Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February is Fantasy Month Final Week//

Welcome to my final February is Fantasy Month post. How many of you are sad to see it end? How many of you are thinking "finally"?

One last post and what better way to do it than to take part in the fantasy favorites blog tag?

Pictures gotten from Pinterest and Goodreads respectively.
Thank the blogger who tagged you. Thanks Jenelle for coming up with all of these awesome questions. Also for hosting February is Fantasy month. It's been fun!
Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
Answer the questions.
Tag a few blogger friends – and let them know they’ve been tagged
Have fun!
And now onto the tag...

What is your favorite fantasy book?

Okay, wow, we get straight to the deep questions *blows breath out for several seconds trying to stall* Um, my favorite fantasy book???? Sheesh. You're really gonna make me choose? Okay, I guess I'm going to go with the Storm Siren trilogy* and no, I'm not going to pick one book. It goes to the whole trilogy.

*second place goes to the Ascendance Trilogy

Like, Nym isn't my favorite heroine. Eogan isn't my favorite hero. This world isn't my favorite fantasy world, and the magical elements aren't my favorite. But somehow all of the elements added together make my favorite fantasy book series and I'm not entirely sure how that works???

Honestly, this series is such an inspiration for my own fantasy books. It was through this where I first started trying to make up my own fantasy language. I will forever laugh out loud any time I come across the term Bolcrane. It's my favorite thing, not gonna lie.

That twisty cliffhanger ending of the first book is my muse. I will forever be trying to write an ending just as cruel and unpredictable as that one*

*Yes that's right, readers, you have this series to blame for my cliffhangers.

So yeah this one gotta go to Storm Siren.

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

This isn't even a question. Lord of the Rings. No doubt. I probably wouldn't even be an author, or even a fantasy lover without these movies. It is rare that I like the movie more* than the book. I tend to like the book more than the movie on principle, but this is not the case with Lord of the Rings. Don't get me wrong, the books are great! But the movies are a cinematic masterpiece.

*the only other movie where this is the case is How to Train Your Dragon

If you were mean and made me have to choose I would be forced to choose The Two Towers. Sam's speech at the end will probably always be my favorite part. "Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to see the end because how could the end be happy? How could things go back to the way they were when so much bad had happened?" <<<< got that bit from memory so it's probably not word for word. But I love all of the movies. Boromir's death will forever drive me to tears. Eowyn's plight will always garner my sympathy. Aragorn will be my favorite until the end of days and I'll probably freak out every time that scene at the end of the first movie happens where he takes on all of those orcs on his own while telling Frodo to run. "I would have followed you to the end. To the very fires of Mordor itself."

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

Oh wow, another mean question. To help make this question easier for me to answer, I am going to stick with the main characters in a book, and not any love interests. They muddy the water. With that distinction now in place, I'm probably going to have to go with Sage from the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Neilson. This guy is so crazy smart, I love his devious little mind. Also, his sarcasm speaks to my soul. My sassy son...

Not that I don't love Nym from Storm Siren or any of the other characters from other books that I've read, but if I had to pick only one, it would be Sage. Which is probably because I tend to like guy characters more (hence me having to remove all of the love interests from the equation). But also, like I said, he's my sassy son.

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

So I've thought long and hard about this and even though I love so many characters from Scarlet Moon by S.D. Grimm I can't really say that any of them are specifically side-kicks. They are all main characters. That book has a lot of main characters.

Therefore the sidekick role is gonna go to... *drum roll please* MILES from you guessed it Storm Siren. I love that slimy little weasel with a lisp with all of my heart. This guy is probably the character I have seen have the biggest character arc because I absolutely loathed him in the first book and by the end of the third book I was basically like, "Okay characters, you know I love you all, but if it comes down to saving yourself or saving Miles, you'd better save my Lord Protectorate or you will have me to pay. Got it?" Good. Because I seriously love Miles so much.

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

Oi, so that's hard because I love twisted complicated villains as much as the next person and it's a good thing that I'm not doing my own books because then it would be Ismena all the way*.

