Quest of the Dreamwalker (Corthan Legacy Book 1) by Stacy Bennett

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Quest of the Dreamwalker (Corthan Legacy Book 1)
By Stacy Bennett
Narrated by Zachary Johnson
Publisher: Miramae Press
Format: Audible Audio
Unabridged:  14 hrs and 48 mins
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

A perfect captive, Cara didn’t know her will had been stolen until she escapes with borrowed courage.

Cloistered in the Black Keep with only her father for company, Cara is an unwitting prisoner bound by chains of ignorance and lies rather than iron–until she meets a captured mercenary in her father’s dungeon. He kindles within her a spark of compassion she never knew she had and lends her an unfamiliar strength. But, the mercenary is slated to die, sacrificed to her father’s magic like all the others. Only this time, Cara can’t turn a blind eye. Unable to endure her father’s cruelty any longer, she vows to help the mercenary escape.

Now, as they flee to a world she’s only dreamed of, she finds defiance has a steep price. Her very existence endangers everyone she has come to care about. Who is she that her father refuses to let her go? To uncover the secret of her past, she must unravel the mystery of her dreams and claim the heritage of her own magical blood—before her father claims her as the last sacrifice.


(New) ThoughtsWow! Well this was my bombshell for 2017. I admit I went in with an open mind but not expecting a whole lot. I could not have been more wrong.

 Side note: Please excuse any misspelling of names. This is an audiobook review. I made every effort to research proper spellings at the time this was written.

Cara is shackled to the Black Keep by the lies of her father, the sorcerer Sidonius. An unwilling pawn in his quest to achieve immortality, she lives a bleak existence of solitude. That is until freedom and friendship present themselves in the unlikely form of two of her father’s captives, mercenaries Captain Khoury and Archer. Through them, Cara finds not only the strength to escape but the means to set on a journey to discover the truth of her past and the power that lies within her own blood. But her adventure does not come without cost. Can Cara stop her father and avoid becoming his final sacrifice?

Quest of the Dreamwalker is a character driven, epic fantasy, backed by an incredible plot. Cara begins the story as a young girl who has been manipulated and used repetitively. She is meek and helpless. Lost. Through the unlikely guidance and support of Khoury and Archer, she evolves into someone complex and driven but not perfect or without weaknesses. The author brings together an unexpected ensemble that provides a dynamic and ever-changing setting, playing effortlessly on feelings of loss, fear, love and courage as we follow Cara and her companions on their quest. I found myself admiring and appreciating various aspects of each new encounter.

A rich plotline offers a story full teeming with depth that supports continual growth. While world building unfolds slowly, it is in a rewarding manner that fosters a viable setting that feels almost familiar and tangible. This is an adventure based on exploration.  Exploration of characters and exploration of the land. Each scene is a moment to be relished as we are immersed within their quest. Packed with exploits and action, this is a fast paced read (listen) that is difficult to put down (turn off).

The writing is even and well-balanced, implementing multiple elements that play on varying emotions with incredible ease. Stacy Bennett ensures that the readers establishes an early connection with characters and maintains that throughout. Her writing feels comfortable and natural, but not without the necessary punch.

Initially, I experienced some concern in terms of audio narration. It felt strange to place Zachary Johnson’s narration with our main protagonist Cara. But he won me over after a few chapters. I soon realized he has a special knack for story telling. He lent an air of enthusiasm and emotion that managed to carry Quest of the Dreamwalker with great proficiency.

The final result was a high fantasy story that examines life and self discovery in a very gratifying fashion, offering endless entertainment along the way. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone who enjoys character driven titles or fantasy.

*I would like to thank the publisher and Audiobook Jukebox for this copy. The above review is my own, honest and unbiased opinion.

Untitled design Enjoyed over several cups of black tea spiced with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg.

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Purchase Links:Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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Blog Tour & Excerpt – Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell

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Part of my goal as a reader is to continue to explore a diverse range of titles and share them with others. I love finding new books and authors. Today I am pleased to be sharing an excerpt of Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell as part of a blog tour presented by Rachel’s Random Resources.


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Tall Chimneys
By Allie Cresswell
Available 12/12/17

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Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.

Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. 


Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. 


A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.

Purchase Links:  Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk


(New)Excerpt

“There are certain human experiences that all writers quail at describing; childbirth, death and sex are three of them. These things are so individual and yet so universal. They are also, often, dramatic peaks in any story. It is almost impossible to depict them in a light that is credible, sensitive, realistic and yet impactful, and many writers fail in their attempt. Thankfully, as a mother, childbirth is something I have experienced for myself, and, while my children were not born as Evelyn’s is, I called on personal experience in describing labour.”

Winter Labour

The light was fading, turning from opaque pearl to smoky amethyst. We went indoors and stoked up the drawing room fire. John went downstairs to make tea, while I arranged all the cushions so as to ease my back and aching legs. Later, John read to me from A Christmas Carol and I stroked my belly, and wondered if the baby could hear the sonorous tone of his voice as he read. The three of us curled up together in the depths of the sofa, and the warmth of the room wrapped itself around us, and the whole house stood sentinel over us in that remote, hidden glen, swathed in mist and clamped by cold, under the dome of the sky and the eye of God.

John still used the upper room of the gatehouse as his studio but he hadn’t spent a night there since his return from the Continent. It seemed a specious fallacy, now, a charade that fooled nobody. We usually slept in the housekeeper’s room, and kept ourselves discreetly and decorously below stairs in all our daily comings and goings, but, that night, when it was time to sleep, we damped down the fire and switched off the lights, and climbed the stairs to Mrs Simpson’s room.

Overnight the temperature rose, the mist dissolved and in the morning the house was bathed in pure, winter sunlight. The lawn and trees sparkled, drenched in dew like diamonds. John opened the curtains and immediately got that look in his eye which I knew presaged creativity.

‘Go and paint,’ I told him, nestling back into the pillows and resting the cup and saucer he had brought me onto my bump. ‘Go, while the light lasts, and paint something glorious.’

He looked at me. ‘I oughtn’t to leave you,’ he demurred.

‘Nonsense,’ I retorted. ‘I’m going to go back to sleep in a moment, so I’ll be no company for you.’

‘Oh, alright,’ he gave in.

I was as good as my word, back asleep within moments; I didn’t even hear the motorcar as it pulled out of the stables and laboured up the slush on the drive. I slept in the filtered sunlight that came in through the half-drawn curtains until midway through the morning when a change in its quality woke me. The blue had been replaced by thin cloud. Above the amphitheatre of the trees I could see it moving, quite quickly, from the east. I got up and drew myself a bath. From its depths I could hear the telephone ringing, but it would have been impossible – and dangerous – for me to try and answer it. I wallowed on, and presently it stopped ringing.

By the time I got downstairs it was midday, and I set about getting together some food to carry up to the gatehouse for John, later. This necessitated a trip to the hot house, where tomatoes were still to be had from the yellowing, spent trusses. On my way I let the chickens out, and collected the eggs – not many, at that time of year, but enough for an omelette for supper, I thought. The hens came out cautiously, eyeing the air, placing tentative feet down on the chill, wet ground. As I re-entered the house I could hear the telephone again, ringing in the butler’s pantry. I dropped the eggs and tomatoes into a handy basket and hurried through, but when I lifted the receiver there was only a click and a buzz like an angry wasp on the line. The only person I could imagine calling was the doctor, and I put a call through to him, but his telephone, too, rang on and on and nobody answered.

I continued to potter round the kitchen; folding laundry which had been drying over the range, getting distracted by a particularly delicious pie which Mrs Greene had sent down for us, opening one of the jars of pickled cabbage from the larder to eat with it. I dried and put away the glassware we’d used the night before. Time passed.

About three o’clock I locked up the hens. They had already retreated into the shelter and warmth of their accommodation, sensing, as I had not, the storm which was imminent. The air outside had turned bluish; the cloud overhead was much thicker, lower, and very dark. As I watched, fat flakes of snow began to float from the sky.

I packed up my basket and made ready for the walk up to the gatehouse. I would have to hurry.

The first pain came as I was bending to lace up my boots. It was sharper and much stronger than I had expected, and not in my back, as Rose had described, but in some hidden and hitherto unsuspected ventricle at my core. I took a sharp intake of breath and sat back on the settle, quelling panic. My instinct was to clench up the place where the pain had been, to resist the sense of prising pressure.

‘Relax,’ I told myself, ‘probably just wind. Shouldn’t have eaten that cabbage.’

But immediately it came again, more insistent, a sense of determined opening, the way I had seen Kenneth kick and rattle at a shed door which has swollen and warped over winter, breaking the seal which time and nature together have fastened shut. At the same time I was conscious of a trickle of warm liquid coming from me.

Clearly, the baby was on its way.


Tall Chimneys - Allie CresswellAuthor Bio

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Follow Allie: Facebook  Website  Twitter 


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I would like to thank Rachel and Allie Cresswell for allowing me to participate in the tour today alongside so many other wonderful blogs.

