Audio Review: Vincent in Wonderland.

Hello, I know this is a little late but honestly I forgot today was Monday. Between NaNoWriMo and lockdowns the days just kind of blend together. But it’s alright because I will only be posting once this week since Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the states. So this post is going to be another two for one.

Today I’m reviewing both books in the Worlds Next Door series by C.E. White.

Dissclaimer: C.E. White is a personal friend of mine and she offered me the opportunity to receive reviewer codes for both of these audiobooks recently. My opinions are honestly given and I wasn’t obligated to review either of these books. I fact she doesn’t even know that her books are being featured today.

About the book:

Image: Cover for Vincent in Wonderland by C.E. White.

11-year-old Vincent van Gogh discovers a curious new world through a tunnel on the moor. A mysterious white rabbit introduces Vincent to Alice, and their quest begins—defeat the dreaded Jabberwock before it consumes all of Wonderland.

A slithy tove, an ill-tempered caterpillar, and the Cheshire cat meet them along the path as their adventures take them through fields dancing with flowers, tangled forests, and looking-glass pools.

But all is not what it seems in Wonderland, and Vincent may not have— and may not want— what it takes to succeed. Destroying the Jabberwock may cost more than he’s willing to give.

My Review:

Vincent in wonderland is, as you would expect, a retelling of Alice In Wonderland. But it is also a companion tale to C.E. White’s other children’s book, The World’s Next Door. I say companion, because even though this is chronology a prequel, they can be read completely separate and in either order.

Rather than Alice the main character of this story is Vincent Van Gogh. Yes the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh went to wonderland as a boy. Alice is there too. Only like Vincent she is also a historical person. Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Carroll’s Alice.

I normally disagree with using historical people in fiction because you can Google them and it ruins the illusion. This is sufficiently fantastical enough to not be confused for fact.

But the brilliant life loving young man we meet in this story is somewhat over shadowed by the unfortunate way that Van Gogh’s real life ended. Interestingly enough the story also seems to account for that darkness and maybe explains it a little.

This is such a neat story, it plays on the wonderfully whimsical art of Van Gogh while also keeping the logic based whimsy of Carroll’s children’s book.

So many references to Alice in wonderland appear that you will want to go back and read the classic just to be sure you got them all.

David Pickering, is a wonderful narrator. He reads clearly and makes each word understandable. He also differentiates his voice between characters so that you can tell who is talking just by his voice alone. He also has an amazing british accent that is really soothing to listen to.

This would be a great story for a family reading night. Enjoyed best after a family read along of the OG Alice books for maximum reference catching.

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Vincent-Wonderland-enemy-threatens-Worlds-ebook/dp/B07TBCCTR7

And if you are curious about her first book, The Worlds Next Door:

Image: Cover of The Worlds Next Door by C.E. White

Twelve-year-old Janie Rutland somewhat grudgingly befriends Reggie Rankin—the weird new kid at school—and finally has someone to investigate her curious sightings in the abandoned house next door. When they find there’s an impossible world in danger of total destruction, they face a choice. Do they have what it takes to save it? An eccentric fellowship gathers as they embark on a perilous quest in a race against time and their own fears. Traveling in what can only be described as a pirate hover ship, they’re threatened by monsters and storms, shipwrecks and death. Can they find the answers they need to save Sian—and maybe all worlds?

My Review:

The Worlds Next Door by C. E. White, is a great fantasy adventure that doesn’t dumb down its children protagonists. Not only are these twelve year olds smart, but so is the story. The world building is so thorough and actually fuels the plot rather than just become set dressing. The story and the Characters tackle hard philosophy questions such as free will and fate.

The Narrator was amazing Danny Montooth is one of those voice actors who can put on multiple voices and make an audiobook sound like a full cast audio drama.

Both the writing and performance combine to make this audiobook a necessary addition to your library.

