Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani

 Memories of Ash

Title: Memories of Ash

Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two

Author: Intisar Khanani (http://booksbyintisar.com)

Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek (http://www.seedlingsonline.com/index2.php#!/HOME)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: May 30, 2016

Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

Price: US $3.99 (eBook), US $TBD (paperback)

Goodreads Rating: (To early to determine, April 2016)

 

 

Synopsis:

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

 

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Purchase Your Copy of Memories of Ash Here:

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Excerpt:

“It needs a meal,” the mage says, voice rasping, “and it won’t be me.” He yanks me off balance. I cry out, jerking away from him and lashing out with my glowstone. I manage to smack him hard across the face, but then his boot comes between my feet. For a sickening moment I teeter on the edge of the stairs.

Get back!

I barely register the words ringing in my mind before the mage shoves me, hard. I swallow a scream, throwing my arms up to shield my head as I fall. I slam down the stairs, bouncing toward the mass of tentacles. 

Feet first—get your feet first!

I follow the shouted advice mindlessly, twisting my body as I come to a stop amidst a tangle of three or four great tentacles.

Don’t move.

Someone is talking inside my head, and it’s not me. Somehow, that’s almost worse than lying surrounded by the talons of a nightmare monster. Almost.

 

 

My Review:

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

**This is the second book in a series. If you haven’t read the first book, you can get it here.

 

Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani continues the story of Hitomi, a young woman who has lost most of her memories but not her desire for justice. When her mentor is imprisoned on trumped up charges, Hitomi goes on a dangerous quest to save her. Hitomi is a strong woman who fights for what she believes in. She isn’t opposed to using trickery to achieve those ends, but she has boundaries that she won’t cross. I admire her strength and conviction. The world Khanani has built is so real that I’m instantly transported there, and I love how diverse it is. I especially enjoyed the desert people and their way of life. Khanani’s writing pulls me in, and I have a difficult time putting down any of her stories. I did not want Hitomi’s adventures in this book to end, and I am looking forward to reading the next book. I definitely recommend reading this series.

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 Author Bio

Intisar Khanani

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

 

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.  Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

 

Website: http://booksbyintisar.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/intisar_Khanani

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksbyintisar

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BooksByIntisar

 

 

 

Posted in Cover Reveals

Cover Reveal: Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani

I’m excited to have Intisar Khanani on the blog today, revealing the cover for her newest novel Memories of Ash. This cover was designed by the amazing Jenny of Seedlings Design Studio. There’s also a Kindle Fire giveaway, so make sure to scroll down to the end of the post to enter.

Describe Memories of Ash in 3 words.

Walk with courage.

What compelled you to write your first book?

I always wanted to write a novel, so my senior year of university I decided I’d better buckle down and try. I chose a fairy tale (The Goose Girl) to give me an over-arching plot and narrative structure, and then went to town with it. I really wrote it as an exercise to test myself, not intending to do anything with it when I finished. But, by the time I finished, I loved my characters so much that I ended up working through over a dozen revisions to take it from “writing exercise” to my debut novel, Thorn.

If you could live in one of your books, which one would you choose?

Definitely the world of the Sunbolt Chronicles. Sunbolt follows Hitomi, a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, the dark mage who killed her father. Although there is a lot of darkness in Sunbolt, there’s also a lot of light. It’s a real world, in its way, and I love the diversity and vibrancy of the cultures and creatures that populate it. I’d have my choice of living in a tropical island sultanate reminiscent of historic Zanzibar, or among the nomadic desert tribes that eke out an existence alongside the cursed Burnt Lands, to name my two favorite options. Then again, in Memories of Ash, there’s the decaying grandeur of the capitol of a fallen empire that feels a lot like an Istanbul of old, right at the heart of the Eleven Kingdoms. Plus, I wouldn’t mind having shape-shifting friends and charms to keep my bread from burning.

What authors, or books, have influenced you?

As a young duckling, I imprinted on Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley’s earlier works. I read pretty widely, but those are the authors I kept coming back to, especially McKinley’s Damar books. I am also an incorrigible Jane Austen fan, but my books don’t reflect that very much!

What are you reading now?

I just finished “Kingdom of Ruses” by Kate Stradling. In a kingdom where the eternal prince who rules is just a ruse kept up by the prime minister’s family (and most recently, Viola, our heroine), keeping the peace is a delicate thing. Enter a stranger who manages to take the place of the doppelganger the family uses, and Viola has her hands full.

Your first reaction to the cover in GIF format.

giphy

 

And here it is…

MoA_FC_FNL16_BN

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

Amazon Pre-order | Barnes & Noble Pre-order | Add it to GoodReads | Apple | Kobo

A Special Treat For Those Who Pre-order…

Not only is the pre-order of Memories of Ash on sale for only 99 cents, but anyone who buys the pre-order will receive a free digital art print of Hitomi by artist Grace Fong. Just email your proof of purchase to moapreorder@gmail.com!

Haven’t read Sunbolt (Book 1) yet? It’s been knocked down to just 99 cents to celebrate the release and is available at most major e-retailers. That’s two fantastic books for less than a cuppa joe.

