Tag Archive | fantasy

Review: Stain

Title: Stain

Author: A.G. Howard

Date of Publication: January 15th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins…

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest … disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

My Review:

I’ve loved every book from A.G. Howard, and this one was just as gorgeous! Beautiful writing and lush descriptions! It honestly gave me Grimm Fairy Tales vibes except with a unique and new spin!

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There were four main POVs and each one was intriguing! Each character added more depth to the story, giving it a more roundabout tale. Also, the sun and the moon theme was so utterly perfect and I loved, loved, loved the friendship, the journey, the romance, the emotions!

This is one retelling that I would be ecstatic to see as a film. There was so much loveliness in the story that I’d seriously love seeing it brought to life! Can I just say that I want Lyra’s eyelashes!!!!

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What’s your favorite retelling?

 

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The Onyx Crown: Excerpt + Giveaway

The OnyxCrownBlitz

To celebrate the release of Alan Hurst’s debut novel, The Onyx Crown, we are having a week-long book blitz! There will be an exclusive excerpt reveal, and a chance to win a digital copy of the book at the bottom!

Front CoverThe Onyx Crown #1

Publication Date: January 27th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

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Excerpt

For the next few days, the three of them did virtually everything together, including games, horse riding, and spear training with the First Knight, who seemed to be getting sterner and tougher on them with every lesson. The First Knight, whose given name was Jorell Boro, was famed throughout the fourteen provinces as one of the best living warriors of all time. He’d made his name fighting for the upstart Regent Okon in his war of usurpation against the High King Toloron.

After Toloron was defeated, the regent rewarded Boro with the titles of First Knight of the Crown, Protector of the House of the First Prince, and the moniker “the Bloodless Death,” because supposedly his bladed spear could kill a person so quickly and with such precision that they would be dead before any blood was even visible.

Okon, along with the ruling conclave, also granted a treaty to Pala Jorell’s home kingdom of East Rhydor, including a guarantee that no Numerian troops would invade as long as the East Rhydor king or his son, the prince, were in power.

The First Prince had asked Pala Jorell to begin instructing Zadeemo in the ways of knighthood, and also Gesemni himself, most likely reasoning that Zadeemo would need a sparring partner when the First Prince was absent.

The First Knight had been reluctant to train a “commoner” in the higher arts of warfare but, at the insistence of both the First Prince and Zadeemo, had relented. Still, one could tell he took The Onyx Crown -26- great pains to make sure that Zadeemo understood some of the finer points of the moves he instructed, while not deigning to help Gesi.

Luckily for Gesi, he had tremendous aptitude and seemingly a womb-borne comprehension of instinctual combat. As such, he rarely needed the extra tutoring that Zadeemo couldn’t seem to do without. On this day, the two of them were instructed for quite some time on hand-spear counters, an ancient method of grappling that involved an unarmed warrior wresting the control of spears and other long objects away from their adversary. It was an extremely rough and unpolished method of fighting, and the First Knight took the better part of the morning explaining it to them.

Finally, the paladin suggested they work the puzzling elements out with a few rounds of sparring. Boro handed him a bladed spear and marked out a circle four en-yawo in diameter with his carving knife. Zadeemo was given a pair of lyocell gloves, which felt like silk but were made from the toughest fibers in existence. These were to be used to protect his hands from blade cuts.

Gesi shifted nervously. Always when they’d fought before they’d both been armed. Oddly, there’s a certain amount of safety involved when two weapons compete against each other. But with Zadeemo being unarmed, Gesi felt he’d have to be very careful. He was also very conscious of Zoe sitting on her tilbury, watching them both amusedly.

“Engage!” The First Knight’s voice rang out through the square as the boys stepped into the circle. Zadeemo immediately lowered his stance, thrusting the heel of his boot inside Gesi’s left calf to disrupt his balance, simultaneously snatching at the bladed spear handle.

Shuffle-stepping to counter, Gesi twisted the blade ninety degrees, forcing Zadeemo to withdraw his hands. He knew he was supposed to be nothing more than a punching target for Zadeemo, but in situations like this, his stubborn, competitive imoya always got in the way of things, and yes…he also wanted to show off a bit in front of Zoe.

Surprisingly, Zadeemo must’ve anticipated his counter because he nimbly moved to his left, crashing his knee into Gesi’s right thigh and causing him to grimace. Ducking underneath the spear, Zadeemo swung his right elbow fiercely into Gesi’s solar plexus. The few servants and townspeople who were looking on cheered loudly, including Zoe.

At that second, he felt like he was going to black out. Zadeemo may have been slower than a stuck rhino, but he had strength far beyond what most twelve-year-olds could muster.

Instinctively, he twisted his bladed spear to block the next grasping move he felt was coming, slid his left knee under Zadeemo’s right, and reverse-swung the spear in a sweeping arc toward Zadeemo’s chest. The cheering stopped, followed by a deathly silence as Zadeemo crashed down to the dirt awkwardly. Everyone was staring at Gesi. Some looked angry, some fearful, some puzzled. Even he didn’t know how he’d won.

*Available Now*

Amazon | Nook

For your chance to win a digital copy of this exciting new fantasy, click the link below!

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About the Author

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

Alan Hurst | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blitz Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

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Cover Contest Second Round!

Hey guys! Clouded by Envy as well as my friend’s, Amber R. Duell’s, Dream Keeper has made it to the second round for cover of the month! If you would like to vote for them both, that would be so awesome!

Vote Here

Clouded by Envy

Dream Keeper

 

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Review: Treyan’s Promise

Title: Treyan’s Promise

Author: M. Dalto

Date of Publication: February 26th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Treyan lived his life bound by duty and honor, believing his future as told by the Prophecy of Fire and Light. Even after he found his Empress, he felt he was doing as he was foretold and in the best interest for the Empire. But when his own brother threatens to ruin all he holds dear, Treyan discovers it’s love, and not duty or honor, that drives him to question everything he once knew.

Treyan’s Promise Review:

After reading Two Thousand Years, I was excited to get into the head of my boy, Treyan. And he’s exactly as you expect in this novella! Swoonworthy, real, devoted, and awesome!

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My favorite aspect was getting to not only see past day stuff but present as well. The intertwining of past and present always makes the character feel even more developed. And it worked super great here, because we also get to see more of the side characters *cough Reylor* in the chapters!

Also, it was cool to see Alex from someone else’s perspective instead of reading from hers. Love her! The writing was fabulous and seriously need that second book already!

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Have you started this series yet?

Add Veiled by Desire to Goodreads!

Veiled by Desire is the spin off book to Clouded by Envy! It’s a stand alone, so you don’t have to read Clouded to read this one! You can now add it to your TBR to help spread the word for the release on December 3rd 2019! I would be most grateful!

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Cover coming soon!

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In Laith, when the moon is high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain…

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Clouded by Envy: Excerpt + Giveaway

I am so excited that CLOUDED BY ENVY by Candace Robinson is available now and that I get
to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful
book by Author Candace Robinson, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10
Amazon GC courtesy of Candace, The Parliament House Press, and Rockstar Book
Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the
bottom of this post.
Title: CLOUDED BY ENVY
Author: Candace Robinson
Pub. Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 215
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks
Brenik has always been
envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as
bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her
shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and
living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone
of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will
accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.
Living in a tree trunk
for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother
disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new
friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than
waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always
remains in the back of her mind.
When Bray reunites
with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers
the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages
those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming
between Bray and Wes.

 

Book Trailer:
Exclusive Excerpt!
                Bray
wasn’t sure how long she had drifted off for, but there was a puddle of wetness
against her cheek when she woke up—okay, so it was only drool from herself.
Lifting a hand up toward her cheek, she swiped the saliva away and rubbed it on
to the hammock. Classy, she thought, but there was already some gathered there
anyway.
                Remembering
the events from earlier, Bray headed straight to the hole and peeked out. She
shifted her head from left to right. Nothing. Bray looked up and down—she could
see a few bushes had already been planted in the dirt.
                Then
she saw it: a circular stone bowl filled with water sitting on top of a long
thick stem, attached to a circular bottom. A birdbath! Almost giddily, Bray
stepped on the ledge of the hole and leaped off, flapping her wings hurriedly
to the nearest pink and yellow peach. Opening her jaw wide, she bit into the
thin skin. A juicy one. The fruit filled her mouth with delicious pleasure, and
she took one more long bite before diving down to the birdbath.
                The top
of her newfound treasure was a perfect circle with tiny mounds around it
resembling hills. Bray landed on the ceramic and bent down to take a seat,
before placing her bare feet into the warm water that had been perfectly heated
from the shining sun.
                Peering
down at the clear water, Bray saw no sign of intrusion from other creatures
yet. She rotated her head in every direction, as if she would be caught just by
thinking about slipping into the water—still no sign of life.
                Flicking
her braid over her shoulder, Bray pursed her lips together to hide the smile
aching to shine against her face and jumped into the water. The splash echoed.
Her bare feet scraped the rough bottom, while her dress inflated and then clung
to her body as she shot to the surface. She let out a small giggle to herself.
It was sad that the only highlight of the past year was hopping into a shallow
pool of water with no one around except for her.
                She
leaned back into the liquid, letting herself float and moving her arms slowly
up and down, while swimming in figure-eight circles.
                Bray
closed her eyes and let the water cover her ears, so it felt like nothing in
the world existed, except for the muffled vibrations from the liquid.
                A loud
booming sounded from above, and her eyelids thrust open, meeting dark brown
eyes, light brown skin, and that black bowl hair. Tiny human. Luca.
                Freeze,
Bray thought to herself, not even blinking her eyes. She held them wide open, thinking
he wouldn’t notice her, or maybe he would just assume she was a bird. Even
though he was staring at her and had spoken something she didn’t hear clearly.
                Nope.
That isn’t going to work. He hovered closer, his eyes scrunched halfway closed
to examine her more thoroughly. Unable to hold her eyes open any longer, Bray
blinked several times.
                “What
are you?” he asked, genuine amazement creeping into his words, lips slightly
parted.
                “A
bat!” Bray yelled, and she jumped up from the warmth of the water, darting
straight for the tree hole.
                Breathing
heavily, Bray landed inside and collided with the floor. She rolled to her
back, running both hands down her face. “Why did I come out without paying
attention? I know not to!” Ruth had always told her this.
                A quake
trembled through the tree, causing shivers to run up and down her spine. What
is the little beast doing? Oh no, what if he is trying to chop down the tree?
My home—the peaches! Bray didn’t know why she was thinking about stupid peaches
when there was another fruit tree directly next door.
                Despite
the thunderous rumbling, Bray grabbed the needle from underneath her hammock
and dodged toward the window. If the little beast thought he could take her
down, then he had another thing coming. She would prick his eye—actually, she
would poke both of his eyes to protect her and Brenik’s home.
                When
Bray reached the edge of the window, the sound stopped. She peeped her head out
of the hole, right as a face met hers, his black hair falling forward over a hazel
eye—an eye she was going to poke. Startled, she jumped back instead of toward
him.
                A broad
smile crossed the little beast’s face. “Hello.”
                Freezing
once again, until she remembered that the staying-still-as-a-statue strategy
didn’t work in the birdbath, she meekly said, “Hi.”
                Bray
brought the needle up toward his smiling face, just in case.
                “Are
you planning on sewing something?” He tilted his head at the needle.
                “Yeah,
your eyeball.” She gave him a hard glare.
                “What?”
he asked while laughing hysterically.
                He was
laughing? Not scared? Bray brought the needle closer. “Yeah, you need to leave
and never come back. This is my home.”
                “No.
Technically, it’s my brother’s home,” he said, still smiling.
                “What
brother? You mean your dad out there who was planting this morning?”
                Luca
shook his head, and she didn’t miss the wince before he spoke. “No, that’s my
brother, Wes. I don’t have a mom or dad.”
                Crestfallen,
Bray lowered the needle. “Oh. Me neither. I only have a brother, but he will be
gone for a while.” She paused and glanced at the note Brenik had left behind,
her chest tightening. Then she shrugged it off and shifted her gaze back to the
boy. “By the way, my name is Brayora, but you can call me Bray.” For some
reason, she wasn’t worried anymore about the human.
                “I’m
Luca Duran.” He plopped his thin fingers on the edge of the hole.
                “Yeah,
I heard your name this morning, little beast. I mean, Luca.” She thought little
beast suited him better than Luca.
About Candace:

 

My name is
Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days
are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog,
Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the
hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30
degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome
daughter!
 
You can also
follow me on my review blog Literary Dust
 
 
 
 
Giveaway Details:
All International
1 winner will
receive an 10 Amazon Gift Card, International.
Ends on February
28th at Midnight EST!
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