Saturday, March 31, 2018

$100 #Giveaway: Love in Bloom

Love in Bloom
Hosted by I Am A Reader
April 2018
Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring 10 fabulous authors who write clean romance. There will be a dozen giveaways, free ebooks and lots of great deals on books. We’re starting off with a $100 Kick-Off Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Code or $100 in Paypal Cash. Check out this great list of authors we will be spotlighting!  

Participating Authors


Giveaway Details: $100 in Paypal Cash or a $100 eGift Card Ends 4/30/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via PayPal or gift codes via Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 30, 2018

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Author: Alexandra Christo
Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Publication: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Length: 342 pp.
Source: Library
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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

"I'm a killer in every life"
What I liked?Lira. She's an interesting character that has been groomed to kill at a young age. That's all she knows and she tries hard to live up to the image that a cruel mother has placed upon her. She experiences so much emotional and physical abuse from the Sea Queen, who is appalled and outraged at the touch of humanity that seems to be wrapped around Lira's soul. It comes across as this seething hatred for her own child. The affection toward Lira isn't close to being loving but all out brutal and then one day she takes it too far by turning Lira into a human to teach her a lesson. 
"Spending a lifetime with you would be a sacrifice."
I enjoyed the banter between Lira and Elian because she reads him so well. She doesn't coddle or cower when she's around him. She's unafraid and unfiltered. She tells him exactly what she thinks of him. I love her spunk and she has such a smart mouth. 

" Some people burn so brightly, it's impossible to put the flames out"
Lira's growth. She's willing to sacrifice herself for her people to have something better. I think that is what drives her the most and makes her so fiercely determined to continue the path she has chosen despite the fear she has about her mother. 
"Become the queen we need you to be"
What I didn't like?The Sea Queen because she is just downright evil and the things she puts Lira through are horrible. Elian, for some reason annoyed me. He has this good life and he's out killing sirens. He wants to be seen as a pirate and not a prince. He thinks very highly of himself and he comes up with these schemes without really thinking them through. He seems to lead feet first. When he comes across Lira, he initially doesn't question thoroughly why a young woman is in the middle of the ocean and then he saves her only to lock her up for a few days. Then he decides to abandon her because he doesn't have a use for her. Isn't he just the gentleman? He's surrounded by a crew of characters that protect him and are loyal to him for their reasons but he was not my favorite. 

Overall, I think the pace for this book is good. It's not a ton of action but has some touching emotional aspects that I liked from Lira and she literally rips hearts out, so go figure. I liked the ocean setting and how this re-imagines the King Midas mythology and Little Mermaid and creates something completely fresh. I think anyone that likes sirens may enjoy this one. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Interview & #Giveaway: The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books, and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean. 

She earned her bachelors degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian. 

The Window is her debut novel. 

Tell us something fun about you?
For a little while, I had an Etsy shop where I sold ceramic animals that I’d made. Unfortunately, they were extremely heavy so I ended up having to charge almost as much for shipping as for the items themselves!

What do you feel is the most important aspect of story development for you?

Good pacing and well-developed characters are the most important aspects of story development for me. Without good pacing, mysteries just don’t work right, but, as a reader, if characters aren’t well-developed then I simply won’t care what happens to them, good or bad.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Cynthia Voigt’s Izzy, Willy-Nilly and The Runner both really stuck with me. How the main characters responded to, and processed, the events in their lives continues to influence how I try to advocate for both myself and others. 

How much of your time do you spend on research?

While, as a librarian, I love helping other people conduct their research, I actually don’t really enjoy doing it on my own behalf—for some reason the second I switch from causally reading for interest to doing directed research, I get a little twitchy. So I do some research, but not a ton—I’m definitely not someone who is at any risk of spending more time researching than writing!

How much input do you have in the cover art process?

Random House has a questionnaire on cover design that it gives its authors, so I filled that out, and I also made a document with covers that I loved and notes about what I loved about them, so that they could get a sense of my aesthetic. One of the covers I loved was Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls, so I was thrilled when my editor told me that the same artist, Regina Flath, would be working on my cover. When they sent me the cover she’d made, I absolutely loved it, and it basically didn’t change from that point.

Who was the hardest character for you to write about?

I really struggled with Sarah. For a long time, she didn’t have much personality—she was just a nice, kind of bland, person that Jess became friends with. I had a lot of false starts before I found my groove with her, but now she is one of my favorites characters.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I really enjoy watching movie trailers. I can watch ones that I like a ridiculous number of times, and I love how good ones can tell a story while at the same time not giving too much away. 

I also like going on long walks through the park—I feel like fresh air and trees are good for my brain.

Favorite quote?

I have a million favorites, and here is one of them:

A book is a dream you hold in your hands. —Neil Gaiman

The Window
by Amelia Brunskill
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Amazon|BN| Kobo|iBooks|BD| IndieBound
Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the oppo-site of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different in-side--it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the an-swers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn't the only one with secrets.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Excerpt + Giveaway: Tiger's Dream by Colleen Houck

A tiger left behind.

A goddess in need of an ally.

Stranded in a time and place he never wished for, Kishan Rajaram must carry out his destiny of assisting the beautiful yet extremely irritable goddess Durga. This daunting task is not made easy by the fact that he must also face the truth about the girl he loves and the brother who stole her away.

When the wily shaman Phet appears and tells Kishan that Kelsey needs him, he jumps at the chance to see her again. In his efforts to save her, Kishan discovers that the curse he thought was over is just beginning. As time unravels around him, Kishan realizes that the fates of all those he holds dear lie in hands.

The goddess’s power hangs in the balance. Kishan has no choice but to sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to protect. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all.

Tiger’s Dream is the conclusion to the epic Tiger’s Curse fantasy romance series that left you breathless.

Amazon | BN | Book Depository

I must have fallen asleep because the moon had risen when a sound alerted me. Unmoving, my eyes snapped open and I scanned the forest. There was a splash and I caught the scent of jasmine. My tail twitched as everything in me came alive and I lifted my head. Repositioning my body, I centered myself and waited. My nose wrinkled and my whiskers lifted in a silent snarl. The intruder crept closer, the footfalls barely making a sound. 
When she was in just the right place, I sprung from my hiding place and barreled toward her. At just the right moment, I leapt in the air, claws out and jaws open, a specter of death as dark as the night. My victim didn’t run. Didn’t scream. Instead, she turned her green eyes on me, her expression resigned, and opened her arms to the attack.
Trying to stop my momentum was impossible. I made the attempt anyway and likely made the impact worse. The full weight of my tiger body hit her with enough force to break bones. I twisted, ducking my head so my teeth wouldn’t impale her and retracted my claws. But it wasn’t enough. We went down. My body hit the ground and rolled. I felt her arms wrap around me and realized we were rolling together. 

Copyright © 2018 by Colleen Houck

Praise for TIGER'S CURSE

“…a sweet romance and heart-pounding adventure. I found myself cheering, squealing and biting my nails-all within a few pages. In short, Tiger's Curse is magical!” ―Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Hush, Hush

"High adventure ensues. As in Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, this story is part action-adventure and part romance…The novel will satisfy the saga's fans, who will be delighted by the prospect of a fourth volume.” ―Booklist

“Houck cranks the love-o-stat up another notch…Hypersteamy romance...'hot, melty, smoldering' (but still chaste) make-out sessions…” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Forget vampires and werewolves, tigers are the new hottest thing…a guaranteed page turner with a huge twist at the end that will leave you breathless.” ―RT Book Reviews
New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

(5 )Winners will receive the Ultimate Tiger’s Dream Swag 
(Physical Copy, Necklace and Book Plate) by Colleen Houck.
(5) Winners will receive an E-Copy of TIGER'S DREAM by Colleen Houck.

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Photo Content from Colleen Houck

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Author: Adrienne Young
Publication: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Publisher

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover and I liked the idea of Vikings. Eelyn's perspective in the beginning comes through vividly as she battles with the Riki and I could sense her inner turmoil about seeing her brother fighting alongside the enemy. She at first thinks she couldn't possibly have seen him because she was there the day he died and saw his body. They leave the bodies on the battlefield in this story because of their beliefs but Eelyn has her own guilt that she's lived with for the past five years. The next day she sees her brother again and happens to get captured. This is when the pace of the story slows down and it's becomes more of a day-to-day thing with Eelyn having to come to terms with her anger and the revelation that her brother betrayed them. She's very observant and she comes to realize much about herself, the war and her enemy. One of her captors, Fiske, sees her brother as his family and though that infuriates her more, she tries to understand the bond that kept him from coming home. Now, not much happens action wise throughout all this but it picks back up towards the end with more bloody scenes. I think the author did a good job setting the scene for these sequences because I found it easy to visualize what was going on in these moments. 

What I liked about this book was the romance. The passion was slow and I liked that it wasn't an instant romance and they were able to learn about each other, even though they felt this pull. I liked Eelyn's fierceness but she also has a softness to her that's endearing. Fiske comes off as a tough character but there is more to him as well. I liked his little brother, he's such a cute character thrown into a world of blood and war. There are other characters that aren't as fleshed out but are apart of changes in Eelyn internally and externally. Overall, the writing is steady. The characters are okay, though some needed more development but I think anyone that likes fantasy and wants to read about Vikings may like this one. 

'Til Next Tuesday #13: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

'Til Next Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here @Little Library Muse. It's allows me to share my love of books and showcase new releases. It's inspired by my work developing the young adult collection.
Expected Release: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming spinoff novels.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Upcoming Releases in April!

What new books have caught your eye? Any books that you would recommend?

Monday, March 26, 2018

#Giveaway & Excerpt: Crossing the Line by Ellen Wolfson Valladares

Check out my stop on the Crossing Line blog tour!

Crossing the Line
by Ellen Wolfson Valladares
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Release Date: March 6th 2018
WiDo Publishing
Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.

Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.

It is her one chance to make sure that what happened her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My Sunday Post #57

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
I'm also linking up to Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Review this week.

This week went by so fast. Monday my job closed early because of inclement weather. Tornado watches and warnings. We are a little more cautious about weather here since the April 2011 tornado. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, in the hallway on the phone with a friend that was checking to see if I was okay. She was watching the weather on the news and she could see exactly where it was and as it was headed to my direction our conversation cut out. It's path changed but she didn't know that. The rest of the week has been nice weather with a little chill. My aunt has been home for a week and she's doing okay but has some pain and discomfort. Om another note, I stumbled across a page that I had written in 2012, it seemed like I was thinking about a story at the time but 2018 me has no idea where 2012 me was going with it. However, when I have time to sit down I will if that spark is still there. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Giveaway & Promo: Antipodes by Michele Bacon

by Michele Bacon
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boy-friend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff grow-ing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter ina-bility to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climb-ing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.


About the Author
Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. When she’s not writing, she’s skiing, playing tabletop games, traveling, or dreaming of travel. She lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for over a year, and is eager to re-turn. Today, Michele lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Life Before.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram| Tumblr

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross

Author: Rebecca Ross
Title: The Queen's Rising
Publication: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Harpeteen
Length: 464 pp.
Source: Library
Website | Twitter 

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

This one started out slow and remained at that pace. It begins with the mystery of Brienna's parentage kept a secret from her for most of her life. She's know it's someone of importance because why would her grandfather go through so much trouble to withhold her father's identity,which isn't really a secret to the reader. He takes her to the Magnalia House to become a passion, even though she has no inkling towards one in particular but the danger of her parentage sways the owner to take her on. Brienna spends the next several years trying to find her passion and decides on knowledge, which personally I think she should have started with that one first because it takes seven years to passion. Now, she has three years to passion in knowledge, she studies hard but still fears she won't succeed in finding a patron. 

The story really didn't feel like it was about her being a passion, so much so her other heritage from Maevana. A good part of the book's spent on her passion and some subtle romance but it changes to removing a cruel king to place the rightful queen on the throne. Overall, this one never managed to really excite me and the ending tied up neatly enough that I'm curious what the next book will be about. Basically this is a middle of the road book for me because I didn't exactly hate it but I didn't love it either. I liked the idea but the pace and not being able to completely connect to the characters didn't help. I think anyone that is looking for a slow-paced book with some romance that's not the primary focus may like this one. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Promo & Giveaway: The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Heart Forger
Author: Rin Chupeco
ISBN: 9781492635857
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
In this dark, engrossing sequel to The Bone Witch, Tea has mastered resurrection—now it’s time for revenge.

Tea, a bone witch who can resurrect the dead, is done with her self-imposed exile. She now possesses all seven bezoars she needs to revive the powerful daeva. With the help of these terrible monsters, she can finally enact her revenge against the royals who wronged her and took the life of her one true love.

Alliances and allegiances are shifting, and danger lurks in and out of the kingdom. But Tea’s heart is set on vengeance, even if it turns her against her now-estranged brother, who supports her enemies. War is brewing, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

Praise for The Heart Forger
“A dark, engaging fantasy series.”–School Library Journal

“In this spectacular follow-up to the rich The Bone Witch, Tea’s quest draws the reader further in, setting them on a more dangerous yet intriguing adventure.”— Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

“Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade of revenge...Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.” –Booklist, STARRED review

'Til Next Tuesday #12: The Window by Amelia Brunskill

'Til Next Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here @Little Library Muse. It's allows me to share my love of books and showcase new releases. It's inspired by my work developing the young adult collection.

Expected Release: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte
Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside--it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn't the only one with secrets.

Upcoming Releases!

What new books have caught your eye? Any books that you would recommend?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Title: Akata Witch
Series: Akata Witch #1
Publication: July 11th 2017
Publisher: Speak
Length: 349 pp.
Source: Library
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a "free agent" with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she's finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?  
Mini Review 

I didn't know about this book until I saw the cover for the second book and realized that it's something I wanted to read. I hadn't read anything like it before and once Sunny started her story, she sucked me in and didn't let go.  Sunny is an easy character to relate to as she experiences bullying, family dynamics and trying to find where she belongs. Then she discovers she has magic in her blood that possibly comes from a distant relative making her a free agent. Most Leopard People learn early about their heritage but Sunny doesn't have that luxury and she's immersed in this world rather quickly as a dangerous foe is on a killing spree. The perspective of Sunny is colorful and refreshing. I felt like I was right beside her as she navigated her new powers and a whole new community of magical people. I loved the world that the author has built with its rich characters and a vividly fresh magical world. Overall, I found myself flying through the pages at the steady rhythm of the beautifully crafted writing.  I think anyone that likes fantasy and magic set in Africa will enjoy this book. 
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