Friday, March 16, 2018

Blog Tour: These Vengeful Souls by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas- Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to the blog tour for These Vengeful Souls presented by Xpresso Book Tours! These Vengeful Souls is the final novel in Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas These Vicious Masks trilogy and ends spectacularly! I've adored this series and am stoked to share it will all of yo.

England, 1883. On the run with the grieving Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn wants two things: to be reunited with her friends, and to get revenge on the evil Captain Goode. Not only has he misused his and Sebastian's powers to rack up a terrible death toll, but he's also completely destroyed any hope of Evelyn or her friends regaining the life they once knew.

Evelyn is determined to make Captain Goode pay for what he's done, but is her revenge worth risking the lives of Sebastian and her friends? Or is it better to flee the city and focus on staying alive? And with the Captain spreading lies about Sebastian in an attempt to flush them out of hiding and turn the populace against them, does she even have a choice at all?

Add on Goodreads or check out my review!

Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon 
 Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
10 Power Moments We Didn’t Get To Use 
by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

One of our favorite aspects of writing superhero fiction is taking powers and finding unexpected, atypical uses for them– the types of little things a person who has lived with a power for years would come up with. So as we spent years writing this trilogy, with these characters in our heads, we’d sometimes come up with a clever or unique moment with a power and set the idea aside until we found the right place for it in our story. Here are some of ideas we never got the chance to put in.
Warning: There might be some These Vengeful Souls spoilers in here, especially the last two! 

Sebastian Putting Big Mouths To Sleep
Sebastian was always tricky because had he a different personality, he might use his power more … creatively, you might say. One idea we would have loved to use, was that since Sebastian knew exactly how long it would take for him to make someone faint and fall unconscious - but not die - we wanted him to put Mr. Kent to sleep whenever he was too long-winded and annoying. We loved playing with their relationship and have many different AU ideas for them …

Mr. Kent
We can admit it: Mr. Kent is the most fun. Not just because he is so very witty (yes, we are complimenting ourselves here), but because of his power. We had a blast thinking up different ways he might use it. But there are so many more things we wanted to do! We wanted to see him embarrass our group more but also turn Society upside down by forcing everyone to actually say what they mean, for once. 

Miss Chen & Ripping Bodices
We love Miss Chen’s ability to break things and had a blast thinking of fun ways to use that power. One was having her accidentally/not-so-accidentally? break open Sebastian’s shirt when she first meets him. It embarrassed Evelyn and Sebastian, amused Miss Chen and frustrated Mr. Kent. However, we ultimately decided it came off more mean to Sebastian than funny and it wasn’t appropriate for the moment, so we just kept it as something she does to her enemies to distract them in fights. 

Evelyn and Sebastian Getting their Own Fighting Montage
We love movies and Tarun especially has drawn a lot of inspiration from great fight scenes. We were dying to fit in a “Evelyn and Sebastian spar with each other in order to practice controlling their powers” scene. We dreamed of snappy witticisms and tumbling around, lowering and raising their powers, in a lead up to a kiss. However, we had put the two of them in such rough shape by book three, it really would not have made sense for their characters. Next time …. Next time we will find a way! 

Camille & Transformations
We made a conscious choice early on to make Camille’s transformation power permanent, so she could give people entirely new lives and identities as part of her business in These Vicious Masks. We’d meant to explore the negative effects of that, specifically someone being transformed and then stuck in another body when Camille suddenly dies in These Ruthless Deeds. Unfortunately, the way the plot went, Rose was the only one we could do that to and she had way too many other problems to deal with that this would have been a ridiculous thing to pile on top. 

Miss Rao & Thunder Claps
In These Ruthless Deeds and These Vengeful Souls we had a
few heist-like scenes that either got changed or completely cut. For each of those scenes, we needed a way for our characters to communicate and coordinate attacks from different locations, but without radios or walkie-talkies it was pretty difficult. Radhika’s power was our favorite work-around for this, using her thunderclaps as a pre-arranged code or as a countdown, so parts of the plan could be synchronized without any technology needed. 

Mr. Redburn & Power Trading
When we came up with Felix Redburn and his ability to copy and hold someone else’s power, we hadn’t outlined These Ruthless Deeds enough to know he would die at the midpoint. Unfortunately, that meant we never got the battle scene we wanted, where he would smoothly copy his enemies’ powers on the fly or make them tensely wonder what power he was holding at any given moment. 

Mr. Hale & Portals
In case it wasn’t clear from These Ruthless Deeds, we were pretty into the portal power and its many practical uses, but we still didn’t get to use everything we had planned. One of our favorites was a plan to send a character halfway across the world and leave them there in the middle of book 2 and just when everyone had forgotten about them, they’d show up in book 3, furious about having had to travel thousands of miles to get back. 

Miss Fahlstrom & Messages from God
One thing we liked doing when brainstorming was to think about superpowers that helped explain supernatural myths and legends from around the world–like say, how Evelyn’s power could explain stories of miraculous healers, or Emily’s could explain ghost sightings. If you read These Vengeful Souls, you’ll know Miss Fahlstrom had the power to see how powered people were going to die, but we originally wanted to have her believe and claim she was receiving visions from her god, like oracles in mythology would. We liked how that would complicate things about which side was good and evil, but then it ended up being too complicated to properly deal with in the book with all the other things going on.

Reincarnations and Babies
In These Vengeful Souls, Evelyn learns that powers are reincarnated every generation. We had a very large plot point we discarded early on for book three that involved Captain Goode looking for the baby that inherited his brother’s ability to copy other people’s powers for himself. It … did not work, but we did want to have our heroes start thinking about legacy and all those who will come after them.

I have to day, as someone who has loved this series, I think this guest post is really insightful! Gives me an understanding of some of the things going through the minds of these fabulous authors!
Check out the first two books here:
My Reviews:
These Vicious Masks | These Ruthless Deeds
Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.

Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.

Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance. 

Visit Tarun:
Visit Kelly:
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
As I've mentioned already, I truly do adore this series and not only congratulate Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas and the release of this amazing third and final novel, but I urge all my followers to check this series out. You won't regret it!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Shelf: These Vengeful Souls (These Vicious Masks #3) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

England, 1883. On the run with the grieving Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn wants two things: to be reunited with her friends, and to get revenge on the evil Captain Goode. Not only has he misused his and Sebastian's powers to rack up a terrible death toll, but he's also completely destroyed any hope of Evelyn or her friends regaining the life they once knew.

Evelyn is determined to make Captain Goode pay for what he's done, but is her revenge worth risking the lives of Sebastian and her friends? Or is it better to flee the city and focus on staying alive? And with the Captain spreading lies about Sebastian in an attempt to flush them out of hiding and turn the populace against them, does she even have a choice at all?

More info on Goodreads.....


These Vengeful Souls is the stunning finale to Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker’s These Vicious Masks series and is an edge of your seat conclusion to what has been a simply brilliant historical fantasy!

Evelyn Wyndham and Sebastian Braddock are on the run after the harrowing events of the Ball that saw the evil Captain Goode misuse his and Sebastian’s powers to kill dozens of people and blame Sebastian in the process. Setting Sebastian up as the villain of the story, Captain Goode quickly does public with the Society of Aberrations, winning over the English people and cementing himself a role of hero to the nation. Only Evelyn and her friends know the truth and once reunited they must find a way to stop Captain Goode before his plans come to fruition. Yet with Captain Goode forcing many Society members to help him, stopping him is going to be the biggest task Evelyn has ever faced and beating him may come with a price she’s not prepared to pay…..

Having immensely enjoyed the two previous novels in this series, I was both excited and saddened to read this final instalment—excited to be with the characters I have come to love once again and saddened as These Vengeful Souls would be the last chance I would get to do so. These Vicious Masks have honestly been a pleasure to read and I can’t recommend this exciting and dashing world Kelly Zakas and Tarun Shanker have created enough.

Perfectly written and featuring a world that is League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Jane Austin, These Vengeful Souls once again follows healer Evelyn and her close friends as they continue their fight against those who would persecute them for their extraordinary abilities. After being betrayed by Captain Goode, Evelyn, Sebastian, Mr Kent and the others find themselves up against a foe who was formally an alley and someone who does not hesitate to manipulate individuals and events for their own gain. Someone who also manages to be one step ahead of our heroes even as they fight so hard to gain the upper hand.

These Vengeful Souls was a really eventful and satisfying read. The world within this series has been so enjoyable to explore. With the series set in luscious 19th century England, Zekas and Tarun work wonderfully together to create a vivid, adventurous and compelling world that follows a strong willed, determined main character in the form of Evelyn who is vastly enjoyable to follow. Stubborn, biting and sometimes reckless to a fault, Eve was someone I adored very much and is exactly the kind of person I hope for in historical novels of this nature.

