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

INSTAGRAM

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/

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: blog tour

You may remember my last blog post was a cover reveal for a new installment in a fairy tale series called Once upon a Twist Tales. You can find that cover reveal by scrolling all the way down and clicking the previous post button.

Title: The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: A Snow White and Rose Red Story (Once Upon a Twist Tales, Book #4)

Tagline: How far would Snow White and Rose Red go to save the man behind the bear?

About the Book:

When their father runs away, Marita and Diamond Kadlec realize how different twins can be. Marita’s ready to forget Lucas entirely, but Diamond wants to give him the second chance she’s never been able to give before. That’s before they discover that Lucas is indebted to the ill-tempered D’vard and his traveling circus, the Rosethorn Ring. The Ring’s entertainment lacks a bear, and Lucas must play the part of the savage creature to regain his freedom.

Lorcan D’vard cares only for three things: tending to his beloved beard, promoting his Rosethorn Ring, and eradicating the assassin out to kill him. With time running out, D’vard agrees to cancel Lucas’s debt and let him go free – if Marita and Diamond can apprehend the assassin before the assassin ends the show.

This is Snow White and Rose Red with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is available now. You can find it at Goodreads and Amazon below:

o Goodreads | Amazon

About the Series:

Once Upon a Twist Tales are your favorite fairytales retold backwards and upside-down, with a little bit of steampunk thrown in for fun!

Find the other books here:

o Goodreads | Amazon

Other Books in the Series:

Book One ~ The Rose and the Balloon: A Beauty and the Beast Story

Book Two ~ Spindle Dreams: A Sleeping Beauty Story

Book Three ~ Diamond: A Rapunzel Story

My Dive in Review:


The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is a retelling of the fairytale, Snow White and Rose Red. If you are unfamiliar with it, don’t worry, it’s often confused with that other (but unrelated) fairy tale about a girl named Snow White.

This version of the story removes the magic and replaces it with a circus setting. I really liked the circus aesthetic and thought the adaptation was spot on. All the fairy tale’s major plot points are present and easily recognizable.

This is the fourth book in Fichter’s Once Upon a Twist Tales series. I believe the story stands on its own well, but you will enjoy it more if you start at the beginning. At least read book three, as this book directly references those events. Diamond goes through so much that you really need to read about her previous adventures to appreciate how strong her character is.

The best character was indeed Diamond, who spends most of the book blind. Her POV is a prime example of how to tell a descriptive narrative using only sound and scent cues. Not only that, but she is caring and patient. Qualities that more people should learn to emulate.

*Received an advanced copy to review. This review is my own honest opinion and is willingly and honestly given after reading the provided material.*

About the Author:

Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who loves being the wife to her favorite person ever, mommy to two precious blessings, a piano enthusiast, a dragon buff, a serious bookworm, and an INFP synesthete. Fairytales have always fascinated her, and she has made it her goal to rewrite as many as possible and become known as the “Grimm Dickens” (i.e. mixing Grimm fairytales with a Dickens style). She is present in many online circles under the name “Kiri Liz” if you care about things like that. As you read this, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.

Important Links:

– Author’s Pages

o Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

April 5th

Welcome & Giveaway @ A Synesthete Writer

Author Interview @ Living Outside the Lines

Favorite Fairytales About Siblings (Guest Post) @ Lands Uncharted

Book Review @ Christine Smith

Book Review @ Tower in the Plains

April 6th

Snow White and Rose Red Tag @ A Synesthete Writer

Author Interview & Book Review @ Madi’s Musings

Looking Ahead at the Twist Tales (Guest Post) @ Virtual Paper

Book Review @ E. Kaiser Writes

April 7th

Snow White and Rose Red Mad Libs @ A Synesthete Writer

Inspiration for The Bear of Rosethorn Ring (Guest Post) @ Ink Castles

Favorite Characters from the Twist Tales (Guest Post) @ Living Outside the Lines

Book Review @ Shieldmaidens of Shiloh

Book Review @ Live. Love. Read.

April 8th

The First Chapter @ A Synesthete Writer

Awesome and Obscure Fairytales (Guest Post) @ Madi’s Musings

SWRR Elements in The Bear of Rosethorn Ring (Guest Post) @ Abigail Falanga

Book Review @ Blooming with Books

Book Review @ C.O. Bonham

April 9th

Winner & Wrap-Up @ A Synesthete Writer

Author Interview & Book Review @ Virtual Paper

Retelling an Unknown Fairytale (Guest Post) @ Live. Love. Read

Book Review @ Living Outside the Lines

Book Review @ Ink Castles

A shadow sealed: cover reveal and new release double post.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet since the start of this year. I’ve been taking it easy and getting ready for some more great reads for this year. So in preparation of a year of great books I’ve doubled up the posting today. One is a book you can read right now and the other is a cover reveal for one that I am looking forward to reading later this year.

