Blog Book Tour and Giveaway: The Blue Moon Narthex by N.J. Donner

Published by Steel Page Press LLC Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Welcome to The Blue Moon Narthex Book Tour! Today is my stop on the tour hosted by Irish Banana Tours and I will be sharing my review of The Blue Moon Narthex. This is a great new series for middle-grade readers and is sure to capture their attention.  Remember to enter the awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post! You don’t want to miss it!

 

The Blue Moon Narthex

 

Author: N.J. Donner

 

Publisher: Steel Page Press 

 

Pub. Date: Feb 7th, 2017

AMAZON

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ABOUT THE BLUE MOON NARTHEX:

The balance of good and evil has been left in the hands of a thirteen-year-old… Since the beginning of time, Karmanic matter worked silently and unassisted keeping good and evil in balance, until growing greed in the world meant Karma couldn’t keep up. As World War I rages, the secret Karmanic Sovereign Legion works behind the scenes to help Karma.

 

A suspicious train accident and an odd stone-shaped object that belonged to his father thrust Cole McCarthy and two schoolmates into the middle of this battle to keep dark forces in check.

 

With only the powerful stone, a letter, and grandfatherly Norm to guide them, the trio must unravel clues and tap into unknown strengths to discover who Cole’s father really was and keep themselves and those they love safe.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 N.J. Donner is the author of the new Karmanic Sovereign Legion books. N.J. loves to explore. The world fascinates him and he wants to figure out why and how things work, including Karma.

 

College adventures took N.J. far from his small Nebraska hometown to the southern hemisphere and the inner city. This was the beginning of his wanderlust and today he loves to travel with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.

 

N.J. became the first person to graduate with a minor in international affairs from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the years right out of college building a successful steel company.

 

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

 

MY REVIEW:

The Blue Moon Narthex is a middle-grade fantasy made for readers who enjoyed Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Let me say that there were moments especially when it comes to the main characters that seemed a little too “Potterish”. It made me wish the author had maybe gone a different route. Since this is the first of the series, there is still time for the characters to “grow”. Now that we got that over with, let’s move on to how fun this book was to read. My advice is that if you are a grown adult (like myself…most days) please keep in mind this book is meant for Middle-Grade readers.

 

Thirteen-year-old Cole and his two best friends Britten and Sasha are suddenly thrown into a secret world they didn’t know even existed. The world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion is dedicated to fighting evil. This is the world Cole’s father was involved with before he died. Cole inherits the Blue Moon Narthex stone which leads him and his friends to the Coreseum. The Coreseum is a school where the kids are divided into groups depending on their talent and given a role to master as part of their education.

 

I hope that as the series develops the main characters will come into their own voices. Though they are likable, they do read a bit “younger” than 13. I also feel that their personalities could have been a bit more defined. Then again when was the last time you met a 13yr old that was completely self-confidant and sure of themselves? While the personality flaws and the immaturity turned me off a bit, I do love the friendship between these characters and how they are always there for each other.

 

Though the characters need a bit of work, the world building is fantastic in The Blue Moon Narthex. Throughout reading the book I felt like I could “see” the Coreseum, the Narthexes and the “sliding”. The author did a wonderful job describing and explaining these places and things in detail. Though I would have liked to see the “real” world and WWI appear or factor in a bit more into the story. The war is only mentioned a few times but not enough for such a huge world event. But then again, maybe the author was avoiding it on purpose. After all, we dive into fantasy to get away from “reality”, and placing the war more prominently would have taken away from the fantasy.

 

Being given a thorough background on the mythology of the world, and details on how Karmanic Matter is discovered and used kept me intrigued and fascinated. It also made the world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion come to life for me. The concept of “sliding” into different dimensions is what I really loved about this book. It’s one of my favorite things to read about in science fiction/fantasies because I would love to be able to do it myself.

 

Overall, I believe that the Blue Moon Narthex will captivate younger middle-grade readers and transport them to an exciting new world, filled with mystery, friendship and even a bit of magic.

 

*I received this book in a promotional package from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

 

GIVEAWAY: 

Enter for your chance to win a Blue Moon Narthex Swag Box

(US ONLY)
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FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week 1:

2/6: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review

2/7: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Q&A

2/8: Kara the Redhead – Spotlight

2/9: Young Adult Rocks – Review

2/10: books are love – Top 10

Week 2:

2/13: Such A Novel Idea – Q&A

2/14: Book Stacks Amber – Excerpt

2/15: Books Buying Beauty – Review

2/16: Red House Books – Guest Post

2/17: Basic Book Blog – Review

Week 3:

2/20: The Irish Banana Review – Review

2/21: Lisa’s Loves – World Building

2/22: Pondering the Prose – Review

2/23: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets

2/24: The Plot Bunny – Review

 

Happy 1st Birthday Plot Bunny! Blogiversary Giveaway!

The Plot Bunny is turning 1 this month, and I can’t believe how fast this part year has gone. I have read so many glorious books this year. I even expanded my reading from mainly just fantasy to also contemporary books. This is probably one of the best decisions I made this past year. It brought so many wonderful new stories into my life, and books I now LOVE with all my being. Seriously, how did it take me this long to start reading Contemporary YA?

Throughout this year I have met some amazing people and have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with some lovely bookish people. Asides from the books, what I treasure most from this year of solo blogging on my own will be the new friendships I have made, both in real life and online be it here on the Plot Bunny, on my Twitter or over on Instagram. I can’t tell you all enough how lucky I am to have you all in my life.

In celebration of this very special occasion, I am doing my first ever giveaway (because who doesn’t love presents?). I will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, and a little special surprise. All you have to do to enter is follow me (@MarciliaLoubach) on Twitter and Retweet about the giveaway. The giveaway will run until Feb 28th at midnight and is for US only.

Again, thank you for following The Plot Bunny, for reading, commenting, chatting and make my world a better place by being a part of it. I hope you will all continue to share my love of books and bookish things.  HUGS!!!! ~Marci

 

YA Book Review: SOULMATED by Shaila Patel

YA Book Review: SOULMATED by Shaila PatelSoulmated (Joining of Souls, #1) by Shaila Patel
Published by Month9Books on January 24th 2017
Pages: 300
Goodreads
four-stars

Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother's ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam's father isn't convinced Laxshmi is "The One" and Laxshmi's mother won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one's own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

SOULMATED is the story of two individuals (Laxshmi “Lucky” and Liam) who are destined to find each other, no matter the obstacles. Liam comes from a royal empath family.  This means he has the power to understand others’ emotions and also to manipulate how people feel. However, in order for his family to gain social standing, he must find his soulmate.

 

This, of course, is easier said than done, because finding your soulmate is a very rare occurrence. But everything changes when Liam moves next door to Lucky. Lucky is from a very traditional Indian-American family and she has pressures of her own to deal with. Her mother is giving her only two choices, graduate early and go to medical school or marry a man of her mother’s choosing.

 

Lucky is determined to have some control over her own destiny.  Her chance comes when the meets Liam. There is an instant spark between them. As their relationship progresses they must deal with their families disapproval, as well as other dangerous rival empath families. They must decide if their love is worth pursuing and at what potential cost.

 

Normally I am not one for INSTA-LOVE stories. I have often complained about them in the past. However, the whole premise of this book is based on the idea of soulmates. The very definition of a soulmate is a person with whom you have an immediate connection from the moment you meet. Therefore this is the perfect use of INSTA-LOVE. You don’t need any explanations or reason because they are soulmates. Which is why it is such a rare thing to find. So in this specific case,  Lucky and Liam falling in love so quickly did not bother me as it normally would.

 

My main issue with the SOULMATED is that I wanted further development in the world building.  I also would like the empathic powers explained in further detail. Since there is another book in this series I assume further development will happen there. 

 

I found SOULMATED to be charming, and full of humor too. I loved reading about Liam and Lucky as their relationship grew. Their chemistry is palpable. You can’t help but want to root for them to be together. Shaila Patel’s writing is lovely. It captured the mood and feeling of falling in love beautifully. My favorite part is how authentic Lucky’s voice is to her Indian-American culture. Which made the character really come to “life” for me. I can’t wait to see what adventures book 2 holds for these two lovebirds. 

 

If you are looking for a fun, YA romantic fantasy read I would recommend you pick up a copy of SOULMATED.

 

Thank you to Shaila Patel and Month9Books for providing me with an E-ARC of her book in return for an honest review.

four-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Picture Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we are given a new topic prompt to inspire our bookish lists. Today’s topic focuses on favorite picture books. This was actually a pretty hard list to put together because I LOVE picture books. I find them absolutely charming, and beautiful. I choose a variety of books that I not only love the story but especially love the illustrations. Some are from my childhood, while others are books I recently discovered and will one day be adding to my own child’s library.

 

Beauty and the Beast

Ursula Jones (Author), Sarah Gibb (Illustrator)

This is my all time FAVORITE fairy tale and this book is stunning from the gilded leaves on the dust jacket to the vivid and intricate illustrations. Absolutely LOVE this book.

 

The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit

Emma Thompson(Author), Eleanor Taylor(Illustrator)

I have always loved the Beatrix Potter books with the adorable little bunnies. This is a revamped version based on the original Beatrix Potter books. The illustrations are so cute!

 

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak (Author)

I remember being really young, and sort of finding this book a bit scary and “ugly” but when I realized the monsters weren’t mean but friendly I feel in love with this story and with Max.

 

Little Elliot

Mike Curato (Author, Illustrator)

This is one of the most adorable new picture book series I have come across. How can you not love a little polka dotted elephant that loves cupcakes and exploring?

 

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess

Janet Hill (Author)

This book is quite the stunner, with the lush illustrations and the life-like doggies. I absolutely loved looking at all the beautiful details on every page.

 

The Whisper

Pamela Zagarenski (Author)

This book is so sweet and all about the joy of reading. Plus there is a fox on the cover so how could I pass it up?

 

Adventures with Barefoot Critters

Teagan White (Author)

Teagan White has become my FAVORITE illustrator. I love her adorable little critters, the colors she uses and all the adventures her creations go on.

 

Bunny Roo, I Love You

Melissa Marr (Author), Teagan White (Illustrator)

This is one of the cutest books I have ever set eyes on. Everything from the illustrations, colors, and story captured my heart.

 

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Author), Richard Howard (Translator)

Another childhood favorite, that completely enthralled me with its simple charm and lyrical story.

 

Wolfie The Bunny

Ame Dyckman (Author), Zachariah OHora (Illustrator)

A funny and cute story about a wolf that gets raised by a family of bunnies, and how their daughter Dot thinks he will eat them all up. A great book for teaching children that families come in all shapes, and sizes. Also a great teaching tool for helping young children deal with new siblings, sibling rivalry, and unconditional love. Plus…look at that hilarious little wolf dressed like a bunny on the cover!

 

What are some of your favorite picture books? Do you still enjoy picture books even as an adult? Please share with me your thoughts in the comments below, and also your links if you participate in TTT. 

YA Book Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

YA Book Review: Freeks by Amanda HockingFreeks by Amanda Hocking
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Goodreads
three-stars

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?
Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.
She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

Freeks brings us into the world of the traveling carnival sideshow. This is what first caught my interest about the book. I have a soft spot for books about circuses and carnivals, and the gorgeous cover also helped. 

 

The carnival is run by Gideon, and it has fallen on hard times. In a last resort attempt to save his show, Gideon takes his traveling convoy to the town of Caudry, Louisiana. However something “feels” odd about this town. Soon many of them start to disappear, or reappear…but not quite as they were.

 

Mara, our main character/heroine has always been with the sideshow, yet she has no special ability, “powers” or abnormality. Her mother, however, is a psychic, and Mara travels with them doing odd jobs and errands.  Mara doesn’t mind seem to mind the life she’s been living, traveling from town to town, but it’s clear that she does long to set up roots of her own.  

 

I feel a little sad for Mara, because it doesn’t seem like she has many friends. It also seems as if she wishes she could be part of a regular family. Yet she does not complain or whine about this, which I give her lots of credit for not doing.

 

The romance with Mara and Gabe is what really drove me nuts. I felt it was rushed, and too “INSTALOVE” for my taste. She barely meets him, and she is already deep throat tongue kissing him all the time? I just don’t buy it, but maybe she is just that horny and lonely. Still, I don’t see how this could be a good way to showcase the heroine of the novel to young readers.

 

I wanted her to have a little more common sense, and self-worth. The romance could have been great if it had not seemed so forced. It needed time to develop to be more believable. I like their personalities with each other but it was all too fast for me to put my seal of approval on it. Also, Gabe’s secret was pretty obvious to me from the very beginning.

 

Freeks has quite a few supporting characters, and I feel the author did a fantastic job keeping them all individual, and not feeling overwhelming to the reader. I enjoyed the parts of the book that gave details about carnival life and the intrigues of the sideshow acts. If there had been more of the carnival bits in the book and more details about each of the sideshow characters I would have been very happy. When it came to the ending, it felt rushed to me and I wish there had been more time taken to bring the story to a close. 

 

Overall Freeks was a quick and fun read. There were things I really liked, and some things I really did not, but it all balanced out. I would recommend this book to YA readers who enjoy mysteries, and books with paranormal activity.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and St.Martin Press for providing me with an e-ARC copy of Freeks in return exchange for an honest review.

 

three-stars