Friday, July 10, 2020

MARIAH's THOUGHTS on My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Season 1 (2020)

Genre:
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Fantasy, School
Air Dates:
Apr 5, 2020 to Jun 21, 2020
Season:
1
Episodes:
12

Original Title:
Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta... 
(乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった…)

Based on the light novel written and illustrated by:
Satoru Yamaguchi and Nami Hidaka

Produced by:
Mainichi Broadcasting System, Asmik Ace, King Records, Ichijinsha, Nichion

Plot Synopsis:
Most people would prefer being the protagonist of a world full of adventure, be it in a game or in another world. But, unfortunately, a certain girl is not so lucky. Regaining the memories of her past life, she realizes that she was reborn in the world of Fortune Lover—one of the games she used to play.
Unfortunately, the character she was reincarnated into—Katarina Claes—is the game's main antagonist, who faces utter doom in every ending. Using her extensive knowledge of the game, she takes it upon herself to escape from the chains of this accursed destiny.
However, this will not be an easy feat, especially since she needs to be cautious as to not set off death flags that may speed up the impending doom she is trying to avoid. Even so, to make a change that will affect the lives of everyone around her, she strives—not as the heroine—but as the villainess.

Voice Cast:
Maaya Uchida, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Shouta Aoi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Tetsuya Kakihara, Saori Hayami, Inori Minase, Miho Okasaki


~~~~~
**My Thoughts**

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is an isekai anime with nothing but light-hearted moments and enjoyable content. The main character, Katarina Claes, is a young girl with vivacity, determination, and almost carefree childishness. She aims to change her fate from a bad end to a slightly less bad end. Considering she is reborn as the antagonist of an otome game, Fortune Lover, her actions are understandable. Given this, the anime doesn’t limit Katarina’s choices like a real otome game. She has the freedom to make her own route, make her own choices, and subsequently, make her own ending. But like an otome game, this anime describes the leading male roles by describing their overall personalities in quick succession and their relationship to the main character, such as Gerald Stuart who is Katarina Claes’s fiancée. He is described as secretly terrible on the inside but also a genius at anything. Diving deeper, Katarina detours from the mean girl role she was reincarnated into and essentially turns this new world of hers into a reverse harem. To do so, she chooses to be kind, generous, and inclusive of the game’s characters regardless of their original roles and she eventually wins over their hearts. It is because of her attitude and character that the others break their own molds that the game has set for them. Each character and their deepening relationship to Katarina helps piece this short anime series together into enjoyable content.
My rating:



Thursday, July 2, 2020

BLOG TOUR: Genes by Mary Ting


Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for International Bestselling and Award-winning Author Mary Ting's GENES, the exciting third title in the ISAN series! Today, on our tour stop, we have my review on the third installment of the series AND a cool tour-wide giveaway to share! Be sure to check it out and grab your copy now! Follow the tour, HERE!

Genre:
Young Adult
Science Fiction/Dystopian Romance
Series:
ISAN, #3
Publish Date:
June 30, 2020
Publisher:

Synopsis:
Allegiances will be tested.
Identities will be revealed.
No one is safe.

While searching for the HelixB88 anti-serum on the black market, Ava uncovers valuable intel that may help the rebels in their fight to bring down ISAN—the location of a hidden facility. But first, the insurgents must find the female citizens unexpectedly displaying powers without use of the Helix serum before ISAN captures them. As the rebels join forces with other sectors, ISAN plans their destruction by using someone they don’t suspect at the rebel home base: a traitor within.


      
  

Praise for ISAN series

"Addictive and impossible to put it down!" —Addison Moore, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Captivating from the very beginning, this sci-fi novel explores issues of autonomy and survival in a world where there are few remaining citizens after meteors crashed into Earth … this thrilling dystopian drama has a splash of romance and tons of action. The fast-paced chapters will engage reluctant readers and fans of postapocalyptic scenarios.” —School Library Journal

"ISAN will leave readers breathless with anticipation as they race through each exciting page." —Tiffany King, USA Today Bestselling Author

AWARDS
2019 WINNER BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS IN SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
2018 WINNER AMERICAN FICTION AWARDS IN SCIENCE FICTION: POST-APOCALYPTIC
2018 WINNER INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS IN SCIENCE FICTION
2018 WINNER READERS' FAVORITE AWARDS IN YOUNG ADULT ACTION

~~~~~

Binge read the previous titles in the ISAN series now!
 
(covers link to Goodreads)

       
  


*Reading the series in order is HIGHLY recommended!*

~~~~~

**About the Author**
Mary Ting is an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

Stay connected with Mary Ting
      

~~~~~

*My Thoughts*

Note: This review contains NO spoilers

Wow! Mary continues to slay with this series! The build up of intrigue with the various twists and turns leading to the end of this installment... Oh yes, by end of this installment, I meant that darn cliffhanger! As with the previous two installments of the series, Mary ends GENES with me wanting more! Oh-my....WHAT!?! 😮 Yes, Mary did it... AGAIN! She wrote another action-packed thrilling YA story that kept me guessing and at the "edge of my seat" with anticipation of what's next for these characters!

From the first book to this third book, so much character and story development that continues to blow me away with the intensity of the varying twists in the storylines and abundance of details in this dystopian world of the International Sensory Assassin Network. GENES, as well as the previous two titles, are absolute page turners! I can already imagine this as a television series... Ha! I think that would be awesome to see this series come to life on the television screen. So, yeah, I am definitely am excited to get my hands on the next installment of the continuing saga in the ISAN series!

My rating:

~~~~~

***The Giveaway***

Giveaway is open Internationally
- ends July 9, 2020
Note: Not Responsible for Lost & Damaged Prizes in Your Mail Box

Blog Tour Organized by

BOOK BLITZ: Forgotten Magic by Eden Butler


We are thrilled to kick off this 4-day Book Blitz celebrating this new release of Eden Butler's Forgotten Magic, the first title in an all new paranormal romance series, Crimson Cove! Today, we have an exclusive excerpt AND a blitz-wide giveaway to share! Be sure to check out and grab your copy now!

Genre:
Adult
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series:
Crimson Cove, #1
Publish Date:
June 28, 2020
Publisher:

Synopsis:
Bane Illes never smiled.

He never spoke.

But each day, that brooding wizard gave Janiver Benoit a glance. And when she could not take another quiet stare, or the warmth that look sent over her skin, she took from Bane something he’d never give freely—one lingering, soul knocking kiss.

Ten years later, someone has stolen the one thing that keeps magic hidden from the mortals in Crimson Cove and only Janiver can recover it.

But returning to her hometown means she’ll have to face the past and all the secrets she left buried there, including the one person she promised herself she’d never see again.

The dangerous wizard that might make leaving Crimson Cove the last thing she wants to do.

*Forgotten Magic was previously independently released as Crimson Cove. However, Eden has since sold the rights to City Owl Press and the book has been replotted, rewritten, and kicks off the new Crimson Cove trilogy which follows witch Janiver Benoit and her siblings as they try to unravel the well-hidden secrets that have destroyed their family.


      

*Excerpt*

“Some of us didn’t need to train in Norway with thousand-year-old mages to learn our craft.” Made a little bolder by the liquor, I stepped into Bane’s personal space and ran the tip of my fingernail over the runes wrapped around his forearm. “All these runes, all that pain and blood, I never once had to suffer so much for my craft.”

“Maybe,” Bane said, taking the bottle from me, “if you had, you wouldn’t need the liquor.”

“Maybe I like the liquor.” My tongue was heavy in my mouth and I wasn’t sure why my voice had suddenly lowered or how I could feel the ley lines whispering against my mind. 

But Bane wasn’t drinking, and he seemed able to control how the lines affected him. He was too versed in blocking raw magic. Still, he didn’t seem wholly unaffected, and for whatever reason, he at least didn’t object to how closely I stood in front of him. “You strike me as the type of witch who likes things that are bad for her.”

The laughter came quickly, the first I’d released in over a week. Just then, I didn’t think about the darkness that took me with Freya’s death. Something light, almost sweet came into my head and I glanced at that bottle, only just realizing that I hadn’t been drinking whiskey at all. 

“Berry Burn wine?”

“You didn’t know?” He laughed, scrubbing his face. “Circe, Jani. I thought you were more careful.”

Shrugging, I let the elixir work through me, enjoying the way its potency made everything feel electrified and sweet. Dipping my head back, a sudden reminder of the worst possible thing for me—the wizard standing inches away—seemed so attractive, so sweet, and I licked my lips, my inhibitions lowered as I watched him. 

Unbidden, a memory of that solitary day when I’d bitten the forbidden fruit and I forgot myself for just a moment filled my head. “And, baby, you’ve got no idea how much I like things that are bad for me.” 

Bane blinked. I blinked and just for a second I savored the silent room, the energy that built between us then. “Did you…did you just call me baby?”

It was if he’d unstoppered a drain and I twirled down into its belly. Berry Burn wine or not, I immediately sobered. Mortification, humiliation, it had to be all over my face, easily read in my expression. But I was not a witch who would admit defeat or mistakes made so quickly. I was a natural survivor. I’d say anything to weasel my way out of a tight spot. Or utter humiliation. 

“No.” There was a touch of humor in my response—forced and clearly fabricated—but it didn’t stop me from making that sound or stepping back when Bane held my wrist. 

“You did.” He pinned me in the corner of the counter with that wide body nearly engulfing me in shadow and heat. “Damn.” Bane came so close, mouth too near my neck as though he was just managing to control himself and not devour me right then and there. “Why do I like that?” 

I knew why and just then, I hated that he didn’t. Because you claimed me! Ten years ago, I wanted to scream. Because I am yours, because you belong to me. 

Some part of him had to know the truth, despite the block I had put on his memories. Somewhere, behind all that power, the knowledge, the lists of lines of duty and expectations, lay the hidden memory of that one blissful afternoon with me in that empty classroom. The day our nexuses melded. The day we claimed each other. 

The way Bane looked at me, the deep focus of his gaze on my mouth, shifting across my fingers brought us closer and closer to the edge of something that could mean nothing but misery. For him, at least. And I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t want to stop it.

All around us seemed to settle, every sound, every scent, just like it had that day, just like it had the first time we kissed. The only sound I could clearly hear was the steady, rhythmic pulse of his heart and mine—two separate bodies moving toward each other, closer, nearer until Bane’s stubble grazed on my cheek and he held my head still, insistent between his fingers. 

I had only to tilt my head back a little. Move my chin, wet my bottom lip and he’d take my mouth. It was all there on his face. Expressions that told a thousand stories, made a million promises, and I wanted them all inside me with him, where he was meant to be. 

Just one small movement and it would be done.

Bane tilted my chin, held my face between both hands now and I heard him come closer, waiting, making my mind up that I would only take a taste…

A taste that wasn’t mine.

A touch that belonged to someone else.

Eyes shut tight to clear away Caridee’s perfect skin, her perfect hair—the flawless Rivers coven regalia that Bane deserved. The one taught over and over to us as expectation. Certainties that had never been changed. The way the Cove existed so that there was no upset, no chance of shaming all of the Cove by letting the mortals know what we are and how we lived. 

Expectation.

Certainty. 

Things that had been constants for everyone in the Cove. Each coven depended on the other. Each den, every pack, all connected. 

The way of things.

The things I’d left behind.

Before I realized I’d uttered a sound, the word came out, my hands pushing against that wide chest and “Parley!” echoing around the kitchen. 

Bane steadied my hands when I tried to push at him again, holding me by the shoulders so I wouldn’t leave. Eyes wrinkling as he squinted at me, the expectation was evident. He wanted clarification. He wanted me to explain why I’d used the most antiquated, passé respite possible in our world. 

Parley? Had I really said that? 

“What…did you just?”

But the black flag had been lifted and measures were maintained even in such…personal matters. Bane was heir to the most powerful coven in the Cove. Even he had to mind the rules we all lived by. 

“I did.” Damn. An inhale to push back the tension crowding between my eyes and I glanced up at him, grateful that I hadn’t spelled him to back away. “Parley. Back off. Don’t…don’t touch me. Talk only.”

“Why in the hell would you…”

“I have reasons.” I waved my hand so he’d step back. “Please, I already told you…I have a job to do and a creature to find. I can’t have you being a distraction.”

I’m the distraction?” He moved his gaze over my body.

“Didn’t you say we’re on a time crunch here?”

He nodded, reluctantly agreeing. “Fair enough.” He stepped back, pulling on the neck of that bottle fisted between my fingers. “We have to get this search going.” He set the bottle on the counter next to the sink. I nodded, started to walk away, but Bane tugged on my arm, his fingers touching right on my skin. Shuddering in my limbs, in his, and his eyes grew wide. He twisted his head to the side like he needed to shake the sensation away, then jerked his gaze up at my face. “What…what the hell was that?”

“I…I don’t know.” 

He stared at me a long time, then at his fingers still gripping my arm before he dropped it. 

“The search?” I said when Bane had stayed too quiet. “I’ll see you out there in ten minutes.” Before I left into the hallway, Bane called my name. Stopping would be stupid. Not stopping, though, might tell him I couldn’t control myself alone with him. He’d already gotten enough of my fear in the past few days. I wouldn’t hand him anymore. 

Eyes, chin twisted toward him, I didn’t dare stare right at his face. I can admit that I was a coward when it came to him. But Bane didn’t seem to care that I wouldn’t look directly at him. He clicked back into control mode. “We finish this…all of this, as quickly as possible.”

“That’s fine with me.” A little more relaxed now that he was back on task, I turned around. “I’ve got…a life waiting for me in New York.”

“That’s not why I want to hurry.”

“Why then?”

Two long strides put him back in front of me and I immediately cursed myself for stopping. Bane’s mouth was tight, eyes narrowed as though he needed to concentrate on anything other than the rip of energy that bubbled between us. The lines feed off anger, passion, lust. All of those things, with a few other emotions, permeated the room. It made the lines pulse square into us. 

“The sooner the job is over, the sooner we can discuss what the hell that was and what you’ve been running from for ten damn years.” 

He didn’t wait for me to answer. He didn’t want to see me huddle against the counter or try like hell not lean across the granite just to get my skin to cool. It didn’t matter that Bane was curious, that he wanted answers. I was there to do a job. I was there to save my family’s name. None of that would include a conversation with Bane Iles about what had happened to us when we were kids. I’d be long gone before then. Again.



WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING:

★★★★★”Butler’s tantalizing fantasy romance, originally self-published as Crimson Cove, burns slow and hot…The magical elements are electric and the chemistry between Bane and Janiver is delicious. Butler builds the tension slowly, carefully pulling story threads to a satisfying but open-ended climax. Readers will be eager to return to Crimson Cove.” – Publishers Weekly

★★★★★ “Eden is a masterful storyteller who takes mere words and turns them into magic.”

★★★★★ “I REALLY LOVED this fresh, innovative, and out of the box concept of a modern romance with a dark, ethereal twist.”

~~~~~

**About the Author**
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Fantasy, Mystery and Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.

Stay connected with Eden Butler
      

~~~~~

***The Giveaway***

Giveaway Open Internationally
- ends July 9, 2020
Note: Not Responsible for Lost & Damaged Prizes in Your Mail Box

Book Blitz Organized by