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

dreamaudiobook
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.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Purchase Links:Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

The Girl in The Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

34050917(New)TheBook
The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2)
By Katherine Arden
Release date: 12/5/17
Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN13: 9781101885963
Pages: 352
Genre: Fantasy /Folklore

Synopsis:

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.


(New) Thoughts

I am openly stating the usual that as always, this is a review of a sequel in a trilogy so while I do my best to avoid them, there is a small possibility that spoilers may be encountered if you have not read the first book. If you prefer to read my review of The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1), it can be found here

Every now and then I will stumble across a title that is so deeply atmospheric it transports me not only to another time and place, but another season as well. The Winternight Trilogy is a brilliant example of such rare read, making this the perfect compliment to any cold winter night, a comfortable blanket and a nice, hot cup of tea. Be prepared to settle in, because this one will not release you easily.

The Girl in the Tower returns the reader to the extraordinary tale of Vassila Petrovna, or Vasilii Petrovich as the sequel would have it.  Resigned to fleeing the only home she has ever known  after being branded a witch by local villagers due to her unusual abilities, Vasya is now a young woman traveling with only the companionship of her faithful steed Solovey. Masquerading as a male traveler, she sets out on her own but soon encounters unexpected trouble in the form of bandits kidnapping young girls and burning the countryside. When her efforts to thwart the bandits and rescue a group of stolen children land her in the Grand Prince of Moscow’s inner and trusted circle where she is reunited with her brother and sister, she must keep her real identity a secret or place everyone in grave jeopardy. However, everything is about to change when she uncovers a plot to overthrow the Grand Prince and just might be the only one who knows the true danger lurking among familiar faces.

Vasya’s evolution from a young, awkward girl into a courageous and spirited woman is a testament to the character development you can expect in The Girl in the Tower. A well-balanced mix of personas, religion and politics offer a dynamic cast that is ever-growing and changing.

Skillfully incorporating characters and influences of  Russian folklore and fairy tales throughout, Arden establishes a world that immerses the reader into an alluring era. The unknown quickly transforms into something captivating as you find yourself surrounded in harsh winter lands not without their own magic and beauty.

Arden’s prose is sophisticated and enchanting, assuring an effortless experience that carries over each page with incredible ease. She writes with a confidence and knowledge that bestows upon the reader a story full of depth while refusing to become lost in frivolous details or complexities. All components are flawlessly executed, ensuring a tale that rivals its predecessor.

The Girl in the Tower merits a deserved spot among my favorite reads of 2017 without question. The Winternight Trilogy may very well become one of my favorite series of all time. Read it, experience it!

* I want to thank Del Rey Publishing and Netgalley for this advanced copy. The above review is my honest, unbiased opinion.

Untitled design Enjoyed with several cups of double spiced chai and cinnamon.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Pre-Order Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Erin Summerill~An Interview & Ever the Brave

an-interview-with.png

Recently I was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to interview Erin Summerill. I was instantly won over with her debut YA fantasy Ever the Hunted. You can read my thoughts here. In anticipation of the upcoming release of the sequel, Ever the Brave, I am excited to share my Q & A with Erin today.

interview.png

1.Britta is such a beautifully complex character. I was instantly drawn to her journey of self discovery and how well she overcame so many adversities. Was there a personal inspiration behind her character?
There is someone in my life who is a survivor. She has been through some of life’s most difficult challenges, and yet, she lives life to the fullest. When Britta’s character came to me, I wanted to work with someone that had this same strength. I think we don’t realize what we’re capable of until we must overcome adversity. I wanted to explore the idea that how we face adversity can vary by individuals. While no one is perfect, we have the ability to change our perspective about the world around us. My friend who was key in creating Britta’s character taught me that we can see light in the darkest times…if we choose to.  

2.There is a lot happening within Ever the Hunted. You deliver a tremendous amount of character development and world building that feels so complete and natural. What type of research or information did you gather while writing this series?

Because there was so much random information I needed to find, I’ll tell you one specific thing. I had to learn about HUNTING! Honestly, I’m not much of a meat eater. I’ve never hunted an animal. This part of the writing process was difficult. It made me squeamish at times. The big world of game hunters was mind boggling. Learning the terminology was like learning a new language.


3.Your writing reads with incredible ease. What have been some of the biggest challenges you have encountered as a writer?
Thank you, that is kind of you to say. I love fantasy, but when I was growing up, many of the fantasy worlds I encountered were hard to take in. Sometimes my dyslexia made the strange words jump around on the pages, and sometimes the formal writing style made me sleepy. I wanted to create a fantasy that had more of a modern, informal storytelling vibe.

The biggest challenge with this is there are many fantasy readers that crave more formalized text. Sometimes their responses can be harsh. But it comes with the territory, and I’m just grateful for anyone who reads my books!

4.Do you have a favorite secondary character in Ever the Hunted and if so, why? Yes! I love Enat. She is gruff and plucky just like my grandmother. I was close with my grandmother when I was growing up. After she passed away, I wanted to write a character like her. In a way, she came to life through Enat.  


5.Has Clash of Kingdoms been something you have known you would write for a while? Where did the idea stem from?
I wrote a book that I LOVED. I loved it so much I revised it for 2 years. But it still had problems. I had a genius critique partner that suggested I set the book aside and write something new. After a conversation with a co-worker, this idea about a hunter in the woods came to me. I am so glad I went with this idea.


6.I cannot wait to continue with this series. Will you possibly have future projects that explore genres outside of fantasy?
Yes!!! I love writing in different genres. I am hoping to delve into sci-fi and contemporary.


7.Reading and writing seem to be such an individualized process. Do you have any habits or rituals that are a part of your normal writing routine?
I drink a lot of Coke Zero and eat a lot of hot tamales. I wear stretchy pants and lounge around my house for days and days. And sometimes, I’m not great at getting into the shower…uh, maybe I shouldn’t share that bit.

8.Which authors or books have influenced you the greatest as a person and a writer?
There are so many! I love Sarah Maas, CJ Redwine, VE Schwab, Pierce Brown, Megan Whalen Turner, Kristen Cashore…I love the books they write and could live in their worlds forever.

9.I read that you also happen to be a professional photographer! Was photography something that captured your interest at an early age?
Yes! Actually, I started in high school, but not because I was interested in photography. I was mostly interested in this good-looking guy on the basketball team. I didn’t want to be obviously gawking at him, so I joined yearbook and volunteered to be the photographer. That way, I could go and take pictures of him.

Now that I retell the story, it seems a bit creepy.

But there you have it, that is where my photography career started.

10.Last but never least; do you drink tea and if so, what if your favorite blend?
Ah, I do! I love fruity herbal teas. I like meyer lemon herbal tea, or mango/passionfruit!

book.png

etbraveEver the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2)
Release Date: 12/5/17
By Erin Summerill
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9780544664463

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis:

The second in the duology, EVER THE BRAVE is another romantic, page-turning fantasy in the vein of Sarah Maas and Susan Dennard.

 In the wake of saving King Aodren, and consequently creating a strong connection with Malam’s leader, Britta finds herself in the middle of noble circles and on the King’s arm as he fights to take back control of his country. But the uneasy alliance between the kingdoms of Malam and Shaerdan is questioned when Channeler girls start disappearing from their homes. Meanwhile, Cohen is determined to find the Spiriter Channeler responsible for almost killing the King even when Britta begs him to remain in Brentyn. After Cohen’s abrupt and heart-breaking departure, Britta and King Aodren are shocked when invaders storm the castle and seize Brentyn. With the war going on, troops have left the country’s stronghold weak, giving the invaders a chance to take over the castle. The enemy leader is someone from Britta’s past who has the same powers as her and who is out to use Britta’s power for evil designs.

Pre-order Information

Purchase Links: The King’s English Bookshop  Amazon.com  Book Depository

author.pngesummerill.jpg

With a B.A. in English, Erin Summerill aspired to be a writer, but first she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. Erin and her family live in Utah.

Follow Erin: Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

*I want to extend a special thank you to Erin for this wonderful interview and sharing so much about herself today. It has been a fantastic experience.

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram