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Bookish News: November 2019!

Heya friends! Happy November! (And NaNo, to those doing it! *raises hand*)

I probably won’t be blogging much this month, due to trying to write 50,000 words of a novel, but you never know. XD

Meanwhile, here’s a book ishness update, featuring this month’s releases, a free short story, a cover reveal, and what’s been up in my bookish/reading life!


NOVEMBER RELEASES

Here are a handful of books releasing sometime this month that I have to share with you!

  • Burnt Silver (H.A. Titus) — Celtic urban fantasy with fae! This series is on my very-excited to read list. 😀 Currently on preorder.
  • Death Warden (C.J. Stilling) — YA fantasy about a reluctant assassin girl. This is from a Realmie author and sounds really cool. Also, that cover! ❤
  • Head in the Heavens (E.B. Dawson) — AWK! So, this is a collection of all the sci-fi short stories from this author, which I binge-read and shrieked about on my blog earlier this year. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Even though I’m not a huge sci-fi person! They’re now collected in one beautiful anthology which released this last weekend and I’M SO EXCITED! You can find it here!
  • Thirst (Jill Williamson) — Apocalyptic and dystopian stories aren’t my favorite, but look, a new Jill Williamson book! 😀 *cheering* It’s part one of a prequel duology to her Safe Lands series!
  • A Very Bookish Christmas — This is a limited edition anthology of four bookish Christmas novellas from four authors: Sarah Holman, J. Grace Pennington, Rebekah Jones, and Kate Willis. I’ve loved books from all these authors! In this collection, I read Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones (since I edited it), and it’s an absolutely delightful Holmes-inspired cozy Christmas mystery, with a modern desert town setting and characters I adored. It was utterly charming! Also, the mystery/treasure hunt was SO unique! I’m sure the rest of the stories in the collection are just as fabulous. 🙂 It’s releasing on Thanksgiving, I think, but it’s up for preorder now!
  • Kate’s Christmas (Sarah Holman) — I beta-read this and I LOVE THIS SERIES! Christian FBI mysteries with characters who stole my heart and a good dose of fun mixed in throughout the mysteries and questions of faith. And this one has cozy Christmas parts which make me happy! Releasing on Thanksgiving. (Preorder.)

And the next middle grade superhero novel from Bryan Davis is supposed to come out this month too! It’s not on Goodreads yet but there’s a preorder up on his website. My younger brother and I are really excited to read this one! (Read my review for book one.)


SHORT STORY FREEBIE!

Kyle Robert Shultz has this short story available for free on his newsletter! Check it out!

It features Nick Beasley and Cordelia Beaumont encountering the Afterverse versions of certain Asgardians, including a version of Thor and Loki, who are masquerading as Nick and Cordelia! It’s hilarious and I love it so much. XD


RECENT READS

  • Ghostlight (Rabia Gale) — I mentioned this in my last bookish news but it was sooo good! Regency-esque fantasy, fun and witty but spooky (but just short of too spooky for me), and with characters I ADORED. I’m hooked and can’t wait to read the next book! *bumps it to the top of my wishlist* I had a bit of a book hangover after this one. Ghostlight was the book of the month for my favorite bookclub, Fellowship of Fantasy. ❤
  • Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks (Selina J. Eckert) — This novella I edited is the ABSOLUTE ESSENSE of Fall! It’s so cozy and I absolutely adored it, with the magical pies and the dash of Hansel and Gretel and the modern setting mixed with fantasy and the fae prince and the harassed magical baker heroine and a smidge of adorable romance. It just FELT like autumn and was absolutely delicious — plus, it made me want to eat delicious pastries. XD Check it out if you’re a Fall person!
  • Dark is the Night (Mirriam Neal) — *SCREAMING* A new Mirriam Neal book is out! I won’t make you go through all the squawking I did in my review again, but I’m Very Pleased that Skata and Angel’s book is out in the world now! ❤ So much snark, my word. 😀
  • Magician’s Gift (H.L. Burke) — I got to beta-read this delightful short story featuring Jericho and the other characters from the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! AWK! It was so fun and full of magical shenanigans and a dash of “aww!” and it made me sooo happy to see Jericho, Auric, and Rill again, years after the end of the trilogy! ^_^
  • Strayborn (E.E. Rawls) — This one was SO fun and exciting, and a tiny bit spooky, and adorable, awesome, and totally unique! I had so much fun reading it, and you can check out my review if you missed it!
  • Dancing and Doughnuts (Rachel Kovaciny)This one was my rather small attempt to do something for Twelve Dancing Princesses month (!!!) since that was the fairy tale of the month in October over at The Fairy Tale Central. It was a fun, non-magical, western novella retelling of the 12DP story, which was definitely unique! It also made me want doughnuts. 😛 I had won a copy from the author and finally read it and it made me smile! The only other 12DP thing I did last month was write a flash fiction for a prompt, and I posted it on my other blog. It was so fun but now I want to write a whole book about it! Oh well. At least I did two small things to celebrate my favorite fairy tale! There just was NOT enough time in October!
  • Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl (Laura A. Grace) — Scroll down for the cover reveal for this one later in the post! It’s her first book, releasing December 3, and I’m SO EXCITED! I read an ARC of it and it’s short and sweet, fifteen letters to writers/authors (and including ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams!). I loved it and hope to review it soon. 🙂
  • (Re-read) House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones) — October was stressful, and I went on a short re-read stint since cozy favorite re-reads were how I coped with all the stuff going on. I had a blast re-reading this one (aloud! with the voices!), especially rediscovering Charmain and Peter, and TWINKLE. XD
  • (Re-read) The Boggart (Susan Cooper) — If you haven’t checked out this contemporary fantasy, set in Scotland and modern-day (ish; ’90s, when it was written) Toronto, you are missing out! This was the first time I read the physical book, but I’d listened to the audiobook twice before and I LOVE IT. It’s so much fun and one of a not-very-long-list of modern fantasy I love. I devoured it in an evening, sitting by a campfire, and it was a delight. ^_^
  • Highway Robbery (Kate Thompson) — I actually read this in November, unlike the October books which are all the rest pictured. It was a short, quick read, with illustrations that were half quirky, half realistic (LOVED the horse art! GORGEOUS), and the story was very intriguing though I wanted more of it and wished it’d had somewhat of a different outcome. Still, it was cute. (I got it at a libary sale and ended up reading the whole thing the night of the 1st of NaNo, which says something about how curious I was to know what happened. XD)
  • Not pictured, I also edited or beta-read some books and novellas and short stories — all good! I’ll have to share about them when they’re available. 😀 (Watch out, Afterverse fans! There’s an epic storm coming. *cackles*)

