ARC Review of The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

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The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: September 13, 2018.

Publisher: Duet Books.

Genres: Fantasy and Young Adult.

Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

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Thank you Duet Books for my ARC of The Navigator’s Touch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Navigator’s Touch is about Ragna, a teenage girl and trained warrior who is hungry for revenge after she was kidnapped, her village destroyed, and family murdered. The story is inspired by Norse mythology which is seen through the involvement of Norse gods, one who has a very specific connection to Ragna and the magical maps displayed all over her skin.

Two years later, Sigrid gave birth to a girl. At first, the child seemed unremarkable. Astrid came into the world screaming, demanding attention and reverence, a small mirror of her mother. But a few days later, curious markings developed on the baby’s pale skin. Lines of latitude stretched across her chest and legs, and, as the days passed, cobalt continents and oceans of cerulean blue appeared.

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ARC Review of The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

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The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: August 22, 2017.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Fantasy and Young Adult.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Harmony Ink Press

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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Thank you, Julia Ember and Harmony Ink Press, for my ARC of The Tiger’s Watch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

As Julia Ember’s third published book, The Tiger’s Watch manages to still contain all the things I love about Ember’s work and continue to surprise me with new stories and concepts. The Tiger’s Watch is about Tashi, who is nonbinary, genderfluid, and uses they/them pronouns. Throughout the book, Tashi’s pronouns are respected and the few times someone uses the wrong pronouns for them, it’s immediately called out and corrected. The world we see in The Tiger’s Watch is filled with magic and culture, and Tashi among other selected are inhabitors: “As inhabitors, we all bonded with one animal at the age of eight, and our life force linked to theirs.” At first, the connection between Tashi and their golden tiger Katala reminded me of Sense8 with how they can enter each other’s minds and take over each other’s bodies. In their country, Tashi learned to become an inhabitor at an academy specifically meant for children, poor or orphaned, to be trained to become inhabitors and spies, with the ability to wield their unique magic.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS RELEASE DAY} ARC Review of The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Today is the day, after my week long The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember Countdown the book is finally out in the world. If you haven’t pre-ordered the book before today, you can now buy the book at the purchase links I have linked below. I’m sure you guys will love this book, I know I did.

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Publication Date: May 4, 2017.

Publisher: Duet Books.

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, and Mermaids.

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Selling points: Fat bisexual MC and a unique story that is a retelling of the Little Mermaid but with a darker twist.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository | Duet Books

Synopsis: Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Connect with author Julia Ember at Julia-Ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

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Thank you, Julia Ember, for my advanced reader’s copy of The Seafarer’s Kiss. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a breathtaking story about a mermaid and a human with Norse mythology and unforeseen plot twists woven into their story. This book will move readers that cannot get enough of magical, beautiful worlds and characters that are relatable in the way they are flawed and the way they grow. This is a book you need on your radar, as even though it has an incredible f/f love story the book focuses heavily on personal growth. The main character, Ersel, is a fat bisexual mermaid who goes through a lot of character development throughout the book and by the end of it still isn’t perfect (like none of us are). That is what makes her such a compelling character, and a protagonist you can truly feel for.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} Havamal’s Guide to the Northern Point for the Undersea Tourist

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: One Day Left – Guest Post by Author Julia Ember

Hi galaxy travelers, and welcome to the last day of my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember Countdown. Today I have the most exciting thing for you, a guest post written by Julia Ember (the author of The Seafarer’s Kiss). The post is a guide for everything undersea tourists might need to know about the Northern Point, home to Ersel, Havamal and the other mermaids and mermen in The Seafarer’s Kiss. Havamal will be your guide so for all of you sea creatures out there, down below is Havamal’s Guide to the Northern Point for the Undersea Tourist.


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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} The Seafarer’s Kiss Book Playlist

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: Two Days Left – The Seafarer’s Kiss Book Playlist

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Hi readers, and welcome to another day of my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember countdown. It’s only two days left now *queue dancing* and things are truly getting closer. Today I have a really fun post for you guys, a playlist inspired by The Seafarer’s Kiss made by yours truly. I love to make playlists for books. Trying to get the vibe right with the songs you pick out is enough to make you feel the essence of the book all over again.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} Interview with Author Julia Ember

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: Three Days Left – Interview with Author Julia Ember

Hi readers, and welcome to my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember countdown. It’s only three days left now until the release, and I’m sure you guys are as excited as I am for this book to be released into the world. Today I have an interview with Julia Ember, the author of the book. She answered a few questions about The Seafarer’s Kiss and what it’s like being a writer and reader. You don’t want to miss this.

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1. What inspired you to write The Seafarer’s Kiss?

Well, I’ve always loved the story of The Little Mermaid. My mom likes to remind me now that when I was about three, I watched it continuously as my “go-to” film for about six months. The other part of my inspiration came from my postgraduate studies. I was a medievalist and as part of my study, I learned old English, studied both the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons. I’ve always found the Vikings fascinating. If you read the original text of the Little Mermaid, it talks about her floating on an iceberg … I always thought that fit much better with the Northern sea, than the kind of tropical world portrayed by Disney. The title of the ‘Seafarer’ comes from an Anglo-Saxon poem called The Seafarer, which is about a sailor who is alone at sea. There is a very melancholy feel to the poem, and a kind of loneliness that I wanted to explore.

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Zodiac Recommendations #1 Aquarius Books

Hi everyone, and welcome to my Zodiac Book Recommendations. Every week I’m recommending books for one of the zodiac signs, starting with Aquarius and ending with Capricorn, after chronological order. This first week I have three book recommendations for Aquarius.

