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

White Wolf and the Ash Princess Audiobook review

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

But I realized that I never actually reviewed either book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to find it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram- http://instagram.com/tamlash5

Blog- http://tammylash.wordpress.com

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

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

Cut to the Heart Dive in Review.

A few weeks ago I helped do a cover reveal for Cut to the Heart by Janeen Ippolito. Now it’s release day and I back to tell you exactly why I liked it and why you should buy it. But first a refresher about the book:

All Josie Framer wants is a man with fire magic—and to find the truth-knife that’s rightfully hers.

However, neither of these quests is going well.

After her latest date-turned-disaster, she’s almost ready to give up—when she happens along the blade on the way home. Unfortunately, reclaiming her property makes her target of the Arcane Market, a nefarious underground trafficking ring for magical artifacts and magical beings.

To make things worse, she keeps running into Oliver Salamandras, a dangerously attractive fire elemental who’s on the run from his own hunters. Getting involved with him means more trouble. Plus he has enough baggage for an aircraft carrier.

If only he wasn’t just what she’s looking for–right at the worst possible moment.

Faced with deadly foes and an irresistible stranger, a woman might just do something crazy.
Drastic.
Life-changing.

Buy now and enjoy a humorous paranormal romance with a side of twisty plot. Features a sensible firebird shifter with a feisty side, a rascally fire elemental with a tragic side, and a completely adorable wolf pup. Clean PG-13 – there’s heat, danger, and fighting, but nothing graphic.

The Arcane Market Adventures is a two-book companion duology to The Steel City Genie urban fantasy series. Best read alongside that series and great as a springboard.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TX8D7X7/

Goodreads – Add to want-to-read list
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56851000-cut-to-the-heart

My Dive in Review:

Cut to the Heart is the first book in the newest addition to Janeen Ippolito’s Multi series interconnected universe, The Arcane Market Adventures

The Arcane Market Adventures joins, the Steel City Genie series along with the My Alien Romance books, and features characters from all of these. I love these kind of interconnected, well thought out story universes.

This book centers on Josie Framer, Allis’s mild mannered secretary from the Steel City Genie books. Josie is much more than she appeared in those books. She is not only a very powerful shifter, she is also being hunted by some black market traffickers. She is also dealing with a rouge fire elemental who just showed up in her life, and he is very hot. Literally, he’s a fire elemental. But he also makes her feel things.

Being around Oliver brings out feelings she never expected to have for anyone. More passionate feeling than she ever had for her ex fiancée. Who is not hot by the way. He’s an ice dragon.

I was expecting this story to be a back and forth between the two romantic options. But Ippolito is really good at subverting expectations. Turns out Josie settles on one guy pretty easily. (I won’t tell you who.)

I loved watching as Josie’s relationship grows deeper over the course of the book, that even though the decision wasn’t a hard one to make it also wasn’t a hurried one.

If I have one complaint it’s that this book messes with the timeline I’ve already set in my head. Cut to the Heart takes place in between Steel City Genie books one and two and in between My Alien Romance book one and two. So instead of reading one series and then hopping to the next you need to read the first books of two different series and then this book and then go read the next book in each of the other series.

Did you follow that? I’m not sure I did either. Let’s just accept that you are probably not going to read these in chronological order. It’s probably better that way, because most of the fun of this book was catching all the references to the other two series.

Littered with Ippolito’s unique humor, her impeccable world building and her deep characters, Cut to the heart is a worthy addition to the ever expanding Ippolito verse.

*I was given an early review copy of this book for review. The above opinions are my own and are provided willingly and honestly.* 

About the Author:

Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words—and make them awesome! She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced book editor, marketing strategist, and businesswoman, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press. When not writing, she can be found exploring random hobbies or posting cute animal memes. Join her on social media or at janeenippolito.com

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/  
Email Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/getmyfictionchapters
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/

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

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?

Dive in Review: A Castle Awakened

Welcome back I hope every one enjoyed their holiday yesterday. Today I’m dropping in with a new release that you can spend your new amazon gift cards on. It’s a thought provoking read and a slow building romance, which is the healthiest kind of romance.

