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Come Marching Home by Hazel West (Blog Tour!)

Hey guys! I’m so excited to join in on the blog tour for Hazel West’s new book, COME MARCHING HOME, which released this week!

I am looking forward to reading this one — I always love Hazel’s books! (The Modern Tales of Na Fianna urban fantasy Irish series, and futuristic London novel The New Emperor’s Concerto from earlier this year, are some of my favorite books.) And the idea of a WWI-ish fantasy novel is so intriguing!

Read on to find more about the book, check out the rest of the tour, and read an excerpt!

Come Marching Home (cover design: C.B. Cook)

About the Book

Title: Come Marching Home

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

Release Date: October 13th

Book Links

Author Links

Preorder Goodies

Preorder goodies!

If you order Come Marching Home by the end of October (extended even though it released on the 13th), you can email the receipt of your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a goodie pack!

Goodies:

  • A bookmark
  • A sticker with art by H.S.J. Williams @h.s.j._williams
  • A playlist curated by Hazel
  • (And if you order the paperback, you will also get a signed bookplate)

Tour Schedule

Today’s the last day of the tour but you can see the rest of the posts if you drop by the official blog tour post on Hazel’s blog, HERE.

Excerpt

The tables were mostly filled with the soldiers, all in plain clothes like Alfonse and Franz, glad to be out of the mud-caked uniforms. They were all talking amongst each other, casting dark glances at the bar, where a riot of giggles erupted. Alfonse and Franz stopped and stared at the cluster of girls that had formed around the one figure in a steel blue tunic, ribbons adorning his chest and his familiar voice cutting above the feminine titters, obviously purposefully loud so that everyone in the pub could hear.

“And so there I stood, facing down three Steppish soldiers with only a pistol in one hand and my trench shovel in the other. My company had been pinned down by the enemy and we couldn’t let them get across enemy lines, so I had my men throw grenades to herd them toward us, smoke them out like pheasant! And that was when I led the charge. I’ll spare you ladies the details, of course, but needless to say, we won the day.”

“Oh, Captain, you must have been so frightened!” one of the girls gasped, touching his arm gently.

“Of course, only a fool would not be frightened,” Klaus told her teasingly. “The key is to not show it. That way you can still inspire courage in the men.”

“Oh, you’re so brave, Captain Klaus,” another girl said.

Alfonse saw red. Everything shut down and he felt himself walking forward before he knew what he was doing. Franz reached out and grabbed his shoulder, calling to him, but he shook his friend off.

“‘Inspire courage’—is that what you did, Captain?” Alfonse spoke loud enough to be heard over the eruption of female giggles. The whole pub fell silent, the girls turning to glare at him, Franz and Hewitt watching tensely, and the soldiers straightening up and looking on with interest, murmurs running through them.

Klaus just sat there, his face darkening, before he smoothed his expression. “Sergeant Major Keller. I didn’t realize this was your village.”

“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” Alfonse said. “You barely remembered any of the men who fought under you. And you’re right, this is my village, this is my local pub, and I’m not going to tolerate you telling fake war stories in here among a bunch of soldiers who know better.”

A louder murmur arose from the occupants. “You want to know how the story really went?” Alfonse demanded, unable to stop. It felt good and he found he didn’t care about any consequences right now. “We routed the enemy, there was mud, blood, and death. The captain didn’t show up until the rest of us men had secured the Steppish soldiers and a boy had lost his life. Never in all my time in the trenches, did I ever see Captain Klaus pick up a shovel. He was too busy sitting on his high horse to be down in the mud with the rest of us.”

“How dare you?” Klaus said, pushing through the women to get to him. “I’m your superior!”

“Last I checked, we’re not on the front anymore,” Alfonse said.

And there we are! Doesn’t it sound intriguing? Thanks for reading! 🙂

More reviews for books by this author:

bloodtiescoverfront copy
earthlykingcoverpic2-copy

The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington (Review)

Where are my fellow fans of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale? I’m here today with a review for a delightful retelling of that story, with a jazz-age twist, by one of my favorite up-and-coming fairytale authors!

Title: The Midnight Show

Author: Sarah Pennington

  • Date read: September 27, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling / Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 152 (paperback)
  • Fave character: Bastian
  • Source: Amazon
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book but ended up purchasing a paperback and reading that instead. XD All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Sinister fey plots. The stage. Dreams. A clever detective. An exasperated singer. And a fabulous twist on my favorite fairytale.

I’ve loved this author’s previous fairytale retellings, so I was ecstatic to hear of a Twelve Dancing Princesses one! I loved this retelling! I love how it keeps to so many of the original tale’s features, but also makes it entirely its own thing. Making it a fantasy mystery was brilliant and I loved that take on it, with the detective and everything, so very much! It makes perfect sense. That was one of the neatest things about this story—how everything just made sense and fit so well together! (Always a fun thing when retellings do that.) Also, now I need more magical mysteries.

Set in a jazz-age setting, THE MIDNIGHT SHOW feels like the 1920s but in an invented world, which was so unique! I loved the “feel” so much. (There were also so many delicious foods and it made me hungry, so thanks for that. XD) I loved the mix of a ’20s-ish feel but also adding in magicalness and fey, all taken for granted as part of the world. So, so cool! I love somewhat-more-modern books where the magical part is just a part of the world.

No spoilers, but I also really loved the twist on the old woman and the invisibility cloak—Bastian’s helpfully magical items were awesome!

The mystery was deliciously creepy—again, hard to talk about without spoilers, but . . . *shivers* I almost didn’t want the book to end because I was afraid for my character friends and what might happen to them. XD Meep. The ending was fabulous, though! So many threads wrapping around to meet up and finish it off. Yesss. It was also sooo neat how dreams factored into the story! That was another thing, which I can’t get into much, that was super cool.

Dayo was a bit snappish (understandably) but she grew on me—one of my favorite scenes was her umbrella poking bit. XD (And I totally relate to her feeling of being at odds with Bastian’s morning self. XD) Bastian was fabulous and I loved his character. A great detective and a great guy, I loved his stick-to-it-ness (probably a real word for that, but anyhoo) and his ingenuity, and the occasional banter! They were both great leads.

I imagine people who are more into music, theater, jazz, etc., than I am, would probably enjoy it even more. ^_^

Since it was a short read, I almost wish there was more to this ’20s-ish world with its clubs and dashes of fey and barest hint of gangster-like stuff (and I would totally read more), but at the same time, this short book was like a perfect bite-sized window onto a rich world and it felt just right.

I totally recommend this as a quick, fun, intriguing read, with relatable characters and a delicious mystery, especially for anyone who loves the ’20s or the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Go read it! Go read it now!


More fairytale retellings by this author . . .

You may also like . . . (Fantasy Mysteries or Twelve Dancing Princesses)

lostlakehouse jackabycover


Have you read any fantasy mysteries or Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings? Doesn’t this one sound intriguing? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Five Thoughts on Mardan’s Anointed by Kathrese McKee (Review)

Hey, my fellow pagelings! At long last I return to this little blog to attempt to catch up on some reviews I’m wayyy behind on—so let’s dive right in with a review of a fantasy novel I really enjoyed!

Title: Mardan’s Anointed (Mardan’s Mark, #3)

Author: Kathrese McKee

  • Date read: September 25, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Fantasy / Kingdom Adventure
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 287 (paperback)
  • Series: Mardan’s Mark, #3 (Read my reviews of the other books in the series here.)
  • Fave character: Aldan
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book as part of the street team, and later won a paperback copy. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

 Five thoughts on Mardan’s Anointed

1. Another fabulous book in the Mardan’s Mark series! Book one (Mardan’s Mark) was an adventure quest/survival story, while book two (Mardan’s Heir) was much more of a political-intrigue-around-the-palace sort of story. Mardan’s Anointed (book three) skillfully blends the feel of both books, picking up directly where Mardan’s Heir left off and following the separate paths of Princess Srilani and Aldan. Although I missed having them together, I so enjoyed reading their alternating chapters as they both face challenges in who they’re meant to be, and I loved-loved-loved how it ended up for both of them! (The parallels near the end particularly were stunning.)

2. I’m going to try to talk about this without sharing spoilers if you haven’t read the first two. XD Aldan’s quest in the southern kingdom was epic, and there were some unexpected happenings that left me on the edge of my seat! Exciting quests (for thrones and other things), castle infiltrating, woodland ambushes . . . So much awesomeness going down in this book! Aldan is growing SO much in trying to be worthy, and he’s already awesome, so. 😀 (Also, I remember loving his speech on the beach.) Also, all his loyal guys just make my heart happy.

3. Princess Srilani is stuck kind of trying to temporarily run the northern kingdom and being met with all kinds of opposition, but I love that she keeps going despite all that. I enjoyed reading about her (figurative) journey as she navigates politics etc. And where her story goes at the end! Wow, wow! So cool, though I’m looking forward to where it goes after her, too. (Trying to talk about this without spoilers is so hard. XD) Also, I loved how there were some parallels to certain biblical stories, and that whole mountain bit at the end! Yessss. So very cool!

4. I also liked the other side characters and how their stories are developing—like Prince Jamson coming so far, Princess Maelan getting to do stuff, Aldan’s brothers being epic as per usual, etc. I also have Feelings about Judge Elison. And I kinda feel bad for Greyson so I want more of him in the next book, haha! Plus, Raymon is super awesome, and I love him and Lady Elilan together! And I’m totally still shipping Srilani and Aldan and need book four because of it. XD

5. Like I said, there were some fabulous unexpected twists that are leaving me grinning, and I can’t wait for the fourth (and I believe final) book! (Fortunately, this one didn’t cliffhanger like book two did. Still with things awaiting in the fourth book, though! Eep!) It also reminded me a little of Jill Williamson’s excellent Blood of Kings Trilogy . . . So if you enjoy those or are a fan of Christian Fantasy, you’ll enjoy these! (Essentially Kingdom Adventure since there isn’t really anything magical or fantastical aside from one or two miraculous things?) Overall, I had a marvelous time reading this and just felt happy to be back in this world in the Marst kingdoms with Aldan and Srilani and everyone! So enjoyable!


Read my reviews for the other books in the series so far . . .

You may also like . . .

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Does this series sound intriguing? And let me know what you’re reading lately in a comment. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Happy Release Day! (Ahab & The Midnight Show)

Just want to give a quick shout-out to two books releasing today which I’m SUPER excited about!

Happy release day to AHAB (a Moby Dick retelling in space) by E.B. Dawson, and THE MIDNIGHT SHOW (a jazz-age Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling) by Sarah Pennington! ❤

I’ve been dying to read a novel-length version of E.B. Dawson’s space Moby Dick story ever since adoring The Voyage of Pequod and other sci-fi stories, and it’s finally here!

And I adore Sarah Pennington’s retellings, plus Twelve Dancing Princesses is my favorite fairy tale, so when I heard about this epic-sounding novella with mystery and fae and the jazz age, I got super excited!

I will hopefully be reviewing both of these books here when I get the chance, but I simply HAD to shriek about them and tell you all to go check them out! 😀

Ahab by E.B. Dawson

After a devastating interstellar war against the machines known as Mechanized Intelligence Cruisers, the Commonwealth is ready to return to normal life.

Captain Ahab is not.

Tired of being paraded around the capital as a war hero, Ahab finally secures a commission to hunt down the last remaining MICs in the outer planets.

He gets more than he bargained for with Moby Dick.

Ahab’s first encounter with the massive white MIC leaves Ahab without a ship and without a leg. Plagued by fever during his recuperation, Ahab becomes convinced that Moby Dick is a threat to the Commonwealth’s newfound peace. But his willingness to do whatever it takes to destroy the MIC leads his best friend and first mate Starbuck to wonder if their captain is in his right mind.

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Website


The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.

By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.

Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off his family’s debt. Plus, he gets to work with his favorite singer, even if she isn’t exactly what he expected. What could be better?

But first he has to solve the case — which means navigating a tangled web of strange dreams, fair folk schemes, and show business. It will take all Bastian’s wits, along with the shining talents of Dayo herself, to figure out the truth before the curtains close for good on Dayo’s career.

A jazz-age-inspired twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the author of Blood in the Snow.

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Website


Guys, be sure to check these out! Thanks for reading. ^_^

Songflight Blog Tour!

Greetings, friends of the page!

Work and lack of internet have kept me absent from blogging (and reading) for too long, but today I’m really excited to be spotlighting this book as part of the blogtour!

Songflight by Michelle M. Bruhn is releasing this Friday (August 21) and it sounds amazing!

I’m hoping to post a review here after I read the book — I can’t wait! — but for now, read all about it and check out the other tour stops! ^_^ And how about this cover! :O

About the Book

Songflight (The Dragon Singer Chronicles, book 1)

To end an unjust war, a slayer’s daughter must learn the ways of the dragons and find the confidence to lead despite her speech impediment.

Alísa is the daughter of a slayer chief, born into war against the evil of the dragons. Her speech impediment stole her confidence, and her empathic connection to dragons stole the respect of her clan. But when her growing psychic connection reveals one dragon’s capacity for good, she must choose: stay with her family in comfortable but condemning silence, or follow the dragon claiming to know her true purpose.

Preorder

Preorder Goodies


About the Author

Michelle M. Bruhn is a YA fantasy author whose stories focus on outcasts, hard questions, and hope. She is passionate about seeing through others’ eyes and helping others to do the same, especially through characters with diverse life experiences. She finds joy in understanding others, knows far too much about personality theories, and binge-watches TED Talks on a regular basis. She spends the rest of her free time making and listening to music, walking, reading, and snuggling with her cats.

Links


August 15: 

M.H. Elrich—Author Interview

August 16: 

Rachel A. Greco—Author Interview

Laura A. Grace—Character Interview (Alísa)

August 17: 

H.S.J. Williams—Author Interview

August 18: 

Deborah O’Carroll—Spotlight (you are here!)

August 19 (20 AU): 

Jane Maree—Character Interview (Graydonn)

August 20: 

Olivia Neale—Review

August 21 (RELEASE DAY!):

Claire M. Banschbach—Author Interview


Aaahh, how cool does this book sound? It’s been on my want-to-read list for way too long and I can’t wait to dive in when life slows down a bit! I’m always up for a dragon story — how about you? (Now excuse me while I stare at that cover for the next five hundred years.) Thanks for reading! 🙂

An Echo of the Fae by Jenelle Schmidt (Blog Tour + Review)

Hey everyone! I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for this fabulous new novel by one of my favorite authors! Read on for my review!

Title: An Echo of the Fae

Author: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

  • Date read: March 27, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: Anyone / Children’s to YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 262
  • Series: Stands alone
  • Notes: I was a copyeditor for this, but as an unbiased reader I genuinely loved this book and all opinions are completely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonAuthor’s Website

An Echo of the Fae is a stunning new fantasy adventure, featuring selkie and fae mythology deliciously woven together, with a dash of Rapunzel!

I LOVED how this book was full of familiar folklore and fairytale goodness, but with its own twist on all of it. I’ve always felt that selkies should feature in more books, and I loved how that element showed up in this, in surprising ways. Fae stories are also some of my favorites, and the way that features in the book was also delightful — with a dash of the Summer and Winter Courts and all of it! And then we have just a hint of a Rapunzel thread near the middle, which I loved. This mingling of familiar things with new twists made me SO happy!

The characters. THE CHARACTERS! We have a splendid cast in this adventure, all of them so vividly real! I love how nobility still shines through despite their struggles — and I love how they are all true to how they should be, like the array of fae characters are unpredictable and sometimes capricious or terrifying. Just. I can’t describe it but they were all exactly right! Echo is a fabulous heroine, this twelve-year-old girl who’s introverted but has such a steady courageous determination. Malilia the elf is sooo intriguing. Echo’s parents, Gareth and Runa, are fabulous and I adored how they were a big part of the story. And we meet so many others along the way, who I will let you meet yourself, but . . . Eirloch (one of my faves)! Princess Jana! Little Drayeth! The Winter King! (Whoa. He was one of THE most fascinating characters! :O I CAN’T!)

The setting was another favorite thing. I adore this world and I want to go live there! I felt like I walked right through the pages, and I simply loved the gorgeous descriptions — you can FEEL the sea and the mysterious woods and enchanted paths and towers and magical lanterns etc. And delightful fantasy elements, like fae and selkies and dragons and other really cool creatures and characters! The feeling and atmosphere of this book (almost a Celtic feel) and the different lands and the feel of different seasons throughout was just perfect!

The story itself felt like a solid adventurous quest, with a coziness alternating with peril that felt simply perfect for the book — and a smidge of fae court intrigue lurking at the edges. I LOVED the writing, which had this fairytale quality to it and pulled me right into the story. The book stands alone well — though I almost want a sequel simply because there were one or two threads I’d LOVE to follow more, and I want to go back to this world again for more fae and selkie goodness and Eirloch and the owl and the Winter King and all of it!

Overall, An Echo of the Fae captivated me and is definitely a new favorite! I loved being pulled into this enchanting world full of such a striking cast of delightful characters, fantastic beings, heroism, finding light and courage in the darkness, sisters and family and friendship, and dashes of folklore and fairytale that absolutely made my day. It’s a perfectly magnificent new adventure for readers of any age. Don’t miss it!


Some Favorite Quotes

“But I’m not a heroine,” Echo muttered. “I’m just… me.”

***

If the past few days had taught her anything, it was that she much preferred going on adventures when they were contained within the pages of a book.


Tour Schedule

June 21

When the Story Chooses the Author @James Quinlan Meservy

Character Interview with Echo and Jana @Live.Love.Read

June 22

Author interview @Dreams and Dragons

Myths and Folklore that Inspired An Echo of the Fae @Author E.E. Rawls

June 23

How I’ve Been Influenced by Fairy Tales @DJ Edwardson

Review and Author Interview @Smudged Thoughts

June 24

Author Interview @An Independent Will

Book Spotlight @Kyle Robert Shultz

Book Review @Live.Love.Read

Building the Fae Realm @JL Mbewe

June 25

A Peek Into My Writing Process @Lands Uncharted

Book Review/Spotlight @Cathrin Bonham

June 26

Friday 5s @Light and Shadows

Book Spotlight @Caroline Puerto

June 27

Character Interview with Jana @AMReynwood

Book Spotlight @NJWalker

Author Interview @Adventure Awaits

June 28

The Building of Ennis Rosliath @Live.Love.Read

Does the Author Matter? @An Independent Will

June 29

Book Review @ThePageDreamer

Interview with Jana @Dreams and Dragons

Book Review @Christine Smith Author

June 30

Character Interview with the Winter King @Beka Gremikova

Author Interview @Live.Love.Read.


More by the author . . .

5ERcover   Yoriens Hand - Cover Reveal Medium

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Well? Does it intrigue you? 😀 Thanks for reading! 🙂