Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review: Elven Dwarf by Amanda Redhead and Craig Petillo

Aliaga is the daughter of a healer and a blacksmith, but Crugeon, the father, also know who to wield an ax and is a great warrior. She's also a dwarf, a member of the Norhar clan. The story starts when she is just a child and progresses from there. Not to give much of the story away, she is adopted by wood elves partway into the tale as her clan falls to disease and battle. So she is renamed Alluria and raised as an elf and thinks of herself as such.
As she gets older, her elven father worries about her finding a mate. When a dwarf named Heptos visits, he thinks he's found a perfect mate for Alluria.
Even before this, a demon has stolen a powerful talisman from the council at Druid's Stone though it won't work without a tome containing its spells. The tome is hidden away and various orcs, goblins, and other evildoers want control of both the talisman, a jewel, and the tome. Adventures ensue, battles are fought, and Alluria is right in the middle of it all.
This is a stirring tale in the vein of Tolkien's books. Neldorailin is a dense and rich world with a lot of characters of all the typical fantasy types, but here the authors have woven a tapestry of colorful characters. There are heroines and heroes, dragons, mages, goblin kings, and evil orcs. Some of the characters are quite funny and provide good comic relief. There is a lot of detail and names which are fine for the most part, this being a high fantasy book, but can slow the story down in places with a bit too much telling and not enough showing.
I look forward to more stories from Neldorailin and recommend this book to lovers of high fantasy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trad Tuesday - Tramps and Hawkers sung by Old Blind Dogs

Tramps and Hawkers is an old Scottish song supposed written by 'Besom Jimmy' in the 1800s. Another Jimmy, surname MacBeath, brought the song to the attention of modern songsmiths and it has been sung by The Dubliners, Luke Kelly, and the Battlefield Band. I happen to prefer this version by Old Blind Dogs.

Tramps And Hawkers

19th Century        
from the singing of Jimmy MacBeath    
Oh come a’ ye tramps an hawkers an gaitherers o bla,              
That tramps the country roon an roon, come listen ane and a’
I’ll tell tae you a rovin tale and sights that I have seen
Far up into the snowy North and South by Gretna Green

I have seen the high Ben Nevis a-towerin to the moon,
I’ve been by Crieff and Callander and roon by bonnie Doune,
And by the Nethy’s silvery tides an places ill tae ken                   
Far up into the snowy North lies Urquhart’s bonny glen

Aftimes I’ve lauched into myself when I’m trudging on the road,
Wi a bag o bla upon my back, my face as broon’s a toad,
Wi lumps o cakes an tattie scones an cheese an braxy ham,            
Nae thinking whaur I’m comin fae nor whaur I’m gaun tae gang

I’m happy in the summertime beneath the bricht blue sky,
Nae thinking in the morning at nicht whaur I’ve tae lie.
Barns or byres or anywhere or oot among the hay,
And if the weather does permit I’m happy every day

Oh Loch Katrine and Loch Lomon’ have a’ been seen by me,
The Dee, the Don, the Deveron that hurries into the sea,
Dunrobin Castle, by the way, I nearly had forgot,
An aye the rickles o cairn marks the Hoose o John o Groat.

I’m often roon by Gallowa or doon aboot Stranraer,
Ma business leads me anywhere, sure I travel near an far.
I’ve got a rovin notion, there’s nothing what I loss,
An a’ my day’s my daily fare and what’ll pey ma doss.

I think I’ll go tae Paddy’s land, I’m makin up my min’
For Scotland’s greatly altered now, sure I canna raise the win’
But I will trust in Providence, if Providence will prove true
An I will sing of Erin’s Isle when I come back to you.

: often
Bla: blaw, travellers’ cant for oatmeal
Braxy ham: salted meat from a sheep that died of braxy, an intestinal disease
Cairn: landmark heap of stones
Doss: night’s lodging
Erin’s Isle: Ireland
Ill tae ken: of bad repute
John o Groat/Groats: furthest north building in Scotland
Lauched: laughed
Loss: lose, miss
Paddy’s Land: Ireland
Pey: pay
Rickles : loose heaps


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review: The Second Wife by Kishan Paul

Alisha is very happily married, a successful psychiatrist, who is kidnapped by a Pakistani arms dealer to become his second wife. He saw her at a conference and decided that she would be perfect to provide him the son he's always wanted and can't get from his first wife.
Her husband David and family have no idea where she is but don't know how to get over her disappearance despite two years having passed. Suddenly, David is given information that proves that Ally is alive and living in Pakistan.
This story is told in alternating POVs between Ally and David, and it also skips back and forth from the time of the kidnapping to the present. It started out pretty well - the villain, Sayeed is really evil and what happens to Ally is horrific. David's character is plausible also - he is still in despair over his missing wife, but is trying to move on. My problem was the character of Eddie, the mercenary David finds to help him recover his wife. I found him very confusing as to what his motives were; he took way too long to rescue Ally and really didn't seem to help David all that much, fighting with him and sending him on stupid missions. The story kind of disintegrates and the extra coda tacked on with Eddie made no sense at all.
The book also could have used a better editor. One of my pet peeves happened right at the beginning where Ally shakes her head and agrees. You nod to agree and shake your head to disagree. There were other places where I was taken out of the story for things like this.
It was a good thriller though it dragged on a bit long.