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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Confessions of a Tea Sippin’ Blogger: Why I Recently Left Several Blogging Groups

I have a tendency to avoid discussion posts of late. I find myself steering clear of joining in on them or posting them. I am not proud of this fact, but it is truth. I find more and more that I tire of sharing and debating on social media and public forums because it feels there is always someone lurking, just waiting to aggressively tell you how wrong you are or why they know best. It seems incredibly counterproductive and I can be a very non-confrontational person. So with that being said, this post has been drafted and deleted several times over the last month. And my apologies in advance, this is winded. If it sounds a bit negative, it truly isn’t. This is just discussion. So stick with me here.

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Recently I pulled the plug on my relationship with several blogging groups I have belonged to for varying lengths of time. I silently slipped away and hit that “permanently leave group” button hoping it would go unnoticed.

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I am not one to make a scene or complain. I am also sure that in most groups, my absence is unnoticed (they are rather large). I appreciate the new friendships, connections and opportunities these groups have given me. Most of the members are friends of mine on social media still. In fact, I highly recommend finding groups for networking if you spend a significant amount of time online. The right group offers support (emotional and tech), friendship and often inspiration. So why am I here telling you that I left some of them? Because I noticed an unhealthy pattern that I felt like exploring further with you for the sake of discussion. I am not seeking to rant nor do I wish to receive one.

In a single word: Scrutiny (this is my nice way of saying “judgement”).

For the past month or so my feeds were looming in a shadow. I noticed bloggers passing an ever scrupulous eye over one another. Now to be quite fair, I understand that judging is a natural, human behavior that most of us are guilty of on a somewhat daily basis. We all see things and instantly pass some form of internal judgement. With so much happening in our lives, we are surrounded by people and topics that seem to solicit our opinions. Opinions are great. Opinions encourage discussion and can bring about great changes, but how and when we choose to share them is everything.

So here was the problem I continued to encounter that finally gave me the needed “ummph” to leave those groups: I found myself unable to log in without reading at least one remark shaming or outing a blogger for how they have chosen to run their site, what they are or are not reading, or some other decision they had made. It felt depressing and somewhat suffocating for myself. So I had to ask myself, why? I cannot control social media. Life is full of people who need to be heard and jerks. But thankfully there are also “follow/unfollow”, “delete”, and “leave group” buttons (the beauty that is social media-right?). So why shouldn’t I take the steps to remove the negativity I actually had some control over?

I had tired of seeing shared screenshots of accounts or personal messages, especially when they are unaware that they are being shared to a large amount of people in a private group. After all, if we are going to point the accusational finger, let’s give the receiver the chance to speak for themselves. Not that I personally feel someone is obligated to answer to others for their varying blogging goals. My disagreeance with your choices do not give me the right to humiliate, berate or attempt to tell you how you should be doing it. And this is not an argument for or against monetizing a blog or any other hot topics. This is about what happens when others feel they have the right dictate how it should be done.  I would have to fill some pretty big pants to think I have earned that spot above fellow bloggers.

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My winded point is that we all have varying notions of right and wrong. We have individuals goals and desires. These are the very elements that set us apart and should also bring us together as a community. If I feel your blog isn’t for me, I don’t follow (same with social media accounts). There is no need to be aggressive or hurtful. It is pretty simple actually. But I will never feel that it is ok to post a bloggers info or link to them in an effort to shame their behavior. And I don’t enjoy hopping online to share my love of books and seeing a feed full of this nonsense. I do not think this is the purpose or principle that most groups are built upon, but yet it does happen.

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Now, I still ❤ love ❤ groups and the people in them, so I want to end this on a high note. Blogging groups are wonderful! And I believe the right group does exist for anyone. It is simply a matter of finding that group and not being discouraged when exploring groups and you find yourself disconnected with others. Everything in life is trial and error. So don’t be afraid to drift on when the winds of change touch your sails (poetic enough for you? 😉 ). I personally belong to three groups at the moment that are very ideal for my own needs:

  • Open-minded with a sense of humor but considerate of others.
  • A community that supports and promotes each other without endless spam.
  • A place to share advice and tips without telling one another how we “should” do it.
  • Overall – a positive air that makes me want to come back.

I am sharing this here because I have a feeling I am not the only one who has felt this and vocalizing is healthy. Also, I want personally make more of a conscious effort to openly discuss issues that matter to me without allowing my fear of negative feedback to interfere. As I mentioned, I am not proud of avoiding discussion posts.

So talk to me about social media and blogging groups:

What has your personal experience with social media and blogging groups been? Do you belong too many? What are you seeking in a group or have you ever left one (no names please)?

It is definitely possible to find a good home online, but sometimes not without a few bumps in the road.

Let’s Chat!

Danielle ❤

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