Thank you everyone who stopped by, said hi, and entered my giveaway for the Leap into Books Blog Hop. And now for the winner.
Drum roll please…
Elle! Congrats on winning the Amazon gift card! I will be sending you an email
Thank you everyone who stopped by, said hi, and entered my giveaway for the Leap into Books Blog Hop. And now for the winner.
Drum roll please…
Elle! Congrats on winning the Amazon gift card! I will be sending you an email
Hi! This week I am part of the Leap into Books Blog Hop. As part of this hop, each and every blog will be offering a giveaway, many that will involve books. So if you are a book lover, this is the blog hop for you!
As a book lover myself, I thought it would be fun to share a list of ten books (or series) that I love. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of my list for a $10 Amazon gift card so you can add to your own library
Now for my list. These books are like comfort food. When I want something to read and have nothing new, I grab one of these. I have read them over and over again. These books are old friends who live on my shelf (you know what I mean?).
1) Anne of Green Gables. L. M. Montgomery’s books take me to a time and place filled with unique characters. If you haven’t read the series (past the first book), I would highly recommend you do.
2) The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings/The Silmarillion. It was The Hobbit that first sparked my love for the fantasy genre. I also love The Silmarillion. Basically it’s the history book for anything Middle Earth.
3) Pride and Prejudice. Personally I think this is the best romance written. Girl meets boy. Girl hates boy. Girl realizes she was wrong about boy. Boy does everything to win girl back. Love it!
4) The Scarlet Pimpernel. I read this book for the first time a couple months ago and absolutely loved it. It takes place during the French Revolution (fascinating time period) and revolves around a mysterious man who, with the help of a group of young English noblemen, smuggles French nobility out of France.
5) Jane Eyre. A darker tale of love, but beautiful as well. It is about a young woman who has to choose between the way of love and the way of virtue. She chooses to stand by her convictions. At the end of the book, she is finally free to marry the man she loves who by then has paid the price for his past wrongs. A wonderful book about enduring love.
6) Mark of the Lion Series. Excellent three book series that takes place during the Roman time period right after the fall of Jerusalem. The story follows a young Jewish woman who is sold as a slave into a roman household. Great historical fiction.
7) Star Wars: Heir to the Empire series. There are many Star Wars books out there written by many different authors, but my all time favorite is this first series written by Timothy Zahn. If you want to read Star Wars, start with this series.
8) Harry Potter. I first began reading this series after the teens in my youth group were asking about Harry Potter. I love these books! J.K. Rowling has written an amazing world and deep characters.
9) Sherlock Holmes. Yep, I love the man of deduction. It always fascinates me how Sherlock Holmes is able to solve each mystery by seeing what we all see, but in a different way. Classic mystery.
10) Chronicles of Narnia. I could not end a post like this without mentioning C.S. Lewis and his stories about Narnia. I will say the books are better than the movies. So go read them.
So there’s my list. What are your favorite books, those whose covers are worn and pages are dirty, but you read time after time after time again? Please share in the comments. Maybe I’ll find a new love among your lists.
Now for my giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card: Rafflecopter Giveaway
And don’t forget to check out the rest of blogs along this hop! Click here.
Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.
But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?
For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.
And now the cover:
Would you like to know more? Here is an excerpt from Golden Daughter:
Excerpt from Chapter 3
Sairu made her way from Princess Safiya’s chambers out to the walkways of the encircling gardens. The Masayi, abode of the Golden Daughters, was an intricate complex of buildings linked by blossom-shrouded walkways, calm with fountains and clear, lotus-filled pools where herons strutted and spotted fish swam.
Here she had lived all the life she could remember.
The Masayi was but a small part of Manusbau Palace, which comprised the whole of Sairu’s existence. She had never stepped beyond the palace walls. To do so would be to step into a world of corruption, corruption to which a Golden Daughter would not be impervious until she was safely chartered to a master and her life’s work was affixed in her heart and mind. Meanwhile, she must live securely embalmed in this tomb, waiting for life to begin.
