#SpotlightTour Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Today it is my turn to turn the spotlight on Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova. It is the second book in the Bruja Born series which started off with the fast-paced and volatile Labyrinth Lost. It’s a powerful premise with plenty of potential.

About the Author

Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of The Vicious Deep trilogy and the Brooklyn Brujas series. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel.

Follow or tweet @Zlikeinzorro

Follow zoraidazolo on Instagram

Follow ZCordovaBooks on Facebook

Visit zoraidacordova.com

Buy Bruja Born

About the book

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

Review

This is the second in the Brooklyn Brujas series, which deals with the fallout of the dark volatile and life-changing events of Labyrinth Lost (the first book in the series). Lula spends the majority of the time trying to control a bellyful of anger and taking her lack of control out on her loved ones. She resents her sister for putting her in danger and for destroying her physical appearance.

When you’re equipped with more power than you can handle the danger is not being able to control it or possibly using it for the wrong reasons. As a witch one of the golden rules is what you put out into the universe you get back tenfold, especially when it is something negative. I think trying to intervene in life or death scenarios fits into this category. Lula doesn’t hesitate to use her power to take back what Death has already claimed, which sets a series of dangerous events in motion.

Córdova likes to explore the emotional and physical limitations and boundaries of magic. What happens when you break the written and unwritten rules? Does Lula really feel as if she is above the rules and immune from the possible consequences of breaking them. There is also a focus on the tight relationship between the sisters, and why they are willing to risk their lives to satisfy the selfish needs of their sister.

The Brooklyn Brujas has a lot of potential, especially when it comes to the sisters developing their skills and powers, so it will be interesting to see where the author takes the series. Brujas aren’t a common feature in urban fantasy, there tends to be an overall focus on bog-standard witches. This allows for a more in-depth look at the cultural meaning and myths surrounding them.

What I really want to know is whether something else other than fate or the auto-schedule of Death happened on that bus. Was it just a coincidence that Lula was in the middle of an emotional upheaval? Just putting that out there into the universe.

Buy Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Kindle pub date 5th June 2018, Hardcover pub date 1st July 2018

Buy at Amazon com Barnes & Noble BooksaMillion Indigo Indiebound


Rafflecopter Giveaway for 2 Copies of Bruja Born Runs June 5th -30th (US & Canada only) – Click on the link below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) at Amazon Uk Goodreads

Amazon com Barnes & Noble Booksamillion Indigo Indiebound

Excerpt of Bruja Born

They say El Corazón has two hearts:the black thing in his chestand the one he wears on his sleeve.

—­Tales of the Deos, Felipe Thomás San Justinio

This is a love story.

At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell. Though technically, Los Lagos isn’t hell or the underworld. It’s another realm inhabited by creatures, spirits, and wonders I’d only read about in my family’s Book of Cantos. The place where I was kept—­where my whole family was imprisoned by a power-­hungry witch—­that was as close to hell as I hope I’ll ever get.

But that’s another story.

“Lula, you ready?” my sister Alex asks.

I stare at my open closet and can’t find the socks that go with my step team uniform. I riffle through bins of underwear and mismatched socks and costume jewelry.

“Lula?” Alex repeats, softly this time.

For the past seven or so months, Alex has been extra everything—­extra patient, extra loving, extra willing to do my chores. She means well, but she doesn’t understand how suffocating her attention is, how the quiet in her eyes drives a sick feeling in my gut because I’m trying to be okay for her, for our family and friends. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at faking it. But sometimes, like now, I snap.

“Give me a minute!”

I don’t mean to snap. Honestly. But everything that’s come out of my mouth lately has been hard and angry, and I don’t know how to make it stop. That’s not who I am. That’s not who I was before—­

Rose, our younger sister, walks into my room wearing long sleeves and jeans even though there’s a heat wave and it’s mid-­June. Rose has the Gift of the Veil. She can see and speak to the dead. Spirt magic runs on a different wavelength than the rest of our powers, and being so tuned-­in to that realm means she’s always cold. Rose takes a seat on my bed and picks at a tear in the blanket.

“Can I go to the pregame with you and Maks?” she asks me. “I’ve never been to one before.”

“No,” I say.

“Why not?” When she frowns, her round face gets flushed. Sometimes I forget that underneath all her power, she’s just a fourteen-­year-­old kid trying to fit in.

“Because,” I say, digging through my dirty laundry. “It’s just for the team. You can drive to the game with Ma and Alex.”

“And Dad.” Rose’s voice is a quiet addendum.

Right. Dad. After seven years of being missing and presumed dead, he’s in our lives again. It’s an odd feeling having him back, one we all share but haven’t talked about. He has no memory of where he’s been, and even if we can’t say it out loud, maybe we’ve moved on without him. Alex was always the one who said he was gone for good, and perhaps deep down inside, I thought that too. But I always corrected her. I was the one who believed he’d return, because sometimes false hope is better than being completely hopeless. I believed in lots of things once.

“And Dad,” I say.

The three of us exchange a look of unease. There are too many things that are unsaid between us. I wish we could go back to being loud and rowdy and something like happy. But it’s taking longer than I thought.

So here are the things we leave unsaid:

One, we’re brujas. Witches. Magical BAMFs with powers gifted by the Deos, our gods. A house full of magic is bound to cause some friction, and after what Alex did, there is plenty of friction.

Two, my sister Alex cast a canto that banished our entire family to a realm called Los Lagos. She got to traipse across its magical hills and meadows with Nova, the hot brujo we never talk about, and her now-­girlfriend, Rishi.

Meanwhile, I was trapped in a freaking tree. A big, evil tree. I was surrounded by all-­consuming darkness, and even though we’re home and safe, I still feel that pull, like something is sucking at my soul and my light, and this house is too small and crowded, and I don’t know how to make this fear stop. I don’t know how to get over it.

Three, I can’t stand looking at my own reflection anymore.

I took all the mirrors in my bedroom down, even the one that was on my altar to keep away malicious spirits. They don’t need it. One look at my face, and they’ll be scared off.

“Ready when you are,” Alex says again, her guilt radioactive.

Technically, technically, the attack that left my face hideously disfigured with scars was Alex’s fault. I’m a terrible sister for thinking it. Forgive and forget and all that. But the maloscuros that came looking for her attacked me. Their vicious claws raked across my face. Sometimes, when I’m alone, I can smell the rot of their skin, see the glow of their yellow eyes, feel their presence even though they’re long gone and banished.

To be fair, Alex has scars from the maloscuros too. Right across her heart. But she can cover them up. I can’t.

Not naturally, anyway.

Having a sister who is an all-­powerful encantrix has its benefits. There are a million problems going on in the world, and here I am, worrying about scars. But deep down, I know it’s more than the scars. I’ve been called beautiful my whole life. I’ve been aware of the way men’s eyes trailed my legs since I was far too young. The way boys in school stuttered when they spoke to me. The way they offered me gifts—­bodega-­bought candies and stolen flowers and handwritten notes with yes/no scribbled in pencil. My aunt Maria Azul told me beauty was power. My mother told me beauty was a gift. If they’re right, then what am I now? All I know is I left fragments of myself in Los Lagos and I don’t know how to get them back.

So I turn to my sister, because she owes me one. But before we can get started, my mother knocks on my open door, Dad trailing behind her like a wraith.

“Good, you’re all together. Can I borrow you guys for a minute?” Ma asks. She rests a white laundry basket against one hip and waves a sage bundle like a white flag. “I want to try the memory canto on your father before we leave. The sun’s in the right—­”

“We’re busy,” I say, too angry again. I don’t like talking to my mother like this. Hell, any other time I’d catch hands for speaking to her like that. But we’re all a mess—­guilt, anger, love, plus a lot of magic is a potent mix. Something’s got to give, and I don’t know if I want to be here when it does.

Mom throws the sage stick on top of the clean laundry, scratches her head with a long, red nail. Her black-lined eyes look skyward, as if begging the Deos for patience. She makes to speak, but Dad places his hand on her arm. She tenses at his touch, and he withdraws the hand.

“We all have to pull our weight around here,” Ma tells me, a challenge in her deep, coffee-­brown eyes that I don’t dare look away from.

“Dad doesn’t,” I say, and feel Rose and Alex retreat two paces away from me. Traitors.

“He’s trying. You haven’t healed so much as a paper cut since—­”

I widen my eyes, waiting for the her to say it. Since Los Lagos. Since the attack. But she can’t.

“You have Alex,” I say, turning my thumb toward my sister. “She’s an encantrix. Healing comes with the package.”

“Lula…” Ma pinches the bridge of her nose, then trails off as my father tries to be the voice of reason.

“Carmen,” he whispers, “let them be. It’s okay.”

But my mother doesn’t fully let up. “How much longer will you keep having your sister glamour you?”

Alex looks at her toes. All that power in her veins and she can’t escape being shamed by our mother. I might be just a healer, but I match my mom’s gaze. We share more than our light-­brown skin and wild, black curls. We share the same fire in our hearts.

“Until it stops hurting,” I say, and I don’t let my voice waver.

We share a sadness too. I see it in her, woven into the wrinkles around her eyes. So she just hands me a black bundle—­my uniform socks—­and says, “We’ll see you at the game.”

Advertisements

#BlogTour Nature of the Witch by Helen T. Norwood

Today is my stop on the BlogTour for Nature of the Witch by Helen T. Norwood. A venture into urban fantasy with a lot of potential for future development. At the end of this post you have the chance to win a signed copy of Nature of the Witch by Helen T Norwood (Open to UK only).

About the Author

Helen lives in the UK with her husband, two children and one diva-like cat called Tiger. Helen, like many others, was captivated in her childhood by books from the likes of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton and any books which took her to new worlds and showed her places of magic and mystery. She has enjoyed writing and creating her own magical worlds from a young age. She is currently writing the second book in the ‘Nature of the Witch’ trilogy which will be out soon.

Follow @ThinkFitFoodFam (Helen Norwood) on Twitter or Helen T. Norwood on Goodreads

Visit thinkfitfoodfamily.com

Buy Nature of the Witch

About the book

Many years ago, magic prevailed in Britain. It was a time when chosen women followed a path forged by Mother Nature herself; a time of witchcraft, of the brotherhood of the Gwithiaz and of the terrifying Creatures.

This has all passed from memory a long time ago. But now, magic has returned. Kiera is the first witch the world has seen in centuries, while Jack must learn the ways of the Gwithiaz. They must not only master their crafts, but also overcome their differences and work together if they are to survive the dark enemy that lurks in the shadows.

In the rugged Cornish landscape where it first began, the two face the dreaded Kasadow: an ancient evil that has awakened and is ready to destroy them, and their magic, once and for all.

Review

The epilogue introduces a fairly complex premise of witches, the brotherhood of the Gwithiaz and bloodthirsty Creatures. The Gwithiaz are sworn to protect the witches, who are selected by Mother Nature as her daughters on earth and given powers to boot. The Creatures are set on destroying, actually more or less eating, every single witch.

Fast forward many centuries and the last Gwithiaz is tasked with waiting for and finding the last witch, and everything is love, peace and harmony. Oh wait, maybe not because it turns out there are still a few Creatures running around looking for some crunchy delicious witches to snack on.

Nature of the Witch is about trust, friendship and learning to control your own power. Mother Nature and the natural ability we all have within us, and the way we can use it.

The premise allows for more books to follow in this story. The reader will want to know where Kiera goes from here. Are there any more of her kind out there? Will she learn to control and use her powers? Are the Gwithiaz completely trustworthy and do they really have a fatal Achilles heel?

Norwood presents an initially intricate epilogue and then eases into a story that is undemanding and yet intriguing, which is an interesting contrast and one that equates to more readers. A small cast of characters puts the focus on dialogue and the storyline. It’s a read with a lot of potential.

Buy Nature of the Witch at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Nature of the Witch by Helen T Norwood (Open to UK only).  To enter the giveaway click on the link below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ashes Reborn by Keri Arthur

ashes rebornThe connection between Emberly and Jackson is one of the more intriguing elements of the story. Neither of them have any real idea how their fusion is going to evolve or whether there will be more negative or positive repercussions for either one of them.

Their strange partnership, and the odd new powers one of them seems to possess, have to take a back-seat so they can focus on a threat to the supernatural and human community. Rinaldo is willing to kill anyone and destroy anything to get his hands on any research relating to a plague-like virus. A virus that can drive the contaminated person to madness.

Arthur delivers a fast-paced fiery urban fantasy with strong characters and a story that ends with a hook so the readers will come back for the next book.

Arthur’s Riley Jenson urban fantasy series is outstanding, and doesn’t get as much attention as it should. She has a flair for innovative ideas and strong female leads. Her Souls of Fire series offers readers both of these elements.

Buy Ashes Reborn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Winter Halo by Keri Arthur

Follow @kezarthur @BerkleyPub @penguinrandom

Visit keriarthur.com

Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

ride the stormMy head is spinning and the little grey cells are hurting after all the time-hops, battles and intrigues. At times I felt it was a bit much, and then the author would bring it all back to the Cassie we know and love.

There are perhaps one too many action scenes, too many moments that are almost repetitive, which then takes the pleasure out of the story, because you know what is coming.

One of the aspects I particularly enjoyed was the way Chance brought in facts and story-lines from older books and even from the Basarab series. It is no secret that I think the Dorina Basarab series is superior to the Cassie Palmer one, so I was really excited to see her appear in this book. It was more of a secondary and explanatory role, but it was still a nice touch. I would love to see a Basarab and Palmer novel with both receiving the same amount of attention.

Mircea spent a certain amount of time clearing up certain things about Dory, and in doing so also reveals a secret that connects all of the Pythias throughout the centuries. It is also a betrayal on a certain level, as far as I am concerned, because he admits to planning ahead and wanting to use the Pythia, ergo Cassie, to achieve his greatest desire.

Now she is armed with this information will Cassie finally stand by her attraction to Pritkin and accept that perhaps she was nothing more than a means to an end for Mircea.

I find that Karen Chance manages to create more complex plot-lines and scenarios as the series goes on, as opposed to less interesting as the ideas dwindle. The trick is keeping the element alive that keeps the readers coming back for more. Chance is one of the more underrated stars of the urban fantasy genre, especially when it comes to the Basarab series, and definitely an author whose books I look forward to.

Buy Ride the Storm at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Reap the Wind by Karen Chance

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

wildfire12The Hidden Legacy series is young fresh and quite steamy. It has the complexity of a more seasoned urban fantasy and the lightness that will attract younger readers.

The whole marry and procreate to create the perfect magical being for your magical house has a eugenics feel to it. Perhaps not so distanced from real life and the quest to create the perfect human.

In a world where we can already manipulate the choice of gender, hereditary diseases and general appearance, the need for magical or indeed perfection is actually quite a popular topic.

Nevada has done some growing up and is stepping up to protect her family by making the correct political moves and planning strategically instead of with her heart. To beat the the rules of the houses you have to be able to think and act like them.

One of the highlights of the story is of course the romance between Nevada and Rogan. The two of them are like a well-tuned machine in both a professional and personal sense. The chemistry is explosive, which of course is one of Andrews specialities. Being able to create tension, longing and pure animal attraction between the main characters.

It is what readers have come to expect from Andrews, a solid urban fantasy with memorable characters and plenty of potential for further development.

Buy Wildfire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @ilona_andrews @AceRocbooks

Visit ilona-andrews.com

Snared by Jennifer Estep

snaredYou have to admire the way Estep manages to keep this series fresh and captivating after so many books and years.

There are still so many nooks and crannies to explore when it comes to Gin & Co. Plenty of secrets to uncover, and most importantly there is always an adversary waiting just behind the corner to try and eliminate The Spider.

In this 16th book in the Elemental Assassin series Gin has to find a criminal of the more everyday garden variety. A serial killer with a penchant for pretty blondes.

Now we all know Gin is a sucker when it comes to helping people, regardless of who they are. When one of the mob bosses approaches her for help finding her sister, she doesn’t even think twice about lending a hand.

At some point during the investigation Gin figures out that someone is pulling strings behind the scenes, she just isn’t sure whether they are trying to divert attention away from the killer or simply pointing her in the right direction.

Then there is the whole Hugh Tucker thing, it’s interesting. It sort of makes you wonder why he keeps stacking the deck in her favour. There must be more to it than simply liking Mama Snow. It’s not just my imagination right?

Estep knows exactly how to thrill and enthral both new readers and readers who have been following Gin and her Merry Band of Misfits from the very beginning. It is urban fantasy with a slice of snark and topped with a cherry full of violence, courtesy of our very own quirky assassin.

Buy Snared at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Magic Reborn by Carly Hansen

Today’s post is all about a new adult urban fantasy called Magic Reborn written by Carly Hansen. It is the first in The Peacesmith series by Hansen.

About the Author

Carly Hansen is convinced that when she was born the doctor used a novel to whack her on the bum to make her take her first breath. She’s been lost in the world of fiction ever since she can remember, either devouring books by her favorite authors or scribbling the wild imaginings that pop into her head. She’s kept conjuring up stories, even after growing up and working in the admin department of a not-for-profit organization.

Carly cherishes spending time with her family and is proud to be owned by a very possessive cat and an overly-protective dog (though she suspects the real reason the pooch chases away all those other dogs in the park is so as to not have to share the treats in Carly’s pocket). When not writing, Carly is likely to be found in skis or skates in the winter, or in her swimsuit throughout the rest of the year.

Carly feels humbled and grateful that she gets to share her writings with the world and positively loves to be in touch with readers.

Follow @Me_CarlyHansen on Twitter or on facebook.com/AuthorCarlyHansen/ or visit carlyhansen.com/

Buy Magic Reborn

About the book

On the run and disguised as a boy, Fenix Graystone finds sanctuary when a witch opens her home,

arms her with charmed knives, and transforms her into a fearsome fighter. But when an enigmatic vampire overlord arrives seeking help to solve the murders of three young women, Fenix’s new-found peace shatters.

The kidnapping of a fourth girl stirs up strange emotions in Fenix, bringing her illegal magical powers to the surface. But the magic within her points Fenix to suspects too close to the vampire overlord for comfort.

Now she must ally with an enemy she didn’t even know she had if she hopes to rescue the girl and bring the killers to justice—before she becomes their next victim. If you like fast-paced action, strong female leads, and a dreamy love interest, you’ll want to get lost in these pages.

Review

Magic Reborn is the first in The Peacesmith series, a new adult urban fantasy. Hansen lets the details about why the series is called peacesmith trickle through slowly, so the reader isn’t overwhelmed by the revelations. It is a well-paced story with memorable characters.

It is safe to say that magic is the main ingredient of this urban fantasy. More specifically why Fenix feels the need to not only bind, but also try to hide and deny her magical powers. That happens to be easier said than done, because when push comes to shove, magic will out.

Fenix is an interesting choice for a name in a sense that in a way it alludes to her use of powers and rising from the ashes, a wee bit like a phoenix. The title is another tip of the hat in the same direction. She certainly hides well behind the exterior of being a boy or should I say trying to hide. Not everyone is taken in by her disguise. For one thing, she apparently smells really sweet to some supernatural beings, unbeknownst to her of course. Girls are made of sugar and spice don’t you know.

As the story unfolds the reader is taken from the present day to the past. Fenix experiences flashbacks about a traumatic event in her childhood. Now years later when tasked with finding the killers of quite a few young girls she finds the murders are somehow linked to herself.

The author has created a solid basis for this series. There are secrets galore, a handsome and highly irritating vampire, a witch with an affinity for strays and of course the girl with palms as powerful as.. well the problem is no one really knows. Fenix is the classic unknown variable in this magical equation.

I think it’s fair to say Hansen has only just begun and hasn’t hit her literary stride quite yet. I’m certain she will though.

Buy Magic Reborn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy Magic Reborn at Amazon.com