Monday, September 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by KarenKincy

I am so happy to be part of the blog tour of: 
Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by Karen Kincy

As a fan of her work I couldn't resist this opportunity. I've contributed to both her Kickstarter campaigns for her Shadows of Asphodel series and I highly recommend it to all those alternate universe lovers of the early twentieth century. 

Genre: Historical-fantasy romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: September 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.

Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.

To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can't act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.

About The Author:

Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Find Karen Kincy Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

My Thoughs

I am so happy I was able to pay a nice visit to the world portrayed in the Shadows of Asphodel's books. This alternate history with gears, zeppelins, complicated magic, war and engaging characters is a must read!

This novella gave me all that I expected regarding previous Karen Kincy's stories. Even got me wanting moooreeeee.

Konstantin is such a great character. Is fun to learn more about his passion for his work, his desires and his loyalties.

The relationship between him and Captain Himmel was believable and perfectly described. This was the first m/m story I've read and I'm glad for it. Love is an amazing theme to weave a cool story.

The setting was absolutely brilliant, I felt the cold weather, the sense of time and space while doing that snowy exploration with Konstantin: from The Trans Siberian Railway descriptions, to St. Petersburg.
The food was so yummy: salmon, spicy ciders, borsch garnished with dill and sour cream, walnut salad, beef stroganoff, tarts stuffed with cherries and sandwiches made with love. I was mouthwatering with these delicious fictional meals! And I laughed when I imagined Konstantin and his allergy to potatoes and tomatoes riding on top of sacks of potatoes.

And a nice canine companion: Fang is so cute! I wish she gets a more prominent role in the future adventures of Konstantin and Himmel :)

Overall I hope there are more stories around Shadows of Asphodel.

Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.

Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ravens in Sarah Fine's Servants of Fate book series

I've been listening to the Servants of Fate book series written by the talented Sarah Fine. Since these audiobooks are very well performed, the story truly carries me out to the future it describes: "a broken landscape carved by environmental collapse".  The setting is a crude Boston future, where water and resources are scarce and people have a very tough time surviving. The characters are very well fleshed out and the paranormal romance story is solid. I really enjoyed these first books and I am looking forward to read the last instalment (coming sept 2015, very soon!). 

In this world, there is a family called the Ferrys, who are tasked with carrying the dead to the afterlife: once humans are “Marked” by fate, the powerful Ferrys are called to escort the vulnerable souls to either eternal bliss or unending fire and pain. In this context, you may wonder how they do the whole ferrying: with a scope, a jewel that they carry on their neck and is pretty much an intra dimension portal.  Also, they run a company called Psychopopms Incorporated - which made me smile every time I heard it, as it made sense of the trade the Ferrys have: a Psychopomp is a mediator who escorts newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife.

What has caught the most my attention on this series is the cultural depictions of the ravens. The scope/jewel has one carved. All the Ferrys have a tattoo of one on their back, suffused with magic and made through a ritual that marks them as a member of this tradition. I imagine how pretty they must be and how they must look!

These are some cool raven tattoos I found online:

Both from:

I have always wondered about ravens, its symbolism as a mediator animal between life and death. The anthropologist Levi-Strauss describes that as a carrion bird, ravens became associated with the dead and with lost souls. It is strange though, that since ravens are not present in my geographical location, they have some historical/literary/media traditions that even I feel familiar with. 

One clear example of how I've been exposed to these cultural depictions is in Edgar Allan Poe's poem: The Raven, here this animal is a messenger of a 'Nevermore' nature, an ever-present being that delivers sadness. 

"Tenniel-TheRaven" by John Tenniel - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
When I lived in Vancouver I was exposed to a certain degree to the Pacific northwest coast native art. Particularly, Bill Reid's sculpture Raven and the First Men, located at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (I went to do grad school there, so I saw it with frequency), this was also an image that was printed in the $20 Canadian bank note (It has since changed to a new note without the raven).  

It is beautiful, and so detailed!


Recently, we have the Game of Thrones always quick messengers of good and bad news... send a raven is ever present in these books.    


I really enjoy finding in the books I read cultural depictions and allusions of historical and mythological nature.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Giveaway: Ann Aguirre's Dred Chronicles

I've decided to come back from blog hibernation with a BANG!

I am a big fan of Ann Aguirre's books, and was very lucky to have a chance to Skype with her some months ago and ask her a whole bunch of random stuff. She is so patient, clever and funny, also a great storyteller,  her writing is full of crafty worlds and unforgettable characters. You can find more about her work here

To celebrate the upcoming publication of 'Breakout' (August 25th) the last installment of the Dred Chronicles (brilliant spin up from the Jax world, a romantic adult sci-fi trilogy), I will be giving away the first two books of the series, Perdition and Havoc:

So, this is your chance to read this great sci-fi adventure!

Here is the blurb of Perdition:


The prison ship Perdition, a floating city where the Conglomerate’s most dangerous criminals are confined for life, orbits endlessly around a barren asteroid.
Life inside is even more bleak. Hailed as the Dread Queen, inmate Dresdemona “Dred” Devos controls one of Perdition’s six territories, bordered on both sides by would-be kings eager to challenge her claim. Keeping them at bay requires constant vigilance, as well as a steady influx of new recruits to replace the fallen. Survival is a constant battle, and death is the only escape.
Of the newest convicts, only one is worth Dred’s attention. The mercenary Jael, with his deadly gaze and attitude, may be the most dangerous criminal onboard. His combat skill could give her the edge she needs, if he doesn’t betray her first. Unfortunately, that’s what he does best. Winning Jael’s allegiance will be a challenge, but failure could be worse than death…

Why? Because I want to share the love for Ms. Aguirre's books and I ended up getting two copies of Havoc a few months ago by error.

How? Just enter the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please spread the word!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

After 3 months of inactivity... *waves* Oh, Hi!

So, it has been almost 3 months since I updated my Blog. I feel a bit guilty, about it, but truly, life got really busy for me and I ended up having to choose between reading my books or reviewing them... so for obvious reasons reading became the norm.

I completed my 2014 reading challenge just minutes away from midnight, by reading a Neil Gaiman comic book, Sandman, almost too tipsy from that wickedly good New Years celebration champagne. It was crazy good and left me craving for more comics on the near future.

In overall, I have done great with my reading. Keeping up with my favourite genres, authors and characters, as well as devoting completely to the joy of audiobooks. I listen through my daily commute and they make time fly!!

I was just checking my stats on the Audible app, and I have listened for 17 days and 12 hours... that is A LOT of time well spent!

I plan to make more listening time throughout 2015!!

For 2015, I am pledging again to read 100 books and I am glad to know that today, January 8th, I am already on track!! Woot whoot (pats oneself in the back)!

I also plan to finish some unfinished series! I started beautifully by finishing reading Robin Lafever's His Fair Assassin series, and now I am tackling Karina Halle's Experiment in Terror, I have read 6 out of 9 books, sooo.... 
It had become a habit of mine to leave series unfinished because 1) they were still ongoing so i probably had to wait for the last book to be published or 2) I really didn't wanted to put an end! But I've told myself, it is time. 

And lastly, something I am super excited about! My girlfriends and I are starting a Book Club!! Isn't it amazing?
They wanted something along the lines of 50 Shades and I suggested Sylvia Day's Bared to You. I haven't read it yet.... but basically, I have zero expectations, so I know that it will be a fun experience to share with the girls!!

Those cufflinks always catch my attention, Lol!