Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review: Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron-Michael Hall

Nurisha San is the adopted daughter of Qaradan San. He has trained her and her best friend Aljosa as warriors, an art she will need in the future. Lately, her birthmark on her wrist has been itching and growing; only a journey to Solluna can give her some of the answers she seeks.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the Kurintor warriors are readying for a battle to defend the Fifth Kingdom. Xavion knows that the mark on his wrist 'twins' him with Nurisha though they have never met. But it is time for them both to develop their mental abilities as well as their warrior skills to face the foes all around them.
This is an engrossing tale perfect for readers of epic fantasy. The story moves around between a numerous cast of interesting characters. Redemption is a question much discussed; can the wicked characters possibly redeem their actions? Or are they doomed to taint the good characters around them? The forces of good and evil are a strong theme throughout the story.
The author is excellent at world-building, and her descriptive talents show here. From Qaradan's blacksmith shop to the taverns of Solluna to the clamor of the Kumasi port, the reader is drawn into a rich and vivid world. The dialogue is particularly striking.
My only quibble is that I would have liked to have seen the story of Goni and Gea moved up nearer to the beginning of the book. It's backstory that would have helped me understand some of the motivations of the characters, but that's just me and it really is probably insignificant to most readers. I can't wait for the next book to see where the story goes next.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Trad Tuesday: Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile sung by Seo Linn

Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile is a traditional Irish song that is also associated with the Jacobite uprising at Culloden where mentions of Séarlas Óg ("Young Charles" in Irish) were added referring to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

In the early 20th century it received new verses by the nationalist poet Padraig Pearse and was often sung by members of the Irish Volunteers during the Easter Rising. It was also sung as a fast march during the Irish War of Independence.

Seo Linn is an Irish folk-pop band that promotes the Irish language. I love their version of this song.

Book Tour: Mythical Doorways Anthology from Fellowship of Fantasy

About the Anthology

Eleven Tales of Magical, Mysterious, Mythical Doorways! Step through portals and into adventure as the authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy take you on another journey into fantastic worlds. Travel through time, space, and realities to encounter monsters, mechanical foxes, and the Fates themselves. You'll fly with dragons, save implausible beasts, and perhaps find your true home. Choose your path wisely, for dangers lurk in the lands beyond. In the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, eleven authors promise you journeys into fairy lands hidden within the modern world, futuristic universities, and lands of ancient myth. So what are you waiting for? Cross through our Doorways for the adventure of a lifetime! Download the ebook (free to download starting March 27th) at your favorite digital store:

Mythical Doorways Authors

- Katy Huth Jones - D. G. Driver - Lauren Lynch - H.L. Burke - Savannah Jezowski - A. J. Bakke - Laurie Lucking - Jenelle Schmidt - Arthur Daigle - Bokerah Bromley - J.M. Hackman (Click the author to learn more about them and their books!)

Let's Party!

Fellowship of Fantasy is celebrating their third short story anthology release, Mythical Doorways! Whether they open onto new worlds or just new opportunities, doorways allow us to step through and uncover great adventures, discoveries, and risks. Where will these Mythical Doorways take you? Grab your favorite drink and snack on March 29th at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with multiple authors, games, and giveaways!

RSVP Today

Giveaway Time!

The Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway! Dive into eleven new worlds by entering to win a paperback of Mythical Doorways! (US only.) About Deep Magic E-Zine: The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read. Click here for more information:

>>> Entry-Form <<<

Friday, March 23, 2018

Book Review: Creme Brulee to Slay by CeeCee James

Georgie Tanner is at it again! In this third book of the Baker Street Cozy Mysteries, Georgie has volunteered to help at a benefit dinner where a sword that George Washington presented to the man who captured John Andre is displayed. When one of the diners turns up dead and the sword is stolen, Georgie (and her curiosity) are thrust right into the middle of the mystery.
This is a fun quick read. The mystery of the dead woman was good, but I wish there had been a little more added to the part with the missing sword. I always like the American history incorporated in this series, but that was minimal in this book partly due to it being a slow time for the B&B.
I like that Georgie and Frank's romance is heating up. And I'm waiting to learn more about the mystery that has overshadowed all of the books in the series: what happened to Georgie's ex-fiance? An important clue is given here (no spoilers).
Creme Brulee to Slay is another fun read, and I heartily recommend this series.

Free Book Blitz & Giveaway: Forged in Fire by Kayelle Allen

Forged in Fire
Bringer of Chaos Book 2
by Kayelle Allen
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever...

When the immortal Pietas is marooned on a barren world with no food and few survival tools, he knows it could be worse. He could be alone. But that's the problem. He's not.
Half a million of his people sleep in cryostasis, trapped inside their pods and it's up to Pietas to free them. He can't release one at a time. It's all or nothing. He's facing over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless immortals who will call on him for rescue and he has no way to answer.
It's not all bad. The beautiful telepathic warrior he's loved for lifetimes is at his side. He's bonded with a sentient panther. He hates humans but the one dumped on this planet with him has become a trusted friend.
Before Pietas can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, he must take back command from a ruthless enemy he's fought for centuries. His brutal, merciless father.
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever...


Contains humor, sweet romance, betrayal, angst, vengeance... and a ginormous, sentient black panther who wants to be Pietas's "kitty."

**FREE from 3/23 – 3/27!!**

Kayelle Allen did a tour in the US Navy, where she climbed around airplanes (on the ground, thankfully) fixing black boxes that helped pilots find their way home.

She wrote her first science fiction novel at 18 and to this day, it's hidden under the bed, where she vows it will remain. Gems from it, however, launched several series in her galaxy-wide universe of stories.
From childhood, Kayelle was the victim of an overactive imagination and inherited the Irish gift of gab from her mother. From her father, she got a healthy respect for mechanical things.
No wonder she writes Science Fiction and Fantasy peopled with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's been married so long she's tenured.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trad Tuesday: The Blackest Crow sung by Bruce Molsky and Julie Fowlis

The Blackest Crow is a traditional Appalachian song with possibly English roots. It's been performed by a lot of musicians, but I like this version performed in the Transatlantic Sessions.

As time draws near my dearest dear when you and I must part
How little you know of the grief and woe in my poor aching heart
Each night I suffer for your sake, you’re the girl I love so dear
I wish that I was going with you or you were staying here
I wish my breast were made of glass wherein you might behold
Upon my heart your name lies wrote in letters made of gold
In letters made of gold my love, believe me when I say
You are the one that I will adore until my dying day
The blackest crow that ever flew would surely turn to white
If ever I prove false to you bright day will turn to night
Bright day will turn to night my love, the elements will mourn
If ever I prove false to you the seas will rage and burn

And when you’re on some distant shore think of your absent friend
And when the wind blows high and clear a light to me pray send
And when the wind blows high and clear pray send your love to me
That I might know by your hand light how time has gone with thee

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Oath Breaker by Aaron Hodges

Oath Breaker
Legend of the Gods Book 1
by Aaron Hodges
Genre: Epic Fantasy

A century since the departure of the Gods, the Three Nations are now united beneath the Tsar. Magic has been outlawed, its power too dangerous to remain unchecked. All Magickers must surrender themselves to the crown, or face imprisonment and death.

Alana's mundane life has just been torn apart by the emergence of her brother's magic. Now they must leave behind everything they’ve ever known and flee – before the Tsar’s Stalkers pick up their trail. Tasked with hunting down renegade Magickers, the merciless hunters will stop at nothing to bring them before the Tsar’s judgement.

As the noose closes around Alana and her brother, disgraced hero Devon finds himself at odds with the law when he picks a fight with the wrong man. The former warrior has set aside his weapons, but now, caught between the renegades and the Stalkers, he is forced to pick a side – the empire, or the innocent.

Grab this all new epic fantasy novel by NYTimes Bestselling Author Aaron Hodges.

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. 

Today, his adventures continue…

Follow the blitz HERE!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon

On December 6, 1917, two ships, the Belgian supply ship Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian ship Imo collided in the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion was the most powerful manmade explosion on a human population excepting Nagasaki and Hiroshima, a force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT. Over 3,000 people lost their lives, and many more were wounded. Huge swathes of the city were flattened, reduced to rubble and burying survivors beneath the destruction.
Mr. Bacon's wonderful book was recommended to me by my two sisters and my brother-in-law (his grandfather Ernest Barss is one of the people mentioned in the book). It is an amazing story of resilience and courage as well as the willingness of many to help the survivors. Boston, Massachusetts sent trains and boats filled with supplies and personnel to help; as a result, Halifax has every year since sent a Christmas tree to be erected in that city.
A blizzard came in the day after the explosion and just made it even harder for the survivors and those trying to help them. It was a truly astounding event and I'm surprised how little I knew about it. The book mentions how cruise boats today will visit the cemetery where Titanic victims are buried, but nothing is told to them about the Halifax Explosion. That was certainly my experience several years ago when I visited that lovely city. But I guess this book gives me a reason to go back and visit with new eyes.
The author has a very comfortable writing style with a good eye for the small details that enhance the story. His narrative doesn't take away from the horror of the event but also addresses the acts of courage that took place.  This is probably best exemplified by this quote from the book:
"Tragedy comes quick and loud, while the small acts of decency that follow come slowly and quietly."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Release: Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron-Michael Hall

As the gods battle in the heavens, darkness descends on earth.

The Keepers of Nine guide the primordial Kurintor warriors protecting the mortal world from the demons of Ashemohn. But after a god’s corruption empowered their demon goddess, Sokka, her manipulations have brought the Kurintor to the brink of extinction.

Can the Keepers of Nine awaken the Kurintor descendants in time to defend the Fifth Kingdom, or will the eidolons Sokka has sent forth destroy them?

It isn’t prophecy, destiny, or a birthright, that will decide the fate of the mortal world.

It is choice.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Jane Barnaby Adventures by J.J. DiBenedetto

Finders Keepers
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 1
by J.J. DiBenedetto
Genre: Light Suspense Thriller
230 pages

All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was deliver a box of pottery shards to her professor at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple.

That is, until everything went wrong.

Now, Jane has the wrong box and is being chased by thieves who want it and aren't particular about how they get what they want.

Add to that, she's picked up a pair of passengers who both claim they can help her get her professor's pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she knew who was working with the thieves and who she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

**Only .99 cents!**

Losers Weepers
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 2
226 pages

Jane Barnaby had everything going her way: a prestigious internship at the Museum of Natural History, a fantastic Upper West Side sublet apartment, and helping plan her newly-engaged college friend's wedding.

Until a casual lunch with her friend’s fiancé set off alarm bells, and sent her digging into the rabbit hole that is his past.

When that rabbit hole leads Jane and her on-again, off-again boyfriend to the English countryside, uncovering secrets dating back to World War 2, searching for priceless art treasures looted by the Nazis, and fighting off the thieves who will kill to get those treasures for themselves, will they discover the truth, or lose their lives?

Her Brother's Keeper

The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 3
175 pages

Jane Barnaby has planned the perfect Christmas vacation. Her father and his fiancé are joining her in Spain at her archaeological dig. They'll see her work, meet her mentor, and they'll all enjoy a few days of sunny Mediterranean beaches in the dead of winter.

But it all falls apart when Jane's annoying brother tags along and lands in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

To clear her brother's name, all Jane has to do is chase a wily female con-artist across Europe, catch her, and confront the woman and her accomplices. Oh, and outwit an ex-KGB agent and his personal goon squad along the way.

Guest Post

What kind of world ruler would you be?

I have to admit, I’d be a pretty terrible ruler.  I’d start out with the best intentions, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with.  About the only thing I can say for myself is that at least I know myself well enough to know that I shouldn’t have that kind of power.
There’s a great quote from the actor Terence Stamp, who played the villainous General Zod in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.  He said, “We all like to think we’d be Superman, but in the end we’d all become General Zod.”   I think, sadly, he’s probably right.

J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost. 

His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing. 

Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.

Since he was very young , he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally.

By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years were finally getting put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Series was born.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Trad Tuesday: Dh’èirich mi moch, b' fheàrr nach do dh’èirich sung by Julie Fowlis

This is a very moving song which is interesting as it is sung from the point of view of the ‘each-uisge’ the water-horse, who is usually portrayed as the frightening character in stories, but in this instance is the victim.  He has been betrayed by his mortal lover, and she has left him with their child, which he cannot take care of.  In the song, he begs her to return. 

I arose early
I arose early – 
would that I hadn’t.
I was distressed by what sent me out.
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
There was mist on the hill
There was mist on the hill
and showers of rain
and I came across a pleasant maiden
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
I’ll give you wine
I’ll give you wine
and all that will please you 
but I won’t arise with you in the morning.
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
Girl of the calves
Girl of the calves
I was with you in the cattle-fold
and the rest were asleep.
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
The white brown wicked one
The white brown wicked one
bore me a son
although coldly did she nurse him
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
Tha calf of my song
The calf of my song
was beside a hillock
without fire, protection or shelter.
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.
Mòr, my love
Mòr, my love, return to your little son
and I’ll give you a beautiful speckled withe.
Hill ò bha hò 
Hill ò bha hò.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Tour & Giveaway: Minstrel's Call by Jenelle Schmidt

Book Blurb:
War threatens. The game board is set. But the Minstrel is missing...

Advancing his growing power, the Dread Prince breaks free of his prison and brings a faction of dragons under his control, stirring unrest and hatred in the newly united kingdoms of Tellurae Aquaous.

When the dragon wards of Kallayohm are targeted in a ruthless attack, the High King travels there to administer justice. But the trial results in a crippling blow that leaves him reeling.

On the heels of defeat, an unexpected message from the erstwhile Minstrel arrives, pleading with his friends for rescue. Together, the High King and his companions must follow the fragile trail, braving peril and darkness that will test the measure of them all...

Book Links:

Author Bio:
Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Author Links:

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

I am giving away 1 Dragon Sword, 1 252-piece puzzle of the artwork for Minstrel’s Call, and 1 signed paperback copy of Minstrel’s Call. (Due to standard-postal shipping restrictions of blades outside the continental USA, and the lack of reliable dragons these days, I cannot offer the sword to winners outside the U.S. However, if someone outside the U.S. wins that particular item, I will send them a $35 Amazon Gift Card instead).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Trad Tuesday: Chi Mi'n Geamhradh by Runrig

Runrig is a great Scottish rock band that occasionally sings songs in their native Gaelic. This is one of their slower songs about the passing of winter.

I see the winter in the wind The snow is not far from us Dark clouds and the trees losing leaf The night is cold So often it feels that it was only yesterday The summer heat melted us All evening long out on the Dun And you lying lazy by my side Many nights we loved Many nights we laughed Many times I thought That you would have stayed forever But the sun never shines all year Time will not stay as it once was You left for the city Leaving me to my winter Many nights we loved Many nights we laughed Many times I thought That you would have stayed forever. I see the winter in the wind The snow is not far from us Dark clouds and the trees losing leaf The night is cold The night is cold The night is cold