April 23, 2016

Bright Blaze of Magic Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

 Welcome to my stop on the BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC blog tour! Today I have my review of the book and a great excerpt to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Kensington

Rating: 5 Stars!


Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls. 

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…
Bright Blaze of Magic is the thrilling third and final book in a magnificent young adult urban fantasy series that will leave readers begging for more. The book picks up where the last one left off - continuing to follow our heroine, Lila, as she lives her version of a normal life in Cloudburst Falls - dubbed the "most magical place in America."  Lila remained a fantastic main character for the series until the very end. She's tough, smart, strong, determined, and isn't afraid to do what needs to be done. The story is told from Lila's point of view, which (if you've read any of my other reviews) I think is the best writing style. The reader gets to really connect with Lila right from the start of the first book and forges a deeply personal bond throughout the trilogy. We get to see things happen from her perspective and are privy to her innermost thoughts, dreams, fears, memories, and doubts, and so much more. Because the story is being told by Lila, the tone is more conversational and personal than any other POV allows. It makes the reader feel like a part of the story - either Lila's telling the story to them or as if they were right there alongside her while it all happened. None of the other POVs offers this kind of connection with the narrator or the ability to completely immerse yourself into the story - which is one of several reasons why it's my favorite. 

I'll admit that I had high hopes and expectations for this book before I even started it because of how much I adored the other two books in the trilogy. Some series can start off really strong and then go downhill quickly after that. What I thought were high hopes and  expectations turned out to be nothing compared to the mesmerizing story we get in the novel. I can honestly say that I loved just about every single thing about this book (and series) - which is incredibly rare for me. Each aspect of the book was fantastic, and when you combine them into the novel - it was nothing short of phenomenal. 

One of the best parts of this book (and series) is the world building, hands down. The author created such a diverse and unique setting for the story to take place in that I didn't want to leave it. In Lila's world, there are regular people along with Magicks, actual monsters, and rival Families fighting each other for control over the city. Each of these categories of characters are different from one another for varying reasons. The Magicks are people with magical abilities called Talents; the Families are rival mob families who are fighting with one another to take over the city; and the monsters - well, there are a ton of them - and each has it's own distinct features and behaviors. I absolutely loved learning everything I could about each type of monster, the different kinds of people, and the Families that I could. I loved that the city didn't hide the fact that there were literal monsters there. All of the intricate details the author included made this world really come to life for me and I can't wait for the next book to release so I can revisit it. There's so much to learn about the city, the people, the history of the Families, the various monsters that it almost feels like we just scratched the surface throughout the series.

The entire book was fast-paced with vivid imagery and detailed descriptions that had me feeling like I was right there with Lila. Every aspect flowed together effortlessly - add in the intense plot and the vivid world the author created - and the reader will be devouring each page to see what's going to happen next. This was a bittersweet novel for me - the final books in great series always are. I loved seeing everything come to fruition and have all the loose ends tied up - but, on the other hand, I never wanted the series to end! I sincerely hope that the author will return to Lila's world again - I don't think I could ever get enough! I honestly  can't recommend this book/series highly enough! There are so many genres mixed into the novel that there's bound to be a bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Very highly recommended!

With his black hair, bronze skin, and dark, soulful eyes, Felix was undeniably cute, but Devon was the one who made my heart race like a tree troll hopping from one branch to another. The setting sun filtering in through the leaves brought out the rich honey highlights in Devon’s dark, chocolate-brown hair, even as it cast his handsome face in shadows. But it was his eyes that always hypnotized me—eyes that were the same deep, dark evergreen as the forest around us.

I laid my head on his muscled shoulder and leaned into him, letting the heat of his body soak into my own and his sharp, tangy pine scent seep deep down into my lungs. So far, being with Devon had been a wonderful dream, and sometimes I had to remind myself that we were really—finally—together.

Who would have thought it? Not me, Lila Merriweather, the girl who’d been living on the streets for four years before I’d gone to work for the Sinclair Family earlier this summer. And I’d never expected to fall for Devon Sinclair himself, the Family bruiser and the son of Claudia Sinclair, the head of the entire Family.

I might be a great thief, but I wasn’t so great when it came to people, preferring to pick their pockets instead of making friends with them. But Devon had steadfastly ignored and overcome all my defenses, just by being the kind, caring, genuine, loyal guy he was. I hadn’t done a single thing in my life to deserve him, but now that he was mine, I was going to care for and protect him as best I could. Technically, being Devon’s bodyguard was one of my jobs within the Family, but he watched out for me just as much as I did for him.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like I’d gone soft or anything. I still picked plenty of pockets on the streets of Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia, and I wasn’t above snatching phones, cameras, and other shiny things from people who could afford to lose them. After all, a girl had to keep in practice. But now I did most of my thieving for the greater good and with a little mob muscle behind me. Like my job tonight. One that Felix was jeopardizing with his constant chattering and tromping around.

Felix rolled his eyes. “Enough with the lovey-dovey stuff already,” he groused, grabbing his duffel bag and hoisting it onto his shoulder again, making more clank-clanks ring out. “I thought we had places to break into and stuff to steal tonight.”

Instead of letting me go, Devon wrapped both arms around me and pulled me even closer. “And you’re just jealous that Deah’s not here, or you would be doing the same thing to her.”

Felix huffed. “Please. I would already be kissing my girl and telling her how beautiful she is—and that’s before I took her for a moonlit stroll. Totally working my romantic A game from start to finish. Which I intend to do the second we sneak into the compound and meet up with her. So, if you’ll excuse me, my lady awaits.”

He snapped up his hand in a cheeky salute, then whirled around and started stomping through the woods again, making almost as much noise as he had before. He might have put away his sword so that he wasn’t hacking through the bushes anymore, but he started muttering instead. Felix wasn’t completely happy unless his mouth was going a hundred words a minute, even if he was only talking to himself.

I sighed. “I don’t know whether to strangle him or admire his confidence.”
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Follow the Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.

The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.

Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.

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