Review: PRISON MADE OF MIRRORS by Jennifer Loring

If that author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I interviewed her yesterday about a completely different project! Jennifer is one of the most prolific authors I know, and I was honored to receive an advanced copy of her latest fantasy novella to review. This story debuts today, and I highly recommend snagging a copy of your own if my (spoiler-free) review intrigues you.


prison-made-of-mirrorsABOUT THE BOOK

Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.

Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.

Amazon


REVIEW

Disclaimer: I have promoted this author’s projects on my blog, and I received an electronic copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

This is not a fractured fairy tell so much as a retelling of the familiar Snow White story set within the realm of a new culture and environment. The level of research Loring did for this story is stunning, and fully immersed me into the world of Vikings during their era of plundering Britannia. The realistic details of running a chieftain’s longhouse intertwined seamlessly with the larger fantasy elements of magic, werewolves, and dwarves tailored specifically for the world the author created. Continue reading

Schedule for Cleveland ConCoction 2017

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I’m looking forward to returning to Cleveland ConCoction for my second year (March 10-12)! It’s a great mix of literary, media, gaming, and costuming focus, with something for everyone. It’s also my favorite con in terms of they way they are set up to promote authors, with an Author’s Alley where the con sets up it’s own bookshop so authors don’t have to lug their books around all weekend, and where authors can hang out and meet fans during downtime. I was so pleased to be invited back.

Let me know in the comments where you’ll be at this con so I can be sure to say hi! Or, here’s my schedule so you know where to track me down.

Friday

  • 12:00 PM: Author Perspectives on Fan Fiction
  • 9:00 PM: What is Urban Fantasy?

Saturday

  • 12:00 PM: Vampires, Werewolves, and Gods — Rewriting Legends
  • 2:00 PM: Author Showcase — Reading from the Steel Empires series, following by time for signing
  • 9:00 PM: Why Villains Matter

Sunday

  • 11:00 AM: Post Apocalypse — How Will It End?

 

Holiday Romance Special Part 2: Victory & Mikelos

SteelVictoryARC_cov.inddAs promised, the husband and I shared a delicious meal of Indian food in front of the TV last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We watched another few episodes of The Grand Tour and then went to bed early.

Today actually marks 8 years since we officially started dating! Not because of the holiday, but because in 2009 I had agreed to pick him up from the airport after a 2-week class in California, and he had a Valentine’s Day bouquet delivered to my apartment that morning as a thank you.

But you’re not here for my sappy love story. You’re here for the much more interesting one between Victory and Mikelos, who were introduced in Steel Victory. Vampire and daywalker will return for their own adventure this summer in Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood, but for now, here’s some backstory and behind-the-scenes info to tide you over.

How and why did they meet?

After the drama (and trauma) of the Last War, Victory settled in Limani with her progeny Jarimis. She helped Jarimis’ daywalker open a bar, supporting Allesdandra’s dream. One day, in walks a human man she recognized from back in Europa, a former concert violinist.

For 200 years, Mikelos had lived as the daywalker to his musical partner, the vampire and cellist Connor. When Connor disappears without a trace, he leaves his old life behind, escaping into anonymity in Limani. Or so he thinks.

When Mikelos is mortally wounded defending Allesandra, Victory turns him back into a daywalker to save his life. Continue reading

Review: A THEFT OF MAGIC (Fay of Skye #2) by Cara McKinnon

theft-of-magicDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend, and the two of us have worked together to help promote each other’s work as nontraditional authors. I won a hardcopy version of this novel from the author in a random giveaway drawing during a social media launch event. I would absolutely have purchased this novel anyway.


Romantic fantasy is not my usual cup of tea, but McKinnon hits it out of the park once again with this delightful blend of alternate history, historical fiction, action, and sensuality. This novel focuses on another member of a magical family set during Queen Victoria’s reign in a world inhabited by magic. At first glance, Sorcha is a stereotypical fantasy heroine, a loner Scotswoman with a talent for visions, while Ronan embodies the cliche Irish rogue. However, McKinnon’s talent for world-building also extends to character building, and Sorcha and Ronan’s relationship, set in the larger framework of missing magical artifacts, set in the even larger “Fay of Skye” series framework of disappearing magic, is an exciting magical romp from start to finish.

Continue reading

Review: TEMPEST edited by Mercedes Lackey

tempestFavorite story: “Harmless as Serpents” by Rosemary Edghill & Rebecca Fox

Perhaps because they are such alien creatures, stories where a point of view character is a Companion always intrigue me. Throw in tantalizing details about the mysterious land of Iftel, the realistic aftereffects of Karse’s religious upheaval, and multiple laugh-out-loud moments, and this was easily the most memorable book in this anthology for me. The story stands alone nicely, but I’d love a follow-up just to meet the Herald who matches Kenisant’s personality. Continue reading

Review: A STUDY IN SABLE by Mercedes Lackey

study-in-sableI was excited by both the return of Nan and Sarah in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series and the introduction of this universe’s version of Sherlock Holmes and the Watsons. The aspect of this novel that I was most impressed with was that my brain never once tried to “cast” my mental images of the characters as Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Robert Downey Jr., or Jude Law. Lackey made these characters totally her own while staying true to the spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations. Continue reading

Author Interview with Sheri Queen

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Today I’m taking a break from NaNoWriMo panic productivity to feature a new release from fellow urban fantasy author Sheri Queen! I haven’t read this novella yet, but so much about it intrigues me. It’s both an installment in a multi-author project and acts as an introduction to Queen’s own universe, the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series. Please enjoy the following interview with the author and check out more details about the book below.


How did you come up with the title for this book?

It’s my protagonist’s job—bounty hunter. I decided I wanted to separate my novel from the many other bounty hunter ones, so I came up with the gender switch of huntress. It worked.

Is there a message or theme in this story your want readers to be aware of?

There are several themes within the story, mostly about family and relationships, but the biggest one is that it’s okay to be different. Love who you are, and don’t let what others say make you think you’re not good enough.

Is this part of a series? If so, can you share a little about what’s coming next?

This is a short novel that’s part of a multi-author series, The Hotel Paranormal. Over twenty authors have penned their own paranormal story set in a common world—the Hotel. It’s been so much fun to do. Basically it’s a hotel set in an alternate dimension that’s a gathering place for paranormal creatures.

The Hotel Paranormal is the place for supernatural beings looking to get away from it all. Beings like werewolves, vampires, elves, sprites, djinn, and more check in from all over the world for business and for pleasure—and sometimes for both.

Also, I’m using this as an introduction to a new series I’m working on, the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series. The next novel will be out in 2017, although I don’t have a release date as yet. It will see Janda Gray take on her hunter role in earnest. She’ll have great joys and even greater sorrows as a Sleepy Hollow Hunter. Continue reading