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Since we are talking about Aquarius this week, I hope you’re embracing the air around you so that you can take in the element of the sign. Like every other zodiac sign, the Aquarius have their strengths and weaknesses, and with these qualities in mind I have tried to find suitable book recommendations. I hope that whoever you are, whether you are an Aquarius yourself or someone who knows an Aquarius, you’ll enjoy these book recommendations. May at least one of these books help you channel your inner Aquarius.

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The books I’m recommending this week, in the name of Aquarius, are the following,

The books I’ve chosen are ones that I think celebrate Aquarius qualities in one way or another. I hope you’ll love these books, and maybe even find a new favorite. Check out my book recommendations for the other zodiac signs too. Next week I’m doing Pisces.

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Top Ten Tuesday #4 Top Ten All Time Favorite Diverse Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to read more about their blog feature and join the fun, you can do it here.

This week the theme for Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. Even though this theme is almost like torture, picking favorites is really hard, this list just had to be made. However, I’m putting a twist on it. Instead of picking my all time favorite books in a specific genre I’m choosing my top ten favorite diverse books. These books have amazed me and mesmerized me. I want everyone to know of these books so they can read them too.

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What books did you pick this week for Top Ten Tuesday? What genre did you pick? Or did you put a twist on the theme like I did?

YA Fantasy Gets Social Media: Unicorn Tracks AU

Do any of you guys ever read a YA Fantasy book and wonder what the characters in it would do in our time and world? What social media accounts would they have? What would they post? Sometimes imagining your favorite fantasy characters in our world is just the best thing ever. That is why I came up with YA Fantasy Gets Social Media, where I create social media accounts for my favorite fictional characters from young adult fantasy books. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this but I do know that I loved making this post so I’ll definitely make more!

The first YA Fantasy to get social media is *insert super intense drumroll* Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember. This is by far one of my favorite reads this year. I’m just so in love with Mnemba and Kara, and of course all the magical creatures they encounter. I mean unicorns and mermaids, be right back while I just fangirl for a moment. If you need further convincing as to why you have to read this book, read my review here (I gave it five slices of cake) and add it on Goodreads.

Mnemba and Kara’s iMessage texts

If Mnemba and Kara lived in our time and world they’d both have iPhones (matching ones 0f course because goals) and they’d be all over each other with texts. Mnemba is usually busy during the day holding her guides and Kara must stay behind to do some much needed work with Tumelo in the office. However, when Mnemba gets a little reception in the wild she sometimes texts about the ridiculous things the tourists say. Kara is usually fast to respond, often with a joke and a reminder to stay alert, to which Mnemba replies that she’s the expert.

However, when they’ve been away from each other for a while the texts do get a little more heated and when they think no one is looking they are often found smiling at their phones because of something the other one has sent.

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Mnemba and Kara’s Instagram accounts

After that I can see both Mnemba and Kara getting Instagram. I can imagine Mnemba uploading pictures of the quiet views she encounters during her guides. When she’s not too busy keeping the foreigners from getting eaten by animals she might even try to catch a picture of a Chimera just to show Oswe once again who’s the best of the best. When she’s not doing that, Mnemba is probably uploading pictures of her beautiful girlfriend Kara, her very own Chimera. Her favorite photos is always the ones where Kara looks at peace just soaking up the sunshine.

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For Kara I can see her Instagram being filled with her research and lots and lots of pictures of the beasts she studies. Everything from unicorns, to river mermaids and griffins. However, a lot of pictures are really just of Michi and him growing up to become the beautiful unicorn he is. When Kara is not taking pictures of animals, she’s probably kissing her girlfriend and trying to sneak a picture or two while she’s still asleep in the morning.

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Mnemba and Kara’s Twitter accounts

Twitter is something I think Kara would just love. It’d be the perfect tool for her to promote her book The Beasts of Nazwimbe and also Tumelo’s growing business. Mnemba claimed in the beginning that she sees no use of having a Twitter but after a lot of nagging by Kara, Mnemba just asked her to make an account for her. Mnemba mostly uses her Twitter to retweet all of Kara’s tweets and tell the world how intelligent and beautiful her girlfriend is.

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Disclaimer: This Unicorn Tracks AU is purely made as a fun thing for me and is nothing official. These amazing characters belong to Julia Ember but the words are made up by me, not the author. The pictures belong to their respectful owners. 

That was it for YA Fantasy Unicorn Tracks Gets Social Media. I hope you thought this post was as fun to read as it was for me to make. I have also uploaded these pictures on my Tumblr so you can reblog it here if you’re also on there. Do you guys think Mnemba or Kara would get any other social media accounts? If yes, which ones?

If you haven’t read Unicorn Tracks yet I really recommend it, here are a few useful links for you. You can go to Julia Ember’s website here, add the book on Goodreads here or just buy it directly on Amazon here. You won’t regret it!

Book Review of Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

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Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

Publication Date: April 21, 2016.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, and LGBT.

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Selling points: Magical creatures such as unicorns and mermaids, girls loving other girls and girls saving the day.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

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Thank you Julia Ember for my review copy of Unicorn Tracks. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember, I mean what do I even say? I’m absolutely in love with this piece of literature. It is a story rich in culture, magical creatures and girls. There is so much to appreciate and love about Unicorn Tracks, but most of all I love how it is a story about two girls who come from two very different places in the world with very different experiences. We have the main character Mnemba, a girl who has been through so much and who has so much depth. She is an amazing person with a huge heart. Then we have Kara Harving, a girl with a sparkling personality and wonder in her eyes.

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