Category Archives: reading

InstaFreebie Fantasy—Fill Your Kindle and Answer a Survey!

Just a quick post today—I recently created a poll for my readers. Do you read ebooks? Then this poll is for you!

Click this link:
Reader Survey!

I love getting to know you! I threw in some silly questions so we could both have fun.

There are also a bunch of giveaways going on—mostly on InstaFreebie, which I love. Be sure to check these out:

Fantasy Feast ebook giveaway Feb 8-16 2017

Fantasy Feast

The iF Book Promos page has fantasy books available HERE, and the offerings change frequently. Alas, there is no pretty picture to go with it.

SFF Book Bonanza

SFF Book Bonanza (Starts February 13th)


Did you answer the survey?

Have you got any questions for me? Ask me anything, but keep it clean, please!

Book Review: Third Daughter, by Susan Kaye Quinn

3-star rating

This January has carried strains of deja vu… That is, virus strains. I was sick last January! Ugh. Dare I hope the last week of the month will improve?

Book Review: Third Daughter, by Susan Kaye QuinnOn the bright side, feeling too unwell to write opened up a lot of time for binge-watching television and reading. I do like reading!

I am down to the “hard” letters in my A-Z challenge on Goodreads. I have U, X, Y, and Z to go still. Luckily, there’s no deadline, so I have peppered my recent reading with easy letters. 😄

“Q” gave me Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia #1), by Susan Kaye Quinn…

This post contains affiliate links. (If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.)
REVIEW of “Third Daughter

I felt that the story was more romance than fantasy, but it manages to incorporate a fun dash of steampunk. The last third of the book was by far the most enjoyable, in spite of the heroine’s abysmal foolishness. (She was only 18, after all. Leeway must be granted.) The one thing that tripped me up Continue reading Book Review: Third Daughter, by Susan Kaye Quinn

Free Books to Fill Your eReader

If you haven’t stumbled across iF Book Promos yet, you’re missing out. The site has a beautiful interface that allows readers to browse books by genre and, when you hover over a cover, the book’s description pops up so you can check out what it’s about.

Sweet, right?

As it happens, I have a book featured there for the next several days. Check it out. And check out the other books while you’re there. There’s some purdy stuff there sure to look great on your e-reader. And they’re FREE. Perfect!

Visit iF Book Promos

Christmas Goodies for You!

Yes! Christmas goodies! Whatever holiday you celebrate, I have some bookish yumminess for you—and I’m excited!

First I want to remind you of the Drift of Quills holiday giveaway. There will be one grand prize winner and four runners up. Have you entered the drawing yet? Be sure to hop over to the giveaway page and sign in to the Rafflecopter thingummy. (That’s an official word, right?)

A Drift of Quills is giving away e-books! Enter now for your chance to win. Contest ends Dec 18, 2016

 

And then there’s the annual Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Christmas Sale coming this weekend and running through the end of the month. Check us out here: Fantasy Sci-Fi Network. But wait! There’s more! We’re also having a Facebook Event December 17-18, with tons of giveaways (I hear there’s a new kindle in the works…). Join us HERE on Facebook.

 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS to everyone!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset

Aerisia begins in the real world and gets interesting with the appearance of a stump. No, really!

From the corner of the main character’s eye, this stump might be a bear, a wolf, a stray dog, a monk in flowing robes

Love the departure from the norm with that last item, and the setup for magic.

My Teaser

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset, by Sarah AshwoodAerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
Genre: Fantasy / Coming of Age
Publisher: Griffineus Publications (April 16, 2014)
Find the Author on Twitter and Facebook
Available on Goodreads and Amazon

“He was Simathe, he was the High-Chief, and he would serve his homeland by serving his Artan.

And if she hated him for it, then she did.

So be it.”

~location 758 on my Kindle (20%)

Description

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset.

Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn’t have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren’t seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…

Want to Play Along?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What are you currently reading?
Have you read 
Aerisia? What did you think?
Talk to me!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

Book Review: Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

stars-4

I just finished reading Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead. The series, King Raven, is one of the best retellings of the Robin Hood story I’ve ever read.

REVIEW of “Tuck

For the uninitiated, the series is set in the Welsh borderlands and in an earlier time period than we are accustomed to. The story progresses from book to book, though each sees the tale primarily through one main character: Robin (or Rhi Bran, as he’s named here), Will Scarlet—and Friar Tuck.

Fully committed in his loyalty to Robin, Tuck’s simple faith provides some pivotal moments in the story. Witty, pious, and wielding a good solid staff, he gives his all to helping Robin regain his throne against an oblivious king and the power-hungry Normans who want his rich lands for their own, even when it puts him in situations he finds terrifying and impossible. His faith and his faithfulness carry him through.

Written in third person omniscient, the story occasionally features other players so that the reader can understand a wider perspective of the story—and for the most part, this worked well. There were some instances, particularly toward the end of the novel, where I thought it felt contrived.

Lawhead does a fine job illustrating life in the middle ages, and it is not difficult to imagine the reality of mean shelters in the woods, humble houses of worship, and the rough halls of the nobility. The characters he paints fit there well. They are imperfect; they are human. Cultures clash, views of human rights cause divisions, personal character is tested.

Intrigue, desperation, and determination fill the pages of a truly wonderful story.

SUMMARY
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

“Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark.”

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead’s masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in Tuck.

This book is for you if you:

  • Enjoy well-developed, realistic characters
  • Like historical fiction with a touch of fantasy
  • Are looking for Flinch-Free Fantasy

This book is not for you if you:

  • Don’t like attention to detail
  • Want a fast-paced story
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Have you read other books by this author?
What are you reading now? Share in the comments!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Tuck

So. Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead. Book three of the so-far amazing King Raven trilogy. It took far longer to finish book 2 than I planned—and then I remembered that I have to read a book a week to get through everything in my TBR stack. And, well, insomnia. At least it’s good for something!

I think I enjoyed book 1 better, but only barely. I love the history, the setting, the very real situations, choices, and setbacks the characters face.

There was a spot in Scarlet that had me surreptitiously teary…

It’s funny, but when I’m all by myself I have no trouble bawling my eyes out over something that happens to a fictitious character.

But I wasn’t alone! And I feel silly being sappy in front of other people!

Anyway… Book 3! I can’t wait to read about Tuck’s antics; he’s such a fun, sweet character. And, of course, I must find out what happens to Rhi Bran and his merry band!

My Teaser

Teaser Tuesday: Tuck, by Stephen R. LawheadTuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 14, 2009)
Find the Author on Twitter and Facebook
Available on Goodreads and Amazon

“He picked up the dead man’s sword and stuck it in his belt. ‘You can stay if you like, Abbot, but they are probably watching from the forest.’

Casting a hasty glance over his shoulder, the abbot hurried to rejoin his bodyguard and scuttled back to the abbey in undignified retreat.”

~Page 76

Description

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

Want to Play Along?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What are you currently reading? Share below—and be sure to join my TBR Challenge!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
TBR Challenge 2016 — Enter to win a free book!

TBR Challenge Invitation

TBR Challenge 2016 — Enter to win a free book!Ooh, the challenge of the TBR…

Everyone knows what that little acronym means, right? TBR=To Be Read.

Do you, dear readers, have a bunch of books on your shelf, your e-reader, or wish-list that you are just jonesing to read? I do. I always do!

I popped over to ReadItForward to calculate how long it would take me to read all the books on my list (not even counting those on my bookshelf that I haven’t read yet!).

TBR Challenge — Enter to win a free book!And that’s: a) if I don’t acquire any more books, and b) if I read about one book per week.

Clearly, I need to up my game.

A while ago, I posted about my own TBR List and issued a challenge, and I thought it was (past) time to wave that flag again.

I’d love for you to join me. We’ll do it together!

So Here’s the Big TBR Challenge:
  1. Join the Goodreads “2016 Reading Challenge
  2. Create a challenge of not less than one book per month (for a total of 12 which, technically, you could read in entirely in December if you want!)
  3. Link me up to your challenge page in the comments below OR on the original TBR Challenge page.
  4. Complete your challenge

At the end of the year, those who finish their challenges will be entered in a drawing for my upcoming book, The Sharpness of the Knife (Working title!). I’m also casting around for some other fun prizes. This may include Amazon gift cards, more books, bookmarks, and more…

Ready? Set! Go!

Please share this page with your reader friends! The more the merrier! And the more entries I get, the more prizes I can add!

P.S. Feel free to comment below with the book you’re reading and what you think of it!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

My calendar says a book review is supposed to go in this spot. Oops?

I’m reading a book! Actually, I’m reading three. Chronologically, the first one I started is not holding my attention very well, which is why #2 happened. However, the offer a free ARC leaped into my lap (You might have seen it in my Teaser Tuesday posts here and here…). It came with a “read by” date, so it elbowed #1 and #2 aside.

Aaaand I haven’t finished it. It is hovering on the brink of landing in my DNF pile.

Stuff Happens

In the meantime, there’s been Spring. (Yay! Warmth! Buds! Birds! RAIN!)

There’s been a (feeble) attempt to organize some of the messes I’ve collected.

And there’s been writing.

Yes, it’s true. I know it’s hard to believe at this point, but I am plugging along like a veritable herd of turtles.

I finished the first draft of Book 1. I dove into Book 2.

What Do You Mean, “Epic”?

I’ve contemplating turning the whole thing into one book, and I swivel back and forth crazily on the final decision. In the meantime, since Book 2 is so intimately connected to Book 1, I’m writing it separately.

The entire story is long.

I like long books! My friends like long books! The names of a few epic fantasy authors immediately leap to mind—And if we each made a list we’d probably get at least one duplicate!

On her blog post in October 2012, E.M. Castellan makes this comment:

“So it seems that I’m far from being the only Epic Fantasy writer struggling with a high word count.”

Yeah, huh.

I want the “epic” part of my novel to be about its awesomeness, not its awesome size, so I still need to carve out the fat.

In that same article, Ms. Castellan gives a great example of how it really is possible to put your book on a diet that will make it shine like a star:

“YA Epic Fantasy author Sarah J. Maas did just that with her 240k-word novel Throne of Glass back in 2008. And guess what? She got rejected. She did eventually get an agent with her manuscript at 145k words. And guess what? She got rejected by editors. Throne of Glass was finally published in August 2012, with a final word count of… a little over 100K words.” (Read the entire article here)

I feel encouraged!

Bookending for the Wordy

I was recently reading some things online about story structure, and one of the authors talked about how the beginning and the end must serve as bookends for the middle. The beginning inevitably leads to the end. They nest each other. (Sorry, I do not remember who to give the credit to! Link me up if you have the answer!)

This reinforced other advice I’ve read. My beginning was good (but not great). I’d written the end—and it’s very pretty, but it’s very soft. Not at all what I’d like out of it. Ugh.

So I mulled that over as I was going to sleep one night. (BEST thinking time—if I can remember my great ideas in the morning. Yes, I know, I need something to write on by the bed, but I’m lazy, and Hubby would not appreciate me turning on the light twenty-seven times in a row as he’s trying to fall asleep.)

Much to my delight, I remembered what I’d been thinking. I ran to my computer first thing the next morning and banged out the New and Improved Chapter One, and scribbled notes for the New and Improved Ending Chapter (the poor, sad thing has no number yet).

My writing partner says, “I like it! A lot better than the previous opening, actually. Surprisingly, because I liked that, too. It’s tight, serves the purpose of introduction well and gets rid of the distractions.”

It also whittled long three scenes down to one shorter one and took a chunk out of the scene that follows.

It’s a win!

The new Last Chapter is in progress.

“I love it when a plan comes together”!

Photo by evelynbelgium via Flickr.com is licensed under CC0 2.0