Archive | April 2021

Between Two Worlds Book Release!

Happy release day to Between Two Worlds by Cheyenne van Langevelde! This is a stunning Roman/Celtic historical fiction novel which I had the honor to copyedit, and I’m so excited it’s out in the world today!

Check out the rest of the post for my mini review, book info and links, and a challenge giveaway over on Instagram!

My Mini Review

Inspiring historical fiction with lovely writing and two characters who wrapped themselves around my heart. (Lucius and Enid forever!) The historical detail is well done and feels vivid and alive. (A couple of grittier details for historical accuracy, so just that small warning.) I loved the deeper themes as well. Stunning. Historical fiction fans, and those interested in ancient Rome, early Christian history, or Celtic twists, check this one out!

(Disclaimer: I was a copyeditor for this, but as an unbiased reader I definitely would have enjoyed it too. πŸ˜‰ Lovely.)

Links

About Between Two Worlds

Enid hates the Romans who enslaved her. Broken-hearted over the life she lost in Britain, she vows to bury her name and her past where the Redcrests can never reach it. As years of servitude pass, bitter resignation replaces her longing to return home.

Then an unlikely friendship with a fellow outcast raises Enid out of her isolation, bringing both hope for the future and questions about the confusing God of the Christiani. Yet memories of her childhood haunt her, urging her to cling to her old identity, while the barriers of Roman society remain in the way of her deepest dreams. The peace she thought she made with the past is crumbling.

But time is running out for Enid and those she loves. Danger threatens the household she serves as persecution stalks her few friends. She must decide if risking it all for the one she loves is worth giving up the world she knows.

Even if it is a choice between life and death.

Instagram challenge/giveaway!

If you’re on Instagram and have time for a challenge pic or two, check out these prompts for the challenge giveaway the author is having! (And check out her account here: @thedancingbardess)

(image by @thedancingbardess)
(photo by @thedancingbardess)

Giveaway info

Rules:

β€’ simple, just choose a day (or all of the days if you want) to post something related to that day’s prompt. It can be #bookstagram or something as simple as a nature snapshot, etc. Nothing too difficult and if you have any questions, ask the author @thedancingbardess!

β€’ when you post, please use the #betweentwoworldsnovel tag so the author can see your post and enter you into the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY U.S.: Winner will receive signed paperback, thank you note, two character cards, a bookmark, and chocolate covered coffee beans

INTERNATIONAL: Winner will receive e-book, two character cards, and a thank you note

In short, there are two winners! You can enter this giveaway through participating in this IG challenge! Each day/post counts as one entry.

And there we are! Are you a fan of Celtic things or Roman things? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading!

Traitor by Laurie Lucking (Book Review)

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I was honored to be on the Bookstagram tour for this lovely book today, and I thought I’d share my review here too!

Title: Traitor

Author: Laurie Lucking

  • Date read: April 25, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2021
  • Pages: 278 (paperback)
  • Series: Tales of the Mystics, book 2 (Book 1 is Common)
  • Fave character: Prince Vander
  • Source: The publisher, L2L2 Publishing
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are entirely my own.
  • Book links

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I so enjoyed this book! What a delight! It swept me away to a richly detailed new land of differing cultures, filled with relatable characters and a sweet tale of marriage alliance and searching for redemption.

It was an intriguing twist to follow Princess Penelope, an antagonist from the previous book, Common. (Note: you’ll appreciate parts of Traitor more if you’ve read Common, but it’s not necessary. Despite being hazy on the details of Common since it was awhile since I read it, I still enjoyed this one immensely.) I wasn’t sure about her at first but I loved getting her perspective on things and I quickly grew to feel for her, traveling far away to a new country to marry the son of an emperor.

Prince Vander is the NICEST HUMAN. I kept wanting to shake Penelope and tell her to appreciate this good soul! XD I loved how appreciative he was and how anxious to make her at home in his country, despite her tendency to build walls around her heart. He truly cared and was SO SWEET but also human and I loved that.

Side characters were fun too, from cameos of characters from the first book (eep!) to spirited Princess Dionne, guards, loyal lady’s maid Victoria…

I adored Delunia! Experiencing Penelope’s head-first immersion in this colorful new culture and new language was neat. The setting was so gorgeous!

Penelope’s past mistakes haunted her in a very real way and led to said wall-building around her heart, pushing away those who cared about her from fear of being hurt again by opening herself to love. It could be frustrating at times to see her make those choices, but eye-opening as well, and the journey she took was ultimately so satisfying.

Loved it!

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Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Truesilver Cover Reveal + Giveaway!

Guyssss! I’m so excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for Truesilver by DJ Edwardson! You may know DJ as the co-founder for the Silmaril Awards blog event and as the author of The Last Motley. I’m thrilled about his new fantasy novel and its stunning cover!

Read on for all the details on the cover reveal, giveaway, and ARC opportunity for upcoming YA fantasy book TRUESILVER by DJ Edwardson!

I was honored to be a copyeditor for this amazing book and I absolutely adore it! It’s just the sort of fantasy adventure I grew up loving and it even reminds me of Lloyd Alexander books, with a dash of Tolkien and humor. It’s so, so good and I can’t wait to get it onto my shelf and for others to get to read it!

Releasing June 1! Kindle preorders will be up May 18.

PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY (limited to continental U.S.)

DJ Edwardson is giving away a paperback copy of Truesilver to one person (limited to continental U.S.) who comments on the cover reveal posts from across all the places where the cover is posted (websites, Instagram, Facebook). The winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Truesilver.

Each site commented on counts as one entry, so commenting on multiple posts will increase your chances of winning!

Follow the hashtag #TruesilverCover on Instagram or Facebook, or check out the author’s official cover reveal blog post to check out the various posts!

(And, yes, commenting on this post here counts too. ;))

Ditigial ARCs

Are you a reviewer who likes the sound of the book and can review it by June 1st? The author is offering digital ARC Advance Reviewer Copies HERE.

About Truesilver

A young man stained by his father’s failure. A sword of ancient power. A legend rises.

Kion Bray can’t accept that his father was a coward. Bullied for his dad’s actions in the last war, the seventeen-year-old shepherd is determined to restore his family honor. And the only way to do it is to win the village’s annual sword-fighting contest.

Lacking experience, Kion fears he might only bring more embarrassment upon those he loves. And with his biggest tormentor awaiting him in the competition and a dark army mobilizing to the north, his quest for redemption may come to a swift and painful end.

Can a simple shepherd learn to master his blade before his hopes and his people are crushed?

Read the first book in the epic Swordspeaker Saga fantasy series. If you like gargantuan quests, towering bravery, and coming-of-age tales, then you’ll love DJ Edwardson’s razor-sharp story.

About the author

DJ Edwardson is the Grace Award nominated author of several books and shorter works. He traveled a lot when he was younger. Now he’s busy crafting exotic destinations of his own. Although he has written both Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, he likes to say he writes in the “genre of imagination”.

He has a degree in English from Cornell College where his emphasis was on the works of Shakespeare. He’s tried his hand at both acting and directing in the theater, but these days is happiest with a pen in hand. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three children amidst an ever-growing library of wonderful books.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

And there you are! Isn’t it a stunning cover? I can’t stop staring at it! Does the story sound intriguing? Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Tour: Minstrel’s Call Fantasy Series!

(photo by me)

πŸŽ§πŸ“š Audiobook Tour! πŸ“šπŸŽ§

I posted about this on Instagram as well but wanted to share it here also today!

I’m SO excited to be sharing about this amazing fantasy series which I ADORE and is now available in audiobook form!

Y’all, I love this epic fantasy series by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt so much! I’ve read the Minstrel’s Song saga twice (well, three of them; need to find time for a reread of the last one!).

It has DRAGONS and other fantastical creatures, quests and amazing characters, humor and song . . . It has everything!

It also features two of my favorite characters of all time, Brant the warrior and Kiernan Kane the minstrel! They’re amazing. That is all. 😍

LINKS

If you want to read my reviews of the books, check those out by clicking the covers below!

Yoriens Hand - Cover Reveal Medium

The Series

  • King’s Warrior
  • Second Son (prequel)
  • Yorien’s Hand
  • Minstrel’s Call

(Also, for the record, I read Yorien’s Hand first. XD So, chronologically, I read them backward — Yorien’s Hand, King’s Warrior, Second Son — except for Minstrel’s Call which one should definitely read last. ;))

(photo by Jenelle Schmidt)

About the Minstrel’s Song series by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

From time immemorial a world has endured the struggles of the mighty. Creatures of myth have been hidden away for centuries waiting to take their place. But will they be conquerors or protectors?

The Minstrel’s Song chronicles the story of heroes pitting their will and strength against the hidden, personal, and ancient foes seeking to dominate a world poised for a new era.

About Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Jenelle first fell in love with stories through her father’s voice reading books aloud each night. A relentless opener-of-doors in hopes of someday finding a passage to Narnia, it was only natural that she soon began making up fantastical realms of her own. Jenelle currently resides in the wintry tundra of Wisconsin β€”which she maintains is almost as good as Narnia β€” with her knight-in-shining armor and their four hobbits. When she is not writing, she homeschools said hobbits and helps them along on their daily adventures… which she says makes her a wizard.

Thanks for reading! Do you like audiobooks? Let me know in a comment below!

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Of Myth & Monster Review (Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology) + Timely Cover Reveal!

Time for a review of a very cool anthology from the Phoenix Fiction Writers! And scroll to the end for a cover reveal for their next anthology, coming in June! Also, two of the short stories in Of Myth and Monster were just announced as finalists in the 2021 Realm Awards in the short story category, which I thought was super exciting! πŸ˜€ (The Eyes of the Barghest by Jillane Purrazzi and H.E.R.O. by Beth Wangler.)

Title: Of Myth and Monster

Author: Phoenix Fiction Writers

Featuring stories written by: Hannah Heath, Kyle Robert Shultz, Beth Wangler, E.B. Dawson, C. Scott Frank, Grace Crandall, Deck Matthews, Nate Philbrick, and J.E. Purrazzi

  • Date read: March 20, 2021
  • Genre: Anthology / Short stories / Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 276 (e-book)
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this anthology from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: Goodreads β€’ Amazon β€’ Author’s Website

Mistakes Were Made (by Hannah Heath)

What a delightful rollick! XD This one was so much fun and just such a wacky, amusing adventure. I especially loved the voice of this one — such character! — and the strong cultural flavor was neat. It’s probably one of the most unique short stories I’ve ever read. Such colorful sci-fi! Marvelous!


The Boy Who Listened (by Kyle Robert Shultz)

Full disclosure: I copyedited this short story, but my unbiased reader opinion is that it was a vibrant, fresh tale, with a fun take on the “chosen one” and “magical academy” tropes, as well as being full of heart and clever twists! And, of course, despite not being an Afterverse story, there’s still a dash of signature Kyle Robert Shultz humor. πŸ˜‰


H.E.R.O. (by Beth Wangler)

Thrilling with a side of precious! With a relatable heroine who is part of a team of agents, this was an intense story which also had moments of fun. I loooved Poof the little phoenix! Such a cute side character. ^_^ This one dealt with fear and bravery, and I loved the mix of mythology creatures and technology, the agent aspect, and the twist at the end!


The Gods of Troy (by E.B. Dawson)

What a unique blending of Odysseus and space! E.B. Dawson always delights in her tales, and this was no exception, although with a bittersweet aspect which of course comes with the retelling. I really liked Odysseus and how the black hole and mythology and war of Troy and ship in space worked so well together. Fascinating!


The Unicorn Tamer (by C. Scott Frank)

A very amusing story, very tongue-in-cheek, about a fluffy, bear-like hero who’s rather grouchy but relatable. I loved the unicorn character! Almost the whole thing was wonderful and funny, although I confess that the ending horrified me. I guess I wasn’t expecting that dark of humor! But for the most part it was such fun and I really enjoyed the writing style.


Lamp of Silver (by Grace Crandall)

That was intense and fascinating! I was utterly immersed in this pirate tale-within-a-tale. A nautical adventure penned with skill. I love pirate stories and this one was amazing! I don’t want to give anything away, but the characters were fascinating and the twist on a genie was so unique. This was my first story from Grace Crandall and I definitely need to read more by her!


The Staff of Callewhyr (by Deck Matthews)

This was also my first taste of this author’s writing, and wow, I’m definitely curious to explore more, especially if there’s more in this world! This was a fascinating tale with a classic fantasy feel but its own original twists. The worldbuilding was so neat, the story edge-of-your-seat, and I found myself getting more and more curious about these characters, especially the secrets hinted at. A wonderful fantasy adventure!


Aura (by Nate Philbrick)

MY FEELS. *clutches heart* I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe during this. Wow, wow, wow. This was SO unique and feelsy and I loved every second of it — well, it toyed with my emotions and was a bit sad near the end, but it could have been worse and overall I loved it. WWII-era but with a unique mountainous setting and just the right thread of fantasy threaded throughout. The characters were amazing and I loved them so much. I CAN’T. IT WAS SO GOOD. It felt like Lloyd Alexander but more feelsy. I can’t get over this one. I loved the journaled bits, too. I can’t stop thinking about this one!


The Eyes of the Barghest (by J.E. Purrazzi)

This was so spooky and atmospheric — pretty sure the snow made ME feel cold reading it! The Barghest was totally unexpected. Some of this was sadder than I liked, but I liked the story by the end with the oddly hopeful twist. And it was another one that totally sucked me in and made me forget I was reading. And kind of a Nordic flavor, which was cool!


All of these stories were just so good! These were all delightful stories by skilled authors and I definitely recommend checking the anthology out!

Speaking of anthologies, the Phoenix Fiction Writers have a new anthology coming soon — and the cover was just revealed! Check it out!

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*flailing* Isn’t it so cool? I’m excited for this one too! Visit the Phoenix Fiction Writers here.


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Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

#MarchMagics Wrapup 2021

Just a quick wrapup post, revisiting the Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett adventures I got up to this last month for March Magics! (Hosted by WeBeReading)

READ AND WATCHED

  • A re-watch of Howl’s Moving Castle (because why not!) — The book is still my favorite, but the film is so cozy and fun and I love it too. It makes me smile, and this time was no exception. It’s also interesting watching it again now that I’ve been watching some other Ghibli films, which was not the case last year!
  • Witch’s Business (a.k.a. Wilkin’s Tooth) by Diana Wynne Jones — I guess this was her earliest children’s book? It kind of shows and was a little different but I enjoyed it, particularly the shenanigans about halfway through when I started getting used to the adventure (as usually happens. XD), and the nods to Puss in Boots which must have been a favorite of hers, since she once wrote a retelling of it and also referenced it for the finale. *grin, grin* Don’t start a revenge business — it won’t go well. XD (Particularly when there’s a mean witch trying to stop you.) Anyway, it has the signature DWJ twistiness and shenanigans and was a bit of a shorter read but I enjoyed it. Reminded me a little of Eight Days of Luke.
  • The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones — This was my last DWJ to read that I’d never read before, so it was a bittersweet moment… Some of it was creepier than I prefer, and knowing some things about her childhood made other parts rather disturbing (as I suspected they would) but the mystery was sooo interesting and I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what was going on. There were so many fascinating twists, which I adored discovering. The title, like I vaguely suspected, is slightly misleading. Bwahaha. And I was delighted by certain time-related things! Anyway, certainly darker than many of her books, and I can’t say I particularly recommend it (unless, like me, you’ve read pretty much all her books and are used to the strangeness and want to give it a shot), but I’m glad I finally read it. (PLUS, what was with that barrow bit near the end, which I vaguely feel was a Hexwood or Arthurian reference or something??) Some things reminded me of Fire and Hemlock, too.
  • Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett — Since Guards! Guards! was my very first Discworld novel, it was delightful to come back to this Night Watch subseries. I usually find that in Pratchetts there’s a subplot or character that I just don’t care much about, and this was no exception (plus, there was a death I didn’t see coming and like…I was a little annoyed), BUT aside from a couple of things I disliked and threads I didn’t care about, I did really enjoy this one! Vimes is amazing and Carrot and Vetinari are certainly iiinteresting and there were some fascinating goings-on! There were clever bits and hilarious bits and surprisingly epic bits, and I for some reason wasn’t expecting much so overall I had a blast. Not one to start on, but anyway. I think I missed the Night Watch! Here’s hoping I continue the series. (VIMES, though! All of the Vimes parts were gold.)

I’d say these were two of my less-favorite Diana Wynne Jones books, but I expected that as I’ve been reading the ones that interested me more, so naturally the last two I picked up would be less-favorites. But I always find things to like in a DWJ, even the scarier ones. XD

I’ve finally finished reading all her books, so I feel somewhat accomplished! (Her adult novel Changeover is practically impossible to find, and I may have missed a scattering of little things like short stories. But otherwise, I’ve read all her books now at last.)

And March is always my Pratchett month, and I was happy to get back to the Night Watch, even if it wasn’t my favorite aside from Vimes and Certain Epic Things.

And I’ll take any excuse to re-watch Howl’s Moving Castle — or to re-read the book (though I’m saving that for sometime when I need a comfort read, since I do tend to read it every year).

But look at me, complaining! *smacks self* These were all minor complaints and I did really enjoy getting the chance to read some Jones and Pratchett and overall had a blast! So yes, it was a good March Magics, overall, I’d say!

BLOG POSTS

Other March Magics posts I made this month:

INSTAGRAM

I also posted a shelfie pic of my DWJ collection over on Instagram. My current collection!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I did not find the time, in my busy March, to re-read the Magid duology (Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy), which I’m sliiightly disappointed about.

Nor did I find time to finish reading Wintersmith, which I did, however, manage to at least start.

All the same, it was a lovely March Magics! I enjoyed the adventures I was able to go on. ^_^

Did you read any Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett in March? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading!