Archive | July 2019

Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach (+ Giveaway!)

Guys! It’s heeeere! I’m ridiculously excited to get to share with you my most-anticipated book of the year!

I had the chance to beta-read an early version of this book last year and I’ve been dying for it to be published ever since — and it’s now out (well, book 1 is, since what used to be one novel called The Mountain Baron was cut in half and Oath of the Outcast is the first half of what is now called The Dragon Keep Chronicles) and I just read the final version and ASDFGHJKJLKDJFKLSJ I CAN’T. You need this epic book in your life!

IT’S.

SO.

GOOD.

Read on for my review and a giveaway and the rest of the info and blog tour stops!

But first, here’s a little about the book . . .


Oath of the Outcast

A lost brother.
An unwilling outlaw.
A rising enemy.
An unusual alliance.

Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws and outcasts.

But one day he receives a desperate message from the clan who disowned him: MacDuffy’s Seer—his beloved brother—has been taken by their enemies.

With his band of Mountain Brigands and an unwelcome sidekick, Rhys leaves his mountain stronghold to find and rescue his brother. The tide of war is rising amongst the Clans of Alsaya, fueled by the magic-wielding sect of Druids who seek to unleash a dark force the world has long forgotten.

Can the bond of blood run deeper than banishment?


(On the author’s mantelpiece…)

Links


(The beautiful paperback I bought at Realm Makers; my tiny new dragon — Snufkin Keevan MacDuffy — who I named partially after this book; and the epic prize pack themed for Oath of the Outcast which I won in a raffle at the conference! *shrieking*)

Title: Oath of the Outcast

Author: C.M. Banschbach

  • Date read: July 25, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars!
  • Genre: Celtic Fantasy (Am I coining this genre name? Yes, yes I am.)
  • Age: NA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 338 (paperback)
  • Series: The Dragon Keep Chronicles, #1
  • Fave character: Rhys/the Baron (my smol floof of anger management issues)
  • Source: I received an e-ARC from the author, and also bought a paperback at Realm Makers 2019. All opinions are my own.

I’m sitting here not sure how to form words to adequately express how much I love this absolutely awesome book. I just love it so, so much! OATH OF THE OUTCAST is, hands-down, one of the best books I’ve read all year. I have an addiction to this author’s books, and this the most absolutely brilliant one yet!

I was utterly drawn in from page one, pulled into this delightfully-Celtic-esque world (can I just go live there?) full of so many awesome things. This is a story of clans and brothers, snark and stabbing, pines and mist and mountains and rugged hills and a castle by the booming sea. It’s a story of the bonds of brothers—both by blood and by friendship deeper than blood (so it’s basically my favorite thing: a buddy story, of epic proportions)—and of an outcast banished from his clan, haunted by his past and so totally done with everyone. XD

The characters and their banter and snark and stabbiness are my absolute favorite! Particularly Rhys MacDuffy/the Baron, a.k.a. my smol floof of anger management issues. I just love him so much! He says that Rhys is dead, that he has no family, that he’s just the Mountain Baron now (and has built up something of a reputation where the very name makes people turn pale), but somewhere deep inside he’s still got a little of that old Rhys buried away behind the icy exterior of the Baron. Rhys/the Baron is a deeply scarred man, too betrayed to trust again, who has given up on redemption (but I’m holding out for it!), and yet somewhere he’s got a little bit of a heart of gold left—he just won’t admit it. And he will stab you as soon as snark at you, but if you’re one of his men or his brother (who he says he doesn’t have) he’ll do anything for you. Rhys/the Baron is just one of my favorite characters of all time and so well written and just gaaah. He gives me all the feels! I kind of relate to him and love this gruff epic character so much! HE’S THE BEST. He totally makes this book!

The rest of the characters are so fabulous as well, and I found myself deeply invested in all of these totally-real people—including one of the villains who totally surprised me by making me start to get invested in him. (Not the other villains. They are still the creepiest of ever! O_O You’ll know what I mean when you finish the book. XD) They’re just all so real and enigmatic and just can I please grow up to write like this someday?

