Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Madly Series by M. Leighton Blog Tour: Series Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Madly Series Tour! This tour is brought to you by AToMR Tours. Thank you to M. Leighton for providing the books to review. Right now you can get the first eBook in the series, Madly, online for FREE!! There is also a tour-wide giveaway for some nifty goodies: SIGNED Paperbacks on Madly, Madly & Wolfhardt, and Madly & The Jackal, Swag pack, and a Madly t-shirt. US/CA only.

**Note: I am providing reviews for each book in the series thus far. Each book builds upon each other so if you have not read the previous book there may be spoilers just in the synopsis. However, I do not include spoilers of each book in my reviews because what fun would that be?

Madly series, #1 - a novelette
by M. Leighton

Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost. But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny. Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have. Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be? Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime.

My Thoughts:
This is a great introduction to the series. Bringing Christian mythology, Roman mythology, and a touch of the Brothers Grimm, M. Leighton has created a story that is riveting as well singularly unique. Madly James is a mermaid and a princess at that. She attends school in the small town of Slumber, a place where fairy tales and reality reside. When the unthinkable happens and Madly's home in the sea is compromised, she and her friends must race to find a way to return the Lore back to their prison.

I love Madly. She is a genuinely likable character. She is brave and courageous and will stop at nothing to help the ones she loves. Her best friend and roommate Jersey is a kick! Everything that comes out of her mouth is so random and had me giggling. Aiden is Madly's betrothed. He is of royal lineage and is the appropriate mate, but nothing ever is that simple... This leads me to Jackson, Jersey’s older brother, Sentinel for Atlas. All I have to say is OMG! He is hotness personified and has been Madly's crush since she was just a kid and the completely inappropriate choice. But that doesn't change the feelings that keep swirling through Madly's mind and body.

This is only a novelette and I have to admit that when it ended so abruptly I actually yelled at my eReader. M. Leighton has a knack for leaving off right when things are getting good. Thankfully, I already had book two waiting in the wings because I had to see what would happen next. I have to say, this book has made me a serious fan of M. Leighton's writing. She has a way with words that will leave you breathless!

Five Stars for Madly!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Madly & Wolfhardt
Madly series, #2
by M. Leighton

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

The first spirit to arrive is that of Ulrich Wolfhardt, a man that was once obsessed with wolves and a young maiden he would follow through the woods. After a bite from a wolf, Wolfhardt’s obsession with the girl became an unnatural hunger and the young maiden’s grandmother cursed him with a fate worse than death. And now he’s back…with a vengeance and a bite that can infect others as well.

Madly must learn the identity of Wolfhardt’s descendant and stop him before he kills again and spreads his curse across the earth. But the only person strong enough to help Madly is Jackson, the Sentinel who vowed to protect her and the one person capable of breaking her heart. Can Madly resist forbidden love long enough to save the world from Wolfhardt? Or will she have to sacrifice her heart and her destiny to save the ones she loves?

My Thoughts:
Picking up right where Madly left off, Wolfhardt begins at a frantic pace. Madly must find the Lore, Ulrich Wolfhardt and his descendant before he gets to the Strauss maiden's descendant. I love the way that M. Leighton brings together mermaids, werewolves and a whole cast of supernaturals that usually aren't combined. What is more, is that she does it well. Every detail is explained and believable to the progress of the story. I love the reinvented tale of Little Red Riding Hood! 

The main focus of Madly & Wolfhardt is finding the Lore and entrapping them in Madly's pearl to bring back to Atlas and it is exciting and pulse-pounding. But, at the heart of the story is the burgeoning relationship between Madly and Jackson. Jackson is infuriating in his aloofness at one moment and meaningful gazes the next. He is Madly's first, and only true love, and her girlish feelings and insecurities are very apparent. Every interaction between the two of them left my heart humming and my head swooning. The intensity of their feelings is vividly painted, yet restrained. There is nothing explicit, yet each scene left me - a married 30 year old woman - blushing and needing to stick my head in the freezer! 

However, Madly is still betrothed to Aiden, despite the fact that neither of them has actually linked to one another. In fact, Aiden has his eyes set on someone else all together. I am interested in finding out what this means for both Aiden and Madly and their potential future love lives. Again, M. Leighton's writing is exquisitely delicious. I can't get enough of her characters, especially Jackson - sigh. I also really like the expansion of powers that Madly is wielding. She is powerful and becoming a force to be reckoned with. I can't wait to read the third book in the series. Yes, we are left with another cliff-hanger. That seems to be consistent in all of M. Leighton's books, though. I am now a complete and total Fangirl of this series.

