Sigil in Shadow by Constance Roberts

Sigil in Shadow WEB ONLY

Let’s review a book, shall we? First things first, the important stuff. Sigil in Shadow is a YA fiction novel set in a time period where royal intrigues between princesses and commoners can take place.  At a smidgen over 250 pages, it’s a good length and it definitely doesn’t get boring.

I was given an advanced reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 🙂

On to the story!

This lovely back cover copy does a lovely job of summing up the story without spoilers –

“Ellary Dane knows she deserves to die – but not for a crime she didn’t commit.

She believes her 19 year streak of bad luck is over when she accidentally saves the life of a highborn officer and is taken to court to study under the tutelage of the most renowned healer in the kingdom. Suspicions surround her sudden presence, making her more enemies than allies. She soon finds herself ripped from her warm palace sheets and thrown into a dank prison cell.

 As nobles vie for their spot on the throne, Ellary learns she is bound to a secret history that could change the kingdom forever. If she is going to break her chains, she must trust the stranger labeled as her accomplice and face the lie that pushed her into the silent warfare of highborn society.”

Ok, now for the good stuff. This book has great prose and it’s a nice read for the imagery alone. The characters are enjoyable and well-rounded. Ellary herself has strength and a good heart, although she is a touch paranoid about her big secret being discovered. In her situation, I would be too.

Is this a perfect story? Nope. But, let’s be honest, perfect stories are predictable and boring. In this story, Ellary has all sorts of challenges to overcome. While she does conquer her biggest challenge which revolves around how to maintain her integrity while being forced into a social position where she doesn’t belong, she fails many smaller but super significant challenges.

 

I would recommend this book to readers who love royal intrigue, Cinderella stories, and a strong female lead.

 

Sigil in Shadow can be found on Amazon. 

Want to see more from this author? Here’s her website.

Fresh Fantasy: Shadows of Angels by L. G. Rollins

There’s nothing better than a book you can sink into, one that grabs your attention and wrestles you for your time until you finish. L. G. Rollins debut fantasy novel does just that.

I have read my fair share of fantasy. I write the stuff, I owe it to myself and my future readers to stay on top of the latest and best there is out there.

When the author, who also happens to be one of my critique buddies, asked me to be a part of her blog tour to announce the release of her first novel, I had to say yes!

I’ve known Laura for several years and can honestly say that she’s got what it takes to spin a riveting story.

Shadows of Angels Cover

My Review: Shadows of Angels is a mix of magic and intrigue. The main character, Aerbrin, faces a life full of new challenges when her father is murdered and leaves her rightful owner of his mysterious and powerful Zaad stone. She must survive against all the forces who would force it from her.

The story has surprises right and left, including people who aren’t who they say, inventive and terrifying  magical creatures, and cursed places that exist to destroy the pure in heart.

If I were to compare it to anything, I’d say it would be like a darker version of the 1986 cult classic movie Labyrinth if it were directed by Guillermo del Toro. There’s no maze, but there is a dream trance place where stolen memories are hidden away. Very cool stuff. And as a bonus, Aerbrin is much stronger and more clever than Labyrinth’s Sarah (Jennifer Connelly).

If you like reading well-written books that have lots of thrilling near death experiences, kings in hiding, noble men, plenty of magic, and unique fantasy settings, this book is perfect for you. Oh, and I should mention that this is a clean read, meaning no profanity or explicit anything. There is a fair amount of tastefully executed violence.

However, if you shy away from characters in pain, need a strong romantic side story to keep you interested, or can’t stand powerful magical characters, you may need to steer clear of this book.

***

Because I love you – check out this exerpt:

Stay calm, her father’s words echoed in her head. When you find yourself in danger, above all, stay calm. Aerbrin took a deep, steady breath and leaned down, reaching for her bow. one of the Forest Dwellers charged. It collided with her and knocked her to the floor. Raising a knotted fist, he bashed her head.

Sparks exploded across her vision. She tried to raise an arm, tried to call out. Her body wouldn’t respond. The Forest Dwellers grunted again. The creature above her raised its fist again. She looked up. This was the end, she knew. When these monsters attacked, they killed everything. Animals, plants, and particularly humans. No one survived.

Closing her eyes, Aerbrin forced her body to relax. This time, there was no pain.”

