Weird Writing Prompts Review and Questions Answered

So you know that phrase about saving the best for last? well the last post of June is going to be a big one. Not only am I spot lighting a new book from Janeen Ippolito, I get to plug my upcoming novel at the same time. Yes I am actually publishing this one. I have a release date. I’m committed But first here’s a little about Janeen’s book.

Get more out of your writing prompts!

Weird Writing Prompts is a short book loaded with questions to jumpstart your creativity, dive deeper into your characters, and rev up your book marketing.

Oh yeah, and some questions are weird. Like “trap your characters in an elevator with an emu” weird. Because everyone needs a little weirdness to refresh their writing lives!

Grab this book to:

-Get Deep & Random – Expanded prompts with ideas to make your characters epic, plus absurd situations to unlock your creativity with play

-Get Sharing & Marketing – Author-centric questions to fuel your marketing brain and help with social media content creation

It’s time to refresh your brain, supercharge your story, and have fun with your marketing!

“Having fun is vital to goo writing, good marketing, and good sales.” – Janeen ippolito

My review

Weird Writing prompts is a great writing prompt book. Instead of just offering you more story ideas to add to your “to write” list, this prompt book actually helps you develop the story you are already working on.

The book is divided into two parts, character questions and marketing questions. The character questions may seem random and silly, but each one is formulated to help you learn something about your characters.

The marketing questions are also fun and are great for helping you decide what kind of giveaway items you want on hand for when you your book releases. The author also includes ideas for how to adapt the questions for a classroom setting which is great for English teachers and homeschoolers.

I really enjoyed all of the odd little questions and having to think about how they would apply to my story.

If you are stuck on your current project and would like a prompt book to help you move forward then check out Weird Writing Prompts.

To see sample questions and how I used them for my story, keep reading to the end.

Weird Writing Prompts releases July 13.

But you can pre order the ebook now for only 99 cents.

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096YVQGWX

Other Online Ebook Retailers: https://books2read.com/u/bORvng

Autographed paperback: https://next.waveapps.com/checkouts/71222c16c26b4637b48cddca3c46d25c

All-in-One (book page on my website): http://www.janeenippolito.com/weird

Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words. She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced editor, marketing strategist, and businesswoman, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press. When not writing, she explores random hobbies or posts cute animal memes. Connect at janeenippolito.com


Janeen Ippolito – Social Media Links (use whatever you wish)
Website: https://janeenippolito.com/  

Email Newsletter for Authors:  https://www.subscribepage.com/creativenewsletter 

Email Newsletter for Readers: https://www.subscribepage.com/booknewslettersignup

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

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168444147251310

Facebook Writing Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1435958919779131/  

Instagram: 

For authors – @ownyouruniquewords

For readers – @janeen_ippolito
For poetry/art – @janeen_ippolito_creations

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbOMGXV7E_Df8Dko1W9Tt5Q

Three Random Questions About Runaway Lyrics:

So first a bit of back ground:

Runaway Lyrics is a retelling of the Snow White and Rose Red fairytale, with a light steampunk aesthetic. The main characters are Snow and Rose, identical twin sisters who are both talented at music. There are also Bayare (the oldest) and Wickham, half brothers and princes. Placed under a curse that causes Bayare to turn into a great brown bear every night and for Wickham to become a great golden owl every day.

So let’s start with the ultimate random question:

What would each of your characters do if a bird pooped on them?

Bayare would look around to see where Wickham, in owl form, was. Then when he found him he would instantly accuse him of doing it. Wickham would deny everything. Honestly he knows that Wickham would never deficate on anyone but he loves teasing his little brother.

If Snow was pooped on she would flinch, but then wipe it off and keep going, hopefully to someplace where she could take a bath.

Rose is a bit different. She would complain. Long and loud, about how gross it was and why, of all the places for a bird to poop, did it have to be on her.

Wickham, as a part time owl, knows the bird that did it. He knows that bird did it on purpose. And Wickham is already planning his revenge.

“Writing is hard. Marketing is hard. We can use all the fun that we can get.” – Janeen Ippolito

Would each of your characters rather: sort 1,000 pieces of paper OR stand on a public stage for an hour to entertain a crowd of young children?

