Itching For Books Presents: Rise of the Arcane Fire Tour

Rise of the Arcane Fire (The Secret Order, #2) Title:  Rise of the Arcane Fire
(The Secret Order Book II)
Author:  Kristin Bailey
Format:  Print
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating:  5 Stars

 After her parents died in a fire and her grandfather disappeared, Meg Whitlock thought her life had come to a standstill. But when she learned that the pocket watch her grandfather left her was really an intricate key, Meg, with the help of a stable hand named Will, uncovered the Amusementists: members of an elite secret society dedicated to discovery and shrouded in mystery.

Now the Amusementists are convening in London, and Meg is determined to join their ranks. But being the first girl in the Order has its difficulties, and with Will away in Scotland Meg fears she can’t trust anyone but herself. Her worries are only supported by the sabotage happening at the academy, with each altered invention being more harmful than the last.

With threats lurking around every corner, and while trying to prove her worth as the first female Amusementist, Meg must uncover the identity of the academy’s saboteur before the botched devices become deadly. And after she finds evidence of a sinister and forbidden invention, Meg must stop it - or risk the entire future of the Amusementists.

My Thoughts 

Oh How Far We've Come!

Leaving readers just enough time to gasp for breath and strap themselves in for yet another mile-a-minute, nonstop action, steam punk laden thrill ride.
Authoress, Kristin Bailey, ushers readers back into the secretive, imaginative, and often deadly world that is The Order of the Amusementists.

It seems that having survived a treasure trove of transforming mechanics that would have put the Transformers to shame, avoiding murder at hands of a rouge Order member, destroying a machine that could reweave the fabric of time, and finding love; just wasn't enough for Meg Witlock.
Nope...She and the dashing Will are together again, and it appears that things are just as dire for them in book 2.
That's right folks!
The opening chapters find Meg and Will's happy reunion soured by a bomb.  Nothing says "I love you to death." better than the old 'use your body as a shield to save your sweetheart from the exploding shrapnel trick'.
To make matters worse, or better for those who just can't get enough juice plot lines.
When Meg appears before The Order in the hopes of finding out who wants her dead this time; it is she who manages to create quite the sensation.
This is the only hint that this reviewer is allowing to slip.

For the rest of this most harrowing adventure; you will just have to avail yourself to this reading of this wonderful book.

Let The Book Love Begin

What could possibly be better than Legacy of the Clockwork Key?  Why...Rise of the Arcane Fire, of course!

Meg and Will are older and wiser, and as such their adventures more complex; but that in no way n diminishes the wonder and whimsy that served as a hallmark of the first book.  It would seem that Kristin Bailey's Secret Order, is also a series which builds upon itself.  There is no slowing of action or weakening in plot from book 1 to book 2.  There is also no repeat of action, scene, or plot line from book 1 to 2, making the continuation a wholly new and delightful creature unto itself. 

Meg and Will evolve as people so much within the course of this story.  It is wonderful to experience said evolution as a part of the whole, rather than a distraction from it.
The action and inventions have gotten more complex this time round, and the deeds far more dastardly!
This flight of fantasy is one that you won't want to return from.

Cute Quotables 

"If knowledge exists, then there is nothing preventing me from learning, and learning well." 
-Rise of the Arcane Fire

"Hop, dammit," I muttered as I pushed back form the table and rubbed my burning eyes"
-Rise of the Arcane Fire

All About Kristin

Kristin Bailey
Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped ninja-assassin snails.

In the course of her adventures, she has worked as a zookeeper, balloon artist, and substitute teacher. Now she enjoys writing books for teens who enjoy mystery and adventure as much as she does.

"Side Effects May Vary" Is Just What The Doctor Ordered For Great YA

Side Effects May Vary Title:  Side Effects May Vary
Author:  Julie Murhpy
Format:  ERC
Length:  336 pages
Publisher:  Harper TEEN
Rating:  5 Stars

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and gettthe meaning back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

My Thoughts
The best way to describe the plot and heroine of Side Effects May Vary, is the anti-Fault In Our Stars.
There are no seemingly never-ending monologues about dying, the meaning of life, yada...yada.   There is no get friendly with your Kleenex box and have a good cry time.  There definitely no "I feel so sorry for you and your Cancer."
What is ask?
Try...a kick ass heroine determined to live and die on her own terms.   A no-holds-barred look at family dysfunction at its best via main character Alice and her mother.  An honest look at the good and bad aspects of decisions made while facing a terminal illness.  Lastly, an examination of what the life of one person, and the truths and secrets of said life effect that person and those around them.

Alice is a woman of action, and while you may spend most of the book hating her for what she does; you come to admire her moxie in the end.
Harvey is the constant in Alice's topsy-turvy world.  Ever the knight in crappy Alice's damsel in a blender; he is the ultimate "stand by your woman man".

While this book does deal with a serious subject; it does so with a humor, honesty, and realism that allows readers to experience both Alice and her supporting cast as the well rounded and brilliantly articulated characters that they are, rather than mere pawns in the hit or miss game of diagnosis, illness, and recovery.

Paranormal Cravings Presents: The Savor Tour and Giveaway!

Savor (Vicious Feast, #1) Title:  Savor
Author:  Kate Evangelista
Format:  ERC 
Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Rating:  4.00 Stars

Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you've got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above

My Thoughts
Wow!  Way to shake things up in the burgeoning genre that is Paranormal New Adult.
Dakota Collins is an independent woman who knows what anyd who she wants. (At least most of the time.)
Things really get interesting when Dakota signs a contract to become the photographer for the band Vicious; and finds her world and her heart changed in some very strange, fun, and freaky ways.
For the most part, Dakota and bassist and resident hottie, Luka's story follows the hot and intense girl + hot and intense guy + great sex + emotional vacillation = New Adult rule.

Then just as you are heading for the home stretch...BAM!  You are hit with a wondrful dose of paranormal goodness.
This book has all the makings of a 5-star read.  The only thing that left it shy of that mark; the emotional vacillation/angst trap that seems to plague this genre.  
A tool that most writers use to add drama and depth to their plot; emotional vacillation can be used to help along  a story featuring weak or indecisive characters.  In the case of headstrong and willful Dakota, and her equally driven male counterpart; the back and forth is only a useless filler for an otherwise solid plot.

This is not a book for the kiddies!  
As the synopsis warns, this is quite the steamer.  If you are a fan of passion and not a stranger to colorful this book!

Not ready for the fun to end?
It doesn't have to!
That's right...there is a book two!
Stay tuned for RELISH.

