BOOKSTAGRAM & CREATIVE BLOG TOUR: The Duality of Nature(The Monster of Selkirk #1) by C.E. Clayton

THE DUALITY OF NATURE BY C.E. CLAYTON

The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton

Publication date: April 18th, 2017 
Publisher: DevilDog Press
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Fantasy
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Monsters do not hide under the bed on the Island of Selkirk. Monsters haunt the forests in the form of feral elves with knife sharp teeth, vicious talons, and sickly, glowing yellow eyes. For centuries the people of Selkirk have fought these monsters, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. Then, after one such Clearing, a babe is found abandoned in the wreckage.

Tallis only desires a path of her choosing, to live without attention or interference. Along with her friends, she dreams of leaving Kincardine and going where no one knows them, to live unhindered by the prejudice that comes of being poor, an outsider, an orphan. All Tallis needs is enough coin, and she’ll be free. But the monsters have other plans.

Hissing her name like a battle mantra, the elves pour into Kincardine, devouring and burning everything in their path. Fleeing her home in secret, Tallis and her friends must discover why the creatures are so intent on finding her, and stop them from framing her as the real monster of Selkirk.

– My Thoughts –

The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton completely surprised me. Told from an Omniscient POV, this book was difficult for me to immerse myself into but once I did, I was hooked.

“Tallis is a beautiful and terrible thing. Fearsome and alluring. Just like the forest in many ways… but it’s written all over that handsome, pale face of yours; you like her.”

The story starts with a Clearing which is done by humans to get rid of the elves of their lands. During this event, a baby is left in the woods.. and a woman stumbles across the child which she takes home with her. Her husband doesn’t want the baby but looking at her wife’s smile, he reluctantly agrees to keep it. The baby is named Tallis and we see her grow up from a child to a woman. We see how different she is from the other children and that she’s bullied for that. She can only play with her cousin Donovan who protects her like a sister. To keep herself from being offered up on the Bride Block, Tallis starts earning with the help of a thief called Rosslyn(who later becomes her friend). One day while helping her mother scavenge goods from another Clearing, they’re attacked by feral elves or tremps and her mother dies while fighting against one of them. Devastated by her mother’s death, she vows to kill every elf she would set her eye at. Soon, disaster strikes and Tallis’ wish to fight against the elves comes to fruition.

I loved Tallis and her character arc from a child to a woman. While she struggles with being different, she has the support of her friends: Rosslyn, her cousin Donovan and Ser Soon-to-be Brother Tomas. Even though I initially struggled with the writing style, I was quickly pulled into the world of Selkirk and I was so engrossed in their journey. There was ample world-building but not too descriptive as this is the first book in the series. The ending left me a tad disappointed as it didn’t shock me as much as I would’ve wanted but I am still eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you love epic fantasy with sword-weilding girls, beautiful friendship, and action-packed scenes!

Thanks to MTMC tours and the author for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author –

C.E. Clayton

C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love—writing—and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, can be found on her website. 

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook

INTL Tour-Wide Giveaway

Head over to my Instagram account for a chance to win signed copies of the first two books in The Monster of Selkirk series along with a bookmark and an exclusive character art print of the main character, Tallis. Open INTL!
(And don’t miss out the rest of the tour stops to get more chances to win!!!)

Tour Schedule:

September 2
@thereaderandthechef – Bookstagram + Blog

September 3
@Forest_of_pages – Bookstagram

September 4
@paperfury – Bookstagram + Blog

September 5
@bookpuppeteer – Bookstagram

September 6
@ernest.bookingway – Bookstagram + Blog

September 7
@bookishly_tiff – Bookstagram

September 8
@shelfrated – Bookstagram + Blog

September 9
@amanda.the.bookish – Bookstagram

September 10
@book_rambler – Bookstagram + Blog

September 11
@_ebl_inc_ – Bookstagram

Hosted by:

Thank you for reading! Have you read The Duality of Nature? Are you excited to read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Review & Intl Giveaway: Beasts of the Frozen Sun, written by Jill Criswell

Review & Intl Giveaway: Beasts of the Frozen Sun, written by Jill Criswell
Blog Tour: Three Days in Florence, written by Chrissie Manby | Review

Beasts of the Frozen Sun(Frozen Sun Saga #1) by Jill Criswell

Publication date: August 6, 2019 
Publisher: Blackstone
Pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy, YA(NA)
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:
Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.
Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.
When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.
As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.

Trigger Warnings: Death, Abuse, mentions of rape

– My Thoughts –

I was in awe after seeing the cover of Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell and its inside was almost as beautiful as its outside. Let’s unpack my thoughts on this dark YA- borders on NA- fantasy and see if it’s something you’d love.

The enemy’s small army was spread out before him, waving their weapons, shouting, beating in wild fury upon their shields.

Beasts starts with a bloody battle where we meet one of our protagonists Reyker who is later sent to destroy another village where our heroine Lira lives. In the beginning, Reyker could be viewed as a soul-less pillager as we just witnessed the devastation he causes along with the other warriors fighting for a god called the Dragon. However, we soon realize that he’s there against his will and that he’s fighting to keep his humanity alive.

Lira is a soul-reader; she was god-gifted or as more commonly known as a Daughter of Aillira. Daughters of Aillira all have different sorts of magic but not all of the women in Lira’s island have the abilities. Women have two options on this island of Glasnith: get married or pledge themselves to Aillira’s Temple. As a grand-daughter of her clan’s leader, she should have some modicum of the freedom but alas, that’s only a dream for Lira. She’s used as a weapon for her clan like all the other god gifted women. One day, after witnessing the execution of a man in which she was complicit, she discovers a wounded foreigner near the shores and it’s none other than Reyker. Due to their history, Lira feels compelled to help Reyker without thinking of its consequences. Soon, Lira will have to choose between saving her village and her foreigner..her beast from the lands of the Frozen Sun.

You wield the lost sword of the Frozen Sun. A weapon of the Ice Gods in the hands of the Green Gods’ soul-reader. ’Tis a story poets will pen, a tale fit for the scriptures.

There’s no doubt that Jill Criswell has written a wonderful story based off of Celtic mythology where Gods toy with mortals and bend them to their will. I loved the forbidden aspect of romance and the historical setting with clans, warriors, badass women all of whom were equipped with different powers!! There’s the bit of an anti-hero aspect to Reyker too and I loved the way the author slowly unpacked the reasons behind his darkness. It was beautiful to watch the way Lira and Reyker’s friendship unfolded, how they learned to communicate, how Lira helped Reyker tread through a path of darkness into the light. The villain was pretty frightening and even though he played a minor role in this book, his actions suggest a bigger role in the upcoming sequel. Although I loved the characters, the setting, and the cliffhanger ending, there was something missing in the book. Keeping in mind that I read an ARC, I found that a lot of the actions seemed repetitive to me. The majority of the story takes place on the island and I wanted them to get out of the island at some point. If you’d noticed, I wrote NA in parentheses besides genre(above in description) because Beasts of the Frozen Sun reads more like an NA fantasy with the pace of YA.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you are looking for a darker, grittier fantasy that borders on NA more than YA; if you’re a lover of a little bit of mystery, fantasy, star-crossed lovers angst, politics, and romance. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, there are a lot of things that were left unexplained but it definitely kept me on my toes which I appreciated very much! Book two in the Frozen Sun saga is set to release sometime next year.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).

Website | Goodreads |  Twitter

International Giveaway

Thanks to the publisher, I’ll be giving away two hardcovers of Beasts of the Frozen Sun and exclusive tote bags! Open internationally. Just click on the image below:

International Giveaway: Beasts of the Frozen Sun

P.S.: If the image isn’t clickable for any reason, please click here.