This is easy. Rose, Snow and Bayare would take the stage for an hour. Rose and Snow love playing music and that’s how they would entertain the kids. Bayare doesn’t know what he would do on stage, but he hates repetitive tasks like sorting. Besides who doesn’t like kids?

Wickham that’s who. Oh he loves attention and it’s not that he hates kids, he just doesn’t know what to do with them. They find the crudest things hilarious. They require so much talking down too. Nope give Wickham the stack of paper and lock him in the library.

“They say you have to go deep or have silly fun. I say you can do both.” – Janeen Ippolito

You can hire anyone to compose music for your story. Who do you choose and why?

It would be Lindsey Stirling. I listened to her music on a loop while writing this novel. Even though Snow and Rose can play multiple instruments, Linsey Stirling is the reason that they prefer the violin. Her Music videos also inspired the way the magic system in my world works.

If you aren’t familiar with Lindsey Stirling then check out her music on youtube, her videos are amazing. Start with this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfTknZt2DHA

Runaway Lyrics will have an official cover reveal and release date soon. So I hope you’re ready to hear me talk more about myself in the next couple month. But don’t worry I’ll still keep doing book reviews for others as well.

What was your favorite question I answered?

Are you excited to hear more about Runaway Lyrics?

Amok a Dive-In Review

This is a bit early, a few weeks back I help with a cover reveal for a book titled Amok. I said in the reveal that the release date was June 24th, but that date was moved up to June 1st. So I decided to move my review up accordingly Good news tough, the pre-order pricing stays in effect until the 24th. So grab it now before the price goes up.

Surprise lockdown launch!

In light of Malaysia’s not-so-surprising Total Lockdown, Teaspoon Publishing has pushed up the release date of Amok for a surprise lockdown launch! 

Yes, Amok ebooks drop on 1 June* as Malaysians hunker down at home—and you get to benefit! We’ll still honour our launch prices, so our ebook preorder prices of USD2.99 will remain until the 23rd of June and will rise to USD4.99 on 24 June. 

We’re currently in the process of approving paperback editions via Amazon’s POD and IngramSpark, so you’ll be able to get that once the book goes live at totally random times during the month! (You can tell we’re just winging it right now, can’t you?)

And while we’re at it, send a screenshot of your Amok purchase receipt (whether ebook or paperback) to admin@teaspoonpublishing.com.my by 24 June to claim a free ebook copy of The Painted Hall Collection

Happy reading!

Ebook Order Links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/Amok

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

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

Teaspoon Publishing: https://teaspoonpublishing.com.my/shop/amok-ebook 

Ebook sale price (until 23 June): USD2.99  

Full price (24 June): USD4.99 

Amok

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?

Dive-In Review of Amok

Amok by Anna Tan is a fantasy reimagining of the story of Sampson from the Bible. But this isn’t a straight retelling, Sampson is more of a frame work to tell the story of Mikal the son of the Sampson stand-in.

The story has a wonderful message about what it means to have faith. Mikal has none of his fathers amazing strength, leading him to question time and again what Kudos (God) wants from him. Why is his faith not enough? A question that I’m sure many people of faith struggle with. (I know I do.)

I really loved Mikal’s character. He has great motivation and his story, is compelling. He goes from being a prince to a slave, and I just couldn’t help feeling for him. He goes on such an inner journey throughout this story that Mikal really does feel like a different character by the end.

The secondary character of Yoshua was just as compelling. He goes from being Mikal’s servant to his new master. He is not the POV character so his arc feels more static, but even second hand you can still see how the plot shapes who he becomes.

Seeing their relationship flipped on its head gives the story a nice sense of symmetry.

The world building is a stand out feature of this book. Set in an Asian inspired fantasy world, the kingdoms of Maha and Bayangan are really fleshed out and I feel like I could crack open a history book and learn about them.

The part of this book that stands out the most is that it has no romance at all. It was super refreshing to read a story without a will they won’t they subplot. The character’s in this story literally had much bigger problems.

If you’re looking for something different from the typical medieval European fantasy then I highly recommend checking out Amok.

*Many thanks to the author who let me read an advanced copy of this book. This review is my own honest evaluation of the material.*

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.

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

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?.

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?

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