Savor Exclusive Excerpt

“Dakota Collins!”
    I lowered my camera. The use of my full name never came with good consequences. I blinked my vision back at her even if I wanted to spend the rest of the night taking his picture. Sweat rose over my upper lip. I may just have found my subject for the Spring Showcase.
    The only problem?
    I had to find a way to convince him to be in my project. Something told me this wouldn’t be easy. By the way my heart beat in my ears, drowning out the music and Silvia having a fit in front of me, I wanted it too much. I wanted him too much.
    “This the guy you were saying?” I showed Silvia the picture I’d taken. This seemed to pacify her because she sidled closer, mesmerized like a moth to a flame.
    “Luka Visraya,” she said with a moan like she’d just tasted the most luscious chocolate before taking a long gulp of her cocktail. The name didn’t register. Silvia must have noticed my blank expression because she continued. “He’s the bassist for Vicious.”
    Still no pings of recognition in my head.
    She slapped her thigh. “Where have you been? It’s weird that you haven’t heard of them. Their songs are on the radio like every second.”
    Of course I hadn’t heard of them. I liked listening to country and I hardly kept up with current events.
    “Name one?” Okay, I had a name. Luka. Exotic. A bassist. Part of a band I should know about. So he’s famous. I slowly felt my chances of asking him to be my subject slip from my grasp. If he was someone famous, fat chance he’d say yes to a graduating photography student like me. I just about deflated when Silvia mentioned one of their songs. “Oh, I know that one!” By accident. It played in the radio of the cab I rode in to Sacrifice. I stared at the picture of him then lifted my gaze to where he sat. “He’s gone.”
    “What?” Silvia whipped around in time to come face to face with a wall of man. “Whoa!” She pushed at him. “Watch it, buddy!”
    “Give me the camera,” he said in a threatening tone.
    Big. Beefy. Bald. The three Bs that made up the quintessential bodyguard.
    I clutched my DSLR closer to my chest and looked up at him with my good eye. “And why would I do that?” The patch didn’t seem to intimidate him because he just reached out. So much for my Bond villain aspirations. I moved away from his grubby hand. No one touched my camera but me.
    Despite her size, Silvia came between me and the mountain. “We’re here to cover Sacrifice for our college paper. You don’t have the right to take away my colleague’s camera.”
    Yeah! You give it to him, Silvy.
    Not that I couldn’t take care of myself. But if Silvia wanted to play hero, I wouldn’t stand in her way.
    “What seems to be the problem here?” a soft, authoritative voice chimed in.
    The bodyguard moved aside to reveal the Gothic Lolita. She stood at just about the same height as Silvia, but she possessed an older aura even if she seemed to be our age.
    “She’s been taking pictures,” Baldy said.
    Lolita’s kohl eyes landed on me then shifted to my camera.
    “As I was saying to the big guy,” Silvia explained. “My colleague and I are covering the opening of Sacrifice.”
    “For what paper?” Lolita asked without taking her eyes off me. I clutched my camera like an extra appendage. In some ways it was. After losing half my sight, I relied on my camera like an extra eye, seeing the world through its lens. I would rather die than lose it.
    “The Daily Gossip,” I said before Silvia could answer just to relieve some of the awkward tension building in me under her gaze. “We study at Wexler U.”
    She tilted her head, crossing her arms.
    “Okay,” I quickly stammered out. “I get that the name of our paper sounds like a tabloid, but the Daily Gossip is a cool campus paper.” The last part maybe only I believed since Silvia raised her eyebrow at me, but Lolita and the mountain didn’t have to know that.
    No one spoke after that. Even in a noisy club, the silence in our group rang in my ears. Not waiting for the situation to get any more awkward, I plowed forward with my own selfish intensions.
    “You know Luka.” I said it more as a statement, but it came out like a question.
    Lolita nodded.   
    “I’m Dakota Collins and I’m graduating this spring. I was wondering if Luka would be interested in—”
    “What would I be interested in?” a smooth voice joined our group.
    The walls of my throat closed, chocking the rest of what I had to say. All eyes turned to Luka. Silvia dropped her empty glass. It bounced off the bodyguard’s shoe and landed in a clatter but didn’t break. Even with my height, I still had to look up at him.
    “What are you doing here?” Lolita admonished. “You should be backstage.”
    One side of his lips came up. God. Without the scowl, his face lit up. I had to stop the urge to lift my camera and start snapping away. And his eyes were piercing blue. The kind that stretched over my mother’s farm in the summer. Damn.
Seeing him up close, I knew I’d give any one of my kidneys for a chance to take his picture in a formal shoot.
    “We have five minutes. Chill, Yana.” He tugged at one of her pigtails.
    “Luka,” Silvia managed. “I’m a big fan. Will you sign my chest?”
    Bypassing my petite colleague, Luka’s intensely blue gaze studied me. He reached out and I flinched back. His fingers almost grazed my patch. What the hell was the matter with him? Trying to touch my eye patch was tantamount to poking a bandage over a wound and asking the person if it hurts.
    Gothic Lolita—Yana—yanked Luka’s arm down. “I’m so sorry!” Her whole aura changed. She went from all business to panicky. “My brother sometimes forgets his manners. He didn’t mean anything about touching your…” She bit her lower lip, maybe trying to keep herself from saying the wrong thing.
    That little faux pas cleared my head of the Luka haze and spurred me into action. “Luka, will you let me take your picture for my final project?” I didn’t know where my courage came from, but I knew if I didn’t take this chance, I’d regret it. I had to have him as my subject.
    Still not removing his gaze from my face, like my patch transfixed him, he tilted his head to one side very much like his sister did earlier.
    “Luka, don’t!” Yana said, but from the consideration on Luka’s face, she was too late.
    “You’re a photographer?”
    “Yes.” I nodded, in case the word wasn’t enough.
    “And you’d like me to be the subject of your project?”
    God yes! This time, I could only nod. I didn’t want him to see how eager I was. And I couldn’t live with myself if I embarrassed myself further.
    I waited with baited breath.
    It seemed everyone in our group waited with baited breath for what the golden god had to say about my brazen request. I soon realized when Luka spoke, everyone listened. The way he pronounced every word precisely yet still spoke so smoothly, like butter on warm toast, captured everyone’s attention. To say he captivated us was an understatement. Something in me certainly wanted to hear him keep speaking. He could read from an accounting textbook in that voice and no one would get bored.
    “I need to know that you’re good,” he finally said.
    Something about his words seemed to hold a different meaning. I must have missed the alcohol in the soda Silvia had given me. Maybe I was drunk and this was all a blackout dream.
    “What are you saying?” Yana faced Luka all the way now, her petite form all rigid.
    He unleashed a full on megawatt smile my way. I almost had to cover my eye from it. At my side, Silvia gasped. Her long nails dug into my arm. Like staring at the sun, I couldn’t take my gaze away from him no matter how bad it was for me.
    “We’re about to perform. I want you to take several pictures then send them to Yana. If she approves, we’ll see about your request.”
    Then, like smoke, he disappeared into the crowd.


Kate Evangelista

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today she lives in the Philippines and writes full time.
 Find Kate


 The Giveaway!

Leave a comment letting me know which member
of any band you would choose.
(lead singer, drummer, etc.)
This giveaway is open to US residents
with a valid e-ddress!

The Tour Giveaway will be: Savor SWAG Pack, 5 e-copies of Taste