Admittedly, I was one of those fans who skipped over all that Simon and Baz business when reading Fangirl. So when Carry On came out, I was hesitant to buy it. But because I like anything Rainbow Rowell writes, I decided to bite the bullet and get it on my Kindle. It stayed on my Kindle unread for some time. I made excuses to read anything and everything else before finally settling on this story.
I began reading and immediately started seeing similarities to another chosen one boy wizard. I became extremely ragey so I went online to see what the deal was. There was some buzz around it being sort of a “fan fiction” type story and most were giving their blessing. I decided to power on, especially given how much I trust Rainbow.
I am so happy I kept going. The story really is quite original and fresh and just good. The friendship between Simon and Penelope is as sweet as the adversarial relationship between Simon and Baz is pernicious. Or is it? There are some surprises there. There are some surprises almost everywhere.
The characters are likable, even Baz, who has our main character in a constant state of paranoia. I saw where someone tweeted that if Carry On were ever made into a movie, Ezra Miller would make the perfect Baz. Oh my gosh, yes he would. I would watch that movie an unhealthy amount of times. I will probably give this book another read too once I catch up some on my TBR.
It was a great book and I recommend it highly, not just to specfic type of readers. There’s fantasy, but there’s mystery and sweet romance too. Oh, and magic. Yes, lots of magic. I should have never doubted Rainbow Rowell. I will not make that mistake again.
Welcome to the cover reveal of Pawn of the Phoenix (The Memory Collector #2) by Jamie McLachlan. This blog contains one of the six pieces of the cover. You have to collect these images and sort out the puzzle pieces to get the final cover. The first 7 winners who collect all the cover image pieces and send the author the final complete cover image will be entered to win this awesome giveaway.
Send the final cover of Pawn of the Phoenix to firstname.lastname@example.org
Winners will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis
The giveaway closes on December 24th, 2015
3 paperback copies of Mind of the Phoenix or Pawn of the Phoenix
4 ecopies of Mind of the Phoenix or Pawn of the Phoenix
So, hurry to win this awesome book!
Below the puzzle piece are the blogs that contain the cover.
Here is one of the puzzle pieces:
Check out the other sites/blogs for collecting other pieces in the puzzle. The below blogs don’t contain the cover pieces in the same order. You have to find and sort it out to complete the final image. You could visit any one of the sites in each division below.
Also, check out the first book of The Memory Collector Series
ABOUT MIND OF THE PHOENIX:
Moira is a powerful empath, a psychic graced with the ability to read emotions and memories. Her skill is as much a curse as a gift, for in the harshly stratified city of Braxton empaths are slaves. Clever and beautiful, Moira has learned to rely on no one but herself. Determined to escape life as a concubine, she kills her master, and is imprisoned for the crime.
This could be the end for Moira, but the government has need of her skills. A mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix has been planting suggestions in his victims’ minds that drive them to murder and suicide. To gain her freedom, Moira partners with Keenan Edwards, a handsome young detective, to stop the killer.
Hunting the Phoenix will bring Moira on a more dangerous road than she imagined, forcing her to confront dark minds, twisted moralities, and her growing feelings for the detective.
This week I have the pleasure of hosting a great friend and fellow Penner Publishing author, Jamie McLachlan. The Memory Collector Series has the first book, Mind of the Phoenix, out already (see my review here) and the second, Pawn of the Phoenix, is due in February 2016 (see my review here). Come back Wednesday morning (12/23) for the cover reveal of Pawn of the Phoenix. As with the first book, the cover is exquisite.
Author name: Jamie McLachlan
Book titles: The Memory Collector Series: Mind of the Phoenix (book 1), Pawn of the Phoenix (book 2)
Tell us a little about yourself and your background: I’m an avid reader and lover of anything artsy. As of now, I spend most of my time reading and writing, while taking care of my two year old son. It took me a while to decide where I wanted to go with my education, but I finally decided on majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy.
Tell us a little about your novel: Pawn of the Phoenix continues with Moira and Detective Edwards investigating the mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix. After the death of Mr. Anderson, the case not only abides by different rules, but it also runs cold. When secrets from both of their pasts are revealed, Moira and the detective’s tentative relationship will be tested, and a clue from the past might finally unravel the mystery of the Phoenix.
