate in L.E. Sterling's cover reveal for the third and final book in the True Born trilogy, a series about the values and dangers of a society focused on uses of human DNA. Sterling is a reader and writer of sci-fi fantasy novels with an interesting side interest in astrology. Let's check out the awesome cover to the final book in her series!

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature - where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick) and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van - inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. Check her out on the internet at these links:

Author Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Rise of the Realms - REBORN by D. Fischer - Free Excerpt

Welcome readers to a special blog post today!  I’m featuring author D. Fischer, a multi-genre paranormal fantasy author, with a premiere excerpt from the first book in her upcoming epic and high fantasy series, Rise of the Realms – REBORN. Read on!
Fischer’s previous works include Night of Terror, Prurient’s Bluff, the Cloven Pack series (shape-shifter wolf series), and some scary sexy paranormal short stories. Paranormal, dark and disturbing, suspense, and even erotica, are the themes in her novels. In Reborn the author takes on witches, angels and vampires in a new, intense fantasy series. Let’s get to the blurb and excerpt!
“This isn’t a place for beating hearts. This is death, and death is endless.” 
Five people. Five crossing fates. One person’s actions change their lives forever. 
Making a deal with the Fee has its price. In Katriane Dupont’s case, it comes with scales and an unlimited amount of power. The consequences of her actions unfold with crippling events, shifting the Realms. Shades cross the Death Realm, and an Angel, determined for answers, clips her wings. 
Can Kat control what’s within her? Or will it consume her?
“It’s nature, to fight to live, even until your very last breath.”

Enjoy this thrilling new EXCERPT
Perched on the edge of the brick building, I watch my charge, Katriane Dupont, walk into her shop. My drenched, long curls whip about my face with the force of the wind rolling up the side of the brick below me. My dress clings to my skin and my white, feathered wings rustle against my back in agitation, cascading droplets of rain. Her footsteps are light but careful, her grace becoming legendary amongst the Guardian Realm.
A witch expelled from her coven is a vulnerable one, and for a reason I can’t fathom, the creatures of the dead flock to her like Earth Realm bugs to a light.
It’s late, the stars should twinkle in the night sky, but the roaring storm consumes them with its thunderous veracity. This is a wet fall the Earth Realm is having, a sure sign that its winter will be a strong and vicious one.
The bell chimes as she opens the glass door to her shop, echoing against the buildings of the empty street. Soon she disappears from my view, confined to the safety of her home. I watch as the lights flick on in the second story of the building, and my heart eases. She’s safe. My job is half-way done, but yet, the questions forming in my head have yet to be answered.
My eyes return to the danger threatening my charge’s safety. In the alley, just beside her shop, two pairs of red eyes lurk like roaches, concealed by the dark shadows as they hunch close to the ground. They wait for the moment of visible weakness to strike my unsuspecting Katriane, but unfortunately for them, they’ll never have the chance.
Slowly, I stand from my perched position and expand my wings before flexing the muscles in my back, beating them against the air. The sound is drowned by the thunder, and my body lifts into the night. Taking the higher route as to not be seen, I fly the short distance to Katriane’s building and perch once more. As a hundreds of years old angel, my movements are fluid and quiet with practiced ease. The enemies on the ground, none-the-wiser, have little knowledge I watch them like a hawk stalking its next feast. Over my dead, immortal body will any vampire lay a claw or fang on my charge.
They begin speaking to each other, but all I hear is the slight hissing at the end of each word, their lips attempting to make coherent sounds around their permanently elongated fangs. I curse Kheelan for the day he created these monstrosities. They’re assassins, their only purpose to do Kheelan’s bidding. They’re a plague to the world, a disgrace to the realms, and that of the Fee who had created them so long ago. There was a time that these creatures of the dead didn’t exist and each realm was all the better for it.
Thick, oiling revulsion rolls in the pit of my stomach. Only a sick mind could create such a monster, such a contradiction to life itself, and then unleash them to this innocent realm. My fingers grip the edge of the wall between my feet, my knuckles straining against my skin as I fight my inner hatred.
Silently, they make their way to the edge of the alley. No longer worried about their concealment, they walk through the middle instead of shimming, crouched, along the wall. I sigh at their ignorance and spread my wings once more, leaping from the edge and dropping to the ground in a dive.  
It’s a short fall, but as my feet touch the wet cement with a grace few creatures possess, the vampires’ sensitive hearing picks up the extra step as I take it. The rain puddled against the cement caresses the bottom of my feet and the fresh scent of wet dirt tickles in the inside of my nose.
They whip their heads around, their red eyes deep, like pools of blood puddled on the floor. I imagine those eyes themselves would strike fear into any victim.
Veins black as the night sky are visible through their pale skin and fangs dip past their bottom lip, poking the skin just above their chins. The smell of rotting, dead flesh wrinkles my nose and my stomach rolls once more.
“Evening boys,” I greet with much more kindness than they deserve. I tilt my head. “Care to share your plans for this fine night?”
They step from the shadows and I get a better view of their profile. One has red hair and a pinched nose, the other has black hair, matching the veins inside his skin. Both tall and broad in size, I imagine whoever sent them had chosen them on purpose.
The red-haired vampire hisses at me, red-tinged spittle flying from his mouth. The rain flattening his hair to his forehead causes him to look more like a vulnerable living being, but he’s not. No vampire is a living being and each should be judged accordingly for their crimes—I’d be honored to deliver the verdict.
Quicker than the rain that pounds the ground and the lightning that strikes the land, they race toward me. But I’m prepared. I bend my knees, ducking and spreading my wings. As I spin on the balls of my bare feet, my wings hit the vampires against their torsos, sending them crashing into the brick wall. Before they can fall to the ground, I rush forward, reach out my hands, and capture their necks. Their skin feels slick—like the carcass of a plucked chicken—but not from the downpour. The feel of the skin against mine threatens the hold of my fingers, their grips, and the contents within my stomach.
Pinned to the man-made rock, their fingers claw hands but it’s useless—I don’t feel it. Angels are built to be indestructible to any enemy of the night—we have far more strength than any vampire.
“Do you think the Death Realm has a place for the twice dead?” I whisper to them, my face relaxed as I easily hold them prisoner. They hiss and guttural growls pass chomping teeth. I blink, unaffected, and twist my hands to the side. The snap of their spine rings true, announcing my easy victory. Within another blink, they’re piles of dust pooled against the concrete. I watch as rain flows along the grooves, mixing with their ashes and carrying them away to the street drain just beyond.
“I suppose they’ll find out,” I mumble to myself.
Glancing down the alleyway, both left and right, I make sure that’s the last of them before soaring back into the sky, the rain beating against my skin from my gathering speed. 
Grab your pre-order now REBORN - Rise of the Realms $0.99 (release Feb 9/2018)!
To learn more about D. Fischer and her books check out these links: