Category Archives: NA Lit

May I Present…The Cover!

Charlie Bowater did it again with this original artwork and I am thrilled!

Synopsis:

You’ve heard of the Sand Man. Meet his counterpart, the Sand Maiden.

When a king of Dream Realm sets his sights on conquering Wake Realm, Prince Kovis and Ali must team up to battle forces beyond anything either could have imagined. But Kovis knows nothing about Dream Realm, let alone his Sand Maiden. When Ali is discovered naked in the prince’s bedroom, how will she convince him of her intentions, let alone the danger? Oh, and by the way, Ali has had a crush on the powerful sorcerer since his powers manifested. What could possibly go wrong? Their story will do anything but put you to sleep.

“I’m enthralled. The book has held me captive since I received it…You have me in the spot I love/hate. It’s so good, and I want the next right now. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor woven in this story. A lovely conclusion to this–a nice cliffhanger. I want more!!!” – Peggy Frese, Senior Editor

The Sand Maiden is a NA Epic Fantasy Romance with YA appeal. If you loved Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, Elise Kova’s Air Awakens, and/or Rachel E. Carter’s The Black Mage you’ll definitely love this.

WARNING: Mature content. Recommended for 18+.

The book is available for pre-order:
Amazon
Google Play

 

Enter to Win A Paperback of Lullaby by Following Me on BookBub!!

Are you a fan of BookBub, the service that notifies you when books go on sale?

I have an author page there and getting more BookBub followers can help widen my reach and ultimately increase book sales. The more followers an author has, the more people who will receive dedicated emails from BookBub notifying them about my new releases and price promotions. Plus, getting 1K followers unlocks the ability to send BookBub Preorder Alerts!

I currently have 424 followers and I would like to hit the 1,000 mark in preparation for the launch of Lullaby. Will you help?

If you’re willing to follow me on BookBub, click here (link goes to my website) and I’ll show you how to Follow Me (only one step). Then you can enter to win the Rafflecopter for a paperback of Lullaby!

Thank you in advance, and good luck!

 

The Sand Maiden Facebook Fan Group

Did you catch what my editor thought of Lullaby after reading through it the first time?

“I’m enthralled. The book has held me captive since I received it…You have me in the spot I love/hate. It’s so good, and I want the next right now. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor woven in this story. A lovely conclusion to this–a nice cliffhanger. I want more!!!” – Peggy Frese, Senior Editor

guarantee you’ll experience the same roller coaster ride of emotions. And what’s the worst thing when that happens? You have NO ONE to talk to who understands your excitement or angst! Trust me, I’ve been there!

Well, I wouldn’t do that to you. Fan with other readers when you’re done with the book, in the new Sand Maiden Facebook fan group. After one week, nearly one hundred people have already joined! Avoid the personal drama and join the fun here. LOL!

 

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Cover Artist for The Sand Maiden Series

As you all know, a book’s cover is critical to its success. It’ll either draw readers in or leave them blah for the book. That said, I knew I wanted to do something different for my covers for this next series, The Sand Maiden.
I decided to go with illustrated covers to give readers the look and feel I wanted.

And so I began my search for the right artist to pull this off. And this morning, I am absolutely, unequivocally, way beyond thrilled to say that Charlie Bowater has agreed to do my covers for The Sand Maiden series!!!!

I fell in love with her work when I saw her rendering of Rhys, the main hubba hubba male, from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thrones and Roses series. While a plethora of Rhys renderings exist in fanart, hers is my absolute favorite. The way she captures his eyes… Oh, don’t get me started. Anyway, we all will have the pleasure of seeing what this talented lady comes up with for the three covers of The Sand Maiden series. I, for one, cannot wait!!

To read the synopsis for The Sand Maiden series as well as see what the swoon-worthy main characters look like in my head,  click here. 

Book Review of Eidolon by Grace Draven

Eidolon The Wraith KingsEidolon is the second book in Grace Draven’s The Wraith Kings Paranormal Fantasy Romance series.

SUMMARY (from back): In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness. His human wife, Ildiko, must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne.

Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned.  A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved the first book in the series, Radiance, for its depiction of how a human adapts to the dramatically different culture of the Kai after an arranged marriage borne out of political interests. Eidolon, while not focusing on the same themes as Radiance, introduces a peril on that world that demand the three nations unite and fight.

I loved the continued world-building of Draven.

Plot: The threat in this book is a horde of demons from the pit of Hell released by the former self-obsessed queen. They pillage and feed upon any living being. The stakes have never been higher and failure is not an option. It was certainly a creative and extreme conflict to be sure.

While the plot introduced a significant conflict, I thought the transition between book one and two was a bit abrupt. I mentioned this in my review of the first book. For it was in the epilogue that Draven crafts this conflict. While the scenario would have been possible based upon the character of the queen she’d set up, I would have like to see the story flow and the narrative create this problem on its own, not an epilogue.

I will not give any spoilers, but I found the execution of the conflict and resolution lacked an emotional hook for me. It seemed academic and while “big”, I wished the events leveraged the emotions of the female protagonist, Ikaido, as well as her husband, Brishen, more. It felt like Draven built the tension and then we moved to lots of action that lacked anything but the occasional pining of the husband for his wife while he’s slaying the bad guys.

Characters: I enjoyed the continued growth of both Ilaiko and Brishen. They have gone from willing pawns in a political game to husband and wife who are deeply committed to each other. I thought the misunderstand between them and how it impacted their relationship (duty vs desire) was well done.

Overall, I give this 4.0/5.0 stars.

Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance Wraith KingsRadiance is the first book in The Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven. With the cultural divide that currently besets America, I loved how the author addressed how two dramatically different cultures can peacefully co-exist. A very timely story with far-reaching implications.

SUMMARY: ~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~ Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~ Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I knew I was on to a good book when I saw 1,212 reviews with a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon! Congrats to Grace Draven. Based upon what I read, the rating is well deserved.

The Kai are a race of nocturnal beings with deathly pale skin and long fangs. Certainly the sight of one would be enough to make any sane human run. And many do. But for Brishen (Kai) and Ildiko (Human), they are married to secure an alliance for a treaty between their nations and have no choice but to tolerate each other. But much more happens to them.

The couple are initially repulsed by each other’s physical appearance, but both choose to look beyond the physical and discover the unique and lovable  individual within each. Their relationship grows from tolerance, to understanding, to a deep and abiding love for each other despite everyone around pitying them for the choice forced upon them. It is a very timely theme in light of the racial tensions currently besetting this country. We could all take a lesson from this for I think this thinking works in practice as well as in fantasy.

While I thought the author did an amazing job with world-building as well as character development, I have two complaints. The first is the plot seemed prescriptive and contrived, lacking subtly and intrigue. I love novels that keep you guessing and when the reveal finally happens, you’re surprised because you saw all the clues but never pieced them together. This ain’t that. The author laid out the clues, but in a way that they seemed obvious that she was setting up something for later on. Not a huge negative, I just thought this could have been epic if there was as much finesse put into plotting as character development.

The other small complaint I have is with the ending. The author leaves us with a wrapped up story, except gives us an epilogue that seems very different than anything that happened in the story. It’s not that I couldn’t connect the dots and say “okay, that’s possible” but  the author used an unrefined way to set up the next book. I just thought it could have been done with a bit more finesse. Again, this is not a huge issue, but it just struck me as not fitting in with everything the author had so beautifully set up in the first book.

Overall, I give this book 4.5/5.0 stars. Get book on Amazon

Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of A Court of Mist and Fury

ACourtofMistandFury

Amazingly beautiful cover! So many unexpected twists. An ending I had to read twice as more and more depth was revealed. Oh so good! That’s A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

SUMMARY (from back): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Maas is a master at storytelling. Period. And this book is even better than the first in this series.

I chose to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses to get back up to speed before reading this one. And I’m glad I did because I’d forgotten so many of the details Maas gave us. For instance, I’d forgotten just how broken Feyre is from her time “under the mountain.” This installment picks up with Feyre reeling from that trauma. She’s back with Tamlin and we’re breathing a sigh of relief…but not for long for he wants to put her in a glass box to protect her from every danger (to protect his fragile heart), while she withers from the stifling confinement…confinement not unlike what she experienced under the mountain, and she fractures.

As if that’s not a complex enough beginning, the Lord of the Night Court intervenes… I love how Maas uses characters she’s coached us to hate, just to reveal another side that explains why they behave as they do…and from motives we not only accept, but actually advocate, launching us in a whole new direction. As a side note, I loved the banter between Feyre and Rhys–It’s clear they both use it to protect themselves from being vulnerable and exposed, but at the same time in my head I’m thinking, just lay yourself open and bear, you won’t regret it. Oh feels…

Sarah introduces a host of five major new characters, an inner circle, that are each so different from each other, wounded and traumatized just like Feyre. I loved how they each grow and develop throughout the story helping Feyre sort through and begin to heal from her brokenness. What awesome friends.

In book two, we also discover what that “minor” detail in book one accomplished when all seven Lords gave a drop of their power to bring Feyre back to life.  Look out. Talk about power…I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Feyre masters these new abilities in book three because the story is just begging to go there, especially when the King of Hybern needs to be dealt with. And we already have forewarning that the dude plans to use Feyre, and not for good.

I have to add a plug for the world building as well. Maas added a lot more depth to several of the courts in book two–the political divisions between, the relative power of several, different races, and how betrayal can emerge without warning.

I must confess I JUST finished rereading the last five chapters of this book because the first time through I had to know how it ended, but Maas throws SO MANY details in those last chapters that my reread left my head spinning, it was so good.

CAVEAT: I need to mention that while this book is technically listed as “Teen,” there are several explicit sex scenes that had a purpose in the narrative, but if you are turned off by that kind of thing, you’ll probably want to steer clear.

I give this 5 stars!

Buy A Court of Mist and Fury on Amazon

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!