Release Day Blitz: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburn

Hi Everyone!

This is Livia Blackburne, and I’m thrilled to share ROSEMARKED with you at long last. There are a lot of elements to this book, including a love story, a spy story, reflections on trauma and mortality, medical ethics, and political intrigue.  Perhaps because of this, my research for the book was equally eclectic, from archery and stick fighting lessons, to chats with memory researchers and soldiers, and lots and lots of reading, including books about leper colonies, hospice care, and PTSD. Hopefully, I wove it all into an entertaining and thought-provoking story!

This story centers on Zivah, a talented healer with an incurable illness, and Dineas, a traumatized soldier. The two couldn’t be more different, and I had a lot of fun writing their unlikely love story.  In order to work together, they both have to let go of their own prejudices and preconceptions. It’s a painful process, with fights and misunderstandings, anger, laughter and tears, but in the end, they both come out as stronger people.

To celebrate the ROSEMARKED release, I’m offering 3 lucky winners a ROSEMARKED swag pack, which includes a copy of ROSEMARKED and a signed bookplate! Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate. Best of luck, and happy reading!

The first in a duology, ROSEMARKED (Hyperion | On Sale November 7, 2017) by New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne follows a healer and a solider on a high-stakes mission to spy on the Empire to uncover a deadly secret. With sizzling chemistry and a heartrending ethical dilemma, this thrilling fantasy with nuanced characters will capture fans of An Ember in the Ashes and The Lumatere Chronicles.

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

New York Times best-selling author LIVIA BLACKBURNE has a PhD in neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neural correlates of reading. She still blogs on the intersection of writing and brain science, and she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. Livia is also the author of Midnight Thief, an Indies Introduce New Voices selection, and its sequel, Daughter of Dusk.

ROSEMARKED by Livia Blackburne 

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Also by this author…


New York Times Bestseller 2014
Indies Introduce New Voices Pick
2015 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee

Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook:  Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play


Hardcover: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Google Kobo




Release Day Review: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls’ father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors’ prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie’s father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.

But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?

Release Date: March 8, 2016 (TODAY!!!)

I was a huge fan of Waller’s first young adult novel, A Mad, Wicked Folly, so when Penguin sent me an advanced copy of The Forbidden Orchid, I was pretty excited.

To be honest with you, I wasn’t familiar at all with the concept of plant hunters during the Victorian Era, and here in America we learn very little about the Opium Wars.  In world history we just touch on them, and I’m pretty sure my teacher just said, “Then there was the Opium Wars. Moving on…”  I really appreciate this about Waller, because I made the same comment about A Mad, Wicked Folly.  She is really touching on subjects that American readers will benefit from learning through her historical fiction.

Some of the same themes run throughout The Forbidden Orchid as in A Mad, Wicked Folly, and there is a very similar formula.  Formula: Privileged upper middle class British teen girl + patriarchal society of England (interesting considering there was a powerful Queen on the throne during BOTH novels) + familial duties + said character’s sense of adventure/individuality + character wanting more than the privileged life she already has.  I’m totally okay with this formula in Waller’s novels, because it works.  The characters are so wonderfully developed with the flaws of those who come from privilege, and they are frequently made to check that privilege when dealing with other characters.

Similar themes that show up in both: Romance (obviously as it is a Young Adult novel), Political Climate, and Women’s Rights.  However, much like in A Mad, Wicked Folly, the romance really takes a back seat to the primary focus of the novel.  Waller is excellent at constructing a meaningful romantic relationship without having the primary plot take a hit in favor of making a character swoon constantly in narration.

Elodie really evokes some Ingrid Michaelson songs to me, as I think Michaelson has an exotic voice/sound that would really appeal to this character.  So for me, I’m going to characterize Elodie with one song:  Are We There Yet. “They say that home is where the heart is/I guess I haven’t found my home/And we keep driving round in circles/Afraid to call this place our own”  Even though Elodie has a home and lives comfortably with her family there is just something missing.  So Michaelson’s pleading voice repeating Home, Home, Home just really feels like it could be Elodie questioning her purpose in life.

Splitting the novel into parts was a great way to avoid boring narrative where the time jumps were due to the long nature of travel from England to China.  I really only found the book lagging toward the beginning, but I think it suits the dull nature of Elodie’s existence in Kent versus the quicker paced last half of the novel, as she is finally experiencing travel and plant hunting.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel and read most of it in one sitting.

4.5 Bards





Get your copy of The Forbidden Orchid today!


Happy Release Day!

Happy Release Day to Karen Amanda Hooper and her new novel Dangerous Depths, one of the sweetest and most talented independent authors out there! 

Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love. 

The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home after years of waiting to be reunited with his wife, Vienna. Only to find out that Vienna didn’t wait for him. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte years ago, hoping the legend of another gateway to Earth’s realm was real, but she was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he’d go through hell to be with Vienna, and now he must prove it. 

Yara wanted to bask in the glow of her happily ever after in the magical realm of Rathe. She planned to explore Medusa and Poseidon’s world and dive deeper into her relationship with Treygan, but as the new leader of Rathe, her powers are needed to save more than one member of her own kind. Treygan vowed to always be Yara’s guardian, but long ago he also swore to go any lengths to protect his brother Rownan. Now, he must fulfill his promise to both of them. 

Rownan, Yara, and Treygan are about to put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of the worlds. Love should conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.


Song list in chronological order of when they take place in the story.

WARNING: Some vague spoilers!

1.) Waves of You– Eric Turner (Rownan to Vienna beginning of book)

2.) Sail– AWOLNation  (drunk Rownan in his dark place on the beach)

3.) Drifting– Plumb feat. Dan Haseltine (Yara & Nixie to Rownan–another way)

4.) If I Lose Myself– One Republic (Treygan to Yara the morning of their trip)

5.) The Sea– Morcheeba (Traveling and arriving)

6.) Storm– Lifehouse (Rownan to Vienna when he’s alone in Harte)

7.) I Want You Here– Plumb (Vienna on her beach with the driftwood)

8.) Waves– Blondefire  (Yara and/or Vienna)

9.) Little Talks– Of Monsters and Men (Yara & Treygan in the last half of the book)

10.) Together Again– Evanescence (Yara when she becomes separated from Treygan)

11.) Hazy– Rosi Golan feat. William Fitzsimmons (Vienna & Rownan duet)

12.) Down– Jason Walker feat. Molly Reed  (This one tugs ta my heartstrings. I picture each character: Rownan, Yara, Treygan, and Nixie, on their own singing this song. It flashes between each of them during seemingly hopeless times during their fight to get out.)

13.) My Last Breath– Evanescence (Nixie & Yara)

*BONUS SONG: Hero– David Crosby & Phil Collins (This was a song from my TANGLED TIDES playlist. It’s an oldie, but it was so perfect as a song that Rownan would sing about Treygan. Right down to the “when the hero kills the maiden with his kiss” line. This song still gives me goose bumps when I listen to it.)

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Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Happy Release Day!

Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right? 

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren’t quite as ready for their future as they thought. 

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

Just the mentioning of Bliss and Garrick in Faking It wasn’t nearly enough for me, I wanted to know how their life continued together and to just feel the intense love between them some more! 

So not only does Carmack deliver (and man, she delivers!), but the readers get more insight into Garrick through his point of view, and we finally get to learn a little bit about his hidden past.  Turns out that he has a very interesting background, but I really don’t want to give away anything.  My review is short and to the point, if you are a fan of Carmack then you definitely need to read this. 

4 Bards

Check out a special preview: 

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Upcoming Release!

So excited to announce that on January 29, 2013…….Andrew Fukuda’s second book in The Hunt series, The Prey….is being released!

For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast… and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other… if they can only stay alive.


If you haven’t read the first book, The Hunt, check out the synopsis below, and if you have, be sure to pick up a copy of The Prey on Tuesday, January 29, 2013!

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood. When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.

He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

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