Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blog Tour: The Artisans by Julie Reece {Review + Giveaway}

Release date: May 12, 2015
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 344
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review for tour
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository | Kobo
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
At this point, I've read s. fair number of Beauty and the Beast retellings. A lot. Sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're not. The Artisans solidly falls in the good camp. It's got a great Gothic feel, a heroine who is compassionate and strong, and a really fantastic setup that I simply loved. If this sounds like your kind of book, I'm willing to bet it is.

Raven is a talented young designer, but her family problems get in the way of what she wants to do. While the situation she's given with Gideon isn't ideal or what she wants, I loved the realism in that she couldn't help but be at least the tiniest bit relieved that so much had been taken off her shoulders. She hates that she has to give up her designs and send her step-father away, but she's lost so much of her childhood. I also liked that Rae is confronted by a lot of darkness over the course of the book, yet she retains so much hope. She's not perfect, but she's optimistic.

I was also fascinated by the setup of the story. For so much of the book, I was dying to know why the book was called the "Artisans", but I loved the ultimate payoff of that. While a lot of the plot was to be expected, it's something I didn't expect. But OH MY GOODNESS those creepy scenes were so good but so freaky. I don't often get weirded out by the scary moments in books, but these did it.

The Artisans was slow in pieces, but I definitely was so intrigued it was pretty easy to get through those quickly. It's a fascinating retelling and a compelling novel that I enjoyed.

About the author:

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

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