Dive in Review of Common

So you remember awhile back I hosted a cover reveal for a book called Common?

Well I finally got to read it and now I’m posting a review so you can all be excited enough to go read it too.

I’m also the last stop on the book’s release tour.

Common_coverOne person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Author Bio:

Laurie-Lucking-HeadshotAn avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting http://www.laurielucking.com.

You can find links to purchase it here:  http://www.love2readlove2writepublishing.com/books/common/

Dive in Review of Common

 Common by Laurie Lucking is a new YA fantasy novel about knowing your place and not trying to reach for things outside of you current circumstances.

I’m just kidding.

 This book is totally the opposite of that. Even though Leah is a chambermaid she has no problem bucking the system. Everything thing she does from learning to read and write, to meeting the crown prince in a broom closet, (totally clean, nothing kinky happens in the closet, I promise) is forbidden. The real kicker is that she’s so not a rebel.

Leah’s life would improve without the elitist king and queen on the throne, but she goes out of her way to try to save them from an assassin. She could just run away with the prince like he’s been begging her to do for three chapters but she believes their country needs him on the throne. (Also, not to point out the elephant in the broom closet but, he has no marketable skills to speak of.)

 Since were talking the elephant now anyway. I was really underwhelmed by the romance element. Which was fine by the way, I’m not really a romance reader. So I was pleasantly surprised when this turned out to be an espionage story. Court intrigue, secret meetings, assassins, spies and evil wizards are much more my speed.

I hope I haven’t spoiled anything, there is so much going on in this story that you really need to read it for yourself. It’s part romance, part espionage, part magical fantasy, and part spiritual warfare. Yes, read it for the warrior nuns.

*I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes and was asked for nothing but my honest opinion.*

 And so you can back track and check out all the other great stops,

I give you the Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 5th, Review of Common, Pam Halter, www.pamhalter.com

Monday, February 5th, Interview with Laurie Lucking, Taylor Bennett, www.taylor–bennett.com

Tuesday, February 6th, Visual Post, Nancy Moors, www.antrimcycle.com

Tuesday, February 6th, Behind-the-Scenes Feature, Rae E, www.anewlookonbooks.com

Wednesday, February 7th, Visual Post, J.M. Hackman, www.jmhackman.com

Wednesday, February 7th, Guest Post: Author’s Journey, Kristen Stieffel, www.newauthors.wordpress.com

Thursday, February 8th, Guest Post, Laura A. Grace, www.unicornquester.com

Friday, February 9th, Interview with Laurie Lucking, Jebraun Clifford, www.quillsandinkblotts.wordpress.com/

Friday, February 9th, Review of Common, Erica Hogan, www.booksaholic.wordpress.com/

Saturday, February 10th, Top 3 Post, Laurie Lucking, www.landsuncharted.com

Sunday, February 11th, Behind-the-Scenes Feature: Laurie’s Writing Process, Liv Fisher, www.livkfisher.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 11th, Review of Common, Jebraun Clifford, www.jebraunclifford.com/

Monday, February 12th, Character Interview, Brenda Anderson, www.inspyromance.com/

Monday, February 12th, Visual Post, Jannette Fuller, www.jannettefuller.com/blog

Tuesday, February 13th, Interview with Laurie Lucking, KaLyn Cummins, www.authorkacummins.com

Wednesday, February 14th, Release-Day Feature, Laurie Lucking, www.laurielucking.com (Release Day)

Thursday, February 15th, Facebook Party Feature, Michele Israel Harper, www.micheleisraelharper.com (Facebook Launch Party)

Friday, February 16th, Review of Common, Cathrine Bonham, You Are Here.

 

Amber Eyes Blog Tour: A guest post

Hello, you may have noticed that this blog was dormant for a while. The reason was because I work retail so I pretty much died after Christmas. But I’m better now and ready to share more awesome books with you. The first of which is S.D. Grimm’s newest fantasy novel, Amber Eyes. And it’s on tour.

 

About the Book

Destiny can be cruel

Darkness retreated from the light of the scarlet moon, but has since grown even stronger. The Mistress of Shadows has found a new pawn—one that may be the key to unlocking the door to her underground prison. Now evil threatens to escape its shackles and destroy the land.

In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, Jayden’s fight with the enemy still isn’t over. But while she isn’t sure she can stop the Mistress alone, leaving her friends might be the only way to keep them from being consumed by the darkness.

With lives hanging in the balance—and no time for error—can Jayden make the right choice?

AmazonBarnes & Noble Christianbook.com

About the Author

S.D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and author of SCARLET MOON. She currently has four books under contract, including the remainder of her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and binge-watching shows with great characters. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Spotify

Instead of an interview or a review I was evil and told S.D. that she could steal my blog to talk about what ever she wanted. A segment that I am unashamedly calling: Be Our Guest Post.

Be Our Guest Post: S.D. Grimm

 Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today! I am so excited to be here.

 So I’ve been thinking about some things that I could share about Amber Eyes that are basically non-spoilery but also touch on the heart of the story. One thing that came to mind is the phrase I put on my special Amber Eyes bookmarks: the dragon will rise.

 Dragons! The good ones are amazing. The bad ones are terrifying. They’re a fascinating embodiment of the fantasy genre. And yet that dragon on the cover of Amber Eyes is clearly creeeeeepyyyy.

 And so perfect for the story. When I saw the cover the first time, that dragon made me quiver inside. Because it’s so … perfect and scary!

 I think a lot of Scarlet Moon is about overcoming fears. And that plays a part in Amber Eyes, too. But more than that, Scarlet Moon is about overcoming fears that the characters will face—outer dragons—while Amber Eyes is about characters facing the fears of what they might become, aka inner dragons.

 In Amber Eyes, they’re battling their inner dragons while also facing the very real monsters in front of them.

 I think it’s evident in that I chose the title “Amber Eyes” for a few reasons. You can see from the very awesome dragon on the cover (thank you, Kirk DouPonce for the AmAzInG cover) that it has eyes of amber. And it’s ferocious and scary and dangerous. There are other characters in the novel who are also those things, and while they may be pulled toward darkness, not all of them will accept that call.

 So they’re like two sides of the same coin. Two paths in the same wood. Two ways a character could go. That’s what it’s like for us when we make choices that we have to wrestle with at a soul level, though, right? We have to decide which path to take. Which choice to make.

 Sometimes it’s the right one. Sometimes it’s not. And that’s at the heart of this book. Struggling with choices. Living with consequences. And choosing the right path. Just. Like. Life. Dragons are dangerous either way, but there are good ones and bad ones.

 I think that’s why Amber Eyes was so fun and yet hard to write at times. Because it’s hard to watch the characters you love make choices you know in your gut are wrong. But watching them become stronger, wiser people because of the lessons they learned through those mistakes is so satisfying. So I hope you enjoy going through those moments with my characters. Following them on their journey toward hope. Growing with them. Cheering for them. Watching them face their dragons. And everything in between. I am so excited to share this with you.

***

Thank you S.D. Grimm for the amazing guest post. I admit when I gave you free rein, I was really hoping for dragons. You did not disappoint. In case you didn’t know S.D. also makes really cute dragon figures that she calls Grimmlies. Check out this picture she included.

Fun Author Pics

Rumor is that she’s giving some away at her Facebook Party. Keep scrolling for a Giveaway link for a chance to win not only a Grimmlie but paperback copies of both Scarlet moon and Amber Eyes.

Facebook Launch Party

Calling all book readers! Join author S.D. Grimm as we chat about her fantasy novel Amber Eyes on January 30th from 8 PM to 11 PM EST (6 PM CDT and 5 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with SD, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Nadine Brandes, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Sara Baysinger will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Today

 

Giveaway

Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win a signed copy of both Amber Eyes and Scarlet Moon, a grimmlie dragon of the dragon on the cover (made by the author), a charm bracelet (made by her Captain America), and a $10 amazon gift card. (US only. Sorry!)

>>> Entry-Form <<<

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 22nd

Tuesday, January 23rd

Wednesday, January 24th

Thursday, January 25th

Friday, January 26th

Saturday, January 27th

Monday, January 29th

Tuesday, January 30th

Wednesday, January 31st

Thursday, February 1st

Friday, February 2nd

Saturday, February 3rd

Monday, February 5th

 

Cover Reveal: Common by Laurie Lucking

So you’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well it might be a don’t, but we all do it. That’s why it’s sad when you see a hardback without the book jacket or why stores rip the covers off books they can’t sell.

Because the cover is important. It’s like the window into a book’s soul. It’s your first impression, your ten second introduction to a new world.

That’s why cover reveals are important. It’s the first time you get to put a face to that story you’ve been hearing so much buzz about.

But before we put a face to it. Let’s get to know it first:

***Common, by Laurie Lucking***

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Author Bio:

Laurie-Lucking-HeadshotAn avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting http://www.laurielucking.com.

***

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here’s the cover for Common by Laurie Lucking. (No Judging please.)

Common_cover

The Final Paladin Blog Tour: A Dive in Review

Hi everyone, I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the Blog tour for The Final Paladin by T.J. Akers.

First a little about the book:


Final-Paladin-by-TJ-AkersLife for Peg Bowman is rough in the infamous slums of Five Points, New York, but her brother’s murder changes everything.

Thrust into incredible worlds beyond any story she’s ever heard, Peg meets Sir Godfrey, an eleven-hundred-year-old knight from Charlemagne’s court, trainer of Paladins. He reveals to Peg her family’s ancient obligation to protect the Key of Apollyon, a relic of immense power. She is the last descendant of the Paladins and his only hope for keeping it safe.

When Godfrey confides her brother was murdered because of the Key, Peg rejects her calling and demands revenge, a luxury she can ill afford as otherworldly creatures seek her death to claim the Key’s power for themselves.

Can Godfrey and his faithful retinue—Chim the Hobgoblin, Rebecca the Jewish Maven and healer, and Jack the sometimes human and sometimes seven-foot Black Dog—keep her safe and convince her that her calling is worth pursuing? Or will she succumb to the Key’s lure and wield it for revenge?

The Final Paladin releases November 14th and you can purchase it here.

TJ-Akers-HeadshotAbout the Author:
T.J. Akers desires to be a multimillionaire when he grows up and give his wealth to his favorite causes: churches, schools, and animal shelters. Since the millions have been slow in coming, he’s settled for working as a computer technician for a state university and volunteering at his church and local animal shelter. Whenever possible, he indulges his love of writing stories to entertain people, especially younger readers.
Akers holds a Masters of English from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and can often be found roaming the university’s library, especially the children’s and young adult sections. Librarians have always been his heroes.
He lives with his beloved wife of thirty years, his dog, and two cats. The dog is an excellent writing companion, but the cats have proven to be rather critical. Learn more at www.tjakers.com.

Okay, now that the formalities are out of the way I’m sure would like to know what I thought after reading The Final Paladin.

Dive in Review of The Final Paladin by T.J. Akers:

Wow, that was not what I was expecting.  But not in a bad way.

From reading the back cover, I was expecting Indiana Jones and the last crusade. What I got was Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton. If you’ve seen either of those movies then you have an inkling of what I’m talking about.

 The Book starts out in a dark alley in New York city, then ends up spending a great deal of time in the Ether. The land of the Fairies. A Topsy-turvy place where nothing is as it seems. Though do to certain name dropping I suspect the comparisons to Wonderland were done on purpose. 

 The story is fascinating, the world building intriguing and the characters engaging.

On the world building: I thought the bits set in 1900’s New York were well done. I got the sense of how gritty and dangerous it was for Peg in the slums, with gangs and dirty cops on every corner.

On the Fairy world: I could easily get into deep spoiler territory here. Needless to say there are lots of references to not only Lewis Carroll, but to other classic folk tales and other literary works. You’ll either get them or you won’t. If you get them jolly good. If you don’t I think you can still enjoy this book.

 My favorite character is Jack. He can turn into a gigantic black dog at will. (Note: not a werewolf.) He is also charming and witty and impulsive and short tempered. He is also mysterious. Jack’s backstory is only touched on in the book. I want to know more about him.

Surprisingly I liked Peg too. I am always cautious of books where men write Female PoVs. Sometimes they come across as a little off. But Peg was spot on. She is not a male in a dress, nor is she some weak stereo type. Peg is Strong and can hold her own in a world (literally) out to get her.

 What I didn’t like: there was very little I didn’t like but one thing I would change is Archie. His death is the catalyst for the whole story. And we never see him alive. It’s isn’t a spoiler to say this: he’s already dead in the first chapter. We never get to see him, and as a result, I just don’t really care very much that he’s dead. (Well until the end anyway, but still that’s more curiosity than caring.) Drat! I hope that didn’t count as a spoiler.

The ending will leave you wanting more and maybe wondering what did I just read?

