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A Dance Like Flame by Tammy Blackwell eARC {5 Stars}

A Dance Like Flame by Tammy Blackwell eARC {5 Stars}

A Dance Like Flame by Tammy Blackwell (Of Magic & Machine #1)
Published by Author on April 4th, 2017
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
Page Length: 403 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

She’s the daughter of an earl with a secret no one can know. He’s a mage who has sacrificed everything to save those he loves. They were born worlds apart, but inside a city drenched in magic, anything is possible.

Unmarried at the age of six-and-twenty, Lady Elizabeth “Bits” Warner has become a burden to her family. Therefore, she isn’t surprised when they pack her on a train bound for Scotland and a fiancé she has never met. She’s not surprised, but she is terrified.

In Corrigan, a walled-off city that serves as refuge to those capable of using the aether to cast spells and concoct potions, Ezra Nash is devoted to healing the sick and injured. Between his work as a surgeon and caring for his sisters, he doesn’t have time for distractions.

When the train Bits is traveling on explodes, she finds herself inside the gates of Corrigan and under Ezra’s care. The two are drawn to one another, but it will take more than attraction to overcome the difference in their stations and the secrets they hide from the world.

5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Dance Like Flame from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell is the third companion novel in the Shifters & Seers trilogy and tells the story of Lizzie and Layne in Blackwell’s classic hilarious and heart-warming writing. I’m quite over the typical urban fantasy, but Blackwell’s characters ring so true and her writing is so captivating that she makes me fall in love with werewolves and witches all over again! I am very picky when it comes to independently-published work, but I couldn’t even tell that Blackwell was self-published when I first picked up her books and I still stake my reviewing reputation on the quality of her work. Please for your own reading sake, check out her books :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Whispered Visions from the author. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Whispered Visions by Tammy Blackwell (Shifters & Seers)
Published by Author on Sept. 8th, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 342 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Where do you go when there is nowhere left to run?

For years the Society for Human Preservation has been waging a quiet war against the Shifters & Seers of the world, and now they've taken two of the Alpha Pack's own.

With the ability to See inside a person's mind, Lizzie Anders is one of the most powerful Seers in the world, but all that power comes with the responsibility of protecting herself and others from what she can do. And now, after years of suppressing her Sight, the SHP is intent on tearing down the walls she's carefully constructed to further their cause.

Layne Hagan is the boy no one wanted. Abandoned by his mother when he was a baby and orphaned by his father in Scout's battle to become Alpha Female, he was handed off by his grandparents to live with Charlie and the rest of the Alpha Pack. He's never had a place or purpose... until now.

With no one left to rely on but each other, Lizzie and Layne must learn to put their past behind them and learn to trust each other - and their hearts - again.

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4.5 Stars}

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell is a story about love, family, death, and what it really means to live that happens to be set in a world with coyote and wolf shape-shifters, Seers, Thaumaturgics, and Immortals. I’m not generally a fan of character-driven stories but Joshua and Ada were such amazing main characters, and assisted by my many favorite characters from Destiny Binds and Infinite Harmony’s companion novel, Fragile Brilliance, that I find myself converted to the character-driven novel as long as the writing is as strong as Blackwell’s ;-). If you haven’t read any of Blackwell’s previous books, that’s really okay! Infinite Harmony stands alone very well and is also a good intro to the many cool magics that exist in this world. You will spoil a couple of things from the first trilogy by starting here, but I don’t think you’ll lessen your enjoyment at all :).

Note: I received an advanced copy of Infinite Harmony from the author. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4.5 Stars}

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell
Published by Author on Oct. 14th, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 227 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Ada Jessup lives for the moment, knowing the promise of tomorrow can be all too easily broken.

Joshua is an Immortal, a heavenly warrior who will still be fighting long after the rest of the Alpha Pack have turned to dust.

When a gunshot wound forces Joshua to tell Ada the truth of what he is, there is more at risk than the safety of the Alphas he's sworn to protect. For Joshua, the real danger is the way he feels drawn to the human girl. After all, what can the future hold for a girl whose days are numbered and a boy whose life has no end?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell is the start of a new series set in the same world as her Timber Wolves books. This means more awesome werewolves, werecoyotes, and Seers, plus new characters and college :D. I read Fragile Brilliance at the perfect time since it’s pretty heavy on the romance and I was very much craving happy relationship feelings ;-). I like that Blackwell is branching out from her original style and I think that Fragile Brilliance will appeal to YA readers looking for more of a paranormal romance feel with witty writing and female characters with backbones (shocking right??)! I very much recommend that you read the Timber Wolves series before Fragile Brilliance though, since otherwise you really won’t have a good grounding in all the heavy events the characters are dealing with.

Note: I received Fragile Brilliance from the author in exchange for an honest review. I read an advanced copy and some things might be different in the final version.

Purchase on Amazon: Fragile Brilliance

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell (Shifters & Seers #1)
Published by Author on Nov 26th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 339 pages
Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Maggie is our new MC and I loved her so much. It’s great to see a POC as a lead character first of all, but Maggie is so much more than her ethnicity obviously. She has her own fashion style, loves her grandmother, is an amazing artist, and, oh yeah, has magic powers :D. She’s also strong in her own way, too smart for all the rich kids at her college, and determined to make her own way in life. Love this girl!
  • If you’ve read the Timber Wolves books, you’ll know Charlie is a severely broken person at this point. Even if you haven’t read the other series, Fragile Brilliance makes this clear right away. While at first he freaked me out a bit, I quickly transitioned to wishing so badly that I could help him somehow. Blackwell captured the profound lack of emotions that goes along with deep depression quite well. I enjoyed the fact that all the characters from Timber Wolves, including Charlie, were obviously deeply affected by previous events and didn’t just get over it all, which seems to happen in a lot of series.
  • We’ve heard very little about Thaumaturgics previously and we finally get to find out more in Fragile Brilliance :D. How you ask? Mwahahaha, just wait ;-).
  • The feels! Fragile Brilliance has a very central romance plot line and while I’m normally not all that into romance-heavy stories, I ate this one up! Charlie and Maggie felt like friends of mine and at times I just wanted to lock them in a room together, but it was that connection that made me happy to boot up my eReader and sink a couple more hours into their story each night. Maggie is a very different character than Scout and I loved cheering her on.
  • Speaking of Scout! Scout is of course in Fragile Brilliance as a side character and she still is always able to entertain me. There is a whole lot going on for her given the events of the Timber Wolves books and it was interesting to see her new life from an outsider’s perspective. I hope things work out *sniffles*.
  • I freaking love ceramics for the record. When I realized that Maggie was a ceramics specialist, there might have been some bouncing. I have only gotten to throw pots once in college, but it was a lot of fun reading about Maggie’s studio work and living vicariously through her work >.>.

Weaknesses:

  •  I normally enjoy Blackwell’s pop culture references, but there were a few too many for me in Fragile Brilliance and I feel old because I didn’t get some of them >.>.
  • Fragile Brilliance is much more of a romance story than the Timber Wolves series was, so just be warned that it has a different feel than those previous books. I hadn’t quite been expecting this, so I don’t want others to be blindsided.
  • I get kind of annoyed when all the characters are beautiful…. At one point when Maggie is first encountering all the shifters and seers, she’s describing all our old friends and basically declares every single one beautiful. Is this a shifter and seer thing? I mean, I love that Tally isn’t model thin and is still considered beautiful by Maggie and everyone else, but can’t we have some not gorgeous characters that are awesome for their strength and charisma?

Summary:

Fragile Brilliance is an excellent paranormal romance in that it has a romance-heavy plot but still introduces us to new aspects of this world and has a deep and disturbing mystery to solve. I really enjoyed being in Charlie and Maggie’s heads while they figured things out, though I’m hoping that we get to find out more about Maggie and her family in the subsequent books. Definitely pick up Fragile Brilliance if you enjoyed the Timber Wolves series, but be in the mood for a romance ;-).

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell

4 Stars: All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell is a novella set concurrently to the final book in her Timber Wolves trilogy (Fate Succumbs), so there will be spoilers for the Timber Wolves trilogy! All We See & Seem tells the story of a certain young couple in college *ahem* and how they get out of their silly heads to realize they are both crazy about each other (awwwwww!). We also get filled in on how other friends joined the picture, so All We See & Seem is a great novella to pick up to help you with your withdrawal until we get another book in December :D. Also, the eBook is only $2 on Amazon!

Note: I received All We See & Seem from Tammy Blackwell in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars: All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves #3.5)
Published by Author on May 18th, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 117 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Jase Donovan always knew exactly what to expect from college: frat parties, coeds, and a spot on one of the most prestigious college basketball teams in the world. It was the life he was destined for... until his sister became the Alpha Pack's Most Wanted. Now he's playing a dangerous game of espionage and subterfuge with the most powerful Shifters and Seers in the world, and if he loses, his life won't be the only one on the line.

Talley Matthews has always been able to look on the sunshine-and-rainbows side of life, but it's getting harder and harder every day with the knowledge that one friend is on the run and another is barely clinging to life. To complicate matters even more, after being pegged as an Alpha Pack Potential, she's having to fend off advances from Shifters who want to use her to gain a little power. The attention might be nice if her heart didn't already belong to someone else.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Omg Jase and Talley! Sorry *breathes* I’m better now. I have always loved this couple partially because it’s great to see a heavier female character get the guy and because Jase develops so much over this trilogy. Since All We See & Seem is about Jase and Talley’s relationship, we finally get some holes filled in as to how exactly they realized they did love each other after that whole pretend mates thing.
  • More holes are filled in, including how Joshua enters the picture. Remember that crazy guy with special powers who was Jase’s roommate? Can you imagine how that conversation actually goes to finding out one of them is a shifter and the other is an Immortal? Well now you get to find out!
  • I just recently graduated from college and so had a lot of fun reliving the amusing aspects of dorm life, especially the problem of random roommates your freshman year!

Weaknesses:

  •  You really need to have recently read Fate Succumbs to get the full enjoyment out of All We See & Seem. I had some trouble remembering what exactly had been going on and it took me some thinking in order to get caught up.
  • Jase really angers me at times with how controlling he is; I just wanted to slap that boy!

Summary:

If you are a fan of Tammy Blackwell’s writing and world, you have to pick up All We See & Seem! It’s a great novella in that it isn’t required reading to enjoy the trilogy, but it adds another layer of detail and fun to what we already know. It also made for a great stop-gap while I patiently await the opportunity to read Fragile Brilliance, haha. I had such a great time remembering why I love the Timber Wolves books so much :D.

4 Stars

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

Four Stars: Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell

In the harrowing third book of the Timer Wolves series, Blackwell tells a tale of duty, fate and love of all kinds. Fate Succumbs puts Scout through the ringer, but also shows just how many allies she has on her side.

I’ve said this before, and it’s worth saying again: Tammy Blackwell is a fantabulous author, especially considering she is an indie author. She is proof that indie authors can have well polished and riveting books. Fate Succumbs is the third book in the Timber Wolves series, so there may be spoilers for the first or second books below. Also, check out that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous??
Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Fate Succumbs
Author: Tammy Blackwell
Pages: 296 (Kindle)
Genre-ish: Urban (very rural?) fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – awesome plot, but not quite enough
Setting: All over? There is a cross-country escape from evil people trip that ends with the Canadian woods in winter, which proceeds to Ely, Minnesota :D. All in an alternate world where shifters (coyote and wolf) exist alongside seers (people with various powers).
Premise: Time Mends ends with Scout being pulled from a death sentence by her friendly neighborhood wolf. Fate Succumbs opens with her proceeding to travel across America in an attempt to stay under the FBI and Pack radar. All of this occurs with the company of Liam, the surly big brother from the earlier books. Scout finds unexpected allies, truths she couldn’t begin to imagine a year ago, and a destiny even though she doesn’t believe in fate.

Strengths:

  • We find out so much more about the shifter and seer history in Fate Succumbs and it just left me wanting to know more!
  • Blackwell also starts revealing much more about the other supernatural aspects of the world, including the Immortals that were hinted about in previous books. There is definitely a lot more to build on for future books.
  • Epic battles and horrible villains getting their just dessert ;-). So satisfying.
  • Liam develops a lot as a character and we find out so much more about what makes him and Alex who they are. While I wasn’t a fan of all the development that happened (see below), it definitely expanded the secondary characters, which can be hard to do with a first person narrative.
  • Also yey for popular boy falling in love with heavier nerdy girl!

Weaknesses:

  • Ick, I’m super not a fan of the romance that occurred in Fate Succumbs. Blackwell does a fair job of showing that Scout is also not super sure about who she is falling in love with, but seriously, why can’t any male-female relationship just be friends??
  • It seems fairly obvious that Timber Wolves is not a trilogy, because there was a whole lot left unresolved at the end of Fate Succumbs. This was a bit disappointing, since strings being cleverly tied up just makes for a much more satisfying book.
  • The epic battle that everything was leading up to just wasn’t all that epic…. It seemed to go by pretty fast, and I honestly don’t think it was supposed to be the climax, which seemed weird. There was a sense of something not being completed to 100% satisfaction.

Summary:
Fate Succumbs and the Timber Wolves series so far, is a really fun read. The characters are fun, the dialogue is witty, the setting is interesting. While they are lacking depth at times, and tend to give in to romantic elements a little too often, the writing of Blackwell makes them fast reads and wonderful brain candy. Also I’m completely in love with these covers! I might have to get the physical copies even though I have the Kindle editions…. I’m very much hoping that Blackwell continues the Timber Wolves series, since there is a lot left untied at the end of Fate Succumbs, and Blackwell is definitely on my insta-read list.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell

Four Stars: Time Mends by Tammy Blackwell

Blackwell continues to impress with the second of the Timber Wolves series: Time Mends. The world of shifters and seers continues to baffle and enrage, and in Time Mends, Scout has an all new set of revelations to deal with, including a big fluffy arctic wolf.

My mom and I decided to both buy one of the Timber Wolves books and trade them to each so that we could both finish the series. Having book buddies is so much fun :D. The second Timber Wolves book, Time Mends, has more drama for Scout to deal with, and this time it is her life that is on the line. I’ll try not to spoil the first book, but there is some major stuff that happens at the end of the first book, and so avoiding spoilers will be difficult. It would probably be best for you to read my review of the first book and read it first :D.
Time Mends by Tammy Blackwell Goodreads | Amazon
Title:
Time Mends
Author: Tammy Blackwell
Pages: 269 pages
Genre-ish: Urban (rural?) fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – solid second book, not quite as awesome as the first
Setting: Scout is from a rural town, Timber, that seemed perfectly normal. In the previous book, she found out that shifters (coyote and wolf) exist, as well as seers. A large number of her friends and family have been revealed as one of the two, which has led to graduation being only one of the highlights of Scout’s life recently. There is also some time spent in Romania….
Premise: The previous book, Destiny Binds, ended with a tragic accident that has left Scout horribly mauled by a shifter and heart broken. Shifters, however, are genetic, not created by being bitten like the myth says. That makes it very strange when Scout starts having some strange… symptoms… and very inconvenient since various very powerful people really don’t like who they think she is.

Strengths:

  • Blackwell has an addictive writing style, and she continues to be fantastically skilled and witty openings, dialogue and action scenes.
  • In many books, the death of a loved one would be saved for some dramatic trilogy finale, so it is interesting how Blackwell keeps the plot captivating despite the very dramatic end to the previous book.
  • I really love the dream scenes that Scout has, and find that they give a needed break from the stress and drama of the main plot line.
  • The secondary characters of Time Mends are freaking fantastic, and I absolutely adore Talley and her development in this book. I really love the example that Blackwell is providing by showing that heavier  female characters can be awesome, beautiful and loved by the popular guy. I think this trend should be continued in other novels more often.
  • I love nerdy references, and there were so many :D.

Weaknesses:

  • I’m sure I’m a hopeless romantic, because I hate any hint of disloyalty after a character has been all “I’ll love you forever, mushy mushy mushy.” There are some good points about being able to love two people at the same time, etc, but really, there can be a book without a love story. Time Mends just insisted on still having love drama even when the first love interest is gone….
  • I got lost sometimes. It was weird, I was reading, and then somehow something different seemed to be happening and it would take me a paragraph or two to catch up with what Blackwell was assuming the reader had figured out. I’m all for not holding a reader’s hand, but when it distracts me from the story, it’s not a good quality.
  • So freaking frustrating! I understand the need for tension to keep a book interesting, but the horrible unfairness of parts of Time Mends just made me want to punch certain awful villains… which just leads to me getting stressed out and needing to put the book down.

Summary:
I was completely wowed by Destiny Binds, and Time Mends had a lot to live up to. It didn’t quite make it, but I still very much enjoyed continuing the series. Blackwell is a very skilled writer, and the books are fast reads. Time Mends explains a whole lot more about the structure of the world that Scout has been flung into, and does a wonderful job of continuing a compelling plot after a major character has been killed off. There were a couple of things that frustrated me, but I still ridiculously recommend the Timber Wolves series to YA urban fantasy fans, because, wow, this indie author knows what she’s doing!

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Time Mends by Tammy Blackwell

Five Stars: Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell

Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell is a young adult urban fantasy tale of werewolves and werecoyotes and the teenage girl caught in the middle of all the secrets woven through her small town. Scout’s life is a little strange to begin with, but all and all it’s a nice one. Why does she have to get dragged into all the drama when a new pack of shifters move into town and start pissing off the resident pack? Maybe it’s not as coincidental as it seems after all….

When I was at GenCon this past week, I had to stop in the author’s alley briefly. I was thrilled to get to meet Tammy Blackwell and freaking ecstatic when she handed me a copy of her book, Destiny Binds, to review for her. I’m always a little nervous about new indie authors, since it can be rather hit or miss, but the cover looked so well done and the blurb rather intriguing, that I had to start on the first chapter as soon as I got a break in all my running around. The first sentence reads, “John Davis smells like Play-Doh.” Who starts a book like that?? Awesome writers, that’s who! Blackwell has a very compelling voice with wonderful descriptions and characters, and I can’t recommend this indie author enough!

Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell

Goodreads | Amazon
Title:
Destiny Binds
Author: Tammy Blackwell
Pages: 223
Genre-ish: YA Urban Fantasy, no vamps
Rating: ★★★★– Lightning fast read, very compelling
Setting: Destiny Binds takes place in normal, small-town America. The kids in high school have known each other most of their lives, and things are pretty peaceful. Nothing strange going on here at all. Oh, except that apparently there are werewolves, werecoyotes and seers, who knew?
Premise: Scout lives a pretty normal life. She has a step-brother, sister, loving and happy parents, and a crush on her step-cousin. She is smart and enjoys school a little too much to be part of the popular crowd. All of that starts to seem blissfully normal, however, when a new family moves into town and she is suddenly seeing a new side to her brother and cousin as they command her to stay away from the horribly alluring new guy. As she gets to know Alex Cole, though, things are suddenly much less normal than she thought, and Scout starts to be dragged into a world with a lot more magic and mystery than she ever thought existed.

Strengths:

  • This writing is so freaking compelling! I’m not usually a YA fan, and I literally whipped through this book in a couple of days, half of which I was driving. I spent practically every free moment reading this book, and I’m a slow reader! I’m betting you might get through Destiny Binds in one sitting if you have a spare afternoon.
  • One of the things that contributed to that compelling nature of Destiny Binds is the character development. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, but this one was very tastefully done. I completely understand why Scout would be torn in her situation, and why two gorgeous guys are drawn to her. The secondary characters are also wonderfully brought in to really pack in the emotional connection to Scout’s life.
  • Oh my god, so moving! I completely didn’t expect the ending and wow was it a tear-jerking, wanting-to-cuddle-the-characters moment. Hugs for everyone!!!!!
  • The cover is so pretty…. There has been a lot of post series on how to do indie publishing well, and this cover is a good example of how some stock photos, a little effort and some nicely set text can make a great cover.

Weaknesses:

  • There are a couple of the typos and tripped up sentences that you expect to find with indie publishing, though at no point do they really scream at you. Blackwell did a good job of editing Destiny Binds, which is something I really hope all indie authors continue to push for. It’s worth the costs of hiring someone!
  • Warning: definite crying ending. I was freaking sobbing. You probably shouldn’t read the end in an airport, just saying. Also have some tissues with you.
  • I’ll be honest, the picture of a wolf statue on the back doesn’t do it for me. I think I own that statue, actually, and a picture of an actual wolf probably would have worked way better.

Summary:
I know that there are a lot of YA fans out there, and if you haven’t found Tammy Blackwell yet, get on it! She is a wonderful writer and is going straight on my guaranteed read list. Destiny Binds is a wonderful YA urban fantasy story with a fun take on the shifter packs idea. There is also a lot of seeding in Destiny Binds for a really epic trilogy and I’m very excited to get my hands on the next books! There are Kindle editions of the first two books (Destiny Binds is only 99 cents yo!) available, so if you like YA urban fantasy, go get them RIGHT NOW!

Remember to subscribe to get weekly reviews of awesome books!

-A
Anya from About The StorySimilar Stories Reviewed:
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs – More shifter awesomeness!
Blooded by Amanda Carlson – More indie author werewolves :D

Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell