Tag Archive | Fantasy

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Review)

I’m so excited to be reviewing this new release from Joanna Ruth Meyer! *flails around* Read on for all my thoughts!

And shoutout to this huge tree for being a part of my photoshoot. *grins*

(The scheduling didn’t work properly for this post, and I don’t have internet right now, so I’m trying to fix it from my phone. Hopefully there’s no weird formatting or anything due to this, but please forgive any wonkiness if there is!)

Title: Into the Heartless Wood

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Publication date: January 12, 2021
  • Pages: 368 (e-book)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Owen!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received an e-ARC of this book from the author and was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Whenever I dive into a Joanna Ruth Meyer novel, I prepare to be enchanted, but somehow I never prepare quite enough!

INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD is a stunning and unique tale, with touches of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (both of which I got so happy about when I noticed nods to them) but simultaneously its own story. I stayed on the edge of my seat the whole time, never knowing what was going to happen next, and utterly enthralled the whole time. I couldn’t put it down! With brilliant twists, expertly-woven threads criss-crossing in a dazzling pattern through this skillful tapestry of story, this book enchanted me.

Can we talk about Owen? OWEN. This cinnamon roll character is amazing and must be protected at all costs. ‘Scuse me while I steal him from his author and wrap him in bubblewrap. His heart and stargazing and rashness and love and heartbreak. He’s just awesome, I can’t! And Seren too! I feel like I can’t talk much about her without spoilers but her arc was incredible and I love her too. Awk! I adore them and their story so, so much, and they give me all of the feels. They go through so much and grow so much and the way they improve each other and just — ! I’m blown away. Go meet them!

The world is amazing and I love it — the woods and castle mixed with slight technology like trains was perfection. (And for some reason I really loved the bits at the palace.) The writing was superb and so immersive, and the way Seren’s chapters were almost like poetry was so unique! Oh, and the side characters were awesome, and I especially like Owen’s two buddies later in the book. 😀

I love how this was a story about people — Owen and Seren and Owen’s little sister (aaahh she’s adorable!) and aaall the people they meet — but at the same time there’s this vast mass of plot building behind them with far-reaching tendrils until it explodes into the forefront at the end. It just felt so well-done, being a story about two people but also what they come up against on both sides (which was…also unique). Sooo fascinating and mythic and amazing!

Quick warning, for anyone who’s squeamish, that there’s quite a bit of blood and death and darkness here and there, but that’s literally the only downside and the book is just amazing. I adore this author’s writing and I love how… at home… I felt reading this book. I loved the Welsh-like names and the Maleficent-ish feel.

It’s a quintessential fairytale of dark beauty and love and sorrow and redemption. A story of a boy and a tree siren girl who meet against a backdrop of trees and stars. A story that’s grown tight around my heart and that I recommend to anyone who needs a dark fairytale and amazing writing in their life. A blazing star against the dark woods. Magnificent.


Also by this author:


Thanks for reading! 🙂

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

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! 🙂

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin (Book Review)

(Whoops, had a glitch there when I tried to post this at first. Hopefully this works better!)

Hey! I have a review to share today! (I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post, due to not having internet at home right now, but I’m excited to be able to get a post up for this series finale which I just finished last night!)

Title: The Story Hunter

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

  • Date read: June 4, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: older YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 368
  • Series: The Weaver Trilogy, #3 (Book 1: The Story Peddler — my review. Book 2: The Story Raider — my review.)
  • Fave character: Kharn
  • Source: Amazon
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

What a majestic conclusion to this fantasy trilogy! I’m not sure quite what I expected, but I quite enjoyed THE STORY HUNTER, for the most part!

It was somehow cozy and familiar to be back in this world for the finale of this series, even with my near-panicked uncertainty of AAHH WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN? (You know, like coming into watching Endgame for the first time. XD) I was so curious to find out what was going to happen to these characters — after waiting all this time for the last book to release — and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

Which . . . sounds wrong, when I put it that way. But I was bracing myself for a lot more darkness and sadness, on par with the second book, and was pleasantly surprised with how things wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong — this book is definitely somewhat dark and grim, in some ways more than book two (although book two had all the middle-book-darkness-without-any-victory-to-offset-it feel which is, I suppose, why I enjoyed this one more). The stakes also ramped up a bit for the finale, and there were one or two darker parts that weren’t my favorite. But there was also much hope and light sprinkled in, a lot of triumph and unexpected twists, and even a proper eucatastrophe moment, to use Tolkien’s word. So I guess I would say it balanced itself out.

There’s heartache and loss but also love and light, and it wrapped up everything in a mostly-satisfying way and made me pretty happy. ^_^ It did give me all the feels (laughing at banter, shedding a tear or two but in a good way at the beautiful legacies left behind) but it didn’t tear my heart out like I was afraid it would, and overall, by the end, it left me . . . uplifted. Which is something that’s good to feel at the end of a series. 🙂

I quite enjoy the unique world and it just felt cozy to be back in it, like I said. It’s colorful and unique, even shrouded in the darkness that’s fallen across it as of book two. All the caverns and strands were particularly cool! And I loved following the large cast of characters — all well juggled, although I wanted more of Kharn but I suppose under the circumstances that wouldn’t have worked out so well. XD

I’m not mentioning everyone by name because I don’t want to give anything away (awk, trying to write book three reviews without spoilers is hard!) but I will say I was glad to see how several of the characters’ arcs ended, and some of them make me smile. I also loved the beautiful tribute near the end to those lost along their journey, which made those sad parts a little more worth it, somehow.

There were one or two things and/or character actions that seemed to come totally out of the blue and left me kind of bewildered and going “wait, what?”, but I rolled with it and things turned out better than I expected in some cases, so I’m cool with it, mostly. XD (And to be fair, it could just be the fact that I read the previous book a year ago, and the first book two years ago, and I may have just missed certain connections or not remembered seeing things before — like Celyn, who I’m not complaining about AT ALL but had no memory of meeting before.) And, again, a couple of the darker parts I wasn’t fond of, but there you are.

Still, on the whole, I absolutely LOVED how it drew so many elements from the previous two books and wove them together, all the strands weaving into a beautiful, if sometimes scary, tapestry. Everything connected for the finale, in a swirling crescendo of color and characters — I absolutely loved how everything came together for the end! It made me so happy. The adventure definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, worried for everyone at every step, not able to put the book down and reading until midnight to finish.

Overall, I’m so glad I finally got to read the end of this saga, and while there were a few stumbles along the way (and I don’t really recommend the second and third books to younger or sensitive readers), it’s still been quite a journey — an often-fun one, with laughter and tears and a reminder of the good and the light in the world, even amidst the darkness.

Because the light wins and “winter will not last forever.” A magnificent, fitting end to the Weaver Trilogy. ^_^


More reviews!

Books also by this author . . .

You may also like . . .

Orphan's Song Songkeeper  Seahorse Kindle Cover copy THE SUNKEN REALM KINDLE COVER SEPT 2015


Have you read any in this series? Thanks for reading! 🙂

An Echo of the Fae: Cover Reveal!

Hello, my fellow page dreamers! I’m back from hiatus — and a lovely hiatus it was — to share the GORGEOUS cover for AN ECHO OF THE FAE by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, one of my favorite authors!

This is a book I’m very excited indeed to share about (I have, in fact, read it, since I was privileged to copyedit it — and I hope to review it for the blog tour later this month), and the cover is STUNNING! I can’t WAIT for it to release! ❤

So scroll down to check out the cover, a bit about the book, and an excerpt!

(FYI, I do have some internet difficulties, so . . . how “back from hiatus” I am remains to be seen. Carry on. XD)

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An Echo of the Fae

Echo enjoys the peace and solitude of the Faeorn forest, regardless of how strange spending time in the “haunted” wood seems to others.

But on the cusp of her thirteenth birthday, the discovery of a family secret reveals why Echo has never been drawn to the sea like her mother. This discovery shakes the foundations of her world and sends Echo on a quest, not merely into the forest, but into the heart of the fae-lands themselves, to rescue the sister she didn’t know existed.

Elves, dragons, and fairy courts will put Echo’s wit and resolve to the test. But with time running out for her sister, will Echo even be able to save herself?

A fairytale adventure perfect for fans of The Secret of Roan Innish and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Drop by Jenelle’s website for preorder links etc.!


Endorsements:

Enthralled by the terror, charm, riddles, and beauty of a richly depicted fae world, I devoured this marvelous book in two sittings! Readers of all ages will love Echo, a heroine strong in her weakness, clever and resolute amid her doubt and fear. An Echo of the Fae is sure to satisfy lovers of adventure and faery!” — J.M. Stengl, author of The Faraway Castle Series


Author Bio:

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—which she maintains is almost as good as Narnia—with her knight-in-shining armor and their four adorable 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.

Follow Jenelle around the interwebs to get news about latest releases and her writing adventures:


And now, a snippet from the book!

An excerpt from An Echo of the Fae by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

You dare steal from the King of the Winter Court?” The voice reverberated through the air, its sheer, palpable power pushing Echo to her knees. The lantern dropped from her nerveless hand and clattered on the ground.

Echo bowed her head respectfully, racking her memory for every snatch of folk-tale she had ever heard about the Winter Fae or the Dark Host. “Forgive me, my lord,” she whispered. “I did not intend to steal from you. I merely seek to save the life of my sister.”

She heard soft footfalls approach across the sable ground but she did not dare raise her eyes, not even when she felt the touch of hot breath on the back of her head.

You smell of truth.” The voice sounded puzzled. “Rise, seeker.”

Echo stood, wincing at the pain in her feet. But that thought fled with the rest as she came face to face with the largest tiger she had ever seen.

Upon reflection, it was the only tiger she had ever seen. But she was reasonably certain that, should she ever see another, it would be quite different from the monstrous beast that confronted her now.

Her eyes were even with his shoulders, and he stared down at her from his impressive height, his long whiskers twitching inches above her face. His fur was utterly black, the color of coal. Instead of stripes, Ritioghra’s—for it could only be Ritioghra—body was covered in swirls and whorls of gleaming blue, the same color as the Everflame. His eyes gleamed like two massive stars of an identical shade, and he gazed down at her with an expression of ferocious curiosity. He was utterly terrifying and utterly beautiful.

Terror coursed through her veins like ice, but the light of intelligence in his eyes gave her courage. “For-forgive me, my lord.” Echo gave a wobbly curtsy.

The tiger stretched with a lazy nonchalance. Every line of his long body rippled with power and strength, like the unstoppable force of a river about to burst its banks.


So there you are!

Isn’t it gorgeous? Savannah Jezowksi at Dragonpen Designs did an amazing job on the cover! And doesn’t the book sound absolutely lovely? Because it absolutely is!

Let me know what you think in a comment! Thanks for reading. ^_^

Winter Spell #CoverReveal!

GUYS! I’m so very excited to share the cover reveal for Winter Spell by Claire M. Banschbach today!

Okay, so I read this back in January (copyeditor perks!) and I loved it SO. MUCH. One of my favorite books this year!

Read on for all the info about the book, the GORGEOUS COVER, and some exciting preorder goodies (including me shrieking incoherently over some ADORABLE ART), and an Instagram challenge!

Aaahh! I’m so excited!

Cover coming in 3 . . .

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Winter Spell

by Claire M. Banschbach

A half-breed faery. A war-weary princess. A quest to free three kingdoms from the deadly winter spell.

Constantly doubted by her ocean faery kindred, Tonya Freyr-dottir only wants to untangle the dormant ice and water magic within her. Then a strange attack makes her unleash a fierce winter on the land and sea. And she has no idea how to stop it.

Princess Diane serves faithfully at her brother’s side, trying to restore their kingdom of Myrnius after the devastating Dark War. Now with brutal winter wreaking havoc, everything they have worked for might be lost to famine and destruction.

Desperate to help, Tonya travels to the far north to unlock her magic, aided by Diane, as well as two land faeries: Dorian, a reckless healer and August, a mischievous warrior. But the north brings fresh dangers, unearths old wounds, and offers more questions than answers.

With doom threatening human and faery alike, Tonya must find a way to trust her new friends and release her magic before all fall to the fury of winter’s spell.

Available for pre-order now! Releases on 4/23!

Add to Goodreads


Note

Aren’t they gorgeous together? *DYING*

Winter Spell is book 3 in the Faeries of Myrnius series, but can be read as a standalone. (So if you haven’t read the first two and just need this one in your life, you can totally go ahead and read Winter Spell by itself!) However, series is best enjoyed in chronological order.


Preorder Info!

*cue screaming* LOOOOK AT THE ADORABLE CHIBI ART H.S.J. WILLIAMS MADE FOR CLAIRE’S PRECIOUS WINTER SPELL CHARACTERS!!! ❤ My character frens! They are so cute and it’s just PERFECT for their personalities and alkdsjflksjdlkf I CAN’T! ❤ ❤ ❤

August is busy being snarky and totally getting in Dorian’s personal space. XD Dorian is so done with him and looking FABULOUS. (Dorian’s my favorite, y’all!) Princess Diane is not taking nonsense from anybody (and looook, her notebook and braid crown!). And Tonya, my precious winter child!

Eep! I adore them all SO MUCH. I’m so excited for y’all to get to meet them in this book!

Amazing photo by @cmbanschbach / Adorable character art by @h.s.j._williams

Pre-order goodies include a character art postcard of four characters from Winter Spell done by H.S.J. Williams, and a series bookmark! Submit receipt to campitorpress@gmail.com

Pre-order packets will also be available to those who buy the book in ebook or paperback up to 5/7 and submit receipt to campitorpress@gmail.com

Pre-order!


IG photo challenge

Claire is also running her first Instagram challenge! It will be for the week of the release, 4/20-4/24, and will have prizes attached for those who participate!


Author Bio

Claire M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.

She writes New Adult/Adult fantasy as C.M. Banschbach.

Facebook  Instagram Website


What do you think? Doesn’t it sound AMAZING? (It is. I’ll be joining in the blog tour during release date to review it, hopefully!) And have you read any of Claire’s books? Who’s excited for this one? 😀