*Mommy is sorry for everything she did to you

But if not Ismena then I guess I'm going to have to go with Draewulf from *ahem* that's right, Storm Siren. This shape shifting body snatching wolf-thingy has all of the diabolical villain traits down pat. Also, I kinda love him for his habit of shoving his hair behind his ear.

Bonus points the the villain that I hate to hate Jasyne Crowe from Unblemished. I really liked that misunderstood psychopathic grandpa.
Jeb needs to get his ugly face off of this cover stat

My least favorite fantasy villain who I just have to hate- even though he might not technically be a
villain just the person who ruined the series for me, and might not technically be straight fantasy (urban fantasy if anything)- Jebidiah Holt from the Splintered trilogy. I hate him with every fiber of my being. Even more than Draewolf. And even though I just love hating this jerktastic dumb noodle, I would actually rather that he not exist so yeah. Draewulf wins this round.

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

Shouldn't this question be easier for me to answer since I did a whole post about fantasy sub-genres at the beginning of the month???

I guess I'm going to have to go with good old fashioned High Fantasy. Especially since at least 90% of the stories that I've mentioned here are High Fantasy. Though Storm Siren is kinda steam-punky...

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

Can I cheat and say everything? Because seriously, I love everything about fantasy. The tropes, the types of characters, the world building, the magic, the dragons. Everything.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Oh gosh, I think this might be the hardest question yet because my favorite fantasy realm isn't Middle Earth, and it isn't Narnia, and it isn't the world from the ascendance trilogy. They're all great but they are missing elements that I like and/or I don't actually like the magic system in them.

Honestly, I can't think of a favorite fantasy realm outside of my own darling Amar. Because the thing is, I should probably want to live in my favorite fantasy realm. Except... fantasy realms can get pretty violent. Lots of wars, and I notice that there are a great many people who seem to end up dead. Hmm... I'd rather not be one of those people. Let's see, it has to have dragons and magic, and preferably if there were any dark lords, they were defeated already. I don't know, actually, I guess the world I would probably want to visit is Doon. Pretty Scottish setting, hot Scottish guys galore even if it doesn't have dragons... This is not my favorite fantasy world by a long shot, but I absolutely cannot think of a favorite fantasy realm so I'm just going to go with one that I want to visit right now. In other words: the fantasy world I am least likely to die in.

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

Oh look at that, a question that I don't have to agonize over. And the prize goes to the magic system in Black Mage by Rachel E. Carter. Maybe it's because I just finished this series, but I know the magic system in this book so well. It was described with such detail.

I came to feel like the character's magic was a character all its own. Not because it had a personality or anything, but simply because it was so well developed throughout all of the books.

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it!

*chuckles ominously* So, I've actually written several fantasy books, but I guess the one I will "pitch" right now is A Certain Sort of Madness because I feel like between all of my talk of A Winter Dark and Deadly and the next My Time in Amar book, this book baby doesn't get as much attention.

A heist in a fantasy world, imaginary friends, a band of misfits, dragons... well, just the one; and Alicia. One slightly crazy, slightly naive girl based off of both Rapunzel and Alice from Wonderland who has untold magical powers. Throw her snarky cousin and a monkey into the midst and...

I mean, what isn't going to go wrong?

Okay, hopefully that sounds all right. I came up with it on the spot when I realized that I didn't actually have a pitch planned.

Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

You thought I was going to mention Storm Siren right? Well, you were wrong, hopefully I already sold you with all of my answers that were already about Storm Siren. Since, I didn't mention this in the post I'm going to recommend My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison even if I haven't read it recently, though I've been hankering for a reread.

This book is Magical Realism at its finest. It's also a unique twists on the fairy tale retellings of both Cinderella and Snow White- yes two of them, but you will have to read it in order to figure out how that works out Mwahaha

Rallison is an expert on creating lovable (and shippable *waggles eyebrows*) characters. Savannah is definitely my runner up to Sage as my favorite heroine in this genre. I just feel her so strongly. Also, it's hilarious so yeah. Please stop reading this now and go read it.