The first book I’m going to mention is A Castle sealed by Sharon Rose.

A Castle Sealed by Sharon Rose
Prequel Novella in the Castle in the Wilde series

Mysterious tales surround an abandoned castle. Are they summoning Tristan to adventure, or warning him of death? 

Lord Tristan is a hero. Driving invaders from his kingdom has earned him undying gratitude—but no estate in his own homeland. Nor has his boundless energy found purpose through his travels abroad…until he hears of a hidden castle, abandoned and filled with untold treasure. Why has no one claimed this prize? The townsfolk warn of ferocious beasts. Especially the night-prowling vixicats, so vicious that no one lives to tell what they really are. Who started these absurd tales? What are they trying to hide? And what of that isolationist kingdom beyond the castle?

Beth knows her duty…knows all the constraints imposed on a proper lady. They have trammeled her childhood and will now stifle the rest of her life. Granted, her marriage must maintain the strength and purity of the noble families. Yet she loathes the man she is destined to wed, and wonders at the dirty secrets that haunt his clan. At least her own family’s honor is intact. Or is it? Why are the northern lands of the kingdom forbidden?

A Castle Sealed is the prequel novella to the Castle in the Wilde series. If you like fantasy with mystery, intrigue, and romance, come and explore this secondary world with medieval undertones and the turmoil of changing cultures.

What I thought of it:

This prequal novella is very interesting. It’s also short. Basically it’s the story of how Tristian discovered the castle that he is occupying in A Castle Awakened. It’s a fun adventure with a group of adventurous men exploring an abandoned castle. It has very little meat to it (which is honestly odd for a Sharon Rose book).

But the fact that it’s a prequel and not book one already implies that it’s more for fun than for thought. I feel this novella would be great as a jumping on point to the series. But if you already devoured book one then this will expand on the world building and give you more time with characters you’ve already come to enjoy.

The Castle in the Wilde books are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. The print versions can also be ordered from local bookstores and libraries.

A Castle Awakened, book one, is now available. Get it today at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GL7QXB2
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/3LY9qJ
For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-21-6.

To read my review of a Castle Awakened check out this blog post: https://cobonham.com/2020/12/26/dive-in-review-a-castle-awakened/

A Castle Sealed – a prequel novella – will release Jan 19, 2021. Today!
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GKZMCFZ
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/bPXJdl
For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-19-3.

A Castle Contended – look for novel 2 in June, 2021.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R11LYLG
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/3LY5v0

Sharon Rose writes fantasy and science fiction because they allow the imaginative space to explore reality. Her stories weave cultures and characters, who are more than they seem to be, into adventures with mystery, romance, and hope.

Shadow Cover reveal

For my second post I’m excited to join in the cover reveal for Shadow by Kara Swanson releasing July 2021 from @enclavepublishing in limited-edition hardcover! Shadow is the second book in the Heirs of Neverland duology which is a Peter Pan retelling/sequel. 

Check out my blog post wear I interview author Kara Swanson to get caught up on book one. https://cobonham.com/2020/06/23/dust-tour-stop-29-fantastic-interview-with-kara-swanson/

Isn’t the cover perfect? Look at how it complements the cover for Dust. How the pirate ship and Skull Island paint a different picture from the London cityscape.

Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.
Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.
Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.
To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

#peterpanretelling #heirsofneverland #shadow #karaswanson #preorder #coverlove #coverreveal #enclavepublishing #july2021 #EnclaveEscape #yafantasy #shadowheirsofneverland #yaretelling

I am so excited for this book. Dust really strung me along and now I want answers. This is my number one most anticipated book of 2021. I will drop whatever I am reading to devour this book as soon as I can.

If you feel the same way you can preorder your copy now. Current release date is July 13th 2021. http://bit.ly/ShadowHeirsofNeverland

I’m going to start posting more regularly again including even more audiobook recommendations.

Which of the two books I shared about are you most excited to read?

Go Write Your Novel!

Well this has been a crazy transition into December. I won NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. During a power outage. (Thank God for laptops with long battery life.) Is it a novel? Well, it’s 50,000 words of something. It might be more like three novellas than one novel. I need to edit it to see what I got.

