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The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

A medieval fantasy story full of magic, royalty, knights, and elves, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker is sure to entertain lovers of fairytales and fantasy alike. The story begins with a young princess, Issylte, who is next in line for the throne. Trouble comes when her father chooses to marry an evil woman who treats Issylte cruelly. After the queen arranges to kill the young princess, the two huntsmen refuse and send her into the forest on her own. There, she meets a fairy witch who takes her in. As she learns about magic, she learns of her true mate, Tristian, a Knight of the Roundtable with a dark past and a love of being a warrior. Together they must save her kingdom from her evil stepmother.

The story was interesting and engaging. The characters’ relationships were well developed, and the aspects of magic were fascinating, as they included herbal remedies and other nonconventional kinds of magic. There are mature themes within the story, and it combines several different threads of fairytales and fantasy tropes.

The development of the main character Issylte was well done, as we see her go from scared and lost to strong and independent as the story progresses. The same is said of the other protagonist, Tristian. He gains more and more knowledge and friends as the story moves along. I feel the author tried too hard with the style of dialogue, it wasn’t exactly right for the period. I felt that tropes seemed overused at times, such as the mate bond between the two protagonists and elves in a medieval fairytale setting feeling off.

The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven is a riveting mix of fantasy, fairytale, and historical romance. Readers will find threads of old-time favorites with a unique twist and perspective. With magic, knights, and a wicked queen there is something for all readers who want mature content and a fascinating adventure.

Pages: 377| ASIN : B0B8XNMYBS

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My Favorite Writing Place

Hermione Lee Author Interview

Where the Magic Lies follows a girl who’s forced to marry a prince under threat of death and learns that her decisions will affect more than just her. How did the idea for this novel begin and change as you wrote?

I’m sure nobody will believe this, but this novel was adapted from one of my experiences! Last year in July, my mom carried an abandoned hollowed log home to put in her garden as a decoration. Luckily, no fairies from Portia confronted us, took me away, or made me marry anyone. But the incident kindled an inspiration in me. I wondered whether the old log might have belonged to some mysterious creature, whether it would be regarded as a treasure to them. So, I recorded the idea down and fleshed it into a novel a year later. I knew I had to add some complications to the plot, and that a log theft wouldn’t be enough to hook many readers, hence the innumerable plot twists that dominate the latter chapters.

What scene in the book was the most emotionally impactful for you to write?

Ha, I am not an emotional author at all! Rather, I’m cold-blooded and detached when it comes to writing. (I never cry when writing, and instead, I think torturing my characters is great fun.) I see myself as a director, a fly on the wall, so I don’t find any scene particularly emotional or impactful. However, I hope the gigantic plot twist at the ending that results in a funeral is the most emotionally impactful scene. Although I cannot reveal what it is in fear of spoiling the plot, the scene is meant to show readers how much Amethyst has matured and grown.

What is your writing process like? Where do you write most often, and what do you use for inspiration?

My writing process is very messy! If I am very confident in a novel idea, I outline it first and tackle the chapters I like the most. (Among my thirteen finished novels, eleven were written in an irregular order.) In Where the Magic Lies’ case, I finished Chapter 4 first, then 5, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 3, 10, and finally, 9. (It’s also worth mentioning that I finished this book in 14 days, setting a new record for myself.)

95% of Where the Magic Lies was written at my grandma’s house. That’s my favorite writing place! I also love writing at various Starbucks. The atmosphere there is always magical. I use anything for inspiration; as I mentioned before, a single log can spark an entire story. Random phrases come to my mind from time to time, and if I like them enough, I will make them possible future titles. Story ideas also visit me randomly. One morning at my grandma’s I KNEW I had to write a story about a lost siren. I didn’t know why, but I knew I just had to write that story. (The premise of the story was inspired by a chapter in Where the Magic Lies.) And so I did. This is something I can’t quite explain, but I am grateful for my endless fountain of story ideas.

This is book one in the Perils of Portia Saga. What can readers expect in book two?

I don’t know the answer any more than my readers do! I’ll have to have a meeting with myself to structure the outline for book two. Right now I’m working on A Gathering of Tales, a novel about a mashup of four fairy tales. What will happen if Rapunzel escapes her tower, saves Little Red Riding Hood, meets Cinderella, and wakes Sleeping Beauty? My book answers that question. I’m not sure when I’ll return to Amethyst and Angus and the Perils of Portia Saga. Well, someday! I’ve still got quite a bit of time and enthusiasm left!

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When Amethyst Quartz’s mother carries a hollowed log home, a group of furious fairies confront her and Amethyst. Hailing from the Kingdom of Portia, they claim that the stolen log is King Matthew’s lost treasure. The fairies threaten to kill her unless Amethyst agrees to leave the mortal world and marry Prince Angus, who is in need of a bride. To save her mother’s life, Amethyst agrees, but is plagued by melancholy when in Portia. However, she bonds with Prince Angus after three failed escape attempts, and the two develop a close relationship. Yet when things are getting settled, two assassination attempts threaten to destroy her life. Misfortunes, one after another, befall Amethyst as she struggles to survive in the palace. She once thought she had zero control over her life, but now, her choices matter more than anything. With Angus, her decisions will shape not only her future but also their relationship.

The False Queen

The False Queen is a magical tale that follows a young fairy girl named Viola who arrives on Swing Island wearing a lace dress and a crown. The Islanders become curious with the stranger and decide she must be royalty due to her appearance. In doing so, there assumptions create this version of Viola that is not true. Viola, who turns out to be just a fairy down on her luck searching for a place of her own and her purpose; sees no harm in going along with the Islanders grand idea of her since they are all being so kind to her.

Having extraordinarily little to give back to the Islanders, she does her best to use her skills of designing clothes and jewelry to try and make money to eventually repay the debts. Once Viola’s secret is out that she is no royal fairy, everyone turns on her. Daniel, who is the hero of the story is described as a loner and a writer but most importantly he is the observer of the Island and sees not only the truth of who Viola is but all the Islanders true selves. Daniel’s skills of writing set him on a path of clearing Viola’s name and aiding in her finally finding her place and purpose in life as well as uniting the community in one swift sweep of his quill.

In this short children’s chapter book, the author is able to incapsulate the accurate depiction of how people are quick to make assumptions about another person. Pere also shows how important it is to have friends that will stand by you through challenging times in life and how using your skills can help bring communities together and bring fulfillment in life.

The False Queen is an imaginative children’s book with unique fairy tale elements that young readers will find enchanting. This is a fantastic children’s book that imparts an important life lesson amid an entertaining adventure.

Pages: 110 | ISBN: 9789523577695

Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali

From the moment Krystal Winkle was born, she has been destined for greatness and tasked with what seems to be an impossible mission. She was born the most powerful of all the Cristallies. When she was a newborn infant, she was given instructions to keep her incredible powers a secret for the safety of herself and everyone around her. At the same time her proud grandmother whispered this word of warning to her on the day of her birth, a search was beginning for Krystal–a search that would begin and end with one goal in mind: to find young Krystal before she realizes exactly how powerful she truly is.

Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, is the first in a series of books for middle-school readers featuring Krystal Winkle as the protagonist with a life’s mission to save Kunga the gorilla who is known as the Peacemaker of Kigali. This amazingly well-developed tale is led by an intriguing cast of characters. It is a non-stop thrill ride with seamless transitions between beautifully described settings and a much-appreciated switch between points of view throughout the book’s storyline.

I have to say that, of all the techniques employed by Roth-White, the use of varying points of view is the most impactful to the story’s success. When readers are treated to the view of events from Krystal’s perspective, the story instantly becomes more meaningful and more captivating. I found myself instantly drawn into Krystal’s dilemma, and the entire plot took on new meaning for me. I could feel the intensity with which Krystal was fighting and the incredible desperation she felt to fulfill her mission.

Roth-White includes many unique features with regard to both characters and plot. It isn’t often I find that one of my favorite aspects of a story is unrelated to the main character. In the case of this, the first book in the author’s series about Krystal, I was immediately drawn to the idea of Stilts. I won’t spoil the storyline for readers, but I will say that Stilts is an excellent addition to Krystal’s story and serves as both an interesting and quick way to further the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed Stilts’s contribution to events.

I am giving Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This young adult novel has all the makings of a masterpiece and a new favorite among young readers seeking alternatives to Harry Potter. With the promise of more installments to come, I highly recommend that middle-school readers add Roth-White’s fantasy tale to their must-read list.

Pages: 308 | ISBN-13: 978-0578591391

The Bonds Between Women

Patricia Bossano Author Interview

Herencia Encantada follows a 17-year-old orphan girl who is stuck between the human and fairy world and struggles to avenge the death of her parents? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Beyond the fantasy, adventure, and the dash of romance in “Herencia Encantada” you’ll find that it explores and highlights the bonds between women in a hybrid faery-human family, a clan very much like my own. And although this story is physically set in the western Pyrenees, on the border between France and Spain, the faerie realm depicted is inspired by scenery familiar to me, like the Andes mountains, in South America where I grew up, and beautiful Bear, Lake in Utah, where I lived for twenty years.

Celeste faces the challenges of being a teenager, an orphan and part of the fairy world. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

PB: Celeste’s character arc is a beautiful one because throughout her growing pains, she chooses to follow her heart. She has a stubborn streak, a competitive nature, and she can be impulsive and selfish at times, but as her story progressed, the negativity in those traits was flushed away, laying bare the fulfilled, loving, bright individual she became. I hope Celeste’s story and her choices inspire readers of “Herencia Encantada” to always follow their hearts.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this coming of age and fantasy book?

Two things for sure: believing in ourselves, and the importance of family.

As the foundation of her future self, family influence is a critical aspect of this philosophical fantasy in which confidence allows our heroine to acknowledge and appreciate her family ties, while improving them and moving forward. When Celeste’s dual familyship is threatened, and when, at seventeen, her future seems muddled, she counts on her heart (full of human-faery love and wisdom) not to lead her astray.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Although I’m not writing a new novel, I do have two ongoing projects: I’m translating book 2 of the Faerie Legacy Series, Cradle Gift, into Spanish, and publication is slated for Summer 2023.

I am also evaluating cover and interior art for a children’s picture book, also in Spanish. I’m hoping to release this stardusted little treasure, “Polvo de Estrellas,” in time for Christmas 2022.

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A los diecisiete años, La Soberanía de las Hadas es el único mundo que Celeste conoce. En su corazón, atesora el sueño de convertirse, algún día, en una de ellas.
Pero los hechos revelados por su madre antes de morir desvían sus ilusiones.
Huérfana y ansiosa por tomar las riendas de su destino, Celeste vacila entre sus certezas de antaño y las nuevas.
¿Es la princesa humana que su madre formó o es el hada-humana que anhela ser?
¿Va a vengar a sus padres y honrar el compromiso de matrimonio que la espera en el mundo mortal o debe obedecer a su corazón y permanecer junto al extraño que acaba de entrar en su vida?
Celeste elige vengar la muerte de sus padres, incluso si eso significa reconocer el lugar que le corresponde en la dimensión humana.
Motivada por la princesa de las hadas, Nahia, y amparada por la Corte Luminosa y por su verdadero amor, Celeste se propone desenmascarar a la insidiosa hechicera Arantxa.
Confía en que nada impedirá su regreso triunfal a la Soberanía de las Hadas… Nada hasta que la identidad de su prometido es revelada.

The Magic Involved

GJ Scherzinger Author Interview

The Masque of Count Milado follows a man from Earth who sets off on a quest to retrieve the missing masque before it goes missing forever. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to reprise characters introduced in “The House on Chambers Court”, though the challenge I set for myself was to write a traditional murder mystery. This book was an attempt to do that, and of course it’s a lot harder than it seems, the challenges of exposing the clues to both the characters and the reader in such a way as to move the story and keep everyone guessing.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?

Many of the characters in my book are based on people I know personally or in the public eye. Villains are easy to spot in the political and corporate spectrum. At least that is the root of their creation. It gives me a ‘face’ to work from, though once the book is under way, they really take on their own personalities.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Each book I write represents a particular challenge for me, in this case writing a murder mystery. I don’t want my books to be carbon copies of each other, though some themes run through each. A subtle part of the book is taking on animal perspectives and how they may be different from our own. Add to that, Xavier Gaines is faced with an additional perspective, the differences between men and women. Empathy is an important element of the magic involved.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

“The Wizard of Grimmer’s Wharf” has just been released (another mystery) and I’m well into the next book, “The Rift of Brande”. I’ve a great deal of experience sailing and so I wanted to write a ‘sea story’ involving adventure and lost treasure. I’ve reprised characters introduced in “Grimmer’s Wharf” and “The Henna Witch”. It looks to be a bigger book, perhaps rivaling “The Deck of the Numinon” in size. Of course magic is involved, which is also a great way to introduce some metaphysics into the story. Speaking of “the Deck of the Numinon”, which is wonderfully illustrated, I’m working with the artist to create an entire deck, providing the guide book to supplement her work. Fundamental excerpts were included as an addendum in “the Deck of the Numinon”. With a little perseverance on my part, both will be ready by the end of ’23.