Madly & Wolfhardt earn a well deserved Five Stars!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Madly & The Jackal
Madly series, #3
by M. Leighton

How deep does love run? Deeper than the ocean? Deeper than memory? Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea. But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find. This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges.

Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her. They want her power, but first they must weaken her. They need her beaten. Vulnerable. Near death. And alone. But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side. The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind. And his heart.

Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly? Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing?

My Thoughts:
This is my favorite book in the series thus far! This book is completely captivating and I could not put it down until I devoured every word. Madly and Jackson are now somewhat together and must journey to Atlas to help her family and all the inhabitants from complete decimation by a man and his monster. But that is just the beginning. Whomever the traitor is, has it out for Madly personally, and will stop at nothing to get to her. But death would be a welcome release from the pain that this Lore inflicts upon Madly. 

So many things take place in Madly & The Jackal. Madly and Jackson have finally admitted to their feelings and have made a commitment to each other. I can't tell you exactly what happens, but it is HUGE! They are blissfully happy, but in a second, all that is taken away. What is worse is that she can't/won't tell anyone about it. She wanted to keep her relationship with Jackson under wraps for the time being. I think she should have at least confided in Jersey. But despite the soul-crushing, heart-wrenching actions of Jackson, Madly stays (somewhat) strong. She is still determined to find the people who are responsible for releasing the Lore in the first place. I would have curled up in a ball and never come out of my room. 

Where in Wolfhardt the evil nemesis was the Red Riding Hood wolf, in Madly & The Jackal it is two sets of villains. The first is Rumple and the monster Leviathan who are terrorizing Atlas. The second is a version of the famed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which is a really interesting spin on the old classic. And now there are musings of a Sea Witch who was thought only to be a legend, but is she really? So many questions are left without an answer and I can't even guess what M. Leighton has in store for Madly next. But I have come to expect and accept the cliffhangers...well, not really, but I'll get over it.

This book went from YA to Upper YA/New Adult and was intense - like needling a cold shower intense! Not to mention that I went through the whole emotional gamut: laughing one minute and on the verge of tears the next. Madly is growing up and becoming the woman and ruler that she is destined to be. Her powers are changing and she is finding that what she is able to do isn't quite normal for a mermaid - even a royal one. I can't wait until book four is released. As it is, there isn't even a cover for it yet, but I shall be stalking M. Leighton's site for any updates.  I LOVE the covers to these books. I can't wait to see what #4 will look like.

Madly & The Jackal is an outstanding book! M. Leighton is now one of my favorite authors.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Playlist for Madly & The Jackal

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of these books from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Find these books and more by M. Leighton

About the Author:
I was born and raised in the United States, and I’ve lived in several of the fabulous fifty. Though I currently live in the deep South, I spent much of my childhood up North and hope to return there one day. A few other things about me: I believe that sometimes you have to look really, REALLY hard to find the good in people, but it's there. I believe that I'm shrinking (I swear five years ago I was two inches taller). I believe my husband is quite possibly one of the most amazing men in the entire world (I can't be sure because I haven't met all of them). I believe coffee and chocolate, when combined, could be the basis for world peace. I believe that Jesus rocks and communism doesn’t. I believe that white makes me look fat and black collects lint. I believe summer's too hot, winter's too cold and fall was made for football. I like dogs better than cats and the first movie in a trilogy is invariably the best. But most of all, I believe that love conquers all.

M. Leighton Social Media links: Facebook     Blog     Twitter

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  1. These are some of the best, most well-written and insightful reviews I've ever had the pleasure of reading, much less receiving! I am thrilled you loved the books and honored to be numbered in the fold of your favorites. I treasure that more than you can imagine. THANK YOUUUUUUUU!!!

    1. Thank you so much! You have totally made my day! I can't wait to read everything you have written. You are truly talented. -Krista

  2. Ok this series sounds seriously great! and I only read the first review! But it just sounds so quirky and fun! Off to add it to my TBR. If I don't win, I will for sure be tracking these down on my own!


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