The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey

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Forsyth Turn is not a hero. Lordling of Turn Hall and Lysse Chipping, yes. Spymaster for the king, certainly. But hero? That’s his older brother’s job, and Kintyre Turn is nothing if not legendary. However, when a raid on the kingdom’s worst criminal results in the rescue of a bafflingly blunt woman, oddly named and even more oddly mannered, Forsyth finds his quaint, sedentary life is turned on its head.

Dragged reluctantly into a quest he never expected, and fighting villains that even his brother has never managed to best, Forsyth is forced to confront his own self-shame and the demons that come with always being second-best. And, more than that, when he finally realizes where Lucy came from and why she’s here, he’ll be forced to question not only his place in the world, but the very meaning of his own existence.

Smartly crafted, “The Untold Tale” gives agency to the unlikeliest of heroes: the silenced, the marginalized, and the overlooked. It asks what it really means to be a fan when the worlds you love don’t resemble the world you live in, celebrates the power of the written word, challenges tropes, and shows us what happens when someone stands up and refuses to remain a secondary character in their own life.

Is it just me, or is there something impossible to resist about this cover? As soon as I saw The Untold Tale on NetGalley, I knew this was a book I’d want to read, and thankfully, the story inside did not disappoint. Though with a character named Forsyth in the center of the action, how could it?

The Untold Tale is a story of an unlikely heroes that beautifully weaves together many familiar narrative elements to create something new and truly wonderful. Early on we learn that the main character is in fact a side character in someone else’s story. How great is that?

I also can’t ignore how diverse the cast of characters in this story were, both in background and personality. Each of the central characters came alive for me early on and many (but not all) were people I could easily see myself becoming friends with. The main character, or at least point of view character, is Forsyth, but believe me when I say you’ll find yourself falling in love with new characters again and again as you read this story.

A must read for… well, anyone who loves books!

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Changeling by Debbie Herbert

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She thought she was a witch…she’s more.

Skye’s a teen witch who sucks at spells and works at a metaphysical store, The Green Fairy. Strange things are happening there at night: black specks of movement out of the corner of her eye, mysterious buzzing noises, unidentified dragonfly-like carcasses in the basement, and a hidden cache of absinthe (aka fairy crack).

Kheelan is a human changeling. Raised with the fairies, he’s viewed as an inferior species whose only use is to serve his kidnappers. He’s been totally screwed by the Fae and his only goal in life is freedom. When he meets Skye, he sees an opportunity to escape. The last thing he needs is to be distracted by feelings for this quirky witch.

Skye stumbles upon the remains of dead fairies at the store and is approached by Kheelan who has been sent to investigate the pixie murders. Skye falls for him–only to discover he’s using her to win his freedom. He tells her she is half-fairy and has secret powers, but Skye finds it hard to believe when she can never get a spell to work.

As Samhain, the witch’s Halloween, draws near she must make a bold move to claim her heritage and power, restore order in the fairy realm, and try to win Kheelan’s freedom and love. Absinthe, autism and augury meld into a paranormal cauldron where fairies are sly tricksters waiting to trap you in their Realm.



Review

I received a copy of Changeling on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review… and thank goodness I did, because I loved Changeling! There is so much going on with the plot, and the story hits so many of the notes that I love to see in fantasy books. Inexplicable happenings! Witches! Fairies! And I loved that these fairies had a dark and twisty side.

I really enjoyed the mystery and suspence throughout, as well as how quickly the plot moved along. There was always so much going on and it was so easy to read this book in just a few sittings.

My only real criticism is that the blurb summarized a bit more of the plot than I would have liked. My not-real criticism is that I kept accidentally xalling Kheelan, Kahlesi in my head. So, it’s safe to say there’s not much I would have changed. This was such a great read.

Highly recommended!

A Mighty Good Man by Rebecca E. Neely

cover75228-medium‘Hank’ Jerry…Her personal and professional life on the skids, a family emergency forces her to return to the small town, and the aunt, she left behind.

Jack ‘Gent’ Darcy…Fresh out of prison, he’s bent on cutting ties with the Creds, but when you’re a war counselor in a national gang, they don’t let you just walk away.

Injured and on the run, Jack lands on Hank’s doorstep, and makes her a proposition she can’t refuse: write his story about life inside one of the most powerful gangs in the country. It’s simple – she’ll get her career groove back, and he’ll bury the gang, then disappear – his version of freedom.

Only problem is, they can’t help falling for each other, and they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces. With time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?

A MIGHTY GOOD MAN is a fast, punchy read that puts a new spin on family, second chances, and the power of love.


It took me a while to figure out what kind of story to expect as even though it was clearly laid out that Hank is a woman, it took me a few reads to really make heads or tails of the character from what the blurb described. I’m usually a big fan of women with mens name, but I maybe would have held off on putting that as literally the first thing in the blurb.

Now! I have that little pet-peeve out of the way, so it’s time to talk about how much I adored A Mighty Good Man and how happily I would recommend this story to romance lovers everywhere. The concept of this story was so cool, the way their two careers/paths collided, but then their attraction to one another made what could have been a simple arrangement way more complicated. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a romance quite like this one, but I know one thing… I want more. I loved both Hank and Jack, and their chemistry together was organic and a lot of fun to read. These are two people who are clearly meant to be together, but obviously it’s not going to be that simple.

The writing was strong, and the pacing worked out really nicely, to the point where it was so hard to put this book down because it always felt like something big was coming right around the corner.

Blog Tour – The Sand Prince by Kim Alexander – Review and Excerpt

0956870345642“When the storm came, it was made of magic, not rain, and when it had passed, the life and the city Hellne knew were changed forever.” In Kim Alexander’s debut novel she weaves a witty, epic fantasy brimming with diverse characters and plenty of intrigue.

Two worlds

On the war-ravaged demon world of Eriis, Hellne, the fierce young queen, fights to keep her people alive, and to keep her son’s parentage a secret.

On the green and gentle human world of Mistra, the demons have faded into myth. Only a handful of old men and children still guard The Door between the worlds.

Bound by magic

Rhuun, the Prince of Eriis, uncovers a sultry book written by a human, sparking an obsession with the other world. When he is forced to flee Eriis, he must travel through The Door or pay the price in blood.

Divided by a door

The humans of Mistra are not what Rhuun was expecting—and one insufferable young woman in particular is about to find out that the demons of Eriis are not mythological after all . . .

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My Rating… 4.5/5 Stars
The Sand Prince

First of all, a big thank you to NetGalley and Booktrope for allowing me to read this fantastic book before its release. And the good news for all of you is that this book was published this week, so you can grab your copy next time you place a book order, as I would have loved to have read this in paperback and to have held that stunning cover in my hands. I suspect I’ll end up buying a copy before book two comes out so I can reread book one and start building up this series on my bookcase.

I loved this book! The world building was so much fun throughout the book, and the characters are some of my new favorites. The Sand Prince made me laugh out loud more than once, even though it isn’t a humor title by any stretch. I’d happily call this a great fantasy story with a pinch of the funnies.

While the plotting and world building were the strong points of the book, no one can deny that Kim Alexander can write particularily strong prose and dialogue. The writing is what kept me turning pages and helped me finish this book in only a few days despite it not exactly being light reading. There’s a lot of story here, and it can take a while to digest in a few places, but the pacing generally keeps things moving forward at a great clip.

The only thing I can really even begin to critique is that I wouldn’t have minded a small uptick in pacing, getting Rhuun to Mistra a little faster. Thankfully, this book is only the first in the series, and now that we’ve covered a lot of the world building and story basics, I expect book two will jump right into the meat of its story without the same delays. And even with all of this, I still enjoyed the story before Rhuun’s adventure really begin, I just got to the point where I was eager to see the plot move forward.

Again, a big thank you to the publisher both for granting me access to The Sand Prince and for publishing it in the first place. This isn’t the type of mainstream fantasy you’re seeing come out of houses like Harper or Penguin, maybe more in line with Tor. Hopefully this means we’ll start seeing more great fantasy hitting the shelves in the near future. For now, I’ll happily recommend The Sand Prince series!


About the Author
Kim1Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten undocumented years in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband.
THE SAND PRINCE is Kim’s debut novel and begins the fantasy series THE DEMON DOOR.

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The Elk – Dominika Waclawiak

WThe Elkho is killing off the residents of the Sunshine Assisted Living Home one by one? A serial killer or something even more savage?
Driven by visions of the dead, paranormal investigator Sara Caine tracks the killer through history and finds her buried instincts – for survival, bravery and ultimately insanity – awakening as she hunts a monster beyond imagining…
Reaching back to the atrocities of the Second World War, the case twists and turns corrupting everyone it touches. With the help of LAPD Detective Eva Murphy, Sara uncovers a killer that has been eluding authorities for over forty years.


While the author’s name isn’t one I think I’ll ever be able to easily pronounce, this is a story I’ll be recommending to all of my bookish friends. It’s creepy as hell, and fantastically written… not a book you’re going to want to miss. And that cover… one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and it does such a great job of encompassing this story you’ll find inside. Though I didn’t realize right away that there were paranormal elements.

The Elk follows Sara and Eva as they try to unravel a brutal series of murders, spanning across history. Both characters were dynamic and well written, though Eva was definitely my favorite. Their personalities meshed really well, and offered a nice counterbalance to the gritty tone of the book.

A must read, and well suited for this time of year!

Review: Dragonfriend by Marc Seccia

dragonfriendStabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.

Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.

This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.

Draggoonnnss! Yes! I couldn’t resist this book on the cover alone, which is downright spectacular, and the story itself didn’t disappoint! This is one of the stories where Dragon’s play a large role, featuring right into the relationships and the politics of the story. There is action in what felt like almost every chapter, and always so much going on that you’ll be hardpressed to put this book down.

I loved the relationship between Lia and Flicker, though I guess that should have been a given based on the title. It was so much fun to see it develop as the two grew to truly understand one another. And both of their cultures were so well developed that even when the scenes were centered around these two characters, the world building was still central to everything that was happening.

Honestly, this felt like such a hidden gem of a read. I’m so glad I came across it, and will absolutely be looking out in the future for more from Marc Seccia.