Bringing to an end a spectacular series, These Vengeful Souls was fast paced and eventful. All the minor characters I’ve come to love were back again—including Sebastian and Mr. Kent—and Kelly Zakas and Tarun Shanker conclude the novel in a manner befitting this fabulous series. I’ll definitely ready whatever they release next and can’t recommend These Vicious Masks enough!

Source: Sent for review by Xpresso Book Tours and the authors (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: February 20th 2018
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Final Thoughts: I've enjoyed this series SO very much and highly recommend it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #216

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt 
Releases on: May 1st 2018
In this contemporary YA, a teenager’s favorite literary heroes woo her in real life.
The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences. 
I've actually had the pleasure of reading some of  Tiffany Schmidt's books in the past and have very much enjoyed them. So much so that I automatically sat up and took notice when I saw she had a new novel coming out....before I even read what it was about and considering the novel is called Bookish Boyfriends, I'm pretty much down straight away. Looking forward to what I'm sure is gonna be a really sweet contemporary YA!
Have you ever read a novel by Tiffany Schmidt?
What do you think of Bookish Boyfriends? Let me know in the comment section!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Shelf: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.

Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids.

One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces.

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.

More info on Goodreads..... 


Our Dark Stars by authors Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade is a thrilling and explosive sci-fi tale in the vein of novels such as the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and the Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and is perfect for readers who love their novels exhilarating and adventurous with just the perfect sprinkling of romance.

In a world where humans own and employ droids built with artificial intelligence known as mocks, on the outside eighteen year old Princess Talia Starchaser seems to have it all. Wealth, status, beauty, but as a member of the infamous Starchaser Dynasty there are difficulties that come with it, including being betrothed to a man she doesn’t know and being forced to publicly humiliate her best friend, a companion mock who has been by her side since she was born. Trying to save someone she loves sees Talia set into motion events that will see the enslavement of the human race and Talia floating through space cryogenically frozen.

One hundred years later, half human, half mock captain Will Perrault is leading a group of ragtag scavengers when they stumble across Talia’s floating device, unaware it contains the very future of the human Alliance. When Talia emerges from the device to a world controlled by mocks, Will is sure this stubborn and infuriating human is the key to regaining control of his old military regiment. Determined to present her to the mock Queen and hoping to be reinstated to his former glory, Will’s plans for recognition quickly derail and when it becomes clear he and Talia are going to have to work together to ensure the crew make it out alive, will these two enemies find common ground? Or will their prides see them bring destruction to more than just themselves?

Having read and loved Audrey Grey’s other books in the past, I was beyond stoked to discover she had a new novel coming out and was completely smitten with the beautiful cover as soon as I saw it. I knew I had to read this and it was suffice to say I had big expectations for Our Dark Stars. So in saying that, I’m thrilled that Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade not only delivered but then some! I honestly adored this novel and am still thinking about this exhilarating story even after I have finished it.

Our Dark Stars introduces readers to a very well-constructed and realised sci-fi world. Gritty but fascinating, I admit the storyline was somewhat predictable for me, but I still enjoyed seeing everything unfold as authors Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade wove together different elements to bring the story together beautifully. The action, humour, danger, chemistry and perfect amount of a developing connection and potential romance between the main characters helped me to perfectly envision this futuristic world.

I appreciated seeing Our Dark Stars through both Talia and Will’s eyes. Not only did this assist with the back and forth chapters through time, but made me really care for both of the main characters and see where they were coming from. Talia was a strong female lead who was kind but fiery while Will was truly complex, born human but altered as a child to become part mock. I think they were great to follow, had real personality and shared a very promising chemistry together. Their dynamic was addicting and even though the romance was really kept to a minimal, I loved seeing them interact.

I also very much enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition between the world our heroine Talia once inhabited and the one hero Will calls home one hundred years later. It’s basically a role reversal between the humans and the mocks, something that makes you think about the possibilities in our own futures and how something such as this could happen. Personally I would have loved to see more about how the mocks came to be in control and how the humans adjusted to their revered positions, but at this point in time the novel doesn’t allow for this.

