Blog Tour, Review, and Kindle Fire HD Giveaway: Dark Talisman

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Author: Steven M. Booth

Age Range: 12 and up

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Azimuth Books (October 15, 2013)

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Guardian Chronicles #1

Source: Wunderkind PR for tour

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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About the Book:

She’s
been banished from her home without a word of explanation. Assassins
are hot on her tail, and she’s fleeing without a plan. On the whole, her
future looks pretty grim. Then again, it’s nearly impossible to catch a
dark elf. And even tougher to kill one.
Meet
Altira. She set out to rob a sultan, and ended up stealing the
deadliest gem in the world. This mistake could cost Altira her life – or
save her race, and possibly the world as she knows it.

As
Altira struggles to triumph over the vast forces arrayed against her,
she acquires (mostly against her will) a rich cast of unexpected allies –
perceptive dwarves, giant Phoenix birds with mysterious powers, and
ephemeral creatures made from nothing but air. Together they must find a
way to defeat the army of assassins set against her, overcome the wrath
of three nations, and forge allegiances with despised enemies, to
reveal the truth to a people kept in darkness for millennia.

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Praise:

“DARK TALISMAN features a snarky heroine along with a colorful cast of magical creatures struggling to triumph in the midst of an eternal battle set in a vividly written world. This fun, fantasy adventure is not to be missed!”
—Fantasy Book Addict

“This entertaining, sweeping fantasy is the first installment of the new Guardian Chronicles series geared toward the young adult market but equally suitable for adults. The diverse, obviously flawed characters are a treat, especially Altira who gradually replaces her snarky, knee-jerk reactions to people with genuine caring. Tyke, Altira’s dwarf friend proves to be steadfast ally and companion while the Guardians add just the right amount of magic to this engaging tale that all started with the simple theft of a stone. This is a treat for fantasy readers of all ages and is certain to win Booth a loyal following for his upcoming releases as there are more challenges ahead for Altira.”
—Monsters and Critics

“Well written. Compelling. Sequel-likely (and worthy), I recommend this book to all of you nerds out there…immersive, comfortable, and wildly fantastic (as in Fantasy!!!) world.”
—Fanboy Comics

“A delightfully sassy heroine takes center stage in this vibrant tale of action and intrigue, set in a lovingly crafted world of magic and mystery. A treat for new and veteran fantasy readers alike.”
—Eldon Thompson, author of THE LEGEND OF ASAHIEL

About the Author:

STEVEN M. BOOTH works with artists in the film industry to create some of the most spectacular effects and animation on the silver screen. He has worked as a software developer, programming the production and artist tools used to convert 2D to 3D films, on films such as Transformers 3, The Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Smurfs.

Steven combined his love of the natural world with his ability to think outside the box, developed after working in computer software for over 30 years, to imagineer the fantasy world of his first novel, DARK TALISMAN.

Steven has been a competitive equestrian rider in dressage, a championship-caliber amateur ballroom dance competitor, is a certified SCUBA diver, likes flying helicopters, and enjoys sailing, photography, and all things Disney. He currently lives in San Diego.

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Excerpt:

‘Alti, can I git yer magic sight, please? I kin ‘ardly see where I’m goin’ ‘ere.’

Altira waved a hand in the Dwarf’s direction, casting vision for herself as well. The umber and black shadows were transformed into ghostly images in shimmering teal. ‘How far is it, do you know? To the entrance?’

‘Dunno, never been on dis road. Though da innkeep said it was a day’s walk to da service gate on the south, I’m nae sure where dat be.’

‘Remind me again…Why did I bring you with me? You don’t seem to be much help.’

‘Me sparklin’ personality?’ He flashed her a toothy grin.

‘Yes, that’s it, no doubt,’ she muttered, turning and continuing up. They ascended through a myriad of switchbacks and massive granite bridges, climbing ever upward, getting ever closer to the Dwarven capital.

They took most of the night, ascending into the silent, darkened pinnacles. In the wee hours they stopped to rest and Tyke revealed that the monstrous pack he’d been lugging up the hills contained mostly food. There were several tiny casks of ale, black bread, some vegetables, and what looked like most of a side of pork. Altira wondered idly what kind of ring the Dwarf could possibly have possessed to barter for all of it, but it was none of her business. She accepted a carrot and two apples with a nod and watched in amazement as her companion polished off an entire cask of ale, three meat pies, and several slices of pork, burping loudly afterward. She scowled and shook her head. Dwarves were such barbarians.

They rose and continued upward. The air, chill at first, became downright cold after a while and Altira had to pull her coat from her pack. The Dwarf, however, didn’t seem to require additional clothing and trudged on without complaint. It was nearly dawn when the well-traveled road finally descended into some sort of valley. The moonless night made it impossible to see more than a few score cubits even with magisight, though she sensed they were coming to a large open space. When they discovered a stunted beech tree clinging to the sloping, rocky ground to the right, Altira decided it was time to stop.  She led them into the rocks at the base of the cliff some distance behind the tree to wait for dawn. As the sky over the jagged peaks began to brighten, she finally saw that the path descended into a gentle valley carpeted with grass and diminutive trees. The road hugged the right wall of the canyon and terminated at a pair of huge granite doors on the northern side, embedded in the bare rock of the mountain. She turned to her companion and whispered.

‘Is this it?’

‘Aye, reckon I’tis.’

‘What do we do? How do you get in?’

My Thoughts:

I had a tremendous amount of difficulty getting into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I can’t decide why I had a hard time at first, because the book is well written and has an interesting and nicely paced plot. Maybe it was because I didn’t like the main character, Altira, at the beginning. She came across as grouchy, arrogant, and rude. I found that I liked her more as the book progressed and she began to develop relationships with other people. By the end, she had grown on me and I liked her a lot. She retained her snarky attitude throughout the story and she was somewhat of an acquired taste.  I especially liked Tyke and his easy going nature.  Actually, I really liked almost every character in the book. 

The thing I like about fantasy books is that there is no limit to where an author’s imagination can take you. Dark Talisman is no exception. There are twists, turns, weird creatures, and lots of action. The writing is easy to follow and not overly flowery.  The author did a wonderful job of creating a believable world without info-dumping all at once.  Many details are picked up along the way without great explanation, but which add to the richness of the world he created.

This book will appeal to teens and adults that enjoy fantasy, a save-the-world plot, and a strong female lead.

Content: Clean

Giveaway:

Kindle Fire HD

E-book of Dark Talisman

Ends 11/14/2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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45 Comments

  • Reply
    Renee C.
    November 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The book looks great. I've had that happen too where I just could not stand the main character in the beginning but that changed as I read the book. I think it can be strategic to have an obnoxious main character at the start so that there is room for growth, but the danger is that you lose the reader early on! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      November 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      I think the thing that kept me going is that the story was interesting. So even though I didn't like the main character at first, the book was good enough that it kept me reading.

  • Reply
    Cozycomfycouch
    November 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Wonderful! I don't have a kindle. I hope to win. The book sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Mary Bearden
    November 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Sounds like a really awesome book and love the idea of maybe winning a Kindle! I don't have an ereader so this would make my day!

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      November 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Good luck! I love my Kindle, and I just have the old one with the full keyboard on the bottom. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jody A Kessler
    November 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    What an awesome looking cover! Best of success to you, Mr. Booth with your novel. Cheers

  • Reply
    Deborah A.
    November 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I liked that the heroine grew during the story and became likeable. I also liked that you said her snarky attitude is an acquired taste. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristan Price
    November 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    This book looks awesome and I bet my cousin would love it. This would make a great Christmas present! Best of luck with the book!!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Mayberry
    November 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for the review and the excerpt! Sounds like a book my whole family will enjoy reading!

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      November 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Yes! Definitely one for the whole family. I love it when books are appropriate for everyone.

  • Reply
    SandyG265
    November 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    This looks like a good book.

  • Reply
    Michelle Willms
    November 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    The book sounds glorious. I cannot get my curses Rafflecopter to work to enter properly. This has been a problem since upgrading to Windows 8.1. Can you please at least enter me for following and commenting? If this is possible, I appreciate it. michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • Reply
      Michelle Willms
      November 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I got it to work, at last! This book sounds so wonderful. I would love to win this…

  • Reply
    Mary
    November 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Book sounds cool!