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Next-Door-mysterious-terrifying-ebook/dp/B077TFN79Y

About the author:

Image: Author C.E. White

C.E. White is an author, artist, and entrepreneur living in the mountains of North Georgia. Her works are fueled by a lifetime love of both reading and Jesus, and she longs to inspire others with words of hope and imagination. When she’s not penning her next book, you can find her creating collage art, renovating her house, conquering mounds of paperwork, or RVing with her husband and two cats.

Find her online at: https://www.cewhitebooks.com/

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

Audio Review: The Realms of Elestra Prequels.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Okay I’m back again because surly you didn’t think I would let a week go by without dropping an audiobook for you?

To make up for Monday not being about an audio book, I’m dropping two audios today.

Once again these are codes I request through Story Origins. If you would like to get into the audio or E-book reviewing game check them out here.

The first book:

Saved from the streets by the mysterious George Whipple, Parker and Lydia grew up in the Whipplehouse Orphanage. After being fitted with a magical monocle, Parker finds he has the ability to stop time. With his new power, he spends his days tinkering and inventing intricate doodads. Life is grand until the night Elias comes to town.

Parker’s life is turned upside down when tragedy stikes on the night of the winter solstice of his 18th year. He risks losing the one thing he loves most: Lydia. But will his newfound power be able to find her? And what about the perplexing machine in the cellar workshop?

My Review:

I feel like Timekeeper is one of those prequel novellas that really needs to be read after the main book in a series for it to matter.

The story starts off interesting with Parker and Lydia as a sort of brother sister item. They get taken in by two older men who have magic and things get more interesting, then when things are the most interesting the story just ends and we get a summary of what Parker has been doing for the last two decades. It is a let down to be sure. Not even a proper cliff hanger. I suspect that summary is probably where the actual first book takes place. I fully intend to read more of this series so it wasn’t a total disappointment just anti climatic.

Parker and Lydia are good characters. You root for them because they are orphans, you ship them because they care about each other so much. And you don’t understand the ending at all because . . . we’ll I won’t spoil it for you.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

The steampunk aesthetic was light but there, with cogs and tesla coils and Victorian clothing galore.

The narrator Andrew McDermott has an incredible Irish accent that I absolutely enjoyed listening to. But since the story takes place in Missouri and not Ireland, I was also a little unsure of why literally everyone has an Irish accent.

In conclusion Timekeeper is a prequel to what I’m sure will be an amazing steampunk series. The audiobook is short and easy to follow. So check it out if you need something to get you through a long lunch hour. Or if you just can’t get enough Irish accents.

The Second book:

Ripped away from Whipplehouse and the only family she had ever known, Lydia ekes out a living in the barren wasteland of Oregon as a prisoner of a family who never loved her. When Parker finds her at the county fair, Lydia can hardly believe her luck as she agrees to travel through time with the boy she once loved. They finally settle in the mysterious land of Elestra, a world like their own with magical powers, steam-powered devices, and even dragons.

Abruptly left to her own devices on the shores of Sea City, Lydia embarks on a dangerous adventure with fast cars, accompanied by the infamous and quite exiled pirate-turned-mechanic Matthias Cross. When the tables turn and she begins to see Parker for who he really is, how can she escape the darkness buried in his heart? What will become of Lydia now that she knows there are more worlds than these?

My Review:

Lydia is an odd little prequel novella. it comes before a book titled Clock city, but after another novella titled Timekeeper.

Do read Timekeeper first. This novella explains the bizarre epilogue of Timekeeper, basically the timeline is not linear and it’s all messed up with time travel and nothing takes place when you thought it did.

Lydia is an orphan sent out west on the orphan train. Her new family treats her like a slave, so when her childhood friend shows up to whisk her away she jumps at the chance.

what follows is a montage of literary references that will make book nerds smile.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

As a story this book is very disconnected, It just doesn’t stand on it’s own very well. You need to read Timekeeper first. But I also feel like I need to read Clock City first too. Interestingly enough, this book is not listed on the amazon series page for Elestra. Only Time Keeper and Clock City.

The character of Lydia is a scared girl who keeps getting shuttled from one scary situation and abusive relationship to another. As a result I feel like she never really gets a chance to grow up. She follows the trail of many classic heroines of constantly settling for the “Safe” relationship instead of the “right” relationship.

