Contest 🏆 Winner!

51zdhuggq6lWe have a winner! Using random number generator, I plugged in my number of followers and came up with ……

Susandyer1962.

Susan, if you send me your address I will get this in the mail this week. Congrats on winning! I’ll be doing another giveaway next month, so if you didn’t win, stay tuned for your next chance.

The Bone Witch

Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Tea’s sisters are both witches, so it’s no surprise that she has magical powers. What was surprising was when she raised her brother from the dead. I thought this book was a rather difficult read. I got lost and muddled in the middle of the book. There was so much build up in the book that while the setting was very interesting, eventually I just got bored. I don’t think I would read another book in this series.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

You Call This a Joke?!

35653858Title: The Luckless (The Second Age of Retha, Volume 1)

Author: AM Sohma

When Kit starts her new submersion video game at the VR arcade, she’s surprised to find herself not in the science fiction world she expected, but back in the fantasy themed world of Retha. It seems her cousin, who works for the company, decided to play a little joke on her by sticking her in the wrong game with a joke character – a elf dancer with virtually no attack skills and precious little defense either. To make it even harder, he sort of branded her as an outlaw.

But the joke turned serious when the game system malfunctions and Kit, along with hundred of other players, are all trapped inside the game. The only way out is to win, and Kit’s chances are pretty much negligible unless she is able to team up with some stronger characters.

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I have a weakness for this genre, lit-RPG fantasy. Ready Player One by Ernie Cline is one of my all-time favorite books. I also loved Omnioptia Dawn by Diane Duane and Awaken Online by Travis Bagwell. So this one was right up my alley. I loved the idea of Kit being stuck with this frivolous character when she’s fighting for her life. It made the stakes that much higher.

This book is written by KM Shea, under a new pseudonym for her sci-fi books. Like her fairy tale books, this is clean for sex and language – in fact, conventional swearing is not possible in the game, with a funny story there – but there’s not much romance in this one yet. There’s a few hints, but nothing at all so far, which is fine too. I give this one 4/5 stars.

Robin Hobb, Breaker of Hearts!

30688013I love Robin Hobb. She’s an amazing writer, and from all accounts, a genuinely nice person. But she must have a mean streak somewhere, because she sure is good and making her characters – and through them, her readers – suffer! I’ve been reading the latest trilogy, Fool’s Assassin, Assassin’s Quest, and Assassin’s Fate. They have, like her other books, totally consumed me. I think these are her darkest yet, and some of the stuff was hard to get through, but I *had* to keep reading.

But they’re hard to review. These are the last three of a series of (depending on how you count it) up to 16 books, so if you’re interested or if you’re somewhere in the middle of the series, I don’t want to give anything away. Besides, I don’t even know where to begin. With this trilogy? With the series before it? Who can tell? Instead I’m going to offer my list of why I love – and hate – Robin Hobb.

  • FitzChivalry Farseer. Also variously known as Boy, Holder Tom Badgerlock, Bastard, and a host of other names. Fitz, you stole my heart from page one. You are so amazing at practically everything you do, but so dumb sometimes. You are full of self doubt and the first to blame yourself, but when someone you love is attacked, you are fierce.
  • Nighteyes, the wolf. Some of the best scenes are with Nighteyes. I would have read the book just for the two of them, Fitz and the wolf.
  • The Fool. Also known as Beloved, Amber, Lord Golden, and more. What a great character. It’s just not fair that Hobb created THREE amazing friends like this, all in one series. This is how I want to write.
  • The villains. Hobb’s villains are generally not of the slightly bad sort. They are just plain evil. Sometimes it takes a while to realize it, but they are so thoroughly bad. She has plenty of characters who are more gray, but the black-hearted ones are very very black.
  • The worldbuilding. Wow, the time she must have spent and the thought that must have gone into this. There are TWO complete magic systems, several completely different cultures, it’s just awesome.
  • The length. Robin, you are such a tease. You nearly killed me with that last book. Where we ever going to find out what happened? And then that brings me to
  • The cliffhangers. See, I was smart enough to wait to start the series until it was done. I thought. But then you wrote three more books. And I had to wait! Not fair, Robin, not fair at all.