  • Reply
    vivian
    November 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    What an awesome giveaway. Thanks! Hope I win 🙂

  • Reply
    Claira Pam
    November 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Love a story with a strong female lead!!

  • Reply
    jp
    November 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I dont read much, but my wife would love this!

  • Reply
    Meredith
    November 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Throwing my hat in the ring…love your blog!

  • Reply
    Susan @ The Book Bag
    November 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Great review! I love it when a character has redeeming qualities to make the reader end up like them – that's great writing. Thanks for the chance to win big!

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I'll have to share your website with my sisters. Their kids (age 10-12) LOVE reading. They're always looking for new books.

  • Reply
    On Capitol Steps
    November 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Excited to read this book and about the giveaway! Thanks for the great review!

  • Reply
    kellyr78
    November 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I would love a Kindle and my kids would enjoy it too. The book sounds great.
    kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

  • Reply
    Jay Riv
    November 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    This book sounds like a fun read for both myself and my younger brother!

  • Reply
    Melinda Dartmann
    November 6, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I loved the way you described the main character in your review "snarky", it just cracked me up. But seriously, it was a wonderful review and I would like to read it!

  • Reply
    melissa crisp
    November 6, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Love the cover. I think my son would enjoy reading it with me

  • Reply
    Alissia
    November 6, 2013 at 3:22 am

    This sounds like a really fun book! I like the idea of the main character growing and becoming somewhat more likeable. Was the dialect/language hard to get into at all? Sometimes I have a hard time reading them

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      November 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      It wasn't too difficult. Sometimes I had to slow down to make sure I got everything, but for the most part, it didn't bother me at all.

  • Reply
    joe hawk
    November 6, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Love the expert was very god.

  • Reply
    Meghan
    November 6, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!

  • Reply
    jessie2247
    November 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    The book sounds awesome! Definitely going on the top of my tbr pile! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Reply
    Jaymie Shook
    November 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for offering this giveaway in the KLBH!!! The character's dialect would be difficult for me to read, I think, since it was hard for me to read just in the excerpt. I'm glad once you get past things like that that the book is so enjoyable!

  • Reply
    Emi Pearce
    November 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Yes! I recently read a romance novel with a snarky rude character and had trouble getting into the book in the beginning too.

  • Reply
    ♡♥♬ Carolsue ♡♥♬
    November 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I liked your review. It makes the book sound quite interesting and fun.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  • Reply
    Steve Booth
    November 9, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Just a note… guys? The eBook processing is taking a bit longer than anticipated. If, in fact, the eBook isn't available by the time the raffle ends, I'll include a signed first-edition of the book instead, then follow up with the eBook ticket when that is available.

    Steven M. Booth

  • Reply
    Aubree
    November 11, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Always look forward to a new book to read and this comes with a bonus, sounds like an awesome too!!

  • Reply
    JannyBee
    November 11, 2013 at 3:17 am

    The book sounds like a really good read…my granddaughter loves this kind and I would love to win it for her

  • Reply
    Claudia Richmond
    November 11, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Sounds like an awesome book for my daughter!!

  • Reply
    Diaper Dad
    November 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    The book looks great for my niece. Thank you for the chance!

  • Reply
    Steve Booth
    November 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Latest review from San Francisco Book Review:

    "WOW doesn’t even do this book justice. This book is everything
    you want and expect from your favorite fantasy books, but
    usually don’t get. Dark Elf, Altira, is fierce, strong, determined,
    and feisty! After stealing a priceless gem, her life is on the line
    as she is now being trailed by assassins out to end it. What she
    soon finds out about the gem could mean saving her people
    and herself."

    – Janessa (YA Reviewer)

  • Reply
    ccarpinello
    November 14, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Adding this one to my TBR List. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Cheryl, Hop Hostess

  • Reply
    Andrew Pham (apham17)
    November 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Thanks for the review and for the giveaway 🙂

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