Announcement: Magic & Mayhem is moving!

Morning!

I just wanted to send out a quick announcement that sometime between now and the regular Monday blog post, Magic & Mayhem Book Reviews is moving URL’s. (And there will be no Friday post.) According to the laws of wizardry, all followers of the blog will come with me to my new home. I may have to wave a wand or two (and curse a little bit) (and have my super-fabulous webpage designer, Varient, do most of the heavy lifting), but it should be seamless to you all.

Also, a quick sneak preview of what’s coming in the next month: I’m still catching up on books I have accepted for review, so hopefully some of those reviews will go up soon™. In the meantime, my blog will be part of a cross-blog critique event at the end of May and beginning of June. And I will likely be closed to accepting unsolicited reviews into July.

Oh, and don’t forget–Guarding Angel releases May 19! Add it on Goodreads while I frantically put all the finishing touches on it.

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Review: Light & Shadow Trilogy by Moira Katson

Series: Light and Shadow trilogy
Author: 
Moira Katson
Genre(s): Young Adult Fantasy
How To Purchase: Kindle | Paperback | Kobo

It has been only two generations since Arthur Warden seized the throne of Heddred from the Conradines, and now the crown rests on the head of Garad, sickly and weak. Shadows gather: legacies of the centuries-long rivalries for power, old betrayals, the endless plots of the courtiers, and the murmur of rebellion in the southern provinces …

Catwin, plucked from her life at the edge of the Kingdom, is thrust abruptly into the world of the Court when she is chosen by the Duke of Voltur to be a Shadow-spy, shield, and blade-to his niece, the Lady Miriel DeVere. The Duke’s ruthlessness is legendary, and he will stop at nothing to become the power behind the throne, using Miriel as a pawn to catch Garad’s heart.

But the Duke’s carefully-laid plans are only a piece of the intrigue of the court, and greater forces than Catwin can imagine are massed against her, determined to eliminate Miriel and impose a new order of their own. If Catwin and Miriel are to survive, they must learn quickly who to trust, and when to turn their skills against the very people who have trained them …

Shadowborn by Moira Katson

Book #1: Shadowborn
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Shadowforged by Moira Katson

Book #2: Shadowforged
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Shadow's End by Moira Katson

Book #3: Shadow’s End
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I was impressed by this series, the Light and Shadow trilogy, which was another one of my fabulous Bookbub bargains. (Er, by the way, since I talk about them so much, one might wonder if I’m affiliated, but I’m not. Though I’ve acquired enough $0.99 and free books from them, I should probably take out stock.)

This is both a fascinating character-driven and an interesting plot-driven story, wrapped in an engrossing fantasy world. Catwin, the main character, comes from a poor family, and until she’s noticed by the Duke of Voltur, she’s destined to amount to nothing but kitchen help. Instead, he sees potential in her and sets to training her to be his niece Miriel’s bodyguard and assassin–whether she wants to or not.

Her struggles with the atrocities she’s forced to commit are potent and heart-rending. The uneasy friendship that grows from initial hatred between the two girls is well-crafted. They dance around one another, neither sure if the other can be trusted, but having no choice but to rely on one another.

I’m not going to spoiler anything from the second and third books, but I loved how the story developed. The stakes continue to raise, as Miriel must do her uncle’s bidding and, well, Catwin must, also.

I rated the third book as four stars because I wasn’t impressed with the culmination of Catwin’s prophecy: As a baby, her mother refused to raise her because she foretold that her daughter would be betrayed. A lot of that back story made no sense, and when the betrayal comes, I can’t really understand why. It’s almost … or completely … a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I don’t really understand why the characters involved choose their actions.

Overall, I loved this series and I heartily recommend it. If you enjoy fantasy, either young adult or adult, you’ll enjoy the Light and Shadow trilogy. Ms. Katson is now on my list of “Authors I Must Read More of If Ever My TBR Pile Diminishes.”

Have you added my forthcoming release, Guarding Angel, to your Goodreads to-be-read list? You can also find me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Happy 6 months to Magic & Mayhem!

It’s been six months since I started this blog. For some reason, it feels like a lot longer, but I think it’s because so much has happened in my real life since it started. Keeping up with a blog is not as much work as I had feared but more work than perhaps I was prepared for.

I love doing reviews. I enjoy helping other authors and readers — sharing the self-published gems I’ve found and contributing to that pile of reviews we all need to be successful. I’ve met some great people, and to be quite honest, I’ve been surprised at how professional just about everyone has been. I haven’t yet run into an ungracious author, although I’m 100% sure I have made some people unhappy by turning down reviews or publishing some brutally honest opinions.

Before I sign off, I wanted to do a quick round-up of the stats over the last six months. Since I’m listed on three sites (The Indie ViewThe Book Blogger List, and Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers), I get more review requests than I could possibly handle, even though I wish I could help more. And here are the numbers from the last six months:

  • Total books reviewed: 49 (3 [a trilogy] read, written, and ready to be published)
  • Review requests received and responded to: 135
  • Review requests accepted: 23
  • Accepted reviews completed: 17
  • Reviews I didn’t reply to because they were unspecific and confusing, blatantly ignored my Review Policy, or were otherwise rude: 14
  • Number of unwanted spam email newsletters / Kickstarter spam requests subscribed to: 2
  • Number of unwanted spam email newsletters / Kickstarter spam requests that refuse to remove me from their list: 1 (And it’s political and not even remotely within my sphere of interests. Bad.)

And that’s the numbers for the end of 2013/beginning of 2014, since I love numbers. Happy six months, Magic & Mayhem!

Have you added my forthcoming release, Guarding Angel, to your Goodreads to-be-read list? You can also find me on Twitter and Pinterest.