Saturday, May 30, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Flintlock (Cutlass #2) by Ashley Nixon - Ashley F's Review, Ashley N's Top Ten + GIVEAWAY!

We are SO excited to be sharing today's post with you. As part of the blog tour for Ashley Nixon's newest book, Flintlock (book 2 in her incredible Cutlass series), we've got (our) Ashley's review for you, as well as Ashley (Nixon)'s Top Ten Favorite Things! (Our) Ashley loved Cutlass last year and then loved Flintlock even more! This is definitely a series you want to have on the top of your TBR list.

Also, Cutlass is currently on sale for $0.99, so now would be the perfect time to start reading these books!

Last but not least, be sure to enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below, and check out all of the other fantastic blogs participating by going to the tour schedule at the end of this post.

Before we get to Ashley's review, here's a little bit about Flintlock and Ashley Nixon!

About the Book

Title: Flintlock (Cutlass #2)
Author: Ashley Nixon
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 25, 2015

Synopsis: Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse. 

About the Author

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as much as she'd like. When she's not writing, she's hard at work on her Master's degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

Author Links:

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Ashley's Review

I loved Cutlass, and have been waiting for Flintlock for what seems like forever! I've been dying to jump back into Ashley's incredible world full of pirates, elves, magic and romance. From the first sentence, this book comes to life and jumps off of the page! There's no "second-book syndrome" here, which was a nice breath of fresh air. 

Since this book takes place a few months after the end of Cutlass, things are still pretty much a mess. Barren wants to get rid of his crazy uncle (who happens to also be the king) or at least make his life miserable, Larkin and Barren are in a weird place in their relationship because of all the secrets they're keeping, Cove's position as the Albatross might be at risk, and basically everything is in shambles. Oh, and pirates are dying in mysterious ways. Because obviously the rest of that wasn't enough! 

I loved that all of my favorite characters are back and that we get to learn more about them. I mean, I thought I knew Barren pretty well at the end of Cutlass, but he still has more secrets that are revealed in Flintlock and I'm sure more that will revealed in the next book. I enjoyed getting to know Larkin and Cove better too, and their blossoming friendship was probably one of my favorite things about this book. I also really enjoyed that the characters remained consistent from Cutlass to Flintlock, so it was easy to jump right back in. Especially since it felt like reuniting with old friends!

Speaking of characters, can I take a second here to say how much I love Cove? Watching him in action and seeing him with Sarah made me love him all the more, and I really hope he plays an even bigger role in the last book. There were several places where I almost lost it because of things that happen to Cove, and I'm still very concerned about what will happen in the next book. Please don't let anything horrible happen to Cove!

Ashley has this wonderful way with words that makes the story move along at a really great pace while continuing to establish this crazy, complicated, fascinating world filled with characters who are just as complex. I never felt like the plot was dragging or that the characters were stagnant - even the minor characters go through quite a bit of development. Everything about Flintlock is dynamic, and I was shocked when I went to turn the page and the book was over. Also a little upset, because how can you do that to us?! This was one of those books where I took to social media as soon as it was over to tell Ashley how much I loved it and how much I need her to finish the next book ASAP! 

If you enjoy YA fantasy, you definitely need this series in your hands right now. Especially if you like Ya fantasy with well-rounded characters, gorgeous writing, some of the best world-building I've read, and an exciting plot. Even if you don't typically read YA fantasy, this is a series that could really appeal to anyone who loves books in general. If you've read Cutlass, you NEED to drop whatever you're doing and read Flintlock right this second! A 5/5!

Ashley Nixon's Top Ten Favorite Things

These are in no particular order. I tried to organize them, and well--no numerical order really fits. Just think of these things as things I love.

Writing (of course!) - This is obvious. One of my all-time favorite things is writing. I’ve been a writer all my life. It is my identity. When I'm having a bad day, I just go hang out with some characters. They don't always have bad days, but that's why I write--to get to the good ones. :)

Books (Reading) - I'm being obvious again! This is part of my bookshelf. Sorry it's messy. I tend to just stack stuff. But yes, reading, reading, reading. It's for any day, all day, good and bad!

My Aladdin (a.k.a my boyfriend) - Yes, he is my prince charming. And when I say Prince Charming, I totally mean it. He leaves sweet notes, and tells me I'm awesome very day.

Pride and Prejudice - I know I said books earlier, but P&P has to have a category of its own. It is ridiculous how much I love this book, especially recently. I watch the 1995 and 2005 versions of P&P on a regular basis. Why do I love it so much? I guess in some form or fashion, we can all be Elizabeths (or Mr. Darcys). The pics below are from my own copy of P&P!

Tea & Tea Cups - I LOVE tea. I drink it a lot when I write. I mean one cup after the other. I stopped drinking coffee about two years ago, and well...replaced it. I also love tea cups. The one below is one I got from Windsor Castle!

Travel - I’ve been to Ireland, Peru, Italy, and London and France - in that order. I have always dreamed of traveling, and thankfully, I’ve gotten to do it! There are so many more places I want to go! In 2016, we are returning to London and France to explore more! We also would like to visit Greece! 

Ireland - Dingle Peninsula

Peru - Machu Picchu

Rome - The Colosseum

England - Tower Bridge

France  - Point Du Hoc

Connecting with people who love my books! The feeling I get when I talk or chill with readers is just awesome. I mean, it's still a surreal feeling and I think it will always be, but I hope I can convey how grateful I am for every message, comment, and download of my book.

Cooking & Working Out - I know, I’m probably in the minority here. BUT, let me just say, while I don't always love either of these things, I do them consistently and they always make me feel AMAZING about myself and about my day. Starting a day with a workout, and eating well throughout the day makes me have a better day, I'm convinced. Some of the things I cook are below!

Vegan Shepard's Pie!

Tofu Scramble with Hash browns!

Delicata Squash Salad

Music - I love to write with music, and certain sounds get me into a certain mind set so I can convey the feeling of what I'm writing better (or so I think). Here are some songs I've been listening to recently:

Purple - I love the color purple. I have purple in my hair, the curtains in my office are purple, I even plan to have purple as a color for my future wedding.

The Giveaway!

Tour Schedule

May 25 

May 26 

May 27 

May 28 

May 29 

May 30 

May 31 

Thanks to Ashley for taking the time out of her day to tell us her Top Ten Favorite Things, and thanks to you for checking out this incredible series! 

--Ashley & Paul

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