Gods of Merlin

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Priya Ardis and her YA Fantasy Paranormal novel Gods of Merlin.

Author’s description of the book:

Foster kid and occasional shoplifter Eowlyn Patience just wants to fit into her Boston high school. When the Sword In The Stone falls out of the sky like a meteor into the middle of London’s Trafalgar Square, everything changes. Then, an enigmatic golden-eyed man arranges for her to attend a school for the gifted in England, and the irritatingly perfect Matt Emrys from science class turns out to be Merlin—the Merlin, King Arthur’s greatest wizard.

 

Frozen in a cave for fifteen hundred years, Merlin has woken to find the next Arthur. Eowlyn Patience’s mysterious admittance to Avalon Preparatory was not something he foresaw…a disturbing aberration when his most powerful gift happens to be visions of the future.

 

The race to find the rightful heir rages between deadly gargoyles, wizards, and Regulars, but figuring out the troubled Eowlyn might be by-the-book Merlin’s hardest job yet. She’s altogether the wrong girl. Torn between what is right and what saves lives, will Eowlyn do what it takes to win—even if it means sacrificing Merlin to a god?

 

My Review:

In Gods of Merlin, Priya Ardis has written an action-filled adventure likely to appeal to teenage fans of the fantasy genre.

What I liked best:

1. I’ve got a fond spot for females who get to be the chosen one (for once) and I found Eowlyn to be particularly likable. I rooted for her from the start.
2. I’m a life long fan of the many variations of the King Arthur tale and it was fun to see it given a new twist.

What I liked least:

1. I thought there were too many parallels to a certain famous story line with a likeable orphan who mysteriously ends up at a British school for magical kids where those with wizards’ blood look down on those who don’t have it.
2. I found some sections too grisly and others too confusing (particularly flashbacks of Eowlyn tangling with other main characters in other times.)

I would recommend this book to young people who enjoy fantasy and particularly to fans of Harry Potter or King Arthur who are looking for more of what they love.

About the Author:

Priya Ardis loves books of all kinds–but especially the ones which make your nose leak and let your chai go cold. Her novels come from a childhood of playing too much She-Ra and watching too much Spock. Her bestselling series, My Boyfriend Merlin, about Merlin going to high school is a YA contemporary fantasy and romance for those like road trips, wizards, Greek gods, and gender-bent quests.

Talk to me!

Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, YouTube or on Twitter. 

Visit her on her website.

Buy Gods of Merlin on Amazon.

You can also find Priya Ardis on Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Priya Ardis will offer a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn winner, and an autographed copy of the book to a second randomly drawn winner.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops.

My favorite excerpt:

“You are my Gwenhwyfar,” he said. “Or how do you say her name in your time? Guinevere.”

I stood, wanting to run but knowing it would do no good. Because I was not in reality. I was in a dream. I played along. “Wasn’t Guinevere King Arthur’s wife? I’m a little young. I belong to no one.”

“I did not come seeking a wife. My former love is the reason we are in this mess. I have chosen you to be my champion, my right hand. You will go where I cannot.”

I growled in disbelief. “What makes you think I would do anything for you?”

Golden eyes glowed as he considered me. Power radiated from his gaze. The power burned so bright, like the sun, that I would be burned if I looked too long. Then, golden eyes blinked. The light dimmed and I could breathe again.

He peered at me. I dropped to my knees on the ground.

He touched my cheek. “You will do it, Eowlyn Patience, because you crave what I do. You would do anything to leave this small life behind. You would do anything for a bit of power.” His thumb traced the line of my jaw. “Seize the day, my champion.”

Review: The Ancient Tripod of Peace

Why am I reviewing a young adult mystery here? Well, it’s about an ancient artifact and modern-day code breakers. How could I not want to read this??

This is my second recent review here and I hope to do more. See the end of this post for details about my review policy.

 

My Review Summary: This is a fun read that will keep you turning pages and have you googling Shakespeare and ancient Greek history. As a YA novel, I give it a solid 4.0/5. My full review appears later in this post.

About this book: Teens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies. Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.

His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.

 

With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.

 

About the author: Kalen Cap is a writer living in Ohio and regularly commutes back and forth between Columbus and Port Clinton residences. Set among the Lake Erie Islands, “The Ancient Tripod of Peace” is his second novel, first of the Teen Thief-Catcher series. His first novel, “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” was published in 2012.

Learn more about this author at his website, on Amazon, and on his Facebook page TeenThiefCatchers.

Giveaway:  Kalen Cap be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Learn more and register to win.

My full review: (See my summary at the start of this post.)

More than anything, this books seems like Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons) for young adults. It’s full of ancient secrets hidden in plain sight and the reader is left wondering how much is true and how much has been made up to serve the plot. It’s a fun kind of confusion, and it kept me eagerly reading until the end.

What I liked best:

  1. The book is filled with complicated characters, both teen-age and adult. It centers on teenagers who are realistically drawn, as they deal with their own issues and those created by the adults in their lives.
  2. The author presents a lot of mystical and new age ideas, and yet structures the plot in way to leave the reader free to believe in as little or as much of them as the reader chooses. It’s a tough balancing act, but by the end it works.
  3. The overall plot is interesting and the dangers feel real. It’s not a story which tries to trick the reader with gotcha-type surprises, but rather one that builds in complexity and then reaches a satisfying resolution.

What I liked least:

  1. I felt the chapter titles gave away too much of what was about to happen.
  2. The decoded message and other parts of the mystery occasionally become too complex to follow.
  3. There were enough characters, referred to by first and last names, that I had to start a list so I could remember who was who.
  4. A few issues were resolved too easily or things came together a little too well, even for a novel in this genre.

In spite of these minor issues, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those of all ages who like tales of hidden codes, ancient relics and resurfaced mysteries from the past.

Purchase this book at Amazon

The excerpt I liked best:

Lexi hadn’t met any vegan guys her age, only girls. “Want to join me and Anita later?”

“Sure. I’ll try it out,” Trevor agreed.

“We only have a day to find our code for this topic,” Gil said. “Let’s focus on the project. I don’t want to start out locked in with something weak.”

The three read the project description again. Lexi felt clueless. She asked the others how to begin.

Gil said the topic related well to his social science fair project the year before on secret codes in writing.

Lexi rolled her eyes. From the way Gil told it, the project was designed for him. Full of yourself maybe?

Trevor said he spent part of a summer in Greece the year before when his father ran workshops there. There, he’d learned about ancient Greek history. Lexi didn’t mind as much when Trevor made it sound like his experiences aligned with the project. Unlike Gil’s, Trevor’s voice soothed her.

Trevor and Gil both stared at her expectantly. She blushed, first believing they were checking her out. But she soon realized they wanted to hear her special connection to the project topic.

“My grandmother usually teaches history here, too. She gave the opening talk at assembly. Oh, and my granddad’s an actor. He used to be a professional and acted in lots of Shakespeare. They can give me pointers,” Lexi said. My grandparents? That’s my “in” on the project? I’m such a loser. She was determined to not be the weakest link in the group.

This review is part of a book review tour sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Read more reviews at:

May 14: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
May 14: Andi’s Young Adult Books
May 21: Lauren is Reading
May 28: Kimmi Love
May 28: Just Books
June 4: Bookaholic

If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning the $40 gift certificate.

If you are interested in a review from me:

I am interested reading science fiction of all sorts, particularly anything involving the nature of time. My protagonist in z2 is a history-loving, time-warping high school physics teacher, so I am predisposed to stories that feature physics or have an historical element as well.

I am not interested in reviewing pure romance novels, stories which promote any particular religion, children’s books, or horror of any type. Please do not ask me to review erotica, BDSM or books about vampires or zombies.

If you would like to be considered for a review contact me at Alex (dot) Zeitman (at) gmail (dot) com.

Final Note:  I received a free pdf of this book, which would never be enough to entice me to write a better review for anyone.

My Eye-opening Second Reason for Writing

Over the past few years I’ve learned what it would take to climb a mountain in the Himalayas. I’ve studied supply lists for crossing the Pacific as a single sailor. I’ve wrapped my arms around high-frequency trading, come to understand the damage caused by oil exploration in the Niger Delta, and learned the history of U.S. immigration laws. It has been one hell of an adult education program.

My degree, if you will, is the six novels I’ve authored. I’ve discovered that the information living in my brain because of them is one of the seven reasons I write books.

Couldn’t you go research all these things and more, and not bother with the writing part, you might ask? It would be a fine question. Of course I could, but I probably wouldn’t. I’m curious about so many things, but my ability to get myself to sit down and learn about them instead of goofing off is pretty limited. Unless I’m doing it for one of my books. Then I will spend hours on it.

I’ve recently returned to participating in writers’ group, and that has started this reflecting on why I write. At a recent meeting, one writer was trying to describe the subject matter of Philip Roth’s books. “Anything he got a wild hair up his ass about,” she said.  I had to laugh, not only because it was apt, but because she had described one of the chief joys of writing.

You get to pick something you care about, anything that interests you, and then go learn enough to begin to weave a story. You don’t know where your imagination or your research will take you, but between the two of them you can bet it will be somewhere fascinating.

I haven’t only learned from research. The very act of producing books has forced me to to become more acquainted with software, graphics, and photo licensing. I’ve had to brush up my grammar. Do you know when to use “a while” and when to use “awhile”?  I do, now.

Writing has also forced me to stay more current with idioms and kept me more politically correct. No one says “on the QT” anymore, but “on the DL” is still used. Really? It is better to call a mentally challenged child cognitively impaired? Okay. Glad I know.

My ad hoc education program hasn’t been restricted to me, either. Others have been kind enough to seek out information for me in their own fields, leaving friends and relatives familiar with Mayan numbers and civil war battles. (Yes, my husband really did attend a re-enactment to help me with a book.)

Much of my education has come from the intriguing people I’ve been exposed to because of my writing. There is a lady in Denmark who shared her vacation photos from Iceland with me, to make d4 more realistic. Four wonderful women from India helped me with information and cultural sensitivity as I wrote c3. One went a step further, working with me to create a Sanskrit word needed for the story. I had taken a stab at it, using internet translation, and she laughed at my result. She took the problem to her father, a scholar who speaks Sanskrit, and “Jvalalaya, the Abode of Light” was born.

As I work to overcome the inertia and start a new series of books, the thrill of learning draws me forward. I have a giant “to read” pile already, much of it on artificial intelligence, which will play a large role in the world I am building. Anticipation of creating this world has me headed off in two very different directions this summer, attending two fabulous yet odd events I would have passed on without the added impetus of “this will really help me with the next novel.”

Yes, sometimes writing gets me up out of my chair to take in the world.

Of course, this still doesn’t explain what drives me to keep on with all the other time-consuming pieces of putting together a book. For that, I’m going to need to take a hard look at the other five reasons I spend most of my free time creating novels.

(Read more about why I write at The Number One Reason I Write Books, Nothing cool about modest ambitions  and I write because it’s cheaper than therapy.)

Check out the new cover

I’ve been working with Jennifer Fitzgerald at Mother Spider Marketing to redesign the z2 cover with a little more zing and a little less confusing combination of images.  I am very pleased with the result! Please check it out and let me know what you think.

new cover for z2

new cover for z2

 

Normal people

We have a 6 ft by 9 ft ledge in our house that sits over our front door and can only be accessed through an upstairs closet. It’s a small room, really, open on one side to the entry way and totally useless.  I’ve filled it with plants.  One day my son asked me “What would normal people do with a space like that?”

Not Normal

Not Normal

I’ve now had the privilege of having a few dozen complete strangers read and review my three novels.  Seeing my stories work, or not, through their eyes has been one of the most exciting things in my life.  I cannot begin to tell you what a growing experience this writing thing has been.  Sometimes a particular comment in a review overwhelms me, but none has more than the offhand remark of av0415 in her review of x0 on Library Thing.

“It’s quite different from normal books.” That’s just what she said.  “Normal books.”

It seems that with each novel I write, I have some sort of new personal confidence crisis.  I’m about 1/6 of the way into c3 (cee cubed), the fourth novel in this collection, and I am having my crisis already.  This one has to do with my writing style being too inaccessible. I change points of view too often and jump around too much and my last novel z2 took this even further than the first two books. I need to write more like everybody else.

So thank you, so very much, av0415 whoever you are. Thank you for reminding me of my son’s question long ago.  For although my son apologized quickly for any implied insult, he was astute enough to know how inwardly pleased I really was. Yes, I am happy that I don’t decorate like everyone else. Or dress or think or live in a way that is too easily described as normal.  And although I do want my books to be read and enjoyed by many, I am not trying to write them to be read and enjoyed by all. I need to remember that.

These aren’t normal books.  They aren’t written by a normal person. It’s okay. If your particular lack of normal has a common wavelength with mine, then you might enjoy these non-normal tales and that would be great.  But if you don’t, it’s fine too. We’re all not normal in our own way.

Check out the blog of fellow indie author Michael Brookes here  where he features the newly released z2. Michael is also about to release his third novel entitled “Conversations in the Abyss” and he will join us on this blog March 24 for a short interview.