Tag Archive | YA 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! 🙂

Sword of Soter by Ralene Burke (Review)

Back again with a review for a Christian fantasy adventure! I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages, so hurray for finally doing so!

Title: Sword of Soter

Author: Ralene Burke

  • Date read: October 26, 2020
  • Rating: 3.5, rounding up to 4
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 295 (paperback)
  • Series: Sacred Armor Trilogy, #2 (Book 1 is Armor of Aletheia — read my review)
  • Fave character: Tristan
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I received an e-ARC of this book for an honest review, and later won a paperback copy. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

(3.5 stars, rounding up to 4)

I’ve been so curious to continue this series since reading Armor of Aletheia and I’m excited that I finally read this one. Following the continuing adventures of queen/prophetess Karina, former bounty hunter Tristan, and their companions, was another wild ride!

Tristan is my favorite—I wish he’d been in it more!—and I loved seeing more of Rashka, who is a super cool elf Guardian; she definitely has some tricks up her sleeves. 😉 We also meet new characters who keep the reader guessing. And if you want to read about a chilling villainess, this is the right book, ack! Plus, I mean, we’ve got scary wolf-like lupens, a griffin (!), and a fun talking horse, a.k.a. Dom (everyone needs a horse like Dom).

I’m afraid I . . . disliked pretty much the entire subplot involving Sam, particularly how it ended up; it just kind of stressed me out, personally. *cough* Maybe that’s just me. But the rest of the book was very interesting and an enjoyable read!

The classic fantasy quest feel, but with new things too, was neat. I loved the castles and caves and tests and escapes. (Mazes, though!) So much adventure! The world was so vivid, and the twists kept me on my toes so I was never quite sure what was going to happen next.

Since it had been quite awhile since I’d read the first book, I didn’t remember as many details about that as I should have . . . So I suspect I may have liked this one more if my memory was better or if I’d reread book one first. And like I said, I wasn’t a fan of the Sam subplot. But for the most part I enjoyed it. 🙂

I’m so excited to read the next book, especially with that unexpected ending twist that’s leaving me very curious about how things will be affected . . . Meep! I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for Karina and Tristan and friends!


You may also like . . .

Orphan's Song


Thanks for reading! 🙂

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

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

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

Author: Kathrese McKee

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

 Five thoughts on Mardan’s Anointed

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

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

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

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

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


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

You may also like . . .

kingswarriorcover


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

Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls (Blog Tour + Review)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be spotlighting this fairy tale retelling I had the joy of beta-reading — and I’m sharing my mini review for it!

Read on for all the info! 🙂

Also, drop by the author’s blog post that kicked off the tour, to check out an excerpt of the book and the other stops/tour schedule!

About the Book

A one-armed, practical girl. A rude lord hiding a curse. A dark secret with the town’s fate hanging in the balance.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Austrian twist and a new breed of curse.

When Rosen moves to Freudendorf—a secluded town in the Alps—with her dad, he vanishes on her and the debt collectors come to call: taking her into slave labor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, just when all her hopes and dreams for a normal life are ruined, a frail zombie-like butler purchases her: taking her to serve Lord Varick, who currently resides in the forbidden castle near the salt mines, where the Beast of the Night is said to roam.

Varick is handsome, with an attitude that’s the exact opposite. The servants aren’t human, and the castle itself is an ugly wreck. But if Rosen cannot solve the dark secret spreading beneath Freudendorf, and the curse holding Varick’s cold heart, then both they and the town will fall prey to a waiting evil—and worse, even lose their memory of it.

Book Purchase Links

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Author Bio

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM


Title: Beast of the Night

Author: E.E. Rawls

  • Date read: March 28, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 138 (ebook)
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I beta-read this novella and then received a free e-ARC as part of the blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Beauty and the Beast being one of my favorite fairy tales, I quite enjoyed this unique retelling!

I adored the setting and feeling of this one! It was delightfully autumnal and atmospheric and a smidge gothic/spooky but not in a bad way. The Austrian/Alps (but fantasy!) feeling was delicious, as was the old castle.

I loved the characters! Rosenrot and Lord Varick were wonderful, and the side characters were also intriguing and grew on me throughout the story.

Rosen is a fabulous heroine — I loved her spunk and her lavender hair and how she doesn’t let having only one hand get in the way of her go-get-’em lookout on life.

Lord Varick is the best — so dramatic and sniffy and self-centered at times, but with a great character arc. I loved how he grew in the story — and the twists on the curse and him himself. He was such a different “Beast” character, but I loved that!

I also like that, being a novella, it was a very quick read. Perfect for devouring all at once, as you’ll want to in order to discover the secrets behind the mysteries in this! So many plot twists! :O

I loved the humorous bits and banter (which sometimes made me laugh) and budding romance (awk!). And, again, Varick’s drama was hilarious. XD

It’s a delightful, fun, quirky, quick read. If a twist on Beauty and the Beast and a deliciously autumnal Austrian fairy tale story sounds up your alley, definitely give this one a try!


You may also like . . .

corrodedthorns 5ERcover Cover5_story Poison Kiss: A Twist of Adventure

More by this author . . .


Any Beauty and the Beast fans out there? 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)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Coming in a second . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

Just a bit longer . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

And now! LOOK HOW GORGEOUS! ❤

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 . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

2 . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1 . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

NOW! *cue heart eyes*

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? 😀