Posts by: Samantha

Blog Tour: Firebrand by A.J. Hartley + Giveaway

Posted June 26, 2017 by Samantha in Blog Tours, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Firebrand Blog Tour! I was so impressed when I read Steeplejack, book 1 in the series, and I was blown away by this sequel. Check out my review, a playlist, and a giveaway below! Thanks so much to Jean Book Nerd Tours for always making the tour smooth and fun!

Tour Schedule:

June 26th Monday The Forest of Words and Pages REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST
June 27th Tuesday JeanBookNerd VLOG & GUEST POST 
June 28th Wednesday Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
June 29th Thursday Cover2CoverBlog EXCERPT 
June 30th Friday Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT 
July 3rd Monday TTC Books and More EXCERPT 
July 4th Tuesday The Avid Reader EXCERPT 
July 5th Wednesday Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
July 6th Thursday Bibliobibuli YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW 
July 7th Friday Bookish Lifestyle EXCERPT 
July 7th Friday The Literati Press REVIEW

New York Times bestselling author A. J. Hartley returns to his intriguing, 19th-century South African-inspired fantasy world in another adrenaline-pounding adventure

Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem. 

Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees are trickling into the city, fleeing Grappoli-fueled conflicts in the north. A demagogue in Parliament is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them, and she soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.

Praise for FIREBRAND

Hartley creates a world so analogous to our ownit hardly seems like a fantasy….Anglet has blossomed in this sequel, releasing her previously restrained sharp tongue and expanding her emotional range. Even as she learnsto put on a neutral face to be a more effective spy, her empathy for those whoare suffering and her relentless search for the truth are her most laudable attributes. Readers who come for the tightly plotted mystery will stay for the heroine who does all she can to resist.” ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The well-crafted adventures of this feisty, diverse protagonist continue in thisworthy sequel to Steeplejack (2016), evoking Sherlock Holmes with its Victorian-esquesetting, and James Bond in its espionage-laced plot. Hartley has composed another electrifying fantasy that buzzeswith intrigue and timely political and social issues, making this a must-have additionto any collection.” ― Booklist, starred review

“Expertly written, never preaching or pointing fingers, but subtly applying pressure toexamine race issues, gender inequalities, microaggressions, and socio-economicproblems in our culture…. Teens will see themselves in the tough, realistic, and fierce yet vulnerable protagonist. The multicultural worldbuilding will draw in readers of many ages and backgrounds, while the well-crafted mystery and action will keep them wanting more….A delightful follow-up to the explosive first novel from an established author who clearly knows his craft.” ―VOYA

Hartley‘s story succeeds in building a detailed world of bothfamiliar (charging hippos) and unfamiliar (a precious mineral, luxorite, usedby the rich) elements while also tackling a wide range of complicated social issues….Most impressive is the genre-blending; the author adeptlymerges a political thriller with action, adventure, and mystery. Will have strong appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly those looking for complex novels that reflect a diverse world.”―School Library Journal


“A richly realized world, an intensely likable character, and a mystery to die for.” ―Cory Doctorow, New York Times-bestselling author

“A thought-provoking blend of action and intrigue, with a competent and ethical heroine in Ang and a fully imagined setting whose atmosphere and cultural cues also play important roles. The result is an unforgettable page-turner built on surprises and full of potential.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Skillful writing, masterful pacing, and a capable and quite likable female detective are just a few of the things to love about this fantasy-adventure….In addition to the detective angle, Hartley thoughtfully explores issues such as race relations, both inter- and intra-racial, as Anglet deals with the censure of her own community, and class issues, as she attempts to work outside the political system to solve the murder. This one won’t stay on the shelf for long.” ―Booklist, starred review

“Smart political intrigue wrapped in all the twists and turns of a good detective story makes for a rip-roaring series opener.” ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“With its unique South African-inspired setting, richly-drawn and diverse cast of characters, and unstoppable plot, readers of any age won’t be able to put Steeplejack down!” ―Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

“With Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley introduces a dynamic, complex and likeable new heroine who combines wits, skill and courage to face deadly challenges in an exotic world. Teens and adults will love this book and want more, more, more!” ―Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and The Orphan Army.

“A.J. Hartley has created an exquisite, explosive, nail-biting, tear-rousing masterpiece, in a world so realistic it might be right around the corner.” ―Faith Hunter, New York Times bestselling author

“What a world Hartley has created! Enough twists and surprises to keep the pages turning long into the night.” ―R.L. Stine

“A unique epic adventure set in a richly imagined world; lush, exotic and masterfully written. It’s Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist, and Indiana Jones rolled into one.” ―Lissa Price, internationally bestselling author of Starters and Enders

“Smart and socially-aware, this fabulous debut adds to the growing library of multicultural fantasy and is a loudly resounding success.” ―Nisi Shawl, Tiptree Award-winning author of Everfair

“With Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley creates a world as complex as its heroine, and a mystery that spans class, race and geography. You can feel the grit and glory of Bar-Selehm, a many-spired city teetering on the edge of the savannah, and the verge of war. The perfect setting for a street-smart young woman who is caught between three cultures, yet refuses to be trapped by them.” ―Sherri L. Smith, award-winning author of Flygirls and Orleans

Hartley has created a world so gritty and real I could taste the soot.” ―Maurice Broaddus, author of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy

“Steeplejack combines a lively and intelligent plot with an intriguing and well-drawn world, and caps all this goodness with a determined and indefatigable heroine.” ―Kate Elliott, author of Court of Fives and Black Wolves

“A rich, atmospheric tale of adventure, morality and consequence, Steeplejack will linger with you long after you read the last page.” ―Kady Cross, author of the Steampunk Chronicles and Sisters of Blood and Spirit series

“Elegant prose, a cracking good mystery, lots of action, and characters to fall in love with and root for. I read it cover to cover in no time at all. In fact, I did so twice! And I was on the edge of my seat both times.” ―D.B. Jackson, author of the Thieftaker series

“I was completely hooked from page one. Ang is a hero to cheer for heart and soul. A thrilling, clever, meaningful read.” ―Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning author of Strangely Beautiful and The Eterna Files

“An exquisitely built mystery set in a lush, vibrant world. I was loath to leave Ang and Bar-Selehm behind at the end of it. Definitely a book to be revisited again and again.” ―Kat Zhang, author of What’s Left of Me
A.J. Hartley


Author A.J. Hartley is the bestselling writer of mystery/thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult novels.

He was born in northern England, but has lived in many places including Japan, and is currently the Robinson Professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he specializes in the performance history, theory and criticism of Renaissance English drama, and works as a director and dramaturg.

He has more hobbies than is good for anyone, all of which you can learn more about by friending him (odious word) on Facebook, by following his blog and by checking in on the What’s Going On blog page. He is represented by Stacey Glick of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management for books, and by Eddie Gamarra of the Gotham Group for film and television. And check out A.J.’s Amazon author page.
Photo Credit: Wade Bruton

My Review

Now working as a private detective/spy, Ang may be living a financially healthier life than her years a steeplejack, but she’s in as much danger as ever. Political parties are clashing, some turning from very conservative to something darker, something much more extreme that puts people like Ang and many others in fear for their lives. Not to mention, refugees are giving their all to escape their war plagued country, but certain politicans will do whatever it takes to keep them out of the city. Ang must pose as one of the elite, fight old and new enemies, and navigate her own conflicting place in a dangerous world.
While Steeplejack had plenty of action, political intrigue, and mystery, Firebrand turns everything up by approximately 5 notches. Though this is an alternate history set in South Africa, it’s impossible to miss the parallels Hartley makes with contemporary world politics (and brilliantly so). This series is from Ang’s perspective, but I love how we see so many unique secondary characters ranging from inspectors to parliament members to governesses and more. Firebrand has one of the most complex and relevant settings I’ve read, and with each page, you’ll find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into the mystery plot.
As this is a series, Ang’s character arc was less arc-like and more building. She’s in a strange place, no longer welcome in a place she used to dwell, no longer part of the steeplejacks, but not part of any other class either. She finds herself facing tougher challenges, ones that make her question exactly who she is at heart. I can’t wait for the next book to see how her character develops more.
Told with a clear voice, emotional intensity, and heart-racing political plots that reveal the best and worst of humanity, FIREBRAND is an unforgettable installment in a mystery series that is sure to capture hearts.

Music Playlist

When I was making this, I was going for themes of the plot: uncertainty, politics, betrayal, etc. They aren’t in any particular order! I’m linking it to my Spotify so you can give it a listen (Hint: One of the songs is from the Hamilton Remix):
Giveaway Banner


Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 2 Winners will receive a Set Copy of the Alternative Detective Series, Steeplejack and Firebrand by A.J. Hartley.

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Blog Tour: The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano + Giveaway

Posted June 20, 2017 by Samantha in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
Blog Tour: The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano + Giveaway

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Posted June 15, 2017 by Samantha in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

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Waiting on Wednesday: Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh

Posted March 1, 2017 by Samantha in Waiting On Wednesday / 3 Comments
Waiting on Wednesday: Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh

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