Look, I'll even leave you a link to its Goodreads and Amazon pages because I'm nice and you seriously need this book in your life.

So that was fun! For me at least. I hope you all enjoyed it too.

I tag...
And everyone who read this blog post and thought, hmm... this seems like fun.

Still want more February is Fantasy month? Check out these blog posts here and here! And make sure that you check out the giveaway because it has dragons. Translation: IT'S EPIC!!!

You're turn. Have you enjoyed these February is Fantasy month posts? What is your favorite fantasy book/movie/villain/or sidekick? Have you read any of the books I've listed here? Comment bellow!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Live Without You by Sarah Grace Grzy Blog Tour// Review

So, I kinda forgot that I signed up to do this? Fortunately, I put a reminder on my computer so crisis averted.

Anyway, on to the book. It's by my good friend Sarah Grace.
Today actually happens to be her birthday so happy birthday, my girl!

Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren’t for this crazy thing called 'Life,' she’d be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other. 

A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies than she knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, and when not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she can be found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. She inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else—unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she’d gladly move to the South Pole.

Newsletter Signup:

About the Book

Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can't help but blame herself for her brother's tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself off from the world. No one could love her-not even the God who promised to be there for her but wasn't. For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He's had enough of it, and only by God's grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper's greatest fear and Ezra's failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?

My Review

Honestly, that cover deserves all the stars (get the pun? Cause there are stars on the cover... oh never mind...), and this sweet tragic novella was penned by my good friend Sarah Grace! Eeep, I'm super excited, she did such a good job.

The story starts off like a suspense novel and I was THERE for that, but then about halfway through it suddenly started reading like a Hallmark movie instead. And no offense to Hallmark movies, but I've seen far too many of their Christmas specials at my grandma's house.

This is a /very/ Christian novella and honestly I felt like everything having to do with that area was mentioned so much that it become repetitive. But then, I prefer the Christian elements to be more balanced with the plot and characters in the books I read and I felt like this one just really focused on the Christian more than anything else.

Still, this was a beautiful little novella, that was super easy to read, and I was fully invested shipping the happiness of these two crazy babies.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, all opinions, however, are my own.

Sound interesting?

There's a Giveaway!

The Giveaway ends tomorrow so be sure to enter while you still can! You can find it here.

Interested in learning more? Here is the schedule for the rest of the blog tour:

Jan. 22
Abby // Spotlight @the_book_worms_bookshelf

Jan. 23
Libby May // Review and @libbymay117

Jan. 24

Jan. 25

Jan. 26

Jan. 28

Jan. 29

Jan. 30

Jan. 31
Michaela Bush // Review  @mj_writer98 on Instagram

Feb. 1

Feb. 2

Feb. 4

Feb. 5

Feb. 6

Feb. 7

Feb. 8

Feb. 9
Ashley // Review Spotlight?

Feb. 10

Feb. 11

Feb. 12
Rose K. // Review

Feb 13

Feb. 14 ~ Valentine’s Day
Tammy Lash // Spotlight  

Feb. 15

Feb. 16

Feb. 18

Feb. 19

Feb. 20

Feb. 21

Feb. 22 ~ Sarah Grace’s Birthday

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

February is Fantasy Month Week 3// Plots

So yeah, this is a little last minute. When I tried to start writing this post yesterday, my page wouldn't load and then I forgot. *coughs* Anyway, welcome to week three of February is Fantasy Month. Congratulations to everyone who made it this far.

This week I will be talking about plots. As a character driven author (I think I mentioned that once or twice during my last post about characters) plots take a bit of a back seat for me. But that doesn't mean that they aren't important, because it most certainly is not. There are many great plot archetypes so I guess we'll look into some of them, eh?

Lots of fantasy plots are overused, sometimes it is hard to find an original one in the midst. Some fantasy plots could be: defeat the dark lord/dragon/tyrant, hunting monsters, saving a village/town/country from destruction, become/dethrone ruler. Trying to stop a war, trying to win a war, there is even trying to start a war. Actually, that's the plot of My Time in Amar book 3 A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils.

