Discernment: Dive-in Review

A couple weeks ago I hosted a cover reveal for Discernment, the newest book in the Legacy Chronicles by Lauren H. Salisbury. The book is out now and I can’t wait to share my review with you. But first a reminder about the book.

Also this is an official stop on the Discernment blog tour so stay until the end for your secret word to use as entry into the grand prize drawing.

A misfit, a fugitive, and a sacred destiny. Everything changes when all three collide.

In Jiya’s world, the only choice a woman has is who she will marry. When she meets a mysterious off-worlder, she must decide how far she is willing to push the boundaries of Teraburan culture to gain her freedom, and whether that is truly what she wants.

Mahsan has never been accepted for who he is. The sole human raised on an Esarelian cruiser, his attempts to belong led only to disaster and him becoming a fugitive. When he is invited into the home of a Teraburan clan leader, he finds a place where he could finally put down roots. But his past haunts him, and he will need to make peace with it if he wants any kind of future in his new home.

Not everyone approves of Jiya and Mahsan’s friendship, and some will stop at nothing to keep them apart. As the unlikely pair discover their true calling, they will have to confront everything they thought they knew and learn to see themselves as they never have before.

Purchase links:

Discernment – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093WWJ5HY 

Universal link – mybook.to/Discernment 

Check out the first two books in the series at the link below:

Series page (US) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/series/B07QGK7TZY

My Dive-in Review:

Discernment is the third book in Lauren H. Salisbury’s The Legacy Chronicles. This series is a science fiction reimagining of the life of Moses from the Bible.

Discernment specifically focuses on the period of Moses’s story where he flees Egypt and goes to live with the Midianites. This is his wife’s story; here renamed Jiya.

I really loved this new character. Jiya is a strong independent woman stuck living in a patriarchal society that doesn’t value her as a person. Time and again, people try to put her in a box, and she continually thinks her way out of it. She is the perfect match to Mahsan (the Moses stand in) as she can relate to his feelings of not belonging.

Discernment reads very much like a romance. Very clean, with very interesting sci-fi elements, and a Biblical twist, but still romance. For this reason I feel like this book stands very well on it’s own.

As book three of a four book saga, I was afraid that it would suffer from middle book syndrome. Thankfully, it does not. You should of course start at the beginning with book one, Courage, but if you somehow, found yourself starting here, with book three, then rest assured, there is enough backstory that you won’t be lost. The ending is also pretty nicely tied off, with a gentle, slope rather than a sudden drop off a long cliff.

The aesthetic of this particular instalment is what I would call space western. Think Firefly where old ideas meet high tech. For the most part it takes place on a cattle ranch on the planet Terabu, there is quite a bit of mechanical tech as well as space craft, but for every microchip there are just as many low tech scenes.

An all around solid instalment in an interesting series and a great book in it’s own right. I’m looking forward to this fourth book to see how Salisbury handles the ten plagues.

*I was given an advanced copy of this book to review. The opinions provided here are my own honest evaluation of the provided work.*

Word 12. what

For those of you with screen readers. The above graphic has your word for the blog tour.

Word 12. what.

Follow the blog tour to get all the words in the secret sentence:

All the links to the posts can be found here: https://www.laurenhsalisbury.com/

Giveaway:

Discernment Swag Bag

  • Necklace
  • Character art (Jiya, Reemah, Gilla)
  • Recipe cards
  • Quote fridge magnet
  • Handmade greeting card(s)
  • Note from the author
  • Signed bookplate
  • (digital) companion story

Digital Swag Packs

  • Companion story 
  • Character art with notes from the characters
  • Recipe cards
  • Note from the author

Enter the Giveaway Here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ebe7708e2/

Or see if I embedded this widget right (I probably didn’t):

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

About the Author:

Lauren H Salisbury is a lover of all things science fiction/fantasy, creative, and edible, but not always in that order. An English teacher for sixteen years, she now tutors part-time while trying to figure out how to use an MA in Education as an author. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and a room full of books but likes to winter abroad, following the sunshine. Her favourite stories include faith, hope, and courage.

Website – https://www.laurenhsalisbury.com

@gillascourage on Facebook and Twitter

@laurenhsalisbury on Instagram

Unconditional Love Animal Edition.

I’m back with another release. This one also has something I wrote in it. There’s a new short story challenge anthology out now. The challenge was to write a short story poem or essay in only two weeks. The theme was Unconditional love, but there had to be an animal involved.

You can check it out on Amazon now.

What does unconditional love mean to you? That’s the question these authors were asked to answer and write about in this Short Story Challenge. Oh, and since this is the Animals Edition, they had to feature an animal!

In this anthology, you’ll find 21 original works from 10 very different authors! Stories, poems and essays that reveal the bravery, joy, grief, humor and hope of unconditional love.

Enjoy these amazing stories by:

Brandy Morrison

C. O. Bonham <– that’s me.

Colleen Cade

Francine Muzykant

Kristi Asher

Linda Hudson Hoagland

Meagan Myhron-Bennet

Michelle Francik

Victoria Fletcher

Virginia M. Barilla

I like doing these challenges because it forces me to work on a story that might not fit in anywhere else. I can really let loose and see where the theme takes me. This time it caused me to explore love, not just in animals but in families. I also got to ask the big question. “Why doesn’t that dog like me?” If you pick up this anthology look for “Through Dog’s eyes”

The paperback is out now or you can pre-order the ebook version until June 16th.

Pray for your Demons: An Anime Devotion

You may remember last week when I did two posts in a row because of a release getting moved up. That release was for the devotional, Finding God in Anime: A devotional for Otakus. You can find that original post here.

The devotional is available on amazon and other retailers as a free ebook. It was hard to come up with a compelling blog post for this tour. How would you even review a multi author devotional anyway? So then I thought about featuring a devotional. But it’s a free ebook. You can just download it for $0.00.

Then it struck me, the perfect way to show you what an anime devotion was like, without spoiling any of the ones in the book.

Write an entirely new devotion that isn’t featured in the book. Scroll down for an exclusive devotion based on the anime Demon slayer.

Otakus have found the God of Wonders within the pages of manga and the twists of anime. These are their reflections on how truth can intersect with animated fiction.

I repeat this is not part of the Finding God in Anime devotional this is just for my readers.

Pray for your Demons

A Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba devotion

By C.O. Bonham

Demon Slayer is a show easiest understood if you replace Demon with Vampire. Demons, in this show, have eternal life, but will die in sunlight. Humans can become demons by being given demon blood, they then must feed on human blood to sustain their new existence. So yeah, basically vampires.

Tanjiro Kamado returns home one day to find his entire family slaughtered by a demon. Save for one, his younger sister Nezuko is not dead but turned. He sets out to both find a way to return his sister’s humanity and to learn how to prevent others from ending up like his family.

Tanjiro is a talented student and learns to become a powerful demon slayer. That the demons used to be human, never quite sits right with him. He will spare those who do not kill humans. But those who take human life, he sees it as his duty to destroy them.

The weird thing is, even after killing a murdering demon, Tanjiro prays for their soul to find peace in the next life. This show uses Japanese Shinto religion, so the next life is reincarnation. He’s not praying that they go to heaven. After telling a demon that he can never forgive his murder of another human, he still wishes him to live a good life on the next go.

It seems counterintuitive to us. Why would you wish peace on a demon? Let me reiterate, these demons are not fallen angels who have no hope. These demons are twisted humans. Tanjiro is just doing what he does best, caring for others.

This is an authentic example of loving your enemy to me. Yes, he kills the demons, but only to preserve the lives of others. He does not hunt the demons out of revenge for his family.

In fact, the demon who killed them, the one who turned his sister Nezuko, Muzan Kibutsuji, Tanjiro hunts him, only hoping to restore his sister’s humanity. Not for revenge.

Take heed of Tanjiro’s lesson, do nothing out of revenge, but only for the good of others. Pray for the demons in your life, even the ones you have to slay.

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

 — Matthew 5:44 (New International version.)

So that’s what an anime devotion is like.

If you enjoyed it then download Finding God in Anime: a devotional for otakus.

My other anime devotion is available inside and it’s based on My Hero Academia. Read it to discover Deku’s True Quirk.

About Finding God in Anime

Being a Christian can be tough. Being an otaku can be tough. But being both at once?

Sometimes it seems easier to become Hokage rather than explaining your faith and passions to others. That is why we otaku have united in this devotional: To encourage otaku like you spiritually and through a medium we all cherish.

In this devotional, you will find God in the animes you know and love. Each devotional presents spiritual lessons found in animes ranging from the world-famous Attack on Titan to fan-favorite Haikyu!! to beloved classics like Cowboy Bebop. Each piece will feature a different theme such as:

  • Human Will vs. The Holy Spirit in Yona of the Dawn
  • Choosing to be Free in Free! Swim Club
  • Not by My Might in My Hero Academia

…and many others! We believe that God can be seen throughout His creation—even in places where people might not intend! So pull out your cosplay and snuggle close with your plushies as you join us in Finding God in Anime.

Purchase Links

AmazonOther Book Retailers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58045420-finding-god-in-anime

About the Organizers

Laura and Moriah’s life consists of giving each other manga recommendations until they see whose TBR pile will fall on them first. Rest assured they’re both still safe…until another manga releases. In the meantime, they enjoy sharing beautiful pictures of Japan and trying to make each other laugh with anime memes. They both have an appreciation for cute stickers, samurai, and pins. If they’re not chatting about all things otaku, you can find them trying to write their next story or surviving on ramen and pocky after their latest manga order. 

Finding God in Anime Webpage Link: https://www.lauraagrace.com/findinggodinanime

Manga Photo Challenge on Instagram

Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPBFyKmLApY/

Celebrate the release of Finding God in Anime by participating in the manga photo challenge on Instagram! During the month of June, the organizers will be spotlighting a variety of manga that have had an anime adaptation by showcasing them using  #MangaFestival in their posts. Each title prompt is an anime that is featured in the devotional. Grab your favorite manga and get ready to celebrate!

If you would like to follow the blog tour you can start by checking out Laura’s kick off post here: https://www.lauraagrace.com/blog

Finding God in Anime: a devotional for otakus.

I know I literally just posted something yesterday. But this one is important. This book was originally meant to come out the first of June, but now it’s coming out today!

I couldn’t postpone telling you about it because I wrote a piece for this one.

Being a Christian can be tough. Being an otaku can be tough. But being both at once?

Sometimes it seems easier to become Hokage rather than explaining your faith and passions to others. That is why we otaku have united in this devotional: To encourage otaku like you spiritually and through a medium we all cherish.

In this devotional, you will find God in the animes you know and love. Each devotional presents spiritual lessons found in animes ranging from the world-famous Attack on Titan to fan-favorite Haikyu!! to beloved classics like Cowboy Bebop. Each piece will feature a different theme such as:

  • Human Will vs. The Holy Spirit in Yona of the Dawn
  • Choosing to be Free in Free! Swim Club
  • Not by My Might in My Hero Academia

…and many others! We believe that God can be seen throughout His creation—even in places where people might not intend! So pull out your cosplay and snuggle close with your plushies as you join us in Finding God in Anime.

“What is an otaku,” you ask. The short answer is that it’s Nerd in Japanese. The long answer is that English speakers have adopted it as a way of defining a westerner who is obsessed with Japanese pop culture, products, and trends. Things like: anime, manga, and video games.

So I wrote an anime devotion. Does that make me an otaku? I guess. I mean, maybe, not really. I don’t follow anime because it’s Japanese. Most of it’s just really good writing. In fact, I will only watch it if it’s dubbed in English. I don’t read manga because the right to left formatting drives me nuts. And I’m just not very good at video games. (Still stuck on chapter 3 of Bendy and the Ink Machine.)

But I do love good stories. And Anime’s have some of the most compelling storylines that I’ve ever seen. Honestly, achieving the level of plot twist that I’ve seen on some of these shows, are my writing goals.

That said, there is a very strong opinion that good Christians shouldn’t watch anime, (or any fantasy for that matter). This idea is sad because, anime is only a medium. There are good and bad ones, just like there are good and bad sitcoms. A good Christian should use discernment to decide what entertainment is in keeping with their beliefs.

This devotional was made to help you with that. It isn’t meant to push you to watch anime is you don’t want to. It isn’t made to justify anime to those who still feel that it’s wrong. Instead it’s for the Christian Otaku to read, and grow closer to God through the entertainment they love. And to know that they are not alone in loving that entertainment.

The best part is that this book is free as an E-book. The paperback will cost you about eight bucks.

Finding God in Anime: a devotional for otakus is available now as a free Ebook. https://books2read.com/u/3GvLxK

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B094Q1PX7P

Other Book Retailers: https://books2read.com/u/3GvLxK

Add it to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58045420-finding-god-in-anime

I hope you check it out and let me know in the comments:

What is your favorite anime?.

Amok Cover Reveal

Thanks to self publishing and the rise of the online marketplace, you can buy books written by authors from all over the world. Today’s book is written by an author who lives in Malaysia. I had the pleasure of beta reading this book and it was amazing. I’ll have a full review closer to the release date for you. But until then, rest assured that this cover is every bit as amazing as the story.

What is faith, except hope in desperation?

All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?

Amok releases on June 24th, but until then you can preorder it at the following links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amok-Absolution-Book-Anna-Tan-ebook/dp/B08YXQKPN7/

(Universal link: http://getbook.at/Amok)

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=BAIvEAAAQBAJ 

Other retailers: https://books2read.com/amok 

The E-book is on sale with a special preorder price: USD2.99 / RM12.00 [Full price: USD4.99 / RM20]

(RM is the currency in Malaysia)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Tan grew up in Malaysia, the country that is not Singapore. She is interested in Malay/Nusantara and Chinese legends and folklore in exploring the intersection of language, culture, and faith. 

Anna has an MA in Creative Writing: The Novel under a Chevening scholarship and is the President of the Malaysian Writers Society. She can be found tweeting as @natzers and forgetting to update annatsp.com.

Where to find Anna online:

Website: https://annatsp.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/annatsp

Twitter: http://twitter.com/natzers

Facebook: http://facebook.com/annatansp

White Wolf and the Ash Princess Audiobook review

If you are a long time follower of this blog you may remember a couple guest posts from author Tammy Lash. She wrote beautiful inspirational pieces that complimented her novels, White wolf and the Ash Princess, and Letter from a Dragon’s Son.

But I realized that I never actually reviewed either book.

So when Tammy offered me a free reviewer code for the new audiobook edition of White Wolf, I decided that it was good time to correct my error.

Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she suffered a terrible trauma that left her with physical scars. Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall into a world that promises possible answers but also great danger.

While running to escape his past, Jonathan Gudwyne rescued Izzy and took her in, but who did she belong to before he became her guardian?

A mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a path to the New World where the Wendigo wanders and Water Panther swims. In the wilds of 17th-century America, Izzy and Jonathan discover the legends of the New World aren’t the fairytales of their library home in England.

My Review: Historical or fantasy? It’s a fine line.

White Wolf and the Ash Princess by Tammy Lash, reads like a historical novel. But some elements are certainly fantastic.

The time of this novel is hard to pin down. It feels like a historical novel but the ambiguity over the time gives it an almost fantasy like feeling. Unique steampunk gadgets and advanced firearms set it firmly in an alternative timeline. So don’t hurt your head trying to pick out the exact year it takes place in.

The novel is in two parts. The main character, Izzy, suffers from childhood amnesia. The first part deals with her attempts to discover her past.

The second part is the price paid for reclaiming her memories. It shows how Izzy will choose to handle her past and if she will embrace her true identity.

Izzy is a wonderful character. A grown woman who still has a very childlike sense of wonder. Then reality catches up to her, and she must go on a journey of self-discovery, to reclaim the memories of her past so she can truly grow up into the woman she needs to be.

Izzy’s journey to return to her father is an obvious metaphor for a Christian’s faith journey from selfish sinner to child of God.

I’m not sure how I feel about Johnathan. He does love Izzy and wants to protect her, but his secrets seriously hurt her. She should have been told the truth instead of tucked away like a china doll. I suppose I do ship them in that I can’t imagine Izzy with anyone else, but he really should have been more open with her. The whole “We’ll deal with it when her memories return,” attitude is exactly what enabled her to suppress her memories for so long.

I really loved the Native American lore that was mixed into the narrative. I am not sure how much is traditional and what the author invented to aid the story. It just adds to the blurry boundary between the story’s fantasy feel and our own world’s troubling history.

Adele Adler brings this beautifully written prose to life with her lovely voice. She has a talent for making each character unique and she reads narrative description engagingly with Izzy’s first person POV.

Seeped in Native American lore, shrouded in mystery, and full of adventure, White Wolf and the Ash Princess is a book that will keep you guessing until the last page. Or ’til the last minute of audio if you choose the audio edition.

Where to find it:

You can get a copy from amazon at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/White-Wolf-Princess-Tammy-Lash-ebook/dp/B073D93YZ6/

The audiobook is available on Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/White-Wolf-and-the-Ash-Princess-Audiobook/B08XY67H64

Not subscribed to Audible? I recommend purchasing the eBook and adding audio through Amazon’s whisper sync program.

Tammy lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the shores of Lake Superior with her husband and three teen/adult children. Currently, they are working together on their “new” home just outside the Hiawatha National Forest she writes about in her stories. 

Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering,”hunting” for birch bark, and spotting migizis.

She is the author of White Wolf and the Ash PrincessLetters from the Dragon’s Son, and the short story Eagle Eyes from the Descendants of White Wolf series. 

Facebook- https://m.facebook.com/tammylashauthor/

Instagram- http://instagram.com/tamlash5

Blog- http://tammylash.wordpress.com

Discernment: Cover reveal and pre-orders

Today I get to show off a shiny new book that just became available for preorder. The preorders go live today for Discernment. This is the third book in the Legacy Chronicles, a science fiction retelling of the story of Moses.

You can find the first two books here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/series/B07QGK7TZY

The Legacy Chronicles: Discernment
By: Lauren H. Salisbury

A misfit, a fugitive, and a sacred destiny. Everything changes when all three collide.

In Jiya’s world, the only choice a woman has is who she will marry. When she meets a mysterious off-worlder, she must decide how far she is willing to push the boundaries of Teraburan culture to gain her freedom, and whether that is truly what she wants.

Mahsan has never been accepted for who he is. The sole human raised on an Esarelian cruiser, his attempts to belong led only to disaster and him becoming a fugitive. When he is invited into the home of a Teraburan clan leader, he finds a place where he could finally put down roots. But his past haunts him, and he will need to make peace with it if he wants any kind of future in his new home.

Not everyone approves of Jiya and Mahsan’s friendship, and some will stop at nothing to keep them apart. As the unlikely pair discover their true calling, they will have to confront everything they thought they knew and learn to see themselves as they never have before.

Pre-order now for a special price, before the release date on June 2nd. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093WWJ5HY

Preorder Discernment and receive, Provision, a companion story for free. Find more details about this pre-order offer at the author’s website. https://www.laurenhsalisbury.com

Links

Pre-order Discernment – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093WWJ5HY 

Legacy Chronicles page (US) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/series/B07QGK7TZY

Author’s Website – https://www.laurenhsalisbury.com

Dive-in Review: Traitor

It’s time for another book release from L2L2, they publish amazing YA fantasy books, and today’s book is a sequel to one of their previous releases. Click here to check out my review of Common, the first book in the tales to the Mystic’s series.

About Traitor:

Princess Penelope has finally found a way to redeem her past mistakes—if only it didn’t require betraying her new fiancé. Princess Penelope has been the object of gossip and ridicule ever since she returned home in disgrace following her failed engagement to the Crown Prince of Imperia. When her father offers a new start in a country far across the sea, she has no choice but to accept.

Even if it means another betrothal, this time to a total stranger.

Penelope arrives in Delunia determined to avoid bringing further shame upon her family. But her devoted, caring fiancé makes it harder to guard her heart than she anticipated, and rumors of dark magic haunt her with memories she’d rather keep buried far beneath her pristine exterior.

When a poverty-stricken village outside the palace gates looks to her as their hope for a brighter future, Penelope embraces the opportunity to make amends for her transgressions. But in order to help, she must manipulate her new fiancé, putting her reputation on the line once more. And her heart.

Can Penelope rise above the failures of her past, or will she forever be branded a traitor?

Ready to order?

All of the purchase links can be found here (L2L2 website), as well a link to Common.
https://www.love2readlove2writepublishing.com/books/traitor/

My Dive-in Review:

Traitor, by Lauri Lucking, is the sequel to her debut novel, Common.

Having previously read and enjoyed Common made me both excited and hesitant to dive into Traitor. Traitor is about Princess Penelope, the antagonist of Common.

I really struggled to get into the story, at first. This girl was really unlikable in the first book, and I was not ready to forgive her.

But surprise, forgiveness is the whole theme of the novel. This story was an excellent example of forgiveness, how we can never do enough good on our own to earn it, it is a gift, and how sometimes the person we most need forgiveness from is ourselves.

Once you spend a couple chapters with Penelope, you will like her, I promise. She knows she did wrong, and she has to live with the consequences. But she also works really hard to redeem herself by learning from her mistakes.

What I most liked about this book was the country of Delunia. It has a very exotic / Asian feeling compared to the very European feel of the previous book’s Imperia.

One thing that struck me as odd about Common was how magic was not mentioned until suddenly it was. Traitor mentions magic from the beginning and naturally builds to its climatic moment.

Lucking also does a fantastic job of building in the twist ending. I kind of suspected that it might go that way, but I wasn’t really sure until it did. Those are the best kind of twists. Obvious, but surprising.

*I received an advanced copy of this book. A review wasn’t required, but I left one anyway, because that’s how I do things.*

About the author:

Laurie Lucking loves hoarding books, singing at the top of her lungs, playing games that
don’t involve too much strategy, and spending time with her husband and three energetic
kids. A recovering attorney, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom and has
discovered writing young adult romantic fantasy is way more fun than drafting contracts.
Her fairy tale–inspired stories combine the excitement of discovering new worlds with the timeless enchantment of falling in love. Find out more about Laurie and her writing
adventures at http://www.LaurieLucking.com

Social Media Links:
Website: www.laurielucking.com
Blog: www.landsuncharted.com
Amazon Author: www.amazon.com/Laurie-Lucking/e/B0796DGHX8
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/laurielucking
Instagram: www.instagram.com/laurielucking
Twitter: www.twitter.com/LaurieLucking
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/luckinglaurie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurieLucking
FB Reader’s Group: www.facebook.com/groups/faithandfairytales

Audio review: Yorien’s hand

Last November I did a month of audio book reviews. One of those reviews was for a book called King’s Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt, you can read that here: https://cobonham.com/2020/11/09/audiobook-review-kings-warrior/

If you were interested in that book then you will be pleased to hear the next three books in the series are now available on Audible for your binge listening pleasure.

The book I’m reviewing today isn’t book two. No, it’s actually book three. Book two is a prequel book so to get back to where the action left off we must look to book three.

About Yorien’s Hand

The years of Oraeyn’s short rule have been peaceful, but now ominous nightmares plague his sleep and cling to him during his waking hours. When two of his most trusted advisors disappear without a trace and not even the power of dragons can locate them, the fell promise of the king’s nightmares becomes reality.

From the furthest reaches of the world, an ancient enemy stirs. Stretching beyond his crumbling prison walls, this foe seeks to bring life to the darkest of shadows. His army marches towards Aom-igh with deadly intent, threatening all Oraeyn holds dear.

Aided by dragons, and with the warrior Brant and Princess Kamarie at his side, Oraeyn must journey into the wilds of a forgotten realm. Trusting in the wisdom and skill of the enigmatic minstrel, Kiernan Kane, the companions race against time in search of Yorien’s Hand, a relic that may hold the power to save them all.

My Audio Review

This is book three in the Minstrel’s song series, but you can read it second if you want.
The true second book, Second Son, is a prequel. This makes Yorin’s Hand the true sequel. So if you enjoyed King’s Warrior, and want to continue the story of those characters, you have my permission to skip book two and read this book.

If I have one complaint, it’s that the bad guy isn’t as rounded out as the one in the first book was. Grimdorack is generic evil. Sauruman to the main Sauron, if you will. He was just evil for evil’s sake.

But we get more Dragons in this book, so I guess it evens out.

I really liked Kamarie in this book, I was afraid her character would have been less proactive after the events of the first book, but she is as stubborn and insistent as ever. Not taking no, for an answer. Even her relationship with Oraeyn is nicely balanced between deference to her king, and not letting him boss her around just because he’s a man.

The Character Yol is back and is a second favorite of mine. He reads a lot older in this book and we learn about his family so more. I reall wish we had spent more time with Yol but this was already a long book.

Like most epic fantasy Yorien’s Hand, features a lot of POV characters. Maybe more than the first book, if that’s possible.

Thankfully Benjamin Fife is back, a seasoned narrator who is good at distinguishing between characters. He does the voices beautifully and is very good at reading description. He is quickly becoming one of my go to narrators.

I was given a free copy for the purposes of review. I was not required to leave a review, but I did because I’m cool like that. This review was my own honest opinion.

Series Blurb:

From time immemorial a world has endured the struggles of the mighty.  Creatures of myth have been hidden away for centuries waiting to take their place.  But will they be conquerors or protectors?  

The Minstrel’s Song chronicles the story of heroes pitting their will and strength against the hidden, personal, and ancient foes seeking to dominate a world poised for a new era.

Find the whole series available on Audible: https://www.audible.com/author/Jenelle-Leanne-Schmidt/B008J4H9ZS

Or if you still prefer your books a bit more silent get them in paperback or ebook an Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074C6DBH1

Your best option price wise is to buy the eBooks and add the audible for $7.49. You still come out paying about half the Audible price.

About the Author:

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 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.

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

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Dear Henchman: author interview

I hope hearing about H.L. Burke’s new book on Sunday got you hyped for superheroes. Today’s feature is another Superhero genre offering.

I corresponded with the authors of the book Dear hero, and their upcoming release Dear Henchman. Continue reading to learn all about their new book and a little about their writing process.

Every Hero needs a sidekick.
Dear Henchman.
Every Villain needs a Henchman

Interview with Hope and Alyssa:

What Is Dear Henchman About?

Henchmen and sidekicks aren’t supposed to fall in love. Or save the world. They’re supposed to brew coffee, take pics of their hero/villain for social media, and stay in the background.

That was sidekick-slash-frat boy Kevin and henchwoman-slash-tech genius Himari’s plan, until a taxidermy-collecting villain robs Kevin’s hero of his powers and leaves Himari’s villain wounded. Now it’s up to the sidekicks and henchies to save the world.

Without powers, they’ll go up against the Shadow Assassins (a deadly organization that can’t work a PowerPoint to save their lives), road trips-slash-kidnappings, and strange initiation rituals that may or may not involve singing campfire songs.

Himari and Kevin will battle the odds, their insecurities, and their weird affinity for Mexican food as they discover if they have just what it takes to save the world from a nuclear disaster.

Do You Have a Favorite Character?

Hope: Definitely. Hands down for this book, it goes to Liam. He’s probably crazy, collects taxidermy, and makes sure that his captees are well-hydrated and get to eat french toast. He’s the weirdest person I’ve ever written, and I want to marry him.

Alyssa: Hate to be a copycat, but Liam. Hope did a brilliant job, and I laughed the entire time we were writing.

What Was the Best Part about Writing Dear Henchman?

Hope: I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t think my diaphragm has ever hurt this much. I still can’t go through the galleys or ARCs without cracking up and sending Alyssa some of my favorite lines.

Alyssa: There’s usually a point when writing a book where you just want to chuck your laptop across the room. That didn’t happen for Henchman. We just had the time of our lives, and I loved getting surprised by every new wacky thing the characters did.

What Was the Hardest Part about Writing Dear Henchman?

Hope: Well SOMEONE *glares at Alyssa* decided she wanted to beat our record from the last book. In our last book, Dear Hero, we wrote the first draft in 9 days. So SOMEONE decided, “Let’s do it in 8.” We did. And we had a ton of fun. But man, oh man, the one day where we wrote 10,000 words straight without meal breaks … that one was a lot.

Alyssa: Whaaaaat, who could that be? Writing wise, I think the hardest part for me was the romance thread. The adventure is so wild and fast-paced, making time for love to blossom was important.

Was It Harder to Write a Sequel?

Hope: Yes and no. I think, because we had a familiarity with the world, that we didn’t have to start from scratch. With that said, the more books you have, the more potential you have for plot gaps or errors. We had to check ourselves a lot to make sure we didn’t run into any contradictions.

Alyssa: I absolutely loved getting to write more with some of our favorite characters. It felt like writing fan-fic sometimes, but of our own work! We did have a lot more of a high-concept plot this time, though, so there was a lot more effort that went into world building.

What Are You Hoping Readers Take Away from This?

Hope: Besides laughs, we wanted to show a bit of burnout and social media fatigue. There’s so much pressure on Gen Z to have their lives figured out by the time they leave high school, and we wanted to show what that looks like for young superheroes. About how they feel the pressure to be super influencers instead of actually saving people. But we really didn’t set out to write some great moral message, or whatever. We just want readers to have fun, laugh a lot, and fall in love with the characters.

Alyssa: I’ve written books with more serious tones and messages (including some coming out in the next few years with Hope), but for this series, it’s really all about having fun. As an adult, sometimes I feel burnt out by the grittiness of YA and New Adult, and I just want to read something funny. Why should middle grade have all the fun? Of course, there’s plenty of action, angst, and heart-to-hearts, but I’m hoping people just have a good time reading.

What Do You Do When You’re Not Writing?

Hope: HAHAHA you mean besides crying and having existential crises? I like to do some runway modeling, go on hikes, dress up in public for no reason, and do theater. Oh and playing handbells. They’re the hottest instrument since the lyre.

Alyssa: Try to entertain my insane cat, Kookoo, who thinks he belongs on the keyboard and has made it his life mission to drink my coffee when I leave it unattended for two seconds. I’ve decided to attribute any and all typos to his mad dashes across my desk. Other than that, when I’m not writing, I’m working full time in the publishing industry as an agent, editor, freelancer, and publicist, reading for fun, playing party games and D&D over Zoom, and re-organizing my bookshelves for the ten thousandth time.

The Release date for Dear Henchman is May 4th, and should be available for preorder right now at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Henchman-Hero-Book-ebook/dp/B09224CXZ8/

Or buy the ebook, directly from the publisher (right now, no waiting) here: https://intensepublications.com/shop/ols/products/dear-henchmen-ebook

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57688955-dear-henchman

Every Hero needs a villain.
Dear Hero.
Every Villain needs a hero.

Find book one, Dear Hero at the following links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54691019-dear-hero

https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Hero-Hope-Bolinger-ebook/dp/B08G55SWLX/ (As of this writing the paper back was on sale for almost the same price as the ebook.)

Also available from the publisher: https://intensepublications.com/shop/ols/products/dear-hero-ebook

About the authors:

Hope Bolinger is an editor at Crosswalk.com, literary agent at C.Y.L.E., and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in October of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.

Hope author links:

Website: https://www.hopebolinger.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HopeBolinger

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hopebolinger/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hopebolinger/

Alyssa Roat has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as an agent, editor, writer, and marketer. She is the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, an associate literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with 200+ bylines in local, national, and international publications.

Alyssa is the co-author with Hope Bolinger of the YA superhero chat fiction romance Dear Hero and the sequel, Dear Henchman. Her solo debut, the YA contemporary fantasy Wraithwood, releases July 2021. Her name is a pun, which means you can learn more about her at alyssawrote.com or on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as @alyssawrote.

Alyssa author links:

Website: https://alyssawrote.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alyssawrote

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alyssawrote/

Newsletter: https://alyssawrote.com/newsletter/

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