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A long lost Masque created by ancient majics comes to light, one capable of transforming the wearer into the identity of another. Xavier Gaines is employed by the Sybellines to steal it before harm can come from its use, though he never gets the chance. It’s owner, Count Milado, dies in mysterious circumstances and the Masque has disappeared once again.
While the surviving royals struggle for control of the Milado estates, a troop of mercenaries and a lone wizard find their way into the intrigue. As Xavier struggles to discover the whereabouts of the Masque, deeper plots are uncovered that prove the Masque hasn’t vanished at all, but central to a plot involving kingdoms.
Nothing and no one is as it seems.

Herencia Encantada (Spanish Edition)

Herencia Encantada es una novela de fantasía, y su protagonista es Celeste. Ella es una huérfana de diecisiete años y está atrapada entre dos mundos: el mundo humano y el mundo de las hadas. Ansiosa por vengar la muerte de sus padres, sabe que debe reconocer el lugar que le corresponde en el mundo de los mortales. Con la ayuda de la princesa de las hadas, Nahia, la Corte Luminosa y su verdadero amor, Celeste se propone derrotar a la hechicera Arantxa.

La autora Patricia Bossano brinda a sus lectores una historia encantadora, llena de escenas vívidas que encienden la imaginación del lector. La creatividad dentro de este mundo es impresionante y fue una de las razones por las cuales volví, una y otra vez, a visitar esta fascinante fantasía juvenil. Pude imaginar claramente el mundo en el cual Celeste vive, y el mundo de las hadas es un deleite.

La historia fluye bien, disfruté de la fluidez de los diálogos, y las descripciones ayudan a desarrollar una trama exuberante y creíble. El desarrollo de los personajes es algo que de verdad disfruté, la evolución de la personalidad de Celeste sorprende y fascina por la forma sutil en la que se ejecuta en la historia. Pude conectarme con ella y me gustó verla crecer mientras superaba los obstáculos que encontraba en su camino. En una historia de fantasía como ésta, el diálogo sólido y auténtico hace que los personajes sean creíbles.

Esta es una aventura muy entretenida, con giros sorprendentes, uno en especial que realmente me asombró.

Herencia Encantada es una novela obligatoria para adultos jóvenes que buscan una fantasía visionaria que utilice la magia de maneras ingeniosas. La transición entre el mundo de los mortales y el de los inmortales es creativa, y los lectores quedarán encantados con el mundo que descubrirán ahí.

Pages: 382 | ASIN: B0B3S2JYM9

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The Masque of Count Milado

The Masque of Count Milado by GJ Scherzinger is a fantasy mystery centered around a powerful masque thought to be long lost. Xavier Gaines, a man from Earth who found his way to the magical world of Terranovae, has been asked by a friend to use his magical and physical abilities to retrieve this mask from Count Milado, who has acquired it. So Xavier sets off to infiltrate the count’s court with his wife and daughter in tow. Shortly after arriving, the count is found mysteriously dead, and the race is on to locate the missing masque before it’s lost forever.

This was a fantastic story. This world had excellent story building. There was some nicely done backstory that really brought the characters to life and made them richer. The magic was beautifully described. I love how each transformed state was kind of its own being and not the magic user in just a different form. They each had their own personality and were treated as such, complete with different pronouns. There was a beautiful mystery that I wanted to solve. There were twists I wasn’t expecting that kept me guessing how the story would play out. I got excited when things were revealed to me, making the story more engrossing. This kept me reading on, captivated.

The beginning has a slow burn as things get set up but really picked up as the plot progresses. I felt that it was redundant that every time Xavier became a tiger, the beast was described to us. Seeing as how it was the same tiger each time, I feel the initial description was enough to give us a clear picture of what it would look like from then on.

The Masque of Count Milado is a fascinating new fantasy novel with mythology and folklore elements. A world filled with magic, mystery, and mischief to keep readers engaged. I definitely want to read more of this world.

Pages: 267 | ASIN : B0B1P9YDW3

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