CURRENTLY READING

  • I just started The Scorpio Races, FINALLY. Everyone has been telling me to read this for so many years. XD I keep meaning to read a Maggie Stiefvater book (goodness knows I own like seven of them. XD) and I finally started one. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s very interesting! I figured November is the right time to read it. 😉 We’ll see if I can get through it and also keep up with my writing!
  • I’m really enjoying Strange Waters (Phoenix Fiction Anthology — see my spotlight for more info!) and Mardan’s Anointed (part of the Mardan series I reviewed)! Both are review books and I hope to finish them this month, but we’ll see. I’M EXCITED. ❤

TBR

It’s always dangerous having a To-Be-Read list during November, because between writing a 50K novel, going to writing events, having Thanksgiving, and all the other things life throws my way, I often find myself with no time to read.

But here are some that are up next on my radar!

  • Death Warden — This YA fantasy about an assassin is releasing this month and I have an ARC and it sounds super interesting! Can’t wait to dive in!
  • Sword of Soter — Sequel to Armor of Aletheia (read my review), and I’m suuuper excited to read this one! (Also an ARC. I know, I’m behind on review books!)
  • Green Dolphin Country — Actually, this is also on my currently-reading, I just hadn’t put it on that shelf on Goodreads. XD It’s really interesting so far, just HUGE, so I haven’t had time to finish it yet!
  • Beyond the Shadowed Earth — Releasing in January! I have an ARC and I’m sooo excited to read it (THIS AUTHOR WROTE ECHO NORTH! And Beneath the Haunting Sea! And I love her writing so, so much!), but also nervous because the main character is someone from Beneath the Haunting Sea who I didn’t like. XD But I can’t wait to jump in when I have some time! Possibly not in November, but December for sure if I don’t. 😀

BOOKSTAGRAM: 5 Straight Months, 500 Followers, & Phone Woes

I just hit 500 followers on my bookstagram and I’m so excited!! Thanks to everyone who follows me there! ^_^

I also posted every day on there from June 1 to October 31, five straight months of posting (only skipping one week while I was away for Realm Makers) and I’m pretty excited about that. 😀

However, my phone died and I haven’t gotten the replacement in yet, so I’m currently cameraless, and after I post a couple of books pictures I still have ready, I’ll not be posting on there for a bit. Also, since it’s NaNo, I’m stepping back from posting anyway. XD

So that’s what’s up in my Instagram world!


COVER REVEALS

Here are a few cover reveals I’ve shared recently around my social media sites but want to share here as well — including one reveal from TODAY, namely for Dear Author by Laura A. Grace!

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl
Laura A. Grace
Genres: Self-Help, Motivational
Publication date: December 3, 2019

About the Book

Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

 “Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.

Signed Paperback — Amazon — Barnes & Noble  Book Depository (Coming soon!)
Pre-Order Goodies Form

About the Author

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author too! Now an avid book blogger at Unicorn Quester and writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband. Join her quest to find wandering unicorns for your favorite authors at unicornquester.com!

Website — Newsletter — Facebook — Twitter — Instagram — YouTube


More covers

I had so much fun taking this picture for Burnt Silver!

My old review of Retrieve!

Merchant of Menace on Goodreads!


NANOWRIMO

It’s not super bookish but it is somewhat — even if it’s writing instead of reading. XD As I mentioned, I’m doing NaNoWriMo! I’m writing a secret project under the codename Operation Foxtail, which I shared just a little about on my other blog, here and here.

So that’s what I’ll be busy with for the rest of November! If I’m around less, or don’t read as much, or take awhile to reply to things, it’s just because I’m busy writing! 😉 *hangs sign: Busy Writing a Novel; Will Be Back in December* XD

It’s going well so far — I’m at 5K at the time of writing this (hopefully more when this posts) and having a blast so far! I’m just waiting for it to turn difficult. 😛

If you are doing NaNo as well, I’d love to be buddies over on the site — you can find me here! GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE! YOU’VE GOT THIS! And I hope all of you who are not doing NaNo have a beautiful (and sane) bookish November!

Whew! That’s all the news I have for you today. Anything here you’re excited about? Thanks for reading!

*disappears back to writing and pretends this post wasn’t a full NaNo day’s worth of words, because that’s just awkward since they don’t count toward my goal* XD

Dark is the Night by Mirriam Neal: Tour/Review!

(image credit: Morgan Farris)

GUYS. A NEW MIRRIAM NEAL NOVEL IS RELEASING THIS WEEK AND I. CAN’T. STOP. SCREAMING! 😀 I’m super excited to be sharing my review for it as part of the blog tour! (Also, is it not GORGEOUS?)


Title: Dark is the Night

Author: Mirriam Neal

  • Date read: October 12, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy / Southern Gothic / Christian Fiction
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Series: Salvation, #1
  • Fave character: Skata and Angel!
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author as part of the blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. (No vampires, werewolves, hunters, or shifters threatened me into saying nice things about them. XD) All opinions are my own.

Attention, world! Author Mirriam Neal has a new book out and it. is. spectacular. (Of COURSE.) I love this author’s writing so much (Paper Crowns being one of my top-ten favorite books ever), so I was ecstatic when I heard she had a new book releasing! *muffled screaming*

I don’t exactly read vampire books so imagine my surprise when I read this one and genuinely enjoyed it. I actually beta-read an earlier version of it several years ago, so I’m DOUBLY excited about this book being released to the world, because now I get to shriek about some of my favorite characters and y’all get to read about them—finally! 😀

So, this one is what you might call a Christian vampire-novel.

(I just reeeally wanted to use this gif. XD)

That may seem odd, but this author did a stellar job weaving themes and deep discussions through a paranormal adventure/mystery set against the Southern Gothic setting of modern-day South Carolina. And it’s delightful Urban Fantasy (small town . . . rural fantasy?), too. It features the small town called Salvation, inhabited by vampires, werewolves, shifters, and other people/creatures, fantastical or otherwise.

This is a story about PEOPLE. The multi-faceted characters totally make this book. I LOVE THEM SO. It features a fairly large cast, and every one of them has their own story, some merely hinted at but all totally real. Trying to wrestle out everyone’s motives and secrets and relationships was the best.

For the main characters, we have Skata (vampire-hunter), Angel (vampire house-mate; ooh, awkward), Colton (epic-est preacher of all time), and Easton (who I can’t really describe but she’s the best, okay). They are MY FAVORITE, especially all their interactions/relationships/banter/pasts.

Okay, but ANGEL AND SKATA, THOUGH. Skata is a tough, no-nonsense vampire-hunter on the path of revenge, who ends up stuck in this little dead-end town. Enter Angel, who is the sassiest, snarkiest vampire ever, and happens to have a huge mansion that Skata ends up staying at.

THEY ARE HILARIOUS TOGETHER. I love buddy stories so much, and this is like the ULTIMATE one. (No, I will not stop screaming in caps about them. You can’t make me.) Their snark-offs are my absolute favorite. Angel is so full of himself and his favorite thing is baiting Skata or simply Not Caring. It’s so hilarious.

Meanwhile, Skata is Totally Done with Angel and it’s a miracle neither of them kills each other the minute they meet, let along through the plot. XD I JUST LOVE THEM, OKAY. They are the best thing in this book. 😀

(Skata being Totally Done with Angel 110% of the time)

I love how Easton is sometimes confused about stuff, sometimes tolerates their shenanigans, and at other times is Total No-Nonsense. Simultaneously sweet and also watch-out. Everyone needs an Easton. And a Colton! He’s the most fascinating preacher character ever and I love how he has words of wisdom one moment and a shotgun or a stake to help out with, the next, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. He’s unassuming and helpful, but can snark alongside Skata with the best of them, and may have a bit of an anger problem occasionally, but he’s the solid one in the middle of the uncertainty, and let’s just say the bad guys better watch out for this man of God.

There are also FASCINATING side characters, who you spend some of the book not knowing whose side they’re on or if they even have a side, which makes it terribly interesting. But they’re all such vivid characters! A certain… erm… well, Skinner, who’s spoilery but OH BOY; Gideon and Jackson (hothead), vampire brothers (Gideon being the Most Refined But Can Totally Snap Your Neck If He Feels Like It gentleman-vampire of all time); Rukiel, who is mysterious; Cassis, gentle part-vampire who is Too Precious For This Earth; Shannon, the sheriff’s shotgun-wielding daughter; Spencer, techno-genius kid and energy-drink-aholic (energolic)… The list goes on. Seriously though, I love these characters so much! I mean, even the scary ones are fascinating. They are SO ALIVE. (Even the dead ones. *cough*)

Angel and Skata and their banter are my number one favorite thing about this book. (Shhh, I know that’s three things.)

There is so much snark and banter in this thing (I’m pretty sure I highlighted half of the book in my Kindle app because it is SO QUOTABLE) and if there’s one thing I love, it’s hilarious books. XD The snark and sarcasm in this book is A+ and MAKES MY DAY. Everyone just has the best lines and it’s great. 😀

The plot itself is full of twists and mysteries (including murder-mysteries) and totally keeps you on your toes. The shadowy, mysterious “feel” of the book, just a bit gothic and spooky, but not too over-the-top, is pretty cool. Also, the different classifications/levels of vampire was really interesting. Things get kind of gruesome occasionally and there’s a very real, gritty feel, but it never gets to be too much, because of the humor balancing it out, and all intertwined with themes of faith or redemption that fit together perfectly.

I never would have thought that a book could be so dark but funny but inspiring all at once, with a good dose of feels thrown in on top. Even if I wasn’t sure about a thing or two, and want to know what happens with some loose threads, I still absolutely loved it! It left me with a feeling of “I just read a really good book” and that’s all I can ask of any story—aside from laugh-aloud humor, and characters I just want to HUG. Which this book definitely delivered!

Content warning: lots of blood/violence, a smattering of recent-Marvel-movie-level language, and general scariness.

Conclusion: This is a dark book (I mean, it has it in the title. ;)) but there’s humor and redemption and other good stuff to set that off. Nothing felt there “just” to be creepy—it all fit well into the plot and the feel and the impact. And, I mean, SKATA AND ANGEL. I had a total blast reading this and couldn’t put it down. Even if you’re not into vampire stories, this is a genuinely good, if gritty, book, which is tons of fun. Now WHERE is the next one? I have some suspiciously loose strings that need to be explored and I NEED more with these characters! *grabby hands*


About Dark is the Night

Skata only has one goal in life—to seek out the vampire who turned his wife and kill it. When he finally tracks the vampire to the small nowhere town of Salvation, South Carolina, he realizes he has stepped foot into something bigger than himself.

He’s going to need help—and that help may come in many forms. Between the vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and an unusual preacher, Skata may be in over his head.


Book Links

Don’t forget to head on by Mirriam’s blog for all the tour stops!


About the Author

MIRRIAM NEAL is an author frequently masquerading as an artist. When she’s not scrubbing paint off her hands, she’s thinking about writing (actually, if she’s being honest, she’s always thinking about writing). A discovery writer, she tends to start novels and figure them out as she goes along and likes to work on several books at the same time—while drinking black coffee. She’s a sucker for monsters, unlikely friendships, redemption arcs, and underdog protagonists. When not painting fantasy art or writing genre-bending novels, she likes to argue the existence of Bigfoot, rave about Guillermo del Toro, and write passionate defenses of misunderstood characters.

To learn more about her fiction and art, visit her website: https://mirriamneal.com/, where you can find a full list of all her social medias, or join the Citadel Fiction newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/b1h5v9


Well, what do you think? Let me know in a comment below! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Strange Waters: New Phoenix Fiction Anthology!

Just a quick announcement to share that the new short story collection from the delightful Phoenix Fiction Writers is releasing TODAY! *applause and confetti*

I’m so excited to read Strange Waters (you’ll hear from me again with a review once I do) and you can read on for more about these sci-fi or fantasy stories from a group of talented authors! 😀

(I did read the one by Kyle Robert Shultz, which I edited — it’s hilarious and space fantasy and yes you need it in your life. I can’t wait to read the others!

Links

THE STORIES

Here’s more about each individual story that’s collected under the gorgeous cover above!

Backpack Boy by Nate Philbrick (www.natephilbrick.com)

Pirates have kidnapped Mum and taken her to the cave across the island.

The boy with the red backpack has everything he needs to rescue Mum: a map, a wooden sword, a book about pirate adventures, and a ham sandwich. Most importantly of all, he has his elephant.

But wooden swords and ham sandwiches might not be enough for the boy with the red backpack to face the truth he’s afraid of the most.

And the island starts to crumble…

Finer Things by C. Scott Frank (www.scottfrank.com)

Soren Tallweather and Tabitha Courtney are madly in love with each other and furiously in hate with the society that says they can never be together. They could escape, if only they had the means to buy anonymity. If they can get their hands on the right merchandise, that can certainly be arranged.

It was supposed to be in and out, but no job ever goes according to plan. Now it’s a race against the clock to get to safety with an all-too-familiar enemy on their tails. But justice, it seems, picks the most inopportune times to show up.

Everything they thought they had is at stake as Tabitha must settle the war within herself: what’s more important? Her own freedom or those less fortunate than her?

Roanoke by J.E. Purrazzi (www.jillanepurrazzi.com)

How far would you go to save your enemies?

The invention of trans-time communication has locked Ketera’s bloodline into a single destiny. A destiny that Ketera has been preparing her whole life to fulfill. While her friends mapped out their hopes and dreams, she mapped her voyage across the stars–a voyage to a lost colony on a dangerous water-covered planet that will one day declare war on Earth.

Two ships have been sent: one negotiating for peace, the other prepared for war. If Ketera’s mission as ambassador fails, the warship following in her wake will take whatever measures are necessary in order to protect the future.

But the road ahead of Ketera is dangerous, and her mission will take her away from everything familiar, across a planet of violent extremes, and into the frozen, sunless expanse. And all to save her enemies.

Kamynosa’s Labyrinth by Beth Wangler (www.bethwangler.com)

Princess Kamynosa doesn’t need anyone’s help. Anyone could see she will be quite capable of being the Archipelago’s Archon on her own.

But her parents haven’t noticed that. No, they have called for a Labyrinth.

Disgruntled and eager to prove she can do it alone, Kamynosa commandeers a boat and joins the Labyrinth to win herself. She has every confidence that she will soar past the other competitors on the sparkling seas.

Yet Captain’s Heir Jadairos obnoxiously stays close in her wake.  Even worse—he has a hero complex.

Proving that Kamynosa doesn’t need anyone just got a bit more challenging.

Barnaby Brown and the Glass Sea by E.B. Dawson (www.ebdawsonwriting.com)

An unorthodox professor of archaeology sets off to find his own answers about an unusual archaeological find, accompanied by an accident-prone student in need of extra credit.

The Archaeological Society of Catalan has pieced together a long and rich history for the planet of Illiana, based on a revolutionary dating system. But Dr. Barnaby Brown has his doubts about the accuracy of the procedure, which tends to give out false readings. His private findings seem to suggest that nothing on the planet is more than 500 years old–a hypothesis which, if proven true, would shake the very core of society.

When a set of incongruous new artifacts turn up, Barnaby learns they are inextricably linked to an old legend surrounding the Glass Sea. With an accident-prone student in tow, he sets out to find answers for himself and embarks on an adventure he never bargained for.

Through the Lens by K.L.+Pierce (www.klpiercebooks.com)

Viatem is here…and Dion does not have a gift for his younger sister.

Thankfully, he has a backup plan: a telescope that can see into the next galaxy.

But when completing the telescope means breaking into an enemy military installation, Dion will have to look within himself, and decide whether cutting through the shadows of his sister’s world is worth the price.

Ric Vayne and the Curse of Ghoul Nebula by Kyle Robert Shultz (www.kylerobertshultz.com)

Any wizard can fly a spaceship. Hotshot pilot Ric Vayne can fly one better than most. But just as he’s about to land a job that could finally pay off his bar bill, he finds himself pressed into service by a deranged captain.

That wouldn’t be so bad…except that Ric isn’t expected to fly the ship. When he wakes up after getting kidnapped, he discovers that he is the ship.

Which is a bad thing for many reasons–including, but not limited to, the fact that Ric no longer has fingers to hold his spellblaster. If Ric is ever going to get his soul out of a computer core and back into his body, he’ll have to be very clever about it.

But he’ll also have to work fast…because he’s headed for Ghoul Nebula, a place of pure chaos magic. And no pilot–or  ship–gets out of there alive.

The Underground by Janelle Garrett (www.janellegarrettwriter.com)

What if everything you believed was actually true?

His whole life, Kef has been told he is too idealistic. His older sister, Hiya, insists the Deep is a lost memory. It disappeared from the Raized Domains centuries ago.  Kef wants to believe the Domains haven’t been abandoned, but everything points to the contrary. Their parents mysteriously vanished. People keep turning up dead or missing.

And then, Hiya is taken by the feared Dragons.

Kef will stop at nothing to rescue her, including traversing to the Underground itself to take on the Dragons. What he finds there will change the whole sphere: but will he be too late to rescue Hiya?

This Pain Inside by Hannah Heath (www.hannahheathwriter.com)

The Poison that destroyed the surface has come to claim the deep. It is severing electricity lines, imploding underwater houses, and destroying the solar power rafts humanity uses as its energy source. The Neons, people who act as hosts for a magical force, are fighting an ever-losing battle to keep the Poison at bay.

But that isn’t any of Charlie’s business. All Charlie can think about is finding a cure for her chronic pain. After all, she is too tired and too weak to help fight the Poison. If she can just make the pain go away, maybe then she’ll be worth something. Maybe then she’ll become useful enough and strong enough to join the fight.

But when the Poison begins to threaten what little family she has left, Charlie may just have to rethink her views on pain, worth, and what makes a person strong.


There you are! I hope you’re looking forward to it like I am! Happy birthday to Strange Waters! *throws confetti*

Do you like anthology collections? I’m often hit or miss on short stories but I’m definitely looking forward to these!

Strayborn by E. E. Rawls: Review/Giveaway/Tour!

I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for this gorgeous fantasy debut from E. E. Rawls today!

Read on for my review of this delightful book, and make sure to scroll to the end of the post for more info about the book and a giveaway!


(Isn’t it GORGEOUS?? *dies*)

Title: Strayborn

Author: E. E. Rawls

  • Date read: October 17, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian Fantasy
  • Age: Middle Grade and up
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 349 (Kindle)
  • Series: Draev Guardians, #1
  • Fave character: Nephryte
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received a complimentary e-ARC of this book from the author for the blog tour and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

That was delightful! A unique and thrilling MG adventure, which I enjoyed very much despite being older than the target audience. I think readers of all ages will find this Christian Fantasy story a delight, especially if you like academy stories! (Think Harry Potter, Knightly Academy, Ewan Pendle, etc.) It’s exciting and not without its bouts of tragedy, but it’s also full of heart and fun and it makes me happy. I keep smiling just thinking about it! 🙂

I loved getting to know Cyrus (our quiet heroine who has hidden strength) and the other misfit students at the Draev academy, a school for those with Ability. Their different Abilities/powers were so intriguing, though I don’t want to give anything away about them. 😉 The characters also struggle with very real issues, like Cyrus’s weak wrists, the prejudice against the people who are different, or the issues between the different races—humans, vempars, faeryns, etc. And there is a Christian element at the center, providing a moral compass and direction for the characters.

Speaking of characters . . . Master Nephryte is THE COOLEST. I love the young magical mentor type character. He gives me slight Chrestomanci vibes and I love how he puts up with his students despite their shenanigans and is such a wise, sturdy character, but still with a sense of fun. Plus, I mean, wind powers. He’s so epic and just the absolute best!

The characters were all so real and such a delightful misfit bunch. Cyrus, of course, and Aken, the other main character—who sometimes could be annoying but other times I loved. But he’s a troublemaker, so. 😉 I especially loved Mamoru who is so fascinating and mysterious. And others who would take too long to list here. I love all the character-growth going on! Character arcs are my favorite. Even some of the side characters I didn’t think I liked ended up becoming very intriguing. I can’t wait to read more in the series and find out more about all the characters and their secrets and backstories! Aaahh! I’m sooo curious. 😀

This world is Eartha, a sort of alternate fantasy world that’s somewhat like Earth but different. The blend of modern times and old-fashioned feel, with fantasy and a dash of almost-steampunk-but-not-quite, was so unique, as were the twists on things such as the “vempars” who are like vampires but . . . not. The worldbuilding was a delight and I was utterly drawn in and fascinated to spend time in this world. I can’t wait to come back to it someday!

The plot kept me on my toes and even while mixing familiar elements—like a magical-ish academy, a contest to determine who would enter the Duel, and a heroine pretending to be a boy—I never suspected what was going to happen next and it was all delightfully fresh and so much fun. It stole my heart. An excellent beginning to a new series, and a splendid debut novel!

If you’re on the lookout for a unique Christian Fantasy tale, perfect for middle-graders or any lovers of fantasy, full of twists and mysteries and a cast of characters who quickly grow on you, STRAYBORN is your book. 🙂 I enjoyed it so much and I need more!


About Strayborn

Elemental Manipulation is a tricky business. Only those with the power can train to become a Draev Guardian.

Cyrus Sole hates life. She’s only half-human, with weak wrists, and not a day goes by when someone doesn’t say something mean about it—especially her step-mom. But when the forbidden power to manipulate metal awakens inside her, she finds herself on the run as the Argos Corps is sent to kill her…

Aken is a Scourgeblood, the last in a line of monsters. But all he really wants is to gain wings and be free. Until a new power suddenly awakens, changing the course of his life…

The Draev Guardian Academy is their only sanctuary. But training to become a Draev won’t be easy. Cyrus has to hide her human side, as she gets placed in Floor Harlow with the outcast students, and nightmares of her deceased mother keep returning.

With creepy Corpsed on the prowl, and whispers of Cyrus possibly being a reborn Hero, both she and Aken find themselves caught up in a web of secrets, racial tension, and an old legend with enemies that could spell their untimely demise…

—This book is a good fit for those who’ve enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy world-building, and the fun of J.K. Rowling.


Book Links

AMAZON | KINDLE | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

FREE prequel story


Author Bio

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM


Giveaway!

Prizes are:

First place: One hardback copy of Strayborn, and one Percy Jackson soy/vegan homemade candle by A Court Of Candles.

Second and Third place: One ebook copy of Strayborn.

Ends on Monday, October 21.

ENTER HERE!


Free Prequel Ebook!

Also, be sure to check out STORM & CHOICE, a free prequel short story before Strayborn, which gives a quick taste of this world and these characters!

Cyrus Sole, a girl who can manipulate metal, and Aken-Shou the last Scourgeblood, must learn to survive in a world that is determined to either destroy them, or use them…

This ebook is available FREE at Rawls’s newsletter: eerawls.com


What do you think? Make sure you check out the rest of the tour! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Fall Books & 12 Princesses! Book Ishness (October 2019)

Time for bookish news and ishness! Since, you know, I haven’t had one of these in AGES.

I won’t attempt to catch up on all the releases and reading at the moment, and will just hop in with NEW THINGS for October. 😀

(Did I ever mention I’m a perfectionist? I keep not doing Book Ishness posts because I know I haven’t been keeping track of EVERYTHING and what if I miss something and ack I must recap all the months I missed and–! No. Breathe, Deborah. Goodness. Ahem.)

SO. This is not exhaustive (and hopefully not exhausting) but here are some bookish releases and fun things and stuff I’m up to!

First . . .


How about some releases for this month-ish?

  • Jenelle Schmidt’s first children’s picture book just released! It’s a Christmas book and looks totally adorbz.
  • I can’t wait to dive into reading Strayborn (E.E. Rawls), Sword of Soter (Ralene Burke), Mardan’s Anointed (Kathrese McKee), and Strange Waters (by all the Phoenix Fiction Writers)! I’ll be reviewing them once I’ve read them so watch for info on those!
  • Mistaken Divinity is the latest short story on Kyle Robert Shultz’s Patreon, featuring Nick and Cordelia running into Thor and Loki and other Norse people and it’s great. XD (For those not on Patreon, stay tuned because the next Beaumont and Beasley book is in the works, and I hear there’s a Crockett and Crane novella coming soon… As the Editor of the Afterverse, I Know Stuff. ;))
  • E.B. Dawson’s Lost Empire trilogy will be wrapping up soon with the upcoming release of The Guardian!
  • I haven’t kept up with the Lost Castle books but I hear there’s another one and it sounds delightful!
  • Uncommon Universes is releasing its first anthology, and while the subject matter doesn’t sound like my cup of tea I’m definitely curious about it since many authors I know are being published in it!
  • Selina J. Eckert is releasing a series of fairytale retelling novellas (I loved her Mesoamerican-inspired Rapunzel story!) and the next one is going to be Hansel and Gretel-related and sounds so interesting!

And two not-pictured:

DARK IS THE NIGHT — A new Mirriam Neal novel!!

Dark is the Night gets its own shoutout spot because it’s not on Goodreads or Amazon yet I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT.

Image and info from Mirriam’s Facebook cover reveal:

“The first day of Autumn is an auspicious day. A day for crunching leaves, apple cider, werewolves, and COVER REVEALS. I’m absolutely stoked to show you the cover for my novel, ‘Dark is the Night,’ and announce a mid-October release date!

That’s right, cryptids—the spooky South Carolina town of Salvation is being brought to you in paperback and kindle formats in less than a month!

Stay tuned for updates, and don’t forget to test strangers before inviting them inside.”

–Mirriam

GUYS I’M SO EXCITED. The last Mirriam novel to release was Paper Crowns (ONLY ONE OF MY TOP FAVORITE BOOKS EVER) and I beta-read Dark is the Night ages ago and I’M SO STOKED THAT IT’S RELEASING IN TWO WEEKS. Stay tuned. I’ll definitely be reading/reviewing it soon. 😀 I can’t wait for Skata and Angel to be released on the world!

Hollow

And aaahh! Just look at this epic-looking novella coming soon from Kyle Robert Shultz! It’s a novella about Ichabod Crane and I. can’t. wait. 😀 (Image from his Facebook.)


Um. So. Both of those are spooky-looking because October, but anyway, they look epic and I am THE EXCITED.


Other fun bookish things happening:

Twelve Dancing Princesses month

It’s Twelve Dancing Princesses month over at The Fairy Tale Central AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. *screaming*

It’s only my most favorite fairy tale of all, and I can’t wait to see all the 12DP goodness being featured over there!

I might even see if I can do a post about this fairy tale myself this month, if I have time…

And now I want to read (and re-read!) more retellings. *shakes fist at calendar which says I have zero time* (But I might steal some of that time anyway. Maybe if I put on an invisible cloak I can evade Time. Hey, it worked for the Soldier following those princesses!)


Instagram and #SeriesthatIsnt

I have still been posting on my Instagram daily.

And I started a new hashtag! #Seriesthatisnt is all about book titles that sound like they should be in the same series but aren’t. XD

I’ve been having wayyy too much fun with this! You can check some of them out if you like, and it would be really fun if more people joined in on this! There have already been a few others doing it and it makes me happy. 😀


My Reading Life

So… I mostly read re-reads and picture books and beta/edits during September?? Which means I don’t have a lot of new exciting books to share about. Heh. But I have a few ARCs I need to read soon so I’ll hopefully be sharing some reviews in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

October

I don’t have an official TBR/nightstand to share this month, since most of my have-to-reads are ebooks and don’t photograph well, and all the things in my physical stack I don’t know if I’ll get around to… BUT WE’LL SEE.

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to read later this month, but we’re only 4 days into October and I’ve already beta-read a delightful H.L. Burke short story, done one read-through on the Beaumont and Beasley book I’m editing (GUYS! :O), read a new Jayden and Dana story (aaahh!!!), and binge-read the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub book of the month (Ghostlight by Rabia Gale; spookier than I usually read but otherwise AMAZING because Regency fantasyyyy) which has left me with a slight book hangover. So the month is off to an amazing start!

Here’s to a bookish October, friends! (While I freak out over needing to prep for NaNoWriMo. XD)

What are you reading? Thanks for dropping by, and have a great weekend!

Tolkien Blog Party Tag

I’m hopping on the delightful Tolkien Blog Party going on here and answering a fun tag!

You can find the tag HERE if you’d like to do it yourself! 🙂

Would You Rather…

1.  …join Thorin’s Company or the Fellowship?

The Fellowship! I do enjoy Thorin and Co. and Bilbo, but I’d love to hang out with all the Fellowship members. 😀

2.  …ride Shadowfax or an eagle?

An eagle! That would be super cool. I’d have to make sure to make friends with one first since they don’t just carry anyone around. 😉

3.  …travel through Moria or Mirkwood?

Oh boy. They’re both an equal mix of terrifying and really cool. 😛 I think I would go with Mirkwood. It’s kind of dark in there and, I mean, there are spiders, and I’m not saying it’s not creepy — because it is! But also, I mean, it’s an enormous wood, and at least it’s not UNDERGROUND and infested with Balrogs. And there’s always the chance you might run into the wood elves which would be totally cool, unless you’re Thorin and co. XD

4.  …learn to make elvish rope or mithril chainmail?

Mithril chainmail! Elvish rope is cool and all, but mithril is the best. So gorgeous, so lightweight, and sooo useful. 😀

5.  …try to outwit Smaug or Saruman?

Help. I think I would be in major trouble either way. XD Um. Wow. This one is super hard. I feel like I’d be in bigger trouble if I didn’t SUCCEED with outwitting Smaug, but . . . I’ll go with him anyway. As long as I could do it like Bilbo and have a quick escape if things weren’t going well!

6.  …spend an hour with Grima Wormtongue or Denethor?

Denethor. I mean, he’s kind of the worst but Grima’s totally creepy, let’s be real.

7.  …attend Faramir’s wedding or Samwise’s wedding?

Faramir’s! Because Faramir is my number-one-favorite character in The Lord of the Rings (the books; we don’t discuss what they did to his character in the films. I still love him, but… just no). And Eowyn is ALSO the best. So yes, hands-down!

8.  …have to care for the One Ring or the Arkenstone for a day?

Definitely the Arkenstone! It’s prettier and less prone to take over my mind. XD

9.  …have tea with Bilbo or Frodo?

Bilbo! I feel like that would be super fun! 😀 I just wrote a post (more like a short story) featuring Bilbo and it was a blast.

10.  …fight alongside Boromir or Eomer?

Eomerrr! He’s another of my top-favorites and a seriously underrated character. (I think Eomer and Faramir and Aragorn are my favorite characters in LOTR. And Eowyn. And Merry. And Legolas. OKAY, I have a lot of favorite characters. XD)


How about you? Share your answers in a comment or go join the party yourself!

Also, talking of Lord of the Rings fun . . .

If you missed it, be sure to go check out my post about the winner of the Silmaril Awards ceremony for Most Silver Tongue — which is set at Rivendell and features Bilbo, Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, and several characters from various beloved fantasy books including Narnia, Goldstone Wood, and Prydain. There are many shenanigans.

It’s basically a fanfiction crossover short story post and I had WAY too much fun writing it. XD

Thanks for reading!

2.5 Quick Things!

Heya, fellow dreamers of the page!

I’ve been kind of terrible about keeping up with bookish news because this summer has been crazy (maybe I’ll have a Book Ishness updates post next month and some reading updates soon?).

But there are two exciting (time-sensitive) bookish things of awesome I want to make sure you hear about! (Unless, of course, you already have, if you’re following my other blog or my social media. XD)

ANYHOO.

1. Silmaril Awards Voting Closing Sept. 13!

Firstly, make sure you get your votes in for your favorite fantasy characters in the SILMARIL AWARDS because voting ends today (Friday the 13th — ooh, ominous — at 11:59 Central). SO HURRY!

Vote HERE and read my post HERE.

(If you have no clue what the Silmaril Awards are, you can check out the website at that first link. XD)

2. Giveaway on my other blog! (Ends Sept. 16)

 

And I’m celebrating my 6 year anniversary of starting a blog, over on my other blog, and giving away copies of Dealing with Dragons and Searching for Dragons (US only) and 4 swag-packs of a handful of misc. fantasy bookmarks etc. (INT).

So go check that out if you haven’t!

You have until Monday night! (Sept. 16, 2019, 11:59 pm Central.)

2.5: I’m not dead

So yes, that’s the news I wanted to share, and otherwise, I’m not dead, I’m (sorta) reading, and I will try to be back soonish with some fun bookish posts again! I’ve been recovering from a crazy summer, what can I say. XD (And obsessively posting on my Bookstagram every day for a few months now, which mayyy be distracting me from blogging. Just a little. :P)

Did you vote? Enter the giveaway? And are you ready for Fall yet? (Please go away, 100 degree Texan summer.) I hope you’re having a bookish end-of-summer! Thanks for reading! 🙂