Tag Archive | Five Poisoned Apples

In Bookish News! (December 2018)

I can’t believe it’s December already! Where does time go, my dear pagelings?? (And, more importantly, where did NaNo go? o.o)

But here we are and it’s time for another roundup of new and exciting bookish releases and news!

DECEMBER RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Five Poisoned Apples – various authors — I shared my review for the first novella in this collection, Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Pretty sure I need to re-read it soon. I look forward to reading the others in the collection as well but haven’t had time yet.
  • Pirate’s Wager (Mardan’s Mark, #0.5) – Kathrese McKee — A super intriguing fantasy (bordering on Kingdom Adventure?) piratey novella! This one just came out, and I really enjoyed it! I need to catch up on the rest of the Mardan’s Mark series. 🙂
  • Bitter Winter (Ilyon Chronicles, #5) and Lacy (Ilyon Chronicles, #5.5) – Jaye L. Knight — I seriously need to catch up on this series, but of course I HAD to mention them! 😀 Jaye (who’s a fabulous human I met at Realm Makers! ❤ ) is coming out with the penultimate installment of her Ilyon Chronicles series, and also a companion novella. It’s exciting, y’all!
  • Decree (Blades of Acktar, #5) – Tricia Mingerink — Another series I must definitely get into soon, this is a short story collection for Blades of Acktar and sounds super cool! 🙂
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas – C.B. Cook — The author who brought us Twinepathy and Lightporter is coming out with a Christmas short story, featuring a supervillain, and it sounds so cute! I can’t wait. 😀
  • Retrieve (Stormers, #1) – Sarah Addison-Fox — I’ve heard this one described as Mulan meets Prince of Persia and I’m really looking forward to reading it. 😀 I’ll be sharing my review during the blogtour sometime in the next month or so. It’s releasing the day after Christmas!
  • Liberation of Sephiera (Varsian Kingdom, #3) – Jason P. Hein — This one actually released at the end of last month. I haven’t started this epic fantasy series yet but I won the first two books and my sister’s been reading and enjoying them. Plus, this cover’s really cool! 😀

MY READING NEWS

I… er… didn’t have much time to read during November. I was writing a novel (or two…) of my own, after all, and since I did after all write 58,000 words and was insanely busy besides, I’m going to excuse myself from reading expectations. XD

BUT! I did manage to read one novel and a couple of novellas and some short stories and picture books. (Because small things. I think I did this last year too. :P)

If you’d like to read more about these, you can find them near the top of my Reading Challenge on Goodreads and click on them to learn more. 🙂

  • Not pictured, an awesome novella/children’s book coming soon from Kelsey Bryant, called The Road to Bremen. I beta-read it and IT’S SO PRECIOUS. It’s so fun and I love it so much and can’t wait for it to release in January! ^_^
  • Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert, which, in case you haven’t realized yet, WAS AMAZING.
  • Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, which I loved too! A really neat epic fantasy novel — check out my full review on my other blog, if you missed it!
  • The Sixth Christmas, a short story by Mollie E. Reeder (yes, THE Mollie E. Reeder who wrote The Electrical Menagerie!!), which was a Christmas story and I adored so muuuch. I have many feelz. ❤
  • My Man Beasley by Kyle Robert Shultz. This was a short story on the author’s Patreon. It’s Beaumont and Beasley meets Tam Lin meets Wodehouse. HELLO. THESE ARE LIKE THREE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. *dies* There were SOOO many awesome Afterverse/Tam Lin/Bertie Wooster references and retelling bits and crossovers, plus it was absolutely hilarious! I loved it so much. XD
  • Some totally random picture books, which were… okay. I did enjoy The Naming illustrated by Pauline Baynes! So many animals! The Stone Fey by Robin McKinley was honestly kind of disturbing and I wasn’t a fan. The other ones pictured were okay but eh.

Now that NaNo’s over, I’m hoping to read a fair amount more than I have been, but we’ll see if Christmas busyness cuts into that. XD

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading and the books coming out this month!

Have you read anything good lately? And are you excited for any of these?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Five Poisoned Apples: Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert (Review!)

*emerges from my post-NaNo coma to bring you a review for an INCREDIBLE book which YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST READ*

It’s here, guys! Five Poisoned Apples released December 1st, and I’m incredibly excited about it — particularly because of one specific story that I just read and is by my talented friend Skye Hoffert.

Y’ALL. I’M SO EXCITED. I’m excited for her debut novella, Falling Snow, being out now — go Skye!

I’m also excited because this story was genuinely amazing. I expected to enjoy it but I was not prepared AT ALL for how much it blew me away!

I can’t wait to tell you about. 😀

Title: Falling Snow (in Five Poisoned Apples)

Author: Skye Hoffert

  • Date read: November 29, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale / Retelling / Novella
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Fave character: Chayse
  • 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 and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonSkye Hoffert’s Blog

Gorgeous interior cover artwork by Hannah S. J. Williams which totally captures it!

FALLING SNOW is a truly spectacular read. I’m utterly enchanted!

This review is going to be difficult to write, because how do I recover from something so amazing? MY FEELS. WHAT ARE WORDS. I’M PEN-SLAIN. I don’t know how to express how much I absolutely adored this story and how striking and thrilling it was and how it blew me away. But I’m going to give it a shot.

This tale is both mesmerizing and perilous, as a story about a circus run by fae should be. A deadly dance of deception and illusion and shadows. The first thing that comes to mind about this story is the feel, the atmosphere, the colors of it—the stark whites and blacks and reds and golds. It’s so vivid! There are so many contrasts—the grungy half of the circus performers versus the opulence of the queen’s side of things; the fire versus the cold (my favorite!); the calculated deception of the fae characters versus the pure innocence of Snow herself.

I love how you get this feeling where you hardly know where the magic ends and begins. I loved the fire-manipulating (and the character who does it!) but that’s the most obvious fantastical part—at least at first—and you’re sometimes left wondering about what is mere illusion and what is actual fantasy, which is just how a fae circus should be.

I really appreciated how perilous the fae characters were! Obviously, the evil queen character (this is, after all, a Snow White tale) who runs the circus was chilling and creepy. But the fae characters we like also had their edge of danger, which was fascinating, and I felt was totally true, somehow, to what a fae story should be. It was a natural part of what they’re like, but we, and Snow (the one human character), can see that it’s off a bit. But for the fae characters it’s part of their lives, a ruthless, deadly dance they live in—even if some of them wish for a way out.

The complete originality of a Snow White story set in a circus, and then the brilliant way that it wove in the different Snow White elements in unexpected ways, was so awesome! I can’t talk much about that here because of spoilers, but guys, it was genius. I love it so much. 😀

The writing was also incredible. Aaahh! I kept wanting to quote things and hoping to one day be able to write like that. Every word is sharp and in just the right place to absolutely drag you completely into the story and into the minds and lives of these characters I fell in love with. It immerses the reader completely into this circus world. I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe for the last half of the story. O_O It’s super intense, and a bit bloody at times, so younger readers might find it a bit dark, but I absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop reading—the story was so thrilling and I had no idea how things were going to turn out!

Speaking of writing, I loved the alternating viewpoints of our main characters, Snow and Chayse, and getting to see everything (including each other) from different perspectives, and all the raw emotion from both, tucked down under the illusions. Which brings me to the last but opposite of least aspect: the characters!

I loved Snow and how precious she was, and how as the only human she was something kind of nice in the middle of the scary deceptions. But she wasn’t helpless either, and her goals and dreams and determination—not to mention her stubbornness and commitment to learning to walk the wire—really had me rooting for her, and sometimes breathless on the edge of my seat.

Chayse was my favorite, and part of that was learning about him throughout the story bit by bit, so I almost don’t want to say much about him! But he’s got a couple of unexpected roles thrown together, which was great, and his interactions with Snow are my favorite. ^_^ His interactions with the queen… O_O I felt really bad for this guy—my poor precious Chayse! He’s super dangerous but he also wants out. I loved him so much. And the fire… Needless to say, Chayse is absolutely awesome. 😀

And I can’t quite finish without mentioning Cynfael. This guy. O_O One of the most truly enigmatic characters I’ve read, ever. I kept changing my mind about his roles in the story, changing my feelings about him, and he kept me guessing. I can usually guess a character’s role but Cynfael defied conventions—the sneaky fae!—and I was genuinely blown away. (This writing, guys!) I’ll let you discover him yourself, because spoilers, but wow. Chayse and Cynfael also had some excellent scenes which I loved.

Oh, and (talking of Chayse and Cynfael) one final thing is the dialog. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. It’s so sharp. These characters are almost constantly exchanging either verbal duels or loads of snark or hidden meanings, and sometimes all three at once. It was absolutely fantastic. 😀

If I keep writing, my review will get as long as this novella, but FALLING SNOW is an absolutely stunning, breath-taking, edge-of-your-seat read. I positively adored it and plan to re-read it sometime!

I have yet to read the other tales in the FIVE POISONED APPLES collection because this one left me with a major book-hangover. I do look forward to trying them out, but even if you only get it for FALLING SNOW, it’s totally worth it.

You need Snow and Chayse and Cynfael and this gorgeous writing and super-aesthetic black-white-red-gold perilous-fae Snow White circus story in your life. YOU JUST DO. ❤

~ ~ ~

Whew. Sound like something you need? Because… GUYS. You do!

Also, do you have any favorite fae stories you can recommend to me??

How about circuses? (Thinking of The Electrical Menagerie, The Greatest Showman, and The Night Circus…)

*pretends I’m totally not eating a (totally-not-poisoned) apple while I write this post*

Talk to me! Thanks for reading! 🙂

In Bookish News! (November 2018)

Hey, dear pagelings!

If I vanished from the face of the earth (or at least from my blogs. *cough*) for the last couple of weeks, it’s because NaNoWriMo has been eating my already extremely busy life. Seriously, I’ve been running non-stop all month. XD

But it’s been good too! (Like, I’m-ahead-on-my-wordcount-AND-FINISHED-WRITING-MY-steampunk-fantasy-NOVEL-THE-SIREN-AND-THE-SKYSHIP-AAAAHH!!! type of good.)

Anyway, today I’m popping in real quick to share the bookish news going on this November — or at least the bookish news I remembered/kept track of. A lot of things are falling through the cracks for me right now so bear with me. *nervous laughter*

NEW RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

Here are a few I missed in last month’s post from October:

  • The Enchanted Sonata – Heather Dixon Wallwork — Thanks to reader Mikayla for telling me about this one! AAHH how did I miss it?? :O THE Heather Dixon (now writing under her married name and self-publishing this one!), who wrote Entwined and Illusionarium (both of which I absolutely ADORED), has a new book out! It’s a Nutcracker retelling and looks super cute and I want it. XD
  • Flourish (Green Princess #3) – H.L. Burke — The Green Princess Trilogy is now all released and I still haven’t read the first one! Heidi writes way too fast and we love her for it. Anyway, this one looks awesome and I must read the whole series now. Because two smol floofs fall in luuuurve and I hear there’s plant magic and also lots of feels.
  • The Rose and the Briar – J.M. Stengl — I haven’t read any of the Faraway Castle books yet but they look neat and this Sleeping Beauty retelling just came out. 🙂

NOVEMBER RELEASES

  • Mark of the Raven – Morgan L. Busse — This one came out last week and it’s so shiny and I’m currently reading it and very intrigued! Coincidentally, there’s a shiny readalong with prompts and stuff over on Instagram @fantasyreadalong. (They also just reposted one of my pics for their Ravens prompt and excuse me while I die happy. ❤ )
  • Void Born – RJ Metcalf — I haven’t read the first one yet (Renegade Skyfarer) but I’m DYING TO because steampunnnnk. (I’m in a very steamunky mood because that’s the genre of the novel I just finished writing!) But this sequel just released and it looks awesome! There’s a Facebook party for this one this week on November 16! (Also, RJ is THE NICEST OF HUMANS because she sent me a surprise care package with tea and cough drops and stuff for my cold because I was sick before NaNo. She is the nicest. Thanks, RJ! ❤ )

  • A Royal Masquerade – Allison Tebo — I read this one and it was SO MUCH FUN. It’s a Goose Girl retelling featuring everyone’s favorite Fairy Godfather, Burndee, and antics he and Prince Colin get up to. It’s a riot and I’m reviewing it this week as part of the blog tour so stay tuned!
  • The Mortal Word (Invisible Library) — I’ve only read the first Invisible Library book but obviously need to catch up. But hey, there’s another one releasing — yayy. 😀
  • Rothana – Sarah Delena White — This is the sequel to Halayda which I squealed about muchly and was one of my top 15 reads of last year. AND AAAHH I’M SO NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED FOR THIS ONE. Half of me wants to not even read it because I’m SO SCARED FOR MY PRECIOUS CHARACTERS. But half of me also really really needs it, because Taylan and Zad and co. We’ll see. I might get myself a shiny Rothana for Christmas or something. *shifty eyes* ANYWAY it’s coming out in a couple of weeks and there’s a preorder sale and stuffs.
  • Antiheroes – Phoenix Fiction Writers — This is a cool ebook anthology releasing from the Phoenix Fiction authors. I haven’t read all of the stories in it, but I did read the one by Kyle Robert Shultz (called The Wolf at the Door) and it was sooo spooky but also brilliant and involved Little Red Riding Hood. The rest sound cool and I kind of need Nate Philbrick’s at least. >.> (Also, totally subscribe to their newsletter because it’s always funny and so it’s one of those newsletters I always read. XD)

There are probably others but I haven’t been keeping as good track as I should because I’ve been so busy with NaNo and life! But there are quite a few, anyway. 😛

OTHER NOVEMBER NEWS

There’s a big Black Friday sale some authors (Perry Kirkpatrick, Kate Willis, and Victoria Lynn) are putting together — so if you’re a blogger who wants to share the news or an author who wants to get in on it, you can check it out here! (I think signups end tomorrow, November 14?)

And it’s not quiiite November news, but Five Poisoned Apples is releasing on December 1st! :O

MY READING NEWS

Between a roadtrip in October and NaNoWriMo this month, I haven’t had a lot of time for reading . . . Here are the books I read last month, though. (You can always stalk, erm follow my reading progress on Goodreads here.)

  • Read my review for Armor of Aletheia and Blood in the Snow (AAHH MY FAVE!) if you missed them.
  • King’s Warrior and Arbrook Huxley and the Starcrossed Lovers were both re-reads aloud. SO FUN. ❤
  • The False Prince was my roadtrip read and it was SO MUCH FUN. I’m reading the second book now. 🙂
  • A Royal Masquerade review coming in a couple of days but basically READ IT! ❤ (Because Burndee.)
  • And the Kyle Robert Shultz short stories were LOADS of fun and are currently available free on his website here!

We’ll see if I make some time for reading in the next couple of weeks! *fingers crossed*

I also mayyy have gone to a huge sale at a Half Price Books in October, and a library sale in November, so I kind of ran out of bookshelf space and it’s a problem. BUT BOOKS. (I’d share pics but I kind of already ferreted them away on my bookshelves/dresser here, there, and everywhere and would have to go on a scavenger hunt to find all the right ones again and then possibly sell my soul in order to fit them back where they were SO YEAH. *cough*)

And I’ve been having loads of fun posting bookish pics over on my Instagram, so if you’re on there and don’t follow me yet, I do stuff over there even when I don’t find time to blog, so. 😉

That’s what I have for you guys today! Anything you’re excited about? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Five Poisoned Apples Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone!

I’m super excited for TWO awesome cover reveals today — so I have one here and the other on my other blog. 😉

Today I’m pleased to help reveal the cover, theme, and title of the fourth and final Rooglewood Press fairytale creative writing contest!

I haven’t read the third collection, but I enjoyed most of the stories of the first two collections (particularly all-time-favorites Broken Glass and Stone Curse! <3), and I know the whole blogosphere has been holding its breath to find out which fairytale this fourth one will feature, and to see its cover and title, so without further ado, I now present…

The Cover

Cover model/photography: Wynter Clark. Cover design: Julia Popova.

Isn’t it stunning? *collapses* I LOVE IT. ^_^

So yes, Five Poisoned Apples is its title, and it will indeed be retellings of Snow White (as I suspected!). 😀 (I even totally called the title in a comment earlier this year. XD)

I will likely not be entering myself, but I did enter the contest last year, which was an interesting experience, and I wish the best of luck to anyone who decides to dive in and write a story to submit to the contest! 🙂

Maybe I’ll end up reading one of your stories someday. 😉

All the contest details are available on Rooglewood Press’s website, HERE.

So what think ye? ISN’T IT SO PRETYYYY?? ^_^ And are you excited about a Snow-White-themed collection? And do you think you’ll try entering the contest? Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer