Review: Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat Bastion + Giveaway

Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat BastionFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: Time-travel romance, Paranormal romance
Series: Highland Legends, #1
Length: 323 pages
Publisher: Self-published
Date Released: September 22, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Isobel MacInnes wakes up in present-day California, lunches in medieval Scotland, and by ten days’ end, falls in love with a man and his country, only to lose them in a heart-wrenching twist of fate . . .

Found in the arms of her second soul mate . . .

Forced to balance the delicate strands of time between two millennia . . .

Shocked by revelations rewriting the very foundations of history . . . of everything.

Isobel, a rising-star archaeology student, is dropped into two ancient worlds without warning . . . or her permission. Her fiery spirit resists the dependency thrust upon her. Amid frustration at her lack of control, she helplessly falls in love. Twice.

She struggles to adjust to the unimaginable demands of two leaders of men—a laird in the thirteenth-century Highlands and a Pict chieftain in a more ancient Scotland. Isobel transforms from an academic, hell-bent on obtaining archaeological recognition, to a woman striving to care for those she loves, and ultimately . . . into a fearless warrior risking everything to protect them

My Review:

This was a much wilder ride than I expected…and that’s a good thing.

Isobel MacInnes begins the story as an overachieving graduate student in archaeology, based in California, but inexorably drawn to study the history (and prehistory) surrounding her roots in Scotland.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Isobel is very much still an overachiever at the end of the story. She’s just got, well, bigger fish to fry. Possibly also bake, parboil and grill.

As an archeologist, even a budding archaeologist, she should have known better than to extract the intricately wrought stone she discovered in Scotland when she was tossed from her damaged car in a freak rainstorm. But the stone seemed to be smithed from multiple metals that could not have been worked at the time the stone appeared to have been carved, and, Isobel had just said her last goodbye to her dying grandfather.

Let’s say she wasn’t thinking rationally. Possibly she wasn’t meant to be thinking rationally. That stone was the find of any archaeologist’s lifetime.

And it was magic. Or magick.

Once she gets it back to her advisor’s lab in California (I’m trying to imagine getting that thing past Customs and the TSA and just, oh noes!) she has to share it with someone. Who better than her best friend, someone she met at the Highland Games. Iain Brodie is also an actor, and he’s always flirted with Isobel, pretending he wants more than just friendship. Isobel knows she’s not up to the same standard of beauty as a Hollywood starlet, so she ducks all his passes.

But Iain is a champion at the Highland Games because he has an unfair advantage, and he’s been flirting with Isobel MacInnes because she really is the woman that he wants. Something about the presence of the magical stone pushes them into a confrontation that reveals his true feelings for her.

And the stone transports them from 21st century California to 14th century Scotland. Isobel learns that the rest of her life is going to be nothing like what she planned it would be.

It’s going to be better. But first it’s going to be a whole lot weirder.

Escape Rating B-: The century-spanning scope of the story absolutely does sweep the reader along for the ride.

I’ll confess, at first, I wasn’t sure if Isobel was really in love with Iain, or if she was convincing herself that it was the best thing to do in order to survive in the 14th century. Attaching herself to Iain absolutely was the best thing for her to do for her to survive in the 14th century, but I was having a difficult time deciding whether there was really love on both sides or just Isobel bowing to the inevitable and fooling herself.

It was only after she traveled through time again that she really started living in whatever now she found herself in, however she had to live that now, that it felt like she was owning her own fate, instead of being pushed by the waves.

That part of that fate was to have two warriors as soul mates in two different time periods was icing on the cake. This would be perfectly acceptable if a man were the lead character, I’m fine with the “sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander” idea.

Time travel romance always poses an interesting conundrum. If the traveler goes into the past, as Isobel does, can they change the past and affect the future? Is that what they are meant to do? In which case, have they already done it? If they don’t do it again, what happens?

Isobel’s journey seems to be fated to make her the person, the time traveler, she is meant to become. Which means she has more ahead of her, because the training period literally tore her heart in two. As they say, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Isobel becomes much, much stronger.



To celebrate the release of Forged in Blood and Magick, Kat is giving away a number of prizes:

  • (5) Signed Paperback Copies of Forged in Blood and Magick
  • (5) eBook copies of Forged in Blood and Magick
  • (1) Pandora sterling silver Happily Ever After charm with a Pandora sterling silver bracelet.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more chances to win, visit the other stops on the blog tour.

This post is part of a blog tour by AToMR Tours-- to visit the other stops, click here.
This post is part of a blog tour — to visit the other stops, click here.

To visit the other stops on the blog tour, click here.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Authors on Reviews Blog Hop

To Be or Not To Be? Not exactly.

This is a book blog and this is a blog hop asking the question, “should authors comment on reviews?”

So perhaps better is “To Comment or Not to Comment?”

The blog hop was inspired by the recent 3 Star Ratings Event. Nat @ Reading Romances decided to create today’s event as an opportunity for us book bloggers and reviewers to say what we expect from authors when we post reviews of their books.

So it’s up to each blogger to answer that age-old question, “Should Authors Comment on Reviews?”

On the one hand, I want the author to know I’ve reviewed their book. I want the publisher to know about it too. I want it so bad that I tweet my review to both of them. Some authors reply to the tweet. Some re-tweet, especially if the review is good. Sometimes the publishers will re-tweet.

But yes, I expect the tweet to get some traffic. That’s the point. I agonize over those 140 characters, hoping to maximize their impact. I tweet my reviews because I want somebody to pay attention.

The author, and the publisher, are likely to be the two parties most interested in whatever I said about the book. It’s logical.

And the economy has changed. I don’t mean the money economy, although, let’s face it, that too. I mean the information/attention economy. It used to be that information was expensive and attention was cheap. Now it’s the other way, information is easy to get, it’s attention that hard to grab.

Reviews are attention, especially for small press/ebook-only/self-published books.

So yes, I think it’s terrific when an author comments, even when it’s just to say “thank you”. Particularly when they thank the other commenters who are saying they might read the book.

When I start with “on the one hand” I generally have another hand hidden behind my back. In this case, that other hand is Ebook Review Central.

Every week, the Monday Ebook Review Central wrap-up highlights the three most and best reviewed titles from one (or more) of the ebook publishers for the month. The featured titles are always going to be the big hits, because that’s the point. I comb through all the reviews to tally which three books got the most recognition from reviewers.

It’s totally recognition of who did well, and why. Also a recommendation that these are the books that people loved, so, if you (person reading the post) like the type of story represented, and haven’t yet read this, you might want to check out all these reviews conveniently linked here, and see if you want to read it too.

Since the ERC post emphasizes the positives (the books that don’t get reviewed a lot are in the database, I just don’t talk about them much), I would love, love, love to get more authors (and readers) commenting on the Ebook Review Central posts.

But we’ve all heard that some people feel “intimidated” if the author might comment on the review or in the comments to a post.

Please comment here! How do you feel? Do you like seeing authors comment on their reviews? Do you like seeing authors participate in book blog commentary in general?

If you want to read what others are saying on this topic, here are the links to all the participating blog hops:


Ebooks in Public Libraries: Whither, Which, How

The Digital Public Library of America discussion list has kicked into high gear again, in anticipation of an in-person meeting at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in mid-January, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.

The piece of the discussion that has caught my interest concerns the future availability of ebooks for public libraries to loan to patrons — and whether lending ebooks to patrons should be part of any public library future.

Statistics are showing double the ereader penetration in the US population from this time last year, not counting multi-function tablet (i.e. iPad) use. Libraries really don’t have the luxury to pretend this isn’t happening. The question remains what they can do about it.

The other question is, what do libraries provide? The “Big 6” publishers are increasingly skittish about providing ebooks for public libraries to lend.

  • Only Random House just plain lets libraries buy their ebooks to lend to patrons.
  • Harper Collins sells to libraries, and every time the copy has been checked out 26 times, the library has to buy it again.
  • Which puts Harper Collins ahead of Penguin and Hachette, who have both stopped selling ebooks to libraries.
  • And even further ahead of Simon and Schuster and Macmillan, who have never sold ebooks to libraries.

But back to the DPLA, which has been discussing the future of ebook publishing as it relates to libraries. There’s been a particular thread about commercial fiction and public library patrons.

The assumption that keeps niggling at me is that all the current trends will continue, and that the only changes we will see will be for the worse from the perspective of the library as institution.

My interpretation of the trendline being predicted is that the publishers will continue their unfortunate circling of their wagons, and that the lending rights that libraries have traditionally enjoyed with physical materials will disappear in the electronic age as publishers attempt to preserve their profit margins. Brilliance Audio’s scheduled January 31, 2012 withdrawal from the library download market is another step in this trend, as is the support of many, many publishers in the library marketplace for SOPA.

Publishers are worrying about their profits because those profits are based on a physical distribution model, and the physical distribution model is collapsing. And the publishers are becoming less optimistic about digital being their savior than they used to be, at least according to recent reports out of Digital Book World. So they are hanging on to every penny they can. Publishers have always feared that books borrowed from libraries have represented sales lost. But with physical books, sales to libraries were impossible to prevent.

With ebooks (and e-audiobooks) publishers don’t have to sell to libraries. So some of them are increasingly choosing not to — especially the big ones who believe that their authors don’t need libraries to help them develop a following.

But there are a lot of authors who do want their books, especially their ebooks, in libraries. I was interviewed by author Lindsay Buroker for an article on her blog about how self-published authors could get their books into their local libraries.

Self-published authors and authors who are published by small independent publishers are searching eagerly for ways to get their books into libraries. Increasingly those books are exclusively ebooks. Many of those authors would even be willing to donate a copy to their local public library (maybe not every public library, mind you, but the one in their own hometown) just to get readers.

In the print world, they used to be able to donate actual books. But in the digital world, what’s the mechanism? They don’t want to donate rights, they want to donate a couple of copies, and quite likely DRM-free copies at that, but how can they do it?

And for anyone who doesn’t think there is money in self-published authors, remember that Amazon has offered special incentives for self-published authors to make their work exclusively available through the Kindle Selects Program for 90-day periods.

This a a world that is changing faster than the “Big 6” can keep up with, which is why they are circling those wagons.

So, in this corner, we have the big publishers who either haven’t entered the library market or are sounding a retreat.

And in this corner, we have a lot of independent publishers and self-published authors who would love to enter the library space and are hungry for readers–readers that libraries know how to provide.

Libraries need  the equivalent of Smashwords for libraries. This may turn out to be something like what OverDrive will be when the big publishers have dropped out of the library market, with the addition of a method for self-published authors to donate copies or for libraries to buy copies of their work and lend it.

From a library institutional perspective, the library would miss the big blockbuster books. But we may not be able to keep those no matter what we do.  What we would get is a lot of popular content of the type that public library patrons read, popular genre fiction of all types. It would even cost less for the library than the current model. It might even be possible to have enough material so that people would have to wait forever for an ebook.

Yes, it would be different from how public libraries do ebooks now. But the future is going to be different. The question is, can we work toward making it different in a way we can have some control over? Can we have a future with a chance at a win-win?