Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron

This review is in conjunction with the author's virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Angela will be awarding to a randomly drawn commenter during each week on the tour, a wall calendar print from (Items can be exchanged for other equal or lesser value items from Ennara Swag on Cafepress.), and will award a t-shirt from to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron
Middle Grade Fantasy
5 Stars

Eleven year-old Ennara Gaern has a serious grudge against the dragon on her right hand.

Born with a caul—a mask that foretold magical powers—she was immediately inked with the fiendish, fire-breathing tattoo that forces her to study boring texts, cover her hand continuously, and worst of all, keeps her from visiting the beautiful capital city, Dordonne. But her quiet life changes when one night she is attacked by a shadowy demon.

Tork, an old friend and wizard, is enlisted to help. But when he arrives, he informs Ennara’s parents that she is her world’s only hope of finding the legendary Sword of Gisilfrid, which is needed to destroy the curse that is creating the demons. Ennara doesn’t want to leave on the dangerous quest, but when she learns the curse threatens her world, she reluctantly agrees.

Ennara and the wizard begin a perilous journey to the Sunken City, pitting them against dangerous oceans and pirates intent on claiming Ennara’s magic as their own. With only her friends at her side, including the intelligent, aquatic cat Smoos, Ennara must defeat monsters guarding the sword and servants of the Fallen Druid. When her world is covered in darkness, will she know how to dispel the curse?

My review:

Ennara, a caul, has just discovered that there is a new creature stalking the woods - a shadowspawn. When she is attacked by this fearsome creature, she learns about their goal: they mean to destroy all good life and rule the world. She must now set off on an adventure with Tork, a wizard, Kithe, her best friend, and Gavin, seaboy, to find a way to stop these horrid creatures. Along the way, they face many difficult challenges and learn new ways to live.

I liked how headstrong and just plain strong Ennara is. I've read too many books where the heroine is dainty and delicate and unable to fend for herself, so she has to have others take care of her. Ennara has a certain air about her that gives you the motivation to persevere. The story line is just wonderful, and it never slowed, even for a minute. I have to say that this is one of the best fantasy books I've read in quite some time. Five stars for Ennara and the Fallen Druid!

I would recommend to people who like: fiction, fantasy, and magic craft.

Like many writers, I have a full life in which I juggle many duties and joys. I love to cook, garden, and play with my twins. As a mother to toddlers, I write whenever I am not helping them navigate their day--which typically means in the early mornings and early afternoons when they sleep, and sometimes when Grandma comes to visit.

I was twenty-two when writing became a passion of mine. I've been doing it in one form or another ever since. But it took me a very long time to follow my heart's desire to tell stories.

For years, I simply journaled. I delved into writing articles for newsletters and grant proposals. I settled into technical writing, often finding myself a one-person writing, editing, design, app development, and publication team. I learned the basics of journalism, and finally, when on maternity leave with my twins, I turned to writing fiction.

I am grateful for every reader I have. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but it can also be a dialog, a meeting of the minds. I invite you to connect with me:

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Stone Left Unturned by Marianna Heusler - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Though it was supposed to be a review tour, I didn't have time to review, but was so intrigued by the premise, I asked to feature the book. Doesn't it sound great!

Leave a comment and be entered to win a $10 Wild Child Publishing GC. You could use it to buy THIS book!

At midnight on July 16th, 1918 Tsar Nicholas Romanov and his family was murdered, thus ending the Russian empire. Historians believe that a peasant by the name of Rasputin was instrumental in the downfall of the dynasty. Because Nicholas thought that Rasputin could cure their son, Alexis, who was suffering from hemophilia, Rasputin was able to influence the Imperial Family.

But what if Rasputin’s power did not come from God, as he claimed, but from a simple jewel, a tricolored, fifteen-carat tourmaline? And what if that very stone landed in the hands of a lonely teenager a century later?

Now enjoy an excerpt:

The phone again—the same spooky tune.

Augusta thought if this were a scary movie, the music would be perfect. And suddenly she saw herself as an actress, staring in one of those slasher films, but that was really scary because those girls always died—

Especially the homely, fat ones.

Augusta didn’t like this, not at all.

She approached the third confessional cautiously.

The moment she opened the door, something fell on her, knocking her down, something large and heavy. As it hit the floor with a slight bounce, a great cloud of dust struck Augusta in the face, causing her to cough furiously.

Believing at first it was a statue, that some crazy person had hidden it in the confessional, she reached out her hand. The heap was soft and slightly warm to the touch. As quickly as she could, Augusta crawled away from under the mound, crawled away whimpering.

The cell phone rang again, angry and insistent. Only this time it was below her.

Augusta saw a pair of glasses, shattered on the tile floor.

Then Augusta knew that what had fallen out of the confessional was a dead body.

She began to yell like she had never yelled before, and her screams ricocheted off the high, dome ceiling, thick with cobwebs, and off the stone walls of the crumbling church.

Marianna Heusler is a native of Holyoke, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a BA in English Literature and a minor in education.

The author of over one hundred short stories, her work has appeared in magazines such as Woman’s World, Mystery Time, Calliope, Futures, Writer’s International Forum and Orchard Press as well as numerous anthologies. Her novel Buried In The Townhouse was published by Pendulum Press and was nominated for The Franklin Award.

The Night The Penningtons Vanished is a young adult book, the first in a mystery series, featuring Isabella Ripa. The story takes place in a small town in western Massachusetts and was released by The Larcom Press and nominated for an Edgar. The sequel The Day The Fortune Teller Died was also published

She wrote a young adult novel Angels From The Alphabet and a middle grade fantasy Annabelle’s Monsters.

Hilliard & Harris published her mystery Murder at St. Poylcarp and the sequel Cappuccino at the Crypt. Both books were picked up by Worldwide Mysteries and became part of their book club.

For over twenty years, she taught at all grade levels and has also been a school librarian. Her other careers have included a cosmetic executive, an editorial assistant and a reporter. She is currently teaching third grade in private all girls’ school in Manhattan.

She volunteers for Visible Ink, a program at Sloan Kettering Hospital, which unites professional writers with cancer patients.

She lives in New York City with her husband, Joel and her son, Maximilian.

marianna ramondetta@facebook

Buy Link:
Wild Child Publishing:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fortune's Scion by Ann Gimpel - Blurb

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Bewitching Book Tours.

Against stiff odds, Ned learns different isn’t necessarily bad and true love has a way of shining through.

Raised by wizards who never missed an opportunity to remind him of his deficiencies, Ned grows up believing his mage skills are seriously lacking. Conscripted at an early age, he fears it’s a back-handed way to ensure he sustains an honorable death in battle.

Battling prejudice, insidious lies and lack of knowledge about his mage powers—which are really quite different from wizard magic—Ned finds ways to keep going. His first mission away from the wizards teaches him he’s stronger and more resourceful than he thought. Against stiff odds, he learns different isn’t necessarily bad and true love has a way of shining through.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ned crouched amidst the remains of what had been downtown Sacramento, using a convenient half-decimated building as cover. The rest of his unit hid scattered -- or so he assumed -- in close proximity. A low whistling noise made his heart beat like a mad thing. Enemy magic. Maintaining his crouch, he spun, eyes searching the late afternoon gloom for clues. Not quite sure what tipped him off, he leapt out of the way. A concrete block exploded, showering him with debris.

"Whew! Way too close," he mumbled, wondering for the thousandth time how he, a human mage, ever became mixed up with the wizards' war. Sweat trickled down his forehead. His leather headband caught some of it, but a few drops fell into his eyes. They stung. He shook his head to disperse the salty liquid. The beginnings of a headache throbbed behind one temple. "Landarik," he whispered into his mouthpiece, "Where are you?"

"Right behind you." A voice dripped sarcasm into Ned's ear.

He whipped around. Landarik stood so close, Ned's braids slapped against the wizard's helmet. "I wish you wouldn't do that," Ned said through clenched teeth. "I hate it when you sneak up on me. 'Specially when it could have been one of them. You're lucky I didn't blast you."

"You called me. What do you want?" Speaking through the slit in his bronzed helmet, Landarik looked like a robot. Only his blond braids, with debris tangled in them, ruined the automaton image. He must have noticed Ned's stare because Landarik gathered his ratty braids and tossed them over his shoulders.

"I'm beat. Request permission to return to the caves."

"Mage or no," Landarik grunted, "you humans are more work than you're worth. I release you. Be back no later than first light." Whistling sounded again. Without apparent thought or effort, Landarik raised a hand. A bolt of power flew from his fingertips and vaporized half a small building a hundred yards away.

"How can you know so... precisely?" Ned sputtered.

The wizard tipped the visor of his helmet up. Extraordinary blue eyes and the sharp-boned features characteristic of his race twisted in irritation. "I've told you and told you," he lectured in a patronizing voice that grated on Ned's nerves, "hold your inner parts still, human. If you could manage yourself better, you would be able to hear where the enemy is hiding." He snorted. "Sometimes I find it difficult to fathom how you are still alive."

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche's Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bekka of Thorns by Steve Shilstone - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with the author's virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 GC to Wild Child Publishing to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

On the fantasy world of Boad, Bekka and Karro of Thorns, a pair of 10-year-old bramble hedge-dwelling maidens, dare to leave the tunnels and bowers of home to seek adventure, a rare occurrence among members of their clan, who stick close to the hedge and fear open spaces. Bekka and Karro consider themselves to be misfits and are bonded as dearest friends. They speculate about the identity of their parents, a piece of knowledge kept hidden from all hedge-dwellers. Karro is known throughout the hedge as a silly clown. Bekka, ever watchful, never chatty, is called Silent Bekka by all. Bekka, who narrates the story, is determined to find the lost underground city of Rumin and to meet her share of mythical creatures, but she is afraid to go alone. She talks Karro into accompanying her. When they step outside the hedge, they have no idea that their adventure traveling through the Woeful Wanderers’ Wasteland will uncover a wonderful secret about one of them.

My Review: Bekka of Thorns is a perfectly charming story about creatures who live for stories--they absolutely love them. But, Bekka and her best friend Karro never realize that they would one day be living in their very own story-- a story that will bring exciting news to both of them.

The author does a wonderful job in creating the world of the hedge-dwellers--Bekka, the narrator, is writing the story in English--not her native language--and sprinkles the narrative with words and phrases in her own tongue. The characters that populate this world are as richly drawn as the language.

The interaction between Bekka and Karra was also fun--I really liked the character of Karra and her silly ways. And, I'm glad there are more books in this series--it will be interesting to see what other adventures these two get up to!

Now enjoy an excerpt:

We went to the shop where we apprenticed, repairing tambourines. Zinna, our teacher and Mistress of Construction and Repair, left a note telling us she was off forging chanks in the tunnel foundry beneath the hedge. Kar and I got to work. I assembled chanks on pin dowels and attached ‘em to the rims. Kar stretched the membranes, tucking and fastening. Later on we would gloss and ribbon. As we worked we talked like this:

“Tell me now. Did you really? Out to the Roamer hut?”

“I did. All the way! Outside the hedge! The books! I got ‘em! I read parts. How to make the ink, the purple ink, was there. The oat parchment recipe! I saw it. The other book… It had the language of the world down the Well. Roamer Harpo’s book straight from the Gwer drollek story! He held it in his hands! He learned how to write the Chronicles … Roamer Lace learned. I will, too! I’m going to learn it!”

“How? Why? When?”

“I’ll carry ‘em with us when we go to adventure.”


“We’re going, you and I are going into the W’s Three. We will search for Rumin!”

“Leave the hedge?”

“Yes, of course leave the hedge. We’ll be like Bandy of Legend. We’ll go and find a story and bring it back and I’ll write it down in the secret language!”

“I can’t leave the hedge. Bendo dreen don’t leave the hedge.”

“Bandy did. Aren’t you always doing what nobody ever did? Hopping in circles and reciting tales backward? Didn’t you just a nince ago suck chewed thorns up your nose? Remember when you knitted stockings to wear OVER your highboots?”

“But those things were in the hedge. I’m not brave. I’m a cracked melon. You are the one who went to the hut. I’m the one who pretends to faint. If I went outside the hedge, I would not be pretending. I would faint for true.”

“Look here, what if I tell you this? We might find our way to the Wide Great Sea. And if we do find our way to the Wide Great Sea, we might in some sort of way get across it to the Island of Acrotwist Clowns.”

That was when I knew. Truth, I captured her to my dream. Karro’s most favorite stories of all of ‘em were stories like The Repair of Fan Wa’s Clock or The Ledgemoon, stories with Acrotwist Clowns in ‘em, so to say. I knew Kar’s most treasured hope was to see an Acrotwist Clown, even more to BE one, thusly such a better truth. She got quiet when I said “Acrotwist Clowns” and stopped tucking the membrane she was working. It snapped away from the rim and hung limply.

“No one has ever walked into the W’s Three with highboots on the wrong feet and four tambourines sewn to the back of her jacket … No, five … The fifth chonka not sewn, but worn as a hat with ribbons tied under the chin to hold it in place. It has to be held in place, you know, otherwise it will fall off. And wouldn’t that look silly? I could walk on my hands up hills and have room to practice cartwheels without crashing into briar walls. I could hang my red gloves from my ears. Ear gloves. No one ever did that in the W’s Three, I bet …”

I let her go on and on and on. I just nodded and smiled.

About the Author:
Steve Shilstone is a benign elderly hippie lite loon living in Northern California. He fancies himself to be a prosemaker and a dadaist with a small d who enjoys hanging out at the intersection of Humor and Nonsense. In times ago, he was a youth baseball coach for 25 years, a distributor of mail for the United States Postal Service, a stock associate employed by a no longer with us department store, a cartoonist of little note, a painter of littler note, and an anthropology student at UCLA.

eBook Blog:
dada Humor Blog:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Exemeus by Folami and Abeni Morris -- Review Tour and Giveaway

This review is posted in conjunction with the author's tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $30 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.

My Review:

One word for this book---WOW! These authors have brought to life a magical world--unfortunately, it's a future world of our own making. And, it's a story within a story....

Dephon is a 9th grader who is the object of every bully's "jokes"....he's especially targetted and tormented by the football team. His father doesn't seem to care about anything--except he always seems to know what Dephon's grades are. Until one day, a strange woman shows up and all of a sudden, things start changing.

This is the first book in an exciting series--and I don't want to say too much because of the fear of spoilers. I CAN say, though, that I can hardly wait for the next book to come out.

The story flows well--and there are plenty of twists and surprises in store. The relationship--the tension and issues-- between Hyalee and Singleton was exceptionally well-done and believable---to the point you wonder if they really ARE going to make it, even though there's evidence that they did right from the beginning.

The book stops at a climatic point--be aware that this is very much the first book of a series and nothing is resolved at the end. If you're a reader who is bothered by this, you might want to wait and read it when the whole series is out.

The book is a great new read and I'm going to recommend it for any age group who is interested in a good story about the struggle between good and evil.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

A scream rippled through the emerald-green sea. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Singleton groaned. I sighed deeply, trying to remain composed. Another scream pierced our ears, this one coming from a different direction. Within seconds the horizon was filled with no less than twenty of the slug-like creatures traveling with chilling military-style precision towards us. They were all swimming from different directions, their eyes flickering in the distance.

“Hyles, leave.”

“No,” I said firmly.

“I'm losing too much blood as it is. I’ll never make it back and who'll avenge my mother? Get out of here. I will not watch you die too! Do it now, Hyles!”

“Would you leave me?” I challenged him, racking my mind for a course of attack.

I gripped my sword awkwardly in my hand as I tried to keep Singleton afloat with the other one. “Hyles, just go or we’ll both die.” The creatures were close enough for us to see their rattling teeth. The combined effect of their screams was enough to shatter our eardrums. “Hyles, go!” he said again. The creatures were no more than eight feet away, and it was clear that neither of us was getting out of here alive.

Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and rewrote) The Exemeus series, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their facial similarities, tendency to finish each other’s thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.

Folami Morris

Folami grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo, Ca, where nothing ever happens and no one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch, Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus.

She finally escaped to Queens, NY, and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad.

Abeni Morris

As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.

Monday, July 1, 2013