The quest. Ah, the great pinnacle of fantasy plots, the great and terrible and impossible quest. Obviously the best example here is Lord of the Rings.


A small band of friends, an ancient evil, a grueling journey, several battles along the way... Tolkien did it all. Which makes it a little hard to write this type of story without it being considered "cliche". In fact, I have all of these elements in my own My Time in Amar series. What did I do differently? Well, I made it so that my characters don't know what the quest they are trying to accomplish is. They don't actually know for some time, in fact, the first type of their journey is just them trying to figure out what they are supposed to do. They didn't know anything about any ancient evils.* They were just unwitting pawns.

*they still don't so shhh, don't tell them

Which brings me to the real main point of this post. I think that really, to make your story all the more developed and unique that you have to divide your plot into two elements. The character's goal, and the actual story plot.

And they do not always have to be the same thing. Frodo's goal was to destroy the ring. The story plot was him trying to destroy the ring. Your story can branch away from that. In fact, my character's goals rarely ever coincide with the main story plot. They are trying to do their own thing and the story plot is what naturally arises from that struggle.

For instance, in My Time in Amar my characters just want to go home, that is their goal. However, in order to get home, they have to first accomplish a quest, and in order to first accomplish that quest they need to learn what it is. In the companion series Return to Amar my heroine Alicia is trying to save her mother. In order to save her mother, she has to steal something from the faeries then I get a story plot because she has to find people to help her steal from the faeries and then survive the faerie world. Similarly, in Of Gold and Iron Jaye wants to save her brother, but in order to do that she must become an assassin because #reasons#spoilers.

See, you knew I was going to turn this back to having to do with the characters. I always do. Figure out your character's goal. The story plot is what is standing between them and that goal.

That's enough from me. For more February is Fantasy you can read these posts here and here. You can find the whole schedule here. Don't forget to check out our amazing prize because... DRAGONS!

What about you? Do you have a favorite fantasy plot archetype? Writers, what is something that you do to avoid the cliche in your plots? Readers, what is a book you read that took a cliche an twisted it on its head in a new and unique way? Comment Below!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February is Fantasy Month Week Two// Characters

So, I can't really believe that a whole week has passed already. We are now on week two of February is Fantasy Month. In this post I will be discussing characters. I'm a very character driven reader and writer, which means I feel very strongly on this subject.

Okay, before we go any further, I have an admission to make. I love assassins and thieves and princes and queens and pirates. Mercenaries are a particular weakness of mine. But no matter how much I will be intrigued by a character by hearing that they are an assassin or a mercenary, that's not what's going to make me love them as a character. There's so much more to a fantasy character than these titles and tropes.

Cedric from my Snow White novella Winter Cursed is a prince, but he is far from Prince Charming. He's a sarcastic, snarky dark lord with shadow powers and attention deficit disorder. Nikolai from my WIP Here is There is also a prince, he's also a rebel and pretends that he's crazy and less powerful to avoid notice. What do they have in common? They're both dethroned princes. They couldn't be more different though. Being dethroned made Cedric irresponsible, when Nikolai lost his throne, he never lost sight of his duty to his people.

Aleria from An Apprentice of Death (not a story I talk about much, but it's a high fantasy) and Adilah from League of Thieves are both assassins. Aleria is used, she's deadly. She's a pawn. She's the queen. She's every piece in the game and she will destroy you. Honestly, she scares me even if she doesn't look like much. She may or may not be responsible for killing my favorite character, but enough of that. Adilah, on the other hand, she fought to become what she is, she wasn't forced into it by anyone else. She is her own master, she fights to fit into this world, even disguising herself as a man to have this profession. My heroine Jaye in Of Gold and Iron also becomes an assassin, but she does so because she has no choice. She doesn't even plan on really assassinating anyone, to her the title is simply that, a title. Unlike Adilah and Aleria, being an assassin is what they are.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is there are tropes, especially in a genre such as fantasy. When I figure out a character, I do sometimes go with these tropes because hey, they are tropes for a reason. But even with these tropes that I love so much, that isn't where it ends. That isn't who these characters are. That's just the snappy marketable bit that is supposed to get fantasy reader's attention.

Your characters have to grow, develop, be unique, be real in order for them to truly be loved. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you have kick-butt girl pirates that your story is complete. If you don't take the time to develop these kick-butt girl pirates to make them more than simply that, then your story is never going to truly be complete. I say this because I recently read a book that took no time to develop its characters because it thought that the tropes were enough. It was awful. Like I said, as a character driven reader and writer, to me, your characters are the most important part of your story.

I think I would be remiss if I didn't mention magic on the topic of fantasy characters. I know that there are some people who don't like magic. I am not one of those people. I love magic. The more magic in a book the better. But if you have a super powerful mage you also have to make certain that you don't make the mistake of letting their magic become who they are. They still have to be a character with flaws and hopes and dreads. The magic should cost them something. They should struggle with it and with other things as well. I also think it's realistic to have a mixed cast of magical and non-magical characters in a group of characters because talents vary so why shouldn't magic as well? Some books I have more magic, some, like League of Thieves, I have only one main character who has magic.

I'll touch briefly on the topic of romance, because I probably have too much to say on the matter and I don't want to get carried away (maybe I'll do a series about how to write romance...), but I will say that you don't have to have a romance between an assassin and their target or a pirate and a princess in order to have a swashbuckling swoony romance. If you do it right, you can have a romance between an assassin and an artist or a pirate and a traveler and have it be just as good if not better. It's not about what your characters are be it royalty or scoundrels or mages or magical creatures, it's about who they are. And I guess that's what the point of this slightly rambly post is.

All right, so that's it for this week in February is Fantasy Month, next week I'll talk about fantasy plots.

If you want more February is Fantasy Month be sure to check out the blogging schedule here. You can find other participants here and here. And we have a prize! So be sure to comment to increase your chances of winning.

And don't worry, guys, I didn't forget. I promised a cover reveal for A Winter Dark and Deadly and so a cover reveal I shall give you..


Mirror… Mirror…

Elisabeth risked her life to defeat her stepmother and reclaim her crown, but her courtiers have a different idea of who should rule. Her twenty-first birthday is still years away, and it seems that if she does not marry they will give her throne to another regent until she comes of age.

All will fall…

However, she wonders if it will even come to that when she discovers that despite everything she has been told, her stepmother Ismena is still alive and bent on reclaiming her crown- as well as her beauty. Rumor has it that Ismena is searching for a mystical weapon in Mooraven that has the power to end them all. Elisabeth intends to find it first, but how much is she truly willing to risk to save her kingdom?

There is no fairest...

Winter is coming and with it war. However, Elisabeth’s court is determined to sit idly by and watch the threat from afar. With nowhere else to turn, she is forced to seek an alliance with the only person who can help her. Cedric saved her once, but can Elisabeth rely on him when he is obviously lying to her?

Of them all.

With a kingdom on the brink of war, Elisabeth quickly learns that there is no one she can fully trust. Not even herself with her control over her ice magic slipping and her heart yearning for the dark prince. Through it all, one thing becomes dangerously clear… the queen who has the most power is the one who will rule.

Add it on Goodreads here!

And, as some of you may already know, today is my birthday! Yay, I'm nineteen. Not sure what I'm going to do with myself... But enough of that because the reason I'm even stating this. The reason I'm stating this is because I want to share with you the birthday present my sister got me. She commissioned an artist to draw a picture of my characters.

It's Cedric and Elisabeth!!!!!!
Isn't this lovely piece of artwork just perfect??? It looks just like them, eep! I think I'm going to actually put this in A Winter Dark and Deadly when it finally gets published so that you all can enjoy this lovely piece of artwork as well. Thanks so much to my sister Jes!

Okay, so that's all from me for today. What about you? What are your favorite types of fantasy characters? What do you think of that cover? Comment below!