Archive | February 2019

The Road to Bremen! (by Kelsey Bryant)

The winner for the giveaway of a signed paperback of Common is . . . Raechel L.! Congrats, Raechel! The winner has been contacted. Thanks so much to everyone who entered! Stay tuned for more giveaways because I love sharing the bookish love! ^_^

Speaking of bookish love, I’m here with a review of a lovely novella/children’s book which released TODAY, and is a retelling of The Bremen Town Musicians! GUYS. I LOVED THIS LITTLE BOOK. ❤

The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant

Utterly charming! A tale full of heart. ❤

I’ve always loved the fairytale of the Bremen Town Musicians, the old donkey and dog and cat and rooster on the road to become musicians in Bremen. I have fond memories of hearing an audio version of the story, and a particular picture book I found fascinating with pictures I remember vividly.

So when I heard Kelsey Bryant was writing a retelling of it, I was ecstatic! Her pen skillfully brought this story to life in this novella-sized children’s book, complete with charming illustrations by E. Kaiser Writes.

I loved how it felt true to the original tale but brought out new and unexpected things too, with some excellent twists and turns! It has its own share of excitement and adventure and, yes, peril at times! But it still feels so absolutely cozy at the same time, which made me happy. 🙂

The Road to Bremen is like a golden sunbeam across a field of wheat on a quiet summer day. It just FEELS lovely. You want to bask in it as you read. It’s rich and well-written and draws you along like a breeze calling you to the shade of the forest. You can feel the dust of the road and you’ll smile or laugh at the quiet humor or the banter between these larger-than-life (but so REAL!) animal characters as they go on their adventure.

The characters are so loveable! Etzel the donkey, from whose perspective the story is told, absolutely stole my heart. I just love this donkey and his voice! He has so much character. Jager the dog is sort of mournful but funny. XD Katarina is so CAT-like and prim, and I loved the dog-vs.-cat references. And then Rudiger is so extremely vain and always quoting Aesop and it’s great. XD I just love them all! You have to read this to meet them! There are a couple of human characters, of course, who add to the story, but I won’t spoil anything by talking about them. 😉

Also, I love that it’s set in Germany and how there are German words thrown in here and there. I felt so immersed in the forest and town and roads and setting. It made me think a little of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings and made me feel at home. 🙂

I totally recommend this if you enjoy retellings and need a quick, novella-sized read, or if you have children in your life. I feel like it would be a wonderful book to read aloud!

Just— *hugs book* It feels totally classic and makes me happy! ^_^

Disclaimer: I beta-read this book. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.


About the Book

Their lives are saved by a dream. But only friendship can make that dream a reality.

Once upon a time…

Etzel the donkey is getting old, but he works hard on his farm—until the day Herr Hoffman decides he is no longer worth keeping. With no choice but to escape, Etzel sets off on the road to Bremen to seek his fortune as a musician. On the way, he rescues three other animals—a dog, a cat, and a rooster—who are also old and destined for death.

Will these four new friends find their success and worth as musicians in Bremen? Or does the road hold something better?

Based on “The Bremen Town Musicians” from the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Ideal for kids from 7 to 11 years old, but great for all those young at heart.


About the Author

Kelsey Bryant lives in Central Texas, but being one-quarter German, she’s always wanted to visit Germany. Bogged down during the crafting of a much longer book, Kelsey started writing a retelling of one of her favorite fairy tales, “The Bremen Town Musicians,” to resuscitate her creativity. She rather liked the result.

Kelsey is the author of the Six Cousins series and Suit and Suitability, part of the Vintage Jane Austen series. The Road to Bremen is her first book for children. Besides writing fiction, Kelsey is a copyeditor, a martial arts instructor, and an avid student of the Bible. Visit her at kelseybryantauthor.com or on her blog, Kelsey’s Notebook.


Links

Purchase on Amazon (paperback or ebook)

Add on Goodreads

Announcement Post on the author’s blog!


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Suit and Suitability: Vintage Jane Austen Poison Kiss: A Twist of Adventure Cover5_story

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Valentine Giveaway! Common by Laurie Lucking

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m celebrating by offering a giveaway for a copy of COMMON by Laurie Lucking!