Maybe today’s featured book will be able to help me do that?

Today is the release day for Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore’s book Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel. This is a writing book for the beginner writer. It’s filled with advice and encouragement for new writers. Learn more at https://goteenwriters.com/writeyournovel

Keep reading for an interview with the authors.

This book cover is so neat. It brings me so much joy seeing this stack of notebooks on the cover of a book about writing.
It’s so meta.

You have a story to tell, don’t you? Or maybe you simply want to try your hand at fiction writing. Perhaps you’ve given it your best effort, but simply didn’t have enough tools in your tool box to finish that first draft. Wherever you’re at with this novel-writing thing, popular bloggers Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore totally understand.

They know it’s hard to finish a first draft. To stay motivated until the end. To feel like a “real” writer. They know because they’ve been there too.

In Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel, you’ll learn: 

  • There is no such thing as one right way to write a novel.
  • How to take an idea and give it a beginning, middle, and end.
  • What story structure means and how it strengthens a book.
  • Different approaches to plotting a novel.
  • How to develop characters worth reading about.
  • Strategies for creating memorable storyworlds and settings.
  • What theme is and how to use it to enrich your story.
  • What to do when your first draft is finished.                                                                                   

There’s no doubt about it. Learning to write a novel from beginning to end is a challenge. But with this book as your guide, you’ll see that when you’re in possession of the right tools, you’re capable of finishing what you start. You’ll be empowered and encouraged—as if you had a writing coach (or three!) sitting alongside you.

A glamor shot of Go Teen Writers: Write your novel, sitting on a spread of opened books.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS OF
GO TEEN WRITERS: WRITE YOUR NOVEL


When you were a teenager, did you consider yourself a storyteller?

Stephanie: I considered myself to be a writer from first grade on and always thought I would
write novels.

Shan: I think I did, yes. I don’t know that I would have pulled that word out of the air, but I was
part of a performing arts group (drama, puppetry, and dance), and I dabbled in poetry and the
like. To me, everything revolved around story, and I knew I had a knack for telling them. A few
teachers had encouraged me in that, and I embraced the idea. I didn’t really know what to do
with it, and I don’t know that I envisioned it as a full time career, but I liked the idea that I
excelled at something cerebral.

Jill: Not really. I was a daydreamer. And I wanted to be famous. So, there were days when I
daydreamed about being a screenwriter or a novelists. Most days, however, I dreamed about
being a fashion designer. That was what I went to college to study.

You’re each respected novelists. Why do you invest time and energy blogging for and encouraging young writers?


Stephanie: I was a teen writer, and I longed to be connected to other writers. I wanted to learn,
to talk about writing, and to figure out how to get published. Because the internet wasn’t a very
social place yet (I graduated high school in 2001) I didn’t know how to connect. So years later
when my first series was published and I began receiving emails from teen writers, I decided it
would be fun to create a place where I could pass on what I know as well as connect them to
each other. Basically, I wanted to create what I wish I’d had as a teen writer!

Jill: I love teaching and helping others. Since I was writing for teens, it made sense for me to
teach teen writers and encourage them any way that I could. Also, back when I started writing,
my husband and I worked as youth pastors at our church, so we spent almost all our free time
with teens. Our life just kind of revolved around teenagers and stories, so it felt natural for me to
blog for teen writers too.

Shan: I love young people! I remember, vividly, how hard and wonderful those years were. So
many things change between the ages of 12 and 18, both internally and externally. For me, that
was when writing shifted from school assignment to hobby for me. I began to process the world
through the words I put down on the page, and I would have given anything at all for someone
to help me along there. It’s both exciting and fulfilling to contribute to a young writers toolbox.

What is the most challenging part of the writing craft for you?

Jill: Getting the first draft complete. I like writing first drafts for about two days, then I’m dying to
be done. It sometimes just feels like I’ll never finish. And sometimes it’s just really hard work
because I’m still trying to discover my characters and my story. It’s so much more fun for me
when I’m done with all that and I can focus on making the story the very best it can be. Once I
know all my characters deeply and understand their motivation, that’s the fun part for me.

Shan: Moving in and out of my story. Like you, I have many roles to play: Mom. Wife. Daughter.
Sister. Friend. Every day requires something different from me. If I had my preference, I’d focus
on one thing at a time–a storyteller until the book is done, and then a mom–but life isn’t like
that. I have to be a storyteller alongside all these other roles, and that takes its toll on me. It can
make staying in my story difficult, and it can make being present with my friends and family a
challenge. I work on it constantly.

Stephanie: I always run into trouble after the 50% mark in my first draft. Endings are tough for
me, so I often get a bit panicky after the midpoint.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Stephanie: Talking about my books has often been a struggle for me. I would much rather be
writing or editing books than marketing them! For my strength, I’m pretty disciplined with my
writing time. If it’s time to write, that’s what I’m doing. (Mostly.)

Jill: I struggle with literary prose. With making things sound beautiful and profound. I’m just not
that kind of writer, and some days it bothers me. I’ll spend an hour trying to rewrite one section
that is bothering me. I think one of my strengths is dialogue. Natural dialogue has always come
easily to me, but once I know my characters, I really know what they’d say and what they
wouldn’t’ say. This is another reason why I enjoy the editing stage so much. I really enjoy
tweaking dialogue to make it just right.

Shan: This question is always tricky. We don’t always see ourselves objectively, but the things
that come most naturally to me are voice, worldbuilding, and character development. I have to
work harder at things like plot and structure. Part of this is because I discovery write so much,
but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

What craft issue was your greatest roadblock early on, and how did you overcome it?

Shan: My process is always evolving. As a discovery writer, plot is something that develops
organically for me, but it was a very messy part of my writing early on. It’s still messy, to be
honest, but I’m better at controlling the chaos these days. I’ve tried my hand at various tools and
I know what works for me and what doesn’t. While I’m loathe to fully plot out a story, I’ve learned
to give myself landmarks to shoot for, and that helps me move through a manuscript much more
directly.

Stephanie: Figuring out what ideas could sustain an entire novel and what couldn’t. The best
thing I did to overcome that was FINISH BOOKS. Once I pushed myself to write beyond the first
few chapters and make it through to the end, I began to understand what kind of ideas were big
enough for a novel.

Jill: Showing vs. Telling. I just did not know what people meant by that! It took me a very long
time to understand the difference. And even once I could understand it finally, learning not to
write that way was another hurdle. I just needed hours and hours of practice, but I wanted it to
happen much faster than the time I was putting in working on my craft. Overcoming it, however,
simply took time. I had to write and write and rewrite and rewrite until I started to figure it out.
Until it started to become natural.

Image text is an endorsement from author Nadine Brandes, The text of which is typed out at the end of the blog post.

If you could go back to the beginning of your writing journey and give yourself advice, what would say?

Stephanie: Write what you want to write. When I first started pursuing publication, I wanted to
write impressive novels that you would study in English class. Literary fiction. But I had zero
ideas for literary fiction, and I don’t really enjoy reading it that much either! I wanted to write that
because it seemed impressive, which isn’t a great reason. I wanted to write young adult fiction
just out of love for the stories themselves.

Jill: Trust your gut. There were several times when I didn’t think something was a good idea for
my career, but I trusted other people instead. Turned out that I was right. I knew my market. I
knew my audience. And I knew how my stories would be received. I wish I would have trusted
my instincts and not given in to pressure from others. Once you’ve been in publishing a while,
you need to trust your gut. Not every opportunity needs to be pursued. Think carefully about
your own goals and make careful choices.

Shan: My answer to this question changes frequently, but one thing I’d want rookie writer
Shannon to know is that writing stories is, in itself, a reward. Writers do this job for all sorts of
reasons. I began to pursue writing as a career because I wanted a work-from-home job that
satisfied my creative itch. And while it hasn’t made me rich financially just yet, storytelling has
met some financial needs, but more than that, it has been the catalyst for growth in my own life.
As I try and fail alongside my characters, I learn and I change and I am so grateful for that
experience.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Jill: Hmm… I’m going to say Brandon Sanderson because I love his worldbuilding, magic
systems, and plotting. I seriously just want to be the man’s writing friend. But I’d love to ask him
about how he decides what to write and where he finds the time. I’d also like to talk with Jennifer
A. Nielsen about writing different genres for different audiences. And it might also be fun to talk
with John Grisham, who was one of my favorite authors before I started writing. I’d like to ask
his advice about the business side of things and see if he has any tips for my least favorite side
of being a writer.

Shan: Ooo! First off, Tana French. She’s a mystery writer who is all voice all the time and I’d
love to pick her brain. Second, maybe Tasha Alexander. She’s a historical fiction writer who
travels a lot, and often writes her books in the location she’s featuring. I so wish I could do that!
And third, let’s go with Jennifer Donnelly. She’s been able to cross genres and age groups and
continues to create beautiful stories for each audience. Talk about career goals.

Stephanie: Sarah Dessen, because she was the first YA author that I “discovered.” (She was
already on the NYT list, so I hardly discovered her!) J. K. Rowling, obviously. And I’m going to
cheat and say James S. A. Corey, author of The Expanse series. (James S. A. Corey is a pen
name for two writers.) I’m regularly blown away by the size of that storyworld and the
characterization, so I’d love to talk with them about their process and how the story has evolved.

Any last words of wisdom or encouragement for new writers?

Shan: Read. A lot. And widely. There’s pushback against classics these days, but I say dive in.
Read everything you can. Read old books and new books. Read what interests you and give
those big scary books a try too. If you have other bookish friends, talk about the stories you
read, or journal about them. Pull the story apart in your head, consider why certain characters
did what they did. Ask yourself how the setting contributed to the tale, and how failure played a
role in the growth of the characters. Consider why certain books resonated with you and why
others didn’t. Be thoughtful about literature. It’s a choice that will serve you well.

Stephanie: Build strong writing habits. Writing a little every day or every couple days is better
than writing once a month or writing 50k once month out of the year. Having strong writing
habits will make a big difference in your writing life.

Jill: I’m with Shannon on the reading part, but I’d say: read and write a lot. Read books in the
genre you’re hoping to write. Study how the authors tell those stories. But also, read fiction
widely. And write every day, if you can, or at least regularly. You will not become a better writer
if you don’t practice a lot. So sit down and type some words. Over and over and over again. And
try to have fun doing it too.

COLLECTIVE BIO:

Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore have written a combined 30+speculative, contemporary, and historical novels for young adults. Since 2010 their critically acclaimed website, GoTeenWriters.com, has offered honesty, community, and encouragement to teens (and not-so-teen) writers working to improve their craft. When not writing, blogging, or mom-ing, they can be found hanging out with young writers at conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. 

Book Order Incentive

The authors are offering a signed book plate and a book mark to the first 100 readers who order and submit their receipt, before the end of the year, for Go Teen Writer: Write Your Novel. Those who submit a receipt will also be entered into a drawing for one of ten spots in a virtual “Ask me anything” session with all three authors. Go here for purchase links and the form to submit your receipts: https://goteenwriters.com/writeyournovel

WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ARE SAYING:

“This is it. A go-to writing craft book I can recommend to ANY writer! Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel is easy to read, but rich and thorough with content. Even as a multi-published author I found myself jotting down notes, quotes, and coming away inspired to go write! From writing craft to author doubts this book covers writing from head to heart. There’s no doubt I’ll be rereading this one. An absolute must-have for all writers young, old, beginner, advanced, human or cyborg. —Nadine Brandes, award-winning author of RomanovFawkes, and the Out of Time series

“Whether you’re looking for encouragement or practical advice to get you writing or editing, Go Teen Writers is the place for teens who want to connect and grow. The ladies behind the blog and the books have years of experience honing their craft and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If you’re a young writer searching for that missing piece to help propel you forward, look no further than the resources Go Teen Writers provides.” — Sara Ella, award-winning YA author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral

“I love goteenwriters.com! The site offers insightful instruction on the craft of writing a novel, excellent tools to help new writers learn the ropes, and a valuable sense of community. Highly recommend!” – C.J. Redwine, New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen

Be Our Guest Post: Tammy Lash Author

Today I’m not featuring an audiobook. Today is a guest post from author Tammy Lash. I love having Tammy on the blog because her guests posts are always so insightful and inspirational. If you missed the first time I had Tammy on the blog you can find that here: https://cobonham.com/2017/08/07/white-wolf-and-the-ash-princess-blog-tour/

White Wolf Also got an awesome new cover, check out those gears! And the sequel is finally here too. And make sure you read all the way to the bottom for a giveaway from Tammy.

Books one and two in the White Wolf series, Now available.

The Gales of November

(Is God There? Why Can’t I Hear Him?)

One of my favorite things about living in Munising is being so close to Lake Superior. Our house is five minutes away from the “Gitchi-Gami”. The Native Americans named her this because she behaves more like a “Great Sea” than the inland lake that she is. Her mood can change from day to day, so anytime is the best time to visit her, but my favorite month to see her is in November. The winds of fall provoke her into a raging beauty. Her power is luring, and one is tempted to get close. Resist her. Her waves will knock you off your feet and her currents will force you to her depths. Sailors respect her and poets and songwriters are captivated by her. All share words of warning. Gordon Lightfoot wrote about the gales of November in his haunting song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Our favorite place to watch Lake Superior throw her November fit is from Miner’s Beach. The forest at our back offers a safe place to retreat from her reaching waves and the racing wind that feds her frenzy. The lake’s roars are so deafening they can be heard beyond the trees and into the parking lot.

Photo is of Lake Erie not lake Superior. Taken by me in June not November.
–Cathrine

Many times, life is as loud and violent as the gales of November. We can hear nothing but the noise of worry and trouble. When this wind direction is aimed at us, we must run to safety (Psalms 17:6) and seek shelter from the painful gusts. Our safe place can be found by spending time in His word and talking with Him. No shelter outside of Him will provide the protection we need no matter how capable we may think we are in handling bad weather (Psalms 9: 9-10). No ship, no matter how sturdy, can survive the furious waters of the Gitchi-Gami.

The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1)? A stronghold is a place of security and survival. To keep safe during life’s gales, we mustn’t stray beyond the gates even if the waters outside seem still. We must never let up on our quiet time with Him. We Christians never come to a point in our walk where we “make it.” Satan hunts in the calm waters just as he does in the violent waves.

Many verses in Psalms offer promises to us that He will be the safety we need, but what if we can’t hear Him? Feel Him? In Psalm 4:1, David’s thoughts are the same as ours in times of trouble. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness…

Above image is still lake Erie — Cathrine

Life is so much like Michigan’s moody Lake Superior. The roar from our hearts can fill our ears and drown out His voice. Fear not, dear friend. He is there. He can hear your cries against the wind. David experienced salvation from his storm and he shares it with us in Psalm 116:1-3. I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call Him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

If the winds of November are whipping at you, turn to Him even if you can’t hear Him. He is there waiting to shelter you. David felt safe when he called out to Him.

You have given me relief when I was in distress (Psalm 4:1).

Trust that His words are true. He made the might of Lake Superior. He can calm the storm in you.

https://youtu.be/hgI8bta-7aw (Video from Soundings/June 16, 2017)

About the author:

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 Princess, Letters 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

Cover of Letter From the Dragon’s Son

Letters from the Dragon’s Son Book

A father…

A son…

and the dragon they became.

One head: Malevolent, attired in barbs and spines, took pleasure in decimating the forested village.

Avery, formerly White Boar, wanders the forests seeking forgiveness from the people he sold into slavery, but is repentance payment enough? 

Righteous, with two horns on each side, tried to calm the evil one’s violent ambition.

More servant than son, Jonathan Gudwyne, had been powerless to stop his father from taking the Men of the Forest into captivity. As a man, White Wolf reverses the damage he and his father caused by returning the Natives home. Jonathan gains honor and worship, but what does he do with the remains of his past? Justice has yet to be served to the dragon. Should Jonathan be the one who administers the sentence to his wandering father? To himself? 

The two heads formed Brinsop, whose iron talons wrought chaos…. 

Can a man change? Can a broken family be made whole again? If one head is destroyed can the other survive?

From author Tammy Lash, the anticipated sequel to White Wolf and the Ash Princess. Letters from the Dragon’s Son is here!

Letters is an emotionally driven story of love, loss, and forgiveness. Jonathan’s journey to his father is raw, heartbreaking, and honest. Avery’s transformation from dragon to father is beautiful and inspiring. Letters is the loyalty of family, of blood or friendship, and the One who ordained it all. Letters from the Dragon’s Son is a compelling read that offers hope and healing to the wounded soul. 

Amazon-

Goodreads-

Letters From the Dragon’s Son: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55836769-letters-from-the-dragon-s-son

White Wolf and the Ash Princess: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37880370-white-wolf-and-the-ash-princess

Eagle Eyes: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42436944-eagle-eyes

Giveaway

Tammy is also generously offering a Giveaway to celebrate the release of her new novel. Everything pictured below.

Giveaway LINK:

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

If the embedded widget is not working for you please click here to go to the rafflecopter page: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a44877ea18/?

Audiobook Review: King’s Warrior

Today I bring you another audiobook in my November Audiobook reviews. Today’s post also corresponds with a blog tour for the fantasy novel, King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt.

King’s Warrior is now an audio book!

An exciting adventure, now available in audio format!