As a prequel this book certainly made me eager to read Clock City. I am curious about how this all ties together.

Once again Andrew McDermott narrates with his soothing Irish accent. he does a fair job of distinguishing one character from another, and he does a great job of reading description, making it engaging and active.

Disclaimer:

*I was given Audible codes for these books and the above reviews are my own honest evaluation of the provided audio and stories.*

About Rebekah Dodson

Rebekah Dodson is a prolific author of over 30 romantic suspense, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, The Curse of Lanval, Life After Us, California Express, and several stand-alone novels. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.

Connect with Rebekah:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/realrebekahdodson
Twitter: @AuthorRDodson (This interface is not liking twitter links, I don’t know why, So please just search for her if you are interested in giving her a follow.)
Website: www.rebekahdodson.com

Purchase links:

This time it’s cheaper to buy the audio books for $6.08, than the e-book and narration together. But if you really want to go the cheap route the e-books are only 99 cents each.

Buy Timekeeper here: https://www.amazon.com/Timekeeper-Rebekah-Dodson-audiobook/dp/B07SZ9L2R7/

Buy Lydia here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081ZH98PD?plink=jdecFSEweTaz86tH&ref=adblp13npsbx_0_0_im

Book three? Book One? I’m not sure how this prequel stuff works really. Anyway if you are interested in continuing the story you can find Clock City here: https://www.amazon.com/Clock-City-Realm-Elestra-Book-ebook/dp/B07QPRP2Z3/

It’s sadly not in audio yet.

Audiobook Review: An Unexpected Adventure.

Today’s audiobook is one that I have reviewed on this blog before. You can read the original review here: https://cobonham.com/2018/09/19/an-unexpected-adventure-a-dive-in-review/

The Myth Coast Adventure’s series by Kandi J. Wyatt

An Unexpected Adventure is the first book in a middle grade fantasy trilogy by author, Kandi J. Wyatt, called the Myth Coast Adventures. It recently released in an audio format, and the author was kind enough to ask if I would like to review the Audiobook edition.

Before I get to my review here’s a refresher of what the book is about:

Harley will do anything to keep his new pal safe. But a hungry dragon needs to eat. And the government is hot on their tail.

Harley Maegher’s seen E.T. and knows what the government will do to mythical creatures. There’s no way he’s about to let his new-found friend fall into the hands of an NSA agent. When the dragon starts setting fires and eating livestock, the choice may be taken from him.

Steria is only interested in filling her tummy and spending time with Harley and his friends. After all, they’re the ones who woke her and called her from her egg. When the agent tries to capture her, she’s confined to the farm where she’s safe but without sufficient food. She’ll do anything to protect herself and Harley, even if it means she’ll go hungry.

An Unexpected Adventure is the fun first book in the middle grade fantasy Myth Coast Adventures trilogy. If you like clean entertainment full of adventure and mischief, then you’ll love Kandi J Wyatt’s unique trilogy.

Explore An Unexpected Adventure to embark on a family-friendly adventure today!

You can buy it from amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Adventure-Myth-Coast-Adventures-ebook/dp/B07H6RXLTS/

It’s available in Ebook, Paperback and Audio.

Image by Lilawind on Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/users/lilawind-6389091/

Dive in Audio Review:

Some kids aren’t the chosen one, they don’t find lands inside wardrobes, or get called to rule kingdoms. Sometimes they just have to go to school, or get summer jobs. They must do these normal activities no matter what weird fantasy creature falls into their life.

That is the magic of An Unexpected Adventure. The boys; Harley, Will and Chase, are just regular kids. They do regular things, while also hiding a dragon from a scientist who seems determined to capture it. They could someone you know, they could even be you.

The Narrator Dave Cruse does a great job of reading this book. He uses voice differentiation. So each character sounds a little different, but it’s not too out there where the voices start to sound cartoonish. His Narration is smooth and soothing, never monotone nor does he get too loud, even when characters are yelling.

Hearing this book was an entertaining experience, even having read it before I enjoyed going back and getting to know these characters all over again.

Author Bio:

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

Where to find her:

Website: http://kandijwyatt.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/

Google: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kandijwyatt

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/

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.

Audio Review: The Chronicles of the Macca

I know this isn’t on a Monday, but I’ve posted on odd days before, and I was preoccupied. No, not with the election. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo, that’s National Novel Writing Month for the un initiated. So for I’ve been hitting my goals so I feel good about winning this year. But then being unemployed helps a lot with finding the time.

Anyway since I’ve been sacrificing my reading time to increase my writing time, I’ve tried to up my audiobook time. So this month expect all audiobook reviews as I try to juggle being both a reviewer and a writer.

Today’s audio review is a twin pack as they are the first two books in a series. I specifically requested these audiobooks from a reviewer service called Story Origins because I’ve always loved the weird western genre. It’s where you take a traditional western but then throw in: aliens, time travel, centaurs or whatever you want. It makes the old west so much more interesting.

I’ll summarize the books in my reviews for the sake of brevity.

Let’s dive in:

Earthbound follows the adventures of a young man who is stranded on Earth. He tries his best to blend in and integrate into the culture of the American west. If they think he’s a bit strange, well he does have an Irish accent.

Zeb as he’s called, is an interesting character, but he isn’t the only one. The story also follows frontier wife Anna and her children after a native American raid separates them.

Over all the story was interesting, but I found the sci-fi elements to be over shadowed by the Western story and characters. It’s a hard genre to peg as Western readers may enjoy it more than sci-fi lovers.

The narrator, Benjamin Fife, was good. He kept the pace going and read long sections with no dialogue engagingly. But Dialogue is where this man shines. Especially with accents. And this story gave him plenty of accents to play with. Irish, German, Spanish, and even some southern gentleman.

On content: there is a good bit of violence, surprisingly little cursing, but I do need to mention the the sexual content.

Like most Westerns there is mention of sex and brothels but this is still pretty clean. It comes no where near being erotic, and the most description we get is from a married couple on their wedding night, which is still pretty tame.

Gather the Children, like the first book in this series, (Earthbound) is a science fiction western about the MacDonald family. Almost all of which are some form of Alien hybrid.

This is such an odd series. There are very small references to anything sci-f. For the most part it’s just a western. The story follows the various family and friends of the main character Mac, as they live life. They get married and conduct business, worship and fight for their lives in the unforgiving and lawless Texas frontier.

This is a very character based story and I loved getting to know all the characters as they struggled to build lives for themselves.

I hate that I feel like I need to give a content warning since this is not erotica, but the author is not shy about the facts of life. It may not be descriptive but it was enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Also there is language.

This is the third book in a row I’ve heard that was narrated by Benjamin Fife. Man this guy is prolific. As always he does a great job reading and this story gives him plenty of opportunities to play with accents which he is incredibly good at.

* I received audible codes to review both of these books. My reviews are my honest opinion of the provided material and are given willingly.*

Purchase book one here: https://www.amazon.com/Earthbound-Science-Fiction-West-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00THSCXOC

And book two here: https://www.amazon.com/Gather-Children-Chronicles-Maca-Book-ebook/dp/B015IZZ5T2

Right now the ebooks are $2.99 and you can add audio for $7.49.

About the author:
Mari Collier was born on a farm in Iowa. Since then she’s lived in Arizona, Northwest Washington (on the banks of a river), and moved to Southern California after retiring from Nintendo of America. She is the curator for the Accessions Committee at the local Historical Society and writes two columns for the Old Schoolhouse Museum. She also volunteers as a docent at the Old Schoolhouse Museum.

Come back on Monday for another audiobook review.

Interested in Story Origins? Check it out here: https://storyoriginapp.com/

Do you enjoy audio books?

How about science fiction westerns?

Let me know.

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/

Dive in Review: All Made of Hinges

I know this is an off day for me to be posting on but I needed to let you know about a fun anthology that I just finished listening to on audible.

Cheerful in the face of dark opposition. Innovative to improve a backward world. Industrial as a cure for oppressive conditions. Unyielding beneath all who seek to bind and control them. Faithful until they conquer the fear of death and rise to great acts of heroism and service. Mormons and steampunks are two faces of the same coin.

Twelve authors spin tales of true believers facing impossible odds, risking this life in the hope of gaining something better after. Mormon Battalion soldiers fight an airship, a bounty hunter crosses Porter Rockwell, cultists attempt to reanimate Brigham Young, and missionaries run into Cthulhu. These are just a few of the amazing tales by award winning, bestselling, and premier authors – D. J. Butler, John M. Olsen, Steven L. Peck, Elizabeth Mueller, Scott E. Tarbet, Jay Barnson, Joe Monson, Amanda Hamblin, Christopher McAfee, Jace Killan, John D. Payne, and Lee Allred.

All Made of Hinges is the first installment in the incredible four-part Mormon steampunk series by Immortal Works Press. If you love these stories, look for more in Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel and Press Forward, Saints.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/All-Made-of-Hinges-audiobook/dp/B07R92TBMC

Embeded preview of ebook edition of All Made of Hinges.

If you want a deal, get the ebook edition, and add on the audio for only $7.49. Much cheaper than spending $17 on audiobook alone.

Now I guess this is where I tell you what I thought of it.

Dive in Review: All Made of Hinges.

Steampunk what now?

If you are like me, then you are still hung up on the sub title. A steampunk Mormon anthology? What on Earth is a steampunk Mormon?

Well it turns out that answering that question is easier than expected. These are steampunk stories where at least one character is a Mormon.

And like all anthologies, it’s a sampler of different styles, tones, voices and plots. Most are light hearted with a humorous tone, but one or two are a little intense. The real surprise were the ones that were philosophical without talking about religion at all. Not what I expected from a Mormon anthology.

These stories are all alternative history, so expect historical persons to make cameos and for some historical events to not have happened the way you thought. Some stories are just westerns with airships and others are Clockwork dystopias with zombie hoards.

The steampunk elements were all really well done, and in most stories the Mormon element was barely noticeable. So I wouldn’t let that hold you back from trying this anthology out. In fact if you’re still holding back because of religion, don’t. The characters that have the most faith are machines. And the only story that has angels is theologically incorrect. (If you ever meet two angels that contradict each other, one of them is not an angel. That is just a fact.)

Narrator Benjamin Fife, is one that I’ve heard a lot from. He always brings a unique voice to every book he reads. Nowhere is that more evident than in this anthology, where you can hear his reading style change for each story. Fife is also really good at accents, and these stories give him a wide range of accents to play with. His French and Japanese accents are new ones I got to hear.

If you like steampunk everything then this anthology is sure to delight. Just don’t go in expecting a deeper understanding of what it means to be Mormon. This is not a religious book.

*I was given a code for a review copy of this audio book. The above review is my own honest opinion and is provided willingly.*

The Lost Review of Sir Larpsalot.

Today I’m bringing you a brand new book. Because it’s release day for this fun fantasy adventure book. I have a review of the adventure for you, but first here’s what it’s about:

About the book

WIZARDS & WANNABES

As the first day of high school creeps closer, five friends agree to one last LARP* before splitting the party and ending their geeky game forever.

But the real adventure is just beginning…

Mistaking the teens’ costumed characters for actual warriors, a sorceress summons Sir Larpsalot, Elvish Presley, Brutus the Bullheaded, Master Prospero, and Tom Foolery to her world to complete an impossible quest. To succeed, they must become the heroes they only ever pretended to be.

And if they can’t find a way to win, it’s GAME OVER for real!

* Live action role-playing game

You can add this book to your Goodreads list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55532698-the-lost-tale-of-sir-larpsalot

Click here to purchase:  https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Tale-Sir-Larpsalot-ebook/dp/B08KHWSBGZ

Sir Larpsalot: Dive in Review

The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot, is a humorous and exciting look onto the world of Live Action Role Playing. More importantly it answers the question, can LARPers stay in character when they get transported to a real fantasy world, with real villain’s, real magic, and real danger?