I ended up with an extra copy signed by the author, and I want to share the love! I read it as the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for May last year. It was a runner-up for my favorite reads of 2018, and it just makes me happy. ^_^ Plus it has an adorbz romance, so it seemed like just the right book to give away today. ❤

Scroll to the end for the giveaway, and for a Jane-Austen-inspired sale and an Amazon gift-card giveaway the Vintage Jane Austen authors and some others are offering!

First, here are five thoughts on Common and why should read it!


5 Thoughts on Common

1. The world/setting: You feel like you’re home. At first I thought it might be a Kingdom Adventure book until fantasy elements showed up later in the story. But I just loved the cozy fantasy kingdom setting and it felt so — I don’t know! I felt so at home and I just want to hug this book. ❤ (It made me think a little of books by Gail Carson Levine.)

2. Leah — She tells the story, which is a fact I keep forgetting (I don’t always love first-person, but the ones I most enjoy are the ones where I’m so sucked in that I forget!), and I just loved this red-haired servant girl. She has this sort of . . . I don’t know . . . quiet strength. She’s lovely.

3. Rafe — You have to love the prince character! Rafe is so absolutely sweet and I love him. He also feels sort of stuck in all these political schemes, and wishes he could just stay in the closet he and Leah meet in and just read with her forever. Rafe is just SO PRECIOUS. And kind of epic too.

4. The nuns — They’re quite unexpected but such neat characters! I loved how distinct they all were, each with their own personalities and temperaments, and they were unexpectedly lovable side characters. You’ll have to read it to see how they join in on the plot, but it’s really cool. 😉

5. The plot: a mix of secrets and court intrigue and politics and plots, mixed with quiet character moments and journeys, with a smidge of magic and the barest hint of an almost-Cinderella tale, and all wrapped up in an absolutely precious romance thread. Leah and Rafe are just SO ADORABLE, okay? I adore them. But I also loved reading about Leah’s adventures. 😀 This book stands alone, but I’m still so looking forward to the sequel!


Add to Goodreads • Find on Amazon • Visit the Author


GIVEAWAY

To win this gorgeous paperback copy of Common, signed by the author, enter via the Rafflecopter form HERE! (Open to US residents only, due to shipping costs. Begins Feb. 14, 2019, and ends Feb. 20, 2019, at midnight Central Time.)

EDIT: The giveaway is now CLOSED. The winner has been contacted. Thanks for entering, everyone!


A Sale + Another Giveaway

P.S. Check out this Jane-Austen-Inspired Valentine  ebook sale and $45 Amazon gift-card giveaway! Check out the details HERE or click the image below!


If you want to read my reviews of some of the Vintage Jane Austen books, you can see those here:

 

If you like Common, you may also enjoy:

 Beggar Magic  


Now let me know in the comments: Do you have a favorite fictional couple?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

King’s Ward by E. Kaiser Writes: Book Spotlight!

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know about a new book by a lovely author friend of mine, which just released this last weekend! It’s called King’s Ward and while I haven’t read it yet, I’ve enjoyed her books and I’m excited for it!

If you like non-magical fantasy adventure, you’ll love these. ^_^

You can check out the blog tour, and also be sure to go enter the giveaway. 😀

Check out these loverly new covers for the books in the series — and the first book is free right now! 😉


Jeweler’s Apprentice
Five Gems Book 1
by E. Kaiser Writes
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure 
On her first visit to the palace, sixteen-year-old Fia stumbles upon a court intrigue. To keep the secret safe, the Chancellor sends her off as apprentice to a famous, reclusive, mountain jeweler…
…And straight into adventure.
Discovering gems with deep secrets and new friends with the same, Fia learns a whole lot more than just making jewelry: when to trust a stranger, and when not to, why not to try stealing from gem thieves; what heroism is; what royalty ought to be; and that the mountains themselves can sometimes be the greatest danger of all.
Is the legend of the Sunlight Stone true?
Will peace ever come to the war-torn neighboring kingdom?
And what is the stable boy hiding…?

