Book Review: Reigning Magicks by Candace Osmond and J.J. King

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An Irish witch from the past. A Romani sorcerer from the future. And a bond of love that stretches across the threads of time.

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Ashlynn is an Irish princess, set to sit on her father’s throne and rule her people. The only problem is: an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with. She wants the clans to unite, but not by marrying because of duty. She seeks the seer, in hopes of finding another solution to her problem.  But it just creates a new one: thanks to a spell gone wrong, Ashlynn is thrust over three hundred years into the future. Not only does she have to adjust to this new world, she needs to figure out why the spell went wrong and how she can get back to her own people.

Cian is a Roma prince, set to marry in just two weeks.  He is set on this duty to unite the clans, that is until Ashlynn comes along. She is unlike his fiance Serena, who is a vile woman set  on the power their marriage will give her. Cian makes it his mission to help Ashlynn but in the process her falls in love with her.

Did the spell really go wrong, or was it destiny? How can Ashlynn get back to her own time and how can Cian get out of a marriage without causing a war between the clans?

Reigning Magicks is currently in the Rite to Reign box set, which I have just started reading. In the near future it will be available as a stand alone novel!

I am really impressed with this book. Co-authoring isn’t easy, but these two make it look seamless! I forgot that two creative women wrote this book as I was reading. The style and flow of the writing was consistent throughout the story. Each character voice stayed true. Their hard work has really paid off. This is book one in their A Witch In Time series and I am really excited for book two!

 

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Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride

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Book two of 2019 is one that my hubby gave me for a gift last year. I’ve crossed off ‘A book that makes you feel nostalgic’ on my  reading challenge . It was the perfect gift. before I get into my review, I should say a few things.

First, The Princess Bride Came out when I was five. I watched it at least five hundred times, if not more. I can recite dialogue as it is being said, (or randomly with friends). This movie made me fall in love with fantasy, pirates, princesses and whimsical worlds. It has gotten me through illnesses (including the WORST FLU EVER, when I watched it 9 times in one week). It is the movie I pick up when I am blue, when I am happy or whenever I just want to relive the story of Westly and Buttercup.

I have read the book, which sits proudly on my bookshelf. I own the board game, and am planning a tattoo. So when Mr. C gave me this book, I fell in love with him even more. Because that man just gets me.

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

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This book is a MUST HAVE for any fan of the film. Cary writes about all aspects of making the film, including when he was cast, the table reading, meeting his fellow cast mates, how he injured himself on set: twice, preparing for the duel, and the last day of filming.

He tells stories of what it was like having Billy Crystal on set, the night he went for drinks with Andre the Giant and how the film became a classic

There are also inserts from many people who worked with him, giving their take on the movie, different things that happened and how the film affected them.

I devoured this book, and I am so pleased that Cary Elwes wrote it. It will sit on my bookshelf, right next to my copy of The Princess Bride. Now if you will excuse me, I think it is time for me to watch the best film ever made.

What film(s) have affected you? Which one got you through rough patches or made you fall in love with new worlds?

Book Review: The Siren’s Call by Candace Osmond

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I have been patiently impatient for the release of the fourth and final book in the Dark Tides series by Candace Osmond. And finally, I got a copy in my hands!

Warning! Some spoilers ahead…

I have been devouring these books. This series has everything I love. A handsome hero with a hard past, a strong and kick ass heroine who keeps going even when she wants to quit; secondary characters that are complimentary and support the FMC and MC. There’s no cardboard cutouts here. Each person has their own important role to play.  Not to mention adventure, romance, time travel, action, quests, and more!

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As the crew reach the shores of England, the power of a wish weighs heavy on Dianna’s shoulders. What should be a simple task snowballs into an endless pit of questions and second guesses as Dianna’s yet to mutter the words that will finally put an end to their formidable journey.

Find her mother before Maria Cobham ends her life. 

The mission is simple, yet so much stands in the way. Including Roselyn Wallace, queen of the port and an old friend from Henry’s past. Time after time, Dianna reluctantly crosses paths with the tall, dark beauty until she finds herself in a world of trouble. Can she dig her way out before everything she’s worked for falls apart? Or will the world Dianna loves wash away with the unforgiving tides? 

As I began to read, I had so many questions. What wishes would Dianna make? What would become the fate of her evil sister and the mother she thought was lost? When would the siren call on her and what would she ask of Dianna? And what of Benjamin; would Dianna find out if her wish worked, or was he still stuck on the cursed ship?

So. Many. Questions.

I was excited and thrilled to start reading book four. I dived right back into the story of Henry and Dianna. I devoured it, but tried to take my time simply because: this is the last book in the series. *insert super sad face here*

The writing flow is consistent throughout the entire series. It was if Candace sat down to write a novel and it turned into something she had to break into four sections.

The title ‘The Siren’s Call’ works in a few ways. That’s one of the things I love, that each book title doesn’t give away the story. Instead it captures several aspects of the story, ones you don’t see coming. One aspect this fits is that one of the places Henry and Dianna visit is called The Sirens Call. It’s the home of Roselyn Wallace, a woman that Dianna not only feels jealous of but doesn’t know if she trustworthy. In a way, Roselyn is a siren of sorts, with her beauty and Dianna wonders if that will lure Henry back into the arms of his former flame.

Dianna and Henry’s characters are always growing, as are the secondary characters. There has been growth in friendships and relationships. And the hard times they all go through only make them strong, better and smarter. I just adore Lottie, Finn and Gus.

With being the last book, there were loose ends being tied, including some I forgot. Dianna had to take Charlie home to see his dying mother, and to bring Pleeman’s ashes back to his family. Neither event went as expected, but life never does.

I felt Dianna’s desperation throughout the story. She never stops believing that she will find her sister, even when she is doubted. She never stops her quest. She is also on a time limit of sorts. Dianna needs to finish what she started before she is to pregnant to stop. And she also needs to protect the growing baby inside of her.

The end of the book….endings are the hardest to read, when a series you are in love with is ending.

Of coarse, Dianna and Henry get their HEA. It wasn’t easy getting there, but they make it.

There was one detail at the end that made me go “OMG you are killing me here!”

Here’s some bad news, kids. The ending leaves you wanting-no, NEEDING- more. I had a half hour of processing what I had just read. The ending of the series ended on a cliffhanger.  Then I reached out to Candace, because I needed help processing it all. I didn’t expect a book series to end on such a…WOW note. Not like that, anyway.

So, here’s the good news, kids: Candace will be writing with these characters once again, sometime down the road when the siren calls to her to return to this awesome world she created. She’ll be working with other worlds and projects she’s creating at the moment. As much as I want more NOW, I can wait. Because when the time comes I will happily step back into the magical world of Dianna, Henry and the others that Candace has created.

On a personal note, I have another reason for being happy about this series. When book one came out, all I knew is that Candace was an author in an online writing community I am in. Her book was promoted, I read the blurb and knew it was for me. But now I have also gained a new writing friend. Candace and I have been talking during the year, giving each other pep talks and chatting about writing and life. So I feel like I have made a new friend, which is a gift in itself. And hey, never hurts to know one of your fave authors. I won’t let her forget about coming back to Dianna and Henry someday, and getting back to that cliffhanger. 😉

If you want to grab up your copy of The Sirens Call, get it at a few places including amazon.com or at amazon.ca.

Happy reading y’all!

Book Haul

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In the last week or so I have had a mini book haul. Brand new beauties for my very crowded bookshelf.

I had read some e-books, but because I loved them so much I had to get the hard copy. If you have read earlier reviews, you know I am a big fan of Candace Osmond. I ordered the first 2 books in her Darktides series….book three may or may not have been ordered as of last night. 😉

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I also bought Beyond The Sentinel Stars by Sherry D. Ramsey last week. It is the third book in her Nearspace series and I am looking forward to reading it soon.

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My newest book in my collection was given to me just the other night. My husband knows me all too well. I guess he doesn’t tune me out all the time after all. 😉 As you may know, The Princess Bride is my all time favorite movie. So imagine my surprise- and joy!- when I got this lil gem.

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I started reading this the other night. I am loving it so far! I got an awesome hubster.

So, any new books on your shelf these days? What are you reading?

Early Review: The Blackened Soul by Candace Osmond

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OMG!!!!

Yes. Just yes.

I can honestly say that the third installment in the Darktides series is just as wonderfully well written as the first two. Like the others, there is something always happening, the characters develop  more as the series goes on and the story line keeps you on your toes! And wanna know one of my favorite things?

The books are consistent! That is so huge in a series! I have read books where the author has gone way off base with the plot/characters/etc… But Candace has written these in such a way that I feel like I am just reading one big book, not three.

Book Blurb:

 Dianna’s in over her head.

The Queen is her ship now. Hers to sail with a crew to keep safe as they voyage across the Atlantic to stop Maria’s evil plan of killing her mother. The stress of responsibility, her pregnancy, and helping Henry deal with his PTSD has become a nightmare from which she has nowhere to run. Henry is suffering, refusing to let her in, and Dianna is worried that their love won’t survive the tumultuous journey ahead.

Just when she thinks all hope is lost, a massive storm hits and threatens to sink The Queen. By some miracle of fate, Dianna survives and finds herself alone, stranded on an island to fend for herself. But she soon discovers that the isle may not be as deserted as she thought.

Can she charm her way to safety and find her crew? Or will she be forced to stay on the island forever? 

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Dianna certainly has a lot on her plate. She is pregnant, learning how to be captain on her ship, The Queen, and  trying to help Henry, who is dealing with an inner darkness/PTSD. On top of that, she is trying to get to England and save her mother from her evil half sister, Maria.

Things are hard enough for her and she certainly doesn’t have it easy. During a massive storm, she is washed overboard. She survives but finds herself stranded on an island, alone and worried about the fate of Henry and her crew.

But the island is not as deserted as she thinks.

Enter Benjamin Cook. A pirate on his brother’s ship, The Black Soul. He takes her aboard the ship, and finds herself yet again trying to befriend its crew and trying to escape with her life. She learns some terrifying truths about the ship: it and the crew are cursed. Thanks to the greedy Captain Cook who stole a siren heart, his crew and ship are tethered to the island- and have been for a hundred years.

She faces horrid weather, evil pirates, magic, breaking a curse, a siren and even a Kraken. But she does it and survives it all with friends new and old at her side.

The title of the book works in a few ways, and I really like that. For starters, the first thing I thought of was Henry. He is having a really hard time with what happened on Kelly’s Island and what Maria had done to him. He has night terrors and has  attacked Dianna. The guilt makes him retreat further into his darkness.

Then there is the new ship, The Black Soul. Very fitting seeing as how it a) looks like it is charred and b) Captain Cook is insane. His soul is tainted from greed and evil.

I am very excited for the fourth and final book in the series, A Siren’s Call. I am anxious to see how Dianna’s story is going to play out and how everything will tie up. Will she save her mom? Will she kill her sister or grant her mercy? What about the siren who she owes a favor? And what of Benjamin? Did the curse really break and will she see him again? So many questions! Oh yes, I am very anxious already for this book!

The Blackened Soul is available on June 25th. However you can pre-order The Blackened Soul on Amazon as well as pick up the first two books if you haven’t already!

 

 

Book Review: The Pirate Queen by Candace Osmond

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Yessssss. Just. Yes.

I have been an eager beaver to get my hands on the sequel to The Devil’s Heart. I pre-ordered The Pirate Queen right away and I was literally counting down, being patiently impatient.

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I was very anxious to see what was going to happen to Dianna, Henry and her crew. Candace is such a great story teller, I was very curious to know what was going to become of this beloved crew.

The story opens with Dianna being back in the present. She remembers the image on Henry’s face as the threads of time opened up to take her back home. Her need to get back to Henry is deep. After being taken to hospital, she finds out she is carrying his child. The need to get back to him  grows stronger.

Once back in her parents home, Dianna is trying to heal from injuries while frantically looking for a key to get her back to the past. She doesn’t want to be without Henry, and can’t stand the thought of him not seeing their child. Finding a clue, key or a glimpse of hope sends Dianna on a mission, making her aunt worry. Finally, her aunt gives her a journal. But not just any journal. It belonged to her mother, who had time traveled herself.

Dianna, with luck and magic, finds herself back in the past. She makes her way to an inn, and after getting a mysterious letter is reunited with Finn, the big burly Scotsman and friend. While staying at the inn, she makes friends with Lottie. I love this new character. There is much more to her then meets the eye. She is full of secrets and surprises!!!

Dianna and her friends are on the hunt to save Henry. While doing so, we discover some fun twists that send the story and events into another direction. Leaving us with more questions and also the anxiousness of wanting a character to succeed and discover the answers.

I won’t give the whole book away. That would spoil the fun! But Dianna is such a strong character. There needs to be more female characters like her. She is strong, independent and smart. There is no doubt as to why her friends, crew and Henry love her. Lottie is such a fun new addition to the group. There is growth of characters, like the cranky Gus. And deepening of other relationships, such as her friendship with Finn.

The ending also left me a little worried about Henry and what the effect of his past life had on him. He once turned himself into something dark and dangerous. Will Dianna’s love be enough to keep that tortured part of his soul at bay? (Gosh I frickin hope so!)

I have quickly fell in love with these books and characters. I must add that the author, Candace, is such a sweetie and I am a total fan and fangirl. She loves hearing from her readers so if you enjoyed this or any of her other work, she would love to hear from you.

Well, guess it is time for me to check the calendar and start the count down to book three, The Blackened Soul.

Here are some places you can get your copy!

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Kobo

Nook

 

Author Interview with Sherry D. Ramsey

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I am thrilled that my next author interview is with my friend and best selling author Sherry D. Ramsey! I have reviewed some of her books in the past and will be again soon enough. Right now I am reading her collection of short stories, The Apprentice Files. 

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Sci-fi and fantasy author Sherry D. Ramsey.

Me: Hey Sherry! Thanks so much for stopping by! So let’s get to it! For anyone who hasn’t read your Nearspace series, what can you tell us about it?

SD: Well, the series is set about 250 years in the future, and in that future we’ve expanded through space through the use of wormhole travel. So there’s lots of spaceships and aliens and other worlds. 🙂 But it’s also about a woman, Luta, who is in her 80’s, but hasn’t aged physically past about 30, and she doesn’t know why. This non-aging has a profound affect on her relationships, and she’d like to understand it and what it means. She thinks it might have something to do with her mother, who was a genetic researcher, but disappeared when Luta was around 14. There’s also the corporation her mother worked for, who thinks they might have a proprietary interest in whatever’s making Luta the way she is. The series starts in One’s Aspect to the Sun with Luta’s search for answers, and different story threads carry on to other books in the series.

Me: I have loved these books and I plan to get book three soon! One’s Aspect to the Sun recently hit the bestseller list! How exciting is that!?

SD: It was pretty exciting! I have a lot of screenshots saved to my computer as it rose up the charts! And I’ve had some really lovely new reviews of both that book and the series lately. They are always nice to see because it means someone genuinely enjoyed the story.

Me: I would have screenshots too! 🙂 That’s awesome, I am really happy for you! Your third book in the Nearspace series, Beyond the Sentinel Stars, came out late last year. Do you plan to go beyond book 3? Or keep it as a trilogy?

SD: I’m actually working on a fourth book in the series right now. I do try to keep them standalone to some extent–no real cliffhangers–but people who like series will also enjoy a sense of continuity throughout the books, I think. This one takes place about a year after the end of Sentinel Stars.

Me: Oh that is awesome! *writes down another book on the To Read list*  So I am curious, which character has been your favorite to write? Why?

SD: Ooh, that’s a really tough one. If we’re moving outside the Nearspace books, there are two characters who were just super fun to write. One was a talking cat in The Seventh Crow, because she gained the ability to talk by accident and really didn’t want it. She has a very prickly and sarcastic voice and she doesn’t have much patience with humans. The other, coincidentally, is also a talking animal, a goose from The Murder Prophet. He’s fun because he also has a very distinct personality, kind of goofy and easily excitable. It’s interesting to channel him and try to stay true to his character. He plays a large role in the next book in that series, which I’m working on concurrently with a few other projects, so it’s fun to see him grow and change but still keep those essential personality traits.

Me: Those characters were funny! You have a way with talking animals 😉 What does your writing area look like?

SD: I’m very lucky to have my own office at home. It’s not terribly large, but it holds a sitting desk and a treadmill desk, and a lot of books and plants. A lot of artwork on the walls and too much paper in general! Probably also too many bits and bobs and little writing talismans. I guess it reflects my mind–usually too cluttered up with too many things! But it’s my own sanctuary and I really appreciate having it. There’s one extra chair for someone to visit me and also a door I can close. Both very important!

Me: Yes both are important. It’s great when you can have your own little writing sanctuary. You have both novels and short stories published. Which do you prefer to write?

SD: That’s also a tough question. I like the compactness and focus of short stories, and of course the lesser demand on writing time to finish one. But I find it difficult to write very short pieces–my stories only rarely come in under five thousand words or so. Novels allow for much greater exploration of ideas and complexity, and character development over time, so they’re great to stretch those creative muscles. I’m starting to think my very favorite length to write is novelette/novella. You can get a little more complex than in a short story, but still write them fairly quickly. Sadly, there’s a much smaller market in traditional publishing for those lengths.

Me: Seems I have a knack for asking the hard questions. 😉  You write sci-fi and fantasy. Which one is your favorite to write?

SD: Lately I lean more toward sci-fi and urban fantasy than other flavours of fantasy. I’ll write in any of the speculative genres if I get an idea that fits, though. Even horror, occasionally.

Me: If you were going to be stranded on an island, which 3 books would you want to have with you?

SD: Well, these days I’d just have my ereader, loaded up with enough to keep me going for a long time! But to choose three…difficult. And I could give you a different answer tomorrow. But today I’d choose To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Hopefully I won’t be stranded for too long…

Me: I know, it isn’t easy for book nerds to choose their three fave books. Mine would also change on a daily basis. I know you are a creative person. What sorts of creative projects do you do when you aren’t writing?

SD: I like fiber arts, like knitting and crochet, as well as machine embroidery and sewing. In the past I’ve made wire and bead jewelry, although I haven’t done much with that lately. I can’t wait for spring to get out in my garden, which might not strike some as creative, but I think it is. And I mess around with various forms of art, on and off the computer. My approach to creative or crafty things is basically that I’ll give anything a try. 🙂

Me: Can you tell us a little something about what are you working on right now?

SD: I’ve just finished up a new novelette in my Olympia Investigations series (urban fantasy) called “Dead Hungry,” which will release on the 15th of April. I’m juggling the fourth Nearspace book, a paranormal romance (a genre I haven’t written before), another urban fantasy novel and a couple of short stories. That sounds like too much, I know. But that seems to be how I work!

Thanks so much again for stopping by for a chat! You are welcome to pop by anytime!

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Sherry D. Ramsey is a speculative fiction writer, editor, publisher, creativity addict and self-confessed internet geek. When she’s not writing, she makes jewelry, gardens, hones her creative procrastination skills on social media, and consumes far more coffee and chocolate than is likely good for her.

Her books include the middle-grade fantasy, The Seventh Crow; three books in the Nearspace series, One’s Aspect to the Sun, Dark Beneath the Moon, and Beyond the Sentinel Stars; the urban fantasy/mystery The Murder Prophet; and two short story collections. With her partners at Third Person Press she has co-edited six anthologies of regional short fiction and a first novel. Every November she disappears into the strange realm of National Novel Writing Month and emerges gasping at the end, clutching something resembling a novel.

A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Writer’s Council, Sherry is also a past Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of SF Canada, Canada’s national association for Speculative Fiction Professionals.

You can visit Sherry online at www.sherrydramsey.com to find free stories and more,  connect on Facebook  and keep up with her much more pithy musings and glimpses into her life on Twitter and Instagram @sdramsey.