Note from the author:

Enter the realm of Aom-igh, embark on an adventure with Princess Kamarie to save her kingdom. Battle dragons alongside the young squire, Oraeyn and the mysterious warrior, Brant. And experience the adventure in the way it was always meant to be experienced: out loud.

As many of my dear readers already know, when I wrote King’s Warrior, it was intended as a story that my dad could read out loud to my siblings each night. I always dreamed of getting it turned into an audio book, and now I am pleased to announce that this dream has come true.

Many readers have told me that they feel this is a story that “reads aloud” well. And that is no surprise to me, since I wrote it expressly for that purpose. So I am excited for the opportunity for more people to get the chance to have this story read out loud to them by a master at his craft, Benjamin Fife. It was a true pleasure to work with someone who was even more excited about this project than I was (if that were possible!) Not only that, but Benjamin truly “gets” the heart of this story, and he does ALL the voices.

-Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

About the story

The hope of their world rests on the steel at his side….

Threat of invasion looms. Oraeyn dreams of glory on the battlefield. Instead, he must engage in a battle of wills with a headstrong princess while ushering her to safety (and boredom) in a small village. But they must put aside their differences to save their homeland and complete the second part of their mission: seek out the legendary King’s Warrior to persuade him to take up arms once more. 

When their journey leads them to the lost realm of the dragons they get more adventure than either of them bargained for!

Sound like something you might enjoy? Listen to a sample:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Warrior-Minstrels-Song-Book/dp/B08KTYTZ25/

Audible:
https://www.audible.com/pd/Kings-Warrior-Audiobook/B08KTYGNYR

My Dive in Review:


*Review of Audiobook Edition*

King’s Warrior begins as most fantasies do, with a threat and a quest. The dark country is going to invade and only one man can stop it. Sounds familiar right.

Well it’s not, because for every hackneyed trope, Schmidt adds a twist. The ending is not what you expect and everyone ends up where they are needed most. Wait a minute, ending up where you are needed most is a hackneyed fantasy trope. I guess not all tropes can be subverted.

I really enjoyed the group dynamic of their questing party, the girl who would be a knight, the boy would would not be king, the innocent child who is more then he knows, the man who has lost everything, and the enchantress who is supremely unhelpful.

The character work in this novel is where is shines the most. Not just the characters as individuals but how they interact with one another and how they work together.

You have noticed that this is a five book series and are worried about getting into anything too big. I want to assure you that the ending of this book is complete, no cliff hangers or set ups. continuing on with the series is entirely optional and up to you. But I for one will.

This audiobook is narrated by Benjamin Fife. He always does a fantastic job with voice work. But did you know he can sing? This is the first time I’ve heard him sing and he did a great job on that too.

*I was given an code to redeem for a review copy of this book, All opinions are my own and are provided honestly.*

About the Narrator:

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes. Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals.

When his oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December. 

Benny enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

WEBSITE

LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF KING’S WARRIOR

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

INSTAGRAM

Drop back in mid week, Wednesday or Thursday. when I’ll have another audio review up for you.

The Alchemyst’s Mirror: Tea shop sip and review

The Alchemyst’s Mirror blog tour.

Today I don’t just have a review for you, I have a recipe. So go steep a cuppa tea and come back for a tasty book review and a must read recipe.

Wait, no, reverse that.

Okay good.

About the book:

Petra and Maisie Everturn just want to run their family’s tea shop, but when their explorer brother Jiordan goes missing while looking for an alchemycal artifact, none of them are safe.

The sisters must enlist the help of another explorer in order to find Jiordan or the artifact—before the mysterious alchemyst society finds them first.

However, when one of the sisters stumbles into the clutches of the most dangerous alchemyst in the city, the race to unravel the clues becomes desperate. And when they discover the truth about the artifact, their quest to infiltrate the alchemyst’s secret society becomes a matter of life and death.

Preorder the book here: https://amzn.to/2YdQRJj

Available in both ebook and hardback.

The release date is tomorrow!

About the author:

Liz Delton writes and lives in New England, with her husband and son. She studied Theater Management at the University of the Arts in Philly, always having enjoyed the backstage life of storytelling.

She reads and writes fantasy, especially the kind with alternate worlds. Liz is the author of the dystopian Arcera Trilogy, and the fantasy Realm of Camellia series, and the new steampunk novel, The Alchemyst’s Mirror. World-building is her favorite part of writing, and she is always dreaming up new fantastic places.

She loves drinking tea and traveling. When she’s not writing you can find her hands full with one of her many craft projects.

Visit her website at lizdelton.com

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: www.LizDelton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizdelton
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizdelton
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizdeltonwrites/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Liz-Delton/e/B00RHANRH4

Strawberry chocolate scone and cup of tea. Photo provided by Liz Delton.

So you got that cup of tea with you? Good have a sip while I tell you why you will really want to read this book. Then I’ll share the recipe for the delicious scone pictured above.

Dive in Review: The Alchemysts Mirror.

The Alchemyst’s Mirror, by Liz Delton, is an exciting, non-stop action, page turner.

Two sisters, Petra and Maisie run their parents tea shop in the industrialized city of Harrowdell. Their brother, an explorer, is missing, presumed dead, and all they want is to find out what happened to him. Their search leads them to the dark underworld of secret societies and unethical alchemysts. It’s a well paced thrill ride, never knowing what will happen or who they can trust.

I really love the steampunk aesthetic, the world building felt well thought out with plenty of room to expand in future books. The main characters were everything you want in a female lead; strong, independent, resourceful, intelligent and above all feminine.

But the best part was really just the story. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took a turn on me. The outcome was impossible to predict. But at the same time it didn’t feel cobbled together either.

I feel like this is mostly a standalone book. While there is plenty of potential for a sequel, I wasn’t left with any burning questions or any cliffhangers.

*I was given an ARC of this novel with no obligations attached. My review is provided honestly and willingly.*

Image: a cute recipe card you can print and keep. The Text of the card is shared below for easy reading by screen readers.

Maisie’s Strawberry Chocolate Scones

Flour – 2 1/2 cups Sugar – 4 tbsp

Baking Powder – 1 tbsp

Butter (Cold!) – 1/2 cup

Strawberries (cut into pieces) – 1 CUp

Chocolate Pieces – 3/4 cup

Buttermilk -2/3 cup”

Egg – 1

Vanilla – 1 tsp

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Work in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Add in the strawberries and chocolate. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk with the egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined. Scrape the mix onto a floured surface and knead/shape into a disc. Cut into 8 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Chill for 20 minutes. Brush the tops of the scones with leftover buttermilk before baking at 400F for 20 minutes,

*If no buttermilk on hand, make some by adding 1 tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk.

If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations You’re invited to a launch party! Join author Liz Delton on Facebook November 10th at 8pm, for Steampunk fun and giveaways. https://www.facebook.com/events/362617744857118/

Ashen: Dive in Review.

Today I bring you my review of the second book in UUPs Cinderella bundle. Ashen by H.L. Burke. Check out my review of Met by Midnight here.

Add these books to your Goodreads Want-To-Read List:

Ashen – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54343688-ashen

Met By Midnight – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54343721-met-by-midnight

Ashen Dive In Review:

Ashen by H.L. Burke is a very loose take on the Cinderella story. So when you’re reading, and you think you know what’s coming, you are only half right. Make that one sixteenth right.

Ashen goes far beyond it’s fairy-tale roots. You could strip out all of the Cinderella elements and still be left with an original and highly engaging original fantasy. In fact, I suspect that that this story may have been conceived without any thoughts of Cinderella in mind.

Ashen tells the story of Lizbete, an Orphan outcast who no one wants, or trusts, or loves. Except Auntie Katrine, who raised her as her own. Lizbete is constantly blamed for everything that goes wrong by the members of her superstitious community. Her character is so engaging. Lizbete goes through literal hellfire in this story. (Bad author, why are you so evil?) But no matter how far down she is pushed Lizbete rises, from, well the ashes, like a Phoenix.

I am a huge H.L. Burke fan and this addition lives up what I have come to expect from her work. Snarky heroes, original world building, lots of hope and of course, happy endings.

I was given an ARC of this novel for the purpose of early review. I am leaving this review of my own accord and it contains my honest opinion of the provided material.

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.

Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. 

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture. 

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Social Media Links

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter/

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hlburkewriter

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

Website: http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/

Order your copy now:

Amazon

Ashen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CZZFKKX/

Met By Midnight – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CZYXJLW/

Other Online Retailers

Ashen – https://books2read.com/u/b5ZW7A

Met By Midnight – https://books2read.com/u/3Gdpea

Autographed Paperback

UUP offers autographed copies of all their books when you buy direct. Order separately,

Ashen

Met By Midnight

Or save heavily on both.

Bundled Special (both books)
https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/ashen-and-met-by-midnight-autographed-paperback-bundle/

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