Tyffany Hackett’s book Imber follows the journey of a young girl named Natylia, who becomes queen before she is of age and takes her mother’s throne. She is accompanied throughout the story by friends like an elf, an herbalist, and a blacksmith. Natylia, after hearing about the legend of an ancient artifact, decides to go with her friends and find the artifact before others take it. Our heroine toils through loss and political conflict to successfully achieve her goal of benefiting the kingdom and saving it from an ancient doom.
Set in medieval times, this book contains so many fantastical things that are superbly described. The characters were well developed and gained layers as the story progressed. Natylia is one example of such a character. Throughout the book, you can see she reacts to stresses and pressures in a believable and relateable way. There is a complexity to all the characters stories, starting superficially and growing into something deeper, which is explored and hinted at throughout the book. One such example is Jyn, who is a friend of our protagonist. He’s ever faithful, and even with his temper he’s something more than Natylia’s guard.
The book explores themes of growing up in the face of adversity, as seen with the protagonist’s ascension to the throne. The trials she faces make her grow up from a young girl into a full-fledged woman right before your eyes. This coming-of-age theme really kept me turning pages all the way through. The author’s writing delivers complex ideas easily, but at times I felt the story was hampered by excessive descriptions, which detracted from the momentum built with some very well orchestrated action scenes. At the same time however, I can’t help but feel that the descriptions helped cement the world better and evoke a stronger image about the story. I suppose this is to say, if you like deep descriptive world building then this book is for you.
While the character development was excellent, I felt that some of the relationships that Natylia has throughout the book were shallow and easily cast aside. There were some relationships that I did enjoy, such as our protagonist’s relationship with her parents and siblings, but others seem to be thrown aside or not developed. I was given just enough to be deeply intrigued and begged for more.
Nevertheless, even with these flaws the book was a thrilling read. The prose was crafted with care and the author was very descriptive throughout. When the action came it kept me on the edge of my seat and was very fun to read.
Pages: 424 | ASIN: B07CMGSDRD
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Your novels always have in depth characters and twisting plots. What is your writing process like before and during the process?
Thanks for mentioning that. I work hard to make my characters interesting. I think the most important detail is to create characters that are flawed. Start off with their flaws and build up to the traits that make them likeable and then move slowly, for some, to things that are redeeming.
My characters are meant to seem like everyday people. I do not like to paint them as black or white, I like to use the hundreds of shades of grey in-between. That, in my opinion, makes them more believable and fascinating.
Have you ever thought about exploring different mediums to tell your stories; ex. comics, games, etc.?
This year, I translated one of my novels into comic book script format and submitted it to IDW Comics. I then sent AND even hand-delivered those scripts and copies of my novels to them. I am waiting to hear back. I should be meeting with a representative of the company in the new year.
I am very much a fan of comic and anime. I would love to write for them. While it would be amazing to do so with my own properties, I would also like a shot at writing something like G.I. Joe or something else from the 80’s.
The way I write is imagining my story as a movie. So, my goal would be to have one of my novels or series to become a movie or TV series. With Netflix and Amazon picking up so many books these days, I need to get my works into their hands. If you are reading this Netflix, give me a call. 😊
Writers often find inspiration everywhere and in everything they do. Do you find yourself often looking at the world through the lens of a writer?
Well… I will point out weak writing in a TV show or movie I am watching, but for the most part I separate my two worlds now.
That being said, I do look at the world and see things as a visual artist. Which might be why people often compliment my writing as being so vivid. I spent so many years in art school struggling to force what I saw in my head onto paper in pencil, charcoal, paint, etc…. Over time, I realized I could take those imagines in my head and translate them to words. It was the only way I was able to truly creatively express myself. And it turned out to be much easier.
Since I am both an artist and an author, I do wish to experience life, but my inspiration comes from surrounding myself with the things I love and bring me happiness. Sometimes it just takes watching a good episode of one of my favorite shows to get me fired up.
What novel are you working on right now and when will it be available?
Good question. I finished the Water Kingdom Series and its final book is just being prepped for release. It should be out in late January 2019. It is called THREE BURNING RED RUNAWAY BRIDES.
Then, I will start editing book three in the four book SOUL BORN Series. It is written but needs work. It was originally 180,0000 words long, so I had to break it into two books.
Lastly, I will get back to working on the follow-up to THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN. Hopefully have that released in early 2020.
All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia, Opal seizes the opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful place among them. Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts of the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power, Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war. Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel, Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing headlong into battle Karn begins recalling memories of another life: ghosts that haunt his dreams. Through death of soul, their new world is born.
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Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest follows Rathen and his crew as they fight against an ancient and terrible deity. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Bramblewood Forest is the second book in the Rathen Series and continues from the first, but also reads well as a stand-alone story. The inspiration for the series came from when Steve and I played role playing games in the early 80’s. Steve, as my step-father would bring home a variety of board and card games where you had to create background stories. I am not sure many people these days can imagine a life without the internet or well-made computer games, but we had to be creative and use our own imaginations for entertainment.
We also played a lot of Dungeon & Dragons back then where we created entire worlds with a complete cast of characters. I was just a teenager but I learned what went into creating a story. My particular passion homed in on how the characters were influenced by their environments and worlds and how an ordinary inhabitant could strive to be a superhero even without supernatural powers.
The legend of Ghrakus Castle was roughly based on a story Steve created a long time ago. I took the idea, drew more into it, and added that as a background for the characters to interact. Steve and I have endeared a long lasting collaboration on stories and role playing game ideas and hope to keep it going for a while longer.
This is a thrilling book that combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. What was the collaboration like between the two of you while writing this book?
This was the fun part. Steve and I would sit and talk for hours brainstorming new ideas and concepts that we could integrate into the story. We created the magic system in Rathen’s world and explains in detail the strengths and weaknesses. We described things from completely other worlds and even went as far as explaining how the deities came into being. My favorite creation was the ancient being known as “Arg’grimorem” Rathen and his group had to face. Believe me, it isn’t easy coming up with new ideas in the fantasy genre, but I think this creature was unique.
There were so many intriguing characters in this novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is a difficult question. I really got into the heads of all the characters giving me such a strong connection to them. Rathen is always fun to write, but we had such a variety in this book. Magom, who is the character that really stands out in the group, was a challenge since he is an undead being. I had to really think what it would be like to be dead but yet still walking around and interacting with others. But I have to say my favorite character to write for in this book was Caswen, the young cleric from the temple. She had such a fun `coming of age` story and her character arc really made her feel complete. I wanted to continue writing her even after her story had ended.
This is book two in The Rathen Series. Where will book three take readers and when will it be available?
Book three, “The Battle for Korganis”, is still being written. Rathen will enter Bandark’s strange new world and help fight against the forces of the evil deity. It is shaping up to be quite an epic battle. It may be overly optimistic, but I am hoping for a release near the end of 2019.
A man driven by revenge. Another world in peril. A long-forgotten deity determined to destroy all in its path to ultimate power.
Rathen, ex-captain of the late king’s army, pulls together a team to defeat the evil that threatens them all. The Book of Ziz, with its instructions for protective spells against an evil deity has fallen into the nefarious hands of High Priest Litagus, meaning soon untold evil will reign unchecked if Rathen fails.
Consumed by his personal vengeance for the betrayer in the earlier death of his friends, Rathen travels to the ruins of Ghrakus Castle to enlist the aid of the very being who tried to kill Rathen once before. Only the black powers of this ancient evil can ensure their mission to steal the book back, but can those powers be trusted?
To safeguard his group, Rathen also recruits Caswen, an inexperienced young healer determined to make her mark on the world. Together with Bulo, an ex-gladiator and fellow warrior, Thack, a one-armed half-orc, and Bandark, a mysterious mage from another world, the group heads through the menacing Bramblewood Forest to confront Litagus and his followers.
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A Seer Champion sworn to protect Southgate. A Dragon Shifter Lord sworn to protect his clan. Can they bring their peoples together to defeat the evil forces that threaten to destroy them all?
Seer Champion Talwyn Sevi must protect Southgate and its keystone against the evil forces that threaten their destruction. Knowing she cannot do it alone, she seeks help from a group of reclusive Dragon Shifters. In return, she offers them information vital to their survival. Can Talwyn gain the Dragon Lord’s trust in time to save Southgate and the dragonkin?
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Damnation is a thrilling dark fantasy novel that follows King Lortar as he finds himself surrounded by enemies. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Loosely, the Warring States period of ancient China.
Asuf was an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. Your book is filled with interesting characters, who was your favorite character to write for?
Princess Alerise. She has an interesting psychology and fun dialogue. Plus I have a thing for tomgirls, villainesses, and blondes, and Alerise just so happens to tick all those boxes.
The characters inhabit a world with a rich backstory. How did you create the backstory for this world and what were some themes you wanted to capture?
From the ground up. First the geography, then the ecology, then the peoples and their cultures, then their histories.
As for themes, I wanted to show a harsh people bred by a cruel and uncaring world—but more importantly, I wanted to show how kindness, however small, can exist even in a world that punishes the kind.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The sequel to this book will most likely be available sometime in 2021.
An Empire fallen. A kingdom beset. A family divided. When King Lortar discovers a savage cult performing heathen rites, he’s forced to battle a foe he never imagined: his own son. Surrounded by enemies, Lortar is trapped in a world of treachery and betrayal, where mercy is vice and malice is glory.
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The Mage’s Tome is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, romance, and paranormal as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
About ten years ago I became interested in possibly writing a fantasy novel of my own. After several years of planning the breadth of storylines and plot, and quite a few inspirational reads, a few truly unique characters literally popped into my head while I was on a camping trip with my friends. After that, I had no choice but to write my series.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
It just happens that The Mage’s Tome, my debut novel, has quite a few quirky characters that grow during the span of the duology. They all hold a soft-spot in my heart, but I’m particularly fond of my main hero, Pyrus. He’s rather lovable. even though I’m sure he’d disagree.
I felt that the backstory of the world goes deeper than most fantasy novels. What was the inspiration for the world your characters inhabit?
I did spend a great deal of effort building out the world in The Cry of the Acere duology. On one hand, you get that medieval type of feel that is common in fantasy, but I also included some contemporary elements. The quest really takes place in a pre-industrial type fantasy world (think Wheel of Time), and my characters speak like they’re from our time-period. Our modern-day language and slang create some pretty funny situations for Pyrus. Oftentimes, saying something as simple as “what’s up?” brings about some very affable responses for him.
This is book one in the Cry of the Acere Duology. What can readers expect in book two?
In The Mage Attendant, I begin to reveal a lot more about the direction my characters are headed. Pyrus, certainly has a lot more opportunities for him to show off his self-deprecating, sarcastic sense of humor. It also has some exciting warring that takes place! My readers will also be pleased that it has a rather romantic and happy ending that they might not expect!
Among the rubicund grasslands to the forests of Roan, a quest begins at the onset of royal betrayal. The fate of Roan rests on the hermit mage, Pyrus, who has singular powers but is loathe to help. Yet, the susurrus words of the ancient Gods have promised that he will be instrumental to their plans. Their entreaties show him the nature of their magic. He must first avow to create the soldier, and he must also protect the Lady.
Meanwhile, seething in the pit, the Hellion will soon emerge.
They all will be tested, yet it is Pyrus who holds the key to camaraderie and purpose.
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The Hunt for the Three Roses follows Callie and Kane as they try to leave their old life behind in a world consumed by war. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book one, and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this novel?
This trilogy is all about the upsides and downsides of organized religion. The first book was about how a religion can be a source of guidance and hope in the best of times and a source of uncertainty in the worst. The second book is about how wicked and/or misguided people can make things up that fit within their worldview and pass it off as official religious doctrine. The very identity of the Three Roses (at the risk of giving a spoiler!) is about how different minds and ideologies can fracture a faith for better or worse.
Kane and Callie are intriguing characters with emotional depth. Was there anything from your own life that you put into your characters?
Much of my early life I put into Kane. I tended to be a goody-two-shoes who pointed out people’s bad behavior, especially their profanity. I’ve relaxed that side of me, just as Kane eventually did. Callie is simply someone I’d like to be more, a person who has little problem in speaking her mind and being rambunctious.
This novel, and series, have a rich backstory. Did you create the backstory before writing the novel or did it develop organically while writing?
Some segments in my early books were created organically, but Hunt for the Three Roses was mostly planned ahead. I thought about the plot for months before, often making changes without needing to write anything down. When I started to write, I felt well prepared to go ahead and work without fear of writer’s block.
This is book two in the The Three Roses Trilogy. Where will book three take readers, and when will it be available?
Sean and Callie have settled down, but not for long. They’ll have to be taken well out of their comfort zones so they can discover the truth behind the Three Roses, and just as Callie’s past came to haunt her, so too will Sean’s. Despite the presence of magic, the action scenes in the second book were rather grounded, but in the next one, the action will be rather ethereal. The release date may be sometime in 2020, or possibly 2021.
Change is in the winds in this high-stakes, emotional fantasy adventure!
On the run from the army which he once proudly served, Kane Bailey changes his name to Sean, leaving nearly every shred of his old life behind. His old tutor, Master Cypher, helps guide Sean and gives him a mission that’s more important than Sean realizes: Bring an older, simple-minded man named Jonas to the Royal Palace, where he’ll be safe.
Callie meanwhile is unsure what she wants to do in life. Leading a criminal lifestyle is all that she knows, but it would mean starting from the very bottom. But while her future is up in the air, her dark past rises to haunt her. Rainer the assassin has a score to settle, and he wants to make it as painful and heart-wrenching for Callie as possible.
In this second installment of the Three Roses Trilogy, the hunt is on … and there will be blood.
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I immediately liked Asuf the moment I started reading the book. On their hunting spree with Valhelm, the latter confessed how scared he was to hunt. He mentioned that he had heard stories, unpleasant of course and that something could be lurking around the part of the caverns the two were hunting. Asuf shut his partner down, Saying that whatever Valhelm was on was weakness and unacceptable. I like bold characters in books; Characters like Asuf, who are not frightened by minute issues. Though a little bit aggressive, I admired how Asuf demanded respect. He instilled a little fear in Valhelm when speaking, in that Valhelm felt inferior in his presence.
The book gets to be more interesting as one reads on. I like how the society in Igor Valec’s book held authority in high regard. A subject could not address the king in any manner. They had to use the appropriate title when speaking to those at the throne. One could also tell the mood and tone of the subjects Vis a Vis the king.
King Lortar’s reaction to discovering that there was a heathen cult in the kingdom was priceless. How and where was that? I appreciated Valhelm for informing Lortar about this cult. As they were speaking, one could feel Lortar’s concern in his words. He was worried that Valhelm had gone on his own to do the hunting. I enjoyed the conversation that followed as everyone was given a chance to air their views.
Damnation: A Grimdark Fantasy Political Drama is not your average book. Through the story, the author incorporated themes of leadership, family relations, and infighting among members of the same society, politics, and fantasy. Every chapter built on the story and tension of the last chapter, so as you read you always felt like something was about to happen.
Igor Valec’s character choice was marvelous. Looking at how the characters were distributed across the book, I have to admit that the author took his time to select which traits to give who. Hirr Valhelm remained my favorite character. Other characters I found interesting include Vost Kon Schmitt, Wiktor Kon Oydrich and Lady Eidi Kon Huss and of course King Lortar. I found the kingdom’s way of dealing with criminals and those who went against the king intriguing.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good story. The characters in the book are fascinating. The plot is superb and the writing style is amazing. I loved every page of Damnation. The book is action-packed, with suspense, adventure, drama, twists, and turns.
The book is fairly long, at 600+ pages, but this story does not feel overwhelming. I felt that opposite actually, the ending leaves you on a cliffhanger and I wanted more. This leaves the book open for a followup book to start, what could be, a fantasy series with a deep backstory and dynamic characters.
Pages: 644 | ASIN: B07HVHVDDY
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Dagger’s Destiny follows princess Catrin who is torn between duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love. What were some things you felt you had to bring over from Apollo’s Raven and what were some new themes you wanted to explore?
One of the themes I carry over from Apollo’s Raven is Catrin is torn between her duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love for the Roman enemy, Marcellus. However, in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin must face the consequences of her forbidden love when her father, King Amren, accuses her of treason due to her liaison with Marcellus. Duty is of greatest importance to the characters because it exemplifies the honor central to being in a position of power. Duty to the state and the family’s legacy is explored as well as duty to loved ones and to one’s self. The characterizations of Catrin, Marcellus, and their fathers are more fully explored as each person must grapple with balancing their duty to the state vs. their love to those they cherish. There are no easy resolutions as the fathers have resorted to brutality and corruption to maintain their powers.
Another theme that is explored in Dagger’s Destiny is fate vs. free will. Catrin must dive into the Depth of Possibilities of what choices she can make to stop the curse that foretells her half-brother will kill their father. However, whenever Catrin changes the future, the curse an alter in unexpected ways.
Dagger’s Destiny is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, fantasy and history as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
When I first start writing the series, the story was intended to be a historical fiction based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. However, as I explored Celtic and Roman mythology, I began weaving in some of the fantastical elements to help explain what the Celts believed. I was particularly fascinated to learn that the Celts has a similar belief in the immortality of the soul as the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. They believed the soul could transmigrate between different animal species and could occupy another body after death. As a result, the series evolved into a more mythical tale as I weaved in other fantastical worlds and druidic powers into the historical backdrop.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
A secondary character that I enjoyed developing was Ferrex—a loyal, duty-bound Celtic warrior who deeply loves Catrin and risks his reputation to support her. Down-to-earth and blunt, Ferrex is a sharp contrast to Marcellus, a suave and impetuous Roman nobleman who has had a reckless affair with an older married woman. Ferrex will continue to play an important role in the series.
This is book 2 in your Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Where will book 3 take readers and when will it be available?
Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture will take the star-crossed lovers, Catrin and Marcellus, to Gaul (modern-day France) and Rome. Even thought they believe they are destined to be with each other, they encounter resistance to their love at every turn. They will sacrifice almost everything to be together, but can Catrin must balance her fate to retake her kingdom as a warrior queen with her role as the lover of a man who considers her subservient?
Amulet’s Rapture is drafted and undergoing revisions based on feedback from critique partners and an editor. It is my goal that it will be published in approximately one year.
A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust
In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.
War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.
Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.
Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?
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Sarah is married to a man she hardly knows and is not sure she knows how to love. Matthew, her husband of many years, has not seen Sarah since their union when she was a girl of only eight years. Raised in a convent and reunited with her husband, the knight, Sarah is in complete awe of the horrors of battle and the danger in which he must place himself to protect her. When Sarah steps in to save the kingdom from Matthew’s nemesis, she makes a sacrifice far greater than Matthew could ever have expected.
Infinity: Quest for the Holy Grail by Catalina DuBois is the third book focusing on the characters Sarah and Matthew. In varied settings and with slight name changes, DuBois manages to create stunning visuals with mind-blowing action sequences centering around a love affair for the ages. Sarah and Matthew are standouts in all three books, and Infinity: Quest for the Holy Grail features Sarah in her most unique position yet. Sarah is simply captivating in the role of the lover willing to sacrifice everything to save others. DuBois takes readers through Sarah’s thought processes in a way that is personal and moving and does so without the advantage of using first-person point of view. She has successfully created a female lead she is able to mold and shape into a woman of strength and enviable courage across time periods and ever-changing settings.
As with DuBois’s first two Infinity books, I am amazed at the manner in which the author is able to incorporate elements of fantasy into the historical romance genre. Two genres that sound worlds apart are brought together seamlessly in Infinity: Quest for the Holy Grail. With the introduction of the cyclops, I have to say I was at first a bit surprised. DuBois has a phenomenal knack for easing the reader into a realm fraught with surreal creatures and making the reader immediately comfortable with the blend of genres.
Imagery is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, DuBois’s forte. DuBois creates extraordinary images to draw readers into the reading in her masterfully crafted prologues. Infinity: Quest for the Holy Grail is no exception. As Matthew’s parents observe him from the balcony, the tension in the air is almost tangible. The image of a young Matthew riding away and being watched by parents holding a most devastating and crushing secret is poignant. DuBois manages to structure that scene to first touch the reader’s heart and then, out of nowhere, break it in two.
When reading a mix of fantasy and historical fiction, I appreciate an added level of mystery, and DuBois provides that perfect blend of genres. Readers looking for another angle on the quest for the holy grail and storylines featuring Sir Arthur, Medusa, and Lancelot will find DuBois’s writing to be a fresh look at these classic tales.
Pages: 205 | ASIN: B0791BBNZ3
Posted in Book Reviews
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