The Baron’s band of outlaws are the Cairns and they are so scary but I also love them to death. I love their loyalty to the Baron and also how they freak everyone out. XD None of Robin Hood’s “merry” men here; they’re deadly but also have hidden slivers of gold in their hearts (totally stealing that from an interview about the book because it’s SO TRUE). Bryn and Rorie and Jes and Fulke are so amazing! They’ll do anything for their Baron and it’s the absolute best.

(Oath of the Outcast at Realm Makers 2019, complete with Reese’s. Because Rhys. XD)

And then we have Alan, who used to be best friends with Rhys and is trying to get that back a little and the Baron is so done with him (but also secretly not) and just I CAN’T. THEY’RE THE BEST. I love how Alan is so fun and full of energy and then you’ll almost forget he can totally be as deadly as the other characters. And Sean, Rhys’s younger brother, who is a cinnamon roll and a Seer and Rhys will literally do anything for him, and Sean will too but Rhys won’t let him. XD And there’s a huge-spoiler character but his name starts with a D and he’s involved with one of my most-favorite tropes and alksdjflksjd I LOVE HIM. I need more with this character and I can’t wait for the next book!

It’s a spectacular story and so epic! I love it so much. It feels like a movie. A really epic, sweeping, thrilling, AMAZING movie. With just a bit of an almost-cliffhanger. XD I need the second book to be out NOW! *flails around*

This is one of only a handful of books I’ve been anxiously awaiting this year, and I’m SO thrilled it’s finally out! I was an early reader and was blown away when I read the original version, so when I say that it has only gotten better, I want you to realize how much I mean that. And I also can’t decide if this means I need the second book more because I actually know what happens . . . XD

(Realm Makers roadtrip w/ the author)

I also keep staring at it because I love the cover and I’m so happy to be holding this gorgeous book in my hands, so there’s that. *hugs it forever* (It’s so prettyyyyy. My preciousssss.)

It’s a bit dark and raw and real, so if, in the immortal words of The Princess Bride, you’re bothered by “fighting, torture, revenge” (but no true love—like, there’s no romance in this and it’s basically an awesome buddy story x10000. XD), and creepy druids with evil magic, and invented-swearing, etc., just be aware that it’s a darker story. But it’s so, so good!

I honestly have a bit of a book-hangover after reading this and I don’t know how anything I read is going to feel this awesome (until the sequel comes out next year). Ack!

I simply can’t do this book justice in a review. I could talk about it all day long! You just need to go read it, right now.

OATH OF THE OUTCAST is truly fantastic and you need it and Rhys/the Baron/smol floof of anger management issues in your life! YOU JUST DO.

(Also. Y’all. From what I know of the second book, Blood of the Seer, it’s going to be EVEN MORE amazing than this one, if that’s even possible. So. Yeah. I can’t wait for the conclusion!!)


Giveaway!

We’re giving away books! Open internationally!

  • 2 ebooks,
  • 1 paperback,
  • 1 combo pack of a bookmark and a map postcard!

Enter to win HERE!


Author Info

C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent Hobbit if she weren’t so tall. She’s a pizza addict, a multi-faceted fangirl, and a firm believer in being authentic—even if it means acting like a dork sometimes! When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric physical therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.

She also writes YA/MG fantasy-adventure as Claire M. Banschbach.


Tour Schedule

July 22

July 23 – Release Day!

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27


Does or does it not sound ABSOLUTELY EPIC?? You need this book in your life! 😀 And make sure you enter the giveaway. ^_^ Let me know what you think in a comment!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Book Ishness! (July 2019)

Hey, dear Pagelings!

Time for a new roundup of some awesome book releases I’M TERRIBLY EXCITED ABOUT, and what I’m reading these days!


JULY BOOK RELEASES

*shrieks at all the gorgeous covers* ❤ (Titles link to Goodreads pages.)