Sairu’s mouth curved gently at the corners, and she took small steps as she had been trained—slow, dainty steps that disguised the swiftness with which she could move at need. Even in private she must maintain the illusion, even here within the Masayi.
A cat sat on the doorstep of her own building, grooming itself in the sunlight. She stepped around it and proceeded into the red-hung halls of the Daughter’s quarters and on to her private chambers. There she must gather what few things she would take with her—fewer things even than Jen-ling would take on her journey to Aja. For Jen-ling would be the wife of a prince, and she must give every impression of a bride on her wedding journey.
I wonder who my master will be? Sairu thought as she slid back the rattan door to her chamber and entered the quiet simplicity within. She removed her elaborate costume and exchanged it for a robe of simple red without embellishments. She washed the serving girl cosmetics from her face and painted on the daily mask she and her sisters wore—white with black spots beneath each eye and a red stripe down her chin. It was elegant and simple, and to the common eye it made her indistinguishable from her sisters.
The curtain moved behind her. She did not startle but turned quietly to see the same cat slipping into her room. Cats abounded throughout Manusbau Palace, kept on purpose near the storehouses to manage the vermin. But they did not often enter private chambers.
Sairu, kneeling near her window with her paint pots around her, watched the cat as it moved silkily across the room, stepped onto her sleeping cushions, and began kneading the soft fabric, purring all the while. Its claws pulled at the delicate threads. But it was a cat. As far as it was concerned, it had every right to enjoy or destroy what it willed.
At last it seemed to notice Sairu watching it. It turned sleepy eyes to her and blinked.
Sairu smiled. In a voice as sweet as honey, she asked, “Who are you?”
The cat twitched its tail softly and went on purring.
The next moment, Sairu was across the room, her hand latched onto the cat’s scruff. She pushed it down into the cushions and held it there as it yowled and snarled, trying to catch at her with its claws.
“Who are you?” she demanded, her voice fierce this time. “What are you? Are you an evil spirit sent to haunt me?”
“No, dragons eat it! I mean, rrrraww! Mreeeow! Yeeeowrl!”
The cat twisted and managed to lash out at her with its back feet, its claws catching in the fabric of her sleeve. One claw scratched her wrist, startling her just enough that she loosened her hold. The cat took advantage of the opportunity and, hissing like a fire demon, leapt free. It sprang across the room, knocking over several of her paint pots, and spun about, back-arched and snarling. Every hair stood on end, and its ears lay flat to its skull.
Sairu drew a dagger from her sleeve and crouched, prepared for anything. The smile lingered on her mouth, but her eyes flashed. “Who sent you?” she demanded. “Why have you come to me now? You know of my assignment, don’t you.”
“Meeeeowrl,” the cat said stubbornly and showed its fangs in another hiss.
“I see it in your face,” Sairu said, moving carefully to shift her weight and prepare to spring. “You are no animal. Who is your master, devil?”
The cat dodged her spring easily enough, which surprised her. Sairu was quick and rarely missed a target. Her knife sank into the floor and stuck there, but she released it and whipped another from the opposite sleeve even as she whirled about.
Any self-respecting cat would have made for the window or the door. This one sprang back onto the cushions and crouched there, tail lashing. Its eyes were all too sentient, but it said only “Meeeeow,” as though trying to convince itself.
Sairu chewed the inside of her cheek. Then, in a voice as smooth as butter, she said, “We have ways of dealing with devils in this country. Do you know what they are, demon-cat?”
The cat’s ears came up. “Prreeowl?” it said.
“Allow me to enlighten you.”
And Sairu put her free hand to her mouth and uttered a long, piercing whistle. The household erupted with the voices of a dozen and more lion dogs.
The little beasts, slipping and sliding and crashing into walls, their claws clicking and clattering on the tiles, careened down the corridor and poured into Sairu’s room. Fluffy tails wagging, pushed-in noses twitching, they roared like the lions they believed themselves to be and fell upon the cat with rapacious joy.
