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The Mermaids Melt At Dawn

The Mermaids Melt at Dawn is a modern-day fairy-tale written by Grendolyn Peach Soleil. This book weaves an intricate tale that follows many intriguing characters. It starts with the story of one little boy named Rok, who grew up with his grandparents. His grandmother is rumored to be a sea witch. Rok hears about a fantastical story from his grandfather about the island of Barbiche, also known as the land of the mermaids. The story then changes from different points of view to follow mermaids and others people to illustrate how beautifully connected everyone is, from gods to humans.

Soleil writes a breathtaking story with a dark mythology that captures the imagination. The descriptions of mythical creatures is intriguing. Each chapter is broken up into its own ‘yarn’ that provides its own mythical backstory to a fantastical creature or fanciful events. They seemed like old stories passed down for generations. The emotions jump right off the page. In Yarn 8, there is a love story where you can feel the truth and depth of the love. This part of the book is my favorite; it left me breathless because it was told so beautifully. The story is told with an artistic flare that evokes emotion and requires your imagination.

While consisting of beasts, mermaids, gods, and magic, this story gave me the same feeling I had watching Disney’s Pinocchio as a child. All folklore has some myth behind it, add a dash of horror, and you have some of the best fables we all cherish. Grendolyn Peach Soleil channels this same folkloric energy into her book. As the reader travels closer to Barbiche, the spun tale gets darker and darker still. There is so much loss in a book that gives so much life. The Mermaids Melt at Dawn is an imaginative adventure over the sea, filled with fantastic creatures, and guided by childlike wonder.

Pages: 112 | ASIN: B08D92PFKY

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Crown of Crowns

Crown of Crowns by [Clara Loveman]

As a daughter of one of the ruling families of Geniverd, Kaelyn has never known anything outside of her life of privilege and protection. She begins to realize the depth of that privilege when she meets Roki and learns more about the struggles of the common people. Through personal tragedies and charitable work, Kaelyn’s life changes drastically in just three years, but she is unaware that the changes are about to escalate quickly, and in ways she could never have imagined. Suddenly faced with more power and knowledge than she thought existed, Kaelyn has to become the savior Geniverd didn’t know it needed.

Crown of Crowns by Clara Loveman takes place on a dystopian-esque planet named Geniverd where disease has been nearly eradicated, natural births are against the moral code, and machines do every job previously held by humans. The ruling class, with royal families on each of the six continents, live in luxury and are insulated from any of the problems faced by the rest of the population. Kaelyn never questioned the traditions that her family, and the other elitists, followed until her mid-teens when she realizes just how much of a division they have actually created within the world and the majority of the people. At that point, Crown of Crowns moves the narrative along at a breakneck pace, as Loveman introduces a barrage of situations that forces Kaelyn to quickly mature, as she struggles with an ever-changing worldview. The story is a smooth and easy read for the most part, although the language occasionally reverts to almost adolescent type slang, which is jarring and a departure from the overall competent tone of the book.

Crown of Crowns deals heavily with the theme of morality, and the idea of doing what is right versus doing what has always been done. Kaelyn makes it clear early on that she believes tradition isn’t always what’s best, especially when a majority of people are suffering as a result. Her beliefs form initially from a place of selfishness (tradition would keep her from being with the person she loves) but as she grows and learns more about the world, she sees that genuine change is necessary for the people to thrive. 

Reading Crown of Crowns right now was also incredibly interesting because there were key plot points that reflected issues in our current society, namely an unforeseen pandemic and severe social unrest caused by years of disregard for the “common” people. The characters were engaging and I was invested in discovering what Kaelyn would do next, however, the book ends abruptly, leaving loose ends and questions to be answered in a followup novel. Crown of Crows is an epic dystopian fantasy novel that will entertain young-adult fans.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B08BJGNHT7

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A Place Called Wonderland

H.J. Ramsay
H.J. Ramsay Author Interview

Ever Alice continues the story of Alice in Wonderland and finds Alice in an Asylum at 15 years old. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

Narratives that explore the inner world, and in this case Alice’s inner world, are the ones I am most interested in. I’ve always had a long-standing fascination with psychology. From my academic studies to my work history to my writing, it can be found in nearly every aspect of my life. Since I see things from that lens, when I read the original Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I saw undertones of mental health throughout the text. To me, this was a girl who had a mental health disorder. When I set out to delve into this, I wanted to stay true to the time period by examining what mental health treatment would have looked like back then, including the use of the asylum, and what would have most likely happened to Alice if she were talking about a place called Wonderland.

Alice is a different character from Lewis Carrol’s Alice. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

In Ever Alice, I wanted to take Alice away from being this observer-type who is trying to make sense of Wonderland, though there is an element of that, to becoming more of an active participant and throwing reason and logic to the wind. In keeping with my mental health theme, I wanted Alice to ultimately embrace who she was and the beauty of her own mind.

I enjoyed Wonderland and felt it captured the same oddness as the original. What were some themes you wanted to maintain and what were some new themes you wanted to introduce?

I definitely wanted to keep the original coming of age theme, but I also wanted to look at the themes of acceptance and belonging. The idea of finding the persons, places, and situations that fit us and not trying to change ourselves for others or for how we think society wants us to be.  

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

The last several years I’ve been looking at work that I finished and abandoned for one reason or another. Ever Alice was one of those. I wrote it 10 years ago and randomly opened the file one New Year’s Eve and decided I was going to self-publish it. The next book I’m working on is even older, so it’s been collecting dust for a while. Just like with Ever Alice, I’m coming at it with new eyes and really loving the massive changes it’s going through. It’s a big story, one that I see being at least a trilogy. It’s about a girl who has been given the gift of prophecy by the god Apollo and sees the destruction of her home, the mythological island of Atlantis, and she has to grapple with the weight of that information. I’m hoping to have the first book available sometime 2021. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

Voyage Of Pearl Of The Seas

Voyage Of Pearl Of The Seas is a magnificent fairy tale adventure of a girl and her two best friends who vow to travel the world in their boat. They’re determined to stick together and be the heroes of their adventure and go on a voyage together. I found this admirable in the sense that they stay by each other no matter the storm and through thick and thin, they will even fly together if they have to. This story takes the reader travel through time to enjoy the creative form of ancient poetry and literature borrowed from the renowned Shakespeare. Ruth Finnegan in her book Voyage of Pearl of the Seas smoothly harmonizes the essence of adventure, innocence and growth. Chris and Kate are two friends with different backgrounds who are joined by a deep friendship and together with their charming dog vow to be together in their adventure through the seas to create memories. Kate isn’t good with classwork but Chris doesn’t make her feel like the other mates do, and in her eyes he’s different.

Ruth Finnegan has created a work of art. She has an imagination that I have only rarely seen in fantasy novels. The integration of poetry and ancient reference is perfect for lovers of Shakespeare and lyrical literature. It’s mature for a children’s book but it will help expand imaginations. The style, ideas and story is magical. I loved the happy ending with gifts from the King and Queen, how sweet.

I thought that the story was a little hard to follow at first, but as you read more and more it all comes together and you get to understand the beauty of this adventurous book. The illustrations within Voyage Of Pearl Of The Seas were fascinating. My favorite is the tree with all the wild animals in it, the connection between children and animals is clearly described, we should be like little children, happy to help, ready to learn and joyous no matter the challenges they are facing. Like the classical folktale story of “The Little Hen”, the hen planted the seeds all by herself, while the dog, the cat and the duck couldn’t work with her, but came time to eat bread when they all want to enjoy it, the lesson is to teach children to be hardworking and persistent and respect everything around them. Voyage of Pearl of the Seas by Ruth Finnegan ends in a similar concept, hard work, respect and persistence.

Pages: 134 | ASIN: B079GPQMG1

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The Mermaid’s Grandson

The Mermaid's Grandson by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

Nothing about Dakini’s existence is simple, not even her name. She grows up with little knowledge of her roots and has to make do with sketchy and terse details about her heritage from her father. There is little hope that she will ever find answers to her many questions but things take an interesting turn. Possessed with an intense desire to be a successful writer like her father, Dakini tries to do more than just report conventional stories as most journalists do. She takes an interest in the age-long art of storytelling and goes in search of the perfect story. Her search leads her to an ancient manuscript bearing an incredible tale that would change her life forever.

The Mermaid’s Grandson by Eleanor Tremayne is a work of fiction that plunges us into the world of mythical creatures: mermaids and their interactions with humans. Tremayne gives us an exquisite taste of two worlds: mermaids in water and mermaids on land, amongst humans. Sounds like something out of Disney, doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s just as thrilling. She makes her mermaids stroll through the portals of time at will (apparently, that’s one of the powers of mermaids) so we get glimpses of several eras and can appreciate the peculiarities of these times alongside the story’s plot.

While stories about mythical creatures with a greater focus on the supernatural abilities of these beings could easily captivate a younger audience, a more mature audience would look to underlying themes to better appreciate the stories. Tremayne appeals to both our sense of imagination and our thirst for meaning by crafting her story around powerful themes. One is the unfathomable power of love and how it can drive beings to points far beyond their perceived limits, cause them to damn even the gravest consequences and make the bravest sacrifices. Tremayne also turns our attention to the strength that lies in resilient women, community and togetherness. Also, by contrasting certain traits of the mermaids with human characteristics, we can further appreciate some precious instincts we’ve been gifted with and even the deficiencies we are stuck with.

I liked how Tremayne made the characters narrate their tales in the first person. It helped create some sort of realness about them, especially the mermaids. They had voices that could be heard and personalities that could be read. This took the book from being just a fantastic work of imagination to being a stimulator of strong emotions. In addition to this, the author’s knack for sprinkling literary works ranging from short poems by famous authors, to insightful quotes from notable people added extra style and spice to the book. If you are one who enjoys fiction plus fantasy, you’ll love Tremayne’s latest work.

Pages: 319 | ASIN: B084DYVYSB

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Do I Have A Choice

Lynn McCain Author Interview

Lynn McCain Author Interview

Neither Light Nor Dark follows Lily who has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of Reficul. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

I honestly had a dream that I could not escape from. I sat down one night and poured it out into my laptop. Over time I got inspiration from everywhere- other books, movies, music.

Lily is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to her character development?

I think finding out all of the lies about her former life and learning how to deal with her new future definitely helped make her into the girl that she becomes. This is more obvious in book two, The Darker Light.

I loved the fairytale-esque lore embedded in this world. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?

I love fairytales! C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book that I remember falling in love with. His world definitely inspired me to go in that direction. The whole idea of us having a predetermined destiny was a big part of the story. I wanted the reader to ponder, “Do I have a choice?”

This is book one in the Beyond the Gates series. What can readers expect in book two of the series, The Darker Light?

Book two is full of surprises. So many things about the characters are revealed that you will find yourself wondering who to trust. Lily is taken back into Arcadia where she is faced with a past that she never knew existed. The journey is harsh but new friends are made and old ones are reunited. Book two is my favorite. I feel like lily really grows up in this one.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Neither Light Nor Dark: Destiny Awaits: Destiny Awaits (Beyond the Gates-Book #1) by [McCain, Lynn]YA Fantasy fiction full of surprises. This is a story about a girl, the man she loves, the boy who stole her heart, and Reficul, the evil ruler that stands to ruin it all. Lily Channon gets caught up in a war only she has the power to stop. The only problem is she doesn’t know why or even how. Her quest for answers leads her on a journey through love, crazy, hard to swallow, painful betrayal, and has deadly consequences. Will she find her place? Will she be willing to give what is required of her? Does love really exist, or is EVERYONE a liar? Find out what happens in this exciting book.

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Neither Light Nor Dark

Neither Light Nor Dark is about the journey of a young girl, Lily, who unknowingly bears the weight of an immense prophecy. It is an immersive fantasy novel that takes us through the incredible lands of Arcadia. From her childhood, Lily’s own family has protected her from the secrets of a dark and tumultuous past. However, her destiny reveals itself soon enough. She has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of the loathsome Reficul. A ragtag group of friends follow her as they face troubles, misadventures, and battles.

This was an enjoyable and unique read because of the strange fairytale-like narration throughout. The descriptions of Arcadia and its elements were elaborate and fascinating. The characters and their dialogue appeared to be out of another era altogether. However, perhaps because of these anachronisms, the text was a bit dry in places. Nonetheless, the consistent tone and style were a refreshing break from contemporary reads.

The complex relationships between Henry, Calev, and Lily were also surprisingly well-navigated. I’m not the biggest fan of garish love triangles but I was able to perceive and accept the individual perspective of each character, which was refreshing. I was astonished at how quickly I was able to jump ship between characters without too many regrets. I was definitely rooting for some of the quirky personalities that were woven throughout the story.

From the beginning, the family dynamics in Lily’s world appear to play a big role in her life. The strained relationships between Lily and her grandmother was palpable from the beginning. It was clear that these dynamics and relationships were intricately crafted. However, at times, it was difficult to establish a connection with some of the characters. I think this was because the dialogue and style of the characters were a little less believable than I would prefer. This story does take place in an entirely different time and place, and it is not difficult to ascribe this issue to the nature of the story.

Neither Light Nor Dark is a fantastically enthralling read, and a perfect setup to a riveting fantasy series.

Pages: 234 | ASIN: B01LW35M4V

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Magic and Otherworldly Creatures

Navya Sarikonda Author Interview

Navya Sarikonda Author Interview

The Enchanters’ Child follows three unlikely allies on a quest to find the sorcerer as they try to keep their identities secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

A hero on a journey to defeat the main villain is a common story arc that I sought to put my own twist on. Since I was a kid, I have always been an avid reader and I often found myself being drawn to the magical worlds I could transport myself to. I loved the idea of creating a world where anything was possible whether that is through magic and otherworldly creatures. Inspired by these stories, I decided to write a fictional fantasy story of my own.

Wren, Quinn, and Zayne are all intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

The characters of Wren, Zayne, and Quinn are inspired by everyday teenagers. The way through which they struggle and attempt to find their identities is what makes them the most relatable. Despite this common journey to their identities, each one of them has experienced unique circumstances in their life that mold their beliefs and unique individuality. For Wren, the death of her parents causes her to become a determined, brave person that will do anything to find justice for the ones she loves. However, her thirst for revenge soon morphs into her own character flaw through failing to enjoy and live in the present. Zayne’s determining characteristic is his steadfast loyalty, whether that is to his kingdom or to his friends. His sense of duty is what drives him to aid in defeating the main antagonist as well as his empathy towards the world in which he lives in, as shown in his tenacity to find the killer of the many bodies that mysteriously begin to appear. Yet, his duty is the very thing that keeps him from his desires as he struggles with going against his father’s power and expectations. Last but not least, Quinn initially is a character portrayed to be callous and emotionless, with his only objective being to follow his orders, even if that means killing others to achieve it. Despite this, as the story progresses, readers discover that even the most notorious assassin has his own reasons for his actions, ones that can even be considered noble. Despite his sinister past, he learns to love the people around him. Quinn is unique in that his weakness is his own self. His own beliefs of his unworthiness and vileness causes him to push away those around him as he grapples between doing what is right and the sacrifices he must make if he chooses to do so.

The backstory to this world is intricate and captivating. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?

The setting of The Enchanters’ Child was designed to have an enchanting atmosphere, complete with magic and strange beasts. I wanted to capture a world that reminds readers of the fairytale-like worlds that they are familiar with while showing that even the most remarkable places coexist with darker facets such as greed and misused power. Along these lines, I also wanted to capture that there can be beautiful brilliance in the bleakest of places, whether that brilliance is the surroundings around the characters or each other.

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

As of now, the date for publishing my next book is tentative; however, I am in the process of writing another work.

Author Links: Book Trailer | GoodReads | Facebook | Amazon | Website

Wren has a secret. She’s the last of the Arobol, a group of magic-wielders. After her parents were murdered by a dark entity when she was young, she has been trying to discover who has killed them. However, it wasn’t just anyone; it was the Dark Sorcerer, a being who is believed to exist only in a fairytale. When an unexpected tragedy hits, Wren is forced to flee to town in hopes of finding the leader of the Gavreel Society, said to have information on her parents’ killer.

Zayne has been working for months to uncover the reason behind the dead bodies showing up in multiple towns and the mysterious symbol that is etched into their skin. As Trading Day approaches, he goes to meet with his Gavreel Society to formulate a new plan for uncovering the person behind these killings. Little does he know that he’ll find the solution in a girl, one who’s holding as many secrets as he is.

Quinn is an assassin, killing anyone his Master orders him to kill. Tasked with finding the Enchanters’ Child and bringing her back alive in exchange for his freedom, Quinn won’t let anything get in his way. Yet, when he finally discovers the Enchanters’ Child, he finds himself questioning his ability to fulfill his mission. Weaving a story of deception, he befriends the Enchanters’ Child, but wonders if she is worth his freedom.

As they race to find the Sorcerer, each for their own reasons, secrets come out, powerful enough to tear them apart.

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