Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse

About the book:

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

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My review:

If the cover doesn’t tempt you, if the description doesn’t interest you enough, then I hope this review makes you want to buy this book, because it’s an awesome read!

Selene is a wonderfully drawn character: a young woman who so dearly wants to do what is best for her family and for her nation, but who even more desperately wants to do what is right. Every time her “mask” dropped into place, my heart broke for her, since we’ve all been there–needing to set aside what we feel/want/need for the sake of keeping the peace or doing what we’re supposed to do. And I love that she sought truth above all, even knowing the consequences of that search.

All the other characters in the novel, whether they play major roles or bit parts, are all well-crafted and brought beautifully to life. It’s this great variety of characters that helps to keep this story moving swiftly.

And Morgan Busse has built a fantastic world, filled with beauty, intrigue, passion, political rivalry, swordplay, and wyverns! Can’t ask for much more than that!

Seriously, Mark of the Raven is excellent, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy today!

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂 

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Rothana Blog Tour!

Today I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Sarah Delena White’s second installment in her Star-Fae Trilogy, Rothana!

About the book:

A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe loomsin the shadows.

Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faeriewell and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. Butall hope of that vanishes when the winter solstice ceremony ends in disaster,stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her.

With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separatedonce again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, andDiza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claimsthat a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s uniquedeath magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how.

In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to thelure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed bydecay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyureto fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart.

Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril.If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.

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My review:

My heart barely made it through this book! It was packed so full of emotion, so fraught with action, that it kept me reading well past my bedtime. 

The characters we met in Halayda gained so much more depth and fullness in Rothana, and I grew to love them and cheer for them even more. I love how Sarah Delena White displayed their weaknesses right alongside their strengths and how she showed the power contained within love and forgiveness.

And the action? Non-stop! I thought Sylvie and the crew had gone through a lot in Halayda, but that was just the warm-up! If the author keeps up this pace, I don’t know how anyone will be able to make it to the end of the trilogy! 🙂 So exciting, yet filled with heart-rending moments of beauty at the same time.

Rothana is a beautiful book, and I’d highly recommend it be the next book you pick up. 🙂

Many, many thanks to Uncommon Universes Press and Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester for the advanced copy of this book for review purposes and for allowing me to be a part of this book tour. Congratulations to Sarah Delena White – I hope the third book comes quickly! 😀

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And if, for some reason, you need more convincing to want to read Rothana, here’s an excerpt to tempt you:

The world was all wrong.

Maybe it was the pungent incense that burned Sylvie’s nose or the off-kilter beat of the drums. Maybe it was the way every face in the crowd turned toward her, wearing shadowy snarls, as she emerged from the mountain pass onto the banks of the hidden lake.

She gripped Taylan’s arm and drew herself up to her full height as they moved forward with deliberate steps. He was tense beneath her grasp, and his free hand twitched as if eager for his sword. He looked down at her with a brief, reassuring glance before returning his gaze to the crowd.

“You’re leaving a trail of flowers again,” he whispered.

“Drat!” Sylvie looked behind them. Sure enough, thin leaves were springing up in her footsteps, unfurling into blue and yellow blossoms that were bright against the bare ground. She waved her hand toward them, willing them to sink back into the earth. They grew a few inches taller, and she sighed in defeat. “I’m a faerie queen who can’t control my own power. No wonder everyone here is glaring daggers at me.”

“You could always strangle them with vines.” Taylan gave a dark smile.

Sylvie smacked his arm. “Not funny. I’m trying to break the cycle of violence, remember?”

She resisted the urge to chide him further. Taylan had ruled this Court for twelve hundred years before passing his power to her, living every day with the threat of assassination. He’d inherited the kingdom by killing the previous monarch, and even though he’d done so to end a tyrant’s reign, that legacy had followed him through the ages. Faerie took on the qualities of its ruler, as all the magic was ultimately connected to that person.

One more reason why she couldn’t let nerves get the better of her, especially on a festival night. Already the glamour pulsed around her, charged with emotion from the gathered crowd. Every stone in the glade, every overhanging tree limb, every faerie who watched her movements would be a mirror of herself.

A breath of wind sent icy prickles across her skin. She clutched the velvet folds of her cloak and pulled it over her low-cut dress. Taylan looked slightly more comfortable, shrouded in layered black robes. Always black these days.

His gaze was fixed on something beyond the waiting crowd. His posture went rigid.

“Is something wrong?” Sylvie whispered.

He was silent for a moment. “No. It’s nothing.”

Sylvie followed his gaze, but there was nothing but a line of somber evergreen trees.

A group of Maithe nobles twined in a circular dance on the edge of the lake, their steps heavy with the solemnity of the night. It was a dance, not of merrymaking, but of ceremony, to bid farewell to the autumn. Each wore garments like layered leaves in the icy hues of winter, and their long golden hair was bound in intricate braids. They swayed to the beat of the drums, lost in the rhythm of their dance… except for their eyes, which fixed on Sylvie in challenge.

A flash of red caught her attention. Zad and Diza spun along the outskirts of the dance, Diza’s fiery hair flying loose behind her. Zad’s eyes were filled with deep admiration and affection as he watched his wife. Diza let out a laugh as they whirled, though there was a hollowness to the sound. Zad leaned down and whispered something in her ear, and the couple slipped away from the dance and strolled around the edge of the crowd, hands poised above the weapons hidden in their fine clothing.

On the other side of the dance, General Sidika stood on the bank of the lake, her arms folded and her watchful gaze on the festival-goers. Sidika never danced.

Sylvie shivered as she turned back to Taylan.

“What’s wrong?” Taylan asked, leaning down and brushing his cheek against hers.

“Everything.Except us.” She lifted her chin, meeting his lips. His kiss sent fire throughher, and she clutched his arms, fingers digging into his silk robes as if hemight slip from her grasp. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

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I know, right?!?!

If you want to know more, check out the other stops on the blog tour for fabulous interviews, behind-the-scenes features, and more:

Monday, November 26th

Tuesday, November 27th  

Wednesday, November 28th

Thursday, November 29th  

Friday, November 30th

Saturday, December 1st

Monday, December 3rd

Tuesday, December 4th

Wednesday, December 5th

Thursday, December 6th

Friday, December 7th

Saturday, December 8th

Facebook Party

Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/697422377305289/

Join Uncommon Universes Press and Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester to celebrate the launch of Rothana by Sarah Delena White! Includes games, giveaways, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and more. Also features guest authors Bethany A. Jennings and Morgan L. Busse. Save the date to hang out with these fabulous authors!

PurchaseLinks

Amazon Barnes & NobleSigned Paperback

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42637351-rothana

The Rose and the Wand by E.J. Kitchens

About the book:

When prim and proper enchantress Lady Alexandria attempts to bewitch a magic mirror, she ends up cursed—powerless, penniless, dumped in a strange land, and stuck in the body of an old hag.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the mirror gives her two tasks: curse the prince whose arrogant cruelty she once ignored and find her way home—before the Magic Collectors find her and strip her of her powers forever and before the mysterious woodsman who finds her lost in the forest discovers who she really is.

The prince she cursed must learn to love before an enchanted rose dies or he will remain a beast forever. Will her fate also be sealed when the last petal falls?

The tale of the enchantress from Beauty and the Beast. This book was previously published as The Beast’s Enchantress.

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My review:

What an interesting twist on the traditional Beauty and the Beast story. I so enjoyed the way the author imagined the back story and gave a plausible reason why the prince was enchanted to become the beast in the first place.

I was impressed by the author’s use of lyrical language – some of her images were extraordinary. And the message was beautiful and beautifully portrayed. This is the type of book I would recommend to my friends for both them and their daughters to read!

I’d definitely recommend you grab your own copy of The Rose and the Wand and settle in for a lovely read.

Heirs of Tirragyl by Joan Campbell

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About the book:

Since birth, Nyla has shared everything with her twin brother – royal tutors, the right to the throne of Tirragyl…even their soul. Many believe it wholly belongs to Alexor and should be returned to him regardless of the sacrifice – Nyla’s death. However, her future isn’t the only one in question.

A threat looms over the kingdom. The influential Lord Lucian intends to seize the Grotto, an underworld settlement known for harboring fugitives. And if legend is to be believed, it is also the hiding place of the most powerful of objects, the Guardian Rock.

As Nyla fights for her life, she realizes she’s not only a soul heir but also the sole hope for the kingdom’s survival.


My review:

This was a wonderful read! The pace was swift: the multiple plot lines kept me racing through the pages. The author kept the various characters, storylines, and settings separate enough to not be confusing, yet still painted them beautifully into a grander picture that has yet to fully be revealed (Can’t wait to read the next book!).

However, if I judged books solely by the cover, I don’t think I’d have picked this one up. The cover is my least favorite part of the book. It so reminds me of cheesy romance novels from the eighties! 😉

I’ve never read a story by Joan Campbell before. This is book two in The Poison Tree Path Chronicles, and while I loved reading this, I know that there are pieces that were revealed in the first book that could have helped me understand the motivations for why certain things happened. But I had no idea how much I’d enjoy this story! I thought it may be an interesting read (and it definitely was), but now I feel absolutely compelled to read the others in the series! I highly recommend you grab your own copy (and maybe try starting with the first in the series Chains of Gwyndorr) and enjoy!! 🙂

Eubeltic Descent by Nadine C. Keels

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About the book:

Your soul will remember…

As a woman who wasn’t born to wealth or privilege, Abigaia has mastered the art of thievery. And she’s come to hate it. Not only is she plagued by guilt, but her shadowed upbringing and silent ways cause most of her town to question her sanity.

Yet, Abigaia’s eccentric father always taught her to be proud of her heritage. Her ancestry lies across the sea, in a prominent realm she’s read about but has never seen.

The man who desires Abigaia’s hand in marriage doesn’t share her hope of seeing the Eubeltic Realm. But disaster erupts in their path, and Abigaia’s dream may have a greater purpose—if that famed domain of her ancestors is now in crucial need of her.


My review:

This was an interesting read. I was intrigued by the way the author was able to make her main character a mute (and I was heartbroken by the tragedy that brought her silence), and somehow manage to convey her use of sign language so clearly that I could picture it as I read.

There were, however, moments when time moved strangely for me, and I found it difficult to figure out how much time had passed in the plot. I think that may be the reason that it took me longer than usual to read this book, since it didn’t flow super smoothly for me.

But overall, it was a decent read with relatively interesting characters and a good message. I would recommend this book for teen girls, especially if they are searching for a way to fit in and trying to discover what is most important to them.

Thank you to the author for the copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible

 

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About the Bible:

Many things have changed since the early days of the church. The good news of Jesus Christ isn’t one of them. The NKJV Ancient Modern Bible features all-new book introductions, articles, and commentary from voices both ancient and modern to help you experience the Word of God as never before. Read the Bible alongside Augustine, Luther, Graham, and others – and discover the rich wisdom of ages past and present, which is the rightful inheritance of every follower of Christ.

As you read the NKJV Ancient Modern Bible, your life will be enriched by the reflections and insights of faithful men and women from across the centuries who, just like you, came to scripture to learn from the Author of life. This is a Bible two thousand years in the making.

Features include:

  • Full-color design that uniquely blends modern typography and layout with traditional elements.
  • Bible commentary from church thinkers, past and present: from Huss to Keller, from Chrysostom to Spurgeon, from Augustine to Wright.
  • Biographies of notable church leaders.
  • Sacred art from throughout church history to enrich your experience.
  • Clear and readable 8.5-point print size, featuring Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Comfort Print typeface.

My review:

When I first read the description of this Bible, I was instantly intrigued. This Bible has commentary right in the wide margins from such a wonderfully eclectic group of theologians from throughout the ages that I knew I’d be learning more about the Word from the first reading. And I was definitely not disappointed.

It is fascinating to read commentary by Warren Wiersbe on a few verses, followed by commentary on the next few verses by Matthew Henry, followed by…you get the picture. It is a broad range of views to help keep your interest as you deepen your knowledge of the Word of God.

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And not every page has the margins so filled with commentary, so there is even room left for taking notes or drawing doodles or whatever technique you use to help tuck the Word into your heart.

The format of the NKJV Ancient Modern Bible does make it easy to read, while still maintaining its classical appearance. And the book introductions are lovely, with their timeless Gothic typeface drop caps and rich colors:

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Not to mention the fact that they contain quite a bit of interesting information.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the NKJV Ancient Modern Bible and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a way to enrich their time studying the Word of God.

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for the complimentary copy of this Bible for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Story Raider Cover Reveal!

Okay, I know this is my second post this week, but I had to share this, because I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished reading The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin last spring. It is time to reveal the cover of the next book in the series, The Story Raider. First, here’s a little about the book:

Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game.

 Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret—Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse.

 As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone—least of all herself.

 The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent.

 

Sounds so good!!! 🙂 And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for (you know you have – just admit it!), the cover of book 2 in the Weaver Trilogy, The Story Raider:

 

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Did I just hear angels singing? Tell me that’s not an awesome cover! Tell me you’re not excited to read this book! I certainly am 🙂 April 30, 2019 cannot come fast enough!

Until then, you can go ahead and pre-order your very own copy here, then sit impatiently by your mailbox for it to arrive in April.

In case you missed it, check it out again and take a moment to bask in its beauty…

SR Cover Reveal IG

Happy reading!