The cat uttered one long wail and the next moment vanished out the window. Sairu, dogs milling at her feet, leapt up and hurried to look out after it, expecting to see a tawny tail slipping from sight. But she saw nothing.
The devil was gone. For the moment at least.
Sairu sank down on her cushions, and her lap was soon filled with wriggling, snuffling hunters eager for praise. She petted them absently, but her mind was awhirl. She had heard of devils taking the form of animals and speaking with the tongues of men. But she had never before seen it. She couldn’t honestly say she’d even believed it.
“What danger is my new master in?” she wondered. “From what must I protect him?”
To celebrate the cover reveal, Anne is holding a giveaway for any two of the first six Goldstone Wood novels! Winner’s choice of: Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, Dragonwitch, or Shadow Hand.
Here is the link to the giveaway: Rafflecopter Giveaway
More about the author:
Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. Her books include Christy Award-winning Heartless and Veiled Rose, and Clive Staples Award-winning Starflower. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration and English literature at Grace College and Campbell University.
Hey everyone! I have a guest post today by Angie Brashear and the cover reveal for her debut novel, Never Let Go.
Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So, in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.
But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writes Christian fantasy. Writers who are Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world.
When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.
I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.
And Never Let Go was born.
In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.
Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.
Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the Rendow Clan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?
Pre-order Never Let Go here.
When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.
This month I had the privilege of reading WayFarer, the second book in the Tales of Faeraven series by Janalyn Voigt.
First, this is an epic fantasy, which means a world filled with magic, soul touching, winged horses (called wingabeasts), and kingdoms at war. The style of Janalyn’s writing reminds me a bit of Lord of the Rings. It has an old English feel to it that takes some time getting used to (at least it took me a while to get into the rhythm and cadence of the words and sentence structure). This writing style gives the story more of a medieval feel, which does add to the fantasy story.
Wayfarer centers around Lof Shraen Elcon (the high king) of the Kindren. We first meet him in DawnSinger (first book in Tales of Faeraven) where his mother dies and he becomes the new ruler. Wayfarer is about Elcon and his journey in what it means to be a ruler.
Elcon pursues his own passions and reaps the consequences for that. However, I want to add that he does not do it in an evil way, or even really in a selfish way. What I saw in this story was a naive young man who made choices without thinking about them.
Elcon chooses to marry a woman in haste (although from the story, they seem to really love each other, so I didn’t really have a problem with that). However, she is of a different race than him, so that causes conflict on both sides. Along with that, he had promised to court another woman, so he breaks her heart when he marries the princess of the Elder people.
I don’t want to give the plot away, but I will say this: every choice Elcon makes for just himself ends badly. But every choice he makes for others and for his kingdom ends well. I didn’t quite agree with that conclusion. Some choices are not wrong or right, they are simply left or right.
Other than that small point, I loved WayFarer. I was captured by the story and loved the characters, especially Aewen. I loved the world Janalyn created. It is colorful and vibrant, everything a fantasy lover wants in a book.
So do I recommend WayFarer? Yes! Do you need to read DawnSinger before you read WayFarer? Yes and no. I think you will get more out of WayFarer if you start with DawnSinger. But it can work as a standalone.
Here is a link to Wayfarer.
And here is a link to author Janalyn Voigt.
*I was given a free copy of WayFarer for an unbiased review.
During the month of October I have been celebrating anything and everything speculative. And it wouldn’t be complete without sharing some of my favorite books or books I am looking forward to reading. So if you are looking for a nice, cozy book to curl up with this winter, check out some of my suggestions
The Ryn by Serena Chase. The story is your typical young person finds out they are royalty, but I love how Serena puts a unique twist on this by giving Rose (who later finds out she is the Ryn, the future savior of her people) the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. That and Rose has red hair (I love red hair!). To read my complete review of The Ryn, click here. To find out more about The Ryn, click here.
The Blood of the Kings series by Jill Williamson. Another fantasy with people who can hear minds. This three book series is a two time Christy awarding series (along with multiple other awards) and just plain good. To find out more about In Darkness Hid (the first book) click here.
And of course, my own fantasy series. The Follower of the Word series centers around Rowen, a young woman who discovers a mark on her hand, a mark that allows her to see inside the human soul. There are those who are terrified of her power, and so banish her. And then there are those who wish to possess that power and search all the Lands for Rowen, the last Truthsayer. To find out more about the first book in the series, Daughter of Light, click here.
I love steampunk: the gadgets, the historical flavor, the meshing of fantasy and technology. So of course I need to add some steampunks to my list!
Crosswind by Steve Rzasa. The Stark brothers live in a western steampunk world filled with aeroplanes and trains, and lots of adventure! Click here to find out more.
Armored Hearts by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee. When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Click here to find out more.
A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz. In the future, Earth is ruled by Sharia law. Follow Sandfly, a debugger and a slave, who goes to a space station to fix a robot for his masters, a robot that has went mad. But little does he know his life is about to change. To read my full review, click here. And to find out more about the book, click here.
Melanie Dickerson has written many great fairytale retellings, minus the magic. In other words, what if the story really happened hundreds of years ago in our world? I love her stories and you will to. You can start with any of them, there is no particular order. So I will point you to the first one she wrote: The Healer’s Apprentice (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty). Click here for my full review and here to find the book. Bonus! All her ebooks are currently on sale on Amazon
I wasn’t sure how to categorize these last books until I saw someone else label it as myth. Yes, myth, but more like celtic or some other medieval myth, not Roman or Greek. Anne Elizabeth Stengl writes some amazing stories filled with dragons, princesses, elves, and trolls. Generally, I get tired of the same fantasy trope characters, but Anne breathes fresh air into these stories. They are truly unique and some of my favorites. The first book in her Tales of Goldstone Woods is Heartless. Click here to find out more.
Just Plain Strange:
Yes, that is the category I would put this book in (all puns intended). Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz is just that: Amish vampires in space. But less you think this book is a spoof, I personally know Kerry has taken the time to really flesh out the Amish culture and ask what would happen in the future with this group of people? How would they live, what would their lives be like if there was planet colonization and space travel? And the vampire part, more science than horror. Really, you need to check it out. Click here.
I wish I had more time and space to list out more of my favorite books, or books on my reading list, but then you would be sitting here reading this blog instead of out searching for your next book. So go forth, my friends, and read!
And please leave a comment and tell me what your latest favorite fantasy or science fiction is
With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.
Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.
Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.
Betrothals, sorceresses, secrets. Sounds like a great speculative novel! And now for the preview:
Leaves rustled, and the bush’s slender limbs shuddered. Shadows veiled the intruder; the light of the lantern unable to penetrate the layers of dry leaves and stems. Ayianna peered closer, and a dark mass burst out of the bush toward her face. She flung her arms up. The milk pail slammed into her head, and its warm contents splashed down her face, neck, and clothes. The lantern rocked on its hinge, the flame flashing and flickering wildly. The intruder screeched and a rush of wings brushed against her skin.
Ayianna lowered her arms. A large bird ruffled its dark feathers and made to settle its wings, but one hung at an odd angle. Its round, ebony eyes ogled her.
Could it be?
“Fero?” she asked. “Is brother home already?” She glanced around, but her eyes failed her in the half-light. Her wet clothes clung to her skin, and the breeze grew colder. She shivered and glared at the bird. “Brother or not, look what you made me do? Now, I’ve got no milk, and I’m all wet.”
Fero jerked his wayward wing back and hissed.
“Are you hurt?” Ayianna lifted the lantern, and its glow poured over the falcon, revealing dark stains on his ribbed underbelly. She reached out to touch him, but he gnashed his curved beak at her. The branch shifted, and the bird thrashed about trying to regain his perch, but then he broke free and soared haphazardly into the red-tinged sky.
Atop the bush, a strip of cloth fluttered where Fero had sat. She tore it free. The fabric was damp, soiled, and stunk of decay. It stained her fingertips red. Blood?
J. L. Mbewe is running a giveaway for Secrets Kept. To enter, click on the link: A Rafflecopter Giveaway
J. L. Mbewe: Release Day Kick-Off
The Writer’s Window: Meet the Characters Part 1
Sitting on the Porch with Lynn: Interview
In Darkness, There is Light: Excerpt
The Wonderings of One Person: Meet the Villains
Lightly Salted: Guest Post
Aaron DeMott: Excerpt
Writing without Compromise, Clare Davidson: Top Ten favorite YA novels
J. L. Mbewe: Top Secret Project Reveal
Anne Elisabeth Stengl: Meet the Characters part 2
Emerald Barnes’ Dreaming Awake Blog: Interview
Pauline Creeden: Dream Cast
Sheila Hollinghead’s Rise, Write, Shine: Review of Dragon Thief
Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She has two short stories published in The Clockwork Dragon anthology, and is busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. Her debut novel Secrets Kept and her short stories set in the world of Nälu: Desert Rose, Dragon Thief, and Indestructible are now available. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things.
For more information about her journey as a writer mama and all things creative please visit her at http://www.jlmbewe.com/
Connect with Jennette!
Google+ (But I’m still learning the ropes here!)
If One Falls is a fantasy novel by Elaine H. Baldwin. The story is about two young women who are caught in a war between the Emperor and the Cardinal and Allelon, the exiled true king of Terrah.
Esa is young, beautiful, and selfish. She trains to someday be the bride of a rich man. But little does she know what that life will really entail. Wynn is her companion, a woman of sense and duty, and bearer of a secret: She is part of the Allelon family. When Esa is auctioned off to the highest bidding rich man to become his future wife, the women discover that he killed his previous wives and plans on leaving Wynn (Esa’s companion) at a temple to become a temple prostitute.
So the women run. While running, they stumble upon a community that exists outside Terrah, a community filled with magic. It seems like an idyllic village filled with peace and communion between the inhabitants. Then Wynn discovers that someone in the village has used magic to suppress her and Esa’s memories, replacing them instead with false memories.
I enjoyed If One Falls. It is not the usual medieval fantasy. Instead, the story takes place in a fantasy world that feels more like the 1800′s. I liked how it was a different kind of world. I also enjoyed the characters, especially Wynn. She is a no-nonsense, get things done kind of woman. And she is (most of the time) patient with Esa.
And speaking of Esa, usually characters like her (young, beautiful, naive, selfish) can annoy me, but Esa did not. Instead, I saw her the way Wynn did, as someone who need protection and guidance.
I recommend If One Falls for anyone looking for a fantasy novel
This weekend my first novel, Daughter of Light, is on tour with Team Novel Teen! I have enjoyed the tour and met new readers. But I don’t want to hog all the fun. So here are the links to the blogs on tour. Many of them are holding giveaways including ebook and paperbook copies of Daughter of Light. And if you already own a copy, then enter to win one for a friend or family member :). So what are you waiting for? Click away!
Captives is a dystopia novel that revolves around a futuristic world where most humans live inside a walled city known as the Safe Lands. These humans, however, are infected with disease that has made them sterile. So now they are searching outside their city for uninfected blood by which to reproduce the human population.
Outside the Safe Lands are pockets of uninfected humans who live in small, rural communities. The protagonists of Captives are three teen brothers who live in one such community. The youngest brother longs for something more than the bare life he has and a chance to please his harsh father. So when an opportunity comes up for him to leave the outside and join the Safe Lands, he takes it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that by doing so, he has turned his entire community over to the Safe Lands to be breed for future human beings. The middle brother is captured by the Safe Lands and the oldest seeks a way inside to save both his people and his fiancée.
I really enjoyed Captives. The feel of the book reminded me of the Syfy show Defiance and The Hunger Games. The three different brothers and their story arcs were interesting to follow; each one presented a different picture of the Safe Lands and their own place in their family (the beloved oldest brother, the smart middle brother, the artsy youngest brother who doesn’t fit in).
I highly recommended Captives for teen readers and up who enjoy futuristic dystopia novels.
To find out more about Captives and what others on this tour had to say, click on the links below!
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.