Link to Amazon

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Release, Giveaway, and Excerpt: Looking Back on Forever by Kat Alexander

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: February 27th

There are moments in time that stand out more than others: your first kiss, a special birthday party, seeing your baby for the first time, an intimate conversation, a first date, even something as little as sitting around a dining room table with friends. This is the story of the moments that stood out after I first laid eyes on Noah Gish. ~ Claire Sawyer
The city, it used to be a place I loved and missed with an ache in my gut. It was home. The place where I grew up, where I had fun, where I had my friends, where life was as good as I knew it to be. Then I was shipped off to a place that begins the story of how I fell in love, just to screw everything up. ~ Noah Gish


That thought is halted the minute she walks in. Long, soft waves of brown swish inside the doorway. Below that hair is a petite, very petite, package full of curves. flawless ass wrapped in some tight jeans, tiny waist, full breasts seen at a side profile, outlined in a gray V-neck shirt. Those soft globes peeking out as she inhales. The ideal hourglass figure.
I haven’t even seen her face and I’m already picturing what I would do to her. I want to feel her skin. I can imagine how silky it would feel, how soft and conforming to my grip. How it would feel under my lips. Taste on my tongue. I want to lick her back. Every curve of …
Again my thoughts come to a halt. My erection stops mid-growth. Her face. Those eyes. My heart stops. It literally. Fucking. Stops. I don’t even think I breathe.
I’m not a fan of clich├ęs, but from my reactions—my stopped breath, my stopped heart, the jaw dropping, eyes devouring, not to mention sexual thoughts paused … and now my heart is beating like I just ran a marathon, quick breathes, heart attack approaching. If I believed in it, I think I am experiencing love at first sight. And from the looks of her—paused mid-step, eyes locked on mine, rapid breathing, mouth parted, now trying not to look at me—I would say she is experiencing the same dubious phenomena.
Her face, if it had to be described in one word, it would be angelic. Her skin is impeccably fair, with a pretty blush to her cheeks. Her eyes are big and doe-like, so sweet, innocent, and the most beautiful shade of blue I have ever seen. They are fanned by the thickest lashes, and the arch of her brow just begs to be outlined by a finger. Her lips are the closest to natural red I have ever seen on a girl. And I know it’s not makeup; there isn’t a stitch of it on her pretty fresh face. Her nose … I want to press a kiss to that little nose.

What the hell am I saying? One look at this girl, and I am a puddle of mush.

Literature is my passion. I like to challenge myself and grow in my writings. I have many unfinished books and some that have been published under a different name.

My passions include the arts: music, photography, writing, dance, painting, films, architecture—anything that is creation. There is not much I don't like; and if I don't like it, I at least appreciate the process it took place to create it. This is something incorporated in all my books.

In my spare time, I enjoy being out in nature, travelling, spending time with family, and reading. I read everything, from contemporary to paranormal, and history to science. Learning is something very important to me.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Release and Excerpt: Creepy Hollow by Rachel Morgan

YA Fantasy
Date Published: March 14, 2017

Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale has one job: protect humans from dangerous fae. It’s a job she’s good at—until the cute guy whose life she just saved follows her back into the hidden world of magic. Now she’s broken Guild law, landing herself in a whole lot of trouble. The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the guy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget the magical world he’s discovered. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a deadly plot that threatens not only her own life, but her entire world.


I cry out as the boy grabs hold of my arm. I stumble on the invisible path, my mind loses hold of my destination, and I tumble out of the darkness and onto the forest floor. I don’t usually exit the faerie paths so clumsily, but I don’t usually have a human boy on top of me.

I lie there blinking as the reality of what just happened strikes me like a slap in the face.

A human.

In the fae realm.

And I’m the one who brought him here.

No no no NO.

I give the guy a good kick and he lands on the ground beside me with a groan. “What did you do that for?” I yell, jumping to my feet. “You can’t follow me through! That’s not how this works.”

He sits up and stares at his surroundings—the wildly tangled trees; the creeping mist; the shifting smoke-like colors in the yuro plants’ leaves—with a mixture of horror and awe on his face. “That … was …”

“Probably the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done.” I doubt he’s listening to me though.

“I think you were right about the dreaming thing,” he says. “There’s no way this could be real. Am I high on something?”

“Ugh.” I clench my fists so tightly I can feel my nails digging into my skin. “It’s magic, you moron.”

He looks at me and frowns. “There’s no such thing as magic.”

“Well, you probably think there’s no such thing as faeries either, and yet here I am.” And here he is. In my forest. My home. I kick a flurry of leaves into the air. Their colors shift rapidly in protest, cycling through an endless palette: lavender, magenta, burgundy, sienna. I bury my face in my hands. I have so failed this assignment.

“No way,” he says, rustling the leaves as he stands. “You can’t be a faerie. You’re way too big.”

I lower my hands. “Excuse me?” I’ve been called many things in my seventeen years, but ‘big’ has never been one of them. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Aren’t faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?”

“I’m not Tinker Bell!”

He takes a step back. “Okay, okay. Since this is a dream, I guess you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Did it feel like a dream when I kicked you just now?”

“Actually, that did kind of hurt.” He rubs his leg.

I shake my head. “This is such a mistake. You should not be here.”

“So you don’t have wings then?” he asks, completely ignoring what I just said.

“Sure I do. They’re in my pocket.”


“No!” I’m trying to think of the best way to fix this, and I wish he’d keep quiet.

“Oh, wait, you do have a wand though. I saw you using it on my wall.”

“It’s not a wand, it’s a stylus. Just a stick, really.”

“But it—”

“You know, if it weren’t my sole purpose in life to protect humans like you from crazy magical fae, I’d leave you here to find your own way home.”

“Is that what you were doing in my room?” he asks after a moment.

I sigh. Why am I telling him any of this? “Yes. I was on assignment.”

“I was your assignment?”

Wow, you catch on fast. “Yes.”

He hesitates a moment, then grins. “That’s kind of hot.”

About the Author

Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn’t grown-up enough for a ‘real’ job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.

Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Rite of Wands by MacKenzie Flohr

The Rite of Wands is interesting, a perfect fantasy book for MG and YA fantasy lovers. It is told in alternating points of view by Mierta McKinnon and Orlynd O'Brien, two young teens. Mierta goes through the Rite of Wands and sees a dark future for himself. Orlynd is brought to King Francis to act as his warlock.
Mierta is a potion maker, a skill that he uses to try to avoid his fate. Orlynd has visions though he can't always interpret them as quickly as he needs to. He is caught in the schemes of Anya, the woman who is brought to marry Francis's son.
The author is very good on detailing the environment in which the characters find themselves, helping the reader to visualize in great detail the surroundings of Mierta and Orlynd. I found the dialogue a bit stilted at times and I personally didn't like Orlynd's dialect. There's a glossary in the back to help interpret what he was saying, but I found his speech distracting and it kept taking me out of the story. Other readers may not have this issue. I'd also warn the readers that this has a cliffhanger ending.
I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this ARC. I did enjoy the story and I'm eager to see what happens next.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

I usually only share reviews for Indie books, but on occasion, I will throw in a review of a book by
one of my favorite authors. Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop is the fifth and last book in The Others series, though I did hear there may be more books about Thaisia and its inhabitants.
This is a series that, at least in my opinion, needs to be read in order. The inhabitants of the Courtyard change subtly over the five books in various ways that culminate in Etched in Bone.
Meg Corbyn, the cassandra sangue, has mostly stopped cutting, suppressing the need by using her prophecy cards in lieu of the cutting euphoria. Things at the Courtyard have settled down; the Others and the humans are adjusting to living together after cataclysmic events of the previous books where the Humans First and Last movement tried to erase the terre indigene from all the lands.
The story builds slowly as Monty's brother 'Jimmy' and his family arrive to disrupt the fragile peace. While the other books dealt with bigger issues and movements, Etched in Bone is more about how this one bad apple can also cause destruction on a different scale. Jimmy is a grifter who mistreats his wife and children, takes advantage of his siblings and mother, and just generally causes trouble. Right from the beginning, the reader wants the Others to eat him, but Namid's Teeth and Claws make them accommodate him, wanting to learn more about this one human troublemaker.
The relationship between Meg and Simon Wolfgard has deepened. Meg is growing up, learning to deal with the real world after her years of confinement and Simon is patient while helping her adjust to new activities and changes.
There are some lighter moments; I especially liked the turkey hunt and the Elders asking for their treats. All in all, Etched in Bone is a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series.