A Castle Awakened by Sharon Rose

Novel 1 in the Castle in the Wilde series

A foreign usurper. A lady who longs for freedom. Vicious beasts who want to rip them all to shreds. Who wins?

Never one to shy from a challenge, Lord Tristan Petram took possession of a forsaken castle. His search uncovered no hint of who built it or why they abandoned such a gem. What treachery would strike the founding family from history? Still, it seems a small matter, since the generations have passed. If he and his followers can forge a life here—and hold out against ravenous vixicats—the castle and this land will be theirs. As for the nearest kingdom, they never venture beyond their border or the mysterious forest of tower trees. Except…

Beth dons a disguise and takes a forbidden ride in Tower Woods—a last fling before she bows to the dictates of her noble birth. Her fun adventure turns into a nightmare of kidnap and rescue—of sorts. Now she’s trapped in a nameless castle held by a foreign usurper who calls himself Lord Petram. Who could he be, and what will he do with her if he finds out who she really is?

Thus, Lord Petram finds himself the unwilling guardian of an injured lady who won’t give her full name. A crime he didn’t commit may bring retribution from an unknown kingdom. Do they have a claim to this castle that he now calls home? If he survives the vixicats, will an army slaughter him and his followers?

A Castle Awakened is the first novel in the Castle in the Wilde trilogy. If you like fantasy with mystery, intrigue, and romance, come and explore this secondary world with medieval undertones and the turmoil of clashing cultures.

Author bio:

I started writing when I was seven years old. Okay, My Life as a Flying Squirrel may have had a couple spelling errors, but my classmates loved it.

Plenty of life has happened since that first story, and I’ve come to realize the things that fascinate me. People. Communication. Culture. Personality. Viewpoints. Beliefs. Anything that makes each of us beautifully unique. Small wonder that my art spills out in story form.

It was only a matter of time before I just had to share my stories. I publish fantasy and science fiction because they allow vast spaces to explore. My stories weave cultures and characters, who are more than they seem to be, into adventures with mystery, romance, and hope.

When I’m not writing or reading, I may be traveling, enjoying gardens, or searching for unique coffee shops with my husband. We live in Minnesota, USA, famed for its mosquitoes—uh, I mean 10,000 lakes and vibrant seasons.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Review:

A Castle Awakened is the first Fantasy novel from Sharon Rose. Up to now she has been known for her thought provoking science fiction. This book shows that she can also write thought provoking fantasy.

Much like her sci-fi offerings, A Castle Awakened deals with humans and their inability to communicate with each other.

When Lord Tristian’s men rescue an unknown girl from bandits he is at a loss for what to do with her. Because no matter how nicely he asks, she refuses to tell him anything about herself. Is it just stubbornness born of fear, memory loss, or possible a subterfuge? He is occupying an abandon castle, in a land that is not his own.

This story has so much going for it, mysterious girl, mysterious monsters in the woods mysterious abandoned castle that no one knows where the last residents went. It’s all so mysterious.

If there was one thing I didn’t like in this story it was Beth. She spends so much of this novel being distrusting and, while not confrontational, frustrated. The worst part is that most of her frustration is her own fault. She refuses to give any information at all to Lord Tristian and expects him to just treat her like an equal. In this age of the strong independent heroine, I am pleased to see someone finally learn that equality is just as much what you give as what you get.

This story is very much a romance. Far more romance than any of Rose’s space operas were. But it’s a well written slow building romance where two people learn mutual respect and how to communicate. Not the romance most people want, but the one they need if society expects couples to actually build healthy relationships.

The fantastical elements were nicely done. There are no wizards or magic use in this world, at least none that’s appeared yet, but there are healing waters, an ageless healer and mysterious beasts known as Vixicats. They sound kind of like foxes but they are much larger and more fearsome.

The novel ends on a good note. Not a cliff hanger but certainly with plenty more story needing to be told.

*I was given a free copy of the book by the author for the purpose of advance review. The opinions included herein, are my own and are willingly and honestly given.* 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

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 Available now.

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.

A Castle Sealed – a prequel novella – will release Jan 19, 2021.

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.

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

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