Friday, May 13, 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Paladins (The Artisans #1) by Julie Reece - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!

Hello! We're super excited to be a part of the blog tour for Julie Reece's newest release, The Paladins! This is the second book in The Artisans series, and Ashley has her review for you today. There's also a giveaway, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter to win your own copy of the book. And, if you're in the mood for some music, you can find Julie's playlist for The Artisans, the first book in the series, here!

You won't want to miss the other incredible stops on this tour, so be sure to find the tour schedule by clicking the banner above! And now, before we get to Ashley's review and the giveaway, here's a little bit more about The Paladins and Julie! 

About the Book

Title: The Paladins (The Artisans #2)
Author: Julie Reece
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC

Synopsis: The Artisan curse is broken. Souls trapped in a mysterious otherworld called The Void are finally released. Now, Raven Weathersby, Gideon Maddox, and Cole Wynter can finally move on with their lives...or so they thought. If the ancient magic is truly dead, then why are mystical fires plaguing Gideon at every turn? What accounts for Raven’s frightening visions of her dead mother? And who is the beautiful, tortured girl haunting Cole’s dreams?

Last year, a group of lonely teens sacrificed secrets, battled the supernatural, and faced their own demons to set one another free. Yet six months later, the heart of evil still beats within The Void. And the trio is forced to face the horrific truth: that their only way out is to go back in.

The Paladins completes this eerie YA Southern Gothic where loyalties are tested, love is challenged, and evil seeks them on the ultimate battlegrounds—in their minds, their souls, and their hearts.

Purchase Links: Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Other Books in the Series

Title: The Artisans (The Artisans #1)
Author: Julie Reece
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC

Synopsis: They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Purchase Links: Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the Author

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Ashley's Review

Ashley's review of The Artisans

I really enjoyed The Artisans, so even though it ended with a Happily Ever After, I was still excited to find out that there was going to be a sequel! I definitely still had a few questions left over, and even more about what would happen moving forward. The Paladins was a great continuation of Raven, Gideon, and Cole's story and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it!

While The Artisans is pretty obviously a new take on the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story, The Paladins is quite a bit different. I felt like there were several fairy tales and myths incorporated in this book, and I actually thought that was much more exciting than just retelling one specific story. There's a little Rapunzel, a little generic damsel in distress, and a lot of Greek mythology (especially centering around Pan and the Labyrinth). For me, everything meshed together well and it didn't feel like Reece was trying to do too much. I'm sure there were references to things that I didn't catch because I wasn't familiar with certain elements of the stories, but I did enjoy all of the things I did recognize. I think this would still be a fun read for someone who isn't familiar with much of the mythology or anything, because Reece establishes the rules of the world in her own way so that things still feel fresh and new.

The Paladins is written from Gideon, Cole, and Raven's perspectives, and I was so glad to be able to see what the boys were thinking. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in Raven's head for The Artisans, but I don't think this book would have been anywhere near as good if we had only seen things from Raven. The fresh viewpoints really added a depth to this story that helped move events along at a great pace, especially when everyone was split up. There was also some relationship drama that wouldn't have worked nearly as well if we hadn't been able to see the explanations from both sides. 

I'm still a huge fan of Gideon, and just when I thought he was stable and maturing nicely, he grows into a completely different person over the course of this book. Events and people change him for the better, and I really enjoyed watching him turn into this incredible young man. He learns quite a bit about himself and how he should be treating other people, and it was just really refreshing that he was the one who really needed saving instead of having the hero being the one doing the saving. 

Julie Reece has constructed such a fantastic world with characters that I felt were my own friends and just enough magic to keep everyone on their toes. Even though The Artisans would be an excellent standalone novel, I was so happy to be able to visit this world again in The Paladins! If you've read and loved The Artisans, you definitely want to get your hands on this book as soon as possible! I would also recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of fairy-tale/mythology reimaginings, especially those with a Southern Gothic aura to them. I can't wait to find out what Julie is going to be working on next! 4/5.

The Giveaway!

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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