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

 Be sure to visit the rest of the tour stops:

·    Monday, November 6th, Visual Post, Liv K. Fisher, www.livkfisher.blogspot.com

·    Monday, November 6th, Review of The Final Paladin, Gretchen Engel, www.newauthors.wordpress.com

·      Tuesday, November 7th, Guest Post, Kristen Stieffel, www.newauthors.wordpress.com

·      Wednesday, November 8th, Interview, J.M. Hackman, www.jmhackman.com

·      Wednesday, November 8th, Behind-the-Scenes Feature, Jebraun Clifford, www.jebraunclifford.com

·      Thursday, November 9th, Visual Post, Laura A. Grace, www.unicornquester.com

·      Thursday, November 9th, Review of The Final Paladin, Laurie Lucking, www.landsuncharted.com

·      Friday, November 10th, Behind-the-Scenes Feature, Steve Rzasa, www.steverzasa.com

·     (You are Here) Saturday, November 11th, Review of The Final Paladin, Cathrine Bonham, www.dolphin18cb.wordpress.com

·      Sunday, November 12th, A Sneak Peek of The Final Paladin, Lisa Gefrides, www.lisagodfrees.com

·      Monday, November 13th, Interview, Bruce Weller, www.bruandmir.com

·      Tuesday, November 14th, Release-Day Feature, T.J. Akers, www.tjakers.com

·      Wednesday, November 15th, A Writer’s Best Friend, Jebraun Clifford, www.quillsandinkblotts.wordpress.com

·      Thursday, November 16th, A Celebration of The Final Paladin, Michele Israel Harper, www.micheleisraelharper.com Don’t forget: (Facebook Party Day)

·      Friday, November 17th, Guest Post, Bokerah Brumley, www.superbokerah.com or www.bokerah.com

Meg Mitchell Blog Tour

Meg Mitchell Blog Tour Banner

I am so excited to kick off this new blog tour for a very enchanting book.

Most of you are familiar with my FANtastic interview segments. Do you remember the author who helped me out by being my first interview?

It was Amy Williams! (You can read my first interview here.) Amy is back today using her super secret alter ego of Kimberly McNeil. She has an epic YA novel that is sure to excite fans of sci-fi and fantasy alike.

Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal

 Stories never end. They just get bigger.MegMitchell_Journal

 You only have to turn the page.

 Meg Mitchell lives in a castle, but she’s no wilting princess. Raised in an alien world by adoptive parents, she spends her time fighting Centaurs, training as an Andai warrior, and chilling in her favorite willow tree.

 But when Meg uncovers her birth father’s journal, she discovers a cousin she didn’t know existed. Meg and her little brother and sister travel through an interdimensional rip to San Francisco to search for their cousin, setting off a chain of events no one could have foreseen.

 When her sister is kidnapped, Meg enlists the help of teenage detective Barb Taylor and her genius little brother Jim. Following clues dropped by a mysterious benefactor, they embark on a cross-country adventure to rescue her sister and find Meg’s cousin.

 Family is everything to Meg, but not all is as it seems. In her quest to reunite her family, she may lose more than she ever imagined.

Find it at these fine retailers: AmazonBarnes & NobleCrosshair Press

 Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list. 

 Excited to know more? I hope so because there is lots more. (Seriously, this will be a long post.)

FANtastic Interview with Amy Williams Kimberly McNeil:

CB) Meg Mitchell is chock full of fun references and characters that feel familiar. Too Familiar. Tell us about your inspiration for the Legend of the Lightkeepers series.

 KM) One word: Fanfiction. I was writing fanfiction before it was a thing. I had my No. 2 pencil and my wide-ruled notebook paper, and I’d sit at the never-used fireplace at my house in Houston and scribble better stories than the ones I saw on television.

 Best example? Probably my two favorite television shows as a young child were My Little Pony (the original) and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I loved My Little Pony so much that I saved up my allowance money to buy the toys at Toys ‘R Us, but even at seven or eight years old, I thought their writers needed help. I always wondered what would happen if the Ponies were in charge of spaceships rather than holding scavenger hunts and putting on festivals. So, in kindergarten and first grade, that’s what I wrote about.

 Fast forward to the early 90s, when I was nine or so, a new range of cartoon shows hit the television. I discovered Star Wars and amazing adventures like Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? and the totally awesome (horribly dubbed) anime Ronin Warriors. I loved those new stories, but I didn’t want to let go of the stories I’d been telling myself since I was six. So I just expanded my mental universe.

 Then, one day, I told my childhood best friend about my stories. I was eleven years old by this time, and my universe had really become a cohesive world I could describe. My friend was desperate to read the stories, so that’s when I wrote the first version of Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal.

 By the time I hit high school, I had amassed quite a following of friends and family who loved the world I’d built. I kept writing because they kept asking for more. At the end of high school, I had completed somewhere around 30 novels in the series. Somewhere along the way in all those 30 books, I had left all traces of the original source material behind. The stories themselves bore little resemblance to the old cartoon shows.

 So I guess you can blame the Lightkeepers series on the boring writers for My Little Pony back in the 1980s, specifically whoever wrote the pilot episode. Seriously, that pilot was epic. If you haven’t watched it, you should, and then you should read Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal, and you’ll laugh.

 CB) That was an epic answer. A thirty book series based on all my favorite 90’s cartoons. I am so there.

 When I meet an author, most of them tend towards humility. You are the only author that openly fangirled with me about your own books. Do you ever find yourself reading your own books for fun?

 KM) You know, I spent most of my life refusing to talk about my stories. There I was, 16 years old with more than 20 completed novels, and I was too scared to say anything about them. I wasn’t afraid of rejection; I was more scared to be thought of as boastful.

 But the more people read my stories and loved them, the more I wanted to talk about them. Because I loved them too! I mean, I’d spent every free moment I had since I was six years old living in this crazy universe in my mind. My characters are real to me, friends who’ve been with me for 25+ years, and their stories have taught me about myself, about God’s grace, and about life.

 One thing I’ve learned about storytelling is that it’s a gift, and for me, it’s a gift God gave me. And I can ignore it or refuse to talk about it, but how does that bring glory to Him? If He’s given me the gift to tell stories, then He’s also given me a story to tell. And I want as many people as possible to know about it, because maybe something I’ve written will encourage them or help them know God better. That’s the definition of success for me.

 And, heck, yeah. I read my stories for fun. Part of the joy of my writing process is that I’m not 100% in control of what my characters say or do. Sometimes—No, most times, they surprise me. They make me laugh, and I enjoy spending time with them and sharing their adventures.

 And if you’re not a writer, that sounds completely psycho. I know.

  CB) Right, but then we write (usually) because we love to read.

 The antagonist, Phoenix, starts off as one of those not too threatening villains that would never hurt a child and is just bad because it’s more fun. But by the end her true colors show and I believe that she is really evil. Was it important to you that readers see her as the bad guy, and not as someone they should root for?

 KM) Oh, Phoenix. I love Phoenix, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for the baddies. Phoenix Munroe is so very important. I wanted to present Phoenix as honestly as possible, because I truly believe that “bad guys” always have a motivation that matters to them. Sometimes they’re willing to do horrible things to accomplish their goals, but in their own minds, they’re justified. It’s important for readers to be able to judge Phoenix and her heart for themselves.

  CB) When I interviewed you about New Name you had quite the dream cast lined up. Who would you cast in a movie version of Meg Mitchell?

 KM) I have about 200 folders of images on my computer with reference images for the Lightkeepers cast. (It doesn’t help that the size of my cast makes Game of Thrones look like a short story.) Some characters are really easy to pick an actor or actress for. Others make it really difficult.

 I actually just did another interview on this blog tour that asked for a dream cast, so I’ll pick a few different characters than what I told her. Except for Meg. Meg’s the main character in the book, after all.

AylaKell-MegMitchell 

The best actress I’ve seen yet for Meg is a gal named Ayla Kell. As with most of the people I’ve picked, I chose her years and years ago, so as she is in 2017, she’s probably too old for Meg. But her photos from several years ago match Meg very closely.

 

ChristianMartyn-JimTaylor

 

 Most recently I stumbled onto a young actor named Christian Martyn who looks similar to Jim Taylor. He’s got the clean-cut, wholesome look, but give him some glasses, and I think he could pull the massive nerdiness off really well. 

 

 NecarZadegan-VelannaIttai

The actress I would pick for Velanna Ittai, Meg’s adoptive mother, is Necar Zadegan. I saw this woman act in two seasons of 24 and nearly came unglued when she walked on the screen, because she is Velanna. Absolutely crazy.

 

 FamkeJanssen-PhoenixMunroe

Finally, because you asked a question about her, Phoenix Munroe was a pretty easy pick. The actress Famke Janssen is perfect for her.

Someday soon I’m going to be doing blog posts on characters from Lightkeepers, so I’ll feature all my reference photos. Those will be fun!

 CB) Epic Cast. It’s too bad kids have to age. Maybe you should get cracking on that movie.

 If given the choice would you rather work as a Peregrine detective or train as an Andai Warrior? Bonus choice: Or would you rather commit crimes with Phoenix?

 KM) Oh, gosh…. That’s a tough question. I would have to say, I would love to train as an Andai Warrior, as long as I didn’t have to train with Meg’s teacher!! He’s brutal! But getting to learn an ancient martial art that uses energy sabers? That would be epic.

 Granted, being a Peregrine agent would be awesome too, but there’s a lot of politics in play there. And I am way too clumsy to keep up with Phoenix. I’d fall off a bridge during a getaway, and she’d leave me behind. That being said, I’d love to have coffee with her.

  CB) Now for the last but most important question: When can I get my hands on book two?

 KM) Fingers crossed, Book Two—Barb Taylor & the Mountain of Fire—should be available next year. I’m hoping for spring 2018! The super exciting news is that I’m releasing a web serial that ties into the Lightkeepers series. It will be available shortly after the first of the year. At least, that’s the plan. But you can watch my website or my publisher’s website for announcements!

acwilliams2015

Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Follow her on social media:  Website  — Facebook TwitterInstagram — Google Plus

I’ve been featuring a lot of books lately and I figure most of you would like to know what I thought after reading them.

So since Amy was the first of my FANtastic Interviews, I thought I’d use one of her books as the start of a new segment I’m calling: Dive In Reviews. Because I dive in and gush about all the parts I liked while trying very hard not to giveaway spoilers.

Dive in Review of Meg Mitchell and the secret of the Journal:

Meg Mitchell and the Secret of the Journal by: Kimberly McNeal, is the first book in what is sure to be an epic YA fantasy series.

I loved everything about it. It’s a science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery, superhero mash up. The writing is tight, the characters are intelligent and witty.

First we have the young heroes: Meg, Danny, and the youngest Jenny. Their sibling relationship is very believable. (As a sibling this is important to me.) These three live in a wonder-filled and dangerous fantasy land (One that we do not see nearly enough of). But they may still have family in our world. Once here they quickly find trouble in the form of a super criminal named Phoenix Munroe.

Pheniox is a failed detective, her last case was trying to track down the run away Mitchell kids. In her new life of crime, she likes to leave clues for two teenage detectives named Barb and Jim. (Where in the world could that have come from.)

Oh and there may also be vigilante samurai, secret assassin training, and mysterious Jedi storytellers. (But you didn’t hear that from me)

This book is non stop action and is chock full of Easter Egg hints to eighties and nineties nostalgia. Kids and adults alike will be entertained as the Mitchell kids cross worlds to prove that Family is everything.

The Legend of the Lightkeepers promises to be an enjoyable series with witty and complex characters. Not just a novel for children but for anyone who remembers getting up at six am on Saturdays just to see stories that your parents promised would rot your mind. They did anything but, right?

If Meg Mitchell was a cartoon, I would be up at six am on a Saturday just to see what happens next.

 

Meg Mitchell FB Banner

Calling all book readers! Join Laura A. Grace and A.C. Williams (pen name Kimberly McNeil) as we chat about her urban fantasy novel MEG MITCHELL & THE SECRET OF THE JOURNAL on November 2nd from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (7 PM CDT and 6 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with A.C., games, and giveaways.

Special guests Kat Heckenbach and Kara Swanson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. 

And here’s the schedule so you don’t miss any posts in this epic tour:

Wednesday, November 1st   

–       Review & Interview – dolphin18cb (You are here)

Thursday, November 2nd  

–       Review & Guest Post – Thorn & Vine

–       Character Interview – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 3rd  

–       Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

–       Fan-Made Book Trailer – Unicorn Quester

–       Author Interview – Welcome to Arhyalon

Saturday, November 4th  

–       Review – Live Life Reading

–       Review & Author Trivia – Of Pens & Paper

Monday, November 6th  

–       Review – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!

–       Spotlight – The Hermit Librarian

–       Author Interview – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

Tuesday, November 7th    

–       Author Interview – Jebraun Clifford ~ dream.write.repeat.

Wednesday, November 8th

–       Review – The Overactive Imagination

Thursday, November 9th

–       Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 10th

–       Review – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove

So you may have noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of book releases on this blog. Well I hope you aren’t sick of them because I have another one for you. This time it’s a comedy/horror anthology.  Perfect for the Halloween season.

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Graves Grove isn’t your ordinary town…

Nestled within the folds of the Canadian Rockies, Graves Grove probably isn’t the picturesque place you’d like to stay for long. Peculiar things happen here. The citizens seem normal superficially–they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors.

And then there are all the missing children. And why is everyone afraid of that sycamore tree?

The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove is an anthology of stories taking place throughout the history of this mysterious town, from its founding to its future. Read them…if you dare.

Here are the Graves Grove Amazon links: KindlePaperback, and even Hardcover.

Proceeds will benefit Reading is Fundamental. A non-profit that helps improve literacy skills and brings a love of reading to kids across America.

And wait until I tell you the best part.

Inside the Whispered Tales of Graves Grove you can find the short stories:

“The Canadian Cottingly” and “Fairy Troubled”

(I’ll give you one guess what those are about.)

Why are these two stories so special? Well, because they were both written by me.

Hooray for being published.

But don’t just read it for my stories. Graves Grove also contains stories from lots of other authors too.

If you are looking for a spooky collection of stories to entertain you and make you laugh, then purchase the Whispered Tales of Graves Grove and support a for a good cause.

 

 

FANtastic interview for Lawless blog tour

Hey remember when I hosted a cover reveal for an amazing, steampunk fantasy novel about Dragonshifters? Oh, you don’t, Click here.

Well anyway, it’s out now!

 

You can buy it from these fine retailers:

Amazon  Apple  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  Signed copies here: Uncommon universe press.  

The salvation of humans and dragons lies within a convicted murderer.

 Dragonshifter Kesia Ironfire has one goal—to redeem her past by serving the cruel dragon Pinnacle as a soldier in the dragon-human war.

 Then a rogue mission to spy on a new airship explodes into sickening green smoke. The same mysterious green smoke that was present the night of Kesia’s crime. When her dragon overlords deny any involvement, she and her tactical partner Zephryn Nightstalker try to investigate–and are sentenced to death.

 Still searching for answers, Kesia and Zephryn flee to the human military capital, where Captain Shance Windkeeper has been furloughed after the destruction of his airship. Eager to discover what–and who–blew up his vessel, he agrees to help Kesia and Zephryn infiltrate High Command. In exchange, Kesia must pretend to be his betrothed so Shance can escape an arranged marriage. If only she knew what ‘betrothed’ and ‘arranged marriage’ meant.

 But human social customs are the least of her worries. Dark secrets surface as Kesia delves deeper–secrets that challenge the facts of her crime and undermine the war itself.

 A steampunk fantasy adventure with a side of quirky romance and snark.

This blog tour is super special because the author is hosting a scavenger hunt, and I am one of the stops.

ScavengerHunt

I’m actually the last stop. To find the rest of the clues you need to visit the other blog tour stops marked with *.

Sept. 21* – Laura A. Grace – Unicorn Quester – Author Interview 

Sept. 22* – Josh Hardt – Character Interview

Sept. 25 – Annie Douglass Lima – Realm Explorers

Sept. 26* – Anna Tan – Steampunk, Fantasy, and Cultures

Sept. 27* – Fanni Suto – Author Interview

Sept. 28 – Leanna Shields – Character Chat

Sept. 29 – Kessie Carroll – Book Spotlight

Sept. 30* – Bethany Jennings – Character MBTI

Oct. 1 – Melissa Sasina – Book Spotlight

Oct. 2 – Alexander Preston – Book Review

Oct. 3* – Kyle Shultz – Character Interview

Oct. 4* – Cathrine Bonham – FANtastic Interview

Oct. 5 – C. S. Johnson – Book Spotlight

Oct. 6 – Kara Swanson – Character Interview

And now to get the seventh and final clue you must first read this FANtastic interview with author Janeen Ippolito:

C: Hello Janeen and thank you for taking the time for this FANtastic interview.

Let’s start with Steampunk. What does Steampunk mean to you?

J: Oh man, steampunk means possibilities. I was already a history nerd in addition to a science fiction and fantasy nerd, so when I discovered there was this whole subculture of alternate Victorian history with anachronisms? Be still my beating heart! And then when I learned it had expanded to other fun anachronistic time periods with alternate history, it just made my life better.

 C: Do you have anything to say to those who would disqualify your novel from the steampunk genre, simply for having dragons in it?

 J: *shrugs* Nah. Everyone’s entitled to their preferences. Live and let live. And I choose to live with dragons.

 C: Who wouldn’t choose to live with dragons? Especially, superpowered shapeshifting Dragons.

 Your characters have unique Talents. Kesia can shapeshift. Zephryn can cloak, and Shance has windpowers. If you could possess a talent from your story world which one would you pick?

 J: Oh man, I had so much fun with the Talents! Oh dear. Probably wind powers. I’ve always wanted to control wind currents. I blame my favorite comic being X-Men. Go Storm!

 C: If you find yourself suddenly sucked into your own story world, which character would you most want to be your companion and protector while there?

 J: Kesia Ironfire all the way. Sorry Zephryn and Shance. Y’all are great, but Kesia has the most resources and abilities because of SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.

 C: Yes Kesia would be my choice too, because of all the, [SPOILERS]!

 OK, while we are on Characters, I know you can answer this.

  Dream cast and . . . GO!

 J: Woohoo!

Kesia

 

 Kesia Ironfire – Rachel Bilson. I love the sweet face with that mischief. Kesia is so often underestimated because she looks so *nice*.

 

 

Shance

 

 

Shance Windkeeper – Alex Pettyfer. As soon as I saw his face, I knew he was Shance. Equal parts capable, strong-willed and romantic, with that edge of pretty-boy.

 

Zephryn

 

 

 

Zephryn Nightstalker – young Masood Ali Khan. I found him on Pinterest and immediately knew he belonged in the story. It was one of the few times where a ref came to me at the same time as the actual character.

 

C: Yes to Alex Pettyfer. I can totally see him as Shance.

 Lawless features a pretty unconventional love triangle. What are your feelings on love Triangles in speculative fiction? Are the themes in Lawless meant to reflect a more realistic approach to love?

 J: I’m a huge fan of messy relationships in fiction and that includes romantic relationships. In my mind, nothing makes a character’s day worse like romantic difficulties—and I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, so I can’t leave the feels out of any story! As a student of culture and anthropology, I’m also fascinated with how one approaches love and affection reflects in individual personalities, whether or not they’re even involved with anyone.

 Okay, now you’re getting some flag-waving.

 Love triangles don’t have to be some weird, sappy thing where two guys inexplicably fall for the same girl. In many works of classic literature they are used in ways that create real stress and tension in the plot, and unsatisfied love can lead to great character growth! One of my favorite love triangles is in A Tale of Two Cities—which also takes place during a time of great upheaval and conflict (aka, The French Revolution). The love triangle only adds to the stress and character journeys, rather than being a fantasy pipe dream.

 AND I’m also a pragmatist who constantly observes others. I’ve seen love triangles play out in Real Life. Astonishingly? There is often far less drama. People can be like adults and get over themselves. They can even be friends with the “winners” and go on to have healthy lives, with or without Significant Others. So yes, I wanted to show more of that side of love triangles. And that doesn’t mean it’s easy. What does it look like to have to make your brain stop seeing this person as a potential lover and instead see them as a friend? Pretty awkward sometimes. But all of that is part of character growth, which adds a different kind of fun tension.

 Unless I’m body-snatched, I’ll always have some romance in my fiction, but I’ll always take unique angles that offer new perspectives on tropes, further individual character development, and increase the intensity and friction in the overall plot. Again, more of A Tale of Two Cities instead of Twilight.

 C: Not only are the characters and the plot of Lawless amazing, it also takes place in a pretty unique world. I have to say, I love your story world, and I want to live there.

 From conception to final draft, how long did it take you to refine?

 J: Oh man, I started brainstorming it in around February 2015. It first started with about 10,000 words in what will now be Book 3. Then I kept building the world and thought I’d write this other story to explore it—that story ended up being Book 2. And I already had ideas for Book 4. And when I fully realized what the dragon-human war was, I knew I had to write Lawless as Book 1, and that I needed a final book to round up the series. So then I outlined all five books in one afternoon, and shortly after I started drafting Lawless.

 C: Okay let’s just get this out in the open, Lawless is the first book in the Ironfire Legacy, how long will this series be and, most importantly, how long am I going to have to wait for the next book?

 J: The Ironfire Legacy will be five full-length novels, with at least two novellas. The novella, Priceless (Book 1.5) which follows the journeys of two compelling side characters, should be out in late winter 2018. The next novel, Faithless (Book 2), should be out in late summer 2018!

 C: Wow I can’t believe I have to wait so long, next summer feels like an eternity away. Anyway that you for stopping by and for having such FANtastic answers to my questions.

Janeen

 

 

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes speculative fiction with monsters, misfits, and mushy stuff. She’s also an experienced author coach, editor, teacher, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, geeky TV, and brownie batter. A lifelong misfit, she believes different is beautiful and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter: @TheQuietPen, Facebook, Instagram: janeen_ippolito, and at her two websites: janeenippolito.com and writeinsideout.com

 

 And now for your final clue:

 

You have until the end of the Facebook release party to enter.

And it’s Tonight! October 4th, 9PM til midnight.

So get your thinking caps on and get those answers in. The winner will be announced on Thursday with the rest of the giveaway winners from the party.

Don’t forget to RSVP to the event.

 

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