Autumn 2019 TBR Pile

You know what’s better than a pile of leaves? *grins like the corny soul she truly is*

I’m STOKED for Autumn’s dazzling arrival. I need cooler weather. Apple cider and pumpkin spice. Fair rides and adventures through mazes made of flimsy stalks. 😍 And of course, chilly piles of books that take me away to other worlds.

2019 Autumn TBR Pile

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“Romanov” by Nadine Brandes— Doesn’t it have a lovely Fall looking color? Hope it’s as good as I’ve heard it is.

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“Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson— This book is so popular and I’m reallllly excited for it. Please don’t let me down. Please please please.

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“Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel” — When I was a little girl, I loved watching Hocus Pocus. So I’m intrigued by the idea of reading it in book form AND getting to read a sequel.

“Lady of Dreams” and “Lady of Weeds” by W.R. Gingell— A dear friend recommended I read these, and I have moved them quite high on my tbr despite the glares of books that have been there much longer. 😉

These are the ones I WANT to get to, but I do hope to read more than them. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety/depression issues (*a thousand sighs*), so my focus has not been the best. Which ha resulted in me reallllllly struggling to read of late. So if you have any AMAZING/FANTASTIC/EPIC/YOU-MUST-READ-NOW books recommendations that help with slumps, please send them my way.

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Hidden Dagger E-Book Winner

Thanks to all who entered to win their choice of one of the novels in The Hidden Dagger trilogy. The winner is…

Brie Donning!

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Congrats, Brie!! You won an e-copy of the first book, “Secrets Kept.” I really hope you’ll LOVE it. ❤ Just comment your email below so I can get the book sent to you ASAP.

Drama Saturdays (3)— Thoughts On A Warrior Girl & Ghostly Hotel

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“Mulan” (2020)— While I know this is technically not a drama, I want to briefly talk about it… Anywho, Disney dropped the first teaser for their upcoming live-action Mulan, and I can say I’m pretty dang excited. I mean, yes, I will miss the catchy music and Mushu. But you guys, IT LOOKS EPIC. (At least the little they showed.) And if it is a slightly dark, depressing thing like others are worried about, I’m okay with it. Because it means they might make it like a Chinese drama, eeeek! And because I watch Chinese dramas, I’ve come to terms that their overall awesomeness is worth a touch (or punch) of sadness. Looking forward to a full length trailer. *waits impatiently*

 

 

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“Hotel Del Luna” (2019)— I watched the trailer for this drama and GAHHHHH! This in the newest from the Hong Sisters, and it looks like the perfect mix of ghosts and whimsy. It’s about a woman who’s been cursed as the manager of a hotel (I think for ghosts?) because of a crime she committed, and she must stay there until she finds someone whose done a crime worse than hers. Only she doesn’t remember what she did. I haven’t been this excited for a K-drama in awhile, and I cannot wait until it releases to one of the streaming sites. Seriously y’all, it looks STUNNING. And also humorous. 😀 (So I highly recommend you go watch the trailer so you can be just as thrilled as I am.)

Edit: Um, hello. So I was on Viki and about to watch another drama when I SAW IT HAS THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF THIS DRAMA. How did I miss this??? *happily skips away to watch*

 

“Curse Bound” by J.L Mbewe—- Blog Tour+Giveaway!

Oh my word. Y’all! Today I am here to share about J.L. Mbewe’s newest book, “Curse Bound.” Have to say it has the most GEORGEOUS COVER. 😍 And I’m sure it will be just as beautiful on the inside. Definetly high on my TBR (once this stupid reading slump goes away, I will get to you. ❤)  So please visit all the awesome blogs on the tour,  and seriously consider giving The Hidden Dagger trilogy a try. (But start with the awesome book 1, “Secrets Kept” so you don’t get confused. 😉)

And as a bonus, I’m personally giving away your choice of a Kindle copy of one of the novels from The Hidden Dagger Triolgy. Just comment on this post letting me know which one you want, and I will choose the winner on August 1. Open internationally, as long as you are able to recieve Kindle books.

 

About the Book

Kael’s worse fears have come true. Betrayal has shaken the Guardian Circle, the High Guardian is dead, and Ayianna and Prince Vian are in the hands of the Sorceress, but he and his companions must finish their quest, before they can attempt a rescue mission. Unfortunately, Desmond’s parting gift left them stranded on the western cliffs of Nälu.