So if you’ve heard of Robin Hobb and you’re wondering if you want to give her a try, all I can say is be prepared to add A LOT of books to your TBR pile. But you will not regret it. 5 tremendous stars and a bunch of used tissues. You broke my heart.

Giveaway Sneak Peak

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’m planning to give away a SIGNED COPY
of a new release here on my blog next month. I will be going to the release party to get the book and get it signed by the author. But first, I thought I’d do a little teaser about the book to keep you guessing.

Clue #1: The Genre is Fantasy/Folk Tale.

Clue #2: The author is from Utah.

Clue #3: The author has already written several exciting books.

Final Clue:
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If you have guessed the book (or the author), you can say so in the comments, but I will neither confirm nor deny anything until it gets a little closer to the signing. In other words, guess away!

Review: Stand Short and Proud

This review was written at the request of the author; however, the opinions expressed are my own.

Title: Stand Short and Proud (Chronicles of the Floating Continent, book 2)

Author: Billy Wong

Meg, together with a couple of friends, have set out as monster hunters. Their timing could not be worse. A truce on monsters has been declared and they’re left with no one to fight but bandits. Instead Meg and her partner Patrick enlist in the army. Meg’s sure their experience will make them valuable recruits, and it seems that she’s right. Despite her petite height, which she is VERY sensitive about, Meg gets right in the middle of a fight with what seems to be a reincarnation of an evil wizard. And if this guy comes back, the whole kingdom is in danger.

I really enjoyed this book. It reads like an adventure or a quest story, sort of a journey. Lots of training, marching, hanging about the camp, making new friends, that kind of thing. I was disappointed that there weren’t more women in the army. Their captain is a woman, but it would have been nice to have something approaching equal numbers. I also liked that this is not a romance. There’s no love interest in this at all. There’s friendship, camaraderie, and that’s it. Kind of a refreshing change.

I wish that the author had included a few paragraphs near the beginning to catch new readers (like me) up to speed with this series. I didn’t read the first one, and I was really lost at first. There was nothing in here about how Meg met her traveling companions, about the general, about this new truce with the monsters. Also a map would have been helpful, but then I always want a map!

Now for more serious criticism. While I liked the pacing of the story, I felt like the writing was a little choppy and the dialogue needed a little work. It didn’t flow as smoothly as it should have in places. Meg especially just couldn’t stop with the pithy remarks in the middle of a battle. Really? Maybe quit talking and just concentrate on fighting.

If you enjoy fantasy and action, I think you should give this one a try. I would definitely start with book 1, The Golden Dawn.

About the author:

Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today’s literary world.

New Giveaway!

I’ve decided to do a signed book for my next giveaway and I’m sure you’ll be thrilled when you here more about what I’ve chosen. Local author Charlie N. Holmberg is doing a book release party at the American Fork Library to celebrate her new book, The Fifth Doll. There will be a reading, a signing, giveaways, Matryoshka displays, and a little bird tells me crafts for the kiddos.

About The book

Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life.

Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls—one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem.

When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls—whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.

About the author

Charlie is a local Utah author, Author of The Paper Magician series; Followed by Frost; and Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller. I think – but I’m not certain – that all her books are available from Kindle Unlimited. They are each creative and original. And she’s a sweetheart, going to all the writer’s events. Really warm and friendly.

Anyhow, the event is

Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
American Fork Public Library
I will be there AND get a signed copy of her book to Giveaway. As before, you’ll have to follow my blog if you want to win.

Review: The King’s Traitor

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Title: The King’s Traitor, The Kingfountain series #3

Author: Jeff Wheeler

Themes: Ambition, loyalty, love, duty, trust. Again a strong theme of Richard III, King Arthur, and this time the Little Mermaid.

The lives of Owen Kiskaddon and the king Severn Argentine have been intertwined since he was first taken to the king’s court as a frightened little boy. Almost twenty years later, his mentor is dying, his boyhood love is married to another man, and the king he serves has become the monster he was long rumored to be.

