Category Archives: Book Reviews

New Cover Reveal for The Seahorse Legacy

I am really excited to share the new cover for The Seahorse Legacy! This is one of my favorite books and I am eagerly anticipating the final book, The Sunken Realms, coming this summer :) If you want to read my review of The Seahorse Legacy, click here: The Seahorse Legacy. And don’t forget to continue on with this post to enter for a chance to win some fantabulous prizes including an amazon giftcard!

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a Pirate, bound by a centuries-old oath 

As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein—or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract—and the urgency within him to see it satisfied.

a Knight, determined to prove her calling

Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called.

a Legacy, demanding surrender

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action—and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited . . . and darkness will be given reign.

The third book in this series-within-a series, The Seahorse Legacy begins an epic re-imagining of several fairy tales, combined–including an unexpected twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This romantic adventure will conclude in Eyes of E’veria, Book 4: The Sunken Realm, coming late Summer 2015.

And now for the cover!

The Seahorse Legacy

And for the prize: The prize package includes:

1. custom skin for reading device (or phone) featuring the new book cover

2. temporary tattoos “Official Pirate Crew — The Seahorse Legacy”

3. $10 Amazon giftcard

Click here to enter: Rafflecopter giveaway

Serena ChaseSERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found coaching her local high school’s Color Guard, watching action movies, and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit www.serenachase.com to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.

Guest Post by Fantasy Author Gillian Bronte Adams

I am excited to have Gillian Bronte Adams as a guest this week on my blog. She is a fellow fantasy writer and friend (and has the most gorgeous red hair!). She is here to share a snippet from her latest novel, Out of Darkness Rising, and one of the ideas behind her story, what if you never saw the sun? So without further ado, here is Gillian!

Out of Darkness Rising

The Sun Yet Rises

A little over a week ago, I could have sworn the dark of Mordor was descending upon us. I happened to glance out the window at work and watch the world turn from gray to black in a matter of seconds. Less than a minute later, it was pouring.

Had I not feared looking like too much of a dork, I might have given into the temptation to announce in a properly woeful voice that “Doom is upon us.” As it was, I merely whispered it to myself and cast baleful glances out the window.

For almost two weeks, a rainstorm had been camped out over my little town, and life was dim, gray, damp, and dreary. I would wake up tired, head in to work tired, slog through the mud at the barn tired, and try to plan my day around the weather only to be outsmarted at every turn. By the time I made it back home—tired—I was weary and dispirited.

Had the Lady of the Green Kirtle been present, I would have been all to ready to nod along and slip into a dull listlessness as I denied the very existence of the sun. Had Faramir appeared, full of dauntless hope that this darkness would not endure, I might have laughed—but it would have been a cheerless laugh, for the clouds and the gloom and the damp seemed here to stay.

More than anything, I wanted to see the sun.

For the villagers in my novella Out of Darkness Rising, it has been nearly a thousand years since anyone caught more than a glimpse of the sun through the heavy murk surrounding the Island. Bright sunlight, blue skies, and clear, crisp mornings are but a thing of legend, no less mythical than tales of a forgotten King. It was a key element of the story, but I wrote it in there without truly giving it much thought beyond the simple logistics.

It wasn’t until I experienced a taste of it (albeit a small one) that it truly struck home.

Can you imagine never seeing the sun?

Never stepping out into a brightness so cheerful it warms your spirit. Never feeling its heat bathing your skin. Never squinting before a light so true your eyes cannot take it in.

Light and darkness are not uncommon themes in Christian fantasy (or general market fantasy, for that matter) because they are not uncommon themes in Scripture. There are countless verses that reference light and darkness, but two of my favorites became theme verses for Out of Darkness Rising.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, who no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.” I Timothy 6:15b-16 (NIV)

Those verses seeped into my thinking as I was writing Out of Darkness Rising and came back to mind while I was bemoaning my measly two weeks of storm clouds. Then one afternoon, while I was curled up in my desk chair working on a project (i.e. staring pensively off into the distance) my brain registered what my eyes had already seen.

Sunlight.

And not peeking-through-the-clouds, soon-to-be-smothered sunlight either. It was honest-to-goodness, blazing glory of the sun! In no time at all, I abandoned my desk chair and my project and took to the trails to bask in the daylight.

Perhaps I am spoiled living where I do, where rainy days are not infrequent but sunny days are rarely far behind. Perhaps I should not be complaining. But the dreary, gray days seemed to sap the energy from my limbs and my mind, like I was stumbling through a thick fog for days on end. With the reappearance of the sun, I felt more alive than I had in the previous two weeks.

It was truly glorious thing!

And I couldn’t help being reminded of this scene from Out of Darkness Rising, when Marya catches her first glimpse of the sun.

“At his command, the dark mist covering the Loch fled, scattering before a warm breeze. Blue sky shone clear overhead, and for the first time in centuries, the villagers were able to behold the light of the sun. Light. Marya reveled in the wondrous sight, her unaccustomed eyes watering at the intensity. She took a deep breath and then another, filling her lungs with new, clean air.”

How about you? Can you imagine never seeing the sun?

Gillian Bronte Adams

Author Bio:

GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

Draven’s Light Cover Reveal

I am so excited to share with you the cover reveal for one of my favorite author’s latest novels! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Anne Elisabeth Stengl, she writes Christian fantasy with a fairytale feel (although none of her Tales of Goldstone Wood are actual fairytale retellings but stories from her own imagination). I love her work and I hope you will check out her stories. Now, onto the reveal for Draven’s Light!

In the Darkness of the Pit

The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?

Coming May 25, 2015

Draven's Light

Read an excerpt from Draven’s Light! dravenslightnovel

Want a chance to win an advance copy of Draven’s Light? Then follow the link to Anne’s rafflecopter giveaway!

Already know you want to ready it? Pre-order Draven’s Light today!

Anne Elisabeth StenglANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit: www.AnneElisabethStengl.blogspot.com

Book Giveaways

Many of the authors at Enclave Publishing are doing Goodreads giveaways this month (including my own book). Here is a list of the books and links to their giveaways. Hopefully you find some great reads listed here!

Daughter of LightDaughter of Light (Follower of the Word #1) by Morgan L. Busse

Crosswind

Crosswind (Sark Brothers, #1) by Steve Rzasa

A Time to Die

A Time to Die (Out of Time Series, #1) by Nadine Brandes

Firebird

Firebird by Kathy Tyers

By Darkness Hid

By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1) by Jill Williamson

To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, #2) by Jill Williamson

From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, #3) by Jill Williamson

Never to Live

Never to Live by Just B. Jordan

Orphan's Song

Orphan’s Song (The Songkeeper Chronicles, #1) by Gillian Bronte Adams

Failstate: Nemesis

Failstate: Nemesis by John Otte

The Restorer

 The Restorer (Sword of Lyric Series, #1) by Sharon Hinck

A Star Curiously Singing

A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz

– See more at: http://www.enclavepublishing.com/enclave-books-giveaway/#sthash.7cP6wOUg.dpuf

Book Review: Oath of the Brotherhood

Oath of the BrotherhoodOath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano is a Celtic fantasy and the first I’ve read of its kind.

The story revolves around Conor Mac Nir, a young nobleman gifted in music in a magical sort of way. When he plays the harp, he is able to draw on magic. But he’s not the only one with magical abilities. Aine is a noblewoman, healer, and able to see the future, though not always so clearly.

When the clans go to war, something deeper is paving the warpath, an ancient magic that wants to eradicate those who follow Balus. Conor and Aine race to find the harp of Meallachan, an instrument that under Conor’s power can turn back the tide of evil…if he can find it in time.

Oath of the Brotherhood was a very different kind of fantasy compared to the usual medieval fare. The names, the places, and the feel of the book were definitely Celtic in nature. As a fan of anything Celtic, I very much enjoyed this story.

The only thing I found hard were all the names and places at the beginning of the story, so it made it a bit of a slow read until I had the people and places firmly fixed in my mind.

Oath of the Brotherhood is the first book in The Song of the Seare series, so it ends with more to come.

I recommend Oath of the Brotherhood for those who enjoy fantasy.

 

*I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review of the book

Teen Titans and Book Reviews

A couple days ago I was watching Teen Titans Go with my kids. In this particular episode Raven (one of the characters who is usually portrayed as intelligent and dark) introduces the rest of the Titans to reading. They fall in love with reading and want more. So they ask her what they should do next. She says they should start a book club and discuss their books. So they start a club and discuss their books and how much they loved their books.

A couple minutes into the meeting Raven says it’s  not enough to share how much they like their books. They need to go deeper. How? they ask. She starts with her own book by saying the premise of the book was unbelievable and goes on for a minute breaking her book down into tiny increments, dissecting each scene and word.

The Titans stare at her in horror. “You just took the fun out of reading!” they shout.

And that’s what I found interesting. I don’t think books were meant to be taken apart and each little section scrutinized and reviewed. Books are meant to be read as a whole. Enjoyed. Read and understood in their full context.

Sometimes I can’t articulate why I liked or didn’t like a book. I just know I liked it and it made me think. Or I didn’t like it because it left a bad feeling behind. Perhaps that is one reason I don’t like writing reviews (for the most part). Because I feel like I need to take the book apart and say why I did or didn’t like the book. Bleh.

I’ve seen reviews where the book is scrutinized down to its very words. I’ve even known people who read with a pad and pen next to them so they can take notes. I don’t think fiction was meant to be read like this. How do you get into the story when you’re constantly taking notes? Perhaps that’s just me.

The episode ends when the Titans read a mystical book that lets loose evil magic that feeds off their imagination. In order to stop the book, they start reviewing the book, talking about its premise and using big words. In essence, they are shutting off their imagination so they can trap the magic back inside the book.

Ironic, isn’t it?

For those who are curious, the episode is called Books.

 

Fairy Tale Collection Writing Contest and Cover Reveal

Do you love fairy tales? Ever wanted to try your hand at writing one? Here is a great opportunity to get creative and come up with your own retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

Rooglewood Press is holding their second fairy tale novella collection contest and I am happy to be part of their cover reveal:

Five Enchanted Roses

Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their second fairy tale novella contest—

Five Enchanted Roses

a collection of “Beauty and the Beast” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Beauty and the Beast,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours!

Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Enchanted Roses collection, which will be packaged up with the gorgeous cover you see displayed here. Perhaps your name will be one of the five displayed on this cover?

All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page.

Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 14. Do grab yourself a copy and see what these talented writers have done with the timeless “Cinderella” tale!

 

Cover Illustration Credit:

This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website: www.forestgirl.ru