Traitor’s Knife
Five Gems Book 2
Secrets. Sabotage. Murder. With Olayin House temporarily turned into a weapons factory, Fia is confronted with the care of three refugee children, an ill-timed visitor, a perplexingly brash messenger that she isn’t quite sure what to think of, all while trying to keep her friend’s secrets safe. But when dangerous accidents start to happen, the young apprentice begins to tread a fine line of suspicion. Are saboteurs out to nix the weapons works… and is the incognito crown prince in mortal peril? Winter in the mountain house isn’t as cozy as her apprenticeship was expected to be. 
**Only .99 cents!**

New Release!

King’s Ward
Five Gems Book 3
With her wealth of loyalist secrets, Fia’s position at Olayin House is compromised. Now a potential danger to two countries, she is made a ward of the king and sent away yet again; this time into the grassland kingdom of Erlandia, but her journey amongst the horse folk takes unexpected turns.
Trapped under siege, she faces two men from her past… one she fears might murder her, and the other may die of plague unless she wins the battle for his life.
And with the Sunlight Stone traded for troops, how long will Erlandia’s peace last?
 
E. Kaiser Writes was born into a family of readers, and got started on storytelling around the age of four when her older siblings prompted her into recounting an absolutely ridiculous account of a parallel childhood. It was good for the family’s general entertainment, and she discovered the thrill of making people laugh.
At the age of seven her mother read the Hobbit aloud, and a fascination with beautiful fantasy was born. At nine she came to the decision that she wanted to be a writer, and set to reading rabidly to learn the art. At thirteen she attempted her first novel, and it was eaten in a computer’s demise.
Afterward, during her teenage years she tried very hard at various times to stop writing all together.
Not succeeding, she at last gave in to her addiction, and wrote “for fun”.
Her first novel, Jeweler’s Apprentice, is a light-fantasy adventure for teens. The shy, bookish heroine is thrust out on the first step toward the adventure that awaits, and growing up. More books in this series are expected.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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PoDcover

Look at the pretties! Sound intriguing? Have you read any of these? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Book Ishness! (Feb. 2019)

Happy Groundhog Day!

Time for a look at all the book ishness this month! Things I read in January (featuring micro reviews!), my February TBR nightstand, and book releases and other fun!

I’m pretty sure ALL the books are releasing this month, though. O_O

FEBRUARY RELEASES

Alphabetical by author . . . (Find them on Goodreads HERE.)

  • Receive – Sarah Addison-Fox — The final book in the Stormers Trilogy! I loved book one, and this reminds me I should hasten to read book 2 which is patiently awaiting me on my Kindle app!
  • Honor: A Quest In – Kendra E. Ardnek — Another Bookania book, featuring Robin Hood!
  • Whispers from the Depths – C.W. Briar — Don’t know a lot about this one but it’s from Uncommon Universes Press and features the sea!
  • To Court a Queen – H.L. Burke — Watching the author write this one via snippets on Facebook has been so fun. I’m excited to read about a knight and a cat-fairy!
  • Castle on the Rise – Kristy Cambron — Sequel to The Lost Castle, this is set in Ireland and the first book was gorgeous, so I know what I’m getting from the library next chance I get . . .
  • The Warrior Maiden – Melanie Dickerson — Hagenheim plus Mulan!
  • If Wishes Were Curses – Janeen Ippolito — I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy (silly, really, since I write it from time to time) but I’m cautiously excited about this one . . . 😀
  • In the Land of the Everliving – Stephen R. Lawhead — This reminds me I should read book one of this series which came out last year!
  • The Blood Spell – C.J. Redwine — I don’t know a lot about this but it’s a Cinderella retelling and I “met” the author at a Facebook party recently. I’m curious about this one! (She’s also going to be teaching at Realm Makers. I’m not 100% sure I’ll be able to go but I’m so so hoping!)
  • King’s Ward – E. Kaiser Writes — This sounds super fun and I’ve enjoyed this author’s work before!

Not Pictured

  • Run – Kyle Robert Shultz — Crockett and Crane short story coming to Patreon in February; I just read this one and it’s funny and super spooky! :O
  • Daughter of the River – Catherine Jones Payne — More mermaids!
  • Flare – J.M. Hackman — Sequel to Spark, which is on my TBR!

I TOLD you everything was coming out this month! :O

OTHER FEBRUARY NEWS

Second Son Readalong

The Second Son readalong is continuing so if you want hop in there’s always time! Check out the info HERE!

#FantasyMonth

You can check out all the fantastic Fantasy Month goings-on HERE! I’m not officially joining in on the posts and stuff (#becauselife) but I hope to join in on this fun #FantasyMonth hashtag game! (Either on social media or as a blog tag. Which do you think is more fun?)

Giveaway

Check out Allison Tebo’s giveaway for young readers! Closes on Valentine’s Day.

MY FEBRUARY NIGHTSTAND

Here’s what I’d love to read this month, though of course I have no idea how many of these I’ll actually make it through. XD

  • The Book of Lost Tales 2 and The King’s Scrolls are for my personal challenge to read one book in each of these series per month. (Don’t tell but I’m not quiiiite done Lost Tales 1, but I’m close so I’m putting this one in. ;))
  • Second Son is a reread aloud for the readalong. Really enjoying it!
  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers is a review book so that one is up soon!
  • Rothana is the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub read for February and I am excited! (Also terrified, but hey.)
  • Beneath the Haunting Sea I snagged from the library because I adored this author’s Echo North. I don’t have time to read it but I’m going to MAKE time because I need it in my life! ❤
  • The Gilded Wolves I also libraried and am joining the Fantasy Readalong with Gillian Adams and Jill Williamson on Instagram. (@fantasyreadalong)

There are ebooks I should read too, and I always have oodles of other books staring puppy-eye-pleadingly at me, so we’ll see what the month’s reading actually looks like — especially since I doubt I will have time to even read all of THESE! But I’m going to try, and I’m excited for all the awesome books, and will be happy with whatever I do get to read! 🙂

Any of these on your lists? Which one should I read first?? And what are you reading this weekend?

(If you’d like to join in on Nightstand Books, you can do so here.)

MY READING NEWS

January Reads

  1. Mirrors and Pearls by Lea Doue — Snow White with dragons! Fun novella. 4 stars
  2. A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones — Elio! BUTTER PIES!! 5 stars
  3. On Stories by C.S. Lewis — Some excellent essays on books and writing, mixed in with some I didn’t “get” much. (When he talks about books I haven’t read, it can be difficult to follow.) I love his style and profound thoughts on writing and story! 5 stars
  4. One Flew Over the Gryphon’s Nest by Kyle Robert Shultz — Short Beaumont and Beasley story featuring Nick and co. being psychoanalyzed at an insane asylum, in audio-drama form. So fun! XD 5 stars
  5. My Fault by R.J. Conte — I needed a random fluffy ebook novella and this was that but had surprising deeper, darker themes as well. Picked it up because the author’s a Realmie. Not my usual genre but kept me absorbed. 3 stars
  6. Resistance by Jaye L. Knight — Yes, I FINALLY read this! XD I already felt like I had, since I’ve been following the series forever (and my sis tells me about them) but hadn’t actually gotten through it. Yes, I really like Rayad and Jace and co. Minor quibbles but really enjoyed it! Felt kinda classic. ^_^ 5 stars
  7. The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien — GORGEOUS. Loved Alan Lee’s illustrations, Tolkien’s writing at various stages (so cool!), and Christopher Tolkien’s commentary. Bittersweet as the last one he’s planning to put out. 5 stars
  8. Beast in the Machine by E.B. Dawson — Enchanting Beauty and the Beast short tale with a dash of sci-fi and a spirited heroine. LOVED the descriptions! Read an ARC so I’ll give a full review at some point. ^_^ 4 stars
  9. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame — Re-read. I say read but it was an audiobook. I still think it’s one of the most fun little tales EVER! I could be biased due to the audiobook’s fabulous British accents. XD But I LOVE the Dragon! And the Boy, and St. George. And all the shenanigans. 😀 5 stars
  10. Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones — It was okay. More of a picture book, actually, and one really shouldn’t attempt to illustrate DWJ. Interesting though! 3 stars

So there you are! All the Book Ishness! Sorry I kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. *cough* I’ve had internet issues and lacking motivations and other fun stuff like that. 😛 Also, another reason I keep forgetting to blog here is sharing bookish stuff on Instagram. But I’ve missed blogging so hopefully I can get back to it! ❤

What are you reading? And are you excited about any of these? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