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The Worth of a King Review/Blog Tour

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for the latest book of an author friend, Kendra E. Ardnek! I’ll be sharing my review of this delightful book — and there’s also a giveaway, so keep reading! 😉


Title: The Worth of a King

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

  • Date read: August 30, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian Fantasy
  • Age: YA-ish
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 358 (Kindle)
  • Series: The Fall of a Star, #1
  • Fave character: Delaney! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free Advance Reader Copy ebook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

SQUEE! This was a really enjoyable book. 😀

Things I loved:

+ Delaney! Of course he had to be at the top of this list. I LOVE THIS BOY. He’s fantastic. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but the way he does all the awesomeness, and is also sweet, and stands firm on the right things when everything is conspiring against him—basically, I’m a fan. 😀

+ Winged Horses! Okay, I really want one of these. They were awesome.

+ The world, the “feel,” and just… I can’t quite explain it, but I really enjoyed being here in this setting. ^_^ The cultures were interesting (like the masked Zovordians!) and I just… I don’t know. It felt homey. 🙂 And fresh. And honestly it gave me Goldstone-Wood-series vibes which is always a good thing!

+ The plot was unique and intriguing, and once I got used to the weird politics and laws, those made it even more fascinating. 😀 Some of it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be—it’s sometimes more of a character story, which was awesome—but there were also plenty of high stakes and it kept me guessing.

+ Cream cake. Because I neeeed one! (Or possibly several.)

+ I’m also pleased that I was able to enjoy this book without having read the Rizkaland books. I believe this is the first book in a sort of prequel series to that, so I was wondering… but it stood on its own quite well. (Just a few things about the world I didn’t quite get a feel for… maybe if I’d read those it would have helped? But nothing serious.) It WAS a little weird reading this because of my experience not having read the Rizkaland books and YET also knowing things about… well… STUFF, due to things I’ve heard said about the series. So… I kind of knew things… which kind of colored some of my perspectives… and makes me wonder how I’d feel about things if I didn’t know certain THINGS. But that’s just me. XD On the whole, if you’ve never picked up a book by this author before, this is a good one to start with. 🙂

+ Humor is also one of my favorite things, and there was some of that scattered throughout to make me smile. 🙂

+ Sweet romance(s) which I WILL SAY NO MORE ON but so adorbz! 😀 I really liked the main one, but I also loved that there were a few other ones scattered along the side of the story. Keeps one on one’s toes and adds to the adorbz factor.

+ Twins. Because twin stories are fun, and I enjoyed Adrian and Obsidia (who, yes, I did like quite a bit when she wasn’t being… odd). ADRIAN IS PRECIOUS. He needs a hug. He could get hard to deal with at times too, but I liked his quietness and surprising strengths. And the whole twin thing was great.

+ The rest of the characters were quite intriguing and I don’t have time to mention them all here, but they fleshed it out nicely, and I came to care about so many of them. 🙂 And certain have me curious about thiiings. O_o

+ Granite—oh my word, I loved Granite!! He’s such a fun guy but also kinda mysterious because “Immortal King” and all that. I loved when he was around in any scene and I don’t even know how to describe it. Magnetism and humor, I guess. He was fabulous.

+ Oh, and Delaney. DELANEYYY. I did mention him, right? *cough*

Less favorite things:

Okay, so I have a couple of things I didn’t love… Once I got about halfway through, I confess that I started screaming every time a character “admitted” something, and some of the wording was a smidge modern-feeling. (OH. But I did read an ARC of this book, so it’s possible some of these things were smoothed out; I wouldn’t know. :P) Obsidia occasionally annoyed/puzzled me, especially how she reacted (or rather, failed to react) to a certain big thing (also so much blushing; help), and Nadilynn wasn’t my favorite (but I’m never big on the exuberant, chatty best friend character, so that’s just me. :P). (Oh, and I’m not sure an 18 year old boy would be thinking of a certain girl as just his “best friend”?? It made him feel young sometimes.) And I honestly don’t know how I feel about some of the things at the end or about everything involving the queen.

BUT ANYWAY, those are simply personal opinions, and small complaints, and didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment of this delightful novel. 🙂

On the whole, I had a blast reading it, and I definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy with a Christian tilt to it. If you haven’t yet, check it out and dive into a whole new unique world with winged horses, shady dragons behind the scenes, and touching stories of beloved characters as they navigate the complexities of political intrigue, different cultures, matters of the heart, and of family lost and re-found. It made me happy and was an enjoyable fantasy read! ^_^


About The Worth of a King

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.


Links


About the Author

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.

Find her online at:

Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon


Schedule

Here are the posts on the blog tour for today. Check out the full tour schedule HERE!

Thursday, August 30th

Reviews:

Interviews:


Giveaway

Kendra is giving away a paperback copy of The Worth of a King and a 15ml bottle of Peppermint oil (US only). You can find the info on her blog.

She also has a special prize for whoever leaves the most comments across the blog tour! (International)


Talk to me! Does the story intrigue you? HOW ABOUT THAT GORGEOUS COVER?? Thanks for reading! 🙂

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At the Corner of Elm and Main by H.L. Burke (Mini Review)

Hallo, my page-dreamers!

I’m back for one last mini review on the Tales of Ever After blog tour! (Scroll to end for giveaways, which are ending TONIGHT, so hasten!)


At the Corner of Elm and Main

by H. L. Burke

 

What an utterly charming and perfect story! ❤

GAH. *clutches heart* *clutches this story and hugs it* At the Corner of Elm and Main is SO ADORABLE. I love it so much! ❤ I’m having a hard time explaining it, but how cool is the idea of a sentient lamppost? It makes me think of a Pixar short or something. Which of course is perfect. 🙂

I love the setting and “feel” of this one, feeling somewhat shadowy and cold with (probably) cobblestone streets and rain and a lamplighter going around lighting lamps, including our hero, Abner.

Abner the lamppost is MY FAVORITE THING. He’s wonderful. I loved reading the story from his perspective. And I loved the mysterious old woman who sits on the bench, too.

This is a positively delightful original fairytale type story, with SO much heart and charm. It’s a joy to read, but also has depth to it, and unexpected feels. Everything was so vivid and the delightful writing drew me right into it. It’s going to sound weird but I really related to the lamppost character. ^_^

I’m definitely going to be reading this one again sometime. It lit a light in my heart and made me smile. 🙂

I can’t say anything else without spoiling it, but basically, you need this adorable story in your life ASAP! Go forth and read it and have your heart melted like mine was! ❤


If you missed them, you can read my review for two other short story in this collection, Believing Fairytales (by Arthur Daigle) and Cinders (by Kendra E. Ardnek).

Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology! It’s free on all ebook platforms! (See links below.)

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

Amazon • Books2Read Universal Link • Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


Do you like stories featuring inanimate objects who are more than they seem? I love them — they’re so adorable! Are you going to check this one out? 😉 Thanks for reading! 🙂

Cinders by Kendra E. Ardnek (Mini Review & Giveaway)

Hi everyone! I’m back on the Tales of Ever After blog tour with a mini review for another short story from this collection! (And there’s still a giveaway at the end if you haven’t entered yet. ;))


Cinders

by Kendra E. Ardnek

 

Okay, that was adorable and enchanting! I have a new story to put on my growing list of top-favorite Cinderella retellings. 😀 I LOVED this one!

The thing about retellings is that you can’t usually say much about the twists/plots/bits that make you really like them, without spoiling the story. XD So I won’t. But I did LOVE the twists a ton. Some I suspected, others were a delightful surprise, and a few times I got worried about how it would turn out and then things worked PERFECTLY and made me absurdly happy.

There’s also a cute kitten. And humor. And loveable characters! And… well… what more can be said? It’s a classic Cinderella story flipped on its head and made fabulous all over again. I loved it so much! The perfect story to start out this collection. 🙂

So what are you waiting for? Go pick up this free collection and read Cinders! I’ll be over here contemplating rereading it, and hugging it because I adored it. ^_^


If you missed it, you can read my review for another short story in this collection, here.

Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology! It’s free on all ebook platforms! (See links below.)

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

Amazon • Books2Read Universal Link • Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


What do you think? Doesn’t this one sound charming? Do you have a favorite Cinderella retelling? And have you picked up Tales of Ever After for free yet? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Believing Fairytales by Arthur Daigle: Mini Review (+ Featuring Me Squawking About Jayden Because #Excuses)

Welcome to the Tales of Ever After blog tour! 🙂

I’m here today to share a mini review of one of the short stories in this NEWLY RELEASED anthology of fairytale retellings (and original fairytales) from the Fellowship of Fantasy! It released yesterday; I’m really excited. 😀

And don’t forget to scroll through to the end where there’s a giveaway. 😉


Believing Fairy Tales

by Arthur Daigle

Tagline: Some fairy tales are true. The dangerous ones are partly true.

*cue Deborah O’Carroll’s review*

 

Short stories are hard to review without spoiling, and I really don’t want to spoil this one because it has an excellent plot twist, but I’ll do my best. 😛

Arthur Daigle is one of my new favorite authors I’ve discovered this year, due to just a couple of short stories in previous Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies. (Those two short stories featured one of my favorite-ever dynamic duos, Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden.)

So I was excited to review this short story! Despite not having said two favorite characters in it, this short story does contain Mr. Daigle’s signature humor, fantastical setting (including monsters), twists, and a snarky main character who stands up for himself, as well as a mischievous goblin.

Nestor is a boy who spends his time keeping the shrine of the Brotherhood of Righteousness clean and reading old manuscripts — and Gibber is a little goblin who loves to annoy him and prank people. Their relationship was fun. XD

Enter some problems in the form of some villains, a lot of hilarious conversations (with snarky lines like: “I would have lost my faith in humanity if I’d ever had it.”) and a plot twist that I started slightly guessing at (and had me going “OOH!”), and it’s overall a delightful original fairy tale type story. 😀

I loved the bits about people not getting fairytales right. XD

This story was a lot of fun, and the setting and humor reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. It’s slightly scary (just fantasy violence) but awesome overall, and I loved it! I’m excited to read the rest of the stories in this collection, as well as more of Arthur Daigle’s work!

Fantasy that makes me laugh is my favorite, and this absolutely qualifies! ❤


While You’re Here…

Not 100% related to the story I just reviewed, but I’m not going to finish a post featuring Arthur Daigle without mentioning how you can check out the short stories that made me fall in love with his writing.

If you’re curious to read about Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden (since I’ve mentioned them a few times and LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Ahem.) you can find a story each about them in previous Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, Hall of Heroes and Mythical Doorways — which are FREE and have other delightful stories in them as well! (And did I mention free?)

Or if you just want to meet Jayden NOW (I don’t blame you) you can read said short stories on Arthur’s Booksie account here, here, and a NEW ONE that just came out (*shrieking* I’m so excited!) here.

I’m sorry, but I’m also TOTALLY NOT SORRY because Jayden is my fave. 😀

(And I really need to check out this author’s Goblin books someday… I believe all his works take place in the same world. Which is awesome.)

Okay, I’m done derailing this post, now. *cough*

This has been a public service announcement. Carry on.


Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology!

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

Amazon • Books2Read Universal Link • Goodreads

(The ebook should be free most places, and if it’s not yet — say, on Amazon *cough* — it WILL be… soonish… So keep an eye out. Or you can get it for 99 cents which isn’t bad; or buy the paperback because it looks shiny.)


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


Do you enjoy funny fantasy too? Have you met Jayden yet? Are you curious to read this story or the rest of the anthology? ISN’T THAT TALES OF EVER AFTER COVER GORGEOUS?? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Review: Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams

Look! Birdie seems to be singing a dinosaur through a hedge! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest

I’m back on the Song of Leira release blog tour to share my review! And also some snazzy photos I took for Gillian’s Take Your Book on an Adventure photo contest (details at the end of this post — but it ends in just a couple of days, so be sure to get in on it!).

I took Song of Leira on an adventure to the Creation Evidence Museum, and the Dinosaur Valley State Park with dinosaur footprints in the riverbed (both in Glen Rose, TX), so that’s where these pictures scattered through the post are from!

(There mayyy not be dinosaurs, exactly, in this book, but there are definitely some big scary critters, so close enough!)

Enjoy the pics and review, and thanks for reading. ^_^

#SongofLeiraContest


Title: Song of Leira

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

  • Date read: June 5, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 411 (paperback)
  • Series: The Songkeeper Chronicles, #3 (Book 1: Orphan’s Song. Book 2: Songkeeper.)
  • Fave character: GAH. How can I pick? Cade, Birdie, Ky, Amos, Gundhrold… so there.
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher (thanks!) and was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

There’s some kind of beastie footprint down where Birdie sang the water away! (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

The sweeping, epic conclusion to the Songkeeper Chronicles trilogy, SONG OF LEIRA far exceeded my expectations and does not disappoint! AAHH! My heart is so full. ^_^ *hugs book* I’m not using “epic” lightly—it really is that.

I haven’t read a book with such overwhelming hope in a long time. Yes, there’s darkness and war and death and sorrow, but in the midst of it, the light and the Song pour out hope and peace and strength. It’s full of those times when you feel like everything’s lost, but then there are moments of eucatastrophe and those good surprises (particularly near the end!) that make everything right.

After the darkness and shattering despair of the dark-before-the-dawn middle of the series, Songkeeper, I was worried this final installment wouldn’t live up to my hopes, but it rallied and brought me soaring through the conclusion on wings of exhilaration like a griffin. 😀 Twice, SONG OF LEIRA had tears pricking my eyes—at a certain death (still broken up over that one, though at least there was peace and purpose to it) and reading the beautiful final paragraphs of the novel. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at once, and still dark much of the time (there are a few side characters I could have wished survived), but the overall feeling I came away with was hope and joy. 🙂 It just stirred my soul so much. ❤

The book started out a little quietly but it soon pulled me in and swept me away on the adventure. We’re in the mountains in this one, with Ky and the runners of the Underground, Birdie and the griffin, and many other characters we meet along the way, both friends and enemies, new and old, and so many places… but I don’t want to give anything away! The world is so vivid and I love it. ^_^

I also loved following Birdie and Ky on their journeys, as they fall and get up again over and over—as they doubt and find their way, and make mistakes and grow and learn, and become so much more than they could have imagined. Becoming heroes worthy of legend and song. And Gundhrold the griffin and Amos and—gaah, I love them all! There are new characters too—I particularly love Frey, the beast from the cover!

Is it the River of Song? (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

All the characters are so HUMAN (I mean… except for the actual non-human characters. *cough* But you know what I mean!) and we bleed and struggle and triumph along with these broken but determined souls. I love them so much! ^_^ These are definitely some characters who’ve wrapped themselves around my heart. (Yes, including Cade. He may be arrogant at times, but I still love him! He wasn’t in it much, but I was so glad he got to come in near the end like that! 😀 He’s still one of my favorites despite everything, and I will not apologize. 😛 CADE.) Even the villains are written in such a compelling way that they seem human too. There was one in particular I hoped for a better ending for, but… ah well.

Another thing I found delightful was the Song and what the Songkeeper can do—it was such a unique thing and made me love this fantasy world even more! A unique “magic system” for lack of a better term (gift?) helps set apart a fantastic series from a merely good one. I just love all the stuff about the Song, and it was wonderful to see Birdie come into her own at last! Also her humility in not taking the credit to herself but pointing it back to the Master Singer. Christian fantasy done absolutely RIGHT. ❤

Some of it can also be fun, too! The little moments of humor or wonder made my day. ^_^ The writing, too, is gorgeous—effortlessly drawing the reader along and painting everything so vividly, in soul-stirring moments of near-poetry at times. Gillian Bronte Adams is definitely a talented author, and this is her best book yet. (Sometimes I was reminded of another of my favorites, Lloyd Alexander, at his best—which is high praise from me. :))

The plot was exciting too! It brings so many threads together from throughout the trilogy and ties most of them together so that everything falls in place in an utterly right and satisfying way. I’m not going to spoil anything, but WOW. That ending! So epic and thrilling! (And I got a slight Arthurian vibe, which is always welcome. ;))

SONG OF LEIRA is a breathtaking, fulfilling, and so rewarding conclusion to what has been a beautiful journey of a fantasy trilogy, masterfully penned and threading its way through my heart.

It brings you through the darkest shadows of night and on to the glorious rays of dawn.

This—THIS—is what epic fantasy with echoes of truth is meant to be.

Just imagine Song of Leira being printed on this Gutenberg press replica! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest


The Song bids her rise to battle.

Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.

Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.

As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.

Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD

Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf


NEED TO CATCH UP ON THE SERIES?

Orphan’s Song (Book 1) Her solo is a death sentence. When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced on the run, she must decide who to trust: a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or the mysterious creature who claims to know her past. With war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on her song.

Songkeeper (Book 2) War ravages Leira & the Song has fallen silent. Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into enemy territory, while Ky returns to his besieged city to save the Underground runners. Legend speaks of a mythical spring beneath the Takhran’s fortress and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it. Everyone believes Birdie is the one. But can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


TAKE YOUR BOOK ON AN ADVENTURE CONTEST

To celebrate Song of Leira‘s release, Gillian Bronte Adams is running a contest to show that reading and adventuring go hand in hand! Snag a picture or video of you adventuring with your book, tag it #SongofLeiraContest and post it online. Winners will be announced on June 22 at the “Song of Leira and King’s War Facebook Party.”

To see the prizes at stake and the official contest guidelines, head over to Gillian’s website.

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow by Hope Ann

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow is finally here!

Yep, it’s release day and I’m excited to share my review with you! 😀

It’s been ten confounded years since the war ended.

Verus, a retired soldier, determines to enforce the peace the victory ought to have brought. His wanderings bring him to the city of Nerva, a sprawling riverside chaos no other Stealthmaster will touch.

Commandeering the task of a former comrade, Verus presents himself to the governor and promises to search out hidden Subverters. The true reason for his actions he keeps to himself. After all, the tyrannical governor will hardly approve of lending aid to those pitted against him, but the Subverters need information. Maybe even weapons.

The wishes of the Subverters themselves are immaterial. They weren’t there during the war. They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread.

Verus has.

So has the new ambassador from Zahavia who strides through the great doors of the feasting hall, bringing Verus face to face with nightmares from his past.

As the simple mission dissolves into confusion, Verus struggles to help those he’s plunged into danger, from a serving lad to the infuriating woman he’s taken to calling “Princess.” Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…

Staying could doom them all.

Click here to order now!

Add to Goodreads


Title: The Stealthmaster’s Shadow

Author: Hope Ann

  • Date read: May 27, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Retelling / Christian Fantasy / Twelve Dancing Princesses / Novella
  • Age: New Adult
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 129 (Kindle)
  • Series: Legends of Light, #4
  • Fave character: Verus
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thanks!) and these opinions are entirely my own.

Well, that was great!

Meet Verus. Verus is without a doubt my favorite thing about this novella. 😀 He is SO epic! A retired soldier (at… like… in his twenties; what can we say—the war’s over), he’s a Stealthmaster (something which is never fully explained but we basically get the idea) and totally lives up to such a name. He’s constantly sneaking around, lurking in shadows and picking locks and jumping off balconies and being snarky to everybody, and… he’s just epic and so, so much fun! I don’t know how he manages to be kind of grumpy AND all dramatic and sassy, but he is. Everyone’s kind of afraid of Stealthmasters with their mysterious ways (and his awesome cloak! Want.) but Verus at least has a heart of gold, and I loved reading about him, even as he wrestles with his past and learns through mistakes. Anyway, he’s my favorite and so much fun to read. 😀 WHAT a character. ❤

Essentially, reading this is worth it just for Verus. 😉 But it’s an intriguing tale, too, AND (wait for it) it’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses! Kinda. There aren’t twelve, and it’s not so much a retelling as an “inspired by,” but the hints and nods to the original were so fun and some were brilliant. It was like picking up clues! And they all made total sense, too. I loved how it was totally different and yet you could recognize bits and pieces of the fairytale, which also mixed well with the Christian allegory parts, largely involved with parallels of the early persecuted Church.

I’m pretty sure there’s a law somewhere that says all Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings must be dark. XD There wasn’t a bunch of scary magic or anything for this one, but some of it was kinda brutal… so be aware of that, if that sort of thing bothers you. Despite the snark and humor, a lot of it’s very intense and deals with some tough themes. It was also interesting how some of the story was told in flashbacks about Verus in the war.

The story is set about a decade after the other three Legends of Light novellas. I think one could read this one and enjoy it without having read those, but I did enjoy it extra since I had. There was a cameo appearance from one of my favorites! 😀 (Hi, Evrard! *waves enthusiastically*) So that was awesome. Most of the characters (like the “princess” character, who’s pretty stealthy in her own right, and a cute little boy, etc.) are new, and even if you haven’t read the first three, this one pretty much stands alone. 🙂

A few times I felt like things could have been explained better than they were and I kind of tripped up and didn’t have a clue what was going on (possibly due to the short length; it is a novella, after all), but I figured things out eventually and I just wish it could have been longer! I’d love to explore this neat palace setting and hang out with Verus and Adreana longer, but I was just relieved things turned out better than it looked like it would for a bit. XD Whew! Quite intense and exciting! With all kinds of mysteries and sneaking about.

Overall, aside from a couple minor things, it’s a fantastic read. And really, with a snarky hero who is incredibly epic (like, how often are people TRULY epic, I ask you?), a lot of witty dialog (I love funny things, okay?), and a Twelve Dancing Princesses theme (my favorite!), what is not to love? You’re definitely going to want to check this one out—I know I’m glad I did! 🙂 (But Verus though. This guy!) A great tale! ^_^

Some Favorite Quotes

Verus flung himself over the banister in one easy motion and landed in a crouch in the gloom of the stairs. The shadows flickered rapid greetings, but no soldier appeared to challenge him.

***

“If you can’t read the meaning of a locked door—”

“It wasn’t locked,” Verus said. “There was merely an obstruction to opening it. A fault I fixed. Without charge, I might add.”

***

“He does have a chimney.” Her eyes twinkled. “Of course, it might smudge your cloak—the latest fashion from Zahavia, I believe? I’d have mentioned it before now, but—”

“Oh, shut up.” Verus stalked back onto the balcony. “Which way?”

“Left. The balcony there.” Adreana pointed to a wide slab of rock several dozen paces away. “I assume you can do it?”

Verus tucked his cloak into his belt. “I hope that’s not an honest question.”

She smirked. “I’ll be waiting.” She paused at the door. “And thanks.”

Verus smiled faintly, then shook his head and forced his face back into grim lines. Botheration take the girl and all the rest. They were more trouble than they were worth. Most people were, in the end.

***

“Did you have to kill the armor?”

“Do you have to make such a racket?” Verus shut the door hastily and glanced to where the helmet hung askew on the frame. “Besides, it’s just a concussion.” He strode over and spun it back in place. “See? He’s looking better already.”

“Still a nasty dent.” Adreana turned up the lamps. “How hard did you hit the poor thing?”

***

“Escape plan?”

“You /did/ have one in place in case the rebellion of yours failed?”

“Why would I ever,” Verus spluttered. “That is what you are counting on?”

“Well, do you have one or don’t you?”

Verus scowled, then hesitated. “Of course I have an escape plan.” Of a sort.

***

“Let’s find your lady.”

“We can probably slip around by—she’s not my lady.” Verus cut himself off.

Diomed smirked.

Verus scowled. “I can maim you and leave you behind.”


About the author of the Legends of Light Series

Hope Ann uses chocolate to bribe a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series, personal writing coach, and the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com


Check out my review for the previous novellas in the Legends of Light series, collected in the single volume Burning Rose:


Well? Are you intrigued? Doesn’t it sound funnn? 😉 Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Thoughts on The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Title: The Story Peddler

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

  • Date read: May 8, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: The Weaver Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Mor and Warmil, maybe?
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

10 Thoughts on The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

1. What an enjoyable tale! When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to try it out. A fantasy novel about a story-weaver who sells stories? Um, yes, please! I think it could have been more of a top-favorite than it ended up being (for me), but on the whole I loved it! ^_^

2. Tanwen, our heroine, tells most of the story in her own charming village girl voice, though a few chapters are in third-person and follow Princess Braith, another very interesting character. There were a lot of characters, but I didn’t find it hard to keep track of them since they were all very unique. I did think that the amount of people in the story made it hard to have enough time for each of them, so I’d have liked if there was more time for a couple of them, like Mor and Aeron. Still, I ended up quite liking the band of weavers! And, as far as page-time, there’s always the sequel… which I need ASAP!

3. This tale of a fantasy land where the king has outlawed all stories except for the “crown-approved” ones, had some great things to say. I loved that. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was very thought-provoking how there are consequences to telling the false versions of stories. Tanwen needs to tell the truth in her stories, even if it’s not Crown Approved; especially if it’s not Crown Approved. As a writer myself, I loved the creative storyteller aspect of this book! It inspired me more than ever that it’s not good to “squish down” things—that storytellers must tell the truth and tell it like the story is supposed to be told, not how “rules” or the crown says. That’s so important, and I love when novels have compelling threads of truth like that woven through them, like The Story Peddler does.

4. The world was neat. I loved the idea of story weavers and… other such things, which I won’t give away. Who wouldn’t want to be able to make things appear from their told-aloud stories? I also thought the different names for animals were fun—fluffhoppers, painted-wings, grazers, etc.—which made it kind of fantasy-world-ish, but you could still tell what they were. 😀 Everything was well-written and vivid.

5. There were some great characters, too! Gentleman-pirate Mor (who has the snark aspect covered), tall and grim silver-haired Warmil (who surprised me by really working his way into my heart), fiercely loyal former-guardswoman Aeron, quietly dissenting Princess Braith with a heart of gold and somehow holding out beneath her father’s reign… I won’t go over all of the characters, due to time, but these are some of the literally revolutionary people Tanwen encounters, and I love them. 🙂

6. The banter was fantastic. There was a certain scene with romantic Tanwen and grouchy Warmil which had me positively in stitches. XD There were some great character dynamics and dialog which made things quite fun. And I do love a bit of fun. ^_^ Tanwen’s narration was often humorous too, and if a book’s going to be told in first-person, I’m all for that. 😀

7. It’s not too fast-paced at first, but on the whole, it was very exciting. There’s always some thread of tension or mystery or danger going on. It took me a little while to get into it; not sure why, because it was well-written and intriguing from the start. Part of it may have been the fact that I was busy and had to snatch reading time in bits and pieces. But after the first third, when Tanwen really got on her way on the adventure, it really picked up for me and pulled me in until the end. I couldn’t stop flipping those pages!

8. Also, the plot about “The One in the Dark” was so awesome and exciting! I guessed some things about it (yay!) but others were unexpected, and overall it was neat. 😀 Stakes got high, and the overall storyline was unique—I couldn’t usually guess where it was going! Tanwen definitely didn’t expect where things were going; I enjoyed following along with her from one surprising turn to the next.

9. As far as things I didn’t like as much… It’s totally unimportant, but all the characters said each other’s names all. the. time. which was kind of annoying. I don’t usually notice things like that, and I’m not real picky, but it got on my nerves. Just a little. XD There’s also a love-triangle-ish thing, which I’m not really a fan of in general, so I didn’t care for that. BUT I must say that there’s a twist or two which at least makes it different. XD And it wasn’t the main focus of the story, which was nice. There were some… er… interesting developments, so we’ll see where that goes in the sequels. 😛

10. Overall, The Story Peddler is a lovely adventuresome tale, full of heart. ^_^ I recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy yarn or has a spark of creativity in their soul. The book is a love-song to creativity and light and truth. Definitely check it out so that you can join me in anxiously awaiting The Story Raider, book 2! 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll