Tag Archives: Fantasy

Arms of the Ocean Blog Tour & GiveAway

Arms of the Ocean
by Jamie Webster & M. Dalto

Monday July 6th to Friday July 17th

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I was incredibly lucky to have been chosen by Xpresso Book Tours to read and review a new book in one of my favorite genres! I’m one of many talented bloggers on this project and I invite to check out what everyone has to say about this book! Xpresso Tours!

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Book Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Tristaine lived a life of bitterness. When her mother abandoned her family, and her father began drinking, Tris discovered the only thing that truly brought her happiness: the sea.

It called to her like a lover and flowed through her like a life force. When her only peace is threatened to be taken away, Tris realizes there is nothing she wouldn’t do to remain with the ocean.

Even if it means taking her own life to do so.

But the sea isn’t done with her -not yet- and Tris soon finds herself submerged in a world where love, betrayal, and honor stand stronger than any other force of nature.

This is such a good read! I adore fairytale retellings, mostly because you have a pretty good idea of where the story will go, so it’s like seeing an old friend in a new dress. Arms of the Ocean went one better. The authors, Jamie Webster and M. Dalto, undertook to retell and ADD to the selkie mythology.  I thought this book was going to be fairytale romance… Instead I got Fairytale/Romance/Politics/Found Family/Happiness!

Mind you, to get to that glimmer of happiness, Tris has to undergo some absolutely horrific things. This book ascribes to the Classic Grimms style of storytelling.  Here’s the trigger warning: there is alcohol abuse, physical abuse, rape, betrayal, descriptions of sexual situations and legal execution, as well as realistic portrayals of PTSD and the aftereffects of abuse.

The basic story is that Tris’s father, enraged by Tris’s love of the sea has signed her over in a marriage contract to the local Lord, Fiero. Fiero is controlling and cruel, and plans for Tris to live inland, which she cannot abide. She chooses to kill herself in the ocean, but meets Imri, a selkie prince and is taken to the fabled city of Inara. There Tris is confronted by the truth of her parents’ pasts and her attraction to the prince, who is promised to another. Then they are betrayed; and it will take a hidden friend, teamwork and trust for Tris to find her way home.

Tris is a fantastic character, with a feisty personality and quick-witted tongue that keep her from being a doormat, but just enough flaws to make her likeable. She is given a second chance at life, at happiness, if she chooses to embrace it. Imri is not a perfect prince, but a man who is torn between being promised to his dearest friend and loving a stranger, between risking himself and caring for his entire kingdom. There are other characters, whose stories are tied to Tris and Imri, and who I dearly hope to see in yet more books!

Rating: 4.5/5

  • Title: Arms of the Ocean
  • Authors: Jamie Webster & M. Dalto
  • Publisher: Parliament House
  • Released: : July 7th, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 370 pages
  • Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult

GIVEAWAY!

A Rafflecopter giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card is here!

About the Authors:

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Jamie Webster is an Adult Fantasy writer who recalls writing stories as early as ten. She first began writing fanfiction, though she typically created an original character to follow. In high school, she began to create her own fantasy worlds and roleplayed on Yahoo Groups and AIM. In her adult years, she has completed four books as well as written for several publications including a blog, Trials and Tribulations, for her local newspaper as well as articles on writing and book reviews for Fantasy-Faction.

Jamie received her B.A. in English with a focus in Creative Writing from UMaine and an MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. She does most of her drafting during NaNoWriMo and fancies herself as the hybrid plantser. Her passion is reading, writing, crocheting and playing video games. She currently lives in Maine with her three children, Corgi, Mini Aussie, and a plethora of other animals that she’d rather not admit to.

M. Dalto is a bestselling New Adult author of adventurous romantic fantasy stories, having won a Watty award for excellence in digital storytelling for her debut novel, Two Thousand Years, in 2016. She spends her days as a full-time residential real estate paralegal, using her evenings to pursue her literary agenda, and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named Loki.

Social Media:

Jamie Webster:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter/ Instagram

M. Dalto

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Where to buy: Arms of the Ocean is available on July 7th.

Much thanks to Xpresso Book Tours, Parliament House and the authors,Jamie Webster & M. Dalto for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

Shave the Princess?? Acceptance and Self-Discovery on the High Seas.

The Princess Beard is the third in the Tales of Pell series, and while I’ve listened to the previous two books on audiobook, this was the first time actually reading one. There is a definite difference between listening to someone else interpret puns and wordplay, and reading and discovering that wordplay yourself.  Either way, this book is a delight!

The Princess Beard

The Blurb:

Shave the princess? Inconceivable! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.

Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses. 

When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails—which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.

This is not a story about finding true love’s kiss—it’s a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.

But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there’s Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there’s Tempest, who’s determined to become the first dryad lawyer—preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They’re joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn’archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you’ve got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.  

The Princess Beard is a book that makes you think, even as you laugh until you cry. Much like the movie that the title references, this story is beautifully complex and multilayered. I have read it twice over, and know that there is still much left to uncover the next time I pick it up.

Honestly, it’s hard to decide where to start gushing. I adore fairy tales and their retellings. The premise of the princess rescuing herself and becoming a pirate is only the start of the story. At its heart, it is about facing your personal demons, and embracing them to find your true self. The fact that this is accomplished by challenging traditional gender roles or stereotypes (Vic and Morgan), or by having to face both the disapproval of family and an inevitable fate (Tempest), or by forging an entirely new path (Alobartalus); it is done with both grace and humor.

I adore excellent wordplay. I grew up reading both Xanth and the Callahan series. Puns fly frequently between SC and I. Kevin and Delilah have made a world replete with clever words and multiple meanings. There are macguffins, and anagrams. There is edge-of-your-seat action sandwiched between genuine feelings and laugh-out-loud hilarity. And at the very end, there is the warm fuzzy of finally coming home.

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: The Princess Beard
  • Series: Tales of Pell, Book 3
  • Authors: Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Released: October 8th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 384 pages
About the Authors:
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Kevin Hearne is the NYT bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as well as The Seven Kennings, an epic fantasy trilogy, and the Tales of Pell, a humorous fantasy series co-authored with Delilah S. Dawson. INK & SIGIL, a new urban fantasy series set in the Iron Druid universe, will be out in 2020.

 

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Delilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. Her Blud series for Pocket includes Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her YA debut, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, GA, and HIT is about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Her Geekrotica series under pseudonym Ava Lovelace includes The Lumberfox and The Superfox with The Dapperfox on the way. Delilah teaches writing classes at LitReactor and wrote the Island of Mesmer world for Storium.

Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Atlanta. Find out more at www.whimsydark.com.

Where to buy:
The Princess Beard is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover retails for $27 USD, but is currently on sale for $19.80 USD. The Princess Beard is in bookstores right now!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Dangerous Women Slay in Noir Fatale!

Occasionally, I get lucky. I follow Baen on Facebook and always enter their monthly contests for newly released books. I’ve been looking forward to reading Noir Fatale ever since it was announced. Winning a copy made my week!

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There is just something visceral about reading noir. I can hear heels tapping and distant music, I can smell/taste the steaming  city alleys on a muggy summer night. I find myself craving hot tea and hard liquor while dressed in full pin-up style. Noir as a genre combines my love of mystery, crime, and history. There are hard-bitten men, dangerous situations, and then there are the women…

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My little ladies, Hurricane Enlil and Pandemonium demanding attention.

The Femme Fatales, those lovely ladies that seduce and distract all who encounter them and bend men to their wills. Oh gods, I love them. Noir Fatale focuses on these women, their stories, their exploits. All while exploring the extremes of fantasy and science fiction landscapes. This anthology holds 13 stories, written by 14 authors. Those authors are Larry Correia, Kacey Ezell, Laurell K. Hamilton, David Weber, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robert Buettner, Alistair Kimble, Griffin Barber, Michael Massa, Hinkley Correia, Patrick Tracy, Steve Diamond, Christopher L. Smith, and Michael Ferguson.

Anthologies can be fun, because of their nature, being made of short stories; you can choose how to read them. I admit to being gluttonous and reading all of it within a day! I explored catacombs, moon tunnels, seedy city streets and space stations all while being sat upon by my trusty feline divas.

I can honestly say that there isn’t a single story that I didn’t like! I found new stories by authors I already knew, fleshing out their universes. There are new authors( or at least, new to me), whose works I will be sure to look up!  From Madam Sunderhaven, the near-immortal necromancer, to the canny and sly Nina LaFleur, to the dangerous naiveté of Isis Lavender; these femmes strut  fully formed from the pages unto the theater of your mind.

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Hurricane Enlil demanding treats!

  • Title: Noir Fatale
  • Author/Editor: Larry Correia and Kacy Ezell
  • Publisher: Baen Books
  • Released: May 7th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 312

About the Editors:

Larry Correia is the creator of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling Monster Hunter series, with first entry Monster Hunter International, as well as urban fantasy hardboiled adventure saga the Grimnoir Chronicles, with first entry Hard Magic, and epic fantasy series The Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, with first entry Son of the Black Sword and latest entry, House of Assassins. He is an avid gun user and advocate and shot on a competitive level for many years. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a military contract accountant, and a small business accountant and manager. Correia lives in Utah with his wife and family.

Kacey Ezell is an active duty USAF helicopter pilot who also writes sci-fi/fantasy/alt history/horror fiction. Her first novel was a Dragon Award finalist in 2018, and her stories have been featured in Baen’s Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction compilation in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, her story “Family Over Blood” won the 2018 Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Reader’s Choice Award.  She writes for Baen and Chris Kennedy Publishing.

Kacey Exell : Website

Larry Correia: Website 

Baen Books: Website / Facebook

Where to buy: Noir Fatale is available  at the Baen website and on Amazon in Hardcover and Kindle,  There is also an Audiobook version available on Audible.
Disclosure: I won a complimentary book from the publisher. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

A Parliament of Bodies – Reviewing the Latest Installment of the Maradaine Series!

I’m a reader. Unashamedly. My parents wanted their kids to love books, and I’m sure that at some point, they deeply regretted it when the floorboards groaned and creaked, and the bookshelves overflowed. I’d read and enjoyed the first of the Maradaine Constabulary books, A Murder of Mages. But 2015 was a crazy year, and I never kept track of the subsequent books. It was a surprise to chance across Mr. Maresca’s Twitter feed as he was promoting A Parliament of Bodies. I reached out, and was beyond grateful that he was kind enough to ask DAW Books, his publisher to send me an ARC.

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I started reading in fantasy, only later branching into science-fiction, mystery, nonfiction, and true crime. Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Maradaine Constabulary series manages to combine all of these genres. This is the third book in the series and the ninth of the Maradaine world. Yeah, you read that right, Maradaine World. Maresca’s Maradaine is a loom upon which he interweaves the four different stories (Thorn, Constabulary, Elite & Streets) into a comprehensive tapestry. You can read just one series, and get the basic story just fine, but if you expand into the greater world, you can see the whole of the panorama.

A Parliament of Bodies is a wild ride. It has only been a few months since the events in An Import of Intrigues, and Inspector Welling is under Investigation as to his continued fitness to serve as a member of the Constabulary. There is a fiendish serial killer who has kidnapped dozens of people and strapped them into clockwork death machines (think the Saw movies). Inspectors Welling and Rainey are joined by Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall of the Taurian Order to stop the man Dayne is convinced is the killer.

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So much jelly beans!

Some books are comfortable to read, they cradle your mind as you wander their pages. Others are a veritable battle, where like Bastian Balthazar Bux in the NeverEnding Story; you are drawn in and are as much a part of the story’s energy as the characters are. You can guess which A Parliament of Bodies is. After the first hundred pages I had to break out the 2 lb bag of jelly beans my mom gave me for Easter. It was either jelly beans or cannibalism as I chewed my fingernails to nubs.

This book had me laughing, crying, cursing out loud, when I wasn’t gasping  and spluttering in inarticulate wonder. There are side adventures, and new revelations on past events that build both the world and make the cast more “real”. A Parliament of Bodies has  so much of an edge-of-your-seat quality that by the end you are both winded and desperately craving the next book!

  • Title: A Parliament of Bodies
  • Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca
  • Series: Maradaine Constabulary
  • Publisher: DAW Books
  • Released: March 26, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 389

About the Author:

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Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four parallel series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. This includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He grew up in upstate New York, studied film production at Penn State. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.
Where to buy: A Parliament of Bodies is available on Amazon in Kindle,  and  paperback. There is not currently an Audiobook version, although the first two Maradaine novels will  be available on Audible on May 28th, 2019.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!