Discover Aussie Fantasy 2013 – Kick Off



Welcome to Discover Aussie Fantasy for 2013!

All this month I will be featuring books written by Aussie speculative fiction authors for all ages – not just fantasy, but some sci-fi as well.

Authors whose works I am hoping to feature this year include: Amanda Bridgeman, Margo Lanagan, Stephen Ormsby, Kylie Chan, Carole Wilkinson, Paula Weston, Marianne De Pierres and more!

Throughout this month, a list of the books featured will be updated on the Aussie Fantasy page, which you can reach by clicking on any of the banners around the site or on the “Aussie Fantasy” menu option above.

Don’t forget, you can always see a great selection of books by Aussie authors by going to my reviews page and choosing “Aussie” from the tag list!

The Giveaway

No special feature would be complete without a giveaway, so during this month I will be offering two lucky winners a book of their choice from the list of books reviewed for the Aussie Fantasy feature. Some of these will be available as e-book only, while some may be shipped from the Book Depository.

To enter the giveaway and see the full list of reviews for the month (none just yet but they’ll be coming!), please visit the Aussie Fantasy page!

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Shudder, Samantha Durante

I’m very pleased today to be able to join in with the cover reveal for the second book in the Stitch trilogy, Shudder by Samantha Durante! Samantha is also hosting a giveaway of an ARC of this book – details are at the bottom of this post.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Stitch, you can find my review here. I really enjoyed it and have been looking forward to the next part of the story!

I’d like to present to you: Shudder.


Shudder (Stitch Trilogy #2)

Title: Shudder
Author: Samantha Durante

Series: Stitch trilogy #2
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal Romance
Published: June 15, 2013


It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.


About the Author

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at



Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!

Review: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Academy, Jeff Gunhus


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Jack Templar Monster Hunter Academy tour! Following my review, there are links to the rest of the tour, plus a great giveaway. 

Warning: Only proceed if you are absolutely sure you want to find out about Monster Hunters. Reading this book will almost certainly cause a load of monsters to descend on your house. There’s no backing out if you suddenly get scared of zombies or vampires! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Monster Hunter AcademyTitle: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy 
Author:  Jeff Gunhus (@JTmonsterhunter)

Rating: ★★★½☆

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.


Series: The Templar Chronicles #2
Genre: Middle-grade/Teen Fantasy
Published: Seven Guns Press, April 3, 2013
Pages: 375

Paper copies: • 
E-copies:  Barnes & NobleIndieBound


Please note: This review is for the second in this series, and so may contain spoilers for the first book. You may prefer to read my review of Jack Templar Monster Hunter instead!

I’ve managed to deal with the Creach that find me from time to time after reading the first Jack Templar book – long enough to bring you this review of the second, anyway.

Jack is the son of Monster Hunters, who has just survived past his fourteenth birthday after being attacked by zombies, werewolves and worse. After surviving his encounter with the Creach Lord Ren Lucre, Jack and his friends go with Eva and travel to France to the Monster Hunter Academy. What they find there is not the warm welcome Jack had hoped for.

I had very high hopes for this second tale from Jack Templar, since I really enjoyed the first. I was let down a bit though- once the group reach the Academy, the story falls into the usual boarding school woes, a mysterious challenge that Jack mysteriously gets signed up for, and so on. With Jack also being the only one who can save the world from the forces of darkness it started to feel a bit Harry Potter-ish, and I think it’s for this reason that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first book. It’s almost as though Jeff Gunhus has tried to pack too much into this story – castles, dragons, werewolves, discovery of Jack’s power – that’s a lot to cover in a reasonably short book.

Despite these things, Jack Templar is still a funny storyteller. The action is fast-paced and quite unrelenting – I felt like I needed a rest by the end of it since Jack was so busy through the whole story. Not a dull moment to be seen, which is perfect for middle-grade and young teen readers.

Monster Hunter Academy is a well-written and enjoyable story, but it lacked a bit of the originality that made the first Jack Templar book stand out for me. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next instalment – the series promises to be an interesting journey after the recent events at the Academy!

Warnings: Some rather grisly violence.


About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television. He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.


The Tour and Giveaway

Visit the tour site at Girl Who Reads to see the full tour information. The giveaway is at the bottom of this post!