Owen’s latest errand for the king is a highly personal errand – he’s sent to propose marriage to the young Duchess of Brythonica. The idea is to provoke an outraged rejection, use that as a pretext for war, and strengthen the kingdom. Owen has little enthusiasm for the task, but even he is not expecting to have his proposal accepted. Duchess Sinia is nothing like he expected. She’s Fountain Blessed, like Owen himself, and her magic permeates the land. Brythonica is full of fertile fields, happy peasants, and a mysterious wood.

This book was so full of action I can’t possibly cover it all, but Wheeler has a talent for taking an already tense situation and making it more suspenseful. There were a few times that I thought the characters were not cautious enough, that they were making obvious mistakes. But I could forgive that, since the characters were so well developed that I truly cared about them. They didn’t all survive, but I won’t spoil it by telling you more. If you haven’t tried this series, I would recommend it for anyone who loves fantasy or history. I’ve heard some people who were put off by the fact that the protagonist is only 8 years old in the first book, however I don’t think that lessened my enjoyment of the book at all. It starts with The Queen’s Poisoner, and there’s a related trilogy after. 4/5 stars

Cover Reveal – The Last Dragon Rider

The Last Dragon Rider

Summer is the perfect time for those sweet, special summer reads. Books about epic quests, about true love, about fighting for a noble cause and that perfect ending. Australian writer Errin Krystal has just such a book coming out next month, in time for the end of vacation reading before routine starts all over again this fall.

Book Description

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.

When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.

The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

If this book sounds like something you’d be interested in, the book will be available August 9th! And you can find out more about the story, the characters, and see some additional artworth here:

Website: http://errinkrystal.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErrinKrystal/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErrinKrystal

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/errin.krystal.bookishwriter/?hl=en

Finally, what you’re waiting for, here’s a look at that amazing cover!

TheLastDragonRider Cover

More about the author!

Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.

She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

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Reads & Reels Book Tours

This whole cover reveal tour was organized by R&R Book Tours. If you’d like to be in on the next event, contact Shenanigan here. This is my first time hosting one, and I’m sure I will do better next time, but it’s fun to be part of the event!

Review: The Hundredth Queen

Book Review: The Hundredth Queen, Book 1

Author: Emily R. King

Kalinda is an orphan, hoping to pass her trials and stay at the temple and train forever. Unfortunately in her world, benefactors of the temple can come select girls at any time to join their households as servants, as concubines, or as wives. Kalinda is sickly and repeatedly told she is ugly, so she figures her only chance at leaving the temple is as a servant. But when she is chosen to leave, it is as a wife to the rajah. His 100th wife. This is important because the 100th wife has religious significance and the cruel rajah plans to use his marriage to force the other wives and concubines to fight for his favor and win his approval. Such a fight is always to the death.

This book was free as a member of Amazon prime and I was excited because they never have genre fiction. Unfortunately, I was left only confused and unsatisfied. Kalinda is about to be forced into marriage with a cruel man she just met. She’s been raised in a virtual convent. You’d expect there to be some lesbian relationships, even if it’s only hints. But there’s nothing like that. You’d expect her to have some questions about physical relationships with a man, about sex, about, let’s spell it out, rape. There’s not much mention of that either. Her best friend is also forced into marriage with a man against her will and she’s beaten. That gets slight mention, but the sexual assault that the reader knows must be going on? Nothing.

Kalinda is such a special snowflake in this that Captain Deven, her bodyguard, falls in love with her at first sight, and she’s reckless enough to be seen talking to him intimately all the time. Then she’s surprised when he’s caught and punished. The only reason I finished this book is because I was curious about the magical aspect, and that wound up being a little confusing. I will admit that I was sick when I read it, so it might have made more sense and I  might have enjoyed it more on another day. But then again, I might have been more critical, so who can say. All I know is that I wouldn’t recommend it. I got it free and I would have been grumpy if I had paid for it. 2/5 stars.