  • Beast in the Machine – E. B. Dawson — I so enjoyed this short sci-fi Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it’s releasing July 19! Woot! Check out my review in this post of mini-reviews for short sci-fi tales from this talented author!
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — I squealed about this a couple of days ago and will do so again later in this post (not sorry. XD) but it’s hilarious and so delightful! ❤
  • Oath of the Outcast – C. M. Banschbach — THIS BOOK. ❤ ❤ ❤ So, it used to be known as The Mountain Baron (which I beta-read and was one of my top-top favorite reads last year!!) and then got chopped into two books and this is the first of them and it’s being published this month and BE STILL MY HEART. I really, really, REALLY loved this book and I can’t wait to read my ARC of the soon-to-release version! But it has brothers and outlaws and a Celtic flavor and it’s somewhat gritty and dark but it’s so good, and full of tough things and redemption and so much fabulous snark. And of course my favorite smol floof of anger management issues, Rhys, the Mountain Baron himself. IT’S SO GOOD. Okay, okay, I’ll stop, since I’m going to be reviewing it for real during the blog tour later this month, but YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. 😀 (The preorder is up, and there will also be copies at Realm Makers for any who are attending that!)
  • The Story Raider – Lindsay A. Franklin — I enjoyed The Story Peddler last year and am curious to find out where this story goes next!
  • Midnight on the River Grey – Abigail Wilson — Another Regency mystery tale from the author of In the Shadow of Croft Towers!
  • Sounds of Deceit – Hannah Heath — The third in a series of fantasy short stories, which I hope to read soon, from one of the Phoenix Fiction Writers!

But wait! There’s more! (I just had to say it. XD)

A couple of books that released at the end of June:

Deadwood officially released! Go check it out if you need your Fantasy Western, hilarious book, feelsy read, or Afterverse fix. XD (Yes, I edited it. It’s really good. ❤ I should totally review it someday. :P)

Another thing I edited! This is a lovely little collection of short stories which I really enjoyed, and you should totally check out! And you can read all about it in the author’s own words (author of Masters and Beginners, another book I love!), but the stories totally touched my heart and were gorgeous — and, in the case of the zombie one (debut of Daley’s teen son as an author!), freaked me out, in a good way. XD

And two more exciting things!

Havok Publishing is releasing their first anthology of flash-fiction later this month on July 20! And I’m really really excited because my good blogging buddy and talented writer Christine Smith has a delightful story in it, which I absolutely LOVED when I read it on Havok’s website awhile back! (I mean, it’s hilarious and features a fancy dinner party and a cat-fae and yessss.) AAHH! And other stories, some of which I’ve read and others I haven’t — but I’m really excited for this one, guys! ^_^

Another thing I’m super enthused about (get it? Super?) is a new serial story about superheroes, which just started on a place called Tapas (similar to Wattpad), by Calley Jones who is another awesome writer pal, who is finally sharing some of her work with the world! I’m SO excited! I love it so far and I’m super (I’m sorry about the puns; I will show myself out. *cough*) curious to find out what happens. 😀 Check it out!


OTHER JULY BOOK NEWS

Everyone seems to be holding kickstarters etc. for audiobooks these days and I’m just all “whyyy does it have to be right during Realm Makers season when I’m trying to save money?” XD Anyway, Jamie Foley is raising funds to turn her incredible Sentinel series (which I adore!) into audiobooks, so check it out!

Realm Makers + Blogging Absense

So, I’m going to be going to the Realm Makers speculative fiction writers conference in St. Louis NEXT WEEK! Which means I’ll be rather absent from blogging for awhile. (Let me know if I’ll see you there!) I’M SO EXCITED. (And not ready. *disappears to go back to panicking and prepping in equal measure*)

St. Louis Book Festival at Realm Makers

Speaking of which, anyone in the St. Louis area? Be sure to check out the Book Festival that will be open to the public (at the Realm Makers conference) on July 20! You can check out all the details here but tons of authors will be there signing books, including Terry Brooks, C.J. Redwine, Morgan Busse, and Bryan Davis!


MY READING NEWS

MY JULY NIGHTSTAND

My mostly-Realmies TBR for July!

So far this month I’ve read Divine Summons,The Girl Who Could See, and Twisted Dreams, and finished my re-read of Charmed Life (because Chrestomanci!). All enjoyable!

I’m partway through Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold! and Renegade Skyfarer, and I’m looking forward to starting The Shadow Queen!

I’m also listening to Cress by Marissa Meyer on audio — almost done and LOVING it — and I have ARC ebooks to read, including Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach (yaaas!!), The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin, and Mechanical Heart by Sarah Pennington (aahh!)! *all of the shrieking*


JUNE READS

  • Irresistable Worldbuilding – Janeen Ippolito — *GASP* Nonfiction! A handy, short writing book.
  • Hertz to Be a Hero – Bryan Davis — Delightful superhero story! Such fun. This series makes me happy. ^_^
  • The Wolf Prince – Claire M. Banschbach — Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this epic story of brothers and faeries and Rangers and snark and wolves! SO good!
  • Stars Descend – Kara Jaynes — This was a bookclub read and probably the strangest book I’ve read all year, but kind of fascinating. O_O Featuring space-elves in dystopian, futuristic Seattle, with a slight twist on paranormal romance, this was totally weird but rather addicting. XD
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — One of my favorite reads of the year, I loved this little Regency-fantasy novella so much that I read it twice this month. XD (The second time, I read it aloud, and there was much laughter at all the hilarious shenanigans.) It’s releasing July 4 and it’s hilarious and perfect and YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. ❤
  • Deadwood – Kyle Robert Shultz — The long-awaited sequel to Horseman just came out! It’s a fantasy Western with a creepy twist on Pinocchio, featuring my favorites Todd Crane (part-time centaur) and Julio the dragon-shifter, and it’s so, so good! 😀 (I mean, I edited it, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased. :P)
  • Heart of the Curiosity – H. L. Burke — Steampunk and secrets and a mechanic with a metal arm and a mysterious old theater and a treasure hunt and blackmail and love and family and so many pastries!
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this and had SO much fun! It’s one of my favorites of the Chrestomanci books, and I love how it stands alone and is a buddy story and has a unique look from the POV of the servantas at a fancy house. And CHRISTOPHER. He’s the best. XD
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann — Vivid, intense, fascinating, though a little melancholy and dark for me and sort of sad, so I don’t really know how I feel about it. I have so many feels. o.o So I’m not sure I like it, but I keep thinking about it, and I bet I should have known more about the mythology it’s based on so that I would know what to expect. XD ANYWAY. I have mixed feelings about it but a lot of it was really, really good, and I do love the characters. 😀

(If you’re curious to read more about any of those, you can find them all here.)


So there we are! So many exciting bookish things! Are you looking forward to any of these? I hope you’re having a good and bookish July! Thanks for reading. ^_^

Curse & Consequence by Savannah Jezowski

Let me tell you about a funny, delightful, Regency-ish fantasy story that you simply must read! 😀

(Photo featuring Other Regency, Regency Fantasy, or humorous/whimsical fantastical books which remind me of Curse and Consequence!)

Title: Curse and Consequence (The Whitby Tales, #1)

Author: Savannah Jezowski

  • Date read: June 15, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars!
  • Genre: Regency / Fantasy / Novella
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 97 (paperback)
  • Series: Tales of Whitby, #1
  • Fave character: Sedgwick AND Hugh AND Rea, and especially all of them together
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: Read twice!
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

You need this hilarious Regency-esque fantasy novella in your life! It recently released and I loved it SO much I read it twice in the same week! (The second time, I read it aloud to my younger brother and sister so I could do the voices, which was so. much. fun! Especially Hugh. XD We laughed a ton! And now we quote it all the time. :P)

This whimsical tale, though in a fantasy setting, has a Georgette Heyer/Jane Austen Regency vibe, with a dash of Diana Wynne Jones (anyone remember Twinkle? I WILL SAY NO MORE!) and Tales of Ambia.

It starts out looking like a Regency romance, and while it’s partly that, things quickly escalate into a hilarious romp of magical misfortunes which I will not spoil by explaining. Just go read the book!!

It’s absolute perfection and I couldn’t stop laughing! There’s a rollicking humor vibe going on, and faery curses and piglets and an adorable dragon and a sprinkle of romance and so many mishaps and shenanigans! XDDD IT’S SO MUCH FUN. I CAN’T. I adore it!

CURSE AND CONSEQUENCE is one of the most delightful tales I’ve read in a long time, and I stayed up until midnight to finish it and regret nothing. *grins* Highly recommend! (And now I need the sequel — aaahh!)

(Thanks to the author for the review copy! All opinions are 100% my own.)

Doesn’t it sound like fun? What’s a humorous fantasy or a Regency tale you love?