About the Author:

L. G. Rollins grew up in a far off land fighting dragons, stealing talismans, and traveling with dwarfs and elves. She is especially skilled at bribing giants with sweets. Currently, her husband and four kids live in Utah so that is where she spends most of her time. She may, or may not, have a Zaad Stone. To learn more about L. G. Rollins and her books visit LGRollins.com. Shadows of Angels comes out December 8th and is the beginning of the Zaad Stone trilogy.

 

Shadows of Angels Blog Tour Image.jpg

Friday Fantasy – Mother Nature

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s some fantasy art and a haiku for your enjoyment from the Booknvolume blog.

Booknvolume

Viridian

Viridian Gift

Sown from Alabaster Hands

Life and Breath She Gives

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~Morgan~
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Beautiful Original Artwork by LilifIlane – http://lilifilane.deviantart.com

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What Would You Write If No Limits Existed?

It’s that wonderful time called summer where the heat and the outdoors is calling and I’m surrounded by my kids who are out of school. I’m leaving this weeks writerly post for Writing Wednesday to Zara who discusses writing without worrying about marketability. Enjoy!

Zara Edmonds Books

What would you write if you could write anything at all? What would you write if you perceived no restrictions? If the opinion of publishers and critics meant absolutely nothing? What would you write?

Seems like a simple question. But it isn’t. At all. Especially for anyone who began writing before services like CreateSpace existed. Because all of us writers who hoped to be published always had that filter in our thought processes. Will an agent like this story enough to represent it? Will a publisher have enough confidence in its marketability to publish it? A terrible filter, harming if not destroying creativity before its very inception. Deflecting and diverting and skirting the essential, the heart of the writer’s being, altering and transforming it into something other. Into something people might like, into something generally acceptable. Is there anything worse than that? Twisting and contorting the creative soul to suit…

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Believe in America

My dear friend Barbara was so kind to post this, go check it out!

Uniting Caregivers

July-Believe in AmericaI’m excited to celebrate our Nation’s Independence Day. I’ll be thinking about and honoring all the service men and women this weekend. Thank you to all who cared enough to serve our country. Military service affects parents, children, spouses and friends. I appreciate the sacrifices made by families along with the soldier’s. For the families who have lost their loved one because they gave the ultimate gift, their life, I recognize the noble and courageous cost.

I’m proud to be an American and I hope it shows in the way I live my life. Independence Day always fills my heart with gratitude and a desire to give back by serving others.

How will you celebrate July 4th?

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Writing Tip: Eliminate Unnecessary Words

Today for Writing Wednesday we are outsourcing and checking out the writing tip about cutting unnecessary words over at Creative Talents Unleashed. Enjoy!

Creative Talents Unleashed

Photo 10

We have discussed using too many long or uncommon words before. It can distract your readers from your message. This time, we will discuss using unnecessary words in your writing. If you can explain something in ten words instead of thirty, then it is often better to eliminate those twenty words that you do not need.

Many writers find it difficult to write very short pieces. You need to be able to describe something, tell a story and leave a message in a small number of words, which is a difficult skill to master. There are many ways to practice cutting down your word count and removing words that are merely there to fill space and have no real significance in your piece.

In poetry, you could try rewriting an old poem but cutting the word count in half, or if you want to practice in a specific form…

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Thank you Terry Pratchett

The more time you spend working to become an author and to publish, the more you realize just what a big deal it is for your name to be known among the general population. Think about it, there are millions of authors out there who are published, and several million more who are working to become published.

Knowing an author’s name, even if you haven’t read them, means that they have attained a level of success that few can even dream of.  Stephen King, Dan Brown, JK Rowling, and Neil Gaiman, are now household names.

1654Terry Pratchett is one of those authors who have  broken the mold among the fantasy community. Over the course of his career he has published  an astounding 66 books. Forty of these books belong to the globally popular Discworld series.

What makes Pratchett’s writing unique is his firm grasp on satire and knowing just how far to push an illogical situation. Some of his most iconic images are in fact the most silly, such as the Luggage, which is described as this:

The Luggage is a large chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic). It can produce hundreds of little legs protruding from its underside and can move very fast if the need arises. It has been described as “half suitcase, half homicidal maniac” (Sourcery paperback p22).

tumblr_mn98y9YnC51r3yo7eo1_400Terry Pratchett died in his home last week after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. His courage and wit have inspired millions, including me.

Thank you Terry!