Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep



I am so excited and pleased to take part in this blog tour for Jennifer Estep's Dark Heart of Magic, the second book in her amazing new Black Blade series.  Check out the awesome details about the book, author, and giveaway below!!


Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2) by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: YA Fantasy

Something Wicked This Way Comes...As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...

Dark Heart of Magic reminded me yet again why Jennifer Estep is one of my favorite authors.  I fell in love with her and her books in her Mythos Academy series, and this new series just keeps me coming back for me.  There was no second book slump for this series.  It packed a good punch for me and had me going and on pins and needles until the end.

Jennifer brings so many wonderful talents to her writing, but four of my favorites, which were prevalent in this book, are: 1. She knows how to write characters. 2. She knows how to write a good mystery. 3. She knows how to amp up the action.  4. She knows how to develop a romance.  So let's look at each one.

The characterization in this story developed further on what we know from book one.  I loved the fact that we got to know Lila even more, and had some tidbits about her past.  She's a unique, tough and feisty heroine, which I absolutely love.  Devon is sweet, sexy, and honorable.  It's hard not to proclaim this guy a book boyfriend.  Off tangent now... the character development and growth in this story was extremely good, especially considering the broader cast, with new characters being introduced and more time spent with the old ones.  And yet she managed to juggle it all so well.

The mystery has to do with what's happening to the trolls, and I was surprised at how this all turned out.  I don't want to give anything away, but Jennifer does such a good job with misdirection, red herrings, and leaving you just the right amount of clues, and yet I was still surprised.  And the action in this story was great.  If I haven't said this before, she does action so very well.

Finally, there's the romance.  I mentioned how well she writes romance.  There's never a fear of insta-love in an Estep novel, because she knows how to draw it out, and how to develop it gradually.  I love watching each step in this process.  The romance in this second installment progressed further, and it was a great addition to the story to see a little bit more happen, but not too much!  It was just right.

If you haven't guessed by now, this book was another winner for me.  I love Jennifer, love her writing, and loved this story!!

Book Links

And if you haven't already read the first book, check it Cold Burn of Magic!
Then be looking forward to book 3, Bright Blaze of Magic!

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About the Author

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.  Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban
fantasy series for Pocket. Books in the series are Spider's Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider's Revenge, By a Thread, and Widow's Web.  Thread of Death, an e-novella, is also available.

Haints and Hobwebs: An Elemental Assassin short story can be found in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance.  Deadly Sting, the eighth book, released on March 26, 2013.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. Books in the series are Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson, Frost, Midnight Frost, and  Killer Frost.  First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is available as a download.  Halloween Frost, an e-short story, is available in the Entangled e-anthology.

Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. Books in the superhero-themed series are Karma Girl, Hot Mama, Jinx, and Nightingale.  A Karma Girl Christmas, an e-story, is also available.  Excerpts, free short stories, and more information on Jennifer's books can be found at: http://www.jenniferestep.com.


Author Links
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Excerpt

Careful of the falling persimmons, Devon Sinclair stepped up beside me and craned his neck back. His black T-shirt and khaki cargo pants were splattered with even more persimmon pulp than mine, making it look as though he’d been caught in a red rainstorm. Just about the only part of him that wasn’t covered in fruit was the silver cuff that glimmered on his right wrist, one stamped with a distinctive design—a hand holding a sword aloft. The symbol of the Sinclair Family.

“He’s not a very happy fellow, is he?” Devon murmured in his deep, rumbling voice. “No wonder the tourists are complaining about him.”

Cloudburst Falls was known far and wide as “the most magical place in America,” a place where “fairy tales are real,” so tourism was the name of the game around here. People came from all over the country and the world to see the magnificent views from Cloudburst Mountain, the rugged, fog-covered peak that loomed over the city, as well as spend their money in all the shops, casinos, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions that ringed the Midway, the main tourist drag in the center of town.

But monsters were also drawn to the area because of all the bloodiron, a magical metal, that had been mined out of Cloudburst Mountain over the years. At least, that’s what the local legends and tall tales claimed. Tourist rubes might like to ooh and aah at the monsters in the various zoos in the Midway and photograph the creatures in their natural habitats during tours and expeditions up the mountain, but the out-of-towners didn’t appreciate tree trolls throwing persimmons at them as they walked down the sidewalk. And the tourists especially didn’t like to get attacked and eaten by some of the more dangerous monsters that lurked in the dark alleys and shadowy spots in and around town. So it was the job of the Families, or mobs, to make sure that the monsters stayed in their designated areas. Or at least didn’t snack on too many tourists at one time.

This particular troll had taken up residence in a tall blood persimmon tree that sat at the edge of one of the shopping squares off the Midway. Since this particular square was part of the Sinclair Family territory, we were the ones who’d been called in to deal with the creature. For the last three days, the troll had been fruit bombing everyone who dared walk by its tree, causing several tourists to drop and break their expensive phones and cameras. Nothing pissed off a tourist more than losing their fancy new phone. I knew, since I’d spent the last few years swiping phones out of the pockets, purses, and fanny packs of every out-of-towner who looked like an easy mark.

Beside me, Devon shifted on his feet, moving out of the bright, direct sun into a pool of dappled shadows closer to the tree. The warm rays filtered down through the branches and danced across his muscled body, showing off his intense green eyes, rugged features, and the honey highlights in his dark chocolate brown hair. I breathed in, catching a whiff of his crisp pine scent, mixed in with the sticky sweetness of the splattered persimmons. Just standing near Devon made my heart do a funny little pitter-patter in my chest, but I ignored the sensation, just as I’d been doing for weeks now.
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