What I really loved about this was the realism. Most stories when kids get transported to another world, they end up being the chosen ones, or having special powers, or make fantastic friends with the natives. But the members of Good (enough) Company, have a hockey stick. They don’t get magic or transform into their personas. Instead they bumble around in a world they know nothing about. You know like teenagers.

The best part of the story for me was all of the gaming references. Each chapter is named after a common gaming convention, followed by a short summery of what it means. These openings are so fun and make you immediately start the next chapter.

Screen Shot of Chapter Two of The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot.

There’s a typical quest story line that they follow but they keep trying to relate their experience back to the games they’ve played. Instead of adapting to the current situation they treat it like it has game rules. When you figure out the rules to real life let me know. The whole novel was just hilarious from a situational perspective. Think Galaxy Quest, but without the alien hero worship.

If you like Gaming, Fantasy, or just seeing teenagers stumble through life, then I think you will enjoy this book.

*I was given an early copy of this novel for review, all opinions expressed here are my own and are given willingly and honestly.*

About the Author

David Michael Williams has suffered from a storytelling addiction for as long as he can remember. With a background in journalism, public relations, and marketing, he also flaunts his love affair with the written word as an author of speculative fiction.

His books include the sword-and-sorcery trilogy The Renegade Chronicles and The Soul Sleep Cycle, a genre-bending series that explores life, death, and the dreamscape.

David lives in Wisconsin with the best wife on this or any other planet and their two amazing children. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, in 2005.

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/

UUP Cinderella Blog Tour: Met by Midnight review.

Do you remember back when I did a double cover reveal for two Cinderella retellings from Uncommon universes press? If you don’t check it out here.

Well release day for these books is close at hand so I’m here to dive right in with my review of the first of these awesome books.

Met By Midnight dive in Review:

Met By Midnight is advertised as a Cinderella retelling, but it’s so much better than one.

Let’s face it Cinderella always had a choice. She could have left.

Renna is a mender, a slave, locked in a secure sanctuary and forced to heal the ailments of others. She has no choice. She has no step mother, no sisters, only her gift that makes her property and a tool to be used by others. This is not the story of a nice girl getting her hearts desire.

This is a story of defiance. A story of a girl who will not be used any longer. This is not a sweet romance, this is Hunger Games level wrong. Be prepared to be disturbed and outraged on behalf of a population.

I was blown away by the originality in this story. Not only the circumstances that Renna experiences but also the way the Prince is treated. Jaric thinks he is cursed because mender’s powers are useless on him, and in a family that values perfection, every scar is literally a mark against him. To marry the girl of his dreams he will need more than a slipper, he’ll have to upset the system. A system that’s already staked against him.

This is sounding more like a commercial than a review, but it was so good. I just want everyone to read it.

So in conclusion:

This story was so good, it stirred up all the feels, all righteous anger. This has many things that Cinderella does, a girl who wants to change her lot in life, a royal ball, even a lost slipper. But do not go in thinking this is a sweet fairy-tale. This is not Cinderella.

This is DEFIANCE.

*I was given an ARC by the publisher so that I may leave an honest review of the provided book. The above review was given willingly and contains my honest opinion.*

An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.

She lives a nightmare.

As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.

He’s haunted by dreams.

Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s façade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity.

Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.

While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.

This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.

Janeen Ippolito believes in Jesus, true love, and the power of your unique words. She’s a bestselling author of speculative fiction, writing resources, and poetry. She’s also an editor, author coach, marketing strategist, and the president of Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not immersed in the geektastic world of words, she’s helping her husband with his youth swordfighting ministry, exploring a slew of random hobbies, and posting up cute animal videos on social media. This extroverted writer loves to connect, so find her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website janeenippolito.com

Media Links:

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaneenIppolito
Email Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/creativenewsletter
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/
Instagram: @janeen_ippolito

Order your copy today.

You can still pre-order Met by Midnight and/or Ashen. Hurry it releases the 22nd.

Amazon Kindle

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/

Add to 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

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