Tag Archive | Amber R. Duell

Review: When Stars Are Bright

Title: When Stars Are Bright

Author: Amber R. Duell

Date of Publication: January 7th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

For Lina Holt, a Dutch seventeen-year-old with a flair for singing, 1930 is going to be her year. Her long-time boyfriend is about to propose and her mother will finally realize their relationship isn’t a passing phase. But when a stranger snatches her from her backyard, everything changes.

Lina is thrust into the spotlight of a New York vaudeville show where she’s paired with Nik, a mysterious pianist. The two bond during rehearsals and it doesn’t take long before Nik puts himself at risk to confess a hidden truth. Without Lina, the show is in its last season and there’s no way she’ll be allowed to slip through the owner’s fingers. Not when she carries fairy magic in her blood—an gift that turns her song into a dangerously addictive drug.

If Lina ever wants to return home, she must learn who to trust before she’s forced to remain a prisoner on stage forever.

WHEN STARS ARE BRIGHT is a historical Thumbelina retelling with a touch of magic.

My Review:

I’ve read all of Duell’s books and this one has to be my favorite! When I read retellings, I like for them to have an original spin on it! And this had that! Also, it’s based on Thumbelina which I haven’t read any other retellings on!

What I liked best about this story was that it’s set in the 1930s! It’s very character driven with a touch of wonderful and hypnotic magic! Lina was easy to relate to and you could see her really grow as a character because of the predicament she was in!

I’ve read all of Duell’s books and this one has to be my favorite! When I read retellings, I like for them to have an original spin on it! And this had that! Also, it’s based on Thumbelina which I haven’t read any other retellings on!

What I liked best about this story was that it’s set in the 1930s! It’s very character driven with a touch of wonderful and hypnotic magic! Lina was easy to relate to and you could see her really grow as a character because of the predicament she was in!

I also seriously loved Nik and Christian and following this wonderful journey of these characters! Also, I’ll just say that the ending gave me a bucket full of emotion!


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What’s your favorite retelling?

January Reads 2019

So many good books are coming out this month, but these are the ones I will be reading! Also have a Happy New Year, guys!

 

Other awesome releases for January!

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What are you reading this month?

Fantasy & Fairy Tale Book Fair + $100 Giveaway!

Add Clouded by Envy to Goodreads

Clouded by Envy, as well as many awesome others, is part of the Fantasy & Fairy Tale Book Fair! Take a look at all the pretty covers here!

Enter the $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Enter Here!

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Which cover was your favorite from the book fair?

Dream Keeper: Review + Author Interview

Title: Dream Keeper

Author: Amber R. Duell

Date of Publication: January 29th, 2019

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The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.

My Review:

Right off the bat, I was extremely intrigued by this book. I’ve read three other stories by Duell, so I knew the writing was going to be flawless and the story would be unique. I was not disappointed!

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First off, I’m going to say I don’t get scared or need a blanket when reading a dark or creepy book. Instead, I’m more like, heck yes that was awesome! And there was a whole bunch of fist pumping with the nightmare descriptions!

The book is told in dual POV, and I already knew Sandman would be my favorite chapters—which they were. But Nora’s were great too—she was a strong character that made choices for heself. Now, let’s get down to swoony business, the Sandman was sweet and can I just keep him in my pocket? Also, I want to go to my own private sand beach like now, have a sand whip, and kapow it against the sand, just because!

So far, this is my favorite book by the author, fab-ab-ab writing and especially the world, which was such a cool concept. Loved it! Give me the next one, now!

 

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Dream Keeper?

When I lived in Maine, we would drive back home to NY a lot to visit my family. We got in pretty late once, and my oldest was wired at midnight because we just spent 6 hours in the car so I told him if he didn’t try to go to sleep that I would call the Sandman. (It worked, by the way! haha) Then I was sitting on the couch the day after we went back home and it hit me. I wanted to write a Sandman book. Everything stemmed from that moment.

Did you have to do any research when writing Dream Keeper?

Yes! And it was really fun. I read up on the different legends that dealt with dreams or dreaming. (The Sandman isn’t the only one in the Dark Dreamer trilogy!) Also, I researched facts about dreams and REM sleep.

Who’s your favorite character in Dream Keeper, and why?

The Sandman. He’s such a kind, genuine person. Plus cool tattoos, starlit eyes, and magic!

When you write, do you outline or just wing it?

Both. I have a vague outline with things I know need to happen, but I fill in the blanks as I go.

What’s your favorite book ever?

The Winner’s Curse! (Technically, the whole trilogy.)

What inspired you to be a writer?

My mother used to make up stories for us at bedtime and it always seemed like fun.

What’s your least favorite thing about writing?

Can I say writing? lol After the vague outline, I do an incredibly sparse draft (20-30k words) and it’s so bad. I hate everything about it, but it’s necessary since my process involved adding a bunch of layers to that base.

What other future books do you have planned?

There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between—a high fantasy and a contemporary fantasy.

What’s your favorite color?

Purple

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Finally back in NY! With any luck, still writing stories to share.

Did you already know from the beginning that Dream Keeper would expand into a series?

It was originally a duology instead of a trilogy, but as I got into planning the second book, I realized it needed another.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a time that I didn’t want to.

What future books do you have planned next?

There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between, but first I have to write the 2nd and 3rd Dark Dreamer books.

If you could live in any fantasy world where would it be?

Any that had fairies!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Don’t get discouraged! Keep working at your craft and bringing new stories to life.

 

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Amber R. Duell is a native of Central New York but currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two sons. She survives on caffeine and baked goods. When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, staying up way too late to research genealogy, and discovering real-life adventures.

Stalk Amber:

Website: http://amberrduell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmberR_Duell
Instagram: http://instagram.com/amberrduell/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmberRDuellAuthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15857372.Amber_R_Duell

 

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Do you remember your dreams?

 

Review: Of the Deep Mermaid Anthology

Title: Of the Deep Mermaid Anthology

Authors: K.M. Robinson, Amber R. Duell, Elle Beaumont, E.J. Hagadorn

Date of Publication: June 12th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

From the land above and the sea below…

A collection of vivid YA mermaid tales await you in the depths of these pages in this six-story collection from Crescent Sea Publishing.

merman and his brother are tasked with protecting what belongs to their people and failure is not an option. Two teens attempt to find a mermaid off the coast of Massachusetts before poachers do. A young woman finds herself amidst an eerie seaside hut and is drawn back to it. A family is torn apart by one teen mermaid’s selfish desires and puts an entire kingdom at risk. When two seventeen-year-olds witness their Prince threaten an infamous sea-witch, they have no idea how soon all of their lives will be intertwined, and what secrets lay in the depths. While working in an antique shop, a young woman is turned into a mermaid to end an evil curse against the mer prince in a twisted retelling of the classic tale.

From adventure to thriller, to urban fantasy, this collection features stories from bestselling YA authors as well as emerging voices, this anthology will take you deep into the heart of the sea.

This six-story anthology includes tales by Amber R. Duell, E.J. Hagadorn, Elle Beaumont, and K.M. Robinson and the printed book includes artwork by a number of talented artists that created mermaid pieces, some of which are inspired by the stories from the anthology.

My Review:

I wanted to read this anthology because I’ve read Amber R. Duell’s Fragile Chaos and the novella, and I love her writing! Her story did not let me down and was my favorite!

Another reason I wanted to read this was because of mermaids! Mermaids! All the authors had unique stories that sucked me right in. K.M. Robinson’s two tales also had great character depth!
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Overall, fun, quick read, and full of mermaids in a different way than you might have imagined!

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Do you like mermaids?

Cover Reveal: Of The Deep A Mermaid Anthology

Of The Deep Mermaid Anthology Cover

From the land above and the sea below…

A collection of vivid YA mermaid tales await you in the depths of these pages in this six-story collection from Crescent Sea Publishing.

A merman and his brother are tasked with protecting what belongs to their people and failure is not an option. Two teens attempt to find a mermaid off the coast of Massachusetts before poachers do. A young woman finds herself amidst an eerie seaside hut and is drawn back to it. A family is torn apart by one teen mermaid’s selfish desires and puts an entire kingdom at risk. When two seventeen-year-olds witness their Prince threaten an infamous sea-witch, they have no idea how soon all of their lives will be intertwined, and what secrets lay in the depths. While working in an antique shop, a young woman is turned into a mermaid to end an evil curse against the mer prince in a twisted retelling of the classic tale.

From adventure to thriller, to urban fantasy, this collection features stories from bestselling YA authors as well as emerging voices, this anthology will take you deep into the heart of the sea.

This six story anthology includes tales by Amber R. Duell, E.J. Hagadorn, Elle Beaumont, and K.M. Robinson and the printed book includes artwork by a number of talented artists that created mermaid pieces, some of which are inspired by the stories from the anthology.

Of The Deep will be available on all of the major platforms in both ebook and paperback versions on June 12. Preorder for the ebook version will be available soon along with a special surprise or two…so be sure to watch all of the author’s social medias for more!
What do you think of the cover?