Our Dark Stars will take you on an intergalactic journey you won’t want to end. I’m very hopeful there will be a sequel even though I can see the novel being a standalone story. There is still so much that Grey and Wade could explore further, including the romance between Talia and Will. I’m hopeful we will see a sequel in the future and will be keeping my eyes peeled for the possibility of more from this very thrilling world!


Source: Sent for review by publisher via Netgalley (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Blaze Publishing, LLC
Format: Kindle ebook via Netgalley
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Final Thoughts: An excellent sci-fi tale, I highly recommend Our Dark Stars!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Free Ebooks

Hello book lovers and happy Sunday. I thought the best way to kick-off another week is with some FREE books!

Hope you managed to find something new to fill your kindle with!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Book Shelf: Show Stopper by Hayley Barker

Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land are forced to sell their children to a travelling circus - to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives - pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds - but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

More info on Goodreads.....


Show Stopper by Hayley Baker is a unique circus tale, introducing readers to the Cirque, a place of death defying stunts, treachery and untold danger.

In futuristic England, society is separated into two very distinct divisions, the Pure and the Dregs. The Pure are those of English heritage and live comfortable, structured lives while those of mixed, foreign or poor decent are known as Dregs and find themselves struggling to survive; treated less then human. Ben Barnes is a Pure whose mother holds an esteemed job in the Pure government administration. When she’s invited to the opening night of the Cirque, a circus featuring Dregs, Ben and the rest of the family attend alongside her. Hoshiko is a trapeze artist and a member of the Cirque, forced to perform for demanding Pures, wanting an escape from their lives in the form of the circus's deadly show. Ben and Hoshiko couldn’t be more different, but when they meet and instantly fall in love, the two teens must find a way to get Hoshiko free of the traveling circus and it’s demonic ringmaster.

Introducing readers to a circus world full of violence and death, I found Show Shopper to be an interesting and unique novel. It wasn’t until I began reading it that I realised it was on the receiving end of very mixed reviews, but I found it somewhat entrancing myself. Author Hayley Baker has created a world of division, oppression and violence in this novel where those of lesser classes are forced to participate in demeaning shows where the audience want the performer to meet a violent end.

Show Stopper really made me think as I read the story. The division between the two levels of society was huge. Dregs were considered less than human, incapable of intellectual thoughts or feelings. The Pures saw them as a race to be exterminated and the lack of respect they had for them was mind boggling. I mean to take pleasure from someone else’s pain, to see their deaths as sport and entertainment---it was brutal. And the Dregs really were just normal people….I personally liked what author Hayley Baker did with the novel here—it made for some intriguing reading.

Show Stopper unfolds through both Ben and Hoshiko’s POV’s and features quick, short and effective chapters. Baker allows readers to witness things from both sides, which is very effective in setting the scene especially as you witness the horrors Hoshiko and the other performers are subjected too. It’s heart breaking, but makes you appreciate the closeness of their group even as pain continues to play a large part in their lives.

The brutality and harshness of this story is what sets it apart. Ben and Hoshiko were both likable enough and were sweet in an endearing and hopeful way as a couple, but it wasn’t their romance that made Show Stopper enjoyable for me. There was something beguiling about the cruelty of this novel and the possibility that any race could be treated as the Dregs were. As a reader you were waiting for the moment something goes right for them and I think Barker did a good job setting the stage.

Dark but thrilling, Show Stopper was a story unlike anything I’ve read lately and I do believe it’s actually worth a read

Source: Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Australian RRP: $16.99  
Release Date: October 2017
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: A unique novel with a circus theme, Show Stopper is actually very much worth a read.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #215

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest 
Releases on: October 1st 2018
Add on Goodreads!
Dark forces are on the rise in this sweeping sequel to The Black Witch by critically acclaimed author Laurie Forest

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs when they rescued a Selkie and freed an military dragon. The last thing they expected was to be thrust into a realm-wide underground resistance against Gardnerian conquest.

While the Resistance struggles to fight back against the harsh rulings of the Mage Council, more and more Gardnerian soldiers descend upon the University…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the nearby military base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to tie himself to her, still convinced that she is the next Black Witch, the destined vessel for a magic that will decide the future of all Erthia. As his own magic calls out to her, seeking to awaken a dark force within, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

I really enjoyed the first novel in this series The Black Witch and am so eager to join Elloren again. My mind is still very much caught up in the first book and I just know that The Iron Flower is going to be epic! I just wish I didn't have to wait until October for it to be released!

Have you read The Black Witch?
And what are you waiting on this week?