Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: SIGN OF THE THRONE

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I’m pleased to have Melissa Eskue Ousley on my blog today with her new release SIGN OF THE THRONE. Read on for details about the novel and my review. Plus, Melissa talks about the fascinating topic of synchronicity. What is synchronicity and how does it play in SIGN OF THE THRONE? Thanks for being on my blog today, Melissa!

Be sure to enter Melissa’s giveaway for a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card or 1 of 10 signed copies of SIGN OF THE THRONE. Enter in the Rafflecopter at end of this post.

Dreams do come true…and so do nightmares.

Series:  Book One of the Solas Beir Trilogy
Author:  Melissa Eskue Ousley
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Publisher:  Castle Gardens Publications
Release Date:  September 14, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook

Buy Links
Amazon {Paperback} | Amazon {Kindle} | Redroom

Back Cover Blurb
Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.

Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.

As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.

Guest Post by Melissa Eskue Ousley


Synchronicity is a concept that was first described by psychologist Carl Jung in the 1920s. It is a meaningful coincidence, the experience of two or more events connected by meaning rather than cause. In Sign of the Throne, Cassandra Buchan discusses the concept with Abby and Riordan, in an effort to make sense of the strange things Abby has experienced.

As a professor of psychology and statistics, Cassandra values a logical, scientific approach to solving problems. One of the concepts she teaches about in her class is correlation does not imply causation. In other words, one thing may be related to another, but does not necessarily cause it. She uses Newcastle Beach as an example: the affluent neighborhood has higher housing prices and higher rates of students graduating high school than the rest of the city of Santa Linda. While these two things are related, they do not cause one another. Sometimes correlations show a pattern, but have nothing to do with each other—like intellect and shoe size, or an increase in car wrecks and the occurrence of sun spots.

Synchronicity, on the other hand, says that things are related, nothing is random, and everything happens for a reason. In a probability experiment, we say something is random if each trial is independent and has an equal chance of occurring. If you roll a die, and you want to figure out your chances of rolling a three, you could roll it a hundred times and then figure out the probability based on the number of trials, the number of sides to the die, and how many times you get a three. But, in conducting this experiment, the die must be balanced, and you must roll the die the same way each time for chance to be equal.

Real life does not work this way. It does not occur in a lab, or in a vacuum. Your chances of surviving a car wreck, for example, depend on a lot of things: the condition of the car, how fast you’re going, whether or not it’s a single or multiple car accident, the condition of the road, and the weather. In life, things don’t happen independently, and nothing happens the same way twice. Therefore, based on the above definition, nothing can be characterized as being random. That doesn’t prove everything is connected, but perhaps some things are synchronous, and share the same destiny. Jakob Bernoulli, a Swiss mathematician who lived in the 1600s, believed in fate, in the sense that once things are set into motion, they tend to eventually occur. So, taking our die example, he would say that if you want to roll a three, you will eventually roll a three if you keep rolling the die.

When Abby encounters the queen of a magical parallel realm, she discovers her destiny and the things that have been set into motion. She learns of the role she will play in rescuing the lost heir and restoring him to his place as the Solas Beir, ruler of Cai Terenmare.

My Review 

First off, I loved the cover of SIGN OF THE THRONE and it immediately attracted me to the story. The cover depicted a paranormal or fantasy feel, and it fit the story well, as both the raven and the cat are integrated within the story. SIGN OF THE THRONE starts off with a bang, dropping the reader into two very different worlds, i.e. fantasy land Cai Terenmare and modern day California. I love fantasy novels with portals and this didn’t disappoint in that aspect. Most of the story takes place in our world in Newcastle Beach, California, however, we are introduced to the many fascinating events and myths of Cai Terenmare as ordinary, introverted 18-year-old Abby discovers who she is and helps heartthrob, bad boy David come to terms with his identity and his rightful place in Cai Terenmare.

The beginning and end of the novel were adventurous and enthralling. The author definitely has a good grasp of worldbuilding and infused SIGN OF THE THRONE with fantastic mythology and legends. However, the middle of the book was bogged down a little with too much backstory lumped together and not as much action as I would have liked to see. Having said that, I loved the backstory, but I wanted to see some of it sprinkled better throughout the story, and there were areas I wanted the author to show the reader rather than tell us what was happening. As I said, the ending was great though, and it leaves the reader with a warm feeling of anticipation of what’s to come in the next book in the series.

Ms. Ousley has created a terrific new world full of magic, mythology, and monsters with a healthy dose of romance. While complex, her characters (both human and not!) are relatable and her worlds are unique. SIGN OF THE THRONE should appeal to both young adult and adults who love fantasy or urban fantasy.  

(I received an ARC from the author as part of her blog tour in exchange for a fair and honest review).

About the Author

Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. SIGN OF THE THRONE, the first book of this young adult fantasy series, was released on September 14. She is currently working on the second and third novels in the trilogy, The Rabbit and the Raven and The Sower Comes.

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found swimming, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona.

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