April 4
Classic Children’s Books Excerpt
Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review
Brooke Blogs Excerpt

April 5
The Oaken Bookcase Review
Italian Brat’s Obsessions Featured Book

April 6 Lubs Book Chatter Review

April 7 My Devotional Thoughts Review

April 8 Here’s the Story Review

April 9 Library Girl Reads & Reviews Excerpt

April 11 What Shall We Blog About Today? Top Ten & Review

April 12
Paperback Princess  Review & Top Ten List
Girl Who Reads Excerpt

April 13 Alli’s World Excerpt

April 14 Ohana Day Academy Review & Excerpt

April 17 Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders Review & Top Ten List
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast: Jack Templar: Monster Hunter Academy, Jeff Gunhus




If you are not a Monster Hunter, click the back button NOW!


Last chance.


Continuing with this post will give monsters the go ahead to attack you.


You have been warned!

From today, the highly anticipated sequel to Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus, a 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award finalist, is available to buy!


After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

Make sure to check back here tomorrow for my review of the book!

Learn more at

Buy the Book!
Read more about Book 1: Jack Templar Monster Hunter and Jeff Gunhus
Follow the tour for Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author.

Blogaversary Giveaway


A year ago, was registered and this site was born! To celebrate my first blogaversary (and also my birthday which happens to also be today), I’m giving away a book to one of you, my lovely readers!

I’d like to thank all of you – readers, authors and publishers, who have made the last year of blogging so much fun! I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks with Life in general but stay tuned – I’ve got some exciting stuff planned for the blog soon.

I’d like to especially thank Adam from Safe Shark Hosting, for making my transition to self-hosted WordPress so quick and painless and for providing such an awesome hosting service! If you’ve been thinking of switching to self-hosted, I heartily recommend you check out Safe Shark!

Now, to the giveaway.

The Prize

The winner will choose any one book from The Book Depository, to the value of A$15. This can be one of my favourite books from the last year or recent releases pictured below, or another book of your choice!

This giveaway is open Internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. If you’re not sure, check here.

Please note, I will only accept entries via the rafflecopter form! Please don’t put your email into a comment, it won’t be included as an entry!

The Rafflecopter form will be open until midnight, March 28 AEST, then the winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond with their address. Good luck!

Extra entries are available for those who share word of the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook. You don’t have to also follow me, but if you are able to it would be really appreciated 🙂

If you can’t see the Rafflecopter widget, you’ll need to click the “More” link or the post title to open up the post itself.


Stormdancer Finnikin of the Rock scarlet
blooddragons BitterGreensUK throneofglass
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Review: The Cypher, Julian Rosado-Machain


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on The Guardians Inc. blog tour! Here’s my review and an excerpt from The Cypher, as well as the opportunity to win a $75 Amazon gift card! You can find the giveaway form plus links to the other blogs participating at the bottom of the post.

The Cypher e-book is free throughout the tour! Download links are available below.

cypherTitle: The Cypher (Goodreads)
Author:  mexico_flag Julian Rosado-Machain (website)

Rating: ★★★½☆

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future.


Series: Guardians Inc. #1
Genre: Middle grade/Young adult paranormal/science fiction
Published: Createspace, February 2011
Pages: 238

*The Cypher is available in e-book formats for free throughout the tour!*

Paper copies: • • Book Depository
E-copies: •  Barnes & Noble


Thomas Byrne is almost sixteen when his parents go missing while on a cruise. His grandfather takes him in, and must try to find work to support them both. When Thomas and his grandfather answer an advertisement for a librarian position with Guardians Inc, they discover themselves involved in a grand adventure. Guardians Inc is a massive company tasked with ensuring that technology remains dominant in the world over magic. Every few hundred years, the balance is tipped and a Cypher – one who can read any language – must find a special text in order to save the world from ancient elemental magic. Thomas and his grandfather are both Cyphers, and the Magical world and the Technological Guardians must race to discover the Book of Accord before it’s too late.

The Cypher is a very detailed first instalment in this series – there is so much to take in here in not many pages! I got the feeling it would be a little overwhelming for younger MG readers. The story is not only packed with the detailed history of the Guardians, but there’s also quests, riddles and confrontations with strange creatures. There’s even a touch of romance!

The one major problem that I found while reading it was that it’s badly in need of more thorough editing. There were a few words out of place and the story just didn’t flow well – I had to go back a few pages from time to time to work out what had happened. Despite this, the Guardians Inc. is a very interesting concept and I was able to suppress my inner editor and enjoy the story.

The Cypher is almost like a cross between Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code – ancient magics and mysteries to solve. It’s a shame the editing let it down, but the confrontation between technology and magic is so imaginative I’ll be interested to see where the story goes next.

Warnings: Violent but otherwise clean.


This is a little bit about Thomas first mission as a Cypher, and his first encounter with Tony, who will become part of his team later on.

Hussahassalin under Central Park, NY

Hussahassalin under Central Park, NY

Tony pulled the little yellow cocktail sword out of his mouth and hunched his shoulders. “I always imagined that the Cypher would be an old wrinkled man, or a hot, hot girl,” he said with a thick New York accent and extended a hand toward Thomas. He had such a carefree attitude that Thomas immediately liked him.

Thomas took his hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Thomas.”

“I’m Tony Della Francesca,” he said nodding toward his group. “Vani, Piero, the pretty lady with the sawed-off shotgun under her forearm is Bella.” Bella clicked her mouth and leveled her arm at them letting them glimpse the two holes of a twin shotgun inside her jacket sleeve.

“And these two guys over here,” Tony said as he walked toward the two remaining men who rolled their eyes as he approached, “are brothers. I’ll bet you five bucks that you can guess the name of one of them if I give you one clue.”

“Andiamo Tony, gia abbastanza!” one of the men said.
“He’s a Cypher! It’s a little field test, and you both shook on the bet, for life,” Tony scolded them.

“We were drunk, Tony,” the other grumbled. “And it got old three years ago.”

“Tatatata,” Tony shushed him. “Ten bucks, kid. What do you say?”

“Sure,” Thomas answered. “What’s the clue?”

The two men pulled out ten-dollar bills from their pockets with a dissatisfied grunt.

“This big guy’s name,” Tony said tightening his grip around the man’s shoulder, “is Luigi.”

Thomas let out a chuckle. “So you must be Mario, right?”

Tony clapped and snatched the bills from their hands and immediately gave one to Thomas. “See boys? He’s really a Cypher!” Tony then led Thomas by the shoulder. “We are the Central Park watchmen. We keep humans and Mashcrits on their own side of the fence.”

“Mashcrits?” Thomas asked.

“Magical Critters, but don’t let them catch you saying that. They hate it. Piero!” He nodded and the lean man threw a couple of yellow T-Shirts at them. On the front of the T-shirts was the stylized Egyptian eye logo of Guardians Inc. “Neighborhood Watch” printed in bold letters on the back.

“The company set up a police permit to let us roam Central Park at night with our flashlights. We’ve caught some real weird Mashcrits and a couple of human thieves too.” He led them through the park.
“This looks like a forest,” Thomas said in awe. The trail they followed through the park entered through very thick vegetation.

“Designed to look like one by Olmsted and Vaux since 1858,” Tony said, “with help from the chief of the fauns, Husseha, himself. This is the Ramble. We have the Great Lawn on the other side of the road and The Lake to the south. Here the Mashcrits can go out at night and have their fun. I prefer the East Meadow myself.”

“And how big is this place?” Thomas pushed away a branch that almost whiplashed him as Tony walked by it.

“The whole thing is almost 850 acres. The Ramble is just 38, but it’s like a forest isn’t it?”

“Sure is.”

“That’s how the Mashcrits want it. It gives them the chance to hide or run away if someone approaches.”

“And how many… Mashcrits do you have here?” Thomas couldn’t resist asking.

“Well, we deal with three basic Mashcrits types in Central Park. There are the Fauns that own the place, the Fae that come and go with the seasons, and the Drifters, some of whom we have to convince the hard way to leave.” He pointed with his thumb at Henri. “Big guy here knows about Drifters. Don’tcha?”

“Werewolves in Brooklyn,” Henri said from behind them.

“They still haven’t fixed that place you brought down.” Tony gave the grotesque thumbs up. “Classic Henri.”

“Lots of fun.” Henri chuckled. “Is Tinamra still mad?”

“Oh yea, that lady wants to clip wings badly. Anyway,” Tony continued, “we have an understanding with Husseha, Chief of the Fauns. So when his sons began to act up, he called us, we checked out what was happening, and then we called you.”

“So what exactly happened?” Thomas asked. They’d left an established path and were now walking toward a formation of rock over a small hill. The forest grew thicker around the hill and they had to use both hands to get through the vegetation. It was as if the plants themselves resisted their passing.

“That’s what you’re here to find out, kid.” Tony tapped the rock using a gnarly twig he pulled from his pocket, and the rock opened up forming a tunnel for them to walk through. “Let’s go. Bella, keep watch,” Tony said as Thomas, Henri, and Bolswaithe entered the tunnel.

Thomas felt like he was on the inside of a mole’s tunnel. The tunnel had been dug out by hand, or claw, and half-chewed roots sprouted from between the scrape marks on the walls. Rope lights ran along the sides and center of the ceiling.

After a short trek, they arrived at a circular door guarded by two creatures in armor. Thomas could see two slender furry legs ending in hooves under their metal armor. Their helmets, however, were completely closed and antlers protruded from the back of them. They had slender arms with four fingers instead of five, and they carried a lance with ribbons tied under the blade.

Tony spoke in a strange language, and the guard on the left responded in a shrilly voice. Tony pointed at Thomas and then at Henri as he spoke and he seemed to be slightly angry.

The Fauns answered with a couple of short words, snorts, and crossed their lances over the door. Tony nodded and turned to Thomas.

“We can go in,” he said looking at Bolswaithe and Thomas, “but Henri has to wait out here. They claim that half-breeds will pollute their flux well.”

Henri cracked his knuckles and took a deep breath. Whatever half-breed meant had really angered him.

“I’ll be here,” Henri said and crouched on the ground, transforming into the smaller immobile statue that he usually adopted when he was at the entrance of the mansion.

The Fauns uncrossed their lances and the inner door opened revealing a cave full of small clay buildings and fluorescent vegetation. Their tunnel entrance was located on a ledge above the main floor of the cave. A couple of hanging bridges led from their ledge to another on the far side of the cave and a waterfall opened directly from a tunnel on the opposite wall forming a river that crossed through the city and ended in a lake surrounded by little clay houses. The city was illuminated from the ceiling by hanging circles of fluorescent lights and reflectors that hung in concentric circles from the roof.

It was the largest cave Thomas had seen, but it was still small compared to the library.

“Welcome to Hussahassalin, underground dwelling of the Hassa clan Fauns.” Tony led them into the city.

Fauns filled the city streets. Without their armor and helmets they resembled white-tailed deer. Most of them jumped to and fro, but the fauns with the largest antlers walked slowly and deliberately, their heads high. They had painted designs on their cheeks and colored rocks adorning their antlers. Some wore elaborate clothing like in movies about the old courts in France and England, but most of them wore simple vests and coats. As they walked through town, fauns would stop and exchange words to one another, and throw curious looks at them, their little white tails wiggling as they spoke in their sibilant tongue.

“They might look cute,” Tony whispered, “but these guys can really mess you up if they want to.”

Just a little adventure under NY City… I hope you’ll be interested to know more about Thomas, Tony and Guardians Inc. The Cypher. You can download it from all ebook stores for a limited time!

Happy reading,
Julian Rosado-Machain

About the Author

Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, BA in Graphic Design, worked building armored vehicles, handcrafted alebrijes, owned a restaurant and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.

A Mexico City native he now lives in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

Guardians Inc. The Cypher is the first book in a series that describes the creatures and powers that live in the world within our world.

The Tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb. 4 Alli’s World – 10 Things You Didn’t Know (about the book & author)

Feb. 5 Living, Learning, and Loving Life How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

Feb. 6 Library Girl Reads & Reviews M interviews Thomas

Feb. 7 Bookshelf Review & Tips for Being a Better Writer

Feb. 8 Trendy Mom Reviews Find out what Julian’s office is like

Feb. 9 Mrs Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews Excerpt

Feb. 10 Java John Z’s Giveaways and Reviews Review & character guest post

Feb. 11 Girl Who Reads Meet the Author Monday

Feb. 12 It’s About Time Mamaw Character Guest Post

Feb. 13 Ask the Author at

Feb. 14 Lindsay and Jane’s Views and Reviews Review & Author Interview

Feb. 15 Pulling Down Books Review

Feb. 16 KY Bunnies Author Interview

Feb. 17 Cabin Goddess Review & Excerpt

Feb. 18 The Oaken Bookcase Review & Excerpt

Feb. 19 Classic Children’s Books Review

Feb. 20 Keeping Up With The Rheinlander’s Character Guest Post

Feb. 21 Larkin’s Book Bloggers Review & author guest post

Feb. 22 Recent Reads Review & Excerpt

Feb. 23 Logan’s Loco Reads Review & character guest post

Feb. 24 Tamara’s One Stop Indie Shop Excerpt

Australia Day Giveaway Hop


Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Australia Day Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by Book’d Out and Confessions from Romaholics!

It’s Australia Day on January 26th each year – a day to sit in the sun, enjoy a swim at the beach or have a barbie with family or friends. This year we get Monday off in lieu of the 26th falling on Saturday, so hooray long weekend! Unfortunately here in Queensland there’s an ex-cyclone hanging around so there’s going to be plenty of rain and wind all weekend, so I’ll mostly likely be curling up inside with a book instead!

To share the Aussie spirit of the weekend, I’m joining in with the Australia Day Giveaway hop and giving away a book by an Aussie author.

Extra entries are available for those who share word of the giveaway on twitter. You don’t have to also follow me, but if you are able to it would be really appreciated 🙂

You can see all the other sites participating in the hop by visiting the main hop page at Book’d Out. If you can’t see the Rafflecopter widget, you’ll need to click the “More” link or the post title to open up the post itself.

The Prize

You can choose any one of the great books by Aussie authors pictured below, to be ordered from The Book Depository.

This giveaway is open Internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. If you’re not sure, check here.

Please note, I will only accept entries via the rafflecopter form! Please don’t put your email into a comment, it won’t be included as an entry!

The Rafflecopter form will be open until the middle of midnight, January 28 AEST, then the winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond with their address. Good luck, and happy Australia Day!


Edit Jan 28: Sorry everyone, I realise I’ve mucked up my rafflecopter and finished the giveaway a day early *blush* Thanks so much for visiting, anyway!  Hop on to the next blog instead 🙂

Stormdancer Finnikin of the Rock Shadowfell


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No Strings Attached Giveaway January 2013

no strings January

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop! The Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

This Hop is especially for those people who hate jumping through hoops to enter giveaways. You only get one entry, and all you have to do is log into rafflecopter with your email address so I can contact you if you win. Easy!

Please note, I will only accept entries via the rafflecopter form! Please don’t put your email into a comment, it won’t be included as an entry!

You can see all the other sites participating in the hop at the bottom of this post. If you can’t see the Rafflecopter widget or the Linky, you’ll need to click the “More” link or the post title to open up the post itself.

The Prize

You can choose any one of my top reads for 2012 pictured below, or a book of your own choice to the value of A$15 from The Book Depository.

This giveaway is open Internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. If you’re not sure, check here.

The Rafflecopter form will be open until January 22nd, then the winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond with their address. Good luck!

Stormdancer Finnikin of the Rock seraphina
cinder throneofglass Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor


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Tour: Roots of Insight, Breeanna Putroff – Review and Giveaway

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Roots of Insight blog tour! There’s a giveaway and links to the other stops on the tour below my review.

Title: Roots of Insight (Goodreads)
Author:  Breeanna Putroff (@BPuttroff)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be.

Things are just beginning to feel normal again when Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She’s excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with.

What she doesn’t realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become … and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.


Series: The Dusk Gate Chronicles #2 of 3
Genre: Teen/YA Fantasy
Published: Musefish Press, January 2012
Pages: 306
My copy: From the author as part of a blog tour.

Paper copies: •
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


Please Note: This is my review for book 2 in this series. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers for the events of book 1, Seeds of Discovery, but you might like to go and read my review for that book instead if you haven’t read it already!

Quinn has just returned from her first trip to Eirentheos and things are starting to return to normal, more or less. The days pass with Quinn trying to concentrate on her school work and enjoy her new relationship with Zander, when Thomas shows up one Monday with William, inviting her to return to Eirentheos for their brother Simon’s wedding.

All is not as perfect in the other world as it was before – trouble is stirring in the neighbouring kingdom of Philotheum and Thomas tells Quinn he’s going to travel there to find his cousin Lily, who hasn’t been heard from in weeks. But when he doesn’t return, Quinn and William decide they must go to find him.

Roots of Insight is an exciting and quick read – if Seeds of Discovery was a little light plot-wise, Roots of Insight makes up for it. The story picks up from almost exactly where the first book finishes, and it takes a while to get back into action, but once it does it doesn’t let up.

Quinn is more vulnerable in this part of the story – she has panic attacks throughout the story and William isn’t always there to comfort her, but when they are together there is a lovely chemistry and slow-burning romance. He’s such a gentleman – we get to see more of his mature personality as parts of the story are told from his point of view. Poor Zander gets a bit of a raw deal in this book – he has really fallen for Quinn but she treats him terribly.

A cliffhanger ending means I’ll be trying to get my hands on the third book, Thorns of Decision, as soon as possible! There are still plenty of questions to be answered – there are continual hints that Quinn may be more than just a visitor to the other world, but nothing has been revealed just yet!

Roots of Insight is a more emotionally-charged and suspenseful read than the first book was, and I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy teen fantasy.

Warnings: None, it’s squeaky clean.


The Dusk Gate Chronicles


Enter to win a print copy of Roots of Insight using the Rafflecopter form below! I’m assuming at this stage that it is open internationally. Good luck!

Please note: This giveaway is being run by Lightning Book Promotions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour

September 28th Rola @ XO reads (review)
September 29th Jessica @ Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (review)
September 30th Kate @ Literary R&R (review)
September 30th Kristy @ Kristy K. James (guest post only)
September 30th Kristin @ Better Read Than Dead
October 1st Paula @ Community Bookstop
October 2nd Phaedra @ Identity Discovery
October 2nd Lisa @ Just Another Rabid Reader
October 3rd Angelya @ The Oaken Bookcase 
October 4th Megan @ Paperbook Princess
October 5th McKenna @ Young at Heart
October 6th Sheila @ Sheila Deeth

Review and Giveaway: Rua, Miranda Kavi

Welcome to The Oaken Bookcase’s stop on the Rua book tour! You’ll find my review below, but at the end of the post there is a tour-wide giveaway to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Title: Rua (Goodreads)

Author:  Miranda Kavi (@miranda00writes)

Rating: ★★★★☆

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets. The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .


Series: Stand Alone (for now?)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Published: Self-published, September 2, 2012
Pages: 265
My copy: From BB Book Tours

Paper copies: •
E-copies: • 


Celeste has always felt like an outsider – moved around by her loving adoptive parents to new towns and schools frequently. This latest move is different though – as she approaches her seventeenth birthday, Celeste begins having nightmares and hearing voices in the night, and why does the gorgeous boy Rylan keep staring at her like that?

On her birthday, it is finally revealed that Celeste is one of the Tuatha de Danaan, gatekeepers between the worlds and controllers of the Sidhe. Things only get more strange as she discovers more about who she is and what she is capable of.

Rua is quite different to other stories of the Fae that I’ve read. I think it was the American small-town setting rather than a Celtic-inspired fantasy world that felt so different. The characters were quite detailed and had realistic reactions to the supernatural events. I especially loved Celeste’s new bestie, Tink. What’s not to love about a gay witch with a big heart?

The supernatural elements were introduced fairly gradually which created some fantastic suspense throughout the story. The romance between Celeste and Rylan was very swoony but moved a little fast for me – I felt it was bordering on insta-love which is a bit of a shame considering how much I loved the rest of the story. We also never really find out the extent of Rylan’s powers or hear much of his back story.

The only major problem I had with Rua was that it was too short! I really hope Miranda Kevi intends to expand more on this world – this promising debut has laid a great foundation for more tales of the Tuatha de Danaan and the other supernatural beings mentioned. I’d recommend Rua to anyone who enjoys YA paranormal romances, and I’ll be looking out for Miranda Kavi’s future work with great interest.

Warnings: Fairly squeaky clean, just a little scary.


About the Author

Miranda Kavi is a YA and Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to  chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.

Get in touch with Miranda via her website, Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads.



BB Book Tours has arranged a great giveaway for those in the US (sorry Internationals 🙁  )


  • US only
  • Win a paperback copy of RUA
  • Also win a cute little stuffed blackbird (complete with an authentic crow call recorded when you squeeze it) and other swag!
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please note, I am not organising this giveaway – it is tour-wide.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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