Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, Katie Hamstead

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…

The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.

Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood. Goodreads

Kiya was quite a bit different than the books I've been reading lately, and I enjoyed the change. As far as historical accuracy, I know the author took several liberties, but to me, that is all part of the fun. Taking an unknown from history and telling how the story could have happened takes a great imagination.

The plot is pretty straightforward. Naomi/Kiya is tossed into a world she doesn't understand and has to survive court intrigue from every angle, while risking her life and trying to keep her faith.

Kiya herself is a very complex character. I loved her strength, and the dedication to her family. There were times I felt she was a little too reckless, or should have picked up on some obvious signs, but overall, she was a brave, loving, and very believable character. Her relationships are as surprising as they are complex, and her emotions seem very real, even if they are confusing at times.

While I can't recommend this book for young adults, due to the sexual content, I really did enjoy the story and intrigue it presented.

Rating 3.5/5 stars
YA notes: sexual content

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm Learning

So, before I "officially" became an author, I sort of thought that authors spent most of their time writing books. And that is a big part of it, but I'm learning that there is so much more. Blood Bound's final edits are in, the cover is done, the acknowledgements are written. So, I'm done, right?

No, I'm not. My publisher's marketing department has contacted me to get my thoughts on the best ways to get my baby out into the public. The good news is that I had a few suggestions! But I'd really like to have more, so I'm asking for your input.

What, catches your eye? Blog giveaways? Guest blogging? Stellar reviews? Or more of a personal approach, like book signings or community appearances?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Holiday Magick

People don't usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed.
Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays.
Consider the following...
Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine's Day?
Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told?
Why do people wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival?
Where does Santa get his helpers?
You may think you know the truth, but you can't be too sure. Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I have two stories in this anthology. They are NOT considered in this review.
I love anthologies. They are a great way to find new favorite authors and get a variety of styles in a single book that you don't have to read cover-to-cover to know how the story ends. In that respect, Holiday Magick is no different than any other.

But I've honestly never read anything quite like this collection. The stories range from completely creepy to lighthearted and funny. Some of the holidays were well known to me, while I'd never heard of others. To that end, the blurbs before each story explaining the traditions were very helpful. I feel like I actually learned something!
While I'm not going to review each story individually, I will say that I enjoyed them all. (A rarity in an anthology this diverse) I've found a few new authors-to-watch, and was able to read new work by others that I already admire.

Some of my favorites were: Finding Fire-Trisha J. Wooldridge-A great story from Las Fallas, with elements of danger, love, and a great twist at the end.

The Keeper of the Trees-L.M. Graham-hands down the creepiest Earth Day story I've ever read!

Final Draft-Kate Kaynak-A possible Memorial Day future that no one should forget.

A Land Without Zombies-Nicole Zoltack-What made Christopher Columbus desperate enough to cross the ocean blue?

And The Toy Makers-Jessica Porteous-The most plausible explanation I've ever read on how Santa gets all of his toys.

I highly recommend this collection to all people of all ages. You're sure to find something you like. So, after reading your copy, stop by to let me know which stories were your favorites!

Rating 5/5 stars

YA notes: Mild language in a few stories.