Have you written anything else (including novels, short stories, novellas, etc.): I write poetry, which can be found on my website. I’ve also written a short story that delves into Moira’s past at the pleasure house, titled “The Pleasures of Florence”. I also wrote two other short stories, “A Seductive Disguise” and “An Unexpected Surprise”, which I plan to eventually turn into a paranormal romance novel. And, of course, there’s the first book in The Memory Collector Series, titled Mind of the Phoenix.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk: I rock back and forth in a rocking chair while listening to music and daydreaming about my stories.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them? If so, which one did it the most and what did they do: Definitely! I can’t reveal that because it would spoil Pawn of the Phoenix.
How did you decide on the setting for your book: I wanted a historical feel, but also didn’t want to go too far back in history. Also, I had been watching a lot of Murdoch Mysteries at the time, so that influenced my setting.
Do you ever dream about your characters, either before or after you bring them to life on the page: Sometimes. For Mind of the Phoenix, I actually did end up dreaming about Detective Edwards visiting the dream house before I had fully formulated the novel.
If your book were made into a movie, who would play the leads: For Moira, I think Mila Kunis would fit nicely. For Detective Keenan Edwards, I think Raoul Bova would work.
Do you have any pointers or advice for aspiring writers: Keep writing. Listen to critique. Research. And never give up.
Favorite song: Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake Waltz
Favorite movie/tv show: Too many to choose.
Chosen superpower: Mind reading…?
Toilet paper: over or under: Both
Real book or tablet: Real book
Star Trek or Star Wars: Star Wars
I knock on his office door. When he doesn’t answer, I peek into the room. The scent of smoke permeates the air, the half-smoked cigarette, long abandoned in the ashtray, still glows, emitting a trail of fumes that cloud the area near his desk. His head is bent over the letter he writes, and I can see the slight touch of grey that dusts the sides of his brown hair. His sack coat is delicately placed over one of the chairs by the fire. He looks as unattainable as ever, and I suddenly regret my decision to interrupt him. But there’s no sense in turning back now, so I open the door wider and clear my throat. He doesn’t even glance up at me when he finally speaks.
“What is it, Moira?”
I decide the question is an invitation to enter, and I promptly walk in. Even though his tone reveals his annoyance, I’m grateful he no longer refers to me as Del Mar. I’m finally a person, not property.
He glances up and watches my progress. I wish I could say his attentiveness is sexual, but it’s not. He scrutinizes me with the careful alertness of an observer who is examining something that has the potential to be volatile. It’s instinctual for him, a defense mechanism elicited by the horizontal s and accompanying dots above and below it on my cheek. He knows full well I could pierce through his mental barriers at any moment. I could persuade him to do anything I want, but I won’t.
“I simply wish to know what it is you do in here all day.” I trail a finger over the shelf of one of his many bookcases. My finger comes away with a thick layer of dust, which means I’m not the only one forbidden to enter his office without an invitation. I tsk and add quietly, “Clearly, not cleaning.”
“Perhaps you can satiate your boredom elsewhere, Moira. I’m rather busy at the moment.”
I abandon my inspection of his books and, annoyed with his negligence, snuff out the cigarette that has been filling the air with the bitter scent of smoke. His eyes continue to follow me, his suspicion growing with my every move. Resting my hip on the edge of his desk, I lean forward to inspect the cursive writing.
“Who are you writing to?” I ask sweetly. “A lover?”
“No one that concerns you.” He inhales deeply and leans back in his chair, not bothering to conceal the letter. “I thought we had an agreement.”
I flash him one of my innocent smiles, and pitch my voice low with a hint of seduction. “Oh, we do. I just came to tell you I’m going to bathe, and I could use some help.”
He studies me closely, shifting his gaze from my blue eye to my hazel one. “I’m positive Mrs. Whitmore would be more than willing to provide you with assistance. If, indeed, you need it.”
I align my curves in a more appealing position. “Perhaps you can join me. For what I require assistance with, I’d prefer the presence of a man, not a woman. I promise to reward you for your services.”
This close, I can smell his uncertainty. His jaw tenses as he struggles between his desire and whatever else has been causing him to be distant since I moved into his home. He wants to join me, but something is holding him back. I wish I knew what it was. The moment he averts his gaze I know he will refuse my invitation. I’m annoyed, because after our last kiss I want more and was positive he wanted that as well. But after several failed attempts of flirtation on my part, I’m not certain anymore. How blunt do I have to be, Detective?
Before he can utter some pathetic excuse, I try a different tactic. “I might sneak into your bedroom. You wouldn’t want that, now would you?”
“My bedroom is locked, Moira.”
Of course it is. How foolish of me.
“I might escape,” I whisper, daring him.
His voice is calm when he responds, but his eyes are filled with silent mirth. “I suggest you try the front door first. I imagine it would be easier than climbing out of one of the windows upstairs.”
I grin, even though he’s managed to turn my seduction into a laughing matter. “Undoubtedly, but I prefer a challenge and a little excitement. The front door would be too easy and dissatisfying.”
“Well, do inform me when you’ve decided.” He diverts his attention back to the letter, and the moment slips away. “Until then–”
“Yes, I know,” I interject. “You’re busy.”
I sigh and stand, stifling my disappointment. “The Chief should have suggested I stay with Constable Jamieson instead. I’m sure he’s not always so busy.”
“Possibly, but I imagine his fiancée would have disapproved of the arrangement.”
“Oh, you’re right.” I turn and walk away from him, muttering my last words beneath my breath. “I forgot about her.”
I’ve almost reached the door when he speaks again. “And, Moira, please refrain from walking around naked after your bath. You startled Mrs. Whitmore, and I do intend on continuing her services. A discreet housekeeper is hard to come by.”
Even though my voice is sweet, the words are forced between my teeth. “Oh, of course, Detective. I’ll do my best to behave accordingly.”
I close the door and head upstairs to prepare my bath—alone. I run the water to fill the tub as I undress, trying and failing to suppress my frustration. While this past month out of prison has allowed me to gain weight, the curves which served me well in the past don’t seem to entice the one man I want.
Jamie McLachlan is a graduate from Grant MacEwan University with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy. She decided to put her day dreaming to good use by weaving tales of speculative fiction. Avid reader and lover of all things creative, she lives in Canada with her family.
A huge perk to being published (besides all the obvious ones) is getting to know other authors you share a publisher with. In developing these relationships, and in this case, friendship, you are able to receive advanced copies of their books. Such is the case of this highly anticipated second installment of The Memory Collector Series, Pawn of the Phoenix. The book is due out in February, so at least you won’t have to wait long.
The Memory Collector Series is set in the fictional city of Braxton maybe around the turn of the century, early 1900s. Empaths are slaves to the Elite and work in one of the houses (dream, memory, or pleasure) or are privately owned. The infamous self-described Phoenix plants persuasions in select citizens’ minds that are triggered by a delivered letter. These persuasions involve suicide or murder, usually of an Elite member.
While Mind of the Phoenix set up the story and introduced the main characters, Moira and Keenan, Pawn of the Phoenix delves more into the backstories of the main characters, furthers the plot along with a couple more murders/suicides (and even an execution), and deepens the relationship between Moira and Keenan. In case you didn’t read the first book (again why?????) or read my review of it, I will explain a little about what’s going on. Detective Keenan Edwards is leading the investigation to find the Phoenix. He’s stoic and controlled, at least until his blocked memory is released. Moira is an empath who has killed her master and has been offered a deal to get out of prison in exchange for her assistance with the investigation by using her special gifts.
The story is well-paced and interesting and although it’s the middle-child of the series, it doesn’t feel like filler. There’s more romance this time around and even some schmexy time (although relatively mild to middling), but the investigation still leads the way even though the clues are few and far between. I was a little disappointed we didn’t find out who the Phoenix was at the end of the first book, but we do get that little tidbit in the Epilogue of Pawn. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers usually, but THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE A CLIFFHANGER. I now know who the Phoenix is, but there’s so much intrigue left that I find myself in more anticipation of Rise of Phoenix (book 3) than I was for Pawn. Woe is me for having to wait.
In case you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down, I highly recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys speculative fiction, historical fiction, mystery, intrigue, or even romance.
Come back Wednesday and be one of the first to see the cover for Pawn of the Phoenix.