Monday, November 23, 2015

Blog Tour: The Oracle (The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three) by D.J. Niko

02_The Oracle_CoverThe Oracle (The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three) by D. J. Niko

Publication Date: November 10, 2015 Medallion Press Paperback; 456p ISBN-13: 978-1605426273 Genre: Historical/Archaeological Adventure

  Add to GR Button         

     In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world.

     When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world.

     Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire.

     But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIE BOUND


About the Author

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO

     Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel.

     Daphne is currently at work on The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which releases in 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE.

     In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels.

     Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida.

     Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter. You can find her on the Web at djnikobooks.com and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

04_The Oracle_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blog Tour: Lumiere by Jacqueline E. Garlick: A Book Review

Lumière by Jacqueline E. Garlick 
(The Illumination Paradox #1)
Publication date: December 12th 2013
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Source: This book was given to me by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Even in a land of eternal twilight, secrets can’t stay hidden forever.

     Seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth is no stranger to living in the dark. She’s hidden her secret affliction all of her life—a life that would be in danger if superstitious townspeople ever guessed the truth. After her mother is accused and executed for a crime that she didn’t commit, the now-orphaned Eyelet has no choice but to track down the machine—her last hope for a cure. But Eyelet’s late father’s most prized invention, the Illuminator, has been missing since the day of the mysterious flash—a day that saw the sun wiped out over Brethren forever.

     Alone and on the run, she finds the Illuminator—only to witness a young man hauling it away. Determined to follow the thief and recover the machine, she ventures into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of her twisted world.

     My Review: Eyelet is the daughter of an inventor, whose greatest invention was the Illuminator that has been missing since she was a young girl. She has been having seizures that are known to be caused by the illuminator, which to the Victorian people is a symptom of madness. If her affliction is revealed, she will be sent to an asylum. Eyelet is determined to search for the illuminator in hopes that it will cure her. She ends up being pursued by her father’s nemesis, Professor Smrt (sic). This leads her to a mysterious boy named Urlick. Eventually, they team up to find the illuminator.

     This story is told in first person by Eyelet and Urlick in alternating chapters. I found both of the characters to be very odd but intriguing. Both of them were engaging narrators. Eyelet is a sympathetic character. She has had it rough in the very beginning of the story. She had just lost her mother and finds herself to be on the run, which leads her to Urlick. She is very curious and inquisitive. She is also quick to make judgments. I also liked Urlick. He is very mysterious, and harbors many secrets. Throughout my read, I was excited and impatient for his secrets to be revealed. I also loved the interaction between the two characters, for I found it entertaining, humorous, and engaging.

     Overall, this story is about love, family, friendship, and acceptance. This story started out to be fast-paced and action-packed. However, the middle portion, when Eyelet arrives at Urlick’s home and washes his dishes, I found it be very slow. The middle storyline reminded me a lot of Beauty and The Beast, and I felt like I was reading a fairy tale. At the end, it picks up its pace and leaves a cliffhanger ending. I found the world-building of the Victorian setting to be very muddled. Still, this book has definitely made me excited to read the sequel, and maybe the author will elaborate more on her world. I recommend this to anyone who loves steampunk novels, fairy tales, and strange characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes and Nobles

AUTHOR BIO:



     I'm Jacqueline Garlick, author of young adult and new adult fiction. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. (Don't you?)
I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper). I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology and would rather hang out with a dog, than a cat. I prefer creating things to cleaning things, and believe laughter is a one-stop-shop solution to all that ails you. You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (currently in my writing room), and there may or may not be a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you won't find a hidden passageway, but a girl can dream, can't she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea.

     My writing style has been described as edgy and rule-breaking, and by some--a touch Tim Burton-esque. Because of this, I am often referred to as the Quentin Tarantino of YA among writing friends.

     In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don't ask), but more recently I've been a graduate of Ellen Hopkin's Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from Lumière earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.

     Lumière--A Romantic Steampunk Fantasy--my debut novel, is the recipient of an indieBRAG Medallion!!! B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree October 15, 2014) I am so proud! (LUMIERE by Jacqueline E. Garlick is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!) Book II of the ILLUMINATION PARADOX SERIES, is out January 26th, now on pre-order.

     Also, check out my young adult contemporary romantic/mystery serial, IF ONLY, where reluctant telepathic sleuth Kyla Cooper must embrace her powers and risks all to solve the mystery of what happened to her boyfriend Denver Munro, becoming his voice of truth, before he has no voice at all...

     I love hearing from READERS! Please contact me, either at my website: www.jacquelinegarlick.com, or catch up with me on twitter @garlick books, or on facebook: http://bit.ly/jegarlickfb

     I'm open to reviews and interview, requests for skype visits, guest blogs, pod casts and book club meetings! I LOVE TO HEAR FROM READERS!

Giveaway:





Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston: A Book Review

A Thousand Nights
Author: E. K. Johnston
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

     And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

     Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

     Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster

     My Review: A Thousand Nights is a loose retelling of Scheherazade, the storyteller of Arabian Nights. In this tale, a king has been possessed by a demon. He has killed his wives on their wedding night or within a month of their marriage. The unnamed protagonist knows that her sister will be the king’s next chosen bride because she is very beautiful. To save her sister from being killed, she decides to take her sister’s place. She survives her wedding by telling stories to the king. As she spins her tale, she realizes that she is getting a magical power. With her power, she may be able to defeat the king’s demon and to bring back the man he once was.

     The protagonist reminds me a lot of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. She dreams of marrying for love and to be happy with her sister. Yet, she is willing to sacrifice her happiness and her life to save her sister. I found her to be strong, independant, and confident. She knows how to survive. She is also bold, fierce, and courageous. She is a perfect heroine that can save herself and everyone she loves.

     Overall, this book is about family, friendship, love, courage, and redemption. The message of the book is that there is always hope. The story is beautifully-written, evocative, vivid, and lyrical. It is told in first person from the main character. Yet there are some scenes where the main villain gets his chapter. I thought that the world of A Thousand Nights was well-built. This novel also had fascinating and complex characters. I am looking forward to reading more works by this author. A Thousand Nights is a magical novel that will leave you breathless and will linger even after you read the last page. Read it, and you will be mesmerized by its world and its protagonist. I recommend this book to anyone who likes strong, intelligent heroines, fairy tales, and selfless sacrifice.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Esther by Rebecca Kanner: A Book Review

Esther
Author: Rebecca Kanner
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Biblical Fiction
Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: From the award-winning author of Sinners and the Sea comes a breathtaking new look into the timeless tale of Queen Esther.

     A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.

     A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.

     But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.

     This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.

     This is the story of Queen Esther.

     My Review: Queen Esther has always been one of my favorite heroes in the old testament. I love how a girl from humble beginnings rise up to be the most powerful woman in the Babylonian empire in order to save her people from genocide. Rebecca Kanner’s Esther is a gritty, darker, and more realistic retelling of this biblical queen. Esther must maneuver through the dangers of the court intrigue in the palace in order to save her people.

     Esther is a very complex heroine. Unlike the biblical version of Esther, she is not wholly good and innocent. She knows of the danger of the court and trusts very few people. She can be merciless and ruthless if it is required. However, she is very wise. She knows what it takes to get what she wants, which is to be queen. She is also strong, bold, and independent.  While Esther has some flaws, she is still a worthy heroine to save her people.

     Overall, this story is about love, friendship, and courage. This is a story of a girl who is willing to sacrifice herself to save her people to do God’s will. There are some slow parts in this story. There are very few appearances of Mordecai and Haman in this novel. Also, Esther is the only character I thought that was well-developed. All the others are one-dimensional. However, this novel was very well-written with vivid historical details. This novel is full of drama, danger, and court intrigue that will keep the reader interested. While this book is not my favorite of the Esther re-tellings (my favorite being Hadassah: One Night With The King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen), I found this Esther to be the most realistic, interesting, and complex. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Christian biblical fiction, historical fiction, and those who love reading about strong female protagonists.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars