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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weather Child (Excerpt Part 2) by Philippa Ballantine

Continuation of Monday's excerpt:
 
"...Not even a small woman could have stood atop the roof of the train as it passed into the tunnel, so when the creature appeared in the window to one side of Faith, she was not surprised. The claws that had been twisted from the girl’s once charming little hands were locked around the melding of the window without any apparent difficulty. The golden eyes peered in at Faith with burning fury, but she had the real impression it was not staring at her, so much as through her to the seraph within.
The moment, trapped in amber, passed. Faith heard an almighty clank as the back end of the train fell away. The engine, stoked to full capacity, leapt forward eagerly, but like the well-seasoned traveller she was, Faith managed to keep her feet.
While her attacker shot a glance back, distracted perhaps by losing its audience, she threw the wind at it. The glass exploded and the walls of the carriage bulged as the might of a Wellington southerly wind confined in a small space smashed at that which Hoa found hateful. It pummelled the creature with broken glass, and then, with the full force of a gale. The glaring gold eyes flared wide, but whatever dwelt inside was still beholden to the demands of the real world. The claws scrambled on the side, but couldn’t hold forever.
The long dead girl’s voice howled in anger, before the wind picked up the creature and smashed it against the last few feet of the tunnel..."

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Weather Child (Excerpt Part 1) by Philippa Ballantine

Let the Countdown to Weather Child's release begin...
 
 

It is almost that time (aka March 1st) when a new and, I am quite sure, wonderful novel known as Weather Child will enter the world of print and eBook fiction. A couple of times a week until March 16th I will be posting excerpts in honor of the novel and as part of the Weather Child Virtual Book Tour.

In addition, as preparation for the release of Phillipa Ballantine's novel, Weather Child, you can win a copy of Weather Child by entering this giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you enjoy the following excerpt and take time to check back for more tidbits and giveaways during the following couple of weeks!


"...The train squealed as they landed on the narrow walkway between the final car and the coal wagon. Faith managed to catch herself before rolling off, but her hat came loose and was lost into the dust.
Scrambling up, they could see over the pile of coal the pale and astonished face of the engineer. He was taking in the fire and the creature that he could obviously see. He disappeared back again. The train sped up and Wirimu and Faith were forced back into the ruined carriage by the swaying of the train.
“He’s not going to risk stopping in Paraparaumu,” Wirimu yelled over the screaming of the wheels. “He’ll push on to Shorecliff where there is a police presence.”
It made sense, and Faith was thankful for the quick thinking of government employees. Glancing behind her, Faith knew they couldn’t be far from the tunnel.
“You go unhook the back carriages from this one,” she instructed Wirimu. “I can’t risk an all-out battle with so many civilians. I’ll hold her off. Quick, there’s a tunnel.” Mid sentence she had already delved into her magic, Hoa leaping to aid her. The wind began to scream even louder than the train. It filled her with satisfaction and completeness just as always. When it was in her, she was more than just human; she was the living, breathing embodiment of nature’s might.
Seeing the oncoming darkness and feeling the wind begin to batter at the sides of the train, Wirimu didn’t ask any further questions. He dashed back along the now pitted and ruined first class carriage, just as the train plunged into the darkness of the tunnel.
Time slowed. It wasn’t a trick of Faith’s perception or magic; she sensed that immediately. The train was slowly shuddering, where as mere moments before it had been bucking like a wily rodeo horse. Only two remaining lights at the far end of the carriage gave any illumination, but it was enough...."
...Excerpt will be continued on Wednesday...
 

For more information about Weather Child, see my earlier post: http://hearttoheartbooks.blogspot.com/2014/02/weather-child-by-philippa-ballantine.html

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen


Read an excerpt Here

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul--and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master--a man her mother would never approve of--but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village...and to her mother's tattered heart?

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen was a sweet and heart-warming novel that delved into the meaning of love, forgiveness, and not holding grudges and assuming the worst of people. The storyline was well-paced and built up slowly to revealing the large number of secrets that surrounded the small village of Devonshire. The plot included elements of mystery, romance, suspense, and different ranges of emotions that all added to the coherence of the novel. The novel was a third person narrative, but alternated between the perspectives of Julia and Alec with her mother occasionally sharing events from her point of view. The slow and measured pace of The Dancing Master really allowed the characters and their interactions with one another to shine through and made them very realistic and well developed. I liked the fact that the relationship between Alec and Julia began gradually and that other characters helped them understand their own personalities as well as more about one another. I really liked Alec; I thought he was a respectful, driven young man who was seeking to make up for past family mistakes. Julia, however, took me longer to like. She started out as a spoiled brat who does not respect her family or the village she lives in. However, as she learns more about her past and about God, her perspective on life, God, and her family change dramatically, and I could identify with her more.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.

I received this novel from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover

Where does a firstborn girl fit in a world dominated by men?

When Tiadone was born, her parents had two choices: leave their daughter outside the community to die in the wilds, or raise her as male and force her to suppress all feminine traits. Now, as the first female living as male in her village, Tiadone must prove her father didn’t make a mistake by letting her live.

As her male initiation approaches, Tiadone knows every eye on the community is on her, and desperately wishes to belong and finally be accepted. But at every step, traditional feminine gifts and traits emerge, and the bird she's been twined with is seen as a sign of the devil.

Worse, as Tiadone completes her rites, she finds she is drawn to her male best friend in ways that are very much in line with the female gender.

Confused and desperate, Tiadone tries to become what she must be while dealing with what she indeed has become: a young woman who may be able to stand up to her despotic rulers and uncover her real purpose in life.

Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover was an interesting if not sometimes shocking read that I found enjoyable. The setting of this novel was very intriguing as it involved a society that had been overtaken by another people group and who required that all first born females either be cast out to die or be declared male. Tiadone was one of these declared males. Along with the other truly first born males, she was required to possess only male characteristics and to take her place as a patrolman in the mountains. The storyline was exciting and quick-paced and contained a nice mix of action, romance, pain, and rebellion. The novel was told from Tiadone's perspective but contained visions and memories from other characters' points of view. I really liked how the author created interesting and unique phrases, traditions, and rites of passage for both the conquered and the reigning communities in the novel. I enjoyed the relationship that existed between firstborn initiates and their rapion and how it defied the rules and beliefs of the conquering people group.

The characters of this novel were realistic, easy to connect with, and definitely one of my favorites aspects of the novel. I enjoyed the easy relationship between Tiadone and her rapion, Mirco, and how it further set her apart as different from the other males. I enjoyed being able to connect with Tiadone and to identify with her struggles with female emotions and desire as well as trying to decide if she believed in the true Creator God that the leaders of her the reigning group denied. As much as I liked the blooming affection that Tiadone had towards her best (male) friend and enjoyed their interactions, I did think that the way it was portrayed made the novel seem less like a young adult novel and more like adult fiction. I think older teens would be fine with the romantic portion of this novel, but I would not recommend it for young teens or those who struggle with controlling their emotions. I also wish that there had been a slightly clearer connection between the Creator-God in the novel with that of the true God. However, overall I really liked this novel, and I hope there is a second one because I would love to see what happened to Tiadone after she made some huge life decisions at the end of the book.

I received this novel for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weather Child By Philippa Ballantine Cover Reveal

Never alone. Never apart.
"They are the Awakened, a unique breed of people in a remote corner of the world. Faith is one of these gifted carriers of the Seraphim; and in return of her unconditional love, her Seraphim grants her powers of incredible potential.
But not all carriers embrace their blessing.
Jack loathes being an Awakened. He never asked for it, his Seraphim keeping him alive even in spite of his desire to die. Not even a great war could rid him of this curse.
Now a magician of incredible ability and a walking dead man must find a way to work together to save the Seraphim. Someone covets the power of the Awakened, and will not stop until that power belongs to him."
I have looked forward to this cover reveal and the release of Weather Child for awhile. I read the original release of Weather Child, and I am excited that it has been revamped and re-released on MARCH 1ST so others can enjoy it. Weather Child is also listed as Book One of the Awakened Epoch, so I look forward to learning more about the characters and the storyline as the novels continue.  Since I am familiar with the storyline of Weather Child, I think the cover by Alex White is absolutely beautiful and does an excellent job of displaying the ethereal underworking of the novel. Readers, if you find this cover intriguing, please be sure to check out Weather Child by Philippa Ballantine when it is released on March 1st. I promise that if you like fantasy or mystery/thriller genres, you will not be disappointed.
 
About the Author:
New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats
Twitter: @PhilippaJane