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Sing To Me of Rain by E.B. Dawson (Book Review)

Aaaaahhh! You guys! I read the MOST DELIGHTFUL BOOK recently and I’m so excited to share about it!

It’s releasing TOMORROW (May 22) and the paperback and e-book versions are both up for pre-order, and it’s DEFINITELY one you’re not going to want to miss! One of my favorite books I’ve read this year, for sure!

Title: Sing To Me of Rain

Author: E.B. Dawson

  • Date read: May 10, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars, 6 stars if I could
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: Middle Grade or anyone, really (teens and adults will also love it)
  • Year pub: 2021
  • Pages: 205 (e-book)
  • Series: Standalone
  • Fave character: Ujio but really all of them
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my honest thoughts.
  • Links: Goodreads β€’ Amazon β€’ Author’s Website

I CAN’T ADEQUATELY EXPRESS MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK. 😍😍😍 Studio Ghibli meets George MacDonald and Lloyd Alexander in this utterly enchanting Asian-inspired Middle Grade Fantasy novel from E.B. Dawson!

This book has everything: a tiny mermaid naiad, a fox, pangolins, hidden motives warring against innocence, ever-changing quests for truth, redemption AND heroism, a broad range of exotic locales from jungle to desert to mountain, a story through seasons and elements, and neat cultures and delightful fantasy worldbuilding that swept me off my feet. And so much more!

I loved Plip the little naiad and Akino the boy SO MUCH, and a certain other character who I won’t give away but his story was SO unexpected and I adored it! Part hero, part antihero, part mentor . . . let’s just say I have a new favorite unpigeonholeable character. (Watch for a certain fox is all I’m saying. ;))

I adored every second of this book! It’s full of twists and turns and I could never predict what was going to happen next, which made it exciting, but despite the suspense it was also a COZY story that I simply enjoyed the act of reading.

The settings remind me so much of a Studio Ghibli film, soft and peaceful and detailed, from river to mountain forest, rice fields, desert, waterfall . . . all of it! And the feeling we get that we’re passing through this vast world full of people living their lives which we only glimpse on our way through. I loved that. It’s just so RICH and like one thread winding through a tapestry, and fills me with a marvelous childlike wonder and joy and delight.

I loved how, with the perspectives of Plip and Akino, we saw the world through their eyes and the schemes of humans or grownups seemed outside and unnoticed, like levels of innocence and sneakiness. Felt true to life.

The depth and truths and levels of everything in this book were fascinating and one of the things I think older readers will like too. It asks hard questions and doesn’t talk down at all, which is something I dislike about some middle grade books these days — it’s just a book that happens to be about young characters, which young readers and teens and adults alike will find delight in.

It feels Deep and made me think and showed me things, and I highlighted sooo many quotes in my ebook copy, but it’s also very fun and I just ENJOYED it. It makes me so happy! *hugs book*

This is definitely going on my favorites list and is one of the top five books I’ve read so far this year. I’m going to need to add the paperback to my wishlist because I need SING TO ME OF RAIN on my shelf to read and reread forever. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. (I know the answer next time someone asks what my favorite middle grade book is.)

I can’t recommend this book enough! Just go read it! You need it in your life! (And you will never look at raindrops the same again. :D)

I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author and voluntarily wrote a review. All opinions are entirely my own.


You may also like . . . / For fans of . . .

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender show
  • Studio Ghibli films in general
  • The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald (original fairy tale)
  • The Golden Key by George MacDonald (original fairy tale)
  • The Remarkable Journeys of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander (Asian-inspired fantasy)
  • The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander (India-inspired fantasy, YA)
  • The Sentinel Trilogy or Emberhawk by Jamie Foley (for your talking fox fix, YA)
  • Plenilune by Jennifer Frietag (historical planetary fantasy, for your talking fox fix, Adult)

Does this sound like it’s up your alley? Let me know if it intrigues you! I simply adore it! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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™‚

Pangur Ban, the White Cat by Fay Sampson (Book Review)

Happy release day to this delightful Irish fantasy book!

Title: Pangur Ban, the White Cat

Author: Fay Sampson

  • Date read: February 21, 2021
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Allegory / Celtic Fantasy
  • Age: Older children’s to YA
  • Year pub: new edition published 2021
  • Pages: 160 pages (e-book)
  • Series: Pangur Ban Celtic Fantasies, #1
  • Fave character: Pangur and Arthmael
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book 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 β€’ Spring Song Press Website

Mermaids, ancient Ireland, a feisty princess, a hapless young monk, and of course a mischievous cat! What is not to love!

This was a delightful book which was reminiscent of fantasy I grew up reading, such as Narnia, Lloyd Alexander’s books, and George MacDonald. So that made me super happy!

I never knew what was going to happen next and I so enjoyed the adventure! The Irish setting felt like coming home. The perilous mermaids and other creatures (eagle, dolphin, etc.) we met were intriguing. Pangur himself is such a, well, CAT, and I absolutely loved him! Princess Finglass was fierce and a good heroine. And of course Arthmael was so neat — but you’ll have to meet him yourself!

The timeless writing style was refreshing, and as a longtime fan of Celtic myth and legend, I found the essence of that Irish fairy tale feeling on Pangur Ban’s quest in particular to be marvelous.

With mishaps, adventure, a quest or two, and a touching allegory, it’s perfect for anyone who loves Irish fantasy or is looking for a slightly-wilder Narnia-esque story. Young adults and adults will find things to delight them, and children (who can handle a couple of violent/scary bits, so…caution on that) will love it.

This quick read is perfect if you need a brief adventure of mermaids and Ireland in your life! Which, of course, you absolutely do!

(Note: it’s not related to the Secret of Kells film, but since both were I think inspired by the Pangur Ban poem, there are similarities, and I think any fans of the movie would also, separately, enjoy this book.)

A timeless tale, originally published in England in the 1980s, this book is rereleasing with a new cover, and in ebook form for the first time, for a new set of readers to enjoy.

Now available from Spring Song Press!

(Brought to you by the amazing C.J. Brightley, who also runs PhoenixCrate and NobleBright.)


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Poison Kiss: A Twist of Adventure

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Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