Jathil, once heir to the throne of Arashel, believes her father will aid them, but first she must face the crimes of her past. When she does, she could never believe the outcome, nor the rippling effect it would have on the nations.

Meanwhile the Alliance braces for war, but division threatens to undermine their efforts. When Nerissa returns from Ganya with the dragon regiment, she discovers a bigger problem. The curse bound are waking.

As the quest nears completion, Kael is forced to choose between his heart and duty, and neither choice bodes well with him. Either way, he will face the Sorceress and her armies sooner or later. The battle for Nälu has begun and there can be only one victor.

Purchase on Amazon

 

About the Author

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 is currently living her second childhood with her wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and swords, among other things. Here, between reality and dreams, you will find her 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, was nominated for the 2014 Clive Staples Award. Her second novel, Darkened Hope was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Alliance Award.

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Party Time!

Curse Bound is coming soon! Join us as we celebrate its release on July 11th, 2019 at 7pm – 10pm CST. There will be plenty of bookish fun, games, and giveaways. AND we have special guests Kyle Robert Shultz, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Jenelle Leanne Schmidt who will be joining us and sharing about their books.

RSVP Here

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 8th

Tuesday, July 9th

Wednesday, July 10th

Thursday, July 11th

Friday, July 12th

Saturday, July 13th

Sunday, July 14th

 

“Curse & Consequence” by Savannah Jezowski—Author Guest Post+Book Review

 

About the Book

When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.

Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.

When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.

With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.

Amazon (Available on Kindle Limited!)

 

About the Author

Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

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On Kings and Earls and Poor Pig Girls— Author Guest Post

  If you’re here today, it’s probably because you’ve seen the shiny cover for my upcoming release and are curious what this regency-inspired fantasy is all about.

Am I right?

Well, thank you for asking, you don’t have to twist my arm or beg: I’ll tell you.
The themes in Curse and Consequence are something I could wax eloquent on all day. There are so many fun things that wheedled their way into this story. Honestly, I had no control. This story sort of wrote itself. In this post, I am going to talk mostly about what inspired the setting, culture, and social themes in my story. If you’re interested, you can read more about the overall story theme, which you could also call the moral, in a separate post that will also be included in this week’s blog tour.

FUN FACT: The original idea for this story came to me about eight years ago!

The original story began as a hilarious concept about a prince cursed with a split personality. Literally, Sedgwick got himself divided into two people: a stiff, intellectual Crown Prince and an incorrigible, fun-loving four-year-old they nicknamed Hughie who could transform into his grown-up self at will. The two halves of him were as different as could be, one old and one cursed to be little, one painfully tidy and addicted to soap and the other…well…NOT. And, of course, there was still the spunky pig keeper destined to become involved in their drama and help them break the curse and save the kingdom. There was also a cat-griffin named Didymus, and a stablemaster named Granger, and a great deal of carousing around the castle and getting into all sorts of mischief and squabbles.

There wasn’t a Regency garden party to be seen.

Years later, still only a rambling collection of humorous but useless scenes, what I had affectionately called “A Griffin’s Tale,” blossomed into something entirely new. Suddenly, the pig was called Serafina instead of String Bean, the griffin became a dragon with (cough cough) a very SPOILERY, unique twist; and there wasn’t an evil uncle out to control all the griffins and conquer the world, only a shady little faery out to make a few bucks. The characters gained a few years—and a few pounds—as well. More mature and less spunky, Rea became the daughter of a baronet instead of a cobbler, although she still found herself working in the stables.

The boys? Well, they pretty much stayed the same; they just got taller and their problems a little bigger. Hugh’s lisp had to tone itself down a LOT because it was almost painful to read in the original story scribblings. I also scrapped the split personality idea because that just got complicated real fast. I mean, did you put them back together again after you split them apart? If so, which half of him would she really be in love with? And wouldn’t it be weird being in love with one half of a person and not the other half? Don’t you have to take whole package?

And, quite frankly, I had fallen in love with both of the boys and couldn’t stand for one of them to have to go.

You see my dilemma. Once you read the story, I dare you to choose between Sedgwick and Hugh; which brother would you pick?

The biggest change of all happened when Rea and her friends packed up their little band of misfits from a fantasy kingdom with the typical king and queen and castle and moved into the heart of snooty, Jane Austen-inspired Dragonshire.
Because the only thing that could possibly make Jane Austen any better would be a little magic. Am I right? This isn’t a Jane Austen retelling, but I did try to steal some of her popular themes: the girl of humble means, the wealthy gentlemen, the eccentric parents, the parties, the social conflicts, and so on.

I managed to keep the faeries and magic and all, but a lot of the normal fantasy tropes took on a regency flare to better fit the story I wanted to tell. The princes became the sons of an earl. The castle turned into an estate. The ball into a garden party. The tomboyish pig keeper became a demure and proper young lady.

Social prejudices are another Jane Austenish theme that crept into my story. The main character is a little like Mr. Darcy in that he is painfully aware of his social status and the duties that come with it. When he falls in love with his mother’s pig keeper, the penniless daughter of a disgraced baronet, he knows he’s treading into dangerous, unfamiliar waters.

You’ll also find social intolerance briefly foreshadowed in Dragonshire. There is a history of mistrust between the human and faery realms, and even though they’re at peace now and trying to coexist, they still don’t trust one another completely. Sadly I wasn’t able to delve too much into this theme in book one, but I will definitely be revisiting it in book two.

FUN FACT ABOUT BOOK 2: Magic and Mischief will loosely be inspired by Cinderella! I’ve attempted to write several Cinderella-themed stories in the past, but none of them have truly made it to publication. Book 2 certainly won’t be a straight up retelling, but you’ll definitely recognize some of the parallels. (Wink, wink)

And there you have it. So while this series isn’t a straight-up Jane Austen retelling, Curse and Consequence is a delicious blend of frolicking fantasy and rule-bound regency with themes borrowed from Jane Austen’s overall mindset and writing style. This story is filled with magic and garden parties, handsome gentlemen and poor young women, dragons and pigs. You’ll find characters challenging their social boundaries and those struggling to fit inside those boundaries even when their hearts are pulling them in an entirely different direction.

I hope you enjoy reading this blend of fantasy and regency themes as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Book Review

Grace here! Since this is becoming a long post, I’ll just be sharing a a few thoughts on this delightful little tale. 😀

What I Liked

I loved the fact that this book was like an Austen tale, but with a touch of wacky and magic. It was a tad like Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Shades of Milk and Honey.” Except this one was more of a comedy, and I adored this!

I also enjoyed how the dynamics between the three main characters, especially the brothers. Every time the older brother called his younger brother Wicky cracked. me. up. 😂 (Something oddly hilarious about the name…)

Oh! I loved how the heroine’s struggle helped her find her voice. I was quite amused by her actions that resulted from this change. Definetly made me want to shout “YOU GO GIRL!”

Dislikes

Hm. I do wish it was a little longer. I did not feel so attached to the characters because of it. 😕

Overall, If you are looking for a jaunt into a prim and proper world where magic causes an assortment of entertaining chaos, you definitely want to give this book a try! Or if you just like a lighthearted fantasy, it’s a great pick. 😉 I give it a rating of four.

*Thanks to UQ Blog Tours and the author for a complimentary E-ARC in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to a write a positive review.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 1st

Tuesday, July 2nd

Wednesday, July 3rd

Thursday, July 4th

Friday, July 5th

Saturday, July 6th

Sunday, July 7th 

Drama Saturdays (2)—- “Memories of the Alhambra” Review

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Imagine if you could experience the effects of a fantasy video game in real life? CEO Yoo Jin Woo is offered the chance to release such a game to the world, so he goes to Granada, Spain to meet the game’s creator and see for himself if such a game is possible. It is, but the creator of the game is missing and the game is beginning to cause damging consequences in the real world that no mere game should have the power to do…

What I Liked:

I think this story’s unique gaming vibe makes it gold in a sea of similar shows. It took me on a journey no other K-Drama has ever taken me, and it was an epic ride that splashed me with buckets of emotions  (some kinda traumatuzing, but I kind of enjoy a show devastating me??? 😶)

The Spanish setting was cool, adding an extra special flair to it. I love getting glimpses of Korea in K Dramas, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing another part of the world in a K Drama! And now I REALLY REALLY REALLY wish to visit the Alhambra. (Also, Park Shin Hye killed it with her ability to switch between Korean and Spanish.)

The suspense was A+++. If a drama fills my head with questions that I MUST know, it earns my respect.

Oh man, it certainty brought me to tears. It’s got a lot of cool action scenes, but also parts that pressed down and squished by poor widdle heart. 😭 Like I said, I kind of enjoy it. (I think it is because it’s all fake, so the emotional blows make it feel real.)

What I Did Not Like So Much.

The subtitles unnecessarily used the f-bomb. My guess is to make it more “mature.”

It has an open ending. Ugh. I’m not a huge fan of this type of ending so please make a season 2. Plllllllease!

And… that is all the complaints I have. Because I am a huge fan of this show overall, and I’m so glad I gave it a try. (And like I said, give me more!!!!)

On a last note, I do want to take a moment and caution others that this drama is rated MA due to its violent nature. So not a show for the faint of heart.

Have any thoughts on this drama? Feel free to share! 😁

Elves, Space, and Vampires… “Stars Decend” Blog Tour

Hello, readers! Today I have the pleasure of being a part of the blog tour for “Stars Descend” by Kara Jaynes, a book that combines elves and space. 😮 (Sounds EPIC!) I am so EXCITED to read this book this summer!

There’s also some vampires in the mix of characters, and for my stop on the tour, Kara has shared some intriguing thoughts about the vampires in her book. So do keep reading…

 

About the Book

The elves have come down from the sky in their ships, their countenances full of light and their bodies, power. But they rule over us humans with iron fists, and without mercy.

Vampires stalk the streets, lurking in shadows and the cover of darkness. Their lust for blood is never sated, and the nights are filled with the screams of their victims.

I’m just a street rat, a trash picker. I didn’t expect him to choose me. The Prince of Elves could have anyone, so why me?

Even as my heart sings at the elf’s close proximity, I still love the boy who left me, disappearing into the city’s corrupt underworld. I don’t even know if he’s still alive.

Stars reign. Rebellion brews. And with my already uncertain future disintegrating into chaos, I don’t know who to turn to, or who to trust.

Amazon (Available on Kindle Unlimited!)

About the Author

Kara Jaynes is a fantasy and children’s book author. She loves rainy days, long walks, and fairy tales. She’s been writing since she was very young, and has more stories in her head than she could possibly write.

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Vampires and Addictions— Guest Post by Kara Jaynes

Stars Descend Book Quote

The vampires in my book aren’t exactly the friendly sort. They kill, they destroy, and they’ll do anything to get their next fix of blood.

But what if, underneath their overwhelming desire, they didn’t actually want to drink blood? What if it was something they felt compelled to do? That it’s something out of their control? Are they still at fault if they give in to their urges?

In Stars Descend, someone is turned into a vampire, and he’s suddenly faced with the very real possibility that he will be the death of someone he loves.

He doesn’t want to hurt this person, and he struggles with whether his willpower is stronger than his debilitating need for blood.

He’s a victim, but he’s also a monster. He loves, and he destroys.

Is it his fault when he kills and drinks a person dry, or is it the person who turned him? When he wants to protect someone, does he do that best by resisting as much as he can, while being there for them? Or does he help by staying as far away as he can get? These are some of the dilemmas this character has to face as his story in Stars Descend and the series progresses. His addiction is real, and it’s a never-ending battle for him.

Vampires are terrible, monstrous creatures in my story, but in a way, they have it rough. Regardless of how they feel, they have to consume blood. So what do they do, and how can they manage it in a way that doesn’t threaten humanity?

Party Time!

Calling all book readers! Join author Kara Jaynesas we chat about her urban fantasy novel STARS DESCEND on June 12th from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (5 PM PST and 6 PM MDT).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with Kara, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Janeen Ippolito and Sarah Ashwood will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Here

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 3rd

Tuesday, June 4th

Wednesday, June 5th

Thursday, June 6th

Friday, June 7th

Saturday, June 8th

Sunday, June 9th

Monday, June 10th

Tuesday, June 11th

Wednesday, June 12th

Thursday, June 13th

Friday, June 14th

Saturday, June 15th