Cover Reveal: A Darkness At The Door by Intisar Khanani

A Darkness at the Door header

A Darkness at the Door, the follow-up to Theft of Sunlight is almost here! The book comes out in a few months, but the UK cover is ready to be revealed!

Scroll down to check it out!

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Aaaand here’s the cover. Ta-da! Haha!

A Darkness At The Door cover

A Darkness At The Door

I’ve been cursed, betrayed, and sold into slavery – but the truth I carry can’t be allowed to die.

Only Rae knows the extent of the corruption at the heart of the kingdom of Menaiya, from the noble lord who betrayed her, to the Circle of Mages whose wards protect the slavers from discovery. Injured and imprisoned on a slave ship, Rae’s options are quickly running out. When a desperate escape attempt goes terribly wrong, she finds herself indebted to a terrifying Fae sorceress.

Now Rae will not rest until she has rescued her fellow prisoners and freed her land from the darkness that has taken hold. To succeed, she’ll need every ally she can find—including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind. With her debts coming due and time running short, all the truths in the world may not be enough to save her kingdom, or herself.

Add this book on Goodreads.

Look at that gorgeous cover!

The cover artist is the same artist who did Theft Of Sunlight: Jenny Zemanek.

A Darkness At The Door comes out in a few months! I can’t wait! :)

About the Author: Intisar Khanani

Intisar-Khanani-Author-Photo

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

Connect with the author on her website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Pre-order A Darkness At The Door: https://lnk.to/DarknessAtTheDoor

Check out the Audiobook Kickstarter for A Darkness At The Door: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/booksbyintisar/a-darkness-at-the-door

What do you think about the cover?

Blog Tour [Review]: Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie (eBook/Paperback Giveaway)

Weep Woman Weep Tour

Today we have gothic novella Weep, Woman, Weep by author Maria DeBlassie. I’m not gonna lie. It was the cover that reeled me in. I mean, look at that lovely cover.

Read on to know more about the book. Check out my quick review and enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win an ebook or paperback!

Weep Woman Weep About the book

A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.

The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

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About Dr. Maria DeBlassie

Maria DeBlassie

Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariadeblassie.com.

Connect with the author on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Buy your copy of Weep, Woman, Weep on Amazon.

Fascinating and deeper than it seems

This was a fascinating story and, for a novella, it was more layered than I expected. The writing is also beautiful and descriptive, so it was easy to read.

I’m only a little bit familiar with the Lla Llorona tale, but it was interesting to see it being used here as more than just a scary story. In fact, this isn’t really a supernatural ghost story, but more like a story about personal ghosts, trauma passed on from generations, surviving and overcoming demons and growing from it all. There are a lot of themes touched on here and some can feel heavy at times, but the story moves well towards a somewhat open and hopeful ending.

Overall, I enjoyed this novella. If you like a story with some gothic elements, a little bit of magical realism, difficult themes that are anything but fantasy, and resilient characters, you might like this one.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read an Excerpt

One time, I was feeling mighty fine and thought I’d try something different. I saw this ad in a magazine where a woman was in an obscenely large bathtub and covered up to the neck in bubbles. This was in a room with a marble floor, and there were candles everywhere, and she had her hair up all nice and a face mask on. Well, I got to thinking a nice long soak after a hard day’s work would be nice.

This was a few months after my run-in with Sherry, and I was trying hard to let myself enjoy things more. It occurred to me after seeing her that her fatal flaw was not believing that her future was right in front of her. Or maybe she was too afraid to take it with both hands. I began to wonder if we didn’t hold back and do half the work for La Llorona with all that we ran from life.

So I bought some bubble bath and made more beeswax candles and set about having myself a spa night. I mean, my bathroom was nowhere near as nice as the one in the picture. My tub was only long enough for me to sit upright and was right next to the toilet, but I made do.

It was lovely. I mean, divine! I could see why fancy women liked this. I put on the radio, and the music was soft and sweet, like the candlelight against the fading day. I was so relaxed, that I was about to fall asleep in that tub.

That was when I felt cold hands grip the soles of my feet and pull me under.

I should have seen it coming. Why willingly linger in a body of water? But I didn’t, and that was how I found myself drowning in bubbles and thrashing around in my tub. It’s also how I learned that evil woman could find me anywhere—and I mean anywhere—so I could never let my guard down.

Her grip was strong. Seemed like the harder I fought, the stronger she got. I was flailing about, my arms searching for anything and everything to hold on to, when I knocked one of those beeswax candles into the tub. To this day, I have no idea why that scared her, but it did. She recoiled something quick at the hiss of the flame when the wax hit water.

I didn’t waste a second—I hoisted myself out of the tub and collapsed on the bathroom floor, choking and sputtering and sopping wet. Took me forever to clean up the mess and cough up all those flower-scented bubbles. My feet were cold and sore for days, with claw marks where her bony fingers hooked into my skin.

Whoever said bubble baths were relaxing was a big fat liar.

Giveaway

Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a copy of the book (ebook for International winner/signed paperback for US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other blog tour stops for more reviews of the book and comment for more chances of winning! Find the tour schedule here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2022/02/review-tour-weep-woman-weep-by-maria.html

Blog Tour [Review]: The Final Decree by Shami Stovall ($25 Giveaway)

The Final Decree_TourBanner

Today we’re featuring The Final Decree by Shami Stovall, one of my favorite fantasy authors.

Read on to know more about the book, and read an excerpt below. Then enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift code!

The Final Decree coverThe Final Decree

The Kingdom of Luka is controlled by the decrees of God-King Eliezer. Break one and become a twisted monster or serve forever, loyal to the crown. From the author of Frith Chronicles and Star Marque Rising, comes a new fantasy epic.



When God-King Eliezer utters a decree, it’s the law of the land, no matter how subtle or outrageous. Those who break the decrees suffer the god-king’s curse—their bodies twist into nightmarish monsters of devastation and hunger, forever a blight upon humanity.



The magic knows when a decree is violated, the moment it happens.



There are no exceptions. No loopholes. No escape.



Artemisia, a mysterious girl on the run from God-King Eliezer’s Holy Guard, is cursed and doesn’t know why. Fortunately, she has yet to change into a fell beast, but that isn’t a comfort. She could transform at any moment, and the resulting monster would destroy everything she cares for.



Desperate and fearful, Artemisia finds herself captured by a group of monster hunters led by Rylion Nasos, a man of superhuman strength and skill. When Artemisia displays magic of her own—magic that threatens God-King Eliezer’s rule—an agreement is made to confront the crown, despite the horrors it could unleash.



Cursed be the man who disobeys the god-king’s direct command.

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About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Quick Review

I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Shami Stovall so far and this book is no exception. The Final Decree is an enjoyable fantasy with interesting characters, great world-building and exciting magic concepts.

I was intrigued from the get-go, especially by Artemis who is introduced to the reader shrouded in mystery. From the start I just wanted to know more about her story and where it would go.

I also really like the magic concepts, they’re unique and exciting — not really a surprise for me because I absolutely love the magic concepts in the author’s other books (The Frith Chronicles, Company of Monsters). There are so many fascinating things in this that I like — the idea of God-Kings and God-Queens, curses, the forsaken, old gods, people blessed with divine magic.

Overall, this book is worth the read. If you’re a fan of the author or of fantasy in general, you’ll probably like this one.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read an Excerpt

Once I reached a patch of iced-over shrubs, I eased myself into the detritus beneath them. I would die here. In nature. Away from everything I had grown to hate. It was how my father had died, after all. I supposed I deserved no better.

Before my wish was granted, the clink of metal returned. I closed my eyes, hoping to feign death, and I listened as the soldier easily followed my furrow through the dirt. He pushed the branches of the bushes aside and stepped close to my body. I couldn’t help but shudder.

He knelt again and turned me onto my back, his now bare hands warm and powerful. I opened my eyes, confused by the gentle way he lifted my head. My vision, blurred with hunger, took in a young man with a hard, neutral expression. Calm brown eyes, dark chestnut hair, red maple leaf scarf—or maybe I was looking at a tree, I couldn’t tell through the delirium—and I relaxed a bit, amused by my own skewed perceptions.

Knowing I would die had removed the stress of trying to live.

The soldier placed the lip of a canteen at my mouth and poured. I gulped down the water—warm water, not hot—and the heat coated my insides with comfort. It was only after a second gulp that I realized it was soup. The fragrant herbs and shreds of meat were like distant memories returning to me after having been long forgotten. I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life.

“Everything will be fine,” the soldier said.

Giveaway

Shami Stovall will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment on the other hosts’ blog posts; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.

Blog Tour [Review]: In The Jaded Grove by Anela Deen

In The Jaded Grove header

Today we have In The Jaded Grove by author Anela Deen! This is a good one, folks! Not gonna lie, it was the cover that first caught my attention, then I read the synopsis and was even more intrigued. Anyway, I’m really glad to be in this tour and I can’t wait for you all to read this book!

Read more about In The Jaded Grove and check out my review below! :)

In The Jaded Grove coverIn The Jaded Grove (by Anela Deen)

Author: Anela Deen

Genre: new adult, portal fantasy

Diversity tags: author of color (biracial); poc representation (filipino main character); lgbtqiap+ representation (queer secondary characters)

Publication date: 15 April 2021

Publisher: Fine Fables Press

Cover artist: Jenny Zemanek

Synopsis:

Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of conflict between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Hoping to secure a ceasefire, Simith arranges a meeting with the troll king—and is ambushed instead. Escape lies in the Jaded Grove, but the trees of the ancient Fae woodland aren’t what they seem, and in place of sanctuary, Simith tumbles through a doorway to another world.

Cutting through her neighbor’s sunflower farm in Skylark, Michigan, Jessa runs into a battle between creatures straight out of a fantasy novel. Only the blood is very real. When a lone fighter falls to his attackers, Jessa intervenes. She’s known too much death to stand idly by, but an act of kindness leads to consequences even a poet like her couldn’t imagine.

With their fates bound by magic, Simith and Jessa must keep the strife of his world from spilling into hers—except the war isn’t what it appears and neither are their enemies. Countless lives depend on whether they can face the truths of their pasts and untangle the web of lies around them. But grief casts long shadows, and even their deepening bond may not be enough to save them from its reach.

On-page Representation:  Filipino (main character), secondary sapphic characters

Trigger and Content Warnings:  Violence, trauma, grief, death of a loved one (in the past – not on page)

Add this on Goodreads.

About the Author

In The Jaded Grove author

A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.

Connect with the author on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and on her Website.

Incredibly fast-paced, exciting and well-written fantasy

I don’t read a lot of fantasies with pixies, fairies and fae, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I’m glad now that I decided to give this book a go. I really enjoyed it!

In The Jaded Grove is incredibly fast-paced, which I really liked. There’s always something interesting on every page. The writing flows well, so I found it pretty easy to read.

I like the characters – complex enough, likeable and even relatable. Jessa and Simith both carry a lot of pain in their hearts and it was beautiful to read about them working with it and through it. The secondary characters, Jessa’s friends, are also great and I would actually love to read more about them. Also, I love that the main character Jessa is Filipino. I enjoyed the bits about the culture thrown in.

The book has amazing world building (another thing I absolutely love in fantasies). I like the author’s take on fairies, pixies, fae and trolls. It’s something I didn’t really expect so that was interesting to read.

There are very real and serious themes running through this book – grief and trauma, war and oppression – and they’re handled well and not overwhelming, for me at least.

I’m not entirely sold on the ending, but the whole book was so engrossing that I didn’t mind so much. If you like portal fantasies with complex characters and lots of action (lots of fighting scenes in this one), you might enjoy this one!

Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Also, please bear with how this review is written – present and past tenses all jumbled in! I can’t get it right at the moment, but I hope you get what I’m saying. LOL. Read this book! Thats all. :P

Favorite Quotes

Okay, these aren’t exactly actual quotes but the lines that struck me most in the book were the snippets from existing poems by well-known authors.

And into the forest I go,
to lose my mind and find my soul.
- John Muir

Beautiful words.

Yet if hope has flown away,
 In a night, or in a day,
 In a vision, or in non,
 Is it therefore the less gone?
 All that we see or seem
 Is but a dream within a dream. 
 - Edgar Allan Poe

I commend the author for choosing these because they were just so apt and beautiful. I also appreciated the reading recommendations the author gave at the end of the book.

Follow the Kindred Realms Tour! Check out Caffeine Book Tours on IG for more tour stops and reviews of the book.

Book Blast [Review]: Realm Of Dragons, Fight For The Crown by L.C. Conn

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Today we have Realm of Dragons: Fight For The Crown by author L.C. Conn! I like fantasy and I like dragons, and I just felt like joining this blog tour.

Read on to know more about the book and read an excerpt! Then enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Woot!

Realm_of_Dragons_coverAbout this book

The Realm of Dragons is in peril from hidden plots and conspirators, which threaten not only the crown, but the dragons that are at the very heart of it.

Teagan Loinsigh, long ago banished from her magical home of dragons now lives on Earth. Her dreams and memories of the great creatures are put down to fantasies and an overactive imagination, until one day she comes across a creature so unlike any other in the land she lives in. A baby dragon.

Muniath Magaoidh, a Dragon Warden fallen so low by a failed mission, must be brought back from his despair to retrieve what is lost.

Scetis Mordha, alone in the world since he was a child. Finds himself in the middle of intrigue and conspiracy against The Realm of Dragons.

Tying them all together is a dragon. Not just a dragon but The King of Dragons.

Can these four save The Realm of Dragons?

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About the Author

L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyard encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, and became a stay at home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a story was born from the kernel of a dream. The first book of The One True Child Series was begun, and just kept blooming into seven completed stories, which have garnered great reviews. She continues her career with more stories waiting in the wings to be released.

Connect with the author via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads or on her website.

Interesting fantasy about dragons!

This was a good read. I don’t know what I was expecting or if I was just in the right mood for this story, but I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It turned out to be quite interesting and when I had to take breaks from reading (because, you know, life) I found myself thinking about it and getting impatient to get back to the story.

I thought the writing flowed well and the pace was steady. I like that it was basically three stories (Teagan’s, Muniath’s and Scetis’s) that eventually came together. I like the characters, the main ones and most of the supporting ones. I thought they were hashed out well enough, though sometimes maybe a bit too good to be true, but I didn’t care. I liked the whole story and the dragon lore. There were some pretty good twists in there, too! If you like fantasies and dragons (like I do), you might enjoy this one.

Note: I received a copy of this book as part of my participation in this book blast. All opinions expressed are my own.

Read an Excerpt

“I don’t understand, what do you want to do?” she asked, collapsing to the hot rock.

“Stand before the fiery pit. Face your fear and grow into who you were meant to be.” His voice boomed not only in her mind but echoed off the circular cavern.

“I’ll die,” she whimpered.

“No, you will not. Now stand,” he commanded.

Slowly she got to her feet. Sweat dripped from her body in rivulets, stinging her eyes as she wiped her face on her sleeve to clear it. As she did, Gremlin moved and the full heat from the lava hit her. She stumbled back, but he supported her with his neck, holding her up. The fiery liquid turned her skin first red, then it started to blister. Teagan screamed at the pain and with fumbling fingers began to tear at the remaining clothes she had on. Now standing nude, her body shook as the outer skin burned away. It melted from her body, slipping, and exposing raw flesh underneath. A scream she so desperately wanted to release caught in her throat.

“Into the lake.” Gremlin commanded.

Each step she took was laboured. She tried to stop herself but found her body would not respond. Her mind screamed at the thought of the agony and death that she was sure awaited if she obeyed the Dragon King. But she went. Standing on the precipice, in a gap of the wall, the scream at last escaped her lips as she stepped down into the rock from the centre of the world.

Giveaway

L.C. Conn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Get your entries in via the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other tour stops for more chances of winning! You can find the schedule here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2021/03/book-blast-realm-of-dragons-fight-for.html

Review: World Serpent Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #5) by Shami Stovall

Today I’m reposting my review of World Serpent Arcanist, the fifth book in the Frith Chronicles by author Shami Stovall. Yayyy.

Okay, I read this book in December last year but I realized a few days ago that I don’t have the review on this blog. It’s on Goodreads, but since I have my reviews of the first four books here, I thought I should also have it here, too.

Anyway, read on for more about this fantastic continuation to the series!

World Serpent ArcanistWorld Serpent Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #5)

Death. Destiny. The rise of god-arcanists.

Volke Savan has reunited with the Frith Guild just in time to help fight the Second Ascension, a group of power-hungry dastards bent on controlling the newly created god creatures. The world serpent is the first on their list, and if the Second Ascension manages to harness its power, the world will forever be changed for the worse.

But the Frith Guild has another plan. They intend to beat the Second Ascension to the world serpent and have it bond with someone trustworthy—a mysterious man who Guildmaster Eventide believes will usher the world into an era of peace.

As Volke struggles to improve his magic, and also become a mentor for a new knightmare arcanist, he realizes that this may be one adventure the guild never makes it back from…

Continue the Frith Chronicles with the fifth book, World Serpent Arcanist!

Add this book on Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

If you would like to find a full list of her novels and audiobooks, you can do so on here.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Does not disappoint. Another fantastic ride!

Great continuation to the series!

Volke is great as always, growing nicely into a skilled arcanist and into an even more genuinely good guy. I’m not a big fan of his, er, romantic links, but I do like the potential of one possible pairing.

The book is mostly about Volke since he’s the main character after all, but I would have liked to read more about the other characters, his pals from book 4 mostly – Fain and Adelgis. I mean, all Volke’s friends are in this, I just wanted to see more of them also growing into their magic.

Speaking of magic, this book is full of it and more. We get the usual stuff I’ve come to expect from this series – interesting magic concepts, fascinating creatures and lands, exciting fights, awesome twists. The twists at the end are pretty cool. I mean, I’m sure everyone who has read the series was probably thinking about this thing in some way or other, but what actually happens is just wild. It was nicely done, methinks. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

If you’ve been enjoying the other books, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

If you like fantasy and are looking for a new series to binge, I say pick up this one!

Note: I purchased my own copy of this book. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read my reviews of the previous books:

Review: The Theft of Sunlight (Dauntless Path #1) by Intisar Khanani

Theft header

It’s finally here! The Theft of Sunlight by author Intisar Khanani releases today and I’m here with a review of this amazing book.

Theft of Sunlight is the first book in a companion duology to Thorn. Some characters from Thorn appear in Theft, but the main character is Amraeya or Rae, who first appears in The Bone Knife, a short story included at the end of Thorn. I loved The Bone Knife so I was excited to read Theft.

Read on for more on the book and my short review! :)

Theft of SunlightTitle: The Theft of Sunlight
Series: Book 1 in a duology in the “Dauntless Path” world
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Artist: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen (US/CA), Hot Key (UK)
Price: TBD

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away if I can make a difference.

Children have been disappearing from Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her best friend’s sister disappears, Rae knows she can’t stay silent any longer. She finds the chance to make a difference in an invitation to the palace.

But Rae struggles to fit in with the lords and ladies of the court. Instead, she finds unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges thief named Bren who always seems to have her best interests at heart. Soon even Bren can’t help her, and Rae must risk her life and well-being to face an evil that lurks in the shadows of the darkest hearts.

Add this book on Goodreads.

Purchase The Theft of Sunlight: IndieBound | Bookshop | Other Online Retailers

About the Author: Intisar Khanani

Intisar-Khanani-Author-Photo

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

Connect with the author: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Purchase The Theft of Sunlight: IndieBound | Bookshop | Other Online Retailers

Awesome characters, creative and compelling story

Intisar Khanani is one of my favorite authors of all time because her writing is beautiful and she creates such interesting stories with incredible world building, complex and engaging protagonists, equally complex and intriguing supporting characters, and very real themes. The Theft of Sunlight has all of these, that’s why it was such a blast to read.

At the center of Theft is, of course, our main character Rae who has navigated through her entire life as a woman with a physical handicap, but she doesn’t let her own personal challenges get the better of her. We see her step out of her comfort zone, realize how much more capable she really is and come into her own. I love her interaction and dynamics with the other characters, especially the thief Bren. She gets into so many interesting and, more often than not, dangerous situations in her determination to find the truth, but she doesn’t let setbacks or fear stop her from doing what she believes is right. She’s pretty cool is what I’m saying.

And as if having a strong, admirable and relatable woman for a main character isn’t enough, Theft also has a story that’s compelling. Children are disappearing and there’s something dark and twisted behind it. There’s also some cool magic stuff, but it’s not overwhelming (though I’m hoping there will be more in the next book!). This book is a bit long, but it has some exciting bits that make you want to keep reading until you get to the *brutal* ending. LOL.

So there. I highly recommend checking out The Theft of Sunlight (and Thorn, if you haven’t read it yet). I enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the next one!

In the meantime, I am patiently waiting for my pre-ordered physical copy to arrive. Woot.

Note: I received an e-ARC of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Release Day + Review: Brambles by Intisar Khanani

Brambles release banner

Brambles by Intisar Khanani is out today! Brambles is a prequel novella to Thorn and gives Alyrra’s account of what happened years ago before the events in Thorn.

Read more about this story and check out my short review. Enjoy!

Brambles (Intisar Khanani)

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

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About the Author

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Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

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My quick review

Brambles is a very quick read. I finished it in just a few minutes because it’s really short. Also, I’m already familiar with the characters and the author’s words flow so smoothly and easily (as always).

This is such a short story but it makes you feel so many things. It shows how strong, honorable and kindhearted Alyrra has always been even from a young age. You’ll find yourself rooting for her and absolutely hating everyone who makes her life so difficult.

Brambles is a good set up for Thorn (if you haven’t read Thorn). It makes you want to read more about Alyrra and her adventures. If you’ve read Thorn, Brambles provides a nice background to some things about Alyrra’s life.

Note: I received an advanced review copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: The Wolf Of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

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Hello, friends! Today I have The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by author K.S. Villoso. Earlier this year I kept seeing this book on Instagram and on must-read lists, so naturally I was intrigued (especially since the author is Filipino!). Everyone only had good things to say about it so I decided to get a copy when the Kindle version went on sale back in April. But because I’m a terrible reader I only got to it in August.

I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t sure I wanted to post my review, even when I joined a blog tour for the sequel, because the book wasn’t what I expected. Not that it was terrible, it just wasn’t.. er, what I expected. Hah. Anyway, let’s just get on with it.

Read on for more about the book and my rambling thoughts about it.

The Wolf of Oren-YaroThe Wolf of Oren-Yaro

A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.

But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.

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A mix of exciting elements; there’s something worth reading there, but kinda left me wanting.

I had such high expectations for this book because of all the praise and that kickass cover and the promise of a badass bitch queen. But, alas, it seems I am part of a very small, teeny tiny group that didn’t get blown away by this book. Boo.

I just didn’t love it as much as everyone did. I don’t think it’s a terrible book. It just didn’t grip me like I thought (hoped) it would. Chalk it up to ill timing or my overall state when I was reading. I don’t know.

The story is intriguing enough and all the other elements are pretty exciting stuff. You have a seemingly ruthless queen, interesting supporting characters, a divided kingdom with warlords and clans, an intriguing history of war and bloodshed, dazzling foreign empires, political intrigue, assassination attempts, betrayals and conspiracies. There’s even mention of wild dragons and hints of magic. These are all awesome stuff — stuff I’d normally be into — but I just didn’t get that whoa feeling.

Was into it at first.

I didn’t mind the first person narrative and I thought the pacing was good. The writing style was good and the author did a good job describing settings, places and things.

I can’t comment much on the world building though and that’s weird cos it’s one of the top 3 things I love about fantasies and sci-fi (the other two are the magic systems and the main characters). For some reason, nothing really stood out to me. Maybe I wasn’t really paying attention?

Several chapters in, I started getting annoyed with the baybayin texts in the chapter headings. I was excited when I first saw baybayin (an old Philippine writing system) under the first chapter heading. I noted them all down for each chapter. Then I realized they were the same words repeating in the same order. At first they made sense because they were words like lobo (wolf), lawin (hawk or falcon) and lakan (chieftain or lord), but after a while I couldn’t relate the word to the corresponding chapter anymore. And there was one word I couldn’t figure out. It frustrated me. It’s not really a big deal maybe, but I just wish there was more to it or some kind of explanation.

Wanted a more stabby-stab-stab kind of queen

Strong female protagonists are my fave. I adore honorable, stable, morally upright female protagonists, but I also luuurve badass, trigger happy, stab-first-talk-later, warrior, fighter, maybe morally grey female protagonists. When I read that this was the “bitch queen chronicles,” I was kinda hoping Queen Talyien would be the latter (the stabby one). And although she was in a way, she was not really as vicious and ruthless as I hoped her to be. (Am I evil??)

She wasn’t soft but I guess I expected more from someone who was raised by a vicious warlord father and taught and trained to be some kind of a warrior queen since infancy. I read in some reviews of the book that it simply shows that as much as she’s a queen she’s also just a woman trying to deal with a lot of things, and I get it, I really do, but I really just wanted a more stabby-stab-stab kind of heroine, you know what I mean? Am I weird? (Yes, I definitely am.)

Also, the word bitch. The people called her that because of her supposed reputation and because she wasn’t living up to whatever impossible “queenly” or “womanly” ideal they wanted her to be. She’s not perfect, so she’s a bitch? This kind of thing is all too real for all women right now in the real world, so I wanted Talyien to at least really own that word. (More in the next books maybe?)

Didn’t really care for that ending.

The crazy twists were interesting, but that ending was just unsatisfying. After all the things, that was it?? I really wanted Talyien to go in harder and be harder on everyone, everything, all of it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but that ending did not make me happy at all. (In my head I was like, “Kick him! Kick him!!” That’s all I’m going to say. LOL.)

So there. I haven’t been the best reader for a long time and maybe I just was not in the right mood when I read this. Or maybe I just didn’t get it. I really wanted to LOVE this book because this is the kind of book that we need to see more of — written by a woman, written by a Filipino, Filipino-inspired fantasy, POC characters, diverse, all that. So really, I’m chalking this one up to my mood when I read this. And I haven’t given up on this series and my review of book two may even be in the horizon (that is, if I can get my sh*t together haha).

Anyway, if you’re into fantasy, you might like this one, so check this book out for yourself!

As of the date of this post, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is on sale on Amazon Kindle. Check it out now!

Note: I purchased my own copy of this book. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

About the author K.S. Villoso

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K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.

Connect with the author on her WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads and Facebook.

Find purchase links for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro here.