MoA_PreOrder Special

About Intisar Khanani

Khanani_Author_PhotoIntisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, featuring the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles.

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

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Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

Sunbolt Cover

*Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book. It was not in exchange for a review.

 

Title: Sunbolt

Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book One

Series Type: Serial Novella

Author: Intisar Khanani (http://booksbyintisar.com)

Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek (http://supernaturalsnark.blogspot.com/)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: June 17, 2013

Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

Price: US$1.99 (eBook), US$5.99 (paperback)

 

Synopsis:

 

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Archmage Wilhelm Blackflame.

 

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

 

Excerpt:

 

Mgeni! Stay a moment; I have your future for you.”

 

I grin, turning towards the voice. Mama Ali sits beneath the cloth shade of her market stall, her husband’s catch heaped on the wooden counter before her: mounds of sardines, glinting silver bright in the sun. Today there’s also a single little octopus that must have gotten tangled in his nets, it’s fleshy body turned over to show the white of its tentacles.

 

With her wide smile and heavy girth, Mama Ali is a well-known fixture of the fish market, her laughter booming across the crowded aisles and her penchant for sharing people’s futures indulged in even by the locals. Her son, ten years old and shrewder than a hundred year-old owl, perches beside her, watching me.

 

“You can keep my future, Mama Ali,” I reply. “It will probably do you more good than me.”

 

My words draw laughter from the women at the surrounding stalls. The market stalls are packed tightly together, and every counter offers up the bounty of the sea, scenting the air with salt and sea. Above the stalls flap brightly-colored cloth shades, protecting both the women and the fish from the sun’s heat.

 

I hear someone ask what she missed, and a woman replies, calling me mgeni again. My smile slips a notch. I may have adopted the traditional, brightly colored long skirt and tunic of the local women, as well as the tightly wound head wrap, but my sand-gold skin and the slant of my eyes will always mark me as someone else. Mama Ali may use the term as an endearment, but the echoes I hear now brand me as an outsider.

 

Mama Ali holds out her hand imperiously, a queen demanding tribute from the riffraff that forms her court. “Come, my friend, keeper of secrets, let us see what we can.”

 

“What will you give me?” I ask, hoping ‘keeper of secrets’ is just a phrase she uses on potential customers. Regardless, I don’t have the coin to pay her, so I may as well be clear I won’t be giving anything.

 

“Give you? Your future, muddle-brain! And, because you are always admiring my wares, I will give it to you for free.”

 

“Oh, very well.” I acquiesce none too gracefully, offering Mama Ali my hand. Trying not to fidget, I wait, her palms clasped around my hand. I may be running a little late, but there’s no reason to think the meeting will have started on time. Besides, since I wasn’t invited in the first place, no one will miss me. “Don’t tell me I’m going to meet someone new, dark of skin and—”

 

“Short,” Mama Ali agrees.

 

I nearly choke. “Short?”

 

She drops her voice. “Well, if I want to be sure it happens, short is so much more likely than tall, isn’t it? At least,” she nods her head to suggest the market, not to mention the rest the island, “here.”

 

I laugh. I think this must be why Mama Ali and I get along so well. “Right. Short and dark.”

 

“No.” She pulls a frown. “For you, something different.”

 

I glance towards the sky, gauging the angle of the late morning sun. Magic is one thing, but divining the future? Not so much. “I really have to—”

 

“You are going somewhere,” Mama Ali intones, closing her eyes. I glance at her son in disbelief. Ali grins wide, his teeth showing pearly white against his earth-brown skin.

 

“I was before you stopped me,” I agree.

 

Mama Ali heaves a theatrical sigh, squeezing my hand rather painfully. “Somewhere important,” she clarifies. She tilts her head as if listening for something.   And Mama Ali hears a lot—she has her pulse on the happenings of Karolene. Maybe there is something she knows. Has she heard something about the League? Or the Ghost?

 

She drops my hand, sitting back with a gasp. “Run!”

 

My Review:

Sunbolt was a fantastic read with plenty of twists and secrets that made me excited to find out what would happen next. This is the first installment of The Sunbolt Chronicles, so it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. Intisar Khanani has created a wonderful world full of humans, part humans, fantasy characters, and magic. Some of the fantasy characters I recognized, such as the fangs, which were essentially vampires, but others, like the breathers, were new to me, and I found them fascinating. Hitomi was a relatable character, but what I really liked about her was that she wasn’t perfect. She’d had a difficult life and had been forced to resort to stealing in order to survive, which I felt made her very realistic. The book ends with many secrets still unresolved, and I eagerly look forward to the next installment. I definitely recommend this book.

 

Add to GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18075001-sunbolt

 

Purchase Your Copy of Sunbolt Here:

 

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

 

About the author:

 

Intisar Khanani

 

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five.

 

Intisar currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, she wrote grants and developed projects to address community health and infant mortality with the Cincinnati Health Department—which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

 

Intisar’s latest projects include a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, featuring a new heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife … and of course, she’s hard at work on the remaining installments of The Sunbolt Chronicles.

 

Website: http://booksbyintisar.com

 

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/intisar_Khanani

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksbyintisar

 

Twitter: @IntisarKhanani