Monday, September 15, 2014

Review and double Giveaway: Tempting Fate, by April White

Hey guys :)

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember the time when I had April White on the blog for an interview and reviewed her debut novel, Marking Time. I’ve now had the chance to read Tempting Fate, the second book in the series, and I suggest that you go and pick this series up immediately, because Marking Time is currently free on Amazon (and has a rating of 4.8 stars out of about 250 votes). Below is some more info on the book, as well as two giveaways! One of them is for two Audible gift codes for the audiobook of Marking Time and sponsored by April, and the other is for two ebook copies of Tempting Fate, offered by yours truly. Both are open internationally. But without further ado, let's get to the book!

Relase date: June 28, 2014
Publisher: Corazon Entertainment
Format: ebook and paperback, 400 pages

Goodreads description
Seventeen-year-old Clocker Saira Elian is back on the run and being hunted by Mongers. The Descendants of War are amassing power in the 21st century, bent on controlling all the Immortal Descendants. Their attempt to kidnap Saira, a rare Descendant of Time and Nature, reveals just how brazen they’ve become. Archer, the vampire who has loved Saira for over a century, is willing to risk everything to protect her.

When a horrific vision reveals Ringo, thief and loyal companion from 1888, being tortured at the hands of the bloodthirsty Bishop Wilder in a Renaissance prison, Saira and Archer realize there has been a ripple in the river of Time, and they must travel to 1554 to find its source and save their friend. Their rescue mission lures them to the Tower of London, site of the most notorious executions in history, where they encounter the mysterious Lady Elizabeth who is confronting a terrible fate of her own.

The time-traveler, the vampire, and the thief will need all of their skills and ingenuity as they race against time to steal a document that could change the course of history and put the Immortal Descendants at the mercy of the Mongers. Can they stop a madman bent on collecting the blood of history’s most powerful Seer before the executioner’s axe falls?


April White has been a film producer, private investigator, bouncer, teacher and screenwriter. She has climbed in the Himalayas, lived on a gold mine in the Yukon, and has read the entire Harry Potter series three times; once to herself and twice out loud to her boys. She and her husband share those boys and their home in Southern California with their dog, various chickens, and a lifetime collection of books. April wrote her first novel, Marking Time, because it's what she wanted to read, and now needs to finish the five-book series so she can find out what happens next.

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Just as a quick info, this review contains some spoilers for Marking Time, so read at your own discretion.
I can tell you upfront that there is no hint of sophomore slump to be found here! The action, once more, starts immediately. Saira is still being hunted by the Mongers, the descendants of War, because they suspect that she is a hybrid of Time and Nature (she can time travel but also has heightened senses). Any mixing between the Immortal Descendants is forbidden, so if the Mongers attained proof of Saira’s heritage, she might be executed. Just as they would try to kill her boyfriend, Archer, if they could catch him. He is a descendant of Death – what we’d call a vampire. However, vampires, unlike the other descendants, are shunned. This doesn’t really make their relationship any easier, especially since Saira still has trouble integrating present-day vampire Archer and Archer the human student from 1888 that she fell in love with.

A new threat arises though. Archer was a Seer before he became a vampire, and Saira now shares his vision. And what they see is their friend Ringo, aged sixteen in 1888, being tortured in a Renaissance prison by Bishop Wilder, their old nemesis. Is this vision real? How did Wilder and Ringo end up in the past? And what influence does all this meddling with time have on the twenty-first century? One thing is clear though – they cannot leave Ringo to die in Wilder’s clutches. Eventually, the trio reunites in sixteenth-century London to save not only Ringo but also Elizabeth I – and with her, the future as they know it.

Something I already loved in the first book is the importance and the portrayal of history. And lucky for me, the late Victorian era and the Elizabethan age are among my favorite periods. I once spent almost a whole semester learning about Elizabeth, her strategies to wield and retain her power as queen regent, and her self-portrayal. What I saw in Tempting Fate was new to me though: Elizabeth before she became one of England’s greatest monarchs. Elizabeth, the young woman, often called Henry VII’s bastard, fearing for her life in the Tower of London. Elizabeth in serious danger of being executed by her own half-sister (Bloody) Mary.
I found April White’s portrayal of Elizabeth (both the positive and the negative) believable judging from what I know about her. I think it’s incredibly hard to bring such a well-known historical figure ‘to life’ in fiction, and I think she found a great balance between staying true to history (without simply reproducing clich├ęd preconceived knowledge) and filling in the gaps to mold Elizabeth into the story. It was very interesting to see Saira and Elizabeth meet, since both can be hard-headed women, and both are strong in different ways. And if they want to safe Elizabeth’s life and Saira’s future, they need to cooperate to stop her execution. Don’t worry though – if you’re not a history geek, everything will still be adequately explained and make sense to you!

Another thing I really enjoyed in Marking Time was the free-running, and I was so happy that it was part of the second book as well! It’s not just a ‘cool’ addition to Saira, it’s part of her character traits: she runs. And part of her challenges in Tempting Fate is to stop running and face the things in her life that she is afraid are slipping from her control. One of these is her relationship with Archer. She’s been alone for most of her life, and she had to deal with her mother disappearing for a week every two years without explanation. It’s hard for her to trust, to rely on other people, to relinquish control.
But she has to learn to do that if she wants to be with Archer. I’m not going to lie, it hurt me to see them struggling to find a way to maintain their relationship because I’m rooting for them so badly. They’re amazing together. But on the other hand, I really like that for once, not everything is hunky-dory as soon as the couple comes together. Having a relationship with someone is not a piece of cake under normal circumstances – add to that the fact that one of them is over a hundred years old and the other a hunted time traveler. It would be unrealistic if they were just peachy.

Another thing that makes this series unique is the world building. That, too, is taken to another level in Tempting Fate. More is revealed about the Immortal Descendants, the families, their politics. I also love how once more, the present and the past are tied together. The secondary characters were fleshed out even more, the stakes higher – in both the past and the present. The pacing was again spot-on and I was never sure how things would turn out. Towards the end, there was no way I was putting the book down. And no way I could have anticipated what would happen.

I could talk about so many more aspects of the book. How happy I was that Ringo was once more a part of it, the relationship dynamics between Archer and Saira, between Saira and her mother. The way the characters’ actions and decisions always make me reconsider my own life and decisions. The story makes me ask questions, and it does so in an unobtrusive, non-didactic way, simply because I empathize with the characters and their situation. Once more, I think what I love most is how all the different, small aspects and parts of the story are tied together into a coherent whole. You can see from the length of this review how difficult it was to try and touch on all the ways in which this novel and series are amazing. And from what I know about book three, I can already tell there’s more awesomeness to come! If you love time travel, shifters, and an intricate world and plot with strong and complex characters, you really should give this series a try!

As promised, there are two of them, both open internationally as long as you can receive books from Amazon. The rules are as usual: one entry per person, you have to be at least 13, and cheating results